Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Been there, done that daughter, so go find your own teenage angst

I have the most surreal experience. The Last Amazon figured that I would be a soft touch and handed me a list of possible CD’s that she would like to have for her trip to the east coast as I was walking out the door. I didn’t take a look at the list until I arrived at work.

It was Déjà vu all over again, circa 1976 thru to the early 80's. The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, New York Dolls, Lou Reed, Blondie, The Clash, Boomtown Rats, Television, Richard Hell, Dead Kennedys, The Heartbreakers, Generation X, in fact, all she was missing was really Patti Smith and Ian Dury. I really loved that Easter album though it is probably a blessing that Patti Smith didn’t make the list as I can’t have her humming the opening to Gloria in her dreaded and loathed religion class at her very proper Catholic school. Nor do I need to hear her sing “Ssex, drugs and rock’n’roll are all my brain and body need” as she goes about her household chores.

I had been listening to Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Nico, the Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls in the mid-seventies as I was trying desperately to come of age. All that angst, decadance and anger appealed to my soul. Then came the Sex Pistols and it was like a revelation. No more area rock or heavy metal with orchestral arrangements. It was fresh, bold, and haughty. Music that was really the sound of my generation just like rock’n’roll was suppose to be. No more old guys trolling on stage singing the songs of a previous generation though it should be noted that the same old guys of then have still never gotten off the stage and I do note the irony of Sid Vicious singing “My Way”.

I am sure that the Last Amazon would be green with envy if I told I first saw the Ramones in a club called CBGB’s and so I had to go and see them again when they came to Toronto and played at the Old New Yorker theatre on Yonge Street or how I met Billy Idol when he was with a group called Generation X and he tried to chat me up and impress me backstage at the Masonic Temple. It was working until he tossed his cookies at my feet. Note to all young aspiring male musicians; you cannot pull women unless you can hold your liquor. Imagine my surprise when I saw the same cookie tossing poser on a TV screen in a bar in New York singing Rebel Yell. No doubt she would have a few choice words for my teenage judgment when I decided at the last minute to go to another club when a UK group came to town to play at one of my favourite haunts and missed hearing the Police play before the North American release of “Roxanne”.

The Last Amazon has been told how her parents met in the parking lot behind Yonge at Dundas on the way to an afterhours club but the truth was we actually met when he was the door man at a club called Nutz & Bolts where he used to let me in for free when I wore my red leather dress or my leopard skin & chains outfit. My poor mother never got over the strange males in threads, make-up and leathers that use to show up at the door to wisk me away from home periodically.

I have all the music on her list on the old computer and in a few boxes of albums hidden away in the storage closet but I am sure that she doesn’t have a clue as to what one does with a album, so I went out to HMV at lunch and took a stroll down memory lane with her list clutched in my hand. I came to two conclusions. I was a very angry teen and to purchase the same music for your teenage daughter that you purchased as a teen - is an act that borders of blasphemy. So instead, I decided to make her CD's of all my favourites from the mp3 files stored on my old computer. Thank the Lord that tonight she is going to see some group called the Killers that I have never heard of. No generation should have to take on the mantle of their mothers and each generation needs something to claim as their very own.

Monday, May 30, 2005

F-15 Eagle

I haven’t done a quiz in a while so when I saw this one at Curt’s I had to bite. “You are fast, agile, and loud, but reaching the end of your stardom” just about sums me up.

What military aircraft are you?

F-15 Eagle

You are an F-15. Your record in combat is spotless; you've never been defeated. You possess good looks, but are not flashy about it. You prefer to let your reputation do the talking. You are fast, agile, and loud, but reaching the end of your stardom.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

The Monarchist Rises the Red Ensign Standard

I am a day late and a few blogs short in posting that the Monarchist has raised the Red Ensign Standard Vol. XXll and hope that he accepts that family matters required my attention. I may be tardy but the Monarchist has not been. Go read what my fellow Red Ensign Bloggers have been reading and thinking.

The Countdown Begins

The countdown has formally begun in the family. 28 days to go before the Last Amazon and her youngest brother leave to visit Nana for the summer. The children are all terribly excited about going away for the summer including the son who is not leaving. Being the middle child, he figures it’s all good that the other two will be gone for two months.

I am not sure what to make of their leaving or their excitement. I have been spending as much time as I can with the other two before they go. As much as I want them to have fun and enjoy themselves, I also want them to want to come home at the end of the summer. I have been spending a great deal of time with the children and have big plans for the coming 28 days with them and the son who is staying behind to box through the summer. As such, the least of my priorities is reading or blogging, hence, no new posts today but a heads up to everyone to keep an eye on Darcey at Dust my Broom for the latest news and round-up on the Poundmaker Revolt.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Canada’s Other Official Language: Liberalsleaze

Now this is bizarre. According to this CBC report the Liberal Government of Canada has designated an Iranian opposition group as a terrorist organization. The People’s Mojahedin (as known as MEK) has waged a 20year campaign both politically and militarily to overthrow Rule by Mullah in Iran; and furthermore, two years ago the group publicly announced that they were laying down their arms.
Supporters of the People's Mojahedin, and some Conservative MPs, say the move appears to be intended to reassure Tehran of Canada's friendship, even as the government publicly condemns the Iranian regime over the death of Kazemi.

The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran has waged a 20-year armed campaign to overthrow the ayatollahs. Conservative Foreign Affairs critic Stockwell Day said the group, also known as MEK, has confined its attacks to military and regime targets and that Public Security Minister Anne McLellan has twisted the meaning of the word "terrorism."

"She's using harsher language against the MEK than the government has used against the rape, torture and murder of Zahra Kazemi. It's bizarre and it looks like appeasement of a repressive regime." Day says the timing of the announcement, just 48 hours after Iran told Canada to stop interfering in their investigation of the Kazemi case, will be interpreted by Tehran as a capitulation. He questioned why a group that has existed for 40 years should only become a terrorist now nearly two years after it announced it was laying down its arms.

This is jaw dropping territory and I concur with Stockwell Day. It is outrageous that an opposition group to the Rule by Mullah has been designated as a terrorist organization by the Liberal government when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to do more than say “play nice” to the official government of Iran for sanctioning the torture, rape and bludgeoning-to-death of a Canadian citizen by its agents.

And just when you think this story couldn’t twist anymore; it does.
Conservative MP Paul Forseth says that if the government wants to criminalize support of the People's Mojahedin, it will have to start by arresting several members of Parliament, including Liberals. "In essence, they're calling their own members of Parliament terrorists, because [Liberal MP] Hedy Fry recently sponsored one of their meetings on Parliament Hill, just as I did the year before," Forseth said. A spokesman for Foreign Affairs said the People's Mojahedin had met the threshold for designation, but did not say why the ban is happening now. But he did say it is not related to the Kazemi case.
I am not big fan of MEK, but I would suggest that MEK and the Mullah’s both be put on the proscribed list of terrorist organizations. Then we can raze our embassy to the ground in Tehran. But this story has given me a pause, and I cannot help speculating that perhaps the Mullah's have learned how to push the Liberal envelope and we all know how the Liberals have a fondness for envelopes.

(tipped off by Neale News)

The Ransom of the Jews

Ynet Online carries a book review concerning a fascinating post-war story that I had absolutely no inkling of. The Ransom of the Jews was written by Radu Ioanid and tells the tale of how the post World War 2 communist regime of Caesescu sold Romanian Jews to the State of Israel.

Ransom of the Jews is the result of years of intensive research through thousands of documents and interviews with surviving participants, mainly Israeli Mossad intelligence agents and businessmen involved in the episode. Stories ranged from then-Romanian Foreign Minister Ana Parker, to the chief Rabbi of Romania Moses Rosen, and numerous other players.

Due to World War II, the extreme shortage of foreign currency (American dollars), and inefficient management, Romania’s economy during the late 1940s was devastated. According to Ioanid, the idea of selling Jews to Israel started in late 1949 and early 1950, with a ransom of between USD 50 to USD 100 per Jew. Between late 1949 and the end of 1989 (after dictator Ceausescu’s overthrow in Romania), close to 300,000 Romanian Jews were sold to raise American dollars for the cash-strapped country.

Romania had the greatest post-war population of Jews in Europe. Out of a population of almost 800,000 Jews before the war, 350,000 survived the Nazi inflagration. With the rise of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1965, the selling of Jews emerged as a priority. By 1978, writes Ioanid, payments reached between USD 2,000 to USD 50,000 per person. According to Ioanid, “It was in 1974, Dan and Yanai (members of Israel’s liaison in charge of this operation) brought suitcases of cash. One of these suitcases, containing USD 1 million, was lost in the Zurich airport, only to be found intact two days later!”

Ceausescu steadily raised the price of each Jewish emigrant. At times, the going rate ranged from USD 826 to USD 10,000 per person. For younger and better-educated Jews, the price went higher and higher. The sky was the limit, says Ioanid: “In special cases Romanian authorities asked for as much as USD 250,000 per person."

The Ransom of the Jews is an incredible story. This is a tale of one of the late twentieth century’s most tragic exchanges of humans for money, driven by sheer greed and disregard for human values. It was a cruel, deplorable and mischievous campaign, involving the selling of thousands of women, men, and children, old and young. Tellingly, Ioanid writes: “The Romanian government has, to this date not extended an apology to the government of Israel nor to the Romanian Jews (who were) oppressed and sold.” The book is a shattering document, a story superbly told, as well as an opportunity to learn about the vicious character of the anti-Semitic face of Romania’s Communist leaders.

How I wish that the concept of slavery was not so deep rooted in the human psyche though credit must go to the State of Israel for its unceasing and tireless efforts to be a safe haven for Jews worldwide. There is much Canada could learn from its example.

Whatever happened to not negotiating with terrorists?

Interesting report from Ynet Online that two Arab newspapers are reporting that senior Bush and Blair Administration officials have sent official letters to the senior leadership of both Hezbollah and Hamas offering to negotiate their organizations removal from the proscribed list of international terrorist organizations.
Senior Hamas and Hizbullah members both received official letters from the U.S administration and British government, two United Arab Emirates’ newspapers reported Saturday. According to the al-Bayan newspaper, the U.S. sent the Islamic terrorist groups a letter, expressing its respect for the organizations’ broad popular support – support that is expected to only grow with the upcoming elections in Lebanon and in the Palestinian Authority.

The newspaper also reported the administration has invited the Islamic organizations’ leaders to a meeting with senior U.S. officials at a still-undecided location. According to sources quoted in the newspaper, the Americans have even demonstrated their willingness to cooperate with the organizations, should they develop into political parties following the elections.

Furthermore, the al-Halij newspaper reported that Britain has considered changing its foreign policy regarding the Middle East and may agree to direct dialogue with Hamas and Hizbullah for the very first time. The newspaper reports that this move is based on the assumption the organizations will strengthen their political positions after elections next week in Lebanon and on July 17 in the PA.

A British Foreign Ministry spokesman refused to confirm the newspaper’s report but said that Britain’s current foreign policy is aimed at contact with Hamas field commanders “not connected to terror.” The spokesman said that the motive for such controversial contacts was to “strengthen the Palestinian Authority.” However, the spokesman said his government’s ties to Hizbullah were severed years ago, as its military wing has been included in the list of terror organizations since 2001.
All of which would go far to explain the odd statement made by White House Press Secretary Scott McClelland in an April 13, 2005 press briefing wherein he referred to Hamas elected municipal officials as "business professionals" though it should be noted that arms dealer is a recognized profession and hanging a Jew out to dry has a long a historical tradition in the West.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

HBC: we don't take any pride in the bottom line

On March 3, 2005 it was announced that Hudson’s Bay Company had been selected by the Canadian Olympic Committee to be the Official Outfitter & Clothier of Choice for Canadian Olympic athletes. Apparently, it was able to disrobe and oust internationally renown Roots Canada, whose funky and functionally clothes made our athletic team uniforms the envy of the world, by underbidding the competition and by promising to donate a significant amount to the training of Canadian Olympic athletes. I knew it was a big mistake then, and at the time, could only envision HBC delivering with an inferior product in athletic wear. I hadn’t really conceived of a scenario where our Olympians turn up at the 2008 games wearing their birthday suits unless it was by choice to combat the itch of the HBC signature cloth. According to this report from today’s Globe and Mail, I may have to rethink what is in the realm of the possible.
Hudson's Bay Co.'s financial performance continues to deteriorate, with a $41-million quarterly loss reported yesterday that prompted some analysts to wonder whether the Canadian retailing institution will ever get its house in order.

The country's oldest merchant, which has been considered to be a potential takeover target, attributed its poor first-quarter results to a number of unusual factors, including a restructuring charge, the closing of some of its Zellers stores and a computer systems snag. The company also pointed to higher costs and tighter profit margins, although it said the costs should be offset in the rest of the year. The systems problems, tied to selling furniture and appliances, will mostly be ironed out in the second quarter and ultimately help boost the bottom line by the end of the year, it said.

"All in all, the quarter was kind of mixed," George Heller, president and chief executive officer at HBC, told analysts during a conference call. "We don't take any pride in the bottom line..”.

Or put it in plain speak - HBC practically doubled its first quarter loss.

What could possibly be more natural than teenagers with bombs?

At least that is the case in Israel. The tally since Sunday for Palestinian children arrested for carrying bombs is 2 according to this Jerusalem Post article. Not one of them was older that 15. The running tally since the beginning of the year has the IDF arresting 52 minors for carrying bombs. If the UN functioned in the real world there would be an outcry against terrorist groups exploiting children for their own nefarious ends. If Palestinian Authority Chairman was truly concerned with the welfare of ordinary Palestinians he would be actively hunting down groups that used children as a weapons delivery system. But instead, because it is the Palestinians and their foe is Israel, the silence is positively deafening.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Is this the natural result of a culture with too much E-Bay?

I certainly would not have put in a bid nor paid for this, and furthermore no well-dressed Amazon would be caught dead with this in their closet, which begs the question; is a piece of a burnt cross next?

Monday, May 23, 2005

When you don't have TiVo, what comes next?

Last December the family and I discovered the joys of watching television series on DVD instead of playing slave to the network schedules. I also give full marks to Television on Demand – another great innovation. My issue is that I tend to fall asleep early in the evening as a rule and rise at an incredibly unfashionably early hour. I struggled to fight my own biological time clock to stay awake to watch Deadwood last winter and in spite of my best efforts and desire usually woke around 4am having only memory of the first 15 minutes. This year I decided to save myself the hassle and futility of watching season two and will wait for it to come out on DVD.

A friend whose viewing habits mirror my own tastes somewhat suggested that I watch Stargate: Atlantis which I finally finished watching Friday night. Did that ever peeved me. The season ends in the midst of a Wraith attack and the city is going down in spite of the marines showing up at the last minute – talk about cheap improbable cheesy cliffhangers. Apparently, my friend's husband nearly broke the television for that one (22 years in the US Marine Corp) but I know how he feels. Now I have to wait for next year or so to see season two to see if the Marines are actually beaten and forced to evacuate the city to another planet.

Everyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for science fiction. Some women read trashy romance novels; I read Sci-Fi and have for years when I want escapist fiction. I was hooked to the original Star Trek in the seventies and between that and the Apollo missions I have remained hooked for life. I never really caught the fever for The Next Generation or Deep Space Six, in spite of the Klingon; the characters are too metrosexual for my taste. Imagine the future where PC speech, thought and dress rule – too much dry toast for me to watch though I did like the Ferengi.

It was from the original Star Trek that I was inspired to read Milton. Anyone remember the original Wrath of Khan episode when Captain Kirke asked Khan why he and his people would take exile to a hostile planet and Khan replies, “It is better to be the ruler of hell than a slave of heaven.” Thirty-five years later and I can still remember how that thought awed me; though I am more of a Heinlein, Bradbury, Donaldson, Goodkind and Frank Herbert kind of gal. I remember being outraged in the early 80’s when Frank Herbert had a heart attack at 60 and died; leaving me high and dry in the midst of an intergalactic war between the Reverend Mothers and the Honoured Madres without a resolution. I have had many internal dialogues with G-d for his atrocious timing for that one – and I remember thinking that Margaret Atwood would have been a better choice.

I never caught the Star Wars fever in the seventies and I still haven’t though the boys have made me watch all the episodes over and over again but I made my stand on The Attack of the Clones. I promised to draw first blood if I had to watch that one over and over again in the living room. Between the bad physics and engineering, horrendous dialogue, poor acting and a chick who changed her clothes every few minutes on the screen, I took a stand; go watch it in your room. I don’t understand the prohibition of having televisions in the bedrooms of children. All of them have their own and we all still spend the greater time of our television viewing in the living room arguing what we all will watch.

I didn’t go to see Revenge of the Sith and I won’t. No doubt I will watch it once to fulfill my parental obligation with the sons when it is released on dvd but The Sons went with a group of their friends and all converged afterwards at my house. I gather that they enjoyed it as the testosterone level got so high that The Last Amazon and I had were driven to seek sanctuary in our bedroom till the Jedi Masters were picked up by their respective mothers and it was safe to then lurk freely about the house again.

So here’s my question; is the original Stargate worth watching on dvd? I admit to being intrigued as there are 9 seasons available on dvd but should I bother? What about Firefly or Charlie Jade? Done Doctor Who and is the current season worth waiting for on dvd? Or should I go for something different and take a chance on Millennium?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Huh Factor

Lots of things make me go ‘huh’ and I am forced to ask myself, why? Yesterday’s big international picture of the day seems to be Saddam in his gotchies doing his laundry in jail is just one of the things which rate a double huh in my mind. I understand that newspapers are in the business of selling papers but having Saddam Hussein in his underwear on the front cover just doesn’t motivate me to shell out the loose change to buy a copy. Though it does make me wish that I hadn’t seen it - which in turn leads me to speculate about the kind of people who are motivated to buy a copy to get the inside scope on Saddam’s gotchies.

