The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Another blogger on the block
The National Citizen's Coalition's Gerry Nicholls has a blog. Check it out. I especially liked this one on Carolyn Parrish and Liberal values:
"Carolyn Parrish calls Americans 'idiots' and refuses to apologize.
Prime Minister Paul Martin won't do anything about it.
I guess these are the Liberal "values" we heard so much about during the last election: ignorance and spinelessness."
Make money, not war
After learning that Yoko Ono had given Nike the permission to use John Lennon's image for a new shoe model, a Politiquébec forum member (Politiquébec is a great French-speaking discussion board on Québec politics) reacted by sarcastically suggesting that Nike adopt "make money, not war" as a slogan. I believe that, without necessarily doing it on purpose, he put the finger on a fundamental difference between the Left and the Right.
Whereas the Left, with slogans like "make love, not war", believes in the possibility of forging a new man that would have been liberated of all destructive pulsions and of all negative sentiments and that would be a model of kindness, goodwill and love, the Right is more skeptical about the possibility of changing human nature and prefers that this human nature, with its good sides as well as with its less good sides, be accepted for what it is and be harnessed to more constructive ends. Francis Fukuyama explains that ambition and the desire for recognition, which used to be satisfied through warring struggles, have been harnessed by modern capitalism to rather support the creation of wealth. "Make money, not war" is not a sexy slogan, but it works:
Prior to modern liberal democracy, the struggle for recognition was carried on by ambitious princes who sought primacy over each other through war and conquest. Indeed, Hegel's account of the human historical process began with a primordial "bloody battle" in which two combatants sought to be recognized by the other, leading one ultimately to enslave the other. Conflicts based on religious or nationalist passion are much more intelligible if understood as manifestations of the desire for recognition rather than rational desire or "utility maximization." Modern liberal democracy seeks to satisfy this desire for recognition by basing the political order on the principle of universal and equal recognition. But in practice, liberal democracy works because the struggle for recognition that formerly had been carried out on a military, religious, or nationalist plane is now pursued on an economic one. Where formerly princes sought to vanquish each other by risking their lives in bloody battles, they now risk their capital through the building of industrial empires. The underlying psychological need is the same, only the desire for recognition is satisfied through the production of wealth rather than the destruction of material values.
-- Fukuyama, Francis (1996) Trust: The social virtues and the creation of prosperity. New York: Free Press, pp. 359-360.
(Crossposted at Polyscopique)
Hear the lamentations, Arnie
Don't get me wrong. You're a remarkable fellow, Arnie. A giant among men. But please, how many more of these corny movie lines must we endure? It's a 20 year old film already. Think about it: How far would Reagan have gotten if he kept on with hackneyed catchphrases from his movie career? Oh, er, never mind.
Soon we'll be miffed
Canada today officially moved from being "disturbed" about one of its citizens being beaten to death by Iranian torturers to not ruling out sanctions.
Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said Tuesday that Canada has not ruled out sanctions against Iran to protest the death in custody of a Quebec-based photojournalist.
Pettigrew, who was on his first visit to the European Union as Canada's new foreign affairs minister, said he discussed the case of slain Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi with EU counterparts during two days of meetings in Brussels.
"I raised it in every one of my meetings," Pettigrew said after meeting Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht.
Pettigrew met with EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to discuss Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pettigrew said that he was "exchanging and comparing notes" with the EU about what Canada and Europe could do to improve human rights in Iran, including possible diplomatic action in the Kazemi case.
Right now we're mulling over sanctions. The next step in the Canadian Guide to Diplomacy is "possibly considering thinking about maybe issuing a stronger statement." Don't make Canada angry or we'll go Raffi on you.
Cross posted at ESR's Musings.
"Exploiting" national tragedies for political gain
It's only ok when Dems do it.
[This speech, which got a 22-minute standing ovation, introduced a heart tugging film. I doubt LBJ had much to worry about, but none of this hurt.]
Dem's out of gas???
Could it be the Democrats are out of gas? I've have been pondering this for a while and the Democrats have a serious problem. They have no clear plan, they are not united in their message, and they are out of gas with no where to fill up. Expect two months of desperation.
Democrats have made a crucial error. They have fired all their bullets and left themselves with a two-month battle and no ammunition. Since the primaries Democrats have been in attack mode wildly firing attacks in every direction. Democrats have attacked Bush’s National Guard record, his operation outside the confines of the UN, lack of WMD’s in Iraq, going to Iraq too quick, going to Haiti too slow, tax cuts and job outsourcing, Bush’s seven minute pause before leaving the school children on 9/11, his support of a full Israeli settlement dismantling and withdrawal from Gaza, his handling of North Korea, his social policy, his faith, his speech, and the clincher his hair. There are many more but we get the picture. Democrats fired all their shots, killed the horse, and are now reduced to beating the dead horse in the hopes of getting attention. As the latest ABC poll suggests the effects of this sustained barrage had their effect and are now wearing off, and no one wants to hear Democrats pummel dead issues anymore.
The Bush Campaign has smartly stood firm, taken shots when they counted, but more or less they have seen fit to weather the storm and conserve energy and resources. From what I saw at last night’s convention opening, the Republican machine just came alive and in it’s path are a heap of worn out, tired, bitter and weary Democrats trying to figure how not to get rolled over. They are stuck, they have a leader that many of them are unsure of, who has decades of history behind him depicting a political opportunist and that will not cut it in a time where people are looking for strong leadership. Democrats made a crucial error, they tried to dismember Bush in the press, it didn’t work, and to add insult to injury, other than being against Bush, no one has any clue what the Democrats stand for right now. There has been a whole lot of “we have a plan” but they offer no details. The question is… with Kerry serving up a healthy portion of flapjacks every month, would anyone listen anyway? It appears that Democrats thought basing a campaign on “anyone but Bush” would be a cake walk and thus a platform and details on anything other than what they think Bush has done wrong has been murky as best, leaving them with scant time to come up with anything more than the same. Truly, after all the storms and attacks Bush has weathered this year, it must be frustrating to be a Democrat right now.
She's no Dhimmi
I've changed my mind. John Ibbitson was right. Atlantic Canada really does need more visible minority immigrants. I suggest that we get the ball rolling by recruiting Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She would make a fine addition to our country.
Despite the marginal sense of growing security that many Israelis have begun to feel since the construction of the West Bank barrier and the subsequent precipitous decline in terror attacks, residents of Be'er Sheva say today's double suicide bombing was predictable.
That's because where they live, the fence has not yet been built. In July, a local politician told the Jerusalem Post that "my community is just waiting for the next bombing, and we all know where it will come from [the Hebron Hills]." Blocked from infiltrating the northern parts of the West Bank, the council member predicted that the bombers would be funneled to the vulnerable Be'er Sheva area.
Tragically, he was right. At the very least, today's mass murder of 15 innocent civilians should prove to all those critics of the wall beyond any doubt exactly how effective the mechanism can be—regardless what any world court says about the matter. But then, if those sorts of folks cared about the safety of Israeli civilians in the first place, they wouldn't need convincing.
Air Canada security
The National Post reports the theft of an Air Canada uniform "amid fears al-Qaeda operatives could be acquiring such items for a terrorist attack."
Terrorists could try to use uniforms and vehicles to evade security at airports and other sensitive sites, according to U.S. intelligence reports that noted Islamic terrorism groups have employed similar tactics overseas.
One Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report includes the May 25 theft of an Air Canada uniform on a list of "suspicious incidents" in the United States. The uniform was stolen from a vehicle in Washington, D.C.
"Welcome to the capital of the world"
The text of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's speech to the RNC is worth a look if you missed it last night.
Now New York construction workers are very special people. I'm sure this is true all over but I know the ones here the best. They were real heroes along with many others that day, volunteering immediately. And they're big, real big. Their arms are bigger than my legs and their opinions are even bigger than their arms. Now each one of them would engage the president and I imagine like his cabinet give him advice. They were advising him in their own words on exactly what he should do with the terrorists. Of course I can't repeat their exact language.
But one of them really went into great detail and upon conclusion of his remarks President Bush said in a rather loud voice, “I agree.”
Cross-posted to the Flea.
Peaceful, anti-war protestors once again demonstrate their commitments to the violent suppression of ideas with which they disagree. The Cool Blue Blog took part in some Protest Warrior culture jamming and witnessed several assaults upon his fellow counter-protestors.
The massive crowd started chanting "Fascists, leave our march!". Then our way was blocked by a number of individuals who linked arms and stood in our way. We were then physically assaulted. Two of our group of 15 were punched, their signs were taken from them and destroyed. Tom's megaphone (which he only use after we were attacked to try to calm people) was taken from him and destroyed.
I truly thought I was going to die.
The NYPD ran in to protect us. We identified the individuals who assaulted us who ran like cowards. I'm not sure if the police got them or not.
The crowd was now chanting "Fascist Police".
More protest coverage at Da Goddess (almost hit with a peaceful protest sign) while HundredPercenter documents the colourful spectrum of moonbat flumage. Have a look at Protest Warrior side-project Communists for Kerry for comic relief.
Cross-posted to the Flea.
In a comment to my comment on Levant's column on Carolyn Parrish's idiot statement of last week, one person notes Jean Chretien's anti-Americanism was no more than a disagreement over Iraq. But Chretien's sympathetic biographer Lawrence Martin (and myself, in my forthcoming Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal) demonstrate that Chretien was thoroughly anti-American. Indeed, Lawrence Martin says that Chretien relished ticking off the Americans (and Canadian business, too) with his decision not to take part in the liberation of Iraq. Chretien repeatedly spoke of Canada's superiority and sneered at American politics and culture. Chretien, I note in my book, led a party in which he allowed anti-American sentiments to flourish and even be routinely expressed (including by cabinet ministers). The most charitable spin one can put on Chretien's prejudice is that it may have been a pose, knowing how popular anti-Americanism can be in Canada, especially in Quebec and parts of Ontario (the base of the Liberal Party's support). I think it is a mistake to believe that Chretien was not anti-American or that many in the party he led did not share his view of our southern neighbours and largest trading partner -- almost as mistaken as the view that Paul Martin is pro-American and that the Liberal Party is significantly different than it was two years ago.
From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR
In France , the papers again lead with the hostage crisis, after the government was given a one-day extension. In the UK , the papers are a hodgepodge, depending on their ideological orientation. US papers are wall-to-wall Republican convention.
The New York Times’ editorial board presses the parties to reform campaign finance. The Washington Post’s editorial board weighs in on last week’s poverty and health data. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board says the Republicans are two-faced.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board says “Americans want a party that will give them more control over their finances and pensions, their health care, and especially their time,” and that if voters want the status quo they can vote Democrat. “Republicans have to stake their claim to govern on individual empowerment and the reform of our unsustainable, New Deal public-sector monopolies.”
At home, most papers front the Republican convention. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister “formally” appointed two Supreme Court Justices and Premier Dalton McGuinty is trying to give him a hand with another campaign pledge that’s turned out to be a bit more complicated than expected—the televised first ministers’ conference on health care.
The Globe and Mail stuffs the Supremes, fronts McGuinty and red-faced weather forecasters, but leads with Allan Freeman from New York and a huge photo of George W. Bush on the campaign trail.
The Toronto Star and National Post also front their men at the Republican convention, but Tim Harper is as far below the fold as you can get, and sans photo. The Post leads with Sheldon Alberts (here’s his lead), together with a photo of the Bush "girls"--half of whom are older than the Post's editor.
Both the Post and the Globe have the poop on the Alberta banker who went missing with millions and there are cars and sex involved and, well, you know the story.
Inside the Globe, John Ibbitson previews next month’s health conference, as well as what won't be discussed. From New York this week, Jeff Simpson says George Bush is no Winston Churchill when it comes to their command of English; hasn't it been said that the Brits and the Yanks are two peoples divided by a common language? The editorial board wants a ban on pit bulls, and says it’s time for action on Darfur.
The Toronto Star editorial board, most of whose members boldly declare themselves today to be dog-owners, says the bad breed--and crosses to boot--should be banned in cities; you’d think they’d have given some thought to police enforcement of the proposed pooch law. Another editorialist pans the PQ’s “march of folly.” (Here’s Bernard Descoteaux’s take in Le Devoir.)
The paper fronts the soon-to-be condemned canines--including the Attorney-General's e-mail address for those who'd like to comment--but leads with a former municipal pooh-bah who’s stepped in a pile of…trouble. Inside, Tom Walkom says Ottawa can afford a national Pharmacare program.
Both the Post and Ottawa Citizen front good news for liberal arts grads and bad news for MBAs, a degree that’s declining in value. The Citizen reports that athletes are about to get more money while the Post reports that Liberal Parliamentary Secretaries want their share.
Inside the Post, Don Martin says we can afford to buy Olympic medals and don’t need Jacques Rogge to meddle. The editorial board endorses the Kirby/Keon prescription for health care. (Here’s my take a few weeks ago.)
Inside the Citizen, Charles Gordon backs Carolyn Parrish for PM—she’s shown leadership on missile defence, which can’t be said of the incumbent or most of the caucus. The editorial board says the Northern Ireland peace process must continue, and that demonstrators in New York are “unhinged” and will have to decide how fully to show it.
Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette fronts a new gene (here’s the Toronto Star report on breast cancer), and news that bouncers are keeping Blacks out of strip clubs. The editorial board is proud of our Olympic performance. The Gaz wins the race for today’s best correction: “A caption on the front page, and a story inside of the Inside Athens section yesterday incorrectly referred to the clothes worn by the man who disrupted the marathon as being traditional Greek dress. They were not.”
The Calgary Herald fronts the kinky Alberta ex-banker, along with a celebrity Stampede bull that has passed away. The editorial board endorses the Kirby/Keon report—though they dissent on its affirmation of a single-tier system--and warns France that concessions are not the way to fight terror.
The Vancouver Sun stuffs the banker and fronts Paul Martin’s Olympian orders to Stephen Owen along with a bike courier who was the victim of road rage and has been awarded $22K by the BC Supreme Court. Barbara Yaffe interviews Senator Colin Kenny, who explains why missile defence is in Canada ’s national interest and urges Stephen Harper to speak out. The editorial board says Athens proved that the Olympics are worth it; I’m not sure Greek taxpayers will agree when they—and we, after 2010-- deal with the hangover.
In the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington pans shari’a law, and the Globe and Mail. In Calgary , Paul Jackson predicts Paul Martin “will go down as the biggest bungler and bonehead of all” our Prime Ministers. In Ottawa , Val Sears has been to his garden party. In Winnipeg , Charles Adler is down on Romanow but gives thumbs up to Keon and Kirby—has he read the endorsement of single-tier health care?
Top CRTC official's contract renewed
The Montréal Gazette’s MIKE DE SOUZA begins with a weak lead, but reports on the way Ottawa really works:
“The official responsible for broadcasting at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is getting a contract extension.
Andree Wylie's mandate as vice-chairperson for broadcasting was supposed to expire today, but she was offered a one-year extension at the end of last week.
Heritage Minister Liza Frulla's office dismissed rumours that it was searching for a replacement in recent weeks following the CRTC's controversial decisions over the summer to revoke the licence of Quebec City radio station CHOI-FM, and to block Italian television channel RAI International.
"I haven't heard those rumours," Frulla's spokesperson, Donald Boulanger, said. "All I know is that she was renewed for a year."
Monday, August 30, 2004
Levant on Martin not doing anything about Parrish
Ezra Levant reminds readers of his Calgary Sun column that when it comes to Carolyn Parrish's anti-US rhetoric, Jean Chretien demanded she apologize whereas Paul Martin did not:
"Is it possible grubby, street-brawling Chretien had more class than Martin, the fancily pedigreed multi-millionaire?
Chretien despised the Yanks, but he didn't countenance second-rate MPs with third-rate insults messing around, not with softwood lumber, mad cow disease, and a tightening U.S. security perimeter to worry about."
Levant says that Martin's failure to discipline Parrish is more scandalous than her actual comments. But Ezra, we should accentuate the positive -- perhaps this is the one-time Paul Martin will let his MPs have their say; letting Parrish act like an idiot is his way of addressing the democratic deficit. Or Levant is correct and Martin is showing his true anti-red, white and blue.
Two visions of the future
And he'll get the vote of more Americans after this convention is done. There is more media (saturation) coverage of the anti-Bush demonstrations than what's happening on the convention floor and that's not necessarily a bad thing. As Kathryn Jean Lopez noted in the Corner, the demontrators have signs and t-shirts that say "Bush Kills for Oil" and "Bush is the terrorist". The Michael Moorification of the Left, including John Kerry's Democrats, offers America a clear choice: fighting terror or whining about the man who is serious about fighting terror. I have no doubt that Americans will choose the former. All the talk about the parties being closer in ideology is pure bunk and American know it.
RNC Bloggers Row
Ed Morrisey of Captain's Quarters;
Former New York Mayor and "lifelong Democrat" Ed Koch paid a visit to Blogger's Corner and spoke about his support of George Bush.The mayor started off informally by asking us whether we would consider his weekly e-mail columns to be the equivalent of blogging, which we unanimously rejected. We think he'll be blogging in the next couple of months.
I've met Tony Snow from Fox, who immediately recognized my name -- which floored me. I'll report later on the breakfast with Matthew Dowd and the interesting speech and Q & A we had this morning.
Kevin Aylward has notified his Wizbang readers that text of his interview with Ari Fleisher is being prepared and will be up shortly.
Blogs for Bush has lots of audio links and more.
RNC Bloggers (group blog).
