Monthly Archives: January 2011

Jim Flaherty to Hike Taxes? Probably

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Jim Flaherty and the rest of the Cons refuse to heed the actual outcome of disastrous financial ‘trickle down’ experiments like Ireland and the US (more states in the US are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy because of reckless federal fiscal management and downloading), so it’s unlikely that we’ll get corporations paying their fair share any time soon, but Diamond Jim did give us cause for pause in this interview:

“Our plan actually is to continue to reduce taxes over time in Canada. We’ve reduced business taxes significantly, and our plan continues in that regard. We’ve reduced the federal consumption tax, the GST, as we promised we would … We’ve done some tax reductions on personal income taxes. Quite frankly, we’d like to do more over time, so that’s the direction we want to go. What we’re seeing in the economy is moderate growth. It’s not dramatic, but it is steady. And we expect that to continue over the medium term. You know, given what we’ve all been through around the world in the last few years, I would never presume to say ‘never’ in terms of a very substantial economic shock where we’d have to have one. And there are risks in the world, with respect to Europe, with respect to relative weakness in the U.S. economy, with respect to some global imbalances that I’m sure we’ll be talking about at the world economic forum (in Davos, Switzerland) the next few days. That’s not the expectation. The expectation is that we’ll have continued moderate economic growth and continued tax reductions over time.”

So there you have it folks … the exact quote that the Cons have ripped out of the Liberal lines about tax situations in order to slam them continuously about their ‘tax and spend habits’ and that the Liberals will be mega-government bureaucrats.

Which – correct me if I’m wrong – makes the Cons what?  Oh yeah … BIG F-IN HYPOCRITES telling Canadians lies at every turn!  Isn’t it Jim who’s created the biggest deficit in Canadian history?

Ireland: The High Cost of Corporate Tax Cuts and the IMF

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In the mid-1990s, Ireland slashed Corporate Income Tax rates to 12.5%. Many credit this move as the beginning of the age of Ireland’s reputation as the ‘Celtic Tiger’.

It seems all things must pass.

Ireland’s reckless reductions contributed to a long-term structural deficit that it is only now wrestling with and trying to rein in.  The finances of the country are a mess and the current Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, just announced this past Saturday that he will be resigning his position given the level of public animosity towards the IMF and EU ‘austerity’ measures.

Under Stephen Harper’s government, Canada is poised to follow the same path.  We could only be so lucky to see Stephen Harper resign in humiliation as well.

Why?

Stephen Harper has recklessly hacked away at corporate income taxes and the GST in this country, creating a massive and unprecedented structural fiscal deficit.  It is the largest in Canadian history, even bigger than Canada’s previous deficit records set by another (Progressive) Conservative leader, Brian Mulroney.

The most important part is that it is a structural deficit.  There is no promise of balance until corporate income taxes and the GST are brought back into line.

But this is part of the Con shell game, isn’t it?  Create enormous and bloated fiscal distortions, spend good money with your defense and prison system buddies and then claim that ‘belts need to be tightened’ as they drool at the prospect of slashing everything from health care to the CBC to other critical social institutions.

The Harper Conservatives have already downloaded a number of grievous hidden financial costs to the Canadian public, including increases in EI, alterations to pensions and retirement benefits, downloading costs to other governments (eg. the ‘Economic Action Plan’ insisted on equal parts of participation from other levels of government – where are they going to get the money?) and we should expect the trend to continue.

And all of it is endorsed – no, encouraged – by the IMF and other unelected and unaccountable institutions, most of which are organized by and managed for the largest corporations of the world. By proxy, it’s a system of financial ruin that is being decreed by the world’s elite.

It must end.

Canada can save itself from the insane financial mismanagement of the Conservative government, but we have to act quickly and make sure that by Iggy and Jack are looking out for Canadians.  If we don’t, Harper will find a way to weasel around with one of them and we’ll continue to pay what corporations should be.

Another Reason to NOT Spend $16 Billion on Lockheed Martin

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This story from Wired caught my eye last week and we should all know that as we Canadian taxpayers fund Lockheed Martin, we also fund the war against ourselves.  For the record, this is also why I didn’t submit my personal information with the long-form census:  because it’s Lockheed Martin that’s collecting the data.

Original source:  http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/lockheed-gets-big-bucks-to-prep-soldiers-in-urban-war/

By the end of the year, the U.S. Army will leave Iraq. But Iraq isn’t going to leave the U.S. Army.

American soldiers spent seven years patrolling the urban neighborhoods of Iraq; its troops battled insurgents there block-by-block and house-by-house. Now that the Army is getting out of Iraq, it wants to make sure its urban combat skills don’t wither away. So it today it gave Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to $287 million to build Urban Operations Training Systems — essentially, giant simulation facilities and modules to help soldiers get ready for life in the big, bad city.

Versions of those training systems can be as simple as shipping containers tricked out to resemble multi-story houses and arranged in village formations, so soldiers can practice how to seize a building without causing needless damage. The Army’s got an entire 1000-acre facility in Indiana it uses to train soldiers in urban combat.

The contract will include structures like those, which are known as Mobile Military Operations on Urban Terrain systems, or Mobile MOUTs. Lockheed says it’ll help soldiers drill on everything “from traditional war fighting tactics, to nation-building, to overseas contingency operations.” Overseas contingency operations is the new bureaucratic and budgetary term for what we used to call “wars.”

A statement from the company heralding the deal said that the new training systems were likely to include measures to simulate homemade bombs, an indicator that the Army doesn’t think the threat from the signature weapon of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is likely to diminish. That in turn has implications for other stuff the Army wants to buy — especially the new Ground Combat Vehicle, the service’s next-generation transporter. The Army and the Marine Corps have faced criticism for buying so many armored Humvees and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, on the assumption that they’ll rot in the motor pool if troops don’t have to roll through terrain laced with homemade bombs in the future. That may not be a chance the Army wants to take.

Training isn’t destiny, and just because the Army wants to keep urban combat in its toolkit doesn’t mean it’s looking to go stomping through any foreign capitals. One of the Army’s biggest internal criticisms after finding itself mired unexpectedly in Iraq was that its post-Vietnam officers deliberately unlearned how to fight insurgents. Look for the exact opposite to happen here: Army gadflies like Col. Gian Gentile of West Point warn that the Army’s assuming that unpredictable future land wars are going to look too much like today’s counterinsurgencies.

A different aspect to the urban-training scenario offered by Lockheed: “live, virtual and constructive mission domains,” the statement says. Whether that means, in part, videogame-based training remains to be seen. But at the Army’s recent annual conference in D.C., the service was showing off a sophisticated first-person-shooter modeled on eastern Afghanistan’s rugged, mountainous terrain. If Call of Duty can rig up an urban-warfare videogame, presumably one of the world’s largest defense companies can too.

Update, 8:50 a.m., January 19: This post has been edited for clarity.

Project Censored Top 25 List of 2010

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I would add unprecedented G20 arrests in Canada as one of the biggest stories.

That said, here are the 25 stories from Project Censored:



In Guantánamo, the notorious but seldom-discussed thug squad, officially known as the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF), deployed by the US military remains very much active. Inside the walls of Guantánamo, the prisoners know the squad as the Extreme Repression Force. In reality, IRF is an extrajudicial terror squad, the existence of which has been documented […]



A little more than a year before he was fired on June 23, 2010, for making potentially insubordinate remarks in a Rolling Stone profile, General Stanley McChrystal was appointed by President Barack Obama as commander in charge of the war in Afghanistan. He had been formerly in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) […]



The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has become history’s first global army. Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war theater, much less the same country. At the eighth anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan, the world is witness to a twenty-first-century armed conflict waged by the largest […]



India’s 1.2 billion citizens are to be issued biometric identification cards. The cards will hold the person’s name, age, and birth date, as well as fingerprints or iris scans, though no caste or religious identification. Within the next five years a giant computer will hold the personal details of at least 600 million citizens, making […]



Speaking in advance of the climate summit in Copenhagen, Rajendra Pachauri, the United Nation’s leading climate scientist, warned that Western society must enact radical changes and reform measures if it is to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told the Observer that Western society […]



Charter schools continue to stratify students by race, class, and sometimes language, and are more racially isolated than traditional public schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area in the country. Charter schools are often marketed as incubators of educational innovation, and they form a key feature of the Obama administration’s school reform agenda. […]



On April 24, 2009, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hosted meetings with finance ministers from the world’s top economies to discuss increased oversight of the global financial system in the wake of the meltdown. The meetings preceded semi-annual gatherings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Washington, DC. The April G20 meeting […]



Chevron’s 2008 annual report to its shareholders is a glossy celebration heralding the company’s most profitable year in its history. Profits of $24 billion catapulted Chevron past General Electric to become the second most profitable corporation in the United States. The oil company’s 2007 revenues were larger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of 150 […]



Nanotech Particles Pose Serious DNA Risks to Humans and the Environment Personal products you may use daily and think are harmless—cosmetics, suntan lotion, socks, and sports clothes—may all contain atom-sized nanotech particles, some of which have been shown to sicken and kill workers in plants using nanotechnology. Known human health risks include severe and permanent […]



In October 2009, under great pressure from the United States, the government of Spain decided to limit its own jurisdiction in cases of genocide and crimes against humanity, thus closing one of the last windows of accountability for the most serious crimes committed by the most powerful nations on Earth. Under international law, such crimes […]

Archive for the Category ‘Top 25 of 2011’


Around midnight on December 2, 1984, the citizens of Bhopal, India, a city of over 500,000 people in central India, were poisoned by approximately forty tons of toxic gases pouring into the night air from a largely abandoned chemical insecticide plant owned by the US-owned Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). The long-predicted gas leak at UCC […]



Several contentious issues still plague the US government and their version of the events of September 11, 2001. Those in political power along with media elites would like to see the ongoing grassroots debates surrounding unanswered 9/11 questions and discrepancies disappear, despite the mountains of evidence that suggest that American citizens were told little about […]



President Obama’s decision to increase military spending this year and in the future will result in the greatest administrative military spending since World War II. This decision is being made in spite of continued evidence of extreme waste, fraud, abuse, and corporate welfare in the military budget. At the same time, spending on “non-security” domestic […]



Cuba was the first to come into Haiti with medical aid when the January 12, 2010, earthquake struck. Among the many donor nations, Cuba and its medical teams have played a major role in treating Haiti’s earthquake victims. Public health experts say the Cubans were the first to set up medical facilities among the debris […]



The H1N1 virus has spawned widespread panic and fear throughout the world. However, upon closer examination, many of the claims made by the World Health Organization (WHO) seem to be based on weak and incomplete data. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created and used data to grossly exaggerate the need […]



In a continuous flow of money, American tax dollars end up paying members of the Taliban and funding a volatile environment in Afghanistan. Private contractors pay insurgents with the hope of attaining the very safety they are contracted to provide. Concurrently, US soldiers pay at checkpoints run by suspected insurgents in order to get safe […]



The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) has released a study indicating that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. The HSRC commissioned an international team of scholars and practitioners of international public law from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Israel, and the West Bank to conduct the […]



On World Environment Day, June 5, 2009, Peruvian Amazon Indians were massacred by the government of Alán García in the latest chapter of a long war to take over common lands—a war unleashed by the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Peru and the United States. Three MI-17 helicopters took off from the […]



Resource exploitation in Africa is not new, but the scale of agricultural “land grabbing” in African nations is unprecedented, becoming the new colonization of the twenty-first century. State violence against Kenyan indigenous pastoralists and Nigerian civilians in oil-rich regions has heightened, leaving thousands dead as the military burns whole communities to the ground and police […]



Despite national legislative health reform, health care in the US will remain dismal for many Americans, resulting in continuing deaths and personal tragedies. A recent Harvard research team estimates that 2,266 US military veterans died in 2008 due to lack of health insurance. The figure is more than fourteen times the number of deaths suffered […]

Archive for the Category ‘Top 25 of 2011’


At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives inside and outside Pakistan. The Blackwater […]



Agents of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are holding thousands of US residents in unlisted and unmarked subfield offices and deporting tens of thousands in secret court hearings. “If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.” Those chilling words were spoken […]



Following in the steps of its predecessor, the Obama administration is expanding mass government surveillance of personal electronic communications. This surveillance, which includes the monitoring of the Internet as well as private (nongovernmental) computers, is proceeding with the proposal or passage of new laws granting government agencies increasingly wider latitude in their monitoring activities. At […]



The US military is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet, yet this information and accompanying documentation goes almost entirely unreported. In spite of the evidence, the environmental impact of the US military goes largely unaddressed by environmental organizations and was not the focus of any discussions or proposed restrictions at […]



Nations have reached their limit in subsidizing the United States’ military adventures. During meetings in June 2009 in Yekaterinburg, Russia, world leaders such as China’s President Hu Jintao, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation took the first formal step to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve […]

What are yours?

Did Tony Blair Refuse Counsel of the UK Attorney General?

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While this update hardly goes in the shocking file, it is news worthy and definitely worth spreading to the rest of blogosphere.  It still reads as a bit of ‘his word against mine’, but it’s intriguing and relevant.

Some notable quotes:

  • Many newspapers have so far either ignored or underplayed it, and the BBC has hitherto showed limited interest.
  • … the new documents appear to establish more clearly than ever before that Tony Blair misled Parliament and the public about the legality of the war.
  • Some of the former Prime Minister’s political opponents and a few newspapers have previously accused him of lying, but the ‘smoking gun’ was never quite produced. This time it has been. His accuser is the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, a member of the Labour government before, during and after the invasion of Iraq.
  • In secret evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry, declassified on Monday, Lord Goldsmith stated that Mr Blair based his case for invasion on grounds that ‘did not have any ­application in international law’. Coming from the man who was the Government’s senior law officer, this is an extremely serious charge. [It was shown that Goldsmith later changed his mind at the 11th hour.]
  • Mr Blair declared that Britain could disregard a UN veto, despite advise to the contrary from his senior legal advisor. He also ignored similar legal advice from Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the Deputy Legal Adviser at the Foreign Office, who resigned on the eve of war.
  • It is clear from Lord Goldsmith’s testimony that the Attorney General was ‘no longer actively consulted’ for several months after warning Mr Blair in person on October 22, 2002, that an Anglo-­American invasion of Iraq would be a breach of international law. He was frozen out.
  • [Failure to follow this advice] should have compelled [Goldsmith’s] resignation [this act would have thrown considerable question into Blair’s decision and also would have generated enough doubt with the current investigation.]

Tony Blair faces the investigation this Friday.  Let’s see if he continues to evade scrutiny, assuming any is applied.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1348462/Iraq-war-Chilcot-Inquiry-New-evidence-bury-Tony-Blair-lies.html#ixzz1BbGKzGRC

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