Malic acid.  Titanium dioxide.  Brilliant blue FCF.  Allura red.  Sunset yellow.  Carbon dioxide.  Carnauba wax.

Sound like ingredients in making car wax or paint.   Or perhaps some metal working industrial process to chrome plate steel.  Titanium dioxide!  Really?  I suspect  a full Hazmat suit would be recommended when handling that.   Our kids are gorging on titanium dioxide.  That can’t be good for you.  Carnauba wax?  Why not just grab a spoonful of Dad’s car wax to satisfy that sugar craving?  These are just some of the ingredients I read off candy wrappers.  Oh yeah.  The sugars.  Corn syrup.  Sugar.  Sorbitol.  Glucose.  Dextrose.  How many sugars or substitutes are out there?  The most perplexing and bizarre ingredient was carbon dioxide?  In candy!  Whoever heard of such nonsense?  CO2 in candy.  Is that not the stuff we are trying to eliminate from our atmosphere?  The ingredient that is responsible for accelerating climate change.  How on earth does CO2 have a place in candy?  Mind boggling!  Is it any wonder our kids are developing strange and never before seen health problems?   We are living in precarious times and the future does not at all seem very bright.  So before your kids get to the bottom of their pillowcase stuffed with Halloween haul, have a look at what they are ingesting.  It better blow your mind, because if it does not, it will surely blow theirs.


Syrian immigration

This intense focus on Syrian refugees is quite extraordinary. Our media is saturated with coverage, our social welfare agencies are all preparing for the influx of immigrants. Hundreds of millions of dollars is being allocated to establish support systems. Canada will also be providing psychological support to assist potential PTSD sufferers from Syria. How times have changed! When my parents fled their Baltic homelands during WW II and spent a few years in displaced persons camps (yesterday’s version of refugee camps?) prior to immigrating to Canada, they found no such help from government. They fled from horrors of war and atrocities committed by both Nazis and Communists that were surely comparable to anything suffered by today’s Syrians. The Baltic peoples established their own ethnic community networks and assisted each other. And as far as I can recall, every one of my parents’ generation found employment, bought houses with their own savings, became naturalized citizens and lived full and fruitful lives in Canada. Yes, I understand the necessity for intensive screening to ensure that not one terrorist enters our country, but is all this frenzy of activity really needed to ensure that Syrians adapt to their newly adopted homeland? How about allocating some of those hundreds of millions of dollars to our First Nations communities? They have been here for generations yet continue to be ignored by our government while struggling thru poverty and outrageous boil water advisories. Is it noble to offer such abundant assistance to strangers when your own people continue to suffer?

LCBO union head pulling back on claim wine and beer in grocery stores would increase violence against women

Vito Pilieci, Postmedia News | March 18, 2015 | Last Updated: Mar 18 9:45 AM ET

(Sixty per cent of Ontarians over the age of 18 support the idea of selling beer and wine in alternative establishments, according to an Angus Reid study commissioned by the Ontario Convenience Store Association last year.
Brent Lewin / Bloomberg Sixty per cent of Ontarians over the age of 18 support the idea of selling beer and wine in alternative establishments, according to an Angus Reid study commissioned by the Ontario Convenience Store Association last year.)

The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union is dialling back on a claim that allowing more stores to sell beer and wine will spur more violence against women.

However, Warren (Smokey) Thomas says he continues to believe that increasing the availability of alcohol will have repercussions the government doesn’t appear to have considered.

Last week, Thomas issued a statement saying that allowing grocery stores to sell beer could lead to more violence. “We know alcohol contributes to violence, and this makes us question Premier Kathleen Wynne’s commitment to making women in this province safe,” it said.

On Tuesday, he took a quieter tone.

“Our point was this, the more you ‘liberalize’ the sale of alcohol, the more you will increase social problems,” Thomas said. “What she (Premier Kathleen Wynne) wants to do flies in the face of what the liquor control board stands for. It then just becomes mass retailing of alcohol.”

Thomas’s initial comments, which followed a newspaper report suggesting Ontario may license as many as 300 grocery stores to sell beer and wine alongside the brewery-owned Beer Store outlets and government-owned Liquor Control Board stores that now control most alcohol sales in the province, have helped bring the booze-sale debate to a head.

Even those who work with victims of domestic violence won’t say that increasing the number of beer and wine retailers will bring more violence.

Tara Henderson, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, said that while alcohol is a factor in some cases of domestic violence, she is unaware of studies linking expanded access to more abuse.

“Alcohol can be purchased from a lot of different places,” said Henderson. “I don’t see why there could be a significant increase (in violence).”

The union president says debate over his admittedly “controversial” claim has deflected attention from his key point: Why was the rumoured arrangement negotiated in secret and why does it appear to favour a handful of large corporations?

According to the Toronto Star, the government will open an auction for 300 licences to sell alcohol at grocery stores, with no one chain being allowed to own more than 25 per cent of the licences.

Thomas asked what’s to stop a large convenience store chain from outbidding the grocery chains, which would allow beer and wine to be sold at corner stores across the province — a situation the premier has objected to openly.

Thomas represents more than 5,000 employees at the province’s LCBO stores. He insisted his objections aren’t based on securing his members’ jobs, and said his members could in fact benefit from increased jobs in warehousing and logistics if more retailers are allowed.

Conrad Black | January 10, 2015 | The National Post

As I was sitting down to write about the atrocity in France, my wife Barbara hove into view, always a delicious sight, and announced that she was writing elsewhere on the same subject and that I could not do it. So I will not, other than to say that France had to admit more than a million Algerian Muslims in the mid-sixties, who had been loyal to France in the savage war of independence in that country, as well as a million European Algerians. It has been comparatively indulgent of Muslims since then, but this incident, or a few others like it, will motivate France to lead the Western counter-attack against militant Islam that should have been launched by our united civilization many years ago. Just as the French periodically become bored with life in their legendarily rich country of fine weather, food and wine, and tear up paving stones and hurl them across barricades at the police until bourgeois fear of economic loss reasserts itself and reaction takes over; when French possession and enjoyment of their country is threatened, the national faith in liberty, equality and fraternity will give way to more systematic repression of violent Islamists than would be acceptable in an Anglo-Saxon democracy.

When the Islamist threat is no longer theoretical or just a matter of ethnic slurs or offensive caricatures, and that time should have come after the massacre of 10 journalists in a newspaper office and of two policemen guarding it, in France there will be none of the faddish and abusive meddling of human rights commissions such as persecuted Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant in this country. Since the barbarians comingled with the Romanized Gauls 1,500 years ago, no one has displaced the French from their complete cultural occupation of la douce France. Those who have tried, including the Moors, the Plantagenet kings of England, and the German Empire and Third Reich, were a great deal more formidable and comparatively numerous than the venomous rag-tag of contemporary Islamist terrorists. Vive la France, which now awaits the continuator of Charles Martel, Joan of Arc, and Charles de Gaulle; a relatively easy victory awaits him or her.

Since I have been cyber-gagged from pursuing this subject further, I will retreat to a related one. In the weeks since Christmas, I (like so many others) have been forced to follow the stern counsel of our bathroom scales. My shapely spouse (who could eat an entire Black Forest cake without putting on more than eight ounces) has aided me in my efforts: As I was writing this column, I sauntered into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. There I found Barbara watching a television program about obesity which, she cheerfully volunteered, I might find useful. (This was perhaps a bit gratuitous, as the program was about 600 lbs. people.) Still, the just-concluded Christmas season, with all its excesses, provides us a welcome opportunity to consider the current status of Christianity in the West.

In the commercial coruscation of Christmas, with incitements to buy accompanying all the deferences to non-Christians, the forgotten fact is that Christianity is a much greater force in the world than Islam. It has 50% more nominal adherents, hundreds of millions more communicants, 600 years more history, and an infinitely greater intellectual and cultural basis. Although it has been used as a pretext for group violence in recent memory, as in Ireland, no serious Christian authority counsels or condones violence other than in personal or societal self-defence. Islam lifted the monotheistic concept from the Judeo-Christians and even claim that none other than that frequent flyer Gabriel imparted the divine message to the Prophet, Muhammad.

Militant Islam had a spirited try at routing Christianity, and when it was repulsed from France and Spain, it returned in strength 800 years later as a largely secular Turkish force under Sulieman the Magnificent. It laid siege to Vienna in 1529, and again in 1683, but was repulsed on both occasions, the latter by Poland’s King Jan Sobieski. Turkey lost its bid for control of the Mediterranean at Lepanto in 1571.

No sane or civilized Westerner would dispute Islam’s historic significance or the right of anyone to practice that or any other religion. But many sane Westerners have together achieved the startling and unfortunate feat of establishing the politically correct fiction that the West is not Christian, and that it is the duty of all to avoid disparagement of extreme Islam, even after decades of endless provocations. The real problem of Western Islam is the failure of the Islamic peoples at self-government and the recourse, not uncommon for people who have been unsuccessful, to pious fervour and a nostalgic yearning for the days of triumphant militancy. But that is not a valid answer to Islam’s problems. As an entire and tolerant civilization, it is our duty to ourselves, and even to the Islamists who fancy themselves to be our enemies, to crush and exterminate this malignant and evil force as soon and thoroughly as possible.

We must stop hiding our Christian light under a bushel, and end this imbecilic fantasy that indulgence of those who would kill or subjugate all of us and anyone else deemed ambivalent in their hydra-headed jihad will achieve anything except the encouragement of their violent contempt. The two most populous Western countries, the United States and Brazil, are overwhelmingly Christian. A very inquisitive person would ransack the Western media to discover this, but a bone-crushing majority in both countries embrace the principal tenets of Christianity.

Extensive research by the very rigorous Pew Research Center, revealed a month ago that 73% of American adults believe that Mary was a virgin when delivered of Jesus, that 75% believe in the story of the Three Wise Men, 81% that Jesus was placed in a manger, 74% that angels announced His birth to shepherds, and 65% of adult citizens of the United States believe all of the above. The figures for belief in the four tenets mentioned above among Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are, respectively, 70%, 74%, 80%, and 69%. Even among the millions of Americans with post-graduate degrees, from 53 to 65% believe each one of these traditional assertions.

This is not remotely the version of public religious faith anyone would deduce from the mainstream U.S. media. Brazil is a good deal more fervent, in Christian terms, than the United States, the more so from the Roman Catholic conversions to evangelical Protestantism of about 20% of the country when the Liberation Catholics were presenting Christ as a Marxist who sanctioned violence for social aims. (The process of erosion from Rome to Christian fundamentalism effectively stopped when Pope John Paul II excommunicated the principal Liberation theologians.)

The Canadian figures would be somewhat, but not unrecognizably, less robust than the American. Even Western Europe, though there would be extensive erosion of the faith in most of it, is unambiguously Christian by cultural and traditional criteria. The fact that Western society is so commendably tolerant does not give us a dispensation from protecting our heritage from assault. Pope Francis, who receives much greater respect and admiration from the Western (and the whole) world than our secular leaders, has endorsed military action against military Islam.

Let us hope, and those so inclined may legitimately pray, that the outrage in Paris will assist the Judeo-Christian world in seeing violent Islam plain, and in responding to it with the force that it has successfully employed against earlier, and in all respects, greater, threats. Otherwise, servile appeasement and cowardly silence in the face of the persecution of Christian minorities will eventually produce another Crusade, and that would be, as our friends in the atheist, self-hating left would say (though they are the chief practitioners of it), an overreaction.

Je suis Charlie

JE SUIS CHARLIE. Let that become a cry for free speech. JE SUIS CHARLIE!

