DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

VietNam Veterans' Memorial Wall

One of the things I would like to do is visit the VietNam Veterans' Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. I am both drawn to go and full of dread at how emotional experience it will be.

Interestingly, I never knew any one whose name appears on the memorial. Also, I know of no family that have a family member memorialized on this striking monument.

When is come to war dead I get very emotional. I get teary eyed just reading about the Memorial to the 58.178 soldiers who names are etched in the granite.

I occasionally visit some online sites on it and before long I am grieving over some tale of a soldier losing his life. These emotions have always been just below the surface in me. I can remember while at university sitting and reading the list of soldiers who died in WWI and WWII from the community, Waterloo, Ontario. breaking down and crying. I knew none of them nor anyone who died in either of those wars. The feeling is one of the dreadful futility of their deaths: the waste, the pain for those left behind, the future's never accomplished, the useless finality of it all.

I am a religious pacifist and am opposed to war as a way of resolving disputes under virtually all circumstances . The years I lived in the United States, I was very active in opposing the Vietnam War. My emotional commitment to this was deep. In a way, I am a "Veteran " of the war, the Anti-War Campaign. It certainly has left a scar on my soul. And now, there is the Iraq and the Afghanistan Wars. Did we learn nothing?

Why dwell on the war dead? For me, who prides himself on his cool reserve, it puts me in touch with my emotional self, like nothing else. I have officiated at friends' funerals and partcipated in the burial of family members with much contained grief and yet over the death of a stranger soldier I rapidly turn to mush. I must admit it feel good afterwards, being emotional. It leaves me talking to myself.. . . . . ".to what end. . . . what is the purpose for all this human waste?"

I find no comfort in all the patriot rationale of "heroic sacrifice": honour, duty, answering the Nation's call, died so we might be free, ad nauseum. The real heroes of war are those who avoid leading a Nation to war and those who refuse to participate in a illegal and immoral war. All others are victums.

"We remember you were all once loved and full of vitality like a flower"

A night visit to the wall must be special, focused as you are embraced my the cool of the night.

What do children make of so many deaths in a distant war.

What got me thinking about the VietNam Memorial wall was a new website you can visit. It is one where if you knew of someone whose name appears you can locate it and add some personal remembrances of the person, which others can read. (This site is a portal to so much more, through it you can access historic documents.)

This is the website, I have been visiting up to this point

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour Day

This is the day to observe Earth Hour. As a symbolic reminder of climate change turn off your lights at 8:00 PM for an hour tonight.

This new environmental event, in the spirit of Earth Day, began last year in Sydney, Australia.

If you believe polls and the news, 70 % of Canadians are going to participate this year. Humm! Pretty optimistic.

This leaves us with the question, "What will I do for an hour in the dark?" I suggest you take the opportunity to be outside and experience your neighbourhood in the dark, without light pollution. If you live somewhere where you don't have to lie on the cold snow, as I do, lie down and look at the heavens. Those of us who live in the country know the delights of the sky but those in an urban environment, could benefit from a reminder.

Another good way to spend an hour without the electricity: plan a candlelight dinner with a special friend (s). We all look so much better by candlelight:) Take your time you have an hour to eat.

If you decide to do something unusual and fun let me know.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Iraqis Are Us

I daily follow the events of the war on Iraq closely, reading news and commentary articles on it. I also research and look for information when I think something is not fully explained. Some would say I am obsessive over such world events in even more than one "hot" spot. I confess. . . .I am a political and news junkie!

We are always having our perceptions distorted in the news and the political chatter. After a while the war begin to take on the reality of a movie. It is an endless stream of horrific events, military campaigns, overwhelming statistics and personal attacks and bickering among those for and against the war and the policy to continue the war.

BUT, WARS AND REAL AND INVOLVE REAL PEOPLE ! Sadly our understanding does or can't cope with this reality. It is even easier to lose sight of war as a war against people when those people are different from us . They seem exotic and even less human that us (if we were really honest with ourselves)

IRAQIS ARE US! We need to always remind ourselves of this. To keep my empathy level up I have tried to learn about Iraq, and Islam and their history and the passion people have for both.

