To use your father’s language, Justin

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This was the moment

I don’t watch television, but I almost wish I had caught this one live.  (What would I do without YouTube?)  I found two glorious nuggets in Barack Obama‘s victory speech after the Iowa Caucus on Thursday night.  The first:

I’ll be a President who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.  And I’ll be a President who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home, who restores our moral standing, who understands that 9/11 is not a way to scare up votes but a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century — common threats of terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

OK, so that probably qualifies as six or eight.  Wow!  A US presidential possibility talking about the tyranny of oil, the threats of nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty?  w00t!  Not surprising this dude won!  I hope he has excellent security around him because the KKK can’t be too happy about it.

Here’s the second shining nugget:

Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.  Hope is what I saw…Hope is what led me here today…

After he won the SK election in November 2007, Brad Wall shouted,  Hope beats fear! Hope beats fear!  I cringed when I heard that language.  Hope doesn’t beat anything.  It’s scientifically wrong.  And, there was certainly no evidence contrary to a definitive Sask Party win before the SK election in November.

Obama understands hope.  Hope is something we can have and hold.  We can dare to choose it.  We can choose to find the courage to work towards that for which we hope.  We can use that courage to make change in our personal and public lives.  Tommy Douglas knew about that, too.  It’s evident in his epitaph, Courage my Friends, ’tis not too late to make a better world.  I think Barak and Tommy would be buds were the times different.

I don’t know if Barack Obama is the right guy to lead the Democrats to victory.  My sense is he’s a good guy, a little less radical than I would want.  But he could pull the vote from where it’s never been pulled and the USA is long overdue for a black president.  Here’s his full victory speech, if you’re interested.

 

With thanks to that bastard logician with three t’s, mattt, for the nudge.

Fiacco Lies on a Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & an Inland Port

Veering ever-so slightly off my no nukes agenda to slip in an I told you so.  Mayor Fiacco would not reveal the plans for this before the municipal election and now that he is safely back in office he can reveal his real plan.  Today P’n’P learns of the plan for a Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port which is part of the NAFTA Highway, the Security and Prosperity Agreement, the ecological devastation called the Tar Sands, and North American Union.

This gateway involves moving the rails from central Regina to the west side where industrial development is taking place and will likely increase dramatically without our approval.  It will increase land and air traffic which means more air and noise pollution.  It will move us closer to BushCo’s & HarperCo’s dreams of not only continental unity but also a continental currency.  At a time when we need to be doing our utmost to curb green house gas emissions, our City is promoting increased consumption and an increased use of fossil fuels!

Thanks for what amounts to lies, Mayor Pat, and for selling us out to the corporatist extremists. We’ll see you at the polls in less than two years.  And we will remember.

Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port

Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port

The Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port, or “Prairie Gateway” is a virtual combination of services and a cluster of numerous transportation, distribution and assembly players working and investing together. This is the best way to maximize the existing transportation assets across an integrated region, with many transportation, production, storage, trans-loading, assembly, product identification and research resources working as a team. This base will draw additional investment, labour and technology as a catalyst for a host of new ancillary business service companies.

What is an Inland Port?

An Inland Port is defined less on the physical aspects of one location and more on the intelligent logistics and coordination of a multitude of services.  It has the following qualities:

  1. Is an organization or coalition made up of key transportation stakeholders
  2. Serves the regional trading area businesses and economy
  3. Facilitates growth for both import and export trade logistics
  4. A mechanism for cooperation, marketing the regions trade processing abilities
  5. Provides national coordination and collaboration among ocean port users

Why Saskatchewan?

Like the Kansas City Smart Port regional model, the Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port will be anchored by “connecting” the three major cities of Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina. This will promote regional asset and system optimization. It is proposed that Saskatchewan’s central continental location and lower costs would be of sufficient appeal to attract international investor attention. The high level of cooperation among the principal transportation centres of Saskatchewan, through the tri-cities will generate distinct advantages, including:

  1. Integrate and maximize the unique sub-regional advantages of each community to generate even greater synergies than each community could achieve by working separately;
  2. Provide a value-enhancing alternative to the various less coordinated and smaller scale and scope terminals, hubs or trans-loading sites existing in other parts of Canada;
  3. Foster freight movement productivity through modernization of regulatory reform (i.e. highway road weight limits) and preservation of freight-corridor efficiency on road, rail and air.

US Backing Down on Bali Agreement

Surprised?

The US backtracked yesterday on the climate change agreement reached after marathon talks in Bali, saying it had “serious concerns” about the new global consensus and that developing countries had to do far more if there was to be any pact in two years’ time.

