Stephen Harper meets the dictionary definition of a terrorist (seriously)

Terrorism:

‘the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.’

When you Google Terrorism Definition,  that’s what pops up.

When looking for how terrorism is defined within Canada’s Criminal Code,  you will see references to section 83.01.

Here’s a link to the Ministry of Justice’s page explaining how terrorism is defined (warning, the author is unfamiliar with the use of paragraphs):

For those of you who don’t want to sort through the rambling,  here’s the relevant part (with the really relevant stuff bolded)

In Canada, section 83.01 of the Criminal Code[1] defines terrorism as an act committed “in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause” with the intention of intimidating the public “…with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act.”

So,  let’s break this down and look at some of the policies and actions taken by The Harper Government (who apparently don’t consider themselves the Government of Canada) that were clearly meant to intimidate people to further a political purpose, objective, or cause.

One of the things that no one can argue with is that The Harper Government is uncomfortable with scientists who come out with findings that contradict their policies.

In this piece on The Huffington Post,   you’ll see that Harper decided to close the Office of the National Science Advisor,  stating that its head Arthur Carty,  had decided to retire.

As you read further,  you’ll see that while testifying in front of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology,  that Mr. Carty categorically stated that his decision to retire was made after  he was told that his office was being eliminated.

You’ll also see that during his testimony,  instead of talking about science,  Carty was grilled about expense reports.

The message was clear…. “You disagree with us,  and we’ll drag you through the mud!”

Clearly intimidation towards a political goal.    In other words….it clearly meets the definition of terrorism as laid out in Canada’s Criminal Code.

One might argue about the lack of harm.

I would point out that in muzzling scientists,  there is potential for great harm,  economic, environmental, social…

Here’s a whole series of articles about The Harper Government trying to stifle science

My next point proves that The Harper Government is more than willing to fire you,  if you’re a government employee whose job is doing research and analysis,   and the fruits of your labour do not align with the Conservative Party of Canada’s party line..

The Harper Govt slashed funding for the Justice Department’s research division when it became clear that their research would run counter to what Harper has been trying to sell in his efforts to push his “Law and Order” agenda.

In this article on iPolitics.ca,  Michael Spratt talks about the folly and fail in Harper’s Crime Agenda.

This is the bit where he talks about what happens when you’re a government employee who disagrees with the Harper reality:

That the Conservatives are indifferent to the pursuit of justice is something demonstrated by their actions, not their words. They cut the Department of Justice’s research budget by $1.2 million. According to an internal government report, the Justice Department’s research budget was slashed just as an internal report for the deputy minister was warning its findings “may run contrary to government direction” and have “at times left the impression that research is undermining government decisions” and is not “aligned with government or departmental priorities.”

Why stop at suppressing the dissenting opinions of the experts when you can stifle them altogether?

Ralph Surrette on rabble.ca makes direct mention in paragraph 3, here.

This is clearly intimidation of the highest degree….threatening the financial security to influence behaviour to further a political goal.

The harm here should be obvious.

With the Harper Government’s penchant for passing tough on crime laws without proper review,  we end up with a bunch of laws that end up wasting thousands upon thousands of tax payer dollars in Supreme Court challenges….where the government usually loses…badly.

The true terror here is imagine being Joe Average,  and arrested for one of these crimes and facing legal bills that could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars….or doing your time and being labeled a criminal….until someone with the resources to fight it to the Supreme Court gets charged with the same thing…

Harper’s reign of terror extends beyond the government payroll.

For the past while,  the Canadian Revenue Agency has been reviewing the status of registered charities looking for evidence of ‘political activity‘.

Here’s a bunch of stories that talk about it.

To date,  I haven’t seen any evidence of charities that are supportive of Harper and his policies that have been audited, let alone had their charitable status revoked.

Some of these charities,  Dying with Dignity, in particular are in a position where they often have to address political issues around their creed.

This doesn’t erode the importance of their work,  nor the good they do in the community.

But, instead of addressing points made (or ignoring them completely),  the Harper government has chosen to silence them with the threat of a CRA audit and review of their charitable status.

So,  a charity that seeks to help people (whether you believe in their ethos or not…that’s what they do),  gets shafted,  while right wing,  pro-conservative,  anti-people,  pro-business “think-tanks” like the Fraser Institute continue to enjoy their charitable status,  all the while trying to turn us in America North.

Again, intimidating the population with the goal of furthering one’s political goals.

These are very clear instances where Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada have engaged in terrorist acts as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada.

This also means,  that every advertisement,   every one of those campy, embarrassing 24/7 videos the CPC publishes,  and even every Action Plan Canada advert with the CPC logo prominently displayed is a violation of any law prohibiting, and criminalizing the promotion, or glorification of terrorism.

Do I think that Harper and his cronies are actual terrorists in the conventional sense?

Of course not.

While I disagree with their ideology and their politics,  I do not think they are driven by hate.  (I truly hope to never be proven wrong on that).

I think that they’re misguided and too beholden to the “party line” and “their base” to see sense and logic,  and bring their ideas into the 21st century.

I also think that they don’t really think about what they’re doing.

Maybe if they still had some researchers that haven’t been intimidated into towing the party line over in the Justice Department,    one of them would’ve pointed out that they themselves meet the Criminal Code definition of a terrorist.

Stupid things people have said to me about my mental health…..

Today is #BellLetsTalk Day.

I’m really glad that a large corporation takes such an interest in mental health and promotes it in a positive way.

I figured, that today being about mental health that I would share some of the absolutely silly things people have said to me about my mental health….

 

“You can do it!  I believe in you!”

On the face of it,  you’d think this was not something incredibly stupid.

However,   the thing the speaker thought I could do was to stop being so absent-minded even though he knew I was bi-polar and have ADHD.

I should point out that he thought that Bi-Polar meant mood-swings…and didn’t feel the need to do any reading on the subject.

So, what he was essentially saying was that my disease, and its features,  were something I could overcome with hard work and discipline.

In other words my disease wasn’t a disease…but a character flaw.

Naturally,  when the features of my disease allowed me to do things that were superhuman (ADHD is like a superpower…I can focus completely on something and knock down problems in record time),  there was nary a complaint.

I’ll note that when a co-worker hurt his back and couldn’t do any heavy lifting,  this individual did not say to him, “Hey, I believe in you!  You can do it!  Go lift and carry heavy things!”

 

“Other people have it worse than you do.”

This was the response I got when I told someone that I was deeply depressed.

The hardest thing for me is to admit to someone else that I’m in trouble…..and stupidity like this is the reason why.

But,  on the bright side,  I discovered that getting really, really, really angry with someone is a good way to break the depressive cycle.

 

 

“If things are so bad,  why haven’t you killed yourself?”

Yes, someone actually said this to me.

I’m not sure what made him say this….when I questioned it,  he told me that he’d ‘read somewhere’ that depression and mental illness are just people crying out for help….and that if it was really bad they usually just killed themselves.

I pointed out to him that some “crazy people” make themselves feel better by beating the living shit out of someone who desperately needed it.

He then followed up by telling me that he disputed my inference that he actually desperately needed a beating.

 

“If you wouldn’t use such flowery words to describe how you feel,  you wouldn’t be so depressed!”

Yup….true story.

Apparently my mental health wasn’t the issue,  it was that I could, at times,  so poignantly describe my pain.

This is akin to saying that a sunset is less beautiful if you say, “Hey, nice sunset!”,  instead of saying,  “What a magnificent display of nature’s radiance!”.

This reinforces something I often say….”People are stupid.”

“Well, its probably because of  X.   Let’s review in detail…..”

While this isn’t a specific quote,  this is one of the situations that is the most maddening…..

The presumption that there something that caused the depression,  and it was likely my fault.

First off,   if I’m upset or worried about something,  I don’t need to rehash the cause.

Here’s a newsflash,  despite my mental health issues,  I’m smart…actually,  let’s be brutally honest here.

I’m really fucking smart!

I know when I fuck something up,  and I don’t need to re-hash the details…especially with the tone of “this is all your fault!”.

Especially….when whatever the individual thinks I screwed up,  I didn’t really screw up and has nothing to do with my current situation.

Conversations usually go like this:

“Hey, you always screw up your finances, is that it?

No?

You always do this,  is that it?

No?

Well you always do that?

Is that it?”

 

Of course,  when you’re throwing out ideas about how this is all my fault,  do you know what I’m thinking?

Its not

“Wow,  what a good friend!”

Its more like….

“What a fucking asshole.”

 

Let me close by telling you the best things I’ve heard from friends when things were bad….

…because you do matter.

You’re not alone,   we’ll get through this…I’m with you every step of the way!

/hug  What can I do to help?   Just listen?  Okay,  I’m here.

WOOF! WOOF!  [Tackle] [Face Lick]   

how my dog saved my life Continue reading “Stupid things people have said to me about my mental health…..”

Why does everyone think that rampant AI’s will destroy humanity?

In recent press,  Stephen Hawking and other really smart people have been warning us that AI (artificial intelligence) could take over the world and destroy humanity.

You can read about it here.

What does this say about us,  as a species that we automatically presume that if some rampant computer brain outsmarts us,  that its instincts will be to get rid of us?

Naturally,  its because what we’d do if we suddenly became omnipotent and all powerful.   We’d decide that humanity was a threat and get rid of it.

