Sunday, June 28, 2009
28th June 2009, 3:38am
Often, when climate hysterics and global warming alarmists don't like what I write -- but don't know what they're talking about and thus have nothing intelligent to say in response -- they come back with what they think is their knock-out punch.
It's always words to the effect of: "I hope you're happy getting your blood money from the oil companies, Mr. Goldstein. How can you look at yourself in the mirror every morning? Don't you care about your grandchildren? What happened to journalistic integrity?"
Sometimes, they include in their missives their membership in some obscure organization, usually built around the idea that if we would all just give all our money to the government, or to some other collection of wise elites, and let them spend it for us on our behalf, the world would be a cleaner, safer and "cooler" (pardon the pun) place.
That's pretty much the theory behind carbon taxes and cap-and-trade, by the way.
However, I'm afraid these rants don't have the desired effect, because while their obvious aim is to make me angry via cheap smears, they just give me the giggles.
That's because the idea that I've been sitting here for over two years reading book after book, doing hours upon hours of independent research and pounding out column after column, trying to get people to calm down about anthropogenic climate change before we do something really stupid, all because I'm secretly in the pay of the fossil fuel industry, is simply, utterly, laughably absurd. Plus, it's a lie.
Besides, if you really want to skim the fiscal cream on the issue of man-made global warming these days, the last place you want to be is in the camp of the so-called skeptics, or, as I prefer to call us -- sane.
No, where you want to be if you're in it for the money, is in like flint with the politicians, environmentalists and energy companies who constantly preach that they're all about saving the planet, even if it costs us every last cent we own.
Tom Adams, now an independent energy and environmental consultant, who for 11 years until 2007 was the highly respected executive director of Energy Probe, explains it all on a video he's posted on YouTube titled the "Green Energy Act Paradox."
While we agree his presentation skills need work (sorry, Tom), Adams, intimately familiar with the passage of Premier Dalton McGuinty's Green Energy Act, succinctly lays out what's going on.
He describes the "cosy relationship" that exists among governments that want power, energy companies that want profits and environmental organizations that want more renewable energy, but also consulting fees and government funding.
The way it works is governments hand out money to environmental organizations, who consult with and for energy companies, who together advise the government on what green energy laws should look like, and who then praise the government -- ad nauseam -- for the legislation they helped design when the government unveils it.
And who are the losers in this neat little drama, you ask?
Why, the public, of course, who are increasingly being presented with so-called "green" legislation in which all the key decisions have been made behind closed doors, long before the so-called public consultations begin.
Take, for example, the increasing number of rural communities suddenly finding themselves prospective sites for industrial wind farms, while their concerns about the possible health affects from noise are ridiculed, requests for adequate setbacks dismissed as "nimbyism" (not-in-my-backyard-syndrome) and demands for full planning and environmental hearings ignored.
Why? Usually because a bunch of politicians who don't know the first thing about climate change, have convinced themselves they've somehow magically become experts in the field.
Take Premier McGuinty. When he promised to close Ontario's coal-fired power generating stations in the 2003 election -- a promise he's broken so many times since we've all lost count -- the only problem he identified with those plants was their contribution to air pollution. Not a word about greenhouse gases contributing to climate change, which is just about all he talks about now.
In reality, McGuinty could reduce the air pollution from those plants he now says he'll close by 2014 -- honest -- by installing scrubbers. But the government's argument now is this isn't worth it, because that won't simultaneously lower greenhouse gas emissions, the issue he didn't mention in 2003.
And these folks are going to "fix" our climate? Sure they are.
When pigs fly.
28th June 2009, 3:35am
Seven city councillors accepted more than $4,000 combined in campaign donations from the city's two striking unions during the last municipal election.
CUPE Locals 79 and 416, which represent the 24,000 inside and outside workers who walked off the job six days ago and are fighting for better wages and to keep their benefits, gave $200 and $500 respectively to Councillors Maria Augimeri, Anthony Perruzza, Adam Giambrone, Janet Davis, and council's budget chief Shelley Carroll.
CUPE 4400, which represents workers at the Toronto District School Board, also gave $750 donations to Carroll, Davis, Perruzza and Giambone.
Local 79 also gave $200 donations to Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and council speaker Sandra Bussin.
According to some of their critics, those donations -- albeit small -- are enough to question their actions during the strike.
But many of those councillors have not been working in City Hall this past week during the strike.
"These are our employees, for whom we have to make major decisions concerning their wages, their benefits and their working conditions," said Councillor Doug Holyday, who didn't accept any union donations in 2006. "I think it's totally improper that councillors be influenced in this way ... Those union donations aren't proper."
And while most critics of corporate and union donations admit a few hundred dollars can't buy a vote on council, it can buy some influence, according to at least two other councillors who want the practice scrapped.
"At a minimum, it's the perception of influence," Councillor Michael Walker said. "In reality, it may be greater than that. It may be that your vote is compromised by it.
"We should try and remove, wherever possible, those corrupting influences of big money," he said.
(Walker, and about 10 other councillors -- including Toronto Mayor David Miller -- did not accept any corporate or union donations in the 2006 municipal election.)
The city's elections financial disclosure website tracks all individual, corporate, and union contributions made to every campaign, even losing ones.
According to the website, although the maximum allowable limit for a campaign donation in a municipal election is $750, Carroll accepted two $750 donations from the Toronto firefighters' union, and three separate donations from the TTC's union, amounting to $800.
Records on the website also show Davis, who tied Carroll for the most union donations with 15, accepted $1,000 from the International Union of Painters.
When asked about the issue of union donations to election campaigns, Davis told the Sun she wasn't the "official" spokesman for the city on the ongoing labour negotiations.
"We're in a labour relations environment right now. No comment," she said.
Carroll, when asked about the $1,450 she accepted from the Canadian Union of Public Employees last election, said all the election donations are on the website.
"We're not commenting on that stuff right now," she added.
All told, union donations accounted for just over 2% of all 2006 municipal election financing, which is up from 1.1% during the 2003 election.
In fact, across the GTA, Toronto's percentage of union donations is second only to Oshawa, which had 4%.
Walker and councillors Cliff Jenkins and Chin Lee made a move at the city's executive committee in January to have corporate and trade union donations banned from municipal election campaigns.
The committee, which Miller headed, has asked for a draft bylaw doing just that to be brought before them in the fall. The request for the draft bylaw passed 7-4 at committee.
De Baeremaeker, who voted for the bylaw, said he is in favour of banning special-interest donations, even though he accepted 13 union donations in 2006.
"I have voted in favour of ending that practice of corporate and union donations because I think it's the right thing to do," he said, adding they haven't influenced his votes on council.
"I hadn't even thought about it until you mentioned it just now," De Baeremaeker told the Sun, about whether union donations made his job more difficult during the strike.
"That shows you how high it is on my radar screen," he said.
Council will vote in the fall whether to ban corporate and union donations.
If they do, which Walker and Jenkins think is likely given the mayor's support, Toronto will be the first city in Ontario to ban them.
7 COUNCILLORS WHO TOOK CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM STRIKING UNIONS
1. SHELLEY CARROLL city council budget chief, accepted 15 union donations totalling $7,550 three were from CUPE totalling $1,450
2. JANET DAVIS accepted 15 union donations totalling $7,650, three were from CUPE totalling $1,450
3. MARIA AUGIMERI accepted 13 union donations totalling $8,350, two from CUPE totalling $700
4. GLENN DE BAEREMAEKER accepted 13 union donations totalling $5,900, two from CUPE totalling $500
5. ANTHONY PERRUZZA accepted 10 union donations totalling $4,850, three from CUPE totalling $1,450
6. ADAM GIAMBRONE accepted 10 union donations totalling $5,450, three from CUPE totalling $1,450
7. SANDRA BUSSIN council speaker, accepted nine union donations totalling $5,900, two from CUPE totalling $5007 COUNCILLORS WHO TOOK CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM STRIKING UNIONS
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Last Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2009 | 4:08 PM ET
Internet service providers would have to make it possible for police and intelligence officers to intercept online communications and get personal information about subscribers under bills tabled Thursday.
"We must ensure that law enforcement has the necessary tools to catch up to the bad guys and ultimately bring them to justice. Twenty-first century technology calls for 21st-century tools," said Justice Minister Rob Nicholson as he announced the new bills with Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan at a news conference in Ottawa.
The bills are intended to modernize the Criminal Code and help law enforcement officials chase those suspected of using the internet and other new technologies to communicate and commit crimes, as well as maximize the ability to conduct international investigations, Nicholson said.
Targets 'safe havens'
One bill, announced by Van Loan, would require telecommunications and internet service providers to:
Van Loan said the bill won't provide new interception powers to police, but simply update the legal framework designed "in the era of the rotary telephone."
He noted that police can already get the authority to intercept communications, but the network is often incapable of allowing such interception.
"Criminals, child pornographers, organized crime members and terrorists are aware of these interception safe havens. They identify them and gravitate towards them to exploit them and continue their criminal activities undetected, out of the reach of the investigative powers of law enforcement."
Van Loan added that internet service providers are currently not required to provide subscriber information to police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS), and may be unwilling to provide such data without a police warrant, slowing down the investigation of crimes such as child sexual exploitation or online theft.
ISPs must preserve data
The other bill, introduced by Nicholson, would:
Nicholson said the government believes the proposed legislation strikes an "appropriate balance" between law enforcement's investigative powers to protect public safety and the privacy and rights and freedoms of Canadians.
Law enforcement officials at the news conference praised the bill.
Calgary deputy chief of police Murray Stooke said police have been requesting the modernization of laws related to interception of communications for a decade. He added that the government consulted broadly with Canadians and interest groups before introducing the new legislation.
"We do understand that the privacy concerns of Canadians must be respected," he added, "but at the same time, we have a growing gap in terms of our capacity [to investigate crimes]."
However, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist wrote in his blog Thursday that the bills are "pretty much exactly what law enforcement has been demanding and privacy groups have been fearing. It represents a reneging of a commitment from the previous Public Safety Minister on court oversight and will embed broad new surveillance capabilities in the Canadian internet."
Cost to ISPs
Tom Copeland, head of chair of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP), which represents dozens of smaller Canadian ISPs, said Thursday he fears the bill requiring internet-tapping capability could put some of his members out of business.
Van Loan said the companies themselves will have to pay for new equipment to meet the requirements, although the government will provide "reasonable compensation" when retrofits to existing hardware are needed.
The companies will have 18 months to make the changes, but there will be a three-year exemption for those with less than 100,000 subscribers.
But even that may not be enough time for some small providers, as they usually buy used, older network equipment that wouldn't be tappable, he said. Buying that new equipment could cost $15,000, and even if the government covers half, the remainder would be a "significant burden," Copeland said.
"I know a lot of providers who couldn't come up with the other half – it's just not the margins we have."
Larger internet service providers such as Bell also expressed concerns.
Spokeswoman Jacqueline Michelis said in an email that the company "has long been committed to working with law enforcement agencies to find effective and efficient solutions for their legitimate surveillance needs," but policing costs shouldn't be downloaded to one particular industry.
"Other funding mechanisms must be found," Michelis said.
Copeland said that with respect to providing subscriber information without a warrant, he is glad the bill brings some "clarity and consistency" to the issue. Previously, he said, ISPs were unsure whether providing that information would violate the Privacy Act and leave the companies vulnerable to a lawsuit.
He said the other bill introduced Thursday represents no real change to ISPs.
Rogers Communications participated in consultations during the drafting of the bills and now that they have been tabled, will study them and provide feedback to the government, said Nancy Cottenden, director of communications for the company, in an email.
Friday, June 19, 2009
A Jewish-Canadian author is in a battle of words with the Canadian Jewish Congress after alleging the organization props up neo-Nazi groups to get “hate crime” legislation passed and expand the role of the country’s Human Rights Commission.
Neo-conservative author Ezra Levant claims in his latest book, Shakedown, that the Canadian Jewish Congress hired ex-cop John Garrity to work for the Canadian Nazi Party in the 1960’s. In 1965 and 1966, Garrity was put in charge of membership for the group and organized the dozen or so “rag-tag band of losers” into an outfit that garned a lot of press coverage.
That media attention was used by the CJC to build up a precieved public threat that persuaded Parliament to abridge Canada’s freedom of speech, Levant contends. The CJC, which had been advocating restrictions on free speech in Canada since the 1930’s, used the Nazi Party’s publicity to successfully lobby for the 1971 “hate law” (Section 319 of the Criminal Code). The end result was the enactment of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which “empowers the Canadian Human Rights Commission to deal with complaints regarding the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet.”
Levant’s claim has been floating around for some time now. Garrity came clean in a 1966 article for Maclean’s magazine, admitting that he handed member and donor information over over to the CJC; however, he did not say his final goal was to curtail free speech in Canada.
Garrity did admit that the Canadian Nazi Party did not conspire to or implement any violent or illegal activities. In fact, any violence Garrity saw was done by Jewish and anti-racist vigilantes. “Sadly, it is the [....] anti-Nazi extremists who, in their attempts to destroy Beattie, provide him with most of the publicity he craves. If it weren’t for the riots and the assaults and the public protest meetings they hold, there’d be no real news,” Garrity wrote in his article.
Back in November 2000, former Canadian Nazi Party leader John Beattie was scheduled to testify at a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that he was a “dupe and a patsy” for the CJC. He was also going to explain how an agent from the CJC (presumably Garrity) “proposed legal maneuvers [sic] that were calculated to frighten and cause distress among Jews.” However, Beattie never testified, a point many have speculated upon.
Levant then contends that some twenty years after the collapse of the Canadian Nazi Party, Canada’s spy agency infiltrated another neo-Nazi group, The Heritage Front. CSIS agent Grant Bristow wound up running the now-defunct group, using Canadian tax dollars to foment more hysteria that got Section 13 to expand even further.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission also actively engages in “hate speech” in order to catch and prosecute people for “hate speech,” Levant contends. The biggest offender of such a practice is former CHRC staffer Richard Warman, who has been the complainant in all but two cases heard by the CHRC tribunal this decade. In addition to making tens of thousands of dollars, the CJC bestowed Warman with a special award for his efforts.
The tables were stunningly turned on Warman last month, after the CHRC rebuked Warman for his anti-Semitic postings the White Nationalist website Stormfront.org. Warman defended himself by saying his posts that “Jews are scum” was an attempt to gather information on real Nazis, but the tribunal called his actions “disappointing and disturbing,” and ruled that he risked encouraging
More hateful messages himself.
“Warman’s actions appalled the tribunal, but apparently not the CJC,” says Levant. “Just as the CJC did with Garrity, Nazi opponents continue to stir up neo-Nazi incidents — as if there aren’t enough real threats to Jews as it is.”
Current CJC co-president, Rabbi Reuven Bulka, has dissmissed Levant’s allegations as “fiction” and that all the group did for the Nazis was “to purchase a bottle of rum” for them. Rabbi Bulka wants a retraction to the allegations published in a second printing of Levant’s book.
Friday, June 5, 2009
WAUSEON - The man who drove his 20-year-old Mustang from Napoleon, Ohio, to Las Vegas and back last year on 39 gallons of fuel will open his first manufacturing facility Monday to allow others to get 110 miles per gallon.
Mr. Pelmear has said that he employs more precise tolerances and manufacturing techniques to decrease heat and energy loss and increase the efficiency of the internal combustion engine. He said he has more than quadrupled the industry average engine efficiency of about 8 percent.