The reality check followed the drama and euphoria of the weekend when the US was shamed into joining the rest of the world in working towards a new climate change agreement to come into force after 2012. All 190 countries have agreed to take the talks further.

But the White House press secretary, Dana Perino, poured cold water on the Bali result, saying the talks had not adequately addressed the responsibilities of developing countries. “The US does have serious concerns. Negotiations must [now] proceed on the view that the problem of climate change cannot be adequately addressed through commitments for emissions cuts by developed countries alone.”

In a clear signal that the US would agree to nothing unless China and India, the two largest developing countries, agreed to significant cuts, she said that account had to be taken of the size of countries’ emissions as well as their level of economic advancement. China’s emissions are on a level with those of the US but on a per capita level, each American emits far more than a Chinese. “For these negotiations to succeed, it is essential the major developed and developing countries be prepared to negotiate commitments that will make a due contribution to the reduction of global emissions,” she said.

Not really surprising, eh? In fact, it makes Environment Minister John Baird’s behavior at the plenary make sense. He wasn’t expecting the US to agree to anything. But they did do so, we now see, just to shut everyone up. They had to; they need NAU, GNEP and the Tar Sands to go ahead as planned.

Edited to add Monbiot’s point that this is an echo of the Kyoto round.

Bedfellows: Oil, Gas & Uranium

 

It just keeps getting more and more interesting, how these pronukers and oil barons collude and collaborate. I found the following buried in a Globe and Mail article:

 

 

Bruce Power Corp. announced that it has agreed to purchase assets of Energy Alberta Corp., a small company that has proposed building a reactor in Alberta to supply electricity and, possibly, hydrogen.

 

Bruce Power said it would forge ahead with plans to build a Candu reactor near Peace River, Alberta, with the launch of a full environmental assessment.

Isn’t it just so convenient that the Energy Alberta Corporation (EAC) is being consumed by the Bruce Power Corporation (BPC)? EAC is the little unknown Alberta company that introduced itself in 2005 with a mission to “to provide clean, emission-free energy, utilizing advanced and proven nuclear technology to supply oil sands operators and the province of Alberta with a reliable flow of electricity at a competitive cost.” [Note: EAC’s corporate mission statement has been revised since P’n’P first reported on this issue.] EAC teamed up with the federal crown corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada Corporation, in its bid to build a new-fangled and untested CANDU nuclear reactor in northern Alberta.

 

BPC bills itself as “Canada’s first private nuclear generating company.” Basically, it’s an all-male consortium with representatives from the uranium giant, Cameco, which purchased “nearly a third of Bruce Power LP” in 2003 according to Friends of Bruce. Also represented on the Bruce Power board is TransCanada Power Corporation, a pipelines and energy business which includes gas transmission, power generation, gas storage and their plans for the Keystone Pipeline which is proposed to run from the Alberta Tar Sands and south into the USA. The Communications, Energy, Paperworkers (CEP) Union of Canada, an affiliate of International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions, has called on the feds to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources for broader discussion and on Canadians to take actions to stop this proposed pipeline.

“There is no way this pipeline benefits Canada in any way,” says CEP President Dave Coles. “It’s all about boosting the bottom line of multinational oil companies.”

“This ruling is not in the public interest economically, socially or environmentally. CEP studies submitted to the NEB — that show the loss of 18,000 potential new jobs — have been ignored. Environmental concerns have been similarly ignored as has the issue of Canada compromising the energy needs of its own citizens to feed U.S. markets.”

“Clearly, this is the wrong decision for Canada, and it brings into question the role of the Board and the need for a domestic energy policy to protect Canadian interests. This discussion belongs in the political arena, and the federal government should take the necessary steps to make that happen.”

 

Interestingly, there is now a vacancy at the National Energy Board.

 

The tar sands giga-project is the single largest industrial project ever undertaken in the history of humanity, according to Oil Sands Truth. The community-based organization is working to shut down the tar sands project as part of Canada’s plan to tackle climate change and stop environmental devastation. Apparently, the MSM forgot to send a reporter to their end of November conference, Everyone’s Downstream, which brought together representatives from First Nations communities, environmental organizations, northern communities and migrant workers’ rights groups as well as the general public.

 

The proponents of the plan to nuclearize northern Alberta have been working tirelessly. Wayne Henuset of EAB was in Saskatoon in October, speaking at a Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce luncheon about Nuclear Power in the Oil Sands. All the players are moving ahead as though this project will not be stopped. We can be sure that Saskatchewan’s new premier, Brad Wall, will be eager to help his friends in the energy industry by supplying them with all they need.

