Tuesday, February 28, 2006

G.E. Moore on Alberta's Third way

Alberta health plan allows for some private care

On the Album A Poke In the Eye (With a Sharp Stick), British Comedian Peter Cook does a sketch of a meeting between the philosophers G.E. Moore and Bertrand Russell.

From memory it goes like this; Russell finds Moore in his cottage at Cambridge with a basket of apples in front of him.
Moore I said are there apples in that basket?
No he said.
Moore I said are there any apples in that basket?
No he said.
Moore I said are there some apples in that basket?
Yes he said and from then on we were the best of friends.

So if we apply Moores logic of common sense to King Ralphs Third Way Health Care Reform, 'Some Privatization' means Privatization of Healthcare. Period. Or as Moore would say; some privatization IS privatization.

One key to Peter Cook's comedy in particular, and to what makes the Cambridge-bred comedy different, is words. Cambridge also happens to be where one of the more famous and influential 20th century styles of philosophy was centered, called "analytic philosophy" or "language analysis." Its most famous proponents at Cambridge were '>Bertrand Russell and '>Ludwig Wittgenstein, but probably the most influential on students in the 50s was '>G.E. Moore, who died in 1958 and was buried in the town of Cambridge. Moore had been a towering intellect at Cambridge for a half century. He was known for testing philosophical assumptions disguised in philosophical language with logical analysis of what the words actually meant. He was a philosophical champion of ordinary language and common sense, and particularly effective in applying language analysis to ethical reasoning.

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Pope Benedict Deus Cannus Est

Can a Grand Inquisitor, the Dog of God, really change his spots? No it's all just appearances.

From Rottweiler to Great Lover

As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, he was unpopularly known as God's Rottweiler or il Grande Inquisatore (the Great Inquisitor). Today, barely a year later, the same man has been transformed by the new title and name of Pope Benedict XVI, and he is winning a fresh nickname of il Grande Innamorato, meaning the Great Lover.

What gave Benedict the new name of "Great Lover" was nothing salacious, but his choice of words and subject for his first encyclical letter, which took an age and only appeared late last month. Popes use their encyclicals to lay down their agenda, and the letters take their titles from their first few words. Benedict's started, "Deus Caritas Est (God is Love)."Its theme was that all love, including erotic love, is a gift from God. It is a remarkable document that delved deep into the philosophy of the Bible and also looked at the hurly-burly issues of modern life.

Equally significant, was that the pope was issuing a challenge in showing that the Christian image of a God of Love is different from the God espoused by some other religions. He noted in the letter: "The name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence."

Oh just like the Inquisition.

AL II,19: "Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us."

The New Comment

A god living in a dog would be one who was prevented from fulfilling his function properly. The highest are those who have mastered and transcended accidental environment. They rejoice, because they do their Will; and if any man sorrow, it is clear evidence of something wrong with him. When machinery creaks and growls, the engineer knows that it is not fulfilling its function, doing its Will, with ease and joy.

Aleister Crowley

by Fritz Scholder

A haunting artists' book conceived, written and illustrated by Fritz Scholder, Live Dog / Evil God is a verbal and visual exploration of man's relationship with his self, his god(s) and his fellow creatures. Scholder created 10 cliches-verres for this book, reproduced here in duotone to match the original Van Dyke prints. This deluxed edition features a coptic bound book, a suite of the original Van Dyke prints (numbered and signed by the artist) presented in a custom-made clamshell box of imported Italian paper over boards. Limited to 50 copies.

Hardcover book and numbered & signed Van Dyke prints in a custom-made clamshell box.
ISBN 3-923922-11-6(Item #11-6) $1,200.00.

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Alberta's Midnight Cowboys

Oh this is rich. Proud red neck homophobic Alberta cowboys going to the big apple to promote Alberta tourism in the light of the success of Brokeback Mountain.Alberta flaunts cowboy image in Manhattan Obviously they haven't seen the film. Or Midnight Cowboy. A New York travel expert commented that this may seem like a good idea in Calgary but it is probably a bust as far as attracting New Yorkers to come to the Rockies. Unless the cowboys decide to go to the Village to attract these guys.


Also see:

Alberta and Wyoming The Happy Gay Couple

Ralph Likes Brokeback Mountain

Gay Cowboys

Ralph's World: Homophobic Hate Speech and Gay...

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Black Flag Protest Against Bush

Mahatama Gandhi was considered the Gentle Anarchist by Canadian Anarchist writer and Gandhi Biographer George Woodcock. Woodcock saw in Gandhi that Direct Action which was non-violent, the kind of spiritual anarchism advocated by the Russian Writer (who inspired my Dido, grandfather) Tolstoy.

Thus, Tolstoy writes:

The situation of the oppressed should not be compared to the constraint used directly by the stronger on the weaker, or by a greater number on a smaller. Here, indeed it is the minority who oppress the majority , thanks to a lie established ages ago by clever people, in virtue of which men despoil each other. ...

Then, after a long quote from La Boetie, Tolstoy concludes,

It would seem that the workers, not gaining any advantage from the restraint that is exercised on them, should at last realize the lie in which they are living and free themselves in the simplest and easiest way: by abstaining from taking part in the violence that is only possible with their co-operation.

Leo Tolstoy, The Law of Love and the Law of Violence (New York: Rudolph Field, 1948), pp. 42-45.

Furthermore, Tolstoy's Letter to a Hindu, which played a central role in shaping Ghandi's thinking toward mass non-violent action, was heavily influenced by La Boetie. See Bartelemy de Ligt, The Conquest of Violence (New York, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1938), pp. 105-6.

Etienne de La Boetie, Vrijwillige Slavernij (The Hague, 1933, edited by Bart. de Ligt). Cited in Bart. de Ligt, op. cit., p. 289. Also see ibid., pp. 104-6. On Landauer, see ibid., p. 106, and George Woodcock, Anarchism (Cleveland, Ohio: World Pub. Co., 1962), p. 432

George Woodcock, Civil Disobedience (Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 1966)

Woodcock, George-, Gandhi, London : Fontana/Collins, 1972.

Woodcock, George-, Mohandas Gandhi, New York, Viking Press [1971]

Nonviolence Versus Capitalism, by Brian Martin, in Gandhi Marg, 1999

The Black Flag is the symbol of Anarchism. In India when George Bush arrives to set flowers on Ghandi's grave this Thursday he will be met with mass protests, appropriately deemed the Black Flag Protest.

Of course the Black Flag has a different meaning in Islam.....

Bush's scheduled visit and offer of flowers on Gandhi's cemetery an "act of defilement"

New Delhi, Feb 27, IRNA


Offering of flowers on Father of the Nation Mahatama Gandhi's cemetery by a person (Bush) who has become the largest exporter of death and destruction through its expanding defense business would be an "act of defilement."
US President George W Bush's policies were responsible for the death of thousands of innocent people all over the world, said a prominent writer, Arundhati Roy, at a prayer meeting held yesterday at the Rajghat (Mahatama Gandhi's cemetery).

Roy said the offering of flowers on Gandhi's samadhi by Bush would be seen by the people as an act of defilement.

Hundreds of people under the banner of Azadi Bachao Andolan, Lok Raj Sangathan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind gathered at the Rajghat to pray for peace and voice their protest against the upcoming visit to India and the Gandhi memorial of US President George Bush.

Participants included Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs and Christians. Hundreds of youths sported "Keep Bush Out" slogans on their shirts.

Among those who took part in the prayer meeting were writer Arundhati Roy, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind general secretary Farooqui, Lok Raj Sangathan activist Sucharita and former IPS officer K S Subramanian.

The organizers have appealed to the people to turn out in large numbers for the protests planned against Bush's visit.

George Bush is scheduled to visit the Rajghat on March 2.

Meanwhile, Left parties along with many other parties, including the Samajawadi Party, have indicated they would participate in the planned countrywide protests for three days during the visit of American president.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of three Punjab-based NGOs -- Lok Morcha Punjab, Inkalabi Kendra Punjab and Lok Sangram Morcha -- has said it would hold a black flag protest in front of the US embassy in Delhi on March 2.

The JAC said it would protest the Indo-US military pacts and the "continuous oppression unleashed by US forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Similar demonstrations have been planned countrywide.

In Lucknow, religious scholars led by noted Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawaad and the Imam of Lucknow's oldest Sunni mosque Maulana Fazlur Rehman, have said Muslims will wear black clothes and also release black baloons from rooftops.

NOVEL PROTEST: Children with a poster against war during a demonstration in front of the Mahatama Gandhi statue in Bangalore on Sunday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

As children stood around the poster, they were telling the warmongers to keep off.

"Mr. George Bush cannot unilaterally decide upon a war on the people of Iran. Dictators should not play with the innocent lives of people," they were talking for the voiceless millions, the children who often suffered the most.

Children are often dismissed and excluded from social life and political decisions.

The reason: they are seen as not possessing the maturity and discerning ability to take sound decisions.

"But what sense do presidents and prime ministers have to wage war and put children into misery?," they asked.

In any war, the first victims are always children. Nobody cautioned them when bombs were dropped on Hiroshima, in Vietnam and in Iraq.

"Of the 60 million people killed in World War II, 24 million were children."

Shouting slogans, the children were telling the world to pause and beware of the wrongs of war.

"The people of America do not want war. The children of Iran do not want to fight. The people of India desire peace. Stop the Bush bomb. Save the children of Iran. Save the children of the world," the children were pleading for a just world, far from the violence perpetuated by the "thinking" adults.

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Privatized Booze Costs More

The Union for Liqour Board workers in Quebec has issued a study of privatized versus crown owned liquour stores. Not surprisingly it shows that in Alberta we pay more, have less selection, have lower wages for workers, and higher profits for owners. In fact the owners have created a tax free income trust to hide their profits. It is one of the most succesful Income Trusts in Canada. Liquor Stores Income Fund Announces $32.4 Million Issuance of Trust Units and $16.7 Million Secondary OfferingThanks to Ralph.

Union calls for deeper probe of SAQ

Between 1992, the first year of privatization, and 2004, Alberta alcohol prices increased by 39 per cent vs. 21 per cent in Quebec and 27 per cent in Ontario, Carbonneau said. Hourly wages of liquor store employees, meanwhile, dropped by 36 per cent.

When the union itself compared the prices of 45 randomly chosen wines and spirits at the SAQ, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and a high-end liquor store in Calgary whose selection and quality matched that of the SAQ, it found many prices were highest at the privately run store.

While the mushrooming of new stores after privatization, from 310 to 1,087, brought some savings, price, quality, selection and knowledge of staff vary widely, the union said. Even though the overall number of products might be greater (12,000 vs. about 7,000 in Quebec), there is no guarantee consumers will find them on the shelves of their local liquor store, which, on average, carries 200 to 300 products vs. 1,000 at an SAQ outlet.

Liquor Stores sips on growth cocktail

Alberta trust on hunt for outlets in fragmented market

It's a familiar story -- an Alberta business that's growing rapidly, looking for acquisitions wherever it can and boosting distributions ahead of schedule.

The only thing that's missing is oil.

Since its inception in late 2004, Edmonton-based Liquor Stores Income Fund has proven that Alberta is a pretty good place for booze retailing, too. With a strong balance sheet and a record of quick growth, the income trust -- a product of the marriage of two liquor store companies -- is still hungry. And in a highly fragmented Alberta liquor store market, it's moving aggressively to position itself atop the consolidation mountain.

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Serving 6.5 Billion

The worlds population officially reached 6.5 billion human beings last weekend. And while the right wing decries the declining population in the West, caused of course by the very capitalism they embrace, the population continues to increase in the underdeveloped sections of the world. Which capitalism via globalization is only now begining to transform into industrialized nations.India to be most populous nation by 2050: US census body

Two major trends are seen in the current growing world population: relatively fewer in Europe and fast rate in developing countries. Experts say in the past 50 years, populations grew most rapidly where such growth can be afforded the least.

The Big Crunch: Here's some good news Malthus was wrong. When the world's population hits 6.5 billion people tonight, calamity will not be on our doorstep. But that doesn't mean that population factors are not part of the mix of problems that humanity will be facing in the coming decades.

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Fukuyama Denounces War In Iraq

First it was the elder statesman of the Neo-Cons, William F. Buckley saying that the War in Iraq was a mistake. Now the theoritician and neo-Hegalian of the right Francis Fukayama denounces the war. There just is no break like a levee break, when things go wrong the American right knows that even if it retreats it will be drowned in the rush to the lifeboats. The rush has begun. Suddenly the neo-cons are becoming liberals. Never Libertarians of course, which is why Murray Rothbard opposed them in the Sixties and called for a Libertarian Left, a merger between the free marketers like himself, Karl Hess, Samuel Edward Konkin III and the New Left.

As Fukuyama admits the source of much of his and the new neo-cons ideology came out of Trotskyism.

"The roots of neoconservatism lie in a remarkable group of largely Jewish intellectuals who attended City College of New York (C.C.N.Y.) in the mid- to late 1930's and early 1940's, a group that included Irving Kristol, Daniel Bell, Irving Howe, Nathan Glazer and, a bit later, Daniel Patrick Moynihan." It is not an accident that many in the C.C.N.Y. group started out as Trotskyites. Leon Trotsky was, of course, himself a Communist, but his supporters came to understand better than most people the utter cynicism and brutality of the Stalinist regime. The anti-Communist left, in contrast to the traditional American right, sympathized with the social and economic aims of Communism, but in the course of the 1930's and 1940's came to realize that "real existing socialism" had become a monstrosity of unintended consequences that completely undermined the idealistic goals it espoused. While not all of the C.C.N.Y. thinkers became neoconservatives, the danger of good intentions carried to extremes was a theme that would underlie the life work of many members of this group." Fukuyama

Yes Trotskyism, in particular the split in the American section of the Fourth International over whether the Soviet Union was socialist or state capitalist. Those who saw in Stalinism not socialism, but beaurcratic collectivism, eventually betrayed their Marxist origins and became State Department Liberals like Max Schactman and James Burnham. They supported that other war the Americans lost, Vietnam.

Burnham became the founder of the neo conservative movement in the 1950's with the creation of the National Review which he edited and which Buckley and Co. now run.

James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution - Essay by George Orwell

Review of James Burnham - Right Now! - Stalking the Wild Taboo

Kelly writes, “It is tempting to write off Burnham’s Trotskyist phase as wasted time, a six-year detour into the sterile world of left-wing sects. But this judgment would be wrong” because “the involvement prepared him for what would be his real career” (pp. 87–88). In 1940, Burnham’s first major work appeared and sold well. Called The Managerial Revolution, it showed the influence of Machajski, Rizzi, Berle, Means, Veblen, Thurman Arnold, and Lawrence Dennis, as well as of Trotskyism (pp. 95–96). Burnham argued that bureaucratic management was the wave of the future, even if it took such forms as fascism, communism, and the New Deal, depending on circumstances. Only a cold, empirical, social-scientific approach could tell us where we were headed.James Burnham and the Struggle for the World: A Life:

Burnham Marxist Writings

What Burnham brought to the new conservative movement was his Marxism, the classic Marxist distaste for all that is liberal. Selections from James Burnham at conservativeforum.org

And like him Fukuyama today declares that his Hegelianism is Marxism. The Marxism of the Burnham school, that is a hatred for all that is liberal, not left, but that unique phenomena of American politics the neither right nor left statist.
In this the Bush regime is the latest phenomena of that statism

And like Schactman and Burnham the liberals in the neo-con movement have lost their stomach for this war. The end is near for the Amercian Occupation in Iraq. The Americans as Bush and Co. planned over two years ago will begin withdrawl by the end of the year. Whether the Iraqis want them to or not. Iraq like Vietnam will be a loss disguised as a Victory, a retreat in haste back to the Empires home.

The Tactical Retreat of an Apostate

Yet Mr. Fukuyama now believes that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that his neoconservative comrades have permanently discredited that label. "Unlike many other neoconservatives," he declares at the outset of his new book, "I was never persuaded of the rationale for the Iraq war." And now that events have borne out his fears,Mr. Fukuyama has "concluded that neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support." The titular crossroads at which America stands, he goes on to argue, is the choice between continuing the failures of actually existing neoconservatism - its overestimation of America's power and credibility, its naivete about the difficulties of spreading democracy - and Mr. Fukuyama's more hardheaded alternative, which he names "realistic Wilsonianism."

Francis Fukuyama, Liberal

On the Francis Fukuyama New York Times Magazine piece about the crack-up of neoconservatism: if you haven't read it, do. It's significant equally as an analysis of the structural flaws in modern neoconservatism (which must be distinguished, as Fukuyama argues, from original neoconservatism) and as a political event in its own right -- a more-than-public (indeed, it reads more as a cry for help) manifestation of Fukuyama's own pronouncement that the "neoconservative moment seems to have passed."

I talked with Fukuyama at a wedding a year and a half ago, and was struck then by his anguish at the Administration's failure adequately to understand and plan for the insurgency. What I want to talk about here is whether Fukuyama has erred in devising an overly complex conceptual apparatus (as political theorists sometimes do) that diagnoses as an ideological mistake what is actually an intellectual problem. Fukuyama makes these mistakes because, in trying to move away from neoconservatism, he cannot release himself from its most basic premise -- that history stems from ideas, and that the perfect idea will solve all problems.

All of this is ironic because Fukuyama seems to have embraced the basic liberal notion of America's careful, thoughtful governance of a liberalizing world community. If he could release from the neocon framework, he just might emerge (probably to his own dismay) as a progressive.

Jane Smiley: Marxism Through the Looking Glass

These days, the news is full of conservative recanters-William Buckley, Fukuyama, Bruce Bartlett. They are alleging feelings of surprise and disquiet at the failure of the war machine to subdue Iraq. But in fact, of course, as progressives have known all along, the debacle of the Bush administration, from beginning (stealing the 2000 election) to end (importing a company from Dubai to run the ports), with all the stations along the way (tax breaks for the rich, crony corruption, stupid and criminal war in Iraq, badly conceived education policies, bungled medicare drug bill, deaf, dumb, and blind policies on global warming and other environmental issues, voting machine fraud, media payola, gutting of the federal agencies) is the natural outcome of corporate conservative capitalism, and especially the ideas of

Ronald Reagan and his own cronies. What we have now is what you get when businessmen run the government like a corporation-short term thinking, public relations as policy, repeated attempts to do things on the cheap, careless attitudes toward things like torture and spying, contempt for everyone outside the inner circle, aggressiveness and secretiveness, lack of accountability, and just plain selfish arrogant ignorance. Who knows whether their intentions are good or not? It could be that, after a generation of free-market orthodoxy, they just don't know any better.

Conservatives who are waking up these days need to say a few mea culpas and try to remember something that is second nature to most people: government is different from making and selling stuff. A citizen is different from a consumer. Not every human need and every human desire has to do with getting and spending. Government ought to act as a break on capitalism, and capitalism ought to, sometimes (as in China), act as a break on government, and everyone is better off when government, religion, money, and personal growth and happiness are in separate spheres.

Neo-cons lose the ascendancy as toughest battles loom at home

THEY were the Vulcans, the intellectual zealots of the Bush administration. More pointy-heads than pointy-eared, they took their collective nickname from the statue of Vulcan that overlooks Birmingham, Alabama, the steel-making town where Condoleezza Rice was born. Others affixed a less affectionate label: neo-cons.

Most were not so new, their outlook shaped by the Cold War and the sudden collapse of Soviet power. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had been around for decades, working for presidents Nixon and Ford, while Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle had shuttled between campuses, government and Capitol Hill. What was new was their conviction that America should maintain an unchallengeable military strength, preempting new threats and working openly to spread its own brand of free-market democracy. This view was put into practice in the war on Iraq, a high-water mark of neo-con influence.

Three years on, Iraq is mired in blood and the neo-cons are in disarray. Wolfowitz moved from the Pentagon to run the World Bank, where he has already been criticised for giving jobs to Republicans. John Bolton, after a prolonged Senate tussle, left the State Department to be ambassador at the United Nations. 'Scooter' Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, is facing criminal charges of lying about the leak of a CIA agent's name. Even the vice-president got into trouble with his recent quail-shooting trip. Only Rice has come through unscathed, sloughing off the scandals of Abu Ghraib, CIA 'rendition' and Guantanamo Bay.

This is more than the second-term blues of a shop-soiled presidency, says Francis Fukuyama, the American professor who famously called time on history. "The neoconservative moment appears to have passed," he announced last week, arguing that "social engineering" in foreign policy - including the promotion of democracy - has made Iraq a magnet for terrorists. Neo-con faith in American power, according to Fukuyama, has alienated the rest of the world and created the risk of an isolationist backlash at home.

For many, this will read like a late admission of the blindingly obvious. But Fukuyama's forthcoming book, After the Neo-cons, matters for two reasons. First, this man has a nose for the zeitgeist. Having declared the triumph of liberal democracy at the fall of the Berlin Wall, he moved on to write books about genetic engineering, social trust and nation building. If Fukuyama thinks the Vulcans are finished, his view is worth more than the wishful thinking of a thousand bloggers.

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We Want A Free Vote

The Conservatives ran on a campaign of Free Votes and Accountability in Parliment. But suddenly when it comes to the sureptitious and arbitrary PMO decision to send our troops to Afghanistan this is no longer their policy.

When it comes to BMD, which was not in their platform, they will hold a free vote just like they intend to have a free vote on an issue already decided by Parliment, Same Sex Marriage.

The Harpocrites are at it again. The Supremacy of Parliment is only a policy when it is convienent as a sop to their right wing base. And despite knowing they will probably lose both these free votes they intend on going ahead with them.

However in the case of Canadian Troops in Afghanistan they would be hard pressed to find popular Canadian support and so dread bringing this up in the house to a vote. For if it passed it would be in spite of Canadians opposition to seeing our troops sent to fight the Americans surrogate war.
And it would create a crisis for the Minority government. They dare not call for a free vote. Hypocrites.

It shows that the longstanding NDP policy of getting Canada out of NATO, which is who is currently running the show in Afghanistan as the Americans withdraw, makes more sense now than ever. To bad Jack Layton abandoned it for the politics of pragmatism.

Minister won't support vote on troops in Afghanistan

O'Connor will try to persuade Canadians that soldiers will increase Afghan stability

A poll showing most Canadians oppose sending troops to Afghanistan reflects Ottawa's failure to explain why Canada has a military mission in the war-torn country, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said on Friday. Canada contributed 2,000 troops to a NATO-run force in Kabul in the wake of the Sept. 11 suicide attacks. By next month it will have 2,300 troops in the volatile southern city of Kandahar as part of another NATO mission. Canadian troops in Kandahar are already coming under frequent attack. Canada is due to take over command of multinational forces in the region next month. The decision to boost troop levels and take part in the new NATO mission was taken by the previous Liberal government with little publicity or discussion in Parliament The Liberals lost to the Conservatives in the Jan. 23 election. A Strategic Counsel poll in Friday's Globe and Mail showed 62 percent of Canadians were against sending troops to Afghanistan while 73 percent wanted Parliament to have an opportunity to vote on deployments.

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Supreme Court Nominee Corporate Shill

It turns out that besides the joy of being a waiter in his past life, like Kleins Brain Rod Love, Harpers nominee for the Supreme Court Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein, is a corporate shill.

In particular he takes a conservative view in favour of corporate rights in Intellectual Property Law, in particular he has supported the patenting of life. Which means those opposed to further development of corporatized food, like Monsanto's GMO's should be afraid, very afraid.

As technological law expert Michael Geist writes in todays Toronto Star;

In recent years Rothstein has emerged as a prominent jurist on intellectual property cases at the Federal Court of Appeal. His best-known decision is the Harvard mouse case, which addressed the question of whether higher life forms, in this case the "oncomouse," could be patented. Rothstein ruled that it could, concluding that there was nothing in the definition of "invention" under the Patent Act to preclude such patents. Rothstein has also presided over leading copyright and trademark cases. He wrote a concurring opinion in Law Society of Upper Canada v. CCH Canadian, a copyright case that focused on the photocopying of legal decisions. He sided with the majority in a high-profile trademark battle between Lego and Montreal-based Mega Blocks.

All of a sudden this 'new' political screening process for Supreme Court Justice nominees that will take only three hours looks far less threatening than some imagined. Despite being on TV this public preview suddenly looks tame despite initial fears it would end up looking like the American circus around their judicial appointments. In fact it is less threatening than the fact the PMO still maintains the power to appoint and veto Supreme Court appointees.

Canadians, however, should not have unrealistic expectations for Judge Rothstein's television premiere. The time allotted to each of the 12 MPs who will question him - 15 minutes - does not facilitate deep and probing conversations.

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Keir Hardie in Canada

One of founding fathers of the British Labour Party and the Social Democratic movement in England the last century spent time in Canada as this interesting article reveals. It influenced him in moving the party from narrow apologism for English Imperialism to internationalism.

Postcards from the left


DEAR Jamie, had a great meeting here tonight, which passed off all right. I am now halfway across Canada. It is a wonderful country. Am keeping fairly well, tho' whiles weary. Daddie."

That inscription, on the back of a postcard sent from a globetrotting father to his teenage son back home, would in most circumstances be entirely unremarkable. In this case, however, the brief message is worth closer analysis. The year was 1907, the city was Winnipeg and the man who wrote the postcard was James Keir Hardie, founder and first leader of the Scottish Labour party.

From humble beginnings, the illegitimate son of a servant rose to become an international statesman of the left; an extraordinary role for a man of his background in an age when travel (at least with a return ticket) was largely the preserve of the wealthy. The postcards he sent back to his wife and family in the Ayrshire town of Cumnock from all over the globe give a snapshot of his travels and their influence on his life and beliefs.

His parliamentary leadership had been fraught with difficulties and it was not a role he revelled in. While wholly genuine, his health problems created a convenient reason for him to take a break - albeit in the daunting form of a world tour, financed in part by the Salvation Army, at the time a powerful force for temperance and social reform.

Even if its provenance was rooted in his poor health and despair with internal squabbling, the tour of 1907-8 (from which much of this postcard collection is drawn) was probably the high point of Hardie's extensive international travels. It was good for the Scotsman to escape the hothouse of Labour politics, even more fractious then than now, but it was also good for Labour to have its most prominent figure immersed in international affairs.

Early Labour without Hardie would have had very little of an internationalist dimension. His travels made him an authority on the ethical and political issues that flowed from Britain's role as the world's greatest imperial power. Support for empire was as strong in the working classes as any other, and it took political courage to argue otherwise. The fact that Labour came to identify with the aspirations of colonial peoples, from Ireland to India, was largely due to Hardie, his travels and the lessons he drew from them.

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A Convenient Accident

Officer who shot George dies
Toronto Star -
Kenneth Deane, the elite Ontario Provincial Police paramilitary officer convicted of fatally shooting Indian activist Anthony (Dudley) George, was killed on the weekend in a traffic accident on Highway 401 in eastern Ontario

Now if I was a conspiracy theorist I would say that this was way too convenient an 'accident'.

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Mormonism Cult of the Political Right

White patriarch with multiple wives, survivalist stocking the cellar for the second coming, armed to the teeth, ascending to heaven to become gods on their own planets. This is the cult of Mormonism, a rip off of Masonic fraternal secrets, with some pseudo Egyptology occult symbols cobbled together by a former table rapper and spirituralist named Joseph Smith.

There are thousands of Mormons in Canada, the majority of them live in Southern Alberta.

own (1991 pop. 3,480), SW Alta., Canada, near the U.S. boundary. It was founded in 1887 by Mormons from Utah under the leadership of Charles Ora Card, son-in-law of Brigham Young. The chief Mormon temple of Canada is in the town. It is a ranch and irrigation agriculture center. Nearby is the Blood Reserve, the largest reserve for Native Americans in Canada.

The Alberta PC's (Party of Calgary) and their government are riddled with them. They make up the right wing rump in cabinet and the back benches.

I went to the University of Lethbridge and during my time there the Moromons on campus along with other right wing nuts that populate this most Americanized section of the province, organized a petition to make mandatory student union fees, taxes as they called them, voluntary. Can you imagine if these guys had gotten into power in Ottawa, wait they have. Anyways they bankrupted the SU for a couple of years.

The Mormons base in Canada is Southern Alberta, it was their second home after the persecution and attacks on them in Utah. Like most of Southern Alberta it is home to many American based religious pioneers who moved north, such as the Christian Reformed Church. It is also a strong base for reactionary and conspiracy minded right wing fascists.

But Mormons disproportionately make up the right wing in North American politics. Which is ironic as this article explains.

The march of the Mormons

The Latter-day Saints are on the rise in the US, and a Republican named Mitt Romney has hopes of becoming the first Mormon president. But the church has one serious image problem: polygamy. Which is why HBO's new drama, about a man with three wives, is stirring up controversy. By Julian Borger

Oh did I mention their connection to the CIA or their taking over of Howard Hughes estate, or the fact that their sacred texts don't exist. And did I mention that they believe that when they die the elect men, not women, become the Gods, plural, in heaven.

The Mormons' True Great Trek Has Been To Social Acceptance
And A $30 Billion Church Empire

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