The CRTC, Useless To The End

Posted March 12th, 2011 in Canada by Adrian MacNair

Quick show of hands. Who agrees with the CRTC that “market forces are working just fine for consumers” of internet service?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. The internet service provider market is a dog’s breakfast, mainly because the CRTC likes the competition nice and collusive. Why, you have the choice of spending $60 a month on internet from at least two corporate giants whose idea of competition is offering a bundle service with phone and cable.

This is the same CRTC that required direct government intervention to allow more competition in the the extremely expensive cell phone market to green-light Wind mobile. That didn’t last long, however, because our Canadian-content overlords decided Wind mobile was too Egyptian for its tastes.

Can’t have any scary foreign ownership in Canada. Best to simply shut up and pay our expensive cell phone bills. The CRTC is now looking at ignoring political pressure on their decision to allow so-called usage-based billing.

Which would be fine in an ideal world where some ridiculous antiquated regulator wasn’t making decisions against the best interests of Canadians. The concept of usage-based billing in a genuine free market economy would be fine. But we don’t live in a free market economy. Far from it.

As for why Canadians pay thousands of dollars more for the same service Chinese grocery vendors in Shanghai get, the CRTC doesn’t care about that either.

“The CRTC will not be expanding the scope, as requested by several parties, to include the billing practices for retail Internet services,” the commission said. “There is no evidence that market forces are not working properly in this unregulated market.”

What flatulent nonsense. No evidence that market forces are not working properly? Um, take a look at Japan for a moment (current tsunami devastation notwithstanding). (The updated 2010 report ranks Canada 22 out of 30 OECD countries for overall Internet access, based on penetration, speed and price).

Canada’s internet provider market is an oligopoly, and the CRTC seems to be the gatekeeper to that status quo.

Copenhagen and Cancun: Cheer for the Dragon? (And not needing more Canada)

Posted December 8th, 2010 in Canada, Climate Change, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Two interesting stories:

Copenhagen Climate Cables
The US and China Joined Forces Against Europe [once again the world did not need more Canada]

Canada accuses China of intransigence on climate change

See also the end of this post:

I’m dreaming of a white…

And last year from Adrian:

I’m Sure Murray Dobbin Can Find A Way To Blame Stephen Harper

Strangely, a few recent articles in international news makes no mention of how a failure to come to a global agreement in Copenhagen is all Canada and Stephen Harper’s fault.


I’m dreaming of a white…

Posted December 4th, 2010 in International by MarkOttawa

…kingdom, not like the one I used to know:

Plus comment in the Daily Telegraph of a sort you’d be hard-pressed to find in our major media:

Cancun climate conference: the warmists’ last Mexican wave
The global warming scare was fun while it lasted, but the joke’s over, says Christopher Booker.

And guess who’s driving the final stake through Kyoto’s heart? From Spector Vision:

On Wednesday [Dec. 1], Montreal French-language newspaper Le Devoir reported a remarkable development in the climate change file: “Japan won’t agree to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 even if that means isolating itself at the UN climate change talks next week in Cancun, Mexico, a senior Japanese negotiator said [last week].”..


Raging anti-Americanism, or, the Canadian mental disorder/Inferiority complex Update

Posted November 27th, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

The United States has been the world’s worst warmonger for over two centuries.  I guess they should have turned the other cheek to the Japs and also not responded to Hitler’s declaration of war. The world would certainly have been a better place. And, having actually bothered (at long last, delaying for good domestic political reasons) to get into the Second World War, the United States thereafter should have given Stalin and the Soviet Union free rein to try and wreak their will around the globe, starting with turning western Europe Communist one way or another.  And let Kim-il Sung, with Stalin’s and Mao’s backing, conquer South Korea.

Hell, perhaps better yet not to have fought the Civil War and left the Confederate States of America a free, independent and slave state (though ending slavery was not the purpose of the war, either not fighting it or losing it would have left the peculiar institution fully in force).

I give you Gerald Caplan, a true soul of Canada’s New Democratic Party:

Canada enlists in America’s permanent war for peace

Why “Canada’s National Whatever” publishes such venom, if only online, is a very good question. By the way, the ideologically-blinded and ignorant Mr Caplan seems not to realize that the US Marines went “to the shores of Tripoli” after war was declared on the United States when it refused to continue paying tribute to buy off the Barbary Pirates.

What a bitter and small-minded fool. A true useful idiot.  If the Marine Corps did not exist perhaps God would create them.  My personal theology or something.