Now, if there are any Canadian Conservative party members lurking about, would you please sit up and pay attention;
These bloggers are, in no small way, responsible for the recent downturn in the polls for John Kerry, through their relentless pursuit of the Swift Boat contraversy, keeping it alive, digging up documentation and expert military analysis when the mainstream media was avoiding it like the plague. They pushed past the major networks, the New York Times, WaPo and kept this story alive. Both the Democrats and Republicans have recognized the phenomenon of citizen journalism and news analysis and are finding ways to use it to their advantage - but for the Republicans, with the handicap of a predominantly Democrat leaning media - the importance of the internet cannot be "misunderestimated".
With a minority government, and the potential of another election over the horizon, the gatekeepers at the CBC, Globe, Toronto Star to contend with - I hope that someone in party headquarters is looking at finding ways to incorporate the Canadian blogosphere into the machinery of the Conservative Party.
The Man comes down on NaziMedia
[originally posted to Daimnation!]
The U.S. Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the posting of RNC delegates' names and personal information on indymedia.org:
The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation and is demanding records regarding Internet postings by critics of the Bush administration that list the names of Republican delegates and urge protesters to give them an unwelcome reception in New York City.
Federal prosecutors said in a grand jury subpoena that the information was needed as part of an investigation into possible voter intimidation. Protesters and civil rights advocates argued that the Web postings were legitimate political dissent, not threats or intimidation.
The Indy Media site is run by the NYC Independent Media Center, which describes itself as a grass-roots group committed to using media tools "for promoting social and economic justice in the New York City area." The site includes several lists containing the names of many delegates to the Republican convention, along with e-mail addresses, phone numbers and the hotels where some were expected to stay, as well as links to a site called rncdelegates.com. Most of the lists were posted anonymously or by demonstrators calling themselves the RNC Delegates Working Group. One list includes more than 2,200 delegates, or nearly half the expected total. In publicizing the information, organizers said in a posting that they were trying to supply groups opposed to the Republican National Committee "with data on the delegates to use in whatever way they see fit."
"The delegates should know not only what people think of the platform that they will ratify, but that they are not welcome in New York City," organizers said in a posting.
"This upcoming mobilization in New York is not about the delegates, it's about who and what is going to be affected by the Republican Party platform that these delegates will proudly put their name to and will ratify," the message continued. "It goes beyond that, as we raise our voices and fists and proclaim that this rotten system of capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination must be swept away.''
The site doesn't actually say its supporters should harass and attack convention delegates, but something tells me your average NaziMidiot isn't going to invite them out for pizza.
The ACLU opposes the investigation, and I was going to write something snarky about how they'd have no problem with prosecuting anti-abortion activists who post the names and addresses of abortion doctors on the internet. But to its credit, during the "Nuremberg Files" case a few years ago, the group did file a legal brief supporting the pro-lifers' First Amendment rights. This article explains that (still unresolved) case, and the relevant issues could arise here.
The law, so far, seems to be on the side of the NaziMidiots. But no reasonable person can dispute the real reason why the names and addresses have been posted - or who the real "digital brownshirts" are.
From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR
In France , the papers lead with the latest hostage-taking in Iraq --two journalists in return for annulment of the anti-veil law. US papers lead with the huge demonstration in New York City on the eve of the Republican convention, which commands attention in the UK and around the world.
The New York Times’ editorial board has some words of advice for the locals and for the visitors. The Washington Post’s editorial board sets out its expectations. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board is in California .
At home, the events in New York vie for attention with the closing ceremonies in Athens .
The Toronto Star fronts Tim Harper’s report on the demonstration, Jacques Rogge’s pitch for Canada to pitch in more bucks for our Olympic athletes, yesterday’s New York Times report on Canada’s efforts to assert sovereignty in the North and a CP report on a new international heart attack study.
The editorial board says we need a national debate on sports funding, which makes at least three national debates they’ve suggested in the past seven days. Carol Goar says Paul Martin should delay the decision on missile defence. Chantal Hébert questions Stephen Harper’s media strategy and people skills.
The Globe and Mail fronts Carolyn Abraham’s report on the cardiac study, along with Christie’s wrap from Athens and Stephen Owen’s clear nyet to Rogge on increased sports funding.
Inside, Hugh Winsor says broadcast regulation may be the sleeper issue of the next Parliament. Bruce Little reviews Canada ’s standing in the international poverty index.
The editorial board says Québec sovereignty is dead—actually, on a second read, the editorialist “virtually guarantees” it; he might want to take a look at which party holds the balance of power in the Commons. Another writes that the attack on John Kerry’s military record is reprehensible, but he has only himself to blame.
On the comment page, Lysiane Gagnon says we need a better way to review Supreme Court appointments, but she doesn’t quite know what it is. (Here's my take.)
William Thorsell says watching the Olympics is boring, but the Republican convention this week matters. Jim Stanford says forget about the athletes, it’s our business leaders who are underperforming. Senators Michael Kirby and Wilbert Keon set out the case for competition in health care—based on their study for IRPP, which the competition fronts.
The National Post also fronts David Frum from New York (he’s hopeful about Republican prospects in November) and Cam Cole from Athens (“This one just about beat them all”). The editorial board rejoices at CHOI’s reprieve; another editorialist says spousal abuse can go both ways, though it acknowledges that one way is “not of the same magnitude” as the other; I’ll say.
Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette editorial board says Bernard Landry is in a weak position and, “The PQ's frustrated old true believers are having a last roll of the dice, and although the odds are long for them, the stakes are alarmingly high for all of us.”
The Gaz fronts Jacques Rogge’s pitch along with Landry’s to stay on as PQ leader. L. Ian Macdonald chronicles Carolyn Parrish’s “mood swings” and says she should be kicked out of the Liberal caucus.
In the Calgary Sun, Ezra Levant writes that the real scandal is Paul Martin’s refusal to discipline her. In Toronto , Peter Worthington weighs in on the Republican convention.
The Ottawa Citizen editorial board pans Parrish and accuses Jack Layton of deliberately confusing the missile defence debate. The paper stuffs Landry and fronts the health study by the two smart Senators and another for the Canadian Policy Research Network on older workers, but--like the Post, alas--not today's
Earnscliffe shared in $5M in federal contracts
The Ottawa Citizen and the National Post stuff Jack Aubry’s report:
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Subtraction by addition
A bit late but I had a piece in Friday's Kitchener-Wateroo Record concerning Paul Martin's proposed "peacekeeping brigade." Jane's Defence Weekly recently said that establishing the 5 000 member brigade would likely gut the Canadian Armed Forces. Here's the essay.
Subtraction by addition; Peacekeeping brigade will decimate forces
By Steven Martinovich
Long-time watchers of the Canadian Armed Forces were pleasantly surprised last year when Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that the federal government would add 5 000 new soldiers to the ranks. After years of atrophying numbers the news was welcome and many hoped it signaled the end of an era where our military died the death of a thousand cuts.
Unfortunately it appears that the federal government is practicing subtraction by addition. According to a report by Jane's Defence Weekly last week, the addition of Martin's "peacekeeping brigade" may end up costing the military significant assets. Although the federal government is expanding the number of soldiers, it will not be providing any extra money to pay for them.
And it's quite a bit of money. Jane's estimates that the new brigade will need $1.5 billion in equipment, $750 million in infrastructure funding and $400 million annually to maintain. That's a significant sum of money for a brigade whose mission will do little to enhance Canada's war fighting capacity.
To cover the costs of these new soldiers, senior Canadian officers have reportedly come up with a plan that effectively guts much of our operational capability. Although the Chief of Defence staff denied on August 23 that any cuts would be made, the plan reportedly includes mothballing the entire fleet of Iroquois-class destroyers, some frigates and grounding of to up 20 CF-18 fighters – a quarter of our fighter aircraft – the same ones we're spending $2.3 billion to modernize. No one should be surprised if it also means base closures and a delay to previously announced planned purchases of badly needed transport craft or supply ships.
Regardless of how our military will pay for the new brigade – they're already grappling with an annual $1 billion deficit for current operations – they don't have much time to figure out how to do so. Martin will be unveiling his new brigade to the United Nations later this year.
For those of us who actively watch the state of our military, it almost seems pointless to remind people how dire their predicament is, especially given how many times we've done it. Thanks to decades of cuts and apathy the military is barely able to undertake even modest peacekeeping missions. Much hand-wringing occurs in the United States because the massive commitment of American soldiers overseas and the resulting strain on their military but here in Canada our forces are strained with only 1 915 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan (1 002), Bosnia-Herzegovina (651), the Golan Heights (193) and other postings.
A recent Queen's University report stated that it would take decades to rebuild the military to meet our growing international commitments. Capital spending would have to rise by $15 billion over the next five years before the plight of the armed forces wasn't considered critical. That doesn't mean healthy or even passable, merely no longer critical.
Canadians tend to shy away from black and white declarations but Prime Minister Martin's plan demands nothing but stark commentary. If we proceed with this new peacekeeping brigade, we are essentially shattering the military, quite possibly beyond repair. By eliminating extensive operational capacity, including the ability to command naval task forces, air to ground attack and logistical capabilities in favour of what is likely to be a relatively lightly armed peacekeeping unit, Canada will all but permanently cede its capability of engaging in large scale operations.
A military increasingly limited to the oxymoron-laden "non-combat" peacekeeping mission will not be able to advance our foreign policy goals or influence nations not impressed by our "moral superpower" approach. Our allies will have little need to consult us on important issues because we won't have the capacity to serve beside them when needed. We will not be able project force when legitimately needed and it's doubtful that we could even protect ourselves.
Steven Martinovich is a freelance writer in Sudbury, Ontario.
I really don't know how to respond
The Australian reports: "
A GROUP linked to al-Qaeda promised today to spare the Vatican while focusing attacks on Italy and Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, for rejecting an ultimatum to pull Italian troops out of Iraq.
'We declare that the Vatican will never be one of our targets, as we will only strike in painful places which will force the vile Italian soldiers in Iraq to get out,' said a statement signed by the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades-European Battalion, and posted on an Islamist website."
Obviously I'm relieved that the Vatican -- and this pontiff -- would be spared the horror of a terrorist strike from al-Qaeda. On the other hand, I am not very pleased that the terrorists don't think the Vatican a worthy target; whose side is the Catholic Church on?
(Cross-posted at Sobering Thoughts)
Dogs And Cats Lie Down Together
Sydney Morning Herald [subscription required];
People have flocked to a small village on the outskirts of Cambodia's capital after a man claimed that his ten-year-old pet dog has defied nature and the ancient tradition of her species reviling cats and given birth to a kitten.
Owner Te Huot told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that his dog, called Knou, gave birth to a grey tabby kitten after he was visited by a forest monk who claimed that the dog had mated with a tiger. He said it was only the second time in the dog's life that she had given birth, and that the first time, five years earlier, she had produced normal canine puppies.
However, he claimed that last Tuesday, Knou went into labour at his Chhbar Ampou village home and produced a single kitten.
The phenomenon has brought crowds thronging to Te Huot's home to burn incense and give donations towards the dog and its tiny kitten, which Te Huot says is a sign from the gods.
The region is also known for its invisible flying dogs.
French Journalists Kidnapped
The French government, in crisis mode, on Sunday called for the release of two French journalists kidnapped in Iraq by Islamic militants demanding that Paris rescind a ban on headscarves in state schools. [...]
The two men went missing on August 20, the day they were to have left Baghdad for the central holy city of Najaf, then the scene of fierce fighting between US forces and Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Moqtada Sadr.
Late Saturday, Arabic-language Al-Jazeera television broadcast images of Chesnot and Malbrunot along with an ultimatum from the Islamic Army in Iraq, the same group that killed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni after kidnapping him.
The group gave Paris 48 hours to meet its demands, describing the ban on the Islamic veil in state schools as "an injustice and an attack on the Islamic religion," the Qatar-based network reported, citing its "own sources in Iraq."
Now, isn't this a fine kettle of fish? Will France capitulate, or is she willing to sacrifice two of her sons to take a principled stand on the right to limit religious expression?
... both Chesnot and Malbrunot's employers and Sunni Muslim scholars had earlier expressed faith that if they had been kidnapped, they would be safe because France had staunchly opposed the US-led war against Iraq.
I guess they hadn't noticed the intelligence report revealing that planning for the Madrid train bombings began prior to the 9/11 attacks, when Spain wasn't in Iraq or anywhere else. You'd think that journalists and their employers would be on top of details like that.
From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR
In the UK , former BBC Director-General Greg Dyke is out with his memoirs, and they’re bad news for Tony Blair. Meanwhile, Conservative leader Michael Howard is furious that he can’t get an invite to the White House.
With the Republican Convention opening this week in New York City , most US papers lead with the latest on the current occupant, George Bush, along with good news from Athens and additional details into the alleged Israeli mole at the Pentagon.
The Washington Post’s editorial board sees some problems with the Pentagon’s military tribunals, but is more critical of its lack of accountability for prisoner abuse. The New York Times’ editorial board says it was wrong in the past and now favours abolition of the Electoral College. Post Ombudsman Michael Getler reviews coverage of the Swift boat charges and counter-charges, and concludes that the paper more or less got the story right .
At home--today or any other day--you won't see that kind of self-examination by an internal critic who's banned from applying for any other job at the paper.
The Toronto Star fronts Canada’s “golden day in Athens,” along with more bad PR for pit bulls and some old news about a British mum who’s nipping at Tony Blair. Jennifer Wells weighs in with the first test of Canada ’s offshore child sex law.
Inside—the paper, that is--Tim Harper sends his take on the Republican convention. Haroon Siddiqui fears John Kerry is blowing it, and offers advice that would guarantee it. Linda McQuaig defends Kerry and attacks Bush and the media.
The editorial board says we need extensive public debate before the police get additional powers to snoop on us in cyberspace. Rick Anderson is back from vacation and wonders whether the PM and Opposition Leader are. Hugh Segal thinks Canada is doing a swell job keeping hope alive in the world’s hotspots.
In the CanWest corral, the Montréal Gazette fronts Canada ’s “medal haul”; the editorial board says fed-prov health talks are in a mess and there’s plenty of blame to go around.
The Ottawa Citizen trumpets our “day of glory” in Athens —along with Colin Powell’s decision not to go to the closing ceremony, and panic on the prosecution side at the Milosevic trial thanks to Canadian witnesses.
In the Toronto Sun, Ben Mulroney takes on Carolyn Parrish. Eric Margolis says, with unseemly enthusiasm, that Osama is winning. Linda Williamson tees off on Paul Martin’s Supreme Court appointments, as does Ted Byfield in Calgary . (Here’s my take.)
In Winnipeg , Tom Brodbeck says there must be a better way to appoint them. In Ottawa , Doug Fisher writes that Canada has become an autocracy, and he has some harsh words about both mandarins and the media.
Marois made mistake: Duceppe
The Montréal Gazette’s CATHERINE SOLYOM and PHILIP AUTHIER report:
“Pauline Marois made a mistake.
So says Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, putting the kibosh on her suggestion that it is time for the Parti Quebecois to choose a new leader….
"I think it was a mistake - Mr. Landry got strong support," Duceppe said, after delivering a speech yesterday at the Canadian Auto Workers council meeting in Montreal .
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Add this link to your blogrolls - the bloggers who have been credentialed for the Republican National Convention have their group site up and running now.
Third Time Unlucky
Front Page Mag has a detailed comparison of the original and subsequently revised (sanitized) citations that accompany John Kerry's Silver Star, and examination of the questions they raise.
Citation 3, like Citations 1 and 2, is undated. But, again, we can narrow the time frame, since it was signed by John Lehman as Secretary of the Navy. Lehman served from February1981 to April 1987—long after Kerry left Vietnam, long after he was separated from service, and during Kerry's tenure as a United States Senator.
While it is not difficult to understand why Kerry apparently sought and obtained a sanitized second version of his Silver Star citation, at first glance it is not so easy to surmise why Kerry went after yet a third citation, this time from Lehman (especially because the third citation is word-for-word, in every important respect, the same as the second). One theory dovetails with what may well have motivated him, at least in part, to prefer Hyland's imprimatur over Zumwald's. Kerry, now a senator, may have been trying to upgrade his award, issued by a couple of "mere" admirals, to one issued by the Secretary of the Navy.
According to Front Page, correcting a citation isn't easy.
This means that in order to obtain Citation 2, Kerry would have had to prove that there was an "error" in Citation 1 and/or that the existence of that citation somehow constituted an "injustice." Was the error in Citation 1 that he had shot the enemy soldier in the back, or that it was somehow an injustice to Kerry for the citation to say so?
As to obtaining Citation 3, there are two problems for Kerry. First, since it is virtually identical with Citation 2, there could be no error or injustice. Second, even if arguably there were, since the three-year statute of limitations had passed by the time Lehman was in office, in order for Kerry to obtain the correction, he would have had to prove that correcting Citation 2 was "in the interest of justice".
The article was published Aug. 24.
This morning, one of the questions is cleared up by none other than former Navy Secretary John Lehman himself.
"It is a total mystery to me. I never saw it. I never signed it. I never approved it. And the additional language it contains was not written by me," he said.
Complete Front Page article.
From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR (with articles hotlinked).
US papers lead with the situation in Iraq , though the downed Russian airliners and allegations of an Israeli mole in the Pentagon also receive front-page treatment. In the UK , John Humphrys’ criticism of television is all the rage.
The New York Times’ editorial board weighs in on the lessons of Najaf (here’s the Washington Post’s take), and the failure of President Bush’s economic policies. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board wonders why the Pentagon will pay for a soldier’s nose job but not an abortion.