More significantly I have tried to regularly read blogs written by Iraqis who are living their lives in a war zone.

In particular, I have been reading the blog of young teenage girl on Mosul who has kept a blog, Days of My Life, for several years. Sunshine, (as she calls herself) is middle class girl from an extended family, most of whom have stayed in Iraq even thought though may have been able to flee the country.

Her mother, (called Mama) also writes a blog revealingly called Emotions. (aptly named as she suffers under the emotional stress of her life) She is a dentist. To live as this family does require courage and struggle to just get by and try to live a normal life.

I mention all this because they have been having a very difficult time in Mosul, where there is currently much military action. I find myself unable to find the words of support to offer as a comment on their blogs. Those of you who are the "victims "of my comments on your blog must have noticed I seldom am never at a loss for a comment whether it be supportive, humourous, witty or educative. But I have tried to write something to these fellow bloggers and am at a loss for words at this time. if I were there i would just want to physically embrace them in their pain, saying nothing.. At a distance, words seem trite.

I invite you to read of their current travails. First, the blog entry of Mama

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Please God give us solace

I ‘d been through tough situations again , my husband had to leave his job because of terrorists’ threatening .He lost his 5 years of ministration .This is the second time he lose his job and years of ministration ,previously he lost 15 years ,he feel devastated, he will have no retiring rights .His chance to find new job is almost impossible. That made our life stressed ,made him nervous , and made our future mistful.Our friends and dearest neighbors lost their only son during car explosion in the middle of the market, he was the sweetest guy I ‘d ever knew. He had charming smile ,loving shy look . He had a big heart full of love and a caring personality. he is the first one who taught Sunshine and I how to use the internet.Seeing his father, who is a doctor ,in such an overwhelming situation breaks my heart, his mom, sister and grandmother weep and no words can make them feel well again ,makes me feel miserable ,helpless and distressed. seeing Sunshine going through such a painful event is very saddened too. In addition to the pain of losing him and sharing the deep pain of his family ,I suffer from the fear of losing one of my children in such a horrifying way.Please pray for ‘V’,may Allah bless his soul and give his family ,friends and all those who adore him the solace…….Mama

And now the same events in the words of 16 year old Sunshine

Why ?????? ....

HiI couldn’t write a post I was really busy with my exams, and homework, I finished my book manuscript and Luke edited it for me, I’ll send it to uncle and he’ll contact my friends who said they can help me by finding a publisher.*****************************************It has been the hardest two week in my life.First we were threatened by terrorists who wanted to kill my dad, I spent the whole nights thinking, and crying, I was in shock, and terrified.I couldn’t study anything, I couldn’t concentrate and I did horrible in all of my exams, I am expecting low marks, during the classed I kept wondering with tears in my eyes, what will happen next? Will they Kill my dad? Kidnap one of my family members? Why ? we’re not rich, don’t belong to any political party, very simple family, and never harmed anyone, what do those terrorists want? Money? Or they just want to terrify us?..On Friday morning, my mom told me that dad was asking her to take care of the kids, and his parents, I went to my room, opened my book to study but I burst into tears, and cried for long time until I was unable to open my eyes, and my book page was completely wet. I throw the book away, and kept blaming myself and cry for not doing my best to fix my relationship with dad, I was telling myself, what have I done? If something bad happens to dad, I won’t forgive myself ever, part of me was ordering me to go to my dad, apologize and make sure he forgives me for every time I was adversarial to him, for every word I said and made him upset, for every night I slept without wishing him a good night, but I couldn’t, I was tight, I don’t know why..I suffered from horrible headache and insomnia, I want my dad to see me publishing my first book, graduating from the best collage, being successful person in my life, and more important I want to be so nice to him and make him forget everything, every disparity we had, & every time we argued, I hope he’ll forget those memories.. and be proud of the girl he raised, although he tells me he’s proud but I want to make him even more prouder..Dad wasn’t prefect with me, he’s out of temper and not optimistic, we have very different personalities that’s why we argue a lot.. but I know he loves me more than anyone else, and want the best for me, he’d do anything to make sure I have the best life ever, it is just that we look at the same thing and see it in different way, we have different perspectives . we love each other , but for some reasons, our relationship became badI want my dad to remain safe, and I’ll accept him in the way he’s.. and I wouldn’t replace him with any father in the whole planet ..My dad doesn’t know how did I feel in the last 2 weeks, how did I spend my time, or how sorry I was, he doesn’t know how terrified I felt from the idea or losing him, I was really worried, and I realized how much I love him, but I don’t have the courage to tell him..I’ll give 200% of my energy to fix our relationship, I know my friend R would do anything to bring her father back to life, or even spend one more day with her daddy, remember the good days together, and apologies for every time she acted selfishly or bothered her father, she was devastated when she lost him , she wore black clothes for a whole year, locked herself in her room, and I was really worried that she may loose her mind or become more depressed . until now her eyes fill with tears each time she remember him, I feel her pain, and know how much does she miss her dad..**********************************today as soon as I reached home, my mom’ face was pale, she looked terrified, she told me that a big explosion near my relative’s office occurred, thank god they are alive, in the afternoon my parents decided to visit them, I didn’t have exam so I went with them, my mom called her friend who has a clinic near the explosion, & mama kept saying ““ NOO, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? OH NO OH NO “ , she ended that call and said “ Dr. S said that V was killed in that explosion, Dr. S’s clinic damages were 75%, but she wished it was damaged 100% and didn’t lose “V” .V is the sweetest guy, and the best neighbor, he was the first one who taught me how to use internet, he’s about 37 years old, very shy, very polite, loved by everyone, he’d never hurt anyone, or anything not even an ant, his sister “X” is my best friend, and the whole family is lovely, they don’t have relatives in Iraq, they lost them in their emigration from Armenia to Iraq, and they don’t have anyone to share their good and bad events with but their friends and neighbors..V is truly remarkable person, his dad is a professor, and whatever I say I can’t sympathize him, he surely doesn’t deserve to die because of a extremist, crazy person who exploded a car in the middle of a local market, I can’t say anything but may god bless his soul , and give his family, neighbors and friends patience to get through this unexpected and tragic event.“X” sent me a message saying “ I lost my brother, my brother died” it’s devastating, there isn’t any family in Iraq who hasn’t been threatened, or lost a son, father, daughter, or a friend, there isn’t any family that didn’t see the house they live in damaged, we are all hurt, but we’ll continue praying to see a light at the end of this dark tunnel. In this week three big explosions happened near my school and the roads were blocked, and we hear explosions the whole time..I don’t cry easily, but I spent those two weeks crying most of the time, I am depressed, terrified, sad, and in this moment I have no hope..I heard in news that the violent will increase in Mosul..Sunshine

What do you say to people who lives are lived under such conditions of threat and suffering? No child should have to grow up under such conditions and no parent should have to wonder if their percious children will be killed in the street just trying to go to school or the market.

I hope those of you who have taken the time to read this far and these these little slices of the Reality of war will be reminded that IRAQIS ARE US.

Critter Update

It is snowing today. We may get as much as 15-20cm. The wind makes it feel much colder than the -3C teperature.
It is a good day to stay indoor and pray for Spring. It should have started by now.

The runt piglet is no longer a runt. He has grown quite a bit. Unfortunately, he is not longer a swine. He has become a cat.

"Hey! why do you keep ruining our picture."

I have been trying to take a picture of the runt sleeping behind the woodstove with the twelve cats all around and on top of him. Everytime I try Gage plops himself down in front to get into the picture and some of the cats scurry out of reach. (They are not as trusting as the runt.)

In this picture the runt got up from lying behind Gage and came around to figure out what is going on. This was my third try at getting the picture . I think my last, for now.

The other day, the runt fell off the back porch and found his way around to the front porch and the front door to grunt to be let in. This is the second time he has taken this tumble, a fall of about three feet. For all I know he may have jumped. I put him and the cats out on the back porch to eat when the weather is suitable. On nice days, the runt is out of the front porch which is sheltered and he can lie in the sun.

