Monthly Archives: February 2006

Free Speech?

Lately Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, have been looking glum. A glance at the news will show that the large tech firms have been receiving negative publicity in response to their decisions to cooperate with the Chinese government by censoring material deemed inappropriate for public consumption. Each of them noted that they merely complied with the local laws and did nothing wrong, so what is all the fuss about? Free speech?

Businesses are responsible to adhere to their mission statements, abide by the laws that apply to them, and make profits for their investors. Their very presence can yield significant political influence, but corporations are not government agencies. What impression would be made upon investors if a company voluntarily turns down a lucrative opportunity in a market such as China on account of free speech?

Investors would have to consider the impact such a decision would have upon the outlook of the company compared with competitors and decide whether to buy, hold, or sell the stock. This is a simple process, but the power of it comes from the sheer force of numbers. For instance, a company such as Google can easily see three billion dollars worth of investments moving to and fro within the duration of a typical trading day. The quality of courage needed as a corporate decision-maker to face a blazing torrent of cold cash and explain how an opportunity is turned down due to matters of conscience is beyond my experience.

If the U.S. government felt that “Big Tech” ought to have made different choices regarding China then some guidelines should have been set in place beforehand. The censorship policies of China are no secret and it is not the only country in the world that censors material on the Internet. The U.S. government has had plenty of time to address the issue, yet committees and task forces are widely publicized when Big Tech cooperates with Chinese censorship policies. With that in mind, I find it distasteful to read of Congressmen like Tom Lantos getting their sound bytes of how terrible Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! have been.

Large firms such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! cooperated with China to censor the Internet in pursuit of new markets and opportunities, so what has the U.S. government done to address free speech before the media blitz? Perhaps some lawmakers should accept responsibility for allowing the matter to develop out of hand before offering opinions.

Advertisements

Erm…

I am reminded why I never managed to make it through Inindo:

Inindo Image

Inindo Image

Way of the Ninja

Once again, an opportunity has arisen to avenge the Iga Clan. It is time to settle this dark chapter.

Inindo
By the way, yes this is Inindo, my all time favorite SNES game. Unfortunately I never got through it.

Insiders?

When news of David Emerson’s defection broke out I’m sure everyone was somewhat surprised. Another man has reached out for power, is that so shocking? Of course the problem lies in the fact that he betrayed his constituents after a recent federal election. It doesn’t take much more than a moment before the word “fraud” comes to mind. So what are the consequences? Emerson, according to the Globe and Mail, has “accept[ed]… a three-tier portfolio including International Trade, responsibility for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the Pacific Gateway economic initiative;” Emerson is now being criticized by both Liberal and Conservative MPs over his decision to change parties; and the Conservative backbenchers appear to have just had the wool pulled from their eyes.

What I find difficult to understand is why would Emerson make such a move? I’m sure he expected that many in his riding would not be forgiving when he was presented with the idea to change parties. What made the man believe it was worthwhile to go through with the decision to join the Conservatives? I’m sure the backlash was easy to foresee. In addition, even if the portfolio promised to Emerson was his sole motivation, the government is still a minority one. Another election could theoretically happen at any time. Unfortunately, the answer to my question will have to wait, since it’s all speculation until the dust settles.

As I have already mentioned aloud several times, I find it funny how people can support a party, then seem shocked and surprised when the party pays its dues to the insiders after victory. The fact that some Conservative MPs do not seem to know much more than the general public regarding insider movements of their party is somewhat more worthy of concern rather than the question of a recall mechanism. So here’s another question: Did the Conservative backbenchers catch wind of the Emerson plan beforehand? Or were they really just as clueless as the general public?

Perhaps the question that most interests me at this point is how will the Conservative backbenchers respond to these recent decisions by the party leadership? Many quotes of anonymous Conservative MPs suggest that they received the news just like anyone else. To their misfortune they are members of the “club,” so even if it is reasonable to be unaware of the latest developments within the party, they will still look like dopes.

Hunter X Hunter

Hunter X Hunter follows a boy named Gon as he travels across the world in search of his unknown father. Gon, under the care of his aunt Mita, begins with little knowledge of his parents. When Gon encounters a Hunter in a forest he discovers that his father is another legendary Hunter named Jin Freaks – by the way this will lead to spoiling a small part of the anime. When he asks his aunt of his father it is discovered that Freaks spent a lot of time away from home on his Hunter journeys and did not care for Gon properly. Gon’s aunt, aware of Jin’s Hunter habits, went to court and gained custody of Gon. After learning all of this, Gon decides to become a Hunter himself in order to seek out his father.

Aunt Mita, knowing that Gon wishes to seek out his father, allows him to take the Hunter exam. This sounds straightforward, until the exams actually begin. In the world of Hunter X Hunter, nature is a voracious force. There are beasts capable of transforming themselves into other forms in order to trick their prey, poisonous bugs, gigantic bears, and who knows what else is to come? While Gon participates in the exams, his fellow Hunter wannabes slowly decrease in number as they succumb to the powers of nature. This wouldn’t be so bad if you weren’t distinctly aware that a 12 year old child is winning against full grown adults in trials of life and death. Men getting eaten alive by whatever creature happens to be walking in the area, murdered by sadicious fellow examinees, and killed by traps, these trials are nightmarish!

Now it could be said that this sounds very similar to Naruto. But while Naruto was caught up in trials in order to train him as a tool of war, becoming a Hunter is another story. According to bits and pieces of what the characters of Hunter X Hunter share, becoming a Hunter will allow one to travel throughout the world unhindered, use local facilities for free, access information more readily, and participate in lucrative contracts. If you ask me, this sounds like joining the muscle branch of an underground, secret organisation. Well, now it all seems perfectly clear, Gon’s gone and involved himself with the mob.

Since Gon’s aunt took him away from his father through the courts, couldn’t Gon simply ask his aunt for his father’s mailing address? Track down the local lawyer who was responsible for the case? Buy a plane ticket??

Don’t get me wrong, this way seems a little more exciting. But, while Naruto, Ash, and all those other main characters pursue their goals which appear to be “above board,” Gon looks like he’s going down the road of a professional hitman. Soldier of fortune or tool of war for the state, I’m not sure which sounds better.

The Beast

For months many have pondered whether the Klein government’s “third-way” involved a little monkeying around with Alberta’s health services or a large scale shift of such services that would disregard the Canada Health Act. Recent news articles suggest that the “third-way” involves the latter.

After reading some of the news articles above, I wonder which public companies are positioned to move if this “third-way” actually goes anywhere. But, I already have my eye in another investment, another time perhaps. I wouldn’t want to throw my support for or against with money while this mess is just on the horizon anyway.

Personal Reference

I just caught a whisper down the grapevine on Wavefront Energy And Environmental Services Inc, a company on the tsx venture. Apparently Wavefront has found a method of extracting oil from dry wells? As can be seen from the chart provided by Advanced Financial Network the stock has exploded during the past few months and currently rests close to $5.00.