Tag - politics

Butchers butchers butchers

OK. Enough.

They’re not insurgents anymore. They’re not rebels. They’re not freedom fighters. They’re not even terrorists. They’re not that good. They are butchers. Butchers. Butchers.

The blood of children is on their hands. Women are their victims. Men strolling on the street are their targets.

They have gone beyond the pale. They are no longer worthy of the term human.

This isn’t about the Iraq war right or wrong. If it means anything, I don’t think the war was a great idea in the first place, and the rationale for it was flawed from the outset. That said, once started, it held some potential for letting tinpot dictatorships know that they can’t act with impunity anymore.

But nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing justifies this wholesale slaughter … by people who supposedly believe in the same religion as their victims. By people who are mostly the countrymen of their victims.

May God have mercy on their souls, because most men won’t.

Scientology, TomKat, & the Big Lie

I wrote a few weeks ago about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and have since been checking out Scientology a little bit.

Yikes.

This is a deadly, deadly organization that kills its members who want to leave and forces adherents to sign a contract that indicates that Scientology can do whatever it wants to you, at any time, without any recourse to family, friends, or other help if you leave, or try to leave:

If circumstances should ever arise in which government, medical or psychiatric officials or personnel or family members or friends attempt to compel or coerce or commit me for psychiatric evaluation, treatment or hospitalization, I fully desire and expect that the Church or Scientologists will intercede on my behalf to oppose such efforts and/or extricate me from that predicament so my spiritual needs may be addressed in accordance with the tenets of the Scientology religion.

In other words, they’ll take you back so that they can re-brainwash you.

If you think that’s all BS, you really need to listen to this interview with a 17-year Scientologist who broke away from the movement. Or read this article about what kind of organization Scientology is. (Also see a transcript of a CNN story by Anderson Cooper on Scientology).

The inevitable conclusion is that Scientology’s favorite front men, celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, are either brainwashed victims just like the other innocent low-level adherents of the cult, or they’re merchants of falsehood who ensnare others in the evil of Scientology.

“Makeshift bombs”

It’s a sobering experience to see the faces, names, and ages of the US Army men and women who have been killed in Iraq.

Makeshift bombs
A phrase that repeats itself again and again and again is “makeshift bomb.” Killed by a makeshift bomb. Killed when his vehicle ran over a makeshift bomb. Died of injuries sustained when he stepped on a makeshift bomb.

I guess it goes to show that even a “makeshift” bomb can kill.

But there have got to be better vehicles, better body armor, and better detection equipment to protect the lives of these people.

Palestine: Home of the Free

CBC has an article about a blood feud in Palestine between some Muslim and ‘Christian’ Arabs.

I’ve put the quote marks there because the word Christian implies certain things, and it’s not readily apparent that the people in the article embody those principles.

In any case, the article contains this doozy:

“Palestine has always been famous for its tolerance, pluralism, amicable relations, lack of discrimination and sectarianism. It is quite alarming that such incidents should take place.”

Wow – I never knew. Must be a land of peace and plenty.

Katrina is not a plot against black people

I am just so absolutely sickened by the fact that some people, such as Kanye West, are using the Katrina disaster to spread divisive nonsense.

I’m not a particular Bush fan, but come on.

If it’s bad, Bush must have done it
George Bush is personally intervening to slow down rescue efforts? George Bush personally put in roadblocks so that, in case a disaster like this happens, black people would not be helped as quickly as possible? George Bush hired the lawless gangs that were roaming the city, not allowing rescue workers to come in and work?

Naturally, it was George Bush who didn’t use the dozens of buses in this parking lot to get people out of the city. Perhaps George Bush even sent in the snipers that forced the choppers trying to evacuate people to leave? Maybe George Bush even set off a bomb that broke the levees?

Get a life.

This is a disaster
It’s worse than most people ever expected it would be. Systems, people, and material are not as ready as they should have been. Levees and pumps that should have been improved were not. People did not evacuate, even when told it was in their best interests to do so. And most of all, a city was built under sea level, right in the path of regular, massive storms.

It takes time to gather people. Time to send in food. Time to get trucks in place. In the real world, help on this scale doesn’t come instantly. There’s no 50,000 member-strong SWAT team on constant alert for hurricane disasters.

Idiots saying stupid things are just not helping at all:

Appearing two-thirds through the program, West claimed, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” and said America is set up “to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible.”

Yes, everything is happening too slowly. It’s called shock. It’s called lack of proper preparation. Almost certainly, it’s mostly caused by logjams in coordination at the local and national level. These are problems. They need to be fixed.

They don’t excuse crazy, divisive, libelous words.

[ update ]

I just saw this article – a little eye-opening, to say the least:

The facts are simple. The Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana are the culprits in the slow response. The President named Louisiana a Federal Disaster Area two days before the Hurricane hit opening the opportunity for the Mayor and Governor to ask for assistance. None was requested. The delay was so long – in fact – that the National Guard was not even requested until Wednesday a full two days after the hurricane. Why did the President wait – you ask. Well, we have something called the Constitution in the US and it is based on something called State’s Rights. The Governor in each state controls its own National Guard and is responsible for requesting aid. The request came very, very late.

A little corroboration on that timetable …

Duh … you think?

Update to yesterday’s post about the woman who got house arrest for killing a man:

The federal Conservative Justice critic said Tuesday that cutting a woman off e-mail and ordering her to serve two years of house arrest for killing her cheating lover sends the wrong message.

Here’s the full story.

The judge says that the jury found the woman to have “no formed intent.” What the heck does that mean? She killed a man! I’ll tell you, you’ll get more jail time for accidently running down a person while speeding – an accidental homicide.

Canada’s Legal System: absolutely insane

I happen to subscribe to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Canadian news feeds, and I just got two that illustrate how absolutely unspeakably insane Canada’s laws are right now.

Kill someone, stay at home
Kill a man, but if you’re really quite a nice person normally, you get to stay at home. No jail, not even confinement to your home, just a curfew for – get this – two years.

Compare that to …

Smuggle marijuana, go to jail
Smuggle some dope, and you’re going to jail for more than two years. Even if you’re almost a senior citizen.

Now, I’m not a dope-smoker, and I don’t think it’s a good idea. But is it just me, or is it really, really, really FUBARed that smuggling a drug that arguably affects a person less than alcohol (a legal drug) gets you a harsher sentence than killing someone? Note that the murder trial was in Canada, and the dope trial was in the US. Apparently, justice is a foreign concept in Canada.

I’m also not big on vigilante-ism, but really, how on earth are we going to get some justice here if we don’t tar and feather judges like B.C. Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett who hand down laughable slaps on the wrist for convicted murderers?

Schools can fix anything, right?

There’s this peculiar notion in Canada. The US too.

If there’s a problem, somewhere in society, it must be fixed. It must be fixed by the government. And it must be fixed by the government through schools.

CBC ran a story today about a politician who is trying to get schools to teach swimming lessons. Sounds like a good idea.

So did “just say no to drugs.” So did sex education. And when kids were hungry, schools seemed like a good place to feed them. And if parents weren’t teaching kids proper hygiene, schools had to do it. Need driver training? Schools can do it. Bad behavior? Teachers can help. Parents aren’t home at night? Guess we need after-school programs.

You name it, there’s a school-based program for it.

I pity educators. I really do. Considering the sheer number of auxiliary programs that schools have to – by law or fiat – squeeze into their limited instructional days, it’s a miracle kids learn anything about reading, writing, math, history, geography, critical thinking … the foundation stones that yesterday and today define what it means to be educated.

We keep hearing about how things are bad in schools. Kids aren’t learning what they’re supposed to be learning. Could the answer be as simple as that we’re just throwing way too many things against the school wall, hoping some of it sticks?

I think it’d be great if all kids learned how to swim, and no kid in North America ever drowned for lack of that skill, ever again. But are schools really the answer to all of our society’s problems?

I don’t get it

I just watched Hotel Rwanda last night … and today this story broke.

Two excerpts:

The Supreme Court of Canada says Leon Mugesera helped incite the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994 and should be sent home to face trial.

and then …

But Justice Minister Irwin Cotler says Canada will not order Mugesera extradited unless it gets a binding assurance he will not be executed if convicted of the crimes.

Help me understand this. Is there nothing a person can do, no matter how heinous, how destructive, how devoid of the least amount of common human decency, to deserve a personal death sentence in return?

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think this kind of attitude would have Hitler out on parole in 20-25 years. It’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s not justice.

At it’s heart, justice has the principle of equality. That’s why the universal symbol of justice is a weigh scale: weight on one side equals the weight on the other.

If killing or participating in or inciting the deaths of countless thousands is the crime, how does 10 years of easy living in Montréal, Québec, and then (presumably) life imprisonment equal that?

It doesn’t.

And even capital punishment wouldn’t, but it would be closer.

Hello Dolly!

It’s alive!

Maria DeVries is on the internet. Celebrations all around. Joy, delirium, and general mayhem.

Tiny bit of explanation: she’s my sister, and she might be running for political office soon.

Second tiny bit of explanation (or excuse): yes, I know there are some links that don’t work yet. Maria needs to create some content, at which point they will work!

Gay Marriage: Why is this an issue?

According to exit polls in the last US election (as reported by the New York Times) half of all gay people in the US don’t care about gay marriage:

Excerpt:

Only about a quarter of voters surveyed in the national exit poll following the election favored same-sex marriage, and interestingly enough, only about half of gay and bisexual voters did.

Interesting!

(I had this in my draft articles section for ages, kind of forgetting about it. I saw it today and thought what the heck, I’ll throw it up.)

A dirty rotten stinking mess

Canadian politics are a reeking pile of farm refuse right now.

The Liberals (we stole lots of money from the public purse but please forgive us) are in a precarious position because they have only a very slim majority, with a major vote on a budget coming up.

All of a sudden, one of the Conservatives crosses the floor and joins them. She is – guess who – the girlfriend of a former leader of the Conservatives. She gets – you guessed it – a plum cabinet posting, which means more money, a higher public profile, and a closer seat to the centre of power.

Then, news comes out that the Liberals are approaching other Conservative members, asking them to sit out the budget vote and promising, if not rich rewards immediately, unspecified future benefits. The other members, fortunately, taped the calls.

Un-freaking-believable. Do we really want these kind of people in power?

They’ve proven over and over that they will do anything – anything – to stay in power. That’s what it’s all about.

Disgusting. I can only hope enough members of parliament summon up enough reserves of human decency and vote them down. But I won’t hold my breath.

Can we get a blogging Cardinal?

In a few short days, the largest religious organization in the world will be choosing a new leader. I’m speaking about the Roman Catholic Church, of course.

The church is taking extreme pains to ensure privacy during the selection process, and probably rightly so. The dry facts are available just about anywhere.

But wouldn’t it be cool if there was a neo-techie cyber-Catholic cardinal among those voting for the new pope? I’d love to read a blow-by-blow account of choosing a new pontiff.

Liberal Sponsorship Scandal

The Liberal Party of Canada appears to have had its fingers in the wrong jar – many wrong jars, to be precise – and right now a public inquiry is being held to determine what exactly happened.

Apparently, according to a court publication ban, I can’t tell you what is going on. I can’t even legally link to it. But fortunately, our friends south of the border are not so constricted by stupid anti-democratic laws.

Google is a wonderful thing – check the top result for this search

Dirty rotten scoundrels, that’s what they are.

No Water for YOU: the new Nazis

What kind of people set guards over a sick woman to ensure no-one gives her a sip of water or a morsel of food?

I have not felt strongly enough about the Terry Schiavo case to post about it, nor has my thinking been clear enough. Part of the reason for this is that I do not believe in keeping a body breathing as long as medical science possibly can. I believe that when it’s time to die, it’s time to meet your Maker, and there is no point going to absolutely extraordinary measures to avoid it.

But what kind of people starve a human being to death?

I’m a little conflicted about this, but typically my thoughts on allowing very sick people to die focus on the use of medical machinery. The standard of my heart, biased or illogical as it might be, is that unless there is well-founded hope that a person can recover, machines should not be used to prolong life indefinitely. Whether it makes sense or not, when confronted with these circumstances, I always ask myself: would this person have died 200 years ago? 300 years ago? If so, do not keep the person on the ventilator, the heart/lung machine, etc. etc.

But since when can a husband decide that his wife should no longer eat?

Life is something that should not be taken lightly. Death is the same. In the book of Job, the Bible says: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Under ordinary circumstances (you’re not fighting for your life, the nation is not at war, the state is not, after due process, sentencing a mass murderer to execution) this should hold true. Throughout history, whenever humans have tried to play god, disaster has ensued. And how do you play god? Most obviously, playing god is evidenced by a belief that you can determine whether or not another person should live. The judge, in this case, played god. So did the husband. So did the police officers that prevented family and friends from helping a sick woman.

