Wednesday, December 27, 2006
So good riddance, Mr. Hussein, and may the souls of those you've tortured and slaughtered over the years be at peace. And may the survivors of your regime look forward to a future of freedom.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
"Republicans, of course, may have decided that they have a Machiavellian interest in setting up Democrats with inflated expectations." says the NYT. Yeeeeaaah. The evil political mastermind Karl Rove has somehow manipulated events to make the Democrats foolishly believe that they'll easily take both houses. This style of thought is the most telling revelation about that paper and party's complete lack of self-awareness. They both can't believe that the majority of people don't actually agree with them, and will conjure up an 0verly-complex and improbable cause of their failures every time they fail. And they actually have so little respect for the average person that they don't think s/he'll notice that what they're saying is ridiculously irrational.
Hey Adam Nagourney. Find out about Occam's razor.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
The Times comically manages to blame the Bush Admin for declassifying and publishing sensitive nuclear information that 'might help Iran', which makes me think that either the Times just hasn't allowed for the possibility that this revelation has just vindicated the Admin completely in their intent, or they have no respect whatsoever for the intelligence of the populace in general.
I mean, there were so many other reasons for invading Iraq than WMD, but the only thing the looney-left had against the Admin that gained traction was the fact that no WMDs. But first of all, many hundreds of Sarin nerve gas shells have been found, there were nuclear centrifuge parts found buried in backyards, and now there is strong evidence of an intent and capability for nuclear weapons. And finally a Weapon of Mass Destruction is about to be condemned for his crimes against humanity.
So that should be the end of it.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
The Americans excel at virtually all sports (except for soccer). Why is that? Cash. Their athletes are allowed to earn virtually as much money as the market will bear, through professional sports organizations and endorsement deals. Whereas here in Canada, with the noteable exception of hockey players, athletes are virtually obligated to live at the edge of subsistence, depending on government handouts to get by. And don't get me wrong, Canada's star does sometimes shine. But not consistently. And those hockey players are successful because of the American dollar, not government.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Funny thing is, Chapters/Indigo/Coles didn't order any. That's because Ms. Heather Reisman, Canada's book police chief and CEO of the company, is a pinko, and she knows better than you do what you should read and what you shouldn't. Steynonline.com will ship it to you autographed, and based on my previous experience, within a couple days. I haven't read it yet, but as soon as Amazon sends out my order, I will post a review.
He goes on to say “It has the potential, down the road, to create the [same] kind of fuzzy thinking and chaos in our efforts to exploit the space resource as the fuzzy thinking and chaos the Iraq policy has created in Iraq.” Well, I guess if it's coming from the expert on fuzzy thinking, it must be true.
But seriously, he may have a point. If you don't believe (as I don't) that Iraq is a terrible mess, then there is a way for him to be telling the truth. If you believe that this project will yield tremendous results for Iraqis 5 or 10 years down the road, and that the glory of Mesopotamia will be restored by a responsible democratic society whose seeds have been already sown, then perhaps yes, space will one day be like Iraq.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
You know, Democrats have been warning of this possibility for years. "Quagmire" is the preferred term, and the comparison between the 'Quagmire' in Vietnam and the difficulties in Iraq has long been made. Some of the loons out on the far left have been fairly triumphant as a result of GWB's 'admission', completely oblivious to the irony he is pointing out.
He is not comparing military failures, first of all. What he's saying is that the Tet Offensive in 1968, which was a complete failure for the Viet Cong, was part of the enemy's overall strategy of manipulating Big Media and other 'useful idiots' in the States to turn the public against the war effort. He sees Al-Qaida and other radical Islamic groups as trying the same thing, which judging by the complete corruption of Reuters, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, CBC, BBC, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and others, has had at the least limited success. All they have to do is find a way to keep killing people, and with that in mind, they will continually try to turn people off of the greater good that the Americans intend.
Useful idiots. I believe it was Lenin who coined the term, and it was meant to describe those in America whose weak sense of morality could be subverted to promote the Sovet agenda. It was particularly descriptive of those in America and other Western countries who did not agree with the constitutional construction of their nations, and who would side with anyone else who opposed it. I think fondly of some in my parents' generation who would believe anything except for that which was spoken by the mouths of those in authority, and also of some of my peers who would foolishly believe any useless conspiracy theory that's out there (because it 'discredits' their political opponents), rather than the wisdom of those who are democratically elected to lead our countries and make the hard decisions that are necessary to protect our liberties.
To those that would retort "Jer, your sense of moral superiority makes you blind to the other possibilities and points-of-view that might be equal to yours"....I say that in a world of many choices, you have to make choices. I read literature that I don't agree with. I read the editorials of at least 4 newspapers with opposing views almost every day. I listen to punk rock, I love Propaghandi, Bad Religion, Rise Against, Strung Out, Anti-Flag, and many others who espouse a different point of view, I watch the Jon Stewart Show, CBC Newsworld, I read Slate, The Daily Kos.....
But I still have to make a choice. Being 'open-minded' doesn't mean that you can't chose. It doesn't mean that there isn't a black or a white. It's not all gray, contrary to what some people will tell you. In fact, being open-minded is only a tool to discover what is black or white, and to not be blind to either. Being empty-minded is what allows one to only see gray. And if you only see gray, you are a useful idiot.
So what was GWB talking about when he drew comparisons between the Tet Offensive and the situation in Iraq today? I would say that he sees massive defeats for the enemy, which continually seem to be perverted by mainstream media into useful propaganda for the enemy. I challenge readers of this blog to look at the situation with this in mind, and to make your choice.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
""At that point, the West focused more on its geopolitical interests," Gorbachev said, adding that Western countries had been more interested in cashing in on the "unbridled burst of globalization" that followed the end of the Cold War than in improving the international political climate".
Ah yes, it's all coming together; the world is falling apart, and it's because of capitalistic industry. Capitalism is also making the rich richer and the poor poorer. And it's also breeding extremists. And producing terrible Hollywood films.
it has created an environment where any able-bodied person (which the vast masses of humanity are, contrary to current liberal beliefs) can live a productive life full of joys and sorrows, during which science has produced virtual miracles that extend and enhance human experience, and believe it or not, has exponentially developed the social conscience; our concepts of right and wrong are so incredibly more complicated that generations before us that it's ridiculous to compare them. And directly contradicting Gorbachev's world-view, world-reality demonstrates that more and more countries every year have finally recognized that individual liberty, embodied by 'globalization'(read capitalism), is the catalyst.
Sure, there's some basket-case states out there still that haven't got it yet, as any good liberal will protest; "You know, there's shit going on in _______________ state in Western/Northern/Asian/South American that is just as _______________ as Iraq, but the States doesn't care about them - they only care about oil, man - you don't see them trying to reform the country if it doesn't have oil reserves."
But you know what? It's only a matter of time, if things keep progressing so nicely, before the silly little issues like Poverty-case North Korea or Somalia or Sudan become the only problems left, and the powers of the world at the time end up solving them (compare this with 50 years ago, when all of Europe, North America, major parts of Asia, Africa and Australia were all at war with each other). I think currently about the position China will end up taking on North Korea, as NK continues to 'threaten' to release thousands of refugees across the border into China. First of all, are the people of North Korea citizens, or hostages? But secondly, can China tolerate a nuclear-nutbag neighbour now that it realizes that the protection and encouragement of individual liberty is what is transforming their economy?
The governments of progressive, libertarian countries world-wide have recognized that their fundamental role, and only real legitimate role, is to protect the liberty of their citizens, whether it be from killers, rapists, thieves, or whatever.
My prediction: China will play a bigger role in the neutralization of North Korea than the Americans will.
My second prediction: In fifty years there will be complete world peace.
My third prediction: My grandchildren will at least visit Mars, if not live there.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
1. Global Warming
4. Gun Violence
5. Species Extinction
7. Terrorist Attacks in Russia, Britain, Spain, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India.
8. smelly farts
10. The disappearance of the rain forest
11. The existance of the oil industry
For some people, the world only began in November 2000, and since then, the sky has been veeeeery slowly falling.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Multiculturalism is probably the most fashionable and thus popular doctrinal value these days, one which moonbats everywhere claim as the Descartian universal truth, the one natural law by which all humans must guide their lives.
But what if, regardless of how strictly you adhere to that idea, people of other cultures disagree with you? And refreshingly, I'm not talking about neo-cons or republicans or whatever. I'm talking about people who, just like any good liberal, hold that the masses are incapable of running their own lives, but rather than working for the CBC they decide to strap explosives to their chests and blow the shit out of themselves and any infidels that disagree. What if those people don't agree that all cultures are equal and deserving of liberty? What should you do? Protect your country's ideals? Or hold sensitivity training courses for the jihadi? That is the question GWB wakes up to every day. Do I protect those in my country who oppose me, or do I let the immediate future prove them wrong?
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
And I mean intolerant in a way that us in the West aren't used to, because yeah, you know how relatively accepting of gay rights and women's rights we are. There's something about affirmative action too. Oh yeah, and we generally like to let people worship however they want to, or not at all if that's their thing. Or um, we have a rule of law relatively free of religious influence. Blah blah blah. Or yeah, remember how willing we are to ignore the flaws of others, as long as the others will accept us and like us. And find us to be non-threatening. Oh right, there's something about free speech that we've all kind of accepted, you know how you can generally say whatever you want publicly, and maybe people don't agree, or maybe they respond aggressively with other words or whatever.
Oh wait, I should stop. It's no use trying to position this superficial, materialistic, individualistic society as somehow morally superior to anybody else (Shhhhhh, Rocketman, you probably shouldn't talk so loud, maybe there's someone listening who wants to behead you), because as we all now know from our postmodern, nihilistic, enlightened perch condescending upon anybody else who doesn't agree, all morality is subjective and equivalent.
And this polite fiction goes on and on and on, and it's great. Everything's great, we're all getting along, and WHAMMO!! The Pope goes and turns off the music at the party and tries to pick a fight. Way to go you Papal maniac!! Why did you have to go and tell Jihad Johnny that he's wearing an ugly sweater? You know he's all coked up and looking for a fight. See look, he's just phoned all his buddies, and they're just a few church-torchings away from coming down to kick all of our asses! Why can't you just shut up for once and keep your opinions to yourself?
Funny how the West can tolerate "The Piss Christ" without getting all freaky, eh?
My favourites from both studies: The first study exclaims: It looks like a building which is being demolished! Steve Dutch rebuts: How's it supposed to look; like an errupting volcano?
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
He goes further and says "When we had Rwanda, almost everyone said we should not let it happen again". Well first of all, almost everyone?
Second of all, if the policy in Rwanda was to debate whether or not it was a good idea to intervene, and then do nothing, and then debate again until everybody's dead, then it looks like it is already all happening again.
Say what you will about the Americans, believe in 'imperialism', 'blood for oil' conspiracies, military-industrial complexes, blame them for all the world's ills, criticize their screw-ups, but hey, at least they're trying in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also did their best in Germany and Japan.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Friends, (if I may still have the honour of using the term) let me make an appeal: Please keep it coming. This sort of debating is a healthy thing! You don't need to change my mind, and I don't care to change yours either. What's good about discussions like this is the exploration of the way we feel about the things that are important. We can build on our individual beliefs this way, and if we have opposing views on some things, that's fantastic! Where else can you interact with someone who disagrees with you in a polite arena?
It's too easy to become so rigid in your beliefs that you can't stand to hear opposing views from people you'd otherwise get along with. So again, please comment, it's brain food! I only ask that nobody takes anything personally, and that nobody gets personal. That way, no one gets hurt.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
It's funny how when you say a word enough, it loses its meaning. It's a fun game to repeat a word over and over until it sounds like it's from another language. My favourite word for that game is 'leotard'. Say leotard over and over and over, and suddenly it's the funniest sounding word you can think of.
Despite all the little struggles I've had over the years as I've grown up, or because of them, the word 'struggle' had become just like leotard in my vernacular. A silly word with very little meaning.
But it's funny how when you suddenly have proper context for a silly word, it becomes meaningful once again.
Here in Canada where you are not allowed to fight back against your assailants, the mugger would probably be protected by more laws than the muggee. He'd probably get put in jail (if the police could be bothered to try and find him), but money would be lavishly spent on his 'rehabilitation', and he'd be released early. Then he'd probably sue her, but she'd probably already be in jail for attempted murder with an illegally concealed weapon.
Oh yeah, and there would be people trying to understand the 'root causes' of the crime, which would undoubtedly be the oppression of the working class and the poor by the heartless rich people. The mugger would be a victim of the bourgeousie, and his only fault would be acting out his frustrations.
I say forget root causes, I'm glad he got his, it's only too bad she couldn't have put that bullet in a different spot.
My favourite line from grandma: "I feel bad, but it was his choice."
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
One little miniseries on ABC.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Brazil was amazing. I learned some things, I think. I saw natural beauty. I saw human beauty. I experienced human beauty. There were beautiful products of humanity's efforts.
Brazil was appalling. I saw fear. I saw hatred. I saw envy. I saw misogyny. I saw filth.
I don't mean to sound grandiose, it just fits to say that. It doesn't sound terribly original to me either. I expect that it's typical to have that experience wherever you go in this world. It seemed like a completely human experience to me altogether. These things, aesthetics, are all human. They're all ugly or beautiful, and all because of a human judgement; a comparison of sense data with values held.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
It just got a little harder to hate Walmart.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
If only they'd make membership optional....
What would you do if you were kidnapped or beaten or forced to convert? Would you blame your aggressors, or blame yourself?
