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Saviolo

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Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:34 PM
Number of posts: 278

Journal Archives

Mayor Rob Ford guilty, kicked from office but can run again

Source: The Toronto Star

Mayor Rob Ford has been found guilty of conflict of interest and will be removed from office.

But Justice Charles Hackland has granted Ford a 14-day stay and he will be allowed to run again.

Hackland found the mayor in violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. He had the option of banning Ford from running for up to seven years.

The hotly awaited decision follows a two-day hearing in early September that saw Ford grilled over his conduct at a Feb. 7 council meeting and the events that led up to it.

In March, Toronto resident Paul Magder alleged Ford broke a provision in the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act which states elected officials can’t speak to, or vote upon, items in which they have a “pecuniary interest.”

At the hearing before Hackland, Magder’s lawyer Clayton Ruby argued Ford was “reckless” and “wilfully ignorant” of the law when he did not recuse himself from the debate and vote.

Read more: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1293190--mayor-rob-ford-guilty-kicked-from-office-but-can-run-again



Our oafish right-wing mayor will be leaving office, though I get the feeling that he'll hold this up in appeals for ages. He's never been able to claim responsibility for any of his mistakes (only the successes), and there will be plenty of blustering and finger pointing. Ah well, at least his done for this term!

'Mega-quarry' in southern Ontario won't be built

Source: cbc.ca

The application to build a massive limestone quarry in Melancthon township near Orangeville, Ont., has been withdrawn.

The Highland Companies, the company behind the proposal, said in a news release that it acknowledges "the application does not have sufficient support from the community and government to justify proceeding with the approval process."

The company also said president John Lowndes has resigned and is no longer involved with the firm.

The scope of the project, which would have been developed on prime farmland near Orangeville, northwest of Toronto, earned it the moniker "mega-quarry." It would have spanned 937 hectares — about one-third the size of downtown Toronto — and create a crater 1½ times as deep as Niagara Falls.

Those opposed to the project were concerned about losing a massive swath of rich farmland and worried about the quarry’s effect on the water table.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/11/21/quarry-melancthon-proposal446.html



Yay!! Instead of a huge hole in the ground, we will maintain a great deal of incredibly rich farmland. Love the comments about jobs, as though the farmers were just lazing about doing nothing.

Right Wing Orson Scott Card melts down at the media

He's absolutely flipped out. The media has tricked everyone about Benghazi and everything. Here's my favourite paragraph:

You have to attack Fox News and sneer at them and accuse them of bias, don't you -- because they're actually doing the job you merely pretend to do. They shame you by their genuinely balanced coverage, so you have to lie and accuse them of being what you are: ideological hacks, providing propaganda in order to advance a cause, while hiding the unhelpful truth.


Read his whole melt-down here:
http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2012-11-08-1.html

Also read someone who's been tracking Card's mental breakdown over the last 20 years here:
http://www.rickworley.com/2012/02/20/orson-scott-card-douchebags-of-comics/

George Bush Accidently Votes For Obama (satire)

From the Daily Currant:

Former U.S. president George W. Bush accidentally voted for Barack Obama today at a polling place near his Crawford, TX home.

According to local reports, the two-term Republican was confused by the instructions on his electronic voting machine and mistakenly cast a ballot he intended to discard.

"First of all, everything was very mismaladjusted on the screen. You shouldn't put the senators and the congresspeople and the presidents all jumbled together like that. It's too crowded. Just confuses folks."

Bush then explained that after marking the wrong candidate, he sought to correct his error by clicking the red "Cast Ballot" button, thinking that it was designed to 'cast away' the ballot and bring up a fresh one:

"Usually red means stop and green means go. I thought I was stopping"


Oh. My. God. How much I wish this were true, it's hysterically funny.

Whole thing here:
http://dailycurrant.com/2012/11/06/george-bush-accidently-votes-obama/

See how they happy they are while repressing people?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tommywes/14-students-voting-against-marriage-equality

Students from Northwestern College share why they are voting yes tomorrow for Minnesota's amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.


They look so earnest and happy in their belief and faith. They don't even think of it in terms of people or rights, only their faith and belief. They don't even think of it in terms of personal belief, only that it is unerringly right because it is their belief.

Look at them! They don't look angry or hateful, but they're still repressing people. They're holding one group down for absolutely no benefit to themselves, just because they believe it's the right thing to do. They'll cling to that belief and when the votes are tallied, they won't even ponder the term "Tyranny of the Majority."

I don't even know what to say about these young people. They have been told in no uncertain terms that they are doing the right thing, and they are totally incapable of examining that faith. It makes me so sad to see those smiling faces while invisibly behind them, gay kids are killing themselves because of bullying, because they're being told the same things that these smiling, earnest kids are being told...

