ironphoenix: (wake up call)
( Feb. 1st, 2017 12:31 pm)
Fellow Canadians, please join me in signing Petition e-800 (link is to Parliament petition website). This petition is to remove a regulation which would prevent Canada from considering refugee applicants refused by the USA. Until recently, this regulation was useful in preventing abuse of the refugee applicant system, but the current US President has violated the treaties which underpin the Canada-US Agreement on which this policy was based.
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Those of you in the USA, I'd like to encourage you to express your support for a proposed update to the minimum wage and overtime rules which raises the exemption threshold. Industry groups are mobilizing to oppose this change, which would protect low-wage employees from being required to work unpaid overtime.
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ironphoenix: (gear)
( Jan. 3rd, 2015 04:30 pm)
In (faint?) hopes of getting a bit of discussion...

What's up with the Canadian non-Conservatives? Is there any hope of the parties putting their differences aside enough to work together in any significant way, or will they spend next election taking potshots at and stealing votes from each other? If they were to work together, how could they do so?
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ironphoenix: (academia)
( Jul. 30th, 2014 12:34 pm)
This article illustrates core problems with corporate personhood pretty well.
"Christian" doesn't mean what the far-right fundamentalist capitalists say it does. Susan B. Thistlethwaite explains why in a short and straightforward article. It's not news, but it bears repeating.
ironphoenix: (gear)
( Aug. 28th, 2011 09:22 am)
Argentina and Iceland have shown that economies don't have to work the way Big Capital tells us they do. They shrugged off their financial burdens, and returned to the real source of wealth: their people. Will the rest of the world follow suit, and if so, how and when?
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I'm not fully on the NDP bus... but there went a courageous, committed politician. All of Canada feels his loss.
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ironphoenix: (no return)
( Aug. 11th, 2011 11:53 am)
Maybe this should have been read, understood, and acted upon.

Crowd Psychology & Public Order Policing: An Overview of Scientific Theory and Evidence. (Dr. Clifford Stott, University of Liverpool)
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ironphoenix: (no return)
( May. 3rd, 2011 01:38 pm)
(translation: Am I going to Finland?)

Okay, maybe the election result isn't that dire, but I for one do not welcome our new old Conservative overlords.

A Liberal and NDP merger sometime before the next election would be right fine, please!
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ironphoenix: (no return)
( Apr. 24th, 2011 02:02 pm)
A "fictional" vignette about the election, by Margaret Atwood.

Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] guruwench!
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ironphoenix: (I love my work)
( Apr. 18th, 2011 09:51 am)
I just subscribed to a vote swap site, votepair.ca; we'll see how it goes, but I support the principle. The swap system can be played strategically, the way this site has set it up, but that's okay... it's really hard to set up a vote system that can't, and I believe that it has been proven that any voting system that can't be played strategically is non-deterministic, that is, has some random elements.

I think this is an exceptionally important election, basically for the reasons Michael Ignatieff puts forward in this 3-minute speech.
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...the poor service quality on LJ due to the DDOS attack is exactly the wrong reason to leave LJ. Not that there aren't good reasons why folks might want to leave, but now is not, in my view, the time. Here's a good explanation of what the DDOS attack seems to be about. In brief:
[P]eople who grumble about "the Russians" taking over LJ should remember that in Russia, LiveJournal isn't just the top blogging platform, it's the blogging platform. It is Russia's free press. It is the tool being used to fight corruption and advance the cause of democracy. And, more practically to LJ users, the Russian-speaking sector of LJ is the reason LJ is still there at all.
I don't want to send the message that thugs can encourage me to help screw LJ over for them.

(Fairestcat's DW post is here.)

ETA: Another good article linked by [livejournal.com profile] shyska!
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An open letter to Canadian journalists.
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ironphoenix: (milkman dan)
( Apr. 3rd, 2011 04:33 pm)
Others will probably like this one too, though.
Today, we write a manifesto.
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US Representative Paul Ryan compared the protests against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's union-busting to the protests in Cairo. This NY Times article gives a good chunk of background on what's going on. The comparison to Cairo may be rather apt, given what the police are starting to say!

Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] ancalagon_tb!
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ironphoenix: (so deep)
( Dec. 12th, 2010 11:01 am)
The Globe and Mail published an interesting article in which the author advances a proposal to "guarantee everyone in Canada $20,000 a year." There are a lot of good reasons for this kind of approach, not least being that for at least some people, it would cost us less overall. Admittedly, certain people would require additional help in managing this money; there is a small proportion of people who, for one reason or another, really can't handle their own finances, and who would benefit from more structured programs, but the second link shows pretty clearly just how tiny a minority that is. The stereotype of welfare and other aid recipients being guzzlers at the governmental teat is by and large just plain wrong, and the obstacles put in their way by both procedures and attitudes do little more than discourage and demean people and use up time and energy they could put to better use gaining skills and taking care of themselves and their families.

If we try this guaranteed income idea, though, a tricky and possibly unexpected problem rears its head. Fortunately, I think it may be solvable: read on! The details are devilish! )

Overall, it seems to me that a guaranteed income is probably possible, and even worth trying. Integration of federal and provincial planning would be immensely useful in making it happen, which sadly makes it much harder to achieve in practice. Nevertheless, I can hope that someday, when Harper's Conservatives get replaced by a government that cares about Canadians, we may find someone with the political guts to give it a go.
ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Aug. 11th, 2010 02:32 pm)
US soldiers killed themselves at a rate of more than one a day in June. "There are instances where a leader's lack of soldier accountability resulted in suicide victims not being found until they had been dead for three or four weeks[.]"

Those Manic Pixie Dream Girls in the movies. Just like Doritos (tasty, but without real nutritional value)?
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ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Jul. 29th, 2010 11:25 am)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] goldsquare: an excellent opinion piece on the complex and difficult relationship between religious and government institutions in the US. The legal arguments are specifically American, but the underlying question is universal.

Even the question of what should, from a purely religious point of view, be the criteria for membership in a religion is a very difficult one for me. On a fundamental spiritual level, I take the words "Catholic Church" very much at face value, and open the doors very wide indeed, but how that relates to human institutions is ... fraught.
I leave the country on vacation and everything goes to hell, it seems.

First, Ottawa gets hit by an earthquake. I'm glad nobody was injured!

Then, the Provincial "government" very quietly designates downtown Toronto as a "public work" so that they can apply the Public Works Protection Act for a little while. The Black Block accomplished sundry vandalism with impunity, then police rounded up and arrested harmless protesters (too many links to mention; just search YouTube for dozens of videos on "police g20 toronto"), injuring an elderly amputee in the process. All that to conclude that governments should cut their deficits by half... it looks like the cuts won't be coming out of the police budgets, though!
ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Jun. 9th, 2010 11:09 am)
You Are Not So Smart: A blog of articles about how our minds (don't) work. Quite a few people I know need to read this.

How do they get to be that way?: A n article by Roger Ebert about racism as it's exemplified in people's reactions to a mural on a school in Arizona.
The aforementioned letter is ready to send!

To:
The Hon. Peter Van Loan, Minister for Public Safety and the Canadian Border Services Agency
The Hon. Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

cc:
Mark Holland, Liberal critic for Public Safety
The Hon. Bob Rae, Liberal critic for Foreign Affairs
The Hon. Dominic Leblanc, Liberal critic for Justice and Attorney-General
The Hon. Mauril Bélanger, MP for Ottawa—Vanier
Stephen Rigby, President, CBSA

It will be interesting to see what comes back.
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Will it work?

I find it a bit odd that this is in the "Entertainment" section on the Citizen's site.
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:32 pm)
It's a good place to start. Yes, there's a lot more to be done, but this is symbolic, and symbols matter.
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Dear Mr. Soon-To-Be-Former-Prime Minister,


Remember this?


With a cheerful wave goodbye,

Ironphoenix.
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More, not less, love is what the world needs right now: Keith Olberman on Proposition 8.

*sigh* The cold wind today was all too fitting to my mood.
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Poll results by riding. I encourage you all to vote strategically to prevent a Conservative majority.
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This graph says it all, really.1 Republicans are for the rich. It's that simple.

Why do so many poor and middle-class people vote for them?

1: Well, not really. It doesn't show the cuts to social programs that the Republican tax plan necessarily implies because of the reduction in net tax revenues, which generally hit low-income folks harder.
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ironphoenix: (wake up call)
( Jun. 2nd, 2008 11:25 am)
George Orwell, come on down: Big Brother gets things rolling in Eastasia.

Remember the military-industrial complex? It has mutated, and the resulting beast is terrifying. I saw the early signs of this years ago at a conference called "Aerosense," since renamed to the Defense And Security Symposium, but it's grown beyond my nightmares: this is a $200,000,000,000 industry, and people will do a lot for that kind of money.

Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking.
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Mar. 19th, 2008 12:06 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] siderea and [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking offer different, but excellent, links: from [livejournal.com profile] siderea, we have a transcript of a speech, and from [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking, we have a news flash.
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Bob McDonald of CBC's Quirks and Quarks is not impressed with the Harper government's treatment of former National Science Advisor Dr. Arthur Carty, and isn't afraid to say so.

Who can blame him? Also, good on him and the CBC for not soft-playing this.
ironphoenix: (gear)
( Jan. 3rd, 2008 09:40 am)
Read [livejournal.com profile] peristaltor's excellently researched and expressed post on "Islamofascism".
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Waterboarding: torture or not?

Well, someone decided to try it on himself to get an answer.

His description of the experience is quite convincing.
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So I did a bit of digging into this company, SUP, that has taken over LJ. The executive team looks fine, but the owner, not so much. (He's listed as the owner here.)

Do I expect to be poisoned anytime soon? No, but I will be aware that if I go to Russia, the government there may be monitoring what I write here.
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It seems the Conservatives may soon table a Canadian version of the DMCA: see this article by Globe and Mail columnist Jack Kapica. This article by Michael Geist has some good suggestions on what to do about it, the foremost ones being to write letters a lot... ladies and gentlemen, start your faxes!
ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Sep. 16th, 2007 10:00 am)
Amplifying a signal from [livejournal.com profile] commodorified and [livejournal.com profile] iclysdale.

US military personnel wishing to quit the service and seek asylum in Canada for reasons of conscience have a support network here in Canada: www.resisters.ca. The US government, for obvious reasons, does not want their military personnel to know about this, so spreading the word is one of the best things we can do.

As a former reservist, I repost this in the full awareness that this is a very serious measure. Desertion--because make no mistake, that's what's being encouraged here--is a serious offense in any armed force. I support it here because for some of the United States' servicewomen and servicemen, the alternatives are worse: to follow orders that they (and I) sincerely and deeply believe are illegal and unethical, or to be ostracized, punished or even physically endangered for disobeying those orders. Canada, as a nation, has stated its objections to this war, and has refused to participate in it as a belligerent. I believe that we have a duty to support those who, confronted with that same choice as individuals, agree with us.

If you agree, please support this effort by spreading the word, in the hope that it will reach its intended audience of US military personnel through the grapevine. You can, of course, also provide financial and political support; details on how to do this are available at www.resisters.ca.

[ETA: Also, I've printed the petition and written a letter based on their suggested template to my MP and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.]
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From [livejournal.com profile] ancalagon_tb:

This video shows 3 "protesters" at a demonstration suspected of being police agents trying to incite violence. This article from The Star (Toronto) gives some background and follow-up.

In the video, I noticed a police officer with a video camera, although he put it out of sight when he noticed that he was himself on camera.

Also, this blog post on rustyidols points out that the "protesters" were still masked when they were led away by police, as confirmed by photos and the video (around minute 3:30 to 4:00). Furthermore, the police do not admit to having arrested the three men, even though the four other arrests made were acknowledged and the arrestees are accounted for (three released, one still in custody at last report).

The article also states that the uniformed police officers' boots and those worn by the "protesters" had identical yellow triangles on the soles; low-resolution photos exist here, but I don't think of this as significant evidence, as these triangles are standard safety sole markings.

This is, to say the least, disturbing. The police seem to be increasingly defending the status quo, seeing anyone who criticizes it as a threat. In order to nullify that perceived threat, they appear to be willing to undermine the vital political discourse of protest and demonstration and deceive citizens in order to build a case for putting people away.

It wouldn't be the first time the police profile protesters as likely offenders and attempt preemptive measures designed to trigger illegal activity in a "controlled" situation. Because they are an arm of the government, however, they are structurally unable to do this in a politically neutral way. As a result, movements for political change are unjustly suppressed and stifled, and the status quo is preserved beyond its viability. Because real public opinion remains invisible, changes are delayed until they are liable to be explosive, with the attendant disruption and possible violence.

If police currently use undercover provocateurs at political demonstrations and protests, they must stop doing so. The short-term gains they might achieve in maintaining "law and order" are too likely to be greatly outweighed by the resulting long-term loss of respect for the law and the police, and by the violent eruption of voices too long silenced.
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ironphoenix: (no return)
( Jul. 20th, 2007 04:22 pm)
George Bush's Executive Order titled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq".

This creates sweeping powers for the administration: essentially, anyone's US assets can be frozen on the Secretary of the Treasury's say-so, or that of anyone to whom the Secretary delegates that power. Not only that, but any kind of transaction with someone whose assets are frozen, including donations, can get your assets frozen.

Watch what happens to these US Census Bureau tables over the next few years, folks! (links are to Excel files)
International Travel
International Travelers and Expenditures
Immigrants by Country of Birth

I expect to see a lot less Canadians going down there when the '06, '07 and '08 columns are added.

Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking.
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( May. 6th, 2007 05:12 pm)
So the second reading today was from Revelation, Chapter 21. You know the one, it starts with "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more." (Revelation 21:1) And the way the reader delivered it was just right... so that I could understand how some people can be so eager for the Apocalypse.

There is a pretty strong Millennialist movement in some Christian communities (perhaps especially in the USA), and hearing this, it's easy to understand the reasoning behind them. We pray, in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come," and this seems to be the most literal realization of that. To achieve it, anything else would seem to be worth sacrificing, so if the signs and portents John chronicles can be brought to pass, surely the End Times must follow. Seen in that light, war, environmental destruction, epidemics and famines are not to be averted, but rather encouraged as much as possible in order to bring about the end of this sullied, sinful world.

But this wasn't Jesus' message at all. Only the Father knows the day and hour, he tells us; for us to presume to impose our will in this is terrible hubris. Many of the things which lead up to the Apocalypse are terrible, destructive deeds, and Christ was constantly teaching love and right action in small things, both by word and by deed. It is not God's will for us to destroy what God has created so that it must be created again, but rather to participate in her act of creation under his divine direction. For us to set out destroy would violate the basic law of love which is the heart of Christianity and the essence of the God we worship.

It may be that the destruction of creation, or at least of this world, will come about, but it seems to me to be like the Crucifixion: prophesied, even necessary, but as Christ says, "'The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.'" (Matthew 26:24)

The problem which arises from this is that these idealists fired up with a mission are somewhat less than choosy about their methods, and such people are easily led by the unscrupulous. After all, if a means exists which serves their goal and has the handy side effect of generating a profit for somebody, everyone wins, right? Of course, the goals need not be stated openly; it is enough for them to exist in the subconscious so that people will resist unethical or destructive actions less than they might because of their internal conflicts. Were they stated openly, they could be argued against; the veiled intent is much harder to pin down and discredit. I don't know whether it's being done consciously or not, but either way, it's not been good for the world as a whole, and it's likely not good karma for those responsible.

It's my hope that as we move further and further away from the psychologically important year 2000, this apocalyptic fervor will pass. Some US-politics-watchers tell me that the Republicans are headed for a moderate candidate, which is a good sign for this, but politics isn't the whole thing by any means. The subconscious shadow of destruction and chaos hanging over the many, and the short-term profiteering of the few, serve no one very well. I, for one, will try to act with the long term in mind, and do what is loving in each moment.
ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( May. 5th, 2007 09:34 am)
Maclean's analysis of an important economic impact of the Harper government's less-publicized policies.

Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] ms_danson.
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ironphoenix: (so deep)
( Feb. 24th, 2007 11:41 am)
Distilled from my comments in [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking's journal here:

The rules of evidence have annoyed me for quite a long time. As it is, if police get evidence illegally, it isn't admissible, but no action is usually taken against the officers in question.

I believe that evidence should be admissible and judged according to its reliability, regardless of its provenance.

Anyone who commits an offense against the law or a professional code of conduct in acquiring evidence should be accountable and liable for the offense. Police who obtain evidence illegally should be punished for it, and not with a slap on the wrist, a wink, and a whispered, "Good cop! Donut!"

It can be argued that this will lead to, as [livejournal.com profile] ungulata put it, "law enforcement [recruiting] 'suicide officers,' people ready and willing to go on witch hunts for the [greater] good," but I think it's a little paranoid to expect this to be the norm: relatively few people are willing to jettison their career that casually. Besides, said witch hunts are unlikely to be more intrusive or abusive than they would be under the current system.

That said, I think there will be, and that there should be, cases where officers make that judgement call and pursue evidence beyond the law, to their own detriment, in order to convict a truly deserving serious offender. That kind of personal courage is laudable, but the consequences they're accepting have to be real in order for it not to get out of hand.

I know this isn't a perfect solution, but a perfect solution would be one where police weren't needed in the first place. The law must strike a balance between the rights of freedom, privacy, safety and property, as well as the practical considerations of the police and judiciary. In my view, evidence being ruled inadmissible irrespective of its reliability makes a mockery of justice in the courts. Likewise, police who are free to make their own rules and suffer no consequence worse than having their evidence ruled out when they get found out makes a travesty of the principle of the rule of law. I'm proposing this as a better compromise than what we have now.

I'm getting close to agitating for this as a serious option, but want to get a bit more feedback on it before "going public" (well, more public than my little fourth-tier blog, anyway) with it.
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ironphoenix: (slicktory)
( Feb. 24th, 2007 09:31 am)
Supreme Court rules 9-0 against Security Certificates.
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I'm saddened that a nation whose anthem calls it "the land of the free and the home of the brave" has been made so fearful by so little, that it has sacrificed the freedoms which it defended so ardently for so long against so much.

Yes, little. How many died in the War of Independence? How many in the American Civil War? How many in the First and Second World Wars? How many struggled and sacrificed and died for the freedom of Blacks, of women, of homosexuals? Today, it seems that America is all about preserving the safe and wealthy lifestlye of middle- and upper-class Americans, and if that means making a gated community which extends from sea to shining sea, then that's what they'll do.

Coming back to the matter of anthems, we sing that "we stand on guard for" "Canada, glorious and free." When the terrorists strike here, will we stand our ground and hold to the ideals which we have preached? Or will we gloriously hide like scared rabbits, joining our Southern neighbors in their bunker?

We, as citizens of free countries, are combattants in the eyes of oppressors, and they're right. What's wrong is that we shy away from the personal sacrifices that may mean, and sacrifice instead the things which make our nations worthwhile. Oppressors should see our existence as a threat: if oppressed people find out just what they could have, maybe they'll stop consenting to be oppressed, and long-overdue changes will come about. Instead of setting an example and offering a helping hand to all who would accept it though, we make ourselves into oppressors, both at home and abroad.
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