What if this sort of thing happened in Canada? Would we be duty-bound to try to understand the motives of the perpetrator? Would it be just to ignore the link between his culture's doctinal values and his motivation, in the name of multiculturalism?
What should we do?
But there is a doctrine that has been metastisizing in the west, and it is called moral relativism. It is a firm belief that no doctrinal or ethical value is an objective value; no value is greater or worse than any other. Well, I shouldn't say that too quickly, it is a cannibalistic doctrine, only capable of seeing faults in the doctrine that gave it birth - Liberty.
In fact, indulge me while I skate on thin ice, but I'd venture to guess that the self-loathing that the west currently languishes in is no less an enemy than any silly terrorist running around with crude weaponry.
Consider how a culture like Canada's with it's majority Christian population cannot bring itself to allow Christmas celebrations at many of its schools anymore, because it's afraid of offending someone, but at the same time raises almost no protest over a plan to bring oppressive Sharia law to Ontario! Or, don't blame the criminal, he's a product of society! It's our fault! Or, oh those poor inmates in Guantanamo, they are being detained without charge! We're such terrible people! Never mind that their compatriots like to lop off the heads of the people trying to help build Iraq! Or, oh Britain got bombed because they're allies with the terrible Americans, it serves them right - the 'resistance fighters' are just lashing out at 'western imperialism'!
And that brings us back to the silly terrorists with antique guns... The 'isolated incidents' that are actual terrorist attacks are not worth being afraid of - their means aren't terribly sophisticated, and the attacks should be easily subdued - it's our own self-loathing that I'm worried about.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Positive or Negative. What should I do, and what shouldn't I do.
When you are poor, you have little care for ethics. If you and your family are starving, you will not care to consider whether what you are doing to provide sustenance is moral or immoral. You'll do whatever it takes to survive.
When you meet your survival needs, you consider aesthetics next. When you study aesthetics through your experiences, you gradually begin to find some things appealing, and some things repulsive. Some things good, some things bad.
When you realize that some things are good, and some things are bad, you wonder why that is the case. You search for answers in doctrine.
Doctrine guides you to act in ways to maximize the good through ethics.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Mainly, they´re the same as in Canada, they sell smokes, chips, drinks, chocolate bars, etc., and of course, gas. But one thing that almost every station sells is alcohol. Of the drinking variety sure, but also of the kind that you put in your fuel tank! It´s a product called E85, which means it´s 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, and it´s actually cheaper than regular gas. Most of the new cars sold here are equipped with a flex-fuel system, which means they can run on either product, so drivers can opt for the cheaper product. There are even some totalflex cars that can also run on natural gas, but can switch to gasoline or E85 when required!
It´s a little unusual for a country like Brazil to be an environmental leader of the world, but it certainly is! But soon, North America will follow its lead: GM will be producing 400,000 cars a year starting this year which are flex fuel, and in fact, certain models starting from 2000 are already compatible. Because E85 behaves very similarly to gasoline, it will quickly become available at gas stations everywhere, because the oil companies won´t have to change any pump systems, they´ll just switch a tank from gasoline to E85, and voila! Instant supply. Ethanol plants are also springing up in Canada, by year´s end Husky Oil will be producing over 250,000 million litres of the stuff, with plans for incremental production over the next several years.
I wonder who will still attend the Critical Mass rallies....
Monday, August 21, 2006
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Liberal MP from Etobicoke, likens Hezbollah to the IRA, and says ´´if there wasn't the possibility for London to negotiate with the IRA, you'd still have bombings."´ Well Borys, I think that the IRA had a reasonable struggle and they were not intent upon destroying the state of Britain. They also did not hide behind women and children, hoping that the British would kill the moms and kids in order to create public relations problems for them. Hezbollah is not interested in negotiation, and I think that people have to realize this.
"This is Canada's shame," Ms. Maria Mourani, Bloc MP said. What´s Hezbollah´s shame Maria?
Have no sympathy for the devil.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
It might seem provocative, or maybe not, to say that doctrinal values only develop in an incremental sense relative to the realization of innate and aesthetic values. That is to say, doctrine becomes more complex with the security of having realized some level of satisfactory survival, and some appreciation of aesthetics. I´d wager that the more secure a person is in meeting survival needs, and the more a person understands things to be either ugly or beautiful, the more likely that person will be to start exploring a doctrine of some kind which can explain how things are, or how things should be.