U.S. election — It’s all over but for the rage

Here's a very interested article on the upcoming aftermath of one of the most surreal and absurd election campaigns ever. The point of view here is from a Canadian newspaper watching from nearby, but not inside. It really does describe the campaign in terms of the craziness that has led us up to now:

But the message-saturated United States, it seems, is tuning out — minds made up, desperate for the longest, ugliest, most expensive, most lie-infested campaign ever to just curl up and die.

The crowds have thinned on both sides as the candidates go wearily through the motions, a mark of mutually stalled momentum, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Get Out The Vote is becoming Get Off My Television.

That doesn’t mean they don’t care. Far from it. On Wednesday morning, there will be rage.

Rage from Team Romney and the millions behind it, many of whom despise Obama in ways that defy description. Or rage from Team Obama’s half of the country, which will declare the White House bought and paid for by the former Massachusetts governor’s billionaire backers.

“We saw two honourable men absolutely pollute themselves in desperation to be president or remain president. Two serious, intelligent, previously honourable men who told untruths, changed their positions, refused to talk about many of the most serious issues we face, instead following advice of apparatchiks — Mad Men, really — who said tying themselves in intellectual and moral knots was the way to win.”

As a media experience, it all began much more enjoyably, observes Robert Thompson, the founding director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Centre for Television and Popular Culture.

“It did get terribly ugly. But before that the Republican primary race enjoyed a life of its own for sheer entertainment value. Whether it was Herman Cain unable to remember what Libya was or (Texas Gov.) Rick Perry freezing up trying to list one of the three parts of government he would eliminate, the country couldn’t get enough,” Thompson said.

“You didn’t need Saturday Night Live to satirize it. The comedy was built in to the real thing.”


I certainly don't agree with everything he says. He indicates at the end that it may not make a whole lot of difference who gets elected (I do not believe that). It certainly doesn't make as much difference as the fringes on both sides believe it will.

Read the article here:
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/uselection/article/1282236--u-s-election-it-s-all-over-but-for-the-rage

Stop looking small, focus on the big picture!

To some extent, we're looking at a few of the same struggles here in Canada that you are facing in the United States. However, we are not in an election year right now, so a lot of us up here are watching how the wind blows in the USA right now, to see what's going to become of our biggest trade partner, and our closest neighbour.

Sometimes it seems so futile. It feels like progressives in the USA and North America are fighting a horribly lopsided uphill battle to win hearts and minds, but who are we really fighting against? The people we're fighting against believe that what they're doing is right, but why? How do the myths about government remain propagated?

It's extremely complicated, which makes it hard to talk about in any meaningful way. Are huge corporations to blame? Yes. Are the wealthy owners of those corporations who outsource and downsize to maintain the bottom line to blame? Yes. Is the media to blame? Yes. Are we to blame? Yes.

Wait... what? We need to stop, slow down and look at what's being fed to us. These discussion boards are a good example. We're so busy jumping on every little mistake that a candidate makes (moaning about an Obama misstep and crowing over a Romney misstep) that we're missing the big picture. The small things like what the pundits on Fox think, or Rush Limbaugh's latest calamity are the birdie.

And we're watching the birdie.

In the mean time, corporations are buying and selling our lives using politicians as puppets. We can't even have a meaningful discussion without some of the basic assumptions we've been working with changing drastically. For example:

The government should be run like a business. A successful businessman would be a successful president and lead to a successful country. Except... no.

Here's an article from Forbes:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2012/10/05/government-vs-business/
And one from policymic.com:
http://www.policymic.com/articles/3355/why-government-can-t-be-run-like-a-business

The right can argue until they're blue in the face that the problem with government is that it's not run more like a business, but that will never make it true. But this is one of the basic assumptions in many discussions. It needs to be broken down, and we need to be able to actively and intelligently say "No. And here's why..."

Another example:

Taxes are socialist, and lower taxes will allow "job creators" to create jobs. But... also no.

An interesting explanation at HowStuffWorks:
http://money.howstuffworks.com/taxes-socialist.htm

When taxes on corporations and the rich are essentially gone, and there are still no jobs, the fix is in. In countries with far higher tax rates, there are effective and functioning social safety nets. This one goes hand in hand with the profit assumption from the first example. Are social programs profitable? Of course not. Should they be? Of course not.

The Tea Party and many of the regressive policies of the current crop of republicans are in place to break down the relationships between people and encourage everyone to look out for number one. The social contract is breaking down entirely. Everyone's out for their own interests, even if those interests are at the expense of the common good or society at large. Devotees of Ayn Rand are pouring toxic sludge into the mental environment, and we need to work our absolute hardest to clean it out.

Sorry, this was long, rambling, and possible incoherent and directionless. I just needed to get some of this off my chest. We can't allow ourselves to be distracted by the birdies that are going to always be shoved in our faces. Educate yourself. Make sure that everything you say is backed up in fact. As you know, reality has a strong left-wing bias!

George Orwell

It reminds me of 1984 in a big way.

Now, I know people throw "Orwellian" around a lot, and half of them have absolutely no idea what it means. And what they're usually missing is the bit of speech from O'Brien near the end of the novel. Big Brother and The Party don't want power as a means to an end, they want power as the end.

The GOP has completely trained their followers that power is the end, not the means. It's far more important that their guy is in the White House instead of the other guy, even if they -hate- their guy.

My in-laws live in Houston (I'm Canadian). I was in Houston just before W got elected for the second time. I had the opportunity to ask a bunch of people why they'd be voting for W. Most of them -hated- W, but their answer was always the same: It's better than the alternative. They didn't mean Kerry, of course, they just meant "the other guy." It could have been a cross between Jesus and Einstein, but if he had a D after his name, better to have our guy in there.

This is the defining quotation from 1984:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?


It has nothing to do with constant surveillance or freedom of speech or starting false wars. Those are all just symptoms. Those are just the ACTIONS that are taken in order to reach the GOAL, which is power.

I paid the fifth lowest tax burden in the world but all I got was this lousy infrastructure.

Despite so many in the US believing that Canada is a "socialist" haven of high taxes (repeatedly reported by the RW in the US), it turns out that major Canadian cities have a lower tax burden than US major cities.

The article in The Toronto Standard:
http://www.torontostandard.com/the-sprawl/toronto-is-the-5th-most-tax-friendly-city-in-the-world
is a little slim on details, but it does link to the original study in .pdf format, as well as the Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2012/09/25/the-most-tax-friendly-country-in-the-world-is-spoiler-alert-its-not-the-u-s/
that gives a lot more detail.

Despite Canada's reputation as a heavily taxed country, it is apparently #2 in the world based on overall tax burden, with the following methodology:

The accounting giant conducted a major study of the general tax competitiveness of fourteen countries with an emphasis on the climate in 55 major international cities. The study took into consideration the relative corporate income tax, capital tax, sales tax, property tax and miscellaneous local business tax burdens of those countries, along with the statutory labor costs.


With India taking the #1 spot, and the USA coming in at #8, it puts things into a business perspective for the US.



One of the many ways we're screwed.

This news is a little old, but this is the first I've heard about it. It's hard to believe that this could happen, but... then again, it's not so hard to believe.

Here's the story:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7862246/How-a-broker-spent-520m-in-a-drunken-stupor-and-moved-the-global-oil-price.html

To paraphrase, a brokerage employee during a drunken blackout state traded so much money on oil futures that it changed the price of oil globally. One man, while incoherently drunk.

Some excerpts (emphasis mine):
It was 7.45am on June 30 last year when the senior, longstanding broker for PVM Oil Futures was contacted by an admin clerk querying why he'd bought 7m barrels of crude in the middle of the night.

By 10am it emerged that Mr Perkins had single-handedly moved the global price of oil to an eight-month high during a "drunken blackout". Prices leapt by more than $1.50 a barrel in under half an hour at around 2am – the kind of sharp swing caused by events of geo-political significance. Ten times the usual volume of futures contracts changed hands in just one hour.

By the time PVM realised the trades were not authorised and swiftly began to unwind the positions, losses of exactly $9,763,252 had stacked up.

Mr Perkins' trading stopped for a few hours, but in the early hours of the morning, he returned to the oil market via his laptop. He placed an incredible $520m in orders through ICE Futures Europe, where traders can buy or sell crude oil for future delivery and bet on whether prices will go up or down. The first trade was at 1.22am was at $71.40 per barrel and the last trade at 3.41am was at $73.05. During this period, Mr Perkins gradually edged up the price by bidding higher each time, until he was responsible for 69pc of the global market volume.

Mr Perkins told investigators that he has "limited recollection" of the entire episode, claiming he had placed the trades during a drink-induced stupor.

Having admitted to an alcohol problem and received treatment, Mr Perkins was banned from trading for five years and hit with a £72,000 fine, reduced from £150,000 because of potential financial hardship.


Let's put that into perspective. $1.50 increase on a barrel of oil means that some people had to decide between filling their car to go to work or eating that week. Did people their jobs because they couldn't afford the gas to get to them? Did people die because they couldn't afford oil to heat their homes. This one man pushed oil prices up -globally-.

I'd say he deserves a harsher punishment than what is indicated in the article, but the problem is systemic. Brokers and corporations all have their collective twitchy finger on the same button. But no, they want to be deregulated further. They want no oversight. They want the inmates to run the asylum.
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