Nahlah Ayed in Regina for Minifie Lecture at #UofR

She was crunched for time in writing a speech, something she’s not used to doing either, so she wrote a diary of her recent coverage in Ukraine and made it interesting by giving the back story to reporting in a region that could break out into open war. She grew up in Winnipeg. One questioner at the end noted it was nice to be able to see her smile, since her job doesn’t permit it as she’s reporting from tense situations overseas.

Nahlah Ayed

She bemoaned the lack of coverage of South America in North America, and dodged the question if there were stories she’d pushed for not covered. The pictured painted was one of needing to leave news uncovered because of deadlines to file. Places had to go unseen because there’s only one reporter, one team from the CBC there. The schedule is tight, and deadlines are pushed to extremes. Social media adds another pressure, but may be essential to reach a new audience.

I think it’s too bad there’s a culture of media censorship not talked about in Canada, where some stories are shunned and journalists are not able to speak of which ones without facing retribution from their distribution owners and editors.

Overall the talk was a success, even though she’d not finished writing it on the plane to Regina. Foreign correspondents probably deliver their best material under an impossible deadline, anyway.

Nahlah Ayed and John Klein

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Turkey Arrests CBC Journalist Sasa Petricic

Saša Petricic has been arrested in the midst of covering the Occupy Gezi protest in Istanbul. This is an outrage which the Turkish government will not be able to defend themselves from.

Short hours before his arrest, this was the scene:

UPDATE:

UPDATE II:

UPDATE:
They were released many hours later:

#ForwardOnClimate Support in Regina: Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

Stephen McDavid interviewed by CBC/SRC about climate change action:

Stephen explains that the pipeline is a line in the sand. Using it, is crossing that line. I’ll explain why there is a line, further on in this post.

I was also interviewed. The CBC reporter was pleased to learn from me (off camera) that there is a car share co-op in Regina.

I know some people don’t see the big deal with the Keystone XL pipeline, thinking it’s just another way that people can make money. It’s more like a doomsday device, than economic stimulus. Taking into account the truth that burning all of the bitumen in the Alberta tar sands will create enough carbon dioxide to push climate change past +2 degrees Celsius, a pipe intended to be used for that purpose will be seen as a crime against humanity by most people within a few short generations of now. Already, some people understand it to be that.

To meet a halfway reasonable carbon budget in our atmosphere, there’s no good use for the Keystone XL pipeline. To have to shut it down, and clean it up later in order to correct the error today in building it, is a huge folly that Obama can stop.

It’s widely accepted by people that our daily lives cause pollution, and it’s a sort of price we pay for progress. More people need to question what sort of progress we’re striving for as a species. It’s not like we’re trying to stop 7-Eleven from selling drinks that cause diabetes and obesity and kills a few thousand humans indirectly; we’re trying to stop investment in a technology whose use is known to cause so much pollution as to create catastrophic changes to our atmosphere, and will hasten the extinction of countless species and displacement of countless people. It’s a very, very big deal, and that the Harper government in Ottawa sees fit to label peaceful protesters as “adversaries”, “enemies of the state”, and “terrorists”, is in itself terrifying.

Here are the numbers behind why we must not burn all of the fossil fuel we are technologically capable of extracting with today’s technology.
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ConCalls: CBC vs. Postmedia vs. Elections Canada #RoboCon

There’ve been several Canadian media organizations investigating the RoboCon election fraud scandal linked to the Conservative Party. In February, Postmedia broke the story by tying the many localized reports of misleading phonecalls together by unleashing details of the mysterious Pierre Poutine alias.

At that time they also reported there were emails from Elections Canada staff who were gravely concerned about the Conservatives’ misleading phone calls. The Conservatives attempted to explain this away as Get Out The Vote calls that went awry. That’s a claim that appears totally bogus.

Internal Elections Canada emails obtained under Access to Information legislation show officials were rattled by the calls.

At 11:06 a.m., election officer Anita Hawdur sent an email to to legal counsel Karen McNeil with the header: “URGENT Conservative campaign office communications with electors.” Hawdur reported that returning officers were calling to ask about the calls. McNeil responded by asking Hawdur to alert Rennie Molnar, the deputy chief electoral officer. He later emailed Michel Roussel, a senior director: “This one is far more serious. They have actually disrupted the voting process.”

Then, in November, CBC reported they recently obtained emails from Elections Canada which expressed grave concerns about a “scam” being run by the Conservative Party to mislead voters away from real election polls. The Conservatives’ lawyer eventually responded just prior to the polls opening, that there was no illegal activity going on. The illegal calls continued, as we now all know.

The reply from the party’s lawyer to Elections Canada more than a day later said that polling locations had changed in “a number of electoral districts.”

“As a consequence, a number of our candidates have had to confirm the proper location of polling stations to a number of supporters during their respective get out the vote efforts… There is no indication by the caller that the location may have changed, or words to that effect.

That answer from the lawyer presumed to be Hamilton, doesn’t jive.

In an email sent at 8:16 p.m. ET on April 29, 2011 — three days before voters were to cast their ballots — an official with Elections Canada said she was getting complaints that Conservative officials were communicating with voters to tell them that their polling stations had changed.

“Directions offered to one of the electors would take that person more than an hour and a half from the real location that according to her is a few minutes from her home,” Sylvie Jacmain wrote in French, putting “Strange situation” in the subject line of the email.

At 8:44 p.m., about half an hour after Jacmain’s email, another official replied that, according to the Conservative riding association in Saint-Boniface, the calls had come from party headquarters.

“It’s resolved, the local association communicated with the headquarters who made calls to people in Saint-Boniface following a split in the polling stations. Party headquarters stopped the calls following the request of the local association,” Sylvain Lortie wrote.

I’ve asked the journalists at Postmedia and the Ottawa Citizen to compare notes with the journalist(s) as CBC who obtained these Elections Canada emails through Access to Information requests. If Elections Canada provided different sets of emails for the same sort of request, there could be another scandal at hand. Maybe there’s an innocent explanation why the “scam” emails appeared lately instead of in February, however.

Looking at the meat of the emails a bit:

Some voters had recorded a phone number so they could try to trace the call.

“When these numbers are called, the voice message is recorded by the same person even though the numbers are different,” Anita Hawdur, the election official in charge of the voting process wrote in an email to one of Election Canada’s lawyers.

In another email, Hawdur said the polling stations “given out by the Conservative Party … are all wrong. Most of them are quite far away from the elector’s home and from the initial polling place that showed on their [voter identification card].”

Why did Elections Canada officers, with the power to write arrest warrants for people caught in the act of committing Election Act crimes, apparently accept the Conservatives’ claims that they weren’t behind the misleading calls when the source phone numbers distressed citizens were providing, led back to Conservative Party call centres’ voice mail?

This is getting pretty suspicious. The workers in the returning office think these people are running a scam.

-Anita Hawdur. Why Ms. Hawdur and Elections Canada weren’t able to immediately follow up that week with production orders and arrest warrants, is for a Royal Commission to work out. What can people do in the meantime, besides fume? The Council of Canadians may need your support in their court challenge. Your MP should also hear you’re still very concerned about the unpunished election fraud of last year. More “robocalls” public demonstrations must happen too, I suspect.
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ConCalls: Rex and Terry and CBC

My guess is that Rex Murphy and Terry Milewski don’t agree very often, but they were both right about the [il]legitimacy of the Conservative Harper Government, nine months ago.

Rex only slips in thinking Elections Canada had a “steely gaze”. Oops. Lots of oopses.

Can we now see why Stephen Harper and Dean Del Mastro were so eager to direct the opposition parties to send evidence to Elections Canada to conduct a 585+ day investigation? In the next video, RMG is brought up, specifically their Thunder Bay call centre. While Harper claimed only Conservative voters were contacted, CBC clearly presents non-Conservatives were contacted with misleading poll locations.

Early on in the media’s investigation, we learned that there was “hard evidence” “linking the Conservatives to bogus robocalls”. Also, there were calls from Conservative HQ to Racknine Inc. at the end of the election campaign.

And it’s very interesting to hear Matt Meier say a “party” abused his service, when he knew the Conservatives were the only political party to be exclusively using his robodialer. Perhaps he meant “party” in the more general sense of the word? The anonymous Conservatives who early on admitted off the record that it was an “independent contractor with ties to the Conservative Party” behind the Guelph con calls, were they trying to finger Sona, Prescott, or another?


Hat tip to James

Liar, Liar, Head’s On Fire

There’s an excellent animation of this sad situation regarding toxic fire retardants, in the video called “Story of Stuff”, which also explores the messed-up nature of our whole global economic system. It’s one of the decade’s must-watch videos.

We don’t want our heads to catch fire while we are sleeping, so our pillows have toxic flame retardants in them? What are we, fire-retarded? Turns out, yes, some of us are:

“A recent U.S. study found that children with higher levels of an older class of flame retardant chemicals called PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, showed lower IQs, shorter attention spans and weaker motor skills than those with lower levels.

Studies have found young children tend to harbour the highest levels of such chemicals since they tend to play on carpets and furniture, increasing their exposure. Some classes of toxic flame retardants, like many other chemicals, are also transferable through breast milk.

PBDEs and similar retardants are also linked to altered thyroid functions in pregnant women, as well as increased difficulty in conception.

The Canadian government has already banned two classes of PBDEs, but critics say that more action is needed. Environment Canada has announced it plans to ban a third class of PBDE by 2012, but legislation hasn’t been introduced.” – I added some emphasis in that quote from Marketplace. The chemical industry literally makes some of its customers less intelligent. Our children are forced to consume fire-retardant laced breastmilk, because of ineffective legislation, and greedy, manipulative corporations. I’d tell them to burn in Hell, but if they use enough of their product…

CBC Porn? #CBCporn

Sun News has a reputation for not being very accurate, in an attempt to excite their right wing base. They also employ professional liars. One story told by SUN involves CBC broadcasting porn, which isn’t what they do, obviously. This exaggeration was repeated by a CPC candidate in #YYCcentre on Saturday night, and prompted her mockery on Twitter, nation wide. It remains a Top Trend on Twitter, hours later as I write this.
(www.torontosun.com/2012/02/01/is-the-cbc-paying-for-porn) No, they are not. Anyone taking Sun News at face value deserves the figurative egg that ends up on their face.

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Regina City Council – Stadiumapalooza #YQRcc

Check out my presentation here, or on Access 7 replay later on. CTV, Global, and LP mentioned me, but the CBC reporter they sent wasn’t interested in a quote even though she sought one from Conrad who is running against me in the upcoming election. She probably liked his cool glasses more than my naked face, even though my quote would have been blogtastic.

My thoughts are scrolling by on Twitter, so grab them while you can.

The media is buzzing, as were the 150+ in the Gallery at City Council last night. And my last name was spelled right 1/2 times in the newspaper article too!

Prairie Music

Saskatchewan is known for many musicians, and types of music. It has a provincial name that is a challenge to include in songs too. However, not many people have heard the musical qualities of grain bins. It’s like steel drum meets vocalist. Enjoy!

I’ve spent a few minutes of my life inside grain bins, and they do have an acoustic quality that invites you to listen to an echo of your own making.