 

To those who love this planet, it is essentional that we come together and stop this project. Greenpeace has named the threats of this project and they are huge:

 

 

I believe the capacity of the human spirit to overcome problems is greater than the threats we face. All we need to is to live into our intention to love this planet. Take action now!

 

 

Iraq Unmasks the American State

Interesting analysis, this, courtesy The Business of Emotions.  Long, but well worth the read.

I was particularly interested in these points about “America’s emotional and moral malaise” before the writer launches into how the Iraq Resistance shows the American State for what it is.

America’s Emotional and Moral Malaise
The explanation of Bush’s hold on the United States developed in The Business of Emotions over the past few years, can be summarized thus:

1. Without authentic emotions, the vital connection between thinking and feeling is lost and the ability to act, morally and politically, for oneself and for others, is compromised…

2. People who lack emotional authenticity are incapable of recognizing its absence in others…

3. People who lack authentic emotions are susceptible to the predations of emotional marketers…

4. Thinking without feeling, talking without meaning…

Thanks to

Iraqi Refugees Forced into Prostitution

I guess oil is soooo important that women and girls lives don’t really matter to GWB & Co…

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2701324.ece
The Independent on Sunday ~~ June 24, 2007
‘50,000 Iraqi refugees’ forced into prostitution
Women and girls, many alarmingly young, who fled the chaos at home are
being further betrayed after reaching ‘safety’ in Syria
By Nihal Hassan in Damascus

It’s Monday night in a dingy club on the outskirts of the Syrian
capital. Two dozen girls are moving half-heartedly on the dance floor,
lit up by flashing disco lights.

They are dessed in tight jeans, low-cut tops and knee-high boots, but
the girls’ make-up can’t disguise the fact that most are in their
mid-teens. It’s a strange sight in a conservative Muslim country, but
this is the sex business, and it’s booming as a result of the war in Iraq.

Backstage, the manager sits in his leather chair, doing business. A
Saudi client is quoted $500 for one of the girls. Eventually he beats
it down to $300. Next door, in a dimly lit room, the next shift of
girls arrives, taking off the black all-covering abayasthey wear
outside and putting on lipstick and mascara.

To judge from the cars parked outside, the clients come from all over
the Gulf region – many are young Saudi men escaping from an even more
conservative moral climate. But the Syrian friend who has brought me
here tells me that 95 per cent of the girls are Iraqi.

Most are unwilling to talk, but Zahra, an attractive girl with a bare
midriff and tattoos, tells me she’s 16. She has been working in this
club since fleeing to Syria from Baghdad after the war. She doesn’t
like it, she says, “but what can we do? I hope things get better in
Iraq, because I miss it. I want to go back, but I have to look after
my sister”. Zahra points to a thin, pubescent girl with long black
hair, who seems to be dancing quite happily. Aged 13, Nadia started in
the club two months ago.

As the girls dance suggestively, allowing their breasts to brush
against each other, one winks at a customer. But these girls are not
just providing the floor show – they have paid to be here, and they
need to pick up a client, or they’ll lose money. If successful,
they’ll earn about $60, equivalent to a month’s wages in a factory.

There are more than a million Iraqi refugees in Syria, many are women
whose husbands or fathers have been killed. Banned from working
legally, they have few options outside the sex trade. No one knows how
many end up as prostitutes, but Hana Ibrahim, founder of the Iraqi
women’s group Women’s Will, puts the figure at 50,000.

I met Fatima in a block of flats operating informally as a brothel in
Saida Zainab, a run-down area with a large Iraqi population. Millions
of Shias go there every year, because of the shrine of the prophet
Mohamed’s granddaughter. “I came to Syria after my husband was killed,
leaving me with two children,” Fatima tells me. “My aunt asked me to
join her here, and my brothers pressured me to go.” She didn’t realise
the work her aunt did, and she would be forced to take up, until she arrived.

Fatima is in her mid-20s, but campaigners say the number of Iraqi
children working as prostitutes is high. Bassam al-Kadi of Syrian
Women Observatory says: “Some have been sexually abused in Iraq, but
others are being prostituted by fathers and uncles who bring them here
under the pretext of protecting them. They are virgins, and they are
brought here like an investment and exploited in a very ugly way.”

Further viewing: Nihal Hassan and Nima Elbagir’s report will appear on
‘More 4 News’ at 8pm tomorrow