So given that to be true, innate values are still the keystone to the foundation of all other values, and the development of them. At this point I would like to express a belief that I have, and that is that humans universally value survival, and that this is not a subjective expression; I believe it to be objective fact.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
But once innate values are realized, then suddenly a human has the leisure to think about aesthetics. People spend a lot of time thinking about aesthetics, I think, whether they are considering the beauty of a landscape, a building, an art piece, another human, music, poetry, prose, etc. Of course, although there are many things that many people consider beautiful, each person has some set of values that must apply to an object in order for him/her to call it beautiful.
I don´t think that there is any universal aesthetic value system, nor do I think that all people have a very developed aesthetic value system; but I do think that all people have some sense of aesthetics. Because again, one man´s junk is another man´s gold. But each man has an opinion on the object in question.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Further, this value system overwhelms any other value system, because it contains the necessities of life, without which no other value system is relevant. So before seriously considering different doctrines, aesthetics, or morals, a person must consider how to obtain water, food, and shelter.
And it could be said that even suicidal people have the innate value of survival, but that they don't possess the integrity to uphold even that basic value until the natural ends of their lives.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
It´s easy to say that aesthetics are not necessarily universal among people and cultures - beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc. One man´s junk is another man´s gold, or whatever.
Innate values are of course the easiest ones to defend as being universal. Humans are biologically all the same, we have a natural need to prolong our experience, whether during life or through to the after-life. We will do anything that it takes to protect ourselves, and our own interests. Onlywhen self-preservation is assured, do we become altruistic in our actions.
The tough ones are ethical values and doctrinal values. The postmodern ethos would have an easy way to answer my previous question, because it would deny objective qualities to either ethics or doctrine, allowing the most horrible perversions of both, and because these perversions have been committed to historical record, it would seem that postmodernism would answer that no, there are no universal values.
I know that there are some objections. To innate values for example: Homosexual couples may not have a desire to reproduce...But is that only because of present logistical issues? Perhaps there are ways to circumvent those issues. To ethical values for another example: A man may believe that it is wrong to kill another man under all circumstances save war or other self-defence, but in a fit of jealous rage might kill his wife´s lover....But is that because he truly lacks value, or because he has not enough integrity to uphold his values? Or perhaps, in both cases, perhaps the individuals in question have these values, but have other, stronger values that override the others. In any case, I may be digressing by raising these objections....
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Do you believe there are any universal values?
I ask that knowing that most of my open-minded friends will believe that value differences can be explained by cultural differences.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The first is of, in order left to right, Colin, Ana, Me, Nates, and Sophie. The second is Ana, Me, and Colin. These are friends I met in Rio, and the scene is of a boat (booze) cruise we took off the coast. It was a day of all you can eat, drink, and swim, and it was one of my favourite days in Rio, if not Brazil. These people are awesome!!
The first photo is of a group of Capoeiristas demonstrating their art/fighting on the dock in front of our pousada in Ilha Grande. It´s a form of self-defense that african slaves came up with to defend themselves against their masters, and they were able to develop it only because they disguised it as dance! The second is the same dock in daylight, the third is a view of a street in town, the fourth is of Ana and Greg on our balcony, watching the Capoeira.
Assorted photos from Salvador: The first is a colonialist-era building which is slowly decaying - the roof is missing, yet the lower levels still house people, the second is a lighthouse near where we stayed in Barra, Salvador, the last is of a cross made of steel that memorializes a church that was destroyed in the name of ´progress´,.
These photos are of the beach near Gamboa, a small fishing village about a 45 minute hike from the main town of Morro. You have to walk along the coast, but at high tide, which is when I did it, there is no coast. You must walk in water sometimes chest high with your belongings above your head to get there. But it´s worth the walk, the beach is virtually deserted, the water is calm, and there are two really good restaurants there for when you get hungry. It´s also stunningly beautiful. The walk back is easier, as the tide recedes it leaves behind a small strip of beach that you can walk on.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
I´ve finally found a place where I can upload a few pics, so here´s a couple. Hopefully there will be more to follow in the next few days...The first is a picture of Foz du Iguassu, a really nice one. Sadly, we´re not here during the rainy season, so there´s not as much water going over the falls right now, but it´s still quite a spectacular sight. The second is a pic of Copacabana beach at sunset, with a game of American-style football going on in the foreground.
And just like anywhere else, there are many anti-americans, socialists, or non-political people. I´ve even met people that think that George W. Bush is to blame for the favelas here in Brazil; I almost cracked up when I heard that one...
But last night, I had a bit a shock. Greg and I went out with a group of French guys, and a couple of British girls. There were 4 French guys, and I kid you not, they were to a man pro-capitalist, pro-Bush, pro-American, business students. I almost fell out of my chair! Heck, one more Cerveja and I would have!!! I expected to have a slightly altered world-view after this trip, but my God, I did NOT expect to be impressed by the politics of the people of France!! Don´t get me wrong, I have much respect for the culture and history of France, but I must admit I had generalized their politics in a most disrespectful way.
