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    Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    VOTE! It's Your Right and Duty!

    Stardate 4938.1

    One of the freedoms and rights granted to people in a true democracy is the right to vote. This is an honor bestowed upon citizens when they reach the age of adulthood, and are capable of sifting through all of the issues and politics in order to add their voice to the Nation's fate. Of course, some folks are too young to legally vote, but they will have the chance one day, and I seriously hope they use it. Over the course of the last few elections, there has been a marked decline in the percentage of eligable voters actually going to the polls. The numbers have dropped quite dramatically in fact, as this chart shows:
    • 1984 - 75% Voter Participation
    • 1988 - 76% Voter Participation
    • 1993 - 70% Voter Participation
    • 1997 - 67% Voter Participation
    • 2000 - 61% Voter Participation
    • 2004 - 61% Voter Participation

    I can think of many reasons why people do not vote. Maybe the weather is bad, or their daughter has dance practice. Of course, polls are open pretty much all day, so pick the best time to go. Maybe they are unaware of the election or issues at hand because they are all watching FOX reality tv shows, instead of catching up on Canadian news once in a while... Maybe they don't care. I find that the people who say they don't care are the first to bitch about the government. If they waive the right to vote, they ought to just shut up. This is the best reason to vote in my opinion. Have YOUR say. Every little vote helps shape the Nation, one way or another, even if you think you are only one voice in 30 million.

    Our election will be held on January 23rd, 2006 and voters will have to decide who they want to vote for. This is very important as the parties involved tend to have such different ideologies about social programs, and how they deal with other nations in our world as well.

    So now, the big question is who will vote, and who will you vote for?

    There are many choices and each has their obvious merits and flaws, though some may have more to them than first meets the eye. You can check the websites of the most prominent parties quite easily:

    Liberal Party of Canada
    Conservative Party

    New Democratic Party

    Green Party of Canada
    Bloc Quebecois

    Other parties and information can easily be found HERE.

    If the Canadian Election was today, which party would YOU vote for?
    Bloc Quebecois
    Won't Vote
    Too Young to Vote

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Habs Watch - In Tough Against the Sens Tonight

    Stardate 4934.6

    The Habs are looking at an uphill battle tonight, when they go face to face with arguably the best team in the league. Montreal has had a ton of problems with penalties it seems, and the officials aren't giving them any breaks at all. Defenceman Andrei Markov was suspended for 3 games after shoving a linesman at the end of their last overtime loss against Toronto, and today, they lost Defenceman Ron Hainsey on waivers to Columbus when calling him up from the minors (I don't fully understand this but it sounds like BS to me...). Another rookie is making his debut tonight in Hainsey's stead... one Jean-Philippe Cote. Look for him to step up in his first game against the mighty Sens. They are riding a two game losing streak and have gone 4 and 6 in their last ten games. Ottawa is first in the Eastern Conference and second overall behind Detroit. I suspect they will be handed their third straight loss tonight, but we can always hope the guys will pick up their game, and stop bumping guys and getting penalties...

    I am looking to the rookie defenseman Cote and Richard Zednik to step up tonight. We shall see :)

    Government Falls, For Now

    Stardate 4933.2

    With a losing 171 to 133 non-confidence vote, the minority Liberal government fell last night to the Opposition parties. Today, Prime Minister Paul Martin is expected to ask the Governor General Michaelle Jean, to dissolve the government and call an election, which is widely expected to be held on January 23rd.

    This is shaping up to be one of the longest campaigns ever, and the first winter campaign in a quarter century. The ironic thing is, after all of this, the Liberals still cling to the lead in the polls. These numbers could easily carry on into the election, leaving the results unchanged from what they were. That would be the final nail in Stephen Harper's political coffin as far as I am concerned. But as always, the people will decide. So ignore the inevitable mudslinging in the upcoming campaigns, and focus on what you truly think is the best vision of what Canada should be!

    *** UPDATE ***

    It is done. The election shall be nine days after my birthday (what a present another Liberal government will be WOOT!!!) on January 23rd, 2006.

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    Operation: Iraqi Failure

    Stardate 4929.6

    The latest reason for the invasion of Iraq touted by George McChimpey could be to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people. To give them a lifestyle worth living, where they no longer live in fear of abuses, torture and other atrocities. I said "could" be because George likes re-writing history a lot these days.

    You would think also, that after 2 years and 8 months of occupation, some of this great dream would be coming to fruition. Of course, searching for actual imrovements in the lives of many normal Iraqi folks is a pretty hefty task. In fact, Ayad Allawi, the first Prime Minister of "free" Iraq and an ally of the US occupation, is saying that human rights abuses in Iraq are just as bad now as they were under Hussein's regime, and could get worse very soon.

    Allawi's bleak assessment is likely to undermine any attempt to suggest that conditions in Iraq are markedly improving.

    'We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated,' he added. 'A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed in the course of interrogations. We are even witnessing Sharia courts based on Islamic law that are trying people and executing them.'

    To keep his statements in context, I believe he is opposed to the US withdrawl of troops, but seriously, if these statements are true, then they are doing little good as it stands, and are only increasing the frequency of attacks and abductions. The largest reason for not withdrawing troops seems to be that the country will descent into chaos and things like these abductions and interrogations will happen. Well time to wake up... they are already happening, and with increasing frequency.

    The US troops staying or leaving is not the only issue here however. A recent "Trophy" video has been released apparently showing American or foreign security contractors shooting up civilian vehicles as they drive along "route Irish", which links the airport to Baghdad. The story has made waves on the internet and makes me wonder at how much these "contractors" get away with. Between them and the local militias, insurgents, and US military, anybody could get shot anywhere, for just about anything.

    George never had a plan after he ousted Hussein. In fact, the entire post-war effort is a brutal disaster and it is only getting worse. An interesting read on the Martian Anthropologist reveals that some folks think exactly this way.

    "I would list all the arguments that you hear against pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, the horrible things that people say would happen, and then ask: Aren't they happening already? Would a pullout really make things worse? Maybe it would make things better,'' wrote William Odom, a retired Army lieutenant general and former Reagan-era National Security Agency director, for a Harvard University website."

    He goes on to describe America's invasion of Iraq as "the greatest strategic disaster in US history". Well yeah.... that is what happens when a cowboy sends in the cavalry, but has no plans for after the "victory". They used a Shock and Awe invasion plan, but now, we are simply left in Awe at the mess and total lack of any form of plan as far as the rebuilding of the Iraqi infrastructure and the inability to maintain even a modest amount of order...

    A very interesting story surfaced from Robin Wright, a WP (Washington Post not Whiskey Pete; sorry to get that testosterone going) Staff Writer about the insecurity of the new Iraq. He chronicles visits starting 5 months after the fall of Baghdad, summer 2004 and finally, November 2005, 31 months after the fall of the capital city. I particularly like the quote from Rice as she spoke with the Iraqi prime minister at a news conference...

    "Any people coming out of a period of tyranny, as the Iraqis have, and now out of a period of violence, have to find a balance between inclusion and reconciliation and justice," Rice said. "And that is a process that I'm sure the Iraqis themselves will lead."

    So basically, the US made the mess, and it's up to the Iraqis to clean it all up.

    Of course, the list goes on. Women given a glimpse of freedom now fear a government where Islam is the main source of legislation. Of course, this makes perfect sense, since many interpretations of Sharia Law greatly inhibit the standing of women in society, whether it is the level of job they can achieve, or what they can wear. Not only this, but violence against women seems far graver now than in Hussein era Iraq.

    "During Saddam, the violence toward women was almost a vertical violence [that came from the top of government], and after the war it became horizontal violence [neighbor against neighbor]." - Zainab Salbi in an interview with Newsweek

    She goes on to mention that even under Hussein, there were more women involved in the government than now, even if his government was a sham. Under the Coalition Provisional Authority, there were only 3 women out of 25 members.

    Families struggle on a daily basis, to eat and work and even maintain their health. Kasim Said, a day laborer, said that things are worse for him since the war.

    "During the previous regime, I used to work on the government projects. Now there are no projects," his father said.

    Their son, like so many other Iraqi children, suffers from acute malnutrition, and finding the money to buy nutritional supplements is nearly impossible when you are lucky to get $12 a day and the supplements can go for $10 or more. In 2002, the rate of acute malnutrition in young children under 5 years old was at 4%. 20 months after the US invasion, the rate had increased to 7.7%. Lets think of that while reading what the President and his family had for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Crawford Texas Ranch...

    George, you have some roasted asparagus in your teeth...

    Toppling the "Repressive" Regime; NOT!

    Stardate 4928.3

    Today is the day that the Opposition in Canada will get it's non-confidence vote and throw Canadians into a winter campaign to re-elect another minority Liberal government. Yes, this seems to sound very strange, and honestly, I think the Conservatives, though rightly holding the reigning Liberals accountable for the Sponsorship scandal that has already been judged "over with" as far as responsibility with the current administration goes, stands very little chance of garnering enough votes to form their own minority government.

    Already, the irons are in the fire, with comments from Stephen Harper describing the Liberals as corrupt and on side with organised crime causing a heated reaction from both the Liberals' legal team and even Jack Layton, all demanding they be retracted.

    The timing of this election is likely to be terrible, with many Canadians not happy about a holiday campaign. Not only this, but there are about 35 bills on hold now in Parliament, including an act to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

    There is a chance that the Conservatives could win the coming election, though Harper has very little support out east. If he did win, they would have a weak government, possibly having to align themselves with the Bloc... producing an unstable government comprised of a faction of separatists working with a faction who would sell everything to the US for a few missiles... Before you go and vote Conservative, remember who wanted to blindly follow Bush into the Iraq quagmire.... it was brown-nose Harper and the Conservatives. Well lets make a call ont hat right now. We did good and right by NOT following them in. It may have damaged our trade relations, but I would willingly throw away all relations with the US to maintain our standing int he International community.

    There is also a chance that enough voters will be pissed off at the timing and waste of tax dollars with the election, and in order to avoid getting the right wingers in power, they may switch their votes to Liberal. This could realistically, produce a majority Liberal government. We will have to wait and see I suppose.

    The vote is expected to be held this evening, prompting Prime Minister Paul Martin to as the Governor General to call an election for either January 16th or the 23rd.

    Friday, November 25, 2005

    Good Old Mudslinging Politics

    Stardate 4913.9

    When Stephen Harper tabled the non-confidence motion in the House yesterday, he decided to begin a typical right-wing smear campaign by saying:

    "(Liberals have) been found guilty of breaking every conceivable law in the province of Quebec with the help of organized crime,'' Harper said. "The Liberal party has no desire to change, no intention to change, and no ability to change.''
    This comes despite the initial findings of the Gomery report that has cleared the Prime Minister in the Sponsorship scandal. The heated exchanges between MPs continued in the hallways of the House of Commons after the day was done as well.

    Today, Paul Martin demanded an apology from Harper concerning the remarks he had made. I think Harper had best adopt a new strategy, or else he may isolate even more voters in the coming campaign. Naturally, Harper made the comments while Paul Martin was at the First Nations Summit in Kelowna, actually doing what a good government should be doing, and that is dealing with issues that affect Canadians... According to the leader of the Assembly of First Nations, good progress has been made towards eliminating poverty including aboriginal housing, health care and education.

    Of course, this could all end in shambles along with the rest of the Social Programs being introduced...

    *** UPDATE ***

    It would seem that even Jack Layton, though not disagreeing with Harper, is at least making steps in the right direction...

    NDP Leader Jack Layton weighed in on Friday as well. "His choice of words were
    unacceptable," Layton said at the summit of first ministers and native leaders
    in Kelowna.

    Of course, I see this as a weakness with the NDP leader... He seems to flip-flop on whichever side is going to be more widely accepted more often than not. First he started the non-confidence fiasco, and now, he thinks Harper is out of line with his comments in the House.

    Or maybe, Harper just can't find any real friends.

    The Common Cold

    Stardate 4913.2

    Being sick sucks. It hurts work, play and sleep. Not only that, but it ends up runnig around the entire household, before it is finally vanquished.

    The Common Cold is one of the most prevailent non-life threatening illnesses that wreak havoc, especially when winter comes. The cold is a viral infection called viral rhinitis that includes nasal congestion, a clear runny nose, sneezing, headache and a scratchy throat. These viruses thrive in lower temperatures, thus it is more common to get colds in the wintertime, or when it is slightly warmer out and you do not dress appropriately. Sometimes, these viruses can infect the larynx or bronchial tubes in the lungs, causing more serious afflictions like laryngitis or bronchitis. Most colds last for only 3 or 4 days, but a bacterial infection on top of it can prolong this up to several weeks.

    Thank goodness we have all manner of medicinal tools to help ease the suffering of people infected with colds... There is no cure but we can take pills for congestion and runny noses, soothing drinks for sinuses and coughing, and any number of lozenges to ease the sore throat.

    I have a cold, and I am miserable.

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    HARPER - United We Stand; Divided We Fall

    Stardate 4908.5

    Coming January, 2006

    Starring Stephen Harper, Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton, Paul Martin and special guest appearances by George W. Bush (as himself) and William Shatner (as Captain James T. Kirk).

    A riveting drama unfolds as the fate of a nation hangs in the balance. Will they sell out to the mighty brethren to the South, or stand up for what is truly Canadian? The stage is set for a dissolved government, and a January election. Hold on folks, it's gonna be a crummy holiday season after all!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Featured Blog of the Week "Incogblogo"

    Stardate 4904.8

    As part of the Blogexplosion community, one feature to help drive traffic and encourage readership to member's blogs is the "Rent my Blog" campaign. This is actually quite fun, and basically, members set a price to rent an advertisement for another member... Well this week, my featured blog is Incogblogo.


    Luka is the owner of the blog, and she really seems to enjoy creating new layouts and skins for her blog. Check it out at any rate, and say hi!

    Please go ahead and click the box on the sidebar labelled "Blog of the Week" under the Canada flag to visit her site.

    Harper's Non-Confidence Motion Revealed

    Stardate 4904.2

    CTV - Opposition unveils non-confidence motion

    "That the House condemns the government for its arrogance in refusing to compromise with the opposition parties over the timing of the next general election and for its `culture of entitlement,' corruption, scandal, and gross abuse of public funds for political purposes and, consequently, the government no longer has the confidence of the House.''

    This motion will be tabled tomorrow by Stephen Harper and is supported by all opposition parties barring any amendments by them. This motion would then be voted upon in the House on Monday, kicking off an election campaign right away.

    There is no set day for when an election would be held, though it would likely be January 16th or 23rd.

    I am certainly glad that the elected officials who represent Canadians took into account the wishes of the majority of Canadians who don't want an election campaign over the holidays. It doesn't matter much anyways in my opinion. No matter which polls you look at, the Liberals still hold a lead of around 8% over the Conservatives. In light of the Softwood Lumber victory, and many of the proposed spending policies, I think the Liberals have a great chance of retaining the government.

    This is great because Michelle Malkin and her psycophants can be rest assured that this rogue, corrupt and repressive regime will stay in power!

    *** UPDATE ***

    Even King Ralph, the Premier of Alberta agrees with me that the Liberals will retain another minority government. In fact, maybe enough Canadians will be pissed off at this feeble attempt at "regime change" that they will switch their votes to Liberal, and they could win a majority government. Wouldn't that be grand!

    Good thinking Ralph. Here's a pie for you :D

    Softwood Victory... Finally

    Stardate 4903.2

    CTV - US reduces softwood duties to less than 1%

    Finally. About time the US honored the NAFTA agreement. They reduced the duty on Canadian softwood from 18.8% to 0.8%. This dispute has cost the Canadian lumber industry an estimated $5 Billion.

    I think credit should be given where credit is due. Paul MArtin has proved himself diplomatically with this one. Big hat tip to the PM for staying tough with Bush on this.

    I have advice. Don't sign up to trade agreements if you aren't going to honor them. An 18.8% duty is hardly "Free Trade".

    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Willy Pete Was a Chemical Weapon Once Upon a Time

    Stardate 4898.9

    An ongoing debate recently has been the use of White Phosphorus Chemical Weapons by US forces against civilians in Fallujah. Now to me, the debate on this is highly misplaced, with a lot of arguing and waffling on whether or not WP is a chemical weapon, when the debate should be how it was used on civilian populated areas... but I digress.

    I was reading through some Canadian Blogs, and a post from Murky View caught my eye. As it turns out, a Pentagon briefing paper from 1995 blatantly lumps white phosphorus in as a chemical weapon. This is a quote taken from Think Progress...

    Of course nowadays, in the modern conflict that is the mire of Iraq, the US military and administration says they are NOT chemical weapons. Let's get this straight. If Saddam used them, they were chemical weapons. If Bush used them, they are NOT chemical weapons. I have one thing to say...

    A spade is a spade, and as this war drags on, yours is digging a bigger hole than ever.

    "Staying the Course" Doesn't Cut it Anymore...

    Stardate 4898.2

    "Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that..." - Donald Rumsfeld, November 2002
    CTV - Iraqi leaders call for pullout timetable

    Reaching out to the Sunni Arab community, Iraqi leaders called for a timetable for the withdrawal of US led forces and said Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right" of resistance.
    I was beginning to wonder if it was just heat on the American homefront or if even Iraqis were getting tired of an occupation with no end in sight. Of course, the country has become a much more dangerous place to live since the occupation, what with the numbers of terrorists that have migrated into the country swelling dramatically, and the addition of insurgents or freedom fighters that are fighting against the occupation.

    The communique - finalized by the Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders Monday - condemned terrorism but was a clear acknowledgement of the Sunni position that insurgents sgould not be labelled as terrorists if their operations do not target innocent civilians or institutions designed to provide for the welfare of Iraqi citizens.
    I am sure some attacks by insurgents do target such things, either by accident or coincidence, but I have to agree with what they are saying. The Insurgents are being rounded up and detained as Terrorists when in fact, they should be POWs. Of course, this is a very old arguement now, and would likely meet a lot of vitriolic resistance from certain readers and other folks, but even the Iraqi leaders are saying this now.

    So now, the goal is to rebuild the Iraqi armed forces such that they are capable of dealing with the aftermath of a US withdrawal. They suggest the end of 2006 as the timetable for the complete removal of foreign forces.

    More interesting is the mention of several points, including the release of inoocent peoples being detained without charge by US forces, and the immediate end to arbitrary raids and arrests without a documented court order.

    I have found no comments yet by the US administration on this... though I suspect DICK will call them all traitors and unpatriotic.

    Out of all of this, I think that the differentiation between "terrorist" and "insurgent" is a very valid point. After all, there were very few "terrorists" in the country before the US invaded. Of course, now, they will attack whatever and whomever they can to forward they're own agendas, whereas the insurgents' goal is to remove the occupying forces... Just like in France in the 1940's.

    The invasion began on March 20th, 2003. The occupation has no end in sight.

    Monday, November 21, 2005

    A New Canada

    Stardate 4894.0

    This could be reality... Be very careful if elections are forthcoming. No news release yet today, but the Opposition parties in our country are hell bent on destroying our nation.

    Civilians Shot in Baqouba

    Stardate 4893.2

    CTV - US soldier mistakenly fires on Iraqi civilians

    US Forces mistankenly fired on a civilian vehicle outside an American military base north of Baghdad, killing at least 3 people from US reports and 5 people from the local police report. The family was returning from a funeral and the soldiers thought the car was driving erratically. After warning shots, the vehicle continued and the soldier engaged them.

    This sort of thing may happen but it is just another effect of the occupation. Major Steven Warren of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division said, "It was one of these regrettable, tragic incidents and it wouldn't happen if Zarqawi (followers) weren't driving car bombs." Here's a brainwave army dudes... those people wouldn't be driving car bombs if you weren't occupying the country.

    This story seems to have been skipped by a lot of media...

    Saturday, November 19, 2005

    A Quest Complete

    Stardate 4884.0

    It has been over a year since I put the feelers out into all sorts of internet groups and communities that I am part of, and for months I have searched on eBay and various other places... Now, my quest is complete.

    When I was much younger, perhaps even 20 years ago, I had a large hardback graphic novel that both myself and my brother thoroughly enjoyed. From the first page, it was filled with wonder, adventure and endearing characters. At some point in my travels, I must have lent it out, or simply misplaced it, but now, I have aquired a new copy of this book, and I hope my son can enjoy it as much as I did.

    The book is called "The Trigan Empire", illustrated by a true master, Don Lawrence. There have been many incarnations, and several comic strips dating way, way back based on his characters, but this book in particular holds a special place in my past. This particular book is a beautiful hardcover, with 189 pages of great story and artwork.

    The story begins with three brothers, Trigo, who is smart and good, Klud, who is cunning and evil, and Brag, who is not so quick of mind, but sees the good in Trigo. Together, they take their nomadic tribe of people, and create first a massive city, then a flourishing space-faring Empire. It is an excellent piece of imaginative writing, and his artwork has long inspired me with some of my drawings. The story is a fantastic mix of historical fantasy and science fiction, all bound together with riveting and diverse stories, and the great artwork.

    I cannot wait for it's arrival, which should hopefully be next week :D

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    Iraq: Random Reasons, Real Consequence

    Stardate 4878.2

    I found this cartoon on Can't Keep Quiet and I think it is much more fitting than just the recent meaning after Bush's latest speech. Seriously, maybe half 35% of the folks in the US are so gullible that they believe each new bit of drivel Bush spits out, but the rest of the world isn't.

    Let's re-hash some of the reasons as illustrated in the cartoon...
    • WMD stockpiles... chemical and biological weapons programs.
    • Nuke research and the aquisition of materials needed to build bombs.
    • 9-11. Ties with Bin Ladin and training camps for al Qaeda.
    • To give freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people.
    • To honor the US soldiers that have already fallen.
    • As of Veteran's Day, it's back to 9-11 already.

    I have probably missed a few, and I am sure they will come back again, but really, they have all been debunked now, leaving the only logical reason as giving freedom and democracy to the Iraqi peoples. Of course, since that reason came into being after the other reasons were debunked, I really doubt the sincerity of it.

    In the meantime, let's see how the invasion of Iraq has tarnished the image of the US (and Britain as well, since Mr. Blair so blindly put his cards on the table with regard to the faulty intelligence). After all, they may be spewing out the same old excuses every week, even the ones proven illegitimate, but there are prices to pay and the long-term effects of the War on the US international image seem to be invisible to Mr. Bush!

    • No valid reason for the invasion except perhaps Oil, grudges and dubious intelligence. The least they could do is say they screwed up with their intelligence (as if that is all it was anyways). Instead, the Bush administration continues to spout off about links to 9-11 and al Qaeda.
    • There is still no plan to get the troops out. The occupation will last as long as it takes (for what, we still don't really know). This could go on until everyone is dead realistically. The longer they stay, the fiercer the resistance, and the more foreign terror groups set up that were previously not in Iraq at all (or very minimally) before the occupation.
    • Torture and the inhumane abuse of prisoners is one thing and has been documented to a great extent by the media and blogging community. Suddenly, hidden gulags begin popping up, and the Bush administration wants the option of torture left open for the CIA. How many countries have been lectured, sanctioned (or invaded) by the US for human rights violations? Was some of the faulty intel regarding Hussein's plans to aquire Uranium derived through torturous means? That in itself should show that many times over, torture will cause a prisoner detainee to say exactly what the interrogator wants to hear...
    • The US itself is a divided country at best. When a president has only 35% support and is considered unethical and not trustworthy by the people he is governing, there are going to be more and more problems on the home front. This is evidenced by the massive anti-war movement, and the fact that even Republicans vote against some of Bush's policies. Recently, even despite the help of the President in some Republican campaigns, Democrats have won Governorships in several States.
    • The use of "questionable" weapons against civilian populations by US forces and the denial, then admittance and again denial by the military show an ability to lie and cover up that has become a rampant disease with the Administration. Especially considering one or several reasons for the original invasion was the "fact" that Hussein was stockpiling loads of biological and chemical weapons, and using them against his own civilian population.

    It really makes me wonder what the world would think if the US had a *real* honest and valid reason for their next invasion... I doubt they would get much support. They have burned bridges right, left and center, calling people who do not support the war "traitors", "terrorists" and "unpatriotic". Other nations are ridiculed and distanced for not getting involved in the invasion. Frankly, I can't see the citizenry of the US allowing another war... unless they are made to believe one is necessary. You can be damn sure there will be rock solid evidence, and possibly the go ahead from a few more nations this time around...

    Stay tuned next week for the continuing saga of...


    Of course... it may be a random re-run.

    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    Kovalev Surgery Successful

    Stardate 4875.8

    Montreal - Alex Kovalev took his first step towards returning to the Canadiens' lineup this morning. He just finished a successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to fix a nagging problem that was only getting worse as the season progressed.

    Team doctor, David Mulder, gives Kovalev 4 - 8 weeks before he'll be back in action. We can look for him in the New Year is my guess.

    Montreal has called up young Maxim Lapierre from the Hamilton Bulldogs. The 20 year old center has played in only 15 games there in his rookie season. Lapierre joins Chris Higgins, Tomas Plekanec, Alexander Perezhogin and Yann Danis in the freshman club playing this year.

    Canadian Liberals Evil Regime According to Malkin

    Stardate 4873.2

    I nearly spat my coffee on my monitor when I browsed Crooks and Liars this morning and saw this headline (emphasis mine):

    Evil Regimes Set to Topple?

    Keep a sharp eye on fresh developments in both Canada and Cuba, two countries with rogue, corrupt and repressive regimes that don't know when to cut their losses and leave town.
    I gotta say, coming from right wing blowhards like Michelle Malkin, I can only imagine what people who actually religiously (er no pun intended) read that stuff think. I will wager that many of them DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE CANADA IS!

    Any government in power is going to have some form of corruption or scandal at some level. I agree that the (former) Liberal government had quite a fiasco with the Sponsorship scandal. Now, the current government is paying for it and will likely be forced down blowing away loads of excellent tax cuts and funding plans that will no doubt end up costing tax payers even more if they aren't followed through with.

    Let's look at the High 'n Mighty GOP in the US. Where is your esteemed House leader? Oh yeah, corrupt. He had to step down. Who is getting all of the contracts to rebuild the Iraqi Oilfields? Oh yeah, no-bid Halliburton, Dick's little outfit. Gee, more corruption? I could go on... but there isn't much point is there.

    But a rogue and repressive regime? Give me a friggin break. This coming from the neo-fascist right wing propoganda machine in the US? Talk about repressive regimes... I have a repressive regime for them. Maybe the US should catch up with the "repressive" policies of the modern era, like legalising marijuana, gay marriage and many other social aspects frowned upon by Bible-thumping Bushco...

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    Speeding: Maximum Doesn't Mean Minimum

    Stardate 4869.6

    People speed. All of the time. Is it safe? Maybe most of the time, but really, are you willing to gamble your life and others' lives on a "most of the time" bet?

    I wonder why people see this...

    When this is in fact what is posted.

    Maybe I'm barking up a deaf tree, but I find that driving on highways in Alberta is getting worse and worse every month. With winter threatening to slap us in the face, I wonder if people will actually slow down or not? The limit (that means you cannot go higher) on Highway 2 is 110. It may be slow and could easily be raised to 120, but it IS 110. Now I drive at an average somewhere between 115 and 125. I know... I am as guilty as the rest, but it is not fast enough for the flow of traffic! People get mad because I am not speeding enough for them! So they blow by, doing 140 or 150 or higher.

    Nobody has the right to make me speed. I want photo radar everywhere. I want licenses suspended. I want cars towed. There is no other way to control it except to impound vehicles and take away licenses. Increased fines seem to mean nothing...

    Let me give those "busy" guys in the morning a tip... Gotta speed and tailgate and be an arsehole every morning to get to work? LEAVE EARLIER.

    So for the love of Bob... Slow the hell down!

    Sex, Lies and Phosphorus

    Stardate 4868.2

    CTV - The US military has admitted using White Phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against the city of Fallujah. Lt Col Barry Venable said, "It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants". Yeah, ina city full of civilians. US officials had previously stated that the substance had been used only to create smoke and as illumination during the night attacks.

    The thing about phosphorus is that it burns when in contact with air. It burns anything and will nto stop burning until it has spent it's reaction or has no oxygen left to react with. It will burn flesh to the bone. If inhaled, it will burn from the inside out. The most reprehensible thing is that so many US officials continue to use a loophole and insist that it is not a chemical weapon. Of course, technically, if it is used as an illuminant, then it is not a weapon. But when you use it against PEOPLE, it becomes a chemical weapon for sure.

    Venable told the BBC that U.S. forces could use white phosphorus rounds to flush enemy troops out of covered positions.
    "The combined effects of the fire and smoke and in some case the terror brought about by the explosion on the ground will drive them out of the holes so that you can kill them with high explosives," he said.
    "White phosphorus is a conventional munition. It is not a chemical weapon. They are not outlawed or illegal."
    And that's just it. Remember my last post about these weapons...

    Use of white phosphorus is not specifically banned by any treaty, however the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (Protocol III) prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations or by air attack against military forces that are located within concentrations of civilians. The US is among the nations that are parties in the convention but have not signed protocol III.
    Some experts in the field see things my way though. Professor Paul Rodgers of the Universiy of Bradford's department of peace studies, said white phosphorus could be considered a chemical weapon if it was deliberately aimed at civilians.

    "It is not counted under the chemical weapons convention in its normal use but, although it is a matter of legal niceties, it probably does fall into the category of chemical weapons if it is used for this kind of purpose directly against people," he told the BBC.
    I can already see the new crap that the right and the US Admin will spew out about this. It wasn't deliberately aimed at civilians... Well sorry, but the City of Fallujah was full of civilians. Others will still maintain it isn't a chemical weapon, but come on... If it is used as they suggest, it isn't a weapon at all. I am glad that someone was smart and courageous enough to show that documentary from the Italian station. So now what new revelation will come out... Maybe something about those lions used to interrogate detainees...

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Habs Beat Florida in OT

    Stardate 4865.8

    Much to the chagrin of RockyJay, Saku Koivu scored with only 4 seconds left in OT to give Montreal the win. The Habs were lucky tonight, as they went into the third period with a 3 - 0 lead, and blew it, forcing the overtime in the first place.

    This all coming after it was announced that Koivu's winger Alex Kovalev will be undergoing knee surgery and will miss 4 to 8 weeks.

    Sony vs Microsoft... Resistance is Futile

    Stardate 4863.3

    Recently, Sony has introduced some form of software on their music CDs so that when you play them or record them (not really sure here) on your PC, they install software that doesn't allow you to copy the content. From their point of view, this seems to be a good idea, but of course, they have opened up a lot of issues now with hackers.

    It would seem that Microsoft is saying "NO" to Sony and their copy protection software, as hackers use it now as a backdoor into people's computers and business networks. It has been classified as Malware by Microsoft, and will be dealt with handily by the updates Malicious Software Removal Tool.

    Seems almost too good to be true... Microsoft siding with the little guys for a change :)


    It seems the patch released by Sony only makes things worse... Who needs neil Diamond anyhow LOL... I can't believe they are afraid of Neil Diamond piracy heh.

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Kovalev out 3-4 weeks

    Stardate 4860.2

    NHL - Alexei Kovalev is slated to miss 3 to 4 weeks with a knee surgery. He has been playing through some pain but it was getting worse each game. The team surgeon, Doctor Mulder, has stated that the knee has no ligament damage and will heal up fine. Kovalev has tried various other ways of healing the knee to no avail.

    He has been second in team scoring with 19 points (7 goals and 12 assists) in 18 games. This loss comes as a blow to a team who lacks depth up front, considering they are already fielding 3 rookies on a nightly basis. Montreal's next game is tomorrow night at home against the Florida Panthers.

    Bush's new word: "Irresponsible"

    Stardate 4859.8

    MSN - On route to Asia, Bush has decided to respond to critics of the Iraq War, accusing them of being "IRRESPONSIBLE".

    Um, you mean, irresponsible as in invading another country based on lies and fabricated intel, thus endangering the lives of your troops and citizens by inciting people to act against you? You mean irresponsible as in advocating torture for your agencies but condemning other nations such as Syria for the same human rights offenses? You mean irreseponsible as in nominating close family friends with no experience for extremely important positions in government? Perhaps you mean irresponsible as in, driving your foreign trade deficit to un-manageable levels?

    George, do you actually know what "irresponsible" means?

    Skate or Die!

    Stardate 4858.4

    Remembrance Day is a day to reflect on the past, and the sacrifices that many men and women made over the course of history, to stand up for our way of life and freedoms... However, it is also a long weekend and what do people do on long weekends? Well, play mindless hours of Neverwinter Nights of course!!!! Okay and maybe a lot of other things too...

    Sunday was by far the best day. We have made a ritual of going swimming in Lacombe at their lovely recreation facility every Sunday now. It is good exercise, and something the whole family enjoys doing. Of course, it is over at 5, so it is only the matter of a quick supper and public skating begins at our own rink.

    Public skating is a very interesting thing to behold. Especially if you are a mediocre skater at best, like myself. By mediocre, I mean that I can go pretty good forward, and if I am bubbling with confidence, I may even try some cross-overs goign around the end boards... However, stopping suddenly is one of my weaknesses that I hope to seriously remedy this year. The rink is generally packed with people of all ages and skill levels, so while there are 4 year old kids skating circles around me and doing half nelsons er axles or whatever, there are also some folks even wobblier than me. There are all the kids that range from say 7 to 13 that like to hit each other, and chase each other, and fight, and there are kids who push those "walkers" around too. Then there is the inevitable crowd of people who like to stand and talk right in the way of where everyone is supposed to skate. Why not move to the center of the rink where no one skates? Then we wouldn't have to zip in and out of you like Jedi's on some sort of jet boots...

    I half wiped out 3 kids last night. Nothing serious, and no real collisions, but definately a scoop up under the arms while my knees made horrible, chilling contact with the ice surface. I would suggest none of the incidents were my fault of course, but maybe it is just too packed for someone with my miserable skills. Simply put, I have to learn to stop properly. That means going every week...

    Also, as part of the Blog explosion community, we can "rent out" advertising on our blogs and this week, I present the blog of Paul, Kerri and the boys. Paul is an englishman who lives in Toronto with his family, and writes about a good many things of interest. He is currently looking for a catchy title for his blog, and I am sure a visit and comment for him would be appreciated! He is an auto racing fan, and enjoys classic rock of the harder variety :P As an interesting side note, they honeymooned in South Africa which is personally interesting to me, after spending so much of my youth there!

    $30 Billion in tax cuts on the line

    Stardate 4858.2

    An early election jeopardizes many things for many people. The entire Liberal platform is on the line here including what was recently unveiled by Ralph Goodale, the Finance Minister. That being $30 billion in tax cuts for personal income tax. This may sound like a plea for people to shun the opposition's call for early elections, but the rest of the policy is also on the line.

    Frankly, I am all for personal income tax cuts. And you can't tell me that the Opposition wouldn't promise the same either... At any rate, there is in fact, much more on the line than simply announcing a budget that is good for all Canadians.

    Let's talk about Health Care. Frankly, I have no qualms with our current system, barring the lengthy wait times. In fact, one of the top priorities of the Liberal agenda is to reduce wait times fo rmedical procedures. Other parties however, want to put the emphasis on private clinics, and the only thing that comes from privatization is higher prices and gouging. Just have a look at what happens with Alberta's power and gas bills... By forcing early election, all of the work so far towards this goal is thrown out. Talk about wasting tax money.

    At any rate, we will have to wait and see what the next few days bring us. Either an agreement to the Opposition call for a January non-confidence motion, or else one as early as November 21st, setting up a January election (ugh).

    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    Secret Sunday Cabals...

    Stardate 4854.4

    It would seem that the fate of our nation's Christmas holiday season hangs in the balance with a meeting of Opposition Leaders to discuss strategy for toppling our beloved government. I guess it was inevitable after all of the issues with Gomery, and in true dramatic fashion, the stage is being set up for something I think few, if any Canadians really want. A holiday election campaign.

    The signs all over the countryside at any election time drive me bonkers, but at Christmas, it is definately NOT the time for all the campaigning. Bad enough that retailers are complaining about losing business since it is "their" season, but really... who wants to see "vote for Dinglefritz" signs everywhere too.

    On the retailers... it may be your livelihood, but Christmas is not "your" time. This is why I am starting to hate Christmas. Damned commercialism. An election campaign would only make it worse :(

    That was a little divergent, so back on course, we discuss an upcoming election. In my humble opinion, I think that the outcome of an early spring election would not change at all. The Liberals, still the most popular party, would retain a minority government, and nothing else short of a merger between two others (yeah right) would defeat them. I don't think anybody wants Stephen (Bush boy) Harper as Prime Minister and while he is leader of the Tories, I can't see a win for them. If, by some miracle they did, it would end up a minority government for them anyways... Have fun with that :)

    Perhaps the Sunday meeting will come up with some secret strategy, but somehow, I doubt it.

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    "Lest we forget"

    Stardate 4844.5

    "In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses row on row,
    That marks our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amidst the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields."

    -Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

    War. Through history, mankind has seen countless conflicts. Some for good reason, some not. Whether it was ancient tribes quarrelling over hunting grounds and gold deposits, fighting to stop madmen bent on global domination or today's man, deciding who's God is right, thousands and millions of lives have been extinguished forever. We grieve their losses, and move on, to the next great, bloody conflict. At times, it seems there shall be no reprieve from the almost child-like reasons for most conflict... greed, race, religion. And meanwhile, another mother, another father, another wife, another husband, another child, loses a parent, a son, a daughter, a friend.

    "Floating down through the clouds
    Memories come rushing up to meet me now
    In the space between the heavens
    And in the corner of some foreign field
    I had a dream
    I had a dream
    Goodbye max
    Goodbye ma
    After the service when you're walking slowly to the car
    And the silver in her hair shines in the cold november air
    You hear the tolling bell and touch the silk in your lapel
    And as the tear drops rise to meet the comfort of the band
    You take her frail hand and hold on to the dream
    A place to stay enough to eat
    Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street
    Where you can speak out loud
    About your doubts and fears
    And what's more no-one ever disappears
    You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door
    You can relax on both sides of the tracks
    And maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control
    And everyone has recourse to the law
    And no-one kills the children anymore
    And no-one kills the children anymore
    Night after night going round and round my brain
    His dream is driving me insane
    In the corner of some foreign field the gunner sleeps tonight
    What's done is done
    We cannot just write off his final scene
    Take heed of the dream
    Take heed"

    - Pink Floyd - "Gunner's Dream" from "The Final Cut"

    The World Wars saw a loss of life like no other. Brave men and women throughout the world fought for their countries on all sides of the war. Either on the lines in a foreign land, in the factories at home, or the hospitals housing the wounded. These people need to be remembered. Their sacrifices were made in order to keep our way of life safe and free. The soldiers on all sides died for causes they believed were true. Remember them.

    Even today, in the current hell that is our modern world, men, women and children die on a daily basis... fighting to preserve their way of life. The US soldier, the Iraqi child. The Israeli gunner. The Palestinian mother. And for what? Oil? Security? Religion? No sides are right anymore. We spiral towards oblivion faster every day, with each car bomb, air strike, threat and death. The face of war has changed today. The noble cause that was is all but gone. I often wonder what the souls watching from above would think, peering in on our crystal ball planet and it's conflicts of greed and racism.

    Someday, the rest of the world will grow as weary as myself at the thought of more bags full of wasted flesh coming home. We do not need any more new reasons to remember.

    As Ken over at Common Sense says, we must remember that in all wars, the soldiers are doing the bidding of the government. As much as we oppose a specific conflict, or the leaders responsible, we must always remember that the men and women serving are doing their job for their country. We must support them fully, even as we oppose their leaders.

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    New Painted Mini - The Poledancer

    Stardate 4838.2

    This sultry lass is the "Poledancer" figure from Hasslefree Miniatures. She represents a breakthrough for me from my painting slump and I think I will get a lot more done from now on.

    She sports a small heart shaped tatoo on her buttock though I doubt she needs it to attract members of er, either sex :)

    Her base is slightly smaller than a nickel. There are many more pictures of her on my Website.
    She is for sale right now. Check the sidebar for a link :)

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    US Should Follow British Example...

    Stardate 4834.3

    Tony Blair was humiliated in parliament when even 40 members of Blair's own party voted against the new Terror Bill which would have allowed police to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge instead of the current 14 days. The vote was 322 to 291 in favor of scrapping the Bill.

    Many opposition members and Labour MPs say the Bill infringes on civil liberties...

    An amendment was later accepted, raising the length of detainment to 28 days.

    This is a far cry from the period the US uses for detaining suspects without charge. That period is indefinately...

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Habs Watch Lightning Go Down

    Stardate 4831.2

    Jose Theodore stopped 32 shots and Richard Zednik scored halfway through the third period to lead Montreal to it's 5th straight win against the defending Cup champs, Tampa Bay. The Lightning led until Montreal scored twice in under 3 minutes to take the lead.

    It's funny. I think about 5 games ago, I asked, "What's with Theodore?" and now he is playing almost like he used to :) Talk about tight games this year... 12 of the 16 games Montreal have played have been 1 goal games...

    U.S. Using Banned WMDs in Fallujah

    Stardate 4829.3


    Kim Phuc was the subject of a Pulitzer-Prize winning photograph during the Vietnam War taken in 1972, when she was a child, running naked down a road, screaming in pain from the napalm that was burning through her skin. The photograph has come to epitomize the tragedy of the Vietnam War. Ironically, this incident did not involve any American participation, and their impact in Vietnam was minimal. In the United States, however, the impact of this scene was tremendous, and uniformly negative. Practically everyone old enough to have viewed the news during those years remembers this scene, and others like them, with a combination of revulsion and disgust.

    From Bulldog Manifesto...

    Napalm and White Phosphorus in Fallujah

    In contravention to various international treaties, the United States has used outlawed weapons of mass destruction against Iraqi civilians. Consider the irony.

    An Italian New Channel (RAI 24) televised a graphic VIDEO documenting U.S. use of white phosphorus and napalm against Iraqi civilians. I strongly suggest everybody watch the entire production. It is graphic, but people need to see it.

    Where the fuck is our own media?

    Why do I feel like a German citizen living in Nazi Germany, watching as my countrymen comletely ignore the atrocities being committed under OUR FLAG?

    In 1980, the use of Napalm was banned by the United Nations. The U.S. still holds out against this ban today. Use of white phosphorus is not specifically banned by any treaty, however, the 1980 Geneva Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III) prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations or by air attack against military forces that are located within concentrations of civilians. The U.S. is among the nations that have not signed this protocol. - Wikipedia

    The video is about a half hour long and contains some very graphic pictures and truths. It is WORTH watching.

    Do They Really Want to Dance?

    Stardate 4828.1

    CTV - In light of everything tha thas happened, including the release of the Gomery report and the latest rejection buy Jack Layton and the NDP, the Liberals are still on top. So who actually wants an election right now? Or soon for that matter? Apparently, the Tories have gained a little momentum (whatever that means) but not support.

    Right now, there is no timeframe for an election in place at all.

    Today, Paul Martin is insisting on going ahead with the Health Care proposal and is unwilling to negotiate with Layton for his "support". Obviously he is confident in their proposal...

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Want Answers to Plamegate? Torture 'em...

    Stardate 4823.2

    If they really want answers to Plamegate, they ought to throw Libby and Rove into one of those secret C.I.A. gulags, and maybe torture the crap out of them. Heck, why not put Cheney himself in there, just so he can see what it is like. Maybe he would decide to quit ADVOCATING TORTURE... It is the American way after all ;)

    Stand up for freedom! Torture some people today.

    Layton Against Liberal's Health Care Package

    Stardate 4824.0

    CTV - Layton calls Liberal proposal "unacceptable"

    Layton has stated that he cannot support the new Health Care proposal from the Liberals. He has not made it clear whether or not he will force an election and attempt to topple the minority government.

    To me, it makes no sense whatsoever having an election before the New Year. No party is strong enough to win a majority government, and I suspect the Liberals would win anyways. If Harper and his Conservatives won, there would be nothing but disaster for us in the future. Remember, if he had his way, Canada would be bogged down in the mire that is Iraq alongside the States. We will have American missiles all over our country, and no doubt, we woul dbe shipping a lot more oil south.

    Layton says "This Parliament's life is likely limited."

    There is no time frame of solid decision for an election as of yet.

    Bush: "We do not torture"

    Stardate 4823.7

    CBC - Bush has said that the U.S. does not torture suspected terrorists. Last month, the U.S. Senate voted 90 to 9 approving a ban on torture and the inhumane treatment of detainees. The White House may Veto the ban.

    Sounds like they want the option open. Perhaps his quote should be "We do not torture, but we would like the opportunity to if we want"...

    Vote in my new poll. It is on the sidebar on my main page. Let's see how many readers are as morally reprehensible as Mr. Cheney, Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Bush.

    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    "To Defend Freedom"

    Stardate 4813.9

    "To Defend Freedom" - written by Stokedsurfer

    The last couple of days on CBC radio, there was a very interesting special report on Guantanamo Bay, called "Rules of the Game". A reporter went down there and interviewed several American troops and got a tour of the camp. Also interviewed was a former detainee of three years, and an American lawyer who represents many of the detainees.

    According to President Bush the camp is used to detain suspected terrorists (the worst of the worst) and, based on the numbers of these evil inmates, it is a continuing victory on the war on terror.

    His official stance on Guantanamo is that the prisoners have no legal rights there. Apparently the Iguanas running around in Cuba have more rights than the inmates do as there’s a fine for killing Iguanas whereas there seem to be no consequences for torturing and killing detainees. And torture and deaths do occur, inhumane treatment of the detainees seem to be commonplace there.

    Listening to the former detainee and lawyer it becomes obvious that the camp is totally useless and probably illegal. The Lawyer wasn’t able to directly comment on his opinion of it’s legality however it seemed to be implied. Most of the inmates are totally innocent of any terrorism (I think they said only 5 people have been charged with anything). And why else would it be in Cuba? Because holding and torturing people with no evidence is obviously illegal and would not be tolerated in the US. It occurs to me that the only reason the facility exists is part of a flimsy justification for the war - Look how many terrorists we found. Hey American people, we must be winning! Now please provide more money and bodies to support this great achievement.

    It’s very interesting listening to the troops there and it’s obvious that they have been totally brainwashed by Bush’s propaganda. A slogan heard all over Camp America (where all the troops live) is “On Abound” replied very honestly by “To Defend Freedom”. How can they actually believe they are defending freedom when they themselves are ruining the lives of the detainees and their families? Unfortunately many do believe it, and they all accept it. After all it is their job to be there. The Bush administration has successfully turned Muslims into these evil terrorist beings who may strike at any time. Be afraid. And support the war for freedom!

    The illegal and inhumane behavior in Guantanamo Bay is no way for a free and just Country to act. It is an unnecessary lie used to support other atrocities conducted by the Bush Administration and should not be tolerated. It seems people are catching on, the American support for Bush is at a all time low. I just hope he doesn’t do anything worse in an attempt to bring his approval rating up again.

    Stokedsurfer is a friend and frequent contributer of comments on my site. I am very pleased he has taken the time to write his thoughts on one of the biggest issues facing our world today. Hopefully, I can convince him to continue to contribute occasional articles!

    Please feel free to read the article on the CBC Ideas web site as well!

    Cheney Begs For Torture...

    Stardate 4811.8

    MSN - Cheney urges exception to torture ban for CIA

    WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session.

    Cheney told his audience the United States doesn’t engage in torture, these participants added, even though he said the administration needed an exemption from any legislation banning “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment in case the president decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.

    These are the people running the most powerful nation in the world.
    These are the people who are in control of the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    Wal-Mart Must Hate Kids

    Stardate 4809.0

    Every Halloween, parents can take all of their little ghosts, goblins, pirates and superheroes to the friendly neighbourhood shopping center as a fun and safe alternative to trodding down darkened streets in the cold to do some trick or treating. It is really a good thing, as there are places to get photos done, free candy, shopping, and did I say free candy?

    Well hold on a minute. It would seem that this year in Parkland Mall in Red Deer, every store was giving out candy to the kids that came through, *except* one... Can you guess which store refused to give out any candy at all? You got it Pontiac. Where do you think all fothe other stores bought their candy from? Where do you think most of the folks who bought candy to give out at home bought it from? You probably guessed Wal-Mart, and I bet that odds are, you are correct.

    I have created a new slogan for them to help people realise *why* such a customer-friendly and community driven mega-store has such great deals all of the time...

    It's a real shame that their store is so handy, and full of all the stuff we really need all under one roof, but maybe, just maybe, I'll do my Christmas shopping somewhere else this year...

    Jack Layton - The Most Important Man in Canada Today?

    Stardate 4808.2

    CTV - Layton tight-lipped as he reviews Liberal deal

    Jack Layton could be the most important man in Canada at the moment. With the Liberals and Conservatives squared off, Layton's NDP party is behind the Liberals, for now. However, Layton is waiting to decide whether or not he likes the Liberals' new Health Care proposal. His decision should come at 10:45 am MST today. The key here is that if he withdraws his support, there could very easily be a Federal election before the New Year!

    My concern is that for a guy who seems pretty wishy-washy on a lot of issues, could this sort of "power" go to his head? Will he put the NDP agenda ahead of the interests of Canada? Or will he continue to back Paul Martin's Liberals... Other party's suggest Layton is not serious at all about forcing a confidence vote (as early as November 15th) and is shouting without saying anything.

    For the Liberals, his support is key. They hold 133 seats out of the 308 seat House of Commons, and need the NDP support of 18 seats to stay ahead of the rather strange alliance of the Tories and the Bloc Quebecois. Between them, they hold 152 seat, leaving 4 for independents and one vacant seat.

    *** UPDATED ***

    Apparently, Jack is "dissapointed" with the proposal, but will spend the weekend doing stuff reviewing it further. I think he is using as much of htis media attention as possible, and in the end, he will continue to back the Liberals, though they may need to tweak their proposal a little...

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    Miniatures on EBAY...

    Stardate 4803.1

    Since I need moneys to buy some Judas Priest Garb on-line, I am forced to sell some of my painted miniatures on EBAY. I have put up the 3 martial artists for sale now...

    Meiying, Flower of the East

    Oko, the Jade Assassin

    Takawara, UFC Champion

    They are all ending on November 9th at around 8:00 PM MST. See the auctions for individual prices and such :)

    Blog of the Week - Bread and Circuses

    Stardate 4803.9

    One aspect of the Blogexplosion community is the ability to "rent out" a small piece of your blog to advertise someone's blog. This week, I have chosen Bread and Circuses as my feature. Andrew rights about politics, and specifically, left-leaning politics. He sees things in a similar light to myself, and this is a good reason why I chose him. Please click the thumbnail on the sidebar under the Canada Flag to visit his site!

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Traffic Generators

    Stardate 4799.9

    As you may know, I use a site or community called Blog Explosion to generate traffic and to find folks who enjoy reading my blog (and vice versa). This works really great, and there are various ways of going about it.

    There is a new site as well, in it's infancy at present, that will be very similar, and it is called Blog Mad. They are going to go with a 1:1 view/show ratio to increase your exposure. Check out the site for more info :)

    So give them a go. They are signing up early to get support and those who *do* sign up early will get bonusses of course ;)

    Secret Prisons and Torture: The Modern C.I.A.

    Stardate 4798.6

    MSN - CIA holds terror suspects in secret prisons; Debate grows within agency about legality, morality of approach

    We all know about Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and Abu Ghraib in Iraq. We have seen the photos of abuse, and watched as all the small fries got charged and jailed while the big fish went free, sat back and made more rules up... Well now it would seem that the CIA has been very busy settign up prisons all over, to help in their "War on Terror". Some of the highest profile al Qaeda captives are actually being held in a secret prison inEastern Europe. They have set up other secret detainee camps all over, including Thailand, Afghanistan and other democratic nations in Eastern Europe.

    The thing about these detainees is that many of them have never been charged with anything. It seems extremely hypocritical that a country who maintains their own Administration's member's innocence until proven guilty continues to hold so many prisoners illegally.
    "In our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial." - George W. Bush
    Now what is really scary here, is that recently, Congress had voted to pass a military bill that included rules and regulations banning the mistreatment and torture of prisoners. Doesn't sound scary, but DICK Cheney and the CIA Director Porter J. Goss had asked Congress to exempt CIA employees from these rules. So now, we have secret detainment camps that do NOT allow due process as George the Monkey puts it, and the folks that operate them are allowed to use whatever means necessary to hold and question these detainees...

    And I thought that C.I.A. stood for the Central Intelligence Agency, not the Schutzstaffel...

    The First Snow of Winter

    Stardate 4798.1

    Well it finally happened. The first *real* snow of winter. It was partly rain last night, but by this morning, that just meant there was 2 inches of very heavy and wet snow covering my car :( Roads are just fine though... No Carling yet :)

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    Photo Contest Winner

    Stardate 4794.0

    Last week, the winners from our office photography contest were announced. I happened to be number one with this lovely picture taken in the beautiful Rocky Mountains on our holiday to Fairmont Hot Springs this summer. This guy sat still for me until I was within about 3 feet. Then he posed while my timered macro machine took the shot. I get a free company shirt for my efforts :)

    Gomery Report: The Start...

    Stardate 4793.4

    The Canadian Sponsorship scandal is coming to a head. I am busy reading up but the initial findings seem clear. Paul Martin has been exonerated of blame, and it would seem that former Prime-Minister Jean Chretien, Jean Pelletier, JacquesCorriveau and Alfonso Gagliano are the people mainly responsible for the scandal...

    More to come on this for sure.

    Religious Extremism, Scourge of the West

    Stardate 4793.2

    Terrorists. Muslim extremists. These are the few that sadly, seem to appear to represent what many westerners believe *all* muslims must think like. It's a stereotype that is dragging us closer and closer to escalated conflict every day. The thing is, it is a contagious disease. As "educated and civilized" westerners, we are often apalled by the atrocities committed by these extremists, but sadly, we turn our heads with only slightly hurt pride when similar atrocities are carried out by our own. You hear common phrases like "an eye for an eye" or "what would they do to our boys over there?".

    Lately, I have been seeing a lot of "Christian" sites showing articles about militant training camps, and beheadings, and making statements like "As a Roman Catholic its my God ordained duty to destroy the infidel. What's yours?" This statement really grabbed me. I don't want to link to the blog, but in response to my comment suggesting he is becoming the "enemy", the poster said "...we must destroy much of the middle east if the earth is to survive". Pat Buchanan said, "Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free". Ann Coulter said, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity". I have seen others say that Muslims hate them because they are rich, or christian, or white, or whatever. Seriously, if you believe that, then the brainwashing propoganda machine has already gotten you, and it is too late for the rest of us.

    So the solution is to level their cities to rubble and ethnically cleanse them? It sure sounds a lot like that to me. No, really. Or how about just leaving the people alone? Let them have their faith and their culture. This isn't the dark and barbaric crusades anymore. We are supposed to be educated, civilized and above all of that nonsense. Freedom of religion should extend beyond the borders of a piece of paper. After all, muslims are not responsible for any terror attacks. Only a few extremists are. We should be the better "culture" and not stoop to the simplistic level of hatred that a few so willingly show. I suppose it is far easier to hate and destroy, than understand and cherish. If the majority of westerners weren't so damned arrogant, then the few extremists wouldn't hate them so much. How many times does the US have to meddle in other countries before they figure it out? Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran next? It is the abolishment of their culture and faith that they fear, EXACTLY the same way you do.

    So what is the difference between the two types of people? Please, tell me.

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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