Update:  What may really underlie Mr Caplan’s rant (and the views of many other Canadians):

The leaked diplomatic cables, dating from January 2009 to June 2010, cover a huge range of issues and include ”lively commentaries” to Washington about a host of world leaders. A series of leaks is thought to deal with Canada’s ”inferiority complex”…

It’ll be fun city watching our greatest and goodest go ape-shit.


The Dragon and countering ententes cordiales?

Posted October 31st, 2010 in Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Skittishness about that emerging superpower:

China’s Fast Rise Leads Neighbors to Join Forces
Pool photo by Barbara Walton
Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China, left, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India on Friday in Hanoi, Vietnam. India is promoting itself in the region as a counterweight to China.

HANOI, Vietnam — China’s military expansion and assertive trade policies have set off jitters across Asia, prompting many of its neighbors to rekindle old alliances and cultivate new ones to better defend their interests against the rising superpower.

A whirl of deal-making and diplomacy, from Tokyo to New Delhi, is giving the United States an opportunity to reassert itself in a region where its eclipse by China has been viewed as inevitable.

President Obama’s trip to the region this week, his most extensive as president, will take him to the area’s big democracies, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, skirting authoritarian China. Those countries and other neighbors have taken steps, though with varying degrees of candor, to blunt China’s assertiveness in the region.

Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India are expected to sign a landmark deal for American military transport aircraft and are discussing the possible sale of jet fighters [the Indians are actually holding, gasp, a competition--unlike Canada], which would escalate the Pentagon’s defense partnership with India to new heights [there's also a maritime patrol aircraft deal]. Japan and India are courting Southeast Asian nations with trade agreements and talk of a “circle of democracy.” Vietnam has a rapidly warming rapport with its old foe, the United States, in large part because its old friend, China, makes broad territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The deals and alliances are not intended to contain China. But they suggest a palpable shift in the diplomatic landscape, on vivid display as leaders from 18 countries gathered this weekend under the wavelike roof of Hanoi’s futuristic convention center, not far from Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, for a meeting suffused by tensions between China and its neighbors…

The Obama administration has been quick to capitalize on China’s missteps. Where officials used to speak of China as the Asian economic giant, they now speak of India and China as twin giants. And they make clear which one they believe has a closer affinity to the United States.

“India and the United States have never mattered more to each other,” Mrs. Clinton said. “As the world’s two largest democracies, we are united by common interests and common values.”

As Mr. Obama prepares to visit India in his first stop on his tour of Asian democracies, Mr. Singh, India’s prime minister, will have just returned from his own grand tour — with both of them somewhat conspicuously, if at least partly coincidentally, circling China…


Mickey I. is not quite the noble in the face of the Dragon/Dragon militant?

The Dragon and the sea–and the US

The Dragon’s Weltmacht

“Socialism” with Dragon characteristics at work in Africa

More on Africa:

Diplomats: UN panel provides additional details in alleging Chinese ammo going to Darfur

Meanwhile Prime Minister Harper talks tough on human rights to…Ukraine!

Update: Liberal MP Irwin Cotler takes a much more forthright line on China’s lovely human right record than our government now does:

…China’s imprisonment of two of its most distinguished human rights activists — Mr. Gao Zhisheng, and Dr. Liu Xiaobo, the latter recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his extraordinary contribution to the protection of liberty in his country — is a betrayal both of its global leadership aspirations and the values that underpin the great Chinese civilization.

Let me make full disclosure: I write as a member of the legal defence team of both these political prisoners, and as someone who has represented political prisoners all over the world…

The choice for China is clear: it can continue to repress its citizens and put itself on the wrong side of history — fighting a losing battle against the forces of freedom and democracy that its own premier recently called “irresistible” — or it can stand on the side of justice.


The Dragon and the sea–and the US

Posted October 11th, 2010 in International, united states by MarkOttawa


Japan feels the Dragon’s fiery breath

Now a selection from DefenseNews‘ “Early Bird Brief”:

In Vietnam, Gates To Discuss Maritime Claims Of China
(New York Times)
By Thom Shanker
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates landed Sunday in Vietnam, where the narrative of a past war with the United States has faded as the leadership here openly seeks American support to counter an increasingly assertive China.

U.S. Aims To Mend China Military Ties
(Wall Street Journal)
By Adam Entous
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates faced a diplomatic challenge as he arrived in Vietnam for a regional defense summit, aiming to persuade Beijing to fully restore military relations frozen in January while Washington closes ranks with China’s regional rivals.

Gates Reassures Allies Worried By China
(Associated Press)
By Anne Gearan
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is in Vietnam to reassure jittery Southeast Asian nations that the United States won’t cede its longtime role as the pre-eminent military power in the Pacific as Chinese naval ambitions expand.

U.S. Rejects China’s Stance On Sea Disputes
(Agence France-Presse)
By Dan De Luce
Key issues in Asia, including “territorial disputes,” could best be solved through “strong multilateral cooperation,” he said in a speech to military officers at Vietnam National University in Hanoi.

Shared Concern About China Aligns U.S. And Vietnam
(New York Times)
By Seth Mydans
A visit to Vietnam this week by the secretary of defense, Robert M. Gates, is the latest step in a bilateral relationship that is at its warmest since diplomatic ties were established 15 years ago.

Hmmm.  Autres temps, autres amis.


The Dragon’s Weltmacht/Canadian angle Predate

Posted September 28th, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Anne Applebaum lays it out in the Washington Post:

China’s quiet power grab

…Why on earth should China shout, bully and push its neighbors around? Over the past decade, China has kept silent, lain low and behaved more like a multinational company than a global superpower — and garnered enormous political influence as a result.

The fruits of this success are everywhere. Look at Afghanistan, for example, where American troops have been fighting for nearly a decade, where billions of dollars of American aid money has been spent — and where a Chinese company has won the rights to exploit one of the world’s largest copper deposits. Though American troops don’t protect the miners directly, Afghan troops, trained and armed by Americans, do. And though the mine is still in its early phases, the Chinese businessmen and engineers — wearing civilian clothes, offering jobs — are already more popular with the locals than the U.S. troops, who carry guns and talk security. The Chinese paid a high price for their copper mining rights and took a huge risk. But if it pays off, our war against the Taliban might someday be remembered as the war that paved the way for Chinese domination of Afghanistan.

America fights, in other words, while China does business, and not only in Afghanistan. In Iraq, where American troops brought down a dictator and are still fighting an insurgency, Chinese oil companies have acquired bigger stakes in the oil business than their American counterparts. In Pakistan, where billions in American military aid helps the government keep the Taliban at bay, China has set up a free-trade area and is investing heavily in energy and ports.

…Americans are pouring vast amounts of public and private money into solar energy and wind power, hoping to wean themselves off fossil fuels and prevent climate change. China, by contrast, builds a new coal-fired plant every 10 days or so. While thus producing ever more greenhouse gases in the East, China makes clever use of those government subsidies in the West: Three Chinese companies now rank among the top 10 producers of wind turbines in the world.

…Why on earth are the Chinese playing military games with Japan, threatening Southeast Asia or entering politics at all? When they stay silent, we ignore them. When they threaten boycotts or use nationalist language, we get scared and react. We still haven’t realized that the scariest thing about China is not the size of its navy or the arrogance of its diplomats. The scariest thing is the power China has already accumulated without ever deploying its military or its diplomats at all.


Japan feels the Dragon’s fiery breath

Predate: China may also need more Canada:

Sinochem Said to Be Likeliest Rival to BHP Potash Bid


Japan feels the Dragon’s fiery breath

Posted September 25th, 2010 in Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Beijing ain’t exactly Mr Nice Guy these days:

Japan Caves In on China; Looks to U.S. [with video]

Japan’s new foreign minister, hours after his country blinked in a standoff with China and released the captain of a Chinese fishing boat, said Tokyo is looking to strengthen strategic and economic ties with the U.S., as Japan contends with a rising China.

The fishing-boat spat had escalated into the most serious dispute between China and Japan in recent years, with Beijing threatening retaliation after Japan detained the captain, whose craft slammed into Japanese coast guard patrol boats in waters off disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Associated Press
Japanese prosecutors announced they will release a Chinese sea captain who has been in Japanese custody since a ship collision earlier this month.

On Friday, Seiji Maehara said Tokyo would participate in a broader “strategic dialogue” with the U.S., “cooperating more closely” on policy toward China, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and other countries.

“Countries the world over watched how China reacted” to the incident, Mr. Maehara told The Wall Street Journal in an interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

China rejected a proposed summit meeting, canceled cultural exchanges and energy-development talks, and warned of economic damage. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao threatened “further action” against Japan if Beijing’s demands for the release of the captain weren’t met…

The dispute over the fishing vessel, which was operating in waters that Japan considers part of its territory, comes against a backdrop of concern in Japan and elsewhere about China’s growing military power. China’s navy, especially, has become stronger and is ranging further offshore, causing some at the Pentagon and in Tokyo to reassess the potential threat posed by China.

Mr. Maehara said that China’s rising military spending is a cause of concern…

Will all those Canadians who call for us to upsuck madly to the Dragon take note?  See the links at the end of this earlier post

Obama and the Dragon: Standing up, not upsucking…

Update: More on the ocean blue:

While U.S. is distracted, China develops sea power


Fighter sales prospects

Posted August 7th, 2010 in Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Some excerpts from Aviation Week and Space Technology stories, to give a fuller view than provided by our major media, or government:

1) Australian Government Okays F-35 Purchase (Nov. 25, 2009)

The Australian government has decided to buy 14 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters now and not review its larger commitment for operational squadrons for another few years.

After weeks of discussions, Canberra says it will put A$3.2 billion ($3 billion) into the U.S.-based Lockheed Martin program to start receiving aircraft in 2014 for testing and training. The aircraft will operate in the U.S. The spending also will buy infrastructure and support.

In 2012, the government then plans to make a decision on whether to proceed with buying at least 72 F-35s to equip three Royal Australian Air Force operational squadron. Plans call for the first of those to become operational in 2018 and the third in 2021…

Australia had indicated it would buy 100 F-35s. That’s still a possibility, although the decision will not be made until much later and depend on what will happen with the F/A-18F fleet [more here]…

As far as I know that is the only substantial actual foreign contract for the F-35 so far–the UK has bought three for “initial operational test and evaluation”, the Dutch had bought one but that order is now in doubt (see second para at 2) below).

2) Future Generations (text subscriber only, July 19, 2010, p. 67)

As a result of the trials and tribulations of the Lockheed Martin F-35, Saab [more here] and the other fourth-generation fighter manufacturers are closely monitoring developments in some European countries.

With the Netherlands moving to withdraw from the initial test and operational evaluation phase of the F-35 program [more here], Saab executives suggest that a request for proposals could be forthcoming in 2011. The Dutch requirement is for up to 85 aircraft…

3) Manufacturers Vie To Close Fighter Gap (July 30, 2010)

Savings at home and sales abroad are emerging as key drivers in the fighter aircraft market as manufacturers vie for export programs fundamental to their future welfare.

Some of the efforts are aimed at tempting prospective F-35 buyers to defect.

Building on its F-15 Silent Eagle [see F-15SE here] template, Boeing is now offering a similar upgrade model for its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

Alongside the F/A-18E/F upgrade path, the U.S. manufacturer also revealed last week that it fired a Raytheon AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (Amraam) from the Silent Eagle conformal weapons bay demonstrator. Given that it was the first launch, it likely was from the most benign part of the firing envelope.

The Super Hornet upgrade package is intended to offer customers a fighter option, especially those awaiting arrival of the Joint Strike Fighter, which is escalating in cost.

Some elements, such as the proposed click-and-drag, large cockpit display, are slated to be ready for flight test in 2015. Full capability is expected by no later than 2018.

While the Silent Eagle project is geared toward signature management by reducing the aircraft’s radar cross section—though with loss of range—the Super Hornet upgrade kit features basic performance gains. These are projected to include a 10% increase in range and a 20% boost in engine thrust.

The addition of a centerline pod for internal weapons carriage will also contribute to reducing the aircraft’s radar signature. The weapons pod includes four stations, notionally for a mix of Amraam and 500-lb. Joint Direct Attack Munitions.

Fitting the aircraft with an internal infrared search-and-track (IRST) and 360-deg. laser-based missile-warning system is also included, says Shelley Lavender, vice president of Boeing Global Strike Systems. The Super Hornet is already wired for the introduction of an IRST…

Though Lavender says the project is geared to international customers, officials clearly hope to entice the U.S. Navy as it awaits arrival of Joint Strike Fighters. She says the design is a “balanced approach to stealth” at low cost, but declined to offer a kit price. She says it is “up to the customer” how stealthy the aircraft could be…

Japan is another export market Boeing and Eurofighter are watching with interest. Although Boeing still has the F-15 and F/A-18E/F nominally in the running, the company is beginning to think the Super Hornet may offer a better chance due to the probability of future development activities that could involve Japanese industry…

4) Cost Strikes Lightning (text subscriber only, July 26, 2010, p. 41)

The U.S. and Israel are near agreement on the sale of a sharply reduced number of conventional takeoff and landing F-35s, owing to the ballooning cost of the system.

Israel now intends to buy 19 in the first batch, with options for two or three. Originally, 75 were planned, with an option for 25 more, according to Israeli and U.S. officials.

At 19 aircraft, the average unit cost is $144 million…

Some senior officials in the Israel ministry worry that the high cost of the JSF could result in dangerous force-level reductions. They suggest a review of alternatives including the F-15 Silent Eagle, a kit designed to add a new digital EW system and carry weapons in conformal fuel tanks, improving survivability of the aircraft. “It is a huge price to pay for a very small number of aircraft,” a senior defense source tells Aviation Week. “Although they clearly provide very advanced capabilities, the F-35s are very limited in their payload capacity…

5) Affordability Curtails Initial Israel JSF Buy (July 31, 2010)

…the shock waves of recent cost increases to the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) continue to ripple; Israel, for one, is sharply curtailing its buy. Lockheed Martin, however, continues to insist the price is lower than estimated by the Pentagon…

Pentagon cost estimates that brought the projected average unit expenditure up to as high as $108.7 million only a few months ago are being revised, according to an industry official. “Since then, the government is modifying its cost models to be more in line with Lockheed Martin’s models.” However, the Defense Department is sticking by its numbers…

CEO Robert Stevens says the unit recurring flyaway price at peak production for the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant is about $60 million, though today’s challenge is the high price of early aircraft rolling off the production line.

Meanwhile, Boeing is also making available to some JSF partner nations an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet upgrade to improve survivability, a move that could replicate the pressure on the program brought about by its F-15 Silent Eagle stealthy retrofit kit…“F-35 is not ready for international sales, in my view, but even when it is, it will always cost more than the Super Hornet,” says Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Military Aircraft.

Despite the cost, pressure from growing threats appears to be driving Israel to a truncated JSF buy…

And note this possibility:

Royal Navy and RAF will bear brunt of multi-billion pound defence cuts

Chief among the list of victims is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which comes with a price tag of £70m per plane. The MoD had planned to buy around 150 for service in both the RAF and the Navy but that number could be cut by half…

Just to put people in the picture–remember the companies are all trying to put the best face on their sales prospects.  Earlier:

a) Russian air threat: How much will you wager that Peter MacKay will be touting this exercise?..

Fighter update:  A major Defense Industry Daily article about India’s new fighter, er, competition that may be worth reading in the Canadian context–the F-35 also mentioned:

Rather than attempting to predict, DID will simply summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the listed competitors. These aircraft also group into two very different categories: single engine lightweight fighters in the $25-50 million flyaway cost range (F-16 Falcon, JAS-39 Gripen, MiG-35); and larger dual-engine mid-range fighters in the $65-120 million flyaway range (Eurofighter, F/A-18 Super Hornet, Rafale)…

b) Canada’s new fighter, the F-35: What the government is and isn’t saying

Update: Now this possibility is very intriguing.  From CougarDaddy at, Aug. 1:

…it seems that the UK MoD may get Super Hornets for these new carriers instead of F35s.

The Royal Navy is set to save £10 billion on the defence budget by dropping plans to buy a fleet of fighter jets costing £100m each for its new aircraft carriers.

It is expected to swap an order for 138 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) for a version of a cheaper aircraft currently flown off US carriers, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

The cost-saving move was considered at a meeting last weekend between Liam Fox, the defence secretary, and services chiefs to discuss cuts.

“JSF is an unbelievably expensive programme,” said a senior defence source. “It makes no sense at all in the current climate, and even if we continued with it we cannot afford the aircraft we said we would buy.”

The JSF, built by Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s main American rival, would have been the most expensive single project in the defence budget, with costs already put at £13.8 billion and rising. The aircraft were set to replace Harrier jump jets flown by the RAF and Navy.

Here’s the link, but I’m afraid you won’t be able to use it without a subscription:
The Sunday Times link

But no mention of the F-35 in this story today (whole lot of leaking going on):

The entire force of 120 GR4 Tornado fighter-bombers looks destined for the scrap heap to save £7.5 billion over the next five years. The Tornado was supposed to be in service until 2025, but with a major overhaul due in the next five years costing £10 million for each aircraft, it is now under threat…

Under the plans, the number of Eurofighter Typhoons is likely to be reduced further from 160 to 107 planes based at a single RAF airfield to save £1  billion…

Upperdate (Aug 16): Israel is in fact buying around only 20 F-35s, at least for now–with a clear initial attack mission in mind, the key role of the Joint Strike Fighter (more here).


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