Archive for February, 2009

When Stephen Harper managed to con enough Canadians into voting for his so called Conservative Government, part of the draw to him, was his pledge of not just Standing Up For Canada, but of instituting a Government that was both Accountable & Transparent to us ,the people. He insisted that his administration would end back room deals, would make access to information and Government Actions easier, less complicated, and quicker.

Time has come where he even called a surprise election, managed to con more people, again claiming to be more open, more accessible, accountable, and transparent.  AND LIKE DRONES WE BELIEVED HIS LIES!

Information Commissioner Robert Marleau said Thursday the grip on federal files is tightening, largely because of the Conservative government’s “communications stranglehold” on the bureaucracy.

“There’s less information being released by government than ever before. And that’s alarming.” ( source – CBC News )

It really is a simple plan, by the Harper Government. They talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk.

When everything is micro managed by the PMO, it creates a slow down, a trickle at best, of what gets filtered down, at what gets released, even when the law is clear. Then you add budget restraints, where staffing for such things, are the first to go. I mean who wants to pay for staff or new technology to push ahead information, that could and is, embarassing to those responsible?

No one wants to lose their job, so files get lost, get buried, and no one has the time or inclination to dig them up. Everyone is busy looking up, to see what comes down from the big cheese, and if it is about being embarassed, well that never gets allowed. SO MUCH FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT.

Take the Maple Leaf Foods debacle. The Government even went to court, to seek an extension on releasing details, because, well their are other priorities, and budget considerations, that make the release of that information, not a priority. And like idiots, we buy into that, because yes, we think it is more important to concentrate on fiscal matters, than in finding out what went wrong with our food inspection.

Problem with that line of thinking, is that people wind up dying.  So much for accountability, and transparency. We have less information being released now, than ever, and that is directly due to Stephen Harper.

THINK ABOUT THAT WHEN NEXT WE GET TO VOTE.

Bishop Williamson sort of apologized, but  not enough for the various Jewish Groups, and supposedly the Vatican. Least that is the news, but as a Jew, I have a problem with this whole issue. I have a problem with a Pope who claims he never knew the outlandish sentiments of this Bishop, though it took him quite some time to come out and demand the guy give an apology. However my problem is, why should this Bishop even be asked for one?

Does him standing up, saying he’s sorry for thinking that way, for preaching that the Nazi’s never murdered 12 million odd people, of which half were mostly Jewish, suddenly make him a believer that they did? Does it suddenly erase the hurt it created? And so he says it, does that mean he even means it? The apology that is.

In his statement, Williamson expressed regret.

“If I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them,” he said.

“To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God, I apologize.” ( source – CBC News )

It is hard for me to accept, that any apology given would be sincere. Seems to me, that if he did make one, even with just what he said, would be insincere, as he is under pressure. This isn’t about him changing his mind, but about him seeking to regain entry into the fold. So frankly, any apology is going to be tainted by whether or not it is real, or just spoken to satisfy & calm the angry mob.

If, after being put forward for this redemption, as they call it, he had come out on his own, to apologize, to say he was wrong, that the Holocaust was, as we all know it to be, a horrible reality of History, then perhaps one could argue it was sincere. However, any apology that comes, under pressure, can’t be considered real, or honest. It shouldn’t even be asked for.

The Pope, for some personal reason, wants him back, tried to slip it through, got caught, and is now doing damage control, and like sheep, we the people are buying into it. NO APOLOGY MADE NOW, WILL BE ACCEPTED AS SINCERE. I mean come on, is it any different than any other coercision tactic?

Once the thoughts and words of this Bishop Williamson were made known, his retribution should have been revoked. The offer to reinstate him should have been taken back, and that is how one should deal with it. To try and cover it up with excuses, then force someone to say what they obviously don’t believe, is just as bad as what the man originally stated.

There has to be real consequences in life, not perceived ones. If the man truly believes that the Holocaust didn’t murder that many people, fine, let him believe it, let him spew his crap, BUT DON’T REWARD HIM FOR PUBLICLY DENYING WHAT HE BELIEVES.

You cannot make people believe what they don’t want to. Many still think George Bush is the greatest President, many still think Brian Mulroney was a super Prime Minister, many think Trudeau was an arrogant prick, and many also still believe Hitler wasn’t so bad. Just as many honestly believe homosexuals are evil, are sinners, and that it is a choice.

You cant change them by forcing them to acknowledge they are wrong. All you can do is stand beside them, support their right to speak their foul thoughts, and shout louder than them, that they are wrong, and show them the proof. Show them the death camps, the meticulous records that the Nazi’s kept of the names of the murdered millions. Show them the marks on the arms, and when those have passed on, shove the photos of those marks in their faces, but don’t stoop to their level.

Williamson, should not be forced to apology, instead the offer of taking him back should simply, be revoked. The one who should be apologizing, is the Pope, for not doing his homework, so he claims.