I realize that a case can be made that Saddam Hussein is a worthy subject of ridicule and belittlement but somehow showing him in his underwear seems to undercut the very real pain and suffering that he inflicted on the Iraqi people that he has yet to answer for. According to this Times Online article (via Neale News) Saddam’s lawyers are going to sue The British Sun for publishing it and the requisite US authorities for allowing the pictures to be taken and smuggled out of the jail. Well, whatever.

I think that the editorial judgment in putting this picture on the front cover is the more important story and highlights where my thinking has been going in the last few days. Sitting in my jammies in front of my computer in Toronto I have wondered where all the real reporters in Canada have gone? I am not talking about the political column pundits for the major dailies but the rank and file reporters and editors. I started to read about the Oil-for-Food scandal over two years ago and even then it was obvious that there was a real Can-con factor but to date it still ranks as one of the most under reported scandals in Canadian papers.

If you didn’t read US papers, blogs or Canada Free Press online and you blinked; you could have easily missed it from reading Canadian dailies. I would even go so far to suggest that the Boo-linda perfidy has gotten more word play than the Can-con content for Oil-for-food. With the way things are going the whole alleged “sexist” issue will continue to get more word play in the coming weeks and months than the allegations put forth by MP Grewel against the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Tim Murphy’s (alleged) dalliance in vote buying despite Jack Layton’s recent calls for the RCMP to investigate.

The London Fog has probably the best example of where editorial direction is mired in this country from an online article from the Toronto Star:
Harper made Parliament's rafters ring denouncing the Liberals' tawdry wrongdoing. Yet the Tories continue to trail in the polls. Most voters remain unpersuaded that the Martin team is fatally tainted. Voters fault the Liberals on ethics, of course, and rightly so. But most feel Canada-U.S. relations, managing the economy and health care are higher priority matters. And they give the Liberals higher marks on these issues.
The time has come to cool the fury in Parliament, to ease the pressure on Martin to resort to seedy vote buying, and to let him deliver on his many promises, including ethical promises. Martin has vowed, for example, to bring in tough, transparent rules for advertising contracts. While important steps have been taken, Gomery suggested this week more must be done. Martin should follow up.

When maintaing bias is more important than ethnics or content; is it any wonder that the Editorial Board of the largest Canadian daily suggests that Liberal perfidy of the public trust is a small matter and that Official Opposition’s proper role is not to be pressuring the current government for a full accounting and that said pressure only exacerbates or causes the lack of ethics or integrity shown by the Liberals. I would have presumed that there would be reporters all of the country hitting their keyboards daily in a call for a clean sweep of the Liberal party from the top down but instead we read an editorial board calling on the Official Opposition to stop making noise and suggesting that only a liberal can clean the liberal muck.

I would have thought the any reporters worth their ink would be pounding the pavement to dig up the full breath and depth of corruption in Liberal management of government instead of arguing that managing the economy, Canada US Relations and healthcare are more important than ethics and can be managed competently without ethics. In my mind, its’ akin to putting a pedophile in charge of daily operation of a daycare and it is no wonder that Liberal ethics now reminds me of my favourite Oscar Wilde quote, “I can resist anything put temptation.” And that is the reason that I am extremely discriminating in where I spend my disposal dollars for media content.

Here’s a hint to any aspiring journalists and editors at the Toronto Star; think gun registry. But I won’t hold my breath as long as the editors and reporters of One Yonge Street insist on wearing their sunglasses inside the building and it is hardly surprising that they continue to give the Librano's a passing grade.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Liberals Survive, For Now.

Inspite of Liberal perfidy and whoremongering, the Liberal Party survived for now, a vote of non-confidence with special thanks going out to MP Chuck Chadman.

But ask yourself this; what has actually changed? There have been no jail house conversions or blinding lights on the road to Damascus for any Librano. The Canadian public continues to be ill served. The Librano’s will continue to face a non-confidence votes on every major piece of legislation in the house. The Librano’s will not be able to govern in the fullest sense of the word but their will get to continue to sign the cheques, hold the public purse, and have full access to the envelopes. Though there is one small consolation of sorts. The Canadian public purse is not replenished by an endless money tree growing in the backyard of the Parliament buildings that they can use to buy off everyone to maintain their tenuous grasp on power indefinitely.

Libranos still making offers that they hope you can’t refuse

Earlier in the week Prime Minister Dithers requested that the Tories return civility in the house. Pleb and blogger that I am, I am under no such requests, well even if I was, its’ my blog and I will blog what I want to. What I would like to see is a return to freedom, honourable small government and tax relief. From the Globe and Mail comes this report:
A Liberal cabinet minister denied Wednesday that he offered any position to a Conservative MP or his wife in return for support and said he's offended that the Tory MP kept coming back to ask for favours.

Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh was responding to a charge from Tory MP Gurmant Grewal that he and his wife Nina, also a Tory MP, were offered positions in return for ditching their votes against the Liberal budget on Thursday.Mr. Grewal had told media earlier Wednesday evening that the Liberals offered him a diplomatic post or a Senate seat for his wife in return for scratching their crucial budget vote. The MP from Surrey, B.C., alleged he made an audio recording of an offer from Mr. Dosanjh and Tim Murphy, Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff.

Neale News is also carrying this report from CTV. The National Post story is here. The Toronto Star, at the time I posted this was not carrying the report in their online edition but they were carrying a stories concerning the new powers of legislation and taxation Toronto City Council has been granted and one story on how McGirlieman is not satisfied with deal he worked out with PM Dithers and is reported to have said “We talked about a $23 billion gap, (and) that agreement that we've reached is only a small step." No one asked who would pay for all the largess though I suppose its time that the documented taxpayers put their shoulders to the grindstone and we all get a second job to pay for the next tier of taxation for the ever expending public purse. Perhaps McGirlieman can legislate that.

Ben at The Tiger in Winter also has a link for CTV’s audio clip of the alleged bribery tape.

I really think that Harper should make a personal appeal to the Queen in light of the allegations of influence peddling/vote buying that is alleged to being going on by the current Librano government and ask that British SAS be sent in to liberate us because only Lord knows with the Librano’s gun control legislation, we the law abiding citizens, cannot. The Librano’s almost total hobbling of the armed forces in last decade means that they cannot do so, so who is left but SAS?

Ben called it rightly. Canada is now a Banana Dominion.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

One Last Time

Before I close the blog on the whole Boo-linda the Robbing Peter to Pay Paul theme (apart from a fleeing reference now and then) I want to quote Christie Blatchford’s column from today’s Globe and Mail (subscription required):
Belinda Stronach had barely made her debut as a Liberal yesterday when like-minded callers were pre-emptively phoning Toronto radio stations to bemoan the sexist nature of anyone who might in the ensuing days dare to label the woman a political whore.

Oh, how very cute, and how very familiar: It is never enough for the Liberal Party of Canada, its henchmen or supporters, to let the people decide what they will make of a given situation. The good Liberal always attempts to dictate the very language of what will, and what won’t constitute the parameters of fair comment and reasonable discussion thereafter.

But let us, just this once, dispense with those niceties.

Ms. Stronach changed parties on the very eve of the most important vote of Paul Martin’s government, and slipped straight into the warm waters of cabinet—in the position, no less, as the minister in charge of democratic renewal and of implementing the recommendations of the Gomery inquiry.

As an aside, this is surely akin to putting the hen in charge of the fox house.

Ms. Stronach has zero experience in government; little in opposition; none in dealing with the mandarins of the civil service and the way that they can be leaned on and otherwise persuaded to fall into line with ignoble government aims; and isn’t even bilingual. Why, yes indeed, who better to ride herd over those well-practised, and in the main French-speaking, scoundrels from the Quebec wing of the party, Ottawa, and environs?

But true to Liberal form, Ms. Stronach apparently already believes she has somehow begun to clean things up, just by her presence. Listen to what she said yesterday: “Let me say I’m very proud to undertake this role, to bring greater ethics, because without ethics, that’s the foundation, that’s our moral fiber.” Huh? How has she done anything there but demonstrate her own feeble grasp of that other official language, English?

Blatchford goes on to ask what changed from last week to this week? Indeed, it certainly wasn’t the CPC, Stephen Harper, or Paul Martin and his Libranos.

And Judy Sgro, no one owes a brass tack or an apology either to the Liberal Party or to Canadian women for calling Boo-linda on her crass political whoremongering but as a Canadian citizen, and a documented taxpayer, I demand a refund and an apology from every Liberal that benefited in any way shape or form from the Liberal larceny that robbed the public purse in Adscam to further their own crass personal political whoremongering and regardless of their gender.

The unchanging nature of Leopards or Hamas

Nice to know that the IAF comprehends that leopards do not change their spots. Taken from the Jerusalem Post:
An IAF helicopter gunship on Wednesday fired a missile at a Hamas terror cell believed responsible for firing mortar shells at Gush Katif settlements from a cemetery in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. Initial Palestinian reports claim one terrorist was seriously wounded and the other sustained light wounds.

