Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« September 2007 |Main| November 2007 »

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Unlike Muslims

When Christians find a freak in their midst, we call them out. We take them to court. We publicly denounce and vilify them.

Unlike the Muslims.

The brokenhearted father of a Marine killed in Iraq won a long-shot legal fight today after a federal jury in Baltimore awarded him nearly $11 million in a verdict against members of a Kansas church who hoisted anti-gay placards at his son’s Westminster funeral.

The jury's announcement 24 hours after deliberations first began was met with tears and hugs from the family and supporters of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, whose March 2006 funeral was protested by members of the Westboro Baptist Church with signs including "Thank God for dead soldiers."

It wasn't so long ago that the most wanted fugitive in America was Warren Jeffs. A Mormon, he believed in Christ, but practiced a dangerous form of religion that put women and children at risk of sexual exploitation. This man was hunted down like the dog he is, and now stands trial.

We're still waiting for the Muslims to hand over Bin laden and his ilk. But that day will never come, because more of them stand with him than against him. There is so much evil in Islam, that they have no reason to hold each other accountable.

We stood against Jeffs, and against Phelps.

Unlike the Muslims.

Posted by RightGirl on October 31, 2007 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (49) | TrackBack

Ed Stelmach, Montana Chamber of Commerce hero

The governor of Montana is suggesting Alberta energy companies unhappy with increased royalties may want to take a closer look south of the border.

Brian Schweitzer says his state already offers a better tax structure - even before the extra $1.4 billion annually the Alberta government plans to take in royalties by 2010.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (44) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It wasn't global warming? Well, how about Blackwater?

The mainstream media blamed global warming for last week's wildfires in California. I'm no scientician, but in high school we learned that fires need three things: fuel, oxygen and a spark. It was never quite explained how a 0.06 degree annual increase in temperature, which is the rate the Earth has been warming since we started to emerge from the Little Ice Age 150 years ago, could "cause" wildfires.

The global warming theory has been grudgingly abandoned by the left as the cause of the fires, now that arson has been conclusively proved.

Not to be deterred, the American left has found a new culprit: Blackwater, the private-sector security firm that has done work in post-liberation Iraq.

According to Air America (yes, they're still on the air!), it's all a part of Blackwater's tricky scheme to build a new office!

This is the second spectacular fantasy this month from Air America's Randi Rhodes. Earlier, she implied that she had been mugged by right wing enforcers, when in fact she had simply fallen down drunk in front of a bar.

Besides the sheer weirdness here, there are two serious points:

1. Randi Rhodes is one of Air America's "stars", and Air America is the flagship liberal talk network. Are these kind of wild-eyed conspiracy theories really the best of liberal political discourse in the U.S.?

2. Why is it a characteristic of the left to turn every personal matter -- a slip and fall accident; a wildfire -- into a political moment?

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (30) | TrackBack

Survivor: Canada

Is it just me, or is this beginning to sound like an episode of Survivor?

Green Leader Elizabeth May says a dinner date with NDP Leader Jack Layton might provide the spark for a parliamentary plot to topple the minority Conservatives.

When the two leaders sit down, May is hoping for “an open-ended discussion about what we could maybe do to ensure that Harper loses the election.

“That’s the kind of conversation I had with (Liberal Leader) Stéphane Dion. I think it would be more effective if it was all three of us talking about it. Or four, including (Bloc Québécois Leader) Gilles Duceppe,” May said in an interview yesterday.

It appears that Elizabeth May is desperately running around trying to make deals with anybody who will listen, to find a way to vote the Conservatives ‘off the island’.  She even had to purchase the dinner with Jack Layton at a charity auction to get the chance to speak with him.

Unfortunately for Lizzy, it’s not the politicians that get to vote other politicians out of office, but rather the citizens of Canada, who at this moment favour the Conservatives more than any other party, and Stephen Harper more than any other party leader.

Rather than playing games to make deals with other parties, perhaps she should focus on her own party policies and get elected on her own merits?  With all of her games, I’m wondering just what she stands for, other than trying to oust the Conservatives and win a seat of her own?

Perhaps Lizzy would feel more comfortable in the Liberal party?

Cross-posted at www.exactlyright.ca.

Posted by Dave Hodson on October 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

The Stelmach effect

Ed Stelmach's tax hikes haven't become law yet -- that won't happen for another year. But the effects are already being felt.

Notice that the pain isn't being felt by "Big Oil". It's being felt by the thousands of little operators who service Big Oil -- everyone from truck drivers to restaurateurs. The Exxons of the world can do business anywhere in the world -- they already do. But a five-person company in Red Deer can't suddenly move its operation to Colombia. That's one jurisdiction that's moving the opposite direction of Alberta and Kazakhstan in terms of rule of law, privatizing the oil sector and inviting foreign firms in.

I recently spoke with a senior oilman in Calgary who was down in Colombia looking at investments. He said he bumped into several other Albertans down there at the same time. To think that "Big Oil" can be trapped by Stelmach is simply not how things work. But Little Oil can be trapped -- and already is.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack

Al-Jazeera's Back-Door: CBC Newsworld

As part of its 7-8pm International news digest "Around the World", CBC Newsworld has begun airing reports from Al-Jazeera's English news service. Honest Reporting Canada's Mike Fegelman has a great piece on this phenomenon, and an analysis of a recent greatly-biased report from Al-Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, here: "CBC Whitewashes Palestinian Prisoners" . You can watch the segment as broadcast by CBC here:

Al-Jazeera report on CBC Newsworld

Fegelman's article includes the e-mail address to CBC's audience relations department (audience_relations@cbc.ca) and a call-to-action to protest this type of programming. I highly encourage everyone to act, to ensure Al-Jazeera doesn't push through the mainstream opening it's made for itself by getting its foot in the door at the CBC.

(Cross-posted at Flaggman's Canada)

Posted by Neil Flagg on October 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (87) | TrackBack

Toronto Star Doesn’t Understand (but that really isn’t news)!

Hearts over at the Toronto Star are bleeding so badly, not enough blood is available for the organs that provide common sense and intelligent thought.  Always out on a socialist crusade, today they editorialize that “Tax cuts carry too high a price”.

When the price of tax cuts is not fighting poverty and helping those who need it the most, the poor pay the price for the tax cuts that go disproportionately to middle- and upper-income groups.

Can’t you just hear the violins playing?  Give me a break!

First, the socialist editorial board at the Star must get over their misguided notion that the poor pay the price for the tax cuts.  The Star complains “tax cuts go disproportionately to middle- and upper-income groups”.  However, did they ever once consider that taxes are paid disproportionately by middle- and upper-income groups?  Tax cuts should benefit those who pay the tax!

Second, a tax cut is not a government expense–there is no price associated with it.  A tax cut simply means the government takes less hard earned money away from an already overtaxed people.

Finally, just because a government is collecting more money than it expected doesn’t mean the excess should be spent on social programs.  Current government revenues are high, in part because tax rates that are too high, and in part because we have a booming economy.  When the economy slows, so will the taxes collected.  Social spending should be set at a level that is sustainable over the long term.

Mr. Flaherty, ignore the crazy editors at the Star and bring on the tax cuts!  This is one taxpayer who has paid more than his share, and I’d really like a break.

Cross-posted at www.exactlyright.ca.

Posted by Dave Hodson on October 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (45) | TrackBack

Monday, October 29, 2007

Family fare

The shrinking number of stable, two-parent, married families in Canada is a cause for concern. But I find it strange that "progressives" in this country don't think that it's all that important for kids to be raised by a married mother and father--strange, because the same "progressives" who downplay the importance of marriage were up-playing it (to coin an expression) when all the talk around marriage centred on homosexuals' access to it.

This and related subjects form the basis of my most recent Face to Face debate in the Tri-City News. Here's the full column. And here's that of my debating partner, Mary Woo Sims.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 29, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

How to handle China

Despite threats from Beijing -- whose foreign policy pronouncements are still written in stiff Mao-era language -- Stephen Harper met with the Dalai Lama. Despite the recent meetings with the White House and Congress, it was still a bold move for Harper, considering the obsequious Canadian diplomatic tradition towards Communist China. I agree with the Post: Paul Martin's meeting with the Dalai Lama -- in secret, in a "neutral" location -- made the whole thing seem tawdry, in addition to cowardly.

Really, what could China do to Canada? Stop buying our oil? Or stop selling us a million cheap trinkets? Neither is particularly likely, nor troubling. According to these stats, China sells us five times as much as we sell them, and what we sell them are commodities. They should be careful that we don't impose sanctions on them, not vice versa.

Under Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, Canada acted as if China was doing us a favour in trade. At least that seemed to be the public rationale. The fact that Power Corp. and Canadian Steamship Lines, companies in which the Chretien and Martin families had significant ownership, had large, politically sensitive investments in China may have also been a factor.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Mark Steyn: Life is not a movie

Well, I certainly don't know how you feel about Mark Steyn's columns but I do greatly miss his routine columns at the Western Standard magazine. It's true that his columns are absent but thanks to the internet, (not the one invented by Al-Gore) we can still have the opportunity to read his wonderful stuff here and there. And this new one "Life is not a movie" is a must read. I enjoyed it...

Mark Steyn: Life is not a movie

Posted by Winston on October 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Man Who Gets It

Mark Steyn nails the entire idiocy of the 9-11 "Truth" movement in a single sentence:

There’s a kind of decadence about all this: If 9/11 was really an inside job, you wouldn’t be driving around with a bumper sticker bragging that you were on to it.

Exactly.  If George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were as evil and ruthless as the nutroots often claim, there wouldn't be any nutroots - because their leaders would have long ago had then names jotted down on a list and then dissappeared or, alternatively, been placed on a list nailed to the door of the Capitol and proscribed.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 29, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (40) | TrackBack

Jihadist Welfare Queen

Mama Khadr is at it again – demanding her and her family’s “rights” as “Canadians.” 

The quotation marks in the above paragraph are used advisedly.  The fact that we allow this woman and her odious family to continue to masquerade as citizens of this country is living demonstration of just how gutless we truly are.  That we haven’t yet run this Jihadist welfare queen and the rest of his disgusting family the hell out of this country tells me (and should tell you) pretty much everything one needs to know about why the Islamist advance against the West has yet to be checked or even effectively countered in most of the West.

For those who are late to the party, I’ll briefly review the history of the Khadr family.  Papa Khadr was a senior member of al-Qaeda who took his family to Afghanistan where they hung out with Osama Bin Laden.  During the 1990’s, he was arrested for his part in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan, but he was kindly sprung from jail through the intervention of Jean Chretien. 

Mommy and Daddy al-Qaeda raised their children to be good little martyrs.  The eldest daughter’s wedding was attended by Bin Laden – and she’s reportedly under investigation by the RCMP.  Two of the sons – Abdul and Omar – ended in Guantanamo Bay after being captured while fighting on behalf of the terrorists.  Abdul flipped and managed to get out of Gitmo by working for the CIA.  Omar, who killed an American in combat, is about to be tried for murder.  Another son is in jail in Canada, awaiting extradition to the United States.

Eventually, Daddy Khadr was killed while fighting alongside al-Qaeda forces.  In the same battle Abdulkareem, the youngest son, was seriously wounded.  It was at this point – with her son in need of extensive (and expensive!) medical care that Mommy Khadr discovered her secret affection for Tim Horton’s and the National Hockey League and began to first demand her and her children’s “rights” as “Canadians.”

So, to summarize: the elder Khadr came to Canada in the mid-1970’s and then returned to the Islamic world in the early 1980’s – thereafter returning to Canada only sporadically (most notably for a year of free health treatment when he was wounded by a land mine).  Since then he – and his progeny – have devoted themselves to waging war against the West.  But, somehow, we are supposed to simply accept that these people – citizens of convenience who have waged war against our nation and civilization – are legitimate “Canadians” and to grin and bear it while they, being natural parasites with no respect for our nation, suck tax dollars out of our system to pay for the surely expensive medical treatment for someone wounded while standing alongside our enemies.

Not only this – after all, this outrage has been allowed to pass practically unnoticed – but now we are supposed to have sympathy for (as the media and the left obviously does) an al-Qaeda solider who, while fighting as an unlawful combatant, treacherously wounded one Allied solider and killed another.  Indeed, we are not only supposed to have sympathy – we are actually supposed to devote time and resources (read: my and your money) into freeing him from a fate which is far less than what he has earned.  (Once again, I would emphasize the stupidity of, in dealing with terrorists, not simply following the traditional procedure established for dealing with pirates, bandits, spies, and other unlawful combatants captured in combat).

As I see it, if the Khadrs insist on being treated as Canadians, then they ought to bear the full consequences of their actions as Canadians.  If they insist that they are Canadians and subject to Canadian law – that is to say, if they admit that they owe a duty of allegiance to Canada – then the whole lot ought to be brought up on charges of High Treason for levying war against Canada and assisting our nation’s enemies.  Regrettably, the highest punishment for such a crime would be life (no justly earned rope in sight) and the odds are that our candy-assed Supreme Court would throw out the charges and that then some future government would end up handing each of them a cheque for $10 Million or whatever – so this course is obviously less than ideal.

Failing a successful treason prosecution, the next-best alternative would be to strip the Khadrs of their citizenship and to deport them to wherever we can get to take them.  I see no reason why this is impossible – after all, we still spend time stripping eighty-something ex-Nazi camp guards of their citizenship and shipping them off.

