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Michael Hardner

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Everything posted by Michael Hardner

  1. Again, this is simplistic. What you're doing is starting with the notion that Muslims are inferior, and working backwards to find a reason why. If you're interested in researching some of the factors that have led to the relative wealth of certain nations, I recommend 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' by Jared Diamond. All of this follows a general anti-Immigration thread which is currently directed against Muslims, but has also been directed against Chinese, Jews and other groups in the past. There are good economic reasons for immigration, and I believe we'll see that Mr. Harper continues in much the same way as the previous government.
  2. L&OC, Although I think that censorship, as you describe, does happen from time to time I also think that for the most part Auguste is correct. People simply don't care about what's happening on the other side of the world. Furthermore, they prefer to think of their country as virtuous, and are naturally suspicious of those who say otherwise. These are some of the factors that contribute to the market for contrarian news being so small. With regards to the link you provided, there seems to be only one person involved in creating that site. If there is concern over the quality of information, then surely there are dangers in sourcing information from one-person news teams, regardless of their ideology. Everything that you suspect happens with large organizations could happen much more easily with smaller organizations. New technology is a trojan horse that carries unknowns within it. The web is creating a system to legitimize rumours and innuendo and that can have disasterous effects...
  3. Enough of this lazy thinking, please ! You can find commandments to perform criminal acts in the holy books of all three 'great' religions. MikeDavid, will you answer gerryhatrick's question or will you evade it, as you did previously my question - the one where I asked you to source your assertion that truck drivers in India had masters' degrees ?
  4. jbg, I think you're setting the bar pretty high. There are examples of skirmishes and conflicts that they've stopped, but perhaps the visibility hasn't been high enough. Does that mean they should be dismantled ? Seeing how internation relations have been put in the hands of relatively inexperienced statesmen, of late, I think it would be negligent to eliminate one line of security altogether.
  5. The newspaper today said only 7,500 had taken advantage of this service. L: So you want to build the system in order to get the statistics to justify building the system ? It seems to me that your system gets its genesis from your disgust at the evacuation of Lebanese Canadians who live in Lebanon, am I correct ? If so, what are the chances that exactly this type of problem will happen again ? And, yes, these systems cost millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions and sometimes billions to implement.
  6. To add: sometimes it's cheaper and more practical to allow cheating than to spend the resources looking for it. This is a fact that's lost on many armchair bureaucrats.
  7. So if they renounce their Lebanese citizenship, they're ok to live there ? Are you going to somehow exempt retirees and 'snowbirds' ? And how will you achieve this - what will be the loophole ?
  8. What criteria would you set up for removal of Canadian citizenship ? I'm pretty sure that the high and mighty in Canada would lobby heavily against your idea, and they're the ones with the real power.
  9. If he showed leadership every time - or, in other words, took action with consulting with anyone - he wouldn't get very far in today's environment. He isn't taking that approach, for the most part. Fine. The issue can and should be covered, but how can an evacuation as such be used as a guage of our government's abilities ? It's a totally unique situation, and of course there will be problems and mistakes made. The soldiers were put there at least partly as a reaction to 9/11. The emotionality of that period is understandable, to a degree. The arguments that led to the invasion were presented, accepted, and eventually disproven - so there is a core of a rational process that happened. Aside from that core, is a never-ending war of images, impressions, personalities and symbols. We need less emphasis on that.
  10. Dear TF: And therein lies the problem: our information services have been married to entertainment services in the interest of profit. If it's the trend of society, then perhaps we should start talking about that instead of just accepting it. After all, information is the central nervous system of our society so shouldn't it be prioritized higher ? I would say it's the highest priority....
  11. Consensus building is part of any democratic process, isn't it ? Even majority governments take into account the recommendations of all party committees. I agree that there has never been a 'golden period', but there have been better and worse times. It's such a small part of the whole issue, and as I said doesn't indicate how competent the government is as a whole. But personal stories don't tell us anything about the situation as a whole. A narrative-based information infrastructure is too prone to manipulation and too subjective. To use the Iraq example, does footage of carnage and wounded soldiers help us make a decision on how things are going ? Well, we're not robots - we're humans. Surely, even a single wounded soldier represents a kind of failure. But if one soldier were killed/wounded per day, and this is what all saw on the news - would that give us a good basis to decide on the success/failure of the mission ?
  12. Auguste: Your point doesn't diminish my point. Canada and the US may well still exist as separate entities, as do counties and provinces and states, but is there really much practical difference between them ? The differences that we have are mostly in the mind. I also noted that some people on this thread are discussing a reduction in manufacturing, and the rise of branch plant situations in Canada. This trend has already been going on for 15+ years, and will continue. What's more, the branch plants are closing and large American firms are leaving Canada with only tiny marketing departments. Soon, they'll be gone too.
  13. This thread is, IMO, an indicator of what is wrong with politics today. We have armchair critics criticisizing the 'slow response', as if this evacuation provides any metric at all on the abilities of our new government. We have people defending the Foreign Affairs department, who six months ago would have been savagely attacking them as being an example of Liberal ineffectiveness. We have people on both sides attacking and defending these Lebanese Canadian diaspora, based on individual examples and impressions which are superficial at best. The issue here is the war itself, and this evacuation is yet another example of a political sideshow that gets everyone riled up. This trend of making every situation into a novella of personal stories needs to stop, as it leads us away from the real issues and offers no opportunity for rational policy making and consensus building.
  14. Why is it a "given" that when these issues come up, one side or the other has to explore a deep investigation of the people involved, so as to determine their character. In this case, it's being done to 40,000 Canadians. If this had happened in England, there surely wouldn't have been a need to investigate which are "real" Canadians and which are not.
  15. China will rise, and who's in bed with China ? The US. And who owns so much of Canada ? The US. Countries have already ceased to exist. That happened a long time ago. How many Canadian cars are on the market ? Canadian soft drinks ? Laundry detergents ? Who owns our beer companies ? The borders were erased to make it easier for business, and to help the rest of us through the trickle-down. Turning back the clock through protectionism would involve another period of adjustment.
  16. By 2017, perhaps, but things could very well get worse before they get better. Then again, if they get that bad and we'll have common perimeter defence. And - the dissolving of the countries into one will happen over a very long time.
  17. I'll jump in here to give my unsolicited opinion: the differences between the countries will become more and more meaningless until it's like the difference between states, then counties. There won't be a need to merge the countries because they'll gradually dissolve into the same entity.
  18. To an outsider, perhaps, but not to someone on the inside. To insinuate that these are the same as government policies, is itself an insult to articles of faith. But nothing has changed. If people are sinning, then how does that consitute 'change' ? It just means people are leaving the church. Again, your idea that you can ignore what members of a religion stand for in demanding, from the outside, that it be changed is pretty insulting. We almost never hear such demands from other religions except in extreme cases. They may be offended by your ideas about China, yes, but since both your ideas and theirs are based on facts then they can be discussed and some resolution can be reached. Such is not the case with articles of faith. But the difference is that your disagreement is arguably rational, ie. based on facts. Religion is not based on facts. By treating it as though it should be, you're basically negating the idea that their religion is valid at all. I'm not personally offended, no. Again, they're not policies - by saying so you're being insulting to the religion because you're negating the precepts of where the laws come from. And you have insulted the religion by quoting a song, with your defense being simple denial that's offensive at all: "My Monty Python song lyric isn't anything like your "eat a bacon sandwich" comment. " Explain why making fun of one religious precept isn't as bad as doing it for another religion. No. I don't agree with Catholicism but I find that people, in general, are far too quick to attack the Catholic church for articles of faith shared by other churches such as abstinance, the role of women, etc. Yes. No. I think they should limit their teachings to Catholics. I'll turn that around. Are you saying that you think that all sexism within a religious framework should be eliminated ? That means, effectively, the end of religious freedom. That means that Islam and Judaism would cease to exist. I have spoken to virulent anti-Catholics that had no idea that the same sexist precepts are used in those churches as well.
  19. I don't see the difference. Also, you show your misunderstanding again by calling articles of faith 'policy'. It's not policy, it's dogma. But China is a country, supposedly with policies that allow the country to thrive responsibly within a global context. Debating their policies in such a context couldn't be offensive, as far as I can see. You are, of course, to say whatever you like about the practices of the church but your choice on how you approach that will indicate whether you truly want to engage Catholics or whether you just want to insult them.
  20. Well, point me to an equivalent song that makes fun of how Jews dress, or openly mocks the Sikh turban. Are you starting to get my point ? This is where you err. The church is not and will never be a democracy. Theology is not supposed to be worked out politically. The fact that you don't appreciate this very basic fact means that you should revisit how you approach this issue. As I said, you're free to express your opinion but how you do it says more about you than what you say. Exactly.
  21. Exactly. "The Monty Python song has sprung to mind…”Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great. If just one is wasted, god gets quite irate" How would it sound if I told all Muslims or Jews to go eat a bacon sandwich ? It's not appropriate for this forum, and disrespectful IMO. If you don't want to be Catholic, then don't be. A religion isn't a government, and lobbying them from outside to get them to change dogma indicates an intolerance of the basic tenets of the church. Catholics believe that God speaks through the pope through them. It's not a matter of getting priests and bishops to vote against a bill as if it were the house of commons. You have a right to express problems with the church's teachings, of course, but your message will get more credence if you approach the issue respectfully. It's not applied evenly to other religions, in my experience.
  22. The problem that I, as a lapsed Catholic, and others have is when the RCC is singled out over almost every other religion that holds the same views. They are big in Canada, and hence make an easy target. Also, there's the factor that many lapsed Catholics are comfortable with commenting on them as it doesn't seem to constitute intolerance, somehow. Well, it is intolerance. Religion is, by nature, irrational and anachronistic but it's up to individuals to choose whatever path gets them through life. To respect peoples' choices in this regard, and to show a basic respect for their customs in the public forum is only polite..
  23. This Blackrod site has its good qualities, but a 'Blog' is just a one-man-band and can't hope to approach the fairness, responsibility and intelligence of a forums like MapleLeafWeb. I dislike the word 'blog' as it strikes me as a goofy word that MSM uses to discount the threat of new media upon them.
  24. I find that surprising. I thought Alberta was a law-and-order province ? Even on Queen Street, in Toronto, they demand valid ID because they know that the Liquor Board will shut them down if they don't comply with the law. Do you think that the situation in Alberta could be related to some lower status that government has there ?
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