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August 31, 2006

And Now, Your Moment of Reason

Here is another clear thinking figure of some historic import who reinforces my belief in the theory of Ernest Becker - that god and religion are invented by societies in order to soothe the fear of dying -
"I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul.... No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life – our desire to go on living … our dread of coming to an end." - Thomas Edison, American inventor (1847-1931)

He could easily have added '...our belief that we are in dominion over the earth'.

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The Mangling of Logic pt. 7

One word.

Monsanto.

The company of death. The corporation that manufactures, packages and sells death.

Here's a little rundown of a few of their products:
A fun little list.

What defies logic, no - what rips logic to shreds, burns it and dumps junk and crap (amen) over the ashes is that this company, which looks to be run by Satan, has virtually been put in charge of the global food supply. Their genetically modified seeds cover the planet, threatening biodiversity, public health and the existence of independent farmers.

The corporation of death with control over the stuff of life
.

How could this be? What madmen could possibly have planned and approved this corporate criminality on such a huge scale? Turns out that Edgar Monsanto Queeny (CEO of Monsanto, 1940) has a Republican history, and in 1985 Monsanto purchased
G.D. Searle & Company, of which Donald Rumsfeld™™ (© Bush Inc., 2006) used to be CEO.

I'm getting too disgusted to continue. Feel free.

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The Leaders of the Free World!?

The most powerful men in the free (sort of) world (at least publicly) are...George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

None of whom have their full mental ablilities avaliable to them (none can remember what they do, why they did it or when). All are demonstrated liars. All are documented criminals in regards to the US Constitution, the International Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention, conflict of interest, corporate misconduct, and if tried in front of an impartial jury would be found guilty and, under US law, executed.

Unbelievable.

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Rumsfeld™, © Bush Inc. 2006

What do you think they have on him? I mean, no one acting of their own free will would continuously say things publicly which make them look like a fool. Literally over and over and over again. It's like being trapped on the funhouse ride in an endless loop.

Either he is unable to remember, from one day to the next, what he's doing or saying which would make him mentally handicapped - or - someone owns him. Someone - some very powerful someone - has either bought him outright or is blackmailing him.

I mean, he was a respectable guy. Not to say he was a good guy, far from it, but when he took this latest stint as Sec. of Def., he had some credibility...he was respected. He was a congressman, an ambassador, a businessman. So he's not an idiot. He knows what he's saying.

So lets have a look:
Donald Rumsfeld is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bush Inc., and will do and say anything they tell him to.

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August 30, 2006

Stopping The Spread of Misery

In reference to my previous post, I'd like to propose a solution.

Allow the Government to become drug dealers.

Really.

Set up a facility wherein crack is made available to anyone who wants it. The only stipulation being that it must be consumed on the premises, with none being allowed to leave with any. Maybe every half hour or hour, the attendants would distribute another dosage and observe it being smoked. Make it so cheap that addicts would have no reason to buy from a dealer on the street, and no reason to resort to crime or prostitution to raise funds.

Could this be any worse than the situation now? No. The war on drugs has been a monumental failure (unless you own a prison, are corrupt, own a chemical company, have a racist agenda or run a financial institution).

Now the situation is in the control of organized crime, who aren't exactly known for their concern over their customers' health and safety.

Take the control from the criminals and give it to the people.

Exporting Misery - Franchise Opportunity Avaliable

I live in a drug abusing neighbourhood. There are crackheads walking the street in front of my house all day and night. There are prostitutes who stand on the sidewalk at the end of my walkway, and I've caught them with their clients in my backyard. I've seen a woman, in broad daylight, pull down her pants, bend over and let fly her urine from about 15 feet away, not caring in the least if anyone sees her, and then, still in sight, get picked up by a john. People regularly urinate or defecate (defecation not as much, to be fair) around the property I rent with three other musicians, and our neighbor's property. Hell, the house right next door was a full blown crackhouse for six months of last year. I've seen women and women, women and men, and the elderly violently fighting with each other over crack. I've seen the progression of a normal person into a full on crack addict. I've seen police brutality. I know people who've been shot at.

I've seen kids, younger and younger, selling crack to other kids.

I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I live in a country with one of the best social safety nets of any in the world.

I live right next door to a country with one of the worst social safety nets in the world, and they are exporting their shit here, to my neighborhood, like a skin rotting disease.

Let me explain that statement. There is this one drug dealer who's been around for a few years, regularly pacing up and down the street, making himself easy to find for his enslaved customers. Lets call him Dick. Dick is only around in the summer. He makes his first appearance around May, engages in his murderous business until September or October, and then disappears until next year, nowhere to be seen all winter.

This year, one of my roommates decided to try and find out what was going on with Dick, and so approached him in a casual, non-threatening sort of way and asked him where he was from. He replied that he was from the US. Nothing specific, just from the US. What he does is sell crack down south in the winter, probably somewhere warm, and in the summer he comes here to practice his aberration of entrepreneurship.

It seems as though it's worth it for him to risk crossing the border twice every year to come to my beautiful city and kill people. Apparently Dick's Canadian operations are more profitable than his US activities, or why would he bother? Because of people like him (drug dealers I mean, not Americans), good people move away and abandon their neighborhoods to this scourge. Is the fate of Toronto to be that of Detroit?

Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Little Italy, Little Portugal, Little India, Korea Town, China Town, Little Ethiopia, etc.....all cultures of the world are represented by large communities. And it works. People live, for the most part, in peace. Toronto is one of the safest cities in the world. You'll see little old ladies alone on the subway at 1:30 in the morning, and women on the streets at night, walking without fear (but maybe with a little caution).

