Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tory ads backfire

It looks like the Tory attack ads have backfired sooner than expected. For my thoughts on this, see my Stop Stephen Harper Blog site

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The complicity of the Canadian media.

There was an excellent article in the Georgia Straight this week on media complicity in the misleading of Canadians on the extent of the threat from human-activated climate change with which we are faced. This is no surprise to me, as I have long intuitively felt the existence of this bias.

On principle, I am all for the questioning of received wisdom in our society. However when that questioning has no rational basis, when that questioning flies in the face of virtually all peer-reviewed scientific evidence, when that questioning is an apparent stall tactic instigated by the US fossil fuel industry, and when we find that these rent-a-scientists are the same folks who disputed the link between smoking and cancer, then it is time to seriously question the questioners. It is time to hold the questioners to account for their irresponsibility.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

US missile defence bases in Europe may be a go

Very disturbing news.

According to BBC, The US is seeking to build missile defence bases in Eastern Europe. Apparently, the Czech republic has agreed to offer some its land for this purpose, and Poland has confirmed that the US wnats to negotiate with them.

A Russian General, has indicated that this move could be interpreted as a military threat:

Our analysis shows that the deployment of a radar station in the Czech Republic and a counter-missile position in Poland are an obvious threat to us.

It is very doubtful that elements of the national US missile defence system in eastern Europe were aimed at Iranian missiles, as has been stated.

Fortunately, it seems that Czech compliance still has to pass both levels of Parliament.

Let's hope it won't. Otherwise, looks like we may have to move up the doomsday clock another notch.

Monday, January 15, 2007

MLK - Radical revolution of values

I also though I would reprint a passage from a Martin Luther King speech I published two years ago on my old blog.

From Martin Luther King's "Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam" speech, 1967. Put it in the modern context.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triple ts of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs re-structuring. A true revolution of values will soon look easily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: " This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling difference s is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlef ields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from re-ordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are the days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense aga inst communism is to take: offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

What MLK meant to me, in poetic form

Today is Martin Luther King's birthday. As I explained last year, Dr. King is one of my heroes, one of the greatest intellectual/philosophical influences on my thinking. I was going to be at a poetry reading tonight, so I decided this year to write a poem, in his memory. Here it is:

I found you
Back in the day when
I was discovering myself
I discovered you
Because when you lived
You were discovering righteousness.

You were the first one
To make me believe
That a better world was possible
You rocked my world
You shifted my consciousness

You had a dream
I share it
Many of us share it
Even in the new millennium
Even in a world
So far
From the one you envision
Your dream gives hope
In a world that needs it

I share your dream
I cling to it
Because sometimes
It seems like all we have

Monday, January 08, 2007

Blood for oil in Iraq.

And they kept denying it was about the oil. That's a good one. From the Independent.

Now, unnoticed by most amid the furore over civil war in Iraq and the hanging of Saddam Hussein, the new oil law has quietly been going through several drafts, and is now on the point of being presented to the cabinet and then the parliament in Baghdad. Its provisions are a radical departure from the norm for developing countries: under a system known as "production-sharing agreements", or PSAs, oil majors such as BP and Shell in Britain, and Exxon and Chevron in the US, would be able to sign deals of up to 30 years to extract Iraq's oil.

PSAs allow a country to retain legal ownership of its oil, but gives a share of profits to the international companies that invest in infrastructure and operation of the wells, pipelines and refineries. Their introduction would be a first for a major Middle Eastern oil producer. Saudi Arabia and Iran, the world's number one and two oil exporters, both tightly control their industries through state-owned companies with no appreciable foreign collaboration, as do most members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Opec.

Critics fear that given Iraq's weak bargaining position, it could get locked in now to deals on bad terms for decades to come. "Iraq would end up with the worst possible outcome," said Greg Muttitt of Platform, a human rights and environmental group that monitors the oil industry. He said the new legislation was drafted with the assistance of BearingPoint, an American consultancy firm hired by the US government, which had a representative working in the American embassy in Baghdad for several months.

"Three outside groups have had far more opportunity to scrutinise this legislation than most Iraqis," said Mr Muttitt. "The draft went to the US government and major oil companies in July, and to the International Monetary Fund in September. Last month I met a group of 20 Iraqi MPs in Jordan, and I asked them how many had seen the legislation. Only one had."

Britain and the US have always hotly denied that the war was fought for oil. On 18 March 2003, with the invasion imminent, Tony Blair proposed the House of Commons motion to back the war. "The oil revenues, which people falsely claim that we want to seize, should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people administered through the UN," he said.

"The United Kingdom should seek a new Security Council Resolution that would affirm... the use of all oil revenues for the benefit of the Iraqi people."

That suggestion came to nothing. In May 2003, just after President Bush declared major combat operations at an end, under a banner boasting "Mission Accomplished", Britain co-sponsored a resolution in the Security Council which gave the US and UK control over Iraq's oil revenues. Far from "all oil revenues" being used for the Iraqi people, Resolution 1483 continued to make deductions from Iraq's oil earnings to pay compensation for the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

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Israel has plans to bomb Iran

The Times of London reports that Israel is planning to drop targeted nuclear bombs on nuclear installations in Iran.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Attention to my new blog, "The Stop Stephen Harper Blog"

I have just created The Stop Stephen Harper Blog, which is dedicated to defeating Stephen Harper in the next federal election. Yes, I think it is important enough to create a whole blog devoted to that purpose. I have already referred to my dislike for the Harper government several times in this blog.

I've been musing about doing this, but with his appointment of blowhard John Baird to the Environment Ministry, I have decided to speed things up a bit.