Monday, June 30, 2008

Dealing with the Devil

Some days I find it near impossible to write because I cannot separate the conflicting emotions on what I am posting. Today is one of those dates. The Israeli cabinet met yesterday and agreed to a prisoner swap with Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post reports the details:
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two soldiers whose kidnapping on July 12, 2006, triggered the Second Lebanon War, are expected to be returned to Israel within 10 days as a result of Sunday's cabinet approval of a swap with Hizbullah.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in a dramatic statement to his ministers at the outset of a six-hour discussion on the deal, said the two men are almost certainly dead. "As far as we know, the two soldiers - Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev - are no longer alive," he said. "As far as we know, they were killed during the kidnapping or died from their wounds soon after the incident."

According to the resolution that was approved by an overwhelming majority of 22-3, Israel will receive Goldwasser and Regev, as well as a Hizbullah report on the disappearance of airman Ron Arad, captured in Lebanon in 1986, and the remaining body parts of soldiers killed during the Second Lebanon War.

In exchange, Israel will release Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, responsible for the brutal deaths of four Israelis in Nahariya in 1979; four Hizbullah fighters being held by Israel; dozens of bodies of infiltrators and terrorists, including eight Hizbullah men; and information that will be given to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the disappearance of four Iranian diplomats in Beirut in 1982, during Israel's invasion.

After these exchanges are made, Israel is to release an undetermined number of Palestinian security prisoners. According to the cabinet resolution, the number of prisoners to be released, as well as their identities, will be determined by Israel.

Exchanging a murderers with blood of children on their hands for Israeli body parts – there are just no words. And although, I may not have the words, take a read into the comment section posted by the Israelis. I cannot remember a time when an Israeli administration is so badly out of sync with the public it is reported to serve than this Kadima government.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Shakedown Artists of the World

If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em. Jerusalem Post:
A Palestinian youth group announced Saturday that it plans to demand compensation from the British government for "committing a series of crimes" against the Palestinians. Representatives of the Watanuna (Our Homeland) Palestinian Youth said the biggest crime the British government committed was when it promised a homeland for the Jewish people in the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

They said they were also planning to collect a million signatures from Palestinians in support of the lawsuit against Britain. Ali Ubeidat, a spokesman for the youth group, whose members include many university students, said preparations had already begun to file the suit in a British court.

He said the decision to go after the UK government came after a thorough study of all the legal aspects related to Britain's responsibility for the Palestinians' "nakba" (catastrophe), the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

"We hold Britain responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people over the past 60 years," Ubeidat said. "It's time for Britain to bear the moral and political responsibility for this suffering. The British people should be among the first to support the rights of the Palestinians."

The organizers began collecting signatures over the weekend from Palestinian youth in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel and overseas. Rami Masharaka, director of Watanuna Palestinian Youth, said the lawsuit would also refer to the time of the British Mandate for Palestine.
Since their suing, I see no reason not to widen their lawsuit to include Turkey as well. Why let the Turks off the hook? If the Turks took better care of their empire the Brits wouldn't have had the Palestine Mandate.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Truce. Truce. This is Truce?

This ‘truce’ is looking a whole lot like the last ‘truce’. Jerusalem Post:
The Gaza truce was broken yet again on Friday morning as terrorists fired two mortar shells at southern Israel. One of the shells landed near Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in the Sha'ar Hanegev region, while the other hit an open area. No one was wounded and no damage was reported.

On Thursday afternoon, a Kassam rocket fired from Gaza hit the Sderot industrial zone, exploding near a gas station. No casualties or damage to property were reported in the attack, for which Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility.
Monday night mortar, Tuesday & Thursday afternoon rockets and now Friday morning incomings. Perhaps there is just no truce to be had, nu? Of course, on the other side of the fence, the UN has reported 7 Israeli violations of the alleged truce.

Apparently, the IDF has been firing at any Palestinians who came into close contact with the Israel border area from the Gaza Strip or on any Gazans who attempted to cross into Israeli waters. Meanwhile the UN has only reported 1 Palestinian violation of the truce. Apparently, mortars and rockets fired on any other day than Tuesday do not count as Palestinian violations of the truce. Good to know.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Last Amazon

Where does the time go? I remember bringing the Last Amazon home from the hospital like it was yesterday, and today, Isaiah Sender took these pictures of the Last Amazon getting ready to go to her high school prom.

It has been a big deal for her. It was her first dance and her last act as a high school student. I never went to a high school dance or my prom. While my prom was being held, I was out protesting against discrimination towards Gays & Lesbians in housing and employment. What can I say? It was the seventies.

I took one look at her in this dress and I almost didn’t let her go. She wanted to go out with a splash. You see, she has spent the last four years in secondary school feeling rather invisible. She was the brainy girl who pulls off the 97 in physics who no one notices unless they need help with their homework.

There will be no graduation ceremonies for her as the secondary school she attends will not hold the ceremony until November. I believe the underlying rationale for holding the ceremony so late is to give the slackers, who have to go to summer school to make up their marks a chance to attend the ceremony with their peers.

Come November, she will be in the midst of an honours bachelor program in Neuroscience out of town - so the prom was it. Her last chance to say to her peers – look at me – just once.

Her father and I never told her she was beautiful - although she is. We believed the content of her character and her intellect were the more important values to emphasize, and so, she grew up having no awareness of her own beauty When I walk down the street with her and the young men whistle, as young men do, she really believes it is for me - which simply astounds me. I am not sure we were entirely right, and only time will tell, but we meant well.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Two Ehuds in a pot

Politically speaking, current Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, is the John Gotti of Israeli politics and he just struck the alliance to keep his family from going to the mattresses. The Jerusalem Post:
Labor agreed late Tuesday night not to vote in favor of the bill which calls for the dissolution of the Knesset, whether it is brought to the floor on Wednesday, or any time in the coming weeks.

The agreement was a result of a meeting at the home of Defense Minister and Labor chairman Ehud Barak between Labor secretary-general Eitan Cabel, head of Kadima's steering committee, MK Tzahi Hanegbi, and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, which lasted several hours and allowed both parties to avoid a potentially hazardous political showdown.

According to the agreement, Kadima promised to convene a committee on Wednesday which would begin the process of primaries for choosing a new chairperson. On Monday of next week, the Kadima faction will discuss the results and 10 days later, the Kadima council will convene to determine an exact date for the primary elections, to be held before September 25. Should a run-off election be needed as well, that, too, will be held before September 25.

In Israeli politics, there is no mechanism for throwing the bums out per say. Israeli votes are cast and distributed on system of representation by population. Each party develops list of candidates picked by the internal party system which will represent their fraction in parliament depending on the percentage of votes cast. So if one likes a party, but loathes the upper few members, one has no choice but to take the wheat with the chaff. This system has worked well for maintaining the high level of corruption within the upper echelon of each party. It also explains why a man with few redeeming political morals like Ehud Olmert has not only risen to power but kept power - and woe unto all challengers who lack the appropriate level of suck up gene.

Yesterday, in a private conversation I remarked that there was a better than average chance Ehud Olmert’s government would survive today’s no-confidence vote. My acquaintance didn’t believe me. He had just returned from Israel and reported the mood of the country was a definite ‘throw the bums out’ but today I am right. What my acquaintance didn’t fully grasp was just how desperate these political capos are to survive.

If an election was called tomorrow all two top parties; Kadima and Labor potentially face the wrath of the electorate and stand a better than normal change of failing to hold onto anything more than a third of their current seats. One poll had the ruling Kadima party down to 5 seats from 29. The Pensioners party would have been wiped out. I have no idea what current internal polling had the Israeli Labor party down to but it must have been pretty darned frightening for Ehud Barak to strike this deal with Ehud Olmert, and so, Ehud Olmert - the man who was aptly characterized as Ariel Sharon’s chief gopher - has survived to govern another day. Talk about being born under a telfon star.

Prophetic – I think not

But it sure is fun to see what a difference a day makes. Yesterday, the Jerusalem Post ran a piece suggesting that Islamic Jihad had every intention of violating the Gaza Strip truce despite publicly agreeing to abide by the conditions of the truce. And today they do – and not just with one measly rocket either. The Jerusalem Post

Three Kassam rockets hit the western Negev on Tuesday afternoon, in a second violation of a cease-fire that Hamas has been abiding by since it went into effect last Thursday. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the attack was to avenge an IDF raid that killed one of its members in the West Bank early Tuesday. "We cannot keep our hands tied when this is happening to our brothers in the West Bank," the group said in a statement. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the rocket attack "came as result of Israeli provocation this morning." He added, however, that Hamas was "committed to the calm" "We will talk and we will make sure that all of the factions are committed to the calm, too," he said.
A statement from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Office has condemned the attack as a "gross violation" of the truce, but did not say whether it would retaliate. I hear an echo in my memory and think - where have I heard this all before? Maybe here, nu?

