A Canadian's perspective on domestic and international issues. Independent coverage of Canadian federal, provincial and municipal elections and anything of interest in Canada.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What if? A new year's questionaire

What if

What if George W. Bush is actually the reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain? That would certainly explain his penchant for “preemptive” strikes!

What if Dick Cheney is actually as he appears to be? Be afraid, be very afraid!

What if Stephen Harper is actually who he appears to be? Yuk! Barf!

What if Santa is actually Satan and the spelling of his name is just a typo? If the red suit fits, wear it.

What if the thing we think is the moon glowing at night is actually a gynecologist's headlamp and this world a birth canal?

What if we could live forever? Would we really want to?

What if Jesus were to actually return in some sort of great parade out of the sky to judge us all? Would you be shitting in your boots too?

What if we carpet bombed with rice instead of munitions? Would those foreigners like us any better?

What if we actually did stop building, and selling, weapons? Would we have to worry about weapons of mass destruction anymore?

What if everyone who was elidgible to vote actually voted?

What if we found out the world was going to end at midnight tonight? Would we treat one another any better?

What if, instead of spending billions on weapons, we gave every man woman and child in the country one million dollars? Would that make our national debt worthwhile?

What would happen if we all actually did make love, not war?

What would happen if we actually did, as John Lennon suggested, Give Peace a Chance? Will we ever know?

What if Jesus already did come back, and we did the same thing to him again already? Are we in trouble yet? Apparently no one knew who he was back then either!

What if we did make all our cars and other machines run on wind, air, water, hydrogen, biodiesel and anything but oil? Then could we let the folks in the middle east be?

What if we ignore global warming and conduct business as usual? Will Stephen Harper be proven correct?

What if economics were actually more important than everything else? Would this still be a beautiful world?

What if the private sector really could, and was committed to, providing services to the public? Would we even need a government?

What if employees were actually considered to be a company’s most important asset by the company?

What if one person could actually change the world? What would you do?

What if you vote actually does count? Will you ever bother to find out?

What if the subconscious is actually the concsious, and the conscious the subconscious? Who are you in your other life?

What if the dream state is reality and this is the dream state? Is yours pleasant or a nightmare?

What if we actually do control our own destinies? Where are you going?

What if the world is really as George Bush says it is? Would it be worth the bother?

What if Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Bobby Kennedy and Mahatma Ghandi had survived? What do you think they’d have to say today?

What if there had been a red under every bed? Would things be any different?

What if freedom really exists? Well, does it?

What if love really is all you need? Would you pass some on?


Spare me the JFK-style Bhutto hype

It amazes me how quick we are to take up the government position on this murder and blame it on Al Queada (which really does not exist as an international entity but is a term used to describe several loosely knit or unconnected groups who for one reason or another have a bone to pick with the powers that be), or the Taliban.
I wonder what happened to the presumption of innocence, or is that just reserved for those of us in the west?
I also wonder about the concept of hard evidence. What happened to it? I've not seen, read or heard, anything that conclusively ties either the Taliban or the so-called Al Queada to this incident. It reminds me of the WMD argument that sent the US guns ablaze into Iraq.
In fact, based on all I've read and watched this past two days, I'd have to say the arrow points towards either Bhutto's opposition, or the Pakistani president.
The opponent, Sharif, is the one who really stands to gain from this action. With Bhutto gone, he stands to win big time. I'd say he looks like a likely suspect.
And if it is true the current president of Pakistan is as power mad as he's made out to be, then removing Bhutto potentially works in his favour too. It will be understandable now, according to many of our western pundits, if he were to crack down and cancel the coming election.
The big loser in all this is America. Bhutto was their candidate, her very presence back in Pakistan as a direct result of work by Condoleeza Rice and the Bush Administration. So I would suggest that rules out American involvement.
As an aside, I wonder how many people who are outrightly praising the slain former Prime Minister actually know much about her. Are they aware of her American ties, the fact she attended university there, and lived a good part of her life in the west.
Do they know about her government and the many charges levelled against it, some successfully prosecuted?
And what do they know about her party? Without a good deal of cooperation from the current President, and backing from the US, Bhutto would not have been able to get anywhere near the Prime Ministerial office in the upcoming election. She is being praised in death as having been the potential savior of Pakistan, but was she really?
I don't mean to diminish in anyway the woman's courage or conviction. Clearly she believed she was doing the right thing, and her death is truly and sad and troubling thing for Pakistan and the world. However, getting back to my intial point, I am very disturbed by some of the rhetoric I'm hearing and reading, and by the fact that both the people and the mainstream media seem to be going along with what they are being told, instead of digging and insisting the real truth be told.
If you feel bad about Benazir Bhutto, then it seems the proper thing to do would be to demand from our leaders, and the media, they get to the bottom of the vicious crime, demand an autopsy, demand independent investigation, apprehension and prosecution.
Most of all, I want to encourage everyone not to necessarily believe what we are being told by people who weren't there and did not see what went down.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Baird on the outcome in Bali

First, John Baird does everything he can to undermine any sort of
firm commitments on Climate Change in Bali, then he laments the
agreement that was achieved set no firm limits!
As I remember it, the Conservatives campaigned on the idea of doing
things differently than their predecessors, instead we discover that it
is business as usual, double speak and spin, double speak and spin.
The current government of Canada is an embarrassment to Canadians,
and are quickly becoming the laughing stock of the civilized world.
When do we get to vote again?

Friday, December 14, 2007

What's Wrong With the RCMP

As jobs go, becoming a member of the RCMP is a relatively easy task. It basically require six months training, Then poof, you're a mountie!
At very least members, or those folks wishing to become members of Canada's national police force, should have to already possess a BA in some related field, or have at least a couple years experience in social service, criminology, law, or some other field of expertise before being accepted at the RCMP academy.
As it is, just about anyone who passes a fitness test can become a cop. As a result, we end up with folks who have little or no experience, outside the six months basic training, being put in difficult situations they are not trained to deal with.
I would also suggest the RCMP training needs to last at least two years, and involve training in first aid, law, martial arts, cultural sensitivity, and a variety of other studies.
What's wrong with Canada's police?
The simply answer is, quite correctly, they are not properly prepared for, and many are not properly suited to, the job they have undertaken.

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Break Up the Party in Canadian Politics

The real problem in Canadian governance is the partisan politics, and the only way to resolve that problem is for the Canadian voter to reject the parties. Perhaps then we'll see some real
change in our national and provincial political scene.
Here again is another ploy to get people to vote for another political party. I've looked at the Green's policies. Yes they are strong on the environment, but their environmental policies are not far off from where the NDP's are. I've also looked at their economic policy. In the last election they were suggesting 50 per cent tax cuts, which would be disastrous to our social safety net if it were ever instituted. I've also looked at their social policies, which are somewhere right of the Harper Conservative's. Yes, I said "right" of Harper!
It is time for real change in Canadian politics, and I don't believe voting for any party is going to achieve that. The parties are the problem! If Canadians really want change, then it is incumbent upon us to bust up the party!
My suggestion is that we all seriously consider voting Independent.
Lets find the independent candidate who we feel best represents the riding, and who has a decent reputation in the riding for caring about the people and place. If such a candidate can't be found, then I suggest we vote for the independent candidate who is most likely to cause a
kafluffle in Ottawa, or Victoria, whichever the case may be. If we can't find a viable non-partisan person to elect, then lets send a loonie to the loonie bin, and really stir things up.
That aside, the one thing that could change the way politics is done in this country is to get all those folks who don't vote to finally vote, especially those people who are so disenfranchised they don't believe their vote matters. If we can just get the people who don't vote to vote, then we will at least have governance by the people, instead of governance by the wealthy, which is our current situation, because it is mostly the wealthy who vote.
Finally, anyone who believes one party or the other is going to save our country is living in a dream world. History shows that parties are partisan. Once they are in power, their greatest preoccupation is self promotion, not service. Parties serve the parties, not the
An example of this is the Green Party leader's deal with the federal Liberals to run in Peter McKay's riding. Another is Stephen Harper's recent cow-tow to Quebec. Stephane Dion is unwilling to cause an election, despite the Conservative's inaction on the Kyoto Accord and a national debate on Afghanistan, because his party can't afford to run a national campaign. Then there's the NDP, who when they came to power in BC, promptly cut funding and services to hospitals and welfare. And let's not forget the phat MLA raise the provincial parties granted themselves this past year. We can fatten MLA pensions but we won't build houses for the province's homeless.

I hope we voters will soon give the parties what they really deserve, which is a good swift boot!

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New Ways to Police, and to police the police

Four members of the RCMP shot dead in Mayerthorpe Alberta. Two more mounties shot dead in separate incidents when they answered calls alone. Four Mounties taser a confused man at Vancouver International airport, and the man dies!
All these things, and many more, point to a serious problem at the RCMP, and that problem is training.
Being a policeman or woman is one of the most dangerous and complicated jobs in our society. Officers must deal with a wide variety of people, places and circumstances, probably more than in any other occupation in our society. Yet, to become a police officer in Canada, requires less training and education than most other jobs. In fact, the period of training required to become a police officer is less than the training required to become a cook, a carpenter, a first aid attendant, a bricklayer, and many other things.
All one needs to do to become a police officer in Canada is to be of reasonably good physical and mental condition, of age of majority, and willing to undergo six months basic training. One does not need a degree of any kind, and in some circumstances, does not even have to graduate from high school!
In fact, the training period is so short, and the prerequisites for being admitted to such a training program, so minor, that many choose to become policemen and women simply because it is "easy." Because of this, many people, who really should not become police, are actually becoming police.
I know one fellow who joined the RCMP simply because he had no other options, and decided that when our society goes to hell, he wants to be one of the guys who has a gun. Another I know, became a cop after failing to make the NHL. He went from the Edmonton Oilers training camp, where he was an early cut, right into the RCMP academy at Regina! In his hockey career this fellow had been an enforcer. Through school his grades were, at best, average, and his skills limited. It was while at training camp that he met a police officer who suggested joining the RCMP might be an good career choice, mostly because it did not require him to have to go further in school, and he had the physical fitness it takes to become a cop!
Another police officer I know became a cop not because she wanted to be a cop, but because her friends were cops.
If there is any job in our society where are best and brightest should be working, it is in police services. It should not be the other way around. Becoming a police officer should not be an option for people who can't find a job, don't possess the skills required to enter a profession, or have few other options. If anything, becoming a police officer should be an option for people who excel, who are bright, who have a wide range of options open to them, and who have a demonstrated sensitivity towards people, cultures, problem solving, conflict resolution, and an ability to think on their feet. By no means should policing be the realm of people who's only real strength is physical fitness. The fact you are a jock should not qualify you to become a cop.
While the focus, of the recent unfortunate incidents involving police, has been the use of tasers, I think the real focus of any judicial inquiry should be police training. In the video we've all seen, police move in and act, but the question that really needs to be asked is: Why did they act the way they did? To me, the taser gun is irrelevant.
Early on in the Vancouver Airport video we see a woman trying to communicate with the victim. Quite clearly this woman recognizes the fellow has a problem of some sort that is not being dealt with, and she does not feel at all threatened by the man's demeanor. We also hear, on the audio track, that several bystanders, and security personnel, have identified the problem has something to do with language. Clearly, average Joes, who are standing around, have a clear idea what the issue is. I found myself wondering why, when so many others had a grasp on the situation, the police weren't getting it.
What I saw was police who weren't interested in "getting it." What I saw was four guys who simply wanted to go in, take the guy out, then get back to whatever it was they were doing before they were called. I did not see any sign of professional policing, which is supposed to involve insuring the safety and security of the people. I did not see any attempt by police to determine what the issue was. I did not see any of the policemen consult with one another, ask questions, or pay any attention to what they were being told by witnesses. What I saw was a bunch of guys on a clock who wanted, primarily, to get in and get out, without any regard for the individual who was clearly displaying signs of distress.
When this is all over I'm afraid those officers are going to be fall guys. In all likelihood they will lose their jobs, or somehow find themselves restrained in their jobs. I also suspect that one or two of them will have serious regrets about how they handled the situation. Sadly, what we won't see is anyone in the RCMP or government taking any real responsibility for what was really going on. And what was really going on was these policemen had absolutely no idea how to deal with the situation.
Is that the officers' fault? I think not.
It is time for the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and for the police service boards of this country, to take a serious look at policing, how it is done, how officers are trained, and who is being trained for the job. It is also time for governments and police agencies to stop blaming individual officers for breakdowns in policing. There is a problem with policing in Canada, and something needs to be done about it.
In my opinion, that something begins with training. People wanting to become police officers should have to at least have a supporting degree, or some years experience on the community level, or in related occupations, before even being accepted to undergo police training. There also needs to be better compensation for police officers, so that police forces are able to attract higher educated and more experienced personnel.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need to begin to look at how policing is done.
Is the current para-military approach to policing really working?
Do we really need for all police to be armed to the teeth and in constant combat ready mind sets?
Is it really effective to hire police based on physical prowess, as opposed to intellectual ability and social awareness?
Are there other ways to effectively police, apart from the flack-jacketed, heavily armed, big beefcake approach?
Yes there are, and we here in the Great White North had better change how policing is done before our police lose what little credibility they have left.

