Sunday, February 27, 2011 

Internationally Renowned Economist Challenges Regina Leader-Post Business Columnist Over Potash Numbers

Saskatchewan's Premier Brad Wall continues to defend the dismal return that the province is earning from its vast Potash reserves. For those who are new to the topic, potash is used in the creation of a highly valued agricultural fertilizer and Saskatchewan has over half the worlds supply.

In the February 26th edition of the Regina Leader-Post, business editor Bruce Johnstone twists some numbers to try and bolster Wall. 

The problem for the Regina Leader-Post is that an internationally renowned economist is challenging this lame, tepid defense of Brad Wall's potash policies.

"PotashCorp, US Regulators and Bruce Johnstone
by Erin Weir
February 27th, 2011

Multinational corporations generally provide more detail to the US Security and Exchange Commission than in their Canadian annual reports. Thank goodness for American disclosure requirements.

Along with its 2010 Annual Report, PotashCorp released its Annual Report on Form 10-K (a Security and Exchange Commission filing) on Friday afternoon. The following section is on pages 14 and 15:

Royalties and Certain Taxes

Saskatchewan potash production is taxed at the provincial level under The Mineral Taxation Act, 1983 (Saskatchewan). This tax consists of a base payment and a profit tax (“Potash Production Tax”). No Potash Production Tax was paid in 2010. As a resource corporation in the Province of Saskatchewan, we are also subject to a resource surcharge that is a percentage of the value of our resource sales (as defined in The Corporation Capital Tax Act of Saskatchewan). In 2010, the total resource surcharge paid was $74.6 million.

In addition to the Potash Production Tax and resource surcharge, royalties, taxes and rental fees are payable to the Provinces of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, municipalities and others by potash producers in respect of potash sales, production or property in the Provinces of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. These royalties, taxes and fees, which are included in cost of goods sold, were $97.9 million in 2010.

For 2010, miscellaneous taxes paid (not included above) totaled $2.2 million. We do not make royalty payments in connection with our phosphate and nitrogen operations.

It is good to see the company confirm in plain English what the numbers in its annual report made clear: “No Potash Production Tax was paid in 2010.”

Saskatchewan’s Potash Production Tax, resource surcharge and miscellaneous taxes are labeled “provincial mining and other taxes,” which totaled $77 million in 2010. In modern parlance, this potash production tax system is generally called “royalties.”

However, the historic Crown Royalties are still payable under Subsurface Mineral Regulations and deductible from the Potash Production Tax. PotashCorp includes these royalties in “cost of goods sold.” The Regina Leader-Post’s financial editor, Bruce Johnstone, noted this accounting quirk yesterday:

". . . the $77-million figure is “disingenuous” and [NDP leader Dwain] Lingenfelter knows it. A closer examination of PotashCorp’s 2010 financial statements indicates the corporation reported $3.4 billion in “cost of goods sold” (which includes base royalties) and $642.8 million in income taxes (which include provincial corporate income taxes)."

PotashCorp itself compares the $77-million figure (“provincial mining and other taxes”) with “potash gross margin,” expressing the former as a percentage of the latter in every fourth-quarter report. Those of us who reproduce this comparison are being no more disingenuous than Johnstone’s favourite company.

But he has a point: a more comprehensive measure of “royalties” obviously should include the original Crown Royalties. The problem is that we do not have the numbers.

PotashCorp takes a kitchen-sink approach, mixing together Saskatchewan’s Crown Royalties, all of New Brunswick’s royalties, municipal taxes, etc. for a sum of $98 million. Johnstone unhelpfully multiplies that kitchen sink by 35 in referencing $3.4 billion, a company-wide total that mostly comprises nitrogen and phosphate costs incurred outside the province.

Similarly, he cites $643 million of corporate income tax. As I noted yesterday, only about half of that total is current 2010 Canadian tax payments, as opposed to foreign tax payments and provisions for possible future tax payments. And Saskatchewan gets less than half of the Canadian total.

Johnstone seems satisfied to throw around some big numbers that have little to do with Saskatchewan and conclude that the current system is “working very well.” In fact, the opacity of available data is just one more reason the province needs a thorough royalty review."

Progressive Economic Forum

More ... Potash Royalty Review Could Be A Big Mess For Wall ...

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Saturday, February 26, 2011 

Trinidad Receives More Corporate Tax From PotashCorp For One Small Nitrogen Plant Than Saskatchewan Does For BILLIONS In Mine Production!

Saskatchewan's Right wing darling, Premier Brad Wall, has some very serious explaining to do to the people of Saskatchewan.

PotashCorp* takes BILLIONS of dollars worth of potash profit out of the ground every year and is paying a couple of measly cents on every dollar of profit. The same PotashCorp has one small nitrogen plant on the island of Trinidad. Quess which jurisdiction receives the most corporate tax? NOT SASKATCHEWAN!

The following article is from Larry Hubich's Blog and features hard financial facts from economist, Erin Weir:

"PotashCorp’s Annual Report: The Fine Print

Posted by Erin Weir under Saskatchewan, corporate income tax, potash.

February 26th, 2011

The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan posted its 2010 annual report yesterday. It’s always worth taking a closer look at documents released on a Friday afternoon.

Those interested in public revenues should see pages 109, 110 and 111. Note 19’s breakdown of “Provincial Mining and Other Taxes” confirms something that I had suspected.

PotashCorp paid zero Potash Production Tax in 2010. In other words, the company is swimming in writeoffs and had no taxable profits according to Saskatchewan’s profit-tax formula.

The company’s entire $77-million royalty payment in 2010 was the provincial resource surcharge, set at 3% of sales. (Of course, 3% of potash sales is closer to 5% of potash gross margin).

Thank goodness Saskatchewan kept the resource surcharge when it eliminated its corporate capital tax. Otherwise, PotashCorp’s 2010 royalty payment would have been a big goose egg (and not of the golden variety).

Note 21 breaks down corporate income tax by country. While the report does not distinguish between federal and provincial income tax, the 30% “federal and provincial statutory income tax rate” clearly comprises the 18% federal rate plus the 12% Saskatchewan rate.

So, we can infer that PotashCorp’s 2010 Canadian income tax expense of $333 million comprises about $200 million to Ottawa and $133 million to provincial governments. Because the company also operates in other provinces, Saskatchewan is probably getting less than $133 million.

Meanwhile, PotashCorp is paying $113 million of corporate income tax in Trinidad, where it has a nitrogen facility. In the previous year, 2009, it actually paid more corporate tax to Trinidad than to all levels of Canadian government!

Congratulations, Trinidad, for collecting a decent amount of revenue from PotashCorp. Canada’s federal and provincial authorities need to pull up their socks."

Larry Hubich's blog

* PotashCorp was formerly the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, a Crown Corporation owned by the people of Saskatchwan that was privatized by the Devine Conservative government - that is who Brad Wall worked for before he was elected to the Sask Legislature.

Progressive Bloggers

-Brad Wall is literally 'giving away' Saskatchewan's Potash wealth ...

-=-=- Follow Buckdog on Twitter -=-=-

Friday, February 25, 2011 

Saskatchewan Progressive Bloggers

Just a reminder that there is a great blog aggregator for anyone who is interested in Saskatchewan politics with a progressive viewpoint. This is worth bookmarking:


Thursday, February 24, 2011 

Quebec Provincial Police - Surete du Quebec - Caught On Video Sleeping In Car - Then Ticket Videographer

...en francais ...

"MONTREAL — An amateur videographer captured what appeared to be two Surete du Quebec officers taking a snooze in the back of their patrol car on Thursday morning.

The 22-second YouTube video, sent in to Trois-Rivieres radio station NRJ 102.3 by a man identified only as "Max," reportedly was shot early Thursday along Highway 40 just outside Trois-Rivieres, about 150 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The man reported that he noticed a patrol car parked on the side of the highway, but couldn't see anyone inside. Concerned there might be something amiss, the radio station reported that Max pulled over and walked up to the vehicle. When he saw the officers lying down inside, he quickly grabbed a camera.

The video shows one of the officers noticing he's being filmed. He quickly exits the patrol car.

The driver says he was asked for his licence and was given a ticket for having parked his vehicle illegally.

Sgt. Guy Lapointe said the force became aware of the incident at the same time as the media and the public, and immediately launched an investigation."

-=-=- Follow Buckdog on Twitter -=-=-


Wisconsin's Teaparty Governor Walker CAUGHT Admitting In Private That His Goal Is Union Busting

Progressive Bloggers

Teaparty GOP Governor Scott Walker has been caught in his real goal, to strip Wisconsin unions of their right to collective bargaining.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
The Teaparty movement is a major threat to democracy

-=-=- Follow Buckdog on Twitter -=-=-


Indiana Deputy Attorney General Fired For Recommending Police Use 'Live Ammo' On Wisconsin Demonstrators

Rooting the hate mongering Teaparty out of key political roles is made easier when their insane hatred is put in public view.

"Jeff Cox, deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana, suggested via Twitter that riot police "use live ammunition" against demonstrators outside Wisconsin's capitol building on Saturday night, reports "Mother Jones."

Tweeting as JCCentCom, Cox was responding to a report tweeted by staffers of the political magazine regarding riot police possibly called to sweep out demonstrators (they weren't).

Taking issue with this response, "Mother Jones" staffer Adam Weinstein called out JCCentCom from his own Twitter account:

I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials." In response to such behavior, he said, "You're damned right I advocate deadly force." He later called me a "typical leftist," adding, "liberals hate police."

Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana."


Progressive Bloggers

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
The Teaparty movement is a major threat to democracy

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 

Arizona Teaparty Republican Sentenced To Death For Murder of Latino Man And His 9 Year Old Daughter

"Shawna Forde, the anti-immigrant vigilante leader who orchestrated the murder of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter, will receive the death penalty, a Pima County, Ariz., jury decided today.

The decision is binding on the judge hearing the case.

The case of Forde, a one-time member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps who went on to found her own Minuteman American Defense (MAD) group, didn’t get much attention from the national mainstream media. But among immigrant rights groups, Forde has become a symbol of the vicious hatreds that seems to lie just beneath the surface of the contemporary nativist movement. Forde targeted the family in the hope of stealing money to fund her MAD organization.

Two followers of Forde, Albert Gaxiola and Jason Bush, are scheduled to be tried separately later this year.

Forde was convicted on Feb. 14 of two counts of murder for the killing of Raul Flores and his daughter, Brisenia, in May 2009, along with the attempted murder of the child’s mother. She was also convicted of two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of aggravated robbery, armed robbery and burglary.

Forde led her two followers into the Flores home in Arivaca, Ariz., believing that Raul Flores was a drug dealer who would have plenty of cash on hand. Prosecutors have said that Bush was the gunman and first shot Flores dead and then shot his wife in the leg. He then allegedly walked over to Brisenia, who was sleeping with her puppy on the couch, shooting her twice in the head at close range.

Forde was once well known on the nastier end of the nativist movement, and in fact hobnobbed with many of its leaders. After her arrest, however, most of her former friends in the movement ran from her as fast as their feet could take them, suggesting that they had actually never really liked her at all."

Southern Poverty Law Center

-The 911 tape as the murders were being committed - Very Graphic - Warning

-Here's what the website of a member of the Teaparty (who commits racially motivated murders) looks like ... "Another day as an American patriot"

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
The Teaparty movement is a major threat to democracy


HEY Brad Wall! The Rent Is Too Damn High! Time For Rent Controls!

Low income rent options have become very slim in Saskatchewan due to the fact that our RIGHT wing government has abandoned all concepts of public housing. Sticking to their flawed 'unfettered free market' ideology, Brad Wall will tell you that the private sector will have to solve the problem. Nonsense.

Saskatchewan's home builders are only interested in slapping together expensive homes for those who can afford them. Moderately priced housing is not being constructed anywhere in the province. So, to fill the gap, old housing with high rental costs are the only option for those who have been left behind in Brad Wall's free market paradise. And because these housing options are few and far between, the rental price has been jacked up by Brad Wall's slumlord buddies creating a situation where bad housing is highly overpriced on the market.

You see, RIGHT wing ideology holds to the firm belief that if you are not rich, that's your own fault. Can't find a job that pays well? That's your own fault. Can't afford inflated rental costs on your minimum wage job? That's your own fault.

In the midst of the free market nonsense, Saskatchewan's New Democrats believe that the time has come to try and control spiraling rental costs for low income people. Saskatchewan's Official Opposition has brought forward a sensible plan to deal with this problem.

Right on cue, Saskatchewan Party types have raised their collective voices to denounce 'socialist housing'. "Justice Minister Don Morgan said the Saskatchewan Party government has no appetite for introducing rent control, and is instead focused on increasing the supply of available housing. Rent control could do the opposite, Morgan contended. "We think it's a disincentive to having developers put more property on the market," he said."

Hey Saskatchewan Party ... the problem is that 'developers' are NOT putting affordable property on the market!

Saskatchewan people are paying the price for Brad Wall's idiotic ideology!

-CBC has more ...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 

If Corporate Tax Cuts Worked, Wisconsin's Treasury Should Be Overflowing With Cash

The RIGHT believes that tax cuts to the corporate sector work to boost and grow the economy. Hence the tax dollars of individual wage earners have been handed over to corporations and big business back to the days of Ronald Reagan. Have these tax cuts worked? Well, the American economy is ailing and unemployment is at record levels. It's hard to see where all of George Bush's tax cuts to the rich have helped anyone but the rich.

Nothing proves this better than the situation in the state of Wisconsin. All that the tax cuts to the corporate sector have ever done for the state of Wisconsin is empty the treasury.

Corporate tax cuts without a job creation requirement is like flushing tax money down the drain.

The onus is on the Teaparty, Republicans and Canada's Conservatives to bring forward proof that corporate tax cuts benefit the overall economy with jobs and increased tax revenue for the treasury. They can't. Corporate tax cuts intended to benefit the economy are simply political alchemy.

-Buckdog on DailyKOS


'Unfettered Free Market' Health Care Is A Financial Horror Show

The following article is written by Naomi Lakritz and appeared in the Calgary Herald February 22, 2011:

Barely had Ted Morton announced he would run for the Alberta Tory leadership, than speculation began about the stance he might take on health care.

The Friends of Medicare worry he might resurrect his position from the last leadership race, which was that -as per former premier Ralph Klein's late, unlamented Third Way -Albertans should be able to buy private insurance to pay for private services.

Another aspiring Alberta premier, Wildrose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith, says her party will abide by the Canada Health Act, but she has praised the virtues of private health-care delivery.

After experiencing private health insurance first-hand recently, my question is: Why would anybody subject themselves to such a financial horror show?

My husband, Mark, a health-care professional in Texas, suddenly fell seriously ill in December and was hospitalized for five days.

He has basic health insurance from his employer, but he pays an extra $60 out of his own pocket each month to bring his deductible down. The deductible this year is $900. His insurance company tells him he will have to fork out a maximum of $5,000 himself each year before they will step in and pick up the cost.

So here come some of the bills for his fiveday hospital stay. He has to pay $100 for the emergency room bill and $246 of the $828 for two CT scans.

A doctor assigned by the hospital to see him on rounds sent in his bill for five daily two-minute visits, which totalled $722. The insurance company decided the doctor would only be allowed to bill $312 for those five visits, not $722, and it only covered $250 of that, leaving Mark to pay $62.

"Doctors can bill whatever they want," Mark says, "but the insurance company decides how much the final charge will be."

Not all the bills for that hospital stay have come in yet, but new ones have since been racked up, including a third CT scan.

Mark underwent major surgery last month to fix the problem that caused his illness. He was hospitalized for a week. The bill from the surgeon totals $7,225 for the 2 1 /2 operation. hour The insurance company has informed Mark he will have to pay $1,125 of that out of his own pocket.

Still to come are the anesthesiologist's bill -Mark has to pay 25 per cent of that -and, among others, a bill from the pathologist who examined the diseased tissue that was removed.

His policy covered the lab bill for all the blood and other tests because he is a healthcare worker, but he would otherwise have had to cover 25 per cent. Then, there's the medication.

"A bill for medications in your IV and other drugs they give you in the hospital could easily run into the hundreds," Mark says.

Home again, and in debilitating post-operative pain, Mark received a letter from his insurance company.

"They wanted proof that I needed the surgery before they could approve it, even though it was already done," Mark says. Without the surgery, his illness could have been fatal.

However, the insurance company insisted that he provide them with the doctor's notes, the results of various exams and other detailed information from his file within 40 days of the date their letter was written or they wouldn't cover any of his hospital bills.

He advised them it was his job to lie on the table and have surgery, and it was his job to recover from surgery, but it was not his job as a patient, who was in pain and unable even to leave the house, to obtain, photocopy and mail information from the doctor's files on behalf of the insurance company. They never returned his call.

"Dealing with this process is extremely stressful," Mark says.

There's nothing good about any of this. This kind of financial hit is what ideologues -lost in their free-market dreams -have, in previous messages, proposed for Albertans under the guise of "choice." Choice should offer you something good. I suspect any politician who advocates inflicting this nightmare on Albertans has the best interests of insurance companies, not of Albertans, at heart.

Mark's message to Albertans: "Stick with the single-payer system."

- Lakritz is a columnist for the Calgary Herald.

Regina Leader-Post

Sunday, February 20, 2011 

Cracks Are Starting To Appear In The American Right

The following editorial appeared in the February 19, 2011 edition of the New York Times:

"SIX weeks after that horrific day in Tucson, America has half-forgotten its violent debate over the power of violent speech to incite violence. It’s Gabrielle Giffords’s own power of speech that rightly concerns us now. But all those arguments over political language did leave a discernible legacy. In the aftermath of President Obama’s Tucson sermon, civility has had a mini-restoration in Washington. And some of the most combative national figures in our politics have been losing altitude ever since, much as they did after Bill Clinton’s oratorical response to the inferno of Oklahoma City.

Glenn Beck’s ratings at Fox News continued their steady decline, falling to an all-time low last month. He has lost 39 percent of his viewers in a year and 48 percent of the prime 25-to-54 age demographic. His strenuous recent efforts to portray the Egyptian revolution as an apocalyptic leftist-jihadist conspiracy have inspired more laughs than adherents.

Sarah Palin’s tailspin is also pronounced. It can be seen in polls, certainly: the ABC News-Washington Post survey found that 30 percent of Americans approved of her response to the Tucson massacre and 46 percent did not. (Obama’s numbers in the same poll were 78 percent favorable, 12 percent negative.) But equally telling was the fate of a Palin speech scheduled for May at a so-called Patriots & Warriors Gala in Glendale, Colo.

Tickets to see Palin, announced at $185 on Jan. 16, eight days after Tucson, were slashed to half-price in early February. Then the speech was canceled altogether, with the organizers blaming “safety concerns resulting from an onslaught of negative feedback.” But when The Denver Post sought out the Glendale police chief, he reported there had been no threats or other causes for alarm. The real “negative feedback” may have been anemic ticket sales, particularly if they were to cover Palin’s standard $100,000 fee.

What may at long last be dawning on some Republican grandees is that a provocateur who puts her political adversaries in the cross hairs and then instructs her acolytes to “RELOAD” frightens most voters.

Even the Rupert Murdoch empire shows signs of opting for retreat over reload. Its newest right-wing book imprint had set its splashy debut for Jan. 18, with the rollout of a screed, “Death by Liberalism,” arguing that “more Americans have been killed by well-meaning liberal policies than by all the wars of the last century combined.” But that publication date was 10 days after Tucson, and clearly someone had second thoughts. You’ll look in vain for the usual hype, or mere mentions, of “Death by Liberalism” in other Murdoch media outlets (or anywhere else). Even more unexpectedly, Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, ran an op-ed essay last week by the reliably conservative Michael Medved trashing over-the-top Obama critiques from Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Dinesh D’Souza as “paranoid” and “destructive to the conservative cause” — the cause defined as winning national elections.

If the next step in this declension is less face time for Palin on Fox News, then we’ll have proof that pigs can fly. But a larger question remains. If the right puts its rabid Obama hatred on the down-low, what will — or can — conservatism stand for instead? The only apparent agendas are repealing “Obamacare” and slashing federal spending as long as the cuts are quarantined to the small percentage of the budget covering discretionary safety-net programs, education and Big Bird.

This shortfall of substance was showcased by last weekend’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, a premier Republican rite that doubles as a cattle call for potential presidential candidates. Palin didn’t appear — CPAC, as the event is known, doesn’t pay — and neither did her fellow Fox News personality Mike Huckabee. But all the others were there, including that great white hope of un-Palin Republicans, Mitt Romney. What they said — and didn’t say — from the CPAC podium not only shows a political opposition running on empty but also dramatizes the remarkable leadership opportunity their fecklessness has handed to the incumbent president in post-shellacking Washington.

As it happened, CPAC overlapped with the extraordinary onrush of history in the Middle East. But the Egyptian uprising, supposedly a prime example of the freedom agenda championed by George W. Bush, was rarely, and then only minimally, mentioned by the parade of would-be presidents. Indeed, with the exception of Ron Paul — who would let the Egyptians fend for themselves and cut off all foreign aid — the most detailed discussions of Egypt came from Ann Coulter and Rick Santorum.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who lost his 2006 re-election bid by a landslide of 17 percentage points, believes he can be president despite being best known for having likened homosexuality to “man on dog” sex. Even less conversant in foreign affairs than canine coitus, he attacked Obama for deserting Hosni Mubarak, questioning the message it sent to America’s “friends.” But no one (with the odd exception of George Will) takes Santorum’s presidential ambitions seriously. Romney, on the other hand, is the closest thing the G.O.P. has to a front-runner, and he is even more hollow than Santorum. Indeed, his appearance at CPAC on the morning of Friday, Feb. 11, was entirely consistent with his public image as an otherworldly visitor from an Aqua Velva commercial circa 1985.

That Friday was the day after Mubarak’s bizarre speech vowing to keep his hold on power. At 9:45 a.m. that morning, as a rapt world waited for his next move, CNN reported that there would soon be a new statement from Mubarak — whose abdication was confirmed around 11 a.m. But when Romney took the stage in Washington at 10:35, he made not a single allusion of any kind to Egypt — even as he lambasted Obama for not having a foreign policy. His snarky, cowardly address also tiptoed around “Obamacare” lest it remind Tea Partiers of Massachusetts’s “Romneycare.” He was nearly as out of touch with reality as Mubarak the night before.

There was one serious speech at CPAC — an economic colloquy delivered that night by Mitch Daniels, the Indiana governor much beloved by what remains of mainstream conservative punditry. But Daniels was quickly thrashed: Limbaugh attacked him for his mild suggestion that the G.O.P. welcome voters who are not ideological purists, and CPAC attendees awarded him with only 4 percent of the vote in their straw poll. (The winners were Paul, with 30 percent, and Romney, with 23 percent.) Indeed, Daniels couldn’t even compete with the surprise CPAC appearance of Donald Trump, a sometime Democrat whose own substance-free Obama-bashing oration drew an overflow crowd. Apparently few at CPAC could imagine that Trump might be using them to drum up publicity for his own ratings-challenged television show, “Celebrity Apprentice,” which returns in just two weeks — or that he had contributed $50,000 to the Chicago mayoral campaign of no less an Obama ally than Rahm Emanuel.

THE G.O.P. has already reached its praying-for-a-miracle phase — hoping some neo-Reagan will emerge to usurp the tired field. Trump! Thune! T-Paw! Christie! Jeb Bush! Soon it’ll be time for another Fred Thompson or Rudy groundswell. But hardly had CPAC folded its tent than a new Public Policy Polling survey revealed where the Republican base’s heart truly remains — despite the new civility and the temporary moratorium on the term “job-killing.” The poll found that 51 percent of G.O.P. primary voters don’t believe that the president was born in America and that only 28 percent do. (For another 21 percent, the jury is still out, as it presumably is on evolution as well.)

The party leadership is no less cowed by that majority today than it was pre-Tucson. That’s why John Boehner, appearing on “Meet the Press” last weekend, stonewalled David Gregory’s repeated queries asking him to close the door on the “birther” nonsense. (“It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think,” Boehner said.) The power of the G.O.P.’s hard-core base may also yet deliver a Palin comeback no matter what the rest of the country thinks of her. In the CNN poll nearly two weeks after Tucson, Republicans still gave her a 70 percent favorable approval rating, just behind Huckabee (72 percent) and ahead of Romney (64 percent).

An opposition this adrift from reality — whether about Obama’s birth certificate, history unfolding in the Middle East or the consequences of a federal or state government shutdown — is a paper tiger. It’s a golden chance for the president to seize the moment. What we don’t know is if he sees it that way. As we’ve learned from his track record both in the 2008 campaign and in the White House, he sometimes coasts at these junctures or lapses into a pro forma bipartisanship that amounts, for all practical purposes, to inertia.

Obama’s outspokenness about the labor battle in Wisconsin offers a glimmer of hope that he might lead the fight for what many Americans, not just Democrats, care about — from job creation to an energy plan to an attack on the deficit that brackets the high-end Bush-era tax cuts with serious Medicare/Medicaid reform and further strengthening of the health care law. Will he do so? The answer to that question is at least as mysterious as the identity of whatever candidate the desperate G.O.P. finds to run against him."

NY Times

Saturday, February 19, 2011 

Brad Wall's Gov't RENEGES On Promise To Implement New School Funding Formula In Spring Budget

Brad Wall has long promised a new funding formula for Saskatchewan's school districts. Procrastination is the rule here as Wall has time and again postponed introduction of the new formula. Last year the Wall administration was firm in its promise to announce the new formula with the Spring 2011 provincial budget.

Nix that one. Wall has now decided to delay the new formula until after this fall's provincial election.

The reason is simple. The Saskatchewan Party's base is in rural constituencies. The proposed new formula is going to whack many rural school districts where population is sparse.

"Under the new model, some divisions would see double-digit percentage decreases in their budget."
The Star Phoenix

Friday, February 18, 2011 

The Chair Of The School Of Policy At The University Of Calgary Says Premier Brad Wall's Potash Royalty Structure is 'Just Wrong'

"Jack Mintz, chair of the school of policy at the University of Calgary and a fiscal and tax policy specialist, describes the province’s current potash royalty system as “just wrong.”

“My argument is that it is actually a poor rent-collector, probably not collecting enough rents on it. In fact, when you kind of look at the numbers it would suggest that,” said Mintz, a former head of the conservative C.D. Howe Institute think-tank."

The Star Phoenix

Progressive Bloggers


Brad Wall Says 'NO' To Potash Royalty Review ... And The Ripoff Is Worse Than You Know

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan CEO Bill Doyle

-In 2009, (the so-called bad year for potash) PotashCorp made a profit of $988 Million (third highest in their history) and ultimately paid NO ROYALTIES! (Note: the $29 Million initially paid to the province was later calculated as an overpayment).

-In 2010, (a good year for potash) PotashCorp made a profit of $1.8 BILLION and paid $76.8 Million in royalties to the province.

So let's do the math: ($988 Million plus $1.8 Billion = $2.788 Billion clear profit). With a Royalty stipend of $76.8 Million paid. What that means is that over a two year period, the People of Saskatchewan earned 2.7 Cents on every Dollar of profit that went to PotashCorp.

Brad Wall thinks that this is 'fair'.

He is refusing to even take a look at the Royalty structure. Why? Is it simply his adherence to Right Wing ideology or are pockets being lined? ... just asking!

-Photo courtesy Richard Marjan, The StarPhoenix
-Thanks to Mr. Erin Weir for correcting my figures ...

Progressive Bloggers

Thursday, February 17, 2011 

5 years ago today Buckdog signed on for the first time ....

Buckdog = 5

Health Care Is Not A Commodity - 1st Post


Saskatchewan Gets 'Measly' Return On Potash Resource Under Wall Administration

The following appeared in today's edition of the Regina Leader-Post. The author, Erin Weir is a Saskatchewan expatriate working as senior economist with the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels, Belgium.

"Bruce Johnstone's Feb. 12 column ('If it ain't broke, don't fix it') attempts to dismiss calls from me and others for a review of Saskatchewan potash royalties.

However, the royalty regime is broken. PotashCorp's last quarterly report indicates that it paid only a nickel in provincial royalties for every dollar of gross profit generated in 2010.

Royalties were equally low in 2009. The report projects that they will be again in 2011 ("provincial mining and other taxes are expected to approximate 4-6 percent of total potash gross margin.")

Johnstone endorses Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd's claim that "Saskatchewan still has among the highest royalty rates on potash in the world" without any specific comparisons to other countries. Canada, Russia and Belarus account for two-thirds of global potash production.

If Saskatchewan raises its potash royalties, will PotashCorp CEO Bill Doyle sweep aside the oligarchs who control the potash industry of Russia and Belarus in order to invest there instead? The reality, as Johnstone acknowledges, is that "potash companies can't take their mines with them to other jurisdictions."

Johnstone argues that Saskatchewan mines are expanding because of royalty reductions. However, the province has the world's richest potash reserves and it is much cheaper to expand existing mines than to build new mines elsewhere.

Potash prices tripled between 2004 and 2010. If royalty reductions were ever required to spur investment in Saskatchewan's potash industry, they are certainly no longer needed today.

In rejecting BHP's takeover bid for PotashCorp, Premier Brad Wall referred to "your revenue, the rent you should be getting for the resource that you own." Months later, Saskatchewan people are still getting a measly return on the resource they own. A provincial review of potash royalties would be a good first step toward fixing a broken system."

Regina Leader-Post

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 

A Potash Royalty Review Could Become An Ugly Mess For Premier Brad Wall

Yesterday I posted criticism of Premier Brad Wall from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. The editorial wondered if Wall is acting more like a representative of PotashCorp than of the people of Saskatchewan.

But today's Regina Leader-Post has an editorial that trys to defend the extremely low royalty rate that Wall is getting for our Potash reserves:

"This is an election year in Saskatchewan and the last thing the province needs is a damaging political fight that could dent its image as a place that's good to do business. [...]In our view, the industry needs some breathing room after the roller-coaster ride of the past couple of years."
Regina Leader-Post

I have to assume that the editorial board of the Regina Leader-Post has gone insane (or) was asked by the Saskatchewan Party administration to mitigate the Star Phoenix editorial.

The editors of the Regina Leader-Post need to be reminded that an election year is exactly when we have our political dust ups to determine the future course of the province. Essentially the editors are telling us that elections are bad for 'business' .. bad for the 'corporate sector'. Has it come to the point where the corporate sector considers 'democracy' as bad for business?

It's time for the Regina Leader-Post to remove their nose from Brad Wall's backside. The Editors of the LP titled their editorial "A Potash Royalty Review Could Become An Ugly Mess" .. what they really meant to say is "A Potash Royalty Review Could Become An Ugly Mess FOR BRAD WALL"!

PotashCorp reported a $1.8 Billion profit last year and paid the owner of the resource, the people of Saskatchewan, about 4 cents of royalty on each dollar of profit for a total of $76.8 Million. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall thinks that 4 cents on the dollar is a fair deal.

-Prairie Dog Blog - "The L-P’s Editorial Writers Are Totally On Crack Today"


40th Anniversary of Pierre Trudeau's 'Fuddle Duddle' - Feb. 16, 1971

This video clip was first broadcast on CBC on February 16,1979.

The Fuddle Duddle Incident - Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 

Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party Administration Is Literally GIVING Our Potash Reserve Away

Ten years ago, PotashCorp paid royalties to the province of Saskatchewan in the amount of $76.8 Million from their profit of $300 Million.

Last year, PotashCorp paid the province the same $76.8 Million royalty on profits of $1.8 BILLION! Brad Wall says that this is a 'fair deal'. Many chose to disagree with Mr. Wall.

The Editorial Board of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix agrees that Saskatchewan is now on the short end of the royalty stick .. with Brad Wall sounding more like a representative of PotashCorp than the Premier of Saskatchewan.

"And there is evidence that Mr. Wall's commitment may be better for the potash company than for his own constituents. While it is important to assure a predictable tax regime remains in place, it's even more important that the taxes are fair to the people who own the resource."

(The editorial goes on to say:)

"That Saskatchewan was able to raise only $77 million or so in royalties last year -when PCS alone earned $1.8 billion -suggests that Mr. Wall's government is selling this strategic resource on the cheap side."
Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Brad Wall's defenders will try and run out in front of this criticism and tell you that 'it was the NDP who set the current royalty rate when they were in power' ... EXCUSE ME! ... $1.8 BILLION in current PotashCorp profits is a far cry from 10 years ago when profits were $300 MILLION.

Brad Wall is allowing Saskatchewan to be ripped off ..... big time!

Monday, February 14, 2011 

$tephen Harper Believes In Unfettered Free Market VooDoo!

Canada's corporate sector is sitting on over $50 Billion dollars of retained earnings and savings that they are NOT investing in the economy. And why would they if Stephen Harper is going to take the Taxpayer's credit card and borrow $6 Billion to give to the very same corporations.

You see, our Prime Minister believes in a very dangerous type of voodoo. He believes that if Billions of dollars is given to Banks, car manufacturers and other corporations, they will invest that money in the economy and everyone will benefit as the borrowed money trickles down to the lower classes like you and me.

It is pure Conservative ideology. They believe it like religion. Yet it is a false religion. You see, Harper's corporate tax cuts do not 'require' these tax savings to be reinvested in the economy. If they want, the benefiting companies can use the tax savings to increase the salaries of CEO's. Contrast this with how the Conservatives didn't even blink when they increased Employment Insurance premiums for all of Canada's workers.

Harper is going to give big corporations a tax cut and you are going to pay for it. There will be no big 'trickle down' benefit. It is simply the same old Conservative Party of Canada giving Billions and Billions of dollars in 'corporate welfare' to their friends.

It could also be $tephen Harper's Achilles Heel. Why? Because he so sincerely believes that what he is doing is the right thing. He is about to find out from Canadians that it might be the 'Rightwing' thing, ... but it is WRONG for Canadians.

Harper .. the sooner you are gone, the better off all Canadians will be.

-Harper won't blink on corporate tax cuts ...

.. typo corrected ..

Saturday, February 12, 2011 

UPDATED: Murder Charges In The Saskatchewan Disappearance Case Of Rob Vicente

On a warm fall night in October, a Saskatchewan man simply vanished ...

"RCMP in Saskatchewan have charged two men with first-degree murder in connection with the disappearance of Rob Vicente.

Two men were arrested Friday, one in Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask., and the other at the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre, RCMP said.

Vicente hasn't been seen since his disappearance last October, and RCMP did not report finding a body.

Members of the major crime unit searched a rural property in Davidson, Sask., on Saturday afternoon.

"At this point, investigators believe they will be at this property for at least the next few days," the RCMP said in a news release.

Vicente, 25, from nearby Bladworth, stopped at a gas station in Davidson on Oct. 10. Two days later, police said, investigators located his fire-gutted car about 30 kilometres from Davidson.

Darak Andrew More, 22, from Saskatoon has been charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm. Devin Riel Joseph Schmit, 20, from Fort Qu'Appelle, faces the same charges.

Both accused will remain in custody until a court appearance scheduled for Monday."

CBC Saskatchewan

Timeline ...

-Rob Vicente's body found...

-Suspects make first court appearance on murder, robbery charges

Friday, February 11, 2011 

Did The Army PUSH Mubarak Out? - updated-

Considering that last night he said he wasn't leaving, this mornings departure by Mubarak leaves me thinking that he was pushed out .. and only the Egyptian army has the ability to accomplish that.

More coming ....
-Washington Post

-Word is emerging from Egypt that the Army DID push Mubarak out hours ago in what is being called a 'soft coup' ...

-Army has disolved both Houses of Parliament and has dismissed the Cabinet. Military is in power ...

-The Shah of Iran was deposed 32 years to the day before Hosni Mubarak was deposed

Wednesday, February 09, 2011 

Here's 5 Questions That Harper - Flaherty And The Conservatives WILL NOT Answer About Corporate Tax Cuts!

• What evidence does the government have that reducing corporate taxes stimulates job creation? Surely, after a decade of cuts, it can offer Canadians more than empty Right wing slogans.

• How does Flaherty know corporations will use their tax cuts to hire workers rather than invest in labour-saving equipment, give their executives big bonuses, increase their shareholders’ dividends, facilitate mergers and acquisitions or simply sock the money away?

• Why, if the finance minister is so eager to encourage hiring, did he jack up employment insurance premiums on Jan. 1? Nothing kills jobs faster than a payroll tax increase.

• What proof can he provide that corporate tax cuts make Canadian companies more competitive? They could well have the opposite effect. Instead of hustling for business, investing in research, or capitalizing on Canadian innovations, firms can sit back and wait for the next instalment of tax relief to undercut their international rivals.

• Why is it good economic policy to shift an ever-growing portion of the tax burden from businesses (many of which are highly profitable) to individuals (many of whom are struggling to get back on their feet after the recession)?

The Star

Tuesday, February 08, 2011 

The Conservative MYTH Of 'Smaller Government' FAILS

$tephen Harper will tell you that Conservatives are all about lower spending and smaller governments.


The Harper administration has brought in the largest deficit budgets in Canadian history. This year, Harper is spending $55.6-billion more than is coming in as tax revenue. So much for that myth.

Harper has also grown the size of the Canadian government to record levels. He will tell you that it is because of an increase in the size of the military and the police. That is FAR from the real story.

It even looks like some on the Right are struggling with the 'myth' as well. But don't take my word for it .. here's the Edmonton Journal:

"Although Harper recently conceded he's increased spending and jobs, he defended the growth.

"This government has been expanding the size of the military," Harper recently told the CBC. "We've expanded, hired more police officers."

He added that his government has also shored up product-and consumer-safety laws, and bolstered its inspection powers.

***** But it's not the entire story. *****

Over the five years that the Conservative government has been in power, public documents show that the Canadian Forces have added 7,754 people to their regular forces and reserves. That's an expansion of 8.7 per cent, bringing the total to 96,675 people at the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year.

In the final year of Paul Martin's Liberal government, 2005-06, the Canadian Forces tally was 88,921.

Over the Harper years, the number of RCMP officers has increased more than 16 per cent to 24,445.

And employment in the departments receiving funding for federal food-and consumer-safety initiatives, Harper's other stated priority, also grew slightly. Health Canada added the equivalent of 1,212 full-time jobs (called FTEs), while the Canadian Food Inspection Agency added 833. The Public Health Agency of Canada brought in another 757 people, and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research added 72.

But defying conventional thinking about Conservative devotion to smaller government, there also was growth beyond these priority areas.

The number of civilian employees of National Defence and the RCMP -- excluding the military members and police officers already counted -- grew by 33,023 people, slightly more than 13 per cent, over five years.

Relative to the growth in Canadian population under the Harper government, the federal public service grew by 7.8 per cent.

Some departments grew even faster than the prime minister's priorities. For example:

- Human Resources and Skills Development Canada increased its FTEs by more than 8,000, a growth of 47 per cent.

- Canada Border Services Agency took on nearly 2,662 FTEs (22-percent growth).

- Indian Affairs got 1,280 (32-percent growth).

- Citizenship and Immigration added 969 (28-per-cent growth).

"There were several years of relatively slow growth in the public service, years ago," said Finn Poschmann, a research executive at the C.D. Howe Institute, a conservative-leaning think-tank. "So rebuilding the public service was necessary. But the pace of growth is obviously unsustainable."

Hiring, however, is only one measure of government growth.

Federal program spending during Martin's final year in power -- 2005-06 -- stood at $175 billion. By 2009-10 under Harper, it had climbed to $245 billion."

The Edmonton Journal

Monday, February 07, 2011 

Ooops! Here's A Ronald Reagan Anniversary That The RIGHT Is NOT Celebrating!

Proclamation 5034—Afghanistan Day, 1983
By the President of the United States of America, 21 March 1983

"The tragedy of Afghanistan continues as the valiant and courageous Afghan freedom fighters [The Taliban] persevere in standing up against the brutal power of the Soviet invasion and occupation."
President Ronald Reagan simply loved the Taliban in 1983!

He loved them so much that the USA flooded them with as many weapons and ammunition as they could handle ... (hoping they'd shoot them at the Soviet Union). However, things didn't quite work out the way the Republican government wanted them to!

It is entirely possible that Canadian soldiers have been killed by weapons that were given to the Taliban by the US Republican government of Ronald Reagan!


Even The Far Right Is Starting To Distance Itself From Sarah Palin™ : UPDATED

Sarah Palin™ has reached the point where even the hard Right is starting to move away from her.

I had an interesting twitter exchange yesterday with some Right wing guy from Ontario who absolutely stands by Sarah Palin's™ political 'skills'. When I asked him what it was that he likes about her, he replied that she stands for lowering taxes and making government smaller. Wow! He would put the fate of the planet into the hands of an unintelligent, unaware, political idiot in the hope that his 'taxes' may be lower.

Well, at least some on the Right now understand that they have pushed the Sarah Palin™ envelope too far.

Sarah Palin™ Is Uninvited To Right Wing Military Fundraiser - FOX NEWS

Looks like more organizations CANCEL out on Palin as guest speaker ...

Sunday, February 06, 2011 

Why Sarah Palin™ Is Like A Boil On The Ass Of America

"Of the many answers offered, Sarah Palin's now infamous crosshairs map has been a target of speculative blame. Were the crosshairs too much? [...]

Perhaps more dangerous than some euphemistic violent imagery, is coupling it with fear. Few things have proven more consistent in history than the triumph of irrational fear over logic.

Identify a vague and ubiquitous entity. Tell Americans they want to take away our rights, and you'll pique curiosity. Don't explain anything, don't back it up with facts, just give it a spooky nebulous quality. Threats of tyranny and loss of freedom with ideas of violence and revolution create both a problem and a solution – albeit a violent one. After the Tunisian government fell, Neil Cavuto of Fox News alluded to a similar overthrow of the American government, because food prices were going up. Way to plant the seed, Neil.

While we cannot say that Palin's map alone was the definite cause of any violence, it would be foolish to ignore the fact that shortly after is publication, four of the targeted representatives had their homes vandalized, Representative Giffords included.

Palin's map was a mere fragment of a larger problem; a splinter off the Trojan Horse that is American conservative punditry; machine that positions itself as the voice of the people while infecting its victims with the idea that this democratically elected administration intends to take away their God-given rights, (those bestowed by their God and no one else's). It has become so efficient that it spawned the Tea Party, a movement that is significantly rooted in unsubstantiated fear and lies, but nevertheless is gaining clout due to this very machine.

Sarah Palin has played her part, but when set against the backdrop of her peers, she is only one in a sleuth of fear-mongers. Almost nightly, you can see Glenn Beck's obsession with tyranny, as he scrawls incessantly on his chalkboard of oppression; which somehow always manages to have a swastika on it and links George Soros to the devil. He has joked about killing Michael Moore, and warned that "you will have to shoot them in the head" referring to all the commies that politicians are befriending. Sharon Angle spoke of "second amendment remedies" and candidate Richard Behney declared, "If we don't see new faces [elected into office], I'm cleaning my guns and getting ready..." The list goes on.

The study, Mobilizing Aggression in Mass Politics, conducted at the University of Michigan, found that while many people are adverse to violent metaphors in politics, there are the trait aggressive – people more likely to engage in aggressive behavior regardless of the situation – who do respond to violent imagery. As one of the few studies of its kind, it cannot be taken as the final word, but it is an important insight to the possible effects a constant smattering of vicious language can have on people.

After the shooting, much of this par-for-the-course violent hyperbole was criticized. Palin's response to critics was just as expected: a disjointed mess of empty, accusatory statements tied together with phrases like "what the people want" and "greatness of our country." In a single breath, she contradicted herself indicating that her words could not incite violence, but the critique of her words could.

It was an insight to her vapid irrational thought process. She lacks empathy and does not understand. She makes statements about oppression and taking the country back, but I have to ask, "From what?" This is an elected administration. Who are we taking the country back from? The people? Yes, employ violent means to get your ideological way.

She made one good point, which I think we can all get behind: violence should not stifle debate. But when U.S. Rep. Alan West told his supporters he wanted to make his political foe "afraid to come out of his house," you have to question if that sends the same message as "let's debate our differences."

Fear can be a powerful weapon. Like a child with a gun, Palinwields it with reckless abandon, and may never understand the potential consequences of her words or actions. A call to violence is one problem, but by itself will often succumb to reason. If however, those invoking violent rhetoric connect it to fear via stories of tyranny, and declare that they want to take your freedom, and remind you of noble revolutions, there will inevitably be an alarming number of people who will – as the poster goes – become "enraged with fear until they feel justified in their violence."

Sarah Palin™ Enrages With Fear
By James Meyers

Saturday, February 05, 2011 

Sarah Palin Does Ronald Reagan

"For Ms. Palin, a speech on Friday evening to a conservative group that gathered to pay tribute to President Reagan offered an opportunity to connect herself to the most iconic figure of the Republican Party. Yet she did not use the appearance — one of the highest-profile Republican platforms in months — to move beyond familiar criticism or attempt to prescribe a new or specific remedy for what she sees as missteps in the Obama administration"
The New York Times

"Sarah Palin will present the keynote speech at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara today to celebrate Ronald Reagan’s 100thbirthday. The conservative former governor of Alaska who is considering running for the Oval Office in 2012 will honor the former president for the changes brought by the Reagan Administration during his tenure as president and the legacy he provided for millions of his admirers on the right.

Given all the rhetoric about how Ronald Reagan was such a positive influence on our government, our economy, our military prowess, much is forgotten about the many failures of his administration and the negative influence his administration left as his legacy.

Reagan was not the most popular president in American history; Bill Clinton was just as popular in the several Gallop polls.

Reagan’s promotion of “supply-side economics”, which promoted the idea that tax cuts for the rich would lead them to save and invest money which would lead to increase productivity and lower unemployment…never worked the way it was supposed to as the 1980s was the worst decade of post-World War II growth. In fact, his Voodoo Economics is a key reason America suffers the huge unemployment problems and the major distribution of income that stifles economic growth today.

During his presidency Bill Casey, director of the CIA, was responsible for secretly funding the contras in Nicaragua by borrowing millions of dollars from the Saudis…supposedly without Congress or Reagan’s knowledge it was reported with a wink and a nod.

A further goal of Reaganomics was to cut back on government which is touted today by his conservative followings…in fact, during Reagan’s presidency government spending grew by 25% and the number of government employees increased, as well.

Another conservative objective of his economic program while in office was to balance the federal budget…Reagan never produced a balanced budget and ran the biggest deficit in history, up to that time.

One of Reagan’s biggest “failures” was the Iran-Contra that involved secret sales of arms to Iran to raise funds to support anti-communist fighters in Nicaragua. At first Reagan denied knowledge of the affair only to find out after a Congressional Investigation that both he and Vice President George Bush had been involved.

The World Court convicted Reagan’s administration for human rights violations in Nicaragua…the administration then chose to remove the US from participation with the World Court ending a 39 year time of US support.

As is common in politics Reagan is revered as a game changing American President because of major world change that occurred during his time…the end of the Cold War supposedly based on the huge investment in military hardware made by his administration…in fact, the Cold War ended because of the economic collapse of the Soviet Union that began during the latter stages of Reagan’s term.

What we should learn on his birthday this year is how misleading the Reagan Legacy has become when touted by the conservative right. Like Sarah Palin and other right wing conservatives who use voodoo Reaganomics as a standard for their political causes the failure of those policies remain clear in historical fact, not on politically created legend about the man and his politics. The right should learn to get their facts straight."

- “Voodoo Economics”, Remark, presidential campaign (1980), George H.W. Bush

Editors Note:
I was tempted to title this post ... "Ronald Reagan: Not Dead Enough" just to tick off some right wing folks I know - but in the Irish culture that I was raised in - it is taught that there are sometimes unfortunate consequences for speaking 'ill of the dead'


Another Attack Ad - Rick Mercer

Friday, February 04, 2011 

The Conservatives Accuse You Of NOT Wanting To Raise Your Own Children If They Are In Daycare !

(Canada's Sarah Palin)

According to a senior Cabinet Minister, the Federal Conservatives believe that 84% of Canadian mothers do not want to raise their own children! The idiocy of Conservative ideology is so obvious, you really have to question the intelligence of the whole lot of them.

OTTAWA—Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has accused the Liberals of wanting to revive a national child-care program so that parents don’t have to raise their own children.

“It’s the Liberals who wanted to ensure that parents are forced to have other people raise their children. We do not believe in that,” Finley said in the Commons Thursday, the same day that Liberals were promising to revive the national program scrapped by the Conservatives five years ago this week.

Liberals are calling Finley’s remark an insult to working Canadian mothers and fathers and a clear declaration of bias in favour of stay-at-home parents — a rarity in Canada, where most mothers with children work. [...] New Democrats, who have put forward their own national child-care legislation in the Commons, were also outraged by Finley’s characterization of child-care programs.

“Finley insulted all teachers, all early childhood educators, child-care workers, organizers of parents’ resource centres and even babysitters. She is trying to inflict guilt on all working parents — a truly shameful, divisive behaviour,” said NDP MP Olivia Chow.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2007 labour-force review, 69 per cent of mothers with children under 2 are in the workforce. That figure rises to 84 per cent for mothers with children between 6 and 15 years of age."

The Star

Conservative Cabinet Minister Diane Finley continued to demonstrate her shocking lack of intelligence today as she again repeated her remarks that 'day care' is for people who don't want to raise their own children.

Thursday, February 03, 2011 

Egyptian Military Detains Globe & Mail Journalist In Cairo ....

I don't like the sound of this .... Here are the most recent tweets by Sonia Verma of the Globe and Mail ... Stay Tuned!!

Here are Sonia's last 5 tweets before they stopped about an hour ago:
-Another checkpoint. Now they have taken our passports. #egypt
-One of them jumped into our car. He will not give us our passports.
-We are being taken into some kind of custody.
-Military have comandeered us and our car.
-My sms to toronto is blocked. Can only tweet #egypt

Sonia Verma On Twitter

Sonia Verma has been released by the Egyptian military after being held for a number of hours!!


"CAIRO — The Egyptian military has started rounding up journalists, including one who writes for the Globe and Mail."
Canadian Press

"The U.S. is condemning what it calls a “concerted campaign to intimidate international journalists” covering the protests and violence in Cairo."
The Associated Press


Happy New Year!!

Xin nian yu kuai
Kung hei fat choi

Wednesday, February 02, 2011 

Glenn Beck - Losing His Audience AND His Mind

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"It took a few days for right-wing opportunists to figure out exactly how to deal with the popular uprising against Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, but they've caught up. Most of the world has watched the massive, peaceful demonstrations with deep admiration, hopes for a peaceful outcome, and uncertainty about where it will end up, especially with the emergence of violent Mubarak thugs Wednesday. Some Republicans, including John Boehner and even Mitt Romney, have actually managed to praise President Obama's cautious but increasingly firm statements demanding change. Despite the confusion, some right-wing fear-mongers are galloping to wildly false conclusions that serve them politically.

Naturally, Glenn Beck is the worst. We know he's losing his audience -- his January ratings were his lowest since his show began two years ago -- and he may be losing his mind. Monday night Beck outlined his grand vision of three dominant world powers, as a result of the Egyption turmoil. In case you missed it: "One, a Muslim caliphate that controls the Mideast and parts of Europe. Two, China, that will control Asia, the southern half of Africa, part of the Middle East, Australia, maybe New Zealand, and God only knows what else. And Russia, which will control all of the old former Soviet Union bloc, plus maybe the Netherlands. I'm not really sure. But their strong arm is coming. That leaves us and South America. What happens to us?"

What happens to us, indeed, in a country where Beck still has an audience of 1.7 million people (even if it's down a third from its peak)? On Tuesday he laid the blame for Egypt's unrest at the feet of "the uber-left, the anarchists and the communists and the socialists, the radicals, sowing the seeds and helping those in Egypt," and proclaimed: "The storm that I've talked about for so many years is here. The coming insurrection is here." Mercifully, he hasn't mentioned Frances Fox Piven (yet).

It must be said, the right-wing frothers are divided: They can't decide whether they want to hail Mubarak as an ally, or denounce him as a dictator while comparing him to Obama, or both. Among the 2012 contenders, Tim Pawlenty trashed Obama for equivocating on the future of the Mubarak regime and declared that it "should come to an end," while Newt Gingrich blathered on about the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood without saying exactly what Obama -- or any president -- should do."

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