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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Doing something about Iran?

If this is true -- and I have my doubts because I don't expect President George W. Bush is ready to open another front in the war on terror -- it is safe to say that it will be the biggest story of 2006. The Jerusalem Post reports:

"The United States government reportedly began coordinating with NATO its plans for a possible military attack against Iran."

The paper reports the information -- which isn't much -- that was cobbled together by the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. The key detail seems to be a request by CIA head Porter Goss to se Turkey as a base from which to launch an attack.

Posted by Paul Tuns on December 31, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (57) | TrackBack

All the best for a great 2006

Happy New Year to the staff of the Western Standard, and all the readers and bloggers at the Shotgun. May 2006 give us hope that Canada can be saved.

Posted by RightGirl on December 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Classic Globe and Mail

This headline -- PM to get tough with gun violence offenders-- caught my eye. Of course, what the Liberals (and the Globe) call "get tough" doesn't mean amending the criminal code, or moving RCMP and cash away from working at the $2-billion duck-hunter registry and to redeploy them to the mean streets. It means joining Dalton McGuinty and David Miller to form a "multi-level government task force ".

That'll get 'em quaking at Jane and Finch.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Too Much TV

Last night was a bad night. I watched a little more TV than I suppose I should have. When I switched it on around quarter to 10, I went over to CP Pulse 24 - the Toronto news station. They were airing a live "memorial" to Jane Creba in Nathan Philips Square. This was no memorial. This was an anti-gun, pro-hippie, talking-just-to-hear-myself-speak extravaganza of the lowest order. There were tables set up to hold votive candles, which instead were covered in pamphlets and propaganda. Tied to the front of those tables were posters of infants and toddlers of all colors, with the quote "Guns Are Scary. They Hurt People."

One woman came on to speak, and I swear she was there for over 15 minutes. Which would have been nice, had she known the victim. I'm sure she would have eulogized her well. Instead, she was an activist who went on and on, smiling and laughing at times - very appropriate to the occasion, as I'm sure the grieving family would agree, if they wound up watching that drivel last night. I had time to make a coffee, go to the bathroom, on and on she went. At one point I raged to Mr. Right that I had time to hop on the subway, make it down to Nathan Philips Square, that cow would still be talking, and I could bitch-slap her live on television. Mr. Right just dumped more Bailey's into my coffee, waiting for the sedative effect to kick in. Good man.

Anyway, various people presented their agendas, there was a good shot of Jack Layton and Olivia Chow looking appropriately sombre (I didn't know Jack-o was able to take that smarmy grin off his face), and then mercifully it was over at about 10:15. And in a fit of self-flagellation, no doubt brought on by rage, I switched over to CBC Newsworld, to see a murdering Palestinian bastard saying how excited he was to face the Israelis. WTF?? I was intrigued. Then a voice over by Michael Douglas. Hmm... For the next hour and 45 minutes, I sat glued to the television, alternating between screaming and sobbing, while I watched a documentary called One Day in September. CBC put it on as part of its Passionate Eye series, to capitalize on the new Spielberg movie Munich.

I knew the story. I had just never seen it. My father had told me about it years ago, because Montreal hosted the next Olympics the year I was born, and he was telling me about the heavy security that they put up. I believe we were driving through Montreal's East End, past the white elephant of the Olympic Stadium, when he brought it up. Most of the world history I know I learned from him, and this was just another fact. Some other little tidbit. Now all of a sudden it's a popular subject again, thanks to Spielberg. Last night's documentary showed the bungling indifference of the German authorities, the missed opportunity of the Israelis to bring in Mossad while the hostages were still alive, the dedication of the terrorists to their cause, and how the lone Palestinian survivor is still proud of what he did, because it put the name of Palestine on everybody's lips.

I wept. I couldn't help myself. I demanded to know how many more times we would have to see the tortured faces of dead Jews before something was done about it once and for all. Personally, I don't think it was an accident that the Palestinians picked Germany to host their little spree. They wanted to make a point. A point that the Jews were without ally. That they would die. I was shocked not only by the images at the end of the burnt out helicopter and bloody bodies of the hostages, but by the German authorities who were interviewed, saying that Issa (the terrorist negotiator at the entrance to the Israeli apartments) was a nice enough guy, who might have been nice to know under different circumstances. I was shocked by the way the retired police were saying that the way they put their own man out in the open at the airport, without bullet-proof gear or helmet, without radio communications - it was stupid, something to laugh about now. Laugh? I wasn't laughing! I was precariously close to being sick.

I am a blogger. It means I'm obsessed by the news, and watch it all the time. But this was one of the few times I let something really get to me. As a matter of fact, it was one of three times. September 11th; hurricaine Katrina - specifically the story of Mr. Jackson, whose house tore in two while he and his wife were on the roof, and he clung to his grandchild while he watched his wife get washed away; and this film One Day in September.

Tonight, Dick Clark's return will be a welcome respite. But I'm sure those images will stay with me for months to come. Cross posted at Girl on the Right

Posted by RightGirl on December 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Wow! That American Occupation is *So* Brutal!

Those awful, inhumane Americans are at it again:

An Iraqi infant with a severe birth defect began her journey Friday to the United States, where she will receive medical care at the urging of U.S. soldiers who discovered her during a raid.
...U.S. troops discovered the baby three weeks ago during a raid on a house in a poverty-stricken neighborhood west of Baghdad. The soldiers noticed paralysis in her legs and what appeared to be a tumor on her back, said Debbie Stone, a Douglasville social worker.
Stone received an e-mail about it from her friend, Lt. Jeff Morgan, who asked her to see if she could arrange for medical assistance.

Baby Noor is set to arrive in the U.S., literally any minute now. Gee -- I'm sure glad Canada wasn't a part of this barbaric invasion! God forbid we should be part of something noble. It's so much better to adopt a posture of moral superiority, rather than actually doing something morally superior.
Read the whole story -- and send positive vibes to Noor and her medical team.

Happy New Year!

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Friday, December 30, 2005

A simple answer to a simple question

Paul Martin is admitting that the PMO had significant advance knowledge of the decision not to tax income trusts, information that might have been leaked to select traders before the public announcement.

When asked whether someone in the PMO leaked the information, did Paul Martin say "No"?

Of course not.

"The fact is we are dealing with opposition allegations. And that's all we are dealing with. Opposition allegations during an election campaign," said Martin. "The RCMP obviously have a responsibility to follow up on matters such as this. That's their job."

What the...?

As I see it, there are three reasons to give such a tortured non-answer to such a basic and such an important question about the people he picked to work for him:

None of these are great options.

[Extended entry at Angry in the Great White North]

Posted by Steve Janke on December 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Canadian bacon

Cato guy Patrick Basham lobs another one over the border from the Washington Times: Ottawa's backward anti-Americanism

Canadians need to get over themselves. They need to accept the asymmetry of the U.S.-Canada relationship, one deeply beneficial to both countries.

But we have accepted the asymmetry, we love the asymmetry, which is why we have a huge trade surplus with the U.S.

Maybe we just have to be better sales reps; you know, pretend the customer-is-always-right and that sort of thing. Speaking of customers, I'm glad Mr. Basham mentioned the softwood lumber issue.  We haven't done a good job of selling that whole business to the American public. After all, they are the ones who are paying higher prices at the Home Depots and whatnots for wood because of their government's tax.

Hey, why don't you free enterprise Cato guys get on to this free trade bandwagon by telling Fred and Martha America they are paying too much for their lumber to build their decks and garages and houses, etc.? That might help us get over ourselves and be deeply beneficial to both countries.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 30, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

The truth about the Liberal daycare scheme

For the last few weeks I have had a hard time convincing parents who use daycare (and other supporters of the Liberal daycare plan) that the Paul Martin/Ken Dryden program will not provide any financial benefit to working families. Martin and Dryden's plan will fund institutions, not parents. It creates new daycare spaces but does not fund the care for the child. That is, these new spaces will not cost any less than daycare spaces do now.  In an interview with Macleans' John Geddes, Paul Martin makes this point clearer than any Liberal has thus far:

JG: Child care policy has emerged as a sharp dividing line in this campaign. The Conservatives call for payments to parents; you propose billions more to support regulated care. Yet your own sons were raised by a stay-at-home mom. Why not support that choice in some way, along with policies to support day care?

