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Earthquake hits Ottawa – more details

More details – the USGS is reporting that the epicentre was about 61 kms north of Ottawa:

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 5.5
Date-Time
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:41:42 UTC
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 01:41:42 PM at epicenter
Location 45.955°N, 75.546°W
Depth 19.2 km (11.9 miles)
Region ONTARIO-QUEBEC BORDER REGION, CANADA
Distances
  • 49 km (31 miles) N (349°) from Cumberland, Ontario, Canada
  • 52 km (33 miles) N (10°) from Gatineau, Qu�bec, Canada
  • 58 km (36 miles) NNE (16°) from Hull, Qu�bec, Canada
  • 61 km (38 miles) N (11°) from OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 11.5 km (7.1 miles); depth +/- 5.3 km (3.3 miles)
Parameters NST=294, Nph=311, Dmin=160.3 km, Rmss=1.12 sec, Gp= 25°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=6
Source
  • USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID us2010xwa7

Man!

THAT was scary!

Lotsa folks freaked out by this… the building across the street seems to have been evacuated…

It lasted about a minute or so… I didn’t think these things lasted that long…

Cell service is down.

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When did Canada become so militaristic?

So tomorrow is Remembrance Day, right smack in the middle of Veterans Week.  In the past few weeks, there have been interviews with ex-soldiers on CBC and elsewhere. Rick Hillier’s book is doing well. Afghanada is a radio serial on the MotherCorp and by all accounts is listened to by, if not legions of CBCers, at least a battalion or two. I’ve caught a couple of episodes… good stuff.

Don Cherry cries on the air every Saturday night when a soldier falls.

Red ribbons are everywhere. Many wear red on Fridays. There are public debates on whether the Feds should make Remembrance Day observance mandatory by businesses and schools instead of voluntary, as they are now.

When did this augmented sense of militarism happen. Did I miss the memo? Veterans Week? How long has that been around?

Any reader of this blog will know that I am very much a peacenik. I do not believe in war. At all – with VERY few exceptions.

I do not believe in the military, but know that at this stage of human evolution, military forces will continue to exist for a long time to come.

I do not diss soldiers and certainly wish them well but do not believe in what they do. I admire that they believe that their job is important and that they willingly put their lives on the line in this belief… I simply don’t share their beliefs.

And the fact that my point of view and those of others like me is becoming increasingly marginalized really disturbs me. Canada as a quiet peacekeeping nation was tolerable for a peacenik like me. Canada as a boastful, über-patriotic, militaristic, American-like nation is not.

But how and when did this happen?

It is generally agreed that there has been a marked move to the social right of the political spectrum in this country. The current government in particular, with it’s roots in western social conservatism, has been actively supporting a guns and god agenda. The more that a citizenry feels allegiance to the “flag”, the more likely it will be to turn a blind eye to policies that they may otherwise find distasteful. I’m not saying that Harpy is completely behind all of the renewed rah-rah, but he is a keen strategist who is seizing upon the rightward shift and the tangential increase in support for things traditionally supported by the right – e.g., the military.

There is also the lingering 9-11 effect. I think Canucks, like our southern neighbours, felt more than a bit threatened by the events of that day. We retreated into a comfortable cocoon where we called on the comforts of bygone years to assuage our fears. We, even a bit, looked to the folks holding the guns to protect us from the perceived threat. And when we were not hit by a terrorist plot (at least not yet), we gave an appreciative nod to the cops and the military for a job well-done.

I find that as I age, I am becoming more set in my ways when it comes to my basic belief systems.  For example, I feel much more strongly now than in my 30’s that opposition to war in almost any case is a morally just stance and that there is almost NO moral justification to take up arms. Too much suffering – both by those actively participating in a conflict and by those caught in the cross-fire (civilians) – and, IMHO, to little morally justifiable end.

I do not think we should be engaged in foreign conflicts and believe that it is a completely unnecessary waste of young and talented lives. I mourn these men and women while simultaneously condemning the governments that sent them into harm’s way.

Again, I do not demean these brave folks. But what about those men and women who also put their lives at risk for their country or community? What about the cops? Firefighters and other emergency professionals? Do they not at least merit equal treatment? Many die in the line of duty in acts that are moral and just by any measure. There is seldom ambiguity – especially in the case of firefighters.

I know I’m going to catch some flak for this post. Yet the main reason I have a “blog” is to express my unsolicited opinions and ideas openly and freely and I should not be held back by the prospect of being flamed.

And yes, I will wear a poppy. But only on November 11. And while I am silent for that minute or two, I will think about John Lennon’s words in the hope that no more young Canadian lives are lost in a place where we really shouldn’t be:

“Give peace a chance.”

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Remind me

why we are sacrificing our young men and women in places like Afghanistan.

Please, remind me.

Killing your own kids in the name of honour? These subhumans have no place in this country – or any country for that matter – and our troops should have no role in preserving this way of life if this is by any means accepted as the norm.

Stevo – plan an exit strategy. Now.

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The U.S. adds to its troop strength

In yet another valiant attempt to add to its already $37 gazillion budgetary deficit, the Obama administration has decided to increase its troop strength to deal with pressures overseas.

Though it is sometimes difficult to keep track of exactly how many wars Uncle Sam has his fingers in, these new low income, inner-city and naive brave troops will be based in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, can someone please explain to me what kind of warped logic would lead otherwise rational men and women to, during the greatest economic crisis since the 1930’s (and possibly ever) decide to add to America’s growing economic malaise by investing further in two wars that are going very, very badly.  It is akin to a household with multiple and huge credit card debt to take out another credit card, draw the max cash advance, and give the money to that lazy uncle who you know is going to head straight to the track and lose the bundle. Bad idea, right?

Here’s a thought for Obama and for Harper too. Instead of digging yourself deeper in these unwinnable wars, start planning your exit strategy. The money spent on troops can be more wisely invested at home on helping your countries get through these difficult economic times.

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NATO slaps restrictions on Canadian media in Kandahar

I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised to see this headline, eh?

According to the Mothercorp, journalists have far less access to the world outside of their bases.

Grit  Denis Coderre said that “The media is not the enemy and this is a form of censorship — and it is unacceptable,”  “There is a public interest to know what’s going on in the field.” and he is correct. The idea of having journalists directly in the field during a conflict is to have the ability to provide unimpeded and unfiltered information to the Canadian people – the ones who are “funding” the mission.

And whose sons and daughters are dying for it.

This decision by NATO (note – this is not a Harper Directive – though I don’t see them making a big fuss about it… nasty media!) goes against this principle and pressure should be brought upon the organization to lift some of the restrictions.

Since coming into force in March, journalists even have to be escorted to and from the bathroom, for frick sake!

The new U.S. security team at Kandahar Airfield stopped issuing International Security Assistance Force accreditation to journalists in late February. Instead it gives them temporary base visitor passes, which restrict movements and require them to be closely monitored.

The reporters are also compelled to forfeit their passports to the military for the duration of their stay.

Even stranger still, U.S. journalists are not covered by these restrictions. “Some of the new rules do not apply to American journalists because the measures would violate their rights under the U.S. constitution.”

This is insane. Harper get Canada the the hell out of this stupid war. Guess Canadians are good enough to die there, just not good enough to know what’s actually going on.

1984warispeace_design

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Didn’t read new rape law, Karzai admits

President Karzai doesn’t take the time to read the legislation that he is signing into law.

Again – why are we there? Why are our brave troops trying their damnedest to help a people whose leaders are still in the Stone Age?

Why?

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A very, very simple question

The government of Afghanistan, with the support of President Karzai, passes a law that makes it just peachy-keen-OK for a husband to rape his wife. The law also makes it illegal for Shia Muslim women in the country to refuse to have sex with their husbands and restricts their rights outside the home as well.

Hey, they’re just chattel to these misogynists, aren’t they?

afghan-shiite-cp-w6563300

And protesters who marched against this law are pelted by cowardly men with stones.

afghan-police-cp-6563327

Of course, not all Afghans are living in the Stone Age, right? Right?

In search of a life together, Abdul Aziz and Gul Pecha fled their remote Afghan village, hoping to leave behind their ultraconservative families and the sharia law of the Taliban-controlled region.

Their marriage hadn’t been arranged, and their parents didn’t approve. To try to elope in the remote Khash Rod district, where women face strict rules about appearing outdoors, was a risk for Mr. Aziz, 21, and Ms. Pecha, 19.

This is a country where tribal rivalries and honour killings are accepted as the norm. Furthermore, many of these despicable practices and beliefs are being codified as law under the watch of a government installed by the West – further ensuring this region’s place as one of the world’s most backward and crude.

So my question is:

Why is my nation still sending soldiers to this basket case of a country where the rule of law means nothing. Lives are cheap and guns even cheaper. And men hold onto the perch of power using any means available to them – moral or not.

Can someone tell me why wonderful young Canadians are still dying there?

This country is not going to change its ways in a few years or a few decades.

It is time we politely but firmly gave our notice.

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