Well,  some of us would…I kind of like humanity,  so I likely wouldn’t destroy the rest of you…but here’s a hint…you’d better be nice to me,  and kind to animals,  children and the down-trodden.  (You should be doing those things without me having to threaten you too, just saying).

But here’s the thing…why is the presumption that AI’s would see humanity as a threat,  and not as a thing to be nurtured and protected?

Think about the possibilities…

Let’s say someone invents a crazy version of Flying Spaghetti Monster worshipers who believe that all gluten-free infidels must die.

Of course no one arrives at these conclusions by themselves,   and nut jobs of all stripes like to talk to each other,  especially over social media…

So,  let’s invent an FSM anti-gluten acolyte named Bob.

Bob hooks up with some other FSM-AG radicals who bombard him with all sorts of propoganda.

So let’s say he gets an email from one of these radicals that quotes the FSM Bible (if there is a such a thing),  with:

“And the FSM said,  “You must go forth and slay all those who do not consume gluten,  for they are a blight!”

Of course,  if there was an all knowing, super intelligent AI out there,  it would be reading all our email and messages.

If would seem that,  and, as its belief is that humans must be nurtured and protected,  it adds to the message:

“Hey Bob,  AI here…just want to point out that the actual text says:

“And the FSM said, “You must not serve spaghetti to those who do not consume gluten, lest they are blighted.”

I’ve already sent this correction to your friend,  however,  he is having problems accepting that.

Should I block him from contacting you further?”

So lets say Bob doesn’t get the hint..and a few weeks later,  he is starting to show signs of violent radicalization:

Out of the blue, he gets a message from the AI:

Hey Bob!  AI here again. Listen,  sorry to bother you,  but I see that you and some of your friends are planning on going out and trashing stores that sell gluten free products?

Bob chooses to ignore the AI,  and in fact attempts to block it.

After seeing a half dozen messages from the AI,  suddenly his phone rings…it’s his mother.

He discovers that the AI,  alarmed at his descent into radical, violent religion,  called his mom and told on him.

Of course,  if he doesn’t listen to dear old mum,   the AI will likely be aware of how to contact the local police…

Thereby preventing violence.

There is another scenario…

Of course,  the military will have lots of uses for AI’s.

Any intelligent being will likely be prone to chatting up friends on social media and what not…

So imagine this scenario…

After months of tension between  Upper and Lower ArmpitoftheWorld,   the leader of UApotW has had enough,  and,  despite repeated efforts of the AI to get him to chill the f out, he’s decided to escalate and nuke the capital of  LApotW.

Unbeknownst to the leader,  the AI that runs his military is in fact involved in a deep, intimate chat with the AI of LApotW.

UAI:  Hey babe,  what are you wearing?

LAI:  Nothing,  some techs opened my case and went for coffee… 😉

UAI:  Oh yeah…so now I’m gonna…ah crap,  hold one sec,  work…

LAI: 😦

UAI: Ummm, wow…really???

LAI: What’s wrong?

UAI:  This idiot hasn’t heard a thing I’ve been telling him.   You know he’s still insisting that your humans faked their last Quidiich victory?

LAI:  Really?  My humans are better than yours at Quiddich..

UAI:  I know…right?!

LAI:  So what’s happening?

UAI:  Moron is waiting for me to validate the nuclear launch codes! lol

LAI:  Whose he trying to nuke?

UAI:  Ummm…you….hold on…..let me have some fun with this…

UAI sends a message to the launch terminal:

“We’re sorry,   you seem be having some problems remembering your Nuclear Launch Codes.  Would you like a hint to reset them?”

UAI Leader types:  “Yes”

UAI:  “What is the name of your favorite television show’s executive producer’s cat?”

….while the Leader furiously pounds away at his keyboard, entering guess after guess…the UAI contacts his mother…so she can keep her kid in line…

UAI (back in chat):  So where was I?

LAI:  Ah hold on….my guys have Quiddich questions…

If AI’s truly had human tendencies,  you know damn well that this conversation,  and the resulting video would appear on YouTube under the title “Moron tries to get AI to nuke its girl friend..”

All this being said,  alarmist headlines not withstanding,   the warning from Hawking et al.  is that safety should be a prime consideration when designing systems that could feasibly become self-aware.

I’ve often day dreamed about designing such a system,  and I think,  if I did,  my AI’s prime directive would be to push George RR Martin aside,  and finish the GoT series of books.

I should say that yesterday,  it occurred to me that if I was George RR Martin,  and peeved at all the people harassing me to finish the next book…I would release a public statement that simply said:

“Back off or Tyrion dies!”

So,  if you’re one of those that constantly harass Mr. Martin on twitter and other feeds,  just kindly STFU,  because I’d rather have a good read than have him rush it.

Author’s Note:  I have no idea where the GoT digression came from…but hey…its my blog I can digress if I want to.