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Private Enterprise Does Not Serve the People

One of the arguments I keep hearing from right and center right parties, and sometimes from center left parties, is the notion that it is the private sector’s job to provide housing for the people of the country, and that government has no place in homebuilding.
The crux of this belief is that private enterprise, when provided with an opportunity, will take care of the needs of the people. The argument is supported by the theory that government has no place interfering with business, and that business, when unfettered by government control, will look out for the interests of the people.
This theory is often applied to other issues, such as daycare, medicine, the environment, labour law, education. The philosophy is that business interests can do a better job than government, and that government getting involved in things like building houses, providing daycare, education, health care services, only enlarges the beauracracy and leads to inefficiency in the delivery of services.
Its an ideological theory that really has no basis in fact. Simple truth is, if private industry could be trusted to deliver homes, educations, labour justice, daycare, healthcare and to do what’s right by the working class, then we would have no need for government. Heck, if business is looking out for the people, then there would be nothing for government to do.
Let’s remember for a moment why representative government came to be in the first place. In English speaking society that takes us to the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta was implemented by noblemen in order to insure the King did not run riot on them. In the Magna Carta, provisions were implemented to limit the power of the King, and to protect the rights and priviledges of the Kingdom’s citizens.
Representative government came about as a tool whose primary function was to strike a balance between the royalty of a nation and its people. You see, left to their own devices, the nobility simply ran riot on the citizenry. Basically, those that had took what they wanted, and the have-nots had no legal recourse to protect themselves from having what little they did have taken away. With the advent of representative government, neither the wealthy nor the poor could just take whatever they wanted. You might say that the whole purpose of representative government was to protect the have-nots from the haves, and to insure the haves provided the have-nots with their basic needs.
It is still government’s primary purpose today. Government, for all intent and purpose, is meant to be an advocate for those who do not have power and money. Its whole purpose is to make sure that every citizen of a country, rich or poor, is on a level playing field. It is not there to make the rich richer, the poor poorer, the rich poorer, or the poor richer. Government’s job, is simply to make sure everyone has a chance to live a good life, rich or poor.
Somehow, over the past many years, government, particularly here in Canada, has become more of a protectorate of the rich. While government’s primary responsibility ought to be as a voice for the voiceless, they have in fact become the voice of the already loud.
Herein are some examples of how, in Canada at any rate, government has become the bullhorn for the wealthy, and fails in its obligation to the not wealthy: Employment Insurance was orignally designed to help working people whose jobs were subject to seasons and market changes. The idea was, when a man was laid off or fired because there was no work, then he could still get by. However, in recent years, EI has become more and more difficult to get. The end result is that workers who are no longer able to collect benefits, because of more stringent requirements for benefits, now must take second, sometimes, third jobs, often at lower rates of pay, just to survive. This creates a situation where more and more people are looking for work, and allows employers a greater number of workers to choose from. If an employer is able to choose between an employee who wants $10 an hour, and one who is willing to work for $8 an hour, which is he most likely to choose?
Its the same deal when governments make it more difficult to receive social assistance. When people have nothing to fall back on, they become willing to accept less, because less is better than nothing.
Because of these actions by government, employers now get away with paying less than they were a generation ago, their profits are higher, and they have a greater choice of workers. Where thirty years ago a man could afford to support his wife and children on a single wage, he must now work longer and harder, and chances are his wife will also be forced into the work place, just to maintain the lifestyle he grew up with.
It was the same with health care. When hospitals and emergency wards were fully funded, everyone had equal access and no one had to pay extra costs. When funding to health care was axed, services became limited. Soon private health care agencies started to show up, offering services that used to be available to all, to those who could afford to pay a little extra. This helped to create more industry, and allowed wealthy business interests to make capital fromindustires that used to be unavailable to them.
Education was also a target. Growing up in Canada in the 1950s and ‘60s pretty much everyone was able to at least go to college without incurring great debt load. Nowadays, a two year college trade program will cost a student upwards of $50,000. even with grants and scholarships accounted for. This in turn has allowed private enterprise to get into the education business and make money where they were not able to make money before, by opening private schools and charging marginally lower tuition fees.
When it comes to housing, governments’ refusal to build houses is proving to be a total boon to private industry and an unmitigated disaster for the buying public. Because there aren’t enough houses to go around, the pressure on the real estate market is immense, driving prices up. About the only people making money off this situation are the developers and real estate agencies. The rest of us, renters or buyers, are paying exhorberant prices for homes, prices that, for most of us, are well beyond our wages.
If the government were to build houses, to reclaim unused buildings and renovate them for housing, and to develop social housing in urban areas, the end result would be a lessening of market pressure, a lowering of housing costs for both renters and buyers. Yet governments today continue to argue that it is not government’s place to build, why? Because government today serves as an advocate for business, instead of the advocate for the people it was meant to represent.
Getting back to the Magna Carta, and all principles of representative government, the whole idea was to protect the less powerful from the ultimately powerful. It was not necessarly to act as a balance between the two so much as an advocate for the less powerful. Today, instead of Kings and Royalty, we have millionaire industrialists and corporations. The purpose of representative government is to act as a protectorate for the concerns of people against the power of corporate wealth. Instead, somehow, government acts more like the protectorate of the power against the will and needs of the people, and its time we take it back to where it is meant to be, and to do the job it was meant to do.
There is absolutely no evidence anywhere in history that unfettered wealth will do what is best for the poor. Some will argue that wealth, such as the British Royalty, invented democracy, invented human rights, invented representative government, but the fact is, the royalty was dragged kicking and screaming into respecting and upholding the rights of its less advantaged citizens.
Today, government argues that corporate profits will lead to corporations spreading the wealth around, while the opposite is quite apparent. Why else would huge corporations be making record profits and laying off workers at the same time? Here in Canada we have federal and provincial governments continually reducing taxes and creating loopholes for the wealthy and for corporations, while the spending power of everyday citizens shrinks. We are being told over and over again that private enterprise will fix the problems in our society, yet the less we make them do, the less they do.
Take daycare as an example. A year ago our PM cut funding to the provinces for daycare and offered all sorts of tax relief and benefits to private enterprise to get into the daycare racket. Now, a year later, our PM has been forced to give the money back to the provinces because private enterprise wants no part of daycare. Sadly, the money that has gone to the provinces, in most cases, will not go into creating government operated daycare, but will be offered to private enterprise to go into daycare, and the result will undoubtedly be a lack of available quality daycare!
Whether its healthcare, daycare, housing, employment insurance, the environment, government today continues to argue that the solutions must come from the private sector, despite all the evidence of history bearing out the fact that, when left to its own devices, the private sector will take care of its own self interests regardless of what is happening to the public.
Instead of serving the people, government today serves the King, and for all intent and purpose, we’re right back to where we were when a small group of noblemen took up arms against the King and forced him to accept that the citizens of the kingdom deserved a voice in the decision making process.
So, next time you hear a politician argue that the solutions to the nation’s problems must come from the private sector remember, the reason we have respresentative government is because the private sector cannot be trusted to do what’s right for the general public, if they could be, then we’d have no need of politicians. Then give that politican what he or she rightfully deserves by replacing he or she with someone who recognizes what the purpose of government really is, to serve the people, not the power.
Its either that, or wait until things are so bad that we have no other choice but to rise up and overthrow the king again. Now that’s a war that might actually be worth fighting.


Real protestors don't wear balaclavas

I was at the Gastown Riot in 1971. One of the concerns that night was that some off duty policemen participated in anti-police activities and helped to precipitate the riot.
Years later I was working a peace demonstration when a small group of men started chanting anti-police slogans and trying to rabble rouse the crowd. We quickly surrounded them, holding hands, and separated them from the demonstration. As our tactic began to work, one of the men identified himself as a police officer. We let him and his friends go.
I saw similar incidents in Victoria, at an anti-nuclear rally, at a rally in Comox later on, and other places.
There are always police at demonstrations. Some are obvious, in uniform, others are more covert, and depending on the situation, some are undercover. In some cases, it is in the best interests of the police to disrupt demonstrations, in others they simply gather information.
What disturbs me about the recent goings-on in Vancouver is that some people, hooligans, claiming to be demonstrators, are being allowed to go overboard. This last Thursday, some were allowed to commit numerous acts of vandalism, and while the police at times scuffled with them, they did not use their considerable resources to put a stop to the vandalism. All the while the television cameras whirred.
I find myself wondering if the police are not trying to help the situation along. If the protests are allowed to get out of hand then the city will have just cause to take extraordinary measures to quell the protests. I’m not suggesting the police are starting these problems, but they seem to be, on some level, enabling them.
Demonstrators are demonstrators, protestors are protestors, they have a right. Vandals and thugs are vandals and thugs, and they should be stopped in their tracks.
In case anyone in Vancouver, including the media, is having trouble distinguishing the two different groups, here’s a helpful hint. The idea of protest is to get out in the street and say: “Hey, look at me, I’m here because I’m either for or against this issue.” They want to be indentified!
Thugs and vandals are the ones in balaclavas carrying sticks and getting violent.
I for one am incensed that the police, the media, and this small band of thugs are being allowed to marginalize the legitmate concerns of the homeless and poor in this province.
And I am completely disgusted that no level of government in this country seems prepared to do anything real to resolve these problems.


Update on the blogger himself

A while back someone asked me how I was doing. This is the answer he got.

Upheaval springs to mind, mostly because I'd like it to. Yeah, looks like Kaslo for the winter, but I'm off to Harrop for a month tomorrow, at least that's the plan. Then back here.
Autumn in full splendour with Indian Summer and bears in the yard. We have two this year. One fat black and a small Griz, who seemed to have paired up, at least for the time being.
Big fascist movement going on here. Nelson City Council denied the permit for the latest peace rally. The city police have been arresting American Draft Resistors and Deserters so that Canadian lawyers can make money bailing them out. Got people living in the streets. Rents are so high in Nelson all the poor folks have moved out. Even out here, and in the valley, the cost of land has gone up so high and the housing crunch is so tight, the poor can't live there either.
Meanwhile, the bears are in the yard cause their orchards and berry patches have been torn up to be replaced by monster houses built by Albertans who only live in them two months a year. Seventy percent of the houses in Argenta are now absentee owners, but locals have no place to go.
But its all okay because the Olympics are coming.
RCMP, who are supposed to be all cured up from their fiascos, tasered a Polish guy in Vancouver Airport last week. Poor guy was lost in the airport for 10 hours and couldn't find his way out or anyone to speak to him in Polish. Eventually he got excited and security called in the mounties who didn't even bother to try to calm the guy down, they just tasered him! And he died! Then some guy who recorded the whole thing on his camera gave it to the cops. Now the cops won't give it back because they've been telling the media that they did try to calm the guy down! I don't know why I put these exclamation marks in here, its really business as usual for a fascist state. Sad thing in this story is: the guy who died, his Mom was in the airport looking for him the whole time, and spent most of the day within a few meters of the guy, but on the wrong side of a security barrier.
We got fascists in Nelson, Victoria and Ottawa. We got fascists in Washington. Hell, we got fascists in the retail shops too!
Have your heard, our dollar is now worth more than the US greenback! But guess what, our prices haven't gone down. You know on books over here how there's always a US and Canuck price. Well, there still is, and they are still charging us 30 percent more than the Americans pay. Finally, something is pissing people off. You would hope it would be the environment, or Afghanistan, or water, or healthcare, but no, people are pissed off that they're getting over charged at the furniture store! Its worth being pissed off about, but I think we have bigger fish to fry. This creeping fascism for example.
Go to China boy! At least there's some sense of community there. This place is dog eat dog, and there's lots of dogs!
Oh, you asked how life's treating me! Oh fine, just fine.
Oh bullshit!
Here I am in my mid fifties, in the best shape of my life, I can crack nuts with my thighs, and my intellect is working overtime, but I can't afford a place of my own, the girls all tell me I remind them of their Daddy, and all my freinds are fat old farts who are mortgaged to the ears, and the biggest adventure in their lives is my travelogs! I'm still the kid in the room until I look in the mirror, which startles the hell out of me. Not because I'm so cute, but because, sometimes, I don't remember how it is I got to be as old as my father!
Man, I used to go to peace demonstrations where there was half a million people. We took up every road and parking lot in a 20 mile radius. Now I go and there's maybe 200 people, and the town is making us stay on the sidewalk.
Fuckin' TV.
Oh yeah, this was supposed to be about me. Obviously my testosterone levels are good, and I still have some fire in my loins, and I ain't given up hope, though I think Hope escaped to Costa Rica where she makes a living teaching Yoga to retired American Yuppies. I don't expect to hear from her much, but I do keep her in mind. Hell, maybe I should be in some southern clime teaching poetry to up and coming Yuppie Larvae. If I stay around here I might end up in Gitmo.
Wish bank robbery was still an acceptable practice. I'd walk on down the corner, make a withdrawl, and join you in China when my winter hibernate is through. Don't worry, not much danger of that.
I'd probably go to Germany, at least the politicians there are sane enough not to send their troops into southern Afghanistan!
Idiots are ruling the world, and I'm busy doing work shares just to keep from getting frost bite. That pisses me off.
Guess I'm just caught up in it all. When I was young I was always waiting for the world to come knocking at my door. Now it is and all I can think to do is tell it to bugger off!
Anyway my friend. I'm lonely. Got no one to rant at. Guess you're it tonight.
Glad to know you're well.
Go To China, if you come back here I'll enlist you in the revolution and you too will wind up doing workshares at 55 just to keep from Frostbite!


Harper does Chamberlain on Nuke Facility

Canadian Prime Minister Harper's assertion today, that there would be no nuclear accident at the Chalk River nuclear plant, reminds me a lot of former British Prime
Minister Neville Chamberlain's assertion there would be no war with Germany, even though all the experts were warning there would be.
Mr. Harper should be careful about such assertions, especially when Canada's nuclear regulatory agency, which is staffed by professionals, says there are safety problems at the facility. This is definitely one issue the PM would not want to have blow up in his face!

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Vancouver Missing Women, We Share the Blame

Like many others I am very glad to hear that someone is finally being held accountable in the Vancouver Missing Women's case. Having once lived in Vancouver, and being aware of the fear and trauma this case has caused to so many people, it is a great relief that some finally have closure.
However, after listening to court reports for the past many months, and reading the ongoing coverage, I find myself with more questions than answers. Yes, it is clear Robert Picton was involved and may have committed some of the murders, or at least have a role in the disappearances, it is also clear that many others were involved.
What about them, when will their day in court come?
What about Picton's associates, who brought the now deceased women to his pig farm?
What about the police, and municipal and provincial authorities, who committed too few resources to the case, and actually refused to accept that a serial killer could have been at work, while more and more women disappeared?
Is it true, if these had been white women from Kitsalano, the authorities would have acted sooner?
What about the women who disappeared while authorities continued to drag their feet, are those authorities not also somehow complicant in the case?
And because most of the victims were drug addicts, what about the way we treat drug addicted people in this country, like criminals instead of people requiring urgent health care and services? Had these women been provided with the services they needed, would they have been left in the vulnerable position that led them to Picton's farm?
What about our elected officials who continue to treat drug addiction and prostitution as criminality, rather than social malaise? What about those elected officials who continue to cut funding and support to programs that are proven to reduce the harm of drug addiction, prostitution, AIDS and other issues directly related?
Are they not also somehow culpable for what has happened to so many people and, by extension, are they not also somehow to blame for the deaths of the women Picton has been convicted of killing?
Finally, what about us? Are we, the people of this province and country, who continue to elect and support politicians and government agencies who continue to either sit on their hands, or blatantly cut support to programs that may have saved one or two of these women, not also to blame?
Robert Picton is guilty, yes, but we are all to blame for what happened to these women. Every one of us who has ever voted with our pocket book, being more concerned about our own bottom line than we are with the ills of our society, is to blame. Every one of us who has ever turned our back and called a junkie a scum bag, instead of recognizing them for what they really are, people who have been damaged by a society that is primarily concerned with looking out for number one, is to blame. Every one of us who has voted for a politician who we know is going to cut our taxes while also cutting social programs, is to blame. Every one of us who did not demand the police and other authorities act, when the missing women case first came to light, shares the verdict handed down to Robert Picton!
It is our society that creates drug addicted women who have little option but to turn to prostitution to feed their habits. It is our society that creates Robert Pictons. And it is our society that is responsible for those it lets fall through the cracks. It is our society, and that makes every one of us responsible, not only for what happened to these women, but for making the changes we need to make to insure it never happens again.
Robert Picton is guilty, but so are we, and we should consider that next time we get an opportunity to make changes.

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