And for that, my French friends, I must apologize. Vivé la France!!
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Anyway, my seat at the game was right beside an ex-pat Brit who now lives in Ecuador where he runs an English pub, and the weird thing about this pousada in Salvador, 1500-plus kms away from Rio, is that the same guy walks in here with a pizza last night as we were arriving back from an amazing street festival!! Like what are the odds eh?
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
It´s also probably comforting for them to know that his brother Raul is 75, and could kick the bucket at any time as well.
The other part of me got to Salvador exhausted after a day of travel that included taxis, boats, buses, and airplanes, at around midnight. We needed a place to stay, and our first choice was booked for the night. We ended up at a reeeeeeeally sketchy place in Barra, a neighbourhood in Salvador. It cost 30 reals for the night for the both of us, which is about 12 dollars Canadian. It was pretty disgusting, after having stayed in such a nice pousada on Ilha Grande. There was a patio on the street where we unwound a little after arriving. We were propositioned by prostitutes, panhandled, etc. But otherwise, after an uneasy sleep, we are ok. We found a super nice pousada today called Ambar, in a better, trendy part of Barra, just down the street from the beach. We´ll stay here for two days or so, and then set out for the countryside around Salvador. Victoria is coming here on the ninth of august, and then we go to the Amazon shortly after.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
We're here because there's a weekend-long music festival going on, which promises to be amazing! A friend that we made at the hostel in Rio, Ana from New Zealand, will be joining us here today to help us make sure we party appropriately. She is an engineer professionally, so her and I have alot of common interests - lots to talk about. A bit of socialist though....sigh.
On monday, we'll go back to Rio to catch a flight to Salvador, where we'll likely meet up with this guy named Colin that we also met in Rio. He's from Singapore, but he teaches in Taiwan, and is here for his vacation. He's a great guy, and he's also got pretty good english and portuguese, so he's been immensely helpful, in addition to being fun to hang out with.
Anyway, it's almost 10 am here, so I guess I should go...Time to go seek out a good beach or two for surfing!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
They offer tours through the slums, half of which supposedly goes towards humanitarian aid, the other half to the tour operators. They also have favela funk parties where you can go to this giant hall where the favelians party. but you are in a VIP area, looking down on the scene from above. I haven´t been able to bring myself to go to either.
The other travellers here at the hostel all say it´s a great experience, but I can´t help thinking that it wouldn´t feel right. Making this poverty a spectacle, the socialists here revel in their elitism, and it makes me ill.
I´ll definitely be ruminating more on this situation at a later date.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
P.S. I should be posting some really nice pictures sometime soon...stay posted.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
"How do you tell a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin." - Ronald Reagan
Saturday, July 15, 2006
It should seem so simple to Hamas and Hezbollah. Simply release and return the 3 soldiers that are being held hostage, and the fighting stops. Instead, Hamas is foolishly demanding that Israel release 1000 Hamas prisoners in exchange for one soldier, and I don't even know what Hezbollah has asked for in exchange this time. Cox and Forkum, the site where this cartoon is published, notes that Israel has capitulated to these sorts of ridiculous demands before, but isn't in any mood to right now.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Should world leaders continue to tut-tut and issue soundbites to try and influence domestic polls? Not if they have learned a lesson from Canada's own Mssr. Martin.
An interesting idea has been floating around for a while, involving admitting Israel to NATO. This organization has a policy that, if you attack one member, you're attacking all of them, so there would be less disharmony from member nations when thinking about how to proceed. NATO used to be an instrument to contain the Soviet Union. Since the Commie threat has dissipated in no small part due to NATO, perhaps using it to contain the Islamic fundamentalist threat would be ideal!
Funny thing about these rockets. They are difficult to aim. You sort of point them at the city you want to hit, and hope that they'll hit something of high value.
Funny thing about Israeli warfare. It's targeted. Highly lethal to actual military targets, less dangerous to civilians. It's designed to avoid 'collateral damage', to put it crudely.
Assuming that Israel is entitled to their own self-defence, they are acting within their rights as a sovereign nation when they are attacking Hezbollah targets. And if Lebanon can't stop Hezbollah, because Israel can, Israel should.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Let's see....have you blamed GWB for :
1. Global Warming?
6. Business Bankruptcies (Think Enron)?
9. The Tech Bubble Burst?
10. Last, but not least, 9/11?
Because he's just as responsible for these things as today's catastrophe. That is to say, not at all.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Among my favourite quotes:
***"Personally, if celebrities have to 'put their bodies on the line for peace,' I'd much rather see them bulk up. How about if Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow promise to put on 20 pounds for every month Bush refuses to end his illegal war?"
***"So Sean Penn is starving himself to death, but just for a day? Brilliant! If Gandhi had been that smart, he'd still have a movie career. Willie Nelson and Michael Moore are also among those participating in the ''rolling fast,'' which in Michael's case will involve going without the roll. Greater love hath no man than to lay down his lunch for his friends."
***"The problem for the 'activists' is that the entire anti-war movement is undernourished. Indeed, in all their contempt for America as an effete narcissistic ninny too soft and self-absorbed to stand any pain, even al-Qaida couldn't have come up with as withering a parody of the Great Satan's decadence as a celebrity pseudo-fast. As the great Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean said on his deathbed: 'Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.' Not for Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon."
How about we start trading in some of those luxuries we take for granted, so that others may receive them? Stop taking flu shots. I mean, who are you to deserve one, when so many people can't afford it? Stop drinking lattes, maybe give up your winter jacket, get rid of your addiction to wearing shoes (even in January),, and so on. I mean, these would be small steps toward equality, but you would be perceived as pious and altruistic by your judgemental peers.
Or maybe we could stop feeling guilty about our material wealth, and show others how we've gone and accumulated it, so that they can too.
Okay, just kidding, some of the people that work for Halliburton vote Democrat, so they're not reeeally Capitalists....or at least they feel guilty about their dirty capitalist ways.
Aaaaaaaaany way, what's really true, and super neat, is that big pharma has come up with a single pill, to be taken once a day, that will treat AIDS. According to this article, the AIDS patients who used to take cocktails of up to 36 pills per day will now get better, more effective treatment from one pill. It'll be a breakthrough for patients in poor countries, because logistically speaking it'll be easier to supply. And no more expensive. Actually, over the long run, it'll probably be cheaper.
By the way, I don't know for sure, but I bet none of Bill Gates' money was necessary for this breakthrough.
Additionally, and more importantly, no taxpayer money was either.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Friday, July 07, 2006
What I mean with that last bit is that, in any given city in Canada or the US, young people work jobs filled with menial, unskilled labour, which without allowing their employers the right to accumulate capital in the form of workplace technology (which is what adds value to the tasks that the employee is doing), would seem as funny as a kid flipping imaginary burgers on an empty lot for 8 bucks an hour. But they're not. They're crappy jobs, yes, but they are opportunities for these people to accumulate their own personal capital to go to school, buy houses, learn a bit about workplace processes and interactions, and grow from there.
In the nanny states, where welfare and safety net programs take wealth away from the capitalists to give to the 20-30% of people who aren't working, capital accumulation slows (because of taxation), people start making more money to stay home and do nothing (with welfare) than they would with that entry level job. But the worst thing is they never accumulate. They never get into jobs that require experienced people. They never get to pursue business opportunities that require investment. They stay poor, unemployed, and unemployable.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Let us now remember who the U.N. Human Rights Commission consists of:
15 islamic nations, all of which are dictatorships/monarchies; Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Tunisia. All of which voted for the resolution.
8 borderline dictatorships; Argentina, Ecuador, Ghana, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Cameroon, and Nigeria, 5 of which voted for the resolution,
and China, and Cuba, both of which are real dictatorships/prison states, both of which voted for the resolution,
leaving only India, South Africa, and Phillipines as democracies voting for the resolution.
Abstentions and votes against were as follows: Cameroon, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, South Korea, Romania, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
The Americans aren't allowed at the table here, having been voted out of the Council in 2001.
So what can we conclude from this, and the resolution of a few days ago making Israel's 'human rights abuses' a permanent feature of the council's meetings?
1. The majority of nations on the 'Human Rights Commission' are dictatorships, which should theoretically disqualify them from positions on this commission, and
2. The majority of nations which voted against Israel (and sponsored the resolution) are Islamic, thus natural enemies of Israel, which should be a conflict of interest in this vote, and
3. The resolution seems unfair anyway, as Hamas seems to have initiated the violence.
Well hey, at least all those dictatorships are 'united nations' in their jew-hatred.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Of course, having said that they don't clean, take care of the place, etc., I do have to admit that I will have no one to blame if this place is a mess anymore. :)
So, now that I'm unemployed, and before I take off to Brazil, my number one task is getting this place in order, and cleaned up. Ken's room is now my room, while my old room is now the office/spare bedroom. Andy's room is now my music room - I've got a drum set, guitars, bass, etc., time to rock! - , and I've now got plenty of cupboard space to take over. I might even get some matching glass tumblers and new towels since I will be the only one to blame if they break or get musty.