 

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Last week, I got a notice that my download speed will be increased at no additional cost to my current Internet Plan. Now that is nice, and then I read this article on how a large number of groups are petitioning the CRTC to deny ISP’s the ability to THROTTLE SELECTED ACCOUNTS.  And that has me rather pissed off, because I signed a contract ( or agreement if you will ) that gives me Internet Access, to whatever site I choose. Not to be limited to what sites I visit, or to what I choose to download from those sites.  Yet it appears, that is what some ISPs are deliberately doing.

In a submission filed Monday to the Canada Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in advance of a July probe into the issue of internet traffic management, the Open Internet Coalition said traffic shaping network management “discourages investment in broadband networks, diminishes consumer choice, interferes with users’ freedom of expression, and inhibits innovation.” ( source – CBC News )

The issue has arisen from the way Bell handles its Internet. It admits that at times, it throttles accounts, which limits the download speed from various P2P sites, which for now, are mostly file sharing sites. What is more scary is that in order to manage this system, the ISP uses technology that devulges the content of what you are sending/receiving, so it can effectively control your online speed.

While the idea of ‘deep packet’ technology is to help in fight spam, virus spreading, it is also used to determine just what YOU are downloading.  Now, that has me worried on several fronts, because it makes your private business, open to public disclosure. I have nothing to hide, however, it is not up to some nameless techie across the country, to determine what can be revealed and what shouldn’t be. It is not their right to determine whether I SHOULD ACCESS A SITE NOW OR LATER. And yet, that is exactly what this technology is allowing some ISP’s to do.

Let me also state, that I believe most of these file sharing sites, are simply promoting theft of intellectual properties. I believe they make it easy for people to steal things like videos, songs, books, and pass them onto others, for free. That is not right & is STEALING IN MY OPINION.

That being said, it is up to a Court to determine the matter, not up to some nameless ISP or Corporate Official. It is dangerous to give them that kind of power, because it does impact your use of a site. If access is made slower, if it is made inconvenient, people will move on, and that impacts the economics of a site, that has invested money into servers, personnel, etc. It should not be up to a nameless ISP to decide the fate of any single or group of, companies, irrespective of their business model.

WHAT DO THEY THROTTLE NEXT?

How about the proliferation of Hate Sites? Should access to them be throttled, and information collected on who goes there, who downloads promotional material from those sites? AFTER ALL, THEY ARE PROMOTING HATE, AREN’T THEY?

See, that is the danger of such tactics. It gives the power to CENSOR SITES, that are protected under Free Speech laws. It invades one’s privacy, another protected right, and yet it seems that our Government is okay with that. This isn’t a business decision, of having too much traffic going to one paticular site, but about poor management of infrastructure, about business not willing to invest in growing its network.

While hoarding their profits, by attempting to not invest in their own company, these ISPs are also invading our civil righs, and threatening our Democratic Rights. The truth is, this is a form of CENSORSHIP and not even from a Government Agency, but from a BUSINESS.  The ramifications of allowing this throttling to continue, under any circumstances is contrary to the very premise of the Internet.

The Internet has grown, because it is a TRUE VEHICLE FOR FREE SPEECH & SHARING OF IDEAS, OPINIONS, THOUGHTS, & LIFE. When you cut back access,you are cutting back on the ability of the average person to express themselves, to discuss issues and to give opinions, on anything. The free access to the Internet, helps PROMOTE FREEDOM BETTER THAN ANY INVASION CAN.

Throttling of accounts is wrong, it is a risk to our very freedoms.

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart also weighed in on the issue, saying that since DPI technology is capable of allowing inspection of information content sent from end user to end user, it potentially allows third parties to draw inferences about users’ personal lives, interests and activities, whether or not that is the intent. ( source – CBC News )

We have no control over what big corporations do with the information they gather from us. Some retail outlets even sell their customer lists to others, for a quick buck. Tell me how ISPs are any different? I don’t want my personal online habits to be part of some study, or used to add to my junk mail. It is hard enough to control today, and now with this carte blanche, will be even harder.

The bottom line is this. When issues like this are before us, who do you want to make the decision?  Some nameless corporate officer, or your Member of Parliament? Do you want some giant conglomerate to decide who can view or be given access to your online activities, or do you want it regulated by the Government, where you have some say?

We vote in or out, our elected officials, while we have NO SAY in who runs a business like Bell. WHO DO YOU WANT IN CHARGE OF WHAT SITES YOU CAN ACCESS, OF WHAT INFORMATION CAN BE SHARED WITH OTHER PARTIES?

Warning of dire consequences, our Finance Minister insists that Parliament not closely examine his budget, but pass it before the first of April, or else the economy is going to suffer drastically, to the point that it will derail the recovery, or at best, delay it.  Talk about generating FEAR, and also in PLAYING PURE POLITICS.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the country’s economy is in too much trouble to allow partisan debates to delay implementation of the federal government’s $40-billion stimulus package.

In a combative performance before the House finance committee Monday, Flaherty said Parliament must pass the budget he tabled last month before April or risk setting the economic recovery back. ( source – CBC News )

From Coast to Coast, there are problems within our Economy. Even in Oil Rich Alberta, there are problems, so the solution is to rush ahead, with a package that puts us into debt some $60 Billion over the next few years? I DON’T THINK SO! The whole thing is a bit too contrived. I mean where was the panic, when Harper was about to be replaced by a coalition? Somehow he figured it best to take an extended holiday, without worrying about the ramifications to the economy. Now his stooge of a finance Minister is pushing to speed the process up?

Funny how back in November 2008, the same Minister was angry about how the Opposition was talking about deficit spending, and he was promising a budget surplus. Then after a nice long vacation, we get nailed with a multi billion dollar deficit, and now he wants that rushed ahead.

The Opposition should be cautious, because this Government has shown it is incapable of simple math. It is incapable of gauging economic trends, to the point where it predicts budget surpluses for this fiscal year, and the next, then within less than two months predicts record deficits. Sorry, but that kind of Creative Book Keeping just warrants MORE SCRUTINY, NOT LESS.

The full details of this budget, are still shrouded in mystery. How can anyone properly assess its value, when the specifics are hidden in political rhetoric. While I seriously doubt it is a valid plan, one can dream I suppose, but surely something this serious, should be clearly laid before all of  us, not just the Business Orientated Economic Advisery Council. At least our Parliamentarians should be given the full details, the specifics, so they can pass it on to us.

Why the rush Mr. Flaherty? Afraid we’ll find out the truth, that your plan is not a plan? That in truth, you have no real solution, but are simply hoping for a quick USA Recovery, to bail you & your boss out of political trouble?

Do we need more tax cuts for businesses? Do we need more bailouts to big corporations? How is funding for our Health Care going to be maintained, or is it also being cut? Where are the Provinces & Municipalities going to get the matching funds they need, to get Federal Funding? Have you thought of that, have you made allowances for it?

WE NEED TO EXAMINE YOUR BUDGET IN DETAIL, THEN PASS IT. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND AS YOU WANT MR. FLAHERTY. WE NEED PROPER FISCAL POLICIES, NOT POLITICAL SOLUTIONS TO SERIOUS ECONOMIC ISSUES.

Obama’s Challenge & Ours

Barack Obama is unveiling his economic plan, and it is an interesting document, as it talks about Billions here, Billions over there, and overall even reaches that magical Trillion Dollar point.  Yet how does that translate to us? The average joe who works for a living, who isn’t insulated by a few hundred secretaries and underlings?

“I’m determined to bring the change that the people voted for last November. And that means cutting what we don’t need to pay for what we do,” Obama told a press conference ahead of presenting his $3 trillion-plus fiscal plan to Congress. ( source – CBC News )

The World is looking to Obama for its salvation, which to begin with, I disagree with. We should be looking for Home Grown Solutions first, and hope that Obama can reel in the greed merchants, and stabalize the US Economy.

IF he can end the Iraq War quickly, there are hundreds of Billions that can be either saved (through not being spent) or spent in other areas that need it, such as the Infrastructure of the USA.

Granted, the USA is a huge trading partner, but maybe now is the time we should be doing what every business leader claims is good for their bottom line, DIVERSIFICATION.  In other words, maybe we need to look to a whole lot of other countries to buy our exports, and to import from? Maybe then, by shifting our economy so that no one nation can impact us, can we better advance our own standard of living, instead of being so dependent on one single country, as we are today.

I remember when Pierre Trudeau told us, that unless we took control of our own resources, and spread our exports around, we would be held hostage to the whims of one nation, that we have little or no influence with.  That has come home to roost, this last few years. Thanks to the Harper Government, our standards & ethics are weaker, our Economy that boasted Giant Surpluses has now reached to where Deficit Spending is reaching epic proportions.

ALL BECAUSE WE HAVEN’T DIVERSIFIED OUR ECONOMIC BASE.

While President Obama is looking to limit the perks for the wealthy, our Prime Minister is still pushing for even more tax cuts. He is looking to put the burden onto the Provinces, by his transfer payment reductions, and his mantra of placing the burden on those who can least afford it. This is a Bush Style solution, which has led to the collapse of the USA Economy, and yet many seem to ignore that lesson from recent history.

It is time to truly STAND UP FOR CANADA, which means to begin to look for ways to protect our jobs, not to send them elsewhere. Instead of using our tax dollars to bail out the auto industry, to protect American Jobs, we need to play hard ball, and PROTECT CANADIANS FIRST.

JUST AS PRESIDENT OBAMA IS PROTECTING AMERICAN INTERESTS FIRST.