contractors in Iraq make war costs balloon

As a teen someone taught me that — when you want to know why decisions are made — follow the money.

The rip-offs have never been greater in the history of the world than in Iraq.

Where are the billion$ going? | Contractors in Iraq make costs balloon



Monsanto should be terminated

photo.jpgPlaying with Mother Nature is rarely a good policy.

This is bound to end in diaster.

… I believe Monsanto is going too far with this evil … Yes, I said evil. To prevent a farmer’s seed from previous harvests from germinating just to maintain a strong grip on the marketplace is sick, and one strong reason GM food is looked at with distrust and hatred in the rest of the world.

Terminator technology or anything that disrupts the proper development of any plant should be illegal.

Beyond protecting intellectual property, this is all about greed, plain and simple.

Dvorak Uncensored » Monsanto continues to pursue controversial “Terminator” seed-control technology

Mike the activist

I visited Moncton, New Brunswick on a failed attempt to do some coastal hiking.

Happily, the town’s first hostel (The C’Mon Inn) opened this summer. I met some very interesting people.

I rented a car and 5 of us took a road trip up to Koochi Koochi Koo National Park (Kouchibouguac) to stroll the Kelly’s beach dunes. It was a nice day.

Even better was scrambling the Shediac Lobster.

It was an education to spend the day with Mike, the first real activist I’ve ever known. Those people on TV protesting globalization — that’s Mike. He was at the Battle of Seattle, the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999.

Mike was badly hurt protesting The Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, 2001, a round of negotiations regarding a proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Next Mike was inside the tent for the G8 summit 2002 in Kananaskis, Alberta representing Oxfam.

Right now he is an inactive activist, back at school, earning another degree.

But the passion is there. He is committed to, and very knowledgeable on, many important causes facing this planet. I admire Mike’s commitment and courage. And I wish him well into the future. We will keep in touch.

» next travelogue post on this trip – a day in New Brunswick

“Lhasa Vegas”

pf01.jpgXeni Jardin, the popular blogger, has a good podcast on NPR radio:

Tradition vs. Change in ‘Lhasa Vegas’

When I was in Tibet in 1997 there were already good internet cafes. It seems the more remote an area, the more important the internet becomes.

Needless to say, the Dalai Lama is jive to the technology, but with a caution:

The internet’s contribution to the diffusion and dissemination of knowledge and information is truly remarkable.

“By itself the internet cannot feed the poor, defend the oppressed, or protect those subject to natural disasters, but by keeping us informed it can allow those of us who have the opportunity to give whatever help we can.”

the smartest reporter in the world?

I just heard Robert Fisk interviewed. Sounds like the most intelligent reporter in the world to me.

His home of the past 25 years, Beirut, Lebanon, has been destroyed by what Fisk feels was unnecessary military action. The Israelis over-reacted. And they came out second best in the conflict.

Fisk speaks Arabic and is one of the few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden.

I will be checking out his books.

The Conquest of the Middle East

movie – Hotel Rwanda

I finally saw the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda.

Though painful, I recommend it, especially if you do not know the story.

This is the Hollywood treatment of the Rwandan Genocide where over 800,000 were killed — many hacked to death with $.10 machetes — during a period of 100 days from April 6th through mid-July 1994.

The man in charge of peace-keeping at the time, Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire was hand-cuffed by the United Nations. The few UN troops on hand were ordered to stand by without intervening.

President Clinton later described US inaction as “the biggest regret of my administration.”

This was only 12-years-ago.

It’s unbelievable.

Rent the movie.

Hotel Rwanda

bunks for drunks

In the past I dismissed the homeless.

That was until I moved to the downtown East side of Calgary. In the centre of the homeless area. Those folks became part of my daily existence.

The homeless normally claim they “like the freedom”. They cannot hold a job because they refuse to knuckle under authority.

They cannot live in a shelter because of the tyranny of rules imposed there.

Sounds believable.

Then I heard an NPR podcast: Homeless Alcoholics in Seattle Find a Home

Bill Hobson is a homeless advocate in Seattle who runs a government program that one critic calls “bunks for drunks.” It’s a facility that offers a home for alcoholics in exchange for nothing. They can even continue drinking while living there. Renee Montagne speaks with Hobson about the logic behind the program.

Of 79 chronic, oft-hospitalized alcoholics offered a chance at shelter — 75 accepted.

Seems the real reason for homelessness, normally not admitted by the homeless, is addiction. At least for alcoholics.

This is a brave, honest experiment in how to truly help the homeless. Congratulations Bill Hobson.

Not everyone agrees with me. Especially regarding the funding of the project:

New York Times – Homeless Alcoholics Receive a Permanent Place to Live, and Drink