Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Birds of a feather and all that

Yesterday, I commented on the brutality of the Fatah party run by Mahmoud Abbas. Today, Mr. Abbas hammers down my point: Taken from the Jerusalem Post:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided on Tuesday to appoint a security officer who had been accused by Israel of involvement in terrorist attacks as overall commander of his Force 17 "presidential guard" in the West Bank. The decision to appoint Col. Mahmoud Damra, also known as Abu Awad, comes only days after Israel agreed to provide weapons and ammunition to Force 17 following increased threats on Abbas's life.

PA officials told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas approved the appointment of Damra in a presidential decree issued just before he left Ramallah for Tunis. They confirmed that Damra was on Israel's list of wanted terrorists, but claimed that the charges were "baseless." "Damra is a senior Palestinian officer who was very close to the late Yasser Arafat," said one official. "He did have a role in the revolution and in the struggle against Israel, like most Palestinians. But today he is committed to the peace process and he supports President Abbas."

Yeah right. Here’s a little of Abu Awad’s bio:
Damra was one of several fugitives who sought shelter in Arafat's Mukata compound in Ramallah in 2002 after Israel accused him of masterminding terrorist attacks. Damra was then commander of the Ramallah branch of Force 17 and was in charge of protecting Arafat and his top aides.

Israeli security officials said then that, since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000, Damra had led a terrorist cell in the Ramallah area that carried out deadly attacks, including shooting at vehicles, attacking communities and IDF positions and planting bombs. In March 2004, The Daily Telegraph quoted Israeli defense officials as saying that Damra was "a commander of terrorist actions, even suicide actions."
The gunmen commanded by Damra included members of Force 17 and Abbas's Fatah party. According to the officials, Damra personally issued orders to them to carry out attacks and was in charge of supplying them with weapons and money. A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office in 2001 announced the arrest of three members of Force 17 who were allegedly involved in the killing of Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane and his wife Talia in December 2000.

According to the statement, Damra was responsible for arming and instructing the three men, who were identified as Talal Ghassan, 37, a senior Force 17 member in Ramallah, Marzouk Abu Naim, 43, and Na'man Nofel. The three were planning on carrying out additional attacks on soldiers and civilians, especially on the Ramallah-area bypass roads, on the Allon road and in Jerusalem, the statement said. Abu Naim led his interrogators to two bombs which the cell had been planning to use.

Israeli security officials also attribute to Damra's men a shooting attack near Neveh Tzuf in November 2000 in which two soldiers and a civilian were killed, a shooting attack at the Tapuah junction in November 2001 in which one civilian was killed, and a shooting attack on Route 443 near Givat Ze'ev in December 2001 in which a civilian was killed.

And now Abu Awad will have the privilege of using Israeli arms to continue to carry out his revolutionary duties. Brings a whole heap of new meaning to the slogan, 'Uzi does it.'

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tell me again; why the Dutch are so enlightened

This is not even a case of the Dutch jumping the shark. The Dutch have bludgeoned the poor beast to death with a two by four. Yahoo News is carrying this report:
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals, sparking widespread outrage.

The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party said on its Web site it would be officially registered Wednesday, proclaiming: "We are going to shake The Hague awake!" The party said it wanted to cut the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the limit altogether. "A ban just makes children curious," Ad van den Berg, one of the party's founders, told the Algemeen Dagblad (AD) newspaper."We want to make pedophilia the subject of discussion," he said, adding the subject had been a taboo since the 1996 Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal in neighboring Belgium. "We want to get into parliament so we have a voice. Other politicians only talk about us in a negative sense, as if we were criminals," Van den Berg told Reuters.

The Netherlands, which already has liberal policies on soft drugs, prostitution and gay marriage, was shocked by the plan. An opinion poll published Tuesday showed that 82 percent wanted the government to do something to stop the new party, while 67 percent said promoting pedophilia should be illegal. "They make out as if they want more rights for children. But their position that children should be allowed sexual contact from age 12 is of course just in their own interest," anti-pedophile campaigner Ireen van Engelen told the AD daily.

Right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders said he had asked the government to investigate whether a party with such "sick ideas" could really be established, ANP news agency reported. Kees van deer Staaij, a member of the Christian SGP party, also demanded action: "Pedophilia and child pornography should be taboo in every constitutional state. Breaking that will just create more victims and more serious ones."

The party wants private possession of child pornography to be allowed although it supports the ban on the trade of such materials. It also supports allowing pornography to be broadcast on daytime television, with only violent pornography limited to the late evening. Toddlers should be given sex education and youths aged 16 and up should be allowed to appear in pornographic films and prostitute themselves. Sex with animals should be allowed although abuse of animals should remain illegal, the NVD said.

File this under reason number 9,999,999,999 why I profoundly grateful that my ancestors left the old World for the New. The only saving grace in this sorry scenario is that according to the polls, the majority of Dutch citizens are against the platform of the Charity, Freedom & Diversity party. But now that the shark has been bludgeoned; how long will the Dutch really hold out? Don’t think they won’t cave – if your stomach’s strong enough read this article from Wikipedia on the History of Pedophile Activism.

Neither a Leopard nor a Fatah Member Change Their Spots

Since Hamas is the new "bad" guys of the Palestinian Authority it is easy to over look just how barbaric Fatah is in their own right. Frankly, it is even more forgivable to be caught up in the media hype concerning Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and lose sight of the fact that Abbas leads one of the oldest and most brutal terrorist organizations in the modern world.

In truth, the only appreciable difference between the two organizations is that Fatah members are better liars, and Hamas members generally always mean exactly what you thought they just said. Oh yeah, one other difference; Hamas is now in power and Fatah isn’t. But just because the PLO is not officially in charge; does not mean that the terror masters are slacking off in any way, shape or form. This Ynet News Online report makes my point:

Two Palestinians suspected of collaboration with the Israel Defense Forces were killed in a gangland-style execution in Gaza's Balata refugee camp on Tuesday, witnesses said. The two, a married woman and her lover, reportedly admitted to informing the IDF on the movements of a number of senior Fatah officials, who were assassinated by Israel over the last five years of violence. A senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades official told Ynet the two admitted they had cooperated with Israel during interrogations which lasted two days.

"We issued a death sentence for the man, Mahmoud Jafala, and shot him dead before everyone, so they understand we are determined to continue investigating, finding, and assassinating everyone involved in passing on information to the enemy and aid in assassinating our heroes," the official said.

Al-Aqsa, Fatah's military wing, said Waida Abu Mustafa admitted to having informed on her husband, an al-Aqsa activist nicknamed Abu Khamis, who was assassinated by Israel. The group said the woman wanted her husband killed in order to live with her lover. In accordance with her family's demand, Waida was killed by her brother. Al-Aqsa gunmen were asked to have her killed by a family member to avoid unwanted Israeli attention over the assassination of an informant, the official said.

Great guys, those compassionate Fatah men, they allowed Waida to be murdered by her family in private - instead of in public by a possibly a stranger! I am overwhelmed, simply overwhelmed, by the sheer generosity of it all. I tell you, these Fatah members bring a whole new world of meaning to the concept of jurisprudence, and the speed in which the transformation from common thugs to barbarians is positively dizzying.

Carnival of Liberty No.#47

Since I seem to be posting more or less regularly again, there is no excuse for me not bringing to your attention the 47th Carnival of Liberty from the Life, Liberty & Property blogs hosted this week by New World Man.

Someone needs to change the light bulb on Israeli freedom

I have a real fondness for Israel, in spite of the Israeli electorate’s decidedly socialist bent. In recent years, there has been increasingly alarming trends by successive Israeli administrations to stifle speech or expression that dissents from the official government party line. Under the Sharon Administration there was the introduction of the Nazi expression or speech bills in the Knesset. Call someone a Nazi, go to jail for a minimum of seven years.

Ironically, as Barak at Iris points out, David ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the modern state of Israel “frequently described the Zionist statesman Zev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky as "Vladimir Hitler." Leading up to the Gaza disengagement fiasco the Israeli state attempted to unjustly prosecute and incarcerate figures such as Avri Ran, a rather charismatic man who is also known as the Father of the Hilltop movement rather than allow him, and like minded others, freedom of movement, expression or speech when it means dissenting from the disastrous disengagement policy of the Sharon government.

Now via Iris comes another stunning blow to free speech and expression in Israel:
When it was first announced that Nadia Matter of Women in Green was being prosecuted for "insulting a public servant" via a sharp letter she sent to Yonatan Basis (see the bottom of this page for text) it was generally expected that this was simply another ploy by overzealous officials to try to silence opponents to their policies.

After all, in the early years of Oslo it took months for Israeli legal officials to finally reach the conclusion that a protestor who held a sign reading "There are 120 idiots in the Knesset" should not be charged for the same crime.

But it appears that Attorney General Mazes has decided to make an example out of Matter and her trial has been set to open on 14 June 2006 at 10 AM at the Magistrates Court in Jerusalem.

Who would have thought that any western-style democracy would possess a criminal code offence on the books for “insulting a public servant” - let alone, in 2006, attempting to prosecute anyone under such a nefarious and infamous law?

If this were my native Canada, the only souls (out of a population base of approximately 33 million) walking around freely would be CUPE members (Canadian Union for Public Employees). It makes me question how long before the Olmert government decides that Nathan Sharansky needs to re-visit the gulag – this time Israeli style.

Read the letter that has the potential to send a woman to jail.

Judenrein is still the norm in the Kingdom

What's the word of Saudi Arabia government really worth? Inspite of promises given to the United States and a requisite of membership in the World Trade Organization, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia still requires that all goods entering the Kingdom remain Jew free reports the Jerusalem Post:

Despite renewed assurances given to Washington that it is no longer enforcing a trade boycott against the Jewish state, Saudi Arabia continues to prohibit Israeli-made goods from entering its territory, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

And while a senior US trade official sought to assure Congress last week that the embargo had in fact been removed, the Post found ample evidence to indicate that it remains in place. "If a product is made in Israel, then it is a problem. It is not allowed here," Muhammad al-Matrafi, a spokesman for the Director's Office of the King Khalid Airport in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, said by phone on Monday.
"That is the law here in Saudi Arabia, and we do not allow those kinds of things into the kingdom," he said, adding, "If there is any mention of Israel on the container or on the product, then it can not enter Saudi Arabia."

A Saudi customs official at the Persian Gulf port of Ras Tanurah was equally adamant that no Israeli-made goods would be permitted to enter the country. "There is still a ban on Israeli products, and anything declared as coming from Israel will not be allowed," said the customs official, who gave his name only as Capt. Hosni. "Some people may try to say that a product was made elsewhere, but if there is anything which shows it was made in Israel, then it is a problem," he said.

Another Saudi customs official at the Al Durah land crossing on the Saudi-Jordanian border reaffirmed that the ban on Israeli-made goods remains in place. Asked by phone if products made in Israel could be brought into the desert kingdom, he angrily replied, "No, no, no. Absolutely not," before hanging up. The Saudi position appears to contradict assurances given last week by US Deputy Trade Representative Susan Schwab.

In written responses to questions raised by members of the Senate Finance Committee, Schwab said that Saudi Arabia had told Washington that it was abiding by its pledge to end the boycott of the Jewish state.

In November 2005, the Saudis promised the Bush administration that they would remove restrictions on trade with Israel, after Washington conditioned Riyadh's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) on such a move. But, as the Post first reported on March 7, the Saudis went ahead and played host to a major international conference aimed at intensifying the anti-Israel boycott, raising concerns in Congress about Riyadh's compliance with its commitments. In addition, an official Saudi delegation took part in a meeting of the Arab League's boycott office in Damascus earlier this month.

"We have raised this issue directly with senior Saudi officials on several occasions, both in Riyadh and in Washington," Schwab told the Senators last week. "In all cases, we have received assurances that Saudi Arabia fully understands and remains committed to its WTO obligations, including the WTO obligation to treat all WTO members according to WTO rules." The WTO bars members from engaging in discriminatory trade practices, such as embargoes or boycotts.

Nonetheless, the Post has also found that a report authored by a former US diplomat and issued recently by one of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia reaffirms that the country's boycott of Israel remains in place, despite Riyadh's accession to the WTO.

The Saudi's have ample time to meet comply with the requirements of memberships in the WTO and have shown a clear refusal to do so. Time to judge them by their acts and therefore, rescind Saudi membership in the WTO until such time when the Saudis can prove Israeli products line the shelves in the Kingdom. This is a clear case of letting the consumer decide.

What is noteworthy about Saudi prejudice is how far are they willing to extend this irrationality -will they refuse to utilize technology and medicines first developed in Israel? For example, Israeli researchers are making remarkable progress in the development of a proto-type vaccine for HIV. But if successful, I guess it won't be good enough for a Saudi. Out of curiosity, does anyone know just what are the actual advances or contributions from the Saudis to either technology or medicine - in say the last 58 years?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Toronto needs a Ronald Reagan

For those of you who do not live in Toronto, you must understand that a TTC strike is the equivalent of a brain being oxygen deprived. Since I consciously chose to live and work for a firm that is within walking distance from my home, this illegal strike by transit workers has very little effect on myself per say. Though the floor that I work on is not even 50% fill as of 10:00 am, and the Last Amazon is enraged beyond measure.

It will probably take her between 90 minutes to two hours to arrive at school. Since the LA's is her mother's daughter; she knows how to hold a grudge, so I would suggest that all transit workers pray that she does not grow up to be the mayor – as the transit union would have more than just cause to be afraid, very afraid. My only comment on this whole shabby affair is that I wish some psychic would be able to channel the spirit of Ronald Reagan to help out David “The Lamest Mayor Ever” Miller. Reagan knew exactly how to handle an illegal walkout by a powerful union.

Ontario CUPE dresses up as old world bigots

I haven’t been on the listening to any of the news till late tonight and imagine my surprise to learn that Ontario’s largest public service employees union has voted to join an international moonbat boycott of Israel. Sorry Kathy, your union leadership has shown themselves to be nothing more than anti-Semitic bigots of the new millennium all dressed up in old school prejudice. I mean what’s next – delegates will vote to join the ranks of holocaust deniers?
CBC carries this report of the nefarious workings of CUPE:
Delegates to the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario convention in Ottawa voted overwhelmingly Saturday to support the campaign until it sees Israel recognizing the Palestinians' right to self-determination. The Ontario group represents more than 200,000 workers.

The global campaign started last July and has been supported by many North American churches, 20 Quebec organizations, and others, Canadian Press said. CUPE also condemned what they called Israel's "apartheid wall," saying it is illegal under international law. "Boycott, divestment and sanction worked to end apartheid in South Africa," said Katherine Nastovski, chairwoman of the CUPE Ontario international solidarity committee."We believe the same strategy will work to enforce the rights of Palestinian people, including the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties."

The interesting thing about the “right of return” in the Israeli/Arab conflict is that it is a right that only Palestinians Arabs are entitled to. After the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 upwards of 900,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries and their property confiscated, and yet, one never hears the Arab league recognize that Jews are also entitled to the alleged Right of Return or at the very least compensation for all property that was confiscated by the various Arab governments who expelled their Jewish citizens in retaliation for the establishment of the Jewish state in their midst.

Nor does CUPE recognize that if they are to support the alleged Right of Return for Palestinian Arabs, it is only the utmost bigotry and height of hypocrisy not to recognize that Jews hold that same rights. Of course, I won’t be holding my breathe waiting for an amendment to CUPE’s boycott that would require a sense of fairness or fair play that is never found in bigots or thugs.

I ran across this speech given in March 23, 2003 by Regina Malaka Waldman, Co-chair, JIMENA. R. (Malaka Biblil) Waldman highlights the plight of the often forgotten refugees – the Jews of Arab countries that were forced to flee for their lives in most cases with nothing more than the clothes on their back. It is estimated that there are upwards to 900,000 Jews who were forced into exile by Arab regimes since 1948 leaving behind an estimated US$30 billion in assets.

And so today, perhaps for the first time, you will hear testimonies from Jews who lived under Islam. We were marginalized, humiliated, defamed, denounced, demonized and finally dispersed.

Yes, dispersed: We the Jews of Islam know the destructive power of anti-Semitism in the Arab world better than anyone else. We have seen it used for ethnic cleansing. Of the 900,000 thousand Jews who lived in the Arab world, only 8,000 remain. Think about that! 900,000 Jews were made refugees, forced to flee our homes.

We were never recognized.

When we became refugees, the UN Human Rights Commission didn’t build refugee camps for us, and they didn't pass resolutions for us. In fact, the UN Human Rights commission has voted Libya as the head of the commission. For me, this is a personal outrage because my family and my entire community have been chased out of Libya.

In 1967, the Libyan population took to the street, killing Jewish people rampaging and burning their properties. My family like the rest of the Jewish community was expelled from Libya and made into destitute refugees. My father’s warehouse was burnt to the ground. All of our assets were confiscated. I was 19 years old at the time.

And if that wasn’t enough.

While attempting to flee the country, the bus driver and the conductor emptied the gas tank of the bus on the ground in an attempted to burn the bus taking my family and I to the airport. It is thanks to a British man that we were rescued from certain death.

Libya practices arbitrary detention and torture. In the country that now heads the UN Human Rights Commission, there is no free press, no elections. Libya imports black slaves from the Sudan. Libya practices ethnic cleansing. Indeed, Libya has cleansed itself of its Jews. 38,000 Jews, and now there are none left. But the European countries abstained and allowed it to happen, they didn't have the courage to speak out or vote against this outrageous travesty.

And this slaving nation heads the UN Human Rights Commission.(To the U.N, I’d like to say: HARAM ALEKEM – SHAME ON YOU.)
We must insist that when people talk about refugees, that they are not talking only about Palestinians.

Repeat after me: We must insist that when people talk about refugees, that they are not talking only about Palestinians.

Here’s a suggestion: Why don’t Arab countries that practiced Jewish expulsion/ethnic cleaning pay compensation to the dispersed Jews? Or perhaps it would be just that each Arab country that practiced expulsion/ethnic cleansing take in a reciprocal number of Palestinians for every Jew that was displaced?

Furthermore, the problem with referring to the Israeli security fence as an “Apartheid” wall is just that it is patently false and demeans the brutal racial practices of the South African government who originally developed the Apartheid system and laws. Arabs born in Israeli have the same rights of citizenship with the only exception that Arab citizens are not required to undergo compulsory military service. Arab Israeli’s are fully protected under the law of Israel and there are a number of Arab Israelis who are fully and freely elected members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament). But gee whiz, that never happened under the old South African regime. Furthermore, neither the Druze, Domi nor Arab Christians are protected under the laws of the Palestinian Authority.

But if CUPE cannot see the security value of the Israeli fence I suggest that every CUPE member and their families need to stand unarmed in the place of the wall/fence to understand the very real threat to Jewish life and limbs. Perhaps when the cost becomes painful to CUPE members they will finally be able to comprehend that Jews are human and have an innate right to their limbs and lives too.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lebanese government cries Uncle

I feel for the Lebanese people. I really do, but if the government of Lebanon does not take decisive steps once and for all to disarm the terrorist groups operating in southern Lebanon it will only be a matter of time before the Palestinian cause will once again lead the Israeli’s to have no choice but to launch air strikes on downtown Beirut, again.

The Jersualem Post carries this account of today’s action:
The clashes followed a surprise launching of at least six Katyusha rockets before dawn at an IAF air traffic control base on Mount Meron. These were the first rockets to hit so deep inside Israel - some 10 kilometers from the border. At least three of the 122mm rockets reportedly fell in a residential area of the base and damaged a building. One soldier was lightly wounded and treated for shock. A Channel 1 reporter speculated that the accuracy of the attack on the IAF base of the notoriously inaccurate Katyushas could be due to a new satellite-controlled guidance system.

After the Katyushas hit the Mount Meron base, IAF jets struck twice into Lebanese territory - the first on the general headquarters of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in Sultan Yacoub, a village about five kilometers from the Syrian border, and the second on a base at the village of Nueima, some eight kilometers south of Beirut.

One of the targets that was hit by the jets was a storage facility for arms and ammunition, the IDF said. At least one PFLP member was killed and five other members wounded in the attack near Sultan Yacoub, while at least one person was lightly wounded at the Nueima base, according to Israel Radio. "Israel attacked this morning one of our positions in the western sector of the (eastern) Bekaa Valley. There are damages but for now it is difficult to know how much," Anwar Raja, the PFLP-GC representative in Lebanon, told AP.

The afternoon clashes began when a Hizbullah sniper shot and moderately wounded a soldier near Kibbutz Manara on the northern border, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam told reporters at a briefing at Northern Command headquarters. Troops returned fire and gun battle erupted across the length of the Israel-Lebanon border. Citizens were ordered into bomb shelters as Hizbullah units unleashed a barrage of gunfire, mortars, and Katyusha rockets at northern communities and military installations.

IDF artillery and IAF attack helicopters retaliated, striking 20 different Hizbullah targets in southern Lebanon, including outposts and two cars from which rockets had been fired. The cars sustained direct hits and Hizbullah operatives were apparently killed. Senior officers said this was Israel's harshest response since the IDF pullout from southern Lebanon in 2000. The wounded soldier, from an anti-aircraft unit, was shot through the stomach. He was airlifted to Rambam Hospital in Haifa in stable condition, which later worsened to serious condition. Lebanese officials said one Hizbullah terrorist was killed in the clashes. At 5:00 pm, the Lebanese government pleaded for a cease-fire, through UN channels, which Israel accepted.
Interestingly enough, I did search for this story at the Toronto Star and found nothing. I guess an all day attack launched from Lebanon into Israel is deemed not newsworthy enough when there is an ode to Fidel to be published. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow will be a slow enough news day so the Toronto Star will finally be able to find the space to cover that story.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Fourth Estate

Harper’s called the right of it. The general public (of which I am a bona fide member) just don’t care that he and the Ottawa press gallery are having a spat. My only real observation on the whole story other than who really cares is that it’s really long past the time when the fourth estate took what my grandmother called a closer walk.

Since the CPC won the election I have been treated to the sight of what feels like a million and one articles displaying the best tabloid journalism the msm dailies have to offer. I am sick of pieces analyzing or criticizing his weight, his hair, his eyes, and his clothing style. Nor do I need any more in-depth articles centering on the fact that when Harper drops off his son he shakes his son’s hand rather than posing for hugs and kisses for the benefit of the Ottawa press.

The fact that Harper drops off his son and shakes his hand does not make Harper emotionally inadequate, cold or needy. For all the press play that one got, not one reporter anywhere in the country (that I read) raised the possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, Harper was being sensitive to the emotional well-being of his son. I’ve raised two boys Harper’s son age, and not one of them would have appreciated me playing kissie face with them as I dropped them off in the schoolyard. The fact that the press was out in full force with the national cameras rolling would just have heightened their distaste for any but the coolest good-byes.

And so what if Harper sent out a general gag memo to all CPC MP’s on the impending nuptials of two openly gay Mounties? I say, it’s about time. And thank the heavens for small mercies that there is grown-up in charge in the prime minister’s chair. Look, gay marriage is truly here to stay whether you object to it on religious, social or aesthetic grounds. Nor did the CPC win its’ mandate to govern based on dissolving gay marriage.

You can attempt to turn back the legislative clocks in this country but gay people are still going to form unions; always have, always will. Time to move on and the best way to move on is not to have the thoughtless rantings of any MP voicing their disapproval for whatever reasons splattered across the headlines of the national papers or being the lead into the evening news. Like it use to read over the banner of The Monger, “I would be happy to live in country where happily married gay couples had assault rifles in the closet.” One more thing; for the couple concerned, it’s a happy time, does anyone have the right to shit on their parade? It costs us nothing, so let them have their day in peace.

I voted for Harper, and I did so not because I am a dyed-in-the-wool CPC member or even a blogging tory, and I made it plain that it was simply the hold my nose and vote ‘vote’. No current political party holds my loyalty but other Canadian political parties certainly earned my spleen, so the CPC got my $1.75. Next time, who knows? Maybe, I'll just keep it in my pocket. But you know what? Prime Minister Harper has been doing a far better job than I expected him to do. This is no Mulroney Tory – that’s for damn sure.

One of the reasons I started to blog is that I felt ill-served by what journalists in this country were writing. No one was asking the questions I wanted answered. I suspect most of my fellow bloggers felt a similar kind of disconnect to the main stream media. If anything, publishers should take heed that a new day has dawned and time to sack the Summer of Love reporters and reconnect to the public that the media are supposedly to serve. Take a long hard look, Harper isn’t out of step with the times but time waits for no one – not even the fourth estate.

Friday, May 26, 2006

To think if I went to the Gym, I would have lived in ignorance

I am feeling weak and woozie at this moment. The Butcher of Prague has been working his magic on a lower molar for a while now. All the time prophesizing that a day dark would dawn when there would be nothing else to do submit to a root canal. The day came last night and I was lucky to catch him just before he left for out of town. But he had hit the vodka before he left the office, and despite my very generous offer to share his bottle with him - he was not willing to do any work...something about technique and ethics...and this from a Czech who knows how to hold a grudge while he pulled teeth from the mouths of Russian soldiers without freezing.

My habit on Friday night is to hit the gym after work, but I really think if I attempted my workout I would go into cardiac arrest. Instead, I opted to float home. The youngest is at some kind of school basketball tournament and won’t be home till after 9pm. Thank the heavens, that the man is bigger than me and not on codeine, so he can pick up the one child that I swear brings out the inner pedophile in my neighborhood.

I really didn’t realize till now how cruel children truly are till now. I am being held captive in the living room and they have insisted on watching Much Music. Currently, there is some kind of “heatness” competition between Gwen Stefani and the Sank of the Ages. Can you believe that Madonna beat Gwen Stefani? Gwen Stefani! The only way I can make sense of it; is to think that Madonna’s bought shares or is on the board of MuchMusic. Or just maybe the End of Days is finally upon us.

Timely Intervention for Israeli Suicide Watch

How is this for irony? The PLO/Fatah think they finally have enough weapons and ammo. Apparently, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ office denies needing any weapons/ammo or even having asked the Israelis’for any to supplement his Force 17 security detail reports the Jerusalem Post. Let’s face it; nothing says puny, weak and impotent to a Pali than being caught out having to ask the Zionists for help.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hezbollah to Hamas Rescue!

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah announces a 10 Day fund rising drive for Hamas.

Of course, it is a pity about the state of affairs within the Palestinian refugee camps located Lebanon but I suppose some shahhids are more shahhid than others.

No word as yet, if Hezbollah will be donating any of their proceeds from their worldwide operations in extortion, kidnapping, money laundrying, dope, gun or cigarette smuggling.

Really what’s next? Hugo al-Chavez's telethon of martyrdom?

Israeli Suicide Watch

The Jersualem Post is carrying this report.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz decided on Thursday, in accordance to defense establishment recommendations, to allow the transfer of weapons and ammunition from Israel to supporters of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The amount of weapons to be transferred was limited, and came out of concern for Abbas' life and position at the head of the PA, security officials said.

I would have thought the odds were rather high that at some point the PLO would turn those very same weapons on Israeli civilians. It is not for nothing that the PLO has a long bloody history of attacking Israeli civilians – just think Ma’alot for one.

Of course, perhpas it’s only natural to actively participate in a potential genocide when your Defense Minister bears a most unfortunate resemblance to Joseph Stalin. Israel Defense Minister, Amir Peterz, has often been referred to as a dove, but I think from now on we can say safely infer that he is more like a lamb, as in lamb to the slaughter.


Dr. Aaron Lerner at IMRA has a timely post listing the Israeli victims of "light weapons" since Oslo:
DM Peretz has decided to enable third parties to provide more gun and rifles to the Palestinians. Supporters of the move argue that such"light weapons"do not present a significant danger to Israelis. The following is a list of some of the people the supporters forgot. It only includes those who were clearly identified as having been murdered by gunfire on the Foreign Ministry website.

I could only make it to 1996 before I was overwhelmed with the staggering loss of potential each of these lives represented, and, the whole world of grief that came knocking for those who loved them. To put the emotional ethos into some kind of perspective try imagining the Washington/Beltway Snipers had remained uncaught and fully operational for 13 years rather than a few short weeks.

Only the good die early or no rest for the wicked

Bob at Let it Bleed is signing off the blog, and the down-low shame of it is, that Bob was one of an elite group of bloggers who could either make me laugh hysterically or piss me off.

I learned to put the coffee cup down before I ever read any of Bob’s legendary Heather Mallick’s posts. Splewing coffee all over the keyboard is just not good computer maintenance and the IT people get a tad annoyed about that – not to mention the children at home found nothing redeeming about Momma causing the keys to stick together. I got into the habit of reading Salon when I originally discovered Bob from Let it Bleed.

Anyhoo, in honour of Bob, I found this first hand account of the “Gaza Meltdown” by Photojournalist Mitchell Prothero posted at Salon. Here’s an excerpt:
A little background here: Palestinians are the easiest people in the world to cover as a journalist. They respect the work, know journalists take risks to tell their story, and, frankly, know that stories of their suffering under Israeli oppression are good P.R. But it's not just cynical and calculating; they're Arabs and that stuff about Arabs' respect for guests is very real and sincere.

Having said that, a lot of the goodwill toward the foreign journo dries up when it's Arabs fighting each other. Suddenly, you're not documenting a noble struggle against occupation, you're just some foreigner. And if you're in a hospital full of pissed-off Military Intelligence officials tending to their wounded, it's a disaster. As I tried to take pictures, I was suddenly surrounded by a mob of armed men grabbing at my cameras. Luckily, the son of a wounded official jumped into the fray and dragged me to a side room. Once he checked my digital images, he informed the angry crowd I had done nothing wrong and I was free to take pictures outside the hospital.

One frame later, I was chased off the hospital grounds by a half-dozen armed, screaming men. A local photographer -- one smart enough to not even take his cameras out of his car -- yanked me to safety.

"You know they'd kill me for saying this, but I miss the Israelis," one droll local journalist told me after we watched the men beat another photographer and destroy his gear. "Sure they occupied us, but there were fucking rules, man. 'Go here and we'll shoot you. Stand there and you're cool.' We could work. We could live. Now we have this shit."

Ever notice how everyone always misses the Israelis, but not until they are gone? I guess Americans suffer from the same 'missing you after your gone' syndrome too. Shame about that, and Bob blogging off.

Hamas should have used Ebay

After all, it did wonders for the price of holy pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches. Ynet News Online is reporting the latest Hamas fund raising technique:
Hamas has found a new way to try and cope with its financial crisis - by auctioning off items of clothing which belonged to dead terrorists.

A broadcast on Arab TV news network al-Jazeera, translated and made available by MEMRI , shows a Hamas auctioneer, flanked by other Hamas members, trying to sell off the cloths to the highest bidder.

"Brothers, there is a man who has left us a few years ago. He sacrificed his soul, as a mujahid (holy warrior) for the sake of Allah. Everybody knows him. Palestine knows him. Egypt knows him. The land of Palestine and the land of the world... Every proud free man in the world knows him - The leader of 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Sheik Sallah Shehada," the auctioneer said.

"Oh Muslims, on the land of Gaza, on the land of Palestine, and around the world - Today we are opening the auction of a jacket which belonged to the martyred leader Sallah Shehada. Who will buy it in support of the government of Palestine? Twenty dinars. Who offers a higher bid?"

The auctioneer is seen haggling with buyers. "Five hundred dollars. Allah Akbar, praise be to Allah. Who offers a higher bid? One thousand dollars. Who offers more?"

Another man calls out: "Who wants to buy a place in heaven for a small sum in this world?" The jacket is eventually sold for 3,000 Jordanian dinars. "Allah Akbar, praise be to Allah. The world is listening to you, so let it hear: Allah Akbar, praise be to Allah," the auctioneer screams.

The jacket ends up selling for approximately Cdn$4,721.17. The thing about Hamas that really strikes me is how old school it really is. I mean selling a place in heaven – how very pre-Vatican ll of them.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Europe deserves to die for ideas like this one

Day by day, I discover another reason why I am profoundly grateful my ancestors left the old world to come to the new. Yahoo News carries a report on the Happy Taxpayers Association of Finland:

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finns should be happy about paying some of the highest income taxes in Europe. At least that's what Finland's new Happy Taxpayers' Association says. The association wants Finns to focus on the public services they receive rather than dwelling on negative thoughts about income tax. "I don't think there is another official association like ours in the world," group vice-president Anna Tommola said on Monday.

(Thank you, Jesus.)
She was speaking after the association, boasting some 250 members, was recognised by the national board of patents and registrations."We want to raise positive but critical discussion about taxes," Tommola told Reuters.

The innate danger for Canadians with this whole “be happy taxpayers while the government unceasingly sodomizes you financially” is; if the Finn’s manage to develop a successful marketing campaign, Canadian Liberals will no doubt attempt to incorporate it as the blueprint of the next Liberal little red book.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Saudi Arabia, a country where 66% of the women are either overweight or obese

But thank heavens for small mercies - they are fully robed.

Okay, okay, I know I should actually be devoting my energies to something else but this blog habit is harder to break than I thought; especially when I read things like this - (Yahoo News):
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Under their modest flowing robes, two-thirds of Saudi women are too fat. They can try dieting, but you won't find many in aerobics classes or power-walking along this city's walking trails. And very few of their daughters attend schools that have physical education classes.

There are no laws against women exercising outside their homes, but in this conservative society many are influenced by scholars and clerics who argue against it.

In Riyadh, hotel gyms and pools are off limits to women. Along the city's walking trails, where the women walk covered in the mandatory black cloaks, they are sometimes harassed by the muttawa.Rana al-Abdullah said one such official ordered her to go back to her car when she was out walking one day and wouldn't leave her alone until she did. She now walks in malls. Many Saudis say they are baffled by the religious arguments.

At a clinic that treats obesity-related diseases, a booklet left by a writer named Muhammad al-Habdan, warned that if girls' schools began P.E., Saudi girls would have to change into workout gear — and good girls should not disrobe outside their homes. Changing in a locker room might cause them to lose the shyness that is the hallmark of good morals, the booklet warned. It went on to say that the girls might become attracted to each other after seeing their classmates in tight leotards and tops.

Never worked for me, but each to her own. I suppose that means that The L Word DVD Box Set it off limits too.

(H/T Neale News)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Pilate’s sucks and BALLET ROCKS!

This isn’t a return to blogging but the need to rant is upon me.

The Last Amazon and I joined a woman’s gym a few weeks ago. I joined for health considerations and I signed her up because I needed someone to compete against. Now before you all go ‘tsk, tsk, shame, shame’ she’s trying to compete against her teenage daughter; you need to understand the underlying psychology of people who dance.

I know most people assume that ballet is all pinkness and light. Tutus, satin shoes and gentle arm and finger movements waving on a non-existent breeze but collectively we are the most ruthless, viciously mean, competitive people on the planet. If you told me that Adolph Hitler was a ballet dancer; I would not blink. Ballet is not for the wussies. I once taught ballet classes to a football team. Let me assure you that before the 20 minutes were up they were all crying and praying for the coach or death to release them from my care - and that was before we even left the barre. Want to make a good dancer better; surround them on the barre with dancers who are better. And besides, the Last Amazon is going to run a triathlon in July so easy access to gym equipment is all good for her.

My husband’s passing coincided with my entering early middle age and I guess my metabolism finally slowed down to almost non-existent levels, consequently, I put on considerable poundage. For the first time, I started to see my weigh climb to pregnancy levels without anything happening in vitro. I should qualify this by saying that after giving birth I was able to get into all my pre-pregnancy clothes within a week, so this was a rather alarming circumstance for myself per say, but most women I know wouldn’t have been too unduly alarmed being 43 and only 25 pounds overweight or so (unless they were only my 5’1” frame).

One of the consequences of dancing on Pointe is that I have extensive damage in both my knees and one ankle. I tried traditional drug therapy for awhile but the problem for me is that the combination of anti-inflammatory/steroid cocktail that was most effective also gave me a whole slew of nasty side effects. Some of them were more painful and inconvenient that the actual joint pain. Putting on 25 extra pounds just puts that much pressure and stress on my joints. After all, like I learned in ballet; it is only pain, but some pain is more painful than others.

There is just no way that I can face a strict diet again to lose weight, again. Here’s a dieting secret - all diets work. There is very little difference between the effectiveness of the Atkins/South Beach versus a Jenny Craig/Weight Watchers program. All that is required is that you make the mental commitment to stay within the diet’s parameters without fail. After a lifetime of strict dieting and having to keep my weight within holocaust levels per contract, I just cannot mentally be bothered to keep and make that kind of commitment to hate food. The last thing I want to do with the rest of my life is walk around chanting the dancer’s mantra in my head: food is the enemy, food is the enemy.

Unlike most people, I cannot jog or even take aerobics/step or pump it up classes. The stress on my joints is just too great so one of the few things I can do effectively is weight training. In two weeks of weight training, five times a week, I am now down 9 lbs and I had a piece of cheesecake 3 days ago. Weight training is one of the most effective things women can do to change their bodies and get fit without having to stress out over every little morsel that goes in your mouth. Besides having experienced three pregnancies I am at a greater risk for a bone density loss in middle/old age than Canadian women who have only had the standard 1.5 children and weight training helps to keep the density levels up.

First thing the LA and I did after joining the gym was spend a few sessions with a personal trainer. Trust me, even someone with some experience weight training can benefit from a few sessions with a trainer. Mind you, prepare yourself for a shock when the electronic scales are used to weight you. And a word to the wise; don’t have your prudish teenage daughter in the room when you go to get on the scales. She wouldn’t let me strip down in the middle of the gym even though I pointed out that gym was an all female environment. Furthermore, I swear that sweat pants, Nikes, leg warmers and two shirts added approximately 13 pounds to my (at home scales) weight. Oh yeah, one more thing. Exhale slowly on the scales and above all; do not breathe in till you get off.

In ballet, we often refer to something called a physical memory. Eventually, your body remembers the moves and positions and you are able to execute those positions without too much thought or concentration to remember the combinations. One nice thing I learned in the last two weeks is that my body not only remembers but wants to go back to those kinds of positions which is no doubt why I am able to leg press 4 reps per set at 120 lbs and the LA can only manage a measly 80 pounds at 3 reps per set. At this rate, I figure within two months I will be able to crush a walnut between my thighs.

Of course, I was a bit of source of puzzlement to the trainer as my feet unconsciously point my toes even when I was on a bench doing an abominable leg presses. Not only does it take a greater stress on your muscle group but apparently it looks really weird. Now as far as I am concerned, I would be quite happy for my body to not remember how to extend my leg straight up, unlock my hips so I can rotate my leg around to the back of my head. It makes a great bar trick but it just has no practical application in middle age unless I want a few middle aged men to drop dead from cardiac arrest.

So I thought that I would supplement my weight training with a little stretch class. I have never taken Pilates but I have heard a great deal about it and it was included in the gym fees which are really reasonable. The LA was quite enthused as well. I freely admit that I might have an easier time in Pilates if I hadn’t done an hour of weight training before class but that doesn’t change what I consider the elementary unfitness of some people to teach any kind of stretch class and the overall basic soundness of ballet over all other forms of stretching.

1. I will give the Pilates chickie credit for doing a basic survey before she started the class to find out that we were all relative newbies and it would have helped if she did speak above a whisper. If you are going to teach any kind of class learn to project your voice. Practice at home.

2. Spending ten minutes of class time publicly worrying about the quality of your whale song music is of absolutely no value. Plan your music selection on your own time. Here’s a tip, Ravel would work well, and Chopin would be far too fast, but whales really suck. You were right to worry but just not on my time.

3. The class should be a workout for your pupils and not the time for you to meet your own personal physical fitness goals. The class was a great workout for the instructor but held absolutely zero benefit for the rest of us. I have taught ballet classes to my peers, children, teenagers and adult beginners so I have some experience on how a class should be run. A class should never ever be run as an open call for all professional dancers to audition.

4. Demonstrate, demonstrate and then go have the class go through the moves one set at a time as a test run. Yes, that it a bit boring for you and you need to work the room ensuring that all of your pupils have the correct positioning so that they do not damage themselves unduly. Nothing is more irresponsible than a careless injury that your ineptitude as an instructor caused a pupil to make. You have been hired to instruct for your expertise and not theirs.

5. Really, really, short legs on even the most well toned body still looks really, really ugly and has no inspiration value. There is a reason why ballet instructors do not have ugly bodies. One of my favourite Ballet Mistresses at 55 had a body that reduced the average 24 year old woman to abject misery and tears.

6. If you really need a stretch class go to an adult ballet class. A professionally taught ballet class is designed to stretch and tone all muscle groups one step at a time with each movement not only leading naturally to the next but building on the next movement. I will warn you though Ballet classes are not cheap and will probably cost you more than your gym membership. Me, I will skip the Pilates and save up till I can afford to buy or have a portable ballet barre made for me for the living room.