Archive for March, 2009

Best Before Date

doesn’t mean the food is bad afterwards, just that, well it isn’t at it’s freshest. Uh huh, and I will vote for Stephen Harper as long as he is running for office, because he is just mis understood, and his lies and deceit are okay, because well gee, he’s Stephen Harper.

NOT!

Just how stupid is stupid? I mean if you read the story, you would think that these companies spend a small fortune on the labels simply to let us know, that we should consume the product by this particular date, if we want the full flavor, but that we can still enjoy it afterwards, because well,  it’s okay, just not fresh.

Sort of like the saying, to never point a loaded gun at a person, unless you are intending to shoot them, now really means that you shouldn’t point a loaded gun at a person, or at least not at anything that will instantly kill them, like the heart.  In other words, aim for the leg or arm.

And just who is telling us that the food is safe to eat after this ‘best before date’? Why the very people who brought you Self Regulation, whose sole aim is to make money, not worry about your health, your safety. It is simply an advertising gimmick, to make us feel better, to let us know when the item is at its optimum level of tastiness.

The idea that the Corporate World is concerned about our health, our well being is like actually believing that George Bush was the greatest American President in the history of the USA. Corporations have one goal, to make money. They are trying to skate from their responsibility, by allowing their unsafe products to be sold, after its any good.

Now, I am not rich, can’t really afford to toss perfectly good food out of the fridge, but I’ll be damned if I’ll let stuff stick around, after the ‘best before date’ has expired. Food may not smell bad, when its tainted, which is why certain things have to have an expiry date on them. Pork is one of them, as are milk products.

Yes, the economy is bad, and yes, money is tight, but you know, I may have a jar of mayo in the fridge, may have past its expiry date, and I sure do like mayo on my sandwhiches, but if that is all I got, I WILL DO WITHOUT MAYO ON THE BREAD.

I kind of don’t want to have stomach cramps, certainly don’t want to have to go to hospital, or pay the ultimate price for needing Mayo on my bread, and kick the bucket.

I simply no longer understand how our world, our society, works. For me, it is simple. If an item is good and won’t spoil by this particular date, when that date has come & gone, the product should have been consumed, or disposed of. It really is that simple, and yes, it can be costly.

However, the notion that we can extend the life of a product, without worry, because it was kept in the fridge, is stupid. If we can’t remember when we bought the stuff, or last used it, how are we certain it wasn’t left out for too long? How do we even know if our refrigerator is operating at the proper temperature?

Do you know what temperature your refrigerator has maintained over the last 24 hours?

I believe, that it is the role of GOVERNMENT, not business, to determine the safety of goods sold to us, the people. I can’t test every item on a store shelf, and I need to know that certain sanitary conditions are met. How am I going to know if the Maple Leaf plant in Toronto is washing its equipment properly? BECAUSE THEY SAY SO?

Yes, Government has gotten big, but that doesn’t mean we reduce it, in areas where it is most needed. Food safety should be a priority, and not left up to plant managers, store managers, or the stock boy in the grocery store.

Maybe I watch too much television, but ever notice how in those crime shows, when they are establishing the time of death, at how refrigeration or cold temperatures, makes things difficult to pin down? Now, it also makes me wonder, does having something in the refrigerator also mask the foul odor of rotting food?

I suppose what really galls me, is that now this article explains how the ‘best before date’ really isn’t about whether the food item is good or bad, when that date has passed.  Which leads me to the question, WHY IS IT THERE THEN?

Labels need to be there, and mean something. If a label says Made in Canada, it should MEAN JUST THAT, NOT THAT THE LABEL IS MADE IN CANADA AND THE PRODUCT IS MADE IN 100 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.

It is one thing to label a sweater, and it not be totally accurate. BUT FOOD?

Kind of makes you wonder, if perhaps this type of attitude, or information, is simply a way for the big corporations to no longer be held responsible, for selling us tainted & unsafe products?

Perhaps this is how they plan to shift the burden to the consumer?

No, I am not a conspiracy nut, but you know, the way Big Business has operated under Bush, Harper, it does sometimes make you wonder, at how they can sleep at night. I am all for profits, but I think we need to consider, just what is sacrificed to make some of those profits.

Business will Protect Us.

The Harper & Bush policy of deregulating Goverment requirements for Business sounds good on the planning table, even sounds good on the campaign trail, where these political stooges extoll the virtues of keeping Government out of our lives.

It makes for great campaign speeches, and yes, it makes for getting elected, however the result of such misguided policies is all around us. The Sub Prime Mortgage disaster in the USA, has nearly collapsed the World Economy.

The unregulated Oil Industry has fueled inflation, adding to the cost of simply staying alive, never mind progressing one’s disposable income. It has placed many businesses at the verge of Bankruptcy, and has fueled more Outsourcing. It has forced middle class families to choose between eating, or heating their homes.

These failed policies have also placed Human Lives at risk, which seems to be a matter of jokes for our Agricultural Minister. The role of Government has changed under Stephen Harper, to the point where one can no longer trust in the safety of our food supply.

While Stephen Harper talks about gutting the Long Gun Registry, which aids Law Enforcement, which makes people accountable, he brings in Mandatory Sentences and removes the discretionary powers of Judges, claiming it will make us safer.

Yet at the same time, he guts the Food Inspection Agency, to the point where they haven’t conducted any tests for dangerous bacteria for the last three years, and even now, has delayed implementation of Government Testing.

To rely on Business to self test, is no different than putting the fox in the hen house, and instructing the fox to let the farmer know when some predator is about to attack his chickens.

Oh the explanations are good ones, even sound reasonable. The claim that the inspectors need training, to conduct testing, is perfectly logical, until you realize that for the last three years, no testing has been done, yet was a staple of procedures until the Harper Regime took power.

Makes sense, until you also realize that having CIFA, allows the Harper Government & its Business Backers, to have a ready scapegoat, which is why they don’t kill it, just gut it so it is totally ineffective.

Business has one thing on their minds, which is to make money. Some care about how they do that, but most don’t. They are consumed by their desire to make money, and make more of it, and yet that is who Harper thinks will better protect us, than Government. It is the same concept that George Bush followed, to the point where the USA no longer has a safe food supply, no longer has safe consumer goods.  AND NOW, NEITHER DO WE.

THIS IS, HARPERNOMICS.

Living Beyond our Means

I suppose I am old fashioned. I was taught that you worked hard, gave your boss your very best, and that you saved some of the money you earned, for the future. In those days, I was told you buy what you need, save for the things you want, and that you bought them, when you could afford them. Seems that all that, is no longer the guiding principle behind day to day living.

Unemployment insurance claims are up, as are personal bankuptcies, according to the latest Government Figures. I can see the rise in EI claims, as companies lay off workers, as they downsize their work force, even though they are paying huge bonuses to the very executives that created their economic downturn.

Things happen beyond our control, and the result is financial ruin. It is a part of Capitalism, that one has to accept, but I wonder, if these day, it is a factor that is self generated? I mean think about it, do we really need a new car every couple of years?

Do we need a new computer every year, a new television or new cell phones? Do our kids need the latest XBox, or MP3 player? Do they need the latest designer runners, or do we need to order out for dinner two, three or more times a week? How about cooking rib eye steak, instead of using our imagination a bit, and using a cheaper cut of meat?

Granted, if you can afford all that, why the hell not, but the issue is, can you afford it?

How many actually know what their meals cost them? I know, because I have to know, given I can’t afford to make Rib Eye steaks, or eat out more than maybe once or twice a month, and even then it is carefully thought out. We all seem to have a sense of entitlement, that says we should be able to eat out whenever we want, to buy new things anytime, and to that end, we can thank the advertising media, for making us believe in that bullshit.

I don’t need to eat Rib Eye every week, nor do I need a new car every couple of years. I don’t need a huge four wheeling truck, because I simply don’t go four wheeling. Yet many have them, who never leave the city, because well, its status. They have bought into the advertising, which is why SUV’s have been so popular. One child families really don’t need them, but many have them, because they bought into the advertising hype, because they make their purchases on emotions, on desire, not on need.

