Friday, 29 April 2011

I've Seen Things You People Would Not Believe

It's a line from Blade Runner. Rutger Hauer follows it with some babble about ships afire and such. But after a little while on the internet i can say the same thing. Unlike Rutger's character, however, my experience has all the scarring and none of the cool factor.
  Until now i had never seen anyone die, or be tortured, or severely beaten, or set afire (repeatedly). I hadn't seen mass insanity, or mindless violence or parents murdering their children in cold blood. Now I have. I didn't go looking for this stuff, i was directed to it by other bloggers. They didn't send me there for a thrill, they sent me to educate me that such things exist in this world. It is a lesson i needed but one which i resent.
  I don't know what the point is in complaining here, maybe i thought i would sum it up in some one line lesson. I got nuthin'.  I wont link any of these sites, though God knows i should. It brings home the fact that we are probably the most sheltered society the world has ever known. Maybe that realization is the message i wanted to relate.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Monday, 25 April 2011

Stupid theories of the week.

I notice that more and more blogs are not allowing comments. While i can understand the motivation, it is a little frustrating when one cannot comment on fellow bloggers' (a liberty, i know) stupidity. So I will have to put it in here, in list form to make me feel better:
      1. The liberals and Bloc are tanking, the NDP are taking up the slack. It's all good. The problem i have is with those who are now trying to explain how the liberals are losing because, well, there is no place for them anymore. They have become irrelevant, they have no platform, etc. etc. I am, admittedly no expert on party policies, but even i can tell you there is a world of difference between the liberals and the conservatives, and an even bigger planet's worth between the libs and the NDP. Read their platforms, listen to their statements and play back their actions over the last 10 years. If you still don't see where the liberals fit in, stop blogging about it. you are just too damn dumb.
      2. I read today (again) some little tirade about welfare abuse by polygamists. Are people stupid or just ignorant? Is it really a polygamy issue? There are a lot of polygamist relationships out there, secular ones too. The parties in such relationships are entitled to welfare, in all its splendorous incarnations because they have no other means of support which are legally recognized. This is not an outrage, nor is there any reason to start pulling ones forelock over the fact that many of these unrecognized 3rd parties collect welfare by not declaring that they actually can and do receive financial support from their husband. True, its welfare fraud. However, it is also true that as crimes go, welfare fraud has got to be second only to speeding when it comes to offenses we tend to wink at. For example, as a landlord (for more than 20 years) i can attest that more than 75 percent of my tenants who collected welfare did so while living with a working partner. Had i reported them, what would have happened? How would it have been proved? If found guilty, how would the offender have been punished? Does the expression "blood from a stone" mean anything to you? 
   If you are worried about polygamist welfare fraud, then lift the law against polygamy, institute a system of taxation and inheritance for such marriages and thus remove welfare from the equation, just like we do with regular marriage. It is just plain stupid to pretend that polygamy is the problem here.
      3. Is it our very nature as canucks that we can't admit when one of our own does a good job? I should say : when one of our POLITICIANS does a good job (we go out of our way to praise our artists or writers regardless of actual merit).  Stephen Harper has led the country with a minority. He did so through a global financial crisis. He is still well regarded as a leader (see the polls on that one). However, the consensus in the press seems to be that he has only prospered in the absence of any real opposition. Sigh. Perhaps that's not stupidity, but it is a hell of a lot of cynicism.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

You gotta have kids to understand this one, or still be one.

The last one pretty much describes my home life for several years in the early days of child rearing.

I could cry.

Friday, 15 April 2011

How I Found Out I Am A Racist.

When they first declared their intention to let native bands use sentencing circles on native law breakers i was pretty upset. A s if the Canadian legal system wasn't lenient enough. Of course when i found out that the native justice would only be used for native on native crime i was appeased.  That's it. That's all the evidence required.  For all you folks who support this piece of segregationist nonsense, ask yourself why. Do you support it as some sort of recognition that native criminals will be better served by native judges juries and sentencing protocols (which would make you a racist), or do you just not care because its what they want and you think appeasing them appeals to your white guilt without threatening your own safety (which makes you an idiot)?
    Face it folks, almost all of us are racists. There is a lot to be said about semantics here. As an exercise, try substituting the words 'race' or 'racial' for 'culture' or 'cultural' in any discussion  and see what i mean.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Dear America: We Suck. Love Nato

Sorry but i really do think a few nations ought to be more than a little ashamed. If you can't kick Libya's ass, what the hell did you spend your military budget on?

