Thursday, July 31, 2008

Delay in benchmarks leaving MacKay in the dark, too.

The main thing we learned yesterday from our Defence Minister Peter MacKay was that Canadian troops are not in Afghanistan to guard the new natural gas pipeline.

I am assuming that the main reason for some of the confusion in the media and MacKay’s own lack of candor on the purpose of our mission, is that he like the rest of Canada has not yet received the benchmarks that were promised back in early April.
With increasing concern being expressed by Canadians about the escalating violence in Afghanistan the Tories announced that they would establish benchmarks to better define the purpose and progress of the Canadian mission.
According to the April 1oth article published by the Globe (here), Harper was assigning the task to his best manager.

The Harper government's top political manager for the Afghanistan mission, Trade Minister David Emerson tried yesterday to ratchet down expectations for what Canada can achieve before it leaves in 2011, but said the Tories will soon offer Canadians quarterly updates on progress.
He said Ottawa will start releasing progress reports every three months on the mission, a move that should begin before the Commons rises in early to mid-June.
Mr. Emerson said at the time that  the new benchmarks aren't ready yet but acknowledged reducing Canada's proportionately high level of casualties will be one.
However with Emerson just completing his first comprehensive examination of Canada's activities in Afghanistan last week, MacKay and the rest of Canada will have to wait until sometime this month.

"We want numbers that tell us when we're doing things right. We want numbers and benchmarks that will tell us when we're doing things not so well," said Mr. Emerson. 
"We'll be rolling that out with some serious technical briefings over the next few weeks."
It appears that the Tories are no further advanced in defining our mission than they were four months ago.

I realize that Emerson has had his plate full taking over the reigns of Foreign Affairs from Maxine (I don't even look motorcycles anymore) Bernier and with the obvious lack of managerial talent in the Tories gene pool, Emerson probably was the most competent manager available.

But there should of been a greater sense of urgency applied to set these benchmarks and release the progress reports.

We are talking about the purpose for the mission, and what we are expecting our troops to accomplish in a very dangerous environment.

Not to mention that it would save MacKay from having to make up statements like this on the fly.

"Our primary purpose there is to build that country to the point where they can walk on their own and then we're coming home."
MacKay apparently forgot to mention that our mission only has a mandate until 2011, regardless of whether the Afghans can walk on their own.

Unless that has changed too.

References Globe here, Macleans here and National Post here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Here’s something to remember when you fill your tank today.

Syncrude, the conglomerate of oil companies participating in the Tar Sands, will produce over 100 million barrels of oil this year, which they are expected to sell for over $120 a barrel or a modestly projected annual income of $12 billion dollars.

At an average production cost of $40 per barrel of oil, the gross profit for the operations before the two provinces and the Feds get their cut will be over $8 billion dollars.

Despite the fact that the tar sands will produce over 40 million tonnes of greenhouse gases this year, our Federal Government and the producing provinces want to continue expanding the Tar sands development.
There are over 3200 tar sands lease agreements in place right now, covering an area larger than Vancouver Island, and governments and the oil industry are constantly working to increase this number.

It is estimated that by 2011, annual greenhouse gas emissions from the tar sands plants alone will be over 80 million tones of CO2 equivalent - a greater quantity of emissions than that produced by all of Canada's passenger cars today.
In collaboration with the producing provinces and the oil industry, the Tories are claiming that the CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) technologies is the only answer to reduce greenhouse gases produced by the Tar Sands.

They claim that CCS will start to reduce the greenhouse gases, starting in 2015 regardless of the fact that the technology has never been applied on such a large scale and there are no major companies with CCS expertise, currently working on it.

In other words let’s stall and delay and make hay while the sun shines.

Besides the obvious fact that the country needs a Federal Government that is actually concerned about the environment and the reduction of greenhouse gases, the oil industry needs an incentive to participate and at this scale of pollution the Carbon Trading Plan will not work.

The purpose of the carbon tax is to provide that incentive.
I lived in Edmonton when the oil rigs moved out in 78, The city became the crime capital of Canada that year with people robbing seven elevens at night for food. It was tough times. Alberta is a beautiful province and I am glad to they are prospering.
But there is price to pay for that prosperity.

References the Globe here and Greenpeace here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Tories broke the first rule of nuclear safety, regardless of their reports

The nuclear industry, for all the nightmarish reasons you can imagine is the most highly regulated industry in Canada.

According to an acquaintance and 45 year veteran of the industry the first rule is “you listen to the regulator”.
"Everyone knows that you never question the regulations and you never question the regulator. If you are told to stop, you stop. The risks are just too high."
At least that was the case until the Tories decided to override the regulator’s decision last December.

The management of AECL tried an end around through Lunn and instead of backing the regulator, they fired her and restarted the reactor at Chalk River.
The Tories have now politicized the CNSC and undercut the governing authority.

The next revenue driven operator, be it federal, provincial or privately run, now realizes that they can question the regulations and the decisions of the regulator.
The industry, the employees and the reactors are no longer as safe.

Yesterday, the Tories released two reports to try and justify their interference.
Talisman International a seemingly well qualified, DC law firm that specializes in regulatory assistance to the nuclear industry released a report that focused solely on renewal of AECL's license to operate the Chalk River facility in 2005 and 2006 and the extended outage in late 2007.

The report outlines 15 specific recommendations on improved communications, which the the government run AECL and the newly appointed head of the CNSC have fully accepted and outlines the actions that will be taken to address each recommendation.

AECL claimed that the licenses were not clear and did not specify in any detail exactly which Chalk River safety upgrades were to be installed.
Despite the fact that their first assumption should of been all safety upgrades, the government run AECL has, in the end gotten away with ignoring the regulations.

Since the Talisman report only covered the actions of AECL, the Tories apparently decided that further justification of their own role was necessary and a second previously unannounced report, was released.
A group of medical professionals, stated that "the delay in restarting Chalk River crisis left Canada's nuclear medical capability teetering on the brink of disaster.”
Although contradictory to previous reports that there was no widespread panic about the declining number of isotopes, the unnamed (in the Globe article) professionals, who are hopefully not just distributors, have tried to justify the Tories actions.
In a telephone interview our Minister of Health, Tony Clement said of the second report, “All it does is reinforce my conviction that we did the right thing in putting this before Parliament to get the reactor restarted ASAP.
If we had left it in the halls of bureaucracy, we would still be waiting.”
We are talking about the regulation of nuclear energy here, Tony. 

One would think that, as our Minister of Health and someone that went through the SARS outbreak in Ontario, that you would surely understand the importance of safety regulations, protocol and the importance of preserving the sanctity of the position of regulator.

Our government has made the nuclear industry less safe and these reports do not change that fact.

As my acquaintance said the "cat is out of the barn".

References the Globe here and the CNW here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Apparently Kenney hasn't read his own plan

Apparently, Tory MP Jason Kenney is back from vacation too.


The Conservative government through their "designated attack dog" says Stephane Dion must clarify whether the Liberal leader's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions includes side deals with some provinces.
Well in the first place Kenny, I think the Liberals are clarifying a lot more about their environmental plan, than the new conservatives have done since they quickly came up with one in April 2006.

And secondly you should you should try and read your own environmental plan (and I realize it is difficult as I tried to do it this weekend).

What do you think the Eco Trust Fund is. Here's a list of some of the known side deals, listed on the site.

  • Canada's New Government Supports Clean Air and Energy Efficiency Projects in Nova Scotia with $42.5 Million from Trust Fund

  • Canada's New Government Supports Clean Air and Energy Efficiency Projects in Prince Edward Island

  • Canada's New Government supports clean air and energy efficiency projects in Saskatchewan

  • Canada's New Government supports clean air and energy efficiency projects in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Canada's New Government supports clean air and energy efficiency projects in Yukon

  • Canada's New Government delivering on clean air and energy efficiency projects in Nunavut

  • Canada's New Government Delivering on Clean Air and Energy Efficiency Projects in New Brunswick

  • Prime Minister announces ecoTrust Funding for B.C.

  • Canada's New Government Announces ecoTrust Funding for Northwest Territories

  • Prime Minister Harper announces ecoTrust funding for Alberta

  • Prime Minister Harper announces ecoTrust funding for Ontario

  • Canada's New Government announces ecoTrust funding for Manitoba

  • Prime Minister unveils new Canada ecoTrust

  • Quebec investment the first of new funding to deliver real results for Canadians

What did you think they were Jason?  Vote buying schemes.

Bairds Delay and Pollute Plan

Baird returned, over the weekend, taking one of his trademark, analogical, shots at the Liberals Green Shift plan.

A Canada-wide carbon tax would be akin to a "pay-and-pollute" system, Baird said yesterday in Vancouver.
However anyone who has ever tried to weed their way through Baird’s plan (as I tried to do yesterday) would quickly realize that, although there seems to be a lot of concern expressed and data presented, it is a tad short on a sense of urgency.

Turning the Corner which was first released in April 2006, actually reads as if the authors just discovered that there was pollution. Over 60% of the so called plan describes in inscrutable detail how harmful greenhouse gases, and other pollutants are to us.
It is packed with slick marketing titles, charts and historical inaccuracies all presented to project the new conservatives as the saviors of the environment. Take the first paragraph for example.

An Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution, which will see the federal government for the first-time ever force industry to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.
That would be correct, of course if their was no acid rain back in the eighties when Trudeau and Carter started and Mulroney and Bush senior finalized the Acid Rain agreements (unfortunately Reagan was more like Bush junior).

Anyway Turning the Corner is presented as being flexible with a myriad of options.

Companies can choose: In-house reductions, Contributions to a capped technology fund, Domestic emissions trading and offsets, access to the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism and limited one-time credits for early action prior to 2006.
And there will be tough targets:

That will “come into effect as early as possible between 2012 and 2015” and they “will be at least as rigorous as those in the U.S. or other environmental performance leading countries”
Wait a minute here, the U.S. hasn't believed in global warming since Bush junior took office. They didn't even admit that human activity and the resulting greenhouse gases had an effect on the environment, until this year. Even Bush claimed he was "biggest polluter in the world".

But don't worry there will be benchmarks.
Each industrial sector: pulp and paper, electricity, petroleum refineries, chemical production facilities, aluminum smelting etc. will be benchmarked similar to those sectors in other countries and jurisdictions (including the U.S).
What about the 800 lb. gorilla at the table?

Finally, for the oil sands sector, which is unique to Canada, there are no comparable regulated sectoral emissions limits in other countries that would enable a comparison with other jurisdictions. In this case, sectoral targets were established using a multi-step approach.
And in collaboration with the oil industry and the oil producing provinces they set a plan that will allow continued, unabated expansion of the tar sands with the future promise of implementing a future technology that will start to have an effect sometime in future.

Of course someone will have to figure out how CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) will work on a such a large scale.

But hey Baird has targets and no one has to pay, today.

References: Carbon Capture Reality Check at Discovery here, and Baird's comment at the Globe here

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mick Jagger turns 65 today

Here's the Stones "You can't always get what you want" in 2003, Mick would be 60 here.

And here's the original Jumping Jack Flash clip. They are a lot younger in their early acid phase, war paint and all.

Happy Birthday Mick.

Meanwhile Ronny is still in rehab and Keith is still alive.

Nike Hyperdunk Ads about to be pulled

According to CNN here.
Nike said Friday it would pull its ads for its Hyperdunk basketball shoes, responding to criticism that they fed homophobic views.

Here's the ads at least until Monday.

Nike Commercial - Hyperdunk Victim No 1: Devante.

Nike Commercial - Hyperdunk Victim No 2: Terry

I sort of missed the politically correct era. These ads are funny and it looks like a good campaign. 

The story could be a plant to boost views, or there really are people out there with strange views. Hell I was going to buy a pair.

Other than the fact that people are dying, Taser might of been a good company for me to invest in.

I thought I would electronically visit Taser International this weekend.

Their site here is like a visit to the set of RoboCop.

The site is filled with lots of well produced videos and presentations that are virtually designed to scare the bejesus out of you, or at least they do me.

The company had a great year in 2007 with a sales hitting $100 million, an increase of $33 million over 2006. Profits dramatically increased to over $20 million from a previous year’s loss (some kind of write off occurred that year).

