Monday, January 29, 2007

On a cold day we need a Hotstove

Come and get it while its hot, the latest edition of the Bloggers Hotstove, slightly left-leaning edition, with James Bow, Scott Tribe, our host Greg Staples and your's truly.

We had a good time and a great discussion around The Attack Ads, The "Joke", The Maher Arar Apology, The Environment and a few laughs as well.

Have a listen and feel free to comment.

BTW, in the Attack Ad, doesn't Iggy sound like Kramer, or is it just me?

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Disappointment. Again

Somewhere in the ethereal bowels of a server at Blogger, is a post I wrote. It was, I think, one of my more eloquent works.

In that post I wrote, quite honestly and magnanimously about the great job Stephen Harper did yesterday in apologizing to Maher Arar. I congratulated the Prime Minister on his statesmen-like demeanor and his ability to rise above partisan politics to do the right thing for a wronged, innocent citizen. I almost gushed at how he apologized for the things the government of Canada did that caused and assisted in his ordeal. I applauded how the Prime Minister forcefully, yet diplomatically called on the US government to not only remove Arar from their no-fly list, but to apologize for its actions as well. And finally I wrote how Arar, a man who can no longer work because of his ordeal, was justly compensated. It was a real feel-good post, almost a literary group hug between all sides of the political spectrum.

But that post is gone. I had to delete it, because that's not what happened.

With one small sentence, Stephen Harper ruined the entire thing:

"Although these events occurred under the last government, please rest assured that this government will do everything in its power to ensureā€¦"

He once again returned to the tired, old partisan mantra "For 13 years, the Liberals...". Another score for the "but the Liberals..." crowd. A ham-fisted attempt to use this important venue for cheap political points.

As others have brought up, if Stephen Harper brought up the Liberals record during that time, then his own and that of his party need also be brought up. Its quite clear from the things he, Stockwell Day and Diane Albonczy said they thought he was guilty as charged. They weren't upset that Arar was imprisoned in a Syrian jail, undergoing torture, they were upset that the US had to arrest and deport this "terrorist". They were up in arms about our lack of security. Based on the Prime Minister's own words and the words of those currently in his cabinet, it is quite clear that if they had been the government back in 2002, Arar would probably still be in that Syrian cell, because unlike Wayne Easter, Bill Graham and other members of the Liberal party at the time, they thought he was guilty.

And now, for the Prime Minister to try to use this occasion to smear his political opponents is disgusting. Hypocrisy and opportunistic do not begin to describe that action.

Do not think of this as defending the Liberals. As Amnesty has pointed out, they were slow to help but, at least they accepted his innocence.

"The Liberals dragged their heels as Arar suffered in a Syrian prison, while prominent Tories -- then MPs for the Canadian Alliance -- chided the former government for trying to help at all, says Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.

Liberals have angrily shot down recent Tory accusations that they didn't "lift a finger'' to help Arar during his ordeal in Damascus.

"It's unfortunate that a case that's this important and significant is being reduced to that sort of political mud-slinging,'' Neve said in an interview.

"If the Liberals had been any more active than they were at the time, I think the (former Canadian Alliance) would have been apoplectic.''"[emphasis mine]

I wanted to write and post that positive, feel good post about the award to Arar, but I couldn't because Stephen Harper ruined it. And instead of being happy about a job well done and feeling good for Maher Arar and his family, I am instead angered by another example of the slimy political grandstanding, mud-slinging and opportunism that seems to have been the hallmark of the last year of Conservative rule.

Perhaps its time for the Conservatives to stop blaming the Liberals for all of the ills and issue they are facing, especially when their own behaviours at the time either contributed to the problem or, as in this case, were far worse. I may not philosophically agree with the Conservatives, but I genuinely thought when they took power last year, things in Ottawa would be different. Sadly, they are exactly the same.

Right now I am trying to be happy for Maher Arar and to look forward to Abdullah Almaki, who lives in my neighbourhood in Ottawa, getting his justice. But it is hard, knowing that this might be another opportunity for the Prime Minister to exploit in order to smear his opponents.


Once can be talked away, twice is a pattern. It appears from what Stockwell Day said today on The House, the Conservatives are going to continue with this disgraceful behaviour of blaming the Liberals and outright lying about their own position - the Arar was a terrorist and the US was right - at the time.

Enough of this. Its time for the Conservatives to stop this feckless smear tactic and tell the truth. Or shut the fuck up, one of the two.

And yes, this makes me incredibly angry, and I don't even support the Liberals...

(H/T to Dave at the The Galloping Beaver.)

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Birthday Cards for Shane

Shane is a 7-year-old boy from Ottawa who has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and is fighting this at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). According to the The Ti-Loup & La Poule Foundation (go here for an explanation of the name), Shane's story is heartbreaking:

"At almost 5 years old Shane was diagnosed with A.L.L. After 1 month into the treatment he was in early remission, meaning there were no cancer cells in his blood. Shane's family was very pleased with the early results, but his protocol called for 130 weeks of treatment. Then on July 6th, 2006 Shane relapsed after completing 108 of the 130 weeks. It was a shock to everyone including his doctors. Shane may have to undergo a bone marrow transplant down the road, but the good thing is that his brother Jacob is a match. Presently, there is no sign of cancer in Shane's system since relapsing."

They say his only "dislike" is "being in the hospital for long periods of time."

Shane is going to be 8 soon and would like to receive as many birthday cards as he can for his birthday. Its a pretty simple request and it would mean a great deal to this little boy. One of our local Ottawa radio stations is organizing drop offs around the city. Andrew Anderson at Bound By Gravity would like this to spread to the rest of the country. I say we spread it to the rest of the world.

Anyone reading this, no matter what your country, please send a card to Shane at:

2001 Thurston Dr.
Ottawa ON
K1G 6C9

Any bloggers reading this, please spread the word. Blog it and do it.

Let's make Shane's dream come true. Let's make it better than he imagined.

Personal Notes:

This was brought to my attention by Andrew at BBG via e-mail. If you read his write up you'll find this:

"My younger brother, Douglas, battled the same cancer that Shane is fighting - Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - many years ago. The amount of time Douglas spent in hospitals had to be wearing on him, and the fact that he was able to put a smile on his face even in the hardest of times was always an inspiration. Sadly Douglas lost his fight twenty-three days shy of his thirteenth birthday."
I grew up in a very large family, with three brothers and two sisters. We were all happy, healthy farm kids and most of us are still pretty close. I cannot imagine what Andrew and his family went through, but I do know that had one of my brothers or sisters been in this situation, anything - cards, letters - would have made it easier to go through and a great comfort.

I am now a father of 3, with my oldest being 7 and my next one down being 5 - too close to Shane's age for comfort. I look at that little boy's face and I see my own little guy. For all these reasons I want this little boy to have a great birthday, because as Andrew can sadly attest, you don't really know how many you have, especially when you are sick with leukemia.

And while were helping Shane, lets not forget the other kids, and the diseases they fight. Donate to CHEO.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Act Local

From the reactions to my last post, as well as comments elsewhere in the blogshpere, there seems to be an ideas that some party, alone at the Federal Level, can miraculously pass its policies and platforms and make us meet our Kyoto targets. Or reduce, even stop Global Warming.

Nothing can be further from the truth. There is no magic bullet. The only way to both protect the environment and to maintain a vibrant economy is to act at multiple levels of government and to take matters into our own hands.

First we must understand the problem and then act. First we Act Local.

According to the government's own numbers,19% of GHG come from road tranasportation - cars, trucks, mini-vans. Part of that comes from a shift to SUV and min-vans, but a greater part has been the shift to poor urban planning, as documented by Jane Jacobs in both "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" and "The Dark Age Ahead" - we have become car-centric rather than community centric. This can be seen as Jacob's mantra and her greatest legacy.

Let me give you and example.

I live in Barrhaven, a suburb in the southwest corner of Ottawa. Ottawa in general and Barrhaven in particular, have experienced incredible - some would say insane - growth since 2000. Our community has at least doubled in size since then and is the fastest growing part of Ottawa. New housing developments are springing up regularly and quickly, as are new shopping centres and malls.

The problem is, however, not the pace or size of the growth, but how it is being done. Almost every single home is built with 2 car garages, on long winding streets with no sidewalks (read Jacob's entire chapter on the importance of sidewalks to see why this distinction is important. You are not meant to walk here. To do anything you must drive. To go grocery shopping, even when you can see the grocery store, you must drive. To get to the bus, many people must drive to the park-and-ride. To get the kids to school, may people must either drive their children or arrange busing, once reserved for farm kids. Stores and houses are separated by large ring roads and highways, with the stores rimming large, open parking lots. this means to even get from one store in the mall to another, one must drive. Much of the items sold in these malls are not locally produced, but trucked in from places like Montreal, Toronto and Vacnouver (where they were offloaded from ships or planes...)

Contrast this (for urban planning purposes) to the Glebe. The Glebe is a neighbourhood much like the Annex in Toronto (where Jacob's herself lived until her death). Every home has a decent yard and almost all services, including most shopping, is within walking distance. The stores are small and locally owned and the neighbourhood thrives.

The difference is in the zoning. The Glebe and areas like it are zoned for mixed usage, while the new suburbs are zoned single use - either business or residential. Why? Because it suits the needs of Big Box stores and outlets and of the the home developers, not the needs of the people who live there. They can make bigger profits from store rentals and densely packed homes sold, without having to worry about the infrastructure - we pay for sewers, streets and what passes as public transportation to these places with our taxes.

This has been the blight of most urban centers for over 40 years. Lets fix it.


1. Vote for city councilors that support the idea of mixed zoning, to allow neighbourhoods to grow based on the ability to walk rather than drive. Or contact your current councilors (if no election is looming) and ask them to introduce this into your community. Smaller, neighbourhood businesses are almost always locally owned and operated and rely on locally produced items as much as possible (or can be encouraged to develop local supply replacement, another of Jacob's favorite remedies). We reduce our dependence on cars to drive to a store (or any other activity), our dependence on trucks to bring in commodities from great distances and keep the local economy strong.

2. Buy local as much as possible. Not really possible for things like bananas or coffee, but there are a lot of things - furniture, foods, services - that you can keep locally. Again, reduce the need for trucking or flying these things across country.

3. Support and fight for real mass transit solutions. Not new roads, but real public transport alternatives.

4. If your city council won't do these things (because they are beholden or friendly with the developers), do them yourself - create local, cooperative car-pooling or busing, open up local stores illegally if you have to.

These are but a few small steps that, when everyone does them, can have an impact.

For what it is worth, when I lived in Toronto's Annex community, I did not own, nor did I need, a car. Nearly every thing I needed - from groceries, to restaurants, to various services - existed in the community, an easy walk from my home. I now find myself in a situation where I may need a 2nd car, because of the things mentioned above. No amount of tax credits or rises in the price of gas will eliminate that. I want to walk to the store or the rink, I just can't.

If we have to reduce our consumption of gas, and reduce our need to drive, we need to make these local changes i the way we live. They can be done not only relatively cheaply, but they will make our cities and communities better places to live.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007


For 9 years, after signing on to the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, the Liberal Governments of Jean Chretien and then Paul Martin, did nothing. Between 2008 and 2012, Canada was supposed to have reduced our Co2 emission to 6% below 1990 levels. Instead, our cCo2 emissions have risen some 24% above 1990 level.

Any way you look at that, its a miserable failure.

During that time, the Federal Government has subsidized the oil and gas industry by about $1.4 billion per year (currently) in tax breaks and totaling some $8 billion between 1990 and 2003. The Sierra Club indicates that between 1997 and October 2005, the Federal Government - the Liberals - spent $2 on oil and gas subsidies for every $1 on reaching its Kyoto targets. According to the Pembina Institute, the Tar Sands are expected to contribute 47% of our industrial greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2020, yet receive massive subsidies and tax breaks from the Federal Government. The entire industry's emission rose 49% from 1990 to 2004. Emissions from generation of electricity and heat rose 37%.

All of these factors mean that Ontario and Alberta ore the biggest greenhouse gas and CO2 producing provinces.

All of this under the Liberal's watch.

But the blame does not stop there. The Conservatives did nothing during that time to attempt to hold the government's feet to the fire on the issue, even though they were the Official Opposition for most of that time. The never raised it as an issue in the House or during an election. In fact, they fought against the little the Liberals did do, for fear it would hurt "industry" and "business". They have never believed climate change was real and have fought against it at every turn. The Liberals did nothing, and the Conservatives - in their every Reform-Alliance-PC form - happily let them, active accomplices to increasing our emissions.

And since taking government, what have the conservatives done? Hyped a "Made in Canada" approach that they dragged out for nearly 8 months. All the while, they cut the few Liberal programs, like Energuide, that were doing some good. They continued to deny that global warming was happening. Their final "plan" was to consult with "industry" (see above) and cut greenhouse gases by 50% by 2050 - not-so-ironically the same time that the oil in Conservative Alberta runs out. Reducing by 50% in 50 years at a time when emission are expected to double by 2020 (again, see above).

Suddenly now, after Christmas, we are supposed to believe the Conservatives are the ones who are going to do something about global warming and our greenhouse gas emissions? After appointing the man responsible for killing and environmentally-friendly public transit project not 2 months ago for partisan political purposes (see my previous Baird post)? By announcing another round of money for "research" into things like "clean coal" (no such thing) or wind farming (owned by Transalta, ironically) - funds which are just another corporate welfare subsidy by Nanny State Conservatives?

Smug Conservatives and supporters, read the title of this post. You are not the solution. You are an accessory and an accomplice to the problem. The Liberals record is abysmal, yours is worse.


You want real environmental plans and policies? Check out The Green Party or the NDP Envrinmental Platform. Both of these parties have a solid history of support and action on the environment and global warming, unlike the Liberals and Conservatives.

Listen to guys like Zorph and his great ideas. Take action yourself.

But don't ever - EVER - start off by saying "Yeah but, the Liberals did nothing for 13 years..." Neither did the Conservatives - in fact they helped the Liberals do nothing, so STFU.

Now, stop talking and passing blame on the problem, DO something.


For an example of what to actually DO, see what Dazz is doing over at the BPOC. He is analyzing the NDP environmental plans. I don't agree with everything he says, but he is being thoughtful, honest and doing a great job. I hope he looks at the Green Party policies and uses this as an opportunity to come up with alternatives that all sides can support and can work

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Monday, January 08, 2007

John Baird cannot be trusted

Apparently, back in October, John Baird, then President of the Treasury Board, went against the advice of his own staff and withheld federal funding for Ottawa's light-rail project for political purposes.

Baird's own professional staff reviewed the contract and the project and found it to be well justified, as did the staf of at least two other departments:

"Treasury Board and Finance officials did not request a value for money audit, and Transport and Infrastructure Canada officials and the Minister were satisfied enough with the project to sign off on it to go to TB," the briefing note said.

"He (Mr. Baird) is effectively saying that he is a better judge of value-for-money than the experts in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Department of Finance, and the Treasury Board Secretariat." - Ottawa Citizen, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007 [emphasis mine]

The effect of his interference was twofold. First, it changed the debate of the Ottawa Mayoral race to light rail and taxes, boosting Baird's friend and fellow conservative Larry O'Brien, while damaging the campaign of Mayor Bob Chiarelli, a longtime Baird foe. Secondly, as a result of this battle, the entire light-rail project was killed by a vote of the new council and Mayor Larry O'Brien, who defeated Chairelli in November. Since a signed contract was already in place, the City has now been opened up to possible lawsuits from Siemens, the company that was to build the LRT, in the nieghbourhood of hundreds of millions.

In other words, our new Environment Minister is personally responsible for the destruction of an environmentally friendly public transit project that would have removed hundreds if not thousands of cars off of the streets of Ottawa (thus reducing pollution and green house gasses) in order to interfere in a municipal election to help elect a fellow conservative.

And now we are to trust him to handle what has become one of the most important issues for Canadians, the Environment.

And before the cat-calls of "partisanship" start howling in the comments, let me remind you that I am not the only one that was disgusted with this political interference. This crosses party lines.

Perhaps Baird will do something for the environment. Given his track record and clear lack of ethics in the light rail situation, I doubt it.


For those of you not from Ottawa and who mght not know the details of this let me explain:

Ottawa has a good transit system but clearly, with the expansion of the city, it needs more. A few years ago, a light rail pilot project, the O-Train, was implemented to see the feasibility of implementing light rail.

After more than two years of study, wrangling it was decided that the new light rail's first phase would run north-south, from Barrhaven, through Riverside South and up through the downtown and ending at Hurdman Station. The east-west line was slated to be build after that.

Mayor Bob Chiarelli and Bell Ward Councillor Jan Harder (a conservative and ferocious tax fighter, I might add) worked hard and finally secured $200 million in federal funding for the project (though, ironically, CPC MP Pierre Poilievre, Baird's parliamentary secretary, claimed that it was him that obtained the funding after "one phone call". He has been conspicuously silent in all this, but that is another post). Incidentally Bell Ward is the area of the city John Baird lives in and partly represents federally, meaning he has been aware of this since day one.

After more planning, council voted last July to okay the contract and to begin construction in December.

In the meantime, the municipal council election began to heat up. We had, essentially, Mayor Bob Chiarelli who favoured the plan as it was, Alex Munter, former councillor for Kanata who favoured running east-west first and Terry Kilrea who favoured killing it.

Kilrea is well known in local conservative circles and has run for Mayor on a regular basis. He is good friends with both Baird and Poillievre, who regularly attend his social-conservative gatherings.

But Kilrea, is not popular in Ottawa, never getting more than about 10% of the vote. Most voters just don't see him as a Mayor. He rides on the name, since he is the brother of Ottawa 67s coach Brian Kilrea.

In August, Kilrea unexpected dropped out of the race, just as rumours that local businessman Larry O'Brien was to enter. Sure enough, Kilrea dropped out, O'Brien entered. Later, there were persistent rumours that Kilrea was convinced to resign for a post on the Parole Board, something O'Brien couldn't deliver. Only a federal Cabinet Minister could make a promise like that.

O'Brien did not fare well in September, and the race was still seen as being between Munter and Chiarelli. O' Brien was also for killing the project altogether, although he occasionally flip-flopped from this, depending on which part of the city he was in.

It was at that point in October that Baird interfered.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions from there.

All this to say that it appears that John Baird will do anything to promote his and his party's ideological agenda. Perhaps that really does mean the environment will get attention, but I don't trust Baird after this spectacle.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Wajid Khan, what we have learned

MP Wajid Khan has crossed the floor and joined the Conservative caucus. It has been rumored for a few days and predicted, pretty much assured actually, last night by Stephen Taylor.

Well, good luck Mr. Khan, I hope you have made the correct decision. Time will tell.

Personally, I don't care either way. I think that if Mr. Khan has crossed in good conscience then that is his decision. He will have to do some pretty big explaining to his constituents, considering some of his previous statements. Some think his decision is pretty stupid, but as I said we shall see.

So, what have learned from Mr. Khan's defection?

1. Liberals and Conservatives aren't really that far apart. Ask Jason Cherniak or Dan McTeague. Khan didn't seem to have any qualms about crossing. Maybe he's always been a Conservative. Maybe he was "the Mole". I do expect there to be a mini-shuffle, getting Khan into cabinet right before the next election. I'm sure it would have happened yesterday, if not for the obvious bad, Stronachesque optics. I'll let you know for sure when Gurmant Grewal send me the tapes.

2. Principles? We don't need no stinking principles! Right Helena?

3. Apparently Mr. Dion doesn't have the handle on his caucus he thinks he has:

"Just hours before Harper's announcement, Dion told CBC News on Friday that he was confident Khan was a loyal Liberal and that there was "no indication" a defection was on the horizon."
4. Considering his "inside source", it is quite obvious that Stephen Taylor is not "just a blogger" who is a Conservative, as he like to claim, but an official, Conservative media conduit. Anything he says should be considered as coming directly from the Conservative Party. He's their blogging propaganda arm, their online shill. Not that there is anything wrong with that. At least lets be honest about it and drop the "citizen journalist" pretense. I do wonder, however, how Elections Canada might view that.

Isn't Canadian politics fun?

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

On Saddam

To summarize my thoughts first expresses in a good, passionate debate over at Olaf's place:

Saddam Hussein was a brutal, ruthless dictator who is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1 million people (including in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88) during his 24 year rule in Iraq. He used torture, assassination, fear and genocidal war crimes to maintain his tenuous hold to power. He deserved the severest punishment for his crimes.

I shed no tears for Saddam.

That being said I cannot support his execution on principle. I am an opponent of the death penalty in all cases. Quite simply I do not trust the state to exercise the power of life and death over citizens, not when there is the possibility of even one innocent man being executed. The death penalty is most often used by brutal dictators like Saddam to oppress and terrorize their people. So I cannot support the death penalty even for Saddam.

You may disagree, and that is your prerogative.

But as Olaf and I got into, I feel that the entire trial and subsequent lynching by the Shia militia execution by the Iraqi government did not serve justice for the Iraqi people.

Firstly, he was executed for killing the inhabitants of a village in 1982, after an attempted assassination. He was not tried and executed for war crimes committed in the Iran-Iraq War, for gassing the Kurds or for the murders of the Shia and Marsh Arabs after the Gulf War. His secrets and information from that time went with him to the grave, conveniently.

Second, his execution has further destabilized Iraq (if one can imagine Iraq being MORE unstable). The Sunni insurgency now has their martyr. Conspiracy theories saying it was a double and Elvis-like sightings are already coming to light. The Shia have a gloat, a cudgel to pound over the head of the Sunni and secularist in Iraq. The video with sound was brutal and reminiscent of the 1920s American South, and ironically the same brutal techniques used by Saddam himself. 'Good' you say, 'poetic justice'. Well, consider that 3000 Americans have died, 25000 have been wounded and thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died to replace Saddam with a group that are the same as him, if not worse. And they are Islamic fundamentalists with close ties to Iran. An emasculated Saddam, in a 6x6 cell with one hour of daylight per day would have been more effective and less inflammatory, a sad old man in a cage, instead of a martyr.

Third, justice for the Iraqi people is not done until those who supported and helped Saddam, through action or omission during his reign are also brought to justice. It is no mistake that Saddam's most heinous crimes occurred for the nearly half of his rule in which he was a US ally. Indeed, it was the US and other western powers that sold him the weapons and gas to commit his crime as well as the SIGINT and satellite intelligence to target those weapons. Prof. Juan Cole has an excellent rundown of Saddam's ties and relations with the US government and the CIA (who had a relationship with him from 1959 up to the Kuwait invasion in 1990). Read these along with Dave and Cheryl's exceptional analysis of the reasons for the current Iraq war in "It Was Always About Oil" Part I and II. Then ask if Saddam is alone in his responsibility for his crimes. Guys like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are up to their eyes in Saddam's crimes as well. And they are the ones supplying the Shia mob with the rope (in fact, Dick Cheney was so concerned about Saddam's crimes, he continued to do business with him while running Haliburton up until the late 90's, in contravention of US law and the UN sanctions. And with Quaddafi in Lybia as well).

So while I dislike Saddam, if he is to suffer the ultimate judgment for his actions, then so should those who created him and enabled his reign of terror. They are just as guilty.

I find it bitterly ironic and telling that many of those that are this week cheering and dancing with delight over Saddam's execution are the same people who openly praised and apologized for Pinochet upon his death. The lessons of Saddam (and Pinochet) should have been that brutal dictators and those that help them will be brought to justice. It should have been that supporting brutal dictators for supposed short-term US national interest is a bad idea in the long term interests of everyone, including the US. Instead it seems to be that brutal dictators can do what they want, as long as they implement favourable, right-wing economic policies and let American companies make lots of money. Oh and aren't "Communists." But cross the US and you get yours.

In the end, the people of Iraq continue to die.

No wonder libertarians compare the state and government to the Mafia...

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Out with the Old, in with the New

First, a thanks to all those who e-mailed me and encouraged me to continue. That includes 'jeff' from the previous post. After a holiday break which saw me move into a new home, get sick (at the same time), unpack and still have a decent Christmas for the kids, I feel surprising ready to return to blogging

As you can see I have gone for a new look and a few changes. I am including links to some of my other intellectual passions beyond politics (but definitely related to them):

The Skeptics Society, of which I am a member, takes science and critical thinking to the extreme. As it should. Expect a lot of links to their sources and their data.

Question everything.

Make is the ultimate DIY magazine for hardware and software hackers. It can be seen as libertarian cooperation and anti-corporatist and ethics in action.

If you can't open it, you don't own it.

Skepticality is the official podcast of the Skeptics society and provides fantastic links, interviews and reviews of books related to science and to fight ignorance and pseudoscience.

People will believe anything. Why is that?

The James Randi Educational Foundation shows over and over how dangerous and silly some of these beliefs are. He debunks with humour and reason.

The $1 Million dollars remains unclaimed.

And perhaps strangely to some, I've begun to lean toward a left-libertarian view of things. Now, no worries, I'm no Jay Jardine, but guys like Kevin Carson and Larry Gambone have a refreshing take on voluntary association, mutualism and alternatives to both 'public' state-run and 'private' corporate-run services and solutions. Definitely worth a look. Also, it dovetails nicely with 'Make'

Thanks for the book, Ian.

Personally, I intend to blog beyond party politics and the left-right dichotomy we find ourselves in all the time. I will try to be more logical and reasonable in tone, with a healthy dose of snark when needed. And for those who are illogical and unreasonable, no quarter will be given. Oh, I'll be polite, but don't expect to have punches pulled.

And mostly I will go beyond partisanship. Though I remain a Dipper, I am none too fond of Jack Layton of late and I am more than willing to be critical of some of our policies and stances. I will be equally kind to the other parties should it ever happen that I ever agree with what they stand for.

So, anything happen while I was gone?

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