Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hiatus

This blog will be on hiatus for the next two weeks whilst I holiday in a secure undisclosed location.

I expect to return as full of bias, partisanship, bigotry, vitriol, intolerance, arrogance, bombast, illogic, rudeness, vulgarity and cruelty as ever.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Last Shakers

The last four Shakers in the world are preparing for the end of the famous sect:

These are the last Shakers, living in the world's last active Shaker community, which has survived for 223 years in this idyllic and isolated hilltop village 35 miles northwest of Portland, Maine. Here, the four faithful live a life of ascetic simplicity and abide by the three C's: celibacy, confession of sin, and communalism. "The real misconception about the Shakers is that we're all dead," says one of the four, Brother Arnold Hadd, only half-jokingly.

....

While they pray for more converts, the Sabbathday Shakers - as pragmatic as they are pious - have been working to ensure that their legacy and their land will outlive them, should Shakerism die off. They're well aware that several dismantled New England Shaker villages were long ago subdivided into housing lots or turned into prisons. "We'd been very concerned," Hadd admits, "because our neighborhood has changed so radically in just a short period of time." The Shakers worry not only about encroaching suburban sprawl but rising costs like heat and their property taxes, which hit $24,432 this fiscal year. (The Shakers have never sought tax-exempt status as a religious group.)

So, five years ago, the Protestant monastic sect initiated a plan, put together by the national nonprofit Trust for Public Land, to sell preservation and conservation easements to two nonprofits, Maine Preservation and the New England Forestry Foundation. These two groups, along with eight other nonprofits and public agencies, are behind the national campaign to raise money to buy the restrictions - about $2.8 million in government grants and private donations has already come in, and they hope to net another $900,000 and conclude the deal by the end of September. The agreement would protect this pristine village of mostly whiteclapboard buildings and the 1,643 acres that straddle the town lines of New Gloucester, Maine, and Poland, Maine, from ever being developed or subdivided. "We can't put up a Wal-Mart. Or a housing development," Hadd says. "The land always has to remain for agricultural and forest purposes."

And by selling future development rights, the Shakers will be able to afford to maintain and repair their 18 historic structures, from the original 1794 Meetinghouse to a 1910 garage built to house the group's first car. Hadd won't divulge what it costs to run the village, but obviously a few million dollars would be a godsend. The Shakers get by largely by leasing 29 lots (on which sit lakeside cottages), about 1,000 acres of forest, 30 acres each of farmland and orchards, and a huge gravel pit. They run their enormous enterprise with help from six year-round and six seasonal employees. The Friends of the Shakers, a volunteer group with about 60 active members, makes semiannual visits to paint fences, stack firewood, and perform other tasks. "I'm not a Shaker and never could be, but when you go to that place you carry away a spirituality," says Judy McCaskey, a volunteer and campaign contributor who lives in Chicago.


Frankly, I was surprised that there were any left.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Citius, Altius, Fruitius

No doubt the men's pole vault and women's broad jump will be hotly contested at the inaugural Montreal Outgames.

Along with the men's baton relay.

To say nothing of the bareback riding events.

The good news is that CBC Sports is not covering it live.

Yet.

Volpemania: Revenge Of Jimmy The K

Jim Karygiannis isn't getting mad about being fired by Joe Volpe. He's getting even:

Less than a week after bolting from Joe Volpe's troubled campaign, controversial Toronto MP Jim Karygiannis is considering making his own bid for the Liberal leadership.

Karygiannis said Wednesday he's determined to fill a foreign policy "vacuum" that he believes exists among the 11 declared contenders for the party's top job. The unilingual, cigar-chomping "Jimmy K," known for his hardball but effective organizing tactics, said filling the vacuum does "not necessarily" mean throwing his own hat in the ring. But he would not rule out that possibility.


So what is this foreign policy vacuum that only Jimmy The K can fill?

For the moment, Karygiannis said he's going to talk to "ordinary Canadians and Liberals across the country" about the need for a "protocol" on how to deal quickly and fairly with Canadians trapped abroad by man-made or natural disasters.

"During the last three or four months that I was helping with the leadership campaign, I found a vacuum out there," Karygiannis said in an interview.

He believes Canadian victims of last year's South Asian tsunami were treated differently than those fleeing war-ravaged Lebanon.

"Our foreign affairs policy, when it comes to reflecting the make-up of this country, it's a patchwork of different ideas and a patchwork of jerk-knee reactions."


In other words, Canada needs a plan to get its citizens of convenience all out of harm's way whenever war or natural disaster strikes to shore up the Liberal ethnic vote.

Jimmy the K may not be a foreign policy expert, but he knows ethnic politics like no other except Joe Volpe.

Unfortunately, a leadership bid would split Joe Volpe's vote instead of peeling off support from other candidates, thus increasing the risk that Volpe might not win the leadership with all his instant members.

We can't let this happen.

There's only room enough in the Liberal Party for one embarrassing ethnic ward-heeler.

Source: Macleans

Peacekeeper Killed: Kill Peacekeeping?

The great Canadian peacekeeping myth officially died in Afghanistan when the Canadian public realized that our military acquitted itself better in combat than in all the ill-defined United Nations missions to date.

But our opposition politicians insist on keeping it alive:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, under attack by political opponents over his Middle East policy, said yesterday he will seek explanations from the United Nations and the Israeli government about the "terrible tragedy" that killed a Canadian peacekeeper in Lebanon.

Mr. Harper described as "troubling" events surrounding the Israeli attack that killed four peacekeepers, including Canadian Major Paeta Derek Hess-von Kruedener, who was serving with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. Canadian officials characterized the major as missing and presumed dead.

The peacekeepers were killed when a bomb hit their post in the town of Khiyam, near the eastern end of Lebanon's border with Israel.

The Prime Minister offered no condemnation of Israel for the deadly bombing and instead suggested that the United Nations should not have put the men in harm's way.


Of course. The United Nations force was there to supervise a truce, not to actually enforce it. What could the UN have done over there, undermanned and underarmed, to prevent Hezbollah from firing rockets at Israeli civilians and Israel from striking back?

Ask Alexa McDonough and Bill Graham:

Members of the opposition were quick to criticize Mr. Harper's failure to demand an apology from the Israelis. And they condemned the Conservative decision to side with Israel in the dispute, saying Canada has abandoned its traditional role of peace broker in the region.

"I think Canadians are justifiably very distressed about how Harper tossed in the towel on diplomacy from Day 1. He is basically just prepared to be on the other end of George Bush's tether and essentially played no role whatsoever in pressing for a ceasefire that is desperately, desperately needed," said Alexa McDonough, the NDP foreign affairs critic.

Liberal Leader Bill Graham said Major Hess-von Kruedener died doing what Canadians expect of their people in the Middle East: keeping peace.

"Canada for a long time had a traditional role in the Middle East that was difficult but it was one that enabled us to be an interlocutor that [allowed] us over the long time to advance the cause of peace," Mr. Graham said.

"Mr. Harper, for his reasons whether they are domestic politically or ideological has chose to abandon that position of Canada and now we are seeing what can be the long-term consequences of that."


In other words, call for a ceasefire so that Hezbollah can rearm, regroup and perhaps bring in Iranian and Syrian forces to launch a full-scale invasion of Israel. All the while blithering about "multilateral diplomatic solutions" and "ending the cycle of violence."

Major Hess-von Kreudener did not die keeping the peace: there was never a peace to be kept. He died so that the United Nations could maintain its hypocritical position of appearing to do something while secretly cheering for Hezbollah.

Let there be no more pointless sacrifices for the United Nations.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Love Song To Cecilia Lucas

Only Iowahawkcould parody self-parody so effectively:

You were born in the Valley to a life in a suburban cage
Encino, where mean girls and cheerleaders
Drop bombs of hate on the unpopular girls
Shy poetry club chicks like you
With 1480 SATs and early admission to Berkeley
Fed by the violence and lookism of the dance squad
Raised in a four bedroom colonial
They wouldn't let you wear your Che T-shirt to prom
But your heart and your armpit hair still grew proud and strong

You scare me too
Not just because you have that Code Pink Manson girl freak-vibe
Not just because you repeat, repeat, repeat
All those quotes from your dog-eared volumes of Chomsky
and Zinn
and Edward Said
Begging me to understand
Can't we just hold each other
Instead of talking, talking, talking
About your Masters thesis?

It scares me
When I admit to myself
When I look at you
My mousy infidel grad student who can't shut up
That yeah, I'd hit that

The other Jihadis laugh and scowl
They repeat, repeat, repeat
The story of Abdul and the nasty crab lice
He picked from the International ANSWER chick
And how it itched like a mofo
Until his martyrdom

If only they took the time to see
To look
To sense
The beauty of your mind
Your fundraising potential
To look beyond your face
and realize your booty isn't half bad
And how you could maybe help organize a sleeper cell in Oakland

But I don’t sleep much these days
And I’ve tried hard
But the thought of you, my beloved
And the Zionist airstrikes
Make me more jittery than chugging two liters of Jolt cola

I am learning to have hope in you
I am learning to see you as so much more
I am thinking maybe you could shave those legs and wear this grocery sack
If ever we make love

You amaze me.
Born in the suburbs
Raised in a colonial
You did not accept ROTC on Campus
You did not accept the injustice of UC defunding the Young Maoist League
You did not accept late homework submissions
Of fratboy freshmen
When you TA'd Critical Lit 1406

I love you too
But I will never be yours
I'm a rebel
A loner
I'm bad news, baby
And you don’t want me inside you
Because once you go Omar, you'll never go kuffar

But we'll resist together
You and I, my beloved hippie cooch
I will be your Jihadi Angel
The Leader of Your Pack
Turn me loose, turn me loose
Like Fabian
Like Bobby Vee
Like Elvis himself
I will croon my ballad of Zionist resistance
To your screams of delight

I had a dream that we met in Paradise
as lovers
as martyrs
Me in a Tel Aviv pizza parlor
You in the Encino mall

What was it you were looking for
That took your life that night?
They said they found my semtex belt
Clutched in your fingers tight.

Burma Shave


Berkeley graduate students: the gift of overeducated stupidity that keeps on giving!

Love Song To Hezbollah

Hat tip to Midwest Conservative Journal for bringing Berkeley grad student Cecilia Lucas' love poem to Hezbollah to the wider audience it deserves for much-needed derision and outrage:

I Don’t Want to Love You, But I Do

You were born out of death to a life in a cage
Where bombs are not the only reason people die
Fed by the violence of hunger and homelessness
Raised by colonialism
Your heart and your will still grew strong

You scare me
Not just because they tell me to be scared
Not just because they repeat, repeat, repeat
The story of 1983
Begging me to understand
Americans are worth more than Lebanese

Why do they never tell me about Jihad al Bina
That you have created so much
Saved so many lives
Improved so many more

It scares me
When I admit to myself
That I would be more scared without you
If I still took the time to see

To see the violence that does not just fall from the skies
that exists in hunger and homelessness
in colonialism

It scares me
That my hope is tangled up
In actions I would never want to commit

But I don’t sleep much these days
And I’ve tried hard
But I haven’t found
Anything
to give me hope that they will listen

They repeat, repeat, repeat
The story of Gaza withdrawal
Hoping we won’t see
The violence that continues
That kills in so many ways
Hoping we will now support it
Or at least stop looking

They insist talk does not work
When there is no one to talk to
It is hard to find an interlocutor
When you’re not willing to listen
To see
To feel

How do you keep faith that talk will work
When even they are insisting it won’t?

I am learning to have hope in you
I am learning to see you as so much more
Than those actions I would never want to commit

You amaze me.
Born out of death to a life in a cage
Raised by colonialism
You did not accept imprisonment as natural
You did not accept hunger as justice
You did not accept
the ceaseless killing in so many ways
Of those next to you
Or those farther away

I love you
But I will never be yours
I don’t want you inside me
You are too male for me

And I cannot, gratefully, fully silence the voice that insists:
Some deaths you did accept
Including of some who were listening

That is why the full statement that the question-marks pry me with reads:
It is sad, but I’m learning to have hope in Hizbulla

Maybe it is the naivety
of one whose life has never been directly threatened
I still believe:
Be the change you want to see in the world.


You can even send her an e-mail at Common Dreams News Center.

Let's buy her a one-way ticket to Lebanon so she can read her poem to Sheikh Nasrallah in person. One-way, because she will almost certainly be stoned to death, if not for being an infidel whore, then for writing bad poetry.

Volpemania: Call The Cops

Nice office you got there, Jim. Shame if anything were to happen to it:

Toronto MP Joe Volpe's rocky campaign for the Liberal leadership just keeps getting more bizarre.

Things got so bad that police were called to settle a dispute between Volpe officials and his former campaign manager, MP Jim Karygiannis.

....

Post-firing, "Jimmy K" wouldn't let a Volpe official into campaign headquarters in Scarborough to retrieve computers, which held a list of 35,914 new members recently recruited by Karygiannis on candidate Volpe's behalf.

These names are critical. The campaign team must be able to follow through in contacting new Liberals, as well as long-time party members, over the summer. Volpe needs their support in September when Liberals in ridings across Canada choose delegates to the Nov. 28-Dec. 3 leadership convention in Montreal.

"Apparently, the lease was in Mr. Karygiannis's name," Volpe spokesperson Corey Hobbs explained yesterday. "But it's just administrative stuff — a technical glitch."

....

Tempers flared so hotly last Friday, the Toronto Star has learned, that Karygiannis called police to stop the Volpe official from taking the computers. The offices are in a little shopping centre on Kennedy Rd. north of Lawrence.

When officers arrived from 41 Division, Karygiannis apparently told them it had all been a big misunderstanding and no police report was filed.

The landlord came later and locked up the offices. It now appears that nobody is getting in.


What the Volpe campaign lacks in dignity, it makes up for in entertainment value. Any bets on when the first guy gets sent to jail or the emergency room on this campaign?

Source: Toronto Star

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Scott And The City

Scott Brison loves Toronto.

Toronto doesn't love Scott Brison. Well, except around Church and Wellesley.

But what an embarassingly gushing load of over-emotive, cliche-ridden prose. The sad part is that Brison probably wrote it himself.

But the National Post has hit on a great idea all the same: ask the Liberal leadership candidates what they think of random Canadian communities.

Ask Michael Ignatieff what he thinks about Vegreville, home of the world's largest Ukranian Easter egg.

Get Hedy Fry's opinion about Prince George.

Or any of their opinions on Calgary.

The articles just write themselves.

Staying Behind

We're learning more about the loyalties of the Canadian citizens of convenience in Lebanon with each passing day.

Recent media reports would have you believe that tens of thousands of dual citizens are all lined up at the docks waiting for the ship to carry them to Canada.

Apparently most of them are standing by Lebanon in its time of need. Which makes you wonder just why they're even holding on to Canadian citizenship in the first place:

Fewer than one quarter of the Canadians registered with their embassy in Lebanon have taken up the government's offer to get them out of the war-torn country, as officials say dwindling numbers mean the evacuation is winding down.

By late yesterday afternoon, after five days of exodus, slightly more than 7,900 people had boarded ships chartered by Canada to take them to safety. Only 2,800 of that number had actually reached Canadian soil, leaving thousands of evacuees in transit on ships headed for Turkey or Cyprus, on the ground there, or on airplanes headed to Canada.

There are more than 38,000 people registered with the Canadian embassy in Beirut. While Foreign Affairs representatives refused to say publicly how many of that total they believe to be tourists and how many have settled permanently in Lebanon, one official estimated yesterday that the temporary visitors account for about 20 per cent of the total.


The good news is they're not demanding a free ride out of danger on the Canadian taxpayers' dime.

The bad news is that the media will inevitably complain that Canada abandoned these people, even though they had no intention of leaving.

The worse news is that some of them will likely be discovered to be Hezbollah militants and supporters.

But at least they have made it clear where their loyalties lie, without doubt.

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, July 24, 2006

Love And Marriage

There is no man so bad that he cannot find some woman so foolish as to marry him.

Kim Jong Il is but one example.

Marc Emery, though more foolish than evil, is another:

Marc Emery, Canada's so-called Prince of Pot, got married Sunday to a woman who apparently doesn't mind the idea that her new husband could spend large parts of their marriage in court or in jail as part of his mission to legalize marijuana.

“I will support him no matter what happens in any situation,” Jodie Emery, 21, said shortly after the wedding. “I'm just so happy right now to be married to him.”

She said she married Mr. Emery, who has been arrested 21 times, knowing full well he may spend many years in a U.S. jail.


And it was an affair for the society pages:

The wedding ceremony took place under a white tent in the city's Queen Elizabeth Park where about 100 guests sat in suits and dresses continually passing around joints.

....

After the ceremony the bride, wearing a long, white strapless wedding dress, lit up what she called a “wedding doobie.”

The Emerys then shared, in front of a crowd of media, their first joint as husband and wife, inhaling the smoke and then kissing each other.


Bet this marriage doesn't last longer than a couple years, if that. This sort of publicity stunt marriage never does.

WWW.BLEEDINGOBVIOUS.CA

The government can't just look up to see if the sky is blue: it has to form a committee and hire somebody to research and report to it.

Thus the need for a poll to find out that people like to google the government:

The federal government recently paid a little more than $65,000 to The Strategic Counsel, a Toronto-based polling firm, for a report that told them people use such popular search engines as Yahoo, Lycos, Alta Vista and Google to find Web sites.

The not-too-surprising information was provided in a final report completed in March after the firm was asked by Health Canada to test "the impact and recall of vanity URLs." (URL is short for "universal resource locator" and is a standard way of giving sites on the Internet a unique address.)

The report, written after 32 two-person discussion groups held in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Calgary, dismissed the use of Internet addresses such as www.gosmokefree.ca with obvious names because people still have trouble remembering them despite their handy handles.

"There is minimal to no recall of URLs given the dependence on search engines. During the course of these groups, most searching was done through a search engine, felt to be by far the easiest way to find whatever one is looking for," the report's executive summary concluded.

"Even when given the actual URL, a number of participants called it up through the search engine."


Anyone could have told you that. But then it wouldn't be on paper for the public servants to cover their asses with.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Starved

Saddam Hussein is reportedly feeling quite weak after 17 days on a hunger strike.

He still has a ways to go to break Bobby Sands' all-time record, though.

Rent-a-Crowd Marches In Toronto

This is not really news, as such, because you can get 10,000 people to march for any cause in Toronto at the drop of a hat. Print up enough posters and call the right organizations and swarms of the professionally outraged will be at Queen's Park demanding the repeal of the laws of thermodynamics.

This entire article could have been written without actually attending the event because it is the banal reporting the cliched:

Hundreds of red and white Lebanese flags waved on Toronto's downtown streets as thousands of protestors called for an end to the violence in Lebanon.

To the beat of drums, the demonstrators yesterday gathered first at the Israeli consulate on Bloor St. W. before marching to the United States consulate on University Ave.

The horde chanted slogans condemning Israel for the deaths of Lebanese civilians and slammed Prime Minister Stephen Harper's comments calling Israel's response "measured."

....

Other organizers included the Canadian Peace Alliance, Canadian Arab Federation, Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation, and the Muslim United group.


And the Canadian Auto Workers, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, International Socialists and a few random NDP politicians were there too. Not that I know for sure. But I just know from experience that they'd be there, whether their membership had a real stake in the matter or not.

Source: Toronto Star

Saturday, July 22, 2006

From War To Justice

If no one else is happy with Stephen Harper's flight to Cyprus to pick up a hundred-odd evacuees from Lebanon, the Ottawa police will be, because they just got a fraudster who could have thumbed his nose at them from Lebanon indefinitely:

A man who hobnobbed with Stephen Harper on the prime minister's private plane after escaping the fighting in Lebanon was arrested at the Ottawa airport on outstanding fraud charges early yesterday.

Travelling with his wife and four children, Abbas Hachem, 40, was detained by authorities after landing at about 4 a.m.

Officials conducting a screening of the 88 passengers on the plane had been notified he was wanted by Ottawa police for failing to appear in court on six charges of fraud over $5,000, two counts of uttering forged documents, and one count of conspiracy.

After being taken into custody by Canada Border Services agents, Mr. Hachem spent the day in cells at the Ottawa police station and Elgin Street courthouse before the Crown consented to his release after insisting Mr. Hachem and a former neighbour sign a $500 bond. The neighbour also had to promise Mr. Hachem will follow his bail conditions.

Stephane Rondeau, deputy director of communications at the Prime Minister's Office, said RCMP officers in Cyprus fully screened Mr. Hachem prior to the flight and found the outstanding arrest warrant.

However, the man has no history of violence or anything else that would cause concerns, he said.

"The RCMP found he didn't represent a risk to the prime minister or to anyone else on the plane," Mr. Rondeau said, adding the RCMP took the matter to Mr. Harper and his staff for a final decision.

"For humanitarian reasons, the prime minister and his staff decided against separating him from his wife and children, and they travelled back to Canada to safety together," he said.


Now that is a well-played move! A humanitarian act that serves the interests of justice, and also highlights the more egregious problems with these citizens of convenience.

There are probably more evacuees with outstanding criminal charges or civil judgments in Canada outstanding against them who are about to learn that running away from a war zone doesn't get you out of all your troubles.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Volpemania: Collateral Damage

A Hezbollah Katyusha has just gone thousands of miles off-target and detonated right in the middle of Joe Volpe's leadership campaign, taking out his campaign manager and possibly thousands of instant Arab Liberal party members:

After an angry falling-out with his national campaign manager over the Middle East, Toronto MP Joe Volpe insists he still can win the Liberal leadership without "Jimmy the Mechanic" running his campaign.

Volpe (Eglinton-Lawrence) wouldn't say yesterday whether he fired fellow MP Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough-Agincourt) — the first person hired on the team — after they argued over the Israeli bombing of Lebanon.

....

The argument was over Volpe's strong support for the Israeli bombing of Lebanon, which the Jewish state deems necessary in order to stop Hezbollah extremists who are firing missiles into Israel from bases in Lebanon.

Earlier this week, Volpe told political columnist Warren Kinsella that 1,000 missiles have been fired and "that is an act of war."

He went on to say that other Liberal governments have "declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization. We cannot now make excuses for its behaviour."

Karygiannis blew up when he read the comments on Kinsella's blog. The two argued Thursday and the split came yesterday.

"You can't hold a country hostage, be it Israel or Hezbollah," Karygiannis told the Canadian Press yesterday.

....

Karygiannis is considered a master organizer, although his tactics have been called "bullying" by his critics. He has worked hard to pull in support for Volpe among ethnic organizations, including various Canadian Muslim groups.

Last week, during an interview at Volpe's Scarborough headquarters, he proudly pointed to a recent letter from the Canadian Arab Network, in which the GTA-based group praised Volpe for telling them he "would work with the democratically elected government in Palestine without preconditions."


Nobody plays ethnic politics better than Joe Volpe, but then, nobody runs bigger risks playing ethnic politics than Joe Volpe.

The more you rely on the ethnic vote, the more likely that your campaign will be damaged by events happening thousands of miles away.

And the more difficult the diplomatic balancing act becomes within your own campaign. You end having to become a foreign policy expert just to deal with local riding associations.

But at least Volpe knows, unlike the rest of his competitors, how difficult brokering a Middle East peace agreement really is: he can't get one within his own campaign, and that's only with words and not rockets being fired.

Source: Toronto Star

Inter Arma Silent Leges

It is perhaps just as well for the country, though not perhaps for the United Nations, that Louise Arbour left the Supreme Court to become the top common scold of international law.

And it is just as well that she was not around for the Nuremburg trials, because she would have had Allied leaders thrown in the dock for not playing nice with the Nazis:

The scale of killing and maiming of civilians in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territory pointed to possible war crimes, the UN human rights chief said yesterday.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said international humanitarian law was clear on the need to protect non-combatants in any conflict. "This obligation is also expressed in international criminal law, which defines war crimes and crimes against humanity," she said.

"The scale of the killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control," she said, without directly accusing anyone.

In a statement, she expressed "grave concern over the continued killing and maiming of civilians in Lebanon, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory".

Ms Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court judge and war crimes prosecutor, said the "indiscriminate shelling" of cities and the bombing of sites where civilians would suffer were unacceptable.

Israel air strikes have accounted for most of the 327 deaths in Lebanon in the eight-day-old war which began after Hezbollah guerillas kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. The Lebanese Shia militia has rained rockets on northern Israeli towns and villages. Twenty-nine Israeli civilians have died in the violence.


It's clear whose side Ms. Arbour is on: Hezbollah's. The woman who scolds Israel for killing civilians whom Hezbollah deliberately put in harm's way as human shields for their rocket launchers can't tell an unavoidable tragedy from a war crime.

Or perhaps she can, but dares not admit her partiality towards Hezbollah, instead burying it under a load of scholastic and legalistic pieties.

Inter arma silent leges.

At least this particular legisperita should be.

Source: The Australian

Friday, July 21, 2006

More Letters From Ahmedinejad

Dear Angela:

If you're not using the gas chambers that never existed, could we borrow them to finish the job you never started?

Sincerely,

Mahmoud.

The Language Of Refuge

This morning's Globe and Mail headline, First planeload of refugees arrives in Canada, might have been a result of mere editorial sloppiness.

Or it could be a telling slip.

Because if the people being evacuated from Lebanon are Canadian citizens, they're not actually refugees. As Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees states:
"A person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution."


Unless, of course, Lebanon is their country of habitual residence. In which case, why are they abandoning their homeland in its hour of need, if they are in no danger of persecution?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thanks, But No Thanks

And I bet the pool was crowded and the buffet table lines were too long:

It could be a long trip to Ottawa for Prime Minister Stephen Harper if he decides to mix with the Lebanese evacuees he is ferrying home.

"It was a horrible trip," one after another describe their 13-hour voyage from Beirut to Cyprus when they disembark in the scorching heat here. "People were vomiting, there were no beds, the toilets with filthy.

"There was no air conditioning and they ran out of water," one young women told reporters before storming on board the waiting buses laid on by the Canadian government.

The arrival of the Blue Dawn, the first ship load of Canadians to be evacuated from war-torn Lebanon, was supposed to a joyous occasion.

Instead, the 26 people aboard the Lebanese-owned pleasure boat were disgusted by the conditions on board, particularly when compared to the ships that rescued French and U.S. citizens which loaded at almost the same time as them in Beirut on Wednesday.


Be grateful that you got a boat ride out of Beirut in time at all, out of harm's way, on such short notice. I bet these whiners are among the dual citizens who just conveniently remembered where they left their Canadian passports collecting dust.

Maybe we should leave the next lot of complainers to wait for a luxury cruise ship to pick them up, if they so desire.

Source: National Post

Save Qayyum's Kids

The Cape Breton woman who converted to Islam and married the ringleader of the Toronto 17 jihadi terrorist plotters is now throwing herself on the mercy of the public for charity:

"I needed an avenue to (give) those interested in the condition of his family, mainly myself and our children, an open method to donate directly to our sustenance, as we are now without our 'maintainer,' and are at the mercy of charity," Ms. (Cheryfa MacAulay) Jamal says in a posting on the new Internet site.

"It is my intention, (if Allah wills it to be), to register UmmTayyab.com as a non-profit organization so that sincere people can donate charity to us for as long as my husband remains incarcerated or awaiting trial if he is to ever be granted bail. If he were to be given bail, it would be under the strictest of conditions and he would be unable to earn an income, (like anyone would even hire him now!)."


For the children, I have every sympathy. They need the help.

For her, I have none. She was damn fool enough to convert to this misogynist religion, and damn fool enough to marry a terrorist. Let the Muslim community help her out.

Maybe she should take off that tent and get a job.

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Divided Loyalties

The Toronto Star , along with all other media outlets, notes with disapproval that the Canadian government cannot simply organize another miraculous Dunkirk-style mass evacuation at the drop of a hat (ignoring, of course, the fact that Dunkirk was just across the English Channel.)

But what's more interesting to note is the difference between their claims about the background of most of the evacuees and who they quoted:

The first group of frightened Canadians hoping to flee Israel's bombing — which has killed 300 people, mostly civilians — found themselves pushing and shoving for hours under a baking Mediterranean sun, dehydrated and in some cases fainting.

Most were tourists with limited links to Lebanon.


Or were they?

"I could have expected this from many countries, but not from Canada. Not from my country," said Siba Abouchacra, 33, of Morriston, Ont., whose husband had flown from Toronto to Cyprus in the vain hope of meeting her there.

Brampton resident Rania Zahreddine, 29, endured what she described as a nightmarish day only to find out she and her two children weren't heading home.

"People were crying, people were fainting, people were bleeding — we saw the worst things today," said Zahreddine, holding back tears while comforting her 10-month-old son and 4-year-old daughter.

....

Montrealer Dima Faour, 27, on medication for the past month to prevent a miscarriage, was allowed through the front gate but was left standing for hours because her name was not on the list.

And yet, Faour said embassy staff called her the day before, knew she was pregnant, and told her she would get priority treatment.

"I don't want to lose the baby just standing here. I guess they don't care," said Faour, being cared by her husband, who was staying behind because he's not a Canadian citizen.

Fouad Rmeih, 48, collapsed to the pavement as he forced his way inside the gate and was revived by Lebanese soldiers pouring water on his face. His T-shirt was soaked in perspiration.

Some, like Ottawa resident Nahed Mourad, risked their lives to travel from south Lebanon, where Israeli bombing is heaviest, only to have to push and shove their way into the port.

"We left at 4:30 this morning. There were missiles and bombs as we came," said Mourad, 23, describing her trip from Brakeh. "We came here thinking the Canadians were going to take care of us. I could have just stayed at home and waited for the missiles to hit my house."


Yep, just another bunch of ordinary white-bread Canadian tourists caught by surprise in a war zone in a strange country.

The Lebanese-Canadian dual citizenship holders use whichever citizenship is most helpful to them at the time. They were good Lebanese citizens until the guns started firing; now they're good Canadians. When the guns fall silent, they'll get on the plane back to Lebanon.

Perhaps the Canadian government should play the same game. Ask each evacuee whether he holds any other citizenships. If any of them are also Lebanese citizens, remind them that loyal sons and daughters of Lebanon must not abandon their homeland in its time of need, and leave them to stand with their homeland.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Harper To The Rescue

Call it a photo-op, call it grandstanding, but Stephen Harper's kicking the media off the plane to pick up Canadians evacuated from Lebanon in Cyprus solves two problems at once.

It brings a few of our people home earlier out of a war zone than they might have expected, thus getting them out of harm's way in case the war zone expands throughout the rest of the Middle East.

And it also pre-empts the media criticism this action will invariably get. Because the media will sound like a bunch of spoiled whiners who care more for their free ride with the PM than the fate of Canadians stranded in the latest Middle East battlefield.

Read all about it here.

Canadian Express: Don't Leave Home Without It

Garth Turner may be the most annoying self-promoter on the Tory back bench, but he does raise a legitimate question about dual citizenship that most would prefer to avoid: what responsibility should Canada take towards dual citizens who hold no other ties to Canada than a passport?

...I have wondered why it was that France and Britain had 4,000-odd people to rescue in Lebanon, and we have 40,000. After all, those countries dwarf ours in both population and resources and are half a world closer, so why does Canada have to ferry out ten times as many? Are there that many Canadians on holiday over there?

Of course, it’s turned that out lots of these folks calling our embassy in Beirut (about 25,000 last time I checked) are not tourists. They live there. In many cases, they have been there for years and years and are permanent residents of that country, who once lived in this country. They carry dual citizenship and because one of the passports in their wallets is Canadian, they reasonably flocked to accept our country’s generous offer of free passage to safety.

This raises a few questions. Like, should someone who does not reside in Canada or pay taxes here be rescued by the taxpayers of Canada just because they have dual citizenship? Should they – with a government in Lebanon, a home there and the usual daily connections - be put on an equal footing with Canadian tourists who suddenly find themselves in a war zone, far away from home, bank account and loved ones? Should permanent Lebanese residents who are also Canadians pay for their rescue, or should you pay for it? Is this setting a precedent for other dual citizens around the world who might have trouble come and visit them? What are we going to do with a potential 20,000 to 40,000 Lebanese-Canadian citizens when they get here? What’s this all going to cost?


Many of these Canadian passport holders may have taken out Canadian citizenship simply to help get themselves out of difficulties such as this. They may have no intention of remaining in Canada after the current hostilities die down, but they will take advantage of every protection Canadian citizenship offers while protecting themselves against the current disadvantages of Lebanese citizenship (such as being subject to conscription or commandeering of property).

Worse, some of these passport holders may also be active Hezbollah militants who could be using our passport and rescue as cover to get to Canada to carry out terrorist activities here.

Perhaps we should remind these dual passport holders of the responsibilities and loyalty owed to their native Lebanon. Surely loyal Lebanese will not abandon their homeland to its fate.

Parole Denied

Clifford Olson denied parole.

But he'll be back at it again in two years time with his next application, which will also be denied, and everybody gets to relive all the suffering again.

If we still had the death penalty, his execution would have represented the "closure" psychobabblers go on about.

Ghetto Math

Not even mathematics is safe from the political predations of Afrocentrism, as Dispatches from the Hogtown Front reports:

A math unit on racial profiling is part of a new black-focused curriculum expected to be tested by Canada's largest school board this fall.

The new "Africentric" curriculum is designed to boost pride and test scores among black students. The program, which would include 10 social-studies units, likely will be launched in November in grades 6, 7 and 8 at Brookview Middle School, on Jane St. north of Finch Ave. W.

Any teacher in the city would be free to use the units — roughly two weeks of lessons on a given topic — and they are to be taught to all children in a class, not just black students.


The underlying assumption is patronizing towards black students: it assumes they can't be taught properly unless everything is somehow made a matter of race, and further, that they are unable or uninterested in learning anything that isn't about their race.

I have no problem with black students studying their people's history and culture; indeed, they should be encouraged to do so. But they should not be force-fed political propaganda at the same time.

ADDENDUM: We've all seen this math proficiency exam circulating for decades. But it seems to be in the same spirit as the proposed Afrocentric math course.

ADDENDUM TO THE ADDENDUM: Run this story through Gizoogle and it will capture its essence completely.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Op-Dread

The good folks at the Middle East Media Research Institute must need hazmat suits and strong stomachs to wade through the sludge pumped out by the Middle Eastern press every day.

Here's today's roundup of editorial opinion across the region.

This editorial from an Iranian daily is all too typical of the rest:

The Muslim peoples and many other peoples think that, in global geopolitics, there is no such thing as the state of Israel, and that the [entity] which presently bears this name is a usurping and rootless state that has imposed its parasitic presence over the region and over Palestine with the support of the arrogant powers. [This entity] invents a new crime every day. It causes men, women, and innocent children to bleed to death, or else deports them from their homeland and turns them into refugees. In light of this 'problem,' which is perfectly obvious, the annihilation of the Zionist regime is not only a religious and national duty, but also a universal human duty, from which no Muslim or free human being can be exempt.

Comprehensive support for Hamas and Hizbullah, political, logistically, militarily, and through sending combatant forces to this front are the minimal price that the Islamic countries must pay in order to maintain their own security and independence...


And that's considered mild commentary over there. It wouldn't be out of place on the Daily Kos or Rabble, and might even pass muster on some mainstream newspaper editorial pages here (with a little editing to smooth out the rough edges).

I'm waiting for the first progressive blogger or mainstream media commentator to go beyond the pale with their usual condemnations of Zionism and Jews in general, and suggest that maybe the Nazis had the right idea with the Holocaust, after all.

The mask will slip eventually from someone's face.

Less Of The News That's Fit To Print

The New York Times is shrinking. Literally:

The New York Times Co. plans to narrow the size of its flagship newspaper and close a printing plant, resulting in the loss of 1,050 jobs, the company said in a story posted on its Web site late on Monday.

The changes, set to take place in April 2008, include the closure of a printing plant in Edison, New Jersey. The company will sublet the plant and consolidate its regional printing facilities at a plant in Queens, resulting in the loss of 800 jobs, the paper said.

The newspaper will be narrower by 1 1/2 inches. The redesign will result in the loss of 250 production jobs, the company said.

The New York Times said it expected the changes to result in savings of $42 million.

The narrower format, offset by some additional pages, will reduce the space the paper has for news by 5 percent, Executive Editor Bill Keller said in the article.


Less of the New York Times is always good news; too bad that it has to come on the backs of the honest working stiffs who merely print the stuff.

Francophony

Stephen Harper goes to France today for the least pleasant part of his European trip, putting up with the arrogant and hypocritical moralizing of Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin, especially over Lebanon.

He will not, however, be paying a call on the head of La Francophonie, through which France continues to exercise the illusion of being a world power (half of whose members aren't even French-speaking nations, but through which Napoleon marched his army.)

In any event, why does Canada have a minister of state for relations with La Francophonie and not one for the Commonwealth? Britain still can exercise some actual influence over world affairs, and culturally, politically and economically, the Commonwealth is far more relevant to Canada than France's group of tin-pot former colonies.

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Big Three-Owe

Olympic Stadium is falling down, the Expos and Alouettes have long since left it, but not to worry: it's almost paid off!

Originally estimated to cost $156 million, the installation's' price tag ballooned to twice that amount.

"In doubling, we are still realistic and we must be satisfied with this," (Montreal Mayor Jean) Drapeau said at the time.

But the costs didn't stop there. The bill soon soared past the $1 billion mark and, once interest was added and two roofs were installed, the final cost was tallied at $2 billion.

Montreal will finally see relief from payments on the stadium in a couple of months -- more than 30 years after the games began.


Just in time to tear it down and start all over again.

Field Of Combat

Commenters on the Globe and Mail website seem to have an unrealistic notion that the Canadian government can just magically sweep down into the middle of the combat zone in Lebanon and pull out every Canadian in it.

Or that the combattants will lay down their arms long enough to clear the field of innocent foreigners, like some sort of rain delay.

Either way, they're showing a remarkable naivete about the nature of war and our government's responsbilities towards its citizens overseas.

Sylvia Wilson from Grand Bend writes:

Surely, now Canada now has to join other countries at the UN in support of a ceasefire 'til the rest of the civilian tourists can be evaculated. Changes are going to have to be made at the UN to stop countries from taking unilateral actions that threaten the security of the world.


Duncan Munro from Langley:

The Canadian gov't should be calling for a unconditional cease fire so our citizens can leave, either overland through Syria, or by sea.


Oh yes, Hezbollah will just drop weapons until all the infidel foreigners have gone home, and Israel will go along. Just like proper gentlemen.

To say nothing of the usual calls for Israel to conduct itself with a "measured response," as though it had to wait for Hezbollah's innings to end to determine how many runs it had to score to win the match.

People forget that the Canadian government is not there to bail you out of every scrape you might run into overseas. It's not there to pull you out of a war zone you went to of your own free will, or to get you out of jail for carrying a little weed in your backpack.

It has already sent two cruise ships to Lebanese ports for anyone who wants to leave and can get there. More than that, it cannot do.

War doesn't run on the rules of cricket.

And Dad can't always bail you out of trouble.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Swedish Surrender

Sweden's Democracy Minister, Jens Orback:

“We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us.”

Read the rest of the analysis at Reflecting Light.

The sad fact is, you could imagine David Miller, Jack Layton or Gerard Kennedy saying the same thing with a straight face and absolute sincerity.

And millions of Canadians would believe them.

Prayers From Pondicherry

Everything is getting outsourced to India these days: tech support, lab reports, and now, it seems, even Mass intentions:

Catholic churches in Canada and across North America are so short of priests, they are "outsourcing" hundreds of requests for special Masses to priests abroad, especially to India.

Although not many people know about it, the practice has been going on quietly for decades, says Dean Hoge, co-author of the recently released book International Priests in America.

The novel form of outsourcing eases the burden on the dwindling number of Catholic priests here, and it helps impoverished priests abroad who receive a donation of up to $15, compared to the 40 rupees, worth about $1 or so, that they would receive for a similar request in India.


Wonder if they'll outsource confessions and last rites next over the phone from Bangalore?

Source: National Post

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Silver Bullet

Coors CEO busted for drunk driving.

Don't take your work on the road.

Undercover Jihadi

Saffiyah Ally , the hostess of Let The Qu'ran Speak on Vision TV, is first out of the gate with the suggestion that Mubin Shaikh is a paid police provocateur:

While the case remains before the courts, it is starting to look more and more like an instance of entrapment by a man being paid by the RCMP and CSIS. Shaikh is not na├»ve, and neither is he an idiot – in fact, he appears quite knowledgeable when it comes to his faith, having studied for several years both in Canada and abroad. He could have used his inside view and his knowledge of Islam to counsel the men under watch and warn them against participating in such aggressive actions. Instead, one mght argue that he seemed to egg them on, and then proceeded to use the very information he had gleaned from the men to report them to the police. Consider, for example, the fact that he led the very ‘training camps’ that garnered much media attention several weeks ago. He also engaged in discussion with the accused men about jihad and related matters. Had he merely visited the local mosque and informed the police about the suspicious behaviour or ideas of certain individuals, it would have been much easier to sympathize with his cause. His very active interference in the group raises serious questions about the extent to which he could have influenced the accused individuals to engage in terrorist acts they might not have committed on their own.


Obviously CSIS saw great value in Shaikh's information and contacts, or they wouldn't have recruited him as an informant in the first place. The information they could garner from a one-time walk-in to the local police station or CSIS office would have been limited and more difficult to use. Only active informants can provide the depth and breadth of information about ongoing terrorist activities necessary to take down larger organizations and plots.

So what if he was paid? Informants rarely act entirely out of the goodness of their hearts. The risks they run are worth paying for. His information has already paid for itself many times over, and will continue to do so.

And if he'd suddenly decided to turn Ghandi on his fellows, he'd have ended up dead, and the terror plots would have continued.

Nevertheless, leave it to Ms. Ally to make a veiled (ha-ha) threat:

One suspects Shaikh will get little support from the Muslim community. He was recognized as an informant by leaders of the community well before his name was released last night. While threats to his safety are not anticipated, at least from mainstream Muslims, there will no doubt be scorn heaped upon him from various quarters.


If mainstream Muslims are opposed to terrorist activites and support the civil authorities in their efforts to prevent them, why would they scorn Shaikh's activities as an informant? Wouldn't they instead be relieved to know that someone in these radical groups was working to bring them down from within? Or is tribal solidarity greater than the law?

Make no mistake: Shaikh will never know a moment's safety again. He's put his life on the line against Islamic terror no less than our fighting men in Afghanistan have.

He may not be a pleasant character, but this war will not be won without the help of unpleasant characters.

Shoot these bastards full of moles.

Mubin The Mole

All the electronic surveillance tools and techniques in the world by themselves cannot possibly uncover the most reliable information needed to foil the plots of Islamic terrorists; good old-fashioned human intelligence from infiltrators and traitors is still needed, and can make the difference between life and death for innocent people.

Codes can be broken and conversations intercepted, but only people can provide the necessary complete context behind them.

We may never know what inspired Mubin Shaikh to become a CSIS informant. Whether it was genuine disillusionment and disgust with the Islamist cause, or simple resentment towards certain people within it, or even naked greed, the end result is the same: hundreds of people are alive today who wouldn't have been without the information he was providing to CSIS.

And he is now dead man walking:

A man who led a campaign to bring Islamic law to Ontario last year has been identified as the police informant who infiltrated an alleged terrorist cell in Toronto.

While the RCMP warned journalists they were prohibited by law from identifying Mubin Shaikh, the self-professed "fundamentalist" Muslim confirmed his involvement in the investigation to the CBC.

In an interview broadcast yesterday, Mr. Shaikh described how he was recruited by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service into providing information on extremist activities.

....

Since police charged a dozen adults and five juveniles under the Anti-terrorism Act last month, media reports have indicated that agents working for CSIS and the RCMP had infiltrated the alleged terror group.

....

Aly Hindy, imam of the Salaheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, said he had heard the rumours about Mr. Shaikh, whom he said once attended a meeting of Toronto imams, although he was not an imam himself. "He was like very talkative, you know. He's a young guy."


The intelligence war against Islamism now has its Igor Gouzenko.

Let us hope that it does not also have its Cambridge circle.

Source: National Post

Friday, July 14, 2006

Belinda's Big Ideas

Belinda Stronach hasn't been heard from much since she finally figured out that Daddy's money couldn't buy her the Liberal leadership. And her mission to spearhead democratic renewal under the Paul Martin government also apparently ran to ground.

But lo!

She's actually handed in her paper. A little late to do anything with it, however:

Federal Liberals should tear a page from the Northwest Territories book of consensus government and give backbench MPs the right to vote for their own cabinet, MP Belinda Stronach says.

She makes the recommendations in a wide-ranging paper that also calls on the party to drop membership fees to $1 per individual, adopt a one-person, one-vote system for selecting the leader and substantially streamline the party structure.

Her suggestions come as the party embarks on an internal review.

In the report, which Ms. Stronach expects to disseminate across the party, the MP for Newmarket-Aurora says the party needs a grassroots rejuvenation if it wants to resonate with Canadians in the West and Quebec, as well as in the rest of the country.


All of these ideas could have been stolen from an old Reform Party policy paper years ago. But as with every other idea the Liberals come up with, its progenitors are usually mocked for coming up with it until it becomes popular enough for the Liberals to steal.

This paper will never be heard of again, however. Its ideas threaten the very raison d'etre of the Liberal Party: power in their party elite's hands alone at all costs.

Source: Globe and Mail

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Milk Money

There are some things one just cannot imagine being sold. Like this:

Breast milk is universally hailed as the ideal food for newborns but you shouldn’t feed your baby just anyone’s milk, Health Canada cautioned Wednesday.

It advised people to be aware of the health risks associated with consuming breast milk bought over the Internet or directly from another person whose medical information may be unknown.

Breast milk is known to promote optimal infant growth and mental development, but can also contain bacteria or viruses like HIV passed from the mother. Any drugs the mother has consumed can also be transmitted. Poor hygiene or improper storage could also cause the milk to spoil.

A quick Internet search turned up plenty of women around North America willing to sell excess breast milk.


I suppose this trade can and should be regulated, but by whom? Health Canada or the Canadian Dairy Commission?

To say nothing of the inspection process...best to say nothing at all.

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Sale Of The Century

Recent reports that Joe Volpe has sold the most new memberships in the Liberal leadership race have so embarrassed the party that they're trying to spin Gerard Kennedy as the actual front-runner, based on a few interviews with insiders and a bit of guesswork.

But if Kennedy is really leading the membership sales race, the real story would be Michael Ignatieff's relatively weak showing. Ignatieff may the darling of the caucus, but he is a philosopher king, above such petty things as retail politics.

Imagine a race between Gerard Kennedy and Joe Volpe, then.

And shudder.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Frequent Flyer

Apparently Michaelle Jean is emulating her esteemed predecessor by adopting the royal airs and prerogatives that marked her tenure in office:

The Conservative government has kept the pricey Challenger jet fleet mostly grounded since taking office, leaving Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean as the most frequent flier of the government aircraft.

Defence Department logs obtained through Access to Information show most cabinet ministers opted for commercial flights over government planes for business travel.

....

Jean used the plane to make official visits across Canada and to Italy, Haiti and El Salvador. Only one trip was for personal travel -- a family March-break trip to the Bahamas -- requiring the jet to make two separate trips to return the aircraft to Ottawa and go back to fetch Jean's family a week later.

Jean's spokesman Randy Mylyk said the GG rides the Challenger for security reasons.


"It's always been a security advantage; the RCMP has requested domestic and international travel by the Challenger," he said. "One can ultimately override, I would say, and go against the recommendation of the RCMP. But no, that is not done -- both the prime minister and the Governor General follow the security recommendations of the RCMP."


Underlying the heavy use of official perquisites is a sense of powerlessness. Constitutionally, our governor general is all-powerful; practically, she is a reine faineante.

Those with real power, don't need to convince themselves of their power by accumulating all sorts of gaudy trappings.

Thus why the most garish displays of excess are to be found amongst third world kleptocrats and Communist apparatchiks, while their first world counterparts are usually much more restrained in their display of material wealth and pomp.

Source: Ottawa Sun

The Soldier's Complaint

Bitching about army life is the oldest tradition amongst soldiers everywhere. Alexander the Great's men complained about marching through Afghanistan, and the late Cpl. Anthony Boneca was merely following their example.

But the media was quick to read into his statements complete and utter disgust and disillusionment with the Afghanistan mission, because it needs a common soldier to voice their same feelings about the mission.

Too bad that Cpl. Boneca didn't oblige:

A discomfiting squabble has erupted among the loved ones of Cpl. Anthony Boneca on the eve of the return of the soldier’s body from Afghanistan.

Boneca’s father, Antonio, went to the lengths of issuing a public statement Tuesday to refute suggestions that the 21-year-old fallen reservist felt misled and disillusioned with the army before being killed in a furious firefight over the weekend.

Boneca "loved being in the army" and was aware of the situation he was facing, his father insisted.

"In all my conversations with my son, there was never any mention of him not being well enough or fit enough to carry out his military duties."

"He said it was difficult to cope with the weather, the sand, and the situation the young children endured (but) he was proud to make a difference in their lives and said he wished these children could live like we do in Canada."

....

The elder Boneca’s intervention was in direct contradiction of anguished sentiments expressed by the soldier’s girl-friend, Megan DeCorte, and his best friend, Dylan Bulloch.

They said Boneca was deeply unhappy in Afghanistan and did not feel prepared for the dangerous mission.

"He expected to be on patrol, not fighting a war for someone else," said Larry DeCourte, father of Boneca’s girlfriend Megan. "He wasn’t ready for that," he said.


What active duty soldier hasn't expressed the same sentiments about being sent to some hellhole? Hardly evidence of a massive rebellion within the Army.

But our media elites want their Vietnam moment. And they need their symbol to rally round.

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Bombay Bomb

Round up the usual suspects:

Indian investigators on Wednesday combed through the twisted and torn wreckage of train cars ripped apart a day earlier by well co-ordinated bombings that killed 183 people and wounded hundreds during the city’s evening rush hour.

....

The Times of India reported Wednesday that Indian intelligence officials believe two shadowy groups, the Kashmiri militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, were responsible for the blasts. Both groups were blamed for a series of Mumbai bombings in 2003.

Tuesday’s attacks drew condemnation from around the world, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said “terrorists” were behind the bombings, which he called “shocking and cowardly.”


India will not be restrained in its response by handwringing over "root causes," "racial sensitivity" or "civil rights." It understands all too well the nature of the problem and how to deal with it.

A lot of Kashmiri terrorists are going to end up in jail or dead, fast.

Would that our governing classes had the same ruthlessness.

Source: Toronto Star

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Road Block

Indian bands are applying the lessons of the Ontario government's craven surrender to the Six Nations radicals in Caledonia: cause enough civil disorder and the great white father will give in:

Members of a Saskatchewan aboriginal band have set up a blockade on a provincial highway, saying they'll disrupt traffic until the federal government returns management of the band to local hands.

The Muscowpetung First Nation, which has an operating deficit, was placed under third-party management status six years ago by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Chief Todd Cappo said the blockade, manned by 20 band members, will remain up “24-7” until the department lifts the band's third-party management status, which would give the band back its financial control.


Considering that many, if not most, Indian reserve band councils are run like Third World kleptocracies for the enrichment of the band chief and his cronies, this band must have been exceptionally corrupt for INAC to step in and take over.

And certainly, Chief Cappo expects INAC to fold like a cheap tent out of liberal guilt once the accusations of racism and cultural genocide get thrown around.

But Jim Prentice is not Dalton McGuinty. Prentice knows too much about the tactics used by Indian politicians to fall for them.

But some future Minister will.

And then we will have not one or two Caledonias, but scores.

Source: Globe and Mail

Sobering Reflections

Like Sir John A. Macdonald before him, Ralph Klein kept one hand firmly on the reins of power and the other firmly on a bottle. Let go of the latter, and you might lose hold of the other:

"You get a lot of free dinners but after that you get sort of tired, especially when you quit drinking, and then it's no fun at all, so I don't know why they would want to do it," Klein said with a tiny wry grin during his annual breakfast at the Calgary Stampede, speaking about his potential successors.

He also said this about the candidates who might choose to run for his job when he steps down as Tory leader and premier by the end of the year.

"There's an old saying in politics: Anyone dumb enough to run for the job is probably too stupid to have it," said the Tory leader since 1992.


Did Ralph lose his edge when he cut back on the sauce? We'll never know if there was cause and effect, but he did turn into a tax-and-spend semi-Keynesian in his last few years in office.

Source: CTV

Monday, July 10, 2006

Foregone Conclusion

Clifford Olson's parole application to be denied next week.

He is, at the end of it all, a cheap murdering sex pervert.

The types who would make martyrs of Tookie Williams and Mumia Abu-Jamal have some standards left, after all.

But only because he is not facing execution.

If Canada had the death penalty, the usual suspects would be holding candlelight vigils and protest rallies demanding his life be spared.

And The Band Played On

You can only play The Chicken Dance at wedding dances so many times before somebody snaps:

The Islamic militiamen controlling the Somali capital broke up a wedding celebration because a band was playing and women and men were socializing together, witnesses said Saturday, describing the latest crackdown by a group feared to be installing Taliban-style rule in this African nation.

The Islamic fighters beat band members with electric cables and confiscated their equipment, said Asha Ilmi Hashi, a singer with the group Mogadishu Stars.

"We had warned the family not to include in their ceremony what is not allowed by the sharia law. This includes the mixing of men and women and playing music," Sheik Iise Salad, who heads an Islamic court in the northeastern Huriwaa District, told The Associated Press. "That is why we raided and took their equipment."

"What was going there was un-Islamic," Salad said.


But seriously folks:

Somalia has now fallen to Wahhabi Islam, and the country is going to pay an even worse price than it did for being run without a government by warlords.

But the usual suspects will be calling Somalia's fall a good thing, because it will bring "stability" to an unstable part of the world.

Stability: simply another synonym for inaction.

Source: Jihad Watch

Write Off

Paul Hellyer may have vanished into Art Bell dreamland after years of wandering through the political wilderness, but now he's making headlines for his generosity to the fringe party he started up years ago:

A whopping $829,000 loan writeoff to one of Canada’s smallest parties has once again raised questions about legal loopholes that allow people to lend politicians and their organizations large sums of money.

Paul Hellyer, the founder of the Canadian Action Party, wrote off the $750,000 loan plus interest he made to start up the party in 1997. As the ultimate wayfarer in Canadian politics, with time in four different parties, he’d had his share of financial ups and downs. But this last one was a doozy.

"They told me last year that there was no way they (the party) could pay it. . . . I just told my accountant to write it off," Hellyer said.

"It seemed expedient at the time."

Hellyer calls it a bad loan, but critics say what happened is proof that what can start off as a loan to a party can end up being tantamount to a contribution, despite the fact the limit on individual donations will soon be only $1,000.


Some laws were made to be broken, and campaign finance laws especially so.

The law could be changed to deem written off loans to be contributions, but then, who would ever lend another campaign money after that? Why carry bad loans on the books for years just to avoid being caught by the campaign finance laws, and possibly, by CRA?

This loophole will not be closed any time soon, because none of the parties involved have an interest in closing it.

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Viva L'Italia!

Just got back from Little Italy on College Street, where every bar and restaurant was standing room only and the streets are now filled with every Italian in Toronto, waving flags, honking horns and blowing whistles.

The best team won, in all honesty. It was all over when Zinedine Zidane disgraced himself in his last-ever game for France by headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest during extra time.

They'll be partying all night in Little Italy.

And deservedly!

Yahoo! has the full story

Forza Italia

Italy: Italians, playing on Italian teams.

France: Ex-colonials, half of them playing outside France.

Italy: Fabrizio Quattrocchi.

France: Dominique de Villepin.

Italy: Pizza.

France: Quiche.

FORZA ITALIA!!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Piss Taker Update

The three young men who shocked the country by urinating on the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Canada Day have now all tendered public apologies to the police and veterans groups for their act of drunken stupidity.

Given the general state of education and casual disrespect shown for our country's past by mainstream Canadian educators, it is actually quite possible that these three men really did not understand the significance of the War Memorial or why their actions caused the public outrage that it did.

The Ottawa police say the other two young men involved in the incident -- another Ottawa youth who cannot be identified and 23-year-old Stephen Fernandes of Montreal -- have also written letters of apology to the police, expressing remorse for their actions:

Yesterday, Ottawa police charged Mr. Fernandes with mischief. He will make his first court appearance Aug. 1.

"I was embarrassed," Mr. Fernandes said yesterday about the incident and the ensuing publicity.

Two days after the incident, a friend called to tell him that his photograph had been on the front page of the Citizen. "I was in complete and utter shock," he said, adding he felt immediately remorseful.

He said he didn't intend to disgrace anyone -- war veterans or his family -- and he will take responsibility for his actions. "I want to formally apologize to anyone I may have offended."

Mr. Fernandes said that not only did he not intend to desecrate the war memorial, but he was almost embarrassed to admit he didn't know how significant the monument is to veterans, and revealed he once volunteered at a veterans' hospital in Quebec.


Whether they are apologizing out of genuine remorse or shame for getting caught and humiliated in front of the entire country, the fact that they are apologizing at all suggests that these men were not motivated by political malice but simple loutishness.

Had these men been hard-core anti-war protestors, they would have urinated on the War Memorial in broad daylight, in a more ostentatious manner, with a crowd of supporters shouting slogans and waiving placards to cheer them on.

And there would be no apologies forthcoming, but tirades about free speech, peace, and social justice.

They would relish having their names and pictures in the paper, and look forward to their day in court to defend their actions.

Those bums would be deserving of serious jail time.

These bums have gotten their just deserts through public humiliation already.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Masters Of Disguise

Beware the single young Middle Eastern man who parties hard, drinks harder, plays the field with Western women, and gratuitously ridicules Islam and life back home under it.

It could all be an act. A very dangerous act:

The alleged ringleader of the tunnel terror plot lived the life of an international playboy - on orders from Al Qaeda.

Assem Hammoud, 31, even fooled his mother, if Lebanese police and U.S. anti-terror officials are correct.

His mother, Nabila Qotob, said Hammoud drinks alcohol, had girlfriends, traveled widely and showed no similarities to Islamic militants.

She also said Hammoud taught economics at a local university.

To prove her son was no jihadi, Qotob showed off photos yesterday of Hammoud with his father and lounging shirtless on a speeding motorboat in Germany.

There were also very un-Islamic pictures of Hammoud with three smiling women - none of them wearing veils - on his arm during an undated stay in Canada.

"His morale is high because he is confident he is innocent," said Qotob, who said she had recently visited her son in jail.

But Lebanese police, who arrested Hammoud on April 27, said in a statement that the suspect claimed he had been ordered to maintain a fun-loving, secular lifestyle to hide his Islamic militancy.

"He did just that with perfection," the police statement said.


A long-bearded, turban-wearing, white robe-clad Arab youth reading the Qu'ran on the subway is just going to stand out like a sore thumb, even in New York and Toronto. One can see people move just a little bit away, tense up just slightly, whenever several of them board a subway car or bus at the same time.

To say nothing of the snide comments murmured about the women with everything covered except their eyes.

This arrest is further proof that he who protests too much might just be practicing taqqiya , or hiding the faith for tactical reasons.

And further, that poverty and Islamic terrorism have no correlation or connection. An illiterate Bedouin goatherder or Tehran street urchin would be of no use to the masterminds plotting technically complex and sophisticated attacks.

But the engineer or physician who looks and acts just like an ordinary Westerner is.

Source: New York Daily News

Friday, July 07, 2006

Graham Crackers

Bill Graham reminds us why, for all his faults, Peter MacKay is still a more capable foreign affairs minister.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bush Thanks PM

This is a headline we thought we'd never see during the entire Bush administration.

The usual suspects will seize on it as proof, however, that Stephen Harper is truckling to the United States.

Still, it sets a far better tone for relations with our next-door neighbour.

Nyet Problemy

Russian government expels ABC News bureau from Moscow.

If only we could expel CBC News from Ottawa.

Volpemania: La Belle Province

Just when the Liberal Party had given up all hope of ever winning back the hearts and minds of Quebecois, Joe Volpe went and did the impossible:

"By the sheer membership sales that have gone on, Joe Volpe has to be taken very seriously now," said Nick Discepola, Mr. Volpe's Quebec campaign manager.

On the last day of the recruitment drive, Mr. Volpe's campaign plunked down 4,400 forms for new Quebec members, he said -- a big proportion of the roughly 12,000 new members recruited by all campaigns in the province.

One party official called Mr. Volpe's numbers in Quebec "stunning," and organizers from other camps agreed that he had topped the recruitment drive in that province, where the campaign had previously been seen as a race in which only Mr. Ignatieff, Mr. Dion, and Mr. Rae had any sizable support.

But competitors also whispered that the Volpe campaign has resorted to building up numbers in just a few ridings, which will not translate into delegates, and perhaps signing up new members even if they do not support Mr. Volpe.


And all of them just happened to be so moved by Joe Volpe's charisma and vision that they rushed at the last minute to buy memberships to support him.

Mass 11th hour membership purchases. In Quebec. For Joe Volpe. All perfectly legitimate and above board.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lay Down

Ken Lay's body is barely at room temperature yet and already the conspiracy theories are circulating at Democratic Underground and Babble.

Naturally.

Volpemania: From Kingmaker To King?

While his fellow leadership candidates remain silent out of prudence or embarrassment, Joe Volpe is bragging that he's got 35,000 signed, sealed and delivered new members, presumably all committed to making him the next leader of the Natural Governing Party (tm).

Were the Liberals holding a one member one vote leadership race, Volpe would one of the front-runners, if not the leading contender.

But even in a delegated vote, Volpe's instant members can still control the selection of at least the GTA delegates. And knowing Volpe, you can be sure his team will have every man Giacomo of them turn out and vote.

Having Volpe win the GTA will embarrass the flood of GTA candidates, especially Ignatieff, Kennedy, and Rae, who should have their backyard nailed down.

Never underestimate Joe Volpe.

Never.

Simply Irremovable

If he had been a 90-year old former Nazi concentration camp guard, the government would have moved heaven and earth to strip him of citizenship and send him back to Europe, even if he were deaf, blind, demented and bedridden.

But since he is simply a convicted Palestinian hijacker, he will be able to keep gaming the system until he dies here:

A convicted terrorist fighting deportation says his failing health should entitle him to remain in Canada.

Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad turns 64 in two weeks and says he's too sick to be deported to Lebanon.

His diabetes, heart failure and hepatitis would be exacerbated if he were to be sent back, Mr. Mohammad's lawyer Barbara Jackman has argued.

Mr. Mohammad is a former member of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was part of the terrorist team that hijacked an Israeli airliner in Athens on Dec. 26, 1968, killing an Israeli citizen.

In March, 1970, a Greek court convicted Mr. Mohammad of manslaughter and other offences and sentenced him to 17 years in prison.

Four months later, six Palestinian commandos hijacked an Olympic Airways airliner and threatened to blow up the plane if the Greek government did not release Mr. Mohammad. He was granted a pardon and left, only to turn up in Brantford, Ont., in 1987.

Canada began deportation proceedings against him in 1988 after learning he lied about his criminal past to get into Canada.


In this case we have a preview of what will happen with any of the Toronto 17 who are convicted and are not Canadian citizens by birth. We will never be rid of them so long as they can keep the appeals process going, no matter how frivolous or vexatious their grounds.

There will be plenty of lawyers willing to handle appeal after appeal, if not for the notoriety, then certainly for the government-guaranteed fees.

The administration of justice will fall into disrepute as a result, but what is that compared to the moral superiority of elevating process over justice?

Source: Globe and Mail

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Glory And Praise

The collapse of liturgical praxis in Western Christianity can be defined along a continuum: Catholic liturgy has become mainline Protestant, mainline Protestant liturgy has become New Age, and evangelical Protestant worship has just gone crazy, according to this Lark News article:

First Nazarene Church used to start Sunday services with announcements and a generic welcome from the associate pastor. Now service starts with whirling spotlights, stadium music and a cougar mascot bounding down the center aisle slapping high fives and making "raise the roof" gestures.

"Adding Christian Cougar was a great move for us," says the pastor. "No one calls our church boring anymore."

Churches across the country are adopting mascots to pump up Sunday mornings and rally people in worship.

"Our new mascot energizes things," says pastor Del Richards of Valley Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., which just introduced Lift-Him-Up Lion.

On Sunday morning during worship time, the Lion rushes on stage and does the running man dance to "Blessed Be Your Name." He then makes "I can't hear you" motions and broad clapping gestures, then kneels with his hands raised when the songs turn slower.


Sure, it's satire now. But there's a liturgy committee somewhere that will read this article and treat it as gospel. Liturgy committees can be fooled into doing anything.

Piss Taker

As much as I would like to lay the blame for this disgusting act of desecration of the National War Memorial on the rhetoric at Babble , in all fairness, many of them are certainly genuinely appalled at the act.

Besides which, this particular intoxicated urinator's actions likely have no greater underlying significance than drunken stupidity.

But he may have unintentionally sparked a new form of anti-war protest. Now every left-wing moonbat will be lining up to piss on their local cenotaph at their next big rally against fighting in Iraq/Afghanistan/Sudan/fill in the blank.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Volpe's Brass

This, dear reader, is the very definition of chutzpah:

Liberal MP Joe Volpe is calling on the Senate to amend the Federal Accountability Act to prohibit people under 18 from donating money to political parties after the House of Commons failed to impose such a restriction.

Mr. Volpe was criticized this spring when his campaign for the Liberal Party leadership accepted donations from 11-year-old twins. He returned $27,000 he had received from the twins and three other minors and said he had created a precedent that should become the law of the land.

Mr. Volpe sent a letter last week to the Opposition Leader in the Senate, Liberal Dan Hays, calling for the legislation to include tougher rules.

"In the course of the debate, we established in Canada a sense that the spirit of the law is that no one under the age of 18 would make a political contribution. I lived to that standard by giving the money back," Mr. Volpe said in an interview yesterday.


Senator Hays must have had a good laugh when he read the letter. Even his own party thinks Volpe has become a punchline at best, an embarrassment at worst.

Nonetheless, kudos to Volpe for his eleventh hour attack of conscience. He'll still be going into this race as the kingmaker with every Tomaso, Ryczard and Harjit in Toronto fresh off the boat and in the party.

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, July 03, 2006

Molasses

Because you can never be too careful handling such a dangerous substance, the good folk at Crosby Molasses have thoughtfully provided a Material Safety Data Sheet for molasses.

Would that one had been available at the time of the 1919 Boston Molasses Flood: people would not have had to die such a sticky, sweet death.

Molasses can be also be used as the fuel in ANFO, a fact that fortunately escaped the Toronto 17 jihadis. They might have started buying the stuff in bulk. And then you'd never be able to buy molasses without a permit.

Missed By That Much

If this asteroid had come just a bit closer to Earth, it would have been the greatest news story nobody lived to hear about.

Give Til It Hurts, Hurt Til It Gives

Here's why the Conservative Party can afford to be sanguine about giving back leadership convention fees, and the Liberal Party can't:

The Conservative party appears to be doing just fine without the help of corporate donors, raking in nearly $18 million from individual Canadians last year.

That's double the $8.3 million the Liberals collected, according to party documents released by Elections Canada on Saturday.

But there was good news for the Liberals in 2005. The party emerged from being nearly $2 million in debt a year earlier to being in the black by $440,551.

The Conservatives continue to shoulder a considerable debt from the former Progressive Conservative party, and remains in the red by $687,569.

Still, the party is making massive strides in getting rid of that debt. Since its Reform party days, the organization has always been adept at collecting from individuals rather than relying on corporate donors.

It was the second year that political parties had to do without corporate or union donations, and the amount of individual donations was capped at $5,000.

The NDP collected $5.1 million from Canadian individuals in 2005. It was also in debt by $2.2 million, a reflection of a hefty bank loan.


Looks like the Liberals are well behind the curve in adjusting to the fundraising restrictions their prior government imposed on themselves.

These numbers put the Liberals in a bind over the issue of convention fees.

If the Tories decide to take the high road, treat them as donations, and return the excess to the donors, the Liberals will be under political pressure to do the same regardless of the financial pressure it put their party under.

If the Tories don't, then the Liberals look awfully foolish for demanding it in the first place, although such foolishness will be tempered by the financial relief it provides.

Either way, the Liberals have got to figure out how to work with this equation: one $50,000 donor is less than a thousand $50 donors. If they don't, the fundraising gap is only going to widen, and the NDP might just surpass them.

Source: Yahoo