The aerial raid, the first such attack since the begining of the year, came in response to the firing of at least four mortar shells at Gush Katif settlements earlier on Wednesday. Settlers said at least seven mortar shells were fired but the IDF said it was only able to confirm four landings and was still searching for others.

The mortar barrage was apparently a response to the death of a Hamas operative overnight near Rafah. The IDF said that Ahmed Barhoum was apparently killed when a bomb he was carrying exploded prematurely; the amry denied claims he had been killed by IDF gunfire. According to Southern Command officers, PA security officials informed them that Barhoum's body was full of shrapnel apparently caused by the bomb he was carrying. Israel had not responded to a barrage of recent mortar and rocket attacks aimed at the settlements in recent weeks, prompting strong criticism from the residents, who said the government was leaving them defenseless.

The mandate of the IDF Civil Administration is to manage civilian affairs for Palestinians living in Israeli controlled sections of the West Bank and Gaza and so I cannot help but wonder how this will affect the Civil Administration Department decision announced only yesterday that it will defy the Israeli government’s much touted policy of never cooperating with Hamas, and would actively seek new ways of building a working relationship with newly elected Hamas-run municipal council in West Bank town of Kalkilya.

Cry, my beloved country.

In the interest of rolling in the mire of free speech that is available in the blogsphere which some find far too heedy, I would like to direct your attention to this posting from Sean at Polspy. Sums up my feelings entirely.

For those who prefer a little MSM content here’s an excerpt fromDavid Warren’s latest column:
From the lips of the lovely Belinda Stronach, Canada received her Judas kiss yesterday. It allowed a bottomlessly corrupt government to escape an election; to continue in office with an agenda that will tear to pieces what remains of our social fabric; which will radically advance the cause of separatism in Quebec, and spread it irretrievably to Western Canada; which will put the country on the fiscal skids. This should not be understated: our country has been delivered into the hands of the wreckers.

I am writing this column now because I do not believe I could persuade my editor to run the space blank. That would most eloquently approximate to what I thought at precisely 11:11 a.m., yesterday, when the news reached me. In a single image, I took in the final betrayal of Canada -- those two smiling faces.

On Saturday, I wrote that last week had been the most disgraceful in our Parliamentary history: the first time a government had ever refused to acknowledge that it had lost the confidence of the House of Commons. Nor can I find a precedent, in Canadian political history, for the act which the ditzy Ms Stronach so glibly performed.

Over the weekend, Paul Martin suckered (the word is not too strong) Stephen Harper into a Parliamentary “truce”, while Ms Stronach unsheathed the knife for Mr. Harper’s back. She had only waited for the opportunity to be presented; to get the timing just right.

Yet the sight of Ms Stronach and Paul Martin smiling for the camera could not come as a complete surprise -- any more to me than it should have come to Ms Stronach’s recent lover, her fellow Conservative frontbencher, Peter MacKay. He has also been stabbed in her trip across the floor. In personal terms, Mr. MacKay learned too late what kind of woman she is.

David Warren ends his column with a quote that I find particularly apt given the circumstances:
Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” as Doctor Johnson said, and we are reaping what true scoundrels have sown.

Alas, only too true.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Belinda Stronach: Nothing going on the stroll but the rent!

Belinda Stronach, failed CPC leadership candidate goes on the stroll and crosses the floor to 'work' for Prime Minister Dithers as Minister of Human Resources.

No one was more relieved than I when the Tories rejected her bid for leadership of the new Conservative Party of Canada. Every time I heard that woman speak I had to fight a strange compulsion to want to slap her with my handbag. Imagine how surprised her riding must feel thinking they elected a conservative and got a Fiberal instead. Personally, I would much prefer to know about Belinda Stronach’s fatal attraction to liberal malfeasance now -- rather than later.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Calling all Toronto-Centre Conservatives

Post Haste!

I received this notice on the fly, so I apologize for the short notice but I am posting this as soon as I received it. I can only hope that whoever wins the nomination tonight will address the issue of getting information out in a more timely fashion.

The Conservative Party of Canada is holding their nomination meeting tonight for the Toronto-Centre EDA at the Enoch Turner School House, 106 Trinity Street. Doors open at 6 p.m. for registration and the meeting will be called to order at 7 p.m.

Liberals go a fearmongering, again

According to MP Joe Volpe, Minister of Immigration, if the Liberal government falls 100,000 to 200,000 of 'undocumented workers' will lose the opportunity to become legal immigrants and thousands of potential employers will lose out on the skills these 'undocumented workers' offer reports the Toronto Star (registration required).
A plan to legalize thousands of undocumented workers in Canada's underground economy would be in jeopardy if the Liberal minority government falls as a result of a non-confidence vote on Thursday, says Immigration Minister Joe Volpe. The Toronto MP has already signed off on a final draft of the long-anticipated "regularization" plan, which is now "in the queue" for the cabinet's feedback and approval — provided there isn't an election call.

The issue leaves in limbo many of the 100,000 to 200,000 undocumented workers living under the radar in Canada, as well as employers facing shortages of the skills some of them bring. "Here we're now at the 11th hour because the opposition is trying its best to create a controversial environment, and we are faced with a situation where all this hard work may go asunder," Volpe told the Toronto Star from Ottawa. "We're bringing things closer to a point where some decisions could be made."

Juan Sierra, a construction-union outreach worker, said he has fielded calls from hundreds of undocumented construction workers since Conservative leader Stephen Harper vowed publicly to bring down the Liberal government in mid-April.
They're worried the plan to legalize their status in Canada will go down, too.
"They are really freaked out by the prospect," said Sierra, of the Labourers' International Union of North America. "Their hopes were so high because Volpe has promised that this is a priority for the government. If nothing happens, their hopes would be destroyed totally."

According to Vilma Filici, president of the Canadian Hispanic Congress, part of a community coalition that has been negotiating with the government, the two sides had a consensus on the basic plan. "We are very concerned that this (plan) won't happen if there is a vote of non-confidence by the opposition in the parliament," Filici said. "With a new government, we'd be back to the drawing board again and start from scratch."
Filici fears a Conservative government could dump the plan as, he says, the Tories tend to view undocumented workers more as security risks than as potentially valuable contributors to Canadian society.

I first heard the term 'undocumented worker' used on US news broadcasts rather than the more accurate and easily understood term 'illegal alien'. I had not thought this madness had infected mainstream Canadian society. My bad, I should have known that the Liberals would be the first to adopt this doublespeak and flog this term into the mainstream.

I will admit that the term 'undocumented worker' grates on my nerves and I possess very little sympathy towards the plight of illegal aliens. Nor do I view them as the kind of citizens that have much to contribute to Canadian society. Canadians have one of the most generous refugee systems in the world. There are sound reasons why the Department of Immigration has quotas or caps on who can legally immigrate and who cannot. There are many laws on the books in Canada that I fundamentally disagree with, and yet, I conduct my affairs within the parameters of those laws. I fail to see how one can be a desirable immigrant by flaunting the laws of the land when it is in one’s financial interest to do so though I can understand the appeal of this issue for a Liberal MP.

I am very pro-immigration providing that those seeking entrance into this country are willing to follow all the laws of this land in the same way I do so but I draw the line on those who cherry pick which rules they will follow and when. If the ability to cherry pick which laws one will chose to follow is a desirable trait in a potential immigrant; why draw the line on those who refuse to recognize the right of Canada to decide issues of sovereignty? Let’s make convicted drug traffickers or murderers eligible as well.

Read the rest of the Toronto Star article as it becomes more outrageous as one reads on. The Toronto Star profiles the plight of an illegal alien couple who clear approximately $6,000 cash a month and in their favour have to pay for medical care out of their own pocket. Of course, no one makes the case that because they do not pay those cripplingly income taxes the rest of us are subjected to which allows for the operation and very existence of those hospitals, roads, schools and municipal services that they should not benefit from those services in the first place.

Furthermore, I do not become more sympathic to their plight because their lack of status makes them ineligible for EI; the ability to collect EI should not be considered a selling point to have legal status granted on illegal aliens. However, it does makes this documented tax payer want to burn my passport and SIN card so I can go work as a "undocumented' chambermaid.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Sunset on Abbas

Two articles caught my eye from the Jerusalem Post today. The first article suggests that Israel Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz advised the Sharon cabinet today that Hamas is building up a "people’s army" under the nose of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza.

The second article from the Jerusalem Post that caught my eye concerns an old PLO veteran whose shoulder Suha Arafat chose to lean on during Arafat’s slow demise. Apparently, a PLO Executive Committee decision to name Abbas as President of the State of Palestine (in exile) has further aggravated veteran PLO leader Farouk Kaddoumi. Kaddoumi was one of the few PLO veterans that refused to return to the Occupied Territories with Arafat after the signing of the Oslo Accord. Think of him as an all or nothing kind of guy – no Jews pushed into the sea – no return. Arafat appointed him as the PLO’s official Foreign Minister for the last 30 years and the head of the PLO’s Political Division.

Once Abbas won the nomination for the Palestinian Authority’s Chairman last January he appointed Arafat’s nephew as Foreign Minister without formally advising Kaddoumi that his services were no longer needed. Kaddoumi claims that Abbas does not have the power to appoint anyone as Foreign Minister to the Palestinian State (in exile) as it allegedly contravenes the PLO charter and is in direct contradiction to decisions made by the Palestine National Congress.

Kaddoumi for his part commands a significant amount of loyalty from the old guard of the PLO and has been actively working to undermine Abbas’ authority within the Palestinian Authority. It is also suggested that Kaddoumi is spearheading the demand for an investigation into the alleged suspicious surroundings of Arafat’s death. For thirty years, he was Arafat’s conduct to the corridors of power in the Arab world. The Jerusalem Post article quotes an Abbas aid suggesting that Kaddoumi is receiving funds by the Iranians and other “Arab” countries.

What is apparent to this outside observer is that Abbas’ leadership of the PA is under serious attack from within the Palestinian Authority and outside sources. Abbas’ PA is barely functioning as a civil authority even for West Bank towns under the official control of the PA, and is, in fact, quickly spiraling into individual thugdoms. The PA has yet to announce the official results of the recent municipal elections held two weeks ago. It will be interesting to see if Abbas will announce the electoral will of the Palestinian people prior to visiting the Bush White House on May 26th. Frankly, I am intrigued to see what support the Bush Administration will offer Abbas during his scheduled May 26th visit to the Whitehouse. I don’t have a dog in this race but I cannot see how in good conscience the Whitehouse can continue to back this loser though I do hope that the Whitehouse will not jump the tracks and maintain that Hamas has reformed now that it has achieved a measure of electoral success, and therefore, can be counted on to act as "business professionals" or echo the Abbas line that they can be a viable peace partner to negotiations with Israel.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Who let the dogs out?

Hezbollah fired 9-12 rockets/mortar rounds at an IDF post in Har Dov area of Northern Israel today. This is the third attack on Israel since last Wednesday and the IDF responded with a combination of artillery fire and a precision surgical strike by the IAF on two Hezbollah targets inside the border of Lebanon.

The Jerusalem Post carries this account:
Hizbullah's Al-Manar television said the attack was in retaliation for Israeli attacks on Lebanese territory, including a hit on civilian houses in the village of Kfar Chouba. It said the guerrillas used the "appropriate" weapons and scored a direct hit on the Roueissat el-Alam position. "The Islamic Resistance warns the Zionist enemy that any attack on on civilians will be met with the appropriate response," the statement said.

The heavy exchange came after days of sporadic shelling by both sides, which began when Israel mistakenly fired an artillery shell into Lebanon earlier this week while clearing explosives planted by Hizbullah terrorists near the border. The Israeli army said the shell fell in an open area, causing no damage or casualties.

Late Thursday night two rockets were fired from southern Lebanon at IDF posts in the Har Dov sector, and late Wednesday night, as residents in the northern town of Shlomi began celebrating Independence Day, a katyusha rocket was fired at the town. It exploded in the town's industrial site severely damaging a bakery but causing no casualties.

Following the attack, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom on Thursday directed Israel's delegation to the UN to lodge a formal complaint with Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Annan, in turn, called on Lebanon, from where the rocket was fired, to take control of it's territory. However, despite the United Nation's security council's call on Lebanon to disarm the militant groups, the army noted Friday that the Lebanese government continues to grant freedom of movement to terrorists operating within its borders without making any attempts to disarm them. After the Katyusha attack, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it was a "blatant violation of the international boundary between Israel and Lebanon." The statement said the attack again proved the urgent need for the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 which, in addition to its call for a removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, also calls for the disarming of militias in Lebanon. A statement issued by the IDF said the army was investigating the incident and that it would take the necessary steps to thwart such attacks in the future. "The Lebanese government is responsible for what occurs in its country and must implement the United Nations Security Council resolution," the IDF statement said.

No doubt Hezbollah has been looking been feeling rather irrelevant and needs to find a new reason to exist now that the pro-liberty movement has taken hold in the hearts and minds of the Lebanese people and gave them the wherewithal to push Hezbollah’s Syrian allies from Lebanese soil. The one thing that I have to give Hezbollah credit for is a distinct lack of imagination. I would not bat an eyelash, if in the coming days I were to read of a sniper attack on Maronite supporters as they leave mass circa 1975 which was match that lit the Lebanese Civil War. Someone needs to tell Hezbollah that a new day has dawned, General Aoun has returned, Arafat is dead and the PLO has moved on and its time for them to do the same.

When Honour left the House

Have you ever read something and the sheer unmitigated gall of it just takes your breath away? I had one of those moments when I was reading Margaret Wente’s column from the Globe and Mail yesterday (subscription required)Wente quoted a statement made by Independent MP, The Right Honourable, David Kilgour:
Behind the scenes, Mr. Martin is furiously bribing stray MP’s. Last week, he met with David Kilgour, who’s upset over Dafur. Now the government says it plans to send 150 Canadian troops there. This announcement is purely coincidence, and has nothing to do with buying Mr. Kilgour’s vote, which is a good thing in that Mr. Kilgour (who voted with the government on Tuesday) has declared that in order to stay bought, he might have to up the ante. "If something doesn’t happen quickly, the next time it’s pure confidence vote, I will vote according to my conscience" he said ominously.
It is a tradition, in our parliament that all elected members of the House of Commons are referred to as the Right Honourable Member but implicit in that tradition is the concept that our members are honourable and will act conduct their affairs honourably at all times. I suppose that I do long for the days when honour was a traditional Canadian value that united us as a people rather than our place on the healthcare waiting list. All of which leads me to speculate how Right Honourable Members like David Kilgour or Jack Layton would answer the biblical question; What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole word, and lose his own soul?"

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

When you cannot call a spade a spade

According to this Toronto Star online article the Muslim Canadian Congress has requested that Foreign Affairs Minister, Pierre Pettigrew, call in the Israel Ambassador and demand an explanation of remarks made at an interfaith dialogue wherein the Israel Consul General Ya’acov Brosh stated that the majority of terrorists today were Muslim although the majority of Muslims are not themselves terrorists.
What began as an attempt to heal the wounds of Canada's Muslims and Jews has ended by inflaming them. At an evening of dialogue for Muslim-Jewish understanding, remarks by Israel's consul general have prompted the Muslim Canadian Congress to call for an apology, and it has asked Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew to investigate the statements and seek an explanation.

Israeli Consul General Ya'acov Brosh has "set relations back a long way" by implying that Muslims are terrorists, says Tarek Fatah, one of the founders of the congress. "For Muslims who do outreach with the Jewish community at a time when we're being called traitors, it gives us a bloody nose. And the fundamentalists can now say `I told you so.'"

Brosh's remarks were made May 4 at Temple Har Zion Synagogue, after a dialogue aimed at promoting inter-faith understanding, one of a series given by Judea Pearl, father of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, and Akbar Ahmed, who holds the Ibn Khaldun chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington D.C.
In a brief speech, Brosh said that the majority of terrorists today were Muslims, although the majority of Muslims are not themselves terrorists. He denies that the remarks were intended as an "attack on Muslims." But Muslims who attended the speech said they were hurt and shocked by his words. "I have been president of Muslims Against Terrorism, and I found his implication very hurtful," said Farzana Hassan-Shahid, an inter-faith activist. "It was that all Muslims are lumped together. We think he should apologize for that." Tensions rose after the dialogue ended, and Brosh was invited to speak. He turned to Ahmed — a moderate Muslim — and told him he regretted that more Muslims were not like him. "I told him that regrettably, he was in the minority in the Muslim world today," said Brosh in a phone interview. "Something happened to the Islamic world in the last 50 years, and from anti-Zionism they came to anti-Semitism."
The Muslim Canadian Congress asked Pettigrew to call in the Israeli ambassador and ask for an explanation of Brosh's remarks, an echo of an incident in January 2003, when Lebanese Ambassador Raymond Baaklini apologized to former Foreign Minister Bill Graham after telling an Arabic language newspaper that Canada outlawed the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah because of pressure from a "Zionist party" controlling most of the Canadian media. Officials at the department of foreign affairs said last night that they would be "seeking clarification by contacting the appropriate representatives." The Muslim congress also called on Canadian Jewish groups to condemn Brosh's remarks.

But Len Rudner, national communications director for the Canadian Jewish Congress, said that a rebuke would be "inappropriate." In the case of Baaklini, he added, "we didn't hold the wider Arab community accountable, or say that it should be condemning him." Fatah said that it was "disappointing" that the organizations would not support their protest.

You know I am perfectly capable of blogging or saying that the majority of terrorists are Swedish Lutherans but not all Swedish Lutherans are terrorists; if Swedish Lutherans were going around hijacking planes into buildings, setting off bombs in cars, buses, nightclubs, and restaurants; or hosting snuff videos on the internet showing Swedish Lutherans beheading non-Lutherans in the name of God - if they were doing so.

