Sunday 28 November 2010

For I'm sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.

“Ouçam e vejam, nós existimos”.
Up, Down, Appendices, Postscript, Mauro Santayana.

Bruce HyerBruce HyerSweet irony. :-)I love it when a man is so sunk in nonsense that he refers to himself in the third person. Still, pride of place this week goes to Bruce Hyer - you can read his third-person article here.

There is more to the story (as I understand it) than he tells us: C-311 only came to him coincidentally. They apparently (all of the parties I guess) keep a list of whose turn it is to bring up a private member's bill and he was next in line. Even then pressure had to be applied to get him to take it I am told.

A-and there is still more: The story has to include that, like his glorious leader Jack Layton, Bruce has done at least one shift 'battling' cancer. The woman beside him in the pictures is his wife Margaret I think.

There is an implicit question here then eh? Why give him 'pride of place' today? So, think about it.
When all these cigarettes kick in and my number comes up on the 'battle cancer' or 'battle emphysema' front, maybe I will take the opportunity to say, "I would rather die in the street! I spit on your monstrous Medicare!" I say this just in case there's any lingering credibility out there among the twitters (for this blog that is).

I knew he’d lost control when he ... built a fire on Main Street and shot it full of holes.
Tom HarrisPeter FosterLawrence SolomonThey say C-311 would "kill our economy and tax the middle class to death." This is the most concise statement of it that I have seen, by Joel Whipple in the Winnipeg Sun. I will spare you a link to the Winnipeg Sun, but here are some 'heavy hitters' on the denial circuit: Lawrence Solomon ( & Peter Foster, resident goosebumps at the National Post, and Tom Harris ( in the (everyone-in-Quebéc-is-a-closet-Fascist) Montreal Gazette. The Gazette rant comes via the International Climate Science Coalition, which looks like yet another re-packaging of Tim Ball and his erstwhile 'Friends of Science'.

I love the smell of Progress in the morning. :-)We may not be able to deal with climate change, but we can determine how stupid you can be and still breathe, eat, dress yourself, talk sensibly, earn a living, reproduce and so on.

David Parkins - Apocalypse NowDavid Parkins - The Last DropGable - Everything Is Under Control

Hardly a peep out of the peeps. Hyer answered my question, "What are we going to DO about C-311?" by saying, "What are YOU going to do about it?" And a friend in the Green Party told me once again to "write a letter to your MP." Doh!?

Hyer seems to believe in Parliament; I guess he has to. What does this mean I wonder? Something like, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it," is my guess.

The arguments raised against C-311 were not only false, they were spurious. Red herrings! What has been proven is that the Senate is moribund. The honourable Senators, both for and against C-311, are useless windbags, entrenched doofus dinosaurs. An unpleasant corollary is that nothing in the entire institution of Parliament will be enough to mobilize on the nexus/plexus/sexus of climate change. Full stop.

Benson Lipstuck PigDaryl Cagle Pig DeathPIGS - Portugal Ireland Greece Spain (sometimes 'PIIGS - Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain). How apt! A-and there's that word 'tranche' again - I love it!

Nothing against Portugal Ireland (Italy) Greece or Spain y'unnerstan'. But such a harmonic convergence of images: gravy train, if pigs could fly, lipstick on a pig, pigs at the trough, pig flu, the pigs on Robert Pickton's farm that ate the bodies; all coming together so nicely into an acronym for the use of economists. Perfect!

Vila CruzeiroJacarezinhoRio CompridoPresidente Vargas (Centro)Vila CruzeiroVila CruzeiroVila CruzeiroVila CruzeiroCavalcanti

'Garrafas pet com gasolina' in the hands of twelve-year-olds? Six 'bananas de dinamite' found? (I just want to remember the idioms that snagged my mind as I was reading the news.)

Mauro SantayanaThis short essay by Mauro Santayana feels to me like the fates spinning their threads onto the eternal spindle. What he is saying is not new, but it bears repetition and reiteration endlessly until the muggles catch on - and he says it so well.

It is about the only positive insight I came across this week so I took the time to attempt a translation (with some help from my friends). My apologies to the author as necessary:

Jornal do Brasil, Thursday November 25 page 6:
Mauro Santayana (
The battle of Rio

It is a mistake to identify the battle of Rio - and in other large cities - as mere confrontation between police and criminals, drug traffickers and so on. Though it may shock good bourgeois sentiments and excite conservative anger, it is better to understand this mayhem - the burning of vehicles, shootouts with police - as acts of social insurrection. During the rebellion in Sao Paulo the acting Governor, Claudio Lembo, considered a political conservative, beyond simple first aid, stuck his finger right into the wound, recommending that the white elite open their purses, take off their rings, and help.

Brazil is one of the most unequal countries in the world. We are worn out with diagnostic statistics, academic analyses, and moving speeches. A large part of the social stratum which directs society does not appear interested in resolving the problem, that's to say in trading selfishness and prejudice against the poor for national prosperity, for peace in our houses and on our streets. We have not suceeded, even until today (except from the point-of-view of the law where we have advanced a bit in the last decades) in recognizing the dignity of all Brazilians and promoting social integration of the marginalized.

Scholars at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt are now proposing another motive for the revolution: social recognition. In short, their concern is acceptance of the right of all to participate in the economic and cultural society of our time. The book by Axel Honneth, current director of this group (The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts) has the merit of concentrating on the largest ethical problem of contemporary society - that of recognizing every human being as a citizen.

