Sunday, August 31, 2008

How low will progressives go?

The question in my mind becomes just how low are progressive bottom-feeders prepared to go in this election cycle?

Sarah Palin Is NOT The Mother

For the record, I have had three pregnancies with birthing times running from 34 hours for the first child, 20 hours for the second child, and the third only finished after 44 hours. Oh, did I mention I had a grandmother who gave birth at 50 years of age to her last child and men were still trying to pick-up during her last month of pregnancy?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

GOP Shock Treatment

GOP Presidential nominee John McCain proves he is not only still a maverick at 72 but a man who can never be counted as out or dead in any race. Under estimate him only at your peril. His choice for a VP running mate is simply nothing short of fracking brilliant. Not only did he spring his choice on the US electorate on the day after Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama delivered his sermon on the Democratic mount, he stole Obama’s thunder during the election news cycle. I suspect all weekend long we will be reading and watching McCain/Palin analysis.

Contrary to what some political operatives are suggesting, this is not choice of a desperate candidate but the electrification and rejuvenation of the Republican base. Call it GOP Shock Treatment. The GOP race was deflated after the nomination race and the base demoralized. Most republicans were keeping a low profile and/or licking their wounds with the selection of John McCain as their candidate. More than a few republicans suggested they could only hold their nose and pull the level come Election Day – if they bothered to go out and vote at all.

All of which brings me to my two pet theories of American politics. Since republicans and democrats are more or less evenly divided in the US it is necessary that one party possess what I call the ‘pull-cull factor’. If no pull-cull factor exists, the best each candidate can hope for is that opposing party has so demoralize their base that it stays home in droves. The most vivid illustration of the pull-cull factor in action is the election of Jimmy Carter. Here was a man with little talent and few ideas beyond general malaise.

The American electorate in general was so totally demoralized by the Watergate-Nixon scandal that a candidate without seemingly wile and guile gave the appearance of ideal. Both democrats and republican voters were further outraged by President Ford’s pardoning of Nixon that the GOP base stayed home or switch sides rather than support Gerald Ford for another term despite Ford’s obvious decency and general competence.

But the sly old maverick lit a fire under the base and picked the perfect VP candidate to energize and unite the base while at the same stealing Obama’s campaign narrative of change and hope. In Sarah Palin’s narrative there is something for every American to relate to, hope and aspire for. Obama picked a VP candidate who represents the worse excesses of Washington old/boy insider politics while McCain, the old trooper, deliberately chose ‘new blood’ to lead and mentor so that the next generation to hold the torch - will not flounder or fall.

My second theory is that Americans prefer candidates who they would feel comfortable sitting down to beer and hot dogs with on the fourth of July. Given a choice between Barack Obama/Joe Biden or John McCain and Sarah Palin who do you really think American voters would feel more at home with? Hell, give Palin a gun or a rod and she will not only be able to go out and get dinner but cook it as well. Finally, a woman candidate for all seasons.

Sarah Palin is the modern feminist ideal in action which more women chose to pattern themselves after given the alternative of the Pelosi/Boxer/Clinton mode. And no - Kathy; Palin does not need a make-over. Her hair and glasses are perfect. She is gorgeous just the way she is. Generally conservative women do not find it desirable to resemble either Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton. Nor do we all dream of looking like Pamela Anderson in Frederick’s of Hollywood. But I have a prediction. In the coming days more American women will be choosing to wear their hair in the Sarah Palin up-do manner. As for me, I have a jumpstart on you all as this is my normal work hairstyle and I already own the reading glasses.

I have a general criticism of the press, well the Liberal press, which is this; contrary to reports like this AP article that has been widely circulated (taken from the Globe and Mail)
Ms. Palin's name had not been on the short list of people heavily reported upon by the news media in recent days, and Mr. McCain's decision was a well-kept secret until just a couple hours before Friday's rally.


It is completely understandably that the Canadian Globe and Mail has zero feel for American politics but who the frack are the alleged politico journalists writing for the AP these days? She was clearly in the running and I wrote about her early last June.

I could add pilot, runner, fiscal & ethics reformer and as well as mother of many to her narrative, and before any of you groan, I would caution you of two pertinent facts about women who have raised multiple decent children to at least adolescence – mothers of many usually possess three skills in abundance – the ability to make quick judgments and the knowledge how to multi-task and delegate. This is what one needs in any executive officer.

But it takes a spokeswoman for the Democratic candidate for change to pull back to the old politics of diversion and division when a new day dawns, and I quote.
"Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency," Adrianne Marsh, a spokeswoman for Mr. Obama, said in a written statement.
Sarah Palin was the former mayor of a small town, just like the thousands of other mayors of towns which literally cover the American landscape and make up the heartland of America. This is a deliberate ploy to diminish her accomplishments by denying her rightful title of Governor, and seeks to paint her governorship as nothing more than small change. Misogyny thy name is Democrat.

As for her lack of foreign policy experience, well I think that depends on how you look at her term as governor of Alaska for the last 20 months. Already she has had to oversee and conduct due diligence on an application for a license for a Transcanada pipeline deal. And yes, we are foreigners, and given the strong ethos of anti-Americanism which runs through the Canadian psyche, I would say that already puts her foreign policy credentials way ahead of Barak Obama who is running for POTUS and not the second slot of an election ticket.

crossposted to Dust my Broom

Friday, August 29, 2008

New-speak - circa 2008

The Shin Bet has arrested a cell plotting to murder Israeli pilots, scientists, and university lecturers. Ynet News
An Islamic Jihad cell plotting to assassinate Israeli pilots, scientists and university lecturers was exposed in a joint IDF, Shin Bet and police operation. The arrest was cleared for publication on Thursday evening.

The cell was comprised of three Palestinians and two Israeli Arabs from Shfaram. The group also planned to carry out a shooting attack against the IDF checkpoint near Beit Zeit, in the Ramallah area, and go after those suspected of collaborating with Israel. The planning of the assassinations was still in the early stages.

So in other words, they just wanted to wipe the Jews off the map.

Family Feud

If you still had any questions concerning Hezbollah’s state-within-a-state status within Lebanon, this Ynet News report should be clarifying:
Hizbullah shot down the Lebanese military helicopter earlier on Thursday over the village of Sejoud – sources close to the Shiite group confirmed to Lebanese media. The attack resulted in the death of the pilot, identified as First Lieutenant Samer Hanna. Two other military men who were traveling in the helicopter were wounded in the crash.

The reports, attributed to media associated with the anti-Syrian camp in Lebanon, assert Hizbullah intentionally shot down the chopper: "The helicopter was downed because it crossed the red lines which Hizbullah warned the ministry of defense and military not to go over. "Hizbullah informed them it was their obligation to uphold this. Hizbullah believes that that the ministry of defense and army headquarters did not know that the helicopter entered the no-fly zone."

Hizbullah issued a formal announcement in which it denounced the incident. The organization said however that the region in question was "sensitive" for Hizbullah.


In a move which seems quick to deflect and assign blame for the incident on the ‘anti-Syrian’ elements for the incident there was this statement issued:
But despite the sources' claims, Lebanese officials Ynet spoke with questioned Hizbullah's involvement. They noted that the reports originated from the anti-Syrian camp, which is extremely hostile to Hizbullah. "At present time there are no official reports in Lebanon indicating this," the officials said.

Of course, well all know Hezbollah wouldn’t spill Lebanese blood in pursuit of their agenda…unless the so-called Lebanese are Sunni, Druze or Maronites…I am only surprised no one blamed Zionist fairies with rpg’s.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Last Amazon, home of international spam

My mother is coming today so obviously it is a slow blogging day but I am getting a tad fed up with spam mail lately. At least, I think its spam. It would help if my spam came in English or even French. My Hebrew is rather limited to biblical words, and then mostly, to transliterate words using English letters.



Is it just me or does this guy look like Stephane Dion, leader of the Canadian Liberal party? Am I to believe Dion is a clooooset Jooo? If he is, the Elders are just too slick for words but I just do not receive spam only in Hebrew. My spam is truly international -

Стандарты работы торгового предприятия: как взять под контроль персонал, покупателя, продажи
16-18 сентября 2008 г., МоскваНаши телефоны:
(495)509-2139 и 509-2161


Об авторе:
Профессор, к.э.н., практикующий бизнес-консультант в области управления и развития торговли, автор популярных учебных программ для работников торговли, руководитель крупных проектов в розничной торговле Санкт-Петербурга и Москвы
В программе:


Построение эффективной системы управления торговым предприятием
Стандарты организации работ в области работы с товарами
Стандарты организации работ в области обслуживания покупателей и управления персоналом
Стандарты обслуживания покупателей от А до Я: что мы называем «велосипедом» продаж
Стандарты управления торговым персоналом: управление кадрами решает все

Стоимость участия в семинаре:
19.800 руб.,

НДС не облагается согласно главы 26.2 Налогового кодекса РФ.
Выдаваемый документ
Сертификат о повышении квалификации установленного образца
I haven't a clue as to what it reads but I expect it means send money.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm conflicted

Of all the current despots still ruling, a personal favourite of mine has long been Moamer Gadaffi of Libya. Usually, when a military coup is successful the leader of the coup appoints himself General and Leader, but not Gaddafi. He only aspired to only a ceremonial Colonel-hood and holds no “official” other titles.
Then there is his Amazon guard which travels with him everywhere and his general sense of audacious behaviour. Not the least is his unfailing ability to piss off the entire Arab League on a regular basis. If he was a Jew it could be easily understood, but in an Arab gentile - it really takes a special talent.

Ha’aretz is reporting that Lebanese Shi’ites are busy plotting their revenge on the Colonel:
Lebanon has indicted Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi and is seeking his arrest for his alleged role in the disappearance of a Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim leader in 1978, according to Lebanese local radio Wednesday.

Lebanese Shi'ite leaders have long accused Libya of kidnapping Imam Musa al-Sadr and two of his aides during a visit to the North African country. Libya has denied such a charge on several occasions. Lebanon's public prosecutor said in August 2004 he would open the investigation after looking into new evidence. "We decided ... to accuse Moamer Gaddafi ... of inciting the kidnapping ... of Imam Musa al-Sadr," radio stations quoted court documents.
Al-Sadr was the Iranian born founding member of the Lebanese Amal movement. I say good luck with all of that but really the problem is - who does one root for in a case like this?

What if you protested, in a city of a few million people, and almost no one noticed?


I received a copy of an email sent out by the Canadian Arab Federation, highlighting Monday’s protest by the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center against the ‘branding Israel’ campaign initiated by the Israeli government which is to meant to show the world that Israel, as a country, is much more than the sum of the conflict with the Palestinians. I understand the Palestinian dilemma and without the conflict with Israel, where is their unique identity? The war against the Jews has shaped and long defined their identity and culture as a people, and without the war against the Jews, who would be able to distinguish the Palestinians culturally from say the Syrian, Jordanian or Egpytian Arabs?

I know the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, in fact, the Last Amazon acted as a volunteer computer mentor to ‘disadvantaged’ children this past fall and winter there. The program was designed to help poor child learn how to operate a computer and at the end of a successful completion of the program, the disadvantaged children would not only have learned how to operate a computer effectively but would be gifted with one at upon completion of the program. The program was open to all poor children regardless of their ethnicity, race, religion, or sex. There’s an irony here for you and I wonder if the day will ever come when the Canadian Arab Federation or the CAIA would ever run the same kind of egalitarian program from their doors. Call it a failure of imagination on my part but I cannot imagine Jewish children being shown the same kind of hospitality.

Anyway, a copy of their full press release after the protest can be found here but the real money quote can be found at the end of their press release:
CAIA has vowed to continue pressing forward with this important campaign until the core demands of the Palestinian-initiated BDS movement are met, including: (1) the end of Israeli military occupation over all Arab lands; (2) the right of return of refugees as stipulate by UN Resolution 194 and (3) the granting of full equality to the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Ahhh yes, the destruction of the Jewish state all dressed up as a plea for equality. This group never speaks about the right of return for Jewish refugees from Arab lands, or demands the granting of full equality of citizenship to Jewish refugees from their respective Arab homelands, or how about a few lines of print suggesting an ending to the Arab occupation of Jewish lands?

crossposted to Dust my Broom

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dress Uniform on Parade

I stole this picture shamelessly from Simply Jews.

It brings new meaning to the term ‘dress uniform’ and kind of makes me wonder if they train in heels. Now you know why the west needs to help the Ukraine.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I learned to _____ on my summer vacation


While I was learning to drink beer in the middle of a Alberta river for my summer vacation, Islamic Jihad members were off on a different tangent learning the fine art of kidnapping in the Gaza Strip. Ynet News:
It turns out that the Islamic Jihad has been spending its time in the southern part of the strip, holding 'training exercises' on how to kidnap Israeli soldiers in a manner similar to Hizbullah's 2006 attack. "Thousands of Palestinian fighters recently trained in how to kidnap Zionist soldiers," reported the London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper on Monday, referencing the conservative Iranian Kayhan newspaper and Quds news agency.

No doubt the latest kassam launches were just a summer exercise in truce management and not a ‘truce violation’.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Taking No Prisoners Crowd

Kick Ass Blogger Award

I have been nominated as a ‘kick-ass blogger’ by both James Bow and Balbulican. The truly odd part is that neither of them has seen me in a bar fight so they have no first hand knowledge of how I can turn literally anything into a weapon. Be that as it may, I will accept their combined wisdom and judgment in good grace. The rules of this meme are that I am to link back to Mama Dawg and nominate five of my own ‘kick-ass bloggers’ and let them know. In no real particular order my five are:

Chucker Canuck – a truly Canadian phenomenon - besides points are always awarded for making me laugh and Chucker Canuck always does that.

Then comes what I would call the Guns & Moses crowd (although a strong element of atheism hangs heavy among some members). First up is Shlemazl who has not been posting much of late but he has the truly endearing habit of getting under literally everyone’s skin and he is not afraid to poke liberally.

Now I will get a little international by nominating one of my personal favourites - SnoopytheGoon. His blog can be a collected effort at times and often gets a rather diverse crowd commenting at the inner sanctum of the Elders. SnoopytheGoon’s responses are literally a little bit of manna. I saved one of my personal favourites and have been waiting for an excuse to post this.

Dear Nazi moron,

Welcome to the heart of the Elders' organization. Thanks for the wealth of information you have so painstakingly provided. Unfortunately, we cannot keep the links that you have so lavishly spread through the text. However, as a bonus for your effort, we want to let you into the deeper end of the conspiracy pool. You see, many of the names you have mentioned, such as: Jimmy Carter, Adolf Hitler, William Taft, Queen Elisabeth, Marshal Voroshilov, Khrushchev, even Tchaikovsky - all of them were closet Jooz. Of course, we control the world, we cannot help it anymore and it is not a secret.

One more thing you may want to know: to create a false impression of resistance, we have created a multitude of genetically modified androids, dead from the neck up to post Nazi drivel on the Internet. Very useful as an illusion of multiple choice and so called "freedom of information". You could have guessed by now that you are one of these androids. But then you are dead as far as your brain is concerned.
Joe Settler because everyone should have a settler watching the high road. Joe could be considered controversial by some but I find his take on events is just often downright refreshing.

My final pick is Krazy from Dust my Broom. Now the Broomers are an interesting lot and I do have a special in my heart for Darcey but Krazy deserves special mention. His unconventional and unwestern take on the Russian-Georgia conflict has not earned him any friends or fans at the Broom but it has left him undeterred and he refuses to concede defeat. He may be getting ganged up in the comments but he, just like the Russian retreat in Georgia, refuses to go, lay down or die. Besides, how can anyone not like a man who harbours warm fuzzy feelings for Russians?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bank of China called to account for alleged ties to terrorism

Kudos to Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Israel Law Centre and here’s to hoping the Bank of China gets what is owed for this bit of nefarious financial undertaking. Arutz Sheva:
(IsraelNN.com) More than 100 victims and relatives of targets of Arab terrorist attacks have filed an historic suit in Los Angeles against the Bank of China, which transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas and Islamic Jihad between 2004 and 2007. The suit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday, details how the bank wired money through its American branches to an account in China used by the terrorist groups.

Israeli counterterrorist personnel met with Chinese officials in 2005 to demand it cease from transferring more money, but the bank, with the approval of the Chinese government, continued to wire money for Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
(..)
Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner charged that the Bank of China "even had the chutzpah to make these funds transfers through its U.S. branches right under the nose of the Justice Department, despite the fact that Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad are designated terrorist organizations and that such wire transfers are a crime under American law. We expect the Bank of China to now pay very heavily for its support for terrorism."

How I would raze al-Aqsa and see the Third Temple Rise again

It is probably a good thing I am not Prime Minister of Israel as I would probably order a missile strike on al-Aqsa the next time Hezbollah showered Northern Israel with missiles and claim Hezbollah did it, in order to end this nonsense once and for all. Ynet News:

Jordan said on Thursday it summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest against plans for excavation and construction work near the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Jerusalem's most volatile holy site.

"Foreign Minister Salah Bashir summoned the Israeli ambassador this week to officially inform him that Jordan rejects such illegal measures," said MP Mohammed Abu Hdeib, head of the lower house of parliament's committee on international affairs, after meeting Bashir on Thursday. "Israel plans excavations near Mughrabi Gate (of the mosque) and wants to build a bridge there, violating the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan and international treaties," he said.

Abu Hdeib told AFP that the planned work "threatens the foundations of Al-Aqsa," and warned: "This would also lead to a new violent conflict in the Middle East because Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims and Arabs."
(…)
In February last year, Israel began excavation work on a pathway leading from the Western Wall to the compound, Islam's third holiest site, sparking Muslim outrage and prompting UNESCO to call for an immediate halt to the work. The Jerusalem mayor's office suspended work the same month, but failed to appease the Muslim authorities which asserted that the dig, while not under Al-Aqsa mosque itself, could harm its foundations.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that al-Aqsa is considered the third holiest site for Muslims but its presence freeloads on the Temple Mount – the holiest place in Judaism and the one place no Jew is ever allowed to pray in Eretz Yisrael out of a misguided sense of pandering to the sensitivities to Muslim bigotry.

Israel threatens to defend itself

And so the Lebanese Prime Minister threatens to complain to the UN. Ynet News:
Lebanon's unity cabinet on Friday approved a decision to formally complain to the United Nations about what it perceived as recent Israeli threats against Beirut. "To hear what Israeli officials say, one would think Israel was showering Lebanon with roses during its last aggression," Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said of the 2006 summer war between Israel and Hizbullah, in which over 1,200 Lebanese - mostly civilians - were killed.
And the alleged Israeli comments which crossed the line were:
Siniora was apparently referring to comments made this week by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who warned that Israel would hit back harder than before if Hizbullah guerrillas attacked again. Olmert said Israel did not use all means to respond then, but "if Lebanon becomes a Hizbullah state, then we won't have any restrictions in this regard."


Absolutely hilarious, although, I can understand why Prime Minister Siniora would be concerned considering this act of the Lebanese parliament:
Lebanon's new national unity government has given Hizbullah and their allies veto power over all major decisions and also upheld Hizbullah's right to retain its weapons.

Which is in direct contradiction to numerous UN resolutions (including 1701) and apparently Hezbollah is in the midst of preparation to act against Israeli interests.

Russian doublespeak?

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the acting Russian ambassador has offered his assurances that Russia has no intention of selling a missile defense system to the Syrians.

Russia has no intention of placing the advanced Iskander missile system in Syria, acting Ambassador Anatoly Yurkov told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. He made his comments in the wake of an offer by Syrian President Bashar Assad to allow Russia to deploy the short-range solid fuel missiles in his country.

The export model of the Iskander is difficult to shoot down and has a 280-km. range. If stationed in Syria, the missiles could deliver conventional explosives to almost anywhere in Israel. "Why would we do that?" Yurkov asked of such a deployment, adding that Russia had no interest in upsetting the strategic balance in the region.

Of course, why would the Russians actually have to sell the Syrians a missile defense system considering the Russians could just host and operate within their own Syrian naval base which they are alleged to be in the process of building?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The insatiable appetite for another's land

There is hardly a more contentious issue in Israeli-Arab relations than in the realm of land/ownership issues. The narrative portrayed in western media is almost always showing Arabs portrayed as victims of the insatiable Zionist appetite for another’s land but there is another narrative. Yitzchak Herskovitz and his pursuit to exercise his rights as a land owner is a prime example of what I mean. Taken from Arutz Sheva.
(IsraelNN.com) Yitzchak Herskovitz had hoped to have his Jerusalem property freed of Arab squatters by today (Wednesday), as the court ordered, but the police said they don't have the men for the job.

Herskovitz, a septegenarian formerly of Los Angeles and now of Kiryat Arba in Judea, bought property in southern Jerusalem in 1992. He has never been able to take possession of it, however, because of Arab squatters living there.

The police have turned down the most recent court order to evict the Arabs because of riots they expect will result. They promise to carry it out within several weeks - but Herskovitz is not optimistic. Though the feisty and colorful Mr. Herskovitz has legal title to the property, located near the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Gilo (Jewish) and Beit Tsafafa (Arab), a clan of Arab squatters say it is theirs. Their claims have alternated between "we received it when the original owner defaulted on a loan" and "we bought it from him."

In 2004, after handwriting and document experts testified that the Arabs' documents were fraudulent, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled in Herskovitz's favor. The Arab clan appealed the ruling in the Jerusalem District Court, which also ultimately ruled in Herskovitz's favor. The squatters then tried another tack, and in 2006, they sued for ownership of the property. The court has not yet ruled on this claim - but has given a hint of its position by issuing an interim order for the squatters to post bond and pay past rent, or else face eviction.

The Arabs did not pay rent or post the bond, and the District Court ruled, once again, that they can be evicted. Herskovitz, in accordance with accepted procedure, applied to the police to carry out the eviction order - but the police turned him down.

Adv. Yaakov Golbert, representing Herskovitz's interests in the foreclosure and reclamation of the party, told IsraelNationalNews what happened: "A police lawyer called me yesterday [Tuesday], and said that the police simply don't have the manpower for the job. They're afraid of riots, and soon [U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza] Rice is coming to the region, and soon it will be Ramadan, etc. etc.

Imagine waiting for Sixteen plus years and still not be able to take possession of the property one owns. It sounds like a record but it simply isn’t.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another great moment in equality opportunity

Brought to you via Hamas!



I personally am waiting for the next video installment. I have a bet on that it will be a Hamas promotional piece on the blind sniper brigade.

h/t Israellycool.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ah, our European Betters in action

Rarely is there a week which goes by that I do not offer up a silent prayer of thanks for my family choosing to leave old Europe behind to come to the New World. Since I was a teenager, I have encountered many of my intellectual betters singing the praises of old Europe, and yet, my family’s narrative told a very different tale.

Whenever anyone speaks of moving Canadian politics closer to the European style of accommodation and compromise, I will have to ask if we should adopt the Italian model and make Canada a safe haven for al-Qaeda operatives. Ynet News carries this report of the croc watch:>
It's official: The Italian government allowed Palestinian terror organizations to act freely within its territory in exchange for their commitment to refrain from targeting national and international Italian sites.

In an article written by former Italian President Francesco Cossiga for the national newspaper Corriere della Sera he confesses, "I always knew, though not by official documents and information kept from me, about the existence of an agreement based on 'don't harm me and I won't harm you' between the Italian Republic and organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the PLO."

According to Cossiga the agreement was approved and directed by former Italian Premier Aldo Moro, who "was awarded an extraordinary capability for the direction of Italian intelligence agencies and special forces after he received approval for the deal." "According to the deal, the Palestinian organizations could establish bases in Italy, enjoyed freedom of movement when entering and exiting the country, and could move around without undergoing mandatory security checks because they were protected by the secret service," Cossiga explained.

"During my time as interior minister I learned that PLO people were holding heavy artillery in their homes and protected by diplomatic immunity as representatives of the Arab League. I was told not to worry and I managed to convince them to lay down their heavy artillery and make do with light weaponry."

Cossiga's article was published just one day after Corriere della Serra's reporter in Israel interviewed Bassam Abu Sharif in Jericho, who is considered the foreign minister of the PFLP. In the interview Sharif admitted that Italy permitted free movement to Palestinian organizations within its boundaries.

Even in harmonious perfidy, the ‘agreement’ had ‘unforeseen’ consequences for the Italians:
But the agreement did not always run smoothly. On August 2, 1980 an explosion shook Bologna's train station; 85 people were killed and 200 more were injured in the blast. Cossiga believes it is entirely possible that the explosion was due to a "work accident" and that explosive materials handled by the Palestinians were responsible for the incident.

However Sharif claims that international intelligence agencies, mainly the Israeli Mossad, instigated the event in order to undermine the agreement between the Palestinian organizations and the Italian government. Thus Italians began to feel that the blast was not an outcome of a conflict between Italian extremists, but rather a consequence of the Israeli-Arab quarrel.

Ah yes, blame the Zionists. I cannot help but wonder, if in Jack Layton's world, dialoging with the Taliban also includes an apartment in Regent Park for bin Laden and friends.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Going West.

This is probably the last post for the next 12 days. Or maybe not.

But it is time for me to venture from the centre of the universe and see what lies outside and to the west. The children are packed, the iPods charged and loaded, the books are stashed (Liberal Fascism and Careless in Red – although I am never careless in red). Arrangements have been made to care for the Rogue, the uber-predator of all mice. The garbage is outside and left for the neighbors to fight over. There is nothing more left for me to do here but don my dress and leave. So leave I shall.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In Canada, we spell ENTITLEMENT as Arts Funding

I probably won't surprise anyone that I am generally against 'Arts' funding out of the public trough. Well, I suppose it might surprise someone if they didn't realize I was a Conservative, and then, confused the meaning of the word "libertine" with "liberal". That being said, the Canadian art community often fails to recognize the public purse is a finite source and not - an unlimited natural resource.

I have even lived and worked within the ‘arts’ community though I spent most of my professional artistic life in the United States; where the word “patronage” was the by-word of the day, and ‘patrons’ were ‘someones’ one actively sought, cultivated and nurtured outside the realm of the federal reserve for the most part. Returning to Canada I worked within the arts community in the 80’s and was shocked the attitude of entitlement Canadian artists held towards provincial and federal largess. If anyone was actively seeking out and cultivating a patron, I saw very little evidence of it.

The Conservative government has announced one of the federal gravy trains for promoting Canadian artists/art/culture abroad is about to dry out and all the usual suck-ups are mad as hell. Avi Lewis pens a column allegedly in defense of said funding in the Toronto Star and throws in his own experience:

Having worked outside Canada for almost two years, I was surprised that the Prime Minister's Office was still following my career. But there I was, singled out in a leaked memo, as a "general radical" undeserving of public funding, an "ideological activist" who should never have received money from the government to promote a Canadian documentary at foreign film festivals. Last week, the Stephen Harper government axed two programs – PromArt and Trade Routes – that helped promote Canadian culture abroad.
(…)
If you support public funding for the arts, which is a proven economic and cultural stimulus that the vast majority of Canadians embrace, then it's obvious that you should support those cultural products as they enter a crowded global market.
The government knows this, and knows that if its actions are reported honestly, there will be little support for the cuts. And so, in the middle of a summer when Canadians are having trouble paying for gas, they find a few examples that will enrage their Conservative base (hence the emphasis on Gwynne Dyer going to Cuba and my current work with Al Jazeera English) and use them as political cover. Now they've framed the story in terms of who deserves public funding, rather than who supports it – mission accomplished.

My actual experience of the PromArt program says a lot about why it is worth more than the cheap shots being lobbed its way. In 2005, I was invited to screen The Take, a documentary I directed, at a small film festival in Perth, Australia. It was actually the festival that told me about the program for promoting Canadian culture abroad. Thanks to the program, and the trip that it paid for, I found an Australian distributor.

The film had a successful commercial release on another continent due to a well-timed and modest injection of public funding. So in market terms, it was a no-brainer – the proceeds of the sale went straight to the National Film Board, defraying the public money that had helped to make the film in the first place.
So Lewis directed a film which was produced using public funds, then used public funds to find a distribution deal with a ‘foreign’ distributor so the National Film Board got some of their money back.

There is a deep irony here which Lewis misses entirely. His film, THE TAKE, documents the plight of a group of Argentinean workers and does nothing to promote Canadian culture abroad. Well, excuse me because I am tired of bending over and being everyone’s f*ck in the ‘arts’ community within this country. The programs were originally designed to promote Canadian culture abroad and not as a platform to promote the plight of Argentinean ‘workers’ or further a social agenda the rest of the country has yet to sign on to.

Maybe, today I am feeling a mite sensitive, and perhaps tomorrow I will fell differently – although I doubt it. You see, a dear friend just found out her 18 year old daughter needs to have a heart monitor implanted so the doctors can try to determine if her heart is causing her blackouts. There is only one problem. Funding is so tight that the waiting list for said device is backed up six months within the city of Toronto.

oh, those moderates!

Jordan is often thought of as an example of a moderate Arab country. It has a peace agreement with the Israelis and is allegedly on good terms with its Israeli neighbor. It is certainly not the first Arab country which comes to mind when one thinks of religious whack jobs running a state. So in that light I thought I would highlight this article from the Jerusalem Post:
Jordanian border officials refused to allow a group of Israeli tourists carrying religious objects such as talitot and tefillin to enter their country on Tuesday, saying it was "a safety measure" to avoid potential terror threats.

Thirty-six Israeli tourists on their way to Amman for a three-day tour were detained at the Sheikh Ali Hussein Crossing near Beit She'an at 6:30 a.m. and notified of a new regulation that prohibits entry into Jordan with tefillin, talitot, prayer books, Bibles or the Talmud. "Our group was presented with two options," said Alan Novetsky, a recent immigrant from New York who was accompanied on the tour by his wife. "Either enter Jordan without religious objects or go back to Israel."

Novetsky said the group's suitcases were thoroughly searched for religious items. "They seemed to know exactly what they were looking for. "It was very demeaning to have such a negative experience in what is billed as a friendly country. People in the group, including the tour guides, were quite shocked. No one had ever heard that Jordan imposed religious restrictions," he said.

"What made it worse was that the whole thing seemed to be directed solely at Jews. I saw Christians walking through into Jordan openly wearing crosses. Apparently, Christian religious symbols did not seem to be a problem for the Jordanians. I can well imagine the international outcry if Islamic tourists were to encounter such restrictions on their entry into Israel."

A Jordanian security official said the decision was taken only for "security reasons."

Wisely, the group chose to return to Israel but Novetsky is right. Can you imagine the international hue and outcry if Israeli authorities started banning articles of clothing like the Najab or the Koran? Oy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mensch Alert

I want to do something I rarely do here at the Last Amazon which is publicly thank and acknowledge a number of bloggers who have linked to or wrote their own posts concerning Canadian writer Howard Rotberg in the last few days.

I received am email concerning Howard Rotberg’s plight via Darcey at Dust my Broom, which prompted me to spew out my own two cents on my blog, and then his. It also motivated me, for the first time, to send out a personal appeal to other bloggers to publicize his story as far and wide as possible. I am not much of a self-promoter and often quite happy with my own personal blog obscurity. The positive response has been rather overwhelming and much unexpected from a number of quarters. So my personal mensch list goes like this, and please note - there is no second or third, or fourth etc., place at this list.

The Blog of Walker

The Alberta Pundit

No Right Puns

Smooth Stone

Vlad Tapes

Maverick News Media

Irons in the Fire

Blood Thirsty Liberal

Discarded Lies

Solomonia – oh wow.


Carl at Israel Matzav (who is always good for a looksee)

Aussie Dave at Israellycool (who really is cool even if I miss the podcast)

Anne at Boker Tov, Boulder! Who I suspect has absolutely the most incredible networking skills besides being a good soul.

Seraphic Press, and if you haven’t read “How I married Karen” do so – right now. Your heart will thank you.

SnoopytheGoon, for his crossing posting at both Yourish and Simply Jews (secret home of the Elders) and for including me in Haveil-Havalim #177, Tisha Bav Edition. I’m honoured to be included (and if SnoopytheGoon ever decides to run for office I will make aliyah just so I can vote for him - even though I am far more of an extremist than he will ever be). If you do not know what Haveil Havalim is - go check it out.

I have been blogging since May 2004 and in that time I have been linked to by a number of prominent bloggers. I have even been Insta-lanced by Instapundit when I hosted the Red Ensign Bloggers, I have been linked to by Time Magazine and the NY Times on their websites, but in all that time, I have never experienced anything like the last 24 hours after Kate McMillan linked to me on her blog Small Dead Animals.

Kate regularly defies, confounds, and sends her critics in fits of primal blogspew. She is a bright, articulate, conservative Canadian. She has built and incredibly successful blog which attracts literally all types from everywhere. She did it without being reduced to boobie blogging or posting cheesecake. She has done it on dial-up, and how she keeps sane, I just don’t know. What I do know, is this; we have often been miles apart on issues, and I suspect there has been the odd time or two, or maybe three or four, when we have been on polar opposite sides. But you know what – when all is said and done, she is still able to put that all aside for another. Kate, you rock!

Mea culpa: How could I overlook and not mention The Atheist Jew?

The alleged Truce

Once again, an example of the truce which can never be violated. Ynet News:
A Qassam rocket fired from northern Gaza landed in an open area adjacent to a kindergarten in the town of Sderot on Monday afternoon. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused. Residents confirmed the 'Color Red' rocket alert sirens sounded throughout the town and its neighboring communities moments before the impact.

The rocket landed at around 4:15 pm, as hundreds of Sderot residents were gathered in the town's center for a large shopping event held by a prominent retailer 'in honor' of the relative calm in the region.

Though the area has been relatively quiet since Israel signed a ceasefire agreement with Hamas and other Palestinian groups in Gaza in June, intermittent rocket and mortar fire has been recorded every several days. Two rockets landed in the same region last week, also causing no injuries.
Tweddle dee, tweddle dum, how long before the next one.

Apparently, the PA won't have Fayad to kick around in the future

Apparently, the bag man of the Palestinian Authority has chosen not to be part of any new Palestinian government reports the Jerusalem Post:
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad said over the weekend that he does not intend to remain in political office after the establishment of a new Palestinian government.

Fayad's remarks put an end to speculation that he was planning to run in the next presidential election in the PA. They also constitute a blow to the US and all those who were hoping that he would continue to play a major role in the PA in the future.
He renewed his call for the formation of a transitional government that would run the affairs of the Palestinians until new elections are held. He said the transitional government would not include members of Hamas or Fatah. Fayad, from the Third Way Party, made it clear that he does not see himself heading such a government. He said that his current job was the last he would hold in the PA. "This is the last official job I carry out in the Palestinian Authority," he said. "When we talk about the need to establish a new national government, we mean one that would be headed by a new prime minister and new cabinet ministers."

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that the Palestinians would not regret Fayad's exit from the scene. "The departure of Fayad and his government would end an era of dictatorship," he said. "Fayad and his government were part of a dangerous Israeli-American scheme aimed at protecting Israel's security."

I suspect any new governing authority will operate much the same as the old one. Still, I cannot say it makes me nostalgic for Arafat. In other news, the Palestinian Authority has turned down another proposal for a Palestinian state.

A new day dawns in Lebanon

Much like any other day - except for the bus bombing. Jerusalem Post reports:

A bomb ripped through a bus carrying civilians and members of the military during Wednesday morning rush hour in the northern city of Tripoli, killing 18 people and wounding 46, security officials said. The officials in the police said the dead included 10 off-duty soldiers. The army said the blast was a "terrorist attack targeting the army directly" and said the perpetrators were taking advantage of political tensions in the country. The military's statement had an initial casualty toll of 11 dead, including 9 soldiers. The different figures could not immediately be reconciled.

The bomb was planted on the side of a main street and went off as the bus passed by. The streets were filled with people heading to work, which contributed to the many casualties, the security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The blast raised suspicions that al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militants may have sought revenge on the military for clashes last year at a nearby Palestinian refugee camp.

The problem with assigning blame in Lebanon is that there are just so many choices.

No cursing allowed

I believe the Canadian malaise for politically correct speech has spread to the Israelis. Ynet News reports:
The Jerusalem District Prosecution filed an indictment on Wednesday against Bar-Ilan Professor Hillel Weiss, who was caught on camera cursing the commander of the IDF's Hebron Brigade during the eviction of two Jewish families from the West Bank city's marketplace in August 2007.

In the indictment, filed with the Magistrates' Court in the capital, Weiss is charged with incitement to violence, intimidation and offending a public officer. During the incident Weiss told Colonel Yehuda Fox “may your mother be bereaved, your wife be widowed, your children be orphaned and may you be struck down in the next war and any memory of you be erased."

Following the episode, which was caught on tape by Ynet's cameraman, the head of the Investigation Unit at the Judea and Samaria police launched a criminal examination of the statements, which turned Thursday into a full-fledged investigation.

No word if saying, ‘your mother wears army boots’ is still legally permissible.

Monday, August 11, 2008

There is no one state solution without the destruction of the Jewish homeland

The Phased Plan of the PLO lives. The Jerusalem Post:
"If Israel continues to reject our propositions regarding the borders [of a future Palestinian state], we might demand Israeli citizenship," top Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) was quoted by Reuters as saying overnight Sunday.

Speaking in a discussion with Fatah supporters in Ramallah, Qurei said the solution of two states for two peoples can only become a reality if Israel agrees to the Palestinians' demands and withdraws from the territory they claim as their own. A Palestinian source estimated that Qurei's comments reflected his pessimism regarding the sides' ability to reach an agreement on borders in the foreseeable future.

"The Palestinian leadership has worked to establish an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 [pre-Six Day War] borders, but if Israel continues to resist making this a reality - then the Palestinians' demand for the sake of the Palestinian people will be a solution of one state for both nationalities," Qurei told his listeners.

Now it should be clear why the Palestinians refuse to accept or recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland.

Free pass

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the IOC will not discipline Iran for swimmer’s non-participation:
The International Olympic Committee has accepted the explanation of an Iranian swimmer who pulled out of an event that included an Israeli competitor. Mohammad Alirezaei withdrew from the heats of the men's 100-meter breaststroke on Saturday just before he was due to compete against a field that included Israel's Tom Be'eri. He cited illness as the reason.

Iran could have faced sanctions from the IOC if Alirezaei pulled out deliberately because an Israeli was also racing, but IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Monday that no violation had been found.

"The athlete has withdrawn because of sickness," she said. "He confirmed this in writing to the swimming federation. We've also spoken with the national Olympic committee and they have underlined to us that all their athletes compete here in the right spirit against athletes from any nationality.

IOC enabling totalitarians everywhere.

The Truce which has room for violations

And just because it is not widely reported in the international press - do not presume the kassams are not falling. The Jerusalem Post:
A Kassam rocket fired from northern Gaza landed in the Sha'ar Hanegev regional council on Saturday evening, causing no injuries or damage. The rocket triggered the Red Alert air raid system throughout Gaza-border communities.

The incident continues a pattern of erratic cross-border shelling and rocket launches since the cease-fire was declared in June. The last such attack took place on Wednesday when a rocket fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel.

While I concede the violations are sporadic, the fact remains there will always be these groups. As you will never get nearly enough people on board for any truce a peaceful resolution to this conflict is a damned near impossible situation to achieve.

The media wars in a time of war

The Moscow Times is reporting the Russian government continues not to be a slacker when it comes to totalitarianism control:
Russian television is flush with footage of misery left by the Georgian assault in the separatist district of South Ossetia, but few, if any, reports mention Russia's bombing of Georgia. William Dunbar, a correspondent in Georgia for English-language state channel Russia Today, mentioned the bombing in a report Saturday, and he has not gone on air for the station since.

"I had a series of live, video satellite links scheduled for later that day, and they were canceled by Russia Today," he said by telephone from Tbilisi on Sunday. "The real news, the real facts of the matter, didn't conform to what they were trying to report, and therefore, they wouldn't let me report it. "I felt that I had no choice but to resign," he added.

A Russia Today spokeswoman said Dunbar resigned when a producer called to arrange a broadcast. She provided a copy of a Georgian media report saying Dunbar protested Russia's "aggression" against Georgia and said the channel assumed that was why he quit.

In an online story dated Saturday, the channel mentions Georgian statements about the Russian bombing raids but says its correspondents in Tbilisi "could not substantiate the reports." In a further twist of the information flow, Georgia on Saturday terminated broadcasts of Russian news channels Channel One, Rossia and NTV and blocked web sites in the .ru domain.

Meanwhile, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said hackers had crashed many web sites, including those of state agencies. His own site was not loading Sunday, with an Internet browser saying the server stopped responding. Before it went offline, the site was tampered with to show Saakashvili with the kind of mustache sported by Hitler, Interfax reported Saturday.

Russian officials and state media, meanwhile, criticized Western media, saying they had taken Georgia's side and were misinforming their audiences.

Gee, isn’t that just what the USSR regularly use to claim pre-Gorbacchev era?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Imperial Russia arises from the ashes of the Soviet Union.

The NY Times is reporting Russian troops are advancing on the central Georgian city of Gori and the Russian Navy has moved into position to effectively blockade Georgia. Russian air strikes continue to pound Georgia. So much for the Russian pretense of defending South Ossetia citizenry.

The Globe and Mail is reporting 2,000 Georgian troops currently stationed in Iraq are being air lifted to Georgia. If I was Russia, I would be extremely curious to who and what maybe returning with the Georgian troops. But even more significant, is the fact the Russian Ambassador alluded to Russia’s goal of ‘regime change’ and I quote,
The UN Security Council met for the fourth time in four days, with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad accusing Moscow of seeking “regime change” in Georgia and resisting attempts to make peace. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Russians don't use the expression, but acknowledged there were occasions when elected leaders “become an obstacle.”

The Ukraine has recognized the innate threat to its own sovereignty has warned Russia - it has the right to bar Russian ships returning homeward from Ukrainian ports.

Czechoslovakia 1938, Poland 1939, Baltics and Romania 1940, Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968…and so the question becomes does the West allow Georgia to be added to the list in 2008? And if today, Georgia, then tomorrow the Ukraine, and the day after the Ukraine, the Baltic states.

Am I the only one

Who does not care if John Edwards screwed around on his wife and then lied about it? I can understand caring if you were the Mrs. Edwards or even the 'mistress' but why is this receiving such tremendous air play on the news cable stations? Do Americans really believe Democratics don't commit infidelity?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Disproportionate Force is all in the eyes of the beholder

Now the Russian government has been rolling into Georgia and the President of Russia pledges: (Globe and Mail):
"In accordance with the constitution and federal law, I, as president of Russia, am obliged to protect lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are located," Mr. Medvedev said, according to Russian news reports. "We won't allow the death of our compatriots go unpunished."
I would like to remind everyone of the words of the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said when Israel launched its offensive to protect her citizens: Ynet News:
Meanwhile, in a strongly worded statement Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin condemned the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and in Gaza, called for Israel to respect Lebanon's sovereignty and also called for the release of Israeli hostages. "The continued destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories and the disproportionate use of force by Israel, which causes suffering to the civilian population, can be neither understood nor justified," he said

And since turnaround is fair play, if I was the Prime Minister I would take great pleasure in selling the Georgians arms.

I got mail.

Some people go to their mail boxes and get bills, letters, maybe a flyer advertising what is on sale at the grocery store or at Canadian Tire but I am a citizen living in the centre of the universe – dead centre, so this is what I get –


Unsolicited I might add, and paid for with mine and your taxes…oh the joy of being a citizen in Toronto – the city that never stops giving, and giving, and giving…

crossposted at Dust My Broom

Spanish Inquisition set to begin again

The Jerusalem Post is reporting the Spanish Inquisition is set to resume once again but this time there are no conservsos to persecute – only Israelis:
Israel is battling hard to overturn a Spanish court's decision to issue arrest warrants against six current and former politicians and senior military officials, a source in the Attorney-General's Office told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Late last month, Audiencia Nacional, the National Court of Spain (the highest Spanish judicial council), issued arrest warrants against the six - Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Doron Almog, Moshe Ya'alon, Dan Halutz, Giora Eiland and Mike Herzog - accepting a petition from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that suggested they were guilty of war crimes in the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2002.

At that time, Ben-Eliezer was serving as a defense minister; Ya'alon was IDF chief of General Staff; Eiland headed the National Security Council; Halutz was commander of the IAF, Almog was OC Southern Command and Herzog was a senior Defense Ministry official.

The plaintiffs claimed that Ben-Eliezer personally oversaw the killing of Hamas commander Salah Shehadeh, a Palestinian terror chief who was responsible for killing of dozens of Israelis, in which 14 civilians also died. Israel subsequently apologized for the civilian deaths.

The Foreign Ministry has said only that the matter is being taken care of. However, the Post has learned from a source in the Attorney-General's Office that active negotiations between Madrid and Jerusalem are taking place to overturn the warrants.
I am awaiting news of the Nasrallah warrant which I am assuming with be issued forthwith and without delay via the Spanish courts….but seriously, this is why when anyone starting yabbering about international law my eyes roll. One last thing - I could never argue the world was a lesser place with one less murderering bastard running around.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

UK Diplomats travel just to harass Jews in Hebron

The Jerusalem Post reports:
According to the British Consulate, a delegation of British diplomats was harassed by settlers while visiting Hebron on Thursday, Reuters reported. The diplomats were in an armored car at the time, and no one were injured in the incident. Reuters also quoted a Palestinian security official from Hebron as saying he saw one of the settlers kicking the car door after trying to open it. The report added that the British consulate had said police had broken up the scuffle, and were investigating the incident. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli authorities.

What I can’t understand is - if Settlers are persons non grata at the British Consulate just why are UK diplomats forcing themselves on Israeli settlers in Hebron? Talk about chutzpah.

Mayor David Miller's Scavenger's Shift or his dream is to fine Redd Foxx

When I was a child, one of the things my cousins and I use to do was scavenger for all kinds of soda and beer bottles which we would return to the stores in order to collect the deposit money. We weren't being green but poor and we were not alone. Most children did it at one time or another. Then of course, there were the grown-up scavengers. From the Sanford & Son types, to the bag ladies, to the dazed looking men talking to themselves. They all did it too.

Well, those days are long gone in Mayor David Miller's Toronto. In fact, take a beer bottle or pop can out of the garbage bin on the curb - and the city will fine your butt up to the tune of $360 dollars. Good luck collecting getting the bag ladies to shell up or PJ and his imaginary friend. The Globe and Mail reports:
TORONTO — Starting the evening before recycling day and often working all night in neighbourhoods throughout Toronto, scruffy-looking scavengers armed with dilapidated shopping carts sift through the city's blue bins, grabbing beer and liquor bottles to return for refunds.

It's a trade that city officials are planning to stamp out.

They may seem mostly harmless, but the view from city hall is that these scavengers are costing taxpayers money by stealing material – especially valuable aluminum cans – that the city would otherwise sell to recycling firms. And the head of the city's solid waste department, Geoff Rathbone, told The Globe and Mail the city plans to act as early as this fall.

"A lot of people tend to think it's providing cash to homeless individuals, whatever, but from a solid-waste perspective, we do want to crack down on it," Mr. Rathbone said, acknowledging that the city does not yet have a firm estimate on how much money scavengers are costing the blue-bin system.

(…)

City officials say they actually have to pay $12.50 a tonne for a private company to process the city's mixed, broken glass so it can be recycled. However, the city stands to lose money from the scavenging of aluminum cans, the most valuable of its recyclables, which it sells for more than $2,000 a tonne.

(…)

Under consideration, he said, is an enforcement blitz by city bylaw inspectors, who currently have the authority to issue a $360 ticket to anyone caught sifting through or taking garbage or recyclables left by the curb. While the city did not have statistics Wednesday, it is believed that very few such charges are ever laid.
Apparently, city council has set-up to have by-law enforcement officers conduct a scavenger blitz to paper everyone caught scavenging at the curbsides with fines come November. The City seems to be at great pains to let us know scavenging is not just bag ladies, kids and the mentally ill.

I say, 'So what?' I mean, should we not be actively promoting this kind of work ethic rather than trying to 'stomp out' a trade? I realize the term 'work ethic' is often considered a cuss word among socialist regressives like Miller et al, but really - it is far too hard to imagine garbage pickers as the new 'crack dealers' – that ethos just ain't gonna play for me.

I would like to point out to Mayor Miller and city councilors, that as a residence of the city of Toronto, I already pay for garbage pick-up regardless of whether or not the City can turn an extra dollar on 'recyclables'. Turning a buck on recyclables is a gravy and not meat and potatoes issue.

There really is a very peculiar sense of priorities coming from Toronto City Councilors these days. The councilors seem to just go merrily along with any half-baked regressive idea, and yet, balk fiercely at any measure designed to crack down on things like 'aggressive' panhandling, urinating and/or defecating in public parks, or just smoking crack in public. I really don't know why this cast of municipal clowns just doesn't go all out and fine all poor people within the city limits while they are dreaming up the next set of regulations and restriction for city residents. Nevertheless, here is a thought which I bet never crossed their minds - maybe the bottles and cans I put out in my blue bin are for the garage pickers and it is the City who is illegally scavenging in my bin.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ironies unbound

A few blog posts ago I referred to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel for everyone but Jews. I did a full sweep of their site looking for any press releases issued concerning the treatment of reporter Chezki Ezra. Not one word of ink was spared for his case but there was a siginificant amount of space used for taking up the plight of the beleaguered Hilles clan of Gaza who seeking asylum from Hamas.

So because I know ACRI will not take up his case, and therefore, Ha’aretz won’t cover it, many of you should be asking what happened to Chezki Ezra? Arutz Sheva reports.
A correspondent for Israel National News' Hebrew-language news, Chezki Ezra, was beaten, detained and questioned by police on Monday night after filming a policeman hitting a young protestor near the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Ezra's camera was smashed. He was later released, with apologies. MKs and legal rights organizations consider the incident another serious attack on freedom of the media.

The demonstration was broken up and Ezra and three others found themselves detained by police. After a police interrogation, the IsraelNN reporter's irreparably damaged camera was returned to him and he was released. The officer who attacked Ezra offered his apologies, but no explanations.
In other news, the Jerusalem Post reports the leftist extremist charge that Israeli security forces are deliberately keeping them from the West Bank.
Left-wing groups held an emergency meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon to plan an offensive against recent moves by security forces to curtail their West Bank activities. in a circle in the basement office of Peace Now, they complained that in a growing number of instances security forces had stopped them from either helping Palestinians in the West Bank or entering settlement areas such as Hebron, the South Hebron Hill and the area around the settlement of Yitzhar.

Security forces are kicking them out of the area, the activists complained, precisely at a time when they are most needed because violence between settlers and Palestinians is rising. "We have to organize now," said MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz) who called the meeting. He suggested that as a first step representatives from the groups should meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter.

"We see that what is happening in the field is more serious than it was before," said Beilin, in reference both to settler violence against Palestinians and to the security forces's treatment of activists. Beilin said that rather than recognize the ways in which the Left- wing groups were acting to help the situation, the security forces were treating them as if it was their presence which was causing the violence in the West Bank.

Gee, imagine that. Isn’t ironic how Palestinians are doing their utmost to enter into Israel one way or another while the Jews are plotting strategy to get into the West Bank.

How come the Brits never called for the Jordanian Illegal Occupation to End?

I freely admit any slight curiosity or tepid desire I might have felt for visiting Britain one day was demonstratively cooled when the 200th anniversary of Nelson’s stunning victory at Trafalgar was reenacted using solid red or blue flags so as not to hurt the sensibilities of the French. How so very lame.

I might have warmed up to the idea, given enough time, if the Brits hadn’t put Moshe Feiglin on a ban list while allowing every other anti-Semite and their grandmothers safe harbour but this just kills any hope for rekindling the desire. The Jerusalem Post:
British Foreign Office minister Kim Howells has vowed to ensure that settlers will not be invited to future events hosted by the British embassy in Israel following a complaint by a Member of Parliament that Israeli settlers took part in a party to celebrate the Queen's birthday at the residence of the British ambassador to Israel in June.

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt wrote to Howells on July 25, after raising the issue in Parliament the previous day, stating that the invitation to "settler leaders" gave the impression of a "weakening in the government's long-held position that settlements were illegal and an obstacle to peace."

"Entertaining the pioneers of this colonization movement has certain given the strong impression that Britain tacitly endorses it or no longer objects to it," Blunt said.

Three representatives of the Yesha Council - chairman Dani Dayan, Shaul Goldstein and Yisrael Medad - attended the celebration at the residence of British Ambassador Tom Phillips in Ramat Gan in June.

Singling out Dayan in his letter - who he said is "strongly in favor of expanding these settlements and even return settlements dismantled in the 2005 disengagement plan" - he asked the minister to ensure that British tax payers' money is not used on those who "violate the Geneva Convention."

He said: "We would like to know what steps are being taken to ensure that this never happens again and that British tax payers' money is spent entertaining those who violate the Fourth Geneva Conventions and whose very presence has been an obstacle to a vital and much needed peace deal in the Middle East."

In response, Howells has said that the presence of the settlers at the celebration "was not helpful" and that the British Embassy will ensure it does not happen in the future. In a letter sent to Blunt on July 31, Howells said: "I should like first of all to reiterate our firm position that all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law. You will indeed have seen that the Prime Minister spelled this out very clearly during his recent visit to the region and made clear including in a speech to the Knesset on 21 July that we want to see an immediate freeze of settlement activity and indeed withdrawal from them."

Howells added that the British Embassy in Israel has cultivated links with the settler community to make clear the government's view on the issue and convince them that settlements are "a significant obstacle to peace." "Our Embassy in Tel Aviv's contacts with the settler community have been with the goal of setting out the British Government's view on this issue, and to seek to convince them that settlements are a significant obstacle to peace. But you are right that their presence at this event was not helpful and the Embassy is reviewing its procedures to ensure that it does not happen in the future."

Who in their right mind bans Settlers?? I love settlers, okay – maybe not all settlers, but as a concept, settlers are the phat of the land. Who else makes the milk or honey for the Arabs to steal?

Time for UN to pull-out UNIFIL

So much for UN Resolution 1701. The Jerusalem Post reports:
Lebanon's new Cabinet unanimously approved a draft policy statement which could secure Hizbullah's existence as an armed organization and guarantee its right to "liberate or recover occupied lands" on Monday, setting the stage for a parliament endorsement of the government, Information Minister Tarek Mitri said.
Mitri said some ministers in the majority had reservations on the paragraph indicating HIzbullah can keep its weapons. But in the end, all ministers voted in favor of the statement, he said.

"The Cabinet unanimously approved the draft," Mitri told reporters after the five-hour meeting at the presidential palace in a Beirut suburb. The parliament will now discuss the policy statement before giving Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's 30-member national unity government an expected vote of confidence. The parliament meeting is expected later this week. The Cabinet is widely expected to win the parliament vote because it has representatives from the Western-backed majority and the Syrian-supported opposition.

Some observers in Lebanon see the clause on "resistance" as a significant victory for Hizbullah, which has long resisted giving up its arms in its fight against Israel. "Lebanese officials from the president down had always legitimized Hizbullah's resistance as a national cause," Timur Goksel, a former senior UNIFIL adviser/spokesman who now teaches in Lebanon about Middle Eastern conflict, told reporters on Sunday.

"This time, a vehemently anti-Hizbullah government - led by a majority that has significant Western support - has put its signature to a clause that allows Hizbullah to take actions in the fields listed without seeking government approval," Goksel said. "It also puts an end to any dreams of disarming Hizbullah. It secures Hizbullah's armed existence."
Since the government of Lebanon has duly enfranchised Hezbollah milita’s arms, and even has given Hezbollah an official mission statement of sorts; perhaps its time we all just accepted UN Resolution 1701 is an unmitigated disaster, nu? And the next time Hezbollah attempts “resistance” operations within the sphere of Israel sovereignty; I don’t want to hear any of you wankers pratting on endlessly about the ‘innocents’ in Lebanon. Hezbollah is now Lebanon and there are no more innocents.

In fact, I would say it’s high time to pull out UNIFIL as there is simply no point or role for UNIFIL if the government of Lebanon flat out refuses to disarm Hezbollah and prefers to allow Hezbollah to operate as a state within a state. Think I am being a little extreme. Check out this report from Arutz Sheva:
(IsraelNN.com) The Hizbullah terrorist group slammed the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Tuesday night for its intention to rescue any Israel Air Force pilot whose aircraft is shot down over Lebanon.

According to a report published by the Lebanese daily newspaper al-Akhbar, Commander Claudio Graziano distributed to his troops a contingency plan in which UNIFIL soldiers would aim to reach the pilot before the terrorists could get to him. Failing that, if the pilot is captured by guerrilla forces, Plan B is an attempt to rescue him from enemy hands. However, if the pilot is being held by the Lebanese Army, according to the plan, UNIFIL would do nothing.

Hizbullah spokesmen appeared on the terrorist-linked Al-Manar television station Tuesday evening to denounce the plan and the United Nations peacekeeping force, despite UNIFIL’s denial of the report.
Call it a failure of imagination on my part but a UN force who will not patrol at night or will not engage when threaten by armed gunman is not my idea of the cavalry riding to anyone’s rescue.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hebrew Spelling Quiz

How does one spell sore loser in Hebrew? Tzipi Livni.

Is Nasrallah aiming to make Iraq Hezbollah too?

The Jerusalem Post is reporting Hezbollah operatives have been captured in Iraq.
In a display of Hizbullah's extended involvement in conflicts throughout the Middle East, Coalition Special Forces captured two members of the group during a raid over the weekend in eastern Baghdad. According to the Multinational Force Iraq, the raid targeted the home of an individual suspected of serving as a member of a Hizbullah cell - called "Kata'ib Hizbullah" or "Hizbullah Brigades" - suspected of making videos of attacks on coalition forces.

The videos are then used to raise funds and resources for additional attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces. According to media reports, the Hizbullah Brigades have been active for over a year in Iraq and like Hizbullah in Lebanon, the group is trained and financed by Iran, likely via the Hizbullah's Al Kuds force, which was commanded by its chief operations officer Imad Mughniyeh who was assassinated in Damascus in February.

"The Hizbullah Brigades receive support from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command for financing, weapons, training and guidance," the Multi-National Force in Iraq said in a statement in response to a Jerusalem Post inquiry. "They have claimed responsibility for attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi Security Forces as early as late 2005."

On videos that it has posted on the Internet, the Hizbullah Brigades group uses a logo very similar to the Lebanese Hizbullah flag, showing a raised arm holding a Kalashnikov assault rifle, although coalition forces said they were not sure of the nature of the relationship with the Lebanese Hizbullah.

This is not the first time that Hizbullah operatives have been captured in Iraq. In July 2007, coalition forces apprehended Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Hizbullah leader and explosives expert, in Basra where he was reportedly training forces and even participated in several deadly attacks against US troops. Daqduq, a veteran of the Al-Kuds Force, was reportedly in Iraq to train and evaluate the performance of anti-US Shi'ite militias.

During the second Israel-Lebanon war I quibbled Hezbollah was now the Iranian foreign legion. I just hadn’t realized then the extent of Iran’s imperial outreach nor counted on the deployment of foreign legion.

Double standards

Currently, there is only a little talk about establishing a second Jewish state, although the idea is out there and slowly gaining momentum. If the dream of a second Jewish state ever comes to full fruition it will be indubitably be caused by the dereliction of duty and breach of trust by those in authority in the current Israeli state. This Arutz Sheva article is a perfect example of the kind of catalysts need for establishing a second Jewish state.
(IsraelNN.com) A police detective admitted in court last week that police forces hid as Bedouin Arabs attacked Jewish hikers, and then jumped out to arrest the Jews who fought back.

The incident occurred last Tuesday, on the third day of a week-long "Land of Hilltops Trek" from the northern Shomron to southern Judea. As the 200 youths and adults passed by Maoz Esther (near Maaleh Michmas, between Jericho and northern Jerusalem), they were attacked by Bedouin Arabs with clubs and rocks.

Veteran Yesha (Judea and Samaria) settlement pioneer Daniella Weiss, former Mayor of Kedumim, spoke to IsraelNationalNews from the scene and described what happened: "Everything was going very well, until we arrived in Maoz Esther. A bunch of Arabs swooped down upon us with rocks and clubs, and three of our people were injured; they have just been evacuated by ambulance. At one point, one of our escorts tried to protect one of our boys, and he shot in the air. Right then, something amazing happened:

"From behind a little hill suddenly emerged some cars and policemen wearing civilian clothes, but with police hats - and they arrested the one who shot in the air, as well as some of our other escorts who were carrying weapons! "Apparently, the police were waiting and watching the whole time, doing nothing until our boy shot in the air."

Her estimate of what happened was later confirmed by none other than police detective Aharon Yair. Testifying last Wednesday in a Jerusalem court at a hearing regarding the three arrested Jews, Yair said [as reported by IsraelJustice.com], "The fact is that police forces were there. We understood that like last week, when there was a violent incident when [the hikers] came to[the Bedouin] with weapons, we were ready because we knew that this was a place of confrontation. The [Bedouin] set up cameras and therefore the police were there."

Attorney Naftali Wurtzberger immediately understood the implications, and asked, "If the police were there and watched the confrontation, why did the police not just stand openly and prevent [the hikers] from passing? If it was not permitted, [why did they not just] stop them? The situation, as I see it, looks like an ambush, [...hiding] out like thieves in the night."

Yair responded, "I'm not the one who decides. There are officers above me who decide what is overt and what is concealed." He later acknowledged that some of the police "were in a hiding place."

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) told Arutz-7 that he planned to meet with Police Commissioner David Cohen and find out why the police appeared to be collaborating with the Bedouin against Jewish hikers.

His party colleague MK Aryeh Eldad said, "I have asked the Public Security Minister [Avi Dichter] for a response, and I expect to receive an answer within a few days. I have no doubt that the police were engaged in a provocation, just as they have been in other places, such as a recent incident in the Southern Mount Hevron area and elsewhere." He said earlier that this was "another step in the police agreeing to become a 'political police' in the service of the Olmert government."

Police arrested five Jewish hikers following the incident, including three adults. Three Jews were injured. Detective Yair said that three Bedouin were briefly arrested; no Bedouin were injured.

And so how did the incident shake out in the courts:
Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Shirli Renner sentenced all five to expulsion from Judea and Samaria, apart from the area of their own homes, for between 20 and 40 days. The Bedouin attackers, as mentioned, faced no judicial proceedings.

Read the rest on the double standards faced by religious Israelis here.

Palestinian Authority, the regional bastion of human rights

Apparently, just having a relative who may be affiliated with Hamas is enough to get one fired from the Palestinian Authority security services in the West Bank reports Ynet News:
The Palestinian Authority has dismissed some 1,000 police and security officers suspected of being affiliated with Hamas supporters or connected to the movement controlling Gaza, on the backdrop of fears that the recent clashes in the Strip would spread to the West Bank.
Ynet has learned that ever since Hamas took control of the Strip about a year ago, and more intensely in the past few months, the PA has been questioning security officers in a bid to identify those close to Hamas and prevent the movement from infiltrating the security organizations – a situation which led to the military coup in Gaza.

Following the coup, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formed a commission of inquiry comprised of senior PA and Fatah officials to look into the events and the reasons for the defeat in Gaza.

One of the committee's conclusions was that at least one-third of the officers, commanders and security officers served as Hamas agents within these organizations.
PA sources told Ynet at the time that the real number of people who had been working with Hamas was much higher and even double than the number mentioned in the committee's conclusions.

Immediately afterwards, many of the organizations' commanders and officers were dismissed from service and lost their rights. In the past few weeks, following the escalation in the tension between the Palestinian factions, the PA boosted its inquiries in the West Bank's security organizations.

A senior Palestinian officer told Ynet on Monday that some 1,000 functionaries were dismissed from service. He said that some were fired after being suspected of being ideologically and politically affiliated with Hamas, and the others for being related to Hamas elements. "Anyone suspected of having stances supporting Hamas or discovered to be a relative, a brother or even a close neighbor of a Hamas activists or senior official – has been dismissed."

But always remember, Israel and the not the Palestinian Authority, is the real human rights abuser.

Is that egg on Condi Rice's face?

This time, it is the US who rescinds visas of Gaza Fullbright scholars. Well, well. The Jerusalem Post:
The United States has revoked the visas of three Palestinian Fulbright scholars whose cases were taken up personally by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after Israel refused to let them leave Gaza for interviews, US officials said Monday.
Visas for the three, along with a fourth Palestinian student from Gaza who had hoped to come to the US under a different program, were approved after Rice intervened in June but were rescinded last week when "new information" about them was received, the officials said.

"There were four Palestinians who were issued visas about whom we then received additional information," State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said. "We decided that we needed to take a closer and harder look at them in light of the additional information we received."

He said the visas were canceled under a "prudential revocation" clause in immigration rules that allows them to be rescinded based on information gleaned about the holders after they were issued. It does not preclude the applicants from reapplying for visas in the future, he said.

I wrote about the US State Departments creation of the Fullbright fiasco last June. While it is true the Israeli government does not issue blanket exit visas for Gazans; it is also true that the Israeli government would review a request on a case-by-case basis if the US State Department had taken the time to request a review in the first place. Of course, the US State Department could have also appealed to the Egyptians for the Gazans exit visas, but, well…..much better to blame ….

Don’t worry be happy says the IDF

Reports the Jerusalem Post:
Israel does not fear a major terror escalation in the West Bank with the transfer of the Hilles clan to Jericho, head of the Civil Administration Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Monday. "The control of the IDF and security forces in Jericho is absolute, and anyone who deviates from normative behavior and engages in criminal activity or terror will be removed from there quickly," Mordechai said.

Eighty-seven members of the heavily-armed Gaza-based Hilles clan, allied with Fatah, were put on two buses in Beersheba on Monday afternoon and transported to Jericho. The Palestinian Authority had set up a temporary residence for them near the Palestinian National Security headquarters, PA officials said.

Yeah well, it turns out Palestinians aren’t so happy either with the relocation of the Hilles clan in Jericho.
Some residents of Jericho expressed fear that the presence of the Hilles clan members in their city would have a negative impact on tourism and increase the rate of crime. They pointed out that in recent months there had been an upsurge in the number of tourists visiting Jericho, especially Israeli Arab citizens who come to spend the weekend at the Jericho Resort Town and the Intercontinental Hotel.

"Why didn't Abu Mazen [Abbas] take them to Ramallah?" asked a shopkeeper in the center of the city. "Why do they always send these guys to our city?" A restaurant owner noted that in the past he and some of his colleagues had been exposed to threats and extortion by Fatah gangsters who were "exiled" to Jericho by Israel and the PA. "May God help us," he commented upon learning that the Hilles men were about to be transferred to Jericho. "Many Fatah gunmen who were sent to Jericho over the past few years gave us a very hard time. I believe that the presence of the Hilles people here wills scare away many tourists."
It is not like I had a burning desire to visit Jericho but I do sympathize with the shopkeepers.