The Liberals will join the NDP in voting against the Tories Softwood Lumber deal. I seriously hope the Bloc also decides it is no good and it doesn't pass. There are many reasons for this that have already been discussed to great length, but basically, the US will only be repaying $4 Billion out of the $5 Billion owed, and in fact, $450 million of the money they are keeping will be funnelled past the US Congress and treasury and right into the coffers of the Bush administration's White House slush fund...
So maybe the deal between traitor Emerson, H-Dawg and McChimpy was made finally because of this. Who knows. Fact is, it kind of stinks.
As I mentioned last week, I had a very strange issue coming up with my machine at home, a generic host process for WIN32 services errorwhich came out of the blue, that caused me to end up re-formatting and re-installing Windows on my computer. This is never a bad thing I suppose, as it gets rid of any bugs that the various scanners and utilities don't pick up. Sometimes your core windows files can get damaged and this fixes everything nicely.
Sadly, the problem persisted, even after a fresh install. It turns out that quite a few people experienced this problem starting on August 12th. Probably a bad Windows update patch. I was lost for a while, but after poking around a bit, I found a funny system device called Media Controller device which windows could not identify, nor could it find drivers. I also had a duplicate network card that was disabled, so I killed the connection associated with that. Either one of these things being disabled or a new Windows update patch seems to have fixed the problem. It has been three days now, with no further error notifications.
Some time ago, I changed my tune on our involvement in Afghanistan. At first, I had supported our role in the sense that we were helping keep the peace and rebuild the country. This has been a proud duty of Canadians for some time, and something I feel we need to get back to. Recently, our mission mandate has changed into more of a "seek and destroy the terrorists" kind of mission, one which frankly, I can see no end to, much like the US occupation of Iraq. The longer we hunt out "bad guys" the more will pour in from other places to replace them.
"We should leave Afghanistan if we can't get a mandate that does honour and respect to the people of Afghanistan and to our troops." He said that by focusing solely on military objectives and ignoring development, "Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper is making the same mistakes the Bush administration made in Iraq and it will lead to long-term failure."
I agree completely. I expect soldiers to die in combat, that is par for the course. However, in a combat that has no end in sight, and little point in the grand scheme of things, these deaths are senseless.
"With our eyes pushed mightily shut, we are going along with something that isn't right."
Our mission in Afghanistan is quickly parallelling the US occupation in Iraq, right down to the ridiculous comments from H-Dawg about "Staying the course" and "supporting the troops". This is not what Canada is about. Occupying countries and killing "terrorists". Consider the dollar value of our mission there. We have spent $100 million on aid to the war ravaged country, and $4 billion on the military aspect... that's 40 times the amount. Want to build schools? Stop occupying the country and trying to quash resistance and start helping rebuild them.
Well obviously, this sentiment is nothing new to anyone that has used PCs for any amount of time. For the most part, I like using XP but damn they really need to get their crap together.
Recently, I began getting an evil error message shortly after startup that messed up my sound and other things...
"Generic host process for WIN32 services must shut down"... There is a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo, but I couldn't seem to fix it, even with the patch from Microsoft. I ran Spysweeper, my anti-virus... nothing. It was definately time for a format C:
I formatted, re-installed Windows, redid the service pack, and still, the error message persists...
ARGH! Any ideas at all how to get rid of this problem?
I was really hoping that countries would quit playing the nuclear deterrent game, but since Iran really wants processed uranium (for power allegedly) and Israel has the 6th largest stockpile of atomic weapons on the planet, I see that Israel has purchased two new German made Dolphin submarines, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads and have a longer range than the existing three nuclear subs that Israel already posesses.
What really gets me though, is how the world will do absolutely nothing to stop Israel from arming itself with more nukes and delivery systems but every other nation that tries is greeted with outcries and warnings, and Germany is even paying a third of the cost! Oh yeah, they get most of their weapons from the States.
This is not going to help ease tensions in the Middle East in my opinion.
Admittedly, I have been far too busy, and somewhat disinterested in the leadership race to really pay attention and choose whom I would support. My first gut instinct was to pick Ken Dryden because after all, he was my hero as I grew up watching the mighty Habs... but I knew that wasn't enough. I thought about how Scott Brison would be a good candidate, as he was young and energetic, and how respected he is in the party.
Finally, after reading a little on the individual sites however, I stumbled across a line from Gerard Kennedy on Re-developing Canada's global Voice...
"In a landscape dominated by one super power and populated by many despots, the world once again needs Canada. We must once again become an honest broker capable of both negotiating and keeping the peace.
An international country faces outward, proud of our dynamic society at home and reaching out to build a better world. We must be a country that is willing to oppose unjust wars and to stand up to human rights abuses.
But we also must be willing to play our part in ensuring international stability. Canada must recommit to international institutions while working to strengthen our relationship with the United States.
Canada's unmatched diversity should be a unique strength in foreign affairs. We can be the world's meeting place, its common ground.
With our unique strength come unique obligations. Only Canada can translate the hopes fears and aspirations of the world's many people into a new common language of progress. We can and we must make it our most important export to the world. Canada must be relevant again on the international stage. Canada can be so much more."
Gerard Kennedy, April 2006
This statement alone hit me in such a powerful way that my mind was made up. I have always seen my Canada as the country who brokers peace, and maintains it, rather than choosing sides, and leading in roles of aggression. Especially in these trying times, we must maintain a focused goal when it comes to our great land's image in the international community, and with a Leader like Gerard Kennedy, the Liberal party will either take this country back in that direction, or battle hard against Harper and his neo-cons in the House to keep Canada's record clean, and on track. I want Canada to be *the* international country.
After reading this, and coupling it with his strong desire to help the elderly and poverty stricken, his desire to build an "enterprising" society and country through education and creating a desireable business environment, and the fact that he has such strong western Canadian roots, I have decided to endorse Gerard Kennedy as the Liberal Leadership candidate of my choice.
After much debate and near fisticuffs, the greatest astronomical minds on our lump of rock have decided that Pluto is not, after all, a planet. This will reduce the size of our Solar System to 8 planets, and undo many years of scientific training in classrooms across our globe. I find it interesting that several large asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter still have achance of becoming planets. Ceres and UB313 both stand a good chance of gaining planetary status, which would suddenly cause another change in our System, up to ten planets!
Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes against the people of Lebanon for their aerial bombardment of civilian areas and infrastructure. The month long bombing campaign killed approximately 1,183 people, mostly civilians (one third children), injured 4,054 and displaced 970,000 from their homes.
The human rights group said initial evidence, including the pattern and scope of the Israeli attacks, high number of civilian casualties, widespread damage and statements by Israeli officials "indicate that such destruction was deliberate and part of a military strategy, rather than `collateral damage.'''
Looking at this map of infrastructure sites destroyed by bombs, you be the judge.
Click map for hi-res jpg view
UPDATE - As a side note, this very report also blames Hezbollah for war crimes for the same reasons. I really should have mentioned it, but then the press made a pretty big deal out of how many rockets they launched into Israel every day.
It's not a civil war in Iraq... it's only a civil war in miniature. This is what the British deputy to the US commander in Iraq has to say about the current climate in the war ravaged country. I guess that's okay then. What I find increasingly peculiar about the entire failure known as "westernized Iraq" is how so many foreign (ie non-Iraqi) experts suggest it is not a civil war situation there, and how they cannot pull out, even though they failed, and this and that. I wonder what the average Iraqi citizen thinks? Is it safe to go down to the market even? Lt. General Fry goes on to describe how the cases of murder and other acts of violence have actually declined in recent weeks, and that most areas of the country are relatively peaceful.
I guess this is some new meaning of relatively peaceful of which I was formerly not aware of especially since the civilian death toll in Iraq reached a record high of 3,438 in July alone and 17,776 since the year began.
There are some plans in the works by US authorities in the event of a civil war, but they can't seem to decide what exactly the definition of civil war should be. I guess that as long as the insurgents and "terrorists" are blowing up Iraqis and their buildings, the US isn't too worried. Keep the bad guys on someone else's lawn and our's will flourish.
I spent some of saturday night and most of yesterday jamming with my buddies Phil and Sven, who just got a new Pearl drum kit though he is still waiting on his second bass drum and two toms to come in. Sweet kit, and after playing through our "set-list" a good 4 times, we surprised ourselves by really grooving on this classic Priest tune from 1978's Stained Class album... (my first video embed)
What's really boring? These Terror "Busts"... that's what
It's kind of interesting these recent terror busts. There was that doozy in Toronto... You know, the one where CSIS (and other outfits) had been watching these guys for years, and in fact, were encouraging them in their plans. These guys were attempting to buy unrealistic amounts of fertilizer for making bombs, but frankly, the only way they were going to get it was if the cops gave it to them... oh wait, that's pretty much what happened. It was great timing too, what with the big announcement just previous to the bust about Canadian homegrown terrorists.
Now, the latest massive plan that has been foiled by intelligence agencies far and wide and has caused many people to squeeze out their toothpaste tubes into garbage bins before boarding planes all over the world has some doubt cast over it by common sense and some words by the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. His post "The UK Terror plot: what's really going on?" has been circulating for a few days now, and after reading it, I agree completely.
These suspects have been held, nearly released and now continue to be held due to a court order but there is yet to be any evidence against them. Time magazine says:
So far, no one has been charged in the alleged terror plot to blow up several airplanes across the Atlantic. No evidence has been produced supporting the contention that such a plot was indeed imminent.
And then we go back to Craig Murray's revelations...
None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.
In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.
What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year - like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.
Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth ...
So these guys that were on the verge of blowing up all these planes didn't even have passports, bombs and tickets? Hmmm.
We then have the extraordinary question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they longed for "Another 9/11". The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shovelled.
Much like the announcement from CSIS and the ensuing arrests in Toronto that showered accolades from the Bush administration all over Harper's government, this is a political move that has worked in the past, and continues to work today. The British did not even want to make the arrests yet, but it was Bush's Administration that pushed for their arrest.
Next time you are getting searched and probed at the airport, remember what this is *really* all about... governments trying to cling to a power that is slowly slipping away by instilling fear of a group of people into their populations.
"I just cannot believe any of this voodoo bullshit." - Childs, John Carpenter's The Thing
UPDATE: This article in The Register shows how difficult it would actually be to create some form of Hollywood liquid explosives, especially in the air... It is definately worth a read. h/t to Phyrrus.
US District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit ruled today that the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and violates the rights to free speech and privacy, ordering a halt to the program.
Gee you think? What really gets me is that all of this BS is propped up as defending America's freedoms, but in reality, those freedoms are systematically being removed, and this removal is being stoically defended by the very people that are losing them...
For a guy who seems to love to play, but gets little actual playing time, I could see Eric Hinske being frustrated sometimes. He never gives the impression that he is unhappy in Toronto, but early reports are suggesting that he may be headed to the Red Sox... He is a versatile player, playing many infield positions as well as right field. He is a good DH and a good guy to bring off the bench. Hopefully, the Jays can get some form of middle relief in the bullpen for him, unless they are simply dumping his salary ($4.3M this year and $5.6M next year).
UPDATE: It's a done deal. The Sox get Hinske and cash for for a player to be named later or other cash considerations.
Recently, in an attempt to curb the use of liquid explosives on airplanes, governments across the globe have began making passengers dump out all of their drinks before boarding planes. The alleged terror plot in England made sure of this. Of course, this knee-jerk reaction is the logical step that governments so embroiled in the War on Terror should take, and soon, you won't be able to take bottled beverages anywhere in public period. I mean why not smuggle a bottle of "Nuke-Cola" into the Superbowl game? What happens if a supposed terrorist works at the airline? Oh yeah, they screen everyone now... But just to humor me, they could smuggle anything on a plane, either in the every day supplies such as food and *gasp* drink, or the baggage compartment. What happens if people put liquid explosives in their baggage? Maybe they will be searched or maybe they will simply get tossed into the cargo hold.
Our society has become so frightened of the faceless enemy known as "Terror" that they will do whatever our government demands, in the name of National Security, without even taking pause to think about it. Dumping out your bottle of water or soda pop? Come on. This is getting to the point of nonesense, and sadly, more and more people are eating it up like it is a new religion of some form. Already, you cannot take on any sort of knives, razors, lighters, and a vast sundry of other things such as hairspray and other beauty products onto a plane... toothpaste? Are they serious about this crap? You have to have shoes checked manually as the X-Ray devices cannot detect explosives in shoes... but what about your underwear? You could trim your Hanes with some form of explosives if you like. I wonder...
I estimate that within another year, you will need to throw out all of your clothing, get strip searched and probed while all of your baggage is scrutinized for powders, fluids, illegal objects and whatnot, then don a Department of Homeland Stupidity approved disposable plastic outfit until you arrive at your destination, where you will be searched, probed and made to wait for an extensive search of your baggage before you can change into real clothing again. Of course, if you complain even once, you could be held indefinately without charge, as a terror suspect and enemy of the State. There would be no hope for your baggage...
At one desk was an elderly Asian woman.She had two bulging bags and her mandatory clear plastic bag in which was a rather snazzy, leather-bound Bible with gold-leaf pages and the title "Good News" that she was clutching for dear life. The BAA check-in woman tried verbally to prize it from her grasp, but the old lady wouldn't give it up. A security official was called, and the woman was offered the choice of putting it into her luggage or having it taken away from her.
This is getting even sillier the more I read. Asthma inhalers being confiscated? Cookies?
The camping trip ended yesterday. It is always good to see family, and the forested environs of Red Lodge Park are just as idyllic as I remember from my childhood. My fondest memories were always about dashing down paths between the massive trees, with chipmunks squeaking and birds singing, exploring far and wide the vast boundaries of the campground. The Little Red flows by quietly, swelling only after a good rain.
This trip was no different. The site we had was very good, and one of the things I especially like about the campground is that no matter how busy it is, your little spot is secluded enough to afford privacy and peace. It was a large spot, but then we had threee trailers and a tent all packed in. We drank a lot, but then having some beer by the fire is always fun. The day after we arrived, my wife and I spent a few hours floating down the river, and it was nice just to get away from everything and everyone. It rained the next day, so we stayed covered under awnings and tarps, keeping as much dry as we could. Thursday was the day of the massive storm that went through Red Deer, the worst of which missed both our campground and our home in Blackfalds thankfully. That day, we ran into town to check on our house and cat, and to pick up soem things from Red Deer. We had seen the wall of ominous clouds threatening to unleash their wrath as we drove back, but missed the worst of the storm by what was probably only minutes. It did rain even more however, and we had spend a day inside and under cover to stay dry.
The sun came out again on saturday, and we made another trip down the river, though this time, the Little Red was much higher after the storms, and the trip was much quicker. We almost lost Grandma as the last spot to get off had a tricky current that took her dingy off course, and around the bend. She was saved however, and after we all returned, she had quite the story to share with everyone.
It was good to get home yesterday, though even today I wish I could have slept in, and relaxed another day. Leaving the world behind sometimes gives me an empty feeling, but I think I needed the break from everything, whether it is war, disaster or terror. These things dominate our airwaves, especially now, and sadly, we tend to let them replace our thoughts as opposed to the quiet trips into the wilds and peaceful time spent with family. I am glad they have agreed on a ceasefire in the Middle East. The toughest part will be maintaining it, however, and I hope it sticks. I see more terror plots have been foiled and of course, the gut reaction from security agencies all over the world is now to ban juice from airplanes. Soon, there will be so many things you cannot do because of the "War on Terror", there will be no point in travelling at all.
I am glad to be back from our trip, though I am not glad to be back at work yet...
Brother will kill brother Spilling blood across the land Killing for religion Something I don't understand.
Fools like me who cross the sea And come to foreign lands Ask the sheep, for their beliefs Do you kill on God's command?
Holy Wars - Megadeth
Israel drops bombs and invades, and Hezbollah retaliates with rockets and vice versa. So far, this conflict has cost mankind a thousand innocent lives, and a million people have fled the remains of their homes. At this point, the pointed finger of blame really means very little, and as is almost always the case in any conflict, the reasons are both vague, and unwarranted.
The U.N. Security council has been working to forge a lasting ceasefire in the region perhaps weeks too late, but nonetheless, it is on the table as we speak. The general idea is that a buffer zone in southern Lebanon will be created and patrolled by 15,000 Lebanese soldiers working with U.N. troops. This of course, goes hand in hand with an immediate end to all hostilities.
This sounds reasonable for now, but the proposal seems to omit two very obvious points. Firstly, Israel must withdraw every last man from Lebanese soil, and Hezbollah must be disarmed. Both of these tasks seem formidable at present, especially considering how difficult disarming Hezbollah will be, and the tendency Israel has to raid and rocket targets outside their borders...
I am quite surprised that initially, the US along with Britain, Israel and sadly, Canada, did not support an immediate ceasefire, yet now, the US is pushing for an expediant passing of this UN resolution. As for a permanent and lasting peace? I am not so sure having thousands of soldiers patrolling a border fosters a sense of peace, but the fact is, the presence of these soldiers would be essential in inhibiting the growth of other radical military groups, and stopping Israel from further aggressions into the area. I also think that some other agreements need to be reached, and there is the issue of rebuilding a rather huge chunk of Lebanese infrastructure and homes.
The permanent and lasting peace will only happen when everyone decides it's time to grow up, and accept the fact that mankind is one, and all people, regardless of race, religion and wealth are equal.
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It wasn't too long ago that many people cheered the Supreme Court's ruling that the Bush administration had overstepped their authority and contravened both US law as well as the Geneva Conventions with regards to the Military Tribunals and indefinate detainment of suspected terrorists.
A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions" to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.
People who are *not* terrorism suspects? This plan would allow the Secretary of Defense to add crimes as he sees fit to those under the jurisdiction of the military. This would increase the number of people put before the previously ruled as illegal tribunals.
There's more. because of the nature of these tribunals, many rights normally enjoyed by defendants would be waived.
Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.
Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.
I am not sure which is scarier. The ability of the Secretary of Defense to add crimes at will to the list or the lack of rights the detained people no longer get. Is this Justice? Or perhaps is this a sign of even more things to come? Military lawyers complained that the new draft doesn't have enough "due process rights" for prisoners and it could "further tarnish America's image". Well no shit Sherlock.
What really scares me is that they could detain you without charge for an indefinate time, decide that your crime is under the authority of the military, and then try you without you even being present. This is *not* right. No sane person should think it is. This is all starting to sound more and more like the black shirt and jack-boot gang is coming to town.
I understand that Hezbollah has launched hundreds and thousands of their short range rockets into Israeli towns and even as far as Haifa and beyond. We know everyday how many rockets they launch because the news agencies tell us. Many Israelis have been killed and injured by these rocket attacks, to the tune of 28 Israeli civilians being killed and 418 injured so far. These attacks should be condemned by the international community of course, especially considering how often they occur and the targets generally being civilian populated areas!
However, this got me thinking. We know Israel has been carpet bombing Lebanon for weeks now, and in fact, they have killed 577 Lebanese civilians and injured 1661, leaving upwards if 900,000 Lebanese people displaced from their homes. I wanted to know how much ordnance Israel has used... or in other words, how many bombs, missiles etc. have they fired into Lebanon. This is not something that is reported daily on the news, so it took a little poking around.
This map is from a site called Samidoun.org Click it for a hi-res version that shows in great detail the location and frequency of air strikes. The site also has maps showing how much infrastructure (only updated to July 24th) has been destroyed by the air raids. That is, roads, bridges, fuel stations, airports, all that. I can honestly say, I had no idea the Israeli air strikes were this rampant. The map shown is only updated to July 30th, and since, Israel has continued aerial bombardment of many areas.
I do not have the time to count all of those little circles...
Casualty numbers are ever changing and taken from the Wikipedia page documenting the events. The numbers of Lebanese casualties and injured differ depending on sources.
UPDATE: There are new maps updated on the site showing further air strike locations. Check the August 6th map to see further attacks.
Acrobats and comets floating by so fast Children's faces smile like suns at last Lilac butterflies are cruising without fear All inviting you to stay and rest here You can halt your car for an afternoon in Utopia We shall stop the wars on those afternoons in Utopia
Mighty Mao Moondog drifts across the grass Healing lullabies for easter time on Mars Paint your hats and shoes with flowers and with stars Singing in metropolitan operas You can halt your car for an afternoon in Utopia We shall stop the wars on those afternoons in Utopia
After an investigation into the shooting incident in Haditha on November 19th, 2005, where 24 civilians including women and children were shot by marines, it has been concluded that they were indeed shot deliberately. Another investigation is underway to decide if officers helped cover up the massacre.
This comes as other investigations are underway into yet more killings by marines in Iraq.
TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers charged with murdering three detainees in Iraq smiled before carrying out the shootings and threatened to kill another soldier if he informed on them, a military court heard on Wednesday.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has stated that they will take over all security duties from the US and other foreign troops by the end of the year. This is good news, but where will the mighty US war machine go to then?
Our local Slo-pitch league season has wound down to an end. As always, it is great fun to play, not to mention great exercise. Our team is older than many on average, but we managed to finish with a respectable 12-10-1 season.
Sadly, my last hit of the year was a pretty funny one. Not only did I really step into it, but I swung with authority, and somehow, the ball hit the dirt and went about 3 feet... Naturally, without revealing my secret identity as The Flash, I beat out the throw to first, but I woul dhave really liked to drive it into the gap for an in the park homer... sigh.
On the bright side, I will now have two more free nights a week, to spend more time with the family and actually get some painting done again!
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.
Site design created by Zaphod. All written work and code is the intellectual property of Glyn Evans.
I have lived in Central Alberta almost my entire life, except for a 4 year stint when I was younger in Swaziland, and about 5 years in beautiful BC. I have a wonderful girlfriend and am expecting very soon! I work in the engineering field and enjoy writing in my spare time.