And don’t bother telling me to buck-up – I’m his mother.

For almost 17 years I have been a mother and unless you have traveled down that road it is hard to explain how the experience eclipses everything you were once. Even harder than being a mother is recognizing there comes a time in a beloved child’s life when the only action you need to take is to step back and let them fly.

I reached this milestone recently. My beloved son, resident ‘man’ and 15 year old son has left home to spend an indefinite summer sojourn at Broom Central. I say indefinite because the length of his visit depends entirely on his own inclination and the tolerance level of the head Broomer. And while I feel blessed that there is a place where I can let him fly under the watchful guise of others…I sure do wish he had grown-up to learn one ancient and elemental lesson - always call home to say you have arrived safely.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Somebody didn’t get the Hamas memo

The truce lasted far longer than I expected and while this report of a single mortar round being fired from the Gaza Strip violates the truce I do not expect this is enough provocation for either side to ditch the truce.

No land for Quakers – Part 2

Wow. The fight continues on in Lebanon. Ynet News is reporting 9 dead and over 50 wounded.
VIDEO - Sectarian fighting raged for a second day in north Lebanon on Monday, further denting a Qatari-brokered deal to end the country's political crisis. Security sources said nine people had been killed and 50 wounded in the clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city.

The fighting, which broke out at dawn on Sunday, continued on the outskirts of the mainly Sunni Muslim port city despite a ceasefire agreement between Sunni supporters of the government and Alawite gunmen close to the Hizbullah-led opposition. Several homes, shops and cars were damaged in fighting around the Sunni Bab Tibbaneh district and Alawite Jabal Mohsen.

The warring sides exchanged machinegun fire, grenades and mortar bombs. Scores of families fled and sought safe haven in other parts of the city and nearby villages. The Lebanese army was in contact with both sides to arrange for the ceasefire to be respected, the sources said.
Ynet News carries a video at their site of the fighting. Every time I see these news clips it makes me regret I don’t have an export business selling balaclavas. Talk about an expanding market.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Not a land for Quakers

Iran suggests Israel is the most dangerous regime in the Middle East but I would counter Lebanon is not a walk for Quakers either. Ynet News:
At least three people were killed and 30 wounded on Sunday in sectarian clashes in Lebanon 's second largest city Tripoli, security sources said. Explosions and machinegun fire rocked the city as Sunni Muslim supporters of the government and Alawite gunmen close to the Hizbullah-led opposition battled on the outskirts of the mainly Sunni Muslim port.

Lebanese army units deployed in the area and tried to end the fighting and local leaders held talks to contain the conflict. Dozens of families fled the scene of the clashes that tapered off after both sides agreed a ceasefire, the sources said. Several homes, shops and cars were damaged in the clashes that left the streets of the city largely deserted.

It was not immediately clear how the fighting began at dawn but tension has been high in recent weeks between the Sunni Bab Tibbaneh district and Alawite Jabal Mohsen. Tripoli is dominated by the country's anti-Syrian Sunni-led majority coalition while a majority of Alawites maintain close ties to Syria, which is ruled by an Alawite.

About that hill in Jerusalem

In a follow-up to Defending Jerusalem, I found this article at the Jerusalem Post on Har Homa. (Photo - Sarah Levin)

The hill between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, known today as Har Homa or Homat Shmuel, was once called Jebl Abu Ganim. In 1940, a group of Jews purchased 130 dunams of land in the area, which it transferred to the Jewish National Fund for forest plantation development.

After the Six Day War, the hill was captured from the Jordanians and more of its land was bought from Arab landowners. As early as the Eighties, plans to build housing there existed, but were canceled on grounds of nature conservation.
In March 1997, under then-prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, serious planning for the area began. About 75 percent of the land was expropriated from Jewish owners and the rest from residents of nearby Arab villages, like Beit Sahur.

From 1996-1999, MK Meir Porush (UTJ) served as deputy housing minister. Those were the days the ministry, in coordination with the Prime Minister's Office, planned the new neighborhood southeast of Jerusalem. "I was in charge of the plans for Har Homa. There was a lot of opposition to the project from left-wingers [because of its location in east Jerusalem], there were lots of warnings that the Americans would never authorize it, but here we are, and for me, I see it as a big personal privilege given to me by God, to fulfill and be a part of this project," Porush recently declared in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

There is nothing clear about land titles or building within East Jerusalem. While many outside Israel refer to East Jerusalem as ‘Arab’ East Jerusalem and maintain it should be part of a ‘Palestinian state’ the fact remains that there was always a significant Jewish presence within East Jerusalem until the Arab blockade of 1948-49.

While US Secretary of State bristles at the suggestion of alleged settlement building at Har Homa - it was Jewish owned, titled, deeded land prior to the Jordanian invasion and occupation of East Jerusalem.

Only Carlin knows if you can say the seven dirty words on the heavenly CNN

If this isn’t a sign of the my times - I don’t know what is. George Carlin has died at 71 reports the Globe and Mail.
LOS ANGELES — Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday. He was 71.

Carlin, who had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems, died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET) after being admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.

Known for his edgy, provocative material developed over 50 years, the bald, bearded Carlin achieved status as an anti-Establishment icon in the 1970s with stand-up bits full of drug references and a routine called "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television." A regulatory battle over a radio broadcast of the routine ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 1978 case, Federal Communications Commission vs. Pacifica Foundation, the top U.S. court ruled that the words cited in Carlin's routine were indecent, and that the government's broadcast regulator could ban them from being aired at times when children might be listening.
I remember being a teenager and going over to my friends’ homes to listen to Carlin’s comedy albums. We had to keep the volume low so the ‘rents’ wouldn’t hear.

Friday, June 20, 2008

If you will it, it is no dream

I realize the truce is already in effect between Israel and Hamas, and like most, I have doubts about its alleged longevity. But perhaps it’s already a little too late, and the ongoing passivity and general incompetence of the Kadima government to protect Israeli civilians has now reached a tipping point of sorts. Jerusalem Post:
A student from the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva built a crude rocket and fired it from a nearby hill at a Palestinian village in the West Bank, security officials said Friday. No one was wounded. Among those suspected of involvement in the incident was the yeshiva's head, Rabbi Itzik Shapira, the Ma'ariv newspaper reported.

Members of the 'rocket launching cell' reportedly tried to cover up their actions, and several minutes after they fired the rocket they told residents of the Yitzhar settlement, where the seminary is situated, that an experiment was being carried out and not to be alarmed when they heard an explosion.

The rocket - which consisted of a launching device, a pipe and explosives - landed in an open area between Yitzhar and the Palestinian village, meters away from a Breslov Hasid, who happened to be praying there. After the loud explosion, a large number of IDF soldiers arrived at the scene, concerned that a terror attack had been perpetrated. However, the troops discovered that the rocket had been fired from the Yitzhar area and not from Palestinian territory.

When the IDF Central Command was informed that the rocket had been fired by Jews, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Judea and Samaria Police opened an investigation. Police spokesman Danny Poleg said Friday that detectives searched Yitzhar and questioned residents but made no arrests. Ma'ariv said that the student allegedly learned how to make the rocket on the Internet. Detectives were trying to find out who provided the explosives and who else was involved in the incident.

Then of course, this was the latest civilian protest against the course of action the Kadima government undertook to provide humanitarian supplies to the Palestinian population under the Hamas run Gaza Strip while Israeli civilians remained under fire from said Palestinians. These protests have been ongoing since February. Ynet News:
More than 100 farmers from Gaza-vicinity communities rally near Sufa crossing in attempt to block transporting of goods from Israel into Strip to protest ongoing rocket fire (06.15.08)
Not convinced? How about this – Ynet News:

Hundreds of residents from Israeli communities suffering from Gaza rocket barrages have launched a campaign to actively oppose what they call the State's 'disengagement' from the western Negev. Their first order of business was staging a tax strike.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday that those behind the initiative seek to protest the government's inaction in the face of daily attacks from Palestinian terror groups. The residents fear the situation may continue to escalate despite the ceasefire agreement.