Can You See Where This is Going?

I recently read a story about how a couple ( from Norway or Sweden i think) could no longer foster children because they were serious Christians, and therefor would not approve of homosexuality. The child involved was not gay, and the couple had fostered a number of children before, quite successfully. At first glance i thought, hmmm well i suppose. On further reflection I have my doubts. For one thing, i thought we were supposed to tolerate gay behaviour, not accept or promote it necessarily.  Quite aside from that there is the question of where this sort of regulation could go.
   It isn't like our own little racism regarding fostering children. Here in Canada we try to foster certain kids according to race, on the assumption that... actually i can't even explain the logic other than : we are racist when it comes to natives. I think folks figure it isn't racism if you call it culture rather than race.
  No, the problem here is religious indoctrination, or as parents and sane people would call it: teaching our children. If the state wont lend a practicing Christian or Muslim a kid or two to foster because it doesn't like their beliefs that's one thing. One thing does lead to another however, and i wonder what 'another' might entail. Are we talking about  a future where the state prohibits parents from indoctrinating their kids into their religion?  Nah, that could never happen, except it already does in some places, like the USA for example. Of course we are talking about non traditional religions in the US case (wicca ) but I can certainly see the danger here. If a supposedly enlightened western state sees fit to regulate the beliefs of those people who care for wards of the state, it is only a matter of time before someone asks whether the same should not be done for all kids.

Why The Seat Belt Law Was a Bad Idea.

  I don't think the seat belt law was a good idea. I really don't. I am not saying this because i don't believe it saves lives , I am aware that it does. Or at least seat belts do.  The law, well it's hard to say. It is easy to say with certainty that that one little law has lead to a lot of other curtailments on the rights and freedoms of folks in general. It is a wonder what precedents will do.
  I came to BC riding on a couch in the back of an international travelall. I shared it with a bunch of other stuff we were bringing from winterpeg. I am not saying it was the smartest thing for my folks to do, but it wasn't against the law either. We used a couch as a back seat for a while. We also rode in the back of our pickup truck. Neither practice was all that safe, but the latter was a joy I will not forget. Sometimes I think many of my childhood memories were made special by the fact that I was doing things I can no longer do, rather than my age. Still, I am not advocating such devil may care vehicular adventures. My problem with the seat belt law has more to it than the dent it made in my enjoyment of life.
    Legislating personal safety is an infringement on personal rights, period. It doesn't matter if one feels it is a reasonable law, or whether it saves lives. How reasonable a law is is a completely subjective. I for one see no reason why bungi jumping, karaoke and jazz music should not reasonably be prohibited. Banning skate boarding, motorcycles, snowmobiles and swimming would save a lot of lives. Of course, seat belt laws don't proscribe an activity, they just require safe behaviour. That's the real problem though, the regulation of behaviour.
   Any idiot can, and will tell you that there is no such thing as absolute freedom, that there are laws against rape and murder and so on and so forth. They are idiots for pointing out the obvious, and the obviously inapplicable.  Law regulating behaviour were created in order to prevent us victimizing each other. If there were no victim, there should be no law. I don't have a problem with that sort of law. It's when the state starts forcing safe behaviour on me that i bridle. I have a right to live and die, so long as I don't harm others doing so, or at least I should have. If I want to be fat, or drive off a cliff, or sky dive it is my life, and only mine. I DO NOT consider the 'your behaviour costs others money treating your injuries' to be a legitimate justification. Besides being incredibly petty, it doesn't make sense considering it is the governments fault that I am on public health care is it not. First you force me to buy medicare, then you begrudge my use of it.
   For the record, I generally do wear my seat belt. I do so because I was convinced that it is the smart thing to do, not because I thing the cops will catch me (public education rather than legislation should have been the approach). SO whats the big deal? One word: precedent. Whenever someone wants to promote a law against some victimless activity there is the ready made precedent , ready to be trotted out the moment someone suggests that 'you can't regulate personal safety'. The old 'what about the seat belt law' argument rears its ugly head. It has been enough to see through a motorcycle helmet law, a bicycle helmet law, a motorboat operators course, rules against keeping exotic pets,  and who knows? maybe a toboggan helmet law, a smoking ban, a law against obesity (or at least supersizing those fries), a snowmobiling course, and perhaps even a playground helmet law. In every case the logic is the same. A: it save public money, and therefor can be demanded by the general public (whom the actual law will generally not affect) B: It will save lives (who can argue with that) and C: we have done it before with the seat belt law .
    The inability of most people to separate the good idea (wearing seat belts) from the bad idea (making it a law) has started us down the trail towards a society where the human right to be stupid can be restricted based on nothing more than the possibility that it might cost money.  If you think this is a good idea then I would remind you that 'stupid' is a very subjective term. I would also advise you to enjoy your freedom while you still can.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Hear Hear!