At home, most of the papers stuff Najaf.
The Globe and Mail fronts Luna, our whale, and Bernard Landry, Québec’s former premier whom Pauline Marois hopes to make former leader--along with the latest on the two Russian plane crashes.
Inside, Jane Taber updates us on Ottawa insider poop. Christie Blatchford explains why sports deserves more government funding. Doug Saunders has been reading history, and his fine column shows it. Heather Mallick’s doesn’t: Somehow, someone’s been forcing her to watch the Olympics.
Margaret Wente is high on Perdita, down on Carolyn—but Paul Martin is in the basement. Rex Murphy does a fine job disposing of her, though not him. Jeff Simpson’s Uncle Fred is writing his autobiography. The editorial board is worried about Ayatollah al-Sistani, and has no problem with shari’a arbitration in Ontario .
The Toronto Star has a new editor (congratulations Giles, and good luck). Today, the paper fronts yesterday’s National Post story about the Muslim group opposed to shari’a and some more follow-up on Thursday’s shoot-out. The Star also fronts news that MPs have approved the two new Supremes, along with the story of a passionate priest in a pile of trouble with Church pooh-bahs.
Tom Walkom, head and shoulders—especially head—above Carolyn Parrish is opposed to missile defence. The editorial board says we need a national debate. Ombudsman Don Sellar is battling bravely on behalf of readers—today, about photo credits; he should check out the work of his counterparts at the New York Times and Washington Post to get an idea of the job description.
The National Post fronts yesterday’s Le Devoir report (and our top story) of Opposition manoeuvring to bell the Liberal cat, along with the Russian plane crashes. Robert Fulford reviews three political conventions that mattered. Andrew Coyne writes a fine piece on the Swift boat controversy. The editorial board opposes photo radar and says market forces, not regulation, should govern what we see on television and hear on the radio.
Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Ottawa Citizen fronts more good news from Athens and the latest bad news about our health care system. Dan Gardner, a lawyer, has a case about Olympic performance he wants to make; he should read this letter to the Globe by an economist who knows some arithmetic.
The editorial board wants Canadians to be “generous and resolute” in the face of Darfur . And the paper has today’s best correction: “Due to an error by CanWest News Service, Canada 's highest-ranking executive with the International Gymnastics Federation was misidentified in a story on page A1 in some editions of yesterday's paper. She is Slava Corn.”
The Calgary Herald fronts the Opposition gang-up along with the good Olympic news, and gives readers the chance to name Alberta ’s official fungus. The Montréal Gazette stuffs Ottawa ’s Opposition chumps and fronts a local Olympic champ along with Bernard Landry’s woes. The editorial board wants Augusto Pinochet left alone.
The Toronto Sun’s Peter Worthington is off to a tennis match. In Edmonton , Paul Stanway has his doubts about Mark Thatcher. In Winnipeg , Charles Adler challenges the Health Minister to counter the logic of two-tier health care; a slam dunk, assuming the Minister speaks publicly or can spell.
Marois met Landry en joue
Le Devoir’s Tommy Chouinard reports on the PQ convention (and here’s Bernard Descoteaux’s editorial):
“La marmite bouillait déjà depuis des semaines. Le couvercle a finalement sauté hier. La contestation du leadership de Bernard Landry a pris une ampleur jamais vue jusqu’à maintenant, alors que la députée Pauline Marois a réclamé officiellement une course à la présidence du Parti québécois.”
For those of you who can’t get enough of this stuff about revolting Péquistes, or don’t read French, here’s KEVIN DOUGHERTY’s version in the Montréal Gazette:
I'll stay on as PQ chief – Landry
Friday, August 27, 2004
I'm happy to note that my former editor at B.C. Report, Terry O'Neill, in addition to writing for a certain magazine whose name escapes me right now, hosts a TV current affairs discussion show. X-change, airs periodically--it's on tonight--on Now-TV, Vancouver's Christian TV station.
Cool. We Reportniks are everywhere!
NPR Outs Military Blogger
Carolyn Parrish, take note: this is the work of a bona fide "coalition of idiots".
American Soldier - CB got a lot of attention real quick and his name got put out in the spotlight as well. Now he is a lowly Specialist in the Army. He is in a combat unit and he got found out. Now his Commander in a round about way censored him. In my mind, he knew the demise of his blog was going to come sooner than later. He now had to have someone else look at his stuff before he could post it. Now that just straight out sucked! Then the NPR article came, that must have enraged his chain of command. Here is the reason why and this is quite universal. In the fine print of your enlistment contract, there is a section that says you cannot undermine your command. You HAVE to listen to what they say. If you in ANY way undermine them, then you are wrong. So a blog that talks about ones' combat experiences and then gets national spotlight attention that mentions his name, his commanders name, his unit and some freak that sounds like the Simpson's school bus driver that narrates one of his experiences and snickers at the term OPSEC, will make people with rank pissed!
Two Minutes Hate
"It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Toronto Star, where John worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate....'
Showdown in the riding of Vanier
There will be four provincial by-elections in Québec on September 20. Three of these four by-elections - the ones held in Montréal ridings - can almost be said to be decided in advance since they are being held in the Liberal strongholds of Nelligan and Laurier-Dorion or the Péquiste stronghold of Gouin.
However, the fourth one in the Québec City riding of Vanier will be quite interesting to watch. This riding had been won in the 2003 elections by Liberal star candidate Marc Bellemare who became Minister of Justice before he resigned this summer. But a CROP poll puts the Liberals in third place in the Québec City area with a support of 20%, compared with 27% for the PQ and 30% for the right-leaning ADQ. It should be noted that the Québec City area was the region where the Conservatives got their best Québec scores in the last federal elections and that the provincial riding of Vanier is within the federal riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent where Conservative candidate Josée Verner finished in second place with almost 14,000 votes and over 31% of the votes. The CRTC's attempt at silencing the CHOI radio station could also be a factor because the ADQ was the party that most spontaneously and loudly defended CHOI.
Rage against the machine
Alice Cooper wants to make it clear exactly why he thinks Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks are "treasonous morons."
He says it's not because they're against Bush, as news reports had originally implied. Cooper is a staunch Republican and a big supporter of President Bush. He even hangs with John McCain a lot.
"When I read the list of people who are supporting Kerry, if I wasn't already a Bush supporter, I would have immediately switched. Linda Ronstadt? Don Henley? Geez, that's a good reason right there to vote for Bush." Cooper told the Canadian Press.
Cooper clarified his comments yesterday and now says that the treachery is when rockers get involved in politics at all, since rock and roll is all about rebellion. (So much for all that Rock the Vote nonsense.)
There's no question that voting is totally for squares. But, then, this is coming from the guy who currently shills for a chain of office supply stores.
BUSH KERRY LIED
Polls now show that Americans think that Kerry is less honest than Bush, in the wake of the Swiftboat fallout.
A little more than three weeks ago, 46 per cent of Americans polled said they believed Kerry was "honest and trustworthy," two points higher than those who attributed the same qualities to Bush (44 per cent). Today, only 39 per cent of those asked stand by those same comments. Bush remains solid at 44 per cent. On voting intentions, Bush is back in the lead for the first time in months.
This is a potentially lethal wound for the Democrats, given that they have stood almost entirely on the platform that they are exactly like Republicans—on terror, on Iraq—only more trustworthy. Bush's honesty ratings, meanwhile, are moving the other direction, up two points since mid-July. Since it appears that the perception of dishonesty centres predominantly around the controversy over Kerry's war record, the damage is compounded, as Kerry has used his war heroism as the basis for his character claims. Without 'Nam, he's left with a shameful past as a anti-war radical and his embarrassing voting record in the Senate.
I'll go out on a limb here (Ok, ok, maybe I'm not really going on a limb here. Kate's been on top of the "unravelling" for awhile), but I predict that we are witnessing the Stephen Harper moment of the Kerry campaign: the point where the momentum stops and the campaign begins its precipitous fall back to earth.
Kerry: The Unravelling Continues
The "mother of all backlashes" has created a backlash of its own. After spending most of the week combing the records of the swift boat veterans a few media outlets are finally starting to comb Kerry's. And someone whose name was bandied about a little too loosely has broken his silence.
Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the- record interview about the Swift boat veterans dispute that "I was absolutely in the skimmer" in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident which led to his first Purple Heart.
"Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 (grenade launcher)," Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, "Kerry requested a Purple Heart."
Kerry was turned down, and filed the request with a later commander.
Schachte described the use of the skimmer operating very close to shore as a technique that he personally designed to flush enemy forces on the banks of Mekong River so that the larger Swift boats could move in. At about 3 a.m. on Dec. 2, Schachte said, the skimmer -- code-named "Batman" -- fired a hand-held flare. He said that after Kerry's M-16 rifle jammed, the new officer picked up the M-79 and "I heard a 'thunk.' There was no fire from the enemy," he said.
"I was astonished by Kerry's version" (in his book, "Tour of Duty") of what happened Dec. 2, Schachte said Thursday. When asked to support the Kerry critics in the Swift boat controversy, Schachte said, "I didn't want to get involved." But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Lanny Davis on CNN's "Crossfire" Aug. 12.
Chicago Sun Times has been combing the records on Kerry's campaign website, and discovering some of the same discrepencies noted for weeks by various military bloggers and commentors.
The Kerry campaign has repeatedly stated that the official naval records prove the truth of Kerry's assertions about his service.
But the official records on Kerry's Web site only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Defense Department document summarizing Kerry's military career posted on johnkerry.com, includes a "Silver Star with combat V."
But according to a U.S. Navy spokesman, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a 'combat V' to anyone for a Silver Star."
There is curiosity about the fact that three separate citations exist for this medal - from three different people. Two are on Kerry's website, the first isn't.
Normally in the case of a lost citation, Milavec points out, the awardee simply asked for a copy to be sent to him from his service personnel records office where it remains on file. "I have never heard of multi-citations from three different people for the same medal award," he said. Nor has Burkett: "It is even stranger to have three different descriptions of the awardee's conduct in the citations for the same award."
Reporting by the Washington Post's Michael Dobbs points out that although the Kerry campaign insists that it has released Kerry's full military records, the Post was only able to get six pages of records under its Freedom of Information Act request out of the "at least a hundred pages" a Naval Personnel Office spokesman called the "full file."
What could that more than 100 pages contain? Questions have been raised about President Bush's drill attendance in the reserves, but Bush received his honorable discharge on schedule. Kerry, who should have been discharged from the Navy about the same time -- July 1, 1972 -- wasn't given the discharge he has on his campaign Web site until July 13, 1978. What delayed the discharge for six years? This raises serious questions about Kerry's performance while in the reserves that are far more potentially damaging than those raised against Bush.
A match made in heaven
The UN and North Korea cooperate on sustainable development:
Major crop yields fell by almost two thirds during the 1990s due to land degradation caused by loss of forest, droughts, floods and tidal waves, acidification due to over-use of chemicals, as well as shortages of fertiliser, farm machinery and oil.Naturally, the failure had nothing to do with, you know, communism. But things are looking up for North Koreans and their environment:
Dr Toepfer said North Korea "has shown its willingness to engage with the global community to safeguard its environmental resources, and we must respond so it can meet development goals in a sustainable manner."With a UN sustainable development team on the job how can they fail?
From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR (with articles hotlinked).
(Note to readers: The Ottawa Citizen, National Post and Vancouver Sun were late today; my 7 AM (Montreal/Ottawa time) posting has now been updated to include content from these papers. Thanks for your patience; let me know by email if you'd like to have the international content, which is available earlier, posted separately, or prefer to have everything at once.)
In the UK, Sir Mark Thatcher is still making the news—and a new poll shows his Mum’s party is not faring much better under its new leader.
US papers lead with the Najaf deal brokered by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Heading into the Republican convention, another poll shows President Bush holding a slight lead but by no means is he home in the White House.
The New York Times’ editorial board gives one star to his Administration on global warming, and in its lead editorial considers next steps on Abu Ghraib. The Washington Post’s editorial board weighs in on campaign finance reform. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board sees Pentagon arrogance behind the prison abuse.
At home, too, the Najaf news gets front-page treatment. The National Post goes with the Daily Telegraph story; the Toronto Star with the New York Times’ dispatch.
The Star’s main competition today is the Sun, and it leads with strong follow-up to the sharp-shooting at Union Station. Rosie DiManno reports on reporters in Athens . CounterSpin producer, Paul Jay, says Hugh Segal should get new dining companions; I now have a better understanding of the defunct program. Carol Goar says the last thing we need is a fed-prov showdown over health, and she’s got some lines Paul Martin can use to stiff the preems.
Le Devoir editor Bernard Descoteaux says Paul Martin is behaving just like Jean Chrétien, but the Star’s editorial board urges the Prime Minister to stand firm; I want to be clear to readers of Norman ’s Spectator about this very important priority: when’s the last time he stood firm on anything? Another editorialist dumps on Carolyn Parrish (She was re-elected despite her “bastards” comment, Chantal Hébert writes in her defense.), while a third proposes that Ottawa establish a new federal agency to handle nuclear waste. (What’s next?— Toronto ’s snow?)
The Globe and Mail fronts a fine piece on refugees in Whitehorse and today's two national embarrassments, Carolyn Parrish and Ralph Klein. (The Calgary Herald says the Premier is doing Albertans no favour by snubbing the Prime Minister.)
On the comment page, Philip Anisman weighs in on securities reform. Rick Salutin wonders whether he’s too much of a Marxist; only in the bourgeois sense, I’d say. Jeff Simpson asks how we can say no to an international presence in Darfur; I’d ask how Canada could say yes and mean it. The editorial board pushes for prosecution of Augusto Pinochet, and pans the premiers’ pharmacare proposal--again.
John Ibbitson says Parrish is winning the fight on missile defence, and it’s too bad she thinks it’s too late for reasoned discussion. (The editorial board makes an effort.) Business columnist Deborah Yedlin says Albertans need leadership from their premier. (I hate to rain on her parade, but didn’t he say yesterday that he’s always thought it meant getting out ahead of the parade—or something equally profound? Well, as Chantal Hébert argues, the people are always right, and he’s clearly preparing to persuade them to vote right again.)
In the Ottawa Sun, Michael Harris also plumps for Parrish. In Toronto , Connie Woodcock wonders who keeps voting for the MP. In Edmonton , Neil Waugh’s beef is her timing. In Calgary , Rick Bell says happy days are here again, or there again, to be more precise. All that cash is not enough to cheer Link Byfield, who’s down on the latest Supremes.
In addition to Najaf, the National Post fronts some bad news for Nova Scotia ’s offshore energy industry, and a Muslim group that opposes including shari’a law in Ontario legislation. Inside, Lorne Gunter writes about the folly of the gun registry. John Ivison also shoots fish in a barrel, and he really unloads on Carolyn Parrish. The editorial board says she’s a disgrace to the Liberal caucus and should be kicked out.
David Asper defends Rosie Abella, doing a good job taking on columnists Andrew Coyne and Lorne Gunter. André Pratte says more money is not the answer and Canadians must make hard choices on health care, though he can't quite bring himself to spell them out.
Jonathan Kay, taking off from Dennis Ross’ Mideast tome, says the Palestinians have blown it (no pun intended). Sheila Copps writes about the Olympic dream; she’s less wet than usual. Colby Cosh says the Swift boat mudslinging demonstrates the superiority of their political system over ours; I’d say he’s all wet.
Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette fronts a set-up piece on the PQ convention opening this evening. Josée Legault says Bernard Landry is in for the fight of his life and she clearly hopes he loses.
Speaking of losers, the editorial board says missile defence is a serious issue and “Carolyn Parrish has forfeited her right to be part of [the] discussion”; on the other hand, it stands foursquare behind free speech at CHOI and says the CRTC should be put out of business. (Memo to Alan Allnutt: don’t your editorial writers communicate?)
The Ottawa Citizen’s Susan Riley praises Parrish and says her critics are “purse-lipped prudes.” Mark Kennedy wades in with a fine analysis of the Klein-Martin spat. On the front page, the paper has some good news on West Nile virus, worrisome news about a flu medication that makes it more difficult to kill that virus, news about a troublesome Senator and a sneak peak at the Committee report on Supreme Court nominations.
The Vancouver Sun fronts Todd Bertuzzi’s not guilty plea, concerns about the spread of avian flu to humans, and a US investigation into some of BC’s leading polygamists.
The editorial board says Ms. Parrish is an “idiot” and it pans police proposals to intrude on privacy in the name of counter-terrorism. Barbara Yaffe says the premiers are on the losing end of the health care battle.
And finally, for those of you outside BC or who are out of town today or who are too cheap to buy the paper, here’s my take on the Supreme Court appointments, and on the judges and politicians I came to know and love during my career in government.
L'opposition se coalise contre Martin
Le Devoir fronts Alec Castonguay’s report :
Thursday, August 26, 2004
This song is our song
Jib Jab, the website behind the crossover hit shockwave animation depicting George Bush and John Kerry singing "This Land is Your Land," has won its legal battle for the right to distribute the parody. This, after the record label that owns Woody Guthrie classic threatened to sue the animators—in spite of the fact that Arlo Guthrie, Woody's son (though he owns no rights to the song), had urged people visiting his web site to check out the lampoon. The Electronic Frontier Foundation had joined the fight, on the side of Jib Jab.
Strike a blow for free speech? Er, not quite. turns out there's some dispute over whether the copyright on the song is still valid. I guess the publishers didn't want to test that one out.
John and Germaine Warkentin, authors of this nationally-famous rip-off of the song, can breathe easy.
From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR
US papers continue to focus on Iraq and the fall-out there from—most importantly, in the presidential campaign.
A new poll published by the Los Angeles Times suggests attack ads are having an effect, with President Bush pulling ahead for the first time; the editorial board is standing by its man, John Kerry.
The Washington Post’s editorial board weighs in on prisoner abuse. Over at the New York Times, the editorial board focuses on the theme of holding the Pentagon accountable for both the anti-Muslim statements of a General and for Abu Ghraib. (The Wall Street Journal says Rummy has been vindicated.)
In the UK , the papers are atwitter at the arrest of Mark Thatcher. The French commemorated the 60th anniversary of Paris ’ liberation yesterday.
At home, a Toronto police sharpshooter and a Mississauga MP with a sharp tongue and dull brain command considerable attention—particularly in the home town paper, the Toronto Star, which also has Rosie the day after with Perdita.
In Ottawa , MPs reviewed the appointment of two Supreme Court justices. (The Toronto Star editorial board is enthusiastic about both, down on the Pentagon but has a rare good word for the police.)
Having watered down his legal commitment, Prime Minister Martin is now backing off and backing down on health care--as yours truly suggested was in the cards in Monday’s Globe and today’s Le Devoir. (Don’t be cheap—get an Internet subscription; they need the bucks.)
The Globe and Mail has all of the above--except for Carolyn Parrish, whom Jane Taber stuffs; like her friend Rosie yesterday, Christie gets front-page treatment today to explain why athletes lose.
Elsewhere in the Star, Haroon Siddiqui says the US may be winning the battle of Najaf but has lost the war—tell that to the guy in the rabbit hole. Media critic Antonia Zerbisias comments on coverage of the US presidential campaign; you’d think in a Canadian paper she’d watch her Canadian content colleagues as critically from time to time.
Inside the Globe, John Ibbitson was impressed with MPs review of the Supreme Court appointments; he must have seen something in person that I didn’t on CPAC. The editorial board saw what I saw and didn’t like it one bit; in another editorial, it says Rummy shouldn’t remain in office—which also makes sense, but won’t happen.
William Houston explains how Radio-Canada is saving money in covering the Olympics. On the comment page, Lawrence Martin explains why the US election is critical. Margaret Wente is a friend of Rosie Abella. In letters, the Mayor of Halifax corrects John Ibbitson and a reader scores on Jeff Simpson’s logic.
The National Post and Ottawa Citizen front Parrish’s preachings, along with an Olympic scandal involving one Canadian judge; both papers stuff the two Canadian judges who will matter over the next 15 years or so. The Post also fronts the latest in a series of scare stories on the terrorism and health care fronts.
Doctors migrating to Alberta are good news in today’s Calgary Herald, which also fronts the Calgary Olympic judge who had a harrowing experience in Athens . The editorial board was not impressed with the process for evaluating judicial appointments and promises a second installment of criticism tomorrow.
The Vancouver Sun stuffs the Eastern doctors who are coming to BC, too, where they are much needed, judging from another front-page story on pigs, which don’t fly out here either but might be contracting avian flu. The editorial board says hospitals must be made safer; I'll say. Barbara Yaffe says Stephen Harper should not think it safe to shun the media.
The Citizen’s editorial board says Perdita has nothing to apologize for, but Paul Martin does—specifically, his plan for dealing with cannabis, which it pans. Andrew Cohen says the Olympics prove that Canada has a culture of complacency; he should read the letters to the editor of the Globe.
Over at the National Post, by contrast, William Watson does understand our national character. (Memo to Matthew: You really should get this guy to write more often.) Don Martin has Alberta ’s Environment Minister chortling at David Anderson’s demise and Paul Martin’s back-down on Kyoto .
The editorial board says the pie-throwing Albertan who hit Ralph Klein bulls-eye should have the book thrown at him, and that the CBC should be subject to FOI legislation, with an exemption for protecting news sources. That’s also pretty much on target, as was the Toronto police sharpshooter to whom another editorialist expresses gratitude.
John Ivison documents the bad blood between the Ottawa-embedded media and both Paul Martin and Stephen Harper, which means we can probably count on more buttering-up columns like Ibbitson’s.
The good news at the Montréal Gazette is that Don MacPherson and William Marsden are back in print in the tab masquerading as a broadsheet. The editorial board is pleased the Québec taxman is going after the tobacco industry, but criticizes the Liberal government for strangling English schools.
In the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington wants Dalton McGuinty to wake up to the dangers of shari’a. In Calgary , Rick Bell is down on Ralph; in Edmonton , Neil Waugh is slightly less cynical about Premier Moneybags. In Winnipeg , Tom Brodbeck says public sports funding is adequate.
Commons panel to accept judges, but wants stronger vetting process
The Globe and Mail’s KIM LUNMAN AND BRIAN LAGHI report:
“An unprecedented parliamentary committee will reluctantly endorse the appointment of two Supreme Court of Canada nominees amid criticisms that the first-ever hearing into selections of the country's top jurists is a sham.”
(Here’s another article in the Globe and Mail, the story in the Toronto Star and the lead in the National Post.)
The New York Daily News includes a Canadian in a short list of "hard-core extremists with histories of violent and disruptive tactics" expected at the forthcoming Republican National Convention in NYC. Funny how every news report I have ever read about the teddy bear/catapult incident at Quebec City has until now neglected to mention a salient fact about the teddy bear.
Jaggi Singh, 32, a Canadian citizen, is known for allegedly setting off hoax devices to detour police resources. He allegedly catapulted teddy bears soaked with gasoline at police at the Quebec G-20 protest in 2001, according to NYPD reports. A member of the International Solidarity Movement, or ISM, he was seen shooting a handgun, and allegedly received firearms training from Toure, according to a police source.
Enviro-policies - "Unless it hurts it ain't working"
And after Kyoto, we return to energy rationing:
The unpalatable truth is that unless it hurts it ain't working. This week's hefty price increases for gas and electricity are the kind of thing that by 2010 could be commonplace. The era of affordable energy is drawing to a close and lifestyles built on its cheap abundance will have to be painfully adjusted. Take the simple matter of kitchen lighting (a subject of which I've had to grasp a sketchy knowledge in the past few weeks); while our parents would have happily had a single light bulb, Ikea sells halogen spots in packs of three and before you know it, the kitchen is a glowing festival, courtesy of nearly a dozen lights.My kitchen isn't exactly a glowing festival, but I'm not sure I or my wife would be satisfied slaving over supper with a single dingy bulb in the kitchen. But, moving on to more tips for low-carbon living:
Don't boil your kettle so often; turn the heating down in the winter and wear woolly jumpers instead; use those dim, energy-efficient lightbulbs; recycle as much as you can, and take fewer showers. It sounds impossibly worthy, and rather smelly.Makes one yearn for the smell of a coal-fired power plant, actually. But how about your own government-granted carbon ration?
Hillman's preoccupation is to get individuals to take personal responsibility for global warming and he provides formulae by which individuals can calculate their own carbon consumption. That takes him to the idea of personal carbon rations; every service or product we purchase would require not only a swipe of our debit card but also of our carbon card so that the carbon impact of our consumption is deducted.Shower rationing, sounds like a winning idea to me.
Glenn Reynolds writes the most important thing I have read this week.
Just as who controlled the Senate in 2002 wasn't the most important thing in the world, who wins the White House in 2004 isn't either, except perhaps to those involved. But if the institutional press is, as Evan Thomas suggested, capable of delivering a 15% margin to its preferred candidate, enough to decide almost any election, and if they're willing to go to almost any lengths in delivering that margin, well, then, we've got a serious problem. (And we don't, really, have a democracy.) To me (and to others) that's a bigger deal than Bush v. Kerry, but it's certainly illustrated by the Kerry issues of the last few months.
Canada, where the CRTC can say yes to al Jazeera as it says no to Fox. Canada, where the state broadcaster acts as the mouthpiece for every policy of our permanent federal government. Canada, where no news is good news unless it is the same tired sleight of hand and the sneering words "American-style" remind us that four-legs are good and two-legs are bad. Canada, where we could only dream of so small an advantage as a 15% margin delivered to the establishment at public expense time and time again.
Cross-posted to the Flea.
From our bulging Matthew 18:6 file
Trick or treat! Company sells "Pimps & Hos" Halloween costumes for kids (and dogs).
Ownder says: "We have Jesus costumes, Moses costumes, and coming soon we'll offer the infant pimp."
Parrish's dubious past
Carolyn Parrish's anti-American comments get all the media attention, but her remarks about Israel, antisemitism and the "Jewish lobby" should be the real story.
Frankly, I'm worried about the fact that a woman who thinks the Toronto Star is too pro-Israel, or that a reporter's impartiality is compromised because he was honoured by B'nai Brith, can get elected and re-elected to Parliament in this country.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Israel won its first gold medal ever today in windsurfing, thanks to Gal Fridman. This is only its fifth medal since the official founding of the Jewish state in 1948.
According to the Associated Press, "Israeli President Moshe Katsav congratulated Fridman and invited him for a meeting to give him a "hug."" (Sharon has apparently promised to give him "such a pinch on the cheek!")
Fridman says he'll take the medal first to the memorial for the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich olympics by Palestinian terrorists, and "show it to them, to show they are always with us, to show that we have moved on, and that we are winning."
Says one Israeli watching the event: "This is the best answer to suicide bombings. Showing the whole world by winning in athletics, without violence and without aggressiveness."
I don't think I agree with this being the "best" answer to suicide bombings (I'm still a fan of the hunting down and destroying terrorist leader approach) but it's a nice sentiment.
Speaking of the CRTC...Liberate CTV Newsnet!
CTV Newsnet has applied to the CRTC for more freedom in the way it broadcasts the news. This will be another test of the CRTC's mettle after its disastrous performance on the CHOI-FM file (see below).
Newsnet is currently operating with one hand tied behind its back: they have to cut away from any programming (which is minimal) for headline news updates every 15 minutes. (Anyone who watched Mike Duffy's excellent program "COUNTDOWN" during the federal election campaign will know how annoying this is.) CBC Newsworld, CNBC, CNN or any other cable news station in Canada is not subject to these same draconian restrictions.
I love the pot shot at Newsworld's irrelevant non-newsy shows in the press release:
"The success of COUNTDOWN: With Mike Duffy proves that there is an audience for intelligent, fast-paced newsprogramming," said [CTV News President Robert] Hurst. "And that's the audience we want to serve. COUNTDOWN: With Mike Duffy, with its panel discussions and audience interaction, is a template for the kind of headline programming we want to seemore of on CTV Newsnet. We're not talking Antiques Road Show or Fashion File here -- we're talking about hard news and current events in shows that have personality and point-of-view."
Let the CRTC know you support CTV's request -- email@example.com.
Viva la revolution
I hesitate to make too much of this. But I can only hope that the CRTC has truly arrived at what Andrew Coyne calls its Ceausescu Moment.
God bless her heart
This should help ease tensions.
If you don't get the vote you want, elect a new people.
We never dreamed that ZDF, a major public German television network, would make itself look this ridiculous. For the second time in less than a week, the network has pulled a poll asking visitors to its website to vote for the next US President.
After pulling the poll the first time, ZDF reset it to zero votes and placed it back online. But that still did not get them the results they wanted and the results they expected: John Kerry did not have an overwhelming lead. So instead of just letting the poll run, ZDF silently removed it...AGAIN.
Cross-posted to Ghost of a flea
From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR (with articles hotlinked).
US papers lead with the report on prison abuse—not good news for Rummy and the Pentagon. In the UK , delays at Heathrow and gas price increases are top of mind. France is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris —the third of its major celebrations this year.
The New York Times’ editorial board urges demonstrators at the Republican convention to keep their cool, and President Bush to condemn the Swift boat ads. The Washington Post’s editorial board praises Vice-President Cheney’s position on gay marriage and is concerned by, but understands, the Administration’s silence in the face of Israel ’s settlement construction. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board says California-style conservation works and pans the energy policies of the two presidential candidates.
At home, it was a good day for Rosalie Abella and Louise Charron and perhaps for Canada , as a Commons Committee will now try to ascertain. Sort of. In Athens , it was a good day for Lori-Ann Muenzer and Alexandre Despatie, and a bad day for Perdita Felicien, as we can tell for ourselves by the photos.
The Globe and Mail has all of the above, along with a report from its man in Moscow on two suspicious plane crashes in Russia . Inside, Roy MacGregor, whose country is l'hiver, says we swagger at the winter not the summer Olympics. Bruce Little wonders whether an interest rate hike is on the horizon.
John Ibbitson says there’s more work to do on the process for appointing Supreme Court judges. I'd say he should read his colleague Jeff Simpson, who sees politics at play in the appointments.
The editorial board is scathing about the process —appropriately so, in my humble opinion--but then it goes and ruins it all by pooping populism on photo radar. On the comment page, law prof Allan Hutchinson makes the unpopular case for mandatory retirement. Speaking of unpopular, Marcus Gee says you should pray for Ariel Sharon if you’re interested in Mideast peace. I kid you not.
The Toronto Star fronts, in addition to R. Abella, their own Rosie—di Manno--on Perdita. (The Globe stuffs Christie.) The editorial board waxes poetic on a day of “victory” and "agonies” in Athens ; haven’t I heard this formulation somewhere else before?—a long time before.
Chantal Hébert considers the process for appointing SCC judges and comes down meekly on both sides. Gwynne Dyer says higher oil prices are a blessing in disguise. (Note to Star editor: Some day, I’d like to see a list of the 45 countries in which his column is published.)
The National Post fronts a tough column by Andrew Coyne calling on the Government to withdraw the Abella appointment. Fat chance. Though the editorial board shares his concerns, it ducks the big question by focussing on the process, which it finds deficient. (In its second and third editorials, the editorial board pans Olympic judging and generic drug prices.)
On the comment page, Lorne Gunter accuses the Liberals of stacking the judicial deck: “Paul Martin, once thought to be the Liberals' Great Right Hope, has produced what will likely be the most activist, left-wing court in Canadian history.” George Koch and John Weissenberger weigh in with a fine anti-Ralph Klein piece.
Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette stuffs the new judges, instead fronting school closures and JTI-Macdonald seeking bankruptcy protection to avert its own closure. The editorial board praises Perdita Felicien and pans Olympic judges. It also criticizes the process for appointing those who will sit on the SCC, suggesting that the government has stacked the deck on same sex marriage. L. Ian Macdonald says we should stop whinging about medals and enjoy the Games.
The Ottawa Citizen fronts a local angle to the Supreme Court appointments and the military’s investigation into the Iltis jeep. The editorial board is less troubled by the judicial appointment process, viewing it as a pilot project. Like their colleagues at the Toronto Star, they have some fun dealing with Air Canada ’s cup-losing performance.
Whistle-blower Joanna Gualtieri weighs in on behalf of whistle-blowing. And the Citizen has today’s best correction: “Jeffrey Elliott was born at Riverside Hospital in Ottawa . After being sentenced to a year for robbery, he spent time at the Ottawa jail before being transferred to the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene.”
The Calgary Herald fronts the plane crashes in Russia , while the Vancouver Sun has word of the Rx Express train coming up and out here looking for Canadian drugs. No, not BC Bud. Premier Gordon Campbell also has drugs on his mind, and he weighs in with a piece touting the provincial pharmacare proposal. Barbara Yaffe likes the two new judges and says if you don’t you should vote out the Liberals. The editorial board says confidence in the Corrections system must be restored and demolishing half-way houses is not the answer.
In the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington wades in on the Milosevic trial. In Calgary , Rick Bell would like to get his hands on Alberta ’s big bucks, and Roy Clancy tries to explain Israel . And I’m still waiting for Greg Weston to return from his vacation.
Charron, Abella named to top court
The Globe and Mail’s KIM LUNMAN AND BRIAN LAGHI report:
“Justice Minister Irwin Cotler announced the historic appointments of two women jurists to the Supreme Court of Canada yesterday, setting the stage for unprecedented televised hearings today to scrutinize the selections.”
Here’s the lead in the National Post; If you have the time, check out these articles:
Supreme Court gender balance unprecedented
Abella praised as champion of equality
Charron has focus, discipline, passion
Charron seen as progressive on social rulings
Abella expected to be a superb communicator
New judges expected to maintain continuity
Grilling awaits Justice Minister
Deux juges progressistes accèdent à la Cour suprême
Justice minister to face special hearing today
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Citius, Altius, Mortuis
May's mother died two years ago. She brought her ashes to the match to spread on the court.
The previous night, May tossed just a few out there.
"This is probably just her right arm or leg," she told reporters.
Lewis Lapham: Journalist Clairevoyant
As old media continues to preach the ethics of journalistic standards to the blogger rabble,
Lewis Lapham has an article in Harpers Sept. 2004 issue, on the Republican "propoganda mill". He writes,
The speeches in Madison Square Garden affirmed the great truths now routinely preached from the pulpits of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal--government the problem, not the solution; the social contract a dead letter; the free market the answer to every maiden's prayer--and while listening to the hollow rattle of the rhetorical brass and tin, I remembered the question that [Richard] Hofstadter didn't stay to answer. How did a set of ideas both archaic and bizarre make its way into the center ring of the American political circus?
Except, of course, the "speeches in Madison Square Garden" don't occur until next week.
Hat tip Reason Hit&Run blogger Jacob Sullum;
"I got my copy in early August, and Lapham must have written those words in July. Didn't it occur to him that his readers might notice he was claiming to have witnessed an event that had not occurred when the magazine went to press? Evidently, Republicans are not the only ones Lapham thinks are stupid."