The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, July 31, 2004
A new kind of Republican
I doubt America has ever seen or will ever again see the likes of this candidate for the US House of Representatives. He's being called the second coming of Jesse Helms -- except he's black!
For an idea of what Vernon Robinson's message is all about, check out this radio ad. You could call it "hard-hitting" I suppose.
All I have to say is WOW.
Hat tip: Rightwing.ca
(Cross-posted to Musings.)
Friday, July 30, 2004
Fox News Alert
Fox News is pushing to get into Canada. I happened to be in the States last week and caught Bill O'Reilly and Rick Salutin going mano-a-mano over the CRTC's decision to allow Al Jazeera into Canada but not Fox News. For the record, Rick actually said he supported that policy.
If you disagree with Rick, Fox needs your help.
From our bulging What Liberal Media? file
I have such trouble keeping up, don't you? One minute the Pope is "frail" and "ailing." Then today he suddenly "hits out" at "feminist radicals"! Gotta watch those crazy old men every second, I tell ya!
And what's worse, the document was signed by "the Church's powerful doctrinal enforcer Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger"! "Ya got a nice little Women's Studies Centre here, lady. Be a shame if somethin' wuz ta... happen to it..."
Among the pope's clearly insane, controversial ideas: women who work outside the home should "not have to choose between relinquishing their family life or enduring continual stress, with negative consequences for one's own equilibrium and the harmony of the family".
Help! These cold kitchen tiles are freezing my bare pregnant feet!
Mark Shea, long time observer of papal "crack downs" and other journalistic cliches, sighs: "So much media coverage of the Church just makes people stupider..."
Invitation to a brouhaha
Why is polygamy illegal in Canada if gay marriage is a human right? Surely a man with two wives could not be considered more of a threat to the foundations of society than a man with a husband? Go ahead, mingle, talk it over, have some fun.
Quibble, over such a small thing
Michael Harris does an okay job laying out the stem cell research debate and the various contradictions therein, primarily in the US, in the Ottawa Sun today with his column: Cell Division.
However, I have one bone to pick. It's with this paragraph:
If, for example, stem cell research is wrong because it involves the destruction of human embryos, as Mr. Bush opines, then the president should be banning the practice, not merely hobbling public funding. That is especially true since privately funded stem cell research focuses on commercial rather than therapeutic applications of the nascent technology.
I'm not completely sure of this, but it seems to me these two types of research are one and the same, or pretty close: the commercial applications would probably be therapeutic. Why else would anyone else want to buy them? By making his distinction, Harris I believe is overloading his language based on the assumption that commercial applications are bad, but government-funded applications are always therapeutic and good.
Of course this is not the case, since governments in times past have funded some of the nastiest "research" ever devised by man. The law of unintended consequences aside, political and commercial interests are as benevolent--or as dangerous--as the people who run them.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Go balloons! Go balloons!
It is only funny if you watched the CNN coverage of Senator Kerry's speech. Sadly, it was the most interesting thing said all evening.
Update: Matt Drudge was watching.
Riddle me this
So if John Kerry isn’t going to change foreign policy and the U.S. economy is not in dire need of a makeover, why does America require a Democratic president who appears to have no clear position on many other issues of crucial importance to Americans?
Confusion in COTU
Those in Western Canada who professed not to understand Ontario after the results of the federal election would be no doubt scratching their heads at Toronto Mayor David Miller's comments on a local radio station this morning.
Mayor Miller when talking about funding for cities opined that:
(and I quoting from memory)
“people don’t want their money going to Ottawa where it will be wasted in things like sponsorship scandals”
I know what you’re thinking – that sounds like perfectly good reasoning, a lot of Canadians were upset at the sponsorship scandal.
One problem for all of you who aren’t citizens of Toronto and those who are but might have forgotten:
David Miller in the last federal election, which occurred only one month ago ENDORSED TWO LIBERAL CANDIDATES!!!!!
You can read the rest of my rant here.
An ideologue's paradise
The crime rate has gone up. Murder rate is down. But robberies are up. Here is the CBC story on the matter: National crime rate jumps in 2003.
Since I have written on the firearms registry, I am more or less expected to keep up with these things like the national crime rate (I'm not a gun owner myself), so when I saw the link to the CBC story on Bourque I was inclined to click on it. I read through the thing expecting to find a word or two on firearms because, well, in case you haven't heard we have this hugely controversial long gun registry in this country that was, in the last federal election, stridently defended by MP and deputy prime minister Anne McLellan. The firearms registry is supposed to protect the public, and by that I take it that everyone expects that gun crime should be going down.
But in the CBC story I didn't find a word about firearms. That's odd. So I goes (btw that's a nod to my blue collar Canadian roots method of storytelling, "so I goes") to the Statscan Daily, on which the CBC story is entirely based (how much are we paying the CBC to edit and redraft government press releases?) and I find this 'graph about halfway down:
"The rate of robberies rose 5%, the first gain since 1996. This included a 10% increase in robberies committed with a firearm. Of the more than 28,000 robberies in 2003, 14% involved a firearm, 38% were committed with a weapon other than a firearm, and nearly half were committed without a weapon."
Well, at least Statscan didn't edit out that second sentence. Over on www.annemclellan.ca or at www.annemclellan.com I haven't found a press release yet screaming "Gun Robberies Increase; Liberals Take Credit"; nothing yet on the Liberal Party website, but it's still early. Mind you, I don't see the gun registry listed on the Highlights of Liberal accomplishments: 1993-2003. But then you might recall from a few days ago the Robert Fife article in the National Post about how the registry is being used as an example of bureaucratic bungling. Har har. McLellan--on whose watch most of the bungling occurred--gets re-elected and re-appointed, not defeated at the polls, not forced out of the cabinet as one would expect in a real country with real democratic accountability, not the democratic accountability our mouthful-of-BS prime minister has blabbed on about lo these many months.
Anyway, back to the crime stats. How reliable are these? I don't know. When crime rates go down, governments takes credit for effective policing, and when they go up, governments takes credit for effective policing, as in this story today out of central Britain. Nowadays, I always keep in mind these two paragraphs from an article written in the National Review Online in 2000 by an American optometrist:
"A headline in the London Daily Telegraph back on April 1, 1996, said it all: "Crime Figures a Sham, Say Police." The story noted that "pressure to convince the public that police were winning the fight against crime had resulted in a long list of ruses to 'massage' statistics," and "the recorded crime level bore no resemblance to the actual amount of crime being committed."
For example, where a series of homes was burgled, they were regularly recorded as one crime. If a burglar hit 15 or 20 flats, only one crime was added to the statistics."
With the introduction of strident gun control measures in Britain, that country appeared to experience an increase in robberies and property crimes. One might conclude, as gun rights advocates have, that the right to defend oneself and one's home is largely diminished with strict gun control and bans. Despite the British government's claims (mostly using something called the British Crime Survey) we see in this July 22 Telegraph article that in the nuts and bolts of it, crime there is on the increase. Here in Canada we have some proof of what appears to be the same trend.
So, now I refer back to Tuesday's Globe and Mail and an op-ed by Clayton Ruby; "Canada's gun control is on target."
"Strong gun control remains one of the core values that separate us from the United States. Despite the ludicrous claims that more guns result in less crime, most Canadians know that strong laws have set us on a safer path, very different from the one our neighbours to the south are walking."
No, we're walking the narrow path that Britain is on, our hands tied behind our back, staring at the ground; a way of walking that diminishes our responsibility and our freedom, a path where ordinary citizens are treated by default as criminals by the state, a path on which only the police and thieves have guns.
In my humble opinion, I think in the examples of Anne McLellan and Clayton Ruby we might learn that it is possible to be smart, memorize a lot of things, go on to become a lawyer, and even then--after all that--still remain an ideologue and a fool.
Kerry filmed re-creations of his exploits in 'Nam?
Kerry would revisit ambush locations for reenacting combat scenes where he would portray the hero, catching it all on film. Kerry would take movies of himself walking around in combat gear, sometimes dressed as an infantryman walking resolutely through the terrain. He even filmed mock interviews of himself narrating his exploits. A joke circulated among Swiftees was that Kerry left Vietnam early not because he received three Purple Hearts, but because he had recorded enough film of himself to take home for his planned political campaigns."
Uh huh. I'm being serious now, folks: isn't this a sign of mental illness? Really. Your thoughts...
From a reader, this ruling on Ontario's sex offender registry. Relevant section is at the bottom, which you might want to skip right along to, unless you have a law degree and are a glutton for punishment.
On to the money quote.
 As noted previously, the objectives of Christopher's Law are admirable but I find that in fostering these objectives Christopher's Law is overbroad. The legislation incorporates means which limit and violate Mr. Dyck's right to liberty and security for no reasons. The objective of Christopher's Law could be accomplished without infringing on the life, liberty and security interests of Mr. Dyck or others in the manner it has which I find is arbitrary or disproportionate. The provisions of Christopher's Law impair the rights of Mr. Dyck under section 7 more than is reasonably necessary in order to achieve its legislative objectives.
 I find, therefore, that Christopher's Law violates Mr. Dyck's rights under section 7 of the Charter and the legislation cannot be justified under section 1 of the Charter.
Mr. Dyck (his real name or fun lovin' psuedonym ? ... the mind boggles) is a convicted sex offender who objected to being added to the Ontario sex offender registry - and his objections are upheld.
So there you have it. Law abiding Canadian citizens are mandated by federal law to register their firearms (or face criminal prosecution) ; mandated by federal law to register all purebred animals (under threat of a $50,000 fine); by provincial law, to register all motor vehicles and trailers. They must register their intent to serve alcohol at a public gathering. They must register their intent to hold a charity raffle. They must register their newborns and their dead.
But it's unconstitutional to mandate the errant Dyck to register his errant dick.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Conventions should be geek only events
No cares about these conventions except those attending them -- media and delegates -- and about an equal number of people who spend more time thinking and talking about politics than they do say interacting with normal people or interacting with people (if you know what I mean). So I think the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum is onto something:
"At other times, it is made to look like a late-night talk show. Speakers walk on stage to a blast of canned music -- 'New York State of Mind' for Hillary, 'Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow' for Bill -- and often get a Hollywood hug from the presenter, who is Glenn Close or someone of her ilk. At still other times, it feels like a one-sided sporting event, with chanting and a scoreboard-style video screen showing individual members of the crowd, who scream and wave when they see themselves screaming and waving.
It's a formula that may have outlived its usefulness. Ultimately, all of this effort to make the convention seem 'normal,' or to make it look just like other things that appear on television, backfires because it can't really compete with other things that appear on television. Glenn Close makes a better actress than she does political presenter. Pop music is more fun when there's a dance floor nearby. This kind of show will never bring in the people who don't know one party from the next, and it might even turn them off. Why not spend the allotted hour of prime time presenting Kerry's health care policy -- everyone cares about health care -- or talking about Iraq? At least that would help explain what all of these people are doing here. The trouble with conventions isn't that they are scripted it's that they are scripted to appeal to the people who aren't watching anyway."
He did it!
Johnboy Edwards spoke for 29 minutes. And still somehow didn't say much that would attract a new voter.
The second coming of Hillary Clinton
Teresa Heinz Kerry is, we're constantly told, brilliant; she exemplifies a great-escape-from-tyranny-and-make-it-America story; she will be one of the top three great First Ladies behind Hillary and Eleanor. Admittedly, the reviews were toned down last night by the punditocracy who seemed less impress once they
actually heard her. Still, no doubt THK compares to Hillary Clinton.
In No Left Turns Peter Schramm exposes the next Hillary Clinton for being what Hillary Clinton was: nothing without her husband:
"I think Teresa Kerry should not have spoken. She was terrible. It’s OK for her to get the reputation that she is a woman who speaks her mind, as long as there is some mind there to speak."
Now recall that Hillary and Bill promised (threatened?) vote for Bill and get them both -- the worst two-for-one deal in history. Until now. As Barbara Comstock says in NRO today:
"Anyone having to 'listen' to this drivel wouldn't want to 'hear' this woman's voice; but that's not a gender issue. 'Opinionated' is just a more polite way of saying 'inane' in the case of Teresa. Teresa proved tonight that she could be as mind-numbingly self-absorbed, elitist, and dull as her husband. So we get two odd ducks for the price of one multimillionaire."
Edwards at 12 minutes and counting
Yesterday we were told that Senator Johnboy Edwards might speak for as long as 30 minutes. He's 12 minutes into his speech and hasn't said a whole lot. If he was telling the truth, there are only 18 minutes to go.
F9/11 Film Subjects Cry Foul
Even Mr. bin Laden says that Michael Riefenstahl's new film is full of inaccuracies.
That would be Osama's brother, Yeslam, who says he enjoyed the film, but admits that one of the central claims in the film—that Bush re-opened US airspace after September 11th exclusively to fly 142 Saudis, including bin Laden family members out of the country in the wake of the attacks—is a lie.
"That's false and can be verified by anyone," he says.
He also says that Moore lies about the members of his famiily that attended a wedding for one of Osama's kids in Afghanistan.
Not that yet another heap of evidence against Moore will stop the man from pretending he is the guardian of truth.
F9/11 Film Fan Detained
Sounds plausible to me...
Iran's judiciary has put forward a new theory as to how journalist Zahra Kazemi died while in Iranian custody. See, she wasn't beaten to death, she fell.
"The death of Mrs. Zahra Kazemi was an accident," according to a judiciary statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
"With the acquittal of the sole defendant, only one option is left: the death of the late Kazemi was an accident due to fall in blood pressure resulting from a hunger strike and her fall on the ground while standing," the statement said.
Ottawa Sun columnist Earl McRae also has a column on the case today which features a rant by an Iranian-Canadian disgusted by his new country. Can't say I blame him.
So is it a person under the law or not?
I find this story interesting, a midwife is being charged with criminal negligence causing death:
French Beach woman faces charges in relation to the death of a infant during an attempted natural childbirth at a Sooke home in June. […]A sad tale to be sure, but this raises a couple of questions. Why is the midwife the one that’s negligent but not the mother? The mother was advised by a doctor to avoid natural childbirth as it was too risky, but she chose to do it anyway. Is this what they mean by a woman’s right to choose? The mother avoids any legal consequence of careless decisions but the midwife she hired bears the brunt instead. It certainly appears there were also poor decisions by the midwife, but these merely followed initial reckless course of action initiated by the mother.
It is alleged Labadie presented herself as an experienced midwife for a woman who wanted to have a natural childbirth. The birth was the second for the woman. It was identified as a breech and natural childbirth was not advised by a doctor, Latham said. It is alleged Labadie acted negligently prior to and during the birth, which resulted in the death.
I would also note that she is being held legally accountable for the death in this case, when she could have deliberately killed the baby in the womb without any consequence at all. Perhaps that’s the lesson midwives and doctors should draw from this case, given the current state of the laws in this country. A doctor or midwife facing a complicated birth may be tempted to kill the baby in the womb rather than suffer the legal consequences as this midwife has.
(Crossposted at Trudeaupia)
The Daily Standard?
So I’m flipping through my recently arrived issue of the Western Standard, which is always a pleasure, when the question crossed my mind. Are they now printing daily? The reason I ask is that my last issue arrived yesterday, which I spent yesterday evening reading. But I check the dates and no, the last issue was July 19 and the one that arrived today is August 2. Do other people get delivery this irregularly, or is this a special courtesy I receive thanks to my friends at Canada Post here in Gatineau, Quebec?
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Most pundits like what they heard from Barack Obama, presumably Illinois' next senator, the youngish, black with a classic American story. The keynote speaker was even lauded as a possible future president by, among others, David Gergen. This is condescending. If he were not black, no one would be talking about the White House for someone who has never been elected to anything above the level of state rep. (or is it state senator?). Also, recall that after Mario Cuomo delivered a rousing keynote address at the 1984 DNC, he was hailed as a future president.
Anyway, 'nuff about what might happen in Obama's future and consider what he did last night. What Obama said, as several conservative commentators noted this evening, was more Reaganesque than Democrat. He talked about a United States of America, not a liberal or conservative America, not a black or white or Hispanic America. All well and fine and good but not standard Democratic fare; indeed, his party has done more to disunite America, to engender the grievance industry and to politically benefit from that, than anyone outside academia. Tucker Carlson said Obama's convention rhetoric didn't match his senatorial campaign rhetoric. Will the real Obama please stand up? Then we can talk about his running for president. Or perhaps we should wait for him to get elected to the Senate first; after all, he isn't Justin Trudeau. Such coronations are distasteful in a republic.
No room at the DNC inn for Dukakis
This is just sad, really. The Washington Times reported yesterday that Democratic officials have no place to showcase the last Massachusetts liberal who ran at the top of the party's ticket. Instead, he will do a walking tour of the downtown. Recall that Dukakis gave Kerry his start in elected politics in 1983 as his lieutenant governor.
Democrats offer a whole lot of boring and a little bit of France
The Democrats failed in their task of following up the most boring day at any national convention ever with a day of modicum of interest. They failed. CTV reports that yesterday's all-star line-up -- Bill and Hill, Gore and Carter and Dean -- was the least watched convention day ever. Contrary to the CW, this is good because Americans would not have been bored to tears by the Democrats, thus driving voters away from KerryEdwards in November.
Jon Stewart is the only coverage of the DNC worth watching in Canada and tonight he repeatedly showed convention-goers dancing, including one youngish lady who has not seemingly ever attended her underarm growth. Christopher Buckley may have had a point.
The truth comes out
Thanks to reader Joel Fleming for the link to this. Fearless investigative journalists at Al-Jazeera finally expose the truth.
Vanunu is said to have made the accusation in an interview to al-Hayat, London-based newspaper.This is the kind of brave truth-telling we can expect from this valued new contributor to the Canadian multicultural discourse. It should also be noted that Vanunu is barred from talking to foreign media, so it's quite doubtful whether this interview actually took place.
Vanunu, a former nuclear technician who was recently released after spending 18 years in jail for exposing Israel's nuclear program at Dimona to Britain's Sunday Times, has been barred from leaving the country, talking to the media or meeting with foreigners.
As per the interview published in newspaper's Arabic supplement al-Wassat on Sunday, Vanunu said according to "near-certain indications", Kennedy was assassinated due to "pressure he exerted on then head of government, David ben-Gurion, to shed light on Dimona's nuclear reactor".
"We do not know which irresponsible Israeli Prime Minister will take office and decide to use nuclear weapons in the struggle against neighbouring Arab countries," he is quoted to have said, adding "what has already been exposed about the weapons Israel is holding can destroy the region and kill millions."
That said, I am not one of those who thinks Al-Jazeera should be banned in Canada. Yes, it's Jihadist propaganda, but the solution is to shed light on it, not censor it.
(Also posted at Trudeaupia.)
Brother taxpayer can you spare a dime?
Tonight on Lou Dobbs, a panel of journalists lamented that nothing newsworthy happens at a convention, the media doesn't give it gavel to gavel coverage and, as one of them noted, they are extraordinarily expensive with nothing to show for it. Time magazine's Karen Tumulty said with a straight face that such a comment wasn't fair because Peter, Paul and Mary played at the DNC earlier today. So really, the DNC is a subsidized concert for aging hippies.
John Edwards says he expects his speech to run close to half an hour, explaining:
"I'll talk some about Sen. Kerry, I'll talk some about my personal view about why he should be president, what kind of character he has. I'll talk some about my own background, and then lay out some specific ideas to support our vision for the country."
I doubt he'll fit that in under 30 minutes. But if Kerry was going to tell us what he planned on talking about, that alone would have taken 30 minutes.
This claims to be a fiscally conservative paper, right?
Adam Radwanski can't understand what the "practical" reasons are for wanting to privatize liquor stores in Ontario, something the finance minister there is floating (heard that before). To his mind, there are just "ideological" ones.
"It's pretty simple, really," says the Post's edboarder. "The LCBO offers consumers good choice. Its prices are reasonable. And it rakes in a tonne of cash for the province."
Gunter weighs in with a defense of consumer convenience. He's right, but that's not even the most compelling practical case for privatization.
Yes the LCBO produces revenue.But looking only at the fact that the LCBO "rakes in cash" neglects to address the most basic financial fundamentals. Judging an enterprise based on revenue alone is a startlingly one-dimensional approach for an organ that supposedly favours sensible fiscal management . By that measure, Petro Canada should never have been sold, nor Air Canada.
What about revenue as a ratio to capital or assets? The LCBO is sitting on billions of dollars worth of property and inventory and its operating costs eat up millions every year. All of that is taxpayer money being utilized in what is clearly a ridiculously inefficient manner. The money could be returned to taxpayers as an economic stimulus, or redeployed to balance Ontario's $6 billion defecit. (Of course Sorbara isn't really talking about privatizing the liquor business, just the retail arm. Ultimately there is no private liquor in Canada as even Alberta continues to own the distribution business.)
Think about it this way, Posties: If Queen's Park were suggesting buying a liquor business today, with good customer service and good prices and some decent cash flow, would you think that was a prudent use of taxpayers' dollars at this particular point in time?
You figure it out. Ralph Klein blusters about defying Ottawa on health care and he's a granny-murdering monster. Harper muses about allowing provinces to experiment with different health care strategies and he's a Straussian devil. But when Dalton McGuinty finally signs on to the notion that Ottawa cannot dictate what provinces do when they pay but a fraction of the medicare bill, he's a hero.
"Right on," exclaims the the never-boring Warren Kinsella. "From Klein, or Harris, or one of those other Medicare-hating neo-cons, complaints about the systematic underfunding of health care were easily dismissed (and usually rightly so) as grubby partisanship dressed up in the finery of high principle. The pencil-pushers in Ottawa can't do that with McGuinty. My hunch is a lot of folks will look at this and say: "He means it. He's prepared to take on even his own federal party to ensure that my Number One Priority is finally addressed. That's not 'bickering,' that's actual leadership."
So, this is how Liberals see Canada. It's not the logic or sense of a policy that matters, but whether the one who epouses it is loyal to the Big Red L or not.
This has to be a bit of a downer for convention celebrants. Kerry's polls are sagging faster than his debotoxified face ...
Considering the fact that average voting Americans are only beginning to pay attention to the choices before them, maybe the DNC should rethink giving Michael "Would you say that to Bush or Kerry?" Moore a chair in the presidential box.
(earlier photo removed as originating source had replaced it)
Crossposted to SDA
I see the French are having some difficulty in their gay marriage debate (today's Globe and Mail "French court nullifies gay marriage").
For some decent writing on the topic, I suggest you read Kay Hymowitz's piece on the subject in the summer edition of City Journal: "Gay Marriage vs. American Marriage".
Hymowitz makes several interesting observations and emphasizes one important point. It's only recently, by loosening divorce laws in the late 1960s, that we have broken marriage away from its central function of protecting the family and children and made it into the for-you-and-me-only romantic-kal nonsense it is today, a write-your-own-vows bizarre bit of fluff that can be accomplished while jumping out of a plane or underwater while scuba diving, the stuff of kooky reality shows centering on some distraught, bitchy bride torturing everyone with her desire to make everything "just perfect."
I also like these two paragraphs:
So what are we to make of the fact that these mom-and-apple-pie young people tend to be more in favor of gay marriage than their parents and grandparents are? The great irony is that their traditionalism enlarges their sympathy for gays' hunger for ’til-death-do-us-part commitment; after all, that's what's they want, too. Odd as it sounds, gays and the children who grew up in single-parent homes share the experience of standing outside and looking longingly through the window at the peaceful, Norman Rockwell family reading or playing Scrabble in front of the fireplace. Rauch and Sullivan, in particular, have written touchingly of marriage as a solemn, even spiritual, union, a momentous public vow to another person that comes with profound responsibilities and aspires to transcendence. If you add together young people's earnest devotion to marriage and their interest in the civil rights movement (insofar as they have studied any American history at all, it's likely to begin with Rosa Parks and end with Martin Luther King), you have a generation for which gay marriage seems merely commonsensical.
But what the young neo-traditionalists have trouble understanding is that their embrace of the next civil rights revolution, as many of them are inclined to see the fight for gay marriage, is actually at war with their longing for a more stable domestic life. Gay marriage gives an enfeebled institution another injection of the toxin that got it sick in the first place: it reinforces the definition of marriage as a loving, self-determining couple engaging in an ordinary civil contract that has nothing to do with children. That's no way for marriage to get its gravitas back. It is marriage's dedication to child rearing, to a future that projects far beyond the passing feelings of a couple, that has the potential to discipline adult passion. "The gravity of marriage as an institution comes from its demand that love be negotiated through these larger responsibilities [surrounding procreation]," Shelby Steele has written in response to Andrew Sullivan. Ignore those responsibilities and you get, well, you get the marital meltdown that this generation was hoping to transform.
We will not parley
“We are still investigating the authenticity and relevance of that body, but we will not take any notice of threats of that kind,” Prime Minister John Howard, a close ally of President Bush, told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
“We will not parley and negotiate with terrorists and I believe the overwhelming majority of the Australian public will agree with us,” said Howard, who sent 2,000 troops to the U.S.-led war on Iraq.
Belmont Club makes a salient comparison of Australian and Canadian foreign policy. It seems clear to me that Iranian fascists will face no consequences for the torture and murder of a Canadian citizen. They will instead be rewarded by visits from our dignitaries and with business from Canadian oil interests.
This country is broken. It will take some work to fix it.
Cross-posted to Ghost of a flea
Hosers for Kerry, eh
It might be neck-and-neck in the States, but Canadians would pick Kerry over George W. Bush, 60 to 22 percent. (If I recall correctly, a Macleans poll said only 15% of Canadians would vote for Bush. How do we explain his sudden seven-point surge?)
Strangely, one of Kerry's widest margins is in Alberta, where he would get 60% of the vote. (Not surprisingly, Kerry's biggest lead is in Quebec.) And where does Dubya put up a respectable showing? Here in the very same Atlantic Canada that went overwhelmingly Liberal last month. (It's 51-37 for Kerry down here.)
Monday, July 26, 2004
Double Standard watch
Washington Post story on the line-up of yesterday's Democrats is titled "Democratic Icons Assail Current Bush Policies." Will former GOP stars get same "icon" label? Doubt it.
USA Today (may have) spiked Coulter column
USA Today reportedly spiked a Ann Coulter column after commissioning the blonde columnist to rant daily for their publication. The paper denies it spiked the column, that it only asked for changes. WorldNetDaily runs the offending piece. There are genuinely funny parts ("I will quit making fun of, for example, Dennis Kucinich, if he can prove he can run a 7-11 properly for 8 hours") but after reading the first paragraph I understand why the paper wanted amendments: "Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do." She also repeatedly refers to Dems as nuts, which they are, but which isn't polite to point out in columns in the paper of record for vacationing Americans.
Coulter's column was over the top but it will be interesting to see what Michael Moore gets away with when he covers the GOP convention for USA Today in September.
Facts are facist, especially in the Middle East
As I've noted before on my own blog Sobering Thoughts, I once was engaged in a heated discussion with a leftie whose reply to my rude insertion of facts to the debate was this: "Facts are facist." So consider Dennis Prager's consideration of the numerical facts of Middle East conflict. Here are some examples:
Number of Jewish countries: 1
Number of Jewish democracies: 1
Number of Arab countries: 19
Number of Arab democracies: 0
Number of Arab countries that have been members of the U.N. Security Council: 16
Number of times Israel has been a member of the U.N. Security Council: 0
Number of U.N. Security Council resolutions on the Middle East between 1948 and 1991: 175
Number of these resolutions against Israel: 97
Number of these resolutions against an Arab state: 4
Number of U.N. agencies that deal only with Palestinian refugees: 1
Number of U.N. agencies that deal with all the other refugees in the world: 1
Number of Arabs Israel allows to live in Arab settlements in Israel: 1,250,000
Number of Jews Palestinian Authority allows to live in Jewish settlements in Palestinian Authority: 0
Merely noting these makes Dennis Prager -- and surely myself and The Shotgun -- the bad guy. If not a facist.
I made the right decision
After reading all the coverage of the DNC I'm glad that I decided that instead of staying home and flipping between CNN coverage of the event and the Yankees-Blue Jays game, that I went to see the game live. Mariano Rivera blows his second save in three days but the Yankees win it in the 10th, 6-5.
Great thing about Yankee games at the SkyDome is that about a quarter of the fans (at least) are Yankee fans. On the first base side, it was closer to 75% Bronx Bombers, 25% Blue Jays. We high-fived one another when Jorge Posada got a first inning grand slam.
Blogs at DNC
Much has been made of the media accreditation given to some 35 blogs at the DNC. Wall Street Journal has the best coverage of the phenom and the bloggers. Note, however, how many of the accredited bloggers were at one time Howard Dean supporters.
As for the significance of bloggers being in Boston, you have to do nothing more than read these two 'graphs from Oxblog's David Adesnik:
"Last night, in a dark wooden corner of an Irish pub, he said to me that journalists now think bloggers are important because bloggers have been invited to cover an event -- the Democratic convention -- that journalists describe as inherently unimportant.
Who was 'he'? I wish I remember. The only name I remember from last night is Sam Adams. But the point is still valid. If the convention is a pseudo-event produced for the benefit of the media, then by virture of getting invited, bloggers have become newsworthy."
First DNC post
I'm not sure if that qualifies me for a win or me as a loser. Anyway, Paul Wells signs off his first Boston DNC post thusly: "Bill Clinton speaks tonight. I'll tell you how it went. It will be sort of like news, except not really."
What a kind offer...
Iran's government today announced that they would reveal the real killer of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi.
"The Intelligence Ministry is prepared to identify the person behind the semi-premeditated murder of Zahra Kazemi, provided the judiciary allows it to do so," government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reporters Monday.
I realize that the "reformist" government doesn't get along with the conservative clergy and judicial system, but if they knew that Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi wasn't the person who killed Kazemi why didn't they speak up earlier? They could have at least said publicly that Ahmadi was a scapegoat but instead they allowed the trial to take place with no public statement pointing the finger at the real murderer.
Be Sure To Wash Your Hands
The most disturbing aspect of this revelation is the possibility that there are articles in the National Archives that may have spent time in Sandy Berger's pants.
Stockholm Syndrome By Proxy
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, supports a variety of right on, socially progressive causes many of which I would broadly agree with. Yet the Archbishop has chosen to speak at Al-Azhar University, Cairo on the anniversary of September 11 (via Daimnation!). It is reported the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi condemned those attacks but I find little comfort in his words given his contradictory views on suicide bombing and "jihad" against Coalition forces in Iraq. His views on Israel are entirely predictable. Perhaps Archbishop Williams hopes for a similar breakthrough for ecumenism such as followed the Sheikh's meeting with the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Israel Lau in 1997. An interview with al Jazeera clarifies the Sheikh's views of the encounter.
Question: "What is your reply to the Israeli journalist, Shahar Ilan, who wrote in the Ha-Aretz newspaper about this meeting? He claims that the rabbi won the important battle over the heart of Islam, when he met with the Sheik of Al-Azhar?"
Tantawi: "Reality refutes it. I did not ask to meet with the rabbi; he was the one who asked to meet me and when he left the meeting, his face looked like his behind… This journalist did not attend the meeting and, therefore, he is a liar."
Leaving any potential remarks about the Archbishop's face, I find it difficult to believe he could agree with the faculty of Al-Azhar in their support for, to cite only one example, wife beating despite any common Abrahamic tradition. I can only credit an hallucinatory stupidity that would choose to legitimate the views of those people who would put your own to the sword. I can empathize, if not sympathize, with the people of the Philipines who should choose to knuckle under to the religious war of their captors lest they find their heads on the block. Archbishop Williams has no such excuse. He finds himself in a country where his liberties have the protection of law and his personal views have constitutional and historical leverage. That he should choose to exercise his power in this way is a direct betrayal of every value it is his duty to protect.
Cross-posted to Ghost of a flea
Terror websites shut down
The Kerry On Gang
In today's NRO, Byron York has an excellent rundown of John Kerry's not so spectacular week leading up to the Democratic National
I am very skeptical of John Kerry's ability to thrive in the pressure cooker of the Oval Office and make life or death decisions every day. "Nuance" is lovely for op-ed pages, but leading the free world, in my opinion, on most days tends not to be a very morally neutral proposition. Bush seems to get this, in spite of his alleged intellectual failings.
My other problem with Kerry is that he seems to have surrounded himself with people who exhibit rather questionable ethics (to say the least). Does this bode well for a Kerry cabinet? These people could be running the war on terrorism very shortly. I'm not comforted by that thought, somehow.
The Latest in leftist protest - Assassination
You'll recall that the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by an animal rights activist, so we should not take these musings lightly. Here's the latest threat:
A top adviser to Britain's two most powerful animal rights protest groups caused outrage last night by claiming that the assassination of scientists working in biomedical research would save millions of animals' lives.I think the left should stop calling us the fascists and look at the ugly collection of characters in their midst.
To the fury of groups working with animals, Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon and prominent figure in the anti-vivisection movement, told The Observer: 'I think violence is part of the struggle against oppression. If something bad happens to these people [animal researchers], it will discourage others. It is inevitable that violence will be used in the struggle and that it will be effective.' [...]
'I don't think you'd have to kill too many [researchers]. I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.
Update: And here's some even more heartening news from a British training camp:
Britain is the new training ground for animal rights activists, with anti-vivisectionists travelling here from all over the world to learn techniques of unarmed combat and how to evade arrest. [...]What a charming bunch of people.
There has been an escalation in what participants call "the animal liberation war". This week the Government will announce a clampdown on what some politicians have branded the "home terrorists", whose tactics include breaking into the houses of researchers, sending them hate mail and death threats, pouring acid over their cars, fire-bombing property and threatening to create bogus criminal records to smear company directors.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
"Off A Tich"
Three weeks of imaging data by the agency's satellites from early 2001 showed more than 10 individual giant waves around the globe of more than 25 metres in height. Previously, scientists believed that such large waves occurred only once every 10,000 years.
In related news...
Crossposted to SDA
"Fairer sex" gets fighters
The Israeli newspaper Maariv reports that Israel has deployed an all-female fighter pilot squadron. The squadron, the latest effort of Israel to integrate its armed forces, is probably the ultimate result of a course case in which that country's Supreme Court ruled that the IDF had to allow women to become fighter pilots.
Although Maariv reports at length on this, one can read between the lines that this will take some adjustments by reporters, who evidently need a bit of re-education.
In the new squadron, all positions are staffed by members of the fairer sex: from the combat pilot to the operations officer, training officer, air traffic control sergeant right down to the ground technician.
Bush-Kerry too close to call
The Associated Press reports that President George W. Bush -- who has just won a bunch of World Stupidity Awards at the Just for Laugh festival -- has a slight edge over Senator John Kerry in the electoral college. Bush leads comfortably in 25 states worth 217 electoral votes compared to Kerry's 14 states (and DC) and 193 electoral votes. There are 11 states up for grabs worth 128 electoral votes. If they split them, Bush wins. Furthermore, AP reports that Kerry is scaling back operations in four key leaning Bush states: Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Arizona.
Washington Post columnist George F. Will writes today that small things will matter in this election. Bush could try to win Pennsylvania by playing the cultural issues card -- abortion, capital punishment and gun control (PA has more NRA members than any other state) -- but that could drive away voters in other states. But the places this would most likely happen are already Kerry states. Kerry is targeting several leaning Bush states because they are "competitive" but, reports Will, according to one senior Bush campaign official Colorado is "competitive" "only in the sense that Kerry can lose by 8 points or spend millions and lose by 5 points. The official puts Arizona in the same category. However, some such state is apt to provide a surprise on Nov. 2." In 2000, Gore would have won if 269 votes switched sides in Florida -- "or 3,606 in New Hampshire, or 13,784 in Nevada, or 20,490 in West Virginia."
The polls show the race is too close to call. There are just 100 days in the campaign which, as the cliche goes, is a lifetime in politics. A bump in the polls after the Democratic National Convention could build irreversible momentum or be just a momentary blip. The point is, there is lots of time and lots of little pseudo-events on the campaign trail to change people's minds. Still, I'm going to stay with my original prediction of a Bush victory. Kerry has not been taken a close, or more importantly consistent look at; once Americans watch him for the many hours that the last two months of the campaign will force them to do, they'll learn all they need to know about Kerry: this is not the man they want on their TV screens for four years. He is simply not likeable. He could have all the advantages that Gore had but he also has his greatest disadvantage: he doesn't pass the "I'd like to have a beer with him test." Bush wins with 285-310 electoral votes. I think all the small things George Will writes about will start going Bush's way, in part because of a point Will makes: now that Iraqis have control over their own country, Iraq will be less of an issue. More Americans have died so far in July than they have in June. But it doesn't matter. This is one of the many small things that will add up to a big Bush victory in November.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Canadian donut hegemony takes a kick in the teeth as our southern neighbo(u)rs introduce liquid donuts to the arsenal of donutocracy.
Once the fried dough embodiment of hot and fresh, Krispy Kreme has transformed its original glazed doughnut into a new frozen beverage for summer. The chain introduced a new line of frozen drinks Wednesday, including frozen original kreme -- a drinkable version of the company's signature doughnut -- raspberry, latte and double chocolate. Customers can also add coffee to the kreme and double chocolate.
Cross-posted to Ghost of a flea
Washington DC-based blog by Canuck ex-pat
Matt Vadum's blog is well worth reading even if it is sometimes inadequately punctuated, although that may be a sign of his extreme (albeit seemingly lessening) libertarianism. Consider this post, from a few weeks ago, on Ann Coulter:
"Three of the reasons --the list is long-- why liberals don't like
Ann Coulter are because she's obnoxious and haughty and righteously indignant. Liberals think they hold a monopoly on these qualities."
Note: Matt and I were colleagues in the mid-1990s at a monthly paper which, I noticed, is not listed in his biography. At the time he described himself as a (and I hope I have the spelling correct) minarchist -- a mini anarchist. I fondly recall him calling objectivsts statists. I still don't know if he was joking. But he is serious enough in his libertarianism that I understand he is never returning to Canuckistan.
Bring Our Terrorists Home!
Bill Graham has been out combing the world to repatriate stranded Canadian
terrorists citizens. National Post -
A Foreign Affairs official and an immigration officer visited the MEK's massive complex on May 31 and June 1. Thirteen of the detainees said they were Canadian citizens, while 24 said they were permanent residents and 44 said they had relatives in Canada.
Some of the landed immigrants may no longer be eligible to return to Canada since they have been out of the country for so long. Those with status in Canada are free to return, an official said.
"They have been told that they are totally at liberty to come back to Canada if it is their wish," said Reynald Doiron, a Foreign Affairs spokesman.
The MEK is designated a terrorist organization by both the US and Britain, though the Liberals haven't been as judgemental. (Marxism x Islamism, how can you lose?)
The Iranians are none too happy.
Tehran Times - Canada on the Wrong Track
Recent reports indicate that two Canadian officials met with members of the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) in Iraq from May 31 to June 1.
The Canadian daily the National Post recently confirmed the news in an official report.
Over the past year, the Canadian government, which enjoyed an appropriate relationship with Iran during the years after the Islamic Revolution due to its reasonable and balanced policies, was influenced by the media propaganda about the death of Zahra Kazemi. Canada immediately abandoned its logical and realistic approach in favor of impulsive reactions.
It seems that Canada's diplomacy toward Iran is currently moving swiftly downhill and has also influenced the country's internal affairs and has caused certain changes in the cabinet. This has led the Canadian government to choose the wrong course of action, namely playing with dead pieces like the MKO. Due to the two countries' good relationship in the past, the Canadian government should take the following issues into consideration:
Perhaps now that Iran is crying foul, they'll review the MEK status...