Ink & Paper

Friday, October 28, 2005

Matt Good
Canadians across the country should be ashamed of what has occurred in Kashechewan. For two years its 1,900 residents have been under a non-stop boil-water ban and nothing has been done to better the situation. As a Canadian I feel utterly ashamed at both my lack of knowledge of, and concern for, such communities. According to Phil Fontaine, the leader of the Assembly of First Nations, there are currently some 100 First Nations communities that are in a boil-water situation, 40 of them in Ontario alone.

Can you imagine the uproar were Torontonians or Vancouverites faced with this sort of situation? I can assure you that the response to it wouldn't take two years.


If you bothered to click the CBC link above, you would have realized that the article is saying something much deeper than the headline. While the CBC reports that the governments have had trouble finding housing for the evacuees, one could be forgiven for failing to acknowledge the fact that perhaps we don't want to host natives in our communities. Not can't. Don't.

Matt Good put it well when he asked what the response would have been had this occurred in Toronto or Vancouver. Or any other Canadian city that is predominantly non-native. DART would have been called in, no matter how many millions it would have cost. We all know that.

Canada, during WWII, interned thousands of Japanese-Canadians, an act that is considered a 'black mark' on the Canadian history books. It has received some press, more in recent years, and to a certain extent we have admitted that it was nothing short of entrenched racism.

The modern situation on Canada's native reserves in no better than the internment of the Japanese. Oh sure, the barbed wire isn't there anymore, at least in the physical sense. But the actions of non-Native Canadians, or to be more accurate, the inaction when it comes to dealing with Native issues, is nothing more than racism, pure and simple. Tuck them away into the mountains of BC or the northern reaches of Ontario. Same plan, different skin.

I was listening to CBC 740AM and was shocked to hear that the BC government just now banned the children's poem "Ten Little Indians" in their educational curriculum. What better way to institutionalize racism than to get the white kids singing a poem that ends with no more "little Indians?" It is 2005 and we just banned this. Embarrassingg.

I would bet that there has been a time where we have all felt uncomfortable, perhaps even scared, when we have encountered native people. Largely, we in the city see natives in a stereotypical and biased (even racist) situation such as being homeless, a view that is quickly and erroneously spread onto an entire culture. Yet we don't associate the white boozer staggering out of the bar at noon as a model for his 'race', do we?

The fact is that we have reserves because white Canadians have done so much to destroy Naitve culture, largely through the not-so-distant residential school systems, that we are in a position where an entire race of people is marginalized and uncomfortable for us to acknowledge. Hence, we tuck them away on reserves and act surprised when problems emerge, It is like buying a Lada and being surprised when it doesn't last as long as your Toyota.

We have a hard time seeing Native peoples as being worthy of equality because to admit that we are largely responsible for their marginalization is a direct route to acknowledging that we, good ole multicultural Canada, has a rather dirty little open secret.

To stick them on third world reserves and ignore their plight, a plight eerily similar to innerr city black populations in Detroit and New York, removes them from out collective psyche. And when a few Natives are seen homeless in Edmonton, or worse yet on the front pages of the newspaper for some crime or another, we have little option but to accept the stereotype.

I drove through Hobbema this past summer and it was nothing short of a different world. Boarded up windows, rusting cars and little to no local economy launched me into a world that I associated more with Africa than with Canada. It blew me away. And this was after I had come back from Kuwait.

Further to that point is the fact that many people have opinions on natives without having done their research and/or witnessed native conditions firsthand. That isn't to say that my ten minute drive through Hobbema qualifies as having anything close to first hand experience, but I have done my research and have done some learning, unlike many others who are all too willing to offer their two cents about a subject they no little of. You don't hear me offering my opinion on Linux, do you?

So now the outrage is leading the news broadcasts and promises are being made by the politicians, promises I'll believe when I see, especially with this being an election year. But it really doesn't matter which shade of politic is in power, the fact is that the current water treatment plant is downstream of a sewage pond in Kashechewan and even if that gets fixed, the government and the populace is quite comfortable turning their back on the estimated 99 other native reserves that are currently under a boil water advisory.

Canadians ought to be embarrassedd. Hell, we ought to be internationally condemned for our lack of action when it comes to merely acknowledging native reserve issues. For it is nothing more than a repeat performance of the Japanese internment, and I dare say we have regressed since then, willing to tolerate the institutionalized racism that is native 'rights' in Canada. For shame.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:21 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

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This is a 5 minute blog. I'm timing it.

Ready? Set? Still set? Go!


This week came and went, actually it when well at work, so that's nice. Because you care. no you don't.

630 ched ad on TV, fucking right wing nuts. Fair reporting my ass.

I'm watching the Oilers. New NHL, same shitty Oilers.

Libby was indicted(sp) today, so that means he may go to jail for 30 years (don't hold your breath). Stupid US administration, this is ridiculous with a Chinese accent. Seinfeld episode. Ridicoulous.


Mental block


I think my blog is on its last legs, no one seems to listen/care and so I am thinking it will get reduced to a twice or three times a week thing. Sexal innuendo joke here.

We'll see, I think blogs culd have been so much more, but then again, the same could be said of Grant Hill.


Mental block

Ah, I got nothing


Tick tick tock tock

Game over, 0:00, insert new quarter to play again.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:52 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cruel, but funny. Hoss.

Kelly Osbourne, Ozzy's daughter, is going to emulate Kylie Minogue. So says the Superficial.
She says, "I have learned lots about performance by watching old videos of Kylie." And she intends to rival Minogue's status as the most perfect bottom in pop, with raunchy sex-themed videos. She adds, "Sex really does sell, so I'll be doing loads of that."

No you won't. Because what Kylie sells is pure, delicious sex, and you'd pretty much be selling amorphous thrashing. Why don't you try to emulate someone more your league? Like Jann Arden or the Michelin Man? Then you could sell tires! You'd be good at that, hoss.

I know, I know, lay off. Celebrities are fair game though.


A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:40 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Juan Cole

Al-Hayat: The Iraqi High Electoral Commission announced that 78.4 percent of Iraqis who voted in the constitutional referendum approved the new constitution. But there were enormous differences among the provinces, which observers expected to result in increased violence. The two largely Sunni Arab provinces of Anbar and Salahuddin rejected the constitution by a wide margin. The third province where they might have done so was Ninevah, and if they had succeeded in mustering a two-thirds majority against it there, it would have failed. As it was, the official tally against in Ninevah was 55.08 percent.

The Kurdistan Alliance and the United Iraqi Alliance, the two coalitions that dominated parliament and produced the constitution, hailed its passage as "historic" and said it would help fight terrorism.

A constitution should be a bargain and a compromise among the major factions in a nation. If a single bloc like the Sunni Arabs of Iraq rejects the constitution, then it isn't really a constitution. And this one guarantees that the guerrilla war goes on for a long time.

As usual, Cole hits the nail on the head, and I recommend that you click on his name above, as he makes some excellent other points about the re-emergence of the Osama boogeyman in Iraq. Note how Cole spells Osama, I'd imagine it is a subtle reminder of how misinformed we truly are by the mass media.

Anyway, as if the Sunni minority (who was the ruling power under Saddam, who is also a Sunni) wasn't feeling marginalized enough, forcing them to accept this "constitution" merely ensures that the Sunni-fuelled insurgency will continue far into the future and eventually will result in the breakup of whatever remains of Iraq. This is hardly a "a compromise among the major factions in a nation", instead it is the majority of Shites and Kurds who have voted this constitution into power, after having written it themselves. Does that seem fair?

A scenario. Canada in 2005 is a brand new country, except that this time we have all the technology to identify the vast natural resources the land possesses. The English, the French, and the Native peoples are vying for the vast natural resources all over the country. Except that the English and the French peoples are able to (read: propped up) to issue decrees and divide the land. As such, the English get the oil in Alberta and the French get the lobster stocks of Newfoundland as well as the forestry industry in BC. The English also get the diamonds in the north.

And the Natives, whose smaller numbers did not garner them as many seats at the constitutional buffet, end up with Hans Island, far in the north of Nunavut.

Would you be honestly surprised if the Sunnis, sorry, the Natives, took up a guerilla battle, having (rightly) been shortchanged?

This democractic constitution in Iraq is a constitution in name only. It benefits the US and the British to cede power to the majority, in this case the Kurds and the Shites, as it legitmizes the 'might makes right'/'size matters' mentality that led them into this mess in the first place.

Juan Cole is right, this constitution, with the entrenched biases, is nothing more than a recipe for continous bloodshed, civil war, and the eventual breakup of Iraq.

In what kind of world is that the definition of democracy?

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:59 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Washington Post

The Bush administration has proposed exempting employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from a legislative measure endorsed earlier this month by 90 members of the Senate that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody.

The proposal, which two sources said Vice President Cheney handed last Thursday to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the company of CIA Director Porter J. Goss, states that the measure barring inhumane treatment shall not apply to counterterrorism operations conducted abroad or to operations conducted by "an element of the United States government" other than the Defense Department.

McCain, the principal sponsor of the legislation, rejected the proposed exemption at the meeting with Cheney, according to a government source who spoke without authorization and on the condition of anonymity.

"This is the first time they've said explicitly that the intelligence community should be allowed to treat prisoners inhumanely," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "In the past, they've only said that the law does not forbid inhumane treatment." Now, he said, the administration is saying more concretely that it cannot be forbidden.

In a particularly infamous case, a detainee at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq named Manadel Jamadi was photographed after his death, packed in ice, by military police soldiers at the facility. He allegedly died in a shower room during interrogation by CIA officers after being brought there by Navy Seal team members. A high-level CIA operative allegedly helped conceal Jamadi's death after Army officers found his body.

What a shitty world.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 5:55 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005


The U.S. military has announced the death of the 2,000th American service member to perish in the Iraqi campaign, but a spokesman tried to downplay the benchmark, calling it "artificial."

"The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone," U.S. army Lt.-Col. Steve Boylan wrote in an e-mail to reporters, according to the Associated Press.

"It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives," Boylan said, before the Pentagon issued a statement on Tuesday saying that army Staff Sgt. George Alexander had died in Texas on the weekend.

U.S. President George W. Bush - who has faced flagging support for the campaign - also warned in the day that the country should brace for more casualties before it finishes its work in Iraq.

The U.S. military doesn't release a running tally of deaths in American units assigned to the Iraq campaign, in Iraq, Kuwait or elsewhere.

However, Alexander's death brings the total to 2,000, according to an unofficial count by CBC News.

More than 15,000 American military personnel have been wounded in the campaign.

I wonder if the death of Alexander is seen by his parents, his loved ones, as artificial. For isn't that what this Boylan is suggesting, that the sacrifice of Alexander and the 1,999 before him, is nothing more than a meaningless statistic, something to be ignored and brushed aside? I doubt the parents of Alexander have an agenda or ulterior motive, and I am sure the death of their son is nothing short of devastating. Sympathy, it seems, is not a military cornerstone.

As I mentioned, the 2,000th death is no more important or futile than the first. It is however a sad indication of just how misled the US people have been about this illegal war, and how dedicated the military and the politicians are to ensuring the trivializing of the war as its toll continues on unabated. How else can one explain away the fact that the government does not keep an "official" running tally of dead soldiers? That would be bad PR, I would imagine.

Perhaps more alarming is the scant lack of attention that has been given to the 15,000 wounded soldiers, some of whom will require years of therapy and support from an administration that has actively pursued the closing down of veteran's hospitals and the reduction of veteran access to not only physical rehabilitation, but mental support services as well.

The 15,000 wounded does not count the untold thousands of servicemen and women who are bound to return home to nights of terror, depression, alcoholism, and Post Traumatic Stress. Indeed, the living burden will surely come of age once the troops return home.

This sad milestone is only dwarfed by the sad reality that the human cost of this war will continue far into the future, affecting not only the current troops, but their communities and the larger US social fabric as well.

Democracy on the march costs a lot of money. I'm just wondering who is going to foot the bill.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 5:35 PM ~~ 4 bonsai trees

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Monday, October 24, 2005

I should be in bed by now, but one last post.

If you are at all interested in adopting a rescued dog, or if you know someone who may be interested, please pass this information along.

On October 29, 2005, between 1130am and 300pm at the South Edmonton PETsMART store (Calgary Trail South and 32nd ave, across from the Chapters) the Humane Animal Rescue Team will have adoptable dogs on display.

Alternatively, you can always adopt from the Edmonton Humane Society (aka SPCA).


A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 11:02 PM ~~ 2 bonsai trees

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BBC reports

UN charity Unicef says 18 million children in sub-Saharan Africa could be orphaned by Aids by the end of 2010.

Unicef says millions who lose their parents to Aids get no financial support and less than five percent of HIV-positive children get medical help.

The charity says a child dies from an Aids-related illness every minute, and every minute, a child becomes infected with HIV.

The BBC's East Africa correspondent, Karen Allen, says Unicef is using Kenya to highlight what it says are years of neglect of youngsters either infected or affected by Aids.

She says the campaign is calling for cash subsidies to pay for school fees, food, and shelter, transforming the lives of youngsters who might otherwise be forced into prostitution or crime.

Nairobi-based Unicef adviser, Naisiadet Mason, told Reuters news agency: "The day I was told I was HIV positive I was devastated and alone.

When, in 2105, Africa is no further along than it is now, history will hold us accountable. Us, with the drugs, the supports, and the means to slow the avalanche of AIDS in Africa will be judged by our reaction (or lack thereof) to this emerging and broadcasted crisis.

