Monday, November 28, 2005

Canadian hostages

Four hostages, including two Canadians have been taken hostage in Iraq. The Canadian government is apparently seeking the release of the hostages, though their identity has not been released. They are members of the Christian Peacemakers Team.

It's one thing to kidnap those who profit from the misery of the people of Iraq, or those who have pointed guns at Iraqi civilians. I condemn those kidnappings as well as the actions that precipitated them. But to kidnap people of peace, people who are committed to nonviolence, people who seek alternatives to war, people probably all of whom opposed the war and occupation of Iraq in the first place, is disgusting, and I hope the kidnappers see the error of their ways and let these innocent people go.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gwynne Dyer

I'd like to give a plug for Gwynne Dyer. He is a long time political columnist. He's not a lefty by nature I believe, but his knowledge and pursuit of truth has led him to write many columns in recent years which have been critical of the Bush Administration. In fact, his columns are only available in the US, as they have been banned by Canwest.

In any event, he has a new book out, With Every Mistake, which is a collection of his columns in recent years. I haven't read the book yet, though I flipped through it in a bookstore. I would recommend at least checking him out.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

White phosphorous in Fallujah

Fallujah, Fallujah. I want to address this. As you may have heard, as this is news which is a few days old, it seems that a chemical which burns skin to the bone, white phosphorous, may have been used by the US military in it's assault on Fallujah a year ago. Here is a lovely description of the process:

White phosphorus is fat-soluble and burns spontaneously on contact with the air. According to "The burns usually are multiple, deep, and variable in size. The solid in the eye produces severe injury. The particles continue to burn unless deprived of atmospheric oxygen... If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone." As it oxidises, it produces smoke composed of phosphorus pentoxide. According to the standard US industrial safety sheet, the smoke "releases heat on contact with moisture and will burn mucous surfaces... Contact... can cause severe eye burns and permanent damage."

As the debate around Fallujahs raged, a report in which soldiers bragged about using the brutal unearthly lethal chemical as a weapon was unearthed.

Atrocities had already been revealed though without much attention, prior to the revelations about the white phosphorous. These pictures, which I found through Iraq Dsipatches, I must warn, are very graphic and very disturbing.

The atrocities commited in Fallujah by the US military, if nothing else, must serve to mobilize the anti-war movement. Now, efforts to bring the US military and government officials responsible for war crimes in Fallujah should only intensify.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Due to the persistent musings of a certain musician/blogger, I have decided to take the plunge and switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. Don't know much about it. So far it seems OK. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Liberal Party of Canada is unprincipled.

The Liberal Party of Canada has no principles. They are about opportunism, pure and simple. Months ago, the made deals with the NDP for budget that were actually quite progressive in many respects. Fast forward many months later, and we see the opposition parties conspiring to topple the Liberals and force an election. There are good reasons for this, including the fact that the Liberals and the NDP failed to arrive at an agreement. In that respect, it will be interesting to see what happens.

What we are seeing now, however, is a mini-budget including proposals in which taxes, including corporate taxes, would be cut. Cutting corporate taxes, while we have people living on the street. While Paul Martin refuses to live up to the Millenium Development Goals. While millions of children continue to live in poverty. While the cost of post-secondary education is prohibitive to many.

Is it better to have a Conservative government with principles, or a Liberal government without principles. I don't know. Nevertheless, I think we can rest assured that, whatever the result of the next election, we will end up with another minority government with the NDP holding the balance of power.

If the late philosopher-king and prime minister Pierre Trudeau is looking on from the great beyond, what must he be thinking has come of the party he led into greatness for so many years.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Another sliver of myself.

Time now for another fun fact about me/ I like to write. The conveying of ideas. Or the telling of stories. I like to move me. My desire to write has largely been in the closet except for those I meet in the blogosphere. I have decided to try my hand a reading poetry at an open mic this week. I have a friend in Victoria who writes poetry, and reads at an open mic there. She's recently published, in fact. I write poetry once in a while, whenever I feel compelled to do so. It's a craft I would like to take more seriously, but I keep procrastinating. Well, no more. This is it. I mean it. OK. Here we go. Are we having fun yet?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Let it never happen again

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, the day that we remember the fallen solider who "gave their lives for our freedom." To me, it's insane that we need such a day in the first place, except as a reminder of the horrors of war so that it never happens again. Unfortunately, it inevitably does. Nevertheless, that is the lense through which I prefer to view this day.

Rememberance Day, as it is viewed by most, serves to glorify war. "Yes, they died, but it was a noble cause. They died so we could be free." There's no reference to the horror of war. There's no reference to the reality that the death was probably an extremely painful one. And, there's no discussion of the fact that because of these deaths, many children were raised without a father.

I'll bet the warmongers love Remembrance Day, or Memorial Day in the US. I'm talking about Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, whomever. In my opinion, The thriving of the military industrial complex in part arises from the narrative of the glorious war. I refuse to give them any quarter.

So sure, let's remember those who died. But let it remind us that war is not glorious, but in fact horrible, and pray/meditate/whatever that it never happens again.

Also check out this excellent post on Rememberance Day.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

pictoral account

Check out Tony Pierce's site for a through pictoral recap of the Matthew Good weekend.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Matthew Good: where from here?

Matthew Good is a rare breed among musicians.

He has achieved some degree of commercial success. It's not something that's important to him, but nevertheless his musical output over the past ten years has resulted in a modest degree of success.

Yet I think, despite his success, he has largely managed to maintain his artistic integrity. He is honest. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He cares about people who are not as fortunate as we are, and detests social injustice. In that respect, I think he's a lot like Bruce Springsteen or has been throughout his musical career, or early Bob Dylan. He's not afraid to make important social and political statements in his music, and that is extremely rare among mainstream musicians.

He has a very important and special gift to share with the world, and that is the gift of a recording artist who can make beautful music, and tie into it an honest reflection of the times and the world that we are living in.

I am very much looking forward to what he will do next artistically. It seems he might do a solo acoustic tour. He is great in that setup, and will sell out all shows if that happens. Whatever he does next, I hope he will always remain true to his gift.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Blogger meetup and Matt Good concert at Commodore Ballroom.

I went to see Matt Good at the Commodore Ballroom last night. Before that there was a Blogger/Buzznet meet up at the Granville Room. I'm not normally one to drop names, and I don't do so to flatter myself, but noteables from the blogworld were there, including Tony Pierce, who hosted it, Chad Ciavarro, and Ben Allbright.

I don't have a digital camera, and the camera I do have doesn't work, so I took no pictures. I'm also too lazy to learn how to use Hello or Buzznet. However, if you're wondering what I look like, you can find out here.

Yes, that's Jen Good to my left. It is hard to have a sense of someone, unless you have some interaction with them. It was good to actually meet her, and find out that she is in fact a very sweet person. Some people might think she is vain, but I think she is in fact very thoughtful.

In any event, here are pictures that Tony took of his trip to Vancouver, including last nights concert.

This was my first time seeing Matt in concert, and he and his band were great. He puts his all into his performance, energetically speaking. It looks like he is really enjoying himself as he sings and plays his heart out.

I thought it was great that he played "Blue Skies Over Bad Lands" even though it wasn't a single, as it is one of my favourite songs out of his whole catalogue. I was disappointed that I could hear a lot of people casually conversing while he was playing some of the quieter songs such as this one, as opposed to appreciating the words he was singing.

It was interesting to see he backing band. Pat Steward is really intense, like moreso than even Matt, when he's playing during the concert. Rich provides a steady groove with his bass. Christian, calm and quiet, dazzles us with his soundscape quitar work. And yes, if anyone's wondering, Matt himself did have one guitar solo, after the first chorus on Near Fantastica.

Anyway, it was a great day to be a Matt Good fan.

Bonus: I get to see Matt again tonight, this time while sitting at the Amnesty table. Hopefully folks at the concert tonight will take a moment out before or after to show that they care about human rights.