The ugly fact is that the majority of terrorists in the world today are Muslim but not all Muslims are terrorists. When you cannot state an obvious fact without a Muslim group attempting to have you slurred or persecuted for stating an ugly truth we are in trouble and no matter how many inter-faith dialogues you hold or how loudly you sing Kumbala that will not change a damn thing. I am sorry the Muslim Canadian Congress finds that statement of fact hurtful but there is nothing I can do to change that except wish it were not so. You can attempt to have me persecuted and considering the current state of free speech in Canada you might meet with success, but even so, you cannot change reality with the power of your denials.

Furthermore, as long as groups like the Muslim Canadian Congress demand apologies and attempt to persecute others for stating the painful facts on the ground, I consciously disconnect from the desire to even attempt a dialogue with the deluded.

Are the Dogs of War loose again?

They just might be, if this Jerusalem Post article is a harbinger of what is to come within the Palestinian Authority;

The Palestinian Authority has decided to postpone the announcement of the final results pending an investigation into allegations of irregularities and fraud.

At least seven Fatah leaders have quit since preliminary results published over the weekend showed that Hamas had won the elections in big cities. Muhammad Khalayleh, a senior Fatah official in the Hebron area, was the latest official to submit his resignation. The move came after Khalayleh's Fatah list won only five out of 13 seats on the Samou council village. The remaining seats went to Hamas candidates. Khalayleh said the results of the elections reflected widespread resentment at corruption in the PA. "The people punished Fatah because of corruption, lawlessness and nepotism in the Palestinian leadership," he said.

Earlier, Fatah leaders in Hebron, Kalkilya, Rafah, al-Bureij, Bethlehem and Beit Lahia announced their resignations, citing their party's failure in the elections as the main reason. The resignations are seen as a blow to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the leader of Fatah. All the Fatah officials who quit belong to the young guard in the party and have long been involved in a power struggle with representatives of the old guard who returned with Yasser Arafat from exile in 1994.

The young guard leaders have blamed the veteran officials for the defeat in the elections, saying their refusal to endorse reforms and combat corruption had driven away many supporters. "We are now paying the price for the continued hegemony of the old guard leaders of Fatah," a young Fatah legislator told The Jerusalem Post. "These elections indicate that a growing number of people are unhappy with the way Fatah has been running their affairs." The Hamas victories in the Gaza Strip have stunned many Fatah operatives, who claim that Hamas activists used fraudulent methods to win the vote – an argument that has been vehemently denied by Hamas leaders.

There is an important point to be made about the dynamics between the young Fatah members and the old guard. This is not your typical intergenerational dialectic. The old guard Fatah members represent Palestinian Arabs whose families fled during the 1948-1949 conflict and settled in refugee camps in other Arab nations. These are the people who returned with Arafat. The young Fatah guard came from families that never fled the Territories even during the height of the fighting in 1967 or in 1973. They are the authors of the first Intifada. One of the consequences of the first Intifada was that it motivated the Israeli’s into entering secret negotiations with the PLO which ultimately lead to the signing of the Oslo Accord. The young guard cheered Arafat’s return and was rewarded for their loyalty with disenfranchisement, poverty, and a yoke. I would go further and suggest that rise and success of organizations like Hamas was the direct result of the utter political and moral bankruptcies of the PLO towards the rights of the people that they postured to represent and allegedly fought for.
In a sign of growing tensions between the two sides, Fatah gunmen have announced that they would use force to prevent Hamas nominees from taking over the municipalities of Rafah, Beit Lahia and al-Bureij. The gunmen have also raided the offices of the PA's Central Elections Committee in several areas in the Gaza Strip to protest the results. Jamal Shobaki, chairman of the elections committee, announced on Monday that the final results were being held until a court looked into allegations of fraud and cheating during the vote. He said that an initial investigation had shown that there had been some "irregularities" in certain areas, but refused to elaborate.

Shobaki's announcement has worried Hamas leaders, who fear that Fatah will try to change the results of the elections in its favor by using the fraud allegations as an excuse. "Hamas has appealed to Egypt to interfere with Fatah to stop provocations against our members in the wake of the elections," said a Hamas official in Gaza City. He pointed out that Fatah gunmen in Beit Lahia had occupied the offices of the local municipality in an attempt to prevent Hamas from taking over.

Talal Okal, a political analyst is quoted making one more pertinent point in this article concerning Fatah’s cries of Hamas vote fixing; “how absurd is it that a ruling political party should accuse the opposition of fixing elections?” I can only hope that the Liberal Party of Canada will conscientiously decide not to take a leaf out of Fatah’s political play book and they will concede that they have lost the confidence of the house to govern.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The London Fog Hoists the Red Ensign

The London Fog rises to the challenge of producing the latest Red Ensign Standard Vol. 21 and sets the barre high.

An Army with the Mojo

My oldest son is motivated by food, boxing and motorcycles. He has a passion for kosher meat and matzah. To date he still grapples with the concept of the Trinity and cannot quite fathom why a creator would want to make the word made flesh and often thinks of communion as a form of cannibalism. He definitely believes in a Creator but just hasn’t gotten a handle on either the Catholicism or the whole saving the world from sin through crucifixion. At one Passover Sedar he announced that he thought it made much more sense to convert to Judaism from Catholicism. My friend and I tried to explain that conversion for him would mean that he would have to be circumcised, and then had to promptly explain what circumcision meant. He thought for a moment and asked if he’d have to do it every Sabbath and when we responded just once he broke out into a smile and said that it was a small price to pay, count him in and bring on the knife. He has career aspirations of becoming a soldier so I hesitate to link to this Ynet Online article as the son often reads this blog and it might just be the tipping point to not only conversion but a change of citizenship as well.

(tipped off by Israellycool)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Eye on the Palestinian Election Results

The Palestinian municipal vote was to be finalized on Sunday but it appears that the Palestinian Authority has decided not to publish or release the official results until a later unspecified date.

I suppose with this kind of dismal results no one wanted to wax poetically over the electoral gains of Hamas. This Times Online article carried the news that the ruling Fatah won 52 of the 84 council seats with 24 going to Hamas’ 24; though Hamas is claiming an additional 10 council seats that were won by allegedly independent candidates. Hamas claims these seats are actually held by Hamas members who chose for security reasons to run independently rather than plant their feet firmly under the Hamas banner.

Hamas won big in urban areas in Gaza and surprisingly carried three West Bank cities (including 6 out of the 7 council seats reserved for Muslims in Bethlehem) as well. It had been thought that Hamas’ would not make any electoral headway outside of Gaza – so much for common wisdom. Furthermore, a Hamas victory in Bethlehem does not bode well for the city’s Christian residents.

A little closer to home The Toronto Star’s lead Middle East story focused on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refusing to release more Palestinian prisoners currently being held in Israeli prisons.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said today Israel won't release more Palestinian prisoners until the Palestinian Authority takes tougher action against militant groups — the latest sign of trouble for an already strained ceasefire.

Israeli and Palestinian officials met Sunday to discuss the prisoner issue, but the meeting ended in disagreement. Palestinians charged that Israel is breaking terms of a truce that has drastically reduced violence, endangering its continuation and weakening Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The Israelis repeated Sharon's statement from a cabinet meeting a few hours earlier, where he said he would instruct his negotiators to make it clear to the Palestinians that no more prisoners will be released until the Palestinians rein in militants, meeting participants said. "We won't strengthen Abbas at the expense of Israel lives," Sharon was quoted as saying.

The Toronto Star choose not to make reference to the sectarian violence that has erupted this weekend in Bethlehem between Christian and Muslim residents over the kidnapping of a Christian woman who was only returned to her family due to the direct intervention of US diplomats; nor is there any mention of the violent rioting by Palestinians that broke out in East Jerusalem.

I can only hope that the green flags being carried and the green headbands worn by this mob in East Jerusalem are not worn in solidarity towards Hamas.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The General Returns from Exile

Another bomb has gone off on the eve of General Michel Aoun’s return to Lebanon after almost 15 years of exile reports the Lebanon Daily Star:
A bomb exploded in a Christian port town north of the Lebanese capital on Friday, killing one Sri Lankan woman, wounding six people and damaging shops and houses, a security source said. The explosion, the fifth to target the country's Christian heartland in two months, came on the eve of the return of anti-Syrian opposition leader Michel Aoun to Lebanon from 15 years of exile.

Michel Aoun was a pivotal figure in both Lebanon’s civil war and the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, and despite the last 15 years of exile, he enjoys a wide spread of support as one of the few truly secular populists in Lebanon politics.

Aoun commanded the 84th Mechanized Infantry Battalion which fought Syrian, Druze and Palestinian forces at the battle of Souq el Gharb in 1983. He was chosen to command the Lebanese Army in June 1984. In 1988, the outgoing President Amine Gemayel appointed Aoun to be Prime Minister of Lebanon until new elections could be held despite the fact that Aoun as a Maronite Catholic was ineligible for the position. According to Lebanon’s confessional constitutional government the Prime Ministership was a position that could only be held by a Sunni Muslim. Because of this, Aoun could not rely on the full support of the Lebanese Army and was forced to form alliances with the Phalangist militia and their Israeli backers as well as France and Saddam Hussein.

Opposed to Aoun’s appointment was former Prime Minister Selim al-Hoss who was declared Prime Minister by the opposition and backed by Syrian forces. Two governments were formed with a civilian one under al-Hoss based in West Beirut and a military one under General Aoun in East Beirut. This state of flux was maintained until the spring when Aoun used his army to wrest control of ports held by Lebanese Forces Militia headed by Samir Geagea in order to raise custom revenues for his government. By attacking the predominately Christian LP forces Aoun established his bona fides as a Christian leader who put the welfare of all Lebanese before confessional divides and hence established his leadership claim along non-sectarian lines. Cynics have suggested that the attack’s ultimate aim was not revenues per say but a ruse to entice Lebanese Muslims to support Aoun’s goal of becoming Lebanon’s uncontested head of state.

The support of France and Iraq emboldened General Aoun to declare war on Syria in March 1989. The subsequent months of fighting between Aoun’s forces and Syria would see more than 900,000 people flee Beirut. During this period, Aoun became increasingly critical of American support for Syria and subsequently moved ever closer to the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.

By October 1989 the Lebanese National Assembly members met to draw up the Taif Accord with Syria in an attempt to end the Lebanese civil war. Aoun refused to participate and denounced all Christian leaders as traitors who choose to attend. He subsequently issued a decree dissolving the assembly. This action cost Aoun much of the support he had previously enjoyed from both Christian and Muslim leaders in Lebanon. Because of the Taif Accord, the elected assembly refused to dissolve and moved to elect Rene Moawadas as President in November. Moawadas was assassinated just 17 days after taking office. Elias Hrawi was duly elected to take Moawadas’ place. Hrawi appointed General Emile Lahoud as commander of the Lebanese Army and ordered Aoun out of the Presidential Palace. Aoun refused and moved to attack all his political and military rivals in the Lebanese forces until May 1990. Aoun failed to decisively defeat Samir Geagea’s LF and as a result of the fighting was left only in control of half of East Beirut.

The beginning of the end came for Aoun and his supporters when their main arms supplier and supporter, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait in August 1990. In return for Syria’s support in Gulf War 1 America supported Syria’s occupation of Lebanon. The Syrian’s attacked the Presidential palace in October and Aoun fled to the French Ambassador’s residence. Ten months later Aoun agreed to go into exile in France where he remained steadfast in demanding an end to Syrian involvement in Lebanon.

Tomorrow General Aoun ends his exile by returning to Lebanon. The Lebanon Daily Star: reports on the preparations for the General's return:

Lebanon is preparing to welcome home exiled army commander and one-time Prime Minister Michel Aoun who is scheduled to arrive back in Lebanon later today after 15 years of exile in France. Thousands of Lebanese across the country were heading for Beirut's Martyrs' Square, where "Lebanon's liberator" as Aoun's supporters dub him, is scheduled to speak following his arrival at the capital's airport.
The exiled general will receive a hero's welcome from his supporters who compare his homecoming to General de Gaulle's historic return to Paris after the liberation from Nazi occupation.

In 1989 outgoing Lebanese President Amine Gemayel appointed the general as interim-prime minister towards the end of the country's 15 year civil war. But Aoun overstayed his term and following more bloodshed was ousted a few months later by Syrian and Lebanese troops led by then army commander, current President Emile Lahoud. But now, after having criminal charges against him dropped, Aoun is returning a hero and is expected to play a leading part with the opposition in elections which begin this month.

In Martyrs' Square, a huge stage has been erected for Aoun and his army subordinates who went into exile with him. In a bid to ensure the general's return is not seen as divisive to an increasingly fractured opposition, Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement spokesman Lucien Aoun warned supporters to greet Aoun with the Lebanese flag and not the party's flag.

Though not all Lebanese will welcome the General home from exile and see his return as nothing more than a real and credible threat to their own sphere of influence in Lebanese affairs. And who are those who feel threatened by the General’s return? Hezbollah.

Slack's up

Periodically I surf in to check out whether or not I am up to slack with fellow Red Ensign Blogger; Dr. Funk at Musings of a Canadian Slacker.

Dr. Funk has come out from under the radar and been first up with this post concerning the first bit of good news I have heard regarding the New Canadian War Museum.

Training Session for CPC Campaign Volunteers

Are you a CPC supporter who feels the need to participate more fully but can’t make the late notice casting call? The CPC is holding a training session for all campaign volunteers for the Toronto GTA area on May 8th.

On Sunday, May 8th there will be a Regional Training Centre for all local Conservative campaign team volunteers in the Greater Toronto Area.

The topics that will be discussed are campaign management, connecting with voters, media relations, CIMS list management, and getting out the vote.

GTA Regional Training Centre

Sunday, May 8th

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Cost to attend: $10.00

Sheraton Parkway
600 Highway 7 East
Richmond Hill
(905) 695-2872
Coffee and snacks will be provided

Registration will be held at the door.

Casting Call for all Early Bird CPC Supporters

Any early birds CPC supporters with no plans for either this morning or for noon today have an opportunity to take part in a commercial being filmed for the CPC at the Eglinton/Wynford Drive area today. I just received this email from the Toronto-Central Riding Association:
The Conservative Party of Canada is filming some commercials this Friday, May 6th and would like to invite all CPC supporters in the area to come and participate. Please pass along to anyone who might be interested.

When: This Friday, May 6 - there are two shifts. The morning shift begins at 7:30am, th afternoon shift starts at noon.

All volunteers should bring their cell phones, laptops and pens.

Wardrobe - - business casual, respectable, no tee shirts/jackets etc. with
any kind of identifiable logos/ branding or phrasing. Also outerwear/spring
jackets etc. for exterior shots.

The location is in the Eglinton/ Wynford Drive area in TORONTO - accessible via the DVP. Actual address and location map will follow. Parking is available.

Volunteers will receive no compensation and everyone will be expected to sign both a consent/release form and confidentiality agreement.

If you are interested, please forward your name and coordinates to jennibyrne@conservative.ca

So where was Jimmy Carter when Hamas needed him?

It is interesting to note that Mid East pollsters have apparently called it wrong, wrong, wrong when it was predicted that Hamas would sweep this series of municipal elections held in the Palestinian Authority. This election was commonly perceived as harbinger of what was to come for the Palestinian Legislative Council elections to be held on July 17th. The Jerusalem Post reports this:
According to preliminary results, Fatah won 55 percent of the vote and Hamas a mere 33% in elections for new municipalities and village councils in the West Bank and Gaza Strip held Thursday. The Election Authority said Fatah had won 50 municipalities, Hamas 24, and three municipalities will be governed by a coalition of Fatah and Hamas, Israel Radio reported.

It should be noted that election results are not expected to be finalized until Sunday. Of course, already both sides are calling foul.
Hamas officials claimed that Fatah activists and Palestinian Authority security officials had attempted to influence voters by putting pressure on them to vote for Fatah candidates in several areas. Muhammad Ghazal, a senior Hamas official in Nablus, complained that his representatives at polling stations in the Tulkarm area discovered cases of forgery in the voting, especially in the village of Anabta, where the ballot boxes were closed temporarily pending an investigation. He claimed that PA officials had also threatened to cut off social welfare payments from voters who did not cast their ballots for Fatah.

In the village of Abassan in the Gaza Strip, Hamas representatives accused Fatah activists of shooting and wounding Hamas supporter Khaled al-Shaer during a quarrel at one of the polling stations. Fatah leaders and PA officials, on the other hand, accused Hamas of trying to steal the vote in some areas. They also accused the IDF of hindering the voting process in some areas in the northern West Bank by preventing voters from reaching polling stations.

Otherwise, no major incidents were registered during the elections for 84 municipal and village councils. About 70 percent of voters cast their ballots by the time the voting ended at 7.00 p.m. Final results are expected on Sunday.

Hamas is also suggesting that a number of Hamas members ran independently without disclosing their party affiliations in order to avoid reprisals from the ruling Fatah party which may or may not be a facing saving statement. What will be important to learn is what areas did Hamas win or not win in. A significant portion of Gaza is a no-go zone for the Palestinian Authority and the only rule of law is dispensed by Hamas. If these no-go zones then voted overwhelming for Fatah it very well may be that there is something to the cries of the fix is in. On the other hand, even 33% of the vote going to Hamas still makes it a very formidable foe indeed for the Palestinian Chairman and his ruling Fatah party.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Yad Vashem

"And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (a "yad vashem")... that shall not be cut off." (Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5)

In rememberance of Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 5 May 2005 – 26 Nissan 5765

“The camp guard who came to open the gate said, ‘You are free and you can leave.’ …No one moved, no one went out. We did not laugh, we were not happy, we were apathetic—and the Russians came. A general came in, he was Jewish. He told us that he was delighted to find that there were still people alive in the camp. He started to cry; but we didn’t. He wept and we didn’t.”

Bela Braver, deported to Auschwitz, liberated from Lichtewerden, Czechoslovakia, by the Red Army.