PM: I totally agree. I believe Canadians ought to have a choice. Stephen Harper is not offering that choice. Giving somebody $25 a week -- and I'm not denigrating that, I'm sure they'd spend it on their families -- but that doesn't create new day care spaces. Most Canadians with young families will tell me that their biggest single problem is finding a day care space.

JG: But your policy does seem aimed entirely at funding institutions. What do you have for families with a stay-at-home parent or, say, grandparents caring for kids?

PM: There is the spousal allowance. The second thing is, do the math. A tax cut puts more money into the hands of a family where the mother or father works at home than anything else. If you have a two-earner family, let's say each earning $30,000, as opposed to a one-earner family where the one income is $60,000, the tax cut provides a greater amount of money to the $60,000 earner. That's one of the reasons that our tax cut plan is so important, it's one of the reasons that I've said I will continue to keep bringing down personal income taxes.

Posted by Paul Tuns on December 30, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

You Tell 'em, Salim!

My colleague, Salim Mansur, writes a weekly colummn for the Trono Sun. His most recent column is about the positive aspects of the Iraq election. Here are some excerpts:

For the third time in a year, Iraqis confounded the world as they went to the polls Dec. 15 to electing a new 275-member parliament under the constitution they voted for in October. ...

John Burns, Baghdad correspondent for the New York Times, observed Sunnis displaying "new willingness to distance themselves from the insurgency, an absence of hostility for Americans, a casual contempt for Saddam Hussein, a yearning...to find a place for themselves in the post-Hussein Iraq."

And, for me, the kicker,

The Iraqi vote also exposes the empty platitudes of our own Paul Martin and the lib-left, and the widening disconnect between Canada's sense of purpose and its increasingly inconsequential foreign policy of appeasing rogue regimes gathered at the UN.

Posted by EclectEcon on December 30, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Election predictions

Speaking of politicized stock exchanges, the UBC election stock market is a useful tool for predicting election results. It's often been more accurate than mere polls for intangible reasons (polls cannot extrapolate themselves into the future, for example) and because the market aggregates hundreds of discrete pockets of information that investors all around the country have. More to the point, it makes would-be pundits put their money where their mouths are.

I've been glancing at it daily, especially their seat prediction, and this morning's prediction -- 109 for the Tories, and 119 for the Libs -- is the smallest that gap has been since I've started watching it.

Even if the Tories don't gain any more, they've hacked the gap from the last election down by 26 seats -- and made it impossible for a Liberal-NDP coalition to have a majority.

I asked a few Liberal friends of mine if this meant that on January 24th the knives would be out in the Liberal party for Martin (I assumed they would be). To my surprise, these Libs -- not all Martinites, by the way -- said "no", arguing that the Liberal party likes to unite behind a front-runner and not have an internecine bloodbath. I'm not sure if I support that logic. I think it's safe to start thinking up epitaphs for Paul Martin.

How odd; the dauphin who was once hailed as the best prime minister Canada would ever have will be remembered as one of the worst -- incoherent on policy, crude and brutish in tactics, short-sighted in strategy, the redeemer of the Bloc Quebecois, the inflamer of Western alienation, the antagonizer of America and the most indecisive PM since Joe Clark.

UPDATE: At 1:18 p.m. PT, the gap has closed to 111 seats for the Tories to 118 for the Liberals, and 38.5% to 37% of the popular vote. Is this a short-term spike -- or a thoughtful, 24-day-out prediction? We'll know on the 23rd.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Species-ism




My brother has written more or less identical thoughts to mine about the Chow/Klander kerfuffle. Klander's "joke" was stupid and not funny. But racist? It is more appropriate to call it species-ist. I mean, would it be racist to compare Olivia Chow to a German Shepherd, say? Is it "racist" because chows are Chinese? I still don't see the racism. It's just dumb and really not funny. My mom is Norwegian and my dad was Irish. If you compared me (I'm the one with Preston Manning), to a Norwegian Forest Cat (middle picture) or an Irish Wolfhound (top picture), I'd be flattered. They're way better looking than me (though we all share the traits of loyalty and long, blond hair). The cat and the dog, on the other hand, might be offended. And who could blame them? If you were an animal, would you want to be compared to hideous humans? I think not.
Further, Jack Layton has claimed that because there (apparently) used to be "No dogs or Chinese" signs outside certain establishments, Klander's joke was particularly heinous. Well, there also used to be -- without any doubt -- "No dogs or Irish" signs on any number of North American establishments in the middle to late 19th century, as well as "Irish need not apply" caveats on job advertisements (the Irish were thought to be incapable of any stability, the mere thought of a sip of liquor believed to have been enough to take them away from the daily grind). But I still would not be bothered by the wolfhound comparison.
It is difficult, sometimes, not to see the resemblance between humans and critters. John Kerry totally reminds me of a Shar-pei. Ralph Goodale so has a woodchuck quality to him. And so forth. (Personally, though, I see no resemblance between Olivia Chow and a chow chow.)
For more on PC blogging, see Gerry Nicholls' comments here.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Which Liberal strategists? Part II

From Ezra's post:

Finance Minister Ralph Goodale surely has some strategists in his office; he's been a cabinet minister and a politician long enough to have a coterie of staff who would fit that description, or at least use it to describe themselves. But could those Liberal strategists -- "well connected" as they were called -- be from the Prime Minister's team?

The decision, on the eve of an election, to reverse course on income trusts was not Goodale's alone. Martin (and his "well connected" strategists) would have been in on the decision. In fact, it stands to reason that if Goodale's office made the first income trust decision, the overturning of that decision would have been primarily the result of Martin's office -- and Martin's staff would have been the most eager to spread the news of same.

In on the decision?  No, the PMO made the decision.  My source, a senior Ottawa Liberal, tells me that on Friday, November 18, Paul Martin himself told Goodale to cut off the consultations and make the announcement on income trusts.

That was five days before the announcement.  Plenty of time for PMO folks to make some calls.

The official story that the PMO only knew about the decision and the timetable immediately before the announcement on November 23 is nonsense.

[Extended entry at Angry in the Great White North]

Posted by Steve Janke on December 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Which Liberal strategists?

CTV's story on the income trust leak is riveting -- made all the more tantalizing when one senior executive  cancelled a scheduled CTV interview on his lawyer's advice.

TSX CEO Richard Nesbitt's pathetic excuse for why he thought to make an investment that netted him a six-figure overnight profit is laughable. I predict he will be replaced as the top man at Canada's most important stock exchange within a week; the reputation of the TSX depends on it.

But the most intriguing aspect of CTV's report was the common thread in all the statements it collected: that senior Liberal strategists were the source of the leaks.

Who were those Liberal strategists?

Finance Minister Ralph Goodale surely has some strategists in his office; he's been a cabinet minister and a politician long enough to have a coterie of staff who would fit that description, or at least use it to describe themselves. But could those Liberal strategists -- "well connected" as they were called -- be from the Prime Minister's team?

The decision, on the eve of an election, to reverse course on income trusts was not Goodale's alone. Martin (and his "well connected" strategists) would have been in on the decision. In fact, it stands to reason that if Goodale's office made the first income trust decision, the overturning of that decision would have been primarily the result of Martin's office -- and Martin's staff would have been the most eager to spread the news of same.

So who sent the e-mails? It shouldn't be hard to find out, and it shouldn't be hard to find out before January 23rd. Scott Reid? Tim Murphy? Hell, Mike Klander?

Is that why Paul Martin is stonewalling here -- not to protect Goodale, but to protect himself?

