Friday, April 29, 2005
BANGKOK, Thailand - Jack Osbourne, the chubby, bespectacled son for former shock-rocker Ozzy Osbourne, underwent almost four weeks of training and colonic irrigations before entering the ring against a veteran Thai kickboxer.Four weeks of training and Jack goes into the ring against a veteran fighter and takes him out in less than four minutes. Now look me in the eyes and tell me with a straight face that this fight was not fixed. It just is not going to happen any other way. Thai boxing is the most brutal form of kick boxing. The children’s godfather was a professional kick boxer. He still teaches kick boxing. Even though he is middle aged and carrying a few extra pounds put him in the ring with a novice with four weeks of training and the old guy will clean your clock – every time.
The result: a second round knockout win to the teenage television personality.
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, respectively the muddled patriarch and prickly matriarch of the family whose life was documented in the hit reality show "The Osbournes," flew in to see Wednesday night's big bout, which was over in less than four minutes, a family associate said.
Jack, 19, who underwent drug rehabilitation in 2003, came to Thailand to learn the traditional sport — called muaythai — to help him get in shape for an upcoming rock climbing expedition in the U.S. said Ed Stobart, a Briton traveling with the young Osbourne. "He has been training very hard for three and-a-half weeks," Stobart told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Thursday. "His mum and dad flew in on what is essentially a private visit to see him and they're having a family day today."
Jack spent four days at the elite Fairtex Muaythai Fitness Camp near Bangkok, the Thai capital, before traveling to the popular tourist island of Pha-Ngan for "a complete physical detox, which was basically twice-daily massive colonic irrigations to kind of flush himself out of toxins," Stobart said.
(tipped off by Neale News)
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Bollocks. I have never in my life uttered such crap to any of my children in their entire lives. I have never been one to give my children a myriad of choices. Usually just two; do it or live in a new level of hell I shall create for what passes as your life on earth. Truth be told that has pretty much worked out well for me. I did have a slight problem one year with Isaiah Sender when he was younger and his godfather promised his son a Game Cube for a good report card. The child got B’s and a Game Cube. Isaiah Sender figured if he got his usual A’s he should strike the mother lobe and pestered me for weeks to define the mother lobe. One night I had enough of the pestering and I told him that getting A’s was his personal duty owed to G-d. The Last Amazon quibbled up that it was that, and more importantly, I would let him live for another year. That settled that.
Until this boxing thing I kind of envisioned myself as a modern Spartan mother - the ‘give the sons their shield and tell them to come home with it or on it as I send them out into the world’ kind of mother. I forgot one of the important rules concerning Murphy’s Law of Childrearing: they will destroy all your illusions.
I am not the one who is getting into the ring. I am not the one who has to stand firm and take whatever blows someone meters out to me. I am not the one who has to have his eyes blacked or his nose broken. I am not the one who has to risk having my teeth chipped or knocked out or brain damage - or death. I love that face, his eyes and nose. I am marveled and delighted by the way his mind works. I have devoted much time and energy in making sure he never had a cavity let alone a chipped tooth or worse. I have never let another child hit him, and for that matter, I have never let anyone else’s child beat on another child when I was around. Now I am suppose to stand down and let him get into a ring with the intention on beating up another woman’s son and whose son intends to hurt mine? It's all madness.
The Last Amazon thinks its all good; sibling rivalry and all that. She has already committed herself to going to all the fights. She thinks it’s a win-win situation. She will get to enjoy watching any blows he receives as he has had the utter gall to have grown more stronger and taller then her. She cannot push him around any longer and already pines for the old days when she could. If he wins; she gains a worthy ally to watch her back. He may be her younger geekie brother but he will be the fighting geekie brother. She is already going around calling him the Mountain - playing on his name.
The irony of this situation is not lost on me and I feel it insufferably. I know Montana only asked me what I thought out of courtesy and respect. He has found a love in boxing that I cannot begin to understand, or more importantly, compete with. There were only two possible choices for his situation. Let him fight competitively with grace or he will create a living hell for what passes as life on earth. I love all my children and never saw them as an extension of myself. They are much too grand and fine to be taken as another younger version of myself. I have never thought that I was anything more than a steward for the great gifts the Lord saw fit to bestow upon me. I knew one day it would end but I just hadn’t realized how much pain would come when they took up their own lives from my hands.
I don’t know if I can find the courage to watch him fight or even cheer him on. I am trying to console myself that modern boxing is no longer practiced like it was in Ancient Greece where the Spartans fought all comers to the death. I am reminded of a conservation I had with Montana’s father’s mother when he was just a newborn in my arms. She was busy telling me that I was going to ruin him by holding him so much. I told her that I had to get all my hugs in now, for there would come a day when it would not be my arms he'd longed for but that of some other woman. She looked me directly in the eye and what startled me was the venomousness of her tone when she replied, “Katie, I know exactly what you mean.” I had prepared myself for another woman but not a sport.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
A Palestinian commander responsible for a ruthless campaign against suspected "collaborators" in the Gaza Strip was promoted on Tuesday by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to overall security chief. Colonel Rashid Abu Shabak, head of the Preventive Security Service (PSS) in the Gaza Strip for the past three years, would now also be in charge of the force's branch in the West Bank.
Here is a description of the new Palestinian Forces Security Chief’s bonafides:
Earlier this year, Israel agreed to remove Abu Shabak from its list of wanted terrorists as a goodwill gesture toward Abbas. Israel had accused Abu Shabak of masterminding the attack on a schoolbus in Gush Katif in which two teachers were killed and three children seriously injured. All three children were from Kfar Darom and lost parts of their legs in the attack.
Since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000, Abu Shabak and his men have been responsible for the detention of dozens of Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel. Among many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, he is known as the "collaborator hunter." At a press conference in August 2002, Abu Shabak proudly displayed a Palestinian student who had allegedly confessed to assisting Israel in the assassination of wanted Fatah and Hamas gunmen.
Sources in Gaza City said on Tuesday that Abu Shabak had been responsible for the arrest of at least 100 suspected collaborators over the past few years. They pointed out that many of the suspects were now standing trial and could face the death sentence if convicted.
Does this guy know how to govern or what?
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Then there is public name of Pastor Donald Sensing’s blog. I really enjoy his blog and I visit regularly but I cannot help twitching whenever I move the mouse over his blog’s name on my blogroll. I am sure the good Reverend meant his blog name to have kind of "zen" reference and has not got the foggiest clue that his blog name is also a common British naval slang for masturbation.
All of which brings me to the Dipper factor. Say what you like about Robert McClelland, but every once in a while he recognizes a good idea when he sees one and has taken a leaf out of the Blogging Tories page to start a new blog for New Democratic Party Supporters called the Blogging Dippers. My first thought on learning that the NDP Blog Supporters would want to call themselves "Blogging Dippers"; was to ask; Why? I just don’t fathom why anyone want to be called a dipper – I take it to mean along the same lines as; dipper, dippy, dipstick, or diphead – and depending on the degree of affection one holds for the subject it means either crazier than a loon/idiot to a short-eyes. I kind of thought the name suited them – after all their socialists, but then I was reading John Ibbitson’s column in today’s Globe and Mail and he referred to NDP supports as "dippers", and once again, I figured I am way off in my own zone on this whole 'dipper' thing. So I feel compelled to ask; is there anyone in the blogsphere who could enlighten me as why a New Democratic Supporter is called a 'dipper' and why it’s not a cause for offense?
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he expects Hamas to hand in its weapons after Palestinian elections this summer, but he stopped short of threatening to disarm the Islamic militants by force.
