Archive for October, 2007

Hip Waders Needed

You have to love Politicians and the Oil Companies that have BOUGHT & PAID FOR THEM. I mean if you listen to them, the High Loonie (see comment ‘How High Can It Go?) means Canada is sitting pretty because we sell a lot of commodities, specifically oil. Given the Oil is at 93 a barrel, that should make for GREAT REVENUE for those Oil Companies.

Now how does it help you and me?

Gas just went up 5¢ a liter here today. That is about 22.5¢ an Imperial Gallon.

Fact is, the high cost of fuel will increase inflation, increase consumer prices, not to mention increase the cost of manufacturing goods. Factor in a Higher Loonie, and we could be treading on some dangerous grounds here. There is no doubt, that Energy Consumption is going to be an issue, yet this Government is DOING NOTHING about CONSERVATION. They have abandoned the Kyoto Accord, and replaced it with NOTHING BUT HOT AIR.

When are the Politicians going to wake up and look around. Corporates Interests ARE NOT HELPING. They are directly at odds with what is GOOD for the COUNTRY. Whether Liberal, Conservative, or NDP, isn’t it time we got someone who GAVE A DAMN FOR US?

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NOTE > Oil is back at 90 a barrel, think the prices will go down? NOT!

Paul Martin announced a tax cut for Low Income earners to 15% before Stephen Harper defeated the Liberals in the following election. Stephen Harper today has brought the personal income tax level down to 15%. TWO YEARS AFTER it was first announced by Paul Martin. Mr Harper claimed back then, it was too much, and it was partially what helped defeat the Liberals back then, in the House of Commons.

In addition to cutting the GST by another percentage point, the Conservatives are proposing to cut personal income taxes retroactive to Jan. 1, 2007. The lowest marginal tax rate would fall to 15 per cent from 15.5 per cent. That represents a rollback of a rate hike implemented by the Conservatives last year. (source – CBC News)

In addition to this GIFT, the Harper Regime is also reducing the Corporate Taxes, and oh yeah, once more pissing around with the GST. He is reducing it another per centage point, which costs about $5.5 Billion to do. You would think Christmas came early the way Mr Flaherty is talking, and I suppose in some sense it has.

So if you earn under $30K, how you going to spend that extra $180 you will get because of the tax cut announced today? Flaherty estimates the personal income tax cuts will cost about $45 Billion. Now I don’t know, I can add okay, not a mathematician or anything, but if the surplus was $14 Billion, where is all this extra money coming from?

The government estimates the personal tax cuts will total $45 billion through 2012. (source)

Okay it is over 4 years, but does Mr Flaherty take into account the shifting economy, the shifting rate of the Loonie on world markets? Is he taking into account that fuel prices rose today, or does he even care at how this WILL IMPACT our Economy? Is this a real mini-budget, or is this an ‘election gimmick‘ that Harper will use to try and win a Majority with?

Can we be bought?

In all honesty, I think the cut in personal income tax is long overdue. The GST drop is stupid, and really impacts no one of low income. It does impact the Rich I suppose, so hey I guess it is good politics. However, it is the personal income tax rate. He is boosting the basic exemption amount which is about time too, though before Brian Mulroney took office (you all remember the man who claims to be our greatest Prime Minister?) the personal exemption level was at $12,400 per person. Yes, the tax rate was higher beyond that however it kept the low income wage earner from paying any taxes at all.

If you earn minimum wage, you earn more than the personal exemption. If you earn minimum wage or are close to it, you know how hard it is to make ends meet. You need more than a piddly half a percent reduction or $700 boost in the exemption amount. You need a government that will reduce the cost of transportation, that will keep oil prices down, where they belong, instead of boosting Oil Company Profits. That is what Mr Harper should do, if he gave a rat’s ass about the people.

Many economists have argued that broader, deeper income tax cut would be better for the economy than a GST cut, which costs $5.5 billion a year. The GST was cut from seven per cent to six per cent in mid-2006. The Harper government has long promised to further reduce the tax to five per cent. (source – CBC News)

I support the payoff of the national debt by $10 Billion but he leaves precious little in reserve if things take a down turn. It is simple economics as the USA is obviously heading into the tank, its economy is in shambles, and it directly impacts ours. Caution is needed, which is supposed to be a benchmark of a Conservative. It is obvious that the Harper Regime is not interested in making tough calls, but is instead only concerned with appearing to be doing its job, about Playing Politics. Just like its insane rebate program that passes for the Harper Environmental Plan. (see commentPandering to Special Interests?)

There is nothing being done to reduce oil dependency, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, like his hero George Bush, the Oil Industry OWNS Stephen Harper and his Regime.

Frankly I believe todays’ mini-budget is simply Mr Harper playing Politics. I think if he was to fall on this, then get re-elected we would see a different scenario on tax cuts. I simply do not accept his sincerity, nor should we, considering his attempt to cast blame on retailers for high prices, when it is a lot more complicated than that. While pointing the blame at retailers, he ignores the complicity of Manufacturers. Such as his Corporate Buddies whose profits keep rising, and rising. No savings are being passed on to the retailer, to be passed on to us the consumer, even if the retailers wanted to.

This is the same old Conservative trick, of trying to BUY VOTES.

How High Can It Go?

The Loonie topped 1.05 yesterday, a 47 year high against the US Dollar.

The Canadian dollar’s upward charge continued unabated Monday, as it topped $1.05 US to reach its highest level since March 1960. (source)

I am no economist, but it hurts. Seriously, there are many who claim a high dollar is good for Canada. Our Maximum Leader, Stephen Harper, says so, so hell, it must be. After all he is the all knowing Economist and Environmentalist that knows it all. So he says. Course he is the same guy who claimed that settling our softwood lumber dispute with the US (see commentA Sell Out…) for a $4 Billion when we were owed over $5.3 Billion was good business sense, would encourage growth in our industry, and remove the tariffs the USA imposed.

Have you tried getting a job in the Forest Industry lately?

Then there is the stuff that because we sell a lot of commodities, like OIL (now doesn’t that sound interesting) it will benefit our country greatly. Or does it merely mean that while Oil is hitting $93 a barrel, that the Oil Companies will have even LARGER PROFITS over last year? We still gonna pay more, but hey, as long as they get to reap HIGHER PROFITS, it is all good. (see commentHigh Flying Loonie – Good or Bad?)

Rising commodity prices tend to boost the value of Canada’s currency, as Canada is a net exporter of oil and many other commodities. Gold prices were also surging Monday, up another $4.80 to $792.30 US an ounce — a new 28-year high. (source)

Here is the deal as it really applies. Least for me.

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Going to be More Assertive…

Something I suppose both Stephane Dion and Barack Obama are planning on doing, and have stated, but you know, it has to make me wonder about Politicians who are in position of power like Obama, like Dion, and yes the others as well. Those who are on the outside, looking in, wanting to be the one inside, seem to come to a point when they realize they need to be more ‘assertive‘.

Hello? You Think?

In an interview on Friday that appeared timed by his campaign to signal the change of course, Mr. Obama said “now is the time” for him to distinguish himself from Mrs. Clinton. While he said that he was not out to “kneecap the front-runner, because I don’t think that’s what the country is looking for,” he said she was deliberately obscuring her positions for political gain and was less likely than he was to win back the White House for Democrats. (source – MSNBC News)

Now I am not talking about ‘bashing‘ one’s opponents, but about highlighting what is different between you and the other’s attempting to take top spot. I mean Stephane Dion obviously knows how to do it, after all he wasn’t the favorite to win the Liberal Leadership, but he did. (see commentA Choice For Canada) Now he’s walking around like a zombie, ineffective and simply looking unprepared.

That isn’t leadership qualities that’ll get my vote.

Barack Obama is also exhibiting that, and I wonder, why? I mean if you are willing to put yourself out there, to raise the money and take it, then you owe it to those who support you to come out fighting. This jab, jab, and we’ll play nice so as to not give the opposition any fodder is simply bullshit. I mean, it just seems to me that if you want something, feel you are best qualified, then why are you afraid to voice that? (see comment ‘Foreign Policy Experience?)

If Obama or Dion, for that matter, believe they can be a better leader, then TELL ME. But do it by SHOWING ME YOU WANT THE JOB, then let me decide. That is what all this politicking is supposed to be about, to highlight your ideas, to showcase your thoughts. If you agree with the other candidates, fine, say so and stop wasting time trying to use coy phrases to sound different when you mean the same thing.

If you think your health plan is better, then SHOW ME HOW. Stack ’em up side by side, explain exactly where your plan is different, why it will work and the other won’t work. Don’t waste my time by talking in circles. It is naive to assume that the other guy isn’t already planning his assault, so playing nice, claiming you don’t want to give the other side weapons to use, is defeatist.

That said, Mr. Obama and his campaign have until now frequently avoided potential confrontations. His aides said, for example, that they had declined an invitation from some networks to appear on Sunday morning talk shows after Mrs. Clinton the day she appeared on five in one day to talk about her health care plan. (source – MSNBC News)

You hear in all political leadership races. Don’t attack each other because it will give the enemy easy ammunition on whoever wins, thanks to their colleagues. BULLSHIT! If you want to enter a leadership race, IT IS NOT TO LOSE IT. By holding back, is simply admitting to me, the voter, that you really don’t want the damn job. If you DO NOT BELIEVE you are the best, thus the winner, what reason is there for holding back?

If Barack Obama is truly the only hope for defeating Hilary Clinton, it is obvious. He needs to SHOW IT. That means he needs to take her on, and start acting like he believes he can win. Dodging issues, for fear of upsetting Hilary in case she wins? That is SURRENDERING before the first ballots are counted.

And that is why Hilary Clinton is leading the Democrats right now.

She has cowed her opponents with her back room politics of claiming that attacks on her policies, weakens her chances for winning in 2008. Quite the opposite actually, as this isn’t just a time to convince your own party of your worthiness, but of getting a head start on convincing every one else. It is called a [[CAMPAIGN]] for a reason. The opposition to Hilary Clinton has been so tepid, for fear of giving the Republicans an edge, that the other candidates have forgotten one basic principle. THAT THEY ARE THE ONE’S SUPPOSED TO WIN, NOT HILARY OR ANYONE ELSE.
You can’t play it safe, and win. If you come out of the gate believing you need to be safe, to not attack the others in case you don’t win, then you have already lost. Give Hilary Clinton her due, she hasn’t done that. She has attacked them all, and that is why she is out front. It isn’t because the News Media reports on her favorably, but because there is no one else out there countering her claims, countering his policies.

Mr. Obama said he was not concerned by a repeated spate of national polls showing lopsided support for Mrs. Clinton. “The national press for the last three months has written glowingly about her and not so much about me, so it’s not surprising,” he said. He described himself as an “underdog” running against a campaign that has “a 20-year head start when it comes to managing the spin of the national politics.” (source – MSNBC News)

There was a good comment in the movie, American President, when Michael Fox is speaking to the President. Basically it was that People want leadership, in when only one person is acting like a leader, then that is who they will follow. Hilary Clinton is the only one TALKING LIKE A PRESIDENT, the others are too busy coddling her. That isn’t leadership, it is a lack of it.

It is no secret formula. If you want the job, ACT LIKE YOU DO.

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Barack Obama Campaign Web Site

Hilary Rodham Clinton Campaign Web Site

They Can’t Admit Mistakes

Secretary of State Rice has finally admitted, sort of, that the United States has mis-handled the Arar incident. Sort of. And that is perhaps one of the clearest indicators of why many outside the United States look at the USA with such disdain, and anger even. It is the inability of this administration, or previous ones, to openly acknowledge when they are wrong, and make amends (see commentWho Made the USA God Almighty?).

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged on Wednesday that the United States mishandled the case of a Canadian engineer seized by U.S. officials and taken to Syria, where he and the Canadian government say he was tortured. (source – MSNBC News)

It is this insane drive to be secret, to hold the truth back, that infuriates many people and nations. I am all for ‘security‘ but that is not a justification for violating the basic principles of human rights, or a country’s civil rights. The man held dual citizenship, Syrian and Canadian, and yet in the dark of night, the USA sent him packing to Syria.

Why not to Canada? Could it be because sending him to Syria, they knew he would suffer? That in Canada he would get a lawyer?

It is part of their ‘rendition‘ program that they claim has saved countless number of American Lives. Only problem is, we only have their word on that, as there is not public record of proof.

Even some US Congressmen seem to get it, as evidenced by their comments when Mr Arar testified before them, via video link, because even though he’s been cleared of any terrorist associations, he remains on the US No Fly List. For Cause? Or just vindictiveness?

“Our country made a mistake and has been unwilling to own up to it,” California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said. “It reflects an arrogance I don’t like to see in our government.” (source – MSNBC News)

Granted, there is a civil lawsuit pending, but again look at how this administration is attempting to handle it. They are claiming ‘National Security Interests‘ in attempting to avoid being held accountable. Now I don’t know, we have similar laws, yet rather than face a Court Case, the Government did the right thing, it settled the case. It admitted it’s complicity, apologized, and settled. That is the responsible thing to do, yet here is the Bush Administration grudgingly claiming it might have handled things better, refusing to apology, to even remove its No Fly Restrictions, despite all the proof before them.

They screwed up, it is that simple, so why not own up to it?

George Bush talks a great deal about ‘Standing Up‘, whether it is the Iraqi Government or Congress, or whoever, so why in the hell can’t he do what he harps about so much? STAND UP!

I suppose it is some giant ego thing. Everyone makes mistakes, no matter who they are, or what Country they are. Mistakes happen, but you need to stand up & take responsibility for your actions. It really is that simple. However, when you hide from reality, from Justice, you really aren’t protecting anyone. You are giving in to the fear, helping foster even more. In short, you are aiding and abetting the very Terrorists you oppose. You are giving them exactly what they seek, without a single shot having to be fired.

I am ashamed at how this happened, at how the RCMP & CSIS screwed up so badly, and yet I am also PROUD of how we responded to our mistakes. The hearings were PUBLIC, and it showed a genuine ability to honor our Charter of Rights. It showed a DELIBERATE SUPPORT of our Justice System. In fact, I would say that while it cost the taxpayers close to $9 Million, (see comment8.9 Million Dollar Gift to USA) it did more to fight the War on Terror than perhaps even our sending of Troops to Afghanistan has.

U.S. officials detained Arar during a September 2002 stopover in New York as he was returning home from a family vacation in Tunisia. He was later flown to Syria based on misleading intelligence provided by the RCMP to U.S. authorities, which suggested Arar had ties to al-Qaeda militants.

In January, Ottawa reached a $10-million settlement with Arar over Canada’s role in the deportation. The House of Commons issued a unanimous apology after the September 2006 release of the Justice Dennis O’Connor’s report that cleared his name. (source – CBC News)

I know it sounds strange to say, but it is a fact of life. The Intangibles are what determine the course of events. Wars, like the one against Terrorism, aren’t going to be won on a battlefield. That is pretty evident given how it is working in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Wars like this are won in the hearts and minds of people. You can’t gain support of people if they perceive you to be evil, to be Anti God.

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