What kind of cowards are we?  These people are no more Canadian than I’m Armenian.  It may well be good that we are, as we are so often told, a kind and generous people.  But in this case we are being obscenely abused by some crafty people who understand that we don’t have the courage to act against people who wage war against us, insult us, and defile our country – if they happen t be able to claim the status of fashionable victims.

It makes my blood boil to thing that Abdulkareem Khadr gets to go to high school in Canada and gets “free” medical care (well, I suppose we can forget the quotation marks in this individual case – I somehow doubt that these people have much earned income) to treat the injuries he sustained as a result of his family’s active participation in the cause of our enemies.  Every time I think that even a cent of my money has been forcibly taken to go to this terrorist family I turn red with rage. 

Rights?  The only right that Omar Khadr deserves is that to a strong knot and a short drop.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 29, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (72) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blair Wilson exposed

Faithful Western Standard readers will remember my March 2006 story about the many financial questions hanging over the head of telegenic Liberal MP Blair Wilson of West Vancouver. I noted in my story that the msm had given Wilson a pass, even though there was ample evidence of big problems.

Well, the Vancouver Province has ended the msm's blackout with a four-page expose today, and promise of more tomorrow. In fact, today's story covers ground I did not know about, including allegations of spending irregularities in his campaign and his taking advantage of a rich mother-in-law. It's a great read, and should spell big trouble for the shifty Grit MP.

UPDATES: Stephane Dion has now stripped Wilson of his critic responsibilities and kicked him out of caucus. I can understand that the Grit brass didn't know of the allegations of Wilson's campaign-spending irregularities until now, but I can't fathom how they could have overlooked or excused his long and open record of business ineptitude and outright chicanery in giving him the position of national revenue critic. Dazzled by his smile and good looks, no doubt.

Meantime, here's today's second part of the Province's investigation into Wilson's affairs. Today's piece elaborates on ground I covered in my March 2006 story, and even includes an interview with former NHL player Tony Tanti, who I tracked down and interviewed for my piece, to drive home the moral of the story: that Wilson can't be trusted.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 28, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (47) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Bureaucrats afraid to take action for fear of breaking new rules, think-tank says..."

Right.  Because our federal bureaucrats were such bold risk takers under the old rules.

"The rules-laden Federal Accountability Act is backfiring and creating a bureaucracy of risk-averse "Dilberts" who keep their heads down, don't trust anyone and put process ahead of getting things done, warns a report by Ottawa think-tank Public Policy Forum.

The newly-released report, which draws on interviews with 50 leaders in the public and private sectors, including former prime ministers Joe Clark and Paul Martin, concludes that the Conservatives' signature legislation went so overboard with rules, regulations and parliamentary watchdogs looking over bureaucrats' shoulders that it is killing morale and stifling innovation, creativity and effective leadership."

As "innovation" is bureaucratic code word for new regulations and controls, the Accountability Act may be another Harper masterstroke.  One of the ways in which Reagan slowed the growth of government was by allowing for massive budget deficits.  As a result there was simply no money left over for new government programs.  In attempting to make the federal Public Service more accountable - and so in theory more effective in "helping" Canadians - he has also increased its paralysis and thereby limited its effectiveness in controlling Canadians lives.  Or maybe I'm just thinking wishful here.

Continue reading at The Gods of the Copybook Headings

Posted by Richard Anderson on October 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Goodbye Alberta -- hello Saskatchewan?

The timing is perfect: just as Alberta is about to bring in a Tommy Douglas-style tax hike on the oil patch (and -- worse -- rip up signed contracts with the oil sands), Saskatchewan is about to elect the free market Sask Party.

Here's a column I wrote with Lyle Dunkley about it in today's National Post. Here's an excerpt:

Alberta's oilsands can't be moved. But what about oil sands and oil shale in Saskatchewan? The same geological formation that lies under Fort McMurray stretches across the border, into Saskatchewan's Clearwater River Valley. It was explored to some degree in the 1970s, but not developed for economic and political reasons. But new technology has made once-uneconomic oil sands profitable -- and oil at US$90 a barrel helps, too. Combine that with a new, property-rights-respecting Saskatchewan Party and hundreds of experienced oilmen returning home from Alberta, and you've got an interesting possibility. A company called Oilsands Quest is back out there already, drilling exploratory wells.

Don't get me wrong; Saskatchewan has 60 years of catching up to do. But it looks like 2007 alone will close that economic gap by about a decade.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (75) | TrackBack

Friday, October 26, 2007

Open the pod bay doors, HAL

"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. "

"I know you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen."

(crossposted at halls of macadamia)

Posted by Neo Conservative on October 26, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Lazarus Tory

Politics really is a sport to some.  It's about personalities.  It's about all the right moves and all the bad fumbles.  So and so trounces so and so.  Positioning.  Messaging.  Lest anyone be so deluded as to think the purpose of politics is, ultimately, to govern.  The hum-drum stuff like picking up the garbage and making sure grandma gets a new pace maker, the boring stuff where no one gets trounced or positioned.  This is the politics that pundits live for - the manoeuvring for advantage that leads to power, or its loss.  There is no purpose to the manoeuvring, it's movement for the sake of movement, sometimes focusing long enough and far enough ahead to get power and keep it.  What do you do with power?  Heavens, let's leave that question to the eggheads.  The great architect Louis Sullivan, mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, is suppose to have said that the form of a building should follow its function.  Applying that maxim to politics the origins of the unholy mess that is Canadian politics becomes apparent.  We're fighting about nothing so nothing ever gets done.  Andrew Coyne observed recently that we had some of the stupidest political discourse in the free world.  He's right.  That's because we're arguing about nothing.

Continue reading at The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

Posted by Richard Anderson on October 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Will Stephane Dion be renaming his dog?

"Scrap Y2Kyoto", says science journal "Nature"

A report in an influential science magazine says it is time to forego the Kyoto protocol because the United Nations treaty has failed to bring about any significant action on climate change.

Not only has the decade-old treaty not delivered cuts in global emissions of greenhouse gases that continue to soar, but it is the wrong tool for the job, say Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics and Steve Rayner at Oxford.

(crossposted at halls of macadamia)

Posted by Neo Conservative on October 25, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

NEP II

Alberta's premier, Ed Stelmach, still hasn't been elected. The provincial PCs chose him -- though, like Stephane Dion, he was the party's "none of the above" choice -- but the province has not yet been given the chance to legitimize his authority, even though he's been premier for nearly a year.

His energy tax hikes, announced today, don't have democratic legitimacy. They were not mentioned by the PC party in the last provincial election. And Stelmach certainly didn't campaign on higher taxes within the PC party's internal leadership vote.

It will be interesting to see what the stock market does tomorrow morning. On the one hand, oil is above $90/bbl -- and Stelmach's taxes won't kick in until 2009. On the other hand, a tax hike is a tax hike, and Big Oil -- with the exception of the oil sands -- is extremely mobile. (Little operators are less mobile; Exxon can operate in Algeria or Nigeria with ease; not so for a five-man oilfield services company based in Red Deer.)

It's tax hikes all across the board -- in a province that already spends far more than any other, and already has a ten-digit surplus.

But the most odious aspect of the new "rules" are those applying to the oil sands companies that have written, agreed-upon tax rates already negotiated with the government:

The government will not grandfather existing oil sands projects. The government is in discussions with Syncrude and Suncor, whose Crown agreements expire in 2016, to participate in the new oil sands royalty regime. The transition details will be worked out over the next 90 days. In the event the agreement cannot be reached, the government will take other measures to ensure a level playing field for all industry stakeholders.

In other words, the govermment will unilaterally tear up signed agreements. So much for rule of law and sanctity of contracts.

Leftist and anti-oil pundits -- and Alberta has a surprising number of them -- scoffed when energy analysts compared Stelmach to Hugo Chavez and other looters. The only question will be: do Syncrude, Suncor and others quietly submit to Stelmach, Kazakhstan-style, in the hope of limiting their losses, or do they go to court?

My prediction:

1. You'll see a reduction in future Alberta investments by companies that can move to more favourable jurisdictions (including, amazingly, Saskatchewan);

2. An immediate ripple effect throughout other Alberta industries, ranging from real estate to auto dealers;

3. And, in the end, a lower tax haul by the Alberta government, because of reduced economic activity.

I just don't know the boardroom politics of Suncor and Syncrude well enough to know if they'll fight this expropriation in court.

The possible wild card -- a new political movement to oppose the PCs from the right -- doesn't seem likely in the short time before Stelmach's imminent election call.

It's the second NEP. Who could have guessed it would be implemented by an unelected Alberta farmer, rather than a Montreal Liberal lawyer?

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (103) | TrackBack

The Left on the Right

Fast Forward, Calgary's weekly free arts and entertainment newspaper, has a friendly valediction to the Western Standard.

A small but funny part of the story is about Matthew Good, the Vancouver can-con rocker who has a half-music, half-9/11 truther blog where he has poked at us, including just this month.

Good refused to talk with Fast Forward for their story, even "banning" them from reprinting his public comments about us. That's just weird -- they're on his blog, after all. Weirder still is that Good wouldn't want to talk to an urban, leftish, music magazine about his political views, but a right wing magazine's entire staff didn't feel uncomfortable doing so. It's a sad statement on intellectual discourse and the left. Oh well.

If you want a chuckle, read this exchange I had with Good last February.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Hollywood's surge strategy failing

Hollywood's recent surge of anti-war movies is failing at the box office. That's particularly heartening, given the star-power -- and advertising budgets -- that has been deployed in this P.R. war.

I went to the premiere of In the Valley of Elah, and heard writer/director Paul Haggis deliver a rant about how noble he was for producing the film, calling the war in Iraq "corrupt". I didn't know what he meant by that -- he didn't take questions. Was the bi-partisan U.S. congressional vote to go to war "corrupt"? What would that even mean? Was Saddam's regime legitimate? The new, democratically elected Iraqi government, with a fairly liberal constitution, also democratically approved -- is that corrupt? The fact that Americans (and other allies) are there to help prop up that nascent government, and stamp out terrorists, including many foreign-born terrorists of fortune -- is that corrupt?

I watched the movie and learned the answer: according to Haggis, the U.S. soldiers themselves are corrupt. The film is styled as a whodunnit -- who killed a U.S. soldier back home from Iraq? The answer: another U.S. soldier, best friends with the victim. The movie's lowest moment is the confession of the murderer, who says if he didn't kill his friend, his friend would probably just kill him a few days later -- that's what U.S. soldiers do. Another U.S. soldier in the film kills his dog, then drowns his wife. Soldiers regularly kill innocents in Iraq, driving over kids -- it's part of their standing orders, says the movie.

The Left often says it supports the troops, just not the war. Anti-war types know that condemning troops is beyond the pale, and they'd turn most people off, so they try to be pro-soldiers, just anti-soldiering. It's logically inconsistent, but no-one ever calls them on it. Haggis doesn't waste time being subtle: there are no politicians or generals in his movie. The bad guys are U.S. troops themselves. It's an anti-troops movie.

I'm thrilled that the film has only grossed $6.5 million in the past month, a flop by any standard. Rendition's opening weekend didn't clear $5 million. The Tom Cruise/Meryl Streep/Robert Redford movie, Lions for Lambs, isn't out yet, but it looks weak. As BoxOfficeMojo's Brandon Gray says in the story linked above: "Is it simply [the actors] sitting in rooms giving speeches? That's what it looks like."

Of course Lions for Lambs got the same exultant applause at its London premiere that Elah got in Toronto. The only place more anti-war than Hollywood itself would be the pseudo-intellectuals who comprise Hollywood's foreign hangers-on and wannabes in Toronto or London. That's why these films are debuted there -- those are the only focus groups who would accept such painfully ham-fisted political screeds as anything close to "entertainment".

These films are not the results of true business decisions by Hollywood. They're personal indulgences -- hopefully ones that will cost the studios dearly.

I don't know showbiz, but it seems to me that the first studio to decide to make an unabashedly pro-American movie about the war on terror -- where the enemy isn't the CIA, or a rogue U.S. Senator -- would set a box-office record. Surely there are at least one or two A-list stars who would swallow their dime-deep leftist convictions and do a pro-American, anti-terrorist movie.

Of course there would be squawking and politically correct attempts to stop it. But if a distributor had some courage, who knows? The last time someone produced a conservative, politically incorrect movie that freaked out the liberal intelligentsia, it became one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack

Hiller says Stay the Course

When Canada's top soldier says the Afghans need more time, then we should all shut up and listen. Though if the NDP and Bloc had their way, we would be packing out bags and leaving Afghanistan tomorrow.

From the CBC: Afghans years away from taking over own security

"You just don't build that overnight and the international community will have to be involved for some time to see this through to the final level where you've got a government that works effectively"

Posted by Leah Dowe on October 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wrongfully Convicted Man Sued for Back Child Support

As one of the commenters on this story suggested, Dwayne Dail ought to be nicknamed "Lucky."

In summary: a man is wrongfully convicted of raping a child.  After twenty years in prison, he is finally exonerated and released.  For those twenty long years, he's given a paltry $360,000 in compensation.  He moves to Florida.  His now-adult son moves to live with him.

What happens next?  The mother of his now-adult son (who now lives with him, I might add) sues him for back child support for all of the years he was unjustly jailed.

Not only that, but she asks the court to order Mr. Dail to pay for her to sue him.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 24, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Global warming caused the arson!

Sen. Harry Reid, the top U.S. Democrat, blames the fires in California on global warming. Last night's CBC's The National said that "a lot of experts" believe it's climate change, though they didn't mention a single such expert. We can take it on faith, as the CBC did.