"We are not the one's breaking away from the State, it is the government that has led us to this," said members of 'The Parliament' – a group of over 20 residents of communities in the western Negev who have come to lead the protest. The group includes, among others, Ofer Lieberman from Nir Am, Ofir Lipstein and Eyal Kedoshim from Kfar Aza and Nir Brouda from Miflasim. Kedoshim came to prominence following the death of his father, Jimmy, from a mortar shell several weeks ago. "As far as we are concerned, there is no tahadiya (truce). We will continue our fight according to plan," they said.

The group has erected protest tents at the Nir Am and Magen junctions and hundreds come there nightly to support their cause, primarily residents from Sderot and neighboring Gaza-vicinity communities. The protest is being held under a banner calling for the region to break away from Israel and form an independent 'Western Negev State.'
Who would have thought that Arab refusal to recognize Israel as the national homeland for the Jews would potentially be a tipping point to launch another Jewish state? But why stop at the establishment of the Western Negev State – how far long before there are calls to demand the establishment of the state of Judea in the disputed territories?

Take a look at the comment section of the Ynet article. The Israeli commenters were overwhelmingly in favor of establishing the Western Negev State the last time I checked. And for all who presume to think the establishment of a second or even third Jewish state is nothing more than hogwash - I leave you with the words of Theodore Hertlz – the father of modern secular Zionist -

If you will it, it is no dream.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Homegrown ‘Maher Arar’

When the prosecuting Crown Attorney turns on its star witness/paid informer and accuses him of lying in Canada's top terrorism trial - the smell of acquittal becomes overwhelming in the air. The Toronto Star:
In a stunning turn of events, a Crown prosecutor yesterday accused his star witness in the Toronto 18 terror case of fabricating some of the evidence about a so-called terrorist training camp. Police mole Mubin Shaikh was caught off guard by prosecutor John Neander's suggestion that he had lied when he said the youth on trial did not know the true purpose of the camp. Neander called some of Shaikh's testimony "an invention" designed to protect the defendant. Although Shaikh agreed that he considered himself "a protector of the vulnerable" – a reference to the youths who attended the December 2005 camp – he rejected any notion that he had been untruthful on the witness stand.
One of the crucial discrepancies involved why the teens were told they had to clean up the campsite when leaving. During a preliminary hearing, Shaikh testified "we did a sweep to conceal" and cover up "anything that would give away the nature of our activities."

But during this trial, he testified the youths were given a cover story and told to clean up the camp to protect the "chipmunks and squirrels" from choking on what they'd left behind. Neander reminded Shaikh that he had described the nature of the camp as "nefarious" and questioned why they would've needed a cover story when its true purpose was evident since they had participated in firearms training and listened to terrorist rhetoric.

"Every fibre of your being as a loyal Canadian and a devout Muslim recoiled at what (the alleged ringleader) was doing to corrupt them, isn't that correct?" Neander charged. "Yes," Shaikh replied. "That's why now you maintain this incorrect pretext that there was some effort ... to mislead the youths as to the purpose of the cleaning up the camp," shouted Neander. But Shaikh remained steadfast yesterday that alleged ringleaders had concocted an innocent explanation for the camp and that the teens had no idea its intended purpose was to prepare jihadi warriors. Defence lawyer Mitchell Chernovsky pointed out to Shaikh that the Crown had suggested he lied under oath. "I seek refuge with Allah for such an implication," said Shaikh, denying the charge.

Another area of dispute revolved around who was present during a speech by the alleged ringleader in which he said "we're not officially part of Al Qaeda but we share their principles and methods."

Initially, Shaikh testified that everyone at the camp was present during the Al Qaeda comment, yet later said he wasn't sure who was listening. Yesterday he changed his tune again, saying the Al Qaeda comment may not even have been part of the inflammatory speech and said he didn't know who heard it.
I am going to say this once more for the willfully obtuse. The entire case against the Toronto 18 has stunk since the first SWAT sniper was positioned on the roof of the courthouse at the defendants’ first court appearance. If you have not been able to smell it – it could be because you were either too busy reading fear-mongers or you have been too busy slinging the fear yourself. Christie Blatchford called the defendants the Clown Princes of Canadian Terrorism. She had it wrong - it's the RCMP who are the real Clown Princes of Canadian Terrorism.

Obama - good for Zion?

There have many articles written whether or not US Democratic presidential nominee Obama has a ‘Jewish’ problem. I am not going to attempt to discuss it, but as someone once said, a picture is worth a 1,000 words.
Aliyah roughly translated, is the Hebrew word used for when a Jew immigrates to Israel.

Israel Matzav

Canada: land beyond parody

The longer I live in this country the harder it is for me to understand why Canadians have a reputation for being dull and boring. For example, take this report from AFP:
OTTAWA (AFP) — A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl's grounding, overturning her father's punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The girl had taken her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on websites he tried to block, and then posting "inappropriate" pictures of herself online using a friend's computer.

The father's lawyer Kim Beaudoin said the disciplinary measures were for the girl's "own protection" and is appealing the ruling. "She's a child," Beaudoin told AFP. "At her age, children test their limits and it's up to their parents to set boundaries."
According to court documents, the girl's Internet transgression was just the latest in a string of broken house rules. Even so, Justice Suzanne Tessier found her punishment too severe. (Hot Air)
Or how about this one from CityNews:
Colleen Leduc already had a lot going against her. The Barrie woman was holding down a job while struggling to raise her autistic 11-year-old daughter. She couldn't afford to give the child the intensive therapy she needed, and was forced to send her to a public school in the area.

So she was completely unprepared for what happened to her and the youngster, an almost unbelievable tale of red tape involving a strange claim from a teaching assistant, a bizarre decision by a school board, a visit from the Children's Aid Society (CAS) and most improbably of all, the incorrect pronouncements of a psychic.

Leduc's weird tale began on May 30, when she dropped young Victoria off for class at Terry Fox Elementary and headed in to work, only to receive a frantic phone call from the school telling her it was urgent she come back right away. The frightened mother rushed back to the campus and was stunned by what she heard - the principal, vice-principal and her daughter's teacher were all waiting for her in the office, telling her they'd received allegations that Victoria had been the victim of sexual abuse - and that the CAS had been notified.

How did they come by such startling knowledge? Leduc was incredulous as they poured out their story. "The teacher looked and me and said: 'We have to tell you something. The educational assistant who works with Victoria went to see a psychic last night, and the psychic asked the educational assistant at that particular time if she works with a little girl by the name of "V." And she said 'yes, I do.' And she said, 'well, you need to know that that child is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.'"

Victoria, who is non-verbal, had also been exhibiting sexualized behaviour in class, actions which are known to be typical of autistic behavior. (See other typical actions here) That lead authorities to suspect she had a bladder infection that may have somehow been related to the 'attack.'

Leduc was shaken by the idea. "It's actually your worst nightmare your child being violated," she admits. "So for them to even suggest that, and that be my worst nightmare, it was horrific." But things got worse when school officials used the "evidence" and accepted the completely unsubstantiated word of the seer by reporting the case to Children's Aid, which promptly opened a file on the family.
"They reported me to Children's Aid," Leduc declares, still disbelieving. "Based on a psychic!"
Dull, boring, staid - I think not.

Hamas's Equivalent to Self-Help TV

The truce between Israel and Hamas went into effect today and Ynet News carries this startling report:
VIDEO - The ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza Strip began Thursday morning at 6:00 am, however, while Israel and Hamas persevered in their attempt to conclude the final details for a ceasefire mediated by Egypt over the past few days, Hamas continued demonstrating militancy in their televised broadcasts. In broadcasts on the organization's television network, Hamas gunmen exhibited various combat skills and ways to kidnap Israeli soldiers, like they did Gilad Shalit.

The video provided by the Palestinian Media Watch, exhibited the kidnapping skills of the organization’s gunmen to the spectators at home; showing a blown-up IDF armored vehicle and Hamas gunmen carrying an IDF soldier over their shoulders, escaping with him. This is chilling evidence to what most-likely happened during Shalit's kidnapping.

In essence, the station broadcasts Hamas' “activities” against Israel a few times a day. In other instances, it portrays the organization’s penetration into Israeli settlements and army bases.

The al-Aqsa station was established more than a year ago and is already considered extremely popular in Gaza and in the Arab world in general. The young broadcasters emphasize the propagandist, forceful line of Hamas and the station’s many reporters are dispersed throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
I bet we won’t see this on the CBC.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Green Sh*t Happens

The Liberal Party of Canada has produced a document called Tips for Greener Living. It's so hard to just pick one howler out of so many but if I were to pick a favourite howler - I think tip #45 is the best:
45. Barter Goods and Services

Shhhh...I'm sure Revenue Canada agents will be down with that one. Perhaps Dion will find a way for us to barter the taxman away???? #20 should get an honourble mention – Fill up your dishwasher before using and run during off-peak hours.Who knew using an automatic dishwasher could ever be considered an exercise in 'greener living'?

G-d Bless Stephane Dion and all his little minions – for saving the planet - one dishwasher at a time.

The Drive-Thru Conundrum

The Toronto Star carries this report of one's man search for emission truth at Markham drive-thru windows:
De Sylva hates drive-through queues so much that he decided to calculate the gas burned and tonnes of carbon dioxide spewed at Markham's drive-through establishments. His campaign against them started a few years ago, when he noticed that many coffee shops paid more attention to car driver customers at the window than customers who walked through the door.

It annoyed him, and he decided to do some analysis, starting with plotting the location of all of Markham's drive-ins: Burger and doughnut restaurants, banks, drug stores – anything with a drive-through window. He found 29. Then in April and May he dispatched employee Alison Christou to do the painstaking work of counting cars at sample drive-through lines and measuring their progress with a stop-watch.

"I was amazed at what I found," says de Sylva. By his calculation, which was based on a formula used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the cars lined up at Markham's 29 drive-through establishments uselessly burn 435,185 litres of gasoline a year. That's enough to let an average car circle the globe 85 times.

As for greenhouse gas emissions, de Sylva calculates the damage at 118 tonnes of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. "It's my atmosphere as much as anybody else's," says de Sylva. His objective on drive-throughs is simple: "I think they should stop them." De Sylva acknowledges that for many of his three-plus decades as a property developer, he built low-density suburban subdivisions, the kind that spawned the car culture that led to drive-through service. He has now turned to developing higher density, multiple-unit buildings with features like geothermal heating, rooftop solar arrays and wind-powered water heaters.

Nick Javor, a spokesperson for Tim Hortons, says de Sylva's analysis is flawed. Tim Hortons hired its own consulting firm, RWDI AIR Inc., to calculate emissions for cars in the drive-through lane and the parking lot at its own stores. That study – which compared the emissions caused by drive-through idling compared with those produced when a car crawls through a parking lot, manoeuvres into a space, stops, restarts and crawls back out – concluded there is "no air quality benefit to the public from eliminating drive-throughs." It found that hourly emissions for locations with drive-throughs were lower than for those with only parking lots; it was the same result with small congested lots and larger free-flowing ones.

Okay, fine, whatever. There is a way to have the best of both. It starts with the promised legislation and ends with a Zenn-like moment.

Exiled from the Promised Land

Ah, another disenfranchised Conservative. In hindsight, my honeymoon started to end with the Emerson Affair and it has been downhill ever since. You can claim that Harper’s wooing of Emerson was a savvy political move and completely legitimate under parliamentary rules but it was sleezy as the day is long. If I wanted another government pulling fast ones I would have voted Liberal.

Now, if Dion would stop leading his party into retreat we might all just get somewhere. I am not saying I would vote for Dion/Liberal but I am looking hard at the Green party. Of course, it would help if I could get past the “Social Justice” title of their platform. The term ‘social justice’ just happens to be one of my pet peeves. What an oxymoron - as all justice is social and I am not too grown-up to admit to being afraid, as in really afraid, of what comes after the title.

A major-major win for Hamas.

After weeks of rumours, Israel has agreed to a truce with Hamas. Moreover, the Israeli government has agreed to end the boycott of the Gaza Strip, and if peace can be maintained for the next three days starting at 6am Thursday, the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip will end.

Of course, Corporal Shalit will not be coming home in the immediate future nor will the EU observers be returning to their job of monitoring the Rafah border with Egypt. Ha’aretz:
Israel on Wednesday officially confirmed that an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire (tahadiyeh) with Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip will go into effect at 6 A.M. Thursday.

"If the fighting indeed ceases Thursday as planned, Israel will ease its blockade of Gaza next week," government spokesman Mark Regev said. At the same time, talks to release abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit will intensify, Regev said.

Shalit was kidnapped by Gaza militants from his IDF post in a 2006 cross-border raid.

Egypt and Hamas, which controls the coastal strip, both announced Tuesday that a cease-fire will go into effect Thursday morning. But there was no official confirmation from Israel until Wednesday.

"Thursday will be the beginning we hope of a new reality where Israeli citizens in the south will no longer be on the receiving end of continuous rocket attacks," Regev said. "Israel is giving a serious chance to this Egyptian initiative and we want it to succeed."

However, alongside the Israeli confirmation came eight Qassam rockets fired from Gaza, most of which struck open fields in the Western Negev on Wednesday morning. One rocket caused light damage to a nearby greenhouse. Palestinian militants also opened fire on Israel Defense Forces troops operating near the Gaza-Israel border fence, but none were wounded.

The last truce Israel had with Gaza run Hamas lasted less than 48 hours.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

and the root of the word is conserve

The horrendous part about being a Thatcherite Conservative is how the Conservative party of Canada keeps alienating me. If this keeps up, rather exhibiting a well-worn apathy and keeping my $1.75 in my pocket - I may seriously have to consider voting for the Green party in the next election in order to stop monumental stupidities like this one from becoming the rigor of the day.
CBC News has learned that 16 Canadian lakes are slated to be officially but quietly "reclassified" as toxic dump sites for mines. The lakes include prime wilderness fishing lakes from B.C. to Newfoundland.

Environmentalists say the process amounts to a "hidden subsidy" to mining companies, allowing them to get around laws against the destruction of fish habitat.
Under the Fisheries Act, it's illegal to put harmful substances into fish-bearing waters. But, under a little-known subsection known as Schedule Two of the mining effluent regulations, federal bureaucrats can redefine lakes as "tailings impoundment areas."

Surely I cannot be the only conservative who understands the root of the word conservative comes from the word ‘conserve’?

One trick pony.

I read this article at Arutz Sheva and the phrase ‘chickens coming home to roost’ kept churning through my thoughts. Fares Al-Ashi, who was trained by Americans in South Carolina when Fatah controlled Gaza security forces, is using his education to teach Hamas loyalists to be martyrs, according to the Chinese new agency Xinhua. He said he gives his trainees information about explosives as part of a new Hamas police training.

The "martyr Aziz Massoud" course is named after a terrorist, one of the police trainers, who was killed in an IDF strike in February. "Every program should carry the name of a martyr," Al-Ashi said.

The United States has trained hundreds of Arab Fatah militia members who were part of the elite Presidential Guard, a private army that was envisioned as protecting Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas from a Hamas coup. However, the Americans suffered an embarrassing defeat when Hamas overran Fatah forces in Gaza last year.

A training manual distributed by American Secret Service officers, with the logo of the Counterterrorism Training Group and the U.S. government seal, was a teaching manual for Al-Ashi and other former Fatah terrorists who switched to Hamas.

And because the American strategy of training Palestinian Authority Security forces worked out so well in the Gaza Strip, the Americans continue to arm and train Fatah security forces in the West Bank – in the hopes, that this time, PA forces will be able to crush any possible Hamas ascendancy there.

Of course, no one stops to think how a lack of decent governance, rampant cronyism & corruption within the Palestinian Authority gave rise to the conditions which saw Hamas’ crescent star rise in the first place but by all means continue using the same strategy. It may even work - one day, somewhere else.

Monday, June 16, 2008

If this doesn’t jeopardize my warmonger credentials – what will?

I wanted to post this online opinion article because a great many people assume Israelis are warmongers 24/7 and are always good to go. So often, the only voices we hear on this side of the world are the most sensational in Israeli politics. This belies what a complex and diverse place this country really is. Ynet News:

Please go ahead and write down the names of the politicians, public figures, and journalists who are prompting the government and the IDF to enter Gaza. These people, the very same ones, will be asked the following questions after the next war (yes, it will be a war): Why did we go in? Who needed it? These same people will of course ask for the heads of Olmert, Barak, and Ashkenazi to roll, because “we need personal accountability.”

Indeed, there is no arguing that the situation in Sderot and the Gaza region is intolerable, impossible, and cannot continue. It is also true that there isn’t, never was, and never will be another country in the world that would allow for even one day its sovereignty and its people to be targeted like that. It is also true that the IDF is capable of wiping Gaza off the face of this earth (and there are some amongst us who even promise to wipe out Iran and its tens of millions of citizens.)

This is all true, but one needs not be a military commentator or retired general in order to realize that a wide-scale military operation, a euphemism for war, will bring maybe several months of quiet in its wake, but after that we’ll again face the storm.

We are talking about 1.5 million people who have nothing to lose. They are armed to the teeth; even following the occupation, or liberation, of the Six-Day War they possessed many weapons.

We can occupy and flatten Gaza, and then what? There’s nobody like our Arab neighbors when it comes to restoration. Anyone who served in the territories can tell you about how quickly razed homes are rebuilt. Sometimes within two to three days. Hundreds and maybe thousands of Palestinians will be killed, and then what?

And for a change, I agree with Haber even though we stand on different divides of the political spectrum. Invading Gaza is a fool’s errand without a long-term strategy and is nothing more than an exercise designed to keep one’s finger in the dike. Even if a military offensive effectively destroys Hamas’ power base in the Gaza Strip what is the point of turning control back to Fatah?

Defending Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Post reports US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice is upset with Israeli ‘settlement’ building in East Jerusalem. Apparently, she intends to make the ‘settlement’ activity loom large in her discussions with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni. I think Livni should not even bother attempting to reason with Rice but rather defer all dialogue on Jerusalem to Professor Kedar. He stood up to the anchor on al-Jazeera pretty well.

And in another news – the IDF reports terror activity in Jenin, recently turned over to the US trained Fatah security forces have allowed Jenin to once again become a hotbed of terrorism…imagine that.

Friday, June 13, 2008

He did it - No she did- No he did it-No she did-No he did.

One of the enduring myths of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is the tit for tat nature of it. I will not deny the conflict does not hold a certain element of that but it does not happen as often as one might presume or any side claims. Yesterday’s attacks by Hamas are a prime example of what I mean.

Ynet News reported a major work accident in the Gaza Strip Thursday:
Palestinians reported that at least seven people have been killed and 40 more wounded in a large explosion in northern Gaza on Thursday afternoon. Hamas sources told Ynet that two of the seven people killed were senior operatives from the organization: Hassan Abu-Shakfa, one of the organization's commanders in northern Gaza, and Ashraf Mushtaha, another of Hamas' senior operatives.

The incident occurred in the home of Ahmed Hamouda, who is a member of the Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. A source from the organization said that the fact that the blast occurred during a meeting held by the senior operatives is evidence that the explosion was part of an Israeli attack, and witnesses also reported the explosion was caused by an Israeli airstrike.

However the IDF made clear no forces had launched an attack in the area. Military officials said the army was looking into whether the explosion may have been the result of ammunition detonation, but estimated it most likely appeared to be a Palestinian 'work accident.' Palestinians said there were women and children among those wounded, five of them are said to be in serious condition.

Shortly afterwards Hamas ‘denounced’ the IDF action and a major kassam rocket barrage was launched against Israeli civilians. Meanwhile the IDF speculated yesterday’s rocket barrage as cover for an attack against the Israeli border – Ynet News:
As Israel's Gaza-vicinity communities were hit with dozens of mortars and rockets, Palestinian terrorists reportedly attempted to infiltrate the country with an explosives-laden vehicle. IDF soldiers identified a bulldozer approaching the security fence in northern Gaza at an alarming speed, not far from the Israeli community of Netiv Ha'asara.

At some point the bulldozer came to a halt about and a man was seen stepping out of it and fleeing the scene. The troops proceeded to open fire and hit the man. No injuries were reported among the soldiers, and an investigation has been launched into the incident. Army officials said that Gaza gunmen were planning to use the heavy mortar and rocket fire on the western Negev as a diversion in order to carry out a massive attack at the border fence.

Israeli forces positioned along the Gaza-Israel border have recently received warnings of a possible terror attack with the use of a camouflaged vehicle, similar to the one launched on Passover eve at the Kerem Shalom crossing. In that attack, 13 soldiers were injured when two car bombs were detonated at the terminal, located near the segment of the security fence that separates Israel from the southern Strip. It was estimated that the terrorists also planned to kidnap soldiers back to Gaza.

Today, the Jerusalem Post carries this report:
Eight people, including an infant girl, were killed in the powerful explosion, which flattened the home of a Hamas operative. After Hamas initially blamed Israel for the blast, the IDF immediately said that that was not caused by an Israeli attack but was rather a "work accident," most likely caused by terrorists' faulty handling of explosives.

Hamas's military wing, Izzadin Kassam, said Friday that the previous day's deadly blast in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya was caused by an accident as operatives were "preparing for a special martyrdom operation."

I remember one blogger picking up the Hamas chorus shortly after the abduction of IDF Corporal Shalit. He believed Hamas’ claims that the attack on the IDF border post was the result of an IDF operation in which two Hamas terrorists were arrested two short days before the abduction.

It just could not have happened that way. It takes far more than 2 days to dig a tunnel of several hundred feet which would open shortly before an IDF outpost -especially a clandestine tunnel. The nature of the terrain in the area gives no physical cover either. The IDF makes mistakes from time to time but one should never suspend reason and logic in order to believe Hamas's imaginary claims. It defies all logic to believe the IDF would deliberately leave Palestinian tunnel diggers unmolestated. But just like Hamas, there is just simply no reasoning with most of their apologistas.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Count on the Colonel

Gadhafi... to say the most outrageous things possible. Ha’aretz:
Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi said on Wednesday that U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's expressed support for Israel stems from his fear that the Mossad would assassinate him, just as it did President John F. Kennedy.

"We suspect he may fear being killed by Israeli agents and meet the same fate as Kennedy when he promised to look into Israel's nuclear program," Gadhafi said.

While the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is widely assumed, Israeli officials have never admitted their existence and U.S. officials have stuck to that line in public. Gadhafi saw a dark motive behind a recent speech by Obama in support of Israel. "Obama offered $300 billion in aid to Israel and more military support. He avoided talking about Israel's nuclear weapons," he said.
Okay, I am just having a little trouble getting my mind wrapped around Lee Harvey Oswald as Mossad agent but once I get over all the obvious deficiencies in my imagination I marvel at the ingenuity of the Elders. If you think suggesting the Mossad killed J.F.K and will probably take out Obama should he become president of the United States isn’t outrageous enough there is always this:
Gadhafi said Obama would have an "inferiority complex" because he is black and if elected he might "behave worse than whites."

"We fear that Obama will feel that, because he is black with an inferiority complex, this will make him behave worse than the whites," Gadhafi told a rally at a former U.S. military base on the outskirts of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

"This will be a tragedy," Gadhafi said. "We tell him to be proud of himself as a black and feel that all Africa is behind him because if he sticks to this inferiority complex he will have a worse foreign policy than the whites had in the past."

Okkkaay - Fine.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sins of the Fathers

See this report while I quote Dr. Dawg:
The mother and father have now split up. "He's a bigot," says Mum. "I'm just a white nationalist." Oh, that's all right, then. How can one fail to see that obvious distinction? So Manitoba child services is now prepared to "re-integrate" the kids back into the mother's comfy little nest of hate. Ende gut, alles gut.

I disagree, and I hope MCFS reconsiders. As feminist and legal scholar Lorenne Clark once put it, "the last place we need privacy is in the home." (Just ask the children of Josef Fritzl.) She rejects, as do I, any absolute distinction between "public" and "private." It takes a village to raise a child, and that means we are all accountable for the children of our community.

Children's services in Canada are often criticized (and with good reason, sometimes) for being lax and careless. In this case, however, they acted quickly and correctly to rescue children from an emotional cesspool of hate. Now, however, they seem poised to return the kids to that cesspool.

That would be a grievous error. MCFS should stick to its guns. Neo-nazis are not fit parents. End of story.
See, I am one of those bristle at the whole notion of it 'takes a village to raise a child'. Like where was the fracking village when the diapers needed changing? But stop and think for a moment about that whole 'village' concept. It was the Dominion of Canada's underlying justification for the establishment of the aboriginal residential school system/nightmare.

The 'State' deemed native parents were unable to effectively parent their children with the 'values' the State deemed was necessary to be a productive member of said 'state'. The State used the full force of its coercive powers and separated Aboriginal children from their families. It was rationalized, and deemed to be a necessary intervention in the best interests of the children. Otherwise, thousands of Aboriginal children would not have full access to beneficial things like an 'education' and 'health services', and so began Canada's infamous residential school system which sucked upwards of 80,000 children - at a cost to the human psyche which remains today - simply incalculable.

The State, and its upper tiered agents all ‘meant well’ and only had the ‘best interests’ of the children at heart. And I guarantee you they were all so very self-assured that their way was the right way. But it was not only the Dominion of Canada who forcefully removed children from their parents - Mao did it in the Cultural Revolution. So did the Khmer Rouge to name just two other states. In each instance, the State exercised its coercive powers to remove children from their family homes because the parent's values clashed with those values of the State.

One of the great things I love about growing older is the wealth of experience I can draw on and so I want to share a little of my early life experience. I realize it is strictly anecdotal story but my being the non-religious religious I am, I still believe very much in the gift of both free will and redemption. This experience contains elements of both.

My last few years of secondary school were spent in small city located in southwestern Ontario. It had been pre-dominantly settled by German immigrants - pre-WW1. In the aftermath of WW2, it once again, became the natural destination of choice for thousands of German immigrants fleeing the uncertainty of life in a vanquished nation. One of my friends carried the nickname 'Nazi Dog', but a kinder, more gentler soul would be harder to meet or even know.

Mikey did not get the moniker because of any deficiencies of character on his part but because he was raised by a real live Nazi father who ruled the household with an iron fist. And no, I do not mean a neo-nazi wannabe but the real deal. It is not everyone who can claim his father was a member of the infamous SS but Mikey could. I did not fully grasp what burdens Mikey grappled with until I finally agreed to be Mikey's guest for dinner. Mikey was always looking for someone to come home to dinner with him rather than face his parents alone at the table.

His father was a grim man of few words and his every utterance was law. I remember the food was excellent but the tension around the dinner table was extreme when Mikey and I sat down. I did not realize Mikey's mother had been holding her breathe until I heard her gasping for air after Mikey's father pronounced me - with my blue eyes and blonde hair a model of Aryan womanhood. It was at that point Mikey's mother finally smiled at me, patted my hand and duly kept my plate full through dinner. I admit there was a perverse part of my nature which took great pleasure in the irony of being called a model of Aryan womanhood - and me - the descendant of Russian Jews and Roma.

Dinner officially ended when Mikey's father went downstairs to his special room in the basement. We chatted for a while to his mother who I hoped would switch from automatron mode to human once Mikey's father left the room but she didn’t. Perhaps if Mikey’s parents were young rather than older it might have made a difference. And then again, maybe not.

We went downstairs to watch television in the basement family room. On our way down the stairs I caught the faint refrain of martial music and I craned my neck towards the sound coming from the partially opened door of Mikey's father's private room. As I walked by, I only had a brief glance, but it was long enough to take in the sight of Mikey's father sitting in his chair. His SS jacket was slung around his shoulders and he was waving a beer stein in time to the music with his hand. I could only hear the vaguest under current of his humming. I suppose he was reliving his glory days when his kind hoped to rule the world. Apparently, he did this every night.

Mikey loved his parents but he held no respect for the young man his father chose to be. Nor did he take on the mantle of his father's values; although, he did use his father's money to pay his way through university. The last time I spoke to Mikey, he was over the moon as he had just landed his dream job of working as a therapist for mentally challenged children in another city. One could argue that Mikey grew up in a dysfunctional emotionally abusive home, but if he hadn't - would he have spent his life working to make literally hundreds of other children's lives better?

My point being, no one knows what depths lies within a human heart. One man's poison is another man's inspiration. Children are not empty slates simply awaiting imprinting from their parents. Nor do children grow-up necessarily to be the sum total of their parent's values. Just ask my poor pacifistic mother who despairs often of her 'warmongering' daughter. Alternatively, one could even ask my own teenage children, who question literally my every utterance from ‘Good Morning’ right through to ‘Good night’. Most days; it's like living with the entirety of the Law Society of Upper Canada crammed into in my home.

So Dawg, there are worse things than having a Neo-Nazi father, and even if you did have a Nazi parent it is still quite possible to choose to be the man you want to be – independent of the man your father is. And if you were 'lucky' enough to be saved by the state and removed from the direct care of your alcoholic but functional Metis parents, there remains always the possibility you will spend five years in foster care experiencing what it is like to be powerless and literally everyone's fuck… just like a good friend of mine did. She tells me indentured sexual servitude is extremely overrated as an early life experience and I tend to defer to her wisdom in these matters. Me, I trust neither the Village or the State with the care of my family.

No Gaza Ops

The Jerusalem Post lead reads ‘Security Cabinet Rules Out Gaza Operation for the Time Being’:
The long-delayed decision whether to accept an Egyptian-brokered cease fire with Hamas or step up military operations against the Gaza Strip came before the security cabinet on Wednesday, and despite reports that a majority of ministers favored tough military action, the decision was to give the cease fire talks more time.

The meeting was preceded by a Tuesday discussion between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in which the various scenarios were reportedly discussed. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin also took part in that meeting, from which no details were provided.

One government source said that while Olmert and Livni favor stepped-up military action before agreeing to a cease fire, Barak wants to send his top adviser Amos Gilad back to Egypt one more time for additional clarifications before taking action.

Although technically Olmert, Barak and Livni could take action on their own without seeking approval from the security cabinet, the source said that in the current political climate, where whatever decision Olmert takes would be criticized as having been influenced by his legal and political problems, he wanted the decision to have the backing of the security cabinet.

A number of cabinet ministers came out in favor of a widespread action before Tuesday's weekly cabinet meeting, with Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim, a close Olmert ally, saying "Israel must launch an operation against Hamas," adding that the country could not risk letting the Islamic group rearm itself "before the next round."

Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann advised the ministers at the cabinet meeting (held on Tuesday rather than Sunday because of the Shavuot holiday) against talking publicly about whether or not there would be an operation, saying that the constant discussion on the matter reminded him of how Hassidim "wait for the messiah."

I actually think it was a prudent move in light of the current political instability and a rather limited political plan for the future of the Gaza Strip. It is suggested that the Kadima government will fall next week and the last thing anyone should want is a caretaker government making the kind of decisions a large scale military operations in the Gaza Strip would entail.

New Plan for the Gaza Strip

Sounds remarkably just like the old one. For this morning's uninspired idea of the day, I offer the following Ha'aretz report wherein UN Secretary General Ban suggests a multi-international force should police Gaza Strip borders:
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered during a meeting of the Quartet in London several weeks ago to send a multinational force to the Gaza Strip, to assist the security forces answerable to Salam Fayyad's Palestinian Authority government to operate the Rafah, Karni and Sufa border crossings. That way, Ban explained, the border crossings could be opened continually and fully.

According to a senior Israeli political source, the plan known as "pockets of access to Gaza" originated with Fayyad, and was recently adopted by the UN chief, and presented to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and to senior Russian and European Union officials.

According to this plan, the multinational force sent to Gaza would operate in the "triangle" between the Rafah, Sufa, and Kerem Shalom crossings, and possibly also at the Karni crossing. The UN force would be headquartered in Egypt, and its troops would come to the crossings in Gaza daily.
What I want to know is how Ban will keep this multi-international force from hightailing it into Israel (just like the old EU Observer team did) every time Hamas decides the border should be a free fire zone? Even more to the point, has anyone sought out Hamas and asked if its wants a PA/International force manning their border checkpoints?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pruriently Conservative – NOT

The last few months, I have felt oddly out of touch and politically discontented with a great number of bloggers making up the VRWC. I find myself constantly startled by the actions and words of those I have nicknamed the ‘rabid right’ whose conservatism seems to amount to a kind of online anything goes version of soccer hooliganism rather than a commitment to any known principles or values of conservatism.

So what exactly are conservative principles? As Russell Kirk points out there is no Holy Writ or defining book like Das Kapital. Conservatism is not so much a rigid ideology as much as it is as a way of looking and interacting with the world as it is rather than the place one wishes it to be. I found Kirk’s Ten Principles of Conservatism a good place to start:
First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.

Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.
Although, I am a fan of Kirk and Edmund Burke in general, I am probably far too much of a neoconservative for Kirk’s taste. I did find an interesting tidbit from the Iron Lady - taken from the Principles of Conservatism Lecture series, on a virtue I plug endlessly to the children which seemed quite apt.
When the Heritage Foundation asked me to make the virtue of Courage the centre-piece of this Lecture I was not displeased. Of the four cardinal virtues -- courage, temperance, justice and prudence -- it is the last -- prudence -- that the ancient philosophers traditionally placed at the moral apex.

They did so because they understood, quite rightly, that without that practical, seemingly rather dull, virtue none of the others could be correctly applied. You have to know when and how to be brave, or self-controlled or fair-minded, in particular situations Prudence -- or what I would prefer to call a good, hearty helping of commonsense -- shows the way.

The Gaza Op

On Wednesday the Israeli cabinet is set to meet and decide if a large scale Gaza operation will be launched and the speculation is rife. The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the Palestinian Authority has asked the US to step in and use whatever influence to stop a military incursion into the Gaza Strip. Count on Caroline Glick to sum up the angst intrinsic to the dilemna.
For the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government, a cease-fire is attractive politically. By providing a temporary respite from the jihadist missile attacks against southern Israel, the cease-fire will suspend the local media's coverage of the grave and gathering threat to Israel's security in the South. And the lull in media coverage of the Iranian threat in Gaza will provide breathing room for the scandal-ridden and deeply unpopular Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government as it seeks desperately to avoid new general elections.

Gifted politicians that they are, Olmert, Livni and Barak know that if they decide Tuesday to reject the IDF's pleas to conduct a military campaign to dislodge Hamas again and opt instead to sign the Egyptian-mediated cease-fire deal with Iran's Palestinian army, they will be properly accused of political opportunism and cowardice by the media and their political opponents. So to sign on to a deal with Hamas, they need military cover.

As The Jerusalem Post reported last week, that smokescreen will likely be what Olmert, Livni, Barak and their surrogates refer to as a "medium-sized military option" against Hamas. The aim of their preferred military approach is not to defeat Hamas. They just want to "send it a message." In plain English, what their preferred military option involves is committing IDF forces to battle in numbers insufficient to defeat Hamas. IDF forces will be killed in battle and in the end, Hamas will still control Gaza. But in their public speeches, Olmert, Livni and Barak will claim victory arguing that now that they have "sent Hamas a message" they can sign the cease-fire agreement.

For their part, the local media will justify the government's decisions and agree to present them to the public as a strategic achievement. The media can be expected to do so for two reasons. First, they will not wish to upset the families of the soldiers who will die in the campaign by noting that their lives were sacrificed for nothing. And second, the leftist media is uninterested in general elections which will bring Likud to power and so they will work to block them by collaborating with the government in its attempts to pretend that the "medium-sized military operation" was a good idea.

As for the political opposition, as was the case in the Second Lebanon War, they will be unwilling to criticize the government while Israeli forces are risking their lives in battle. Afterwards, they will fear being castigated by the government and its media flacks as "unpatriotic" or "warmongering" if they criticize the outcome of the "medium-sized military operation" that will leave Hamas and Iran strengthened and free to expand their control to Judea and Samaria.

In short, Olmert, Livni and Barak are about to decide to sacrifice the lives of IDF soldiers in order to delude the public into believing that signing a cease-fire agreement that leaves Hamas in charge of Gaza and in a position to take over Judea and Samaria is a strategically sound policy.

This drastic assertion could be easily attacked as delusional and even paranoid if we hadn't been here before. But we have.

Two years ago, Israel was the victim of naked aggression when Hizbullah forces launched an unprovoked attack on an IDF patrol, killed three soldiers and abducted Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser while pummeling northern Israel with Katyusha rockets and short-range missiles. Although Olmert at the time declared war against Hizbullah, he, Livni and then defense minister Amir Peretz refused to order the IDF to defeat Hizbullah.

They refused for weeks to launch a ground campaign. They refused for weeks to call up reserve units. Interested in "sending a signal" to Hizbullah rather than defeating its forces, for four weeks they ordered the IDF to conduct operations with no operational logic in which IDF forces were killed in battles that had no strategic purpose.

Then, after squandering some 30 days of fruitless fighting, reacting to the public outcry against his incompetence, Olmert belatedly ordered a ground assault of South Lebanon. He ordered IDF forces to move in helter-skelter and attempt to complete an operation that was planned to take more than 96 hours in 48 hours. Most egregiously, the entire operation was launched after the UN Security Council had passed resolution 1701 defining the terms of Israel's cease-fire with Iran's Lebanese proxy army.

Even though I have been accused of being a ‘pro-war’ kind of gal I cannot see how a limited incursion works to Israel’s advantage. A military incursion which has no long-term political/military objectives other than being used for political cover to save a few Kadima hacks will do little to ease the situation and its an abuse of power at its most cynical level. And I am not the only ‘warmonger’ who thinks so. Ynet News:
Surprising objection to military operation in Gaza: Member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Effie Eitam (National Union-National Religious Party), urged late Monday against launching a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. The reason: Due to his political bind, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is unfit to send soldiers into battle.

“I support a wide military operation in Gaza that would bring calm to the residents of the south,” Eitam said, adding that “a prime minister who has lost his defense minister’s faith, and who has been ideologically suspended by him, cannot make fateful decisions regarding Israel, including a military operation in Gaza and the country’s borders.”
When even the hawks cannot say go - its probably not wise.

Taking Bi-Partisanship to a new level.

Not only does this pass the vulgar test with flying colours but I cannot imagine it as anything but a mood killer.

And yes, its for real.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rogue Zionists

The story of four Palestinian shepherds being beaten by masked settlers is getting a great deal of play in Israel. This is Ynet News recap of the story:
Four Palestinian shepherds were assaulted Sunday evening by masked assailants near the West Bank settlement of Susya in the south Mount Hebron area. The Palestinians claim the assailants were Jewish settlers.

According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, among the victims was a 68-year-old woman who was evacuated to Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center in serious condition.
The remaining victims, including the woman's 70-year-old husband, sustained mild injuries and were treated by IDF paramedics at the scene. Hebron police were scouring the area in search of the attackers.

While the possibility remains that masked Jewish settlers did beat the Palestinian shepherds, my experience has lead me to take these kinds of accusations with a grain of salt. And when one considers the rate in which Palestinians from the Hebron area conduct clan warfare; it could just have easily been a ‘masked’ Palestinians who attacked the shepherds. Just this week the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported this:
On Tuesday evening, a man was killed and 5 of his relatives were wounded when a number of gunmen opened fire at them in the context of a dispute between two clans living in the southeast of Hebron. In the same context, a child was killed on Wednesday evening during an exchange of fire between the two clans.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 17:00 on Tuesday, 3 June 2008, 5 gunmen opened fire at a number of members of the al-‘Ajlouni clan, who were near a grocery shop belonging to ‘Aayed al-‘Ajlouni in Jabal Jouha neighborhood in the southeast of Hebron. As a result, Mahmoud Sameeh al-‘Ajlouni, 31, was killed by several gunshots, and 5 of his relatives were lightly injured by shrapnel from gunshots.

At approximately 13:30 on Wednesday, 4 June 2008, Safawt Mohammed al-Salaima, 13, was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the head during an exchange of fire between the two disputing clans. Al-Salaima was with his father in al-Sahla car park in the southeast of Hebron. He was evacuated to the hospital, but medical efforts to save his life failed.

And why accuse the Israelis rather than finger their own? Well, the Palestinian police are not the most effective or judicious sort, and if one claims a Jew did it - medical care is usually given in an Israeli hospital. Apparently, the only woman victim was rather badly injured which also makes me rather suspicious. You have three males, lightly injured, but the woman was beaten senseless. If it was ‘masked settlers’ one would expect the three men to be serious injured and the woman only lightly attacked.

Then of course, most settlers in the Hebron Hills areas are also religious Jews so I find it a little strange a group of masked religious Jews are running around on Shavuot beating Palestinian shepherds, and if the Ma’an News Agency account is to be believed, Israeli police were present during the attack…but I suppose anything is possible under heaven – just like the Zionist boar attacks. Ma’an News Agency:
Nablus – Ma'an – Wild boars released by Israeli settlers have attacked and seriously wounded a Palestinian man in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security sources said.

53-year-old Hikmat Abdul Mu'ti from the town of Beit Rima was hospitalized ten days ago after the animals attacked him while he was walking to his fields. According medical sources at Yasser Arafat Hospital in the city of Salfit, the man sustained a 'deep wound,' and is still in the hospital.

The security sources said that settlers from the Ariel settlement deliberately release wild boars, especially in Kana valley fields which belong to the West Bank village of Deir Istiya. In the past these boars have been known to damage crops in that valley and frequently attack farmers.
All of which goes to show - Zionists are only limited by their imagination.

PM seeks to avoid 'political crisis'

It didn’t get a great deal of play but Stephen Harper has postponed his trip to the Middle East due to the political crisis in Israel reports the Toronto Star:
Growing political uncertainty in the Middle East has forced Prime Minister Stephen Harper to postpone an upcoming trip to the region. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is facing a leadership crisis, with cabinet ministers pushing him to resign over allegations of corruption involving illegal campaign contributions and a bribe.

Harper had planned to visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan later this month in his first tour of the region since becoming Prime Minister. But Harper plans to reschedule the trip to avoid showing up during major confidence votes in the Knesset.

While I understand the Prime Minister’s reluctance to attend, I half suspect he would feel right at home during the political ‘crisis’ as he is no stranger to political crisis in general. It would have also been a great opportunity to meet with any number of potential leaders. If one wishes to only visit or establish ties in stable good times that speaks more to a lack of leadership, and in Israel, every day has the potential to be a political crisis.

Not Wanted.

Yankee - go home and man up.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Arranging Translation

Every once and a while I read a report from an Israeli paper which has been translated into English but something is definitely lost in translation. I read this in the Jerusalem Post and decided to re-arrange the structure so it reads a little more cohesively. Let’s start with what happened last March in the political echelon:
At the end of March, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad in Jerusalem and presented them with a detailed list of goodwill gestures Israel planned to begin making to the Palestinians in the West Bank to ease their lives and bolster Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Barak pledged to remove 50 dirt roadblocks in the West Bank as well as one major checkpoint.

And there is insight on what is going on today in the political military echelon:
Earlier Sunday, the IDF announced that Israel had removed 10 roadblocks in southern Hebron. The move came following decisions by the political echelon and in accordance with security assessments, the army said. The IDF added that the removal was part of a series of relief measures that the army and Civil Administration were implementing for West Bank Palestinians.

The recent removal of the roadblocks, said the army, was a further step in the relief plan authorized by the Defense Ministry and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi. The army stressed that it would continue to defend Israel's citizens, while doing its utmost to allow the Palestinian population to maintain daily routine life.
And the result:
An 18-year-old Palestinian was arrested Sunday afternoon at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus after military police on duty discovered he was carrying six pipe bombs, an ammunition cartridge and bullets, and a bag of what appeared to be gunpowder.

Cpl. Ron Bezalel of the military police's Taoz Battalion told Army Radio that the youth had sent his bag through the checkpoint's X-ray scanner. When the explosives were discovered, the troops on duty immediately implemented the protocol for stopping a terror suspect. "It's routine to find bombs at this checkpoint... every day, we find knives and other weapons," Bezalel said.

The military said the Palestinian was most likely on his way to perpetrate an attack in an Israeli city. He was arrested and transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for interrogation. Three weeks ago, another Palestinian carrying five pipe bombs, which he had attached and strapped to his chest in the manner of an explosives belt, was stopped at Hawara.
Now the report not only informs but makes a cohesive statement as well.

Consider this a change from stories of pedophile priests

Generally, when one thinks of Christian archbishops the phrase which comes to mind is usually not warmonger. CanWest News:
Although he is a man of God, it took no time for him to talk politics. The North American archbishop of the Antiochian Christian Orthodox Church, Philip Saliba, called on his native Lebanon to abolish its sectarian governing system and demanded the United States provide more military aid - specifically missiles - to the country's beleaguered army.
"If the United States would give Lebanon five per cent of what it gives Israel, I think the Lebanese people will be very protected.
"The U.S. just sent us a few military vehicles. Oh, that was very generous. We don't need vehicles, we need missiles to protect the airspace."

Oh, did I mention the archbishop’s call for more weapons happened on a visit to Montreal?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I'll stand for Hillier

I was reading a Toronto Star report on the appointment of Canada’s new Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk and came across a this line of utter ignorance and I could not let it stand without comment.
Hillier convinced the then-Liberal government to move the armed services away from the notion of soldiers as peacekeepers.

Bullshit. It was the times which created the change in the deployments. The times, you fracking ignornant knuckledragger. The Chief of Staff serves only at the pleasure of the government of the day. Canadian forces were first deployed in Afghanistan by order of the Canadian government, and whether one likes Jean Chrétien or not - he was certainly no one’s patsy – let alone General Hillier’s to play or command.

If the Canadian forces have moved away from tradition roles of peacekeeping per say it speaks more to the lack of trained manpower to maintain our commitment in Aghanistan as well as an unlimited number of peacekeeping deployments abroad. This is why last summer Canada ended its participation in the Golan Heights – one of the country’s longstanding peacekeeping missions.

General Hillier was a fine soldier and served his country and his men with outstanding distinction. Of course, I suppose when our media celebrate and idealize a failed and broken soldier - is it any wonder Hiller remains an enigmatic they cannot fully comprehend? I can live quite easily with our media ‘betters’ not getting Hillier but is there really any need to demonize the man?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Forked tongue

Obama came to AIPAC and gave his Jerusalem will never be divided on my watch speech and the crowd clapped.

Today, the Jerusalem Post carries a ‘clarification’ of what Obama meant when he spoke of an ‘undivided Jerusalem’:
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama did not rule out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem when he called for Israel's capital to remain "undivided," his campaign told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama declared Wednesday, to rousing applause from the 7,000-plus attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference.

But a campaign adviser clarified Thursday that Obama believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with." "Two principles should apply to any outcome," which the adviser gave as: "Jerusalem remains Israel's capital and it's not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967."

He refused, however, to rule out other configurations, such as the city also serving as the capital of a Palestinian state or Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods. "Beyond those principles, all other aspects are for the two parties to agree at final status negotiations," the Obama adviser said.

So glad the ambiguity of Obama’s position was cleared up by his ‘handlers’ otherwise he might be held to account for that ‘undivided’ bit in the future.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Too Dangerous for Canada but Safe for New York City

It is not that I am much of a greenie, but I was curious about what electric cars are available for sale in Canada given the GM layoffs and the current price of oil. My curiosity lead me to the ZENN Motor Company and the discovery that this Canadian designed and manufactured electric car, which sells literally everywhere, is not available for sale in Canada. In fact, even if you made a run south of the border and bought a ZENN you would not be legally allowed to drive it on the streets of Toronto.
The Economist even carried a little blurb on the bureaucratic blundering:
Canadian companies, ZENN Motor Company and Dynasty Electric Car, make small electric cars designed for city use; a third, which will use new battery technology developed by Exxon Mobil, plans to launch a model later this year.

But almost all these "low-speed vehicles" (or LSVs) are exported to the United States because Canada refuses to allow their use on public roads. Transport Canada, the regulatory agency, questions their safety. It doubts they would stand up in a collision with a delivery truck or a sport utility vehicle. Officials say they crash-tested one which didn't fare well, though they refuse to release the data. The agency wants LSVs confined to "controlled areas", such as university campuses, military bases, parks and Canada's few gated communities. Its advice has carried weight with the provinces, which make the rules of the road.

It is true that the cars are made from lightweight metals and plastics. But the manufacturers allege political bias: Stephen Harper's conservative government has much support in oil-rich Alberta. Backed by thousands of would-be buyers, they are campaigning to reverse the agency's decision. "It's a ludicrous regulatory situation. All you can point to is oil and the big guys and think there's a conspiracy somewhere," says Danny Epp of Dynasty.

Mr Epp reckons that his car should be allowed on urban streets with speed limits of around 50kph (30mph) or less. But Dynasty recently gave up the battle. In March it announced that it is being bought by a Pakistani firm, which will move production to Karachi and export to the United States from there.

ZENN—that stands for zero emission, no noise—promises to fight on. Ian Clifford, its boss, points out that there has not been a single death related to LSVs in the United States, where 44 states allow them and some 45,000 such cars are in use. And gas-guzzlers imperil public safety by polluting the air, he notes. But Mr Clifford is not expecting change soon. He claims that his campaign against Transport Canada has made him enemies. "Two senior, entrenched bureaucrats have told me personally that if it is the last thing they do, they'll keep LSVs off the road in Canada," he says.
Apparently, CBC did a little blurb on it. I missed it because I cannot stand to watch the CBC on a regular basis but it is available here for all those like me.

Oddly enough, there are already low speed vehicles on our roads. Here in Canada we call them bicycles and electric scooters but apparently the electric cars are just far more dangerous to drive on the road than a bike. I live on a major street in downtown Toronto and have lived here since 1995. One of the first unknown hazards about living here concerns keeping my living room windows open during the day without a fan on. If I do not run a fan, the living room fills up with exhaust fumes from the cars driving along the road. I should be lucky to live to see the day when no exhaust fumes filled my home, and yet, the streets were filled with cars.

I just find it incredible irritating how the government so often works against innovate solutions to old problems and actively works to thwart the best interests of citizens at almost every turn.

The bureaucratic blundering of the Conservative government of this issue should be a key point in Dion’s platform – that is, if Dion was really serious about greening Canada rather than expending his energy on disgraced former cabinet ministers. And the Conservatives, they need to start being accountable to their base (like me) and remember a key point of being a conservative is to ‘conserve’ and then, act on it. If I was a Greenie in Canada, I seriously think I would be contemplating slitting my own throat right about now for having to put up with the rest of us.