Canadian business wouldn’t need so many foreign workers if we didn’t pay our citizens so much to not work.
When Employment Minister Jason Kenney recently announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), he said migrant workers should be the last resort for businesses when hiring. Not the first, second or even third option, but the last. Mr. Kenney further said employers that face a shortage of workers should do more to hire unemployed Canadians.
The Great Temporary Foreign Workers Panic of 2014 may be about to blow itself out. Some time in the next couple of weeks Employment Minister Jason Kenney will announce a number of reforms to the program, which for the past four decades has been used by employers to fill gaps in the supply of certain types of labour. That is, he will announce another round of reforms, previous installments having failed to quell mounting opposition and media hysteria over the program and the threat to Canadian workers it allegedly presents.
In response, some companies have denounced the minister’s reforms as being anti-business and say they will be harmed because of a lack of available Canadian workers.
But both government and businesses are skirting the real problem.
Let’s clarify straight away what the debate surrounding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is really about. This isn’t about Canada not having enough workers — not when 1.3 million citizens are unemployed. It is about Employment Insurance paying too many people not to work.
The EI system is a mess and the federal government has made only weak-kneed efforts to reform it. So weak that a report from the Council of Atlantic Premiers (strong opponents of any change), says the last major set of reforms failed to have any impact that they could measure, saying the biggest problem was a lack of consultation.
Most businesses fuming over the TFWP changes haven’t called for needed EI reforms. Until now it’s been easier to import workers from Romania, Vietnam and the Philippines than wade into a messy debate.
EI advocates claim there are no work opportunities. But, of course, we know that is not true. There are still thousands of temporary foreign workers filling jobs people on EI won’t do.
Ganong Brothers Ltd, a fourth generation family-owned chocolate business in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, once employed as many as 40 foreign workers. This year, it is reportedly about 25. Ganong Brothers is not the only company bringing foreign workers into rural Atlantic Canada. In May, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, an independent think tank based in Halifax, released a report showing that in 2012 the total number of temporary foreign workers was 10,900 in Atlantic Canada. That’s three times as many as in 2005.
But this number raises an important question. Why are we bringing in thousands of foreign workers to a province with an unemployment rate and a high rate of repeat EI usage? Or put another way, why were 25 foreign workers getting jobs at Ganong when there are about 30,000 New Brunswickers collecting EI at any given month? It doesn’t make any sense.
But Ganong Ltd is not the only business having trouble-finding workers. Another family run New Brunswick company, Millennium Marine, is closing its doors and moving operations to Eastport, Maine, because the operator could not find workers willing to fill the jobs. Owner Cory Guimon told the CBC that seasonal jobs, subsidized by EI, were too much for his full-time jobs to compete with. He says Americans are now lining up for the work.
So what can be done to incentivize more Canadians to take these types of full-time jobs?
Rather than source temporary workers who leave after their work term, let’s reach out and support permanent immigrants who can stay and become an economic boost for Canada
For starters, reform our Employment Insurance program. Maintaining the current EI system does nothing to solve the region’s high unemployment, high taxes or loss of young people to jobs out west.
Secondly, pay more for low-skilled work. Paying foreign workers less only drags down Canadians’ wages, resulting in fewer Canadians willing to work and fuelling the need for additional cheap labour from abroad.
Finally, we need to improve our immigration system. Rather than source temporary workers who leave after their work term, let’s reach out and support permanent immigrants who can stay and become an economic boost for Canada. Unemployed immigrants in urban centres also should be encouraged to move to regions with full-time jobs.
Canadian businesses know EI has perverted the labour market but haven’t wanted to discuss it. They now have an economic incentive to do so. Instead of trying to save the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, businesses should offer solutions on how best to fix EI. That would nicely align their interests with the interests of Canadian workers.
National Post
Kevin Lacey is Atlantic Director with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. More information can be found at Taxpayers.com.

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State
By Glenn Greenwald
Signal/McClelland & Stewart
259 pp; $29.95
Review by Jeet Heer

A patriotic martyr in the eyes of some, a traitor in the view of others, Edward Snowden is undeniably and admirably jaunty in the face of extreme danger. Last May, Snowden, then a 29-year-old contractor on leave from the National Security Agency (NSA), met with journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill in Hong Kong, where he gave them a world-changing scoop: supported by thousands of documents downloaded from his employer, Snowden revealed that the NSA has been engaged in a massive global campaign of cybernetic espionage, a far-reaching invasion of privacy that involved intercepting billions of communication events (including phone calls, email exchanges, and Skype conversations) every single day.
Snowden’s blockbuster story implicated not just the United States government, but also many close allies such as Canada and the United Kingdom as well as some of the largest corporations in the world, including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
“I call bottom bunk at Gitmo,” Snowden quipped as Greenwald and his fellow journalists starting writing up startling disclosure. As it happens, Snowden has so far been able to evade jail time for his epic security breach, finding protection first in Hong Kong and now in Moscow where, in Greenwald’s words, the former NSA employee safely resides “under the shield of political asylum.” The fact that Snowden has received a measure of protection from the anti-democratic governments of China and Russia has made him vulnerable to both sober criticism and scurrilous nationalist innuendo. Snowden’s claims to be working on behalf of democracy rang hollow, some argued, since he’s made himself a ward of Vladimir Putin. The New York Times went so far to suggest, on the basis of no actual evidence, that China had “drained” Snowden’s laptops before he left Hong Kong.
Both Snowden and the journalists who broke the story, led by Greenwald, have been hammered by media pundits. Snowden was repeatedly described as “narcissistic” (on CBS News and the Washington Post among other outlets) as well as a “loser” (by Politico). Greenwald meanwhile was dismissed as either an amateur in over his head (a blogger rather than a journalist) or an outlaw (according to self-described civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz, Greenwald’s reporting “doesn’t border on criminality — it’s right in the heartland of criminality.”)
Because of the vast dust-storm of accusations generated by Snowden’s revelations, Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide is not a dispassionate rehearsal of the facts of the case. Rather, Greenwald’s book is a spiky and largely convincing polemic making a few essential points: that Snowden is a legitimate whistleblower rather than a turncoat; that the NSA is out of control and aiming at “the complete elimination of electronic privacy worldwide”; that NSA electronic eavesdropping is motivated not by anti-terrorism but by a desire to shore up America’s economic hegemony; that Greenwald and his colleague are practising legitimate journalism while mainstream publications like The New York Times have been far too timid in criticizing government misconduct.
A seasoned litigator before he found his vocation as a muckraker, Greenwald makes a compelling case but not an airtight one. Like many lawyers, he tends to indulge in overkill, offering so many different arguments that he occasionally shades into contradiction. Thus he criticizes the NSA for routinely sharing “its vast trove of data with other agencies” such as the CIA and FBI. But he later approvingly quotes Lawrence Wright’s argument that the 9/11 terrorist attacks could have been prevented if the FBI had received “cooperation with other federal agencies.” If we accept, as Greenwald seems to do, Wright’s argument that lack of inter-agency co-operation had dire consequences, then the NSA’s willingness to share data with other agencies has some merit.
Greenwald tends to paint the world in black and white terms, making little allowances for historical complexity, including the convolutions of his own past. Thus he criticizes Senator Dianne Feinstein for “her vehement support for the war in Iraq.” Yet we know from Greenwald’s How Would a Patriot Act? (2006) that he himself approved of the Iraq War in 2003.
Vincent Yu/APIn this June 10, 2013, file photo The Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald speaks to reporters at his hotel in Hong Kong.
Despite the problems with Greenwald’s lawyer-type arguments, No Place to Hide is an indispensable book for anyone who cares about the future of privacy, not just in the United States but throughout the world. As Greenwald notes, Canada is completely integrated into NSA espionage since it is one of the “Five Eyes” (the core English speaking countries that work in unison on electronic spying, which also includes the United States, Britain, New Zealand and Australia). Working with the NSA, the Communications Services Establishment Canada (CSEC) spied on trading partners such as Brazil. Explosive exposés like this are thick in Greenwald’s book and solidify his reputation as one of the premier investigative journalists of our time.
Even the most placid and phlegmatic person can become paranoid after reading Greenwald’s book. Shortly after I sent an email to a National Post editor agreeing to review the book, I received an odd Facebook message from a young woman I didn’t know, who seemed to be a teenager in Britain, saying she liked my profile photo and wanted to be my friend. As some Snowden documents reveal, the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is fond of using “honey pots” (sexually compromising email encounters) to entrap potential critics. My mysterious and nubile Facebook pal was probably just normal Internet spam, but there is a slim possibility she is also a GCHQ honey pot.
The vitriolic exchanges between Greenwald and his fellow journalists are rich in mutual disdain but not very enlightening. To Greenwald, journalists who work for the mainstream media are courtiers serving the powerful. Those mainstream mavens in turn see Greenwald as an activist who doesn’t follow the rules of objectivity.
One way to sidestep this unproductive debate is to realize that journalism comes in different stripes, but all reporters are prisoners of their sources. Political journalists often have a status quo bias because those in power are the ones who provide information. Conversely, muckrakers in the tradition of Ida B. Wells, I.F. Stone or Seymour Hersh have more freedom to attack vested interests because they get their information from other sources, often ordinary people or whistleblowers.
Edward Snowden isn’t just a source for Greenwald: The two men forged a personal link because of a shared sense of mission and world view. As Greenwald notes about the working relationship he had with Snowden and Poitras, “with each passing day, the hours and hours the three of us spent together created a tighter bond. The awkwardness and tension of our initial meeting had quickly transformed into a relationship of collaboration, trust, and common purpose.”
Those who argue that Greenwald lacks objectivity because of his loyalty to Snowden don’t understand how journalism works. Reporting necessarily involves forging relationships based on trust. The power of this book is that it makes a persuasive case for why Greenwald came to trust Edward Snowden.