The California Department of Forestry and the Orange Country Fire Authority say at least one of the fires was arson. But what do those deniers/pawns of Big Oil know?

Still, this inconvenient truth doesn't derail the religious theory that Mother Earth is wreaking vengeance on George Bush's America. The arsonist was probably just trying to raise awareness about global warming.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Garth Turner, 12 months later

A year ago, I wrote about Garth Turner for what I said would be the last time:

I think the best approach to Turner is the one proposed by Dr. Richard Ferber. As anyone who watched the movie Meet the Fockers knows, Ferberizing a baby means putting it to bed and not giving it any attention when it whines. Ferber's theory -- espoused by the tough CIA grandfather played by Robert DeNiro in the movie -- is that responding to a crying baby encourages it to cry more.

I realize that I'm now breaking the Ferber rule, but I just can't resist linking to what Steve Janke noticed -- that Turner is at it again, freestyling in the media, contradicting his Liberal leaders just as he contradicted his Tory leaders. When Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff were trying to downplay their bellicose talk of an election, Turner stepped in to stoke the fires:

"I still believe that we are going to have an election in the next few weeks."

I wonder how long Turner will last before he's thrown out of the Liberal caucus, too? It's harder to enforce discipline in an opposition party than in a government, and Dion surely doesn't want to lose any more MPs from his count. But I'm willing to bet that Turner will be turfed before the next election, either by fellow Liberal MPs frustrated by his indiscretions with caucus confidentiality, or by Dion, eager for a test case to show a new toughness. I'm betting Turner will enter the next election as an independent, and that he'll come in third in his riding. Anyone have other predictions?

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Australia's election

A few weeks ago it looked certain that John Howard, Australia's four-term prime minister, was going to lose to Kevin Rudd in the upcoming vote down under. Howard's party is called Liberal, which is literally accurate -- he has been a strong booster of western liberal values when it comes to Australian citizenship and Australia's alliance with the U.S. It was Howard who, after 9/11, famously said it was no time to be an 80% ally.

Today, the polls are tightening, though Rudd remains in first. But even if Rudd wins, don't expect to see any appreciable shift on the big issues of the day -- the war on terror, the inculcation of western values into new Australians. Here's Rupert Murdoch's bullish comments on Rudd. Here's a despondent leftist lamenting Rudd's pro-U.S. policies and his support for the war on terror. And here's Rudd on the Israel-Hezbollah war last year.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Iran; Two Articles

Very good pieces at NRO today by Michael Ledeen and Senator Santorum:

Michael Ledeen of AEI: Iranian gov't buys more time

Fmr. US Senator Rick Santorum: Regime change in Iran, peacefully

Posted by Winston on October 24, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Jihadis at school

I ran away all the way from a hell-hole that was Iran occupied by the Arabo-Islamic mullahs to come and sit among people in a free country hearing these illiterate Jihadists repeating the Mullahs' viewpoints over and over again praising the likes of Saddam, peddling their hatred of the Jews and infidels. I am disappointed to see that these people are every where....

Read more about what happened at school yesterday

Posted by Winston on October 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Truth About the Jena 6

For some time, I've being trying to explain to people the absurdity of the uproar about the "Jena 6" - six criminals who assaulted an entirely innocent man and then, somehow, managed to make themselves into victims.  But this article, from the Assistant Editor of the Jena Times lays out the case far better than I ever could.

Here is the most striking portion:

The event on Dec. 4, 2006 was consistently labeled a "schoolyard fight." But witnesses described something much more horrific. Several black students, including those now known as the Jena 6, barricaded an exit to the school's gym as they lay in wait for Justin Barker to exit. (It remains unclear why Mr. Barker was specifically targeted.)

When Barker tried to leave through another exit, court testimony indicates, he was hit from behind by Mychal Bell. Multiple witnesses confirmed that Barker was immediately knocked unconscious and lay on the floor defenseless as several other black students joined together to kick and stomp him, with most of the blows striking his head.

Let's review: this group of thugs ambushed an innocent individual and savagely beat him unconcious.  Yet they're the ones who are getting songs written about them and who are being held up as heroes of civil rights?  What brave martyrs they make!  Though, they're more likely to make Bull Connor than Martin Luther King proud.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 24, 2007 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (157) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SJS: Miami

Now, of course, we don't know much about the knife attack in Toronto today.  But, if you don't think that the media and authorities have a tendency to either suppress information or be willfully blind when it comes to outbreaks of Sudden Jihad Syndrome, I invite you to read this story.

In brief, a twenty-two year-old Moslem who had been placed on a terrorist watch list drove to a military base, got out, and attacked the guards with knives and crude homemade explosives.  Naturally, the authorities and media insist that it was not an act of terrorism.

Update: Never mind, I should add, the hillarious implication that somehow terrorism and suicidal tendencies are conflicting impluses.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 23, 2007 in Military | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

CTV.ca takes cheap shot at Jim Flaherty

How low can a (so-called) respectable news organization go?

Flaherty_cheap_shot2

Posted by Neil Flagg on October 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Random Jihad in Toronto?

The shocking story began at around 11:30am, when someone approached a 40-year-old man near Adelaide and Yonge Sts. "A male confronted him, came up behind him, grabbed him by the neck and stabbed him three times," relates Det. Sgt. Neil Corrigan.

CTV has more

Updated 1: Farid Maronisi was arrested for his alleged actions in downtown stabbings in city of Toronto.

And I think we might have a random act of Jihad here in Toronto if this is going to be true.

Posted by Winston on October 23, 2007 in Crime, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

How long will this be ignored?

In yesterday's Sun, I wrote about the fact that not a single reporter mentioned that the Calgary school bus driver in the deadly crash last week was wearing a head-covering -- whether it was a hijab, a baboushka or a scarf.

There is a journalistic black hole here: we now know the name of the deceased child, but not the name of the bus driver.

Is that not curious?

Today there is news that the same bus was driving erratically the day before. This received minimal coverage.

I just don't get it. The story of the week in Calgary has been exhaustively reported, except for the identity, nature, history and other relevant details of the bus driver. If it were a 25-year-old white male driver wearing a hoodie, this would be big news -- common sense would prevail, since there would be no ethnic sensibilities to worry about. I think that political correctness is trumping common sense, and numbing journalistic curiosity.

Whether the bus driver's scarf/hijab/baboushka was the cause of the accident is for a court to decide. But surely journalists' jobs are to ask questions and try to get answers, not censor politically correct facts.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (60) | TrackBack

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Price of Reasonable Accommodation?

Down the page Ezra is taking heat from some for discussing the media’s disgusting (but hardly surprising) failure to ask necessary questions about the driver in the recent Calgary bus crash.

To wit: that the bus driver’s vision may have been obscured by a Hijab or other head scarf which, given the mysterious causes of the accident, might well be particularly relevant.

Unsurprisingly, Bigcitylib is accusing Ezra of racism and making wild allegations.

Well, let’s judge for ourselves. Here is a pair of screen-grabs of footage of the scene:

Naturally, the mavens of political correctness will seek to push this issue to the sidelines and to ignore it altogether because it raises questions which make them uncomfortable.

Does any reasonable person really think that wearing a face-obscuring garment and driving a bus full of children are compatible? This is a question which we uniquely must deal with, insofar as I somehow doubt that the Saudis and others have to worry too much about Hijab or Niqab-wearing women driving buses or, well, pretty much anything at all. I’m curious to see how anyone can defend someone driving a school bus (or any vehicle for that matter) is compatible with wearing something – anything – which obscures their vision in such a manner.

I've updated this to add a close-up to the picture. Are you telling me that a loose-fitting garment right near the eyes like that couldn't pose a serious visual obstruction in an emergency?

Go take a hooded sweatshirt or jacket and put it up over your head. Would you recommend driving in such a get-up? Let's be very clear here - this has zero, from my perspective, to do with religion or anything else. It would be an equally serious concern if the driver was wearing a hoodie or whatever. But, of course, I can't imagine people being willing to tolerate a bus driver going around wearing a hoodie.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 22, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (73) | TrackBack

Elizabeth May: Psychologist

Among her many talents Elizabeth May, the leader of the federal Green Party, is also an amateur mental health expert

"Elizabeth May is trying to love Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Ms. May, the leader of Canada's Green party, is also studying to become an Anglican priest; so the injunction to "love thy neighbour" is one she takes to heart. Still, it's hard for her to warm up to a man who has spent his political life fighting against the social and environmental ideas she has fought just as passionately to promote.

"I work hard at loving Stephen Harper," says Ms. May, as she mixes bread dough in a large crockery bowl in the kitchen of her New Edinburgh home. "I don't dislike him as a person. I feel sorry for him as a person. He's obviously a person who has a hard time being happy. That's the basis on which I attempt to love him."

This analysis, one assumes, comes from hours of carefully watching the Prime Minister on national television and perhaps a few close encounters in the House of Commons lobby, if that.  Few doubt that our Prime Minister is an introverted man.  He dislikes pressing the flesh and by many accounts is almost incapable of small talk.  Does this mean he is unhappy?  Surely one of the things a would-be Anglican minister should learn is humility.  Only the Almighty - should you believe in him - knows the depths of a man's soul.  Christ maybe love, but surely you can demonstrate the Christian virtue of modesty as well and stop telling us how much you love Stephen Harper.  Parading one's righteous is more of a United Church thing anyway.  Reticence is a fine British trait, one which the C of E has in part helped to nurture.  Mr. Harper displays it abundantly - if that's the word.  He doesn't pretend to be comfortable in public or play the part of the social gadfly.  He is what he is.  A solid, highly intelligent and highly capable politician.  For that - despite his drift to the political center - so many on the Right in Canada do love him.  Unlike Miss May we try to keep it to ourselves.

Cross posted at The Gods of the Copybook Headings

Posted by Richard Anderson on October 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

On Canada vs. Iran, Louise Arbour sides with...IRAN??!?!!?

Louise Arbour Head Screwed On Wrong

Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is disappointed with her home country. From Reuters, October 22, 2007, "Canada's commitment slipping, U.N. rights boss says.":

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's commitment to human rights is slipping and the country must work hard to regain the position it once held as an international honest broker, a top United Nations official said on Monday. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, who is Canadian, said she was particularly unhappy that Canada had voted against a nonbinding U.N. declaration of rights for indigenous peoples last month. Her comments were aimed at the Conservative government, which took power in February 2006 and has shown less interest in multilateral diplomacy than its Liberal predecessor. Arbour said Canada had historically been perceived as an unbiased nation whose judgment was widely sought and which did not serve narrow interests. "I am very worried that this very romantic view that we have of ourselves is not being sufficiently nourished and preserved to allow us to continue to occupy a place much larger than the one that our single voice among 192 member states of the United Nations would otherwise allow for," she said. "I hope that we ... will collectively work very hard to reclaim that privileged space," she told an Ottawa conference on human rights.

Oh...THIS Louise Arbour?

louisearbourtehran.jpg Let's see...condemnation of Canada, silence on Iran. This Iran:

Let me spend a few moments highlighting some of the most recent atrocities. In a recent period of less than 30 days, some 31 executions were carried out and 8 women were awaiting execution by stoning. And in Gohardasht prison alone, some 612 individuals were in death row. Now you might think that litany of horrors couldn’t be surpassed but you would be wrong. Iran remains the only country in the world that continues to execute children and International human rights organizations have indicated a short time ago that 71 minors were incarcerated under the sentence of death.

Could this woman sink any lower?

Posted by Neil Flagg on October 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (40) | TrackBack

Car-buying thought experiment

So U.S. auto dealers are banned by their companies from selling cars to Canadian citizens, in attempt to stop Canadians from buying the same cars south of the border for as little as half the price.

Thought experiment: what would the ACLU set do if U.S. auto dealers refused to sell to customers who were Mexican citizens?

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Crazy for quotas

The B.C. NDP just can't get any traction. Saddled with a weak leader, Carole James, the party runs a distant second in poll after poll after poll behind Gordon Campbell's B.C. Liberal Party. And a recent leak from party HQ is bound to further marginalize the New Democrats.

Apparently, party brass is intending to set aside a high percentage of nominations--in ridings not currrently held by the NDP--for women and "persons of colour, gay/lesbian/bi/transgendered people, youth, aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities."

Talk about a crazy quilt of special-interest groups. I'm predicting this quota-driven, "equality of outcome" scheme will backfire on the New Democrats.

Here's my recent Face to Face column on the subject in the Tri-City News, and here's that of my debating partner, Mary Woo Sims.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 22, 2007 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The veil and the school bus crash

The driver of the Calgary school bus that crashed and killed a kid was wearing some sort of veil. I don't know if it was a Muslim hijab, an Eastern European baboushka, or just a hoodie. I don't know because not a single one of the news reporters on the scene bothered to ask.

To me, it's obvious why: because the subject matter clearly touches on the debate about "reasonable accommodation" and how far we're willing to let Muslim culture trump Canadian culture, when the two clash. I submit to you that they clash when it comes to wearing something that blocks a school bus driver's peripheral vision. I would say the same thing about any other religious appurtenance that interfered with driving.

Here's my Sun column on the subject.

I've had a few responses so far, split between those who are appalled that I would even ask such questions, and those who are appalled that the rest of the media hasn't asked them.

It seems obvious to me that unimpaired vision is a "bona fide occupation requirement" -- legal jargon for an important job criterion that trumps political correctness. It's the same reason we "discriminate" against blind people by not letting them drive, either.

For those who say we should eliminate clear vision as a criterion for school bus driving, and allow hijabs, I'd ask:

1. Are there any limits at all? Such as the full niqab -- the one-woman-prison, often with the mesh in front of the eyes? and

2. Do you mind if we try out such one-way multicultural experiments on your kids, and no-one else's?

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (67) | TrackBack

Good Riddance

From the CBC:

Muslim cleric facing deportation Monday after failed appeal 

Controversial Montreal-based imam faces deportation Monday after efforts to get the Federal Court to intervene and stop border officials from removing him from Canada failed.

A lawyer for Muslim cleric Said Jaziri — who fervently supports the creation of faith-based sharia law for Canadian Muslims and has publicly denounced homosexuality as a sin — said the court rejected his application to stay in the country following a teleconference late Sunday afternoon. Jaziri's last resort was an appeal to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley, who could have used her discretionary authority under federal law to let him stay on humanitarian grounds.

Posted by Leah Dowe on October 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 21, 2007

McCain Steals the Show in GOP Debate

Line of the campaign, so far.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 21, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

George Brown Day

Liberal MP Mario Silva has proposed a private member's bill making October 18th Pierre Trudeau Day.  Rather than providing a rant on why it's a horrible idea to honour one of Canadian history's leading statists, let me provide a counter proposal, a day, November 29th, to honour George Brown.  Along with John A Macdonald and Georges Etienne Carter he formed the triumvirate that made Confederation a reality.  A defender of free trade and free markets he opposed Macdonald's high tariffs and railway subsidies, policies lauded by Central Canadian myth makers but which in reality retarded the growth of Western and Eastern Canada.  Brown, unlike Trudeau, was a self-made man, immigrating to Toronto in his twenties he founded what became the Globe and Mail and amassed a great fortune.  In his thirties he founded what became the Liberal Party of Canada.  During his lifetime both institutions stood for freedom and individual rights.  Brown was also a staunch defender of the separation of church and state, yet was himself quite devout.  Mario Silva describes Trudeau as having had “vigour, innovation and daring” and symbolizing Canada at its best.  I think not.

Cross Posted at The Gods of the Copybook Headings

Posted by Richard Anderson on October 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bobby Jindal: The Next Governor of Louisiana

Well, it's official.  Bobby Jindal, an Indian-American who converted from Hinduism to Christianity in his teens, is the next Governor of the State of Louisiana.  He wins outright - with 54% of the vote.  The runner-up had 18%.  Remember this the next time someone tries to claim that all Americans, Southerners, Republicans, etc. are racists.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 20, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (76) | TrackBack

Extremist Iran=Fascism

Finally someone said it. To bad Tony Blair waited till he was out of office to do it.

Tony Blair: Iran extremism like rise of 1930s fascism

“I said straight after the attack of September 2001 that this was not an attack on America but on all of us. That Britain’s duty was to be shoulder to shoulder with you in confronting it. I meant it then and I mean it now.”

Posted by Leah Dowe on October 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (47) | TrackBack

Maher Arar & Afghanistan: The Globe's Colin Freeze Reports

Don't mean to steal Yoshi's thunder with another Arar post, but The Globe & Mail's Colin Freeze has another interesting story today casting doubt on the $10m man's CAIR- and left-wing-activist-endorsed "official narrative". In "Why the US won't remove Arar from no-fly list", Freeze (in an awkwardly-written story probably mangled by a pro-Arar editor) quotes Justice O'Connor and his commission counsel essentially admitting that Arar probably was in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, despite Arar's vehement and repeated denials:

...he stated in his findings that even if one were inclined to believe coerced confessions, the Syrian information would hardly be grounds for marking Mr. Arar as a terrorist for life.

"The training camps were diverse in nature," Judge O'Connor writes. "Some could be described as terrorist training camps, others only as mujahedeen training camps.

"Based on the Syrians' information, it could not be determined whether Mr. Arar was a member of al-Qaeda or had received specific terrorist training. He could have gone to Afghanistan as a religious Muslim with a desire to fight the infidels or he could have had more nefarious intentions."

A fascinating passage. O’Connor, whose inquiry was prohibited from examining US or Syrian evidence, and was not supposed to be examining whether Arar had ever trained in Afghanistan, nonetheless finds it necessary to make excuses for some hypothetical young man who may have headed to Afghanistan “with a desire to fight the infidels” (news for you, O’Connor - you are an infidel!). Further, the O’Connor commission specifically leaves open the possibility that Arar did train in Afghanistan:

In an interview Friday, Paul Cavalluzzo, Judge O'Connor's commission counsel, explained why the inquiry didn't settle the Afghanistan question.

"What the report says is that one's presence in Afghanistan is a very complicated and nuanced question. If the person is a mujahedeen fighting the Soviets ... we looked upon these people as freedom fighters and nationalists," Mr. Cavalluzzo said. "However, if they were in Afghanistan after 1996, when al-Qaeda moved to Afghanistan, and attended an al-Qaeda training camp, that's a different story."

He added, "as far as Arar is concerned, there was the allegation and it wasn't proven either way."

Aha! They seem eager to provide Maher Arar with a convenient excuse, should more evidence of his actions in Afghanistan in the early 1990s come to light. Apparently, it would be OK if he was there fighting infidel Soviets, but it would not be OK if he was there fighting with Bin Laden after his return from Sudan in 1996. However, there is an obvious, glaring error in this logic, of course: Arar was alleged to have trained in Afghanistan in 1993, when Al Qaeda was already well-established, and when the Soviet Union was already long tossed into the dustbin of history. Thanks guys, but your excuse for Arar doesn't make any sense.

Maher Arar was interviewed for three hours by a US Congressional committee this past week, via teleconference from Ottawa. I’ve only had a chance to skim through the video (which can be found here in RA streaming format), and although the parts I’ve seen have only featured fawning and friendly questions, I’m hoping to go through it carefully to look for inconsistencies or slip-ups, and, possibly, a tough-minded Republican asking serious probing questions.

As Maher Arar runs around the world undermining virtually any attempt at fighting Islamic extremists in our midst, we deserve to know if he’s doing it based on truth, or lies. More on the topic in my post from earlier this year, "Maher Arar: Why the US won't (and shouldn't) let go."

Posted by Neil Flagg on October 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Arar: The Missing Pieces

Once again the odious Maher Arar is in the news, continuing his endless saga of public weeping over his extremely remunerative and allegedly torture-filled stay in a Syrian prison. I would note that I use the word “allegedly” advisedly: so far as has been established, the evidence that Mr. Arar was in fact subjected to “torture” in Syria is entirely circumstantial and based upon the claims of an individual (that is to say, Mr. Arar himself) with an obvious persona and financial interest in exaggerating the hardships that he faced to the greatest possible degree.

As one might expect, Democrats – and Republicans of a certain bent – staged a contest to see who could kow-tow more thoroughly to the alleged victim. To say that the sight filled me with unutterable loathing would be putting it very mildly. My own Grandparents were, despite total innocence, actually deprived of their liberty entirely on account of their race. They had no shady connections or questionable associates. No pattern of suspicious activity. And they were not only imprisoned for substantially longer than Mr. Arar was, but they were also deprived of all of their property. They were unreservedly innocent – but they didn’t get millions of dollars, nor did they spend the rest of their lives attacking the government and undermining its ability to go about its business.

To tell the truth, despite endless news stories – and millions of dollars spent – for some reason we still don’t know the full story about Mr. Arar and why he underwent what he did. The conventional narrative is that, without any basis in fact, the RCMP, CSIS, and American authorities sent an innocent man off to be tortured by the Syrian government – presumably simply on accounts of his religion. The problem I have with this story is that it doesn’t explain why the RCMP, CSIS, and others – who have shown, how shall I say, an unusual solicitude towards those who practice the faith of Mohammed – would single out this particular innocent Moslem for such cruel mistreatment.

(Continued at adamyoshida.com)

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 20, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack

Friday, October 19, 2007

Iran; 150 years under Putin

An excellent entry by a UK based Iranian blogger about the Russian-Iranian relations and Putin's recent visit to Iran.

Posted by Winston on October 19, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

John Howard: He's Still Got It

In Australia, John Howard has managed to get the Liberals back into the fight.  The latest polls show the (good) Australian Liberals closing the gap on Labor from 56-44 to 53-47.  Even better news is that the Liberal numbers in marginal seats are looking pretty good.  In 1998, the Coalition (the Liberals and a few other parties) beat Labor despite losing the popular vote 51-49.

It's worth noting that Labor led the polls in the run-up to the elections in 1998, 2001, and 2004.  In fact, in 2004, an Australian nemesis of mine took great delight in spending most of the year assuring me that Howard was doomed to defeat.

How does he do it?  It's really very simple.  Howard ignores the bleating of the media and, instead, goes in for the kill on key issues time and time again.  And, of course, his Liberals are also relentless in their assault against the opposition.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 19, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The veil

I was on CTV's The Verdict tonight, talking about "reasonable accommodation". That debate is framed as a discussion about all immigrants but, as with so many other euphemisms, it's actually about Muslim immigrants or, to be even more accurate, radical Muslim immigrants. I am a hawk, but I truly believe that most Muslims in North America came here to flee various medieval hell-holes, not to bring the hellish qualities of Pakistan, Egypt, Iran or other places with them. This hope of mine was confirmed last February when the Western Standard published the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, and didn't buckle under pressure to recant. I couldn't believe it when our circulation department told me of how many Canadian Muslims bought subscriptions to our magazine in support of our stand, but it was true.

It is endlessly frustrating to me that the go-to media spokesmen for the Muslim community are radical Muslims, such as those at the Canadian Islamic Congress (whose president said on TV that any adult Jew in Israel is fair game for a terrorist attack) and CAIR-CAN, one of whose spokesmen debated against me tonight. Moderate Muslim voices like Tarek Fatah of the secular Muslim Canadian Congress are under-reported -- especially since violent threats against Fatah by radical Muslims forced him to resign.

Shahina Saddiqui was the CAIR-CAN rep tonight -- she was the one who tried to get the Jews of Winnipeg charged with hate crimes last year for watching a movie about Muslim terrorism. Of course, the cops laughed Saddiqui out of the police station -- that sort of thing doesn't quite work in Canada, yet. Saddiqui's left quite a track record of illiberal statements out there, including one that she tried to disclaim on the air tonight -- a comment five years ago explaining away female genital mutilation.

When someone with Canadian values hears about female genital mutilation, the only response is to recoil in horror and disgust. Saddiqui preferred to explain it as an attempt to keep Muslim girls chaste. As with so many other statements by CAIR-CAN, the Canadian Islamic Congress and other radicals, if you took the same words and had them spoken by white males -- say, a priest -- you'd be shocked. There is still a thick enough layer of political correctness towards these topics, even six years after 9/11, that an honest discussion is still tough to get to.

I'm impressed that Quebec's feminists have finally cut through that fog. A dozen years ago, they looked at Islam as an enemy of the white, Christian patriarchy, and thought "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and, as with so many other leftists, backed radical Islam against the West. They have since come to their senses, and realized that the Taliban, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and too many Canadian imams are so retrogressive on women's rights that they make the Pope look like Liberace on the subject by comparison.

That's what this is about: calling radical Islam to task when it is sexist, racist, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic and illiberal. Maybe one day we'll even hear the civil liberties types talk about the separation of mosque and state.

The public has given up waiting for the media, political class and even police to talk -- or even think -- clearly about these subjects. The most startling thing I saw on the rest of The Verdict was the SES poll that showed that only 5% of Quebeckers, and not many more in the rest of Canada, believe in making more one-way accommodations to immigrants. It's been thoughtfully argued that John Tory's defeat in Ontario was because of fears of opening the door wider to Muslim radicalism. (I regret that Calgary's Alnoor Kassam -- a fully-integrated, liberal, Ismaili Muslim -- probably lost votes in Calgary's mayoralty election for this same reason.)

The SES poll and these other political anecdotes are proof that ordinary Canadians are coming up with their own home-made political solutions to Muslim radicalism, since the establishment won't give them any formal options (and the Muslim community has not solved this problem themselves by properly isolating and disowning the radicals amongst them). It's a sure sign that the wilfully blind elites are losing the argument when, as on tonight's show, so many of them call for political "education" of the common people.

I would have liked to have had more time tonight, and our segment was difficult with three panelists in three different cities, but I enjoyed the chance to be the lone voice all night arguing against one-way multiculturalism, and I enjoyed trying to smoke out the facts beneath the euphemisms -- pressing on issues like women's rights, gay rights and freedom of speech, issues that were once the domain of liberals, liberals who now stand gagged by their own soft bigotry of low expectations of Muslims -- they refuse to call out racist, sexist, anti-gay Muslims where they're do so in a flash with white Christian men.

Watch the whole show here and give me your brickbats or bouquets.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (54) | TrackBack

The Fox in the Hen House

UN Watch condemned the election of Libya today to the UN Security Council. “Electing Colonel Muammar Qaddafi to maintain international peace and security is like naming Jack the Ripper to fight sexual harassment,” said Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based monitoring organization. “We’re also concerned with the election of Vietnam, a country that continues to deny its citizens fundamental political and religious liberties.”

Neuer expressed concern that “the West is silent as Libya is quickly acquiring a series of new and important UN posts — including its unanimous August election as head of the UN’s “Durban II” anti-racism process through 2009 – even as its record on human rights remains appalling.” The UN and African Union will meet in Libya at the end of the month for Darfur peace talks.

From UN Watch

Posted by Leah Dowe on October 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack