Saturday, August 4, 2007

This being the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love, I've noticed a lot of newspaper and magazine articles extolling the virtues of the mid-60s and, to be fair, a few that have actually questioned them.

I imagine this is due to a couple of factors. One would be that most editors of larger dailies and magazines are in their 50s and were teenagers during the heyday of that chaotic time. The second is that baby boomers are by far the most self-absorbed generation that has ever walked on planet Earth and the mid-1960s was the time when they were coming into their own. Those who can remember anything about those days, I'm sure, remember how they were busy changing the world.

Being born in 1965, the first post-baby boom year, means I basically missed out on the 60s. Instead of LSD, free love and the most creative period of rock and roll, I got the AIDS scare, disco and Reagan's War on Drugs. My memories of the 60s are largely restricted to the moon landing and watching teenagers smoke pot (though I didn't know that that was what it was) on front porch of our New Jersey home because my parents were nice enough to let them stand there if it was raining while waiting for their school bus.

I'm not really bitter about missing out. I grew up with the music and, despite Reagan, managed to indulge most of my curiousities about drugs when I was a teen. Could have used some of that free love but AIDS wasn't the 60s fault...

What I don't like about the 60s legacy is the ongoing concept that the protest and social change movements of the day are applicable today. If anything the opposite is true: the leftover hippies and those they have influenced have become the far-left and the far-left quashes free speech and supports horrible political systems around the world. They do this because they have somehow arrived at the incredibly misguided conclusion that their lives are more sacred than everyone else's lives and that appeasement, no matter how grotesque, is better suited to dealing with problems than ever using our armaments in anger.

Much of the media is a major supporter of this approach, going out of its way, for instance, to trumpet loudly every lost life while almost never publicizing the good that is coming out of efforts in places like Afghanistan or that could come out of Iraq if the US were allowed to deal with the terrorist elements and their supporters properly. The other places where the leftist culture of the 60s flourish include our universities which, perhaps more than any other single institution, has allowed the dippy part of hippie to take centre stage, churning out generations of far-left mush heads who didn't even need acid to get that way.

Forty years on, the world is a much changed place. Most of those people have probably given up smoking pot and sleeping around. A few may even have traded in their Bob Dylan albums for, well, Bob Dylan CDs. But, unfortunately, the political hangover continues and it's strangling our growth in horrible ways. It is time we buried the 60s alongside Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Surreal Days of Summer

It's actually way too nice here to sit at a computer blogging which explains why I haven't bothered much lately. But, a couple of items in the past couple of days have caught my attention. And, no, I'm not talking about the Simpsons Movie which was absolutely wonderful; these things are far more surreal than anything Matt Groening and company could have dreamed up.

The first is the announcement this morning that the UN has finally agreed to send 19,000 troops to the Sudan in an effort to stop the murderous arab janjaweed from their genocide on the innocent black Sudanese populace.

The surreal part is: those 19,000 troops will only have a limited role in combat operations and that they will only go if the Sudanese government lives up to its agreement to have them there.

Inasmuch as the Sudanese government is sponsoring the janjaweed and their slaughter, the chance of Khartoum all of a sudden thinking this is a good idea is about as great as Al Gore all of a sudden admitting the polar ice caps aren't melting and the world is cooling off. It ain't gonna happen.

Anyone with half a brain - thereby excluding anyone connected to the UN - knows the only reason the Sudanese government made their so-called "agreement" in the first place was to stall further sanctions and isolation.

What's needed in Sudan is armed intervention with a strict mandate of killing the janjaweed and restoring order. And, if the government falls at the same time, well, one less islamoshithead government on planet Earth would also be good.

But, then, that's not going to happen either, because the West is too busy gazing at its navel to actually intervene and save innocent lives.

The second - even more surreal occurrence - was the US administration's announcement that they're going to beef up arms supplies to Middle East nations Egypt and Saudi Arabia by billions of dollars.

According to Condolleezza Rice, who must ponder which face to wear each day, this will help battle extremism in the ME. Uh, Ms Rice...the Saudis are the main sponsor of extreme Islam around the globe. Sure, they may not announce it loudly as the madmorons of Iran do, but there is simply zero question that radical Islam flourishes because the Saudi wahabbist movement pours money into making it so.

Much more likely is that the Bushies are sending more money to Saudi Arabia because the Saudis have a lot of money invested in the US, the Bushies have always been far too buddy/buddy with the Saudis and they don't want the House of Saud to fall. Unfortunately, George and company are ignoring history yet again. It has long been proven that propping up dictatorships only hurts freedom in the end.

As for Egypt: the US has been giving the Egyptians money for years. And, the US gain from that has been that the Egyptians use the money to foment anti-US sentiment and to crush independent thought in their own country. Yes, that includes radical Islam but it also includes those who promote democracy and human rights.

The Bush White House has completely lost the thread. The best solution at this point - especially with the Sunnis pulling out of Iraq's government - is now: a) to announce that they have done everything they can in Iraq and that the Iraqis have only themselves to blame for the continued violence, b) to announce that they will begin immediately to remove troops from Iraq, c) that the arabs can now solve their own problems, d) to support the only relatively peaceful arabs, the Kurds and a few Gulf States like Dubai and Qatar, and negotiate some kind of solution with Turkey, e) to not send weapons to any arab nation except for Iran and when it sends weapons there, it should be by aggressively dropping them from airplanes and f) giving Israel carte blanche to deal with hostile arabs as it sees fit.

It's about freedom and the future and the vast majority of the arab world is not part of either at this moment in time and probably never will be.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Poor Sports

Ordinarily, I'd think being the commissioner of a professional sports league would be a pretty cool thing. You get to go to all the games, hang out with stars and make tons of money.

But, not last week, which might go down as the darkest moment in professional sports history, if you were to combine all the scandals from all the leagues that hit the papers.

Professional baseball: Bud Selig was forced to sit through a three game set in Milwaukee where Barry Bonds, the human steroid laboratory, could have broken Henry Aaron's all-time home run record in the city where Aaron was a long-time star and against the team that Selig once owned. But, Bud got off lucky, Bonds fell short.

Professional football: Roger Goodell, newly-appointed commissioner, now has to deal with the scandal of Michael Vick, once seen as one of the game's bright young stars - a black quarterback who could have been a role model for millions of kids. Ooops, turns out in his spare time, Vick was part of a dog-fighting ring that featured not only the inhumane "sport" of forcing dogs to fight against one another to the death but also an even more cruel side problem of people involved in the ring torturing and killing the dogs. PETA has been protesting, Vick has been indicted and Goodell has been forced to basically suspend him.

Professional golf: On the eve of the British Open, perhaps the most prestigious tournament in the world, Gary Player, one of the game's most respected elder statesmen, announces he knows that at least one player has taken steroids. WADA - the World Anti-Doping Agency headed by Canadian blowhard Dick Pound who would charge my 11-year-old is on steroids if he watched him play XBox - promptly wades into the fray. Think this is going to just go away? I doubt it.

Professional hockey: Gary Bettman, the rat who basketball sicked on hockey, is under fire because he apparently quashed a sale of the Nashville Predators to Canadian Ron Bellisle who wanted to move the team to Canada. God forbid the NHL allow teams to actually play in cities where they're wanted instead of the Deep South where they rate slightly lower than, well, dog fighting. But, this could be the end of Bettman. If he actually colluded to deny Bellisle the right to buy the team, he's in shit so deep even his ratness might drown in the sewers.

Amateur soccer but with professional players: At the World Under 20 tournament in Canada, the Chilean team gets in a fight with a bunch of Toronto cops wearing bicycle shorts. Chile promptly goes nuts, filing an offical complaint with the Canadian government. Okay, let's look at this logically: Canada has never had a soccer riot in its history because Canadians don't give a shit about soccer; the Chileans had just lost a semi-final match against South American rival Argentina that had turned vicious with 9 yellow cards handed out and something like 60+ fouls called. Who do you think was to blame? Sepp Blatter, the head of FIFA, soccer's world body, was forced to do some serious back-pedalling, especially since Canada had just set the record for the most tickets sold at the World Under 20 and had acted as a perfect host nation.

Professional cycling: the leader at the time of the Tour de France is forced to acknowledge he'd skipped as many as four urine tests due to an "administrative error" and been kicked off his national team. Where's Dick Pound when you need him?

And, the topper? NBA basketball, where David Stern is under serious heat after it was revealed a referee had been betting on games including ones he was reffing. Uh-oh...the whole league, long a disaster for its shoddy rule calling and on- and off- court antics, just took a black eye like it had been beaten by Mike Tyson. Frankly, even basketball fans probably can't take it seriously anymore.

I'm a big sports fan but the fact is there is now too much money, too many egos, too much TV involvement and a severe lack of respect for the games and the fans these days. Professional sports is heading for a fall and last week may have accelerated the descent.

Friday, July 20, 2007

No Fools Like Some Old Fools

According to my morning paper, Nelson Mandela, who turned 89 this past week, has gone completely senile.

Well, actually, the paper didn't say that but it's the only conclusion one can draw from the announcement that the former President of South Africa and the man who was a central figure in the fight to end Apartheid has compiled a "group of elders" who will come together on occasion to help solve the world's problems.

This, of course, sounds very nice. In many cultures, although not in the caucasian world, Elders are looked upon as people who, through their years have gained wisdom and insight and can guide younger people in times of difficulty. Clearly, however, this is not the case with the names Mandela has chosen to associate himself with.

Among the less obnoxious names are Richard Branson - billionaire businessman with a flair for innovation and good-humoured self-promotion. Okay, I don't mind Branson. There's also Peter Gabriel, the former frontman for the 70s arts band Genesis before embarking on a successful solo career. I liked Gabriel in both incarnations though I don't think he's even that old and he's certainly never done anything particularly wise or outstanding that I'm aware of. There's also Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland. She, too, ain't that old and since she once served as UN Commissioner for Human Rights, she's obviously not that wise, either. There's also Muhammad Yunus, billionaire and Nobel Prize winner for his Green bBank which gave microloans to the poor. Don't have anything against him. Bishop Demond Tutu is also on the list, not the least one imagines, because he and Mandela go way back - I'm not particularly a fan of either because both have been highly critical of Israel while ignoring human rights violations by numerous other nations and, of course, the palestinians, showing a clear lack of objectivity.

Then there are several people I've never even heard of, or if I have heard of them, it was only in passing. They include Gro Harlem Bruntland, environmental envoy to the UN - whoopee! Also, Ela Bhatt, Indian women's rights activists. Well, East Indian women certainly do need a human rights champion, so she's probably okay.

Then, there are the downright insane. Li Zhaoxing, foreign minister of China, one of the world's most regressive nations and a major violator of human rights. He's right in there with Jimmy Carter, asshole extraordinaire and quite possibly the worst president the US has ever had, certainly the worst of the 20th century. And, topping them all: Kofi Annan, former UN head honcho, who oversaw numerous genocides while his family and cronies lined their pockets at the expense of the unfortunate and downtrodden.

This is no council of elders. This is a council of people who should exit stage left and stay exited. If anything, a few of them should be subjected to the Eskimo way of dealing with the elderly and infirm...that is, left to float away to the next world on an ice floe.

God forbid any members of younger generations look to this collection for guidance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sensibly Stoned

According to a recently released UN report, Canadians are the highest people in the industrialized world.

That's right: we smoke more pot than any other first world nation, placing fifth overall in the world behind a handful of third-world countries where, let's face it, there isn't much else to do.

As someone who has enjoyed a toke or two in his lifetime, (or maybe even more - I forget, man) it didn't really come as a surprise that one out of every six Canadians admits to firing up a doobie or that that number rises to as high as one in three if you're a high school student in Quebec. Marijuana fits in pretty nicely with the Canadian lifestyle - it goes great with a hockey game, beer and chicken wings, it gives you a nice buzz, usually a slight sense of euphoria, but nothing too outrageous and it grows like a weed - probably because it is a weed - in most regions of the country.

British Columbia, as any dope afficianado will tell you, is one of the world's great producers of pot. Often in the summertime, you can hear and see police helicopters as they search for crops - growing it between rows of corn is pretty common - or seek grow-ops which they can identify by the amount of infrared heat that's picked up. Other common ways of busting growers include targeting homes with a highly unusual consumption of water and electricity.

The silly thing about marijuana is that there are somehow still politicians and law enforcement officers who believe they can stamp it out and that it's worth any effort to do so. This, of course, flies in the face of all logic: prohibition of any material has never worked, pot is way too easy grow and move around and, lastly, there's no good reason to persecute it in a society where I can legally get wrecked on alcohol or over the counter medications that are far more dangerous to my health and the health of those around me and also far more addictive.

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend who just caught his teenage son high on the reefer because said son had doused himself in Axe to cover up the smell. "Did he admit it?" I asked "Yes," said dad. "Did you have to give him one of those stern talking tos?" "Yes", said dad, "I had to pretend I was really angry even though I wasn't." "Did you feel like a bit of a hypocrite?" "Yes."

And, therein lies the great Canadian conundrum with weed. Even in only one-sixth of us admit smoking it - which makes me believe a lot of people were lying - almost no one I know really cares.

The best thing we can do with pot is legalize it, sell it in liquor stores with all the appropriate regulations about providing it to the young, take it out of the hands of organized crimes and use the tax revenues to subsidize the cost of Cheesies. Or maybe to help people get off really serious drugs or other addictions. Or build roads. Or whatever.

One thing is for sure: just because it is illegal doesn't mean anyone's going to stop smoking it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Canada Has the Palis Figured Out

If Condolleezza Rice and the rest of the current American administration ever want some help figuring out how to deal with the palestinians and Mahmoud Abbas, all they have to do is pick up the phone and call Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

I can hear the laughing now. Canada, after all, is the socialist welfare state, home of the porous border that probably harbours terrorists. Hell, even Michael Moore likes Canada so obviously, we suck. But, for any of its other faults, our current Conservative government certainly has the palis figured out.

Canada was the first country to cut off funding to the palis after they foolishly elected hamas, saving taxpayers about $30 million a year in wasted cash. This week, Jordan's king was in Canada promoting MidEast peace and probably other fictitious things like unicorns, too.

Anyway, among the king's requests: that Canada reinstate the funding to help prop up Abbas.

Harper, thankfully, declined. He suggested Canada would reinstate funding when Abbas began cracking down on the corruption that is endemic to Fatah. After all, Harper noted, even palis who weren't terrorist lovers voted for hamas because they were tired of the lousy style of governing practised by Fatah. Canada, he added, wasn't about to prop up a dictator just because he had less blood on his hands than the hamassholes.

This approach is far different than that being practised by the Americans, Israel, the EU and others who have fallen all over themselves singing the praises of Abbas "the moderate".

Canada's tactic is the only one that has any chance of helping the palestinians. Lack of money is not the problem; the palestinians are the largest recipients of foreign aid per capita of any group in the world that I know of. They have been mollycoddled for decades while the cash has gone into a great sewer of corruption and the private bank accounts of their so-called "leaders".

The only way to change this is to tie the money to reform. And, if nothing else, at least we won't be throwing away our tax dollars on the palis anymore. It can be used for much better causes.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The UN - Number One For My Vote of the World's 7 Greatest Blunders

Finally! The United Nations has found an issue it can really get behind, issuing strong statements and declarations.

Yup, that's right: the world body is all ticked off at a private initiative to choose 7 modern Wonders of the World. According to newspaper reports, UNESCO - some gobbledygook alphabet of an acronym which no doubt translates to "abject failure" - is not the least bit pleased. Christian Manhard, UNESCO's press officer, went so far as to say it sends out "a negative message to countries whose sites have not been retained". Other officials also criticized the online effort sponsored by a private Swiss foundation that reportedly gathered close to 100 million votes on 21 chosen sites.

I guess the UN must be worried that the sites that didn't win will suffer from a drop in self-esteem. That seems to be all the rage these days. And, just like my kids are sometimes subjected to games where no one is allowed to win so that no one else will lose, I think it's massive bullshit.

The 7 winning sites were the Great Wall of China, the Taj Majahl, the ruins of Petra in Jordan, the Colosseum in Rome, the statue of Christ that towers above Rio De Janeiro ("it's like a Jesus on the dashboard of the whole city", said Homer Simpson in the episode where the Simpsons go to Brazil), the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu in Peru, and the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico. I haven't seen any of them so I don't know how spectacular they are or aren't.

It wasn't only the UN that was upset with the whole competition. Egypt complained about it and claimed only the Pyramids at Giza - one of the seven original Wonders of the World and the only one still in place - were truly worthy of the honour.

One thing I did notice was that none of the historical sites was in Israel or built by Jews. Which is a good thing. Because if any had been, you can bet the UN Human Rights Commission would be meeting right now to condemn the contest as a zionist plot and the internet would be humming with neo-nazi morons and their arabist lapdogs claiming that it was just a Jewish attempt to take over architecture.

Anyway, it's nice to see the UN fired up for once and taking a stance. If only we could elicit that kind of response out of them when it comes to Iran or Sudan or China or Zimbabwe, etc.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lost Life Regrettable; Ignoring the Reason, Reprehensible

Canada has now lost 66 soldiers in Afghanistan. According to a Canadian Press-Decima poll, two-thirds of those Canadians asked believed that was an "unacceptable number.

The percentage peaked at more than 75 per cent in Quebec where the largely-French population has traditionally had a far higher rejection of the concept of Canada being at war. But, then they are French, after all.

The anti-involvement crowd also envelops three of the four major parties - the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. But, the Liberals committed Canada to serving in a combat capacity and the Conservatives are adamant they will not prematurely end that commmitment. Currently, Canada is slated to have soldiers in that role until 2009.

I think it's sad that such a high proportion of Canadians are unwilling to have our soldiers defending a people whose country has been torn apart by internal and external strife for decades. Certainly, those serving in Afghanistan have not adopted such a stance. They, when asked, seem almost uniformly to believe in what they are doing.

And, what they are doing is giving Afghanis something to build on. This was a country, that under the Taliban, had massive ignorance, terrible health conditions, an average annual income of less than a $1,000 Canadian and a misogynistic, regressive, disgusting "government" that harboured the hardest of the world's hardcore terrorists.

Now the Afghanis have the beginnings of a credible regime, crucial infrastucture being built, wells being dug, girls being educated, women returning to the workforce (even to the halls of government) other words, some hope and something concrete to hang it on.

In World War II, Canada lost not 66 soldiers but 66 THOUSAND soldiers. That was out of a population much smaller than today's. It was done in aiding European nations to defeating Hitler. I don't think there's any question we're at much greater risk for an attack on our soil today (from the same type of jihadists our forces are engaging in Afghanistan) than Canada was in 1939. Canada, itself, was in no immediate danger from the Nazis but Canadians chose to support the idea of fighting for the cause of freedom.

Every lost life is regrettable. The Canadian soldiers who have died were mostly young. They had dreams for their future. Some were married with small children. They sacrificed those futures for a greater good and a belief they were making a difference.

We should honour their memory by picking up their cause. Calling it quits on them would be reprehensible.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Cindy Sheehan, the Rabid Moonbat

When Cindy Sheehan announced a couple of months ago that she was packing in her crusade of left-wing lunacy, I thought it was a positive. After all, the last thing American soldiers needed is some shrill, insane bitch whining about their role in Iraq while hobnobbing with scuzzballs like Hugo Chavez and actively rooting for America to lose.

But, now Cindy is back and this time, she's become a comedian; a veritable one woman laugh-riot.

According to news reports, Cindy is threatening to run against none other than Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the next election. Now, ol' Nance is no stranger to shrillness herself, often sounding like Chicken Little running around screaming that the sky is falling. In fact, if the two do face off, they should call it the "Shrilla of the Hilla".

Cindy, speaking for all Democrats, because after all, she's their elected representative and knows exactly what each and every Democrat voter is thinking at any given time is disappointed that Pelosi and her buddy Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, haven't gotten around to trying to impeach George W. Bush yet.

"Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership. We hired them to bring an end to the war," Sheehan told AP. She then gave Pelosi until July 23 to begin impeachment proceedings against the President; impeachment proceedings that would, of course, end up being nothing but a further costly burden to the American taxpayer with absolutely no hope of success because Bush has broken no laws.

Her reasons are as follows:

1) she believes he misled the public about the reasons for going to war - no, he acted on the intelligence he was given at the time

2) he violated the Geneva Convention by torturing detainees - Bush didn't torture anyone and I don't believe there's any evidence to suggest he knew people were being tortured if in fact they were being tortured (depends what your definition of torture is, I suppose).

3) he crossed the line by commuting the prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby - no, again. Presidents are allowed to issue pardons as Bill Clinton did for all kinds of people before leaving office.

She said other grounds for impeachment are the domestic spying program (I doubt it)and the "inadequate and tragic" response to Hurricane Katrina (hardly, FEMA fucked up but people were warned to get out of New Orleans and surrounding areas in plenty of time).

Now, I'm no fan of Bush and I'll be glad when his term is up but let's try and live in reality for a second. He's made unpopular decisions but that doesn't make them illegal decisions.

This has got to be one of the most amusing American political stories in years. Pelosi is a twit but Cindy is flat out, certifiably, squirrels in the attic nuts as can be. She is an Insane Clown Posse all by herself. And, now her moonbat madness has become a kind of Democrat rabies as she bites back at the very same people who coddled her while she was making crazy in Crawford, Texas.

The Republicans must be laughing their heads off at this. It's the first decent break they've had in months.

Cindy, at the end of it all, is a self-absorbed fruitcake who has become far more interested in her own self-promotion than in any kind of justice or resolution. Take away the soundbytes, and she's just another person pushing a grocery cart full of rags on the street while mumbling incoherently to herself. But, before that happens, let's see her and Pelosi go a few rounds, just for the laugh value.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Doctors of Destruction

Okay, I have to admit that I was wrong when I projected that the homicidal wannabes who tried to blow up cars outside crowded nightclubs and an airport would be homegrown. In my defence, though, it does appear as though they hatched the plot while employed as medical professionals in Britain so the bombing attempts, themselves, were more or less homegrown.

Anyway, I hope that this will dispel that oft-repeated, and just as often disproved, fallacy that terrorists are the poor and the desperate. Not only were these assholes mostly doctors, certainly a profession that in western countries does not leave one destitute, but they were in a position to fully enjoy the benefits of western life.

The idea that terrorists rise out of the slums to attack westerners thousands of miles away is ridiculous. There is no basis to support such a theory. Yet, it pops up repeatedly and in otherwise very reputable publications. One of my earliest blog entries was about an article in the Economist that cited a lack of economic means as a reason for terrorist attacks.

It is true that movements arise internally in nations based on a number of factors which may include economic disparities between the ruling class and the downtrodden. But, these movements usually have many other factors including thuggish behaviour by those in government, persecution of one or more minority groups, corruption, etc. They are rarely, if ever, motivated solely by monetary considerations. Even more rarely are they exported beyond their own borders although one could make the argument that palestinian anger aimed at Israel should really be aimed at their own government which has left them, literally and figuratively, stranded in a desert of despair.

At any rate, the islamic jihadi movement that the various Dr. Mohammadeds etc. belong to, come not from a lack of funding or access to the best that life has to offer but, rather, from an intense desire to destroy it and force the world into submitting to their warped view of religion. Money has nothing to do with it, never has and never will. In fact, many of those involved in such activities are independently wealthy or, at least, well off.

Britain has reacted with some backbone to this latest attempt with the government immediately ordering a cutback on the number of foreign medical practitioners allowed into the country. The US also comes out looking good as it now appears at least two of those involved had attempted to gain entry to work there and, for whatever reason, were denied. And, the Australians were also on the ball; rounding up a suspect who it seems quite possible will lead them to some more jihad monkeys.

All in all, score one for the West. Let's hope it's the start of a long streak.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rock Gods of Conspicuous Consumption

On Saturday, rock and roll hypocrites from across the globe will gather in seven cities to perform for free in another of those ridiculous homages to their own egos disguised as social responsibility.

This time, the issue is the environment and the money they raise will, not inconveniently, be forwarded to an organization headed by Al Gore, the ex-US vice-president turned maybe-should've-been president turned enviroguru whose voracious appetite, if his bloating into a Jabba the Hutt type character is anything to go by, may be the single greatest threat to Earth's future. Well, okay, maybe global warming is a little more serious but still Al's giving Michael Moore a run for most obese propaganda artist out there.

Anyway, a few rock and rollers have been honest, refusing to play and stating that their opinions are no more valid than anyone else's. Plus, they point out, the jetsetting rock and roll lifestyle, complete with energy consuming stadium shows and conspicous consumption in all areas leaves them unable to preach to anyone else.

Sirius satellite radio will be carrying the concerts on its stations. I know this because I recently bought a new vehicle that came complete with satellite radio and a six month subscription. I must admit I'm not impressed with Sirius but that's beside the point.

What kind of vehicle did I buy? A Ford Escape hybrid. Why? Well because the environment is important but mostly because I like to protect my own pocketbook and because every cent of gas money I can save means, among other things, that another cent doesn't find its way into the pockets of rapacious oil companies and arab dictators. I don't need Al Gore or rock stars to convince me that buying a hybrid was smart; simply the fact that the federal and provincial governments in Canada offer enough tax breaks to bring the price down to that of a standard gas engine along with the future savings in gas consumption was enough all by itself.

And, therein lies the message of this post: people will help the environment when it benefits them directly. I've composted and recycled for years because that could reduce taxes on garbage collection and it offers me money for certain returnable products such as bottles and cans. What I can't return for money, I'm happy to throw in a box rather than a bag because it's just as easy.

The first great rock concert effort was, of course, Bob Geldof's inspired Live Aid that collected hundreds of millions for starvation relief in Africa. Geldof, former frontman for the Boomtown Rats (whose album the Fine Art of Surfacing I still love) was spurred on by the famine in Ethiopia. I was about 19 at the time and vaguely remember watching the concerts in London and Philadelphia (I think) all day while drinking beer and smoking pot. Sadly, much of what Geldof raised ended up going nowhere. The money was spent but a lot of the food ended up rotting on docks or on the black market and never did a damn thing to reduce starvation.

But, at least Geldof's heart was in the right place. Unlike his effort, I view Saturday's concerts as a cynical attempt for recognition while Al Gore's ego gets to grow as big as the rest of him. And, also unlike Geldof's attempt, this time I won't be watching.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Time For Brits to Stop Hitting the Snooze Button

So, the British seemed to have lucked out and stopped an attempted terrorist double bombing shortly before hundreds of people might have been killed and maimed. And, it seems as though it was little more than luck, with ambulance drivers attending a call outside a nightclub noticing smoke coming from an abandoned Mercedes which led to the discovery of the first bomb and prompting a police search leading to the second.

The scenario was a perfect islamist type attack pattern, very similar to the attacks in Bali several years ago, also in a nightclub district, that killed some 200 tourists, more than half of them Australian. The idea is that as people flee the first bomb they stumble right into the second, inflicting maximum terror and carnage on those who would have just a few minutes earlier been enjoying a night of revelry.

It seems likely this was meant to put new British PM Gordon Brown on the defensive, particularly as he vacillates over Britain's commitment in Iraq. The islamists are not stupid; they learned from their efforts in Spain that Europeans can be easily cowed in this day and age. They learned Americans can not nor can Australians. The jury remains out in Canada where we have yet to suffer such an attack so the reaction to same cannot be measured, and hopefully never will be.

At least one British official, with no evidence whatsoever, announced it the work of foreign terrorists. I'd be willing to give him odds - though I have no more proof as I write this than he did - that precisely the opposite will prove true. I'm betting this was the work of some more British homegrown jihadis.

One wonders if the Brits will ever learn. They have bent over backwards to accommodate islam. They have allowed all kinds of shenanigans that no reasonable people would put up with, agreeing to bigger and bigger mosques, radical clerics in their midst and societal changes to avoid "offending" muslims. Further, they are historically and currently anti-Semitic, from the halls of their governments to their media to their academic circles. Perhaps the average person on the street thinks differently but I have my doubts.

Yet, for all of this, the British have now been targeted at least three times in the past two years with the successful Tube attacks of July 7, 2005 about to mark their second anniversary.

The lesson is that the more we accommodate radical islam, the more its adherents will attack, the more ferocious those attacks will be and the less able we are to stem them. If the British want to be around in 50 years in any recognizable form, they'd best stop ignoring the wake up calls.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Democrats Back the Nutjob

It is difficult to define how moronic Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Richardson sounded today when they urged continued dialogue with Iran.

"In this vacuum, Tehran continues its progress toward developing nuclear weapons and increasing its influence in the region," Clinton told the Center for a New American Security. "After initial talks with Iran and Syria on Iraq, the administration says it isn't sure that we need any more discussions with either of them. I think we should keep talking."

Richardson was even more ridiculous. According to AP: Richardson, who served as U.N. ambassador for Clinton's husband, said that instead of lecturing Iran's leadership, the United States should talk with them without preconditions. And instead of using inflammatory names, such as "Axis of Evil," the U.S. and its allies should seek and find common ground, particularly with moderates unhappy with the current leadership.

What is showing here is their appalling ignorance in the face of facts and a partisanship that more than matches the Bush White House's for shrillness.

In fact, had either Richardson or Clinton bothered reading or listening to the news today, they would have learned that Iranians were rioting over new gas prices and rationing. If either of them had more than oatmeal for brains, they would have known that Iran has been increasingly intolerant of its dissidents and is cracking down hard, has sent its religious police into the streets to crush any sign of non-islamic behaviour and is seizing and holding foreigners including British sailors and, at the moment, 4 Americans.

There is plenty of dissatisfaction in Iran right now and today's actions only brought some of that to light. The pressure, exerted by US-led sanctions, is working. If Iranians rise up and throw the crazy bastards out of power before the crazies get too close to building nukes, it would be the best possible outcome.

Richardson also doesn't seem to have listed any common ground that the US currently shares with Iran. Let's see: one is a secular democracy and the other is a madman-run theocracy. One extends protections to all its citizens, the other is run by decree. One wants to wipe out another nation, the other is a close friend of that nation. One supports Lebanese democracy, the other wants to hand it over to Syria...etc, etc. There is no relevant common ground for Iran and the US at the moment and Richardson's rhetoric doesn't change one iota of that very basic fact.

Further, how dare Clinton, who wouldn't even be able to show her face in public if she lived in Iran, support bolstering such a system with meaningless talks? Iran has not lived by a single condition set for it by the UN. Further, Mahmoud Ahmamadman has given no indications whatsoever that he would abide by any future conditions. And, the "vacuum" she speaks of that has led to continued development of nuclear weapons by Iran are the conditions set by China and Russia, not the US. Harsher sanctions may well have achieved their desired goal by now.

Sadly, some Democrat candidates have reached the point where they will pander to the worst human elements on the planet before they will agree with any of Bush's policies. It's a horrible mistake for them to be making but one I guess we've all become accustomed to and, hopefully, one that will come back to haunt them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Throwing Money Into the Abbas Abyss

So, once again the Israelis are releasing hundreds of prisoners and forking over millions of dollars to the palestinians while governments and organizations around the world rally to prop up another corrupt palestinian leader.

And, for what?

Is Mahmoud Abbas all of a sudden going to turn into a true leader? Is he going to end the corruption in fatah that helped get hamas elected? Is he going to crack down on terrorism? Is he going to change the palestinian school system, media and religious groups so that they stop creating a culture of hatred and death? Is he going to use the money to build the infrastructure the palestinians will need if they are ever to run their own country?

Don't be ridiculous.

Abbas, "the moderate", will be doing none of these things. At best, he will use the money to fight internal dissidents and hamas while continuing to operate an autocratic government.

Apparently, all Abbas has to do is not be hamas and he gets the support of everyone except Iran, Syria and al-Qaida. Nevermind that his new government was not elected - guess that isn't important anymore. Fatah's blood-stained hands don't matter anymore nor does its long history of misappropriating and misuing funding while the people who are supposed to benefit get nothing.

In fact, Israel, the US and the West are so thrilled with the new, improved Abbas, he's not being asked to do anything except open his arms to accept the mountain of cash that is about to drop on him.

Fatah's ass-kicking in Gaza is the best thing that ever happened to Mahmoud.

It shouldn't be. There's absolutely no reason to prop up fatah. They offer nothing in terms of peace with Israel and improvement for palestinians. The fact that they're not islamist, as hamas is, is irrelevant because both groups ignore human rights, accept and endorse violence and lack any plan for governance of a sort compatible with human progress.

This is merely another repetition of a historical pattern that seems set to go on indefinitely. And, in the end, it's a tragic joke on millions of people who should be better served by their leaders, both in the West Bank and Israel.

Friday, June 22, 2007


And, I can never not respond. There are few enough people who read this blog so I can't afford to upset them...

This one comes courtesy of Michael at olehmusings, one of the blogs I always make sure to check because he gives a really nice reflection of life in Israel from the perspective of someone who grew up in North America and because when he talks about his young children, it reminds me of when my own were that age.

1) Name your favorite band and singer. (The singer can’t be from the band)
Favourite singer I don't even have to think about: Neil Young. Favourite band is a little tougher but I'll take the Rolling Stones. One thing I love about the Stones is the wide range of musical genres they've tackled and how they've made them all sound good. Even country music is enjoyable when Mick breaks out on Dead Flowers or Girl With the Faraway Eyes.

2) Favorite historical politician (domestic)? (Historical = Dead)
I live in Canada so asking for one's favourite historical politician is kind of like trying to pick one brand of vanilla over another. I guess I'd go with John A. MacDonald (our first Prime Minister and legenday souse - at least we'd have a good time downing some brewskis).
On the other hand, I was born in the States so I guess I'm free to pick an American, too. I'd go with Thomas Jefferson; there have been attempts recently to besmirch his name but to me he still ranks as one of history's great Renaissance men and the person whose words set the tone for American democracy and the emergence of truly free societies.

3) Favorite historical politician (International)?

Well, could go with Jefferson again, lol, but that would be unfair.
I've always been fascinated by Golda Meir. There is no way she got where she got through anything but intelligence and sheer determination and she had such an incredible way of summarizing the Israeli/arab relationship.

4) You’re giving a Hollywood pitch (25 words or less) about your Blog — GO
It's about nothing (oh, wait, that's been done before).
So, I'll go with: "look, I'm a Jew. And we all know Jews run Hollywood and ZOG said you have to buy it no matter what it's about."

5) Other then where you live now, what city do you like?
Sydney, Australia.

6) Favorite modern politician? (In office now)
It's too early to tell but I'm hoping it will be Nicholas Sarkozy in the near future. A France that's engaged in world events and protecting freedom would be much better than what they've been giving to the world for the past several decades.
I can't think of too many politicians who've done much to earn my respect in recent years.

7) Are you a Wilsonian Idealist or Nixonian Realist in foreign policy?
Michael at olehmusings wrote he was a Reaganist: challenge your enemies and force their hand. I liked that response.
I prefer Wilson's foreign policy to Nixon's but I don't align myself with either. Idealism is ridiculous in our world but so is pandering to dictatorships for monetary gain.

8)Favorite obscure movie?
My favourite movie of all time is Harold and Maude. It's pretty obscure.

9) What is your favorite restaurant?
I don't even know the name of it but I had dinner in a restaurant in Washington, D.C. once where you ordered crabs by the bucket and that's what they brought you: a bucket full of crabs and a wooden mallet to crack them open with. And, when you were done one bucket, they brought you another. The whole experience was just a hoot.

10) Choose a music video on YouTube. Why that one?
I don't often click anything on YouTube. But I saw one the other day where people from countries like Ethiopia were talking about the contributions of Israel to helping them in times of need while Bob Dylan's Neighbourhood Bully played in the background. It was a good reminder that Israel takes way too much crap even as it lends assistance whenever and whereever asked.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Rare Nugget From UN official

According to the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, there are now almost 10 million displaced people on Earth with a 14 per cent increase recorded in 2006.

The figure does not include the palestinians, which should be because they're not refugees but is actually due to the fact the UN has a special refugee department, the UN Reliefs and Works Agency that does nothing but suck up to the palestinians.

Anyway, the head of the UNHCR is naturally very concerned about this situation and predicts more and more people will become displaced and that economic and environmental refugees will join the more common class of refugees created through armed conflict.

What is amazing is that Antonio Guterres actually understands why, which is the UN equivalent of a blind pig finding a truffle.

"What is worrying is that this is happening in the absence of international capacity and determination to respond," Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal was quoted as saying.

Exactly. The situation is worsening because organizations like the UN have failed, miserably failed, to get the world determined to respond to anything. And, what's worse,but which Guterres doesn't say, is that in many cases, the UN is absolutely complicit in allowing all kinds of human rights violations occur on a wide scale, leading to, among other things, displaced persons.

The EU is also complicit. NATO less so, but not entirely innocent. The Chinese, the arab league and a hodgepodge of other countries or groups even more so.

What we need to learn is that in order to prevent such abuses, we need to tie aid and largesse to human rights improvements and a cessation of mindless violence. It does not serve the average person in most nations receiving aid at all to prop up dictatorships and oligarchies with large infusions of cash. The cash doesn't reach the people; it gets diverted into luxuries and bank accounts. If we're going to spend our money, let us use it to buy some freedoms.

Guterres' comment isn't going to get much play but it should. Because it's got a germ of the idea of what's happening. Common sense is sadly lacking in UN and diplomatic circles and should be promoted and augmented whenever found.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Khelad Meshaal and the Great World Conspiracy

It actually took longer than it should have but one of the palestinian "leaders" finally got around to blaming everyone else for the palestinian civil war.
Predictably, he had a special shout out for Israel.

According to hamasshole head honcho Khelad Meshaal, speaking to AFP from whereever it is he's hiding these days (Syria, I think):

"We attribute to the international community, which has kept silent about the crimes of Israel, the primary responsibility for our internal crisis, although we acknowledge that we ourselves also have part of the responsibility," he said in an interview to Al-Jazeera television.

"We reject the division of the nation. The problem is not with Fatah or with brother Abu Mazen (Abbas)."

Palestinians, you see, are tossing people off buildings, summarily executing them with a bullet to the head or riddling their entire bodies with bullets, because Israel makes them do it.

Oddly, it doesn't seem to have stopped hamas from celebrating its takeover of Gaza with great joy and more killings. I guess when palis celebrate, Israel must be making them do that, too.

Sadly, Meshaal was not the only delusional arab today, just the most delusional one. The Saudis, for instance, implied Israel was behind all of this as well.

What has happened, in reality, is that what was always going to happen has happened. A palestinian civil war was a predictable outcome for years. Israel didn't need to do anything; the palis couldn't avoid this because they have been either brutally oppressed by their thuggish leaders and those leaders' security forces or they have gleefully joined in the bloodlust.

The taught and encouraged hate has to have an outlet. They built a society steeped in a message of death and destruction and now they are reaping the fruits of their labour.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

You Have to Be Hunter S. Thompson to Understand the Palestinians

In order to make sense of the palestinians and the world's reaction to their actions, one would, I think, have to be on a combined cocktail mix of LSD, ecstasy and alcohol.

LSD to sort out the surreal behaviour that the palestinians display. Alcohol to experience the kind of rage they seem to display at each and every turn. Ecstasy to comprehend why any world government or organization still treats them as though they are worth our time - especially as so many other people live in squalor and misery that is not of their own making.

As anyone who reads or watches news knows, the palestinians have been busy beating the crap out of each other in Gaza for the past week. This has included killing women and children, gangland style shootings of captured enemies and other such activities such as dropping living people off rooftops and turning them into jelly.

Hamas has now overrun Gaza with the full intention of turning it into a typical islamic thugocracy backed by Iran and Syria, at least until Israel gets sick of Qassam rockets and Olmert grows some balls (which, sadly, might be never). Fatah is holed up in the West Bank. Both sides are issuing forth the usual arab assmonkey rhetoric that we are all so familiar with. There is no end in sight. Sadly women and children are caught in the crossfire. Gladly, many fatahdiots and hamassholes are being sent to Allah and the more of those, the better.

But, to hear the rest of the world, there is something salvageable about the palestinians. The US has backed Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, "the moderate" (LOL). Condi Rice, ever becoming more like Colin Powell by the day, has pledged the US will not abandon the palestinians and will work towards getting the peace process back on track (where it has not been since the Oslo Accord). The US administration is dreaming in technicolour - and it's, by far, one of the more realistic nations when it comes to viewing the palestinians.

It speaks volumes that most of the lefty groups haven't commented at all, despite the clear violations of every human right imaginable. The palestinians, of course, violate human rights more often than I blink, but this time they're doing it in full daylight. Yet, nothing...

Imagine the reaction if Israeli soldiers tossed a palestinian from a rooftop.

Personally, I say let them fight it out. The palestinians have been headed for civil war for months and the only real surprise is that it took this long to for it to begin in earnest.

Meanwhile, if I were Israel, I'd be eyeing Iran's nuclear facilities very closely right now. Get 'em while the rest of the world is at least partially distracted.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reagan Had It Right

I didn't realize it until I watched the Colbert Report this evening (and, boy, hasn't he surpassed Jon Stewart?) but this was the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's famous "Mr. Gorbachev...tear down this wall" speech.

Within a couple of years of that speech, the Berlin Wall had, indeed, been torn down and the world was, for at least a short time, transformed.

Sadly, there was not a single mention of this on the news networks I watched or newspapers and Web sites I read today. It probably should have been front and centre in many of them.

It comes at a time when I'm reading Natan Sharansky's book "The Case for Democracy." In it, Sharansky pays a lot of attention to Reagan's speech; it marked a clear reversal from the policy of detente that allowed the Soviet Union to pretend to be peaceful while still funding violent movements and crushing civil rights internally. Sharansky, himself, at one time faced trial for a charge that could have brought the death penalty.

Sharansky argues that you cannot have peace without freedom, that the Western world should not yield its knowledge, economic advances and military capabilities to non-democracies without attaching conditions of demonstrated improvement in its external and, particularly, internal policies. The Soviet Union, he says, could have have been forced into collapse earlier by increased isolation and pressure from the West rather than the legitimacy it was offered through allowing it to remain a "fear" society.

I was in my late teens when Reagan came to office. I was young and naive and subject to the normal tendencies of people that age, believed Reagan was a nut who stood a good chance of getting us all killed by getting in the face of the Soviet Union. I was totally wrong and have known, without question, exactly how wrong I was since the start of the second palestinian intifailure.

I can only say that, thankfully, 19-year-olds can't be President unless it's of a frat house. Reagan, for whatever faults he had, helped bring an end to the Soviet Union which was a great boon for the world. If there was a candidate for '08 who would approach the current situation in Russia and China in much the same manner, it would be a good thing.

At any rate, the West really does need to stand up to tyranny and to tie its aid and support to nations that are striving to give their citizens a better life.

Unfortunately, that means a lot of people would have to stop acting like teenagers - believing that any sacrifice is too much sacrifice and that all people can be swayed by words.

There may not be that many things worth fighting for but our freedom is unquestionably one of them. And, if we act intelligently (ie. before a crisis), all we have to sacrifice is some of our economic largesse along with some diplomatic niceties.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Letters from Lefty Losers

Canada's far-left dingbats are at it again, this time boycotting bookstores and mailing letters to soldiers and their families asking them to desert instead of serving in Afghanistan.

In the case of the soldiers, letters have begun appearing at the homes of members of Canada's famous Royal 22nd Regiment (based in Quebec and known as the Vandoos - for those unfamiliar with French, 22 (Vingt deux) is prounounced roughly as Vandoo. 2,300 members of the Regiment are due to deploy next month to Afghanistan where they will be helping to rebuild a war-torn society now embarking down the road to freedom and democracy and protecting its citizens from the regressive, misogynistic, scumbags known as the Taliban.

This of course, isn't appropriate according to the anti-war group Guerre a la Guerre (War against War) who should rename themselves Guerre a l'Intelligence or perhaps Guerre a la Paix. Those serving in Afghanistan are doing a wonderful job and have helped restore Canada's international position as a country that has some backbone instead of being a euroweenie outpost.

According to Joseph Bergeron, spokesmoron for Guerre a la Guerre, "we believe we have a legitimate right to offer our opinion and information to soldiers," which, of course, they do.

But, isn't it ironic that the lefties can never see we have those rights because of our soldiers?

Does Mr. Bergeron think he would have that right if the nazis had won WWII or if the islamists such as those in the Taliban ran things?

Does Mr. Bergeron think Canadians should have those rights but Afghanis should not? Is it okay if Afghanis are murdered, the women treated like dirt and the country ruined economically while its people live in squalor and fear because they're in Afghanistan and not Canada?

Does Mr. Bergeron feel that it's okay for the Taliban to be a terrorist haven as long as the terrorists attack anyone but Canada?

Actually, he probably does.

What's surprising is that Mr. Bergeron has time to talk to the media at all because he's busy writing letters and probably picketing outside Chapters bookstores, as well.

For those who don't know: Chapters is a huge Canadian chain of bookstores, owned by - oh, don't you know it - some damned Joooooos.

And, it seems these Jews, Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, support an organization known as the Heseg Foundation which gives scholarships to Israeli soldiers for post-secondary education. And, not just any soldiers but only those who have no family to help them.

That the money has no military application is irrelevant.

That the money might actually get a soldier out of uniform and into university - as surely any good left-wing peacenik would want - is irrelevant.

That Chapters has numerous left-wing screeds on its shelves and that the only publication it ever refused in recent memory was the Western Standard that had the Muhammad cartoons in it (deemed too offensive to Islam to carry) is irrelevant.

In Canada, the freaks are now picketing Chapters outlets because the freaks hate Israel. They will support every disgusting action by arab nations but never the right of Israel to defend itself against terror or of its right even to exist.

I sincerely hope these assholes come to my hometown. There's a Chapters just down the road from my house and I love shopping there. Nothing but nothing would give me more pleasure than to break their boycott, tell them all to go fuck themselves and come back out with about $500 worth of books.

Big, heavy books. Suitable for whacking far-left idiots over the head will be the opening salvo in my declared Guerre a la Stupide.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

What's in a Name

When I was a kid, I can remember reading with interest the most popular names lists that were released each year.

Each year it seemed, names that topped the list in the English speaking world were David, Michael and John, Mary, Lisa, Jennifer, etc. That stopped about 25 years ago when people started getting more trendy with names. If it was popular on TV, it would be popular for society.

When my wife was pregnant with our children, we enjoyed looking through the baby names book. We settled on classic Hebrew names that were known but not the most common.

Today, from Britain - if I remember correctly, the place where English evolved and was spread to the world - news came that, when you combine the 14 variations in spelling, the name Mohammed is the second most popular in the nation, second only to Jack but ahead of Thomas. If the trend continues, it will be the most popular boys name in Britain by year's end.

According to the story, scholars said the rise in popularity was the growing number of young Muslims having families and the desire to honour the prophet. I don't know why it would take a scholar to figure that out; any old shlub should be able to.

The demographics in Europe show the rapid increase in the muslim population and it's no exception in Britain. The rise in the use of Mohammed is only a small indicator of what's going on. It is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

The British have practised a polished version of anti-Semitism recently. It's present in its media and the censures against it from journalists - even as one of their own has been held for almost three months by palestinian terrorists - university professors and labour unions which are appalling in their bias. But, then that's nothing new for the British who have long had a vein of only half-concealed anti-Semitism in their society (Winston Churchill, God bless him, among those exempted).

The combination of British contempt cloaked in civility mixed with islamic hatred is very worrisome and one wonders how much influence it's already having.

If I were British, I don't think I'd be happy with this news. Sure, it's all well and good to bash around a bunch of Jews thousands of miles away but the day may come when Mohammed2007 has made it so Jack2007 can't live in his own country.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


You know things must be improving in Afghanistan when my morning paper has a story about how internet cafes are springing up like poppies in major cities like Kandahar - an area where Canadian troops have been operating heavily for the past several years.

Seems as if the Afghans have discovered on-line porn and they likee. Not that that's all they're flocking to cafes for. Many of them just want to find out what's happening in the world. As one can imagine, the Taliban did not look kindly on either.

One of the main goals of any incursion into a muslim or other type of thugocracy should be, without question, the exposure to the big world, and if that means complete with pornography, so be it. (And, before anyone gets all upset and calls me misogynistic or sexist, I will also point out that a recent Australian study showed at least one-third of those people who regularly view on-line porn are women.) Maybe pictures or videos of all the various possible sexual interactions shouldn't be tops on the list but it's a lot less dangerous than Taliban-style thinking.

Sadly, Afghanistan is in the minority. Much of the world seems to be going backwards. In the palestinian areas, internet cafes are now regularly firebombed even though their owners say they block sites that don't carry the proper Islamist message (I don't know how many sites that would leave, but it can't be many). In Egypt, bloggers are routinely jailed. In China, the government blocks endless numbers of sites and, unfortunately, major corporations like Google and Yahoo! go along for the ride.

The internet is an amazing tool - heck, for starters, it allows you to read my pearls of wisdom. Western nations should deluge nations like Iraq with computers and internet access because information will defeat the islamists much more convincingly than bullets. Sure, the internet is full of an amazing amount of bullshit and more lies than a stadium full of politicians, but it's the exchange of ideas that allows it to flourish and has made it into a tool for freedom.

And, if that doesn't work, throw some more porn at them. A sexually-drained islamist is more likely to fall asleep than chop a head off.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Natives are Restless, and for Good Reason

There has been a lot of talk in Canada recently about exactly what the Aboriginal population is willing to do to force government action on its issues and about exactly what the non-Aboriginal population owes them. Not dissimilar debates occur sporadically in the United States as well as Australia.

In Canada, the Aboriginal (which includes First Nations, Inuit and Metis) population has some very valid grievances. Perhaps most worthy of consideration is the number of promises made to Aboriginal communities or negotiating groups that have been broken over the years. Then, there were the policies that were meant to assimilate Aboriginals but that resulted in an alienation from both the "white" society and their own.

Sadly, many people in Canada think Aboriginals are demanding what they do not deserve. Yesterday, I read a letter in the National Post that implied Aboriginals were little more than North American palestinians. That lowers the Aboriginal population to a place they do not belong.

To whit:

A) palestinians were not forced off their lands. No matter what any anti-Zionist or arabphile says: the dispossessed palestinians fled Israel at the urging of their own arab brethren and British propaganda. Nor were they isolated as North American Aboriginals were on reserves. In fact, any "reserves" are those kept by the arabs for palestinians, such as the one in Lebanon currently infested with terrorists and besieged by the Lebanese military.

B) Aboriginals have, in the most, acted with dignity and conciliation when dealing with the government. There have been only isolated acts of sustained civil disobedience and almost none of violent action. The palestinians base their entire philosophy not on justice but on destruction. An Aboriginal homicide bomber or rocket landing in a large Canadian city? Has never happened. The don't even touch on the type of "resistance" offered by many European groups such as the Basque or IRA.

C) palestinians were never asked to assimilate. Israeli-Arabs have their own traditions to themselves. The Aboriginal population of North America was forced to become something it was not. If anything, the rejection by arabs of the idea of assimilating or naturalizing their palestinian residents has only led to the continued misery (as planned by the arab nations and aided by the UN).

D) Aboriginal people are asking for equality. Get some in one area; give some in another. They do not want to destroy Canada or to kill whitey. They want an equal opportunity to succeed in one of the world's wealthiest and most advantageously-positioned countries. As someone from a family where many people, including myself, have worked with Aboriginal people, there are experiences of mistrust but hatred is not found.

I truly believe we have not done right by the Native populations. Much of that is the result of policies that we were not responsible for - the same way I don't hold today's Germans responsible for the actions of the nazis. But, there are still things that can be done.

It's not a question of simply throwing money or land at people. There is an issue of allowing Aboriginals enough of their own culture and ways of doing things that affords them a status of equality but not necessarily assimilation. In this country, we make allowances for all kinds of recent arrivals, yet we often refuse to do so for its most historical people.

This is going to come back to bite us if the situation is not dealt with. Young angry Natives may well look at the tactics of terrorists and the reaction from the west and think it could be successful. At the end of the day it wouldn't be, but I would like to see efforts to ensure that day never comes.

Friday, June 1, 2007

As God Is My Witness, I Shall Not Bear Witness

Over the past month, the two papers I regularly read have been full of commentary that I can only describe as The Atheists Strike Back.

People like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are getting a lot of ink with their assaults on religion and the belief in God. One column I found really interesting suggested this was a natural response to the rise of fundamentalist religions, particularly islamist behaviour and the evangelical US Christian-style.

Several people whose blogs I regularly visit are also ardent atheists. One of them (baconeating_atheistjew - one of the people I've corresponded with on the internet for years) posted a What Kind of Atheist Are You quiz a couple of weeks ago. Turns out I was 92 per cent Apathetic Atheist and 75 per cent Agnostic.

That sounds about right for me. I've never been convinced there is a God and I've never rejected the concept, either. I grew up in a very secular household with one parent who was an atheist and another who converted to Christianity after I left home and became a minister in one of the more liberal sects. I've always considered myself Jewish but more in the sense of trying to appreciate the culture and history and not so much the God (or should I write G-d) part.

What I most think people should do is leave each other alone. I understand why atheists are getting pissed off but they need to attack the core groups. The vast majority of people who profess a belief in God do so in a benign way.

If it helps them lead better lives, or even decent ones, that's great.

If it gives them comfort in the thought that there is something after death and that their deceased love ones are in a better place, that's terrific.

Even if it just gives them a sense of tradition, that's fine, too.

If they want to chop my head off or replace evolution in school with "intelligent design", well, then I'm with Hitchens. But, there's a lot more at play in geo-politics than religion and it certainly isn't religion that gave rise to the western apathy and accommodation that has landed us in a whack of trouble.

I don't think people who believe in God are wrong or stupid. The reason is: I just don't know. Believing in God is an act of faith. Not believing in God is a matter of extrapolating science; saying that because we've come so far in explaining so many of the universe's mysteries, we will eventually be able to pin it all down to a scientific explanation.

I've known people on both sides who were rational, good human beings. I know that in history, there have been many horrible things done in the name of religion and many others - including probably the greatest human rights violations (start with Communist China, Communist Soviet Union and nazi Germany) - that were not.

At the end of the day, it's very simple: live and let live. Believe what you want to but don't come looking to tell me about it.

I don't give a lot of thought to the spiritual side of the world. Generally, I'm too busy living in the day-to-day one. But, perhaps later in life, when I have time to reflect on what I've done and what I've learned, maybe I will. If so, I promise not to blog about it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Last Gasp of the Irrelevant

So, Cindy Sheehan, renowned far-left flake for "peace", has decided to pack it in.

Hunmorously, it would seem even a Democrat party led by Nancy Pelosi and presided over by someone ever shriekier than her, namely Howard Dean, wasn't leaning far enough to the left for ol' Cindy, who's decided to head home to California to wash the sinkful of dishes she left behind about three years ago when she began her lunatic crusade against George Bush.

The ironies, of course, never end when it comes to people like Sheehan. While bashing Bush and the US administration at every turn, she had no problem cozying up to Hugo Chavez and other primo dictators but now complains that the US she "loves" is no longer the US of today. That's because the US she "loves" is seemingly known as the USSR and it went out of business about 20 years ago.

In her "resignation" letter, Sheehan said, "I'm going home for awhile to try and be normal." (Yeah, right.)

Then she went on to comment she'd taken a lot of "smears". Note to Cindy: that's what happens when you bash your own country, demean its soldiers and kiss its enemies' asses. Not to mention, she smeared as good as she got; lying about Bush refusing to meet with her (he did) and turning her son, who fell serving his country, into a symbol that he likely would have wanted nothing to do with (seeing as he volunteered both to join the army and to serve a second tour in Iraq).

At the end of the day, it seems to me that Cindy has walked away for two reasons. One, like a petulant child, she didn't get what she wanted and two, no one was paying any attention to her anymore, including the Democratic Party that once feted her.

She won't be missed.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Six Degrees of Shithole

The older I get, the more I come to believe that the vast majority of the world is a shithole for humans. Let's face it, aside from North America, some parts of Europe, some of Asia, a bit of South America, Australia, New Zealand and Israel, there has been very little progress in the plight of humanity over the past centuries.

Sure, people might have a little more to eat and live longer, but in essence, they are still largely denied basic human rights, freedom, the ability to advance themselves and equality through much of the world.

Let's take a little tour through my morning paper and see if I can explain what I'm talking about...

We'll start in Nigeria

Nigeria is an oil-rich African nation and one of the few on the continent that is not a complete and total basket case. But that might soon change.

Later this week, Nigeria will see its first president-elect following another elected president take office when ex-Marxist turned devout Muslim Alhaji Umara Yar'Adua is sworn into office.

This might sound very nice but the elections were a farce. Yar'Adua was the hand-picked successor to outgoing president Olusegun Obasanjo and even he admits the elections were not properly run. The losers are saying far more: they want the elections annulled, and this being Africa, there is sure to be plenty of violence when that doesn't happen.

Last week 48 Nobel Laureates, including one from Nigeria, issued an open letter to world leaders demanding new elections within 18 months. Of course, 48 Nobel Laureates and $1.25 will get you a cup of coffee...

Even the EU has weighed in, threatening to withhold financial aid from Nigeria. You know something's wrong when the EU issues a condemnation and the target is not Israel.

Perhaps Nigeria is learning from our the second stop on our tour.

That would be Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, President-Thug Robert Mugabe continues his reign of terror and error. Not content with having turned privately-owned farms into publicly-owned wastelands and watching his citizenry starve, Mugabe has now turned his attention to foreign-owned businesses.

Last week, his cabinet passed legislation that would require foreign-owned businesses operating in Zimbabwe to forfeit at least 51 per cent of their holdings to Zimbabwe. If you're a friendly nation, such as China - where corruption and thuggery are the rule - then you're exempt. But, if you're, for instance, a British bank, you're in deep trouble.

Not that the bankers will admit it. A spokesman for Standard Charter, with 26 offices in Zimbabwe, refused comment. A spokesman for Barclays, with 29 offices in Zimbabwe, would say only "it is early days and the proposed bill may not become law."

Yeah, right.

Mugabe is a total asshole but he does have his proteges.

Take for instance our third stop: Venezuela, ruled by strongman President-Thug Hugo Chavez.

In Venezuela, Chavez is busy consolidating his power for ages to come. First he jailed his political opponents and now he's moved on to that age-old dictatorial policy of shutting down any media outlet that opposes him.

Recently, he refused to re-issue an operations license for Radio Caracas Television, the nation's largest TV station, replacing it with a new, state-funded TV station that will, no doubt, masturbate endlessly over the glory of its leader in typical 1984 Orwellian fashion.

The station went off the air when the clock struck midnight Sunday/Monday, leading to mass protests in the streets. Being the good dictator he is, Chavez responded by having police fire rubber bullets at the protesters.

Mark my words, if this man is still in power in five years, the average Venezuelan will be as destitute as the average Zimbabwean.

Then there's Myanmar

That's the country formerly known as Burma where democracy icon and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has had her house arrest extended for yet another year.

No surprise there; in fact, if there's any surprise, it's that Suu Kyi is still breathing. Normally, in a country like Myanmar, people disappear and are surprisingly never seen again or magically turn up dead.

Nevertheless, Myanmar's government quickly squashed an attempted prayer rally at the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital of Yangon. There's really not much one can say about a nation where even praying is illegal.

Except maybe that all of the above examples seem awfully like our next example.

That would be Russia, home of Vladimir Putin

Putin is, for lack of a better phrase, an utter fucking pig who makes the above guys look almost credible.

His newest target is Estonia. The Estonians, apparently, have had the audacity to exercise their own freedom by removing a statue of a Russian soldier that was erected in the former Soviet-bloc nation in commemmoration of the Russians pushing the Germans out of Estonia in World War II.

The problem, from the Estonian perspective, is that the nazis were replaced by
Soviet communists which was kind of like replacing heart attacks with cancer.

Free at last, they wanted to remove memories of both from their national conscience.

Russia has responded by shutting down Estonian Web sites, including its government site, banks and at least one newspaper. As Estonians are a western-style democracy, where people bank online, vote online and read online, this has caused a certain amount of grief brought about by what is, at best, industrial espionage and, at worst, economic terrorism.

Still, there's nothing worse than a democracy in Putin's eyes.

Sadly, our last nation could use a good ol' strongman.

That would be poor Lebanon.

In Lebanon, a new civil war is brewing because terrorists, posing as palestinians (I know, it sounds kind of odd that a terrorist would pose as a terrorist but these are different terrorists than the average palestinian terrorist) are using a 'refugee' camp to launch attacks on Lebanon's embattled civilians and government.

Sadly, Lebanon can't actually respond by going into the camp and destroying the terrorists because there's an agreement with other arab nations not to do such a dastardly thing. So, Syria gets to continue its proxy war in Lebanon using some Muslim fundamentalist assholes known as Fatah al-Islam while the citizenry continues into its nine-thousandth, three hundred and eighty-seventh year of internal conflict as pawns for other arab nations.

Putin, Chavez, Mugabe and even Syria's leader, Bashir Assad, wouldn't bother with the niceties for even a second. They'd squash the whole camp like a bug, eat dinner and then claim it was an accident.

So, there you have it, a news round-up that shows why I'm a right-winger. Because only a left-winger could read this shit day-in and day-out and still show up to bash the US and Israel.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Great Place To Be

Seems to me I've been kind of hard on Australia in my last couple of posts so to make up for it, here are 10 things I really love about this country:

1) The weather...duh. Okay, it's May 26 which means it's late fall. Today, it's about 75 in Sydney, not a cloud in the sky. By night time, it will be down to about 55 and Aussies will be wearing sweaters and complaining but for a Canadian, weather conditions don't get much better.

2) The beer. Australians drink a heck of a lot of it and produce some very good ones. The most common beer that people drink in Sydney is Victoria Bitter (VB) and it's quite delicious on a hot day, which is almost every day.

3) The Shout. This is tied to beer. When you're in a pub, Australians buy everyone at their table a round and take turns. Very civilized. Plus, if you're a foreigner, you'll usually get special treatment. My liver hates The Shout but the rest of me loves it.

4) The women. Australian women are beautiful and they know how to dress to show it off. Plus they're awfully tolerant of Australian men which is saying something because Australian men tend to be far less sympathetic to women than in other places, such as Canada. Australian men better hope the women never figure it out.

5) National Rugby League football. When I went to high school, we played a lot of Union rules rugby which is the boring kind where half of each team spends half the time hugging each other with their heads down in a scrum while everyone else stands around. It's the official upper crust type of rugby. NRL, on the other hand, is an incredibly fast-paced, hard-hitting game that's a good deal of fun to watch while enjoying beer and food. Plus, its players - who make far less than most North American pro athletes - are genuine people. Most of them will emerge from the stadium after a game and spend time talking with fans and signing autographs. When's the last time you saw a major league baseball, hockey, football or basketball player do that on a regular basis?

6) The food. Australians love to eat and love to barbecue. The other night, I went over to a friend's place to watch the first NRL State of Origin match (a three-game set played each year between players from Queensland and New South Wales). The menu included: fresh prawns and oysters, barbecued steak, barbecued sausages, potatoes, salad and beans not to mention little snacks. The drinks included beer, wine and port. Now, I ask you: how can life get much better than that? This was on a Wednesday night, mind you. On the weekends, they eat and drink even more.

7) The Sydney CBD (Central Business District) or, as North Americans would call it, downtown. Beautiful old buildings, well preserved, shopping galore, good prices and lots of the aforementioned pretty women walking around. Great place to sit at an outdoor table at a cafe, have a coffee and just watch the people.

8) The manners. Sydneysiders are almost always polite and don't put on airs. They actually seem to enjoy helping people. The only other large cities I know where people are genuinely that nice are Montreal and - believe it or not - New York.

9) The Sydney Harbour. Unlike most cities built on the water, Sydney has preserved its waterfront. Darling Harbour, the largest gathering place on the water, is a wonderful place full of walking paths, little waterways, lots of greenspace and neat things for the kids to do.

10) The accents and the lingo. I don't always know what Australians are saying but it always sits nicely on the ear whatever it is.

Anyway, tomorrow it's back home - which will be very nice as I've had one or two too many nights out and a lot of work to do while I was here. But once again, Sydney has been a great place to be.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hicks Up

Well, the Australian newspapers finally found something better to whinge about than a kangaroo in Canada - that being the fact their government spent $500,000 (yes, half a million bucks) transporting a convicted terrorist from Guantanomo Bay back to Adelaide.

David Hicks was, I believe, only the second accused (after American John Walker Lindh) held at Guantanomo to be convicted. It took five-and-a-half years, mostly because his lawyers did everything they could to stall the process (when it came time for his trial, he suddenly entered a guilty plea). In that time and despite the fact at one point he tried to claim British citizenship, he became a cause celebre in this country, for some God unknown reason.

It should be noted that unlike most of the scum at Guantanomo, including Canada's Omar Khadr - who the Americans can keep forever as far as I'm concerned - Hicks didn't actually do much of anything except act as a kind of gofer for al-Qaida/Taliban before being captured. He actually comes across as a total simpleton; a high school dropout who just kind of drifted, got sucked into radical Islam and then ended up in NATO hands. Which doesn't mean I have any sympathy for him; anymore than I would the simpleton who ends up acting as a supporter for murderers.

The Aussies, though, expressed plenty of sympathy for him; at least the far-left ones and his dad has become kind of an Aussie Cindy Sheehan. In fact, while his son was enjoying a ride home in a chartered Gulfstream aircraft, munching down on his choice of chicken or beef, chatting with security guards and watching movies, dad was at a "peace" conference; no doubt, one of those events where the US, Israel and other western nations are guilty of everything and the islamic world is just misunderstood and only needs a group hug to get along with us.

But, even the most sympathetic Australian seemed unimpressed with the tab run up to get him home to serve the final 7 months of his sentence. I doubt very much they were overly impressed with the fact that his lawyer then said being in an Adelaide jail was like being in the Hilton compared to Guantanomo Bay. A fine piece of rhetoric that as Hicks himself has admitted he was not mistreated by his American jailers.

Hicks has declared that he intends to finish his high school equivalency while in jail and then go to uni (as they call it here) to become an environmental scientist. From destroying the Earth to saving it, how very honourable. No doubt, the taxpayer will find themselves on the hook for part of that, too.

Now, the only question remaining is: how much are the Aussies willing to spend to repatriate their kangaroo?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sometimes, I Wonder About Down Under

Let me preface this by noting that I love Australia. I've been here about 20 times and as I sit in my Sydney hotel room today, I'm looking out at bright blue skies, beautiful women passing by and anticipating a night of lively beer drinking with some of my Aussie "mates".

As much as I enjoy this country - so much so that I once applied to move here - I don't always understand it. Case in point: one of the daily newspapers - the tabloid Daily Telegraph - has begun an absurd campaign against Canada because some yahoo Canadian who owns what's known as a "roadside" zoo in London, Ontario has had the audacity to keep a kangaroo penned up. The headline of the story: Tyson jailer's cruel silence" subtitled, "pity it's not her caged big cat that's got her tongue".

Nevermind the Canadian government has pledged action on this "zoo" and others, which had existed in a murky legal area between being businesses and private pet ownerships. Nevermind that the "zoo" in question has now been closed, as they all should be. Nevermind that the kangaroo most probably arrived in Canada from Australia since the animal is far from native to our northern climes. Nevermind, for that matter, that Australians eat kangaroo and you can buy it at many local butcheries (for the record, I've tried it and as a meat choice, I wouldn't recommend it).

That's not enough for the Tely. When its reporters trespassed on the owner's property, she called the police. The police questioned the reporters and cleared them of any wrongdoing, even agreeing the woman who ran the "zoo" was a known pain in the ass but explaining when police are called, they are obliged to respond. That was worth yet another story from the Tely, despite the fact the cops were just doing their job.

Over the last two days, I have counted four stories in the Telegraph about this as well as an editorial. All of a sudden, Canadians are just slightly above al-Qaida as a threat to the Australian way of life.

What is particularly amusing, in a sordid, twisted way, is that the Tely now has posted, on its Web site, a "collection of Dumb Canadian video clips" that they invite their readers to "laugh at". In the same issue where I read this there are stories about:

- new cashless poker machines (pokies in Australia) that will allow ever-increasing numbers of obviously highly intelligent Australians to blow their weekly wages without needing actual cash,

- a genius Sydneysider who invented and is circulating a video game modelled on the killings at Virginia Tech,

- an Einstein of a family whose six small children were found living in a drug den,

- a Mensa-quality decision that allows a doctor charged with raping a patient to continue his practise

- some super smart guys who flimed themselves sexually assaulting two schoolgirls. (Gang rapes are an ongoing problem in Australia, usually perpetrated by people the Tely will only describe as "olive complexioned" can figure out the rest.)

All of which might lead some people to believe that when it comes to dumb, Canadians don't exactly stand alone in the western world. The kangaroo story, by the way, took up most of Page 7 of the particular issue. The pokie story got one column on page 5, the VT video game rated about three inches on page 9, the drug den got half of page 15 and the doctor accused of rape and the filmed sexual assault by a bunch of young males were so lacking in newsworthiness, compared to the kangaroo, that they appeared on pages 18 and 19, respectively.

Not sure why the Tely has decided to take on Canada and label us "dumb" - perhaps it ran out of George W. Bush jokes - but surely it could put its resources to better use, particularly since the Canadians have already moved to address the problem they're complaining about in the first place and the Aussies seem to have a few problems of their own to work on.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Not the News 2

In another story out of the Middle East, it appears the palestinian civil war is back on but, in reality, it never stopped in the first place.

Again, there's nothing new about fatah and hamas faction idiots mowing each other down in the streets and one almost has to wonder why anyone even bothers reporting it anymore. On the other hand, it happens as often as Paris Hilton does something stupid, and that gets reported, too.

In the latest bloodfest, 8 Fatah "policemen" were gunned down in what AP called "the
most ruthless round yet of factional fighting," which suggests even AP is stretching to find reasons to continue reporting this bullshit.

AP also pumped the story claiming the attack was "pushing the Palestinian unity government closer to collapse", which is kind of ridiculous since there is no such thing as Palestinian unity and likely never will be.

Other than that the story is pedestrian: gunmen in black ski masks took up positions and fired at one another for hours while residents of Gaza City hid in their homes and wondered how such a terrible thing could happen.

Clue: Your culture thrives on death and destruction. Israel's wall keeps the death and destruction, generally, from visiting it so the fall back position is for the terrorist factions to kill one another and whatever innocents happen to get in the way.

All in all, 15 palestinians were killed in internicine violence Tuesday - 28 in total over the last three days according to AP - but, hope is nigh, a truce was reached for the third consecutive day. No doubt, it will be prove equally as successful as its predecessors.

I may have printed this once or twice before but, hey, it's at least as much news as what AP is reporting: the palestinians are a waste of time and effort and the idea of them running their own state in any forseeable future is laughable.

Not the News 1

Just spent two days at a local resort where my wife and myself enjoyed good food, good drink and good company while I totally stayed away from computers, TVs and all other carriers of news. Tomorrow, it's off to Sydney for 10 days to deal with some family issues, so not much blogging to be done for a while.

Arrived home today to read a "story" about how Iran is not complying with demands made on it to cease enriching uranium in its continuing attempt to build a nuclear weapon. Not sure why this qualifies as "news" inasmuch as there's absolutely nothing new about it; Madman Ahmadingdong has made it quite clear he has no intention of stopping so unless he's overthrown or killed, the world can expect this effort to continue.

What is almost amusing if it weren't so absolutely insane and enraging was a comment from the head of the International Atomic Energy Association head, Mohamed ElBaradei, who has one of those names that leads one to suspect he might not be so opposed to the idea of Iran incinerating Israel.

ElBaradei, who has done for the IAEA what Kofi Annan did for the UN (that is, turn it into a laughingstock) implied in his comments that there seemed to be little use in trying to prevent Iran from enriching uranium if Iran was already enriching uranium.

"What he's saying is that we've now crossed a line," said a diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with reporters.

What he is not saying, however, is what the world should do instead if Iran has crossed that line.

Even some American experts seem content to continue to allow Iran to pursue its course.

"Iran is steadily moving toward nuclear weapons capability, and the negotiations are not working, and we may have to settle into an extended crisis where we need to sanction Iran and further isolate them," said David Albright, a former inspector who heads the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security,

"But this doesn't mean war. ... You have to resist the urge to strike out militarily, which could even be worse than Iran gaining nuclear weaponry."

Worse for who, Mr. Albright? The Iranians? Surely not worse for the Israelis who, no doubt, are not about to sit around and wait for Iran's best before date before turning parts of the Persian nation into a glowing glass parking lot.

Both ElBaradei and Albright, not to mention the still ineffectual EU and the increasingly ineffectual Americans, are kidding themselves if they think Israel's going to sit back and wait.

Sadly, when the time comes, Israel will take the blame while the rest of the world pretends it could have stopped Iran with more "negotiations" and "sanctions", much as Chamberlain believed he could do in 1938. Seventy years later, and politicians and diplomats have still learned sweet fuck all.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Not a Tide, But At Least a Small Ripple

If you frequent even one pro-Israel blog or messageboard, you will inevitably come to read all manner of Judeophobic posts. One of those will almost certainly contain the phrase "the tide is turning".

It's very popular among losers who like to believe that Israel's demise and/or another Holocaust of the Jewish people is imminent. All they need to do is post it enough times and it will happen. It is often accompanied by its sister phrase: "Americans are waking up". The really hard-working ones will add a link to some Jooooo-conspiracy Web site.

Americans, most of them anyway, seem to have woken up, so we'll just leave that particular piece of stupidity alone.

Since 9/11, North Americans have become much more cautious about the intentions of islamists (keeping in mind, I do not mean Muslims as a whole but, rather, those who preach and/or practise a violent form of it). There have been no further terrorist attacks in either Canada or the United States - the two most sought after North American targets. Law enforcement has been tightened up enough that any plots have been disrupted.

One was, however, left wondering whether Europeans would ever wake up. The London and Madrid bombings, the murder of Theo Van Gogh, the Paris riots - none of them seemed to phase a weary, aged continent, largely content to babysit its citizens for life for a few more generations before finally succumbing to societal deterioration. Recent events, however, might suggest at least a stirring.

On Saturday, the European Union's plan to profile mosques was greeted favourably by its main members. The idea is to identify imams who preach radical Islam.

According to AP: Italian Interior Minister Guiliano Amato said Europe had ample experience with the "misuse of mosques, which instead of being places of worship are used for other ends.

"This is bringing about a situation that involves all of our countries and involves the possibility of attacks and developing of networks that use one country to prepare an attack in another," Amato said, after a meeting in Venice of interior ministers and security officials from six European countries and the United States.

On the same day, an article titled "A New Cold War" appeared in my paper. It noted the growing dissatisfaction Europe was showing towards Russian near-dictator Vladimir Putin, including considering withholding support for Russia's entry to the World Trade Organization. Russia has been sliding backwards since Putin came to power and until recently no one, other than a few brave - and now often, dead - souls have had the guts to say it.

Along with Sarkozy's win last week in France, there are three clear indicators in a very short period of time that the Europeans may be starting to realize that they can't ignore internal and external factors working against freedom and still hope to remain free.

I'm not arrogant enough to suggest the tide is turning nor do I trust the EU or most of its member nations. And, none of the events I cited were directly related to the Jewish community, the current and historic anti-Semitism in most European nations or Europe's generally incredibly hypocritical approach to Israel.

I will, however, say that it's the first time in a long time - with a few specific exceptions - that I haven't been completely disgusted with Europe.