The idea is not new, but it is most current. Thomas Aquinas was radical to assert that without minimum material goods, people dispense with the practice of virtue. Anyone who has been hungry knows that the worst of this situation is the feeling of rage, impotence, and indignity from not being able to provide food for your own body from your own efforts. Who doesn't eat is not part of the living community. And too, as Drummond said, "there are other hungers, and other nourishments."

This is what happens with a large part of the Brazilian population, especially in Rio, in Sao Paulo, in Recife, in Salvador - in short in in all the large metropolises. Even those who eat do not feel integrated into the national society, they are lacking that “other nourishment”. The wealthy and the members of the upper middle class, who humiliate them from within their automobiles and mansions, are seen as foreigners, lords of an occupied territory. When gangs commit the crimes we witness (and they are really crimes against everyone), they are speaking with a fervour that trembles like a small flame: “Dare to see, we exist”.

The police authorities act as forces of repression, and they don't know how to act otherwise, in spite of UPP bandaids.

In Europe, according to analysts, the feeling is growing that it is neither politicians nor parties who control the state and society, but markets. In our times, who says “market” says banks, says bankers who rule everything, from universities to most of the media, from industry to dance clubs. And when they defraud their balances and “break”, the people pay: in Ireland, aside from massive job losses, there has been a 10% reduction in pensions and the minimum wage - among other measures - in order to save the system.

The difference between what is happening in Rio and what happens in Paris and London is that there, the command of demonstrations is divided between workers and parts of the middle class who are well informed and experienced. Here, the car burnings and attacks on police are performed by those marginalized at every level, even to respect for life. Their own life and the lives of others.
 Jornal do Brasil, Quinta-feira, 25 de novembro de 2010 pagina 6
Mauro Santayana (
A batalha do Rio

É um engano identificar a batalha do Rio – e de outras grandes cidades – como mero confronto entre a polícia e delinquentes, traficantes, ou não. Embora a conclusão possa chocar os bons sentimentos burgueses, e excitar a ira conservadora, é melhor entender os arrastões, a queima de veículos, os ataques a tiros contra alvos policiais, como atos de insurreição social. Durante a rebelião de São Paulo, o governador em exercício, Cláudio Lembo, considerado um político conservador, mais do que tocar na ferida, cravou-lhe o dedo, ao recomendar à elite branca que abrisse a bolsa e se desfizesse dos anéis.

O Brasil é dos países mais desiguais do mundo. Estamos cansados do diagnóstico estatístico, das análises acadêmicas e dos discursos demagógicos. Grande parcela das camadas dirigentes da sociedade não parece interessada em resolver o problema, ou seja, em trocar o egoísmo e o preconceito contra os pobres, pela prosperidade nacional, pela paz, em casa e nas ruas. Não conseguimos, até hoje (embora, do ponto de vista da lei, tenhamos avançado um pouco, nos últimos decênios) reconhecer a dignidade de todos os brasileiros, e promover a integração social dos marginalizados.

Os atuais estudiosos da Escola de Frankfurt propõem outra motivação para a revolução: o reconhecimento social. Enfim, trata-se da aceitação do direito de todos participarem da sociedade econômica e cultural de nosso tempo. O livro de Axel Honneth, atual dirigente daquele grupo (A luta pelo reconhecimento. Para uma gramática moral do conflito social) tem o mérito de se concentrar sobre o maior problema ético da sociedade contemporânea, o do reconhecimento de qualquer ser humano como cidadão.

A tese não é nova, mas atualíssima. Santo Tomás de Aquino foi radical, ao afirmar que, sem o mínimo de bens materiais, os homens estão dispensados do exercício da virtude. Quem já passou fome sabe que o mais terrível dessa situação é o sentimento de raiva, de impotência, da indignidade de não conseguir prover com seus braços o alimento do próprio corpo. Quem não come, não faz parte da comunidade da vida. E ainda “há outras fomes, e outros alimentos”, como dizia Drummond.

É o que ocorre com grande parte da população brasileira, sobretudo no Rio, em São Paulo, no Recife, em Salvador – enfim em todas as grandes metrópoles. Mesmo que comam, não se sentem integrados na sociedade nacional, falta-lhes “outro alimento”. Os ricos e os integrantes da alta classe média, que os humilham, a bordo de seus automóveis e mansões, são vistos como estrangeiros, senhores de um território ocupado. Quando bandos cometem os crimes que conhecemos (e são realmente crimes contra todos), dizem com as labaredas que tremulam como flâmulas: “Ouçam e vejam, nós existimos”.

As autoridades policiais atuam como forças de repressão, e não sabem atuar de outra forma, apesar do emplastro das UPPs.

Na Europa, conforme os analistas, cresce a sensação de que quem controla o Estado e a sociedade não são os políticos nem os partidos, escolhidos pelo voto, mas, sim, o mercado. Em nosso tempo, quem diz “mercado”, diz bancos, diz banqueiros, que dominam tudo, das universidades à grande parte da mídia, das indústrias aos bailes funk. E quando fraudam seus balanços e “quebram”, o povo paga: na Irlanda, além das demissões em massa, haverá a redução de 10% nas pensões e no salário mínimo – entre outras medidas – para salvar o sistema.

A diferença entre o que ocorre no Rio e em Paris e Londres é que, lá, o comando das manifestações é compartido entre os trabalhadores e setores da classe média, bem informados e instruídos. Aqui, os incêndios de automóveis e os ataques à polícia são realizados pelos marginalizados de tudo, até mesmo do respeito à vida. À própria vida e à vida dos outros.

