Sunday, March 30, 2008

Daily Digest March 29, 2008



Crime and punishment

Matching immigrants with demand is sensible

Speech police strike again

Why we should turn off the lights

The health-care 'elephant' grows

Idle funds go to waste

A tariff on carbon

No president will rip up NAFTA

Green crusade masks tariff drive
U.S. presidential candidates intent on carbon levies

Stay calm on Clinton's trade talk

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - A SIN for all purposes

Shocking resignation highlights the need for reduced secrecy by governments


Canadian gunners in Afghanistan grow frustrated as airstrikes take precedence

DND wants land near Shearwater
Federal agency: Request will be 'closely' considered

Avro Arrow's end overshadowed revival of Forces

Softwood lumber war far from over

Homeland Security and State Departments Announce WHTI Land and Sea Final Rule

POPULATION: Global Food Supply Near the Breaking Point

DEVELOPMENT: A Winding Journey From Seed to Plate

Muslim troops help win Afghan minds

Russia challenges US in the Islamic world

British Troops, Taliban In a Tug of War Over Afghan Province
In One Town, a Small Force Battles for Yards of Ground

U.S., Afghan and Pakistani officers opened the first of six joint military intelligence centers along the Afghan-Pakistan border Saturday, an effort to cut down on militants' movement in a region of rising terrorist activity.

Judicial power, size of juries could be system cures
Irresponsible legal tactics, lengthy trials have crippled courts, law professor tells conference

Human rights body oversteps by playing undercover game

It's tempting, but wrong, to throw stones at Mexico's justice system

Canada and immigrants: It's a love affair

Sometimes the victor in a political rivalry is too beaten up to enjoy the spoils

Ontario must create jobs to prosper

Winning at all costs is folly
Conservatives betrayed pledge to co-operate with provinces, critics say

Ex-Tory aide lands untendered contract to work for Lunn.
Value of job meets sole-source rule

Tories quash would-be runner
Marc Dalton ran under the Conservative banner in last election but didn't make the cut for the next federal race

Memo to Dion: Looking pathetic won't win you votes

Dion is a leader without a base in his own province

Dion needs to keep us informed

What is Jim Flaherty up to?

Dion's plight is not as bad as it seems

Harper snubs Earth Hour

Can Harper align Venus with Mars?

Tax, GST cuts eat away at federal surplus

Potential, perils and dogma of the P3 adventure

Leash police a fine bunch
NCC officers double up for dogged doggie duty

What governments hide from you

Official rejects immigration-law concerns

T.O. terror plotters talked of 'bombing' innocents

We're worried about climate without a clue what to do
Corporate leadership badly needed to combat public's ignorance, fear on climate change

Let's clear the air here
Climate denier? Oil industry shill? Moi? Nah. Cutting through the bunk? You bet

The high cost of food has many causes, and many bad consequences

POPULATION: Global Food Supply Near the Breaking Point


Moms who leave babies alone a sign of sad times

Aid and talks the best Afghanistan hope

City of Toronto owes its Tibetan citizens an apology

Futility in Africa

A troublemaker for peace
China must negotiate with the Dalai Lama or face consequences at Beijing Olympics

Out West, the signs all say: Help Wanted

Wall street demands massive bailout or else
Doug Henwood: Real solution includes shifting spending to green and public infrastructure &

Le Commissariat à la protection de la vie privée fait enquête

Camouflet pour l'opposition

Afghanistan: Harper minimise les attentes
Ottawa restreint l'accès des journalistes aux détenus

Les libéraux sont prêts pour des élections, assure Dion

Dion se lève, Ignatieff se range

Le Canada condamne la répression au Bélarus

Plus que quelques comtés à combler au Québec, dit Dion

Le Parti conservateur a presque rattrapé le Bloc au Québec


From: "Rene Moreau"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest March 28, 2008

Further to Becky's letter, she mentions Trojan Horse. We all should be giving serious consideration to studying the history and tactics of war since the corporate world are definitely doing  so. Business people, students, everyone should get books from the library on the subject.

   A quote; Those who would have peace, study war.Tactics such as 5th column, planting your own people into the personnel of your opposition,muddy waters, where the right wing media takes a story that shows that the public might understand what is being done to them  and so they stir the subject with a muddy spin to render it 'dificult' to understand.Then they censor any letters to the editor that object.

   Once again, I mention Pierre Elliot Trudeau's quote;  "In an impartial study of history, we began to lose everything the day our enemies became subtle enough to negate our objections."

   Corporate Magna Carta, anyone?

        Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)

From: Zeb Landon <>
Subject: Halt sale of our Canadarm, Dextre, & Radarsat to U.S. military contractor

- Sent this letter to Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, concerning prospective sale of Canadarm, Dextre, Radarsat to U.S. military company. 
   I encourage you to write also.
       / Zeb
March 29, 2008

The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry
Constituency Office
Suite 105
1318 Centre St NE
Calgary, Alberta T2E 2R7
403 216-7777
Fax 403 230-4368

Attention:  Hon. Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry
Re. Selling our Canadarm, Radarsat to U.S. military contractor.

Dear Mr. Prentice:

The Vancouver Sun newspaper has zapped Canada with comment that it's somehow not wrong to sell to a US military contractor our Canadarm, Dextre and Radarsat space technology. 
I think most Canadians will be shocked if you agree, or are bullied into approving such a deal.

It must become impossible to develop Made-in-Canada centres for new technology if, whenever we have success, we allow the good results to be sold south of the border. 
Guess where the high tech jobs and fulfilling careers WILL NOT be located in the future, if you allow this pattern?

That Canadian business CEOs and directors so very often welcome takeover of their success stories by U.S. corporations sadly has become a regular pattern of short-sightedness and greed.

This latest example fits into the pattern as well, and it is something the government ought to devise laws to change.  Much more is at stake than their private benefits.

Concerning Canadian arctic sovereignty, a US owner of Radarsat imaging would owe its first allegiance and duty to the US government. 
Any deal to share with us could be broken or bent, -- and you know it.  Possession and full ultimate control of Radarsat is required to exercise sovereignty.

>From the Sun article (my underlining),

"Sure, Radarsat can see ships entering Arctic waters, but to suggest
 Canada could assert its dubious claim to sovereignty over the region
 through such surveillance is ridiculous.

 Canada has neither the resources nor the political will to confront territorial claims by Denmark,
 never mind challenging the manifest destiny of the U.S."
[ ... ]

"One might quibble whether one got value for money"  [-One billion C$ generously invested by our government to get this up and running.]

For the sake of preserving our Canadian sovereignty (while we still have some country left)
and for the sake of quality jobs in Canada, can I hope that your Ministry's review of the proposal will halt it?
Many Canadians are watching to see how you will act.


Zeb Landon
Simcoe Ontario  N3Y 3L5

From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject: The Ugly Truth about 'Democracy'

From: "Efstratios Psarianos"
Subject: RE: Daily Digest March 28, 2008

Clinton ready to walk away from NAFTA, adviser warns
Tough talk on trade comes as Democrats turn their focus to Pennsylvania primary

On the one hand, at the federal level, one should rarely trust a US politician on the presidential campaign trail: they'll almost always pander to key constiuencies to get elected and then muddle through. (Note: I'm very specifically talking about US PRESIDENTIAL politics only.) Senators are worse and individual Representatives the worst.
The thing about US politics is that it's by DESIGN cumbersome, unwieldy, and decentralized. Take this, and add in the fact that US federal pols have to selected by registered, sympathetic voters (where primaries are held) and/or whoever shows up at a given place at a given time (where caucuses are held), and that the system is designed to force pols to appeal to constituents for support, and you get a free-for-all here individuals seek to outbid each other.
At the presidential level, both Republicans and Democrats have some constituencies with whom they have to play kissy-face. But in general, Republicans' support comes with fewer strings attached, whereas Democrats are much more organized groups such as unions. (Note: both are under the influence, but Democrats more so). Given that US presidential pols have to mobilize support (especially support inside their parties) just to get designated as their parties' candidates, and since the Democrats are under heavier influence of groups that are our to get the most for themselves, as a general rule Republican Presidents are easier to deal with than Democratic ones are. Case in point: whereas Democratic Presidents and presidential hopefuls (with the noted exception of Bill Clinton, who inherited a ratified NAFTA that just needed his signature to go into effect) almost always yammer on about "fair trade, not free trade" (i.e., raise the price of foreign production else we'll raise tariffs ... case in point: Canadian lumber), "raising labour standards" (i.e., regulate foreign labour practices so as to raise foreign-labour costs else we'll impose tariffs), and "raising environmental standards" (i.e, same as foreign labour, but environmental). What it all adds to is protection and restraint of trade with the US' even most favoured partners. Republicans are less ornery that way: at the presidential level, they're less given to sticking it to their neighbours when it comes to business, security, etc., which is what 's key in Canada's relationship with the US.
All told, Canada is best off with a Republican President in the White House, and this time even more so. Other issues such US foreign-security policy, etc., matter too but one gets the sense that Republicans have more spine when it comes to facing unpleasant realities and that they're more resolute in doing what needs to be done.
Some stupidities strand out in the Clinton campaign's staements:
1. "Ms. Clinton wants to incorporate labour and environmental standards into the core of the agreement. She also wants to renegotiate the power of the agreement to set up tribunals that force governments to change their policies if they harm the interests of investors.". All fine and dandy, but this amounts to governments being able to change laws as they want, undisputed, despite their commitments to NAFTA. For example, if the US government passes a law to limit imports of Canadian lumber, Canadian exports would have no recourse to binding arbitration. This means that the NAFTA governments (which means to a large degree the US federal one) would be bound to respect the clauses of the NAFTA agreement ... until they no longer feel like it. NAFTA would then become a statement of intent to behave well, nothing more. (And when it comes to US politicians "behaving well" when it comes to their constituents' organized interests ...).
2. "In an interview, Mr. Sperling said Ms. Clinton's messages on changing NAFTA were not meant for Canada or Mexico in particular, but for showing American workers that globalization can work for them." Since said "messages" aren't aimed at Canada and Mexico "in particular", are we to understand that they're aimed at foreign countries in general? If so, NAFTA what's the link between those countries and NAFTA partners? I mean would a Clinton Presidency repudiate NAFTA if another agreement with other countries can't be reached? The short answer is that her campaign's spouting nonsense. Expect to hear more about this ...
Note the "but for showing American workers that globalization can work for them". Implied message: it doesn't work for them (or not well enough) despite the US unemploment rate having been lower than 5% for the last decade or so. What's to be understood: by raising the price of imports by raising labour-based tariffs, US manufacturers would have more room to raise their prices and US Labour would have more of a claim for salary raises (after all, jobs there are aplenty).
Given all this, Canadians should draw the appropriate conclusion: despite all the Liberals Party of Canada's past (and likely) talk of Republicans being Enemies of Mankind and Canada, Republican Presidents are in reality more in tune with Canada's key issues. Abortion debates, comprehensive health-care, and other "Republican" issues (even though they're not) that raise Canadians' dander are US DOMESTIC ones that Canada is best off leaving without comment. And that's been the basis of the CPC's approach to the US: businesslike, but no "Republicans are CPC soulmates" statements. Contrast this to the Liberal Party's frequent allusions to its preferring US Democrats over Republicans.
And as for Democratic prsidential candidates of the past: Mondale made a big fuss about being pro-US-Labour (remember the boxing gloves that big unions gave him during his campaign?) and he was steamrolled; Dukakis did the same thing and he was steamrolled (for various other reasons too); Clinton held back and promoted a "new left" pro-trade stance and won big time, twice. Note the correlation. And note that had Mondale beat Reagan in 1984, we'd have no FTA and thus no US commitment to abide by certain trade rules in relations to us. And had Dukakis beat Bush I in 1988, we'd have no NAFTA. Personally, I could live without the latter since it's objective was to bring Mexico on board and was thus relatively unimportant to Canada. But the overall message is that US Democratic Presidents for the past 40 years (so Carter and Clinton) haven't given Canada much reason to cheer.
Canada helps resolve fib that could have thwarted cattle shipments to Mexico

Three weeks ago Mexico announced it would lift a five-year ban on such shipments from Canada that was imposed during the mad cow disease scare.

But Mexico had tougher rules for U.S. cattle - which prompted border states such as Texas to declare they would not allow Canadian animals to be shipped through them.

On Thursday Agriculture Canada announced that the three national governments have agreed to use the same rules based on World Organization for Animal Health standards.
What fib?!? Fib means "(telling a) lie".

MacKay wants German troops in combat role
Tells magazine that `Germany capable of more' in fulfilling NATO role in Afghanistan

At this rate, we'll be wishing that until the Holsteins come home.