I'm not trying to imply that the US is responsible for the crack problem in Toronto, but Dick and his ilk (he couldn't possibly be the only one) are speeding this city's disintegration. Crack use is spreading daily, as is the crime and violence that is intrinsic to it, and the last thing we need is Americans setting up franchise operations here.

Dick, get the fuck out of my city. And don't come back.
August 29, 2006

I Will Live Forever!

Just surfing around and I came across this (no pun intended...really) from back in '03.

Yeah....I think my son's sons will be safe.

...gotta go.

'Politiclone' Enters the Lexicon!

I seem to have invented the word 'politiclone' in a previous post. I just did a search for it online and the only reference is to this blog (and once on an Italian forum, but that's a different language so I'm not counting it).

I rock!

I hereby coin the term:
politiclone (puh-LIT-i-klohn), adjective
def: a political pundit or commentator who is unable to think for her/himself.

...and order it's usage forthwith.

I know it's not quite on par with 'suiciders' or 'misunderestimate' or 'embetterment', but then, I didn't go to Yale.

And Now, Your Moment of Reason

"All religions bear traces of the fact that they arose during the intellectual immaturity of the human race -– before it had learned the obligations to speak the truth. Not one of them makes it the duty of its God to be truthful and understandable in his communications." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Religion is the obfuscation of truth, the discouraging of understanding, the demonizing of free thought and the propaganda of ideology.

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The Mangling of Logic pt. 6

A word or two on abortion, rape, religion and the morning after pill. This one's a doozy.

The situation, in a nutshell, is this; Some men exist who are sub-human. Because they exist and because they act, and because their actions prove them to be of a different genus, there exists rape. A brutal form of torture. Sub-man rapes woman. Woman fears becoming pregnant, and as a man I can't realistically conceive of what kind of nightmare that would be. Luckily for her, society has deemed her to be of equal status to men and to be the master of her own body and a drug exists which would prevent her from becoming pregnant. A drug which levels close to horizontal the balance of power between men and women and would eliminate the need for a likely abortion in the near future - eliminating the possibility that weeks later, she would endure another violent physical assault undertaken voluntarily as a consequence of the first. Possibly even more humiliating, and the antithesis to any sort of healing.

So, upon hearing of this drug, the woman decides to use it. But when she asks her doctor for a prescription, he refuses on the grounds of ignorance and religious belief. He refuses, because his religion tells him that he would be murdering an unborn baby. That he would be murdering a potential life, one conceived in a frenzy of rage and torture and humiliation and terror. One whose mother did not want. His religion forces him to curse this woman, who has come to him in desperation as her only hope. He denies her her right of equality. He humiliates her, and really rapes her a second time. Not physically, although one could count a future abortion as that, but mentally. He tells her that god, acting through him and the rapist, are her masters. What she believes and what society has deemed to be so don't matter.

Should one conclude that god is pro-rape? Or anti-woman? Should we surmise that doctors are the chosen deliverers of god's will unto humanity and we are obliged to obey? Perhaps women are simply too feeble, unable to fend for themselves, and require male domination in the name of a masculine god?

Or should we conclude that the refusing doctor is a criminal, or at the very least a sociopath, not too far removed from the rapist himself, and should be treated as such? And also, should we not conclude that the idea of god is ridiculous, invented to soothe our fears of death, and leads humanity down a path of self-hatred and destruction?

You can think about it for a while.

The morning after pill is available in Canada without a prescription (because there is no need for one) to any woman who asks for it.

Thank Zeus. Wait...make that Venus.

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August 27, 2006

Volunteer or Conscript?

Talk of reinstating the draft in the US is making the rounds again.

While I wouldn't wish military service on anyone, at least in todays world (except maybe Howdy Doody and Dracula), I have to wonder. In the volunteer system the US uses now, the majority of recruits come from lower income households, with many using the military to try and escape their likely economic fate. If there were a draft, and if, if it were done transparently, then recruits would represent all portions of society in equal amounts according to demographics. I contend that, if the politicians and corporate executives stood as much of a chance of having their son or daughter killed in a war, there would be far less of them, even with the militarization of the economy. Actually, potentially this could start a reversal of that.

There is also the question of what the armed forces could ethically ask a soldier to do if he/she were serving involuntarily. For example; in an army of volunteers it would be easier, I think, to dismiss soldiers' concerns and to justify unethical orders - " Hey, you volunteered remember? Shut the hell up." Whereas under conscription, the onus is on the military to justify itself to it's members, which is potentially everyone in that society (after a few generations).

But I think there is a third option. Why not a draft in which draftees have a choice of service? Germany, for instance, requires two years service to their country from their youth. But they have an option of choosing two years of community service in varying capacities instead of military service. I learned of this through my Parents, who regularly volunteer at a home for the mentally disabled. The organization is called L'arche, and exists across Canada and Internationally. A large portion of the full-time staff (people who spend most of their days helping the mentally disabled live a fulfilling life) are Germans who chose community service over military.

Maybe not a bad idea.
August 25, 2006

Can You Hear The Sucking Sound?

The Royal Bank of Canada reported profits of 1.18 Billion in the third quarter of 2006.

...and money's upward mobility continues. In Canada, the gap between the rich and the poor is wider than any point in history (PDF). Croatia, Pakistan and Rwanda (just to name a few) have more equitable distribution of wealth than we do.

Chomsky on Israel & Lebanon

As usual, Noam Chomsky puts things into an historical perspective.

He contends that Hezbollah was attacked because of the support they provide to the Palestinians. He also reminds us what the conflicts in the middle east are really all about, and debunks the "we (Israel) attacked them because they kidnapped two of our soldiers, so it was justified" obfuscation swallowed by the media (but unraveling every moment).

Here is another of his articles, from 1996, on virtually the exact same thing.

And another from 1993.