And I quote the horse's mouth:
“When a movement or militia is transformed into a political party, I would say that there will then be no need for them to possess weapons,” Mr. Abbas told reporters. “There will be only one authority, one law, and one legal gun. The issue is very clear, and this has been common practice throughout history.”
What the Globe did not tell you but the Jerusalem Post did is that Chairman Abbas was in Gaza to honour security officials with the Jerusalem Medal and a Kodak moment. Problem was no one would show up to accept it. I assume that Abbas saw no sense letting a photo-ops with the press go to waste. Of course, Hamas didn’t even wait one single news cycle before it issued its denial to the Abbas future vision of their organization and took the time to call the Abbas kettle black:
Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Zahar, said in response that Hamas would not agree to disarm. He also called on the Hamas leadership based abroad to return to the territories following Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank on Monday, Israel Radio reported.What is interesting is the fact that the Globe and Mail made the editorial judgment to include this link as a related story with the headline: West Bank Settlers accused of spreading poison – I guess this meets the G&M’s sense of balance:
Meawhile, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zohri said the group would only disarm when Israel ends its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, adding that Abbas was in no position to preach to Hamas since he has yet to disarm the armed wing of his own ruling Fatah party. "The resistance is tied to the end of the occupation and not with joining the Palestinian parliament," Abu Zohri said.
Amnesty International called on Israel on Monday to take action against West Bank settlers who it says have been poisoning Palestinians' livestock.Over a period of several weeks, Jewish settlers have spread toxic chemicals on Palestinian fields south of the West Bank city of Hebron, a statement released by the human-rights group said.
The Israeli police confirmed the presence of toxic substances in fields near several West Bank villages but rejected Amnesty's allegations that they do not do enough to prevent settler attacks on Palestinians.“It's not true that the police is doing nothing. We make arrests, and there will be more in the future,” said Shlomi Said,, the police spokesman for the West Bank. “When there is an attack, we arrest them and take them to court.” Mr. Sagi said the police pay extra attention to sensitive areas where settlers and Palestinians routinely clash, assigning more police to patrol the fields. He said there is an investigation into the poisoning incidents.
The Amnesty statement said settler attacks on Palestinians, as well as on international peace activists, have increased in recent months, but the authorities have failed to investigate. Mr. Sagi said at least 10 settlers have been arrested for attacking Palestinian farmers.
Though, if I was the editor I would have linked with this story:
An Israeli reservist was killed when a Palestinian taxi crashed through a checkpoint located on the trans-Judean highway on the Halhoul Bridge north of Hebron on Monday night. The taxi then attempted to flee the site, but soldiers at the checkpoint opened fire, hitting the driver.
Or this one:
Meanwhile, near Itamar in Samaria, a 13-year-old Palestinian handed over a 13-kilogram explosives belt to security forces at a checkpoint. He was handed over to security officials for questioning. Officials believe the explosives belt was to have been used in an attack in Israel.
Or how about this:
Also Monday night, Palestinian gunmen fired a Kassam rocket and a mortar shell towards a Jewish settlement in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, Army Radio reported. No one was wounded and no damage was caused in the attack.Or this:
Kisufim crossing was closed down after Palestinian gunmen fired shots towards an IDF jeep at the site, army officials said.I personally would have chosen to link to this story:
Leading Hamas figures could return to Gaza after upcoming pullout, Saudi newspaper reports, after Gaza leader Mahmoud al-Zahar calls on them to "return home". Hamas’s prime leadership outside of the Palestinian territories plans to move to the Gaza Strip after a planned Israeli pullout from the territory this summer to boost their political power among the Palestinians, a Saudi newspaper reported on Tuesday.
But that's my two cents.
Monday, April 25, 2005
The Prime Minister and the leader of the fourth party held an extraordinary private meeting in Toronto last night to discuss how to save Paul Martin's job — at least for a while.
Martin and NDP Leader Jack Layton were discussing Layton's offer to help prop up the Liberal minority government if it changes the budget to suit the NDP's demands. The intent is to stave off an attempt by Stephen Harper's second-place Conservatives and the third-place Bloc Québécois to defeat the government over the budget. There were even rumours yesterday that Martin would offer Layton a cabinet post.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Layton made a deal with the devil. It suits his persona. I have never seen anyone in real life that so closely resembled a proverbial used car salesman more than Layton. Though, if Layton deals and gets himself a cabinet posting the NDP will not be able to take the moral high ground again and Layton will morph in my mind from the proverbial used car salesman to the human being most likely to resemble a character from the original “70’s show: Fernwood 2 Nite.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
The visit was on Monday and when I hadn’t heard from 'Dr. 'Angry’s' office with an appointment date for the general surgeon by Friday I called 'Dr. Angry’s' office thinking one of the children had erased the message by accident which happens a lot in our home. Imagine my surprise when I was informed that no appointment has been made.
Apparently, there is no more “your secretary calls my secretary and asks if the doctor is available to do a possible hernia repair surgery and book an appointment”. That is how it worked 12 years ago but alas, no more. Now your doctor’s office has to send out a letter to various surgeons asking for consultations and appointments and the surgeon’s office will reply by snail mail if the surgeon is available and when. The young secretary seemed quite surprised when I suggested that the office just call around and ask outright and has the interesting belief that that medicine has never been practiced that way.
Hernia surgery is relatively minor in the sense that the operation rarely takes more than 10 minutes and the younger the child is; the less recovery time required. When we brought Montana home from the hospital I spent what was left of the day (once the drugs wore off) trying to stop him from climbing, running and jumping around the house like a wraith of Satan. The problem with waiting for a hernia repair surgery is that the hernia may become incarcerated which means that the intestines get caught in the tear of the tissue lining. Surgery must be immediate and it is no simple ten minute procedure.
I read this article in the National Post on the growing number of Canadians going to the US or Quebec for surgery and I can’t say the thought has not crossed my mind since Friday. Lining up is all well and good but when the life of your child is held by hostage by the national lunacy for equality for all in line-ups; hurray up and wait doesn’t seem to be a Canadian value I couldn’t shug off in a heartbeat.
(tipped off by Neale News)
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Imagine my surprise when I arrived for a visit about a year after I left home to discover Rosie’s boys from next door eating at her kitchen table discussing fashion, jewelry and make-up. After her “boys” left I quizzed her with what was up with that? Don’t presume that Rosie didn’t know they were gay with a capital C for camp. Anyone who spent their formative years living in the flat below a successful brothel knows which way the short and curly hangs. Turns out, Rosie was lonely. Her neighbors moved in shortly after I moved out. They went out of their way to pay attention to her and ignored her standoffishness. In the end, she got caught up in their joie de vie. She was won over by kindness and found that once she accepted their humanity a void that opened when I left home was filled.
I am going down memory lane this morning because of a conversation I had with a young co-worker whose company I enjoy. We were discussing Paul Martin’s address and the implications. “Jane” said to me, I know that you will be voting conservative in the next election and I know we never will agree on this but I can’t support them and will have to vote Liberal despite them being “thieving scum.”
Now if anyone is a natural modern conservative it is “Jane”. She wants less government control in her life. She thinks that tax cuts are imperative for business and the economy to thrive. She supports a two tiered health care system and dissolution of the gun registry. She feels that governmental spending on social programs is obscene and out of control. She is against a national daycare program as the burden is places on the taxes payers is far too high a price to be asked to pay. She remains unconvinced that compliance with the Kyoto plan is the way to go. She is deeply disturbed by the emasculation of our military and does not sleep any sounder for it. She believes that abortion is wrong but is not prepared to legislate it out of existence but would like to see some legislation on term limits. She is very pro-gay marriage, and she is very hopeful that she has finally found the woman of her dreams who she hopes will be the one she marries.
She agrees with me that the rights of the religious cannot be thrown out on the altar of political correctness and actively supports entrenching religious freedoms. She stands behind me that everyone should have civil unions and leave marriage to the religious; even if that means your Wicca priestess blesses your same or opposite sex union. That is the only way to ensure equality and religious freedom. And the real crime is; she won’t be voting conservative in the next election.
My advice to her; go take a good hard look at the conservative platform, read bloggers that are not only conservative but gay as well, and then go join the conservative party. Have a say and cast a vote to who the riding association elects to represent you in your ward. Take part in formulating policy sessions. But above all; get involved. If Conservative Party is not going to sink into oblivion and leave the country to crumble under the weight of liberal corruption, Jane and people who think just like her need to be made welcome where their political hearts and minds lie.
For the rest of us who are religious we need to make peace with our neighbors and not only recognized their humanity but acknowledge it and hold fast that there is an intrinsic quality that is common to all life just like Rosie did. We are called not to judge others who may or may not be in sin with the word of God but account only for our personal conduct. Just as all those who feel that there is only one way to the creator and feel they hold the only key to the true faith have learned to get along with others who live their lives in direct opposition to that faith have. That same goodwill needs to be extended to the gay community. Isolating and being disparaging of their humanity or contribution to society diminishes all of us and will make the country a place where no one wants to live.
Though I do find it a tad offensive to be lectured about my government’s responsibility to thief more money from the likes of me and mine to give away from a man who benefits from a quirk of Irish Tax Code that allows him to not pay one thin damned dime in taxes because he is an “artist”.
Friday, April 22, 2005
I realized at that moment that life was still unfair, and I was, once again, lead into temptation. There goes another commandment. I am unable to help myself and I am duly guilty of coveting my neighbor’s Chief.
Was he effective? I’d bet the Friday donuts that he was. I was flicking around the dial after his speech and the watching the interviews and listening to the emails read out loud on the various networks. My conclusion was that the typical Ontarian will give him kudos and high marks for stating the obvious and delivering it with obvious sincerity. I was second in charge and I should have done better. It is all my fault and I am doing my best to see that things are made right. Furthermore, if you wait till Justice Gomery presents his report I will call an election. It all sounds so reasonable and civilized doesn’t it?
Will that work? Canadians are neither naturally politicos or idealistic. We tend to take people at their word rather than judging them by their actions. I think the most common phrase in Canada is that “he means well.” That excuses all. We are afraid to reach for the stars or demand better because if we do; we might fail. Failure is painful and Canadians (inspite of our health care) cannot as a nation endure pain anymore. Americans on all sides of the political divide were outraged by Watergate. No one during the Watergate era would have uttered the phrase “he means well” or “he says, he is really, really sorry”. Americans believe in ideals and are outraged when a politician is caught gorging themselves at the public purse. Canadians believe all politicians feed at the public trough. We expect them too. We just don’t like it when they have the bad form to get caught. But if they do, just say you are sorry, and promise to do better next time. Think I am wrong – what’s Svend doing? Certainly not time. Canadians believe in compromise and not judging until you walk a mile in the perpetrator’s shoes.
I am probably one of the few that feels insulted when Mr. Dither’s implied that because I have not sat in the court for every minute and every day of the Gomery Inquiry, furthermore, even if I had; I cannot make a valid judgment on the evidence that has been presented. Wait for judgment to be pronounced from on high and once the higher being among us has issued his report then we will know what to think.
Here’s the bottom line. When Mr. Dithers’ was second in command Adscam was allowed to grow and grow all throughout his watch. According to him, he was utterly clueless as to what was going on under his nose. Nothing has changed since his watch except that instead of being second in command; he is the number one in charge. Adscam is only one Liberal run government program where the Liberals got caught with their pants down and their hands in the cookie jar. I am convinced there are many, many more but until there is a thorough house cleaning no one will know if I am right or not. Corruption on this massive scale does not happen in a vacuum. Think gun registry or strippergate. Adscam is nothing more than the tip of the iceberg.
I am not about to officially join the Conservative Party or the Blogging Tories inspite of my obvious leanings. But I would urge everyone who reads this and who believes that Canada deserves better to go here and donate whatever you can.
From where I stand, I suddenly feel very sympathetic to Quebec and Western separatists. What I want to know is; will they take me in when they leave? I promise to pay my own way, all the time and every day.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Adscam only represents one Liberal run government program. If this is how the Liberals ran the sponsorship program in Quebec; what’s to say that all the other liberal government programs in Quebec and the rest of the country are not run the same way? Think GUN REGISTRY or STRIPPERGATE for starters. Adscam is only where they got caught holding the smoking gun - not evidence of innocence.
So according to this CTV article Mr. Dither’s will address the nation tomorrow night. There is a great deal of speculation in the blogsphere on what he wishes to say when he addresses the nation. According to this CTV article;
With all signs pointing to the Liberal minority government's defeat sometime in May, Prime Minister Paul Martin is set to address the nation Thursday night to discuss the sponsorship program and the paralysis in Parliament.
The address will air at 7:45 pm ET on CTV Newsnet.
Such a broadcast is rare, but with the opposition blocking the Liberal legislative agenda, Martin is taking a chance at explaining the current political situation to Canadians directly. PMO aides are making it clear that Martin is not planning to resign, nor is he planning to call an election himself.
So what is there left to say?
I am not a crook. I didn’t steal your money, the other guys did.
I am a brave, courageous honourable leader because I called for an official inquiry.
I am determined to spend as much money as it is humanly possible to spend on the investigation into Liberal fraud and theft in Adscam.
Do not make any judgments or conclusions until you have heard every piece of evidence from every Liberal crook and their mother.
Let Justice Gomery make your judgments and conclusions for you.
And most importantly, Tories are bad evil people with a hidden agenda - who want to steal even more of your money than we have.
Now you don’t have to watch Mr. Dithers attempt his George Bush State of the Union moment with the Nixon overtures that are sure to be included. I figure I will be better off reading about it after on Neale News.
Here’s the skinny on the whole affair. John Paul ll was a mainstream Catholic Pontiff who did his best to follow the catechism of the Holy Roman Catholic Church – in this, he was neither a liberal or a conservative. The conclave has elected another mainstream catholic pontiff. For all those who long for the ordination of women, the blessings of same sex unions, abortion, in vitro fertilization, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, birth control or fornication among the clergy; the Catholic Church is not for you. And for those of you who want all that; try the United Church. I hear they are always looking for new members and apparently it is easy to get a good pew on Sunday.
And for mainstream journalists; the group within the Catholic Church that wants to ordain women, bless same-sex unions, have abortions without sin, pull the tube on the old and young alike (just as long as they are helpless), use the Sharelife collections to sponsor fetal stem cell research and actively promote communion for those who break their vows before God are not considered “Liberal or Moderate” Catholics but they do represent the RADICAL FRINGE of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, Rosie DiManno - get over it; trust me, the fear you smell is not coming from Vatican.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
She feels this is the tip of the iceberg. If this pharmacist is allowed to get away with this behaviour, before you know it, we will all be living in a theocracy. My position is no matter how repugnant you may personally find his views he should be allowed to live out his life and his livelihood according to his conscience. She feels that the pharmacist is far too moralistic and he does not have the right to impose his morality on the general populace. I say; let the market decided. She thinks there ought to be a law.
Maybe I should have given her the collected works of Ayn Rand rather than the Alias DVD’s she wanted for Christmas. Next year will be different.
The official reason hinted at for the delay is a response to ease the emotional and financial suffering of the settlers, and to respect their religious sensibilities - though if I were a betting woman, I would place my money on the explanations offered by Debkafile and say that ultimately the Sharon government’s grasp has exceeded their grip. Evicting 8,000 plus citizens from their homes, schools and businesses and forcing them to live in a tent or a trailer in the desert without a means of employment or schooling just doesn’t cut it for a government that wants to continue to govern.
Monday, April 18, 2005
No fewer than eight highly specific "economic overtures" have been made to the PA. All have been either ignored or rejected, as follows:So, why the silence? Horovitz suggests two possible answers:
Israel has offered to build a rail link between the West Bank and Gaza, enabling the uninterrupted flow of people and goods between the two areas. The PA has yet to respond to the idea. Israel has offered to build a rail link from Erez to Ashdod, enabling quick and efficient transfer of Gaza export items to the port of Ashdod for exports to Europe and elsewhere. The PA has yet to respond to the idea. Israel has offered to coordinate the running of the Erez crossing with the PA in order to facilitate the passage of Palestinians and their merchandise from Gaza to Israel. The PA has yet to respond to the idea.
Israel has offered to discuss with the PA the resumption of the operation of the Erez industrial park, which, prior to the intifada, provided jobs to thousands of Gaza Palestinians and a livelihood to tens of thousands of their family members. The PA has yet to respond to the idea.
Israel has offered to discuss the completion and operation of the Gaza seaport – admittedly a project of little economic benefit to the Palestinians given the minimal distance from Gaza to the very modern Port of Ashdod, but one of great symbolic importance to the Palestinians. The PA has yet to respond to the idea.
Israel has offered to discuss with the PA the admission to Israel on a daily basis of tens of thousands of Palestinian workers from Gaza and the West Bank after the completion of the disengagement. The PA has yet to respond to the idea.
Israel has offered to discuss with the PA the construction of new roads for the use of the Palestinians in the West Bank, where the road infrastructure is antiquated and woefully inadequate. Although Israel has made clear that it would allow the PA to designate the locations and routes of the new roads, the PA has described Israel's offer as a scheme for consolidating its hold over the West Bank and has refused to discuss it.
Israel has offered to coordinate with the PA the economic aspects of the disengagement. Such coordination would ensure that the Palestinians would get the hothouses and other agricultural and industrial assets left behind by the Gaza settlers intact and ready to operate, to the great benefit of the Palestinian economy. The PA has thus far refused to discuss such coordination, thereby endangering the integrity of those assets after the Israeli withdrawal.
The Israeli assessment, as communicated by Sharon's people to Washington, is that the PA is deliberately eschewing the overtures because it accurately recognizes that Israel is pulling out anyway and feels it has little to gain in overtly facilitating a calm departure.But another idea occurred to me reading this Toronto Star report on Abbas’ alleged offer of help and cooperation with the Gaza pull out.
The wider Israeli assessment is more depressing still, running as follows: While Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have determined that their interests are not served by concertedly attacking Israelis in the pre-disengagement period, to avoid delaying the pullout, no such constraints will apply once the troops and settlers have gone. The current relative lull, therefore, is unlikely to extend beyond the Israeli pullout.
On the Palestinian side, chaos rather than hostility is advanced as the root cause of the failure to respond to the various Israeli initiatives. Where Israel sees rejection and antipathy, Palestinian sources say, the reality is one of near-anarchy and weakness – Abbas's. However well-intentioned, Abbas is preoccupied with mere survival, conscious of public dissatisfaction over the absence of reforms, worried by Hamas's potential to threaten Fatah at the ballot box, and battling against his Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei's relentless efforts to undermine him. Far from a strategy of refusal to cooperate, the sources say, there is no clear strategy whatsoever over how to interact with Israel over disengagement or, for that matter, over how to deal with the post-disengagement reality.
The official attitude of the Palestinians could be crucial to the success of the operation, and Abbas said he would work with the Israelis, but only under certain conditions.
Speaking in Cairo after meeting Egypt's president, Abbas said, ``We are ready to co-ordinate with the Israelis completely. But we have to know where our feet are taking us, and whether (the disengagement) is tied to the `road map,' and whether they are complete withdrawals."
The road map is an internationally backed peace plan leading to a Palestinian state.
Dov Weisglass, a top aide to Sharon said, "We would of course welcome this step, and at the moment we receive a formal announcement, the channels of communication will open and will be immediately activated," he told Israel TV.
The two statements contain the seeds of disagreements that could scuttle joint planning, leaving the fates of the houses of the 8,500 settlers uncertain. Israel wants to turn the houses over to the Palestinians but only in the framework of full co-ordination of the evacuation.
Israel says its "disengagement" can be linked to the peace plan but insists that the Palestinians carry out their main commitment in the first phase of the plan — dismantling militant groups responsible for attacking Israelis during more than four years of violence. Abbas is moving toward co-opting militants into his security services, but it is not clear that Israel would accept that as "dismantling."
Also, a future dispute is emerging over responsibility for Gaza after the pullout. The United Nations and human rights groups already have said that Israel, even after it leaves, will be responsible for the 1.3 million poverty-stricken Palestinians in the crowded seaside territory because it will maintain control of its borders, airspace and sea coast.
Israel has been promoting joint economic projects and international assistance for Gaza after the pullout, but officials have said Israel would not be held responsible for the wellbeing of Palestinians.
The Palestinians are not and will not actively work towards their own state but prefer a state of constant dependence and are enabled to do so by the UN and other human rights organizations who advocate the position that Israel remains responsible for Palestinians in Gaza even once the Israelis have successfully evicted their own citizens from their homes and businesses in Gaza. A state and culture based on dependence rather than independence seems to be the goal. Who would have thought the world needs another welfare state?
Sunday, April 17, 2005
According to reports, the two crossed the border from the town of Metula, in northern Israel, to the village of Kila, in southern Lebanon. Locals notified security officials and a patrol was sent to the scene.Just in case you think the Israeli media is spinning the twist on this story here is the link from the relatively moderate Lebanon Daily Star. All of which leaves me to ask the question - what’s next? Can we expect that lizards, cats or birds crossing the border into Lebanon should be assumed to be in cahoots with their Mossad overmasters?
The soldiers examined the dogs and found tags with Hebrew writing on them. The "infiltrators" were then transferred to a local police station, where it was decided they would be taken to the Lebanese army headquarters in Beirut.
The Daily Star reported that some Lebanese have even called for the dogs' deaths as revenge for "Israeli violations of Lebanon's territory."
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Your Linguistic Profile:
40% General American English
10% Upper Midwestern
I was surprised that I scored a 25% Dixie but I think it probably is due to a Miramichi influence early in life.
What is your inner European?
Your Inner European is Russian!
Mysterious and exotic.
You've got a great balance of danger and allure.
I did this quiz three times and scored Russian each time inspite of blatantly changing my answers. Oddly enough, I do have the hat that woman is wearing. I guess this means I say "Nyet, Soviet" dixie style.
via Not Exactly Rocket Science
Sharon, with no way to hide the fact that for the past year he has been lying to the Israeli public by claiming that in exchange for the destruction of the Jewish presence in Gaza and northern Samaria he received American support for expanding the Jewish communities in the rest of Judea and Samaria, has simply changed the subject. He has changed the subject by changing the enemy. It is not the Palestinians who worry him anymore, but the Jews. It's the Jews – and in particular his political supporters turned opponents who two years ago elected him on the basis of his declared opposition to precisely the unilateral giveaway plan he is now forcing them to swallow – who are the greatest danger.
In an exclusive interview with NBC TV, which set the tone for his entire visit, Sharon said that Israel "looks like on the eve of a civil war." He then went on to say, "All my life I was defending [the] life of Jews. Now, for [the] first time, security steps are taken to protect me from Jews."
The sheer obscenity of this statement by Sharon, made at the same time that the people he is set to expel from their homes were being attacked by Palestinian mortars that Sharon ordered the IDF to do nothing about, is made all the more clear when one looks at a statement he himself made 10 years ago. Speaking to Kfar Chabad's local newspaper in 1995 of the press accusations at the time that opponents of the so-called peace process were inciting civil war, Sharon said, "Look what happened in Stalinist Russia, for example. In the mid-1930s, the Soviet authorities disseminated stories that there was a plan to assassinate Stalin. They were used as a justification for destroying the high command of the Red Army as well as the Jewish writers and the Jewish doctors. This is exactly what the Rabin government is doing now in Israel Have we gotten to such Stalinist Bolshevism? Where are they leading with the blood libels they are putting out? To the abandonment of the settlers in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and maybe to a civil war. We have to shout out the warning: Tyrants at the gate."
So there we have it: Not only has US policy of safeguarding the PA while insisting on further Israeli land concessions to the PA made terrorism the choice of the Palestinian electorate, but Ariel Sharon's decision to go along with the US has made him chart a policy course that leads, as he stated so well a decade ago, to grave dangers to Israeli democracy.
Minister Natan Sharansky has explained that the true test of democracy is not the test of elections, but the "town square test" – whether an individual can stand in the middle of the town square and freely express his unpopular political opinion without fear of punishment. By this measure, the PA is not now and has never been a democracy. And the only change in democracy witnessed by Holy Land residents in the last year has been the increased danger to Israelis who have taken to the town squares to voice their opposition to Sharon's alarming new policies. Is the Middle East democratizing? Certainly not in our neck of the woods.
The Bush administration maybe preparing the public for a new reality in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict should Hamas win a strong mandate in the elections to be held in Palestinian Gaza come July 17th; which could be the rationale behind this week’s strange statement from White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan that an electoral victory for Hamas (designated a terrorist organization for some years by the US government) could evolve into professional business people.
Certainly fears of a Hamas takeover in Gaza in July has the Palestinian Authority suggesting that it may have to post-pone the July elections.
Signs mounted Saturday that the Palestinian Authority was pushing to delay parliamentary elections until after Israel's Gaza Strip pullout - or to hold them on time under an old law benefiting the ruling Fatah party. Hamas, which stands to make a strong showing in the balloting, warned that if the July 17 parliamentary elections didn't take place on schedule, then Hamas would rethink its wobbly, unofficial truce with Israel.If Hamas does win electral control of Gaza what will be the Bush Administration still go full steam ahead with promised funding for rebuilding the Palestinian economy? And if so, where will the Bush Administration draw the line: free lunches for Islamic Jihad or Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade members?
Information Minister Nabil Shaath said "nobody has decided to postpone" the vote. But the election's proximity to Israel's late-July launch of its evacuation of 21 settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank could become an issue, Shaath added. "The question really has to do with the Israeli pullout of Gaza during that time, and our fear that the Israelis might make it difficult for people to do real election campaigns and have real freedom of movement," he said. "This is really the only consideration," he said. "And this consideration will be discussed with Hamas and with everybody." Hamas, which is contesting legislative elections for the first time, says Abbas' ruling Fatah movement wants to postpone the vote for fear Hamas would undercut Fatah's power in parliament.
Friday, April 15, 2005
BOSTON (Reuters) - A Boston Globe freelance writer fabricated large chunks of a story published this week, the newspaper said on Friday in the latest incident to embarrass the U.S. media. The Globe, which is owned by The New York Times Co., said it stopped using writer Barbara Stewart because of a story that ran on Wednesday about a seal hunt off Newfoundland -- a hunt, it turns out, that had not taken place.Excuse me while I fall off my chair with a smirk permanently affixed to my face.
The Halifax, Nova Scotia-datelined article described in graphic detail how the seal hunt began on Tuesday, with water turning red as hunters on some 300 boats shot harp seal cubs "by the hundreds." The problem, however, was that the hunt did not begin on Tuesday; it was delayed by bad weather and was scheduled to start on Friday, weather permitting, the Globe said in an editor's note. Stewart could not immediately be reached for comment.
The newspaper, which first learned of the problem when the Canadian government called to complain, said in an editor's note it should not have published the story and should have insisted on attribution for details because the writer was not reporting from the scene.
"Details included the number of hunters, a description of the scene, and the approximate age of the cubs. The author's failure to accurately report the status of the hunt and her fabrication of details at the scene are clear violations of the Globe's journalistic standards," the paper said.
Globe Foreign Editor James Smith said that the newspaper knew Stewart was not at the seal hunt and was doing her reporting from Halifax. "What she told us -- and we did check during the day -- was that she had confirmed with one of the fishermen in the story that it was going ahead," Smith said, adding that in retrospect the paper should have worked harder to clarify this.
(tipped off by Neale News)
After listening to the joint press conference between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday, I curled up in front of my laptop ready to pen a blistering critique of the premier and his plan to withdraw from Gaza. But as the words began to flow, so did my perspiration, as I began to consider some of the heavy-handed tactics now being used against critics of the withdrawal.
In recent weeks especially, there have been a growing number of incidents in which those opposed to the plan, or even those merely assumed to hold such views, have found themselves and their most basic of freedoms trampled upon. Take, for example, the mass arrest of dozens of Orthodox Jewish youth this past Sunday after protesters blocked Tel Aviv's Ayalon highway for several minutes.
According to various reports, many of those detained by the police had nothing to do with the demonstration. They were arrested simply because they were religious and happened to be in the vicinity of the protest. This included a 10-year-old boy wearing a kippa, and a religious soldier in uniform. Several teenage kids in the area were said to have been taken to police stations and held incommunicado for hours without their parents receiving notification, as required by law.
There have also been a number of instances in which people standing on street corners and holding signs against the Gaza withdrawal were taken away by police – for no apparent reason other than exercising their right to protest peacefully. In one case, a 14-year-old girl was arrested a few weeks ago and held for 24 hours in police custody without being allowed to see her parents. She was denied access to her medications, even though she suffers from chronic asthma and was at risk of a potentially dangerous asthma attack.
With less than 100 days to go until the proposed Gaza withdrawal, something terribly frightening is happening here in Israel. Some of the tactics being employed by the authorities simply have no place in a democratic society, calling into question their underlying commitment to that most fundamental of civil liberties – the right to disagree with government policy.
Now I don't consider myself an alarmist; nor do I belong to the category of those who employ frenzied language to get a point across. But I don't think it is exaggerating to say that many people opposed to the withdrawal are starting to wonder whether they can truly express themselves without fear. Earlier this month, late one night, a prominent activist involved in organizing buses for people to visit Jewish communities in Hebron and Gaza was arrested at his home in the center of the country and held into the early hours of the morning. It remains unclear why he was taken into custody, other than to frighten and intimidate him. Things have reached the point where even people who "look" like they might be going to a protest can find themselves receiving special attention from the security forces.
This past Monday evening, a busload of Jews from Samaria was stopped by police as it made its way toward the Gush Dan area to deliver Pessah goods to needy families. According to eyewitnesses, the police refused to let the bus continue on its way, claiming that it posed a "potential threat that may lead to the blocking of roads and other protest actions." Only after being held up for 90 minutes were the 50 passengers allowed to continue with their charitable undertaking.
Say what you will about Sharon's plan to withdraw, there can be no excuse for such tactics. If it were just a matter of an isolated incident or two, it could perhaps be dismissed as an aberration. But the sad fact is that there is a clearly a pattern at work, one in which innocent Israeli citizens are being harassed and/or silenced because of their political views.
I would even go so far as to suspect that support for the Oslo Redux plan does not have the widespread support of the Israeli public as one could reasonably assume from reading the papers here in the West. There has been a number of rather draconian incitement laws passed in recent weeks. Administrative detentions of Israeli citizens are rising alarmingly.
According to Barbara Lerner opposition to the pull-out from Gaza has reached deep into the IDF where less than a month ago 10,000 soldiers have signed a statement refusing to remove Jews from their homes. Contrast this with the original refuseniks (IDF soldiers) that refused to serve in the Occupied Territories only numbered in the hundreds. Furthermore, the High Court in Israel has heard a petition from reservist officers requesting that they not be compelled to take part in the eviction of their families or neighbors from Gaza come July.
It should be remembered that a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was the cornerstone of the Israeli Labour party platform under Amram Mitzna in the 2003 election. Ariel Sharon and the Likud party loudly criticized and actively ran their election campaign against a pull-out from Gaza. For their efforts against the Labour disengagement plan in Gaza the Israeli electorate returned the Likud with its largest majority and served the Labour Party with their soundest defeat. Sharon has refused any and all entreaties to hold a national referendum on the Gaza disengagement claiming that he has the full support of the Israeli public behind his disengagement plan but does he? The truth is we will never know.
This past week schools across Israel have had their door chained shut by protesters against the disengagement plan. The highways and roads have been blockaded. Prime Minister Sharon did not utter an idle glib remark when he stated at the Bush Crawford Ranch that it feels like the "eve of civil war in Israel." The last time Jews were evicted from their homes, businesses, schools and synagogues in Gaza it was in 1948 by the Egyptian Army.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
A movement in Ontario to make it a human rights violation to charge women more than men for haircuts, toiletries and dry cleaning picked up steam Thursday. The legislature approved in principle a Canadian first: a bill that would fine merchants up to $5,000 for asking more to trim women's hair than men's or more to dry clean a blouse than a shirt.
"It's something that makes common sense, to charge the same price to women or to men for the same good or service," said Lorenzo Berardinetti, a Liberal government backbencher who proposed a private member's bill he says mirrors laws in New York, Miami and California. Private member's bills rarely make it into law. But Berardinetti's passed second reading Thursday and will be sent to a legislative committee for public hearings.
Berardinetti, a rookie politician, is also a rookie husband. He says he did not realize the extent of the differing prices for men and women until he went shopping for cologne and clothing with his new wife, Michelle. "I soon learned what gender tax was all about," he said. "It's my wife, it's her fault." Michelle Berardinetti told reporters Thursday she too quickly tired of watching her husband pay less for everything from deodorant to suits and haircuts. "When it's brought to your attention, it's like 'Wow, that's amazing, I can't believe that,' " she said. "It's the same as a racial issue or something. When it's brought in your face, then you start to realize it."
I am literally outraged that the provincial government thinks it has the right to tell retailers, hair stylists or dry cleaners what they can or cannot charge for their goods or services. Furthermore, I am incensed that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (which already has a backlog of far more serious cases to hear) could potentially be further burdened by having to adjudicate the cost of shirt versus a blouse that these “gender based pricing” issues will generate.
Whatever happened to the letting the consumer decide where to spend their bucks? When MPP Berardinetti was asked if his private member’s bill was passed into law could it not result in far higher prices for the everyone MPP Berardinetti glibly replied “I think that if I was a dry cleaner or if I had a hair salon, I would compete. Those that offer the best prices are going to get the most business." You can’t have it both ways.
Listen up Dickhead – If I was running a salon and had to comply with a gender price law I would not have a choice but to raise the price for everyone. I am not in business to lose money to comply with your notions of gender equality. I have a good friend who owns a unisex hair salon. She charges women more for the same services she offers for men. Here’s the difference: she can wash, cut, blow-dry and style three men’s hair in one hour’s time. A simple hair cut for a woman takes 40 minutes to 1 hour because their hair is longer. Not to mention that the styles women often desire require more hair products. But you know, if you’re a woman; there is nothing to stop you from going to a man’s barbershop to get your hair cut. And speaking from personal experience - they won’t charge you a different rate but they won’t wash, dry or style your hair either.
And for the record, there is no law stopping any woman from buying men’s socks, underwear, pants, shirts, coats, sweaters or deodorant if that is what you want. When you show up at the cashier in Shopper’s Drug Mart with Mennen’s Speed Stick for Men they don’t suddenly up the price because you are wearing a bra. Tell your wife to learn to buy on sale for deodorant. My dry cleaner doesn’t ask me if I bring in a man’s shirt if it’s for me or my sons. But if it’s a tailored woman’s shirt with darts over both breasts and in the back he charges me more. You know why? It takes longer to press. No darts, no pleats and all cotton – same price as a man’s.
Berardinetti, you need a new dry cleaner, and tell your wife, no one is compelling her to buy women’s clothing or go to a woman’s hair salon – there’s no law against it - at least not yet. Shh, don’t tell Berardinetti but women’s clothing frequently goes on sale more often than men’s – no doubt if he found that out he would want to introduce a bill to stop that. I’m emailing MPP Smitherman in the morning as I want a private member’s bill introduced against dickhead Liberal MPP’s.
(tipped off by Neale News)
As hard as it might be to understand, I don’t wish Wolfgang Droege a lengthy stay in hell. Rather, I hope that he arrives at the pearly gates of heaven and is barred from entering by a black Jesus in a yarmulke with one long dreaded prayer lock on either side of his face asking Wolfgang to account for his life’s work. I'd rather Wolfgang Droege spend eternity outside the gates of heaven forced to contemplate the utter vanity and vexation of his beliefs on earth.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
McDonald's sorry for burger blunder. "Tasteless," is how charitable groups have branded a McDonald's burger in Norway that they claim ignores the starvation crisis in Africa. McDonald's is red-faced, and may donate proceeds from its controversial "McAfrika" burger.
"It's inappropriate and distasteful to launch a hamburger called 'McAfrika' when large portions of southern Africa are on the verge of starvation," says Linn Aas-Hansen of Norwegian Church Aid. She stood outside a McDonald's restaurant in downtown Oslo this week, passing out free "catastrophe crackers" to passersby in protest. "This is a special, protein-rich cracker that we hand out to people in the hunger-stricken areas," she said. Among those who got a taste of the crackers was an apologetic spokesperson for McDonald's in Norway, Margaret Brusletto.
She said McDonald's was sorry the name of its new burger, meant to reflect an African recipe, has negative connotations. "That wasn't our intention," she said. "At the same time, we acknowledge that we have chosen an unfortunate time to launch this new product."
There was no word as to whether McDonald's will pull its "McAfrika" burger off the market despite the protests in Norway, where aid organizations have launched one of the world's largest relief programs ever aimed at getting food to starving millions in southern Africa.
I was tipped off to the McAfrika Burger by Israellycool who also has a post up with a cool link for the Israeli commercial for McShwarma Burgers.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams for the second time in two days Tuesday, with the focus this time on the entire Middle East, not the Palestinians. Officials in Sharon's entourage said Tuesday's talks dealt with the whole range of regional issues, with particular attention paid to Iran's nuclear threat, and possible responses if Teheran continues its march toward nuclear arms capabilities.
Senior Israeli officials said Tuesday that the decision on when to bring the Iranian issue to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions should not be dragged out indefinitely. The important time issue to keep in mind, they said, was not the date when Iran would acquire a nuclear bomb, but rather when it would pass the "threshold of no return" and develop the technology that would allow it – in the future – to build such a weapon. Sharon told US President George W. Bush on Monday that Iran was only one technological step away from enriching uranium and, from that point, achieving nuclear capability was just around the corner, Channel 2 reported.
Sharon's military secretary, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, presented to Bush updated documents and satellite images of Iran's nuclear program. According to Israel Radio, the images showed that the Iranian nuclear program was at a "very advanced" stage. Israeli officials called on the US urgently to present the issue before the Security Council, which would enable the imposing of sanctions on Teheran.
However, US officials told The New York Times that the evidence Sharon presented to Bush was already known to the president. "The Israelis consider the Iranians a big threat and they saw this as another opportunity to convey that to the president," The New York Times quoted an American official as saying, but, the official added, "no one thinks this was earth-shattering.”
Even if the intelligence presented by the Israeli’s is not news to the US Administration one has to wonder why a US officials would think this information is not “earth-shattering”. Certainly a nuclear armed Iran is a credible and viable threat to freedom in the Middle East and beyond.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
A 15-year-old Palestinian carrying five pipe bombs was arrested by soldiers at the Hawara checkpoint outside of Nablus when he attempted to detonate one of the bombs near them.
Soldiers' suspicions were aroused when the youth reached the checkpoint wearing a coat despite the hot weather. The soldiers stopped him and asked him to remove his coat; he lit a match in an attempt to detonate one of the bombs but dropped it when a soldier aimed his weapon at him. Inside the coat soldiers found four other pipe bombs. The youth was handed over to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for questioning and sappers blew up the bombs.
The checkpoint has been the scene of numerous attempts to either smuggle bombs through to others waiting on the other side or blow up near soldiers. In February this year, Mahmoud Tabouk, 15, was arrested by soldiers at the checkpoint after he was caught carrying an explosives belt, a makeshift rifle and M16 bullets that he was to hand over to someone on the other side.
Last October a female would be suicide bomber was arrested at the checkpoint en route to launch an attack in Israel. Last March soldiers prevented Husam Abdu, 14, who wore an explosives belt from blowing up at the checkpoint. The same month soldiers arrested Abdullah Kuran, 11, who acted as a porter at the checkpoint and agreed to carry bags to the other side after receiving NIS5, he was unaware that one contained a 10-kilogram bomb. When he was stopped by soldiers for inspection his dispatchers attempted to detonate the bomb but to no avail.
This is a fractured society at the best of times and never more so is that fact illustrated than when the birds of prey feed on its’ young. I find that I am at a loss for words to describe the utter depravity of those involved with sending this young lad on his date with death.
I have the moral authority to govern.It's statements like this which cause me to seriously question whether Mr. Dither's has the ability to comprehend the gravity of the situation the Liberal party is in. Someone needs to advise him that he may have the legal authority to govern but the moral authority was lost long ago on the road that lead to Adscam.
Although I get a certain petty pleasure in having the liberal party’s dirty laundry exposed to the light of day and of all my election options the current Conservative Party has my ‘hold my nose and vote’ vote; I am uneasy with the concept of defections from the Liberal Party. I want the Conservation party to take the path to the right; small government, minimum taxes, a two tier health care system just to name a few, but I can only see the dialogue moving further to the left if the ranks of the Conservative party plumb out with former Liberals.
Frankly, the Conservative Party has disappointed me with many of party’s positions on social issues. I believe that having no law governing the procurement of an abortion is just wrong. Take a stand and lead. We will never return to the days of the back alley despite what the pro-choice supporters would want you to believe. Current birth control methods and ease of availability are far too effective for that but I want a government that promotes personal and not governmental responsibility for all your quality of life choices.
Let’s talk about same sex marriage - everyone can do the big yawn now. There is no turning back the clock though there are many who want too. My first choice is that government gets out of the marriage or domestic partnership business in the first place but as I said – there is no turning back the clock. So where do we go from here? The Conservative Party’s position is like putting a finger in the dyke and hoping you can hold back the wave set to crash over the wall. At best, it buys the marriage is between a man and a women crowd a few years but that’s it. Ultimately, any law passed in parliament by the current Conservative Party position is doomed to failure in a few years time when the issue hits the courts.
But there is human side to this debate that I think opponents of same sex marriage overlook or have a tendency to trivialize and that is lesbians and gays are people with feelings, longings and aspirations just like the rest of us. Marginalizing or shutting them out is not the answer nor do I wish to live in society that draws that kind of a line.
My faith teaches me that there is an intrinsic value to all human life. No one is here without a reason or purpose though I might not fathom all the reasons and all the purposes of each individual. I cannot blindly cast out anyone because of who they love. At the same time, the rights of the religious must be respected. When the courts or the state starts to rule what morality the religious must promote or teach. we march one step closer to enacting thought crimes legislation. Let’s not mince words. There is an intrinsic value to being married from a societal and individual viewpoint. How we define it is of the utmost importance.
My personal viewpoint is that if the government cannot get out of the marriage business than civil unions for all and marriages for the religious (and that does mean if your wiccan priestess blesses your same sex union - your married) and since we are on the topic of marriage its time for the government to stop tax benefits for those who have formed common law unions. Nothing has been so costly than to reward individuals who are so lax that they refuse to make a formal commitment but want all the benefits of marriage without the very real legal obligations. Nothing has done more to undermine the concept of marriage than granting common law union’s de facto marriage status. If I meet one more couple with children who are not married and say that marriage is a big commitment and they aren’t ready for that I will scream and start swatting with my handbag. There is no bigger commitment than having children. If you aren’t ready for a formal union then you are certainly not ready for children - straight or gay.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Iran, which long castigated the United States as the "Great Satan", is to promote its tourist potential on America's CNN television station and Britain's BBC, the country's vice-president for tourism Hossein Marachi has revealed to AFP.
Tense relations between Tehran and Washington will not stop Iran from exploiting its attractions on the US cable network, said Marachi, who insists US sanctions preventing American companies from trading with Iran "will not apply in this instance".
Both BBC and CNN campaigns should start within two months under a one-year contract, the value of which Marachi did not disclose. Kevin Young, acting head of public relations for BBC World, said: "There have been long discussions about this and we're optimistic the campaign will be launched but it's not been finalised yet."
He added that no actual starting date had been decided and the ads would only be shown on the state-funded broadcaster's semi-commercial BBC World. "We would be looking at what we call a spot campaign, which is a straightforward commercial campaign for 30- or 60-second adverts that would appear for a period of six months." Spokesman Nigel Pritchard for CNN international in Atlanta said only: "We can't comment on commercial deals unless they are in place. There is no deal in place."
Marachi said Iran would provide footage for the slots. "They will show Iranian tourist sites. "You'll not see Friday prayers," he added with a smile. Tehran's aim is not to persuade Americans to visit the country, but to have an impact on the two networks' worldwide audiences so Iran can develop an industry, largely neglected given its potential.
Read the rest here. Once I got over the awe and gall factor of this venture I realized what will the Mullah's actually show or promote? The joys of family jihad? Come to Iran and get veiled in 100 plus heat? The benefits of temperary wives? After all, this is a regime that is trying to regulate women's underwear in the marketplace. What the Mullah's won't be showing is mug shots of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kemzi in their commericals. Then I got to thinking what theme song will the Mullah's use? Certainly, no Bob "Stand Up for Your Rights" Marley & the Wailers - that's for sure.
(tipped off by Little Green Footballs)
Iran on Sunday said Canada was following the "wrong approach" in the case of an Iranian-born Canadian photojournalist who died while in Iranian custody. Canada has demanded an international forensic examination to determine the cause of Zahra Kazemi's death.I knew we should have cut all ties with Iran and raised our embassy in Tehran to the ground. In other news today, I found this Haaretz report from Iranian Foreign Affairs spokesman Hamid Asefi. Yesterday, Mr. Asefi set out to clarify the Iranian position on uranium enrichment:
"Unfortunately Canada has been following a wrong approach from the very beginning, and caused things to get more complicated," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a weekly press conference. "From the very beginning, the Canadians should have accepted that Mrs. Kazemi is an Iranian citizen. Demands by the Canadians have to be answered by Iran's judiciary," he said.
Iran will never abandon uranium enrichment, despite its negotiations with the European Union on its nuclear program, a senior official said on Sunday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Iran would never renounce its right to carry out the process, but was hopeful about the outcome of the talks with Europe.Of course their intentions are peaceful and that is why the Iranian parliament sessions commonly chant that modern catch phrase “Death to the Americans”. And Canadian Zahra Kamezi was on a hunger strike which left her so weak in an Iran jail that she fainted while going down the stairs and fractured her skull open.
Britain, France and Germany, representing the European Union, have been trying to persuade Tehran to scrap all parts of its atomic fuel cycle, particularly uranium enrichment which can be used to make atomic bombs as well as fuel for power plants.
Asefi said uranium enrichment was Iran's legitimate right, reiterating comments made almost daily by Iranian officials."Iran will never give up its [uranium] enrichment activities," Asefi told a weekly news conference.
Washington, which suspects Iran of using civilian atomic power as cover for a weapons programme, backs the talks but wants Iran to give up its disputed nuclear activities. Iran, which insists its atomic ambitions are entirely peaceful, has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment while the talks with the EU continue but insists the freeze is temporary. "Iran's uranium enrichment suspension is only for a short period of time," Asefi said. "It will be until reaching an agreement with the EU."
Friday, April 08, 2005
Thursday, April 07, 2005
David Ahenakew's lawyer says diabetes, extra medication and wine led his client to make the anti-Semitic remarks for which he is now on trial. Speaking outside court Wednesday afternoon, Doug Christie told reporters that he will present evidence that proves his theory as he brings forward his case over the next two days.
"He was certainly not feeling well that day and wouldn't have said these things if he was feeling well," Christie said. "His medication had recently been doubled caused clearly by a chemical imbalance in the blood being related to diabetes. In addition to that he had two glasses of wine the night before. "I think in those circumstances it's pretty obvious that he wasn't measuring his words the way he would normally do."
Christie said he hopes to have the time and the resources to call a medical expert to testify in support of the claim. Failing that, Ahenakew will take the stand to talk about his condition.
Ahenakew, a former senator with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and a member of the Order of Canada, is being tried for the wilful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group. He was charged after he told a Saskatoon StarPhoenix reporter at a First Nations conference two years ago the Jews were a "disease."
Christie has emphasized from the start of the trial that even though his client's views may be unpopular, he never intended to spread hate.
Who would have thought that a combination of meds, diabetes and couple of glasses of wine the night before would produce an anti-Semitic tirade which all goes to show that some people and their lawyers will say just about anything.
(tipped off by Neale News)
I think I will call my mother and ask her how come everybody else got paid off and we didn’t? That suddenly seems so un-Canadian.
Last night I received an email from Jim Hake at Spirit of America. Looks like there is another worthwhile project on the go that Spirit of America is asking support for - helping the people of Lebanon win their independence.
I'm in Beirut, Lebanon. I'm glad I waited to send you this message to kick off Spirit of America's support for Lebanon's independence.It makes a huge difference to be here. I've spent most of the last 48 hours with the demonstrators here who are struggling for a free, democratic and pluralistic society - one where people from different faiths can live and prosper together. We have seen Muslims and Christians side by side praying together and working for free elections. This is extraordinary.Across the banner of The Last Amazon is a quote by Victor Davis Hanson: "It is never wrong to be on the side of freedom - never." I believe in that with all my heart and soul but belief is only the first requisite of that creed. More important than the belief itself is the manifestation of that belief into action; for what is faith without acts? In that spirit I ask that you help with a donation in whatever amount you can spare for those who continue to work unceasingly to improve lives that are less fortunate than ours.
The opportunity for Lebanon to transform the Middle East and Arab world is much greater than I thought. It is also more fragile. The people of Lebanon need our help and our support. They are asking for it. Without it, the Syrians and terrorists are likely to win.
We are raising money to support the pro-democracy movement in Lebanon. Their goals are (1) independence (Syria out of Lebanon) and (2) free and fair elections. The people of Lebanon want to be free to vote for their own government. You can help by making a contribution here:
If you contributed to our work to support democracy and free elections in Iraq, here is a chance to repeat that wonderful success. If you support our troops in Iraq, it will help them to have another free, democratic country in the neighborhood. So please pitch in.
We are supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators at the "tent city" in Martyrs' Square. The tent city demonstrators are the center of gravity for Lebanon's pro-democracy movement. They put together the massive demonstrations with 1.2 million people a few weeks ago. They represent all religions. This is "people power" at its best - peaceful, purposeful and focused on the right goals and ideals.
As go the demonstrators, so goes Lebanon's independence. And so goes a great opportunity for democratic transformation of the Middle East. They need our help to sustain their struggle.
We are raising support for them (food, shelter, water, etc.) and providing them tools to increase popular support for free elections. We're also looking into other things to help, like Internet access at tent city so they can communicate easily to the outside world. 100% of all donations go directly to the things that will help the people win independence for Lebanon.
Syria is publicly acting like it is playing nice and withdrawing. Behind the scenes they are destabilizing the country, delaying the elections and intimidating the opposition. They think they can wait things out until America forgets Lebanon. The good guys in Lebanon need our support. So do the good gals. In fact the leader of the tent city demonstrators is a very courageous young woman named Asma.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Stung by opposition charges that it has been too soft on Iran, the Martin government launched an aggressive diplomatic push yesterday for a new investigation into the torture, rape and murder of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi by Iranian security forces in 2003.
"This is something on which we will not give up," Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew told the House of Commons, adding that he had telephoned Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs yesterday morning to demand a forensic examination of Ms. Kazemi's remains. "We know that in Iran it is lies, it is cover-ups that have been presented to us, and this is totally unacceptable."
Mr. Pettigrew also said the government will seek international support to increase diplomatic pressure on Iran to accede to its demands. "We have many countries onside," he said. ". . .We have our allies who are well aware of our concerns with the situation in Iran and they've been supporting us at the United Nations, and we will continue to work on that front."
I bet the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Iran was shaking in his boots by Pettigrew’s tough love telephone call. Two years of phone calls, letters, and a brief recall of our ambassador from Iran and the best our government can do is issue a statement saying we will launch a new aggressive diplomatic push that cumulates in a phone demanding a forensic examination of Ms. Kazemi’s body. No doubt the Mullah’s are running for the hills with this one. Wouldn't you?
I recognize that our military options are limited as successive liberal governments have so eviscerated our armed forces to the point that the government cannot even guarantee proper foot wear or basic gear for Canadian soldiers when the government does order a mission to deploy in a foreign country. Recalling the ambassador and all Canadian staff from our embassy in Iran, blowing up the building behind them, cutting all diplomatic ties and imposing economic sanctions against the Iranian government is well within the government’s ability to act. Instead we get another round of tough love phone calls and dialogue at the United Nations.