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Exploding Goodale's 'big hint' defence

Ralph Goodale has said--and continues to say--that the reason for the market spike prior to his Nov. 23 announcement on income trusts was good trading based on a big hint he gave to the national press the day before. From CTV today:

"The day before on the Tuesday late afternoon, coming out of the House of Commons, I indicated publicly in a scrum in the lobby of the House of Commons that I was concerned about matters related to uncertainty in this issue of income trusts, and I was considering the possibility of an early announcement," said Goodale.

"I did not indicate a decision had been taken, but I was looking at the matter. Now that comment by me was carried extensively that day on the wire services and it was a major story in The Globe and Mail ..."

Since the day of the announcement, everyone has concentrated on finding evidence of a leak, parsing emails for a hint that income trusts were not going to be taxed. But not enough attention has been paid to what might be called the counter-hint. Please recall this news story Nov. 24, the morning after, in the National Post, referring to that counter-hint;

But the announcement was marred by confusion after Mr. Goodale's parliamentary secretary, John McKay, said on national television that there would be a new tax imposed on income trusts held in pension funds. Mr. Goodale, at a news conference later, said there was no such tax.

I do not know the time of McKay's counter-hint. But obviously, different signals were going out. If anyone recalls when John McKay made his statement, please feel free to post it in comments. In light of this, I don't know why Goodale continues to use his big hint defence.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 29, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Headline News! Terrorist Loon Spurns Hollywood's Appeal for Peace!

I haven't seen Munich -- I may yet. But I have no illusions about it, or its message. Steven Spielberg's comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are naive, at best. For example, he is quoted as saying, "The biggest enemy in the region [the Middle East] is intransigence." Except that Israel has been anything but instransigent. They have made concession after concession over the decades. (As Abba Eban said, "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.") So while I was not shocked at the reaction of Mohammed Daoud, the mastermind of the Munich massacre, to Spielberg's movie, Spielberg himself may well be.

The Palestinian mastermind of the Munich Olympics attack in which 11 Israeli athletes died said on Tuesday he had no regrets and that Steven Spielberg's new film about the incident would not deliver reconciliation...
Mohammed Daoud planned the Munich attack on behalf of PLO splinter group Black September, but did not take part and does not feature in the film.
He voiced outrage at not being consulted for the thriller and accused Spielberg of pandering to the Jewish state. "If he really wanted to make it a prayer for peace he should have listened to both sides of the story and reflected reality, rather than serving the Zionist side alone," Daoud told Reuters by telephone from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Yeah, he sounds really reasonable, and ready for some give and take. Elsewhere in the story, Daoud admits that Israel allowed him to visit the West Bank following the Oslo Accords. Awfully instransigent of them, non?

Read the story.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

If Only the U.S. Had Stayed out of Iraq...

...the Iraqi people could have continued their happy, peaceful lives under Saddam. They were so much better off then, before George Bush decided to interfere and impose pesky things like the right to choose their own leaders on them:

Municipal workers in the Shiite holy city of Karbala found remains believed to be from a mass grave dating to 1991, when Saddam Hussein's regime put down a Shiite uprising in the south...
Human rights organizations estimate that more than 300,000 people, mainly Kurds and Shiite Muslims, were killed and buried in mass graves during Saddam's 23-year rule, which ended when U.S.-led forces toppled his regime in 2003.

Yes, I can certainly understand why Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore and their ilk, think the Iraqi people would be better off if the U.S. would just leave right now and allow them to go back to those glory days -- this time under the likes of Al Zarqawi.

Read the whole story.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Goodale won't go

CTV reports:

"Finance Minister Ralph Goodale says he will not step down during a criminal investigation into an alleged leak of an announcement on income trust taxation rules."

Perhaps Regina voters should take the decision to "step down" out of Mr. Goodale's hands?

Posted by Paul Tuns on December 28, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

RCMP ITscam investigation

The CBC is reporting: RCMP to investigate income trust allegations. CP has the story and is promising more details.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 28, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Liberal pundits

From experience, I know it can be difficult to be a partisan political pundit. That is, if all you're doing is repeating the party line, you're not going to be interesting or even that credible -- but if you stray too far from the party line, you lose your inside "access" to what's going on.

That's why Warren Kinsella and Sheila Copps have turned into two of the most interesting pundits during this election. They have decades of inside knowledge about the Liberals, but don't give a damn if Paul Martin excommunicates them (he already has, several times).

Which is why no-one else could have written Sheila Copps' report on Mike Klander's potty-mouthed blog.

Interesting times.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

More on Jews Killing Christmas

According to a BBC report, Joseph and Mary would not be able to get to Bethlehem nowadays, and Mary would not be able to give birth to Our Lord in a manger, thanks to the Israelis and their wall:

Had Jesus' parents Joseph and Mary tried to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem nowadays, they would find it to be a near impossible task due to the IDF roadblocks and the West Bank security fence, a BBC reporter claimed in a televised broadcast this week.

Hmm. Even if this were true, it leaves out one important thing: If Mary and Joseph -- both Jews -- tried to go to Bethlehem today, without the protection of the IDF and the Israeli security barrier, they would probably get blown up by some Hamas or Islamic Jihad loon strapped down with dynamite. Personally, I'd choose going through some roadblocks and security checks over being brutally slaughtered any old day. And I suspect the parents of Our Lord would agree.
At any rate, the BBC appears to have left out this little tidbit regarding Christmas in Bethlehem, 2005:

The festivities capped the most peaceful year since the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in September 2000.

The "most peaceful" Christmas in five years. Do you suppose the Israeli security barrier and the IDF roadblocks have anything to do with that?
Ah well. It's all right up there with Al-Reuters' recent Christmas greetings.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Happy F&%^*%@ Hanukkah from the AP and the CBC!

This AP story appears entirely fixated on the image of fat, comfortable Jews stuffing their faces during Hanukkah. Yes, that's right. When they're not occupying the land of peace-loving, slim -- because they're all poor -- Palestinians, and controlling international finance, they're sitting on their backsides and filling their faces with fried stuff. Even more telling, when the CBC website reprinted the story, this was their headline:

Israelis begin Hanukkah festival with warning against overeating

Hey, don't rain on their parade, or anything. We wouldn't want to just let them enjoy their holiday. The AP headline was, simply,

Israelis Begin 8-Day Festival of Hanukkah

They waited till the actual body of the story to darken any Israeli light. Check out this paragraph:

Many assume they'll gain some weight over the course of the festival, when children are off school, families get together and - in the rainy days of winter - there is little else to do than sit around and eat the pancakes and doughnuts.

How does this sound any different from Canadians at Christmas? Here is a partial list of what I have eaten over the past few days (so without sharing):
Entire tin of Planter's salted cashew nuts
Entire box of Ganong's chocolate covered cherries
Entire medium-sized bottle of Bailey's
Two French toast breakfasts
Several bottles of wine
Entire round of triple cream brie
At least two (large) bags of Miss Vickie's jalapeno chips
Two pieces of Sacher torte with whipped cream
Close to my body weight in fried eggplant and green beans with almond slivers (in an attempt to maintain some semblance of healthy eating)
And more and more and more.
And just in case the image of fat, greedy, lazy Israelis isn't enough, let us not forget that leader of theirs -- you know, the one that they keep electing, even though we all know he's mean and bad?:

The badly overweight Sharon, 77, was back at work Sunday a week after suffering a mild stroke. Doctors insisted that he must go on a diet, something they've been urging unsuccessfully since 1965. Estimates of the rotund, 170 centimetre Israeli leader's weight varied widely in Israeli media, from 117 to 142 kilograms.

Badly overweight. Rotund. Not that tall. 142 kilograms! Okay, we get it. He's so fat he had a stroke. He's so undisciplined (except when he's being mean to Palestinians) that for forty years he hasn't been able to lose weight. He's so arrogant he doesn't heed his doctors. He's so short and round and fat that when he sits around the Knesset, he sits around the Knesset! Take our prime minister, please
Happy F%^&*@% Hanukkah!
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Conservatives should chill a bit

What is it with conservatives (such as Stephen Taylor) joining in with the mainstream media chorus of playing the racism card on Mike Klander? Greg Staples put it best by describing the Liberal official's webstite comments as "adolescent" humour, but the feigned (or worse, real) outrage is too much. A visual representation of Olivia Chow as a chow dog is not a "racist" attack but obviously a play on her name. That is the understanding of Conservative leader Stephen Harper who said: "I don't think it helps itself by running a campaign of personal attack and slur, which is what it has been doing -- comparing political opponents to animals." But I think he misses the point, too. Klander is not running an official Liberal Party website and his blog is hardly part of the Liberal campaign. Truth be told, many conservatives have made similar comments and laughed about them at private parties and if conservative bloggers did not have the full hate-on for the Liberals -- an attitude that leads them to accept politically correct pieties if it means scoring political points against their nemisis -- they would, too.

Let me commit a conservative heresy and agree with Klander on several points. He refers to Rona Ambrose as "sexy." Stephen Taylor says that is misogynistic. I think both are wrong. Ambrose isn't sexy but it's harldy misogynistic to point it out if she was. More importantly, though is the hypocrisy of Conservatives on this. The unspoken assumption of Conservatives when they put her forward as the face of the Tories is that some Canadians believe she is not hard on the eyes and she is thus a great face to put on the party. That is, there is some "sex factor" being considered by the Tories themselves. Furthermore, I can't help but believe that Rahim Jaffer and other ethnics appear on stage alongside the party leader <em>because</em> they are visible minorities. It is not that Ambrose and Jaffer and others are not talented but that politics is so debased that the Conservatives must be "politically correct" in their presentation of their party. So Klander has a point. Even if he stoops to adolescent jokes to make some of them.

All that said, I think that Ezra Levant strikes the right tone in his earlier Shotgun post.

(Cross-posted at Sobering Thoughts)

Posted by Paul Tuns on December 28, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A second look at Omar

Omar Alghabra, the Saudi-born former president of the Canadian Arab Federation who is now the Liberal candidate in Mississauga-Erindale (Carolyn Parrish's old riding), is on the offensive. He's threatening to sue anyone who claimed that, at his nomination meeting, he said "this is a victory for Islam. Islam won. Islam won... Islamic power is extending into Canadian politics."

Various witnesses at the nomination meeting have said that Alghabra proclaimed those words, and the Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD) sent out a press release quoting those witnesses. At first, Alghabra issued a very narrow, Clinton-like denial -- that he didn't say those words in his "acceptance speech".

Parrish herself acknowledges hearing those words -- not from Alghabra, but, as it turns out, from Alghabra's political lieutenant, a Markham alderman named Khalid Usman. Parrish said she found those words "extremely inappropriate" -- quite something from the woman whose idea of political oratory is to stomp on an effigy of George W. Bush.

The CCD issued a clarification; Alghabra and the Reid/Klander Liberals saw weakness and pounced. They called the CCD's original press release an "ethnic smear" (odd, considering all of their cited witnesses were Arab, as well) and went further -- Alghabra issued a press release claiming that the whole thing was manufactured, a manipulation done at the behest of a prominent Jewish activist for the Conservative party in Toronto, publishing her name, e-mail address and private phone number. A nice Saudi touch.

Chuffed with his success, Alghabra started threatening lawsuits; his friends at the Muslim Canadian Congress have called for the police to start investigating and the attorney general to prosecute. More good Saudi moves, but sorry, we don't bring police in to settle political arguments in Canada.

But that's where the blogosphere, normally fearless critics of militant Islam and Liberal blatherskites, started to backpedal furiously, issuing grovelling apologies to Alghabra's delight. I won't link to the dozen or so I've seen.

I wasn't at the meeting myself. But I have read the statements by various witnesses there. Some say Alghabra made the Islamist utterances; others (including Parrish) say it was Usman, Alghabra's lieutenant and mentor who said them. But everyone agrees they were said by Alghabra or his team -- and no-one claims they were retracted or rebutted or disowned by Alghabra in any way. He still hasn't.

I might be more inclined to give Alghabra the benefit of the doubt myself if he hadn't already established a track record as an apologist for militant Islam. Some examples:

1. Alghabra has condemned CanWest newspapers for labelling groups like Hamas and Hizbollah "terrorist" groups;

2. Alghabra has welcomed al-Jazeera to Canada and railed against any restrictions on it, but condemned the CRTC for allowing the "abusive" Fox News Channel in;

3. In the wake of the Arab riots at Concordia that shut down a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alghabra had the temerity to blame Jewish students for silencing campus discussions, and supported an Arab conference on campus whose stated mission was the elimination of Israel;

4. Alghabra has called for the total abolition of Canada's anti-terrorism laws; and

5. Alghabra was stopped at the U.S. border and searched and fingerprinted -- whether that was by reason of demographic profiling, or because he was on a watch list is uncertain. What is certain is that Alghabra turned it into an opportunity to gain media face time, Maher Arar-style, as an anti-American, anti-security mouthpiece.

I say again, I don't know whether it was Alghabra or Usman who made the offensive comments about Islam taking over, Islam being on the march, etc., etc. (in a nomination meeting in a church, no less). I really don't care if it was Alghabra or his sidekick. Neither of them belong in Canada's parliament. I would say that neither of them belong in the Liberal party, either, but these days it's probably more accurate to say that they do belong there -- it's Jews like Gerald Schwartz and Larry Tanenbaum who no longer belong there.

Oh, and for Alghabra, Mike Klander, Scott Reid or any other Liberal bullies: you can serve your defamation papers on me at our magazine's address.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

France: The Ted Bundy of European Nations

From Vile France, by Dennis Boyles (h/t to BenS) [I quoted the first part of this material earlier] :

In very large numbers, the French don’t like us…What we mistakenly see as a craven, anti-Semitic, insecure, hypocritical, hysterically anti-American, selfish, overtaxed, culturally exhausted country, berefit of ideas, fearful of its own capitualation to Islam, headed for a democraphic cul de sac, corrupted by lame ideologies, clinging to unsupportable entitlements, crippled by a spirit-stomping social elite and up to its neck in a cheesy soufflé of multilayered bureaucracy is actually worse than all that. It’s vile.

… In just the last half-century or so, France has been guilty of eagerly abetting the Holocaust; perpetrating more postwar anti-Semitic acts than any other country in Europe; enabling and supporting state-sponsored genocide and slaughter in Africa and Asia; attacking unarmed civilians on foreign territory; arming enemies of Western democracies; treating its young with disain and its elderly with a neglect that is often fatal; suppressing conventional human rights, especially the right to free speech; protecting murderers and war criminals from justice; pursuing a foreign policy in which mendacity is a strategy used against both friends and enemies; polluting the earth while rhetorically demanding planetary hygiene from others; pursing illegal trade activities; engaging in massive, systematic corruption and greed; worshiping self-seriousness; and undermining American foreign policy wherever possible, no matter how many lives that costs. France looks great and seems swell but it acts hideously. It’s the Ted Bundy of European nations. (Denis Boyles, Encounter Books, 2005, p.5).

I don't know whether the London Public Library has ordered the book, yet [here is my earlier post on the subject].

Posted by EclectEcon on December 27, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

How Much of a Worry is Global Warming?

Not much, if you accept the research reported by Joseph Bast in a report put out by The Heartland Institute. (also see Taken by Storm).

Here is a summary of just a few of the points made by Bast in his commentary on Michael Crichton's State of Fear:

... [T]he message of State of Fear has serious public policy consequences: Most of the environment and health protection regulations in the U.S. ought to be reformed so they address real rather than imaginary risks, and concentrate on what works instead of the liberal orthodoxy of big government solutions to every problem. The U.S. is quite right to stay out of the Kyoto Protocol--the global warming treaty--and ought to be doing more to persuade other countries of the world that the protocol is unnecessary, premature, and unworkable.

For more on global warming, in addition to the books shown above, I recommend this recent post at Cafe Hayek and this one by the ever-vigilant group at London Fog.

Also catch Bill Sjostrom's comments about Bill Clinton' praise of Kyoto:

"In a scathing attack on the Bush administration's negative stance on global warming, the former president said one of the big obstacles to making progress was the "old energy economy which is well-organised, well-financed and well-connected politically". This from a president who signed Kyoto, but three and a half years later still had not bothered submitting it to the Senate.

Recall, too, the positions of Becker and Posner, noted here; also see these comments posted earlier from a research colleague.

Posted by EclectEcon on December 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Monday, December 26, 2005

Liberal verbal abuse

The verbal abuse detailed by Stephen Taylor in the previous post is startling in its combination of brutality and infantility. Mike Klander didn't make a single, ad hoc, off-colour joke. His entire political diary is a stream of aggression, sexual and ethnic insults, and outright cruelty. It's shocking and troubling that such a vile mind would have such a high station in the ruling party and therefore the government. There's no comedy here, or irony, or self-awareness; just brutal, violent braggadocio -- like listening to a gangsta rapper.

Klander's blog, which can be seen in cache form here, isn't a secret, ugly thought that everyone in politics has from time to time, and perhaps vents in private. It's how he chose to present himself to the world, what he carefully and methodically wrote over the course of days and days. It is not sufficient -- it is not even coherent -- for him to "apologize" or claim he "didn't mean it". He wasn't accidentally overheard -- like a gangsta rapper, he was tagging his turf.

This all echoes another vulgarian in the Martin inner circle, Scott Reid. As Western Standard readers will remember,  Reid told a Calgary reporter that "Alberta can blow me" -- and refused to retract or apologize for it. In that case Martin said the he was certain (perhaps through ESP) that Reid didn't really think that way.

Of course he did -- it's evident in everything the Liberals think and say and do about Alberta. And Klander's vitriol is also evident in every aspect of the Liberals' campaign. Klander's blog, and Reid's "blow me" line -- like Reid's "beer and popcorn" line -- aren't mistakes. They are rare glimpses into how Liberals really feel or think, like a single missing plank in a picket fence that allows a passer-by to glimpse into what normally remains hidden.

Paul Martin became leader of the Liberals by recruiting a team with two criteria: obsequious personal loyalty and brutal political tactics. The two are now in perfect harmony -- Liberal campaign strategists have rebreathed each others' air to the point where they are tone-deaf to how they sound to the outside world (e.g. the Duceppe/Harper Holocaust memorial photo).  If the Liberal numbers remain weak and the stress in the war room rises, I don't doubt we'll see and hear more Klanderisms before election day.

UPDATE: Following Mike's comment, I checked the federal lobbyist registry. Here's Klander's entries -- he lobbies for Research In Motion, amongst others.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

How to lose an election

Yesterday, the racist and sexist comments of a senior party executive were discovered on his blog.  This may derail the entire campaign and may just go down as the biggest series of gaffes so far.  It might just end up losing the election.

Developing story here...

Posted by Stephen Taylor on December 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack

Sunday, December 25, 2005

It needs to be said

I hope all the bloggers are too busy with friends and family to post today, and all the readers too busy doing the same to read. But since I'm in Waikiki, and not particularly busy at all, I'll offer this up to readers and bloggers alike:

Merry Christmas.

Posted by Kevin Libin on December 25, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Saturday, December 24, 2005

This week's Strange New Respect Award goes to...

Yesterday, Warren Kinsella predicted an upsurge in Tory polling numbers. He notes that he agrees with Toronto Star political columnist Chantal Hebert, whose latest column is headlined "Harper Puts Progressive Back Into Conservative."

Hebert, for her part, tries not to frighten the horses. She writes:

"In substance and in style, it [the current Conservative campaign] bears more resemblance to Brian Mulroney's bid for power in 1984 than to any of the failed Reform/Alliance attempts of the '90s. That includes not only the open hand to Quebec this week or the mainstream policy announcements of the past month, but also the party's controversial stance on same-sex marriage — the issue that critics of the Conservatives wrongly use as proof that the party has not outgrown its Reform roots.In fact, if the past is any indication, the old Tories would also have promised to hold a free vote in Parliament on the matter. That is exactly how they appeased their right wing on capital punishment in 1987 and again on abortion in 1988."

Perhaps I am too much of  a Westerner or I am too much of an idealist, but the argument that "Harper's Tories are only as conservative as the Mulroney Tories" does not reassure me.   I can only hope that this is due to Tory backroom operatives whispering things in the ears of the national press,  in a bid for swing votes.

I'm sure that Terry O'Neill's upcoming interview will touch on this difficult ideological balancing act  that Mr. Harper is trying to pull off.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Mr. Harper has to say.

[Hebert's column is here:  https://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=
thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=
1135249509733&call_pageid=970599119419]

Posted by Rick Hiebert on December 24, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

An open letter to the Ethics Commissioner

It outlines the problems with the Smith Inquiry report, including special focus on the fact that at the interviews with both David Smith and Frank Brazeau, both men neglected to mention their close blood relationship.

I've copied Pierre Poilievre, the MP for Nepean-Carleton whose letter initiated the investigation, the Speaker of the House, who normally receives the report when the House is sitting, and Evan Dyer at the CBC, whose radio report was the latest confirmation of the fact that they are close cousins.

Feel free to distribute the letter in any way you see fit, if you are as annoyed with the quality of the work performed by the Ethics Commissioner as I am.

Posted by Steve Janke on December 24, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Ethics Commissioner listens to a lie, and delivers a clean bill of health

Liberal MP David Smith, representing the riding of Pontiac, ran a home-based computer consultancy firm called Abotech, now owned and operated by his wife and his two children, both minors. Earlier this year, Abotech had several contracts with the federal contract terminated, though the reasons were never clearly explained.

A bureaucrat at Consulting and Audit Canada, Frank Brazeau, was suspended.  Why?  We don't really know.

Today, the Ethics Commissioner, responding to a letter from Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, release his report on David Smith, and gave him a clean bill of health.

That clean bill of health was based, in part, on a lie told to him by both David Smith and Frank Brazeau.

The Ethics Commissioner interviewed both David Smith and Frank Brazeau:

The purpose of the interview was to obtain information in regards to the various ties which may have existed between Mr. Smith and Mr. Brazeau.

During this interview, which was recorded and transcribed, Mr. Brazeau confirmed to my Office that he has known Mr. Smith for a very long time, as they grew up in the same town and were almost the same age. This corresponds to statements made by Mr. Smith in his interview with respect to his relationship with Mr. Brazeau.

Grew up in the same town?  Check.

Almost the same age?  Check.

Closely related cousins, by virtue of Smith's mother and Brazeau's grandmother being sisters, as reported by a blogger and then verified and reported again by a local newspaper and then again on CBC Radio One?  Oops, forgot mention that.

This was not an oversight.  Smith and Brazeau both, in concert, chose to forego mentioning that critical piece of information, denying the Ethics Commissioner the full view of the "various ties" that link these two men together.

The Ethics Commissioner also dismisses physical evidence (signed contracts, filings to Industry Canada) showing David Smith was actively involved in the running of the company for almost a year after he was supposed to terminate all links to Abotech in favour of David Smith's explanation that he was "unaware" he had signed three contracts, and that he had filed late.

The report is a sham.  I just hope it does not cause continued scrutiny by the media to stop.

For a full look at the report, check out Angry in the Great White North.

 

Posted by Steve Janke on December 23, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

First half wrap

I wrapped up my two weeks "on the Tory bus" yesterday morning in Winnipeg with a "three-fer" with Stephen Harper. First was his strong announcement about new military spending to boost Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. It was yet another example of how Harper is neatly pushing a conservative agenda (supporting the armed forces), while also winning the capture-the-flag game he is playing with Martin over who gets to be Captain Canada.

Next was a private, half-hour interview with Harper in his suite, at which I finally had an opportunity to ask him some questions about the transformation of the party and of his personal politics. I'll be using his candid and insightful comments in a long story that will be published in the Western Standard just prior to the election. I see that Jane Taber of the Globe also got some private time with Harper, and has published a story today.