"When some new constraint is scrawled onto the blank page of freedom, it must be justified. The onus is on the person who wants to enforce that constraint to justify the need for it, rather than on those who must suffer its effects to explain why they should be spared. Just as a person is innocent until proved guilty, and the burden of proof is always on the True Believer, so the defenders of freedom should not really have to defend their position."
Tayles, commenter on Andrew Dellingpole's blog.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

"The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations"

I heard that that was a George Bush Quote. Never the less, does it not apply to most liberal and NDP ideas on leveling the playing field for Aboriginals?

Friday, 8 April 2011

When Are We Even Going To Talk About This?

hat tip Marginalized action dinosaur

Nah, contempt of parliament is a more important issue to Canadians....

We need a majority government. One with guts and a mandate. No Russian nobs to be considered.

  I read today about a trial of some folks for shooting wild horses in Alberta. Apparently, the crime was aggravated by the fact that the horse which was shot was pregnant. Soooo, it is more of a crime if a horse fetus is involved, but not a crime at all to kill a human fetus (as long as you own it).  Does that make sense to you?

The War we are not going to fight.

Since i was little i have lived with the notion that 'the big one' was on it's way. In some undefined manner, a massive, civilization ending war was inevitable. My house having a bomb shelter was probably contributory. As a kid and a young adult I managed to absorb enough apocalyptic movies, books and punditry (they called it news back then) to convince me that it was only a matter of time. The source of this conflict varied slightly but mostly it involved the Middle East.
   The years have passed, the wall came down and, though it might sound funny given the last decade or so`s hostilities, the middle east has become pretty unlikely as a source of world conflict. Or at least it HAD. I have to wonder if the new non-war in Libya is going to push us back into troubled times  in a big way. With the new declaration that U.S. ground troops may be used to support the rebels ( meaning fight the war for them) it has to be apparent to all observers that the limits to Western involvement in that civil war are along the lines of: it depends on what is needed to get the job done.  I am no big fan of Qaddafi, but as an arab dictator he is hardly alone. Other dictators in the area must see, as i do, that they too are in danger of being bombed and invaded should the opportunity arise. I have to wonder what would do in their place. Obtaining a nuke or two would work (Iran, anybody?) No? Well then how about obtaining a big brother who already has one? It worked for Egypt, back in the day when after a failed attempt to eradicate Israel, Cairo was in danger of being overrun. That time only the presence of Russian (sorry soviet) personnel in the line of fire prevented Israel from kicking Egyptian ass all the way up the Nile. Well, that and a threat of WW III from the Russians to the U.S., properly relayed to Israel  by the U.S. in the form of a cease and desist order.  Option two sounds good two me.
    If I were, say the dictator of, say Saudi Arabia, and I was a little worried about current events in Egypt, Yemen and most disturbingly Libya, I might want to explore the idea of more formal ties to a world power to protect my interests. One which did not participate in the Libyan invasion. One which is unlikely to jump into my living room in the interests of establishing democracy and freedom and the pursuit of happiness`. One which has not, in the last 20 years, participated or initiated 4 wars in and around the middle east. In other words, one which isn't the USA.
    Coincidentally, Saudi Arabia has declared an interest in exploring relations with the Russians or the Chinese. Any such arrangement would undoubtedly come at the expense of current one with the U.S. I doubt such an deal would do much to increase stability in the region. I also doubt that it would do much to deter arab anti Israel sentiments. It would , in my view increase the likelihood of a expanded war should war with Israel break out.
    I wonder whether there are any bomb shelter contractors in town?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Good Side of the Web:

 J.R.R. Tolkien sings Old Troll Sat On a Stone Alone:

Man Food

I aeriously think that women with pink assault rifles are hot!


There are so many wonderful things about the internet that it seems a pity to harp on the down side. However ... One of the more debatable virtues of the 'net is the ability of anyone to express themselves and potentially reach a large audience. While it sounds like a good idea, there is also the fact that most of us have very little to say. As a long term veteran or the internet I can appreciate the downsides of widespread authorship. Remember web pages? Millions of personal sites, filled with keywords and little else, cluttering up searches for pretty well everything. Nowadays we have blogs, millions and millions of blogs, including this one. Everyone can have a blog, whether they merit one or not. There is a very well worn adage about how everyone has one good novel in them. Personally i feel that is nonsense. As evidence i would submit that most people don't even have a good blog in them.
   So what the hell am I writing a blog for? I know for a fact that i don't have anything close to a novel in me. As well, i am not under the illusion (delusion) that i have anything original to add to the millions of amateur editorials out there. I lack the wit of Mark Steyn (who can make me laugh and cry at the same time) or the dedication of  Ezra Levant  (you magnificent bastard, I read your book!) or the fellow behind Blazing Cat Fur ( does he ever take a break?) or the spirit of kathy Shaidle (more on her later) or Ann Barnhardt (she's my new hero).  I am not an activist, a zealot or even all that savvy about politics.
   So why the heck am I cluttering up the net?  While it may be vanity (or is it hubris) I do feel like i sometimes have a thought or two worth relating to the world. In order to do so i have a limited number of venues.
  I can continue to rant at my family. As good an (captive) audience as they are, it is rather unsatisfying preaching to the choir, since i have long ago impressed upon them that i, as their father am always right. Besides, i am beginning to suspect that some of my favourite themes are less than popular with today's youth (ie they are bored).
   I can continue to contribute to the various comments sections of the sites i regularly read. While I found this to be fun (at first) it was never satisfying. It is very difficult to present a complete argument in the space provided. As well, my contributions were always lost in the stream or comments, usually without even elicited any response from the author of the article, or even the other (crazy-ass) commenters. Also, comment wars are really lame, digressing as they tend to do into ad hominem attacks or debates on semantics. Also, i can never remember where i have posted stuff, so i can't even check back on them.
    I could engage my friends in debates or otherwise 'treat' them to my views on things. I have found that this approach happens to shrink ones friend pool. People tend to associate with folks who share their views for a reason after all. It doesn't help to shoot holes in their pet theories at get togethers or to point out how stupid their last status on facebook (or 'liked' site for that matter). It is perhaps a subject for a whole other post but how exactly are you supposed to stay friends with someone when they support something you think is evil incarnate?
   I could write a book.  HAHAHAHAHAHAH!  How likely is that from a guy whose brain can't sit still long enough to READ a book more than a two chapters at a time?
    Soooo, its the blog. After all, it has all the advantages:
                                                                               I can say what i want.
                                                                              No one is going to read it (hence no death threats).
                                                                              No one is going to read it (hence no CHRC complaints).
                                                                               I can delete posts from people whom i hate.
                                                                               I can write as much or as little as i want.
     And only one disadvantage :
                                           It does contribute to the overall clutter of the blogosphere (but i                                           I am selfish and thus unconcerned about this one).
So if you happen to be one of the (very) few, the proud who read this blog, welcome to my exercise is self absorption.  And, if i should learn to express myself coherently, and maybe some spelling, so much the better!