Although sales are slightly higher for the first six months of this year, they had to take a $5.2 million litigation charge which has moved them to a negative on the profit line.
TASER recorded a $5.2 million charge in the second quarter of 2008 for an adverse jury verdict received...
The Company is pursuing all appropriate legal channels including filing an appeal in this matter at the appropriate time once a judgment is entered.
However the company seems to opening new markets, expanding their marketing focus beyond the basic Law Enforcement that we are used to.

They have increased their consumer distribution channels pushing the new citizen Taser® C2 that they announced at their last annual shareholders meeting.

The purse sized Taser® 2 comes in designer colors and starts at $299 up to $379 for the Leopard skin model. You can buy the C2 on line or through national retail outlets, such as the just announced Sport Authority chain.
The main marketing message here seems to be fear. Society is now more dangerous and you have protect yourself. The main target market is women.

For law enforcement they are marketing the “protection of truth”, which is basically improving video recording capabilities and adding it to the laser device, so you can both discharge the weapon and record the full incident.

It’s seems like a necessary function with the increasing number of fatalities and I assume increasing number of possible law suits.

So far in Canada, alone twenty-two people have died, after being hit by a Taser, which can shoot 50,000 volts into a person with such force and heat that it can blister skin.

The most recent case, this week, being the 17 year old in Manitoba

Yesterday, Saskatchewan’s Police Commission announced that the provinces regular municipal police forces will not be issued Tasers, because of safety concerns.
"We will await the findings and recommendations of the various inquiries and studies taking place now before moving further on the issue."
A spokesman for Amnesty International, called the Saskatchewan Police Commission decision a positive step forward.
"It's a small victory in the sense that it doesn't go as far as we would like to see a complete moratorium on the use of Tasers until all the facts are on the table," he said.
"Having said that, a small victory is better than no victory whatsoever. The less proliferation of these Tasers, the better," Buxton said from Toronto.
Loosing an order in Saskatchewan will not affect Taser.

Their PR department will continue to be busy posting positive stories about the deterrent use of Tasers on their web site and their marketing department will continue expanding the consumer market.

Hey fear sells.

Meanwhile visit their site. It seems like a trip to a scary future.

And as it says on their web store “Tell a friend about this product” and that is what I am trying to do.

References: CNEWS here, Macleans here, Taser 2007 Annual Report here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why expected lower oil prices could be good for the environment or not.

The EDC (Export Development Canada Agency) has just released a report forecasting that the value of exports will decline in 2009.

The reason for the expected decline will be the continuing drop in the price of oil.
The agency is projecting oil to drop to $100 a barrel by the end this year and further decline to $84 by this time next year.

The Canadian economy and the Canadian dollar have both been propped up by the high price of oil and the EDC is also projecting that the dollar will also decline to $0.94 against the US next year.
This is probably the most positive economic forecast we could receive.

Canada is an exporting country with one major trading partner. The parity with the US dollar has hurt all industries in Canada, everything from film production to the lumber industry.

Meanwhile any gains that we might have expected through lower cost of imports and an increase buying power was being negated by the higher fuel costs to manufacture and deliver the goods.

Although a lower forecast for the price of oil is a negative for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland, it is positive for the rest of the country and when combined with a shrinking dollar a boost to the other resource and commodity based industries.

The cold hard fact is that a lower price of oil only hurts the oil producing industries, for the rest of country it is positive.
The agency points out that high oil has not lifted all sectors, saying 2008 has been a terrible year for manufacturers in Central Canada. While the value of exports is rising this year, export volumes will actually shrink by four per cent, and next year won't be any better.
The lowering of oil prices might slow down our current expansion of greenhouse gases within the oil sector and also provide the impetus to finally introduce environmental plans that Canadians can afford and are now more willing to accept. 
Lower prices should start to reduce the urgency to expand the production of high cost oil reserves such as the tar sands and the pressure to rush into the development of new higher risk, higher cost Arctic reserves.

Thus giving the industry the time it needs to develop the technologies to reduce the resulting greenhouse gases and other major risks to the environment before rushing into expansion.
Additionally Canadians are currently going through a sticker shock at the gas pumps and the subtle increasing price of consumer goods (due to higher fuel costs).
We are now looking at ways to reduce our personal consumption, be it the next car we buy, how far we travel or what we set the thermostat at. We are getting more environmentally aware and are being constantly reminded every time we fill up our tank.
Although 2009 is still going to be a tough year as our economy re-adjusts, this is a great opportunity for a government or political party to implement environmental changes that will be less intrusive on a more environmentally conscious public.

Be it a Cap and Trade, Carbon Tax or combination of both.

Unfortunately it will be an opportunity lost with our existing government that bases it’s environmental plan on the protection and expansion of only one sector of our economy.

EDC references from Canadian Press here

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Syncrude successfully protects killer tailing pond from Green Peace attack.

Fort McMurray RCMP have arrested 11 Greenpeace activists for trespassing at the Syncrude Canada Ltd. Aurora oilsands site and hanging a banner that read 'World's Dirtiest Oil: Stop the Tar Sands'.
A Syncrude spokesperson said the Greenpeace action hasn't affected production.
When asked about the banner, he replied, no problem we just dropped it into the pond and it sank like a duck, then quickly dissolved.

Reference: CBC here. and Green Peace here.

Canada's disgrace in the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik continues

Documents are now coming out on the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik, the Canadian citizen who has been stranded in Sudan since 2003 and is now suing the Canadian government in an effort to get back home.

He has been arrested, twice by the Sudanese Gov’t during that time, tortured and subsequently released.

It would appear the first time was at the bequest of CSIS and the second time to apparently save embarrassment to the Canadian government.

