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The Disaffected Lib: Did Bibi Spy on Barack? Easy Answer? Of Course.

Israel has never been reluctant to spy on its global benefactor, the United States. Now Washington is accusing Israel of having spied on American negotiations with Iran for a nuclear enrichment treaty.

The apparent decision by the White House to leak the allegations is the latest symptom of the growing gulf between Barack Obama’s administration and Binyamin Netanyahu’s government over the Iran talks, in which the Israeli leader suspects US officials of being ready to make too many concessions at the expense of Israeli security. Intelligence analysts suggested that the leak reflects the degree of anger in Washington at Netanyahu’s (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Ditto What Australia Said. America Can Be a "Dangerous Ally"

Former Australian prime minister (1975-83), Malcolm Fraser, fears his country’s dependence on the United States could drag Australia into a war not of its own choosing, a war with China.

In Fraser’s book, he describes how Australia’s blind faith in the UK before World War II left the country unprepared for war. He then goes on to say that currently many feel more vulnerable because of the country’s dependence on the United States. What Fraser and many Australian leaders fears most is that the United States will get Australia involved in a coflict not of its own making. “Australia effectively (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: …on the Entrepreneurial State

With the next Canadian federal election less than a year away – and undesirables like Wayne Gretzky soon to be purged from the voter lists – I’ve been getting a lot more fundraising emails lately. As of mid-December I’d received nineteen in eighteen days. It was like a Christmas advent calendar, but in my email inbox! (Like a beleaguered Silician storekeeper, I paid my “protection money” and now they’re leaving me alone. )

Politicians are often derided for their short-term thinking, which is probably a fair criticism. If you ballpark an election cycle at roughly four years, newly-elected (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: In Drought News

Central America continues to reel under severe, multi-year drought.  Guatemala has declared a state of emergency in 16 of the country’s 22-provinces.  Experts believe the impact on agriculture could soon leave hundreds of thousands of families without food.

As America’s west coast and southwest continue to be plagued by drought, an article at Treehugger examines how Americans might look to Canadian waters to ease their pain.  The article revives a long-forgotten idea to dam James Bay and divert the excess freshwater via canal to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. Presumably the diverted James Bay water would then be drawn into (Read more…)

the disgruntled democrat: In America Being Fat Is Like Being Poor: It’s Your Fricken Fault

At some point in time, probably not in the immediate future, the Anglo-American world is going to wake up to the fact that no man, nor no woman, is an island. The environment, beginning in the womb, has profound effects on the people we turn out to be.

Seems pretty straight forward, but if Anglo-Americans actually accepted this into their worldview they would have a fuck of a time trying to justify their rapacious greed.

On the economic front we all know the neo-conservative cant dating back to the English Calvinists landing on American shores that the poor are poor because they are (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: How Trinity Western University (unintentionally) promotes divorce

Trinity Western University has been in the news recently, as law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia voted to not recognize lawyers trained at the religious university’s soon-to-open law school. These two law societies – like your blogger and the vast majority of Canadians – recoiled in horror at the university’s community covenant (“covenant” is just a fancy way of saying “contract”) clause forbidding students from having sex outside straight marriage.

While discriminatory and immoral, TWU’s policy is not illegal. If I understand correctly, several years ago the Canadian Supreme Court agreed with the BC Civil Liberties Union that, as (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: British Columbia hits 1,000 EV’s (and gov’t drops support)

image of Tesla Model S’s at a rally, from Consumer Reports


British Columbians have now purchased more than 1,000 plug-in electric vehicles. Add in low-speed neighbourhood electric vehicles and owner conversions, and the number will be a bit higher.

As of Jan 31, 2014 Polk research (now a division of IHS) had tracked 912 plug-in electric vehicle registrations in BC, representing about 1/6 of all PHEV registrations in Canada to date. British Columbia has about 1/8 of Canada’s population, so the numbers are largely in line with what we’d expect from the demographics.

Polk’s data doesn’t include the Toyota (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: If the U.S. Was in Russia’s Position, How Would It React to Russian Meddling in Canada or Mexico that Threatened America’s Security?

The Ukraine sits right on Russia’s doorstep.  It is the land route to Russia’s Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol by which the Russian navy can access the Mediterranean.  Severing Russia’s naval access to the Med is thought to be why the U.S. has been meddling in Ukrainian affairs, funding the pro-western group that topped the country’s pro-Russian president, leaving the country bloodied, badly divided and at risk of separation or worse. 

Quite predictably we’re awfully quick to turn all sanctimonious in our admonitions to Putin in Moscow.   How would we react if the shoe (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: Back from Happy Hawaii

Synchronized phoning, coming soon to a summer Olympics near you…

Trivia note: Swedish supergroup Abba’s “Why did it have to be me” was originally titled (and lyricized) as “Happy Hawaii”. But those of you who also secretly bought the 4-CD ABBA box set without admitting it to your friends, already knew that!

We recently returned from Hawaii where we met up with most of Aya’s family. And wow, if their plan was to leave Japan behind, was that ever a bad choice. There was so much Japanese signage in the tourist-area stores, that I felt like a (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: The losers of Superbowl XLVIII will be…

Religious moderates.

Here’s my reasoning.

After the game, someone on the winning team, exulting ecstatically, will say “God was on our side” or words to that effect. It’s as sure as a post-touchdown two-point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter, if the team is still down by a pair.

This will lead humorists and atheists alike to mock the athlete’s egocentric theology, along the lines of the great “God-Man on the Gridiron” cartoon from a few years back. Which will inspire angry rebuttals from offended fundamentalists.

Religious moderates are the collateral damage in this snake-vs-mongoose battle, bitten by both (Read more…)

The Political Road Map: Why Sochi 2014 is My Generations 1972 Summit Series

I was not around in 1972 to experience the dramatic and intense summit series between Canada and the Soviet Union, however I have read a lot about the event and heard many stories from hockey fanatics who had the pleasure of experiencing it live.

The Summit Series was an immensely important event in both sports history as well as political history, as Canada had it’s chance to shine on the international scene and take the place of defender of freedom from the United States for the first time. Our battle was not won with weapons or mass propaganda, but with (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: The 1-2-3′s of EV market share in the US

My article on the 1-2-3′s of electric vehicle adoption in the U.S. went up on GreenCarReports on the weekend. The commentary went through a title change – a procedure familiar to many famous writers, and many more of us unknown mediocrities.

About fifteen years after a publisher’s first impression of Jane Austen’s First Impressions was as negative as its heroine Elizabeth Bennet’s first impression of Mr. Darcy, she rewrote the title (and, oh yeah, parts of the book) in the trochaic verse style, giving us Pride and Prejudice. Which is not to be confused with the similarly-titled (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Strong winds, big waves, and the interconnectedness of life

When the waves are high, from my backyard I can hear the lake, which is just a few hundred feet away. It sounds like a great, strong wind, or a freight train in the distance – or a tornado. The strange thing is, the sound of the waves does not always coincide with the […]

Eclectic Lip: The quest for the golden meme

Golden mean image sourced here.

It’s been a pretty good month, in terms of writing. Over at GreenCarReports, I had my piece on September EV sales in Canada, a Canadian Thanksgiving-centric story riffing on the country’s nationwide EV charging network, and discussed what our EV drivers do, to get through Canadian winters.

Topping that off, Corporate Knights will be running a piece of mine, in an upcoming issue!

Innovator’s Dilemma, Toyota edition

Coolest of all, though, was a Jeff Cobb story in, which referenced my article on Toyota’s Innovator’s Dilemma with Electric Cars (GCR version here (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: American and Canadian Politics – A brief comparison and lay of the land

Here is a rough translation of Canadian political culture for Americans and others who may be unfamiliar with the political landscape of the second largest country on earth, the holder of the largest oil and mineral resources on earth, the pantry to the American empire, one of the richest nations on the planet, and a member of […]

Eclectic Lip: Passing Gas – EV’s now outnumber gas stations, in America

My latest piece is up on GreenCarReports, here. It’s where I sourced the photo from.

And yes, putting “Passing Gas” in the title was deliberate. Hey, it’s catchy!

From what I can tell, electric vehicles also outnumber gas stations in Japan as well. Alas, Canadians are somewhat behind our American and Japanese (and no doubt, Norwegian) friends in this regard – from the data I’ve been able to collect in my database, we only have about 2000 plug-in electric vehicles versus about 13,000 gas stations. You can’t win ‘em all.

…but as long as you can win Olympic (Read more…)

LeDaro: American Healthcare and inequality

If you’re employed and especially if you’re rich then you can get all kinds of healthcare services. If an employed and rich person’s kidney, lungs or heart fail, a new organ will be available so that you can live on and maybe live a long life. However, if you’re unemployed and poor and you have similar health problems then RIP and may you enter heaven if there is one. It is a very troubling situation in America – the world’s most powerful nation according to Americans. Chris Hayes of MSNBC points out such an inequality quite well.

Visit (Read more…)

LeDaro: Brothels and Massage Parlours: Girls are bought for prostitution

America talks about spreading democracy and freeing women in Afghanistan. Why doesn’t the American Government do the same in their own country? The situation in Canada is not much different. The majority of these victims are Asians. Slavery continues to exist in some form or even worse than slavery. These girls are used and abused for the sex trade. Why not raid these brothels and massage parlours to free these victims? It so sad that this kind of human rights violations exist in the 21st century. Advanced civilization? What civilization?

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Wake Up America

From a study that reveals increased risk of death for young coffee drinkers who have 4 cups a day or more, to a man who woke up America to the deadly automobile industry’s greed, we’ve got a full morning of reading for you, here at Abandoned Stuff.

Or that’s what I would say if I was going to write any more to fill out those blurbs.

When details of GM’s investigation of Nader became public, Senator Ribicoff and others on Capitol Hill were outraged. Ribicoff, for one, announced that his subcommittee would hold hearings into the incident and (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Could "America’s Quiet Environmental Revolution" Sound Last Call for Athabasca Bitumen?

A PostMedia article discusses what it calls America’s “quiet environmental revolution,” a nationwide, broadbased movement away from fossil fuels toward non-carbon alternatives.

Even the most unlikely Americans are taking up the carbon-free challenge, often viewing it as a path to energy independence. Kentucky Republican congressman Thomas Massie, for instance, built himself a solar home and lives off the grid. He also drives an electric car. Yet at the same time he opposes government attempts to impose environmental regulations.

In the greater scope of America’s gluttonous fossil fuel appetite, these clean energy initiatives could be mistaken as insignificant. Yet they carry (Read more…)

The Political Road Map: Detroit Wants Robocop!

Movies, while providing a source of entertainment, also possess the ability to inspire us, move us and provide an example of the direction our society is moving in. Robocop among many memorable movies of our youth or general collection, gave us an image of a city named Detroit suffering from extreme crime, poverty and corporate management from what appears to be a multinational corporation.

While the movie employs common language and themes found in a typical 80′s film setting, it was dead on regarding the advancement of science and also the potential direction American social conditions could take. You see, (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: The surveillance state is an autoimmune disorder

Autoimmune disorders (Wikipedia prefers autoimmune diseases) occur when the body’s defenses — antibodies — no longer distinguish between healthy tissue and harmful cells. Instead of focusing on the dangerous antigens, they attack the body itself.

Type 1 diabetes is an example, where the patient’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing regions of the pancreas. Blood insulin levels drop, making it more difficult for cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream, leaving elevated blood glucose levels, and all the associated problems of diabetes.

Multiple sclerosis is another example, where the patient’s immune system attacks their nervous system. Localized physical inflammation occurs, (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Wealth in the USA Graphed Nicely

You can see what Americans desire as wealth distribution, vs. what they think the unfair situation is vs. reality. It’s off the charts, literally, how much money the 1% makes in comparison to what sort of uneven system Americans accept they experience.

It really displays the absurdity of even well-off Americans making $100,000/year defending the criminal banks on Wall St.

It’s really bad, because everything is rigged to favour the rich. Useful idiots saying the rich are entitled to rig the system, don’t do themselves any favours.

The States are Too Crooked To Fail; meaning that the super-rich have (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Happy 4th of July – Oh btw America, Welfare *Promotes* Independence.

“When we see the expansion of the dependency class in America and you add this to the 79 other means tested programs that we have in the United States, each time you add another brick to that wall, it’s a barrier to people that might go out and succeed. ” – Steve King Idaho (R).

The idea that is represented above is exactly what is wrong with the political climate in United States. This bullcookery is debunked handily at 3:15 of the video by Greg Kaufmann who uses empirical fact as opposed to ideological mantras to describe the poverty (Read more…)

The Political Road Map: Our Strength Is In Our Differences

A letter from an unknown Canadian to the American people.

While I imagine the majority of America is upset over the recent closure of thr government, I suspect that more anger is felt because of the sheer indecision between the republicans and democrats.

As an outsider looking in, It is hard not to question the lunacy that seems to call itself politics in America, then I look at my own system and I see a truth that exists strongly in American politics. If you cannot come to a conclusion, you stand still until one is found and as obvious as (Read more…)