In what countries of the world do police officers prevent people from humanitarian deeds?

Take her off a feerding tube? OK, I might, might be able to understand that. Take her off a heart/lung machine? I can understand that. Refuse to put a crumb of bread in her mouth? I cannot understand that. Refuse to put a cool ice chip on a dying woman’s tongue? I cannot understand that.

Or perhaps I can understand it – I just don’t want to. It’s evil, pure and simple. This woman is an inconvenience. She costs money. Perhaps her life insurance cannot be claimed on until she is dead. Obviously, she must die, so that the rest of us, and her husband in particular, do not have to be burdened wth the irritating fact of her existence. Kill her off – make more space for the rest of us.

And while you’re doing it, don’t let her have a single sip of water. Oh, and by the way, post guards to ensure that she dies. And don’t let her father, mother, family, friends be with her when she dies. Just let her estranged husband – who is now living with another woman, with whom he has two children – let him be with her when she dies.

After all, he’s the one who wanted her dead. It’s his right.

Right?


I looked for a variety of stories on Google News when writing this post. Here are two that I found helpful:

“Theocrats” for Terry Shiavo
Schiavo, America’s Call to Action

They are doubtless biased and from a certain perspective. So is my post. But they make points that need to be made.

Memories of the Microsoft – US DOJ Settlement

For some baffling reason, I was thinking tonight of the Microsoft – US DOJ settlement of a few years back.

I recalled sending a submission in to the Department of Justice (hah) just after that settlement …. although I ‘m not a US citizen. And the beautiful thing about life in the 21st century is that words, once digitized, disappear reluctantly.

A quick Google search brought up this page – good thing Google caches sites, because the submission is supposed to be here, but has since been archived/buried/lost (pick your favorite).

In any case, thanks to Google, I can preserve the words of my 2001 me:

From: John Koetsier
To: Microsoft ATR
Date: 1/20/23 11:00am
Subject: This Microsoft Settlement Is Bad

The Microsoft settlement is bad for consumers, bad for business, and bad for government.

The slap on the wrist so far extracted from Microsoft in no way compensates for the many and serious harms this company has caused tocompanies such as Netscape, Apple, innumerable others, and consumers all over the United States and beyond.

Also, any settlement by which Microsoft simply has to distribute MORE ofits products in the marketplace … one of the very problems that occasioned this entire legal battle … is simply too ludicrous to credit. A proper settlement would be paying for installations of competing products such as Linux servers and Macintosh computers.

Microsoft argues that the US economy would suffer if it was restrained. The opposite is true. Rid the marketplace of Microsoft’s stranglehold,and you will see a flowering of creativity, investment, start-ups, and ideas the like of which we haven’t seen since the glory days of the dot-coms. This renaissance, however, would have a chance to take root and flower.

john koetsier

That’s comment number MTC-00016342, and now it’s also archived for posterity here. I’m not 100% sure posterity cares … but I do!

😉

Europe: Doublethought lives! (updated)

Speaking as a Canadian of relatively recent European descent, Europe is really ticking me off these days.

What’s bugging me? European hunger to sell methods of killing people to China.

Maybe I’m just stupid. But I have this impression that Europe thinks it’s a kinder, gentler place than, for instance, the US of A. That’s, at least, what one might think after the huge wedge (also called the Atlantic Ocean) driven between Europe and the States by the ongoing Iraq situation.

But why, oh why, are the Europeans – France in particular – always so eager to be merchants of death? It’s not OK to make war on other nations, but it is OK to sell weapons to others so they can go make war? After all, that’s what weapons are for.

Not that I have anything particularly against China. Chinese people are great. Unfortunately, their government is totalitarian, puts people in jail whenever it wishes, has occupied and attempted to destroy Tibet, is continually rattling sabers at Taiwan, does not allow true religious freedom (and in fact jails and persecutes Christians), and in many other ways, feels compelled to throw its considerable weight around. Not the kind of government you want to sell weapons to, huh?

But European principles, apparently, are up for sale to the highest bidder.

Note:
I was kind of inspired to finish this column after I read Pieter Dorsman’s blog on politics. I had been meaning to write it ever since I saw the NY Times article linked to above, but had kept putting it off. I met Pieter at Vancouver Enterprise Forum, and his blog is quite good. Plus, he’s a fellow Dutchman!