Agrégateur de flux

The Anti-Harper Ads the MSM Doesn't Want You to Watch

Montreal Simon - il y a 3 heures 39 min

It's ironic that at a time when Stephen Harper is trying to ram his dangerous anti-terrorist bill through parliament.

Muzzle some of his most distinguished critics. 

A parliamentary committee will hear from strong supporters and vocal critics of the government’s anti-terrorism bill, but not from four former prime ministers who have decried the lack of increased oversight in the legislation.

And has terrorized Canadians more than any other leader in Canadian history.

It's ironic and outrageous, that our big TV networks won't run an ad like this one...
Read more »

Stephen Harper and the Con Law of the Jungle

Montreal Simon - il y a 4 heures 47 min

At a time when half of his PMO has been subpoenaed to testify at the Mike Duffy trial, and he might have to go to court to argue why he should not join them.

At a time when his former parliamentary secretary Dean del Mastro is waiting to be sentenced for electoral fraud.

At a time when he is trying to beat the drums of fascism as hard as he can.

It follows that Stephen Harper would try to prove that he's tough on criminals. 
Read more »

Gwynne Dyer - Iran's Nuclear Bomb Programme Was Never About Israel.

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 6 heures 29 min

It would be the height of suicidal folly for Iran to ever threaten Israel with a nuclear attack.  Israel has at least 80-nuclear warheads, possibly hundreds, far more than enough to turn Iran into glass.

Gwynne Dyer brings a breath of reality to the situation with Iran today pointing out that, not only does Iran have no current nuclear weapons programme, back when it did it was never about Israel.

There were two periods during which Iran seriously considered making nuclear weapons and did some preliminary work on weapons design and uranium enrichment, but in neither case was it about Israel.

The first time was in the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq attacked Iran (with American backing) in a war that ultimately cost a quarter-million Iranian lives. At that time Saddam actually was working on Iraqi nuclear weapons, and Iran felt obliged to follow suit.

But after Saddam was defeated by Western and Arab armies in the Gulf War of 1990-91 and the United Nations inspectors went in to dismantle Iraq’s nuclear programme, the Iranians lost interest in developing their own nuclear weapons. Then they got alarmed again and restarted the programme in 1998 when another neighbour, Pakistan, tested its own first nuclear weapons.

They didn’t make much progress, but they kept on working at the problem in a desultory way until 2002, when an anti-regime terrorist group called Mujahedin-e-Khalq (partly financed by Israel) revealed the existence of the weapons programme and Tehran shut it down. And for the past 13 years, nothing.

The Ad CBC Won't Air - Quelle Surprise!

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 6 heures 43 min
It's HarperLand 2015 which goes a long way to explaining why CBC has refused to run this ad.

What America's Military Leviathan Desperately Needs - Mo Money.

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 7 heures 53 min

It already consumes more money than the next dozen or so largest militaries on Earth but it's not enough, not nearly enough.

According to the rightwing Heritage Foundation, the Pentagon needs mo money, a lot more.

The consistent decline in funding and the consequent shrinking of the force are putting it under significant pressure. Essential maintenance is being deferred; fewer units (mostly the Navy’s platforms and the Special Operations Forces community) are being cycled through operational deployments more often and for longer periods; and old equipment is being extended while programmed replacements are problematic. The cumulative effect of such factors has resulted in a U.S. military that is marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.
It's an interesting enough, albeit predictable, report.  It's based on America's ability to fight two regional wars simultaneously and has a questionable "All the King's Horses and All the King's Men" approach.
When it comes to American military preparedness, however, I prefer the Maserati analogy offered by Janine Davidson, senior fellow at Defense in Depth.
Imagine a gorgeous, gleaming Maserati, the sort of car that belongs on a showroom floor. The car is elegant, but it’s also extraordinarily capable—the Maserati GranTurismo goes 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds and tops out at 186 miles per hour. What do you do with a machine like this? You certainly don’t use it for your commute on the pot-holed roads or your grocery runs or all the other mundanities of daily life. Instead, the Maserati is to be reserved for only the most special occasions. Otherwise, you keep it in an air conditioned garage, to be admired from a polite distance.

Too often, planners and policymakers apply this same sort of thinking to the U.S. military. They think that the primary—indeed, the only—mission of the United States’ armed forces is to “fight and win the nation’s wars.” These wars, so often assumed to be quick, high-tech and decisive conflicts waged against a peer competitor, demand the most expensive force possible, armed with the most “exquisite” platforms that the nation can produce. When not called on to fight these decisive conflicts, the military, like the Maserati, should be preserved and protected in its enclosed garage.

There are two problems here. The first is that the vast majority of contingencies the U.S. military is called on to perform are not quick, decisive, one-versus-one “football games” where one side wins, the other loses, and they both pack up and go home. Instead, the United States most typically deploys its forces for peacekeeping, stability operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, mass atrocity prevention, drug interdiction, and more. U.S. foreign policy demands a wide range of options and mission sets; it’s the military that makes these happen.

The second problem is that these expensive, “exquisite,” platforms are not the best-suited for what we do most. Even if an F-35 can outfly and outshoot everything in the sky, or a Zumwalt-class destroyer can dominate a huge ocean stretch, we will never be able to build very many of them. Trading this much capacity for capability may not make sense when, for most missions, a lot of the older stuff works pretty darn well. The American military need not be a shiny Maserati. Most of the time it can be a Ford F-150: worn, reliable, and more than able to get the job done.
Indeed the F-35 is a military Maserati.  It's designed to do a very narrow range of things better than others (although even that is in doubt today) but it sacrifices an incredible degree of capability for the sake of stealth cloaking.  The Maserati is great but not when you need to move a cord of firewood.
There's a price to be paid for this sort of extravagance.  In the graphic above you can see the size of China's military expenditure contrasted with America's.  What that graph won't show you is how much more bang China gets for its military buck - and it's a lot.  
Canada may desperately want to be admitted to America's entourage, its posse, but with that comes pressure to field Maseratis when we really need those Ford F-150 pickups.  America can, and will, squander hundreds of billions of dollars on its supercar military.  Canada, with our defence budget choked almost into unconsciousness by Stephen Harper, can't afford to go that route.  

Do we Albertans ever get tired of being bent over and Punked you ask? (Spoiler: "Thank you sir, may I have another?")

Rusty Idols - il y a 8 heures 47 min
The PCs finally face a tiny piece of reality and start talking about revenue, but since they are dedicated servants of the elite the goal of any new revenue generation will be to have it fall mainly, if possible COMPLETELY on the middle class and the poor.Cut spending, hike taxes, find a climate-change policy, reform health care, control public-sector pay— Premier Jim Prentice’s core agenda sure sounds familiar. 
That’s because so much of it was ex-Premier Alison Redford’s agenda, and Ed Stelmach’s before her. In fact, if you consider promises to diversify the economy and sock away cash savings, Prentice is still following the agenda Peter Lougheed pursued for 14 years from 1971 to 1985 .
The whole Prentice enterprise often looks like a dismal reflection on decades of PC rule. The same party keeps picking new leaders to solve the same old problems.Lame justifications about 'driving away investment' a bogieman of ancient vintage just keep slamming up against the fact that we could raise 10 billion dollars in new corporate taxation alone, filling our 7 billion dollar fiscal hole with enough leftover for long delayed infrastructure improvements BUT STILL have the lowest corporate taxes in Canada.The goal is to use the crisis du jour of low oil prices to protect ideologically based wealth distribution upwards and attack organized labour and public services.At some point we have to stop falling for this.sdnxry5z7g

The Salamander Has Some Questions

Politics and its Discontents - il y a 8 heures 50 min

The Salamander has been doing a lot of thinking, and has some questions. Read his post, and feel free to weigh in:

.. the other day, I was thinking about 'the Base' ..
that unusual group of committed voters for Stephen Harper..
plus truly fervent media.. Lilley, Levant et al
wondering what caused their odd shrill partisan malady

And I was also thing about the Harper apparatus - Party & Government
and the retinue of PMO, lawyers, RoboCall vendors, pollsters etc etc
and beyond belief wealthy corporate partners & think tanks
you know, the folks that truly benefit from their complicity

And then I thought about the rest of Canada.. voters, people, kids, elders etc
and within that group I guess falls Trudeau & Mulcair, May et al
all with some sort of perspective or belief in what exactly Canada stands for
province to province, urban rural, young old, employed or unemployed etc

I can't claim any blinding insight came from that particular thinking session
it was really just musing to myself on how laughable or insane the reality is..

I asked myself some simple questions though.. about what defines Canadians
now.. like right now.. A majority of Canadians.. and to a certain extent..
eligible voter Canadians.. When they vote.. what drives that decision?
Or even if not voting, what drives their perception of Canada
and their perception of the politics or politicians currently serving Canadians..
You know.. as elected public servants.. or paid public servants ?

I plan to write a 'rant' .. like the 'I am Joe' kind of rant..
and I want to write it correctly.. because I'm not Joe.. I'm me
and I want the rant to speak to and speak for current Canadians

And if I can't exactly put my thumb on what describes all Canadians
or what the particular dreams, needs or wishes of each or all Canadians are ..
I certainly want to identify what I'm certain they do not want or believe in..
as well as the issues or action or realities that give them pause, fear & doubts

I get that Canadians may not support Trudeau, Mulcair, Ms May etc
as being a clear improvement over Mr Harper & his record or promises
and that bothers me.. It really truly scares me, as a Canadian..
That we have no obvious and clear alternative to a despicable flailing government

How can this be? That we must even contemplate such a catastrophic failure?

I'll think on this some more.. work on my rant..
and hope Duffy & Harper's key associates' testimonies
at the very least send the toxic government, party and apparatus packingRecommend this Post

China Tells U.S. to Back Off over Ukraine

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 10 heures 12 min
The message was delivered by China's ambassador to Belgium, Qu Xing, but it pretty obviously came straight from Beijing - back off Obama.  Ambassador Qu went on to blame the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on 'games' played by the West, especially the United States.

He said the "nature and root cause" of the crisis was the "game" between Russia and Western powers, including the United States and the European Union.

He said external intervention by different powers accelerated the crisis and warned that Moscow would feel it was being treated unfairly if the West did not change its approach.

"The West should abandon the zero-sum mentality, and take the real security concerns of Russia into consideration," Qu was quoted as saying.

His comments were an unusually public show of understanding from China for the Russian position. China and Russia see eye-to-eye on many international diplomatic issues but Beijing has generally not been so willing to back Russia over Ukraine.

The Rise and Fall of America's Indispensable Ally - Israel

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 10 heures 31 min
Israel has always been America's indispensable ally in the Middle East.  That may be changing.  Benjamin Netanyahu's speech yesterday to the US Congress might have been less of a bold stroke and more an act of desperation.

The Sydney Morning Herald's international affairs columnist, Paul McGeough, writes that Israel's influence with Washington is in decline even as Netanyahu's object of terror, Iran, sees its fortunes rising.  In other words, there's more than the supposed threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb driving Netanyahu's crusade for an American war on Iran.

Washington's place in the world – and in the region – is very different. The Cold War is gone and the grind of nuclear tension with Moscow is so yesterday. Obama wants to pivot to Asia.

US and world dependence on Arab fossil fuel is not what it was and most of the Arab regimes have become trusted allies of the West – especially in the context of the crisis brought on by the so-called Islamic State. All are allowed to get on with their human rights abuse excesses, they are sold weapons worth billions and that thing called the Middle East peace process goes precisely nowhere – and nobody seems to mind.

...The neo-con argument as the US prepared for the invasion of Iraq was that democracy would finally be planted in the region. And when Netanyahu spoke to Congress at that time, he declared: "If you take out Saddam, Saddam's regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region."

Instead, Iran was planted in Iraq; and the impotence of the Sunni regimes was revealed, creating a vacuum in which Sunni jihadists challenged the entire nation-state model of governance, on which the West so relies in the region.

Now we've come full circle. The extent of Washington's crisis with the Sunnis repositions Iran more as part of the solution and less as part of the problem. And where Washington needs circuit-breakers right now, Iran has heft; Israel doesn't.

The threat to regional stability now is the conflict within Sunni Islam more than it is Sunni v Shiite or Islam v West.

Writing in Foreign Policy last year, analyst Trita Parsi observed: "Iraq is disintegrating. Syria is in flames. Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a failed state. The Taliban is making a comeback in Afghanistan. Libya is falling apart. The House of Saud is nervous about a potentially existential succession crisis. In this region Iran looks like an island of stability."

He makes his point – "meanwhile, the geopolitical enmity that has characterised relations between the US and Iran for more than three decades, now has been overtaken by events in Iraq and elsewhere".

This is the context in which Washington and Tehran need each other – but they will not achieve that until they get to the other side of a nuclear deal.

The language of Barack Obama and a growing army of officials and analysts now acknowledges Iran as a potential partner.

...Amidst all this regional change, the reality of Israel too is changing – in itself and in its relations with the world.

Netanyahu harks back to Washington's role as the first to recognise the new state of Israel in 1948. Recalling a small country with a huge and convincing argument, The Washington Post's Richard Cohen observes: "[Netanyahu] harkens back not only to a different America, but also to a different Israel – [in 1948] it was not yet an occupation power; it did not mistreat the Palestinians."

And in the context of what Washington needs in the region, as opposed to what the US might like or admire, Cohen adds: "The fact is that the US doesn't need Israel."

The Real Threat Facing Israel

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 11 heures 4 min

No one expected Benjamin Netanyahu to win the gushing approval of the editorial board of Israel's liberal newspaper Haaretz but they were decidedly unimpressed by their prime minister's speech to part of the US Congress yesterday.  Their view is that Netanyahu deliberately avoided any mention of the real existential threat to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state - the ever expanding occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Israel’s insistence on ruling over millions of Palestinians in the West Bank who lack civil rights, expanding the settlements and keeping residents of the Gaza Strip under siege is the danger that threatens its future.

Israel is mortgaging its national resources to maintain a dual regime of democracy for Jews and apartheid for Palestinians. But the illusion that the occupation is comfortable and quiet, and that most Israelis are isolated from it, is fated to explode.

In recent years, during which relative security quiet prevailed in the West Bank, Israel embarked on three wars in Gaza that killed thousands of Palestinian civilians – solely in order to maintain the status quo. These periodic “operations,” along with the cessation of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, have left a moral stain on the Israel Defense Forces, and on the statesmen who sent them into Gaza and on policing missions in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron.

Calls for boycotting Israel and recognizing Palestine even without an agreement have moved from the political fringes to center stage in the West. Instead of the Palestinians giving up their national aspirations, Israel is being forced to contend with claims that Zionism and democracy are mutually exclusive.

...Internal tensions between Jews and Arabs have risen, and right-wing parties have vied among themselves in pushing anti-democratic laws designed to institutionalize discrimination against the minority and deprive it of the right of political expression. While Netanyahu was planning his speech in Washington, right-wing thugs attacked MK Haneen Zoabi at a political conference in Ramat Gan. This was the natural continuation of the nation-state bill and the attempts to oust Zoabi and her colleagues from the Knesset, and more proof that democracy has trouble flourishing or even functioning alongside apartheid and military occupation.

Here's Something You Probably Don't Think About Very Much. How Much Antibiotic Is In Your Fast Food Chicken?

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 11 heures 22 min
This is one of those stories that's just a bit cringe-worthy.  McDonald's is changing its policy about the sort of chicken it will drop in your lap at the drive-thru.

Over the next two years, McDonald's will require its suppliers to phase out antibiotics that are "important to human medicine."

Veterinary use of antibiotics is legal. However, as the rate of human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria increases, consumer advocates and public health experts have become more critical of the practice of routinely feeding antibiotics to chickens, cattle and pigs.

Scientists and public health experts say whenever an antibiotic is administered, it kills weaker bacteria and can enable the strongest to survive and multiply. 

Frequent use of low-dose antibiotics, a practice used by some meat producers, can intensify that effect. The risk, they say, is that so-called superbugs might develop cross-resistance to critical, medically important antibiotics.
Superbugs are linked to an estimated 23,000 human deaths and 2 million illnesses every year in the United States, and up to $20 billion in direct healthcare costs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obviously anything that reduces the prospect of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in fast-food chicken is a good thing, as far as it goes.  But they'll be replacing one antibiotic with another which means we'll still be on the receiving end of a food industry whose practices are such that their critters will croak if they're not laced with antibiotics.  It's the same story with industrial cattle production in feed lots. The only way to keep those animals from infecting and killing off each other is to keep them medicated all the way to the abattoir.  

Details. Mere Details

Politics and its Discontents - il y a 13 heures 32 min

H/t We Don't Want This

The most egregious, anti-democratic elements of Harper's terror Bill C-51 are the following:

-jail for 5 years if someone posts anything counter to the government and that could be interpreted as a terrorist posting in general;

-secret trials;

-indefinite detention without charge;

-sharing of information between all departments of government without concern for privacy;

-secret police;

-no civilian oversight;

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I see that the Commons anti-terror committee, a majority of whom are Conservatives, will not be permitting testimony from Joe Clark, John Turner, Jean Chrétien or Paul Martin, all four former prime ministers who have publicly criticized Bill C-51. Some things (actually, many things) are unforgivable in Harperland, I guess.Recommend this Post

History Is His Enemy

Northern Reflections - il y a 14 heures 21 min

Stephen Harper has always made two claims: 1) that he knows how to manage Canada's economy; and 2) that the Liberals would lead Canada on the road to ruin. But former finance minister Ralph Goodale begs to differ. Lawrence Martin writes:

The Liberals, he declared, would turn Canada into another debt-drenched Greece. His government had achieved good results “by pursuing sound economic policies, reducing taxes, focused investment, balancing our budget, all of the things the Liberal Party opposes, all of the things the Liberal Party would reverse to give us the kind of result we have in Greece.”

The member from Saskatchewan went on. Under the Liberals, there were nine straight surpluses beginning in 1996. Under the Conservatives, a string of seven deficits. On the pertinent matter of national debt (as per any Greek comparisons), it went down significantly under the Liberals but has gone up by more than $160-billion under Mr. Harper. The Liberals posted not a single trade deficit while the Harper Conservatives have had one practically every year. The Conservatives have been more impressive on tax cuts, although the Liberals did bring in one of the largest in history. On employment, it’s no contest – the Liberals in a walk.
It's true that Harper was in office throughout the Great Recession. However, it seems clear that the Recession was the result of the policies Harper advocated -- just as the Greek situation resulted from policies which Harper urged upon that nation after the G20 summit in 2010.

The problem is that Harper -- like Henry Ford -- lacks historical perspective:

Studies show that economic growth has been on average more than 2 per cent higher under Liberal governments than under Conservative ones. On budget balancing, the Tory historical record is one to run from.

Much in the respective records has to do with timing, circumstance and the turn of fortune. Conservative prime minister R.B. Bennett, for example, served during the Great Depression. But even Pierre Trudeau, considered one of the weakest Liberal economic performers, posted GDP numbers more than twice as high as the Harper government.
And that's why Harper has spent so much money on propaganda. He believes it can erase history. And history is his enemy. 

Why Stephen Harper Will Not Escape the Duffy Trial

Montreal Simon - il y a 14 heures 35 min

Well I can only imagine how grim the mood must be in Stephen Harper's monstrous PMO. 

After so many of Great Leader's most fanatical followers were subpoenaed to take the stand at the Mike Duffy trial.

And no doubt their depraved master is trying to console them. Which can't be easy.

Not when he's shaking in his boots, or in his closet...

Even though, unlike so many of his little monsters, it looks like he himself won't have to testify. 
Read more »

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - il y a 14 heures 48 min
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Edward Keenan is the latest to point out that any reasonable political decision-making process needs to include an adult conversation about taxes and why we need them:
This week, when asked about the prospect of raising taxes beyond the rate of inflation in coming years, John Tory called the idea “an admission of failure.”

This is distressing to hear. Consider the context: Tory’s current budget turns out to require a lot of dipsy-doodling that edges the city perilously close to its debt ceiling while hiking TTC fares and garbage fees. Meanwhile the unexpected bills keep rolling in: lookee here, Metrolinx just tossed another $95 million onto the city’s obligations! Whoah, lookee there, Toronto’s Union Station obligations just went up another $60 million because the province and feds are telling us to stuff our pleas for help. That’s without beginning to even ponder the 10-figure numbers involved in keeping the TTC and social housing in good enough shape that they can safely continue operating.

What Tory calls admitting failure, we might instead call “math.”

It’s difficult math to face up to, but it’s the result of more than a decade of childishly pretending we can avoid the calculations by thinking happy thoughts and wishing on the first star to the right.
The federal and provincial governments have refused to rain money on us from their own tax revenue. The quest for “efficiencies” has been on a long time, but has never shown the potential to be a miracle cure for our revenue woes. The City of Toronto needs to raise more money, either through property taxes or new “revenue tools.”

Maybe people don’t want to hear that. But telling it to them straight is not “admitting failure.” It’s owning up to reality, in the hopes of avoiding a civic failure that will follow if we continue to act like children who can’t handle basic math. - But then, Ian Welsh reminds us that often what's right is also what's most efficient - as in the case of providing homes for the homeless.

- Bruce Western and Linda Forman Naval make the point that governments should make a concerted effort to make work available to released offenders - particularly if the alternative is to exploit current prisoners. But Jacob Boon reports on Drew Butler's sad example of how people are instead treated even after serving a sentence in full.

- Meanwhile, Thomas Walkom writes that while the Cons fearmonger about terrorism, they're deliberately ignoring the far greater security threat posed by climate change. And Thomas Mulcair presents the NDP's case against the Cons' terror bill.

- Kimberly Brown reports on the Canadian government's shameful interventions in Mexico on behalf of human rights abuses in the mining sector.

- Finally, Paul Adams muses about what we could expect from a Lib government and reaches exactly the right conclusion (if not one which is any surprise based on historical precedent): when it comes to the economy and social programs, Justin Trudeau and his party will be exactly as progressive as the NDP can force them to be and not an iota more.

Benjamin Netanyahu's Speech and the Cowardice of Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon - il y a 20 heures 3 min

Well it couldn't have been a more grotesque spectacle, the war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the U.S. Congress, and claiming that all he's interested in is peace.

When the only reason he was there was to try to improve his chances of winning the next Israeli election, try to start a war with Iran, and try to stick a fork into Obama.

And the only consolation is that his ghastly speech is getting some REALLY bad reviews.
Read more »

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - mar, 03/03/2015 - 18:01
Cats at rest.

The Path of Self-Destruction. Consumerism.

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 03/03/2015 - 14:39
We, mankind, have to change our ways or else perish.  It's that cut and dried. We're confronted with a number of existential threats.  Our continued existence is imperiled by three main factors - climate change, overpopulation and over-consumption.

We are living well outside the limits of our survivability.  We have passed the threshhold of sustainability and crossed over into the perilous realm of survivability.

Our consumptive habits endanger us every bit as much as the future ravages of climate change.  While we are just one of millions of life forms that share this planet, we, mankind, already consume more than 1.5 times the supply of our planet's renewable resources.

When we're taking 150% of our planet's resource carrying capacity what does that leave for all those other life forms?  Precious little which is a main reason why we have lost half the life on our planet over just the last 30-years.  That revelation came and went and was flushed straight down the news hole by week's end.  For most of us it's all but forgotten already.

Not only are we devouring 150% of our planet's resource carrying capacity but we're dependent on it.  Mankind has grown mortally dependent on something that simply doesn't exist and never will.  We have been deluding ourselves by conjuring tricks, by having at our planet's dwindling reserves.  We've been clearing our forests, draining our aquifers, exhausting our farmland and wiping out our fisheries - all to keep production and consumption at what have become unsurvivable levels.  This does not end well.

This came to mind as I read report today about a German government study on our electronics buying habits.  The study found that the usable life span of electronics products is getting shorter.

The environment agency asked Öko-Institut researchers to examine consumers’ reasons for replacing electrical and electronic appliances with a view to establishing whether manufacturers are purposefully shortening product life spans to prop up sales, a phenomenon known as built-in obsolescence.

The researchers did not draw a firm conclusion on built-in obsolescence but noted that the proportion of all units sold to replace a defective appliance grew from 3.5% in 2004 to 8.3% in 2012, in what they deemed a “remarkable” increase.

And the share of large household appliances that had to be replaced within the first five years of use grew from 7% of total replacements in 2004 to 13% in 2013. This too was largely due to an increase in the proportion of recently purchased appliances replaced following a defect, which may point to an obsolescence problem.

However consumer preference is also playing a role. A third of all replacement purchases for products such as refrigerators and washing machines were motivated by a desire for a better unit while the old one was still functioning.

Consumers are also increasingly keen to swap their flat screen televisions for better versions with larger screens and better picture quality, even though more than 60% of replaced televisions were still functioning in 2012.

Policymakers are increasingly concerned about inefficient use of resources in resource-poor Europe, and about the environmental impact of this. The EU is looking to regulate product resource efficiency by including new standards such as durability and repairability in requirements under the Ecodesign Directive, a law that is currently focused on energy efficiency for the most part.

An integral element in the school of Steady State economics is the regulation, rationing if you like, of access to resources.  Instead of resources going to the highest bidder, resources would be allocated according to the utility and enjoyment of the product to be manufactured.  The longevity of service life and the ability to upgrade the product would be critical. The idea, for example, envisions home computers that would last at least five, six or more times longer than the junk that amasses at our recycling yards today.

Growth, the misunderstood curse of our modern life, would likewise be transformed.  Instead of growth in production and consumption, growth would focus on knowledge and development needed to make life more comfortable and enjoyable.

A third element of Steady State economics is population stability by which birth rates are kept in line with death rates and overall population levels well within the planet's carrying capacity with regard to all the other life forms essential to maintaining all and any life on Earth.

Yet as this German study reveals we're still heading in the wrong direction along the unsurvivable path.  This begs the question whether we'll come to our senses in time.

Illegal botox seized in Vancouver

Terahertz - mar, 03/03/2015 - 12:55

Last month, an undercover CBC investigation exposed that a number of spas and health clinicas around Metro Vancouver were offering botox injections illegally. Botox in Canada can only be administered by a physician and these clinics didn’t have any doctors on staff.

Today, Health Canada announced that it has seized unlabeled botox jars from Art Nails, a Vancouver spa.

The store owner claimed the product was Botox that had been administered to consumers. Potential risks associated with injecting an unauthorized version of a health product such as Botox, can range from mild local paralysis to death.

While the shop remains open, and none of the shops mentioned in the CBC exposé have been closed, it’s good to see Health Canada intervene.

And Speaking Of Profound Stupidity

Politics and its Discontents - mar, 03/03/2015 - 11:12
...not to mention rabid partisanship, watch another Harper MP disgrace herself:

I wonder how well any of this sits with Cheryl Gallant's riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. Don't those constituents, like the ones living in James Lunney's riding, deserve better?Recommend this Post


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