In honour of the day there will be no further postings until tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Canadian Military History, Warts and All

From this CBC online article I learned that the new Canadian War Museum will house two paintings depicting two Canadian soldiers committing atrocities from the Somalian deployment in 1993 which has Cliff Chadderton, head of the National Council of Veteran Associations up in arms and threatening to boycott the museum’s opening if the paintings are allowed to hang prominently.
Both paintings have been given prominent placement at the museum, a $120-million multimedia complex slated to open May 7. Dr. Laura Brandon, the museum's curator of war art, stands by the choice of art. "It's part of Canada's military history. We're a military history museum: our job is to tell ... military history, warts and all."

Museum director Joe Guertz said Chadderton's comments are disappointing, but he believes the museum must take a frank look at Canada's war experience – at horror and human frailty as well as heroics and glory. The artist, Gertrude Kearns, said these two paintings deal with the theme of how Canadian soldiers deal with the psychological toll of modern warfare. She said a committee, which included several veterans, approved her concept. "These particular works, the ones in the museum, are about conscience. They're also about complexity," said Kearns.

Personally, I am with Cliff Chadderton and I find the reasoning of museum director Joe Guertz and Dr. Laura Brandon, the museum’s Curator of War Art for commissioning these paintings and displaying them prominently bizarre and cannot help but wonder if there is not another agenda at work here.

Yes, there were a small number of Canadian soldiers that committed atrocities in Somalia. Were Canadians outraged by the behaviour of Master Cpl Clayton Matchee and Pvt. Kyle Brown? Absolutely. But to commission and hang these painting in the museum prominently suggests that the actions of Matchee and Kyle are representative of Canadian soldiers rather than the behavioral aberrations of a few soldiers out of literally a collective history of millions of Canadian soldiers.

I don’t buy the argument from the museum’s Curator of War Art, Dr. Laura Brandon, who believes that as a military history museum’s job to show “military history, warts and all”. That’s true as far as it goes but it is far more telling about the collective values of a museum and its directors in what warts a museum chooses to highlight and display prominently.

If the museum is going for realism and “wartism” were any paintings commissioned that depict Canadian soldiers lining up for their rum rations during WW1? Or how about a picture of noted teetotaler Victor Odlum (nicknamed “Old Lime Juice”) when he commanded the 7th Bn. and took his missionary background so seriously that he cancelled his battalion’s rum ration which lead to such "high mutinous feelings" among the men under his command that General David Watson was forced to intervene directly and re-institute the rum ration. Pierre Burton had much to say about the general drunkenness of Canadian soldiers in his book on Vimy Ridge. Though I am sure that the WW1 section in the Canadian War Museum has chosen to deny the vital roll rum played in life in the trenches during WW1 which is by far more representative and realistic of the collective experience of Canadian soldiers than the actions of a few soldiers in Somalia.

(tipped off by Neale News)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

PA Incitement Watch

As long as rampant anti-Semitism is a staple in the Palestinian media - no peace will be possible. Despite the alleged crack down initiated by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ to end incitement on state run television the following news story was broadcasted in the Occupied Territories reports Israel National News last Saturday:
The PA’s state television has been accusing Israel of poisoning Palestinians with radiation. Gaza TV reported on Saturday, April 30, that Israeli machines killed a 55-year-old Palestinian woman who apparently died of a heart attack after being searched with an American-made device.


Moreover, the official news agency of the PA, claimed on Thursday that Israel deliberately killed “an aged woman” with an American made “radiation machine”. The Palestinian Authority itself, announced last Tuesday that it was closing the Rafah (Rafiah) crossing to protect Palestinians against “Israeli use of a radiation device for searching Palestinian travelers.”

Israeli security officials have said that the device is nothing more than an American-made machine that uses “holographic technology to screen passengers for weapons and explosives.”

According to Michael Widlansky of IMRA (Independent Media Review Analysis), a think-tank that surveys the Arab press, Abbas is continuing a long-running PA campaign, led by Arafat and his wife Suha, to discredit Israel by claiming that Israel uses “radio-active weapons” against Palestinians, including “uranium artillery shells”, “uranium bullets”, and “poison gas”.

Widlansky asserts that under Abbas, the Palestinian media have actually stepped up the use of incendiary mosque speeches broadcast on Palestinian radio and television where both Israel and Americah are regularly attacked as well as increased use of code words in Arabic such as “resistance operations” to describe attacks on Israelis.

Peace will only be possible when mainstream Arab media produces the Mid-East equivalent of Survivor or CNN/Fox that has nothing to do with surviving Zionist death rays.

Lost in the Supermarket

Do you ever wonder what research studies get funded and why? Well, I do. This article from the Toronto Star illustrates my point:
A team at the University of Alberta carefully observed how parents treated their children during trips to the supermarket. It found physical attractiveness made a big difference.

The researchers made more than 400 observations of child-parent interactions in 14 supermarkets. They noted whether the parents belted their youngsters into the grocery cart seat, how often the parents' attention lapsed and the number of times the children were allowed to engage in potentially dangerous activities like standing up in the cart. They also rated each child's physical attractiveness on a 10-point scale. The findings, not yet published, were presented at the Warren E. Kalbach Population Conference in Edmonton. The study found homely children were far less likely to be buckled up than attractive ones.

Now I think I have rather attractive children and I have never yet met a parent who thought their child was butt ugly or whose heart was not melted by their child’s face, but having said that, I never belted mine in supermarket cart either. Instead I belted out Barney songs at the top of my lungs to get through the ordeal of shopping with toddlers. I can still remember the words to I like to Eat Apples & Bananas or I Love You like it was just yesterday and will probably go to my grave with those words engraved on my mind.

But I have to wonder at the value of studies like this unless it is a way for the state to ultimately get into business of raising children. Snicker if you like, but I can see the wider implications of this; parents of children deemed unattractive or not as comely as others will have mandatory state run parenting courses imposed on them less they abuse or neglect their children. Imagine the shock for parents to learn those that they love most dearly are considered unattractive and are at greater risk to be abused. It all makes me long for the days when pretty was as pretty does.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Case for Quitting: Gaza Pull-out

I had an email the other night asking why I blog so much about the Israel and asking me if I am not embarrassed by being so wrong in my conclusions about the Gaza pull-out? Did I not realize that the disengagement from Gaza represents the best chance the Israeli’s and Palestinians have had at a real lasting peace?

These are legitimate questions. Why Israel? I am not Jewish except to my neighbors. I started to blog as another form of dialogue with my daughter, the Last Amazon. Living in the rather loud and uproarious household it is often difficult to have any kind of a serious dialogue for an extended period of 5 minutes or more. I remember once reading out loud a Mark Steyn column to the children at dinner table concerning the anti-war movement. It was rather a thoughtful discussion until I came to the bit where representatives of the Arab Leaders Summit started to assault and threaten each other. The serious tone quickly fell apart when I read out Mark Steyn quoting one of the ministers saying “I fart on your beard!” To this day that remains a favourite family insult.

It was the Last Amazon’s idea that I should get a blog and start writing or posting on whatever interested me. She wanted to know my opinions and how it came to be that I thought the way I did. She promised to read what I had written and email me with her comments, thoughts or criticism. What started out as a dialogue between my daughter and myself has expended into a dialogue that includes other people’s sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and the odd grandparent.

The Last Amazon has been fascinated with Israel for many years but she started to really stand up and pay attention once there was a Star of David with the immortal phrase “Kill the Jews” craved on our flat door. For the last 4 years, I cannot remember a school year where she did not choose to do some kind of project on Israel. I have promised the Last Amazon a trip to Israel as a reward for completing her first degree regardless of the political situation or in other words; come hell or high water. G-d willing we will go, and hopefully, Eretz Israel will still exist and be waiting.

I don’t share in the general optimism concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I think that the optimism we hear or read about is the result of a war weary world looking for a ray of hope where none exists and a refusal to look at the hard realities on the ground. The psychological power of denial is well documented. Nor do I believe that 8,000 odd Jews represent a viable or existential threat to the more than 1.3 million Arabs living in Gaza. Nor do I believe that evicting the 8,000+ Jewish men, women and children from their homes, schools and businesses is the price peace can be had or bought at. What I do call it is ethnic cleansing. And it should be no more deplorable in Gaza when Jews do it to other Jews than in Sudan or Rwanda.

The two state solution sounded reasonable and fair when George W. Bush first discussed it, but if the truth be told, it was just as reasonable and fair back in 1948 when the two state solution was officially proposed in the United Nations. The Jews were willing. The Arabs were not. What has changed since UN sponsored armistice in 1949? Not a whole heck of a lot. There has never been a question that the “Palestinian” Arabs long for a state but the crux has always been whose state do they want? I have come to the conclusion that the last thing the world needs is one more thugocratic state and therefore I cannot in good conscience support another military staging ground aka a “state” for the Palestinians. If we were wise, we would be sending teams of psychiatrists into the West Bank & Gaza and open negotiations immediately with King Hussein and do whatever is necessary and needed to get him to take back administrative control of Arab areas of the West Bank and Gaza.

But I am not alone in my assessment on the Gaza pull-out. Natan Sharansky, (Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and celebrated author of The Case for Democracy) has officially resigned from the Sharon government in protest over the Gaza disengagement.