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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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PR Genius

Kevin Steel says all that needs to be said about the sheer public relations genius of Craig Docksteader. Which leaves me free to mock on other grounds. Let's find out about the Citizens Center....
We seek to improve the quality of life for all Canadians by promoting policies that foster individual initiative and personal responsibility. et seq.
Nothing says individual initative like firing your staff and refusing to pay the benefits they are entitled to. Hiding behind the legal separation between the Center and the company which published Reports magazine is a grand example of taking person responsibility.

We emphasize limited government, open democracy, free markets and the natural rights of life, free speech, religion and property.
Plus, and this is an added bonus, a particular regard for the rights of owners to terminate employment without severance or holiday benefits and, in special cases - determined by applying the principles of natural justice and a measurement of Link's thumb, the natural right to repudiate contracts and refuse payment for work received.


We not only want a more-open democracy and freer markets, but we also envision a country in which the natural rights to life, free speech, religion and property will flourish.
Not clear on what the hyphen between more and open means - no matter - there is nothing like a free market in which you can simply ignore the legal and the moral claims of your employees. A nation in which the consequences of no notice termination are borne on the shoulders most able to bear the weight - the employees.


Working together with thousands of Canadians, the Citizens Centre will develop policy, advocate reforms in public forums and in the courts, and seek to inform and inspire through our regular publications and other media.
Nice of Link to mention the Courts - his PR gunsel seems ready to suggest litigation at the drop of a pin. And, hey, I am inspired just knowing that the good people of Alberta are being offered pension advice from a guy who can't - or rather won't - pay his own former employees. Let's just hope the other media are as overwhelmed with admiration as I am.

More later....Still to come...What Makes us distinct? Refederation and.....Canada Can Be Fixed including this little gem from our favorite employment scofflaw
"Judges (as a result of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) and human-rights tribunals are also undermining the rightful authority of elected representatives. In many crucial respects, genuine democracy has ceased to function in Canada."
Gosh, do you think those elected representative who passed the employment laws are feeling all that chuffed to be hectored by God's HypocriteTM?


De Linked

The Citizen's Center email reader and, apparently, gatekeeper for God's Hypocritetm, Link Byfield, apparently thinks Matthew 7 doesn't apply,


Frankly, this email is not worth passing on to Link. You know nothing
about the situation obviously. If Kevin et al think Link is shafting
them they are sadly delusional and should get on with their life. If
they honestly think Link is holding out on them then there is legal
recourse available to them. It won't change the outcome by a dime, but
perhaps it will end the nonsense.

Craig Docksteader
Operations Manager

Reading Kevin's post I can imagine that Link is likely standing on corporate personality and the legal separation between the Citizen's Center and the company which employed Colby et al.. Legally, this is a perfectly plausible position - ethically it suggests Link Byfield and his associates were bankrupt long ago.

hypocrisy Link

Colby Cosh points out that Link Byfield, ex-proprietor of Report magazine and now chairman of the Alberta based Citizens Center for Freedom and Democracy is launching a campaign to switch Alberta out of the Canada Pension Plan and into an Alberta based plan. Nothing wrong with that; but should Albertans really be taking financial advice from a guy who stiffed his own employees for severence pay holiday pay and, apparently, other contractual obligations? I sent Byfield the following email, you might do the same:
Hi Link,

If you really want to have any credibility on the Pension issue - one which has a good deal of merit - it is time to make things right with your former employees at Reports magazine.

The alternative is that you will be ruthlessly mocked as a hypocrite both in the popular press and in the blogging community.

Advocating pension reform when you have personally and corporately failed to meet your own obligations to people who relied upon you is remarkably underhanded.

7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Get it done Link.

Yours, Jay Currie
I am always amazed at how often fundys forget Matthew 7.


By the Numbers

Colby Cosh has been running the combined PC/CA numbers. With various assumptions it appears that the proposed merger would yield a net increase of 35 seats on a 301 seat house. Not enough to form a majority government. And, as Colby points out, while it would reduce the Liberals to minority status this would not be an unmixed blessing as they might have to rely upon the NDP for a majority. A cure likely worse than the disease.

Colby also points out that a relatively small swing of disaffected PC/CA voters to the rightest Liberals under Martin would produce a majority Liberal government. So the question becomes whether Martin will go after those PC/CA voters. And if so, how hard? The answer is certainly yes and, I expect, Martin will do it by taking a few socon issues and making them his own. Decriminalization? Not if it costs Liberal seats. Gay marriage? Why not leave that to Svend and the NDP. For the right wing of the Liberal Party these sorts of issues are incidental. If going hard on the sanctity of marriage will deliver Chinese voters in Vancouver and Toronto, Martin will be for it. If that loses a few votes downtown, it will play in the burbs where the seats are.

