2016-03-24

Cross-posted from a web-note to my MP and to the Minister of International Trade

I posted this at Let's Talk TPP (it correctly detected my MP). Here's a cc to my blog and directly to those two e-mail boxes.

To: the Hon. Ron McKinnon, member for Coquitlam -- Por
To: the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Miniister of International Trade

There is so much to dislike about the TPP that I don't know where to start but here are my hottest hot-button issues:

* I believe supply management safeguards our food supply by making sure we regulate the farmers that are producing the daily staples we all depend on -- especially important for largely fluid based food stuffs as eggs and milk.
* I believe supply management keeps the carbon footprint of these food supplies down which is of net benefit.
* I believe copyrights should expire in a reasonable amount of time. Tying them to "Steamboat Willie" as the US will insist we do will starve out the "Commons" of copyright-expired public domain.
* I believe the US Patent system is broken and until they fix it nobody can afford to make IP treaties with them.
* I believe the TPP was signed illegitimately by a Minister of Trade who knew his legitimacy was fast evaporating and the previous government did not have the moral fortitude to run on the contents of the TPP. It was always trust us. I didn't. Events have shown that I shouldn't have. Accepting the TPP anyway is not part of the change that Canadians voted for. I voted for a party that opposed the TPP. You, Mr. McKinnon said very little at the debate about it either way but the wish of this constituent goes against it directly.

There are many other talking points: TPP-mandated DRM is troubling, right of foreign entities to sue made-in-Canada environmental protections is worse; American patent protections for drug companies will raise our health care costs for no good reason. But all of these only re-inforce my conclusion about this deal:

For the TPP, Canada gives up far too much and gets too little in return. It was negotiated for the benefit of plutocrats and multi-national corporations and too little benefit will "trickle down" (that myth! that old tired lie that Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney pimped to us 30 years ago! shame, shame...) to us ordinary people. Let it die, please.

Sincerely,

Arthur N. Klassen

2015-12-25

Nighttime Cycling Safety

It was in my stocking this morning (we still do stockings): a can of Volvo Life Paint. My wife mentioned it to me in the summer but didn't share this video, and the idea of spray-on reflective paint like this was so out there that it clearly didn't stick. And then this morning there was this can in my stocking. So I looked it up and saw this video (I'm on my phone, so I can't do a proper link: https://youtu.be/CfWzeGlaFvI) and said a big, "Oh!"

I'll post a reply to this when I've had a go with it (the rain may wash it away) but it was just too impressive not to share right now given the potential to spare someone else a serious injury.

Merry (and Safe!) Christmas!

2015-12-07

I was a stranger...

(If you make no claim to be a Jesus Follower, feel free to ignore what follows)

This weekend I heard something that drove me crazy. Friends of ours were in Central Asia in the 90s doing Community Development. Friends of theirs are in a Scandinavian country working with a Christian Organization that does "religious" things as well as "relief" things, oriented toward mobilizing younger folks sort of for "gap year" kinds of things. And they attract significant numbers of youth from North America.

Like most of their country, they are welcoming Middle Eastern refugees, to the point that there's a national shortage of lightly used mattresses to provide to the new arrivals. They're doing this in a way that's fully integrated with everything else that they're doing. Someone pointed out that there were very different views of refugees on this side of the Atlantic, so they felt the need to inform the kids' parents what they were doing to placate fears, which they did.

On reading this, something inside me snapped. This need for placation gets our continent a huge "Come on, man!" award.

I'm done with being "nice" about this. You who claim to follow Jesus, as I claim, consider this: Referring to the N.T. story of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew, to whom, to the sheep or the goats, would Jesus have said:

"I was a stranger and you locked me out of your country because you were afraid I was a terrorist or a Shari`a zealot."

Come on, man...

2015-10-22

Canada Election 2015 - Thoughts #4

Never mind Joe Clark! The buzz on the news was of prominent NDPers who were okay with losing seats given the overall Conservative loss.

Canada Election 2015 - Thoughts #3

I
​ struggled with voting strategically and nearly went for it. In the end, I voted with my heart -- and it turns out that if I had tried to vote "strategically" as I understood it, it would have been at cross purposes with what happened in the riding anyways.​

Canada Election 2015 - Thoughts #2

H
​ow do I feel about the election? Relieved, but not content. 35% popular vote shouldn't get you 60% of the seats. Ever.​

2015-10-21

Canada Election 2015 - Thoughts #1

Never did Joe Clark look so relieved that a Canadian Conservative government lost an election.

2015-09-12

Justin Trudeau "vs." his father

I'm watching Peter Mansbridge's interviews with the political leaders and I was impressed with something Justin Trudeau did after the 13 minute mark in his interview. He found a way to oppose the current results of what his father did in concentrating power in the Prime Minister's Office without throwing his dad under the bus. Positive. Re-assuring. He still supports parts of C-51 and that and C-24 are the deal-killers for me.

2015-09-08

This isn't Karl Marx' Capital

​I just finished reading Thomas Piketty's Capital for the 21st Century and have been recommending it highly to all my acquaintances. It's not short (600 pages) but don't let that stop you. The subject is not light (economics) but don't let that scare you. It was written in French but the English translation is smooth, comprehensible, enjoyable so no need to balk there. The math is simple (two equations: β = s / g; α = r * 
β
​),​
​​
 the graphs are there to provide silhouettes not narrow percentage points of difference
​ and he keeps on quoting Balzac and Austen, and even the Aristocats.
 And then I came across this quote from M. Piketty in
adbusters:

There is a lot of ideology in the economic profession. I think that many economists have a view of markets which is not only idealistic and naive, but they are defending the views that markets are working efficiently. For ideological reasons, economists spend a lot of time doing complicated mathematical models, trying to pretend that markets are efficient - they do that also to try to impress others in other disciplines to look more scientific. I'm not sure this is working but this is certainly part of their strategy. I think we should be very modest. I view myself more as a social scientist than as an economist. I think the frontiers between economics, history, sociology, are not as clear as what economists try to pretend. Economists try to pretend sometimes that they have developed a science so sophisticated that the rest of the world cannot understand. I think this is a joke.

​If that doesn't encourage you that he thinks like ordinary people, I don't know what will.