Friday, November 27, 2009

Let's Go!

That's right, the annoying Grey Power commercials are ending according to company president, Catherine Smola.

Grey Power invites us to contemplate the injustice of having to pay the same insurance premiums as the heroine when you've clearly earned the right to pay less. I'll tell you what I've earned, the right to yell at the driver in front of me who is treating a busy intersection like a drive-in movie. "C'mon already lets go!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The biggest news in the battle over hearts and minds that is climate debate, is the so-called Climategate story. The Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University was hacked and thousands of emails from prominent man-made global warming scientists (IPCC contributors) was released to the internet. After frustrated efforts of those requesting information and data under the Freedom of Information Act were stymied, a hacker inside or outside the government-funded institution used their own freedom to access the information themselves. While the CRU admitted that the data, documents and emails had been stolen, it is difficult to be sure of the accuracy of said files. Certainly the emails regarding resistance to FOI requests are consistent with their actions.
I obtained a copy of the thousand or so files and confirmed for myself what has been printed elsewhere. A good overview of a selection of documents can be found here.

Today, the CBC didn't question the validity of either the hacked information, or the IPCC, or the CRU or the scientists involved or whether man made global warming was proven with misleading data. Instead, the CBC 's only climate related news was that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere had increased from a per year rate of change of 19 molecules per 10 million molecules of atmosphere to 20! See story here. The story also incorrectly states that "CO2 is the main greenhouse gas," (it trails water vapour by an order of magnitude!) Congratulations CBC, don't report the biggest science scandal in years but instead propagate misinformation. The worst part is that I pay for this news service. I suspect British taxpayers have similar complaints.

If ignorance, misinformation, and news censorship is the best other mainstream media outlets can offer, then I guess everyone pays for it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Best kind of Revolutionary

Much praise this week for Harley Hotchkiss, local businessman, who donated 40 million dollars of his money to the University of Calgary brain research institute that he started in 2004 with a 10 million dollar gift. From a conversation with Mr Hotchkiss last year, Gena Rotstein summarized his philanthropic philosophy:

"Your priorities are family THEN job. Your job will provide you with he means to support your community financially, but your family is what connects you to that community.

You don't have to be wealthy to be philanthropic. (Mr. Hotchkiss's first philanthropic activity was flooding the community hockey rink and coaching the kids)

When you are ready to give, it should "hurt" a little. If your donation doesn't make you consider giving something up (even if it is a latte a week) then you are not giving enough.

Philanthropy should be about building community, not just giving money."

As another 5th of November passes by, it's worthy to recognize those revolutionaries who are living and leading by example. I'm not sure he or anyone else would consider Hotchkiss a revolutionary but actually, he's the best kind. He doesn't proselytize or intimidate or guilt people into action, he doesn't exaggerate omit or fib in making his case. He merely evaluates what he can do and does it. It is the nature of his own contribution that compels imitation. It is the results of his actions that inspire others to do likewise.

These days, that is revolutionary.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Shoving Obama's pretty words in his guilty nose.

I found it completely unsurprising that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended Karzai's de facto rule in Afghanistan. Without wincing, Gibbs claimed that Karzai had a majority "even if you took out all the fraudulent votes." That's the impossibly low standard we've come to expect from the Bush/Obama government!

For background, Karzai installed several warlords in his government, avoiding the letter of the law by having these warlords register their local armies as "private security officers." In addition to these henchmen, Karzai paid for 10,000 tribesmen to 'oversee' local elections. These men had no uniform and used their private weapons. Not the greatest foundation for a free and fair election but it gets worse. The Orwellian named "Independent Election Commission" was run entirely by political appointees and allies. Nearly 1500 of the 7000 polling stations were designated in no-man's lands that were too dangerous to travel to and were unsecured. Intimidation, violence, government censorship and bribery undid this election even before the ballot boxes were fraudulently stuffed or lost.

Abetting the massive fraud was the United Nations. American Special Representative to Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith, whose resume includes uncovering Iraqi genocide of Kurds and successfully negotiating the Serb-Croat treaty, witnessed vote fraud on a massive scale but was fired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for demanding action regarding the fraud . An interview with Galbraith is here.
from the London Telegraph Oct 4 2009:

Mr Galbraith said: "As many as 30 per cent of Karzai's votes were fraudulent, and lesser fraud was committed on behalf of other candidates.

"The fraud has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners."

Calling the poll a "foreseeable train wreck", he said he had tried to prevent fraud by demanding polling stations not open in insecure areas where they could not be monitored or observed.

A spokesman for the UN in Kabul said the mission "has not, does not and will not turn a blind eye to fraud". That may be the intentions of those working on the ground but for those higher up the chain within the UN this seems woefully untrue. As has been seen with the UN's panel on climate control, political expediency always trumps truth for the UN. Senior UN officials cherry picking facts generated by staff seems to be business as usual at the UN.

In light of the scale of voter fraud and after much international pressure, a "run-off" poll was slated for November. Notice it was charitably called a run-off, ostensibly so that one candidate would have at least 50 percent of the vote. The very terminology starts to legitimize those involved. Abdullah Abdullah, the remaining candidate running against Karzai complained that as long as the election was being run by the same people that perpetrated the original fraud, there was no point in people risking their life to take part in a sham vote. Today he announced his refusal to take part in the November run off since Karzai refuses to purge the election commission of his allies.

And so today, British and American officials lined up to congratulate Karzai. Obama once again acts in complete opposition to his "freedom and democracy" rhetoric just as Bush did before him. America's mission creep in Afghanistan takes another ironic turn as it now finds itself no longer fighting for a free Afghanistan but rather on behalf of a fraudulent Afghanistan regime. The first premise was debatable but the second is now irrevocably true.

-from Obama's Nobel Peace Prize winning speech at Cairo University, June 4 2009:

"That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere."