These Are Not Your Father’s Tories. Seriously.

“I worked for (Mulroney-era environment minister) Tom McMillan, who was a very red Tory. I wrote speeches for him. We never checked his speeches with the PMO. He’d get up to answer in Question Period. He didn’t have a script for how to answer. Brian Mulroney was not telling his cabinet members what to say, syllable by syllable… . I look at Peter Kent and I think my God man you had a great reputation. You were a great journalist. You won the Robert Kennedy Prize for journalism. And you’re going to stand up in the House and read the lines?”

– Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, from an interview with Dan Gardner

Van Jones Gets Lani Guiniered by the Racist Right

by matttbastard

Geez. Not five minutes after I had gone to bed, besieged White House green jobs adviser (and radical communist-anarchist!!1one) Van Jones finally became a martyr in the GOP’s increasingly ugly race war against the uppity Usurper-in-Chief:

I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today.

On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.

I have been inundated with calls – from across the political spectrum – urging me to “stay and fight.”

But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.

It has been a great honor to serve my country and my President in this capacity. I thank everyone who has offered support and encouragement. I am proud to have been able to make a contribution to the clean energy future. I will continue to do so, in the months and years ahead.

Wonder if Jones is reconsidering that recent apology for calling Republicans ‘assholes’. Because, well, um, yeah.

Related: Alex Pareene on how the speedy demonization of Van Jones illustrates “how the right wing information delivery process works now.”

In a nutshell: Fire up the swift boats, crank up the Wurlitzer, and wait for Tapper and Drudgico to do the rest.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Maude Barlow: “This is the most important human rights and ecological crisis of our time.”

by matttbastard

The December issue of that other venerable American left-wing periodical, The Progressive, features an interview with Council of Canadians national chairperson and water rights advocate Maude Barlow, in which the future of fresh drinking water is discussed in depth.  Barlow says access to clean water is “the most important human rights and ecological crisis of our time,” an assertion that’s hard to dispute after reading her sobering, well-reasoned and highly-detailed outline of what’s in store over the coming decades for both the Global North and South.  As Barlow contends, “[t]his crisis isn’t getting better; it’s getting worse.”

Some highlights:

Close to two billion people are now without adequate access to clean water, and most are living in the Global South. We in the Global North need to remember there is a Global South right here in our countries. The more water costs and the rarer it becomes and the more it’s owned by corporations, the more it’s going to be an issue of equity in our countries.

[…]

More children die every day of dirty water than HIV-AIDS, malaria, traffic accidents, and war put together. Half the hospital beds in the world are filled with people who would not be there if they could afford water. You go to many countries, and you will see the majority of people having no access to water and the wealthy having access to all the water they could ever want. It’s privatized. Sometimes it has to be trucked in. It’s all provided by corporations.

Water has become the most important symbol of inequity and injustice in our world, because you die from a lack of water. You may not die from a lack of education, but you will immediately die from a lack of clean drinking water.

[…]

We put something like 200 billion liters of water in plastic last year. That’s about 50 billion U.S. gallons. And 95 percent of that just ends up in landfills and is thrown into waterways. It’s not recycled.
The other thing about bottled water that gets overlooked is that when you decide to use bottled water as your water source because you’re rich enough to be able to do it, you stop caring what comes out of the tap. It’s the true privatization of water. If you stop caring what comes out of the tap, you’re going to stop wanting to pay taxes for infrastructure repair. You don’t care anymore because you don’t drink that stuff since you don’t trust it. And you’re not going to worry about whether it’s clean enough for poor people, because you’ve got your bottled water. It is really becoming a class issue, this notion of bottled water, being able to distance yourself from what we all need to have as a basic, fundamental human right and public service, which is good, clean water, guaranteed clean by our government.

[…]

There is a wonderful water justice movement here in the United States and around the world. We call ourselves Water Warriors. And we’ve taken the time to create a set of principles upon which we agree. We basically agree, for instance, that if you ask the question who owns water, we will say, “Nobody owns it. It belongs to the Earth, it belongs to all species, it belongs to future generations. It’s a fundamental human right and a public service and a public trust.”

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Three Challenges for the Planet – Jeffrey Sachs

by matttbastard

ForaTV:

Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs outlines what are, in his view, the three greatest challenges to peace the world will face over the next several years.

Complete video here.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

A few more numbers to consider

by matttbastard

Graham Johnston writes in comments:

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government proposes reducing Canada’s greenhouse gases and air pollution by 20 percent of 2006 levels by 2020. By 2015 he claims the anticipated benefit to Canadian citizens will be that 1,200 fewer citizens will die from air pollution and there will be 1,260 fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits. Sounds impressive.

In mid-August, 2008 the Canadian Medical Association released a comprehensive report on air quality in Canada that found, in part, that more than 21,000 people will die prematurely in Canada this year from the effects of air pollution. Some 2,500 of them (us!) will die because of “acute, short-term exposure” and of that number, 25 will be under the age of 19 years.

Further, in 2008 there will be over 9,000 hospital visits, 30,000 emergency department visits and 620,000 doctor’s office visits due to air pollution.

The CMA estimates that by 2031, almost 90,000 Canadians will have died from the acute short-term effects of air pollution. The number of deaths, due to long-term exposure, will be over 700,000 – the population of Quebec City. The economic costs of air pollution in 2008 alone will top $8 billion. By 2031, they will have accumulated to over $250 billion.

Any politician who would turn a blind eye to such a public health crisis while allocating billions of dollars to military spending to protect the health and security of citizens of another country deserves our contempt. Either Harper is out of touch with the reality of the air pollution crisis in Canada, or he just doesn’t give a damn about the health and welfare of Canadians. Either way, he should be sent packing on Election Day. Newfoundland’s ABC mantra of “Anything But Conservative” is beginning to resonate.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers