Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Note to self: needs more work.

Conflictus veritas

noun /konflikt/ 1 a serious disagreement or argument. 2 a prolonged armed struggle. 3 an incompatibility between opinions, principles, etc.: a conflict of interests.
verb /konflikt/ be incompatible or at variance with.
— DERIVATIVES conflictual adjective.
— ORIGIN Latin conflictus ‘a contest’.

Where on earth would we be without conflict?

The primary question is: would an accurate understanding of human conflict bring society any closer to the removal of conflict from the global community in the key areas of individual, territorial, sovereign, scientific and belief debates?

The secondary question is: what is the theory of conflict in as much as how does it exist in nature and is it possible to link the first occurrence of conflict in nature with the human experience of conflict?

The tertiary question is: Can the origin of conflict be traced to its first occurrence?

The tertiary question is easy to answer; the answer is ‘no.’

The secondary question would be easy to answer were it not for the suggestion that human conflict can be traced to the existence of conflict in nature. Without putting too fine a point on the question; can the existence of the universe possibly be the result of some unknown, untraceable cosmic conflict and if that should be the case, does it explain the prevalence of conflict in almost every corner of the human experience? The primary or baseline conflict, as such, is that conflict between the artificial world as devised by man and the natural world.

While some people – this author included – hold that the universe came about through a happy, chemical accident some billions of years earlier (even before of Wheel of Fortune). Then there are the newcomers who adopted the notion some two or three thousand years ago that suggesting the universe was created at the pleasure of grand architect.

Creation by design is popular among the religions today on both sides of the Christian-Muslim conflict; this point at least is one they can agree on. Creation by happenstance, on the other hand, seems to be, ironically, the scientific view; that’s at least one thing that scientists for the most part can agree on. However, what if the answer lies somewhere buried in the notion that the designer and chemistry were in conflict and that the result was the universe – a monument, in other words, to conflict.

And conflict itself, in the modern or earthly experience is the shackle that binds us all.

"The great masses of people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one. Especially if it is repeated over and over."
Adolph Hitler

While the notion that lying to the public on a daily basis may somehow influence the masses is attributed to Hitler, it would be comical to think that it was he who first came up with idea. Equally, today advisers to US presidents simply need to remind their charges of the effects of the repeated lie and hey presto a new conflict is born.

The lie appears to be conflict’s womb.

Hitler lied about the Jews, Bush lied about WMDs, the west lied when if offered aid to Africa, and the Europeans lied to the North American first nations. The list of deceptions is long and it is safe to say that the Taleban are lying to the Afghanis and certainly safe to say that al-Qaeda is lying through its cloth-covered teeth to the peoples of the mid-east.

The conflicts are enough to attest to the lies; what more evidence is needed?

Inner conflict, that old villain, waits silently ready pounce in the event that external conflict should for one brief moment take a breather. And it is at the doorstep of inner conflict that the blame so often is laid when broader conflict erupts. Not wishing to dwell on the gentleman, but it is well-accepted beyond postulation at least that Hitler’s inner conflict was soon to manifest itself in the lie that all but brought the world to its knees as the resultant conflict raged.

Whether in its most fundamental form, inner, external, personal, communal, international or galactic it would seem that conflict is of itself as natural a part of life as, say, death. Avoidance of conflict is seemingly impossible. Eradication of conflict is a stillborn concept. The question remains; what precisely is the DNA of conflict? How may it be described molecule by molecule? It cannot exist simply in our heads, figmental or imagined without biological or chemical trace.

When manifest, conflict is tangible to say the least. Our hospitals and war zones are credible witness to the tastes, smells and sounds of conflict. When gestating however where does conflict reside? Where did conflict first take root? Perhaps the question by now is irrelevant given that conflict now spreads like a cancer across the planet. I’d like to say that conflict can be simply answered by our inability to educate the vast populations who think of as uneducated – and so, uneducated choose arms before discussion leads even close to solution of one conflict or the other. But unless I am mistaken it is the educated that provide arms to the uneducated. What hope can there for peace when the disparate are fed guns to fend for their rights?

How shall this real estate eventually be divided? This one big piece of land, subdivided between its nomadic peoples. Will the poor and uneducated just disappear, unable to withstand the onslaught of the developed nations? Or should the message to the rich be that when the poor go ‘they’ll take down the wealthy with them.” The full catastrophe - as it were - ultimately succumbing to the last conflict; that conflict between compassion and indifference, between comprehension and stupefaction. The pessimist will answer most certainly this is where we are destined.

The optimist for his part will be hard pressed to keep smiling while the morgues bulge grotesquely skywards with conflict’s harsh harvest.





Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Asinine canine comment

"asinine"

1. Utterly stupid or silly: asinine behavior. 2. Of, relating to, or resembling an ass

In today's news we learn that the speaker of the house intends to reopen an investigation as to whether or not Peter McKay referred to Belinda Stronach as a dog during an altercation in the house. Well, bow-wow to that.

The news today also informs us that Mr. Gomery - tolerant soul that he is - wonders whatever happened to his multi-million dollar report on the theft by politicians, bureaucrats and advertising executives of $250 million of Canadian tax payers' money.

Personally I don't believe the species of our members matters a whit; canine, feline or insect for that matter, is of little importance.

What should be of concern is that government proceeds with some dignity and sobriety towards managing the affairs of Canada, both at home and abroad.

At home we have managed to amass a $6 billion surplus which comes as no surprise as hoarding seems to be common to all factions of our political spectrum. This may be a good thing, assuming that the global economy for one reason or the other not always be as rosy as it appears to be right now; and that a rainy day may occur at any given moment. Given Canada's attitude towards to Kyoto and Climate Change, that rainy day may indeed be welcomed by all Canadians.

Abroad, of course, is where much of the $6 billion may eventually be spent as the Conservative Government acts out its fantasies in Afghanistan. The fact that our ferry's are falling apart in New Foundland, the homeless wander the streets in ever-growing numbers, the land beneath us receives less and less water, while the land above continues to suffer from urbanization, the fields are shrinking, youth become dim-witted with illicit drugs and blank stares of bureaucrats grow more blank with each question, does not bode well for us at all.

Belinda may bitch about being called a dog, so be it. The fact is that the electorate have to keep government focussed on managing our affairs. There are are several ways of doing this of course and the Conservatives seem for the moment to be sailing pretty close to the wind and as such run the risk of putting themselves to an early test in unchartered waters.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Port Haney is still witness to shipping of all sorts



Some 40 miles east up the Fraser River from the Pacific Ocean, Port Haney still sees a wide variety of ships of all sizes passing through.

They say that one day container ships carrying 'short sea containers' will be common place as the government aims to decrease road volume by increasing commercial transport on our rivers and rail networks.

Community youth fight meth addiction

Claus AndrupWhat do you know about meth addiction?

The majority of families in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge will never have to deal with the tragedy of addiction to crystal meth in their lives. For most of us crystal meth is something we read about in the press, see glimpses of on TV in documentaries or advertisements, or are reminded of each time we drive along East Hastings on our way back from a hockey game or concert downtown.

Politicians discuss crystal meth addiction, much in the same way that they discuss health, education or the environment. We expect them to do so and they never disappoint. As is often the case however, it takes the community itself to make the transition from ‘discussion’ to ‘action.’

Through a chance meeting between my wife Deborah and an acquaintance, Rani Bellwood, I came to find myself sitting among 50 or so young people in the Youth Lounge at Pitt Meadows recreational centre on a recent Saturday evening. Rani had suggested to my wife that we may want to attend an educational evening for youth. The theme for the evening was “Life or Meth.”

I thought that 50 or 60 children was a great turnout. They had many questions on the subject of meth and meth addiction, and were keen to share what knowledge they had gleaned informally and, perhaps more importantly, seemed eager to expand their knowledge.

The Life or Meth presentation combined videos and slides with the acting-out of two young simulated addicts who told their stories based on the lives of real characters with whom they had been in contact with or directly from RCMP or VPD reports.

Most of us are familiar with the fact that crystal meth is highly addictive and almost impossible to shake. We know too that it attacks its victim physically and mentally with severe consequences and that death is a common outcome.

Perhaps the cruelest thing about crystal meth is that once introduced to the system it immediately robs the user of his or her reason. The challenge for outreach workers and youth coordinators, it seemed to me, was how on earth do they make addicts understand in the first instance that they have a problem and second, that if they do not kick the habit, they may find themselves in the morgue?

To combat such a powerful drug takes resolve, persistence, ingenuity and the involvement of the entire community from every walk of life. In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows this seems to be taking place, as demonstrated by people such as Rani Bellwood chairperson of the Life or Meth Youth Forum Organization Committee, Tony Cotroneo Youth Services Coordinator for Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, Mary Robson chairperson Maple Crystal Meth Task Force, Andrew Tolchard Chairperson for the Pitt Meadows Crystal Meth Task Force and the community partners that assisted.


As parents and adults our views of the addicted vary. Some of us may lump together, or associate a number of unpleasant aspects of the state of our communities. Homelessness, crime, addiction, production and distribution of drugs, prostitution and child neglect become, as it were, a single issue which we think of now and then, but choose to ignore if we possibly can. Until, of course, the day that the problem walks in our own front door in the form of one of our own children.

Parent blame has always been central to any discussion where teen behaviour is concerned. What causes certain behaviour patterns in our youth? Given that our children are subjected to having to watch mum and dad’s behaviour on a daily basis and having to listen to what mum and dad have to say about this issue or that, it is hard to absolve parents from the absolute responsibility of how children respond during the long and often arduous process of becoming adults.

Parents, for their part, are not born experts and most of their training can be said to be of the ‘on the job’ variety.

That said, the least one can expect from parents is curiosity. Bringing up our children should involve a lot of who, where, why, what and when?

In the case of drug addiction among youth the call for who, where, why and when becomes even stronger as the answers to the questions can save lives and whole family structures; and ultimately whole communities.

Here are three basic questions that parents in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows should be asking themselves.

  • What are the chances my child will be exposed to this, and will try it
  • If my kid is using it, how to I detect that?
  • If I think my kid is using, what can I do about that?


The hackles will rise on any parent at the suggestion even that a child of theirs could become a drug addict. Oddly, today it is the youth themselves, at least in this community, who seem to be asking more questions than the parents. This bodes well for future generations and for the quality of life we can expect many decades down the road.


The probability: General population surveys on alcohol and other drug use are often done by telephone interviews. You may have even participated in surveys done through questionnaires at your school. These studies show a low rate of Meth use in the general population.


For example, a major recent survey, the Canadian Addictions Survey 2004 (CAS), asked people about their use of "speed", an informal term that covers all amphetamines, including Meth. The CAS showed that 0.8% of Canadians reported using speed at least once in the previous 12 months.


That doesn't seem like a big percentage so why the big deal?
First, 0.8% of Canadians 15 years and older equals about two hundred thousand people so, while that number is much smaller than some other substances, it's still significant. Also, standard surveys and interviews in the general population likely miss hard-to-reach people such as street youth. Information from other sources suggests that Meth use is much higher among this group.
Information, such as hospital admissions, shows that the number of people seeking treatment for Meth problems is growing. Police have also uncovered more clandestine laboratories producing Meth. They have also seized greater quantities of Meth. All these factors point to increasing Meth use, particularly in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.[1]


The signs: User Denial, Family Member Denial, Enabling, Codependency, Personality changes, Immaturity (avoiding responsibility) Self-Esteem, Suicide attempts, Changes in Relationships, Lack of Motivation, Changes in Thinking, Concentration & Memory, Values and Beliefs, Denial & Lying, Changes in Sleeping and Eating patterns, Reckless & Impulsive behavior, Changes in Physical Appearance and Health, Changes in Personal Habits and Activities, Mental and Behavioral Changes, Arising Legal Problems.[2]


Action: In today’s world help is everywhere, thanks largely to the ubiquity of the internet. Each community recognizes the threat of meth addiction among youth. In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows we are fortunate to have among us the leadership and volunteers who understand the need to come to the assistance of victims of the proponents of illicit substances.


People such as Rani Bellwood, Tony Cotroneo, Mary Robson chairperson Maple Crystal Meth Task Force, Andrew Tolchard and a small army of youth community partners are poised to help and guide any parent in need of advice. The irony should not be lost here; in large part our volunteer youth are standing by to help parents who do not know how to react to the addictions that may be affecting their own kids. Youth helping adults – perfect.

Maple Ridge, October 2006



www.crystalmethtaskforce.com




[1] http://www.crystalrecovery.com/Recovery/Recovery.html
[2] http://www.drugwise-droguesoisfute.hc-sc.gc.ca/facts-faits/meth_e.asp#e

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Partioning Option

Poland, Israel/Palestine, South Africa and its Bantustans, Pakistan, India, even the UK with its English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish partitions. Closer to home the partitioning of Quebec from English Canada and what of the great unseen partition between Canada's first Nations and its pasty newcomers? What of the Balkans? Tibet? Kurdistan?

The word partition shares letters with another infamous word; apartheid. Whatever happened to tolerance and the inclusive aspirations one reads so much of in the good books of the religious. Are we not as a race, in theory at least, supposed to embrace one another, notwithstanding belief, colour, gender or culture?

When we harm one another where is the inclusiveness? How do we embrace when we embrace in death and hurt?

It is with morbid interest that we witness now the sudden notion that perhaps only a partitioning of Iraq will result in a lasting peace or at the very least a lasting, but peaceful, mutual fear. Is this the democracy that architects of the invasion of Iraq had in mind? Did they sit down and say: First we will invade because we fear that Saddam Hussein will destroy millions with his WMDs, then we'll just say that we came to save the Iraqi nation from Saddam, then we'll say they could with a good dose of western democracy and become of the American dream, then if that don't work, hell, we'll just partition the suckers to save 'em from themselves. 800,000 dead Iraqis, 5000 US servicemen and counting, a bill for one thousand billion US dollars (and counting), a confused and sickened US public. For what, the next thing that pops into the Whitehouse's mind?


What brilliant idea, one wonders, will follow the proposal for partitioning Shia, from Sunni from Kurd? Perhaps they can all join the boy scouts and sit around camp fires singing "Hail to the Chief - the idiot"? Donald Rumsfeld, I have very little doubt, will bring the marshmallows to roast over the open fires.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Iraq pullout imminent?

October 20th 2006...a drift towards stability?
Where are we today? While there is no shortage of hot spots internationally, with Iraq, the middle east, Iran, Korea and Darfur holding centre stage, it seems in a way that a general exhaustion has found its way into the hearts, minds, souls and bodies of the enemy on both sides of lines.
Perhaps one should say on both sides of all the lines, as there seem to be almost more categories of conflict which embrace so many conflicting views that making an inventory of conflict is almost impossible.
This day, this October 20th 2006, is witness to the fact that certain leaders in the US administration are leaning towards the realization that efforts to bring democracy - at least the US definition of democracy - to the middle east may soon end in the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
The degree to which this realization is voiced has to tempered with the fact that congressional elections are but weeks away; and what is said may be more reflection of political aspiration than true belief. For the moment at least it would seem that an inclination towards withdrawal from this costly war will garner more votes than the hawkish stance which saw Republicans steering the US for two consecutive terms.
Notwithstanding the might of the US on the world stage and the influence of the US voter on Congress and its eventual composition, there are others who carry weight as much, and combined, even more, than the US.
In Britain one TV commentator from a military college notes that today the British Army is regarded as no more than another 'tribe' fighting for its patch in southern Iraq.
Iran, a long time foe of Iraq, is viewed today with more concern by the Iraqis than they view the US.
The ground that once changed so swiftly below the feet of the coalition forces seems now it self to have morphed into quicksand.
Far away, in North Korea, Kim Jong Il declared today that one nuclear test is enough. Perhaps the realization that he could not, if push came to button push, resist a combined spanking from China, Japan, South Korea and Russia, caused him to pause in his quest for 15 seconds of fame? Perhaps, the simple threat of having his Paris Hilton lifestyle eroded by sanctions on luxury goods was enough to bring him to his senses, such as they may be.
As for "Ferme Le Bush"? One can detect, as everyone can, a toning down of the mission accomplished rhetoric.
Next time, when they 'come to the table' at the UN, don't be surprised if it is under circumstances somewhat different to what we have seen these five years past. And be very surprised if a few chairs have not been added to accommodate some new faces.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tolstoy made me think of this

I happened to pick up a copy of one of Tolstoy's little note books a few minutes ago. I can't even remember any particular lines that I may have scanned. Then I reflected on today's subtle - perhaps not so subtle - changes in the tone coming from the Whitehouse. There seems too a softening, though hardly detectable, in Palestine and and Kabul too. Are these the first actual steps towards some semblance of peace? Has everyone, simply, had enough?

Then some minutes later it struck me that: men of peace are sometimes made to feel awkward and even silly when it is the men of war who are the final arbiters peace and coexistence.

October 19, 2006
A birthday for peace

AfriCanada?

AfriCanada? The signs are already there

Throughout history Africa and Canada cannot be said to have had strong connections. Nonetheless, the continent of
Africa has from time to time been on Canada’s radar and once in a while the opposite has been true; there have been moments when Africa has needed Canada if for nothing else than temporary refuge. Travel back far enough in time and the researcher will find that at one point Canada even went to bat for the old Empire against the Boers during the Boer War.

Some months earlier I wrote a short piece in my blog, RadioHaney, pointing out that between them Canada and Africa formed a formidable force as a ‘resource cartel.’ Here again, history will point to the fact that for decades the relationship between South African and Canadian companies, organizations, individuals, investors and professional has grown stronger and stronger. The fact that many South Africans chose Canada as their home both during the apartheid era and in the decade plus since the fall of apartheid, has done much to enhance the relationship between the two countries and indeed, as such, the general relationship between Africa and Canada.

It could be said that hardly two less compatible or similar relationships exist in the foreign affairs arena. Canada and Africa are not only geographically distant, but remain distant in almost every aspect from climate to government to national mores and characteristics. Despite these differences however, a distinctly tangible bond can be discerned through reports in the media and via anecdotal evidence.

Much to my surprise I learnt recently that a friend of mine working at a state-owned iron ore terminal on the west coast of the Cape receives his monthly cheque from a company based in Mississauga, Ontario. The question arises, how many more opportunities exist for Canada to be the outsourcing host of choice for the South African government and large South African multi-nationals? And what, if any, trade offs lie hidden in this burgeoning relationship?

Vancouver Sun columnist Jonathan Manthorpe, in his October 19, 2006 story: For many, retirement is too good for Mugabe, quotes Zimbabwean lawyer Gabriel Shumba as saying: “We believe Canada has some of the most progressive pieces of legislation in international law on human rights,” and: “We would like to see Canada utilize some of its own laws against Mugabe because we believe jurisdiction of legislation is not limited to criminals or victims who are Canadian citizens.” These statements by Mr. Shumba, while specifically aimed at the catastrophic rule of Robert Mugabe, nonetheless go some way to highlighting yet another area of governance and economics that exist for collaboration between certain – perhaps all – African countries and Canada.

The notion of strengthening alliances between Canada and Africa falls outside of the parameters of party politics; it is not a Conservative, Liberal, NDP or Bloc-driven issue. It should be apparent to Canadians that as arbiters of responsible civic management and as good fiscal managers there exists obvious and tangible benefits in a symbiotic relationship between these distant places. Is there, for instance, any reason why Canadian manufacturers should not be enticed by large and hopeful workforces in Africa in a trade off of labour for technology, or production for management?

The September 28, 2005 piece follows for reference below:


South Africa and Canada can be resourceful partners

Growing up and being schooled in South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s resulted in a keen awareness of the fact that the country we lived in was a key player in the world's supply of many natural resources. Gold, diamonds, coal, uranium and iron to name a few. Writ large across the country's history were the names of Cecil John Rhodes, Barney Barnato and in more recent times such royal families of mineral exploration as the Oppenheimers.

From the start the scramble for mineral fortunes was reflected by both the obvious benefits to the individual adventurers from Europe and the pain and indignity forced upon the indigenous peoples of this newly occupied region. That is all behind us now. The resources themselves however remain in abundance.


Canada, while successfuly hiding the negative impact of the British and the French adventurers in the form of early trappers and later the Hudson Bay Company, is the home of an equally rich reserve of resources, almost matching if not beating South Africa in terms of natural wealth. As a team on the international resource stage, the combination of these two nations presents a formidable partnership.

Such an alliance would be built not simply on the resources themselves, but on the knowledge, skills and experience that has developed through the channels of the corporate and academic organizations in both countries. Relative economic stability, threatened only by the Boer War, two world wars and in the case of South Africa, the troubled era of Apartheid, has meant that these two countries have been able to advance their technologies at a faster pace than most other sovereignties with the exception perhaps of the United States. Russia and China while promising greater natural wealth remain less capable of mineral exploration and exploitation and politically less stable.

Today South Africa's interest rates, while still high, are coming closer in line with their peer countries such as Canada, consequently opening the doors to smoother future cooperation.


As early as the late 1970s South African entrepreneurs saw the potential for Canada as a shelter from, it seemed, South Africa's uncertain future. Interestingly too was the arrival in Canada of white Rhodesians who felt even more threatened in Africa than their kinsfolk in South Africa. The Rhodesians, it turns out, had more to fear than the South Africans.

By the time the 1990s rolled around and even more so in this new century, the presence of South African resource specialists and the companies who employ them has grown dramatically in Canada. It seems that the foundations for a strong partnership has already been laid. Curiously, there is little or no evidence of any concious political drive to initiate, support or promote this partnership. Canadian politicians are as much to blame as their South African counterparts.

The two countries could probably benefit from snuggling up closer to one another than they they have so far. South Africa and Canada have much to offer one another. Science, technology, communications, humanities, housing, social services, commerce and trade, political and corporate governance, medicine, transport, international trade, sustainable growth, urban development, aerospace, arts and culture.


Canada has helped South Africa in two strangely oriented, perhaps opposing ways. Canada has historically voiced its public opposition to the Apartheid system in the United Nations (while, it must be said, supporting its own equivalent apartheid-lile policies with respect to Canada's indigenous peoples) and on the other side of the equation Canada has welcomed many white South African immigrants who fled the uncertainties of South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. This migration, while driven intitially by fear, may now prove beneficial to both countries.

Given the ambiguities of NAFTA and the inward-looking policies of Washington and Congress, combined with a less than welcome US attitude towards the United nations, it seems to this observer that the time for South Africa and Canada to form stronger trade and political ties is upon us. Combine these two remnants of the Commonwealth and then add in the presence of a powerful Europe and the future, to this observer a least, seems a lot brighter.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Early signs of split in homosapiens

The BBC reports today that humanity is headed towards an eventual split in the species.

Human species 'may split in two'

"Humanity may split into an elite and an underclass," says Dr Curry. "Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years' time as predicted by HG Wells."


If there is any doubt to this notion Radio Haney directs its reader(s) to Congress where early signs of the split can be detected almost daily.

" Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge. " Radio Haney further notes that the dim-witted underclass may soon loose a singnificant number of seats in Congress to be by replaced by a genetic upperclass once typified by the Kennedy family.

For the full story go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6057734.stm



Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hasta la vista, baby Kim.



AIRTIME FOR TYRANTS IS NOT WORKING

Once again our international leadership is sucked in by the dramatics of the clownish behaviour of an idiot trying to gain attention on the world stage – no disrespect intended towards professional working clowns who provide the laughter needed to distract us from the appalling ineptitude of the United Nations.

This guy is just getting too much airtime, and lovin’ it. Once in a while a bad egg will show up, posing a real threat to his region or perhaps even the world at large. The fellow shown here is not in this class. While recognized as a mean bastard of a leader by his people and observers abroad, it is foolish and indicative of a certain lack of sophistication that the Security Council is lathered up over this chap.

One can see clearly the road ahead. Discussion among the members, suggestions, threats, a vote, another toothless resolution, more debate, more resolutions followed by disagreement over the same things we disagreed over before; the chief among them being sanctions versus action.

What irritates perhaps more than anything else is that history itself points to so many instances where nations have risen in protest against regimes and leaders who have conducted themselves in somewhat less than humane ways. The Pan-Africanist movement in South Africa successfully overcame the apartheid regime, notwithstanding that some sanctions were indeed implemented by the world community. For that matter many nations throughout Africa held true to the Harold Macmillan forecast in his ‘winds of change’ speech delivered in the 1950s to a then disbelieving white leadership in Southern Africa. Most of Africa is now free of the European Kim Jong Ils of an earlier age. Asian nations have spent thousand’s of years in similar turmoil, constantly changing from school of political thought to another, either through force or by choice.

Is it perhaps not time that the people of North Korea rose up and dumped this fellow? There are many, many people prepared to lend a hand in the exercise. But the drive has to come from within North Korea, not from within the inner sanctum of the Security Council. For the better part the Security Council is more concerned with the security of their jobs. Little Kim, but acting out the role of nuclear nut has done little to create a real threat and a lot to creating jobs for life for those lucky enough work for the United Nations.

While the United States impresses us with its ability to measure radio activity in the air above North Korea who is busy measuring or forecasting the affected areas of ‘egg on our faces’ in a few years when it comes to pass that Kim Il Jong does not have two beans to rub together, let alone two atoms. This one has Hans Blix written large all over it. One might recall this quote from the BBC: “Speaking to the BBC's World Service, Mr. Blix said he was more certain than ever that there was no WMD in Iraq.” I wonder if Blix is still on the contact list on the new Secretary General’s Blackberry. He may be well advised to give Hans a call.

Who can fail to remember the hundreds of thousands of hours we helped the media with when it came to being intrigued by the life and times of Saddam Hussein. Well, from the people who brought you Osama and Saddam, watch out, because here comes Kim “it’s an IL nuclear wind that blows no good” Jong.

Sanctions are too expensive and time consuming. If Kim wants to play with the N-gang then the best solution, by far the cheapest and perhaps less costly a (in the collateral sense) is to drop one right on top Kim and end the discussion right there. The bush assault on Iraq has cost some 700,000 lives and 500 + billion dollars. From every aspect, including humanitarian, a nuclear answer to a nuclear threat would seem to the elegant solution in this instance. Shareholders of CNN may not wish to hear this as while it may be a big story it would also be a short story and we would soon be back to fighting terror and protecting borders once more, but it is hard to please everyone.

Forget pandering to Kim Jong Il's need for 15 seconds of fame; give him one split second, from one split atom and let’s move on.

Good God!

Existence may just be in the eye of the beholder

At the top of the "been there done that" list has to be the dullest debate of all; does God exist. Recent publications against the notion of God's existence are prompted no doubt more by the thrusts and parrys of the religious right (why they are presumed right is beyond comprehension) and the hysterical behaviour of the Jihadists. Throw in a smaterring of several other wannabe praisers of the cosmic designer and "voila" debate is born.

To some extent I envy the believers as the question itself never crosses their minds. Or if it does, they are unlikely to share their doubts with the rest of us.

On the other hand the non-believers too are to be envied; going about their lives, with nary a care in the world, in the full knowledge that no matter how naughty they are, or how mean-spirited their behaviour, they will never have to go to hell for their sins.

Where then does that leave the rest of us?

After some 57 years wandering about this odd little planet with its eccentric population and unpredictable weather - not to mention its argumentative tribes - it struck me that perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Wrong because any question that has no answer cannot be a good thing. For start it is bound to lead to an awful amount of time wasting. Imagine for a minute how much more mankind would have achieved by now had he not engaged in asking himself, and indeed attempting to answer, questions to which he well knows cannot be answered. Far wiser then to stick to the simple stuff like: what is matter? define gravity? where do black holes come from? how can I cure aids and cancer? what must I do to feed the world's poor? why is it getting so hot? who will be the next celebrity to adopt an African country?

So the question that we should be asking which may be easier to answer and within our comprehensive capabilities should be more along the lines of: If God exists at all, would it make one iota of difference to our lot here in earth? God or no God I dare say it life is what it is and we should not go worrying our silly little heads over stuff which is way beyond us - excluding Republicans, Conservatives and Osama Bin Laden of course, who have declared themselves way smarter than us.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bring it on!

Quote from internet report today: "The region is brimming with tension following the nuclear test with North Korea accusing South Korea and Japan of "gearing up for war". Speaking on South Korea's Yonhap news agency, an unnamed North Korean official said that if the UN imposes sanctions on his country they it would be seen as a declaration of war. "Sanctions are nonsense. If full-scale sanctions take place, we will regard it as a declaration of war. The more they press us, the stronger our response will be", he was quoted as telling."

Imagine the response from the Whitehouse:-

George W. Bush: "Probably not a bad idea to get this over with quick........if you know what I mean."

Monday, October 09, 2006

China should annex N Korea

Do we really have time for this? With so many other serious issues on the table a simple UN-sanctioned invasion of North Korea by China and a handful of neighbours would be helpful to the people of North Korea who, perhaps in the words Dick Cheney would welcome China as liberators.

No, I'm not happy to see you, that's just the tongue in my cheek.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Planet Blog

In the end they all became bloggers. The streets were empty. Life ceased. They expired in front of their monitors.Nothing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Adapt or die - letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun

Re: Environmental debate clouded by confusion and political timidity, October 6, 2006:
My first thought on spotting the headline of Barbara Yaffe’s piece on the report issued by Johanne Gelinas and the subsequent Commons environment committee was Ms Yafffe may have included in her report a reference to the Green Party of Canada. By the time I reached the end of the article it became clear that I would have to slap myself around the ears for being so na├»ve.

The environment, it seems to me, is nothing more than a sideshow when it comes to the core values of the Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP. The long term prospects for seeing a majority Green Party of Canada sitting in Ottawa is perhaps unimaginable, perhaps even a joke to many. What is neither unimaginable, nor a joke, is that without real solutions being provided by Canada’s leadership our long-term prospects for survival on this earth are slim to none.

In the forthcoming election I would urge the Green Party of Canada to apply more pressure to the electorate and I would ask that the electorate pay closer attention to underlying message of the Green Party of Canada: adapt or die.

Claus Andrup
Maple Ridge


October 5, 2006