The fact that 18 million children will grow up with limited parental guidance is a recipe for disaster. No parents to teach right from wrong, no parents to provide stability, no parents to prevent their children from being exploited in any number of ways, equals a continent that will remain mired in death, destruction, war, and poverty.

Africa was, and remains, the world's dark continent.

Oh, and Guatemala is the worst-hit country. Entire villages have been wiped out by landslides and flash floods, and hundreds of people have been killed. The search for survivors has been called off, and the death toll could climb to 2,000.

More than 90,000 people are living in shelters, and water and electricity have been cut in the affected areas. Crops, livelihoods and homes have been destroyed. The threat of hunger and disease looms.

Two Mayan villages have been completely submerged by a slick of mud. More than 1,400 people are believed to have died in Panajab, 180 kilometres west of the country's capital, Guatemala City. Nearby Tzanchaj was similarly devastated.

The United Nations has launched a $22m (£12.5m) appeal in aid of survivors. More than a third of the victims are children, according to Unicef.

Haven't you heard? Tsunamis, wars, Katrina, avian flu, earthquakes etc etc.

Such a limited attention span, such a cold shoulder.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:52 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Oh those media savvy insurgents...

A cement-mixing truck packed with explosives was one of three bombs that exploded outside the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad Monday, killing at least 20 people, according to police and Iraqi officials.

Another 40 people were reported injured in the blasts near the hotel, which houses many foreign journalists. The hotel suffered considerable damage.

For weeks now U.S. military commanders have been warning that insurgents have started planning their attacks to draw maximum media attention.

This is pretty important, this attack on the Palestine Hotel, as it announces to the still largely ignorant world that the insurgents are firmly in control of the chaos that is Iraq, no matter what the bush administration says.

Why? Why is this attack so different than the litany of other attacks that blur together into a montage of blood and gore?

This attack, unlike the other attacks, sends a message not only to the US powers that be, but to the western world. How better to show your control and power than to stage an attack on the very people there to report the news?

The fact is that Iraq is bad and getting far far worse. Some illustrations:

--Insurgent groups are passing around videos and other training aids to teach the most effective bombmaking techniques. "There is definitely a program to share information," said Maj. Dean Wollan, intelligence officer for the U.S. Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, operating in this area north of Baghdad.

--Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed. The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

--The U.S. military death toll in Iraq is approaching the psychological landmark of 2,000, focusing attention on the security situation more than 2-1/2 years after the U.S.-led invasion. The toll stood at 1,996 on Sunday afternoon.

-- Facing the darkest days of his presidency, President Bush is frustrated, sometimes angry and even bitter, his associates say.

These articles, especially the last one, illustrate the truth that is Iraq. If bush is truly starting to crack under the obvious, it is perhaps the biggest indication yet that Iraq is only going to get worse. This is, after all, an administration that is remarkably talented at ignoring reality. The fact that the reality of bombed out hotels and 2,000 dead GIs is adding straw to this camel's already strained back is perhaps the best of a string of bad news that emanates from Iraq on a daily basis, bad news that is finally getting its due.

Is the 2,000th dead GI any more important that the 836th? The 98th?

As well, Karl Rove, bush's political guru and Devil incarnate, is under intense suspicion of playing an integral role in the outing of Valerie Plume, a CIA operative, nearly two years ago. It is a remarkably complex issue, but it is worth reading up on, as it could prove to be the first of many waves that will eventually turn the tide.

Lastly, Rosa Parks died today at the age of 92. A noble life, indeed.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:28 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Trading Spouses vs. Hardcore Religion = Insane Woman

*Note: Not responsible for external sites and their links. Just saying. You buncha Puritans.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 1:29 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

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The Hand of Tod(d)

Just a quick thanks to all the folks who wandered down 50th street into Beaumont for our housewarming. Megan and I were happy to see everyone come together and have a good time, be they from Edmonton or Calgary. Hope you all had a good time, that the Kuwaiti cigar didn't ruin your tastebuds like it did mine, and that people got to know one another a little bit better in the run up to the wedding.

Thanks to Todd, who again overloaded me with new and interesting computer info, links, and setups, thus ensuring I will waste many an hour on the nerdbox. I highly recommend hitting up the Apple iTunes webpage and downloading the latest version. After doing so, you can download free podcasts, just like the one I am listening to now, part one of a four-part series entitled "The Soul of Islam" produced by the BBC. Nerdy, but informative.

Anyway, it was good to see you all last night and hope that a good time was had by all. Regular blogging to resume Monday night.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 12:29 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

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