Sunday, February 18, 2007

Daily Digest February 18, 2007.

Joe Hueglin wrote:


ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - More guts than glamour

HALIFAX HERALD - Park fuel hogs

TORONTO STAR - Canada must treat terror detainees fairly

TORONTO SUN - McGuinty's green smokescreen

SIMCOE REFORMER - Rigging elections

WINNIPEG SUN - Drug profits and the big picture

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Bombs abound in Iraq

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - A child may be looking up to you, right now

Prince George Citizen -


VANCOUVER PROVINCE - B.C. hospitals can't wash their hands of hygiene problems
Every year as many as 250,000 Canadians catch an infection in hospitals and 8,000 die of it


Stop blaming victim

Development News from Afghanistan

Thirteen Canadian soldiers received minor injuries in vehicle accident

Afghan civilians killed by NATO troops

Haroon Siddiqui sees first-hand the tough time guards have in weeding out Taliban

Building peace and prosperity
Afghan students take up the saw, not the sword

U.S. Afghanistan support is 'reassuring': Wilson

Canada-U.S. softwood deal has teething problems

CN strike sends ripples across the economy

Huge, untapped job market

We could learn tricks of trade from Japanese

Bush Afghan Broadside Targets NATO

The Capital Interview: U.S. Will Press Broad NATO ‘Offensive’ in Afghanistan

Congressional Research Service: Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

It's not me, it's you
Many couples split up because men and women reach relationship maturity at different times

Foreign workers flock to Alberta
Experts fear many don't know rights

A PQ government would divide Quebec with another referendum: Charest

Environment groups say Great Lakes legislation will benefit developers over public

Grits say they'll be ready for an early election

Dion tempting target for PM

Kyoto cost Tories dearly: By trying to kill the private member's bill, the government emphasized its weakness in Parliament

Politicians getting intoxicated on ethanol Mixing ethanol with gasoline does nothing to cut prices at the pumps

Dion paints himself into green corner
Liberals' push to make Tories toe the Kyoto line will backfire on them

Which party is the greenest in the land?
Passage of climate-change bill sparks rumours of spring election

Kyoto a killer, MP says
Watson defends comments linking 'clean air' legislation to possible suicides
Opposition MPs and environmentalists are baffled and outraged by warnings from Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson
that aggressive action to fight climate change and air pollution could lead to an increase in domestic violence and suicides.

Renewed focus on carbon trading

My own Inconvenient Truth

Is Alberta oil, gas at risk?
Al-Qaida in Arabia has warned it will target energy producers who supply the U.S.

Straight talk from the oilpatch on fighting carbon dioxide
Bill Andrew of Penn West is way ahead of Alberta politicians, thank heavens

The Kyoto horror show: While the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters take a pass, Canada gets clobbered
Cheating has become a way of life

Canada can become role model for world


  Dion veut que Harper retire ses publicités pendant les élections au Québec

 Des manifestants demandent la libération des deux derniers suspects

 Deux civils afghans non armés ont été tués par des troupes de l'OTAN

 L'année du cochon, synonyme de catastrophes, selon les voyants chinois

Une grève légale?

Collision entre blindés

Le chef des Forces armées s'en prend au PLC

L'intervention en Afghanistan perçue comme «trop américaine»


Canada's ambassador in Washington says U-S President Bush's increase in support for Afghanistan is "reassuring.''

         Respectfully, I do not find President Bush's renewed interest in Afghanistan "reassuring" with an American Four Star General presently leading ISAF
        As always, however, time will tell.


Peggy Merritt

Hi Joe: I keep wondering why someone working on the environmental
issue hasn't thought of promoting the idea of a national power grid
utilizing the excess hydo power produced in Manitoba and Quebec.
What a legacy for the leader of this idea. Shades of John A.!

Peggy Merritt

Jacob Rempel

To: "Editor DAILY DIGEST" <>
Subject: Hoodwinked: The Myth of Free Trade

I just returned from seeing this film at the SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM FESTIVAL  in White Rock, BC. For those who saw it a few months ago, I'll say that the film in now beautifully re-edited to a 90 minute full-length film with more solid historical and current information presented by historian Senator Laurier LaPierre; former prime minister the Rt. Hon. John Turner; Research Chair Social Justice at the U of Regina, Shadia Drury; the late Dalton Camp, former advisor for the Progressive Conservative Party; Sociologist Peter Urmetzer of UBC, political economist Stephen Clarkson at the UofT; Economist Jim Stanford; and former  PC Party leadership candidate David Orchard.
Personally, I believe that to enable Canada to change policy directions sufficiently to avoid deeper integration with the USA, to avoid going to war repeatedly on behalf USA corporation interests, to what is necessary to fight global warming, and return to environmentally sustainable industry, Canada will need to assert its sovereignty and cancel FTA/NAFTA with a six month notice as soon as possible.
Make certain to see the film and to pass on the information.


Subject: 1. The Corporation :::   2. Restore Democracy : First Abolish Corporate Personhood ::::: 3. Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty in the World

In case you missed these :
In case you missed it: The Corporation
This is an extraordinary film about the creation of the American
corporation, its legal organizational model, its global economic
dominance and its psychopathic tendencies, and its incredible
ambition to influence every aspect of culture in its
unrelenting pursuit of profit. Video.
In case you missed it:
To Restore Democracy : First Abolish Corporate Personhood
By Thom Hartmann
For twenty years corporate personhood was debated. Across
America, politicians were elected repeatedly on platforms that
included the regulation of corporations, particularly the railroads.
But the legal fight continued - and in 1886 the railroad hit paydirt.
How Wealth Creates Poverty in the World, By Michael Parenti
There is a "mystery" we must explain: How is it that as corporate
investments and foreign aid and international loans to poor countries
have increased dramatically throughout the world over the last half
century, so has poverty? The number of people living in poverty is
growing at a faster rate than the world's population.
What do we make of this?

Rosalie Piccioni

Where's logic these days....     i.e.  wonder where these savants think all things created came from?  They see with their eyes objects not created with human hands (which, when they are, have come from parts of the already created), hear with their ears, touch with their hands (etc.), smell with mysterious olfactory nerves in their noses, taste with another incredible network - that of taste buds. And we haven't mentioned the exquisite network of systems keeping our physical, mental, and motor selves functioning. All these things, and yet they claim knowledge.
    Alas, how low have mighty Man fallen in their desire for aggrandizement.  We run down what is good, elevate what is questionable, and think ourselves intelligent.

("Homo sapiens" is at times a misnomer)
John Halonen

Subject: Daily Digest February 17, 2007

Thanks Joe;

North American Union / North American Integration / SPP

It is great to see that the Canadian Federal Government is releasing more information even
  if most was published on the US web site months ago.

Important for all to review and digest.

Now, if only we
can have our Free Press in Canada,  contribute to investigating this release
 of information and provide the Public with a non-biased interpretation of both positives and

Then and only then can be knowledgeable in the direction our government is taking us, otherwise
 it will be as before, with the Government and elite setting the direction, with no public inquiry.

John Halonen

Rose Dyson

 Hi Joe.

On January 30, BillC-327 re: changes to the Broadcast Act on TV Violence that would have strengthened it, giving it more powers like the FCC, were voted against by both Conservatives and Liberals. This Gov't is so much less interested in the protection of children than the Mulroney Administration was on this issue. Too bad.

Attached is an article I've written on the issue which has been submitted for publication.


Rose Anne Dyson Ed.D.
Consultant in Media Education
Chair: Science for Peace (Media Working Group), University of Toronto
President: Canadians Concerned about Violence in Entertainment
Earlier this month, the Aspen Colorado Institute on COMMON SENSE MEDIA hosted a conference entitled: WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MEDIA LEADERS? BEYOND PRIME TIME. Aired on C-SPAN 2 on February 12, 2007, I caught discussion on two panels. The first focused on Media Content Standards and was moderated by New Yorker Magazine columnist, Ken Autella. Participating were Richard Parsons, Time Warner CEO; Les Moonves, Chairman of CBS; and Harvey Weinstein, Former Co-Chair of Mirmax (1998-2005).
Despite serious and probing questions from Autella, panel answers had a familiar, worn ring with the usual evasions we’ve come to expect from media industries on the subject of television violence on both sides of the U.S. border. These included points such as: “We’re very proud of the programming we air”, “It’s impossible to control anything in the media today”, “Censorship is too dangerous to creative freedom”, “It is up to the parents to supervise their children”, “Parents are too lazy and expect TV to babysit their children”.  None of these industry spokesmen, it seems, would consider airing anything other than “authentic” violence. Whatever that means was never defined. All three panelists repeatedly lauded the benefits of “growing diversity” in programming choices. Discussion included absolutely no reference to research findings on harmful effects. All  public objections were  perceived to be “morally” based.
Parsons, while frequently emphasizing how undesirable it is for “anyone to decide what is good or bad media”, because there are audiences out there for it all” and “ we give the people what they want” also, basked in fawning praise offered up by one naive questioner from the audience who congratulated him for the resource material provided by the industry to parents and teachers. He went on to emphasize that Time Warner takes pride in “educating for media literacy”, giving parents and teachers”what they need”. One key objective, he said, is to provide parents with information about new products on the market and the expanding range of choices. He also spoke enthusiastically about the “new, emerging pre-school market” and that “parents will shape the demand for it”.
Most educators and media scholars are aware that resource material provided by media industries usually adds up to promotion for their products and how to develop skills to use communications technology. It has virtually nothing to do with developing critical thinking skills. In fairness, the panel praised media advocates, encouraging them to “keep up their good work”, carefully acknowledging that they are unlikely to “change” without public pressure to do so. And while Leo Moonves bemoaned the “chilling effect” of recent FCC fines due to excesses aired on public airwaves, not he nor anyone else disagreed with the suggestion from the audience that some restrictions on advertising to kids on TV, such as that recently adopted in the UK, should be considered.
Remarks from speakers on the second panel, entitled, The Role Of Government, were somewhat more refreshing. Moderated by Geoffery Cown, Dean of the Communications School at the University of Southern California, it included, Michael Copps and Deborah Taylor, both Federal Communications Commissioners, Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Street Workshops and Doug Lowenstein, Entertainment Software Association President. But before anyone spoke, a video was shown which gave a  brief history of television over the past 45 years. Increasingly graphic images of sex and violence and examples of how these have become progressively more frequent and provocative on PRIME TIME were interspersed with statistics such as the fact that kids see 40,000 advertisements per year - 11 per hour on Saturday a.m. programming, alone.
Michael Copps began his own remarks saying there is absolutely no doubt that PRIME TIME TELEVISION is the number one social and health issue involving children today. In his view, what the FCC is already doing does not scratch the surface of what it needs to do. He criticized industry spokesmen for their view that the role of government was to “dialogue” with the public and the industry regarding the problem but never to “act”. Now, he said 2 out of 3 television shows have violence in them, 64 percent of all television shows have sexual content. Music videos show an average of 93 sex scenes per hour. Evidently two thirds of all children under the age of two are watching television. The past 25 years have resulted in a “systemic dismantling of boundaries ...of the public commons”. Media ownership consolidation has left people “without the ability of think critically”. Copps  wondered aloud what happened to industry codes initially developed.  
Parents, said Copps, are “clamoring for change”. Now, he said, the media gets to use us, in what ever way they wish. We need a better balance and must start using the media ourselves in a way that is of benefit to the public at large, not solely industry bottom lines.  Commissioner Deborah Taylor made reference to a child obesity crisis task force recently set up in Washington, with both Copps and her serving on it. Other suggestions which arose included the possibility of bringing back the fairness doctrine, phased out in the 1980s as a casualty of  media ownership concentration and the need for better blocking devices for parents such as the v-chip. One audience criticism heard was that no one from the Federal Trade Commission was present as a panelist.
 Doug Lowenstein’s remarks were less encouraging. Giving the video game industry his usual glowing report card for its rating system as the complete solution to any perceived problems with electronic entertainment, he pointed out that in recent years, in the U.S., 9 circuit courts have struck down state attempts to regulate video games on the basis of First Amendment considerations. He told us that the average video game player is now 31 years of age. This is hardly a surprise, on the basis of marketing objectives announced from time to time over the past 15 years with the older player in mind.  For video games, the biggest market, he said, involves youth between the ages of 18 and 31. The effectiveness of marketing techniques over the past couple of decades was underscored by the fact that 83 percent of parents, according to Lowenstein, are now involved in buying software and games such as Play stations and Xboxes. These are not cheap. They cost at least $3-400 each . Clearly, one generation of parents has already been socialized to play these games with their children. More recently, the industry has focused its attention on marketing with the entire family in mind.

While enthusing about what a fine rating system the video game industry has developed, Lowenstein pointed out that only 15 percent are actually rated “mature”. A quick glance through a copy of the current catalogue I picked up at the local Cross Gate Mall, here in Upstate New York where I happen to be this month, provided some clues as to why this is so. Developed for family guidance purposes, its front page features a couple of individuals in heavily clad armour pointing huge machine guns, half their body size, in front of them at you, the potential viewer. An accompanying  pamphlet entitled OK To Play? describes categories of rating symbols ranging from EC (Early Childhood) to RP (Rating Pending). In between, we have E (Everyone), E10+ (Everyone 10 and older), T (Teen), M (Mature) and AO (Adults Only). Warnings are pretty casual. For example, from EC to M, the first three words in each case are “may be suitable”. Teen ratings include titles such as “Killzone liberation, SOCOM U.S. Navysea Fireteam Bravo2, SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals COMBINED ASSAULT, Motorstorm, Star Wars Battlefront, Star Wars Empire at War,  BATTLE STATIONS MIDWAY, WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007, LOST PLANET, World WARCRAFT, and so on. Not much is left over for the “mature” 15 percent category.
Gary Knell rescued the audience, on air and in the conference hall, from Lowenstein’s self serving conclusions by emphasizing that buying into the mythology that either nothing can be done about the problem, or that industry is already serving us all very well, is not an option. He cited looming intellectual property issues in the midst on-going technology and content convergence, drawing attention to Internet chat rooms for teens and pre-teens like MYSPACE and YOUTUBE where distortions of his own pro-social programming are aired on a regular basis. In his opening remarks, he gave examples of how Seasame Street script writers are responding to obesity issues, giving rise to speculation on talk shows that Oscar may morph from a cookie into a broccoli monster. Concerns about the sedentary nature of electronic entertainment, itself, are being met on the show with invitations to exercise along with program characters. He thanked the two FCC commissioners for being present, demonstrating “their interest and concern for the children of America”.
As a Canadian listening to this discussion on C-SPAN 2, I was struck by how much more responsive the FCC appears to be to public concerns about television than our counterpart CRTC. Less than two weeks ago, Bill C -327 was introduced into the House of Commons in Ottawa in an attempt to invigorate the clout of our federal communications regulator. Both Conservative and Liberal spokesmen argued in favour of the status quo, confident that the television broadcast industry was adequately meeting the needs of  our children. As a result, the bill seems to have been removed entirely from the Canadian political radar screen.
It is time for Canadian media policy makers in Ottawa to wake up and take lessons from our American cousins.