The above picture is a couple of weeks ago. I tried to put the runt back with the other piglets and the sows as the were eating some cracked corn on the ground. It seems he has forgotten he is a pig. He hung around the edge of the feeding circle and finally headed for the ramp and "home" ( the front door.) That is when I knew I was in trouble.

I need to now find a way to get him out of the house. Can you imagine an 800 or 900 pound boar scratching at the front door to get in.?

When the weather warms a little I will fix up a pen in the shed just for the runt. It seems the idea of raising him to end up on a meat hook is loosing favour around the house.

I decided to bring in a couple of other piglets that were having trouble. Here the other two are in the company of the runt in the wood box. As you can see the runt is no longer the runt. In the middle is another runt. She is limping a little on a front leg so I brought here in for a day. Wisely I returned her to her mother. She seems to have a lot of heart and is a gamer out on the ice and snow in spite of a limp.

The big white piglet is another story. It is having trouble with its hind leg (s). While there is not visible injury I suspect it got kicked or stepped on my a cow. He has been resting in the woodbox for a couple of days. The runt, as porcine prince get the run of the kitchen to eat the cat and dogs food, sleep with the cats and try to suck on Gage's ears. Such a kind a patient dog! He has not turned on the runt yet.

Gage is capable of agression. We saw it last week when he had the neighbours large dog down my the neck. ( Not the bull terrier which killed my former dog, Ben) I had to break it up and the neighbour's dog has not been back since, which is too bad as he is a lovely dog which has even walked into my house. The two dogs seemed to be friends often playing together. David insists the other dog got too close to the piglets and Gage seemed to want to assert his dominance. I don't know if this is true. As long as Gage continues to see me as the alpha dog of our pack of critters all will be well.

I hope those of you who interested in my life with the animals, enjoy this posting on a snowy March day.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter to All

This is the time of year to once again to be reminded of the rebirth; . . . . out of Death, new life.
When you live close to Nature, as iIdo, you know this; for, Spring brings forth life out of the "Death" of Winter.

Christians believe that while Death is a necessary part of life, in need not be the end of Life's ultimate meaning.

My wish to all is that Easter is filled with meaning, shared with friends and a celebration of Life.

The sleepy colors of winter
Fade fast in the dawn of

The joy of Easter's promise,
Delivers sweet reason to

Refreshed from her snowy
Mother Earth exalts her
In a colorful burst of glory,
She blazons her wondrous

Renew your spirit, refresh
Your soul,
Rejoice with all humankind.
Celebrate life everlasting.
Peace and wonder are
Yours to find.

The blessing of the Lord

be upon you...

Psalms 129:8

Saturday, March 22, 2008

World Water Day

This year International Water Day, March 22, is focusing on sanitation.

As I have written before, I feel so privileged to have access to an unlimited amount of naturally clean , potable water . . . . . untreated! I am able to pump water directly from the Temagami River. It is cold, clear, soft and tasty. It should be everyone's right to have such free or cheap access to water. Water such as mine is not available to all but if more care was taken to protect our sources of water, more people would have such access. Proper sanitation would be a necessary element in protecting water for human consumption.

This is the southern tip of Lake Temagami, Baie Jeanne. This large wonderful lake is deep and cold . It is protected by the natural forest which surrounds it. Timbering operations must leave the forest adjacent to the lakes and along water courses undisturbed. Camps are only allowed on the islands to help prevent fire damage.. This is the largest lake in the watershed from which I get my water.

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This is the Temagami river about three miles upstream from my place. It is a very clean river which moves over rock and gravel throughout its length, It is protected by the forest cover on either side. This was not always the case. In the days of the log drive the sides of the river barren, stripped of the trees and denuded of brush to allow easy passage of loggers up and down the river. (In the slideshow of the building of the log cabin on my sidebar, there is a picture of the river across my property in 1922. You can see the damage to the river banks in it.) The end of the log drive and nature reclaiming the shoreline has improved the river. it is now protected by regulations.
So much needs to be done to protect water and to improve sanitation. That is the bad news. the good news is that we have done so little there is much we can do that will make a big difference.
We are so wasteful in North America in our water useage. Also, we still see lakes and rivers as convenient open sewers for communities and industries.
In the days of cyclical droughts and floods we each need to find ways to reduce our water useage and improve our sanitation practices, personally and as members of communites.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five More Years . . . . . .and More!

What can you say about the United States wars of agression that hasn't already been said. They have been a colossal waste, achieving very little and laying waste nations which where not an immanent threat to the United States.

The aggressive war against Iraq has from the beginning has been a war crime. According to the principle of international law established at Nuremberg after WWII , aggressive war is the worst of all war crimes. These international laws are an integral part of American law. The Bush Administration officials are war criminals who should be tried and punished, if not by the American government, by an International Court. All the fancy and shifting reasons for the war can not gloss over this hard fact.

The statistics tell the tale. I ask only that individuals review them; and, then try to say the war was necessary and worth the loss of human life and treasure, for the United States and Iraq.
It seems all will continue for years to come, until Iraq is a wasteland and the Americans control Iraqi oil reserves or until the cost seriously economically ruins the United States.

These wars may just be the beginning as unbelieveable as that might seem. Plans continue to be carried out for the United States to begin a war against Iran. This may be the last piece of the Bush legacy. If you think this is not possible I invite you to read the March 20 blog entry in Dr Juan Cole's, Informed Comment, It is a guest piece by historial William R. Polk which lays out the preparations for war against Iran.

Sadly, not even the Democratic aspirants to the Presidency is willing to take war against Iran, "off the table."

Stay tuned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am amused at the concern shown over the sermon rantings of the former minister of Barack Obama's church. Harsh social criticism of the reality of racism and class distinction in the US is nothing new and not worthy of upset. I think Barack Obama skillfully answered his critics.

It is ironic, perhaps even racist, to examine the religious ideas in this black church while virtually nothing is said about the Christians White Evangelicals who support President Bush, who claims God speaks directly to him. Some of these fundementalists are dangerous and have had an undue influence on the Bush administration. Some are Rapturists, they believe in the coming of Armageddon and the Rapture. War and chaos is a welcome and even encouraged sign of their eschatological vision. These Christian Taliban can be dangerous and have had the ear of George Bush and now John McCain. The United States was set up as a secular state with the idea of the separation of church and state. It is time people reaffirmed this idea.

I just read an article on Hilary Clinton's dubious religious fundementalist connections. She would be wise not to join those who criticize Barack Obama. It is interesting reading

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Economics: I Don't Get It

I have been watching the economic paroxisms of the United States with a sense of disbelief and amusement. The economic goings on I find bewildering. Here are some of the things that I just fail to understand.

We are told indebtedness in the United States by individuals and the government it at an all time high. Both the government and the individual American consumer are spending more than they make. There is a lot of cheap credit and the country looks to the consumers to spend. . . . spend , . . . . spend to make the economy go. There seems to be a widespread understanding that "we are living beyond our means."

Now that the sh** has hit the fan they are faced with a "recession". There is no longer enough credit to allow people to consume beyond their means and the economy is slowing down. The housing crisis is the best, but not the only example. People were buying espensive houses they could not afford. With little or nothing down and cheap credit. People were trying to create the American dream before they earned it. With no equity in the homes, homes decreasing in value and credit getting more expensive people have to walk away when they can no longer afford the payments and/or don't want to pay more than the house is revalued.

When I was in the market for housing one had to put down $25% of the value of the house and the guideline was that not more than 25% of your income should be used for housing (capital and maintenance costs.) What happened to this cautious approach to home ownership and money lending?

I suspect radical free enterprise and deregulation allowed parasitic lenders to change the rules.

A generation of people had grown up thinking they can have it all and borrow so they can have it before they earned it.

Well now there is an economic crisis. What is the solution? It seems the solution chosen was to stimulate spending. ( taxpayers are being send money to spend and federal interest rates are lowered, and lending agencies are being given access to cheap money. ) THAT'S HOW THE MESS WAS CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE. More consumption may have helped the American economy when American people worked at making things but increased consumption by Americans only creates jobs in the third world.

I suggest this stimulus will fail. The wise middle class American will take the gift from the Federal Government and pay down some debt rather than spend it. It the government was serious about stimulating spending, the money should go to the poor and working poor, perhaps, by dramatically increasing the minimum wage. The poor will spend it on consumables ,for sure, for they have a pent up demand for necessary things. (Increasing the minimum wage is always argued against as inflationary). But making the "undeserving" poor less poor is so un-Americans .

It seem to me that the US government and consumer need to bite the bullet and feel the pain of getting their economy under control by paying down debt. Less consumption is called for, . . . not more!

It is only discipline in spending that will build confidence in the American dollar and give it real value.

The US has been paying for two wars on credit. Borrowing from the Chinese and Arab Oil Producing countries doesn't seem wise. Of course, government can always print money and devalue the American dollar.

When war was declared there should have been a war surtax enacted to help pay for it and a limit to profiteering by companies supplying the war effort. Instead, someone decided to give well off indiviuals and companies tax relief and pass the debt on to American's grandchildren and great grandchildren. This never made sense. If the present generation of individuals and corporations had to pay, the war might have been a lot shorter.

So far, Canada, has not been affected by the economic woes of the United States. If the recession is deep it will certainly affect us. Three reasons Canada has escaped being affected so far are: Canada lives within its means ( for over a dozen years Canada has suplus budgets, a portion of the suplus goes to lowering the debt) ; Canada is a resource exporting country (Think oil and minerals) and Canada is slowly lessoning its dependence of the US for trade. When Canada was accused of risking becoming a third World economy by deficit financing, it was a deliberate policy of the Liberal government to reverse this situation. It was not popular at the time by it has proved to be a wise policy.

One more wonder of the Amercian economic crisis is how quickly the fress enterprise types got their government politicians to prop their banking enterprises up. The most glaring example is the salvation of Bear Stearn Bank in one day. It seem to be true that if youown the bank $100 they hound you for it, if you owe them $1,000.000 they fall all over you to keep you afloat. It seems the economy cannot have one of its major banks fail. It looks bad. Whatever happened to the discipline of the market place.

It will be very interesting to see how all this works out. Americans seem to believe they can have both "guns and butter". Have you noticed no one ever suggests decreasing deamatically military expenditures.? Spend. . .Spend . . . Spend and all will be well. . . . . .Right!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Can Spring Be Far Away?

Our weather has been cool and windy. Witness the icicles growing at an angle. The fact that there is some melting is good sign. In fact. if you can believe the forecasts, we are about to get a couple of days in a row above freezing. Right on time for the half load restriction are posted March 15. The roads will be thawing out and getting muddy.

The runt got some time out on the porch in the sunshine. He seemed to enjoy it eating and napping. He has grown somewhat since I brought him in the house. Someone bite his tail short.

I have not docked the pigs tails as is the common practice.

Gage , too, is content to soak up a few rays.

Meanwhile, some of the other piglets seek food, shelter and protection underneath the cows.Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Piglet Pictures

My piglets fascinate me so I will inflict them on you again.

The is the runt just before I took him into the house. He is doing much better although he has a sore eye and a sore leg. Denis made a little bed for him and June feeds him all the time. He will sleep with the cats and eats with everyone making a real hog of himself. I think he has grown since he has been in the house.

I show this picture so that you can see how much smaller than his siblings the runt is.

While it is cool (some may say cold) outside the piglets like to be out in the sunshine to eat a little feed on the snow. This is Ruby, one of the sows, with some of them.

I thought these three piglets have some interesting redish markings.

Friday, March 07, 2008

If You Need a Reason to Not Vote for Hillary

I was stunned at Hillary Clinton's response to the dust up between Columbia and Venezuela and Ecuador. Is she really that ill-informed and in such lock step with the Latin American policy of the Bush Administration? I hope that call at 3:00 AM is not about a crisis in Latin American. She will be sending in the Marines before she knows what is really going on.

In case you don't follow what is going on in Latin America. Here is what happened. Columbia violated the sovereign territory of Ecuador to attack a group of Columbian FARC rebels, killing a number including Reyes the number two leader. In response Ecuador and Venezuela took offence and send troops to their borders with Columbia to demonstrate the depth of their objection.

George Bush's response predicatably was to support Columbia's "right to protect itself" even if it means violating another country's territory. He also cynically tried to get Congress to approve an economic Free trade deal with Columbia. Columbia is the United States' client state in the region, getting more economic and military aid than any other country beside the war zones. It is worth noting that it is the only country in the Organization of American States, which supported Columbia in their unilateral aggression.

It is too bad this happened now as both Venezuela and Ecuador have been quietly trying to get some of the hostages the FARC is holding released,( some for as long a six years.) They have had some success with 6 or 8 released so far. Reyes was the main contact in these negotiations.

Here is a very informative article.

Well what about Hillary? Briefly, she hold the same uninformed attitude toward Latin America as George Bush. She defends Columbia's illegal violation of Ecuador. as "a right". Makes one wonder if the US would defend a commado raid into Florida by Cuba to capture or kill the anti-Cuban terrorist living there? I don't think they would defend Cuba's "right to defend itself" as they do their own and Columbia's.

Hillary insists on refering to Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, as a dictator and Venezuela as not a democracy. Neither is true. Venezuelans have numerous times turned out in large numbers to vote for Chavez in numbers that would make any American president envious.

One would hope a Democratic Presidency would come to face the reality of Latin American. It is no longer the play thing of the United States. Latin America will work out it's own future. There are now many Latin American countries with left of center governments who do not do America's bidding. (Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Cuba, and if they did not have a corrupt election in Mexico, Mexico could be among them.) The reality is that while George Bush has been trying to secure Middle East oil he has lost America's influence in Latin America. This is part of his legacy. "While Nero fiddled. . . . ." Read this analysis

As I have just finished this blog the radio announced that Venezuela, Ecuador, and Columbia in front of representatives of other Latin American countries have come to an understanding.. Columbia apologized for its action and promised it would not happen again. The crisis of over. It was resolved without the United States. Now doesn't George Bush seem irrelevant. Sadly, so does Hillary Clinton. New thinking about this part of the Hemisphere needs to be worked out to have the US share in the new reality.

Could this be part of the "Change" Barack Obama envisions?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What is Wrong With this Picture?

Which one doesn't belong?

Gage wondering how to play with it.

"Is he really my playmate?"

"Oh thank you for bringing me in out of the cold and feeding me?"

This little piglet, with a face full of feed, is the runt of the litter. While it is healthy and tubby it is only about 1/4 the size of the other piglets. He is living in my wood box for now but will have to be returned to the shed.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Oops! I Forgot this Sign

(click on photo to enlarge)

I forgot to include this photo in my previous post. It too is a bilingual sign. It is one of my favourites. Every time I see it I am reminded of the two times my brakes have failled going down this hill. The first time I managed to slow a little pumping the brakes but the second time they completely failled. It was a thrilling ride down the hill, across the trans-canada highway around a corner and a quarter of a mile along Le Rue Principale in Verner. I am lucky I didn't kill myself of others. Now I always test my brakes before I reach the hill. Posted by Picasa

Signs You Might Not See

Below are a couple of signs along the road to Verner that you might not see in your neighbourhood.

It is nice that they remind you of the loose gravel but for now it is all frozen in the icy surface.

Our road signage around here is in both official languages as this is a part of Ontario with a large Canadien population

Here is the more appropriate sign for this time of year. Encore, dans les deux langues, Anglais et Francais.

Here is the sign on my farm stipulating the weight limits for the bridge across the Temagami River. While this sign is not bilingual it is in metric measure.

Here is Gage , ears flapping as he runs around, on and off the bridge. He had just left his "sign" on the corner of the bridge, designated it as his territory now. (I am too polite to share that picture with you.)

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