Today is a celebration of the birth of a country and the embodiment of an ideal. For some, this is a black day, as the country born today represents everything that they are against. However, it truly is the living triumph of the individual over the collective, and the beacon that lights the way forward for Liberty-loving folks.
When I think about how America is the only country of its kind in the world; that is, born of an ideal, I can't help but correlate its remarkable success compared to the rest of the world with its political uniqueness. Can it be a coincidence that the richest, most powerful, most innovative and progressive country in the world is also the most free?
Why would I celebrate America's day? Because its progress pulls us all along - we all get the benefit of their success. I would suggest that they are responsible for the national security of virtually every country in 'the west', they are responsible for the economic growth of many, and they are responsible for many of the technological, pharmaceutical, and medical advances that we all enjoy the consequences of.
So, just as I am grateful for Canada, and celebrated its birthday a few days ago, so I am grateful for America, and all of her glorious achievements.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
The U.N.'s new 'Human Rights' Commission has just voted to make a review of Israel's alleged 'human rights violations' a regular and permanent feature of every council session.
Do you think that Palestinian suicide bombings targeting busloads of innocent people will ever be a feature of these sessions? Not likely...
For me, the things that make this country great are as follows: We've got a relatively low population density. There is tremendous natural beauty everywhere you look. Despite a late tax-freedom day, we are a relatively free citizenry. Finally, Canada is home to the greatest game in the world!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Then trade in your crappy car, and get one that runs on alternative fuels. Everybody's doing it....
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006
And to think, these two men were completely driven by profit during their working lives.
Hey guess how many Microsoft Millionaires there are! (Answer: over 10,000) And by Microsoft millionaires, I mean employees of Microsoft who are millionaires. I wonder if any of those people ever give money away...
As you probably know, 4 russian hostages have been executed by Al-Qaida forces in Iraq, and the video of the execution has been distributed for propaghanda purposes by the same. All believers in moral relativity, watch the video at peril of altering your worldview.
If you can watch that video without appreciating the difference between it, and the photos that have come out of Abu Ghraib, for example, then there is nothing that I can say to you that will change your mind. But I'll try to remember to thank those that I meet who fight for liberty on your behalf.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The Americans use smart bombs, designed to avoid 'collateral damage'. The Jihadis blow themselves up in public places to purposefully kill innocent lives.
The Americans hold inquiries and serve court marshals when mistakes are made. The Jihadis lop off the heads of any hostages they can find.
Where's the moral equivalence?
Thursday, June 22, 2006
For this special occasion (my 100th post), I would like to share a cartoon that takes a little poke at the concept of Moral Relativism. Consider the 'torture' of detainees at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay. Now think of the real torture of those two American troops by members of Al-Qaida. Isn't there a moral difference between the borderline torture at one and the real, brutal torture by the other?
What about the difference between women's rights in our culture, and women's rights in Islamic culture? Are they morally equivalent?
What about the freedom of religion, association, and speech that we've got, compared to the states of fear in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, etc.?
How about our social safety net, where even welfare recipients can have cable TV and refrigerators, as compared to the crushing famine engulfing North Korea's 'people's republic'?
I could go on....
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Her answer is always: Pour more money into the problems. This way to Utopia, folks! Bleed the people dry, and then spend their money with no accountability!
But look, if there are all these problems already, and no amount of taxes so far have fixed any of them, then why would more taxes do the trick?
Sure. Throw a few more billion into the gun registry. Spend another bil on advertising to Quebecers! The people won't mind, eh? Hey, don't complain, didn't you know that we've got the best health-care system in the world?
But you know what, Sheila? People are repelled by high taxes and bloated bureaucracy. That's why they move away. That's why Alberta is so appealing, or even -gasp- the United States. They are repulsed by your fiscal black hole. So keep on screaming about raising taxes to fund your lifestyle. You probably won't even notice when you're the only one left.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
"The name Jeremy creates the urge to be creative and original, but we point out that it limits your versatility and scope, tuning you to technical details.
This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses centring in the head, and in the stomach and intestinal organs.
Your first name of Jeremy has given you a very practical, hard-working, systematic nature.
Your interests are focused on technical, mechanical, and scientific things, rather than interests of an artistic, musical, or social nature.
You have a rather skeptical outlook on life and rather materialistic standards.
In reaching your goals, you are very independent and resourceful, patient and determined.
You can be so very positive and definite in your own ideas and opinions that others sense a lack of tact and friendliness in your manner of expression."
What does your name "mean"?