Timeline of events from earlier Globe article here.
  • 1990 Aged 28 enters Canada a political refuge from Sudan
  • 1995 Becomes a Canadian citizen, marries and has a daughter
  • 2000 Voluntarily testifies in the US in the trial of Amed Ressam the News Years Eve bomber caught at border, claims he knew him but not well
  • March 2003 Goes to Sudan to see ailing mother and get away from CSIS harassment that has continued
  • July 2003 CSIS labels him a known associate of al-quaeda suspects
  • August 2003 Arrested in Sudan
  • December 2003 Interrogated by CSIS agents 
  • May 2004 Goes on hunger strike
  • July 2004 Sudan aggress to release him and wife arranges flight back. Next day US puts him on their no fly list and flight cancelled
  • August 2004 Moves to halfway house
  • November 2004 PM Martin in Sudan refuses to meet with him 
  • October 2005 Arrested again by Sudanese on the day Romeo Dallaird plans to meet him
  • July 2006 US declares him a risk to the safety of the United States, US puts him on UN Terrorist list
  • July 2007 Sudan releases him again declaring he is clear of all terrorist links and they bo longer want to incarcerate an innocent man.
  • January 2008 Interviewed by FBI
  • March 2008 Interviewed by Bernier, asked about his views of Israel
  • June 2008 Lawyers sue Canadian government as Canadian diplomats knew he was being tortured in Sudan prison
The documents released today show that two successive Canadian governments have failed to to allow a Canadian citizen that is not charged with any crime return to Canada, for fear of upsetting the Bush administration.
Senior Canadian intelligence officials warned against allowing Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, to return home from Sudan because it could upset the Bush administration, classified documents reveal.

The Abdelrazik documents - prepared by senior intelligence and security officials in Transport Canada, the unit that creates and maintains Canada's own version of the terrorist "no-fly" list - make clear that it was the U.S. list that kept Mr. Abdelrazik from returning to Canada when he was released from prison three years ago.
Meanwhile Abdelrazik denies any link with Islamic extremists groups or al-Qaeda and simply wants to come home to his daughter. 

And the Government continues to use Catch 22 logic to keep him in Sudan and appease the Bush Administration and avoid their own complicity.
The government continues to refuse to issue Mr. Abdelrazik a new Canadian passport.

His previous one expired while he was imprisoned and his Sudanese jailers returned it to the Canadian embassy. Canadian diplomats say they would issue him emergency travel documents, but only if he had an airline ticket.

But that is impossible as long as he remains on the U.S. no-fly list.
Meanwhile Canada is providing him with $100 a month. 

This is disgraceful.

Quotes from todays Globe Article here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stevie comes out to playay

According to Election Canada rules Steve has to call a by-election for the vacant Westmount-Ville Marie riding by this weekend. So late yesterday the Tories leaked that Harper will be calling three by-elections before Parliament returns on September 15th.

The vote will be held on September 2nd, the earliest possible date or the following Monday September 8th. Here’s the line up for the three seats up for grabs.
Westmount-Ville Marie
Although won by the Liberals in 2006 with 45.7% of the vote, the NDP are hoping for another Quebec upset. The contest should be between former astronaut Marc Garneau for the Liberals and Anne Legace Dowson a CBC radio personality for the NDP.
St. Lambert
This riding was won by the Bloc in 2006 with 45.3% of the vote with the Liberals and Tories respectively coming in 10,000 and 11,000 votes back. It seems both parties believe the seat will remain with the Bloc since they didn’t even bother to plug their candidates for the CP article.
Should end up being the most fun to watch with three parties all having a shot. In 2006 the Liberals won the seat with 38.4% of the vote. The Tories came in second with 29.8%, followed by the NDP with 22%.

This time around the Tories are running Gloria Kovach, a former city councillor against another CBC radio personality for the NDP, Tom King. The Liberals are offering up a newcomer, lawyer Frank Valeriote.
Even though Guelph is a real test for Steve in this by-election, the Tories are trying to make it all about Dion.
“They are all opposition-held ridings and anything less than two Liberal victories will be a huge defeat for St├ęphane Dion's Liberals,” said Tory spokesman Ryan Sparrow.
The reality is that Steve needs more urban Ontario seats to get a chance for a majority and Dion needs Quebec seats to get a chance for a minority.

We are going to have a national election this fall anyway, so this is just the prelude.

Let the games begin.

Reference the Globe here.

PS: Sorry about the title, but I've been wanting to use this picture of David Patrick Kelly for a while now, with the title being a play on his brilliant and impromptu scene at the climax of The Warriors.

I was hoping Steve would remain in hiding in Calgary for the rest of the week, so I could use it on the weekend. But I guess the big guy has his marching orders and the plan is set. So bring it on Steve, this should be fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Tory Green Shift Plan

It appears that Elections Canada has sworn testimony which of course we don’t get to hear, that the Tories did a little more than the old in and out.
A former financial officer for the party confirmed last month in a court examination that expenses incurred by Public Works Minister Christian Paradis and former Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier were assigned to other candidates.
Basically their two star candidates in Quebec (at least at the time) spent over the legal limits in the last election and the party shifted their expenses to other candidates who hadn’t spent theirs.
NDP MP Pat Martin, a member of the ethics committee, said if the party did shift expenses from Bernier and Paradis to other candidates it would add an entirely new dimension to the controversy.
The controversy in this case is about cheating Election Canada out of our funds.

The Tories filed fraudulent expense claims.
The over spending would not of made a difference in the outcome of the election, at least not in Bernier’s riding. He ended with 67% of the vote against the second place Bloc candidate. With Paradis it was a little closer. He won by only 6,000 votes over Marc Boulianne, the Bloc candidate.
Of course by this afternoon the Tory apologists, (that would be Korny, since he is the only one working for the rest of the month) will remind us of that and tell us that all parties do this and hey it isn’t as bad as what the Liberals did.
I'm an old salesman and handing in false expense claims is what the arrogant youngsters try to get away with in my profession. You only fire them, if they remain arrogant about it and don't admit that they did it. It becomes more a matter of trust and a lack of respect.
And that is what it this is all about. 
The Tories put in false expense claims simply because they thought they could away with it and they continue to deny that they broke the rules and even attack the individual they put in place to administer those rules.
It's not just about the money Steve, it is the arrogant lack of respect towards our institutions and it is becoming a matter of trust for more of us.

Reference CNEWS here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

McCains New Pump Ad is so ridiculous, it is actually funny

This ad was released by McCain's campaign today. McCain is flat out blaming Obama for the high US gas prices, because he will not agree to start offshore drilling.

So far the ad has had 3,800 views, from 14 blog posts and over 140 comments. The majority of comments are negative, with a mixture of anger at McCain to outright laughing at him.

Like any other form of advertising, the first objective is to get people to hear the message and then keep repeating the selling points over and over again. The target market in this case is the independent voter or undecideds if there are any left in the US. 

So I guess on that point I am actually helping McCain.

Unfortunately for McCain the response so far has been more negative than positive. So maybe I'm not.

But give it a week and a big effort by staffers to post positive comments they might be able to turn that around. There are enough crazy right wingers out there to follow the ad around. 

Hey I might get some visiting here.

The ongoing numbers for the video and in reality the success or failure of the ad can be tracked at Viral Video Chart here at least while it remains in the top 100.

The first of Bush’s Gitmo trials starts today

In the first U.S. war crimes tribunal since World War Two, Osama bin Laden's driver, will face the Bush administration form of justice today in Guantanamo.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan is charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, and could face life imprisonment if convicted.
His lawyers have complained bitterly about conditions in the Guantanamo and the legal system the Bush administration constructed to try suspects.

Their client has been physically and mentally abused and they have been denied access to witnesses, records and other evidence.
They contend that he was merely a driver in Bin Laden's motor pool.
"The course of conduct the government has engaged in is a source of righteous indignation and should be for any right-thinking American citizen," said Mike Berrigan, deputy chief defense counsel for the tribunals. "It's not justice."
Meanwhile the fate of Canadian born Omar Khadr, the last remaining prisoner from a western country, whose trial is slated for October, remains in the hands of our vacationing prime minister.

The position of Harper's government was reiterated yesterday by Teneycke his new spokesman, who seems to be the running the place in Harper's absence.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper remains unmoved and his spokesman, Kory Teneycke, has accused the Liberals of "revisionism and hypocrisy" for only now adopting the cause.

"This is the process the Liberals chose, and we're sticking with it," Mr. Teneycke said in an interview yesterday.
Teneycke's was responding to Paul Martin's call yesterday, to bring Khadr home now.
If we had known then what we know now, then we would have taken strenuous steps to repatriate Mr. Khadr to Canada,
The former prime minister conceded that it is "easy" to operate with the benefit of hindsight, but said, "We should have repatriated him, and I believe that we should do it now."
So according to Teneycke, the Liberals who supposedly couldn't do anything right in the past, were right in the handling of Khadr. How convenient.

Despite the fact that we now know that the prisoners in Guantanamo were tortured and the US supreme court has ruled that the trials are illegal, and every other western nation has repatriated their citizens, except Canada, Teneycke's excuse is that the Liberals didn't do anything when they were in power, so we don't have to either.

Give me a break.

Steve you need to come back from vacation, this new guy is an idiot. 

References from the Montreal Gazette here, and the Globe & Mail here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

America's Horse With No Name, for the kids in Australia

Summing up his message, the Pope told the young pilgrims at a Mass in Sydney that a “spiritual desert” was spreading throughout the world...


You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name 

Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain

Brits no longer believe the US on torture

A British Foreign Affairs Select Committee has concluded that the British Government can no longer take the US claims that they do not torture prisoners at face value.
"Given the clear differences in definition (of torture), the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the government does not rely on such assurances in the future."

British territories have used for refueling US “rendition flights” taking prisoners to countries with no bans on torture.

The United Nations convention bars the return of individuals to states where they are at risk of being tortured and the UK has a "legal and moral obligation" to ensure no more of these flights land on British territory.

The committee has recommended that the government carry out an "exhaustive analysis of current US interrogation techniques" and should verify that Britain is not used by the US for future "rendition" flights.
The Brits have gone through this process over concerns of US flights landing in Diego Garcia an obscure British protectorate in the Indian ocean.

Meanwhile Harper’s government, who has already had one of it’s citizens, Maher Arrar, handed over to foreign country and tortured by the US, shows no concern about it’s legal and moral obligation in the case of Omar Khadr.
It seems obvious that a country either condones torture or it does not and you would think that under the UN convention, Canada should do everything in it’s power to protect it’s citizens and the citizens of other countries from the risk of being tortured.
The current US government condones torture and unfortunately Canada's current government, by it's refusal to repatriate Omar Khadr and by extraditing US war resisters, seems to also.

References BBC here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Send Karl Rove to Jail Video

Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films have released a new video going after Karl Rove.

The video asks viewers to go here and sign an online petition requesting that the House Judiciary Committee hold Karl Rove in contempt and send him to jail.

Since yesterday just over 50,000 people have viewed the video that is posted on 44 blogs and just over 44,000 have signed the petition.

They might not be able to get Bush or Cheney, but they should be able to get this lying sack of shit.

And now it is on 45 blogs.

Looks more like a doll you would rent for the night

Mattel hot off their win over Bratz for copyright infringement released their new action hero Barbie, Black Canary this week.

Sorry girls Granddad ain’t buying you one of these until you are eighteen.

Might get one for my grandson when he turns twelve, though.

Sorry about that, it's just my old latent machismo attitudes kicking in. I had a GI Joe when I was a kid.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This is worrisome

The interim ban on exploration and development of the reserves surrounding the Nahanni National Park Reserve ends on October 31st, unless the federal government permanently grants the reserve protected status.

The Nahanni National Park Reserve, set up in 1972 by Trudeau and designated a world heritage site by the UN in 1978 is permanently protected.

The reserve has grown with a temporary protection of an additional of 23 thousand square km in 2003 in a land deal with the First Nations and Harper announced last summer that an additional 5,000 square km would be barred from further development.

Although the park is permanently off-limits to development, it’s the resource rich reserves surrounding it that are temporarily covered and at risk.

And here's the worrisome part.

Our Environment Minister John Baird cites lengthy consultations and assessments as reasons for the delay.
"We've established all these processes to stop bad things from happening to the environment.

And when you want something good to happen, you still have to go through all these processes, which can be time-consuming and can be frustrating," he said.

"But we're committed to a massive expansion of the Nahanni National Park."
It seems like the Environment Ministry has put a lot of decisions off until the fall, right in the middle of an expected election.

This decision on the Nahanni National Park Reserve, the reclassification of the Polar Bear to an endangered species or even a threatened species.

Decisions that would either expand protections to our wildlife or expand the development of their natural resources.

Somehow I think they are waiting to see how the election turns out before choosing.

Reference: CNEWS here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Korny revives Republican rhetoric to defend Harper

C’mon Korny you can do better than this.

Kory Teneycke, Harper’s new director of communications accused Senator Romeo Dallaire of grandstanding and flip-flopping on the Khadr case.

Teneycke was responding to Dallaire’s comments placing the governments refusal to intervene on behalf of Omar Khadr squarely on Harper’s shoulders.
I believe it is purely the Prime Minister – his individual perspective, Dallaire said. He's the leader of the party and it is his imprint, not anybody else's.
According to Teneycke this week's videotape release does not change Harper's position. Nor will any future revelations made by Khadr's lawyers.
Trying people through the court of public opinion is no way for politicians to act. (Harper) feels, as any responsible leader feels, that politicians are not judges and that due process should be followed and there shouldn't be a separate process for high-profile cases.
Unfortunately Korny, there is no due process of law being followed in Gitmo, at least not by Canadian legal standards. Nor by the standards of the US Supreme Court or by the legal standards of other western nations.
The idea of bringing charges against him (Khadr) would be technically feasible, but practically not a good option," said Wesley Wark, a University of Toronto professor and expert on security issues.

Any evidence that might potentially come into a court case of this kind might be challenged and ultimately dismissed.

U.S. military commissions allow evidence to be produced that was secured under cruel or degrading or inhumane treatment, but Canadian law wouldn't allow that.
The responsible leaders of the other western nations who had citizens from Guantanamo, including the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Australia have all secured their release, with only Spain and France even attempting a trial.

In neither case did the defendants serve additional time.

As both Harper and Korny well know, Canada has other options besides a trial to ensure Mr. Khadr is not a threat to public safety.
There is nothing stopping Canada's security services to continue to monitor Omar Khadr through surveillance and the like, Prof. Forcese a University of Ottawa law professor said. They don't need some sort of extra special legal power to do so, so to suggest that his repatriation to Canada equals impunity is misstating the law.

Indefinitely monitoring Mr. Khadr would be expensive, according to Prof. Wark, who noted another option would be to ask a judge for a peace bond, or an order imposing restrictions on Mr. Khadr's activities and associates.

A peace bond can't be so draconian as to amount to house arrest, but they can be quite stringent in terms of who [suspects] can consort with and what kind of jobs they can have and what kind of technology they can use, Prof. Forcese said.

That's a possibility that doesn't even involve a prosecution.
Unfortunately Korny the cat's out of the bag. The whole world now realizes that there is no due process of law going on in Guantanamo. The responsible leaders of the other western countries have responded and the only person stopping Canada from doing the right thing is your boss Harper.

And using tired old Republican rhetoric to attack the messenger doesn't change that fact.

C'mon Korny start setting up Harper's policy change, you know it's coming.

References and quotes from the Star here and the National Post here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Here's an excuse to change your mind Mr. Harper: Take it

On Friday a US federal judge will decide whether the first war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay will proceed or be postponed again.
The lawyers for Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur and bodyguard are arguing for the suspension of the Gitmo trials based on the decision handed down from the US Supreme Court, last June.

The US Justice Department is arguing that the trials by military tribunal should go ahead as planned, ignoring the Supreme Court decision.

The Supreme Court decision restored Habeas Corpus rights to approximately 260 of the prisoners held in Guantanamo allowing them the right to contest their detention.
If the federal judge backs the Supreme Court many believe that Gitmo will be closed and that the US will put more pressure on the repatriation of the prisoners as opposed to moving them to US facilities and going through public trials.

It would appear that Bush is already starting to push that scenario.
The Supreme Court decision has "complicated the situation in Guantanamo," Bush told a press conference Tuesday.

"My view all along has been either send them back home, or give them a chance to have a day in court," the president said. "I still believe that makes sense."
If the Federal Judge allows the trials to proceed they have already been ruled illegal by US constitutional standards, not to mention Canadian rule of law.

If the Gitmo proceess can't proceed, Bush doesn't want to face open courts and public trials in the US.

So there you have it Mr. Harper, come Friday you will either have a reason to bring Khadar home or permission to bring him home.

Pick one.

Reference from AFP via Raw News here

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Counties of Leeds and Grenville decides to pick a fight over a flag

CBC reports here that the Counties of Leeds and Grenville is threatening to evict a resident from his apartment for flying a Canadian flag.
An ex-serviceman, refuses to take down the Canadian flag on his balcony in a subsidized housing unit in Cardinal, Ont., even though the local housing authority is threatening to evict him.

He was given the flag by his local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion last year, and he has flown it ever since.

"I got a phone call here from Sean Wilson. He's the brother of Mark Wilson who was killed in action in Kandahar on Oct. 7, 2006, and he sent me a message here asking me not to take down my flag — to leave it up.

"I don't have the heart to take it down … I can't do it now," he said.

He was told the flag violates a rule requiring all subsidized properties to have a uniform appearance.

The director of community and social services, Dorothy Theobald, told CBC News Monday that her department is trying to work with Murray, but, she said, the flag can't stay.
I guess common sense isn't running rampant through their Community and Social Services Department. Their next committee meeting is scheduled for September, you can make a submission here.

We can't have the apartments looking different, they are subsidized after all. Next thing you know they will be putting flower boxes on their balconies and the place will start looking like a community.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It’s all in the numbers: U.S. No Fly list tops 1 million, we got a 100 hits today and this is post 200

The US no fly list has hit 1 million records.

The American Civil Liberties Union is publicizing this ridiculous number via Reuters here.
"America's new million-record watch list is a perfect symbol for what's wrong with this administration's approach to security: it's unfair, out-of-control, a waste of resources (and) treats the rights of the innocent as an afterthought,"
Worked with a guy in the US who found himself on the No Fly list one day in Seattle trying to board a flight to Toronto. They basically called him aside told him he was on the list and handed him a form.
The form was simple, you are on the list, we can't tell you why you are on the list, it is against Federal law to tell anyone that you are on the list and here’s a number to call.

He spent an hour and half on the phone and finally got a human voice who told him he would have to apply for a different form over the web.

If his information checked out he would be sent another form that he should carry with him when traveling, which he did for the next nine months. His name was Larry Johnson.

Not the football player, the baseball player or the basketball player. Neither was he the Larry Johnson, ex-CIA operative, that was spouting off about the Plame scandal on CNN, 3 months before.
Meanwhile the US Government Accountability Office said. "The list is very effective. In fact it's one of the most effective counterterrorism tools that our country has"

And the scary thing about that statement is that it is, probably true.

Now for the really strange shit.

We've always focussed on quantity over quality around here at JAWL. No offense intended to the 20 or so regulars who show up each day. We really appreciate the visitors we receive and believe they are the finest quality found on the intertubes. 

We are just not as fussy about the quality of our posts. Consistency over content, quantity over quality. Our motto has always been, if you want quality go to the blogs listed on the sidebar.

Anyway today over a 100 people showed up, because someone linked one of our posts to something called Have no idea what that is, nor could I find where we were listed on the damn thing. It looks like some kind of aggregator for people that are too lazy to go find bloggers that they like reading.

Nobody stayed around for that long, although they certainly were polite (I think they were mostly foreigners) with no one tracking dirt on the rugs and all. But somehow it has left us with this hollow feeling.

The idea was to grow slowly on the premise that as the posts got better, more people would start dropping by regularly. You know first 20 then 50 and then finally 100 regulars every day.

This reddit thing has sort of taken the fun out of our first 1oo. The thought was that we would get there together. Now we feel somewhat cheapened by the whole experience.

Anyway tomorrow it's back to obscurity.

This was our 200th post together.

Taking the west out of the boy

Looks like Steve's new director of communications is having some effect. 

There was no "the West is finally in control" rhetoric this year at Steve's annual Calgary Stampede barbecue.

As reported by the Canadian Press here.
Freshly home from the G8 leaders meeting in Japan, Harper celebrated his third Calgary Stampede as prime minister Sunday among more than 800 party faithful and senior government members at his Calgary Southwest riding annual barbecue.
Harper told the crowd that he intends to deal with the "escalating problem of violent youth crime" when Parliament resumes in the fall.

Oh and Liberal leader Stephane Dion's new "Green Shift" environmental plan, will devastate the economy.

And here's where we have to translate:
Why? Because Dion's carbon tax is not an environmental policy. It is just a wealth redistribution program disguised as an environmental policy."
Meaning that he is going to take Alberta's oil wealth and give it to Ontario and Quebec.
Harper finished his speech by saying he has never felt more hopeful about his party, having broken the Liberal lock on power and demonstrated that there's a better way to govern Canada.
Meaning that the east isn't controlling Canada anymore.

This new guy is taking all the fun out of quoting Steve. Now we have to translate. With this pale pap, Harper could of had this barbecue down the street from my home in the GTA. 

Well, minus the cowboy hat and about 700 party faithful.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Our new reputation: Canada the land of dirty oil

The Guardian has just published a new report about the tar sands.

The article is written by John Vidal, their environment editor. The piece includes an article here and this video This is the dirtiest oil in the world

The video consists of Vidal's trip to the tar sands (I assume part of Alberta's "get to know the tar sands" tours) and interviews with the Canadian oil producers in Calgary.

Interesting to see how we are viewed internationally.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Christine McVie turns 65

This is Fleetwood Mac on their 1997 tour playing "Don't Stop" one of her best known songs.

"'Don't Stop' was just a feeling. It just seemed to be a pleasant revelation to have that 'yesterday's gone,'" Christine remembers in The Fleetwood Mac Story: Rumours and Lies, "It might have, I guess, been directed more toward John, but I'm just definitely not a pessimist."

Christine McVie lives in England, putting out her most recent Album in 2004.

Hope she had a great birthday.

Harper's new "Shoot Shut up and Shovel" meat inspection plan

Our Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, one of Harper's Reformers from Saskatchewan, has drafted a new food inspection plan.

Although approved by the Treasury Board last November the details of Ritz's changes have been kept under wraps until now. Apparently Steve deferred a public announcement of the proposed changes due to "significant communications risks."

And no wonder if the confidential copy obtained by Canwest and reported here is true.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is ending funding to producers to test cattle for BSE (mad cow disease) as part of a surveillance program.

The document, details how the inspection of meat and meat products will downgrade agency inspectors to an "oversight role. allowing industry to implement food safety control programs and to manage key risks."
Steve is moving us to the US styled plan for meat inspection.

Have you ever wondered why Canada seems to have more reported cases of "Mad Cow" than the US. It's because we actually have food inspectors that check and then report.

One US senior scientist and leading BSE authority, Michael Hansen thinks these changes are dangerous.
"They're moving towards the U.S. model, where the inspectors don't actually do the inspection, they just oversee and the companies actually do the inspection. That's a really dangerous thing,"

And a leading Canadian academic specializing in food-risk management called the cuts "unfathomable" because Canada continues to find BSE positive animals and is one of the few countries in the world where BSE is on the increase.
But this doesn't worry Gerry and Steve. They're just taking care of one of their regional support bases, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.

Hell if Stevie boy had been PM in 2003, we wouldn't of had a Mad Cow in Canada. Everyone knows that "Shoot Shut up and Shovel" works better than them damn revenuer's regulations.

Manly men and manlier, manly men ads

This is one of the problems with being old, you sometimes miss the obviously cool shit. I had no idea what a Viral Video was until today, or that a video could go viral. 

Or that You Tube is the DVD market for Ads. And just like some movies are released straight to DVD, some ads go straight to YouTube. However unlike the movie scenario, the ads that go YouTube are funnier, racier and better. Who knew?

Anyway here's the Pulled Heinz Mayo Ad about two men and a family "which went viral a couple of weeks ago and is now probably old hat" to  speak the speak. Heinz got 188,000 views on 113 blogs by pulling the ad.

And here's the new History Channel online ad for their Ax Men series. Hasn't gone viral, with just over 500 views but is now being promoted by Unruly Media, one of the leading seeding specialists. Funny ad.

The things you learn on a Saturday morning. About the posts title, that's was my attempt at a gotcha. Not really inaccurate once you view the videos.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dear World: Sorry about that. He's really just a minority leader.

Unfortunately, the world found out two things about our Prime Minister this week.

He doesn't give a shit about the environment and he is full of himself.

These two articles about Harper's performance at the G8 basically sum it up:

Rick Salutin from the Globe here.
He's the Gunga Din of post-9/11, carrying water (and oil) to his masters, along with the white man's burden.

He was at his most smug and patronizing as he lectured those "less developed" than us about climate change - a term he and others have managed to substitute for global warming.