The third was a farewell luncheon, at which Harper played Santa and handed out boxes of Laura Secord chocolates to the reporters. I'm told this event got me some serious face time on national television.

Harper is making one more appearance before Christmas, at a toy store this morning in Calgary, and then will take a few days off. As for me, after a week on the Western Standard cruise, followed immediately by two weeks on the campaign trail (with a stop in Vancouver, thankfully), I'll be unplugging my laptop and enjoying some downtime for the next several days. 

Posted by Terry O'Neill on December 23, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Big holes in the story

Interesting tale about Haiyang Zhang in The Globe and Mail: A job given, then taken away: CSIS feared Zhang had ties to spies. There are some really glaring omissions in this story. To recap, Zhang, 42, was hired by the Privy Council, "the elite federal agency that advises the Prime Minister and cabinet" on Nov. 28, 2003 and then fired six months later on Nov. 28. CSIS had concluded that she was a threat to national security because of her background, working for a Chinese news service from 1989 to 1992. More importantly--though the story tends to treat this as an afterthought--CSIS was "concerned that [she appeared] to maintain regular contact with foreign representatives who may be involved in intelligence collection activities."

The first glaring omission in the story is that it fails to inform us what Haiyang Zhang was hired to do. The title talks about a job, but the story doesn't say what job. Next, the name of the news service she worked for in China is not mentioned. That is significant because news agencies in China are pretty much propaganda tools of the government. Then the Globe piece fails to tell us whether Zhang is a Canadian citizen. It says she married a Canadian overseas, it says she immigrated here in 1995, it says she attended Canada Day ceremonies on Parliament Hill that same year, it goes to great length to tell us she loves this country, but nowhere does it say whether she is a citizen. And the piece also talks about a company she runs, a "management consulting business in Ottawa" which it is inferred helps "Canadian businesses develop markets in China," but does not name the company. And lastly, a really gaping hole here is some important background; it was widely reported in June that an employee of the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, Chen Yonglin, defected and made the claim that China has a network of spies in Canada about a 1,000 strong, a claim that was backed up by another defector Hao Fengjun. The omission is doubly noticeable because the Globe ran a comment piece on June 29 by University of Toronto professor and security expert Wesley Wark on page A17 "The Chinese spies among us. Defectors' tales from Australia should remind Ottawa that the dragon isn't friendly." Here's an excerpt:

Our Prime Minister visited Beijing in January with a friendly China in mind, and a hope for greater trade relations. It now turns out he had another message for the Chinese government: Cut out the spying in Canada.

That message wasn't for public ears, reminding us that there is still something called secret diplomacy. But recent events in Australia have forced out the story.

Note: The Globe appears to have run only the one piece on Chen Yonglin.

This Haiyang Zhang story makes me feel a whole lot better about CSIS, and a whole lot worse about the Globe.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 23, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Is the notwithstanding clause the Charter's fatal flaw?

That's what Blue Tory blogger Stephen Taylor suggests, here, in his piece about upcoming Liberal attack ads (scroll down almost to the end of the post):

The Charter is a Liberal document with one serious flaw in my opinion: it is wrong that rights can be withheld by the use of the notwithstanding clause. This type of "just kidding" clause in a legal document that defines our rights remains a significant failure of Trudeau's legacy.

But is young Stephen Taylor right, er, correct?

Well, he's right about one thing:  The Charter is Pierre Trudeau's most significant legacy.  Taken as a whole, the Charter is his legacy's greatest "failure."

First, did Canada really need another rights charter?

Yes, that's right:  another rights charter.  Canada already had a federal rights charter:  the Canadian Bill of Rights, 1960 -- the Diefenbaker charter.  And this one included property rights (subsection 1(a)), unlike the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ("the Charter") which has none.

That strikes me as a "failure."

The "reasonable limits" clause of Section 1 of the Charter is frequently used to allow some Charter rights -- especially, Section 15 "equality rights" -- to trump other Charter rights -- especially religious freedom.

That strikes me as a "failure."

Section 3 of the Charter is now interpreted in such a way that the Court has found that criminal inmates have the right to vote while they serve their sentences.

That strikes me as a "failure."

Section 5 of the Charter means that a Parliament can continue its "session" indefinitely within the five-year maximum length of any Parliament.  "Session" means the sitting from a Throne Speech until prorogation or dissolution of Parliament.  Why is that important? Prior to the Charter, the number of bills a Government could introduce in Parliament was constrained by the BNA Act's requirement that Parliament have a new session every year of its sitting.  That is, Governments would only introduce the number of bills they could reasonably expect to pass within one "session" -- within one year of Parliament's sitting. Now, a "session" can continue unabated within a Parliament, and a Government can introduce bills that sit on the order paper waiting for an opportune time to be passed.

That strikes me as a "failure."

Subsection 24(1) expanded the Court's power of judicial review from merely settling disputes between the federal and provincial governments, turning the Court into an unelected, largely unaccountable legislature.  Unlike political parties that must face voters at least every five years, the Courts never do.  Further, subsection 24(2) is interpreted by the Court such that not just Governments are required to uphold its provisions, but so are businesses, private institutions, voluntary associations, and individual citizens.  The Court insists that when, say, an independent printer opens his doors for business, his business is no longer a private concern, but a public domain subject to the Charter.  Therefore, a printer may not refuse to take business from, say, those whose objects he finds objectionable.  Or, when a religious service club and, even, a church offers its premises for rental generally, it cannot refuse to rent to those whose "lifestyle" it does not condone.

That strikes me as a "failure."

Section 33 of the Charter -- the notwithstanding clause -- was a deal breaker at the time it was presented to the Parliament of Canada and the provincial legislatures.  Without the inclusion of Section 33, the Charter would never have become constitutional law.

Why?

Because Parliamentarians, the premiers, and provincial legislators understood that the notwithstanding clause was the only effective check on an unelected, unaccountable, agenda-driven, power-hungry, or capricious Court.

Section 33 a "failure?"

Far from it.  It's the Charter's saving grace.

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on December 22, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Louise Arbour -- Defender of Islamofascism II

I've previously posted about this, and find it increasingly disturbing that no Canadian media appear to be paying great attention to the story. Normally, when Canadians are involved in anything, in any way, shape or form at all, we are all over it. (Well, except for that pesky oil-for-food scandal thingy.) To summarize: It started when a Danish newspaper ran cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed, some of which played upon violence committed by Islamofascists in the name of Islam. Danish Muslim community leaders complained. Fair enough. But when the editor of the Danish paper in question (Jyllands-Posten, the largest newspaper in Denmark) refused to backdown (good on him), all hell broke loose, with death threats, et cetera. Eventually, the whole "case" ended up before the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Canada's own Louise Arbour. In true Canadian fashion, she responded thusly to the Muslim group doing the kvetching: "I understand your attitude to the images that appeared in the newspaper. I find alarming any behaviors that disregard the beliefs of others. This kind of thing is unacceptable." She announced that investigations for racism and "Islamophobia" would begin. It is one thing to tell people you "understand" that they take offense at something. It is another entirely to de facto refuse to support freedom of speech. Her response should have been: "I understand your attitude to the images that appeared in the newspaper. However, in democratic societies, we allow freedom of expression. Oh, and maybe you could try and convince some of your fellow Muslims to stop strapping dynamite to themselves and blowing people up. Love, Louise." That's all folks. Instead, Arbour appeased in the worst way imaginable. Canadians should be ashamed of her, and editorial boards should be taking her to task. But I've barely heard about it. This case took place in Denmark. Soon enough, such things will take place across Canada, if they haven't already. This is our war, too.

(Read the whole story here. )

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (50) | TrackBack

Soothing tunes

This song  about the Liberals makes me think of the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Putrid Campaign Ad Watch: Coming Attractions

Liberalattack5 Stephen Taylor displays some documents allegedly out of the Liberal camp--Newsflash: Leak from Liberal war-room previews upcoming negative ad campaign against Harper? I wonder who's leaking this stuff? Anyway, if these are real, the one displayed here makes the phony speech by Martin yesterday, I-am-hurt-by-Harper-suggesting-I-want-the-Bloc-to-win-and-I-would-never-do-that-to-him, even funnier. Anyway, I thought the Liberals had copyrighted the expressioin "in bed with the Bloc"--a phrase that just rolls off the lips of Paris Stronach--she can't help smirking when she says it, as if she believes she is repeating a nursery rhyme.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 22, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

My Favourite Christmas Carol

Max I have pretty common tastes when it comes to the Christmas season; turkey, cranberries, sage in the stuffing. As I go through my pop culture checklist that prepares my mood for the holiday, I can tick off as already having absorbed The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (nothing more heartwarming that Max's smile) and A Charlie Brown Christmas (can't get in the mood until I've heard Sally say "All I want is my fair share."). Still waiting to see Alastair Sim in A Christmas Carol, but that's a given (for some odd reason, of all the great moments in that great film, it is the look on the face of the nephew's silent maid who urges Scrooge into the party near the end of the film to the strains of the cruel Barbara Allan, that trips my Christmas switch and I don't know why). One piece of the puzzle I am still missing is the hearing of my favourite carol, Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella. (In second place, Oh Holy Night. btw Maclean's is offering a Christmas station until the end of the month.) I'd be interested in finding out what others rank as their favourite carol or song of the season.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 22, 2005 in Music | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The People Who Brought Us the Holocaust...

...are maybe trying to finish it off? If this is true, it's creepy:

A LEBANESE hijacker [Mohammed Ali Hammadi] who was jailed for life for the murder of a US Navy diver has been set free, prompting speculation that he was part of an exchange deal to secure the release of a German hostage in Iraq.

(German hostage Susanne Osthoff was released earlier this week.)
Let's do a recap: Germany tries to wipe every Jew off the planet. They near succeed, and drive the ones they didn't murder to the Middle East, where they are surrounded by people who want to wipe them off the planet. And now, rather than leave bad enough alone, Germany releases an Islamofascist prisoner, knowing full well that he will again try to wipe every Jew (and actually, every other infidel, including Germans) off the planet.

Plus ca change...

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Putrid Campaign Ad Watch II: Brown People are the New Black Edition

Just saw another Liberal campaign ad full of brown people -- I guess they're the new black. The ad also has a couple of token hosers (i.e., overweight white guys who look like you would probably see them at Tim Horton's and like they know about hockey), an older guy, a sensitive-looking (gay? poet? a gay poet?) guy, and an Asian girl. They're all talking about the United States, George Bush (referred to, tersely, as "Mr. Bush") and softwood lumber. Because, of course, an export that represents a tiny fraction of our exports with our largest trading partner is worth an entire campaign commercial. Well, it is if you're looking for votes in anti-American parts of the country (i.e., everywhere but Alberta, a province whose votes you could do without anyway). The point of the ad seems to be that yes, the U.S. is our neighbour, but that doesn't mean we should let "Mr. Bush" trod all over us and Paul Martin knows how to look out for our interests "in America" and "stand up" to the U.S. since they're always threatening us and all, since we are so on their radar.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Cool Christmas Present

Thanks to my co-blogger at Girl on the Right, and frequest commenter here at The Shotgun, MustControlFistOfDeath, for getting me Rescuing Canada's Right, by The Shotgun's Adam Daifallah (and Tasha Kheiriddin) for Christmas. Cozy little family here, aren't we?

Posted by RightGirl on December 21, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Merry F*%&*^* Christmas from Al-Reuters

A headline from Al-Reuters this morning:

Bethlehem walled off by Israel this Christmas

First, they killed Jesus! Now, they're walling off his place of birth!! Next year, they'll find some way to ruin Christmas for everyone!!!
Check out the first paragraph of what is meant to be a news story (i.e., not a comment piece):

Pilgrims travelling the ancient route from Jerusalem to Bethlehem this Christmas will find themselves hitting a dead end -- a towering concrete wall and metal gate under the lock and key of the Israeli army.

Gosh, if only I could tell what the writer was trying to say. No opinion apparent there, though.
More of "just the facts," as brought to you by Al-Reuters:

The dusty road to the town of Jesus's birth has been the gateway to Bethlehem since biblical times and would have been the likely path taken by Mary and Joseph. But today it leads to what the mayor of Bethlehem calls "the world's largest prison".
At the entrance is a brand new high-tech military crossing where visitors pass through X-ray machines and have their passports scanned before emerging into Bethlehem..."If Mary and Joseph were here today, they would go through the checkpoint just like everybody else," said Sister Erica, a nun, at the crossing.

Yes, good technique. Quote a nun, for Pete's sake. In other words, you're a hideous, blasphemous person if you point out to Sister Erica that if Mary and Joseph were here today, they'd be bloody grateful for the Israeli army, (in fact, they could have used the IDF back then), its X-ray machines and passport scanners, not to mention the barrier Israel has built, because they would recognize that those things would significantly decrease the likelihood that they and their precious, little baby Jesus would get blown to smithereens!
Oy.
If you can stand it, read the story.
And a Happy F*%&*^* Hanukkah, too, from Al-Reuters!

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

"We pick up five per cent commission. How much work is there to do in that?"

CBC Radio One in Ottawa broadcast the second of a two-part in depth look at Liberal MP David Smith, running for re-election in the riding of Pontiac, just across the river from the nation's capital.

The first part focused on the controversy surround Smith's claims to aboriginal status.

The second part focused on his business, a computer consultancy firm called Abotech.  Evan Dyer and Anthony Germain mused on how the details of the way Abotech runs look remarkably like the sort of thing we saw in the Sponsorship Program -- well-connected Liberal firms earning commissions for doing little or no work.

In order to avoid ethical conflicts, David Smith insists that he no longer runs the company, having transfered control to his wife, a nurse, and to his two children, still minors.  When the obvious question was asked about how the firm could function without professional staff, Evan Dyer quoted this response by David Smith:

We pick up five per cent commission on what you do as work. It’s not very hard. How much work is there to do in that? What management is there to do in that? Once a month we send a bill. How much time does it take to send a bill? My wife does that.

Abotech earned over a million dollars in government contracts doing work that's not very hard consisting of nothing more challenging than sending a bill.  This is the work that Public Works Minister Scott Brison defended on the floor of the House of Commons when he assured Canadians that we  were seeing value for the tax dollars spent on contracts awarded to Abotech.

Now that the people in Pontiac have seen the details of the personal and professional life of their member of parliament, one wonders if some are having second thoughts about who to select as MP on January 23.

Angry in the Great White North has a full summary of today's broadcast.

Posted by Steve Janke on December 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Orgies R Us

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that two Quebec swingers' clubs did not breach decency standards when they allowed group sex to take place on their premises. The reasoning: orgies do not cause harm to society. And thus the Great Canadian Social Experiment Expedition goes one big step deeper into the swamp.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on December 21, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack

Quebec and the cold

Cold, cold, cold. Stephen Harper’s big messaging event of the day took place inside a cavernous barn in of Chatham. Campaign organizers set up a hot-air machine outside one corner of the building, and snaked a pair of foot-wide flexible pipes into the building.

But the hot air they pumped into the barn didn’t do much good, for the simple reason that the barn’s huge main door was left wide open, allowing the cold air -- and more than a few flakes of wind-driven snow -- to fill the interior. So we in the media shivered and stamped our feet to stay warm while Harper unveiled the Conservatives’ agricultural policy and then waded enthusiastically into the Quebec question once again.

Standing in front of a huge red cultivator and an equally-large grain buggy, Harper told about 150 farmers (you could tell who they were because they were dressed for the cold) that the Conservatives would: replace the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization Program with a new income stabilization program, introduce a separate disaster relief program, and add $500 million a year to farm support programs. And, as revealed earlier in the week by the Globe, a Tory government would also “require five per cent renewable content such as ethanol and biodiesel in gasoline and diesel fuels by 2010.”

Nothing revolutionary or particularly small-c conservative in any of this. It’s obviously a policy designed to gain the maximum number of farmer votes. Nor could any commitment to free-market principles be found in Harper’s pledge to “ensure that agricultural industries that choose to operate under domestic supply management remain viable.” In other words, he’s supporting marketing boards. On the other hand, Harper does say western grain farmers should have “the freedom” to participate voluntarily in the Canadian Wheat Board.

***

But don’t expect any of this to lead the campaign news today. That’s because, for the third consecutive day, Harper once again dove headlong into the Quebec issue, and did so with considerable relish. He’s obviously enjoying dueling with Paul Martin, and must believe he is scoring political points. His strongest language came in response to Martin’s recent accusations, that Harper’s statements, in support of provincial rights and of Quebec’s having a limited role in international affairs, constituted a separatist policy. Harper labeled Martin’s words, “absurd and extreme accusations.”

Here’s some more: “I think what’s beyond the pale in this campaign is Mr. Martin’s repeated suggestion that the Conservative party is in bed with the separatists, and that the Conservative party is getting its policies from the separatists. That’s the allegation that is beyond the pale in this campaign. There is no basis for it. The policies that we’ve put forward are the policies of federalists across the country, they’re the policies of virtually every provincial government. In terms of reform of the federation, they’re the policies of Mr. Charest, the federalist premier of Quebec… But I think the things that are beyond the pale in this campaign have come from him. And frankly, I don’t go around demanding apologies. I can take a punch.”

He stressed the Conservatives have not proposed to give the provinces any federal powers. “The provinces already have a say in international treaties and international relations where they affect provincial jurisdiction. What we have said we will do is find better ways of engaging and working with the provinces on those things.” And he finished with a declaration that he would be willing to debate BQ leader Gilles Duceppe one-on-one. Stephen Harper: the new Captain Canada?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on December 21, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Hit the deck

Much has been made of Paul Martin's tirade against Duceppe in the Dec. 16 leaders debate (full transcript here). Many called it the moment of the evening. Yes, it was passionate, yes, it was good TV. But maybe everyone thought it was so good because we preferred to be distracted from the question. And keep in mind that he didn't answer the question. In fact, none of the leaders did. The question was a live grenade tossed into the middle of the affair from Don Matheson from Deseronto, Ont.;

If the PQ hold a referendum, ignore the Clarity Act and then declare Quebec to be a sovereign state, what action would your party take?

I venture a guess that half the country was momentarily holding their breath after Matheson spoke. The question was prompted by Boisclair's statement just before the election call and you will remember that Paul Martin at the time replied with equal passion and no real answer.

This morning the blogs and the MSM are buzzing with Harper's offer to debate Duceppe one-on-one in French after Martin refused. Matheson's question may not come up in a Harper/Duceppe face-off, but it is the one that Quebec federalists will have on their minds, and is probably the question in the minds of those who live in provinces that border Quebec.

[Added: Harper's strategy seems to be, let's head it off before we get there. It's a dodge, but over the long run, a successful dodge. Martin's confrontational answer--satisfying as it was in the moment for those who prefer style over substance--makes it more incumbent on him to answer the question. "Mr. Martin, you say the separatists are not going to take your country away from you. So what are going to do if they try?"]

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 21, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

72 Chippendale's Dancers?

You know, I've been thinking about these female Islamist nutjobs who blow themselves, and others (or at least try to), up. And I was wondering -- what do they get when they go to Paradise? Do they get, say, 72 male virgins? And would that really be a reward for your average girl? That would be the last thing I'd want to deal with. Do they get 72 baklava chefs? That would be good! Or how about 72 Chippendale's dancers? Nah, not much of a reward there -- a bunch of vain, sculpted men prancing about. How about 72 personal shoppers from Bloomingdale's with an unlimited budget? Now that sounds like a reward...for me. But would it be a reward for a woman who thinks wearing a burqa is a grand idea?
Any other ideas? And is there actually an answer to this? I would truly like to know. Do Islamofascist women get rewards in heaven for being barbaric? Any Islamic scholars out there? Please advise.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on December 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

On the road again

Good morning from Windsor. Upon boarding Media Bus 2 this morning, we were greeted by the smell of fresh coffee and the sight of fresh fruit, eggs benedict (with smoked salmon) and muffins in the kitchen area at the back. The meticulously planned Harper campaign has some veteran reporters recalling the Stockwell Day election tour, when reporters apparently had to beg organizers to stop for food, which would sometimes be fast-food burgers. Nothing even close to that this time.

Harper has a moderately busy day planned. We start at a "message event" this morning at 9 a.m. Eastern, at the Chinnick Farm in Chatham, then it's on to Windsor, a plane ride to Winnipeg, and an "event" at the Holiday Inn in the riding of Winnipeg South.

Whatever transpires, you can bet that Harper and his very disciplined team will have planned everything to a T. It's just that sort of campaign. Nothing left to chance.

A perfect example of the organization was yesterday morning's event in Cabbage Town. In retrospect, it is obvious that Harper and his team intentionally left the event bereft of meat, in order to allow Harper to continue talking about Quebec. There was even one point during the scrum when Harper sought out English-language questions on the Quebec question.

I'll be blogging again after this morning's "message event."

Posted by Terry O'Neill on December 21, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ignorance is Bliss, MT

I'm going to buck a trend here and say that if some two-bit cow-tipping Senator from Montana wants to believe that some or all of the 9/11 terrorists got into the US via Canada, we should go ahead and let him do so. Jumping up and down and demanding retractions and apologies is probably just going to reassure the few remaining rubes out there who believe it that they're on to something. What's worse, it's undignified. And what's even worse than that, it forces us to live with half-assed retractions like this:

Montana Senator Conrad Burns said Tuesday he "misspoke" when he claimed terrorists involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks entered the United States from Canada.

But he insisted his mistake at a news conference this week shouldn't obscure security problems "that clearly exist on the border."

In a letter to Ambassador Frank McKenna, Burns noted a man who planned to bomb a New York City subway in 1997, Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, was arrested on this third illegal entry into the United States from Canada.

He also noted Ahmed Ressam, the so-called Millennium Bomber who plotted an attack on the Los Angeles Airport, entered illegally from Canada.

"These incidents are disturbing and should not be ignored," Burns wrote.

There now, do we all feel better? Or did that "retraction" have precisely the opposite effect that Ambassador McKenna hoped?

(Cross-posted to Tart Cider.)

Posted by Chris Selley on December 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Mark Bourque killed

Mark Bourque, retired RCMP officer, was shot and killed in Haiti. This man died as a peacekeeper, but before that he was a tenacious cop who helped bring down a drug lord.

Antonio Nicaso, mobwatcher, used him as a source, and this paragraph (article by Tim Appleby, research by Nicaso for his book Bloodlines) is often cited;

In an eight-month period in 1981 alone, RCMP Sgt. Mark Bourque was able to show in an earlier investigation that failed to nail [Alfonso] Caruana on criminal charges, the mobster shovelled more than $21-million through his bank accounts at the City and District Savings Bank in Montreal. Some days, he would literally drive up to the bank with a pickup truck loaded with bags of money.

Often, it appears in stories like this at Prime Time Crime. Or in critiques of the Gomery inquiry like this. And here's another excerpt from Nicaso;

Some time ago I met with Sergeant Mark Bourque of the Montreal RCMP. He told me about the misadventures encountered during Operation Pilgram. Bourque was on the tracks of a powerful organization that in a couple of years had deposited more than 30 million dollars in cash in some Canadian banks. When he tried to shed some light on that whirlwind of money he was met with endless miles of red tape and infinite difficulties.

Caruana was ordered extradited to Italy just last year. According to a July 4, 2003 National Post story by Bloodlines co-author Lee Lamothe, "The Italian case was bolstered by testimony from RCMP Sergeant Mark Bourque, who painstakingly outlined the families' complex financial operations from Canada to Switzerland."

Mark Bourque, one of the good guys. Farewell.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 20, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack