We are leaving for a week vacation in Fairmont hot springs today. We went last year and had a great time at the villas where we stayed and we are really looking forward to going again now.
Naturally, thigns don't always work out perfectly, as yesterday our washing machine decided to blow a seal or something and we spent hours sopping up water from the laundry room and basement. Guess it'll get fixed when we get back!
Everyone gets a lot of e-mail phishes nearly every day. Some of the most common are the "credit card companies" that you have never heard of. Citibank is a biggie, and many others. They want your info because of security this, or updating that. Then there are all of those crazy Nigerians that want to give you millions for free... They are really funny. In fact, they inspired me to actually create an e-mail addy that was "nigerian.oil.minister at gmail.com" just for kicks. Add to these the slew of crap you get from eBay and Paypal, and nearly any other imagineable source and you never know what to do anymore.
I received something completely new today though... from the United States Internal Revenue Service. The best part of this? I am Canadian of course :D
McChimpy recently released part of a NIE report outlining the cause and effects of the invasion and occupation of Iraq upon global terrorism.
The chimpster maintains that the invasion has NOT increased the amount of terrorism in the world and that we are all much safer now, and if we don't believe him, we should not jump to conclusions and read the declassified bits ourselves.
Well of course, like many others, I scanned the brief pdf document and I have to say, according to their findings, the invasion and occupation of Iraq HAS increased both the number and reach of terror groups globally. It says so in plain black and white letters (emphasis mine).
In the bleak National Intelligence Estimate, the government's top analysts concluded Iraq has become a "cause celebre" for jihadists, who are growing in number and geographic reach. If the trend continues, the analysts found, the risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow.
The only thing I can think of, besides the fact that whenever the President opens his mouth he screws everything up, is that the pro-Iraq war folks, and Republicans are using these findings as a reason to STAY in Iraq. Of course, this really doesn't say anything at all like what George maintains, that the invasion has made us safer, and lessened world terrorism. It only reaffirms what we already know.
This is typical. Instead of acknowledging the truth, it is twisted and used in a way that it was not meant to be used. Some people call it context. I agree with that to a certain extent, but now they are comparing apples and oranges, where the report details what an apple looks like, tastes like, and mashed up like... but they are using the report to tell us how an orange doesn't taste, or look like, or mash up like.
All I have to say is that if the proof is against these people, and they try to bastardize in order to justify their actions and continued aggressions, God help us all. It wouldn't be the first time, and most definately, not the last.
Maybe life under Saddam wasn't all peaches and cream, but I would wager for your average Iraqi, it was a lot safer than trying to get to the market nowadays. Of course Flightsuit McChimpy is still going to stand up on a massive phallic podium, spouting out how something he did is of course, not responsible for a massive increase in terrorism in Iraq, and around the world.
Did he think that when he declared war on "Terror" that it would simply dissapate and be gone? Of course not, since for the most part, the War on Terror is nothing more than a weak front for political and economical interests (mainly oil say) in the Middle East. Of course, many would be terrorists, and perhaps even the simply disgruntled amongst them would take this opportunity to actually start doing something... Why not? The biggest bully on the planet has openly declared war on an ideology! What better place than Iraq to let fly the brunt of terrorist attacks... Only now, the US administration may be beginning to realise they are losing this war (remember Vietnam?) and now this could be a sign that they are backing down... or maybe it's just more bullshit to let us all know what a damn fine job they are doing. I suspect it is an obvious latter choice here.
I am starting to suspect however, that soon, the definition of terrorist will no longer include "insurgent" or "extremist" according to Bushco... I mean in reality, a terrorist is only a person who carries out an act of terror, not an act of war (say attacking an occupying force that has declared war on you). Lumping in almost any undesireables has greatly increased terrorism around the world. This will soon change, so that McChimpy can indeed prove there are less terrorists than there really are.
Naturally, the last statement was a little fun on my part, but seriously, I firmly believe that the invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq has done nothing to quell global terrorism, but has in fact, increased anti-American and anti-Western sentiment in many parts of the world, and frankly, when you cannot compete with someone like the US on level terms with nukes, aircraft carriers and Rockwell bombers, you have little choice left but to resort to Guerrilla tactics and terrorism. Bush and his administration of incompetent liars wanted a "War on Terror", and now they have one. They just don't want to admit it anymore.
Check out the video on C&L.. Keith Olbermann really sets the record straight with regards to Terrorism, Clinton and more...
It seems that some of the ridiculous measures put in place to stop would-be bombers from blowing up a 747 with a tube of toothpaste have been lightened. Now you can take small amounts of things like toothpaste and other personal products on board planes, as long as they are stored in clear zip lock baggies and in amounts not exceeding 3 ounces... Hmmm. Sounds kinda familiar.
Marcum pitched a jem to beat the Red Sox 5-0 tonight, moving Toronto a half game ahead of the mighty Red Sox... Not so long ago, Boston was at the top of the division...
Homers from Rios and Molina scored all the runs for Toronto, and though they are pretty much doen for the season, it's good to see them play well and it's good to see some of these young guys like Lind getting lots of bats.
This video represents several things to me. First, it was the beginning of the end for Metallica... perhaps not that album, but the band that would never "sell out", sold out right after releasing this.
Of course, the video is really good, and makes me think that often, the casualties of war and conflict that are rarely mentioned are the casualties that do not die. For every soldier that dies keeping the peace, or fighting terrorists, or opposing an occupation, there are others, like the character in the video, who are maimed and scarred forever. Some are much luckier, and may only lose an arm, or a hand. Some lose their sight, or hearing... and some, much much worse than death.
This was prevalent if memory serves. I laughed at the arrogance and stupidity of some Americans when the French refused to back them, and people were suddenly eating "Freedom Fries" instead of "French Fries"... and even now, how folks who oppose the "War on Terror" are labelled as terrorist supporters and perhaps even Godless for some unimagineable reason, as if independent thought was suddenly some sort of treasonous crime.
Funny, I always thought the old "help us or die" cliche was only in the movies...
A new record has been set for civilian deaths in iraq, with 6, 599 being reported in July and August. Not only are more people dying every day, but many suggest that torture is more rampant now than it ever was under Hussein's rule. Consider that there are terrorist groups, militias, police, and yes, even the occupying forces likely involved. All signs that Iraq is moving closer and closer to civil war. Remember to check my poll.. .There really is only one answer I believe.
With the new NHL season right around the corner, I will begin my game-by-game sidebar stat ticker again for the mighty Habs, and start posting again on events and deals regarding the team.
So far this year, we have seen some players go, the likes of Jan Bulis, Nicklas Sundstrom and Richard Zednik, but we have also seen a few new faces join the club in the off season, namely Sergei Samsonov and Mike Johnson. The key this year, will be goal scoring for sure. The basic core of the Habs Defense looks as solid as last year, though they are definately hoping guys like Komisarek and Streit continue to improve. Goaltending is as stellar as always in Montreal, with Huet back, likely as the starter.
Koivu is back after his season ending eye injury and we can look forward to one of my all-time favorites in Kirk Muller helping out behind the bench with Carbonneau.
For a good in-depth look at the upcoming season and what to expect, check out the team preview feature on NHL.COM
Military. Is this what Canada is really about? With our now never-ending mission in Afghanistan on record (they are using the tired cliche about not leaving until the job is done, er victory that is...), H-Dawg is going to the UN to discuss the mission and defend his close ties with the US and ask for more support. Recently, he has been on about Canada's prestige increasing because of our military involvement overseas... As one writer put it, he is trading bodybags for prestige. Do we want to base our foreign policy and status in the world on our military?
The aforementioned automobile repairs are going to cost in the vicinity of $750. I was seriously hoping for about a $200 fix, and I even went to the bank to apply for a loan to buy a newer car to no avail.
Bummed out, pissed off but still better off than we were a few years ago, that's for certain. Still looking at possibilities for getting a newer car but only time will tell now. We pretty much have to fix the old one, whether we keep it, sell it or anything.
H-Dawg is again pumping his fist in anger at the inadequate sentences for gun offenders, saying how much their plan to increase the mandatory minimum sentences will stop these crimes cold.
This government is determined to have more effective legislation that will prevent such a tragedy and such an act from occurring in the future. I call on the opposition to support our bill in order to implement mandatory sentences for crimes committed with firearms.
I call bullshit Mister Prime Minister.
How many times do you hear about a shooting at a school, or college, or McDonald's, or wherever, and in fact, the shooter either kills himself (purely coincidental reference to gender where the subject is in reality, androgenous for all intents and purposes...) or is killed by law enforcement officers? I mean seriously... these folks, for the most part, are probably mentally unstable and suicidal to begin with, thus their reaction to the situation by shooting others in gun rampages.
How is increasing sentences actually going to PREVENT these things from happening? It won't. It is a reactionary measure as opposed to a preventative measure and in many cases (like above), will do NOTHING. Do you think some hoodlum about to pull the trigger is even contemplating a sentence in prison? Tough call there...
The debate should be interesting today as Parliament resumes. Sadly, 4 more Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan today, raising even further questions about either our involvement there, or the tactics we are using to help stabilize the country.
At least it didn't snow yet. Hopefully, it will miss us altogether. That's the bright bit on a day that started out dreary already...
My wife left for week this morning and after backing out of the driveway, the gear shifter popped out or something and now she is using my car which isn't the problem of course... But we are trying to get off on a holiday at the end of the month, and car repairs are the last thing we need :(
Hopefully, it isn't too bad. Kind of funny how these things always happen when you least need it!
Why so soon? This really sucks. I guess it will only be a little, and likely gone early tomorrow... I just hate winter and snow. Seems way to early in the year for this weather, but then things are changing even though some people won't admit it.
Boy, this is starting to sound a lot like the quest for the Weapons of Mass Destruction that Hussein had stashed in every lavatory, pantry and truck trailer...
VIENNA, Austria -- A recent House of Representatives committee report on Iran's nuclear capability is "outrageous and dishonest" in trying to make a case that Tehran's program is geared toward making weapons, a senior official of the U.N. nuclear watchdog has said.
Don't get me wrong, a country like Iran developing these horrible weapons scares me even more than thinking about the massive stockpiles some nations already possess, but the US seems bent on playing up the facts and we have seen the results of the last time that happened... $320 Billion and a hundred thousand civilian lives.
Iran's enriched uranium is no where near the amounts or quality needed to build weapons. The letter goes on to defend other accusations that a senior IAEA official was removed because he refused to report on Iran's entire nuclear program...
Are we really going to go down this road again? Before the aerial assault, invasion and occupation of Iraq, the IAEA had maintained that Hussein was neither trying to develop nuclear weapons nor did he possess other large quantities of WMDs.
Oh wait... maybe they could make some dirty bombs out of their shit-grade uranium.
For years now, the biggest catch phrase on the news, in politics, and just about everywhere is "The War on Terror". Face it, it has become a marketer's dream. In this case, perhaps the marketers aren't just politicians. When all you hear and see on television is "Terror", it is understandable to assume that people will be afraid, and when people are afraid, they tend to watch more, and more...
It's time to get a grip on "Terrorism" and the fear that people are being fed daily. This article on Alternet is really good, and goes to show that the only losers in the "War on Terror" are the public... those of us that our leaders are claiming to be trying to protect. After all, they get their approval ratings up, and since we are all so damned afraid, the unseen terrorists lurking in our backyards have all won as well.
Recently, I asked if there was *really* a "surge" in terrorism... Is there? Every damn attack by any sort of people against almost anyone now is called a terror attack. Whether it's militants, insurgents, high school vandals or crazed Jihadists, it all gets lumped into the new definition of "Terrorism". Of course there are real terrorists out there, but for the most part, I suspect people are *looking* for more and more justification so that they can re-affirm what they are told by the press and our leaders.
In fact, I suspect that a vast majority of newly documented terrorism incidents are directly related to the actions of the Bush administration and his army of the willing, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are these terror attacks? By terrorists? Or are they attacks by an organized or at least loosely grouped together resistance force? Of course they are. These attacks would never be there, nor would they be happening on a daily basis if the US response to 9/11 was different.
We have created a whole new genre of terrorism.
Frankly, I scoff at the thought of Islamic extremists in some far away cave wishing Allah would make me pay for my freedoms and lifestyles... The mere thought of this is a joke. Politicians spouting off about how this is true, and how this evil, faceless enemy will stop at nothing until me and all of my neighbours are dead in the shattered hulks of our SUVs and motorhomes make me really wonder how intelligent beings can believe it.
When H-Dawg and McChimpy say we must make sacrifices to combat the "scourge of terrorism", they are right. We have to sacrifice our common sense, and our own freedoms.
And the faceless terrorists sitting in caves somewhere far away have won without even firing a single 7.62mm shell.
I know Red Deer isn't the thriving metropolis that Calgary is, or Toronto, or New York say, but since our office moved into the Edgar Industrial Park from the north end, we hav ehad to deal with a lot of industrial traffic. The thing about the industrial park is that there are only two accesses, one from the south, and one from the north into the place. This doesn't seem bad I suppose, but when it's time to go home, there is always quite a line-up because the intersections at these points were never designed for the amount of traffic we have at present (nevermind the future). The park is about 10km x 2.5 km in area, and services many businesses, most of which are oilfield (meaning big trucks and aggressive pickup drivers). I deal with this congestion by staying a little late, and arriving a little early.
However, for several weeks now, the south entrance to the industrial park is closed for bridge repairs. The first day of the closure, the traffic was backed up for about 5 km. People were actually driving through vacant lots and over the berms and ditches to go directly onto Highway 2. This means I have to stay a *lot* late to miss the traffic LOL!
The worst part is that tomorrow, they are shutting down the Highway 11a railroad crossing for repairs and this is one of the few remaining ways to hit the last open entrance into the park. Should be fun.
What worries me about this whole closure deal though, is that if it takes an hour to clear out *most* of the traffic at the end of the day, what would happen in the event of an emergency? We have had spills and such before...
And rightfully so. The worst President ever has in reality, done NOTHING after 9/11 and Keith explains why. Of course, everyone already knows this stuff, but they just can't seem to accept it for some reason. Even the invasion of Afghanistan was a knee-jerk reaction to the ultimate problem of who was behind the attacks (and a nice place-setting for the oil pipeline to boot)...
The scourge of terrorism can't be stopped "unless some among us are willing to accept enormous sacrifice and risk to themselves," warned Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Scourge? What scourge? Really? Has there actually been a much higher rate of terror attacks and problems since before 9/11? Oh maybe if you include the hellhole that used to be Iraq and Afghanistan... sure. But then those are either insurgents responding to occupational forces, or other extremist groups that were not there until the occupational forces arrived.
Has there been a marked increase in bombings? Hijackings? Anything? I would like to see numbers to verify this scourge. Our world is pathetic, and the West is taking the front seat on the roller-coaster to hell.
5 years ago, nearly 3000 Americans were killed by terrorists. Today, 5 years later, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind allegedly behind the attacks is still free somewhere. "Dead or Alive" Bush vowed. instead, he turned his sites on Iraq, and $315 BILLION later, and 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians later, what has been solved? We have known that apart from some sort of infantile rhetoric, Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11 so in reality, what has been done for "closure" since? We know that the Bush administration knew something was up that day, even if they were not directly behind the attacks. So what have they *really* done about it? They took the fight to someone else's yard... that's what.
My heart goes out to the families of those who lost loved ones on this fateful day, 5 years ago. My heart also goes out to the countless innocents that have been affected in the aftermath of the attacks, all across the world.
And Osama's still bin hidin.
What has changed since? Everyone has said that the world changed forever. Did it change for good? Did mankind unite together and forge stronger ties with our neighbours, and stand up to tyranny and oppression across the world? Nope. In fact, the world is likely more divided and suspicious than ever before. We now have secret prisons, torture charges, telephone and internet spying, car bombs, insurgents, less freedoms whether staying home or travelling abroad, and a nation that was the most powerful on the planet, clinging to save face and money, as the world slowly turns away from them.
And Osama's still bin hidin.
How does this President maintain his reigns on a nation that tried to impeach another President for ridiculously far less? Why does a country not demand justice for someone that has cost them much more than billions of dollars, and thousands of American lives?
Booman Tribune argues that putting off democracy until a few other concerns are addressed is the way to go.
This is not inconsistent with my suggestion that the primary focus of center left democracy promotion needs to be on the ground with people and not in the diplomat’s conference room.
This is where US foreign policy goes all wrong. They put a puppet government in power, one that is obviously favorable to whatever goals they have in the region, and after that, they attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people. However, the people, as a general rule, have much closer ties to the former regimes, benign or not, historically speaking. Local warlords vie for power while the puppet regime sits powerless, feeding off of whatever scraps of arms and manpower the US gives them...
In other words, politics trumps popularity every time it seems.
Each week, members of the BlogExplosion community can rent a space for advertising out to other members. This week, I am proud to annouce "Discuss It" is my new Featured Blog.
I am pleased to welcome back Scott's "Discuss It" blog to the blog of the week. This is a great site with several different contributors. They like to discuss topics ranging from Politics to Social Issues, and it is well worth reading. Check them out here or by clicking the link on the sidebar! Stop by and leave some comments for Scott and the others. This week, the focus is discussing the events and repurcussions of 9-11. Check it out.
It seems the US military has finally banned the torture and degrading treatment of prisoners during interrogations in their new manual. This is really good news, except that the CIA is still exempt from the rules binding the military, and what really sucks is that Bush has now admitted that the CIA has or is running secret prisons for suspects in the "War on Terror"... This is all a big run-up for them to introduce new legislation for allowing military tribunals to carry on at Gitmo. Remember, these tribunals have only recently been deemed illegal by the Supreme Court. So in a nutshell, it's still okay for CIA operatives to humiliate, torture, starve and do other perverted and disgusting things to "detainees"... and these are likely who is in charge of all of the key prison facilities in the "War on Terror".
I wonder when Congress and the rest of the country will stop listening to Bush's crap. The only new things he says is what we already know (and was formerly secret). The rest is as they say, history (even the made up stuff LOL)...
You may have noticed a drop-off in posting, in particular any political commentary etc. This is because I have begun painting again, and this, combined with my newfound addiction to Neverwinter Nights has caused me to have a lot less time. I suppose the gaming isn't too bad, but I have begun an attempt to create my own module based off of the classic Wizardry 1 RPG from waaaaay back.
At any rate, here is Russ, from Hasslefree miniatures. The little mushroom was made from left-over greenstuff and a small length of paper clip. He is small, standing barely 20mm high from toe to eyes. I have several other views on my site. Just click on the latest update (picture of Russ) to see more...
Perhaps I will update the progress on my module from time to time. Learning the toolset that comes with the game is slow going script wise but so far, I have the first level done but not fleshed out (there are 10 levels).
Well it was bound to happen sooner or later. Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter has been defeated by nature. I always figured he would get horribly disfigured from a Croc attack, or swallowed whole by some form of massive constrictor... but getting stabbed through the heart by a stingray is a pretty wicked way to go.
Can't say as I'll miss the annoying blighter, but he did take us to a lot of places we would never get to see... Later Steve.
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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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.