Wikipedia &etc. references:
       Mauro Santayana: only in Português.
       Cláudio Lembo: in English (quite short), and more in Português.
       Axel Honneth: English, Português.
       The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts
              at, and Abe's Books.
       UPP: Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora, and in English.
       Hotel Toffolo, Carlos Drummond de Andrade in Claro Enigma 1951.
       Carlos Drummond de Andrade: at Wikipedia in Português & English.
Previous Posts:
       PCC / Marcola, July 2007.
       Estatuto do PCC : Law of the PCC, May 2006.
       O Primeiro Comando da Capital, May 2006.

You have to be very careful with this. There are a gazillion ways to lose the thread and stray into the boyg: from the (poorly translated) prose of Mauro Santayana which assumes that you are capable of thinking as you read (compared to, say, the bumph in the Globe and Mail which you simply 'consume'); to the point he makes near the end that things are different in Brazil than they are in Paris & London (& Toronto).

For example, since he was so visible at the time: Just who was Marco Willians Herbas Camacho, our 'Marcola' and once-upon-a-time leader of the PCC? A thug? An ideologue? A Bolshevik? A grown-up Black Bloc hooligan? Robin Hood? All of the above? Some of the above? Or is he possibly still their leader despite serving 12 years for bank robbery? How 'political' was he? Does the PCC still exist? Did it ever exist? What about the Comando Vermelho? The Terceiro Comando Puro? Amigos dos Amigos?

Easy to be buried in such rapidly shifting detail; and anyway I think it requires two giant steps back and the application of Santayana's level of consciousness rather than just endless names & categories. "Those to whom evil is done do evil in return."

Good to come up against two minds here, Mauro & Carlos, who give my failing faith in humanity a little boost. Lame eh? Oh well ...

Comic Relief: "Elections BC rejected a Fight HST recall application as too lengthy – but did so using rules that were drafted after it received the application."

CoraçãoElections BCThe Globe's coverage of this is not bad. The article (Elections BC changed rules after recall application was submitted) clearly states the situation up-front; and includes links to related documents (included below); all good.

Who knows what merit may be in the arguments of any of the parties to it? I don't care at all. But whatever those arguments are or are not - it has crystallized into counting words. Hilarious!

Speaking of er .. bureaucrats ... :-)Happily for Craig James, Acting Chief Electoral Officer of British Columbia, the bureaucrat who did the deed, there are no pictures of him on-line.

George Abbott, a Liberal leadership candidate, defends him: “I think the comments that have been directed at Craig James are unfortunate. He is a man of impeccable character. He is not in any way a partisan. To suggest that somehow this is about politics is unfair and unfortunate.” So then, character is good; competence not so much.

I have been wondering a lot lately just how 'advanced' we really are: as a species, as a culture & civilization, as a consciousness in the planet? People like Vladimir Vernadsky & Pierre Teilhard de Chardin may have been dreaming of the noosphere, but what I see isn't even facing vaguely in that direction.

Why did the G20 cops beat so many people up so brutally in Toronto? Why do their masters back them? Why does the SIU exonerate them? Why did the Ottawa cops cut Stacy Bonds' clothes off? Why has only one of them, Steven Desjourdy, been singled out when (it seems to me that) the female officer's actions in the incident are much more to the point? Sure, it was 5:30AM, but why do the Crown Prosecutor & the OPA's Steve Boucher stick up for these thugs? Why has Richard Peck not reported back yet on prosecuting the killers of Robert Dziekanski? Why is cholera, such a relatively simple pandemic to thwart, taking such a horrendous toll in Haiti?

G20 Police BrutalityStacy BondsStacy BondsSteven DesjourdySteven DesjourdySteve BoucherRobert DziekanskiRichard PeckTitanyen Haiti
(It's no accident that Lucas Oleniuk's stunning photograph, from the Toronto Star, photoshopped as it may be, is last in the line here - I've seen the future brother it is murder.)

I am not trying on theodicy here, and I don't mean to waste neurons wringing my hands like some NDP dweeb either. What I am wondering is, for example, how we are still so much driven by superstition & fear? Or should it be fear & superstition? "The cities are on fire with the burning flesh of men," says our Bob. And I don't think this is a sexist remark. I think it enbraces all of humanity.

Is there more in Chaucer & Eschenbach to shed light on the question than in, say, Oliver Sachs? Or even Axel Honneth (though I have not read him yet) do you think? Did they have a better handle on it in the 12th & 13th centuries? Is such a thing possible? Has there really been no 'progress' at all? Has the christian church not perfected us even one little bit?

In the language of compilers:   my recursion stack has blown!
In the language of rap:   sitfu - shit iz tot-lee fukd up!

One clue - Jim Hansen's observation that more-and-more will be left to judges to decide ...

Look out the saints are comin’ through and it’s all over now, Baby Blue. :-)Gwynne Dyer takes it for granted that the CSIS minions are scanning emails and what not looking for the next Mississauga-17; and if this is more than a conspiracy theory then I guess they will be coming through my door anytime now. There have gotta be enough keywords in this post alone to set them l'il bells ringin' don't you think?

Carlos Drummond de AndradeCarlos Drummond de AndradeCarlos Drummond de AndradeCarlos Drummond de AndradeDrummond's poem, Hotel Toffolo, ends with "tudo, no coração, é ceia." / everything, in the heart, is supper (or a meal, or a feast).

I am glad that I went to the trouble of looking for this poem, and with the help of a friend found it, because ... everything, in the heart, is a feast (and a much better communion than the christian one it is too) ... hearing it, I am nourished.

A good reason to go out. :-)... and because Moça deitada na grama is not circulated I will have to go out to the library to read it.

Be well, estejam bem todos.


That's it! They're hooped! Petrobras anuncia descoberta de petróleo na Amazônia (Petrobras announces the discovery of oil in the Amazon). The article includes a new portuguese term for me: 'uma jazida' meaning 'deposit'. There is just a hint of something sexual here wouldn't you say? Jazida ... jizz ... no?

And Haiti too, or at least some thousands of dead and dying. Here's a bit of Cholera’s knockout punch to Haiti from the Toronto Star (where you can find some more photos by Lucas Oleniuk as well):
Many of the first cases in this city emerged in the ragged outcropping of Wharf Jeremie, a port jetty overwhelmed by metal patchwork shacks. Thousands of people live here and none have a toilet, says Sister Marcella Catozza, an Italian Franciscan nurse who established a small health clinic in the area five years ago. They relieve themselves in the gutters and marshy outcrops, she says. When they have money, they buy untreated water in bags because it’s cheap.

Sister Marcella CatozzaSister Marcella Catozza“Cholera kills people here easily. They aren’t strong. They have worms. They’re malnourished. Three bouts of diarrhea,” she says, slapping her hands together, “and it’s over.”

Six people died here the first day cholera struck. Dead bodies greeted Catozza at the gates early one morning, so she decided to open the clinic at night. Two weeks ago, 156 bodies sprawled on the floor inside. Many of them died. But over the past few days, the situation has calmed. Locals, she says, are coming for treatment sooner.
Please don't think I am criticizing the Sister for being forthright - in fact I am applauding her.

A-and it's looking very much like the Bluefin Tuna is done for too! The secret November meetings of ICCAT wrapped up last night but the news is not out yet - being secret and all - oops, here it comes now ... yup, they will carry on with business-as-usual ... Ai ai ai. How stupid is that?

ICCAT, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, aka International Conspiracy to Catch All Tunas - Hi there, I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.

Faith ScattolonFaith ScattolonFaith ScattolonFaith ScattolonK-k-Canada's Commissioner to ICCAT is Faith Scattolon, also Director General of the Maritimes Region for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. These are the same folks who brought us the end of the cod fishery thanks to mindless pursuit of growth coupled with gross mis-management. You can watch her video here.

What can anyone say to her now? ... That must'a bin a hard name to go through high-school with was it dear? ... You are looking so happy, prosperous, and well preserved for a woman of a certain age? ... Hope you had a chance to wear your nice red leather coat while you were in Paris? ... Gak, kaff, erm ... Too bad about the Bluefin Tuna though eh? ... What?

Bluefin TunaBluefin TunaBluefin TunaBluefin TunaBluefin Tuna

And too - the women I knew fishing cod in Placentia Bay called themselves fishermen. And when the nonsense 'fisher' correctitude began to flourish I heard more than one of them say to me, "Stupid townies! Don't be callin' me no fisher. I been a fisherman all me life!"

Ginger Baker is a red-head, makes sense; he reminds me of a red-headed stand-up bass player with Time Warp some where some when, Ottawa I think ... All that colour blue has dredged this up: "... carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind." Here they are on the Smothers Brothers' show in '68 with Tales of brave Ulysses. ... That somehow sounds a bit flat (?). Here, try this one.

"Vencemos! Trouxemos a liberdade ao complexo do Alemão", comemora o comandante geral da PM, coronel Mario Sérgio.


1. The Child Ballads: 12. Lord Randal, version 12A.

2. MP Bruce Hyer introduces motion to allow cross-party stewardship of legislation, Bruce Hyer, November 24th 2010.

3. Small acts of resistance, Gwynne Dyer, November 24 2010.

4. On climate, Senate reflects Will of the People, Lawrence Solomon, November 18 2010.

5. Canada dodges carbon suicide, Peter Foster, November 18 2010.

6. The Senate was right to kill the climate-change bill, Tom Harris, November 19, 2010.

7. Forget Ireland, Spain is the real nightmare, Brian Milner, November 22 2010.

8. Elections BC changed rules after recall application was submitted, Sunny Dhillon, November 26 2010.

9. Petrobras anuncia descoberta de petróleo na Amazônia, EFE, 26/11/2010.

10. Hotel Toffolo, Carlos Drummond de Andrade in Claro Enigma 1951.

The Child Ballads: 12. Lord Randal, version 12A.

‘O where ha you been, Lord Randal, my son?
And where ha you been, my handsome young man?’
‘I ha been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi hunting, and fain wad lie down.’

‘An what met ye there, Lord Randal, my son?
An wha met you there, my handsome young man?’
‘O I met wi my true-love; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi huntin, an fain wad lie down.’

‘And what did she give you, Lord Randal, my son?
And what did she give you, my handsome young man?’
‘Eels fried in a pan; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi huntin, and fain wad lie down.’

‘And wha gat your leavins, Lord Randal, my son?
And wha gat your leavins, my handsom young man?’
‘My hawks and my hounds; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi hunting, and fain wad lie down.’

And what becam of them, Lord Randal, my son?
And what becam of them, my handsome young man?’
‘They stretched their legs out an died; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi huntin, and fain wad lie down.’

‘O I fear you are poisoned, Lord Randal, my son!
I fear you are poisoned, my handsome young man!’
‘O yes, I am poisoned; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.’

‘What d’ye leave to your mother, Lord Randal, my son?
What d’ye leave to your mother, my handsome young man?’
‘Four and twenty milk kye; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.’

‘What d’ye leave to your sister, Lord Randal, my son?
What d’ye leave to your sister, my handsome young man?’
‘My gold and my silver; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, an I fain wad lie down.’

‘What d’ye leave to your brother, Lord Randal, my son?
What d’ye leave to your brother, my handsome young man?’
‘My houses and my lands; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.’

‘What d’ye leave to your true-love, Lord Randal, my son?
What d’ye leave to your true-love, my handsome young man?’
‘I leave her hell and fire; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.’

MP Bruce Hyer introduces motion to allow cross-party stewardship of legislation, Bruce Hyer, November 24th 2010.

New Democrat MP Bruce Hyer tabled a motion today to increase cross-party cooperation on legislation in the House of Commons. Currently, private legislation can only be introduced by individual MPs, and thus bills are often branded an initiative of the MP’s party. Hyer’s motion would change the rules of the House, known as the Standing Orders, to allow MPs from more than one party to co-sponsor Private Members’ Bills and Motions.

“Parliament is getting more and more partisan, more and more dysfunctional.” said Hyer. “The tribal bickering and political games have a real cost - it’s hard to build support for good bills or motions when other parties are reluctant to see a MP from another party achieve success. Solutions often get delayed, or killed.”

Hyer’s own Bill C-311, the country’s only federal climate legislation, was killed last week in a bout of Parliamentary partisanship. Hyer spent two years manoeuvring the bill through Parliament, and no amendments to the bill were proposed by any party. The government chose to kill the bill on a surprise vote rather than debate or improve it in the Senate. As a result, Canada now has no law on the books or bill before Parliament to reduce the country’s growing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Canadians don’t send us here to just to defeat each other’s initiatives, they want us to make progress, to get things done.” said Hyer “We need to be debating ideas, not ideology. If bills and motions were shared initiatives of MPs from more than one party, MPs could co-operate across party lines to build consensus even before initiatives are tabled. Private legislation would hit the ground running and have a better chance at passage. Politics would be less of a zero-sum game.”

“Parliament needs to work better to serve the needs of Canadians.” said Hyer “I put extra effort into working with MPs from all parties to improve the lives of Canadians, but we’re now spending years re-introducing and re-debating legislation that’s already been before the House, and making little progress. It takes well over two years, on average, to pass private member’s bills into law, but in modern times we seem to have an election every two years that wipes all progress out. We need to change the system to give important initiatives a fighting chance.”

Small acts of resistance, Gwynne Dyer, November 24 2010.

The “tourists” (as South Africans used to call them in deliberate mockery of their attempts to terrorize everybody, and as George W. Bush also called them because he didn’t speak English very well) are always seeking to blow up our airplanes. Why else would we employ hundreds of thousands of people to stand around in airports and go through our baggage?

True, they haven’t actually caught anybody trying to board a plane with a bomb in the nine years since 9/11. Many terrorist plots were nipped in the bud by good intelligence work on the ground, but the few who did try to carry bombs onto aircraft (the shoe bomber, the underpants bomber, etc.) got through “airport security” and were only defeated by their own incompetence.

Despite all this, the airport security industry continues to flourish. Indeed, it serves a useful social function, providing employment to many people who would otherwise be roaming the streets looking for something to do, and perhaps falling in with bad companions.

However, common sense and a grasp of irony do not figure prominently in the job description for airport security personnel. That’s why we are all conditioned, while going through airport security, to avoid making remarks that even refer to the reason for all these searches.

Should you politely inquire, as they ferret through an old lady’s handbag, whether they really think there’s a bomb in there, you will spend the next 12 hours in a side room being interrogated. In fact, you don’t even have to get aboard an aircraft to fall afoul of the vast security establishment that has sprung up since 2001. Just send an e-mail containing key words like “blowing up an aircraft” and they may visit you in the comfort of your own home.

That’s what happened to Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old British accountant. His flight to Northern Ireland to visit his girlfriend was canceled when snow closed Nottingham’s Robin Hood airport last January, and he vented his anger to his girlfriend on Twitter.“Crap,” he wrote. “Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!!”

Those who have lived among human beings for any length of time will recognize that as a lame attempt at humor, but if you spend your time in darkened rooms reading intercepted electronic messages, you tend to lose contact with the human race. So Paul Chambers was arrested, charged, tried and convicted. He was fined $1,500 plus legal costs. And as soon as he was arrested, he lost his job.

He appealed his conviction, naturally, and in mid-November Judge Jacqueline Davies rejected his appeal. She emerged from her cave to rule that Chambers’ tweet has been “menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.”

So far, it’s just another dreary tale of overweening securocrats and out-of-touch judges, but what happened next was more heartening. Thousands of people who were outraged by the sheer stupidity of it all began to re-tweet Chambers’ original message in a show of solidarity.

So far, none of the people who did this have been arrested, because some senior person in the British security establishment finally realized that the whole sorry story makes them and the judges look like fools. Or, to be more precise, reveals them for the fools they are. But it would not be a good idea to re-tweet Chambers’ message anywhere outside Britain, for the equally foolish authorities elsewhere don’t know the background story.

What you could do, if you are minded to make some small gesture of resistance to this ignorant and oppressive system, is to include some reference to bombs and aircraft in your e-mails and tweets from time to time. Be careful how you phrase it – “I heartily disapprove of people who try to smuggle bombs onto aircraft” would be a safe comment – but as long as you use the key words, it will come to the attention of the system.

The computer will flag the message and some analyst will actually have to read it. They won’t arrest you for it, although your name will probably go onto one of their databases. Don’t worry about that: If you have ever done anything remotely interesting in the world, your name is almost certainly on several of their databases already. And if enough people sent messages like that, it might even clog up the system.

Well, no, not really. Whenever they want more computing capacity, they get it, because no politician will risk being accused of stinting on “security matters.” In reality, your small act of resistance will simply trigger the waste of more of the money you pay in taxes. No matter what you do, the house wins. But it might make you feel better for a little while.

On climate, Senate reflects Will of the People, Lawrence Solomon, November 18 2010.

Canada’s Senate, better representing the will of the people, rejects climate change bill

Last year, three political parties in Canada’s fractured minority government decided to pass a grandstanding climate change bill that would have required Canada to make draconian cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The bill, designed to embarrass the minority Conservative government, was bulldozed through Parliament without any meaningful debate. It represented the Will of the Parties.

This week, the Canadian Senate, a chamber famously known for its sober second thought, dismissed Bill C-311. In doing so, the Senate saved the country from economic harm while better representing the Will of the People.

Bill C-311 offered nothing but empty rhetoric, specifying none of the concrete steps that would need to be taken to achieve its goal of a cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. It proposed neither a carbon tax regime nor a carbon trading system nor any other way to meet its goals. The Senate rightly discarded it.

As in other western democracies, the Canadian public has become increasingly sceptical over the years over claims that human activity leads to dangerous global warming. According to this year’s Climate Confidence Monitor survey, just 29% of Canadians consider global warming to be among their chief concerns, down from 34% in 2008. Ex-Liberal Leader Stephan Dion learned that the hard way, when he ran a federal election campaign on a platform highlighting a carbon tax. The Liberals then suffered its worst electoral defeat since Confederation.

Thank you, Senate, for fulfilling your role under the Canadian constitutional system.

Canada dodges carbon suicide, Peter Foster, November 18 2010.

Opposition MPs and warmist NGOs this week responded with outrage that the Harper government should have dared to use the Senate -- an unelected body that the Conservatives claim they want to reform -- to kill the Climate Change Accountability Act.

Mr. Harper, however, noted that there was an issue here of somewhat greater importance than procedural nicety or political consistency: the fate of the Canadian economy. He rightly dubbed Bill C-311 a piece of "completely irresponsible legislation" that set suicidal "targets" that would have destroyed hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs.

Ironic, meanwhile, that radical environmentalists who assert that we may have to ditch democracy, and even freedom, in order to save the world are now so keen that democratic procedures should be followed. In fact, the Harper government broke no parliamentary rules, although there was much finger pointing about how Bill C-311 actually came to a vote. Some suggested that the Senate Liberals had shot themselves footwise by accidentally precipitating the fatal head count. But if this was a matter of Stephen Harper outfoxing his opponents, we should all be grateful. At least, those of us do not have an economic death wish should be grateful.

Critics claim that Mr. Harper has, yet again, deviously stalled climate action. You bet he has! But why would one want him to promote action that would have no impact, apart from destroying jobs?

Mr. Harper has always clearly grasped -- apparently unlike the majority of his international counterparts -- that the greatest threat facing humanity is not climate change, but climate-change policy. Bill C-311 was a perfect example. Opposition parties, in thrall to radical green groups or sheer hypocrisy, were supporting a piece of draconian legislation that would not have had one raindrop's worth of perceptible effect on the global climate. Nor would it have in any way influenced the way other countries are attempting to writhe away from this issue.

The NDP-sponsored private member's bill would have required the federal government to set targets to bring industrial greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Without so-far unimagined developments in energy technology, this would have required an unprecedented curbing of industrial activity and jobs.

Critics claim that Canada now faces the embarrassment of turning up at the next climate summit, at Cancun in just over a week's time, "empty-handed." But the Kyoto process is deader than Monty Python's Norwegian blue parrot. It fell off its perch at Copenhagen.

Anti-Harper carpers niggle that three years ago Mr. Harper declared that climate change was the "greatest problem facing humanity." Good grief, could that have been mere political expediency, based on the necessity of pacifying a needlessly alarmed electorate? Did he not really mean it? You'll be telling us next that he really favoured that BHP takeover of Potash!

Before he was forced to talk the minority talk, Mr. Harper described climate change as a "socialist plot." Intriguingly, this fact is now openly acknowledged. This week, German IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer said in an interview: "[O]ne must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy....One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy any more."

The Conservatives have thus handled this issue brilliantly (although we should hardly be happy that they have committed hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to climate boondoggles and to funding alarmism, in particular in promising to fork money over to the congenitally incompetent UN). They have maintained that any emissions legislation has to dovetail with that of the U.S. The fact that it would be politically stupid and economically destructive for Canada to "go it alone" was confirmed this week by none other than the U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson. He acknowledged in a speech at McGill University that: "The practical reality is that in Canada you can't have a system of carbon pricing that is different from the one in the United States.... The negative effects on trade, on business and on environmental stewardship, in one country or the other, would be very significant."

Fortunately, the U.S. cap-and-tax thrust was moribund even before the mid-term elections.

The bottom line is that the Conservatives have worked consistently to minimize the damage to the Canadian economy from the all-but-collapsed climate-change juggernaut, and have succeeded admirably. Public concern has -- despite flagrantly rigged opinion polls -- subsided in the wake both of more immediate economic issues and the very valid doubts over "the science" raised by Climategate and Glaciergate, and by the review of the IPCC undertaken by the InterAcademy Council -- the representative body of national science academies. That review acknowledged that the whole IPCC process needs to be reformed.

No matter what the state of the science, however, anybody who supports unilateral action such as Bill C-311 could only be an economic masochist or a political numbskull. To reiterate: the prospect of international agreement to slash emissions has collapsed; any measures to hobble Canada unilaterally would thus be both economically suicidal and climatologically pointless.

Mr. Harper is to be congratulated. The measure of his success will be the volume of "dinosaur" or "fossil" awards given to Canada at Cancun. Canadian representatives should accept them with pride.

The Senate was right to kill the climate-change bill, Tom Harris, November 19, 2010.

Proposed law sets irresponsible targets that would have cost thousands of jobs

On the surface, NDP leader Jack Layton's outrage appears justified. It is certainly unusual that an unelected Senate would kill a bill passed by the majority of the elected members of Parliament. It is even more extraordinary that this was done after only five days of relatively brief debate by senators.

Yet the Senate did the right thing. Bill C-311, "an act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change," set, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, "irresponsible targets" that would have led to "throwing hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people out of work."

But Harper missed the opportunity to tell Canadians that the bill was a disaster also because it would accomplish essentially nothing with respect to global climate change even if we did meet its draconian targets. It would not even have set a good example to the world's leading emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases supposedly responsible for "dangerous climate change."

Indeed, even it were possible to ensure "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere," as stated in C-311, climate would still change. As Professor Tim Patterson of Carleton University's Department of Earth Sciences testified before the House of Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in 2005, "it's obvious that climate is and always has been variable. In fact, the only constant about climate is change; .... We certainly have no chance of stopping this natural phenomenon."

The concept expressed in C-311 that somehow we can "prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-caused) interference with the climate system" is vastly premature.

We simply do not know if there is any significant anthropogenic global climate change happening now, or whether it will happen in the foreseeable future, let alone whether or not it might be "dangerous."

We cannot forecast climate decades in the future any better than we can forecast the weather two weeks from now. The system is simply too complex and our understanding of the basic science too primitive.

Chris Essex, professor of applied mathematics at the University of Western Ontario explains, "Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved." Not only are today's computerized climate models (the primary basis of the alarm) not known to properly represent the climate system, they cannot be programmed to do so since we do not know the underlying science well enough to know what to program the computers to compute.

Many scientists who work with the UN's climate science body know this. They even state in their Third Assessment Report: "In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible."

Table 2.11 of their latest Assessment Report lists 16 forces associated with radiative heat transfer and shows that the level of scientific understanding of 13 of them is below medium.

The common belief that we understand the impact of human greenhouse-gas emissions on climate is simply wrong. International Climate Science Coalition chief science adviser Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia writes in his book Climate: The Counter Consensus, "science provides no unambiguous evidence that dangerous global warming or even measurable human-caused global warming is occurring ... despite the expenditure since 1990 of many tens of billions of dollars searching for it."

Many leading experts in the field agree with Essex, Carter and Patterson and 139 of them from 22 countries have been brave enough to endorse ICSC's Climate Science Register which asserts, "We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming."

It is understandable that Alberta Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, would say that Canadians "had a right to have this bill debated properly." But that should have included, before it was even voted on in the House of Commons, a full and open debate on the current state of climate science with testimony from experts on both sides of the issue.

The prime minister must now promote a proper examination of climate science by the Commons environment committee. The process started in a minor way during the Paul Martin regime when a very small number of skeptical scientists, Patterson being one of them, were permitted to testify. But this stopped as soon as the Conservatives took power.

Harper must also allow Conservative MPs to echo the sentiments of their constituents -many, if not most Canadians, from across the political spectrum, simply do not believe the climate scare.

The Senate deserves our thanks for providing "sober second thought" and making a politically difficult, but scientifically correct, decision.

Tom Harris is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition.

Forget Ireland, Spain is the real nightmare, Brian Milner, November 22 2010.

Now that the second charter member of the PIGS has turned into a reluctant recipient of EU-IMF largesse, the question is not whether there will be more bailouts, because they are inevitable.

The whole Irish exercise is not about rescuing Ireland’s public finances, but restoring confidence in the bond market and saving the hides of all the European banks on the hook if the Irish banks go bust.

Portugal will be the next domino. The surest sign came from Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates himself, when he emphatically declared on Monday that his country doesn’t need a bailout.

“What the country needs is to do what is necessary, to approve the budget, and to continue in its efforts (to cut the deficit),” Mr. Socrates said, just two days before facing a general strike in protest against planned austerity measures.

That’s exactly what the Irish government had been saying until it took the unwanted handout on Sunday. And unlike Portugal, Ireland had actually implemented some really tough cuts and doesn’t actually need to tap the debt market again until mid-2011, provided its banks don't blow up in the meantime. Hence, the European insistence on the handout.

Debt watchers at Citigroup had this to say about Portugal's fiscal state on Monday: “The Portuguese deficit has failed to show a clear-cut improvement in 2010, especially in comparison with other peripheral euro-zone countries like Greece or Ireland or even Spain. This is despite a fiscal package being put in place in May and despite the fact that growth has not been as weak as in other euro peripherals.”

What really worries the eurocrats is not small Ireland or Portugal, but much larger Spain. And anyone expecting these aid packages to soothe the bond vigilantes hasn’t seen anything yet.

Lost in the headlines about bailouts is the fact that the much vaunted European Financial Stability Fund is not actually funded, which means that the Germans, French, Belgians et al will undoubtedly have to tap the sovereign debt market to cover their respective shares of the bill.

Throw in the fact that the fiscal situation in Greece is actually deteriorating and the Greeks may not qualify for the next tranche of their financial aid, and what seemed like a serious threat to the euro zone’s survival turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg.

And Spain could turn out to be the sovereign equivalent of the Titanic.

Elections BC changed rules after recall application was submitted, Sunny Dhillon, November 26 2010.

Elections BC rejected a Fight HST recall application as too lengthy – but did so using rules that were drafted after it received the application.

The rejection has led recall organizers to suggest the province’s chief electoral officer deliberately thwarted their attempt to get approval to launch a petition to oust a Liberal MLA who supported the harmonized sales tax, and should step down.

Elections BC Recall Google cache page of Nov. 23, 2010 (PDF Document).
Elections BC Recall page as of Nov.25 (PDF Document).
Elections BC Recall word count document (PDF Document).

While Elections BC has defended its new rules – which pushed the Fight HST application over a 200-word limit by counting the acronyms MLA and HST as eight words instead of two – recall organizers expressed concern that they were not included in the application form when they downloaded it from Elections BC’s website.

“It’s a total joke. This is the kind of thing they do in banana republics ... when they don’t want to have elections or they don’t want people to win. And we’re doing it right here in Canada,” said Chris Delaney, an organizer of the Fight HST campaign.

Mr. Delaney made the comments on Thursday after learning Elections BC had rejected Fight HST’s application for a recall in the suburban Victoria riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head. Universities Minister Ida Chong is the first target of anti-HST activists’ campaign of recalls against Liberal members of the legislature.

Mr. Delaney said organizers were never told MLA and HST (harmonized sales tax) each counted as more than one word.

Fight HST submitted its application on Monday. The document outlining the changes was uploaded to the Elections BC website on Wednesday afternoon. A cached view of the site shows it wasn’t part of the recall petition application package as recently as Tuesday.

Elections BC said Craig James, the province’s chief electoral officer, was unavailable for comment on Thursday. But a spokeswoman said Fight HST organizers were told after the application was rejected that the new rules would be put on the website this week.

When asked why organizers wouldn’t be made aware of the new rules until after their application was submitted, she said: “Before the application had been submitted, there had been no need for a policy. No recall application in the past had ever come close to the 200-word limit. It hadn't been an issue.”

When asked if an unforeseen problem could arise when Fight HST resubmits its application, the spokeswoman said Elections BC follows provincial legislation in all its decisions. She declined to comment on whether instituting such rules after the fact reflects negatively on the non-partisan, independent office.

Bill Vander Zalm, a former B.C. premier and leader of the Fight HST movement, called on Mr. James to step down as a result of the decision.

“If there were restrictions on acronyms, that information should have been given to the applicants at the time they were handed their application,” Mr. Vander Zalm said in a written statement.

“But it wasn’t, because Craig James obviously made it up [on Wednesday] when he decided this would be another way ... to sabotage the recall petition.”

Mr. Delaney said the application was resubmitted on Thursday, but more than 150 canvasser applications also likely will have be redone because they have the same wording as the original application.

B.C.’s Liberal government announced the harmonized sales tax in 2009. Fight HST collected hundreds of thousands of signatures, forcing the issue to be decided by referendum. That vote will be held next year.

This isn’t the first time Fight HST organizers have clashed with Mr. James, who was appointed by Premier Gordon Campbell. Earlier this month, Elections BC sent out reprimands to 2,208 voters who signed a petition calling for a referendum on the HST more than once. The petition generated more than 500,000 valid signatures.

Anti-HST organizers have also complained the September, 2011, referendum date is too far in the future.

Petrobras anuncia descoberta de petróleo na Amazônia, EFE, 26/11/2010.

Fonte: Agencia EFE

A companhia petrolífera Petrobras anunciou nesta sexta-feira a descoberta de uma nova jazida de petróleo com capacidade para produzir 2,5 mil barris diários de óleo leve na Amazônia, onde a empresa já explora gás natural.

A nova reserva foi confirmada após um Teste de Longa Duração (TLD) realizado no poço exploratório Igarapé Chibata, perfurado em uma região do município de Tefé (AM), a 630 quilômetros da cidade de Manaus.

A jazida com petróleo de alta qualidade foi identificada após a perfuração de um poço de 3.485 quilômetros de profundidade na Bacia do Solimões e em uma concessão na qual Petrobras tem 100% de participação, informou a empresa em comunicado.

O óleo está situado a 32 quilômetros da Província Petrolífera de Urucu, onde a Petrobras explora três jazidas de gás natural que é usado para abastecer a cidade de Manaus.

Apesar da capacidade para produzir 2,5 mil barris diários, o índice é baixo em comparação a outras áreas exploradas pela empresa.

Cada um dos poços da concessão Tupi, localizados nas jazidas descobertas pela Petrobras em águas profundas do oceano Atlântico, tem capacidade para produzir 30 mil barris diários.

Contudo, a Petrobras esclareceu que se trata de "um excelente resultado levando em conta o tipo de bacia no Brasil".

A companhia acrescentou que realizará novos estudos sísmicos e de perfurações para definir a extensão da jazida, quantificar as reservas e determinar a viabilidade comercial de seu exploração.

Hotel Toffolo, Carlos Drummond de Andrade in Claro Enigma 1951.
E vieram dizer-nos que não havia jantar.
Como se não houvesse outras fomes
e outros alimentos.

Como se a cidade não nos servisse o seu pão
de nuvens.

Não, hoteleiro, nosso repasto é interior
e só pretendemos a mesa.
Comeríamos a mesa, se no-lo ordenassem as Escrituras.
Tudo se come, tudo se comunica,
tudo, no coração, é ceia.

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