The name of the Liberal game will be to crush the right for a generation. With an essentially right wing leader this should not be terrifically difficult to do.

One Year Blogging

So, now that I have my archives up I discovered that I have been running this blog for a year. First post on the 15th of October 2002 actually. Lord knows how many words and a few thousand visits a month. The pleasure of blogging, at least for me, is as much about the writing as anything else. Just having a place to put the half baked ideas and the pieces of research and the sense of outrage or amusement. It's addictive.

Thanks to everyone who has read the blog, put up with my coding challenged design and my inability to get the archives to work. And thanks to all who have linked here. It has been a great ride so far and I have the feeling that the blogging world is really just getting started.

@#$%^ Archives

I am in the midst of writing an article on the broadcast flag and making a buck in the age of easy file sharing. I needed a post from a little while back so decided to finally tackle my permalink problem. That was two hours ago. Grrrr.
UpdateOK, they are ugly and the permalinks do not work on an item by item basis; but at least the little suckers are there. Amazingly I wasted 2 1/2 hours of my life because the brainiacs who run Bloogger put up a ' rather than a " in their clever little list your archives bit of code. A note has been sent. Now permalinks...But first some actual writing.

Really Big Problems

North Korea is a much trickier problem. Some facilities are buried deep inside mountains and cannot be readily attacked and destroyed from the air. Others we may not know about at all. The regime itself is highly secretive, and unless the U.S. had reliable and timely intelligence about the whereabouts of Kim Jong Il and his top lieutenants, exceptional luck would be required to decapitate it by means of a conventional blow. Even if we did get lucky, there would still be the possibility of a North Korean response.

Not only does the North appear to have deliverable nuclear weapons, it also has one of the world's largest armies, comprising 1.2 million soldiers, some 70% of whom are positioned in and around the 12,000 underground bunkers near the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. These forces are armed with approximately 10,000 artillery pieces and over 800 missiles capable of reaching South Korea and some of its neighbors. In addition, they are equipped with 2,500 multiple-rocket launchers capable of firing (by a conservative estimate) 500,000 shells an hour to a range of 33 miles. The city of Seoul, situated 24 miles from the DMZ and with a population of more than 10 million, could be devastated within hours.
wall street journal
Something to read with your Cheerios.


Creeping DMCA

Michael Giest writes in the Toronto Star that
Although Canada has already concluded a free trade agreement with the United States, it is not spared from this latest trend. Current drafts of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement, which would broaden the North American Free Trade Agreement to include countries such as Chile, feature provisions that mandate stronger copyright protections. If those provisions remain intact, copyright policy may be altered not through the traditional policy making process, but rather via international trade negotiations.
toronto star
This should worry Canadians as the Americans are unwilling to allow a private copying right. And, with the Bono amendments to the copyright regime, ensuring that Mickey Mouse will be in copyright pretty much forever, the Supreme Court of Canada's intelligent position on copyright cited by Geist,
In fact, the Canadian Supreme Court identified many of those same concerns in a landmark case last year. Noting the importance of maintaining a fair copyright balance, the Court stated that "the proper balance ... lies not only in recognizing the creator's rights but in giving due weight to their limited nature . . . excessive control by holders of copyrights and other forms of intellectual property may unduly limit the ability of the public domain to incorporate and embellish creative innovation in the long-term interests of society as a whole, or create practical obstacles to proper utilization."
could easily be traded away for a little more access for PEI spuds. Good for Geist for raising a flag.

Woe Canada, Heathcare?

Over at Tech Central Station Sally Pipes is beginning a four part series on Canadian Health Care. Unsurprisingly, she is not impressed.
The median waiting time in Canada from referral by a general practitioner to treatment was 16.5 weeks in 2002 -- up 77 percent from 1993. For cancer patients, waiting times for medical oncology have increased from 2.5 weeks to 5.5 weeks and for radiation oncology from 6.3 weeks to 10 weeks. In the United States, the waiting time is a week, and that long only because of the need to deal with paperwork.
It is a real issue and one which bedevils the entire Canadian political system. I'm going to be reading carefully with two questions in mind: first, how does Pipes handle the question of America's uninsured? Canadian wait times are horrific in some cases; but if you go to Emergency you get treatment with no questions about your ability to pay. Second, are the problems in the Canadian system intrinsic to that system or are they issues which can be fixed within that system?
As far as prescription drugs are concerned, you can ask the patients who recently took advantage of a bus trip to Maine organized by Consumer Advocare Network and Dr. Tony Lordon of St. Johns, New Brunswick what Canadian price controls have meant to them. Provincial health ministries in effect denied them the treatments their doctors say they need for diabetes, cholesterol, and depression. They were forced to travel to Maine to get them. Other Canadians have waited years for new medicines readily available in the United States to combat such debilitating illnesses as rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C because of the way Canada tries to control drug prices.
This is a good example of a problem which can and should be fixed within the system.

On a personal note, Susan and I are expecting a baby in the next three weeks. Blogging may be light. But, poor as we are, we have the assurance that come the day Susan will have outstanding care from skilled midwives with full obstetrical backup with no fees payable. Which, frankly, I want to preserve for every Canadian.

What Part of this doesn't the Trolltmget?

''If the Palestinians would take steps on security...perhaps Israel would not feel the need to act unilaterally in this way in its defense,'' a U.S. State Department spokesman said.
Earlier in the day the Troll of Ramallahtm called on the world community to "''immediately intervene to stop this military madness in which they aim to destroy the Holy Land and this steadfast people".

Yo, Troll, you tell your folks to stop shooting, bombing and firing missles and see what happens.

More Denial of Service?

I tried checking out Little Green Footballs and Instapundit. Server seems to be down. The server they are on has been hit with denial of service attacks aimed at Internet Haganah - a site which tracks down and exposes militiant Islamofascist websites. (The link is to a mirror site Internet Haganah has set up to keep publishing throught the attacks.)

There is pretty strong evidence that this DOS attack is coming via Malaysia and being organized by way of Arabic forums. More evidence that the radical end of the Arab world simply cannot bear to hear positions different from its own.


Swiss Right March

the sheer quaintness of Swiss Party politics where everybody, left to right, has a seat at the Cabinet table, was upset on the weekend when the Swiss People's Party, from the right got 27% of the vote. Currently the Peoples Party holds one of the seven cabinet seats; in a radical move, it is now asking for two. The party campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform.
But commentators have moved quickly to pick apart what persuaded some 27% of the electorate to back a party which campaigned primarily on an anti-foreigner platform, using posters portraying asylum seekers as criminals.

Switzerland has a relatively high level of immigration, per head of population - asylum applications rose by 26.6% in 2002 to 26,125.

Anti-immigration sentiment has been growing in Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark. the reason is not hard to spot - the vast majority of the immigrants and asylum seekers are Muslims and often the most primitive type of Muslim. Since 9/11 WEstern nations have had to confront the implicit political, cultural, social and religious changes large scale Muslim immigration imposes on European societies. And they have not liked those changes one bit.

For some of those nations, the Netherlands in particular, the Muslim population threatens to become a majority within a relatively short time. While not all of the Muslim immigrants are fundamentalist or politicized, the fact is that a majority Muslim population would likely begin to impose Shari'a - at first as a parallel system but, eventually, as the law of the land. For many Europeans this is unacceptable. But, given the two decades of virtually unfettered Muslim immigration, it may be inevitable. The question will resolve when the demographics of the second generation immigrants are better understood. First generation immigrants in France and England have had significantly higher birthrates than the existing population. The theory is that, in the second generation, as the immigrants are assimilated into the host culture, the birth rates will trend toward the societal average.

The question is whether this traditional pattern will hold for an immigrant population which actively opposes such assimilation.

All Wet in Canada

Generating power with the flow of water is one of the first really revolutionary applications of nanotecchnology. Discovered by Canadian scientists at the University of Alberta. Which makes this lede in The Register more than a little irritating, "US scientists have discovered how to generate electricity - by nothing more than pushing water through a fine glass tube." But the rest of the coverage is interesting.

Another bit of DTV information

I am cobbling together an article on the culture shift which digital storage of television signals presents to conventional, cable and satelite broadcasters. This article on TIVO and the integration of DVRs into set top boxes is another interesting piece of the puzzle. The New York Time reporter does not discusss this but I wonder if there is an easy way of downloading from a set top box....Wnat to be there isn't?


Lazy Sunday

After the giant rains Vancouver shook herself off and gave us a summer day. Warm, gentle. I spent a lot of the day with Sam - who you see above - mooching around Kerrisdale, going to the little park by the community center, kicking through piles of still moist leaves and wandering into a wonderful hobby shop. We looked at trains and little figurines which you paint and play dice games with. We looked at fake trees and fake rocks which cost more than the real thing but which would look so cool with a little Marklin Z-club layout.

A lot of what I write about here and comment on elsewhere is informed by the idea that mooching around on a Sunday afternoon with your nearly three year old should be normal. You would not have to worry about a bomb going off on the bus or the possibility that a bit of biology gone bad will spoil your, or anyone else's afternoon. Getting to that requires a beady gaze on facts and a willingness to stand up for the values which make it possible to be secure, safe and happy on a lovely Sunday afternoon.