The Shotgun Blog
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Huawei Tech looks for a piece of an American IT military contractor
Hauwei Technologies - the Communsist Chinese firm that was caught helping Saddam Hussein integrate his air defenses - is looking for U.S. approval to acquire a minority stake in 3Com. 3Com is a major IT contractor down here in the U.S. Among other things, it helps the Department of Defense ward off cyber attacks from hostile forces - including Communist China.
The prospect of a Communist technology firm getting its hands on even a piece of 3Com is troubling for all of us who are worried about the Chinese Communist Party and its plans for the free world.
I have already sent an open letter to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) asking them to reject the deal. I humbly ask all American readers of the Shotgun to do the same.
The Canadian readership can be helpful, too. It is well known down here that President Bush will listen to leaders he considers his friends - and Stephen Harper is definitely considered one of them. If you were to ask the Canadian government to weigh in against this deal, it could be quite helpful. I'm not asking for Harper to do anything publicly (in fact, that could be counterproductive), but some quiet, friendly advice may just do the trick.
A Strong and Moderate Taiwan
Part of a statement, appeared on "Voice of America", by the US State Department on Taiwan:
"The U.S. supports Taiwan's vibrant and prosperous democracy and continues to oppose Chinese coercion of Taiwan in any way. The United States believes that a militarily strong and politically moderate Taiwan is essential to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The United States will remain the steadfast partner of the people of Taiwan as they seek to advance their interests in the years ahead."
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Tactics of the left in the US
When you hate and fear your ideological opponent (Rush Limbaugh), and you do not have a fact based controversy with which to attack him, you manufacture one. Some might suggest the left in Canada has been guilty of using the same tactics.
"Of course, your urban swing voter goes for this kind of lure...."
I was surprised early this morning, while turning on the TV. The channel that I had left it on was showing the TV program Fishin' Canada....with special guest John Tory! The Ontario Tory leader proceeded to go fishing with the host of the show and then chatted with the host about various policy ideas that might encourage sport fishing in Ontario.
I wonder if the other Ontario party leaders were invited to go fishing too, seeing as though this was broadcast during an election campaign? Perhaps the program's producers got around TV "equal time" requirements by not broadcasting this episode in Ontario today.
My guess is that fishing fans in Ontario would already tend to overwhelmingly vote Conservative, so I hope that Mr. Tory had fun on the show anyway. Those electoral waters might be overfished, you could say.
Just back from watching The Kingdom at the movies. Awesome movie and you won't be sorry after you are out of the theater. Worth the money and great action. Plus, it is one of the few Hollywood made movies where anti-American, anti-everything is non-existent. It's actually a "pro-war on terror" movie. You'll definitely love it!
A review of the movie
Friday, September 28, 2007
Is there something in the water of Lake Champlain?
"Like what," you ask, "Jimmy Hoffa?" Nope, everybody knows he's resting in peace somewhere underneath Giants Stadium.
Nope, what I'm talking about is this little piece Libertarian delight that came across my desk today concerning a secessionist (American for separatist) movement in the little ol' state of Vermont. Just like a smattering of their neighbours on the lake's north shore, a group of Vermonters want to go it alone.
Canada condemns the Burmese gov't
Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on the military action taken against protesters in Burma:
“Canada condemns the use of deadly force by the military and police against the monks and other protesters in Burma who were expressing their right to peaceful dissent, and calls on Burma to put an immediate end to such violence. Burma has an obligation to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people, including the freedom of association and of expression, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We reiterate our call upon the Burmese authorities to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the protestors and of all people in Burma.”
Another Anti-ribbon Campaign
A peace group in Fredericton doesn't like local businesses putting up "Support our Troops" signs. I'm glad the Mayor, Brad Woodside, isn't giving in.
"My ribbon is up, it's going to stay up and the yellow ribbon on my lapel is going to stay on, too," Woodside said Thursday afternoon. "I support our men and women who have been tasked with representing our country and flag around the world."
Read it all here: The Daily Gleaner
Originally posted @ Ranting Owl
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Inhospitable Western Host Societies
From a bulletin distributed at Toronto's York University last June:
"Many of the world's leading scholars of Islam will speak at a York University conference on Muslim diasporas this weekend, focussing on the social, cultural and economic factors that encourage Muslims to form a collective religious identity when faced with inhospitable Western host societies."
This might be a bit old, since a friend of mine who goes to York U just showed it to me, but the time of the conference ain't matter much. I am putting this entry here because this phrase "inhospitable Western host societies" caught my attention. I just wonder if western societies such as Canada, Britain or US are inhospitable at all. I don't think so, but it is very surprising to see how Muslims think they're and would like to take action (i.e Jihad) against them.
John Berthoud, RIP
Dr. John Berthoud, president of the DC think tank National Taxpayers Union, has died. He was a good friend and a champion of freedom and limited government.
Paying Down Debt is What? Irresponsible?
Jack Layton has made a lot of stupid comments before, but today he has truly outdone himself.
In response to the Conservative plan to use the current budget surplus for debt repayment (which is required by law), Jack Layton made the following comment.
That’s right, Jack Layton actually thinks that paying down debt is an irresponsible thing to do! Funny, I would have suggested that running up piles of debt that you cannot afford is irresponsible, and paying them down would be a good thing?
Here we are in a country with significant amounts of debt, we have the opportunity to put some money towards our debt to invest in our future, and the NDP’s Jack Layton calls it irresponsible. In Jack’s world, the responsible thing to do would be to blow all the money on a big social program spending spree.
Layton and other socialists like Trudeau, who started our debt troubles, are the irresponsible ones.
Will they ever learn?
Cross-posted at www.exactlyright.ca.
Alberta's lurch to the left
Here's my new Canadian Lawyer column about Ed Stelmach's toying with rent control in Alberta.
It’s not the construction industry that dodged the rent-control bullet: it’s any newcomer to Alberta hoping that more apartments will be built. In disastrous rent control experiments from Toronto to New York, apartment-seekers are always the first casualty because no-one wants to become a landlord and those who already own apartments have no reason to do more than bare minimum maintenance. Rent control is usually an early domino in urban decay; when the private sector abandons rental apartments, the government moves in, building housing projects that become magnets for crime.
It’s Time For Income Splitting
Canadians are an overtaxed people and are in need of some relief on that front. I’ve also long been in favour of allowing Canadian couples to split their incomes for income tax purposes. Unfortunately, reports earlier this year indicated there was not enough room in the federal budget to comfortably allow it. However, given today’s announcement of an expected federal surplus of $14 Billion, the time has come to finally allow income splitting.
Our personal spending power is largely driven by our family income, not our individual income. So why do we pay tax based largely on our individual income? Why should a family where each spouse earns $60K per year, pay less income tax than a family where one spouse earns $100K and the other earns $20K?
With a surplus (also known as over-taxation) of this magnitude, Canadians must receive a tax cut. Therefore, why not make income splitting a large part of that cut? The recent plan to allow seniors to split pension income was a good start, but it’s time to extend that benefit to all Canadians.
Allowing income splitting would be the best way for Stephen Harper to show that he supports families and to show that he supports returning hard-earned tax dollars to the working people that provided them in the first place.
The introduction of income splitting for Canadians should be a centerpiece of the Conservative’s upcoming throne speech.
Cross-posted at www.exactlyright.ca.
The CRA in cyberspace
Penny wise and pound foolish
I'm certainly all for more spending on the military. But one of the biggest expenditures made by the previous Liberal government, the purchase of used British submarines, is looking more and more foolish all the time. Or, more appropriately, penny wise and pound foolish.
As Paul Willcocks reports in today's Victoria Times Colonist: "... since Canada took possession in October 2000, the HMCS Victoria has actually been in service for 115 days -- about four months out of seven years. For every day of use, there have been three weeks of repairs and refitting."
Read Willcocks' entire piece here.
After being slow off the mark to recognize the importance of the Bruce Allen story, the Vancouver Sun has gone gaga over it today.
Allen is the top-level music manager whose daily on-air editorial is one of the best things aired on radio station CKNW. Earlier this month, one editorial also became one of the most controversial items aired on the station. See my blog from earlier this week.
Here is one of the Sun's front-page stories from today. Here's the other. Here's an inside feature on Allen. And here's the text of Allen's more-recent editorial, in which explains himself but, essentially, does not back down from his primary message: new Canadians should quit griping about Canadian society and try better to fit in.
Wanted: Mario Ines Torres
In June of this year two ETA terrorists (Ivan Apaolaza Sancho and Victor Tejedor Bilbao) living illegally in Canada were arrested and apparently there is one more at large who is possibly still in the country - one Mario Ines Torres:
The photo taken at an organic herb farm in D’Arcy, B.C., shows three Spanish men and their wives relaxing in a garden on plastic lawn chairs, their coffee mugs perched on a round patio table.
It looks unexceptional, but it isn’t. When the RCMP found the snapshot during a recent raid in Vancouver, they identified the men as Ivan Apaolaza Sancho, Victor Tejedor Bilbao and Mario Ines Torres — all wanted terrorists.
What they were doing at the isolated Moon Farm, deep in the Coast Mountains, remains a mystery, but two have since been captured by the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency, which say they are members of the terrorist organization ETA.
The third, Mr. Torres, remains on the loose. Canadian immigration has issued an arrest warrant. It describes him as a member of the International Revolutionary Action Group. All three men in the picture are alleged to have violent pasts.
Police files obtained by the National Post say Mr. Torres kidnapped a bank director, placed two car bombs in front of an Iberian airlines office in Belgium, was caught with weapons in France and has ties to ETA and several other leftist terror groups. […]
There is no evidence the Spaniards were planning attacks in Canada. Officials believe they were simply here for “R&R.” Despite being wanted on international warrants, the men spent years living freely in B.C. One drove a black SUV to work. Another took his parents on a vacation to the Rockies last year. […]
The RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team in B.C. showed the photo they found to a “confidential source” who identified everyone in the shot.
The informant told police a woman in the foreground was Mr. Torres’ wife, Margaret Moon, the organic farmer who runs Moon Farm and sells her produce at the market in Whistler, B.C.
A Canadian immigration report says Mr. Torres was stopped at the Douglas border crossing in B.C. in April, 2005, as he was returning to Canada from a holiday in Mexico.
Interviewed by immigration officers, he said he had been living in D’Arcy and confirmed he had been a member of the International Revolutionary Action Group.
Asked if he had any involvement with ETA, he said: “No, I don’t like nationalists, particularly.”
The CBSA decided to deport Mr. Torres for terrorism. Instead of holding him in custody, he was instructed to come to a hearing before the IRB in Vancouver on Jan. 12, 2006.
He never showed up. Police are still looking for him. (National Post)
Divine Bed and Breakfast at the Moon Farm in D’Arcy, B.C. offered a Spanish in a Weekend Summer Retreat starring you know who:
Included in the package are 3 meals per day and accommodation, two per room and private rooms where available. We feature various dishes from Spain and Latin America. Saturday afternoon includes a cooking demonstration with Mario Ines-Torres from Barcelona, now a resident of the valley, followed by a sumptuous feast. Then we are entertained by Mario’s flamenco guitar around the bonfire. (#)
On the homepage:
Mario Ines-Torres. Mario is a resident of Devine, a gypsy born in Barcelona, Spain. He is a flamenco guitarist and singer of flamenco styles of music renown in North America. A great entertainer, he also tells the history and culture of the gypsy or Rom people. He’s been cooking “paella” and other typical spanish dishes since his boyhood in his grandmother’s kitchen.
Mario Ines-Torres was also featured in a May 2005 newsletter published by the University of Toronto which reviewed Romani Music Night at Kino Café in Vancouver:
Mario and Margaret now operate an organic farm located a three hours’ drive north of Vancouver, and come to the city occasionally when Mario performs with his new band Tato Pani (#)
Margaret is the Margaret Moon and Mario is a wanted terrorist/flamenco singer and guitarist.
So to sum this up, one Mario Ines-Torres who in 1974 was involved in kidnapping a bank director in Paris and involved in two car bombings has been playing in a flamenco band in Vancouver when not hiding out at his wife’s farm in D’Arcy, B.C..
As the National Post story above tells us he probably had no reason to hide.
In unbelievable parody Mario Ines-Torres was interviewed in a 1999 National Film Board of Canada documentary titled Opre Roma: Gypsies in Canada:
You can watch the clip here at the NFB’s Across Cultures…
In today’s National Post (Sept 28):
A Spanish man described by Canadian immigration officials as a former left-wing terrorist lived for a decade in B.C. as “Lolo,” singer of a flamenco band called Los Canasteros.
Mario Ines Torres was being deported from Canada for terrorism last year when immigration officials in Vancouver lost track of him and issued a warrant for his arrest.
He has still not been found, but before he vanished he was a regular at a Vancouver tapas bar, where he sang and played guitar, and also performed at the Vancouver Folk Festival.
“When I sing, I am just a transport for the voice of my ancestors. I didn’t choose to sing, they chose me,” Lolo says on the band’s Internet page, which says the band is named after the “Gypsies of Southern Spain.”
“He’s actually a very nice fellow,” said Mark Bellini, manager of Kino Cafe, where Mr. Torres performed. […]
Despite his alleged past as a terrorist, Mr. Torres was well-known in flamenco music circles and was even featured in a National Film Board documentary about ethnic Roma in Canada.
c/p Dust my Broom
The wise Bill Kristol reviews the most recent debate amongst the Democratic presidential contenders.
Here, judging from the debate, is what the 2008 Democratic nominee is likely to be for. Abroad: ensuring defeat in Iraq and permitting a nuclear Iran. At home: more illegal immigration, higher taxes, more government control of health care, and more aggressive prosecution of the war on smoking than of the war on terror. And this is only a bit of an exaggeration. Going into last night, I had no great expectations of the Democratic field. But the level of routine irresponsibility demonstrated throughout the debate was jaw-dropping. Bush may remain unpopular, and the Republican "brand" unattractive. But I believe the toughness of Giuliani, the sobriety of Thompson, the gravitas of McCain--any of these would be very difficult for the Democratic nominee to overcome.
I think there's fatigue with the Republican "brand". But the Democrats' foreign policy weakness has had a role in most of their presidential losses in memory. Bill Clinton's 1992 and 1996 wins were in the anomalous interregnum between the Cold War and the War on Terror.
Watch for Hillary to continue to trend towards hawkishness.
Being cowardly about being cowardly
It's a legitimate point of view to argue that Canada should abandon Afghanistan. I disagree with it, but I can understand it. Quitting Afghanistan makes sense if you think that Canadian soldiers should never fight real wars, but should only be "peacekeepers" after the dangerous work is done; if you think that Canada has no national interest in Afghanistan; if you're a politician and want to win peacenik votes; to name a few reasons.
The Globe and Mail has uploaded a recording of Stephane Dion's comments to their editorial board about pulling out of Afghanistan. Pressed repeatedly, Dion -- who was part of Paul Martin's cabinet that decided to send troops to Afghanistan in the first place -- simply refused to answer whether he'd pull out Canadian troops if no other country would replace them. He just wouldn't acknowledge the serious fact that Canada quitting means that the Taliban, not the Americans, would rule Kandahar. He just didn't want to talk about it, switching the subject repeatedly. This is not a man ready for the life-and-death decisions of foreign policy.
With a little editing, the tape is a ready-made radio ad for the Conservatives in the next election.
Tax cuts are coming
The PM just announced that due to "one of the largest reductions in the federal debt in Canadian history and the resulting effective interest savings" there will be a reduction in personal income taxes as required by law under the government's Tax Back Guarantee. No word just yet on how much the tax cuts will be.
Big oil seeks help from NAFTA
You gotta love Newfoundland Premier's Danny Williams' tough guy persona--his willingness to fight the feds at the drop of a hat is refreshing. Plus he always accommodates an interview request. But I have to disagree with his eagerness to get involved with his province's offshore oil industry. And now, it looks like one of the scraps he won from the feds, forcing oil companies to spend $50 million worth of r and d money in Newfoundland, violates NAFTA (for all you unabashed partisan Tories out there, don't worry the concession came from the Liberals).
CP claims the companies are planning to sue the feds over this. It could be interesting, simply because this might be the first time I can think of that Williams doesn't get his way. Also interesting is that this lawsuit comes at a time when Williams is seeking another mandate.
Iran Stepping Up Moral Crackdown
Don't worry women are still enjoying their freedom....
Iran is pressing on with one of its toughest moral crackdowns in years, warning tens of thousands of women over slack dress, targeting "immoral" cafes and seizing illegal satellite receivers, local media reported on Monday.
The Iranian police launched the crackdown in April in a self-declared drive to "elevate security in society" that encompassed arrests of thugs, raids on underground parties and street checks of improperly dressed individuals.
Reza Zarei, commander of police in Tehran province, said that since the drive began police in his region have handed out 113,454 warnings to women found to have infringed Iran's strict Islamic dress rules.
"Of these 1,600 cases have been given to the judiciary" for further investigation, he said.
He added that 5,700 people -- including 1,400 men -- have been sent to "guidance classes" on how to behave in society.
Zarei said police have been targeting billiard halls and coffee shops -- the latter hugely popular in Tehran as a meeting place for men and women -- as certain establishments promoted immorality.
"One of the main grounds for the creation of social and ethical crimes are billiard halls and coffee shops," he said.
The student news agency ISNA and the Kargozaran newspaper quoted Zarei as saying that police had shut down 3,000 coffee shops and billiard halls although the official IRNA news agency said the establishments had merely been given warnings.
"I am pleased to have carried out this plan to elevate security in society," Zarei said.
The Burma road
Telegraph: 'Several dead' as Burma violence escalates
"Cries of 'give us freedom, give us freedom', from crowds totalling an estimated 70,000, were met by the crack of automatic gunfire, baton charges and tear gas."
Sholto Byrnes in New Statesmen: Burma's hour of need.
"Fine words are not enough. The international community must find a coherent strategy to deal with the generals - and China is the key."
Matt Frei's BBC Washington diary: Bush on Burma
"The country deserves the embrace of Lady Liberty and the benefit of George W Bush's doctrine of exporting freedom. Its case, to borrow a phrase, is a slam dunk."
Pretty straightforward apology. Is it sincere or is Flanagan playing to the "moderate centre?" I've interviewed him many times over the years and found him to a good and honest subject, outspoken at times no doubt, but never coy or dishonest. Generally, I've found that if he doesn't want to comment on something he has said or written in the past, he doesn't talk around it, but simply tells you that he stands by what he has said, or flat out says that he doesn't want to speak on the matter, or--as was the case when he was adviser to the PM--he doesn't return phone calls, which used to drive me nuts.
Cherchez la Femme
I had long been under the impression that one reason modern developed societies have more gubmnt intervention is that there is a positive income elasticity of demand for gubmnt-provided insurance [i.e. as we become wealthier, we politically demand that the gubmnt look after us more, especially regarding unanticipated negative events].
It turns out there is a strong, alternative explanation. According to John Lott, gubmnt intervention in the economy really took off after women were given the right to vote. His analysis is presented in an article in the Journal of Political Economy, and is summarized in his recent book, Freedomnomics:
There is a close relationship between marital status and women's voting patterns — generally, as divorce rates have increased, women have become more liberal. Over the course of women's lives, their political views on average vary more than those of men. Young single women start out being much more liberal than their male counterparts and are about 50 percent more likely to vote Democratic. As previously noted, these women also support a higher, more progressive income tax as well as more educational and welfare spending. But for married women this gap is only one-third as large, and married women with children become even more conservative. But divorced women with children suddenly become 75 percent mor likely to vote for Democrats than single men. [pp. 164-5]
[and from the footnote to the above quotation] Interestingly, men raising children on their own are only three percent more likely to vote Democratic than single men without children.
Of course, given some recent trends among Republicans in the US (and Conservatives in Canada), it is no longer absolutely clear that Democrats (or Liberals in Canada) are the only interventionists out there.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Free Libertarian Test
Do you ever find yourself sitting around, wondering, "hey what am I going to do today?" Well wonder no more. Thanks to the magic of the world wide web you can take this free Libertarian test to see just how much you actually love freedom.
(Me? I'm soft-core, and I'm fine with that.)
Travels with Marmite
Gee, I can almost hear my ol' gran saying it: They can put a man on the moon, but they still can't stop spam (except that granny [RIP] never used a computer). BCS: Spam still failing to be canned
"Some 95 per cent of all email messages currently being received is spam, new figures have revealed.
Statistics from the latest Spamometer survey by technology firm Ipswitch have shown that this is the highest level since the study began."
It must work, spamming; otherwise they wouldn't do it. (Here's a little evidence of that.) Spam is like the Nigerian scam, it never dies--though I had formed the mistaken impression it was dwindling. As long as there is an Internet there will be spam . . . and the Nigerian scam. At least Scan-o-rama is still having fun. They not only receive, but reply to, interesting scam/spam letters. Note: This time they're toying with some guy in Ivory Coast. Sir Marmite Luny-Binns receives a fabulous offer (Nigerian scam) from a Dannis Attiba.
Will Dion pull the trigger?
It looks like the NDP and Bloc are set to vote against the throne speech, which will be delivered on Oct. 16. This leaves Dion's Liberals with the power to bring down the government. The Conservatives certainly think that's a possibility but does anyone think Dion will actually decide to go to the polls with a financially broke and fractured party? Do the rest of them really want to go in with their current leader? I think the best they could hope for would be an excuse for a leadership review.
The truth will out, but . . .
Posted two hours ago, an eyewitness account giving a play-by-play of the anti-junta / pro-democracy protests: Time: Exclusive: Monks vs. Police in Burma.
"With foreign journalists locked out of the country by Burma's military government, this dispatch was written by TIME staff based on eyewitness reports."
Despite the crackdown on journalists, word is getting out. How much this will matter remains to be seen. See CBS: History Repeats Itself In Burma.
Jack Layton Can Only Talk
Jack Layton wants a debate in Parliament on how to defend Canada’s arctic interests. Whether it’s negotiating with the Taliban in Afghanistan or defending Canada’s arctic, Jack Layton’s answer to everything is to “talk about it” and to “be nice about it”, but we must never fight about it or defend ourselves. Hope, negotiation and surrender seem to be the only viable options for Jack in any confrontation.
Among other things, the Harper Government is correctly proposing a new fleet of military vessels and a deepwater seaport in the arctic.
According to Jack Layton…
“The Harper government is needlessly militarizing the North instead of focusing on its environment and people”, “Canada should also increase its diplomatic efforts in the United States”, and “to simply say that the military’s the way to do it is wrong-headed.”
Instead, Jack proposes the following…
“We need to bring out passion for the North in Parliament. I absolutely think there’s a passion for the North among Canadians. We truly identify ourselves as a northern people.”
“The government should focus far more energy on infrastructure that would allow northerners to develop a sustainable and self-sufficient economy, the New Democrats say. That includes an all-weather highway up the Mackenzie Valley in the Northwest Territories and small-craft harbours for communities in Nunavut.”
“Canada can realize its control over the Northwest Passage using civilian agencies.”
Great! So according to Jack, if we all identify ourselves as a northern people, and bring out our passion for the north, then our northern interests are safe.
And if that doesn’t work, and some foreign country passes through our arctic waters uninvited, we’ll be able to send some trucks up his Mackenzie Valley highway to intercept, or dispatch civilian pleasure craft from his small-craft community harbours.
Great plan Jack! Now why don’t you wake up and join the real world for a change?
Cross-posted at www.exactlyright.ca.
In case it wasn't perfectly clear before
When authorities busted up a wide-ranging terrorist plot in Toronto last year, they took pains to declare that the suspects came from all walks of life, all social strata, etc. etc, and that they had nothing in common. The declaration was widely criticized as ignoring the obvious: all the suspects were Muslims.
Interestingly, the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (which often seems to work overtime to downplay Muslim-terrorist connections) has unwittingly undercut the official line by issuing a press release today (not yet posted on its site) on the recent turn of events in the prosecution of the case.
CAIR-CAN doesn't issue press releases on every development in the criminal-justice system, of course. But it has done so on this one, leading us to believe the case has something to do with its mandate. Therefore, today's press release confirms the obvious, that the prosecution does, indeed, involve an alleged terrorist plot hatched by radical Muslims.
Here's the text of CAIR-CAN's press release:
MEDIA PROFESSIONALS' LIST
Council on American-Islamic Relations CANADA
P.O. Box 13219, Ottawa, ONT, K2K 1X4
(Ottawa, Canada - September 26, 2007) The Canadian Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) is deeply concerned with this week's
abrupt decision to cancel the preliminary inquiry into the cases of the
Toronto 18. Thus far, three of the 18 have been have had their charges
The group says it is troubled by the unfairness inherent in a decision to
scrap the hearings before the accused lawyers could fully cross-examine key
government informants to test the cases against their clients.
"The mystery surrounding this case and this unorthodox turn of events raises
serious doubts about the accused's chances of a fair trial and due process,"
says Maryam Dadabhoy, CAIR-CAN representative in Toronto.
The accused's lawyers are on record as stating that the Crown has breached
its agreement by not allowing them to fully cross-examine witnesses at the
hearings, including a key informant, Mubin Shaikh, who has spoken widely
about the case despite a publication ban.
Shaikh was reportedly in the middle of being cross-examined when the Crown
decided to turn the tables. A Globe and Mail story yesterday reported that
Shaikh's testimony was not going very well for the government.
"The manner in which this election was made by the Crown and its timing
raises some troubling questions about what the government fears," said
Dadabhoy. "Was the Crown getting nervous about its informants or the case?"
The group says that the government must respond to the legitimate concerns
raised by defence counsel if there is to be confidence in the process and
our justice system.
CONTACT: Sameer Zuberi, CAIR-CAN Communications Coordinator, (613) 254-9704
or (613) 795-2012.
The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) is a national Islamic grassroots organization. CAIR-CAN offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist's window to the Canadian Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called caircan-medialist receive news releases and other materials dealing with Canadian Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society.
'Do as I say, not as I do'
Ya gotta love the fact that, at the same time as the hyper-left B.C. Teachers' Federation is protesting in favour of a teacher's right to professional autonomy, the union executive is revealed to have trampled the professional autonomy of the editor of its own newsletter.
The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer digs a rake into this slimy mound of union muck. As Palmer concludes, "... if the BCTF's worst enemies had set out to make it look ridiculous, I doubt they could have come up with a more embarrassing juxtaposition of events."
Adios 'Alberta Advantage'
Cyril asks, below, whether a royalty hike would hurt the oil patch. I believe that today's Financial Post answers the question quite definitively with this story. The piece quotes an international energy research firm, Wood MacKenzie, as saying a 20% boost would knock US$26 billion off the value of 28 projects.
A graphic accompanying the story also shows that the royalty hike would make the Alberta oil patch the second most heavily taxed jurisdiction in the world, behind only South Africa.
MSM tries to start a Harper-Bush fight
I'm curious to see the reaction up there to the news that Prime Minister Stephen Harper "took a shot" at the Bush Administration during his speech to the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday. I'm especially curious because, in reality, Harper did no such thing.
I know MSM up there longs for the days when Canadian governments had idiots like Carolyn Parrish in or near caucus, but if they're wondering why this PM tends to treat them badly, they may want to re-examine the words they put in his mouth.
Here's CTV's "reporting" on the speech (excerpt in italics, bold emphasis added):
During his address to the Council on Tuesday, Harper also said he disagreed with several foreign policy decisions made by the White House administration, including a move to block a free-trade deal with Colombia.
"In my view, Colombia needs its democratic friends to lean forward and give them the chance at partnership and trade with North America," said Harper. "I am very concerned that some in the United States seem unwilling to do that. What message does that send to those who want to share in freedom and prosperity?"
Was "some in the United States" a veiled shot at the White House, as CTV asserts and assumes? Nope. In fact, the Bush Administration lobbied Congress hard to get the free-trade deal with Colombia approved. Congress balked, and Congress was the target of Harper's "shot."
Harper also expressed a general concern about the turn away from free trade here in the U.S. - a concern both the Administration and millions of Americans share (including yours truly, so long as we're not talking about Communist China). Perhaps if Canadian MSM actually paid attention to us down here, they would have noticed Harper is taking the President's side in an internal American debate, but apparently, they prefer to twist his words into one of their anti-American political fantasies.
Meanwhile, kudos to the PM for taking Congress to task on this one.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
So it's been about a week since Alberta's Premier Ed Stelmach's royalty review commission released its much anticipated report, which calls for the government to increase its natural resource revenue take by $2 billion. I'm sure all you shotgunners have had time to digest what this means to the province and to Canada (indirectly). So, do you agree with these guys, who agree with the report's conclusion that Alberta is not getting their fair share and can do so without hurting the economy? Or do you believe any drastic changes to the royalty regime would negatively impact Alberta's economy and Canada's (indirectly)? A position these guys are taking. Or is the answer some where in between?
The death of blogs
Christianity Today's website today speculates about "The death of blogs." Blogging has probably "peaked", their boffins say.
Yes, the fact that I am blogging about this, is ironic. :)
Canada may add IRGC to terror list
Canadian government is going to consider adding the notorious Iranian Rev. Guards to terror list.
This is outstanding and will embolden the people of Iran in their fight against the tyranny and will send a powerful message to the weakened mullahs that the world is united in confronting their vicious ambitions.
This is also true that IRGC is arming the insurgents in both Iraq and Afghanistan where coalition forces including Canadians troops are being targeted. The Canadian government must also make sure that all Iranian regime agents, including the intel section of IRGC, operating in Canada be detained, deported or prosecuted based on their crimes and their assets be frozen. There are many many of them here who have infiltrated the Iranian-Canadian community and have been spying on dissidents living in this country.
Raising Alberta's taxes
Well here's a shocker: a Montreal editorial writer thinks Alberta should raise royalty taxes on the oil industry. You know it's a credible, well-researched editorial because it uses phrases like "oil barons" and "major-league profits". My favourite line is "black gold in those tar sands," because you know that's how we speak out here.
Here's my two cents on the subject, on Don Newman's Politics yesterday. Fast-forward the clip to 26 minutes into the show. The oil sands can't be moved out of the province, but money and jobs can.
Sutherland the hypocrite
The news wires are abuzz this morning with word that Canadian-connected actor Kiefer Sutherland has been busted in Los Angeles for drunk driving.
Sutherland has been a fount of sanctimonious, over-the-top green guilt about global warming and such stuff, so I was interested in finding out what sort of vehicle he was driving when he was nabbed. A Prius, perhaps?
Nope. Officer Karen Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department has just told me that he was behind the wheel of a 2003 Land Rover, a gas-guzzling SUV.
Brother criminal, sister thug
Yes, I know there's no material evidence linking the sabotaging of Vancouver's parks to the city's striking CUPE workers. But, really, everyone has a pretty good idea that union goons are responsible, and even the union executive isn't exactly denying the connection.
And, oh yes, in case you missed it, that sabotage consisted of strewing soccer fields with broken glass and nails. How enlightened.
Canadian Forces controversy
On yet another sad day when one of our brave, young soldiers has fallen in action, we learn that Victoria, the proud home of Canada's west coast fleet, is also the site of a boiling controversy about Canadian Forces recruitment.
The University of Victoria Student Society has voted to ban active recruiting by CF at a career fair, leading to a wave of protest by rank-and-file students and a subsequent decision to review the ban. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Terror trial to proceed
An American military appeals court has overturned the decision of this past June to throw out charges against accused Canadian boy terrorist and killer Omar Khadr.
Of course, the Vancouver Sun's headline on its story about the decision is a sympathetic "Khadr dealt legal seetback," not something like "Canadian with alleged al-Qaida connection to face murder trial."
Monday, September 24, 2007
Covering the puppet
Btw, Mahmoud claims:
“In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who has told you that we have it.”
Can it get any more bizzare than this!?
Take a look at this one to see how they don't have gay people in Iran.
Striking workers are unwitting green allies
Look at it this way: while Buzz Hargrove is opposed to Canada's getting onto the Kyoto bandwagon, the United Auto Workers' strike at GM will undoubtedly have the unintended consequence of reducing the production of greenhouse gases.
Wildrose is blooming
Congrats to the new Wildrose Party of Alberta for being the first party in the province to take a stand against higher gas and oil royalties. The position is one more reason why Albertans should look forward to the party's founding assembly October 26 and 27 in Edmonton.
Meantime, party organizer (and senator-elect) Link Byfield tells me the party is now one-third of the way to collecting the 6,000 signatures it needs to become official.
There's good reason to be optimistic: scroll through the party's weekly update page and you get a sense of both the opportunity and enthusiasm for a new party in Alberta.
CCLA stumbles into politics
The Canadian Civil Liberities Association has entered the Ontario election fray by demanding the end of all funding for religious schools.
"It's time to get religion out of all of the schools," says Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, director of the freedom of expression project for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. "Indoctrination of children with particular religious values should not be happening at public expense in places where all kids are required to be, like the schools," she adds.
But doesn't such a position run contrary to the CCLA's supposed commitment to protect individual freedom against state power? Moreover, why didn't the CCLA use the opportunity to discuss some real educational reforms, such as charter schools and voucher systems, of the sort that would undoubtedly enhance liberty?
It's a sad day, indeed, when a group that is supposed to defend liberty supports a monolithic, no-choice, state-run program. But perhaps the CCLA's strictly-secular stance means that it supports only one type of indoctrination.
If not capitalism, then what?
Are the economic problems in the U.S. an indication that capitalism is a failure? I think not, and say so in my most recent Tri-City News column. Debating partner Mary Woo Sims, on the other hand, sees an ill-defined "third way" as the solution to the world's economic problems.
The most federalist premier in Quebec history, eh?
Jean Charest, premier of Quebec, leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, and supposedly the lead federalist in the place, was given a heaven-sent gift, a by-election for the leader of the PQ - Pauline Marois - in Charlevoix (Note: the by-election is today). What with the PQ having been smacked into third place last March, and their BQ cousins dropping double-digits in federal by-elections, a Marois defeat could have been the last part of a deadly trifecta.
So one would expect Charest to do what he could to help kill off the PQ, especially since the ADQ was running a candidate in Charlevoix, right?
Wrong. Here's the story from the Montreal Gazette: "the (Liberal) party leadership . . . has made it clear they'd like to see Marois elected" (emphasis added).
Yes, I know, there is a supposed tradition of allowing party leaders to waltz into the legislature through by-elections, but I don't remember the federal Libs following that tradition during World War II when they sat out Tory leader Arthur Meighen's by-election, steered their votes to the CCF, engineered Meighen's defeat, and locked the Tories out of power for another decade and a half.
Then again, Charest is propping up Marois for the same reason Mackenzie-King sabotaged Meighen, to preserve Liberal power. Charest isn't worried about separatism anymore, he's worried about Mario Dumont taking his job. Suddenly, the PQ doesn't look so bad.
After decades as a federal Tory, Charest is finally getting the hang of being a Liberal: get power at all costs, keep power at all costs, and the country be damned - to the point of aiding the very separatists he had previously built his career fighting. Hopefully, voters will remember this when Charest and/or his federal cousins seek their suppport in upcoming elections.
Buddhist Monks stage Myanmar's largest protests against the military rulers Fox News reports:
"Their defiant activities have given new life to a protest movement that began a month ago after the government raised fuel prices."
This can be a good lesson for all freedom loving people of the oppressed countries. I hope the people of Myanmar (Burma) get what they want. Every one deserves to be free and prosperous.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Star of "Silent Movie" dies
As long time admirer of the genius of Marcel Marceau and Mel Brooks this item caught my eye. Marcel Marceau, famous French mime, had the only speaking role in Mel Brooks" celebrated opus "Silent Movie". What did he say? Find out here; http://www.startribune.com/1526/story/1440651.html