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Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Don’t let the refugees down

Yeah, it’s been a while. But I had to take to my keyboard today because of the refugee crisis that is swamping Europe – since many of them may be headed Canada’s way. And I never thought, a month into the election, that it would become a debating point, but here we are.

I have . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Don’t let the refugees down

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Don’t let the refugees down

Yeah, it’s been a while. But I had to take to my keyboard today because of the refugee crisis that is swamping Europe – since many of them may be headed Canada’s way. And I never thought, a month into the election, that it would become a debating point… . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Don’t let the refugees down

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Kick Russia out of the Helsinki Accords

Is the Helsinki Accord of 1975 a worthless scrap of paper? Because Vladimir Putin sure seems to think it’s a joke.

I was not even three years old when the declaration was signed but my father, an emigré from Croatia, understood its meaning. As a younger it was impressed on me the importance of a . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Kick Russia out of the Helsinki Accords

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Where’s the draft text?

Today, Harper and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso initialled a trade and labour agreement between Canada and the world’s most powerful trading bloc. Like I said in my last post, I think open trade with the EU will be overall good for Canada.

But don’t you find it odd that there isn’t even a draft . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Where’s the draft text?

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Can boomerangs swing back out, after coming towards you?

It’s a fair question, because there was another putsch in Australia today. Three years after Kevin Rudd was forced out as Prime Minister by the ruling Labour Party in favour of Julia Gillard, today Gillard herself was shoved aside when it became clear her party has no chance of winning the spring elections in September . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Can boomerangs swing back out, after coming towards you?

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: NDP — socialist now a dirty word?

Barring a huge shock, it’s almost certain Justin “Not Ready for Prime Time” Trudeau will become the leader of the federal Liberal Party, tomorrow. But the one I’m watching this weekend is the NDP convention, and their mulling over whether to eliminate or significantly tone down references to its being a democratic socialist party. Some . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: NDP — socialist now a dirty word?

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Weekly roundup (ending Mar 16 / 13)

First and biggest news of the week was the upset election of 76 year old Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who interestingly has taken the name Francis I. No sooner was he elected, and leading up to his investiture next week (since 1978, new Popes have refused to take the three tiered crowned . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Weekly roundup (ending Mar 16 / 13)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Now we finally know the real price of milk, thanks to the teabags

We’re all familiar with the concept of a loss leader — a store will deliberately price key products to a price below cost, often way below cost. This is to get people into the store to buy stuff that is overpriced. A good example are razor handles and blades — the sample pack is cheap, . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Now we finally know the real price of milk, thanks to the teabags

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Immigration "reforms" actually regressive

We’re starting to see the fallout from the Con government’s proposed changes to immigration policy. And while I agree that such policies need a reboot every now and then to meet current trends (and to a lesser extent, changes in social morés), what is shaping up to be what we’ll be stuck with for at . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Immigration "reforms" actually regressive

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: "State" of Palestine? Where *and for what why)?

Yesterday, the UN General Assembly voted to grant Palestine the same status as the Vatican — “non member observer state.” I have the feeling that if we in Canada had a Liberal or ND government, this country would have voted to abstain as more than 40 countries did. That’s the position we took in 1988 . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: "State" of Palestine? Where *and for what why)?

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Harper selling out to UK?

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be able to share consular services. Canada and Australia have had such a sharing agreement for over 25 years — Australia handles Canadian interests in parts of Asia-Pacific region and in turn we handle theirs in some countries in Latin America and Africa. Similarly, a citizen of any . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Harper selling out to UK?

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Harper putting screws on Roma, and it’s wrong

I would have thought detention centres for would-be refugees were a thing of the past. But in the last few days we’ve actually heard the Cons say that if their refugee “reforms” don’t move things fast enough they are prepared to round up the in-process Roma population and confine them until they have their hearings. . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Harper putting screws on Roma, and it’s wrong

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Iran: Getting away with genocide, thanks to banks (maybe)

If the allegations about the British based bank Standard Chartered Bank PLC are true then a financial institution that has been at the forefront of a “corporate responsibility” campaign is guilty of an instance of money laundering that makes the Bank of Credit and Commerce International look like Romper Room ™. When I first heard . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Iran: Getting away with genocide, thanks to banks (maybe)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Romney should audition for Keystone Kops with his mouth

Remember four years ago and Barack Obama’s goodwill tour of Europe — well before the Democratic convention — and how it brought out people in the tens of thousands; including 200,000 at Victory Column in Berlin. No surprise there as he was spreading the word of reconciliation with the NATO alliance after eight years of . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Romney should audition for Keystone Kops with his mouth

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Deny, deny, deny — Syria edition (and why sanctions aren’t enough)

This past weekend’s massacre in Houla, Syria was so uncommonly cruel in its scope that even Russia and Mainland China, which have been vetoing several resolutions due to their arms sales to Damascus, finally said enough is enough. At least 108 are dead, and quite a few Western states have suspended ties to the Assad . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Deny, deny, deny — Syria edition (and why sanctions aren’t enough)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Blast Furnace Canada Blog 2012-05-07 14:48:00

Today, David Frum in a column for CNN said the obvious, what most of us in the progressive movement have been saying — that Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican challenger to incumbent US President and Democrat Barack Obama, has allowed himself to cave in to the extremist elements of the GOP (i.e. the self styled . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Blast Furnace Canada Blog 2012-05-07 14:48:00

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: It’s called ministerial responsibility, Toews!

“Sit down, my son. We don’t read most of the bills. Do you really know what that would entail — if we were to read every bill that we passed? Well, the good thing, it would slow down the legislative process.” Rep. John Conyers (D — MI 14) to Michael Moore on the rush passage . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: It’s called ministerial responsibility, Toews!

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Harper’s "Office for Relgious Freedom": Another Newspeak front?

Dubya got into a lot of hot water in many circles with his so-called “faith based initiative” (which President Obama has actually continued and broadened to include people of faith who are LGBT) and now Harper appears to want to go down the same path with something called the “Office for Religious Freedom.” Internal memos . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Harper’s "Office for Relgious Freedom": Another Newspeak front?

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: How will DSK beat off this one? … pardon the expression

No sooner did Dominique Strauss Kahn manage to stave off sexual assault charges in Manhattan than he now faces allegations he has ties to … a call girl. In northern France. For €500 to 1500 — a night. (The French newspaper L’Express has much much more in their article published last night — sorry, it’s . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: How will DSK beat off this one? … pardon the expression

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: If you can’t track the guns, you can’t track the criminals

The Brady Law in the States, which is supposed to ensure felons don’t have access to guns (they are supposed to be flagged by a background check), has proven to be a joke, the NYT reports today. In just one state — the State of Washington — nearly 3300 convicts have had their "right to bear arms" that they forfeited, restored. In one case, a man out of jail for just two months shot dead his . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: If you can’t track the guns, you can’t track the criminals

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Berlusconi out, not because of "bunga bunga" but bonda bonda

After sticking around what seemed like forever, and beating off one sleaze scandal after another, the world’s most powerful womanizer, Silvio Berlusconi, has finally said he’s going to resign after bond markets pushed up the yield of Italy’s 10 year bo… . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Berlusconi out, not because of "bunga bunga" but bonda bonda

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Greece and the game of chicken

It is truly unbelievable the game of chicken we’ve seen played this week in Europe. Just one week ago, Greece’s PM George Papandreou, was handed the deal of the millennium – a write off of 50% of his country’s debts — and he caused havoc when he w… . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Greece and the game of chicken

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Wagging the dog, Mexican style

It’s been a little over 24 hours since the United States announced it had arrested an Iranian operative who was picked up in Mexico for wanting to try to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US.    If even half of it is true then it s… . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Wagging the dog, Mexican style

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Carney: €1 trillion to bail out Europe

We’re all used to the concept of “shock therapy” when it comes to finances.   Canada went through that process a decade and a half ago in an unpopular but successful attempt to balance the budget and start paying down our debt.   We… . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Carney: €1 trillion to bail out Europe

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Unfunded mandate galore, courtesy the Fed Cons

No surprise that the Cons reintroduced, yet again, their “omnibus” crime bill.   And no surprise, again, that the Cons refused to say how much it will cost to implement — much less if there will be any commensurate transfers to the provinces… . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Unfunded mandate galore, courtesy the Fed Cons