Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Redbuds at St. Catharines Central Library

I was walking by the St. Catharines Central Library today when I saw the annual display of the redbuds in front of the entrance.  As readers of this blog know, I find the redbud's display in Spring to be a constant joy and a sign that lilacs will soon be in bloom.

The Eastern Redbuds at the library are not large but their planting is well placed to delight the library patrons when they are near the library's entrance.The library's architecture is Brutalist but once inside, it is welcoming.

Below is a short video of the redbuds blooming in front of the St. Catharines Main Library and views of the immediate environs. The blooms are beautiful this year. The images below were captured 24 April 2012.

The Library is an under appreciated institution and I suggest that residents of St. Catharines visit and use the excellent service that the library and the helpful library staff provide.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Royal Canadian MintChip - the Kiss Your Privacy GoodBye Chip

The Harper Government, through the Royal Mint of Canada, has announced the desire to create the MintChip - which would eventually become the official currency of Canada.
         It should really be called the Kiss Your Privacy GoodBye Chip, the No Privacy Chip  or the We Are Watching Everything  That You Do Chip.
        All Canadian's should be very concerned with the privacy issues related to this proposed currency. History has shown us that whenever we give any government access to our personal information, that access is abused and rights violated.
       For instance, the contentious Long Gun Registry has been cancelled but this will eventually give the government a way to know what rifles you may have, just by watching your rifle, pistol and ammunition purchases - Welcome to the New Long Gun Registry - actually it is the everything you buy registry.

This government likes watching - EVERYTHING.
Contact your Member of Parliament and let them know that you don't want digital Trojan Horse - cash is freedom, the MintChip is Orwellian control.
        Here is a link to help you find your MP (Member of the Parliament of Canada) and here is a list of the current MPs.
        For those readers living in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Rick Dykstra is your MP and here is his contact info. Those Canadians who wish to send a comment to Prime Minister Harper can reach him here.

The Harper Government's MintChip - the Kiss Your Privacy GoodBye Chip

Friday, April 13, 2012

Meet the 2012 Loonie and Toonie

Have you ever wondered why the Canadian Mint's Loonies and Toonies look like they are made from silver and gold? Well they are neither silver nor gold but plated steel.

The reason that they are made to look like silver and gold is because we humans have recognized silver and gold as being a meaningful currency for thousands of years. In fact we in Canada and the US had a defacto currency based on gold until August 15, 1971.

Then one once of gold was worth US$35 - today, as I write this entry, gold is selling for US$1668. That is 47 times what it sold for in 1971. That is to say both the Canadian and US Dollar are worth a little over 2 cents in 1971 money.

So why is the Canadian mint celebrating it's new coins? They are really celebrating the stupidity of the populace to put up with the debasement of their currency. The current digitally created money is relatively worthless when compared to the real mined representation of convertible wealth, silver and gold.

Some would say that if you have no debts and extra cash on hand that people might consider buying and taking possession of physical silver or gold MINTED coins. The Canadian Maple Leaf silver and gold coins are usually regarded as top quality bullion.

The Canadian Mint introduces the 2012 Loonie and Toonie - and no, it isn't precious metal

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Günter Grass and his poem 'What Must Be Said'

Günter Grass' poem "What Must Be Said" was published on 4 April 2012 in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, has precipitated much conversation.

What must be said  -  A poem by Günter Grass

Why have I kept silent, held back so long,

on something openly practised in

war games, at the end of which those of us

who survive will be footnotes at best?

It's the alleged right to a first strike

that could destroy the Iranian people

controlled by a loudmouth

and gathered in organized rallies,

because an atom bomb may be

developed within his arc of power.

Yet why do I hesitate to name

that other land in which

for years, although kept secret,

a growing nuclear power has existed

beyond outside supervision or verification,

and not subject to an inspection of any kind?

This general silence on the facts,

before which my own silence has cowered,

seems to me a troubling lie, and compels

me toward a likely punishment

the moment it's voiced:

the verdict "Anti-semitism" falls easily.

But now that my own country,

interrogated time after time

about its own crimes,

profound and beyond compare,

is said to be the departure point,

on what is only business,

though easily considered an act of reparation

for yet another submarine equipped

to transport nuclear warheads

to Israel, where not a single atom bomb

has yet been proved to exist, with fear alone

the only evidence, I'll say what must be said.

But why have I kept silent till now?

Because I thought my own history,

Tarnished by a taint that can never be removed,

meant I could not expect Israel, a land

to which I am, and always will be, attached,

to accept this open declaration of the truth.

Why only now, having grown old,

and with what ink remains, do I say:

Israel's atomic power worries

an already fragile world peace?

Because what must be said

may be too late tomorrow;

and because, already burdened enough as Germans,

we may be providing material for a crime

that is foreseeable, so that our complicity

will not be exonerated by any

of the usual excuses.

And granted: I've broken my silence

because I'm sick of the West's hypocrisy;

and I hope too that many may be freed

from their silence, may demand

that those responsible for this open danger

we face renounce the use of force,

may insist that the governments of

both Iran and Israel allow an international authority

free and open inspection of

the nuclear potential and capability of both.

No other course offers help

to Israelis and Palestinians alike,

to all those living side by side in suspicion

in this region occupied by illusions,

and ultimately, to all of us.


The above was translated by NiagaraWatch.com with apologies to Mr. Grass for any errors.


The original version:

Was Gesagt Werden Muss

Warum schweige ich, verschweige zu lange,
was offensichtlich ist und in Planspielen
geübt wurde, an deren Ende als Überlebende
wir allenfalls Fußnoten sind.

Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag,
der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte
und zum organisierten Jubel gelenkte
iranische Volk auslöschen könnte,
weil in dessen Machtbereich der Bau
einer Atombombe vermutet wird.
Doch warum untersage ich mir,
jenes andere Land beim Namen zu nennen,
in dem seit Jahren - wenn auch geheimgehalten -
ein wachsend nukleares Potential verfügbar
aber außer Kontrolle, weil keiner Prüfung
zugänglich ist?
Das allgemeine Verschweigen dieses Tatbestandes,
dem sich mein Schweigen untergeordnet hat,
empfinde ich als belastende Lüge
und Zwang, der Strafe in Aussicht stellt,
sobald er mißachtet wird;
das Verdikt "Antisemitismus" ist geläufig.
Jetzt aber, weil aus meinem Land,
das von ureigenen Verbrechen,
die ohne Vergleich sind,
Mal um Mal eingeholt und zur Rede gestellt wird,
wiederum und rein geschäftsmäßig, wenn auch
mit flinker Lippe als Wiedergutmachung deklariert,
ein weiteres U-Boot nach Israel
geliefert werden soll, dessen Spezialität
darin besteht, allesvernichtende Sprengköpfe
dorthin lenken zu können, wo die Existenz
einer einzigen Atombombe unbewiesen ist,
doch als Befürchtung von Beweiskraft sein will,
sage ich, was gesagt werden muß.

Warum aber schwieg ich bislang?
Weil ich meinte, meine Herkunft,
die von nie zu tilgendem Makel behaftet ist,
verbiete, diese Tatsache als ausgesprochene Wahrheit
dem Land Israel, dem ich verbunden bin
und bleiben will, zuzumuten.

Warum sage ich jetzt erst,
gealtert und mit letzter Tinte:
Die Atommacht Israel gefährdet
den ohnehin brüchigen Weltfrieden?
Weil gesagt werden muß,
was schon morgen zu spät sein könnte;
auch weil wir - als Deutsche belastet genug -
Zulieferer eines Verbrechens werden könnten,
das voraussehbar ist, weshalb unsere Mitschuld
durch keine der üblichen Ausreden
zu tilgen wäre.

Und zugegeben: ich schweige nicht mehr,
weil ich der Heuchelei des Westens
überdrüssig bin; zudem ist zu hoffen,
es mögen sich viele vom Schweigen befreien,
den Verursacher der erkennbaren Gefahr
zum Verzicht auf Gewalt auffordern und
gleichfalls darauf bestehen,
daß eine unbehinderte und permanente Kontrolle
des israelischen atomaren Potentials
und der iranischen Atomanlagen
durch eine internationale Instanz
von den Regierungen beider Länder zugelassen wird.

Nur so ist allen, den Israelis und Palästinensern,
mehr noch, allen Menschen, die in dieser
vom Wahn okkupierten Region
dicht bei dicht verfeindet leben
und letztlich auch uns zu helfen.