Banks, and other financial institutes have preyed on us, the consumer, and created this entire mess. They have polluted our thinking, to where the line is blurred, as to what is need, what isn’t. I mean come on, if we can’t afford to spend $35,000.00 for a vehicle, why are we? Because Banks & Brokers have made it easy to do.

The whole financial crisis, is due to Greed.

In my day, you couldn’t walk into a bank, with a paystub, and get a loan to buy a new house without having a down payment.

In my day, you needed to have a downpayment to buy a new car.

In my day, you got a credit card, the limit was set by your ability to pay for it, and the interest rates were regulated. There was no 30% interest rates, that make it virtually impossible to pay off, if you simply pay the minimum balance.

And there is the key. Banks used a minimum payment scale, that insured they got the interest, and kept you on the hook for years, and we fell for it, even though common sense says, we should never have gotten that far in debt.

We are living way beyond our ability to pay it back, and our Governments have helped foster that, by doing the same thing, except on a grander scale. They have simply printed more money, instead of budgetting things properly. Like giving out huge tax cuts, rebates, that garnered votes, but did nothing to improve our infrastructure. Things like cutting consumer taxes, while raising EI & CPP payments, so that any ‘tax cut’ was basically neutralized.

We talk a lot about reading, writing, and math skills in school, but we ignore the practicle need to teach our kids, that moderation is best. I mean everything is SUPER SIZE THIS, THAT, and the result is that not only is obesity rising, but so is fiscal irresponsibility.

Our economy is in the dumper, and the solution is to ease up on credit, to make it easier for us to get loans, so we can buy more stuff?  Now I don’t know, but that is what got us into this mess. TOO MUCH CREDIT is what got us buying houses we couldn’t afford, and it caused prices to rise too. Yet we kept on buying, and now we can no longer pay for it. SO THE SOLUTION IS TO GIVE US MORE CREDIT? TO BUY MORE?

Things need to become more realistic. No one needs a new car every few years, and when we do need one, it should be one that suits our needs, not suits the manufacturer’s idea of what we need. We don’t need more credit, but we do need to manage what we earn, and be able to save it, and live comfortably.

I want a new computer, the one I have for my desktop is five years old, but I can’t afford it, right now. So should I go and get a loan, or try one of those ‘everyone is approved’ operations? NO WAY !  That will cost me huge, and frankly, the one I have does the job. It may be slower, may not have all the bells and whistles of the new ones, but so what? I DO NOT NEED IT NOW.

And it is that thinking that will keep me going, while other’s file for bankruptcy. We live off the debit card, which means, if we ain’t got the money, we ain’t a buying the goodies. I have some money in savings, not a lot, but enough to at least manage in an emergency.  And that is how we will survive this economic nightmare.

What will save our economy, isn’t tax credits, or schemes to help us buy more stuff, but creating high paying jobs, that stay in our country, not get shipped off overseas, will. Creating real projects, that will improve our infrastructure, instead of simply adding a facade to a crumbling interior.

We need to insure that our High Tech jobs stay here, that business builds its goods, here, not just repackage them or assemble them. We need to focus on New Industries, such as the Environmental ones. that will reduce our need for Fossil Fuels, which will reduce our being held hostage by the greed of the Oil Companies.

We need to be responsible, in insuring that credit is available, to legitimate people, who can afford to repay it. Our economy can no longer afford to be scammed by financiers, whose only object is to improve their bottom line, at our expense. Corporate Greed needs to be contained, not rewarded as the Harper Government does.

If we don’t do that, then the number of Unemployment Claims will continue to rise, as will the number of personal bankruptcies. The cycle will remain unbroken, until we restore common sense to how we live.

Until we start living within our means, this economic mess will continue.

Long Gun Registry

Stephen Harper is pleading for Gun Owners, Farmers, & Anglers, to write to the Opposition MPs, to put pressure on them, to support a bill to outlaw and end the controversial Gun Registry program, that the Liberals put in place. He claims it was a costly waste of our money, does nothing to prevent crime, and is simply a flawed piece of work.

Is it a flawed piece of legislation?  ABSOLUTELY.

Fact is, it didn’t go far enough, and didn’t take into account hand guns, which is should. The idea that anyone should own a gun, without some form of records, some form of being held accountable for it, is really what is flawed.

Is it a way to reduce crime?

NO, nor is it really about that. It is about making people accountable, about being able to track the use of such weapons, and frankly, should include all firearms, not just long guns.

I can easily understand the need for farmers to have weapons, but what is the big deal of being responsible for them? I mean how hard is it, to simply register that you own this type of gun, that type of gun, and be done with it?

Then too, why shouldn’t you be responsible for reporting the loss or theft of your weapon? Irrespective if it is a hand gun or long gun?

Was the Registry Program Expensive? YOU BET IT WAS.

However, let’s keep in mind that the hefty price tag for that piece of legislation, includes the outrageous lawsuits filed by people, and various Gun Right’s Lobby Groups like the NRA.  Mr. Harper conveniently forgets to mention that aspect of the cost, that accounted for the vast majority of the over run costs.

Makes you also wonder, just how much did Mr. Harper & his party get in campaign contributions from this large political action group? One that is well financed by Gun Manufacturers, who have a vested interest in the whole thing. How much of  Mr. Harper’s objection to the registry is real, and how much is based on the cash his party gets from this political action group?

Are the majority of gun related deaths,deliberate, or accidental?

You know, one of the things overlooked in all this, is that basically the purpose of a registry, of any kind, is to give one pause. I mean, do we need a gun or not? Yes, farmers do, to protect their livestock, and sure, if you are a hunter you kind of need a gun as well, but do you need a Machine Gun? Do you truly need an automatic rifle that can pump out x number of bullets per minute?

And you know, if you have children, shouldn’t there be some form of check and balance, to insure those kids can’t access your weapon? I mean let us be honest here. You can train a kid to know how to use a gun, how to respect it, how to clean it, how not to use it, but THESE ARE STILL KIDS.

I remember Stockwell Day being very proud that his 11 year old, at the time, knew how to use a gun, how to respect it.  Now, yes, he more than likely did, but HE WAS ELEVEN. Even adults have times in holding their emotions in check, which is why we have so many crimes of passion, crimes committed in the heat of the moment, and why we have some nasty accidents as well.

TO EXPECT A CHILD TO BE MORE IN CONTROL THAN AN ADULT IS STUPID & ASKING FOR TROUBLE. 

THE MORGUES ARE FILLED WITH THE RESULTS OF SUCH THINKING.

We don’t let a kid drive a car, until they are sixteen. I believe that is being raised, and we certainly don’t let a kid drink in a bar, until they are at least eighteen, nor do we let them vote, to have a say in government, until they are eighteen, so how come we think they are old enough to handle a gun?

I agree that Gun’s don’t kill, that people kill people, animals, etc. However we are often consumed by irrational thoughts, we get emotional, and by making gun access difficult, we allow for the natural order of things, to take place. By that I mean, calm thinking, rational thought, to return, once the heat of the moment has passed.

Giving easy access to weapons, allowing anyone to own them, without any accountability, or control, is asking for danger. Whether it be from suicide, or accidental shootings, we creae a scenario where death is the result, or being maimed for life.

The Gun Registry is flawed. It should include every kind of firearm there is, across the board. It isn’t a means of stopping crime, but of preventing needless accidents. It is also about ensuring that we, the people, take responsibility for our actions. That if a gun we own gets stolen, we need to inform the right people.

If we are really concerned about violent crime, the solution isn’t to end the gun registry, or is it to take away the rights of Judges to decide a case through mandatory sentencing, as Mr. Harper wants. The real solution is to make our need for guns, redundent.

If the Police cannot respond to an urgent call for help within a few minutes, that solution isn’t to make it easier for us to own guns, to have them around our kids. The solution is to hire more police, to train them better, and to make that response time faster.

The gun registry is simply a tool, nothing more. The cost is not about registrering the weapons, but about the legal challenges from groups like the NRA, groups that also support political campaigns like those of Mr. Harper.

If we know where the guns are, we can perhaps trace them back when they are used in criminal activity. If we know a house was broken into, and the gun was stolen, and the thief caught, we can trace who he/she sold the guns to, to the store or individual, and who knows, perhaps find the one who used it for a crime. THAT IS WHAT THE REGISTRY CAN ACCOMPLISH.

The only thing Stephen Harper is trying to do here, is to deny our Police, the tools they need, to combat crime. His approach is one of contempt for anything that he doesn’t like, and to that end, he would prefer to play politics, than in solving the underlying issues. Crime is up, but it is from his lack of addressing the issues, not the Gun Registry that is to blame.

Cutting budgets, to social programs, denying proper police recruitment, expansion, is what causes crime to go up. Economic factors, like being in a recession that he claimed wouldn’t happen, are bound to cause increased crime. Yet his solution, is to make people spend time in jail, irrespective of the circumstances.

Mr. Harper has done a lot of talking about accountability. The Gun Registry is one of those things, that do make people accountable, yet is what Mr. Harper wants to have removed, all because he thinks it is good politics..

Stop the War

I think, in all honesty that there are not very many who don’t want to see an end to the wars in the Middle East. Whether it be the battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the battle between Hamas & Israel, Hezbolla and Israel & Lebanon, or the one in Iraq that is between someone and the USA. We all desire Peace, and an end to death of all peoples, no matter which country they come from, or which side they are on.

The anger that overtook us after 9/11 is understandable, though perhaps we reacted a bit too guickly, in jumping in and throwing the Taliban out of power. While I believe them to be a very backwards organization, that is way too strict on its interpretation of Islamic Laws, it was trying to accomodate USA demands.

Now our Immigration department is refusing to let a Scottish MP into the country, because he happens to support Hamas & the Taliban. We call them Terrorists, and under our law, have the right to refuse entry to people that support Terrorist Groups.

So, how come there is an ambassador and embassy for Iran, Syria and a few other countries, in Ottawa? After all, they too are named as Nations supporting Terrorists. Why are their spokespeople allowed to not only speak here, but also to live here?

Stephen Harper & his Conservatives have made a big deal about how there is no need for Hate Crime legislation, as it applies to Homosexuals, nor does he quite think the Human Rights Commission is really necessary. He doesn’t think that Hate Speech against Jews, is right, because after all, Speech is either FREE or NOT.

Then his Immigration Minister supports refusing entry to a Scottish MP, who has a different opinion than many, in the Western World, or does he? After all, Jack Layton was labelled Taliban Jack when he suggested negotiating with the Taliban last year, but now our Stevie Boy thinks that is a good idea.  Of course, that comes AFTER THE USA HAS SUDDENLY SWITCHED TO BEING WILLING TO DISCUSS OR NEGOTIATE WITH THE TALIBAN.

So then, why is Galloway being denied entry?

IF someone wants to stand on a street corner, and say homosexuals are sinners, are wrong, or if the POPE wants to say we aren’t going to heaven, hey I have no problem with them saying that. In fact people like the Reverend Phelps, should be allowed to speak their vile thoughts.

AFTER ALL, IT IS MERELY THEIR OPINION.

Fact is, that if people like Phelps want to speak their evil, that is their right, just as it is my right to disagree. HOWEVER, when they deny me equal rights, under the civil code, then they need a good spanking. If the POPE thinks we are bad, and not allowed in his Church, that is fine too. YET when he tries to deny me my rights under civil law, then he needs to be spanked.

IF Galloway wants to support negotiation with the Taliban, wants to bring back their strict religious code for Afghanistan, that is between the Taliban and the Afghan People, not our immigration service. HE HAS THE RIGHT TO GIVE HIS OPINION,  just as we have the right to disagree, or to ignore it.

Just as anyone has the RIGHT to say Israel is wrong in its use of force in Palestine, just as anyone has the RIGHT to say that HAMAS is wrong. And while we are at this, let us keep in mind that HAMAS was a duly ELECTED GOVERNMENT.

Does Galloway pose a threat? I suppose some could argue he does, but he is there to give a contrary view, to what most of us believe. And isn’t that exactly what our soldiers have been fighting for?

We cannot deny free speech to those who say things we find objectionable, or that we adamantly oppose. That is not Democracy, but TYRANNY.