-not to say he's redundant, but that Israel is.

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"...God Is The One Who Chooses Our Rulers"

Indeed? Then god is insane.

This demented quotation comes from one of the looniest (and dirtiest) political figures I've seen in a long time - Katherine Harris of Florida. She utters the statement above in an interview with The Florida Baptist Witness.

Here are some excerpts:
Why are you the best qualified candidate?
".....And I think that I have a history that proves I'm not going to do what'’s popular. I am going to do what'’s right.
-apparently what the population feels is good, isn't. Luckily she's there to set them straight.

Some day all of us have to give an account before God for what we have done. Are you certain in your own heart that when you come thathat point of accounting that you'll spend eternity before God in heaven?
"No question."

One day when you stand before God, and if He says to you "Why should I let you into my Heaven?" What would you say in response?
"That'’s an interesting question. Because I loved Your Son and because I know He died for my sins. I know He was resurrected at Your right hand and I served Him. You know we'’re covered with, our sins are covered with His blood and so we are blameless before Him. We are as white as snow."
-notice there's only one reference to love, and nothing else like forgiveness, charity, peace, or all those other groovy things Jesus talked about. Also, inherently racist.

What role do you think people of faith should play in politics and government?
"
.....and over time, that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized,.....God is the one who chooses our rulers."
-Ha ha ha ha ha ha. What can you do but laugh? Hey Kathy, READ THIS. If people who place religious priorities over all others are elected to office then religion defacto becomes the state. Since elected officials set policy (theoretically at least) government becomes a tool for religion. It's not complicated.

Do you support civil rights protections on the basis of sexual preference?
"
Civil rights have to do with individual rights and I don'’t think they apply to the gay issues."
-a disingenuous question and an inane answer.

What public policy limits on abortion have you supported or will you support in order to decrease the number of abortions in our nation?

"
First and foremost, one of the most important things we can do is encourage abstinence in the schools......Clearly I would only, from a public policy standpoint, I would limit abortion to rape and life of the mother and incest, but for my personal standpoint, I would not have an abortion for any of those cases."
-Hello? Birth control? And her personal standpoint, as she makes clear in her earlier statements, are what drives her political agenda.

Why should Florida Baptist care about this primary election?
"If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you'’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin."
-Thats right, scare people into voting for you.

What a freak! I've never been to Florida, but they sure do seem to produce the wackiest politicians.

-Note: orginally this read as her being from Texas, but I've been corrected. Although Texas has their fair share of embarassing public servants as well.

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August 24, 2006

And Now Your Moment of Reason

Today's nugget of wisdom comes to us from Mark Twain:
"Our Bible reveals to us the character of our god with minute and remorseless exactness... It is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light and leading by contrast" -Reflections On Religion, 1906

To appreciate the force of this statement, here's what Nero was like.

...and more Samuel Clemens - "The War Prayer" - not published until after his death.

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Uranus Swallows Pluto!

Pluto, that crazy little planet known for how little we know about it, isn't.

It's been demoted to a dwarf-planet since the International Astronomical Union adopted new criteria for planet classification, after intense pressure by the Incredulous Lobby of Vague People for Uranus, or ILOVEPU for short.

The feud between the two celestial orbs came to a head when Pluto reportedly proposed that he would tremendously enjoy having a nice sniff around Uranus' airspace. Uranus, understandably, accused Pluto of untoward behavior, to which Pluto replied that to be curious of Uranus' airspace was only in his nature and was certainly not meant personally.

Pluto has officially registered a complaint with the Intergalactic Little Planets Association and is considering a lawsuit on charges of discrimination and infantile humour.

My apologies to Walt Disney.

Am I The Greatest? Vote On It! (please use the machine provided)

Are there computer programs that can be used to secretly fix elections?

Yes.

How do you know that to be the case?

Because in October of 2000, I wrote a prototype for Congressman Tom Feeney [R-FL] I wrote a program that did just that.

There you go.

This video, of a computer programmer testifying in front of a Congressional Hearing in 2004, that in October of 2000, a US Congressman (Tom Feeney, who wasn't a member of congress at the time, but -get this- the speaker of the House in Florida, a lobbyist for the voting machine company, and a corporate lawyer!) asked him to, and then proceeded to write code that could be (and in his opinion, was) hidden inside voting machines that would allow the votes to be undetectably switched 51-49 for anyone, anytime, and anywhere if the machines are networked together, is undeniable.

US Congressional elections are in November. Less than three months away. Why is no one talking about this? This needs to be set on a loop on every television channel for the next week, and the transcript should be published on the front page of every newspaper.

Even if you're a gun-toting, bible-thumping, Arab-hating, scared shitless and obediently brainwashed Bush supporter, this has got to register on some level. Surely the sheer force of the corruption must produce an irritating itch in your cranium? A dull pressure on your skull?

The Mangling of Logic pt. 5

Christopher Brauchli, writing for counterpunch.org, has todays ode to insanity. Beyond the ridiculousness of the situation, there is the tragedy of it. And there should be outrage as well.

Props to my home and native land for stepping up, or at least trying to. Canada does do some things right. Hey Albania, let them c'mon over.

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August 23, 2006

Brain Of Bill O'Reilly: Functional Or Just For Show?

This article is damn funny. I love the title-"Inside the Alleged Mind of Bill O'Reilly". To be fair, he moves around and makes noises, so he must have a mind.

His interview with Marilyn Manson is pretty entertaining too. At times he looks really stunned. You almost expect him to make the sign of the cross with his fingers and start murmuring the lords prayer.

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And The Slaughter of Cute, Furry Things Continues...

Greenpeace is accusing the Canadian Government of inaccuracy and incompetence in it's 'scientific' justification of the annual Harp Seal Hunt.

Specifically:
Failure to accurately reflect the actual number of seals killed in the hunt rendering the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) quota figures scientifically indefensible. The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) or quota for harp seals in 2003 - 2005 is 975,000 but this figure does not take into account seals that are “struck and lost”: illegally hunted, killed and discarded due to pelt damage and those killed for their organs and therefore not included in the pelt count.

Population projections are based on assumptions that environmental and biological factors remain unchanged over the short and long term, a premise that is highly questionable in light of the escalating impact of climate change on the oceans and ice conditions.

Quotas are based on a seal census conducted at five year intervals. Because the hunt focuses on seal pups (nearly 95% will be over 14 days old but under one year old) that do not reach breeding age for five years, impacts on the herd can take as many as 10 years to show up and 15 years to establish any meaningful trends. This renders DFO conservation milestones and monitoring virtually meaningless.



Just for some perspective.

Maybe we could just classify the seals as terrorists, with their unprovoked attacks on our sense of pity.

Incompetence, short sightedness, mismanagement, callousness in the face of greed. Where have we seen this regarding marine life before? Hmm............

Oh yeah, here. Did you know that if you live in Newfoundland, even if you live on the shore of the Atlantic, you are not allowed more than 5 cod per day for your own or your family's subsistence. But if you are a large, foriegn owned commercial fishing operation, it's balls out baby!
This is mismanagement and incompetence at it's worst.

By the way, I used to live in Northern Canada. In Yellowknife, NWT to be exact (nowhere near where the seal 'hunt' takes place). The quality of the light in the picture, the deep orange hue, reminds me of the long, gorgeous sunsets that happen in the summer. The sun dips below the horizon only for a couple hours, so you can sit outside and watch it slowly set for hours, wait awhile, then watch it come back up. I highly recommend finding a warm, pink rock just outside of town, and bring a little smoke and a good friend or two...

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Israel Accused of War Crimes (and not just by me!)

Amnesty International has released a report today which accuses Israel of being guilty of war crimes against Lebanon. Specifically for purposefully targeting civilians and infrastructure. A synopsis from the report:
* Massive destruction by Israeli forces of whole civilian neighborhoods and villages;
* Attacks on bridges in areas of no apparent strategic importance;
* Attacks on water pumping stations, water treatment plants and supermarkets despite the prohibition against targeting objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population;
* Statements by Israeli military officials indicating that the destruction of civilian infrastructure was indeed a goal of Israel'’s military campaign designed to press the Lebanese government and the civilian population to turn against Hizbullah.

The last item really caught my attention. It is the exact same tactic used by fanatical extremists in the Middle East over the last few decades. They would commit terrorist attacks against the infidel governments in their own countries, in the hopes that their actions would inspire and mobilize the population against these governments. It kept failing and they kept intensifying their activities. Of course it's doomed to failure. The whole idea rests on the supposition that the population attempting to be mobilized is ignorant and unable to determine their own lives, that they are sheep just waiting for someone to come along and tell them the way they ought to be living.

Also, The United Nations has revealed that Israel has dropped cluster bombs on at least 170 villages and other areas. Cluster bombs are weapons that are dropped from airplanes, explode in the air, and release hundreds of much smaller 'bomblets' which then disperse over a wider area, exploding as they near the ground causing a wide area to be blanketed with shrapnel. Not exactly 'precision'. The fun thing is that these bomblets are small and brightly colored, and since there are always at least a few of them which don't explode before they hit the ground, that means there are lots of bright, colorful little things for curious children to pick up and play with....and then blow their arm off. Or blow their head off. These weapons, when used in a civilian area, WILL KILL INNOCENT CIVILIANS. There is no way around it. Cluster bombs are little pre-fabbed war crimes.

Remember that oil spill in Lebanon caused by an Israeli airstrike a few weeks ago? Well, Greenpeace Lebanon reports that the oil on the seabed is so thick it can be physically picked up by divers.

Also, the UN reports that Lebanon's 15 year long struggle towards economic recovery from civil war has been wiped out. The UN estimates that the Israeli attacks have caused around 15 billion in damage. Approx. 35,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed.
August 22, 2006

And Now, Your Moment of Reason

And yet another reasonable, free thinking, former Pres. of the USA:
"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." - Abraham Lincoln, 16th President and the first from the Republican Party.

Imagine how long he'd last today politically if he publicly stated this. Old Abe would be run right out of the convention, cuz he just ain't got his head screwed on quite right.

I think the positioning of these last two posts puts a bit of perspective on things, no? It's almost like whatsisname is flipping Abe the bird.

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Can't See The Forest Through the Bushes

Whoa. That's three posts in a row about, ah, whatsisname. No more for a while.
Except for this, which is what comes out of his mouth every time he opens it:

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The Mangling of Logic pt 4

Here's more on the 'Is Bush an idiot?' question that Joe Scarborough of MSNBC posed to us a few days ago.

Halfway through he interviews some politiclone named Terry Holt, who had this to say in the presidents defense (at 7:37):
...ultimately there's nobody else better at articulating the vision and the inspiration that we need to get back on our feet."

Seriously.

Besides the sentence having no real meaning, he seems to sincerely believe that nobody else can articulate vision and inspiration better than Bush. He's just the best damn orator in the entire country, or at least the entire Republican party. He simply needs to open his mouth and people's lives are instantly crystallized into optimistic focus.

It must be the warm, friendly, patronizing tone he often uses. Or maybe it's the commanding deer-in-the-headlights look he gives people when someone has asked him a question that requires him to think. Maybe it's the eloquent mispronunciation of words, or the mis-quoting or constant repetition that's so inspiring. Maybe it's when he makes up completely new nonsensical words, that assist his efforts at disengenuousness, which people feel cradling them down the road to destiny.

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August 21, 2006

Press Corps? Press Corpse!

I just watched this video of a Bush press conference today and............!%$#@!?*

The press just lets all of this nonsense slide by, except for one feeble little question about what Saddam had to do with 9/11. Oh man do they need to start doing their jobs. In this one clip they could have called him on (in chronological order):
Suiciders, according to the Urban Dictionary.

I can't believe I just did this.

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Bush “Strongly Disagrees” With Him Being A Criminal

But he does agree that roast pigs are some good eatin'!

Here's the story. Basically the legal system in the US has found him guilty of violating his oath of office, specifically the part about swearing to uphold the constitution.

This was Bush's response (watch the video).

Man, I wish I could do that: 'I'm sorry Officer Bob, I strongly disagree that this here marijuana cigarette is illegal. Run along now.'

IMPEACH! IMPEACH! IMPEACH! IMPEACH!

Did I mention impeach?

Impeach the little dictator and then throw him in jail, and take his master Dick 'Dracula' Cheney, his court jester Donald 'Don't Worry Be Ignorant' Rumsfeld, the can't-hold-me-responsible-cuz-I-wasn't-elected Richard 'Think Tanks for Tyranny' Perle, and the machiavellian Karl 'Evil Inside' Rove. They could form a prison gang and corner the market on smokes.

Chicken Monkey Shoes? Anyone?

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And Now, Your Moment Of Reason

I thought I'd stick with former US Presidents for a while (the US being currently without one):
"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
-Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams, April 17, 1823

Maybe one day, a descendant of Peter Jackson will produce the movie spectacular of the century - 'The Lord Of All Things' - done in three parts. Part one is the old testament, part two is the new, and part three would be the forget-about-the-other-two-testaments testament, written by a 6 year girl in Namibia who suddenly realized she had good common sense and subsequently used it. After it's publication, the people were so impressed that they decided to start taking children seriously.

It'll be the blockbuster of summer, 2150. Watch for it.

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Chicken Monkey Shoes?

Chicken monkeys are extinct now, but when I was young, the alpha male of our group would tell legends of the shod beasts; the powerful head and torso of an ape but the weak, frail legs and feet of a chicken. To support their top heavy bodies, they fashioned ingenious three pronged shoes out of bamboo. These shoes proved to be so useful at tidying up after oneself, they were universally adopted and renamed 'rakes'.

- This was a random question in my profile, and my answer was too long too fit. So what the hell...let's start a blog!
August 20, 2006

Site Design....Done

Alright. This is it, the final design of this blog. I'm done screwing around with it.

I reserve the right to renege.

Viva La Revolución! Redux

I had to return to Fidel Castro and the documentary I watched last night.

One of the things I believe is that all of our actions and words actively change the world around us, whether we want them to or not. We are the creators of our reality. What we say, do and think is reflected in our daily reality.

With that in mind, watch the video referenced above, the way Castro interacts with his countrymen and the way he is greeted by millions around the world, and compare that with George (Wha?) Bush's reality (which fits nicely with the title of this blog).

There is also this story by Salim Lamrani. Here's a little snippet:
Jose Antonio Llama, a former CANF director, revealed publicly what everyone knew for a long time: the CANF is a terrorist organization. Llama acknowledged that he, along with members of the organization's hierarchy, had set up a paramilitary group to carry out attacks on Cuba and to assassinate its president, Fidel Castro.

The CANF (Cuban-American National Foundation) has been carrying out terrorist activities against Cuba for years from it's headquarters in Miami, all with the blessing of the US Government (and I do mean blessing - halleluja).

Compare this with the saga of The Cuban Five. I'm guessing that they aren't having an anniversary party.

Once again, this illustrates the utter hypocrisy of US foreign Policy.

And Now, Your Moment of Reason

Today I start a regular series where I provide you, whether you want it or not, with a quote from history on the subject of religion.

"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy." - James Madison, the 4th President of the USA.

The founding fathers of the USA were very outspoken in their desire to distance religion and government. It was enshrined in their constitution because they believed religion was a tool for repression and ignorance, and was the antithesis to the nation they were trying to build; one based on reason, justice and personal liberty.

Madison's last line "A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy" should replace "In god we trust" on American dollar bills.

Maybe an unjust government needs the clergy.

I used up some great quotes in this post.

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Viva La Revolución!

With Castro being all over the news lately, I thought I'd get some historical perspective. Here's Fidel: The Untold Story. A well done documentary about a truly astounding man. (damn I love google video!)

What struck me the most was the amount of joy and love and genuine friendship surrounding him. Would've loved to have met the guy.

It will be a sad day for humanity when he's gone.
August 19, 2006

Neil Young

This is a great interview.

Wow, check out his website. It's amazing.

Harvest is my favorite Neil Young album. Got it on vinyl.

Just when you're feeling down, Neil picks you up.

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The Mangling of Logic pt. 3

This is the height of absurdity. G. Gordon Liddy, the guy who was convicted on charges of conspiracy, burglary, and illegal wiretapping in connection with the Watergate break-in in 1972, is defending the US Administration's illegal activity of wiretapping.

Sure, I guess he's an expert on the subject, but why stop with him? You could bring in Charles Manson to defend psychopaths, Jeff Skilling to defend corporate corruption, Kim Jong Il to defend tyranny, and Alberto Gonzales to defend the US Constiution.

It looks like they're treating it all as a big fucking joke anyway.

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Believe in Disbelief (or Maybe Organized Religion IS All Bad)

Last night, I watched a great documentary about the history of atheism, "Jonathan Miller's: A Brief History of Disbelief" (only part one, the rest isn't posted). It's basically an examination of atheism. Why people become atheists, when did it start, and an examination of the arguments supporting it. Here are some quotes from the show:
"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler who they consider god fearing and pious. On the other hand, they less easily move against him, believing he has the gods on his side." -Aristotle

"Long time men lay oppressed with slavish fear, religion's tyranny did domineer. At length a mighty one of Greece began to assert the liberty of man." -Lucretius

"Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is god both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?" -Epicurus

"If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?" -Epicurus

(Aristotle's quote is really quite depressing, considering it's just as pertinent today as it's ever been. Americans, in particular, seem to be OK with their tyrant breaking the law and defiling their constitution, and seem to be afraid of holding him responsible. The scumbag should've been thrown in jail years ago.)

During the program, Jonathan Miller points out that, although belief in a god is rooted in superstition and fear, the expressions of this belief are often incredibly beautiful. Look at all the organized religions in the world, and you will see a common thread of stunningly beautiful architecture, painting, sculpture.

This got me thinking of Ernest Becker's book "Escape From Evil". In it, he puts forth the theory that from since the beginnings of humanity, evil was equated with death, good with life. He suggests that all of our belief in gods, all of our religious ritual is simply an unconscious method of dealing with the terror of evil, or death. They are grand inventions taken up on a mass scale in order to soothe a societies' fears of annihilation.

In other words, religion and god are works of the imagination, or artistic creations, and the trappings of religion are the physical manifestations of this work of art.

Unfortunately, when it come to religion, people seem more inclined to treat inanimate objects with reverence, and human beings with contempt.

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Arresting!

Here is a disturbing take on the UK liquid bomb on an airplane plot.

Mixed in with reports on the British police's predictable lack of evidence or criminal charges (which seems to be the case in virtually all terrorist "plots"), there is this:
"The sinister aspect is not that this is a real new threat. It is that the allegation may have been concocted in order to prepare us for arresting people without any actual bombs."

In other words, maybe the authorities are getting us used to the idea of arrests with no probable cause. Maybe they're preparing us mentally for a police state, wherein anyone can be arrested at anytime for vague, unspecified reasons. A little adumbrative, maybe?

They certainly seem to be preparing for it.

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August 18, 2006

Racism: Alive & Kicking pt. 4

Whaddya know? Black people can't swim.

And of course, you know white men can't jump.

And Arabs are fanatics, Greeks are homosexual, Native Americans are drunks and Jews rule the world.

Glad we got that all cleared up.

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Don't Obscure my Adumbrations, Man

Today's word of the day is new to me:

ADUMBRATE:\AD-uhm-brayt; uh-DUHM-\, transitive verb:
1. To give a sketchy or slight representation of; to outline.
2. To foreshadow in a vague way.
3. To suggest, indicate, or disclose partially.
4. To cast a shadow over; to shade; to obscure.

Methinks this sexy little word should be used way more often to describe the actions of certain people.

Let me try to use it in a sentence (other than the stupendously witty post title):

"In today's world of specialized knowledge, a professional, in trying to retain grasp of the power his specialized knowledge affords him, will adumbrate any information which he is required to share with others outside of his field of expertise." paraphrasing
John Ralston Saul's"Voltaire's Bastards".

or

"During Wilhelm's search for an absurd mortgage, he had trouble finding a bank willing to offer a dumb rate of interest."

Yeah, Mr. Saul's mind and mine are operating on different levels. He'll catch up.

Sho'nuff

So...if you've increased the gain too much on the vocal mic, where you're picking up waaaay too much ambient noise, you're going to get some FEEDBACK!

Yep.

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August 17, 2006

What's At The End of This Rainbow?





















Snapped this photo on my street recently. It sorta looks like the leprechaun is giving the cop a psychotic "I'm coming to get you" kind of look. Where are all the leprechauns, anyway?

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One Reason Bell Canada should Die

I use Bell pay as you go for my cellular service, because I don't want to be locked into contracts. One of the "features" of pay as you go is automatic notification when your account balance gets below $3. For example, I make a call, and AFTER I'm connected, a female voice (I'm sure chosen because of her soothing tone) interrupts and notifies me that my remaining balance is whatever $. Notice this happens after I'm connected.

I also use calling cards for long distance. I have the calling card PIN number programmed into my phone so I can make long distance calls simply. I've programmed it with pauses so that it will enter the PIN at the right time.

So lets say I want to make a long distance call, but I don't know that my account balance is, say, $2. I call the number, and before the programmed pauses are done, before it can enter the PIN, the soothing female voice comes on and tells me my balance. This, of course, screws up the timing of the call, so now I have 2 options. If I have my long distance card with me, I can enter the PIN number manually, or I can go top up my pay as you go account, so that I can try it again, without the convenient interruption by Ms. Bell.

Meanwhile, I've payed the cost of placing another call, or the cost of an extra minute or two, for no reason whatsoever.

Of course, Bell did lower their pay as you go rates from 30 cents a min to 30 cents for the first two minutes and 5 cents a minute thereafter. Luckily for them, that's irrelevant in this case.

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I Guess Organized Religion Isn't All Bad

The United Church of Canada is calling on all it's members to boycott all bottled drinking water. No, not because of bottled water terrorism threats on airplanes, but because they believe that bottled water is the first step towards water privatization, and I agree.

They believe access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right, and I agree.

Slowly but surely, we are getting used to the idea of buying our drinking water from private companies in convenient, portable packages. Water which, by the way, has no regulatory oversight (in Canada at least), meaning that the bottled water you buy could be regular tapwater, or water straight out of a lake or river,. There's no oversight. You could start your own bottled water company right now using dishwater if you could convince people to ignore the look or smell..

Besides the ethical question of putting the control of water into private hands, there is also the wastefulness of the industry. Public water systems are energy efficient:
"Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient infrastructure whereas bottled water must be transported long distances--and nearly one-fourth of it across national borders--by boat, train, airplane, and truck. This 'involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels,''...

This is madness! All of the money wasted in this industry could build the cleanest, safest public water system ever, everywhere on the planet.

Here are some outrageous water privatization stories for ya:
India; Bolivia; USA; Canada.

Now try to find some positive ones (corporate profit reports don't count).

When are our elected officials going to wake up to the fact that privatization of public utilities only serves to enrich corporations. In virtually every case, the privatized service has denigrated at the expense of efficiency and profit. When a public utility is privatized, it's primary function, that of a public service, is undermined by the corporation's primary concern of maximizing profit for it's shareholders, often by any means necessary. When a corporation takes control of a region's water services, they are not responsible to the population in that region, but only to their shareholders, the majority of which most likely do not live in that region.

Watch this! (I know it's long, but it's so damn riveting)

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August 16, 2006

Racism: Alive & Kicking pt. 3

Ah, American Politics. It's just so pathetic. And check out what his sister has to say about him.

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Now This Is TV!!

I've been dreaming of seeing this on US Headline News for years. Wow. Now that's entertainment.

I love the guy defending Bush, John Fund. His main argument is that Bush is inarticulate. Watch the video and tell me if you think he's simply inarticulate.

Let's say just for fun that he's not stupid. If we go with Fund's inarticulate argument, then what's the explanation for Bush's confusion? He always seems at least slightly confused. Even if you are an inarticulate President of the USA, surely you have articulate speechwriters, articulate advisors, articulate people surrounding you who could articulate what, exactly, is going on.

So if he isn't stupid, then he presumably understands these people. I declare that even someone who is inarticulate can make himself understood, if he understands what he's trying to say.

So then there are a few explanations:

  1. No one is telling him what the hell is going on.
  2. Everyone around him is stupid, comatose or dead.
  3. He understands what's going on, but couldn't be bothered trying to explain it clearly.
  4. He's a brilliant actor who has us all convinced that he's stupid, but really is a super genius.
  5. He understands what's going on, or at least partially, but what's going on is so crooked and corrupt that it's impossible for him to speak about it clearly and honestly, and, being stupid, he trips over himself trying to be disingenuous.

I pick, uhhhhhhhhhhh...............4.

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Racism: Alive & Kicking pt. 2

Apparently, some Edmontonians are getting into the spirit of this new ideological, "us or them", "they hate our freedoms" kind of world.

I grew up in Edmonton, and it's really a beautiful place, with (mostly) great people, an amazing artistic and musical community, one of the best Universities around, and a huge network of parks that run through the entire city along both sides of the North Saskatchewan River (with some great offroad mountain biking trails).

C'mon you damn idiots, wake the hell up. The city may be isolated geographically, but do you really want to isolate yourselves socially and morally? Step out of your bubble into the real world.

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Rhonda at the Cameron House

I went to The Cameron House here in Toronto last night to see the ridiculously fantastic Rhonda Stakich perform. She's literally one of the best musicians I know. She's an excellent guitarist, and her playing style is really unique. She plays this finger picking/classical kind of mix with intricate rhythmic parts, all while singing beautiful, lilting melodies which weave through her guitar parts. She's performing there for the next two tuesdays, starting at 7pm. GO!

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August 15, 2006

The Global War Of Terrorism

Here's a video of Nancy Giles really telling it like it is, with regards to the US's terrorism carnival.

But her first statement, that she feels safer by the acts of European police than American is ignorant. As this story shows, the British are still the US's ally in "The Global War of Terrorism" (at the 23:12 mark, wait for it to load).

If you have the time, watch part 1 & 2. "The Power of Nightmares" by the BBC. It's an excellent documentary.

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August 14, 2006

Brainwashed!!

I just saw an interview with Thomas Ricks on The Daily Show. I linked to him in a previous post.

It was amazing to see a brainwashed mind in action. He was talking about his book, "Fiasco", which seems to be a litany of incompetence and incompetents within the US side of the Iraq War. Whether it's a good read or not, give him credit for doing it.

It was what Ricks said at the end of the segment that showed us his squeaky clean cranium. Right at the dying seconds he blurts out words to the effect of "The reality is that we're stuck there". Really blurting, trying to fit it in before commercial. His vision of reality, that the US is stuck there, is really another way of saying "stay the course", which is what US Gov. officials have been parroting for years. YEARS!

The words "stay the course", if viewed from an angle, could be interpreted as "follow the plan". If we can go by what they say and do, if we can go by history, the plan is this:

Cultivate Fear
Initiate and Engage in Armed Conflict
Cultivate Confusion

Repeat

The plan is un-ending war, un-ending confusion, un-ending fear. This really must be their goal. They believe this is justified because it keeps them in power, keeps them in positions to influence society, and they believe they should be the ones influencing society. Everyone else is a barbarian, riff-raff, tools. Really not quite as human as themselves.

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Racism: Alive and Kicking

Here is a really horrifying story. Some in the US are calling for a return of pharmaceutical testing on inmates, which was stopped in the 70's because of - geewhiz who woulda thunk it - abuse.

The prison population in the US is comprised mainly of minorities (PDF-see page 8), with black men being 5 times more likely to go to prison than white men. Ethnic minorities comprise 66% (2004) of prison inmates, while making up about 33% of the general population.

I guess it's just too damn expensive to keep on doing drug trials in the third world.
Luckily we're creating our very own (PDF).

As an aside; since 1995, the incarceration rate in US prisons has risen from 193 per 100,00 to 243 per 100,00 in 2004. That's more than a 25% increase in 9 years.

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Its a Bird, Its a Plane, Its a War Monger!

New Yorker staff writer Sy Hersh has revealed information that the US, particularly the office of Dick "Fuck You All" Cheney, was helping Israel plan their offensive against Lebanon for months before the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers (full story here, video here):
"The Bush Administration... was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations…. Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah—and shared it with Bush Administration officials—well before the July 12th kidnappings."

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August 13, 2006

The Moral High Ground (or The Mangling of Logic pt. 2)

Here's a story that should warm your tootsies tonight; according to Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post, Israel is purposefully allowing Hizbullah to stay armed and attack certain areas of Israel in order to have justification for invading Lebanon and killing innocent civilians. Gaining the moral high ground, as it were.

Let me categorically state how I feel about Israel. The closest comparison I can come up with is South Africa under apartheid. A Palestinian living in Israel is treated about the same as a black person was under apartheid. The Israeli collective identity seems to be one of we are god's chosen people, the bible tells us that we are superior to everyone else. Therefore we may do as we please. We were also the victims of a holocaust, and we may use this fact to our advantage. Therefore if you have any objections to our behavior, they can be dismissed as anti-semitism.

I am not an anti-semite. I am an humanitarian. I believe ALL of the human beings on earth have a right to live the way they choose to live, unless they begin infringing on someone else's right to do so. I believe there is a conspiracy, in the sense that there is both a tacit and express agreement between Israel and the West in which the West looks the other way. I believe that Israel is a criminal, murderous nation (see Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, they have covered it all) and needs to be held accountable for it's actions.

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August 12, 2006

The Mangling of Logic pt. 1

Check out this video clip. At about the 2:40 mark, the host of the show (I don't know her name) says "...but don't you think the fact they foiled this plot, at least in Great Britain, shows that we're making progress toward being safer?". She's refering to the recent arrests in Great Britain of men accused of trying to smuggle liquid ingredients used to make an explosive onto an airplane.

One observation; doesn't the existence (her assumption, not mine, remember they're accused ) of a terrorist plot indicate we're NOT safer? Wouldn't we be safer without terrorist plots?

Also, I love her first concern. She laments her not being able to take her expensive make-up onboard anymore.

Crooks & Liars.com hosts this video. Check them out.

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My Roommate Ry

My roommate Ry has a musical project called Deerfoot. It's killer stuff. I'd try to describe it to you but I would just write myself in circles. Your best bet is to check it out yourself. Elves On Patrol is my favorite (see website for previews of the whole record).

I bring this up for a reason. About two years ago, Ry started his project. He had fantastic musicians lined up, we had the basement all tricked real studio-like (my other roommate at the time, Zippy, had just bought a great home studio setup), and he was ready to record. Myself and Zip were to engineer. The session went great. We recorded for about a week and got great takes of all the tunes. Everybody was groovin.

We recorded everything to hard disk, and the drives were getting pretty full, so I decided to check for unneeded stuff taking up space. In the process I deleted the ENTIRE session. A week of work (not counting the months of preparation - and all the musicians used were from out of town) down the drain. POOF.

After numerous attempts at data recovery with many different companies, of which none could do ANYTHING (has anyone ever used one of these services successfully?), we had to accept that it was gone forever.

How bad do you think I felt?

But Ry, being one of the best kind of people you could know, was undeterred (and amazingly non-violent) and so the Deerfoot you hear is the second, successful attempt, not foiled by me, of his at producing an album.

And it turned out great.

Gotta say that my roommate Ry is a stand up kind of a guy.
August 11, 2006

I Hate Stephen Harper

Well, I don't really hate him, but let's make him go away, OK? George Bush has enough people licking his butt.
Brush your teeth before your next speech, Steve.

Hmmm, that's kinda nasty.

Maybe just brush your tongue.

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Orwell's Promise

I remember when I read 1984 for the first time. It seemed so alien, so foreign. I couldn't imagine living in a reality like that. The words my friends and I used with each other all meant what they meant. My parents used words with me that meant what they meant. My reality seemed so different from Orwell's novel that I could comfortably read it as fantasy.

Little did I know that others would be reading it as inspiration. Oblivious was I to the possibility that others would be attracted to this vision of society and actively work to make it real.
Slowly, as I became more politically aware, these possibilities crept into my consciousness.

And so re-reading 1984 years later, I had to approach it differently. It was with an underlyaing feeling that perhaps this is more than fantasy. That perhaps Orwell knew a thing or two, or maybe glimpsed a thing or two that the rest of us couldn't. He was trying to warn us.

And now, today, when war means peace, when lies are truth, when hate means love, when ignorance is knowledge, when Bin Laden means Iraq, when wealth requires welfare, when an invasion is self defence, when torture is a tool, when freedom means slavery, and when ethics can be discarded for convenience, I can see that for some, his warnings were instead a promise.

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August 10, 2006

A Demonstration

I walked out my front door today at around noon and what do I see? About 7 Police motorcycles, 1 patty wagon and aprox. 12 cops hanging out in front of my house.

Hmmm, I wonder.

I ask one of the officers what's going on, and he tells me "a demonstration". My first thought is, what-a demonstration of police force? But upon further questioning (why are police officers so damn obtuse when answering questions by concerned citizens?) it turns out there's to be a demonstration by OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty) on my street.
OCAP and the Toronto police have a history of violent confrontation. Needless to say I don't want violent confrontations in front of my house.

The story unfolds...

UPDATE:
All ended peacefully, at least here. The march continued to city hall.

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August 09, 2006

Hello World

So...everyone can finally rest easy, I've finally decided to start a blog.
Yes, as you can see I've staked out my corner of the cornerless where I can amaze and excite, educate and arouse, elucidate and, perhaps, abolish any misconceptions of the extraordinary world we adorn.