Those nations must snicker faster than they can bristle as they watch our PM strut among the G8 as he condescends to them. He's George Bush's poodle now that Tony Blair's moved on, and there's nothing to be gained by it.
And Les Whittington from the Star here.
And Harper, like his U.S. counterpart, has sought to keep his country's negotiated climate change commitments to a minimum.

A senior Canadian official privy to this year's closed-door G8 talks in Japan told the media that Harper succeeded in helping to convince the other participants that a joint agreement to cut greenhouse gases should stick to realistic targets and steer clear of "aspirational" goals.

That's in part why the G8, which also includes Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Britain and Italy, concocted a climate change agreement – calling for a halving of global carbon emissions by 2050 – that developing countries derided as inadequate and environmentalists called a waste of time.
Well I guess I better figure out what the Green Shift is all about. I really don't want this idiot representing me at the next G8.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.

Fortunately for Ed a lack of money is no obstacle. Unfortunately, a lack of ideas is.
In April Premier Ed Stelmach set up a 15-member council to advise Alberta on the best methods for capturing and storing carbon emissions. Their report was due back in the fall.
However in May the US declared that the polar bear is a threatened species, restricting federal agencies from authorizing anything that jeopardizes the bears' survival or the sea ice where they live.

Thus shining the light on the tar sands as one of the largest producers of greenhouse gasses, a primary cause for the shrinking ice flows.
By June the awareness of the tar sands had grown and the the annual conference of US mayors resolved to ban the use of tar sands production from their municipal vehicles.
And this week, not waiting for his councils report, Ed announced that Alberta will invest $2 billion that will go straight towards energy companies that construct large-scale carbon capture storage products,
"The $2-billion we're spending is the largest amount dedicated to carbon capture and storage anywhere in the world," he said.
However the worlds leading experts in CCS (carbon capture and storage) techniques predict that CCS will not be a serious solution for greenhouse gases until 2015 or 2020. Not to mention that no projects have been attempted on such a large scale and the preferred storage solutions are deep within the oceans, not land based. (ref here and here)

There's an old saying Ed. When you realize that you have dug yourself into a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging.
No one expects Alberta to stop producing oil. I mean a day without Alberta producing oil would be a day without sunshine, we get it. 
Just stop the expansion of the tar sands until the technology is in place.
And that should start with the Kearls project. The planned open-pit mining operation with expected tailing ponds the size of 20,000 football fields.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Well at least they didn’t pledge to double emissions by 2050

And with this simple 72 word statement:

All the G8 leaders got what they came for.
  • The five European countries get to go home and claim that the G8 committed to cut emissions in half by 2050.
  • The Prime Minister of Japan got to stipulate that his industries would not have the same targets as other countries industries.
  • The US got to say that they are not locked in if China and India don't participate and that the target is a really worldwide goal, not necessarily for them.
  • And Canada got a "Yo Harper, good job. heh, heh and hey where's the Bear Man, I want him to pull my finger again,"

Reference BBC here.

Sometimes I wish there was a God so it could straighten it's believers out

Madonna House, an evangelical Catholic community in Ontario has announced that they are returning the Order of Canada that was presented to their founder.

Catherine Doherty, received her award in 1975, unfortunately she died in 1985.
"We're not out to bash anyone” said director Susanne Stubbs. “The unanimous opinion, [here] is that he did not do something good for our country. The medal has been dishonored."
Unfortunately the only one being dishonored here is Catherine Doherty. Not only is it an act of vanity to assume that you have the right to do such a thing, but you have now dragged your founders name down to the same level as the discredited priest in Vancouver.
"At this time we feel so bad about this happening to Canada that we want to return the medal as a symbolic gesture. We can't think of any gesture that would speak so loudly. What else can we do?"
Well one of the things you could of done was open your mind to the fact that a majority of Canadians [here] are proud of Dr. Morgentaler and believe that his life’s work strived to “end economic and social injustice” and “eliminate the lie of unequal dignity and rights of women”. One of your founders objectives listed on your web site.

But hey, like “St. Francis of Assisi” your apostolate “depends on donations to provide your needs” and I’m sure St. Francis returned to Rome every now and then to create a little publicity. And this should do that.

Meanwhile "a spokeswoman for Rideau Hall said no one has yet returned a medal since the announcement about Dr. Morgentaler's recognition. It had been reported that a Catholic priest in Vancouver would send his medal back but he has yet to do so, the spokeswoman said".

References: National Post here, Madonna House here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yo Harper

Bush calls his pal Steve over to meet the President of Nigeria. At least he didn't call him Turd Blossom, or Harpey like most us do around here.

Wednesday expected to be our most embarrassing day at the G8, this year.

On Wednesday, climate change will be on the agenda at the G8 summit in Japan.

The main climate issue for the hosting Japanese and the European members is the upgrading of the commitment made at last years meeting in Germany.

In Germany the G8 agreed to “consider seriously” the halving of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This year the 6 members from outside North America want a full commitment to that target.

As we are well aware in Canada, Harper and Baird, have been using Bush’s talking points declaring that no climate  agreement will be reached at the G8 without the larger polluters, China and India at the table. Bush reiterated those talking points at his welcome presser.
Bush, backed by Canada, has argued that the G8 is not the right forum because it does not include commitments by the developing countries.

Bush informed reporters that he would be a "constructive" participant on Wednesday, but added “I am also realistic enough to tell you that if China and India don't share the same aspiration that we're not going to solve the problem."
However, Japan has invited the leaders of eight other major economies including China and India for the climate change talks with the G8 on Wednesday. 
Unfortunately for Bush and Harper, both China and India agreed that they were “ready to move” on climate change last December in Bali, so the rhetoric that they are currently using “is a bit out of date”, commented one Oxfam spokesperson.
So it is quite possible that on Wednesday 14 of the 16 largest economies in the world will agree to halving their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

And Canada's reputation will further deteriorate under Harper's leadership, with its continuing acquiescence to failed neocon ideologies, and lack of progressive, independent policies.

References AFP here and here. Summit photos here.

PS: The photographs above are from the opening meeting held with each country. I thought it was interesting how large a contingent Bush had in comparison to Harper and the fact that the photographer didn't wait for Baird to get fully seated before he took the picture.

I guess Mound was right

Every major global climate record was broken last year and 2024 could be worse, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday,...