Monday, April 30, 2007

Bush "Co-operating" With Democrats Just Another Mistake

I really do wonder if any president in the history of the United States will go down as having more totally underestimated or overestimated everything than George W. Bush.

Now, I'm not ordinarily a Bush-basher. The guy was put in a tough spot when, barely eight months into his presidency, a bunch of psychotic arab fucks killed 3,000 Americans while striking the worst ever blow against the country on its own soil. It wasn't Bush's fault that 9/11 occurred; in fact, the Democrats knew damn well Osama bin Laden was a major threat and allowed him to more or less dance merrily around flipping them the finger for quite some time.

But since the events of 9/11, Bush has managed to have an administration that has cocked up pretty much every damn thing it tried.

- They couldn't find bin Laden and, six years later, still can't confirm whether he's alive or dead.

- They got rid of the Taliban but the Taliban still exists.

- They've depended on Pakistan to help in the war on terror while Pakistan allows a free-flowing border situation to become a major transit point for terrorists.

- They embarked on an ill-advised war in Iraq.

- They easily won the war in Iraq but have had no concept for four years on how to get the hell out of there while the country slips further and further into a morass and the Bush administration backs an ineffective government.

- They've allowed Moqtada al-Sadr to continue to breathe despite numerous opportunities to send him to Allah.

- They found Saddam Hussein and then allowed him to be turned into a cause celebre, ending in an execution that could only be described as comic if it weren't so grotesque.

- They've claimed on numerous occasions that the goal is to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East but refuse to really support Israel, the only free and democratic country in the Middle East.

- Meanwhile, they've tolerated Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and a host of other non-democratic arab shitholes.

- They've burned bridges with pretty much every country in Europe which isn't necessarily a bad thing except that it has emboldened Vladimir Putin who's little more than a Soviet-style communist despite Bush's claims that he is a good man (Bush's silliest statement of all, IMO).

- They've continued to increase the economy of China, another deplorable dictatorship, and emboldened its military at the expense of Taiwan - a functioning, vital democracy.

- They wrangled a deal with North Korea over nuclear arms, only the North Koreans have shown zero commitment to actually live up to the deal.

- They've allowed Iran to continue on their nuclear program because they can't get the aforementioned Chinese or Russians (not to mention several European countries) to play ball with them.

- They've had a series of moronic heads of various crucial departments including Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez and Michael Brown, all of whom Bush seemed to back out of allegiance rather than intelligence. And, we won't even get into Colin Powell's run as Secretary of State.

- They couldn't get their best appointment, John Bolton, named as permanent ambassador to the UN. He was maybe the one chance to clean up the corrupt and decrepit halls of that ridiculous institution.

- And, today comes word that Bush, who bragged after the 2004 election that he had built up lots of political capital and was going to spend it, was preparing to cooperate with such farcical characters as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid because Bush not only spent his political capital, he's gone further into debt than a college student with a VISA card and a gambling habit.

In summation, Bush has managed to claim he's a principled man without living up to his principles and has invited people into his administration that seem to more belong pedalling kiddy cars at the Ringling Brothers Circus. He's president today only because of Katherine Harris in 2000 and the utter and extreme ineptitude of John Kerry and the Democrats in 2004.

That, in itself, is not a bad thing. It says quite a bit that Bush was a better option than both Gore and Kerry. But, it's simply not good enough.

Perhaps, in 50 years we'll look back at the Bush administration and his legacy will be somewhat better than it appears to be today. And, sadly, that will probably be because the Democratic President who followed him (if such a thing comes to pass) will be even worse.

Those of us who really do believe in spreading freedom and democracy are shaking our heads in anger and frustration and shaking in our boots out of concern for what the future might very well hold.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

An Environment Plan for the Real World

Canada's Conservative government unveiled its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Friday and it must be a pretty good one.

I know this because Al Gore, who is now challenging Michael Moore for the title of biggest windbag (both literally and figuratively) on the planet, immediately announced his hatred for the Tories' plan. Since this is Canada and Al Gore is an ex-American vice-president who did dick all for the environment while he had the ear of the most powerful individual on Earth, he can shut his fucking piehole.

At least our current government has an actual plan unlike the previous Liberal government which had a plan much more to Gore's liking - that is, they mouthed endless platitudes about protecting the environment while doing absolutely nothing. This was the same plan that was adopted by the Clinton White House. Our current Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, in fact, was the environment minister who headed the do-nothing plan, so Gore and Dion are two peas in a failed enviropod.

Canada, under the announced moves, will lower its carbon emissions by 20 per cent from today's levels by 2020. It allows for a growth in emissions over the next three years while corporate Canada adjusts to the new restrictions followed by a gradual reduction for the 10 years following that. Under the plan, Canada will reduce its overall emissions by 150 megatonnes by 2020.

I, perhaps optimistically, believe we will do better than that because the technology of today will be improved upon by 2020 and more people - not just corporations - will do more to help the environment.

I'm a big believer in the power of people to do the little things to help and the power of human innovation and scientific progress to affect big changes. Gore, of course, believes only government interference can accomplish anything. That's why he's a nanny state Democrat and I'm an intelligent human being.

What the Tories have arrived at is a plan that has a lot of logic and some silliness involved. There was no way Canada was going to meet its Kyoto commitment because in the 13 years of Liberal rule, the government had taken absolutely no concrete steps to actually reduce anything and the hot air emanating from Ottawa politicians was probably adding to the problem.

The Tories did overreact in some areas - for instance, they'll now ban incandescent lightbulbs, a decision which many people have greeted as draconian and stupid. It is stupid but I think I'll be able to live with it as I already have a few of the new bulbs and they're not the end of the world. Still, it smacks of pandering to the environuts instead of basing decisions on real science.

In the end, though, the Tories figure the plan will only affect Canada's economy by about half-a-per cent while making real progress on emissions. It's upset both the environmentalists and the climate change deniers and, as we used to say when I worked in the newspaper industry: "if you've pissed off both sides, you're probably doing a pretty good job."

Oddly, it did not upset corporate Canada. The oil industry, which was the most fearful of legislation that would require real changes, has reacted by saying it will be expensive but it is doable. Translation: gas prices are going to go up a lot more from the $5 dollars a gallon they are at now in Vancouver. Maybe more people will buy hybrids which will reduce gas use which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions...see, it's all good.

That's not good enough for Gore who will probably continue to leave his carbon footprint all over the planet by jetting around and hosting useless public relations events like rock concerts and star-studded galas but it is good enough for real people living in the real world.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

You Can't Have Peace With Those Devoted to Death

Yesterday, Michael, who blogs at Oleh Musings (see link to the right), provided his rundown of the democracy and freedom in the Middle East in response to a Dutch lib-left Euroweenie who blogs under the name Wisse. Said Euroweenie was whining because the Dutch governmment had refused to allow members of hamas to attend a conference in their country. How could the Dutch be considered an "honest peacebroker" if they refused to allow hamas officials into the country? he stupidly wondered.

The Dutch government, if not some of its citizenry, seems to at least understand that hamas is a terrorist organization that remains committed to a policy of spreading death and destruction. It is made up of the same sort of islamic radicals that were responsible for the stabbing murder of Theo Van Gogh and numerous threats and attacks against others in the Netherlands, despite the fact that it is one of the freest and most accepting societies on the planet.

The answer to Wisse's question is that there is no honest peacebrokering in the Middle East because there is no intention of the arab world to make a peace with Israel that does not result in the demographic or military destruction of Israel. That goes double for the palestinians and at least 10-fold for hamas, which refuses to even recognize Israel much less negotiate towards a peace agreement.

Today's National Post helped drive that point home. It contained a story about a new video that is being regularly aired on al-Aksa TV (also known as Hamas TV). The pop music video, praises the homicide bomber Reem Riyashi who is glorified by her small child. Here are the lyrics - all backed up with the appropriate acting - as contained in the Post's article:

Mommy what are you carrying in your arms instead of me?

A toy or a present for me?
Mommy Reem!
Why did you put on your veil?
Are you going out mommy?
Come back quickly, mommy,
I can't sleep without you
unless you tell me and Ubayadah a bedtime story.(Reem had two children, Ubayadah was the younger, the older is portrayed in the video asking the questions)

My mother, my mother,
Me and Ubayadah are awake and waiting for you
to come put us to sleep
Me and Ubayadah, oh Mommy, still need you to wipe our tears.

Instead of me you carried a bomb in your hands.
Only now, I know what was more precious than us
May your steps be blessed
and may you be flawless for Jerusalem.
Me and Ubayadah wish we were there with you.

Send greetings to our Messenger (Muhammad)
and tell him: Duha loves you.
My love will not be words.
I am following mommy in her steps.

This, folks, is what hamas represents: the ideal that killing yourself and innocent civilians is more important than loving your children and raising them to be something productive instead of merely more cannon fodder for radical islamists.

As Golda Meir said: "we will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate our's."

That day is still far off, despite what the Euroweenies (and some in North America)might think. I do, however, wonder whether people who point this out are simply wasting our time because no matter how often it is thrust in their face, there is a large segment of the western world that simply refuses to acknowledge the facts and recognize the bloodlust that is undisputably the motivating factor for much of the arab world.

It's well past the time that we stopped treating arabs as merely westerners in bedsheets. Millions and millions of them want to destroy us and Israel is only the first step on that road.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Listening to Stephane Dion, now that's torture.

Canada's Opposition parties, having fished around for months for an issue they can call a "scandal" in attempt to disrupt the governing Conservatives, have been trying to make a big deal over the fact that Taliban members captured by our soldiers may have been tortured after they were turned over to the Afghanis.

Oh, woe is us! The people trying to kill our soldiers, the people responsible for more than a decade of horrific murderous government, the people leading terrorist attacks through Afghanistan, the people responsible for head-sawings and other forms of disgusting mutilation, the people who harboured al-Qaida...they aren't treated so well when the Afghanis get ahold of them. And, it's all our government's fault. Or maybe the army's. The Opposition isn't too sure; they've called for the resignation of the Defence Minister, the general in charge of our troops, the government and just about anyone else they can think of.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion went so far as to suggest perhaps we should bring captured Taliban members to Canada and imprison them here. Yeah, right. And, what would happen then? Well, as soon as one Taliban member complained his Quran had a tear in the corner or his prayer mat wasn't plush enough, the opposition would charge that Canada was running another Guantanomo Bay and the Minister of Defence should resign and the Minister of Corrections and the government and so on.

Nor can our soldiers be asked to watch those prisoners in Afghanistan. They're soldiers, not jailers and they're needed to stop the terrorists, not babysit them.

Now, to be sure, the Tories did screw up on a couple of things. They did state that the Red Cross had access to those prisoners once they were turned over. The Red Cross, apparently, did not. And, they did say they had no knowledge of any torture when they were warned that torture may have taken place. As is often the case with government, it's not the screw ups that are worrisome, it's the denials that follow. Everyone makes mistakes but for God's sakes, at least own up to them, especially when you're caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

But, let's face it, this is not a "scandal". In fact, judging by the letters I've seen in the media, most people could not care less what happens to radical islamist terrorists after they've been apprehended. Philosophically, we oppose torture but if an Afghani whose family was murdered by the Taliban subsequently beats the shit out of a Taliban member who falls into his custody, well, somehow, it just doesn't seem to resonate as a pressing issue with Canadians who've seen almost five dozen of their finest fall in the line of duty in that country.

And, the Tories have now taken steps to admonish the Afghan government over this and received pledges (likely hollow, it's true) that improvements will be made. That's a barbaric, backwards corner of the world and any changes in the area of human rights will come slowly. The fact that women can walk the streets and girls can go to school is of far more import.

One idea I kind of liked appeared in a letter to the editor. The author suggested allowing countries like France - which won't let its troops to enter combat zones in Afghanistan - to act as the jail guards. Sounded good, I thought. And, then, thought again...they'd probably just release them back into the general population to kill some more Canadians.

No. Better to leave it to the Afghanis to handle their own internal governmental matters. I'm sure that's what the freedom-loving NDPers and Liberals would want. After all, Afghanistan is a sovereign nation with its own "culture" and "traditions" and far be it for us to mess around with least that would be consistent with their position on all other manner of tyrannical governments around the world.

Or, we could just ask our soldiers to make sure there are no more Taliban prisoners, thereby short-circuiting any potential for future abuse.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco...Only Moderately Warped

By most standards, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and Morocco would be considered moderate Islamic countries.

Egypt receives $2 billion or so in US aid each year. Pakistan's government has received strong American support. Indonesia is one of the few Muslim democracies and by far and away the largest. Morocco is generally inoffensive with its citizenry rarely involved in some of the shenanigans that afflict Islamic nations around the globe.

Which just goes to show how deep the disconnect between Islamic nations, the Western world and reality really is after results from a recent survey were published yesterday.

According to the survey, conducted by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, the majority of people in both Indonesia and Morocco believes the US is not at war against terror but has, rather, embarked on a campaign to spread Christianity. In fact, said Steven Kull the program's director, "people in the Islamic world clearly perceive the US as being at war with Islam."

This is despite the fact that Muslims are freely practise their religion in the US and in other democratic nations around the world and the constant reassurance - both stated and practised - that the Americans are after terrorists, not Islam.

The pollsters also wanted to know whether residents in those nations thought spreading Christianity in the ME was a goal of the US. In Egypt, they weren't even allowed to ask the question. So much for spreading democracy and freedom through economic assistance...

But, hey, "only" 83 per cent of Egyptians did "strongly approve" of attacking US troops, so at least that $2 billion a year has convinced 17 per cent to merely moderately approve, or maybe even in isolated cases, disapprove of killing them. Quite the bang for the buck, eh? How many Israelis do you think approve of killing Americans? I'm thinking that the $3 billion the so-called "American-firsters" are always whining about in annual aid to Israel (which is then sent back to the US to purchase stuff) might be a slightly better investment...

It gets worse. In Egypt, 92 per cent of respondents believe the US is out to weaken and divide the Islamic world. The figure was 78 per cent in Morocco and 73 per cent in Indonesia and urban Pakistan (rural Pakistanis were so backwards the results couldn't be reliably tabulated because people there had no concept of what that actually meant. If it ain't in the Koran, it ain't worth knowing, right?). My question would be, of course, how much further could the US actually divide the Muslim world seeing as Shiites kill Sunnis kill Kurds kill Druze kill Shiites kill Kurds kill Druze kill Sunnis, etc...God bless the Sufis, they seem to be the one sect of Islam that can actually live without killing someone else.

And, there's more. Only 28 per cent of Egyptians, 26 per cent of Indonesians, 35 per cent of Moroccan and TWO per cent of urban Pakistanis believe al-Qaeda was behind 9/11. More believe the US and/or Israel was behind the attacks because there is absolutely nothing that has ever happened in history that cannot be blamed on the Jews or the Americans or, failing all else, freedom.

What is sad is that we will continue to talk about our "friends" in Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan and sending them billions in handouts or investments to prop up their regimes. They, in turn, will use that money to continue to foment anti-US and anti-Western sentiment as they have done for years.

Natan Sharansky in his book "the Case for Democracy" argues that when we look at world regimes we should not regard leaders as being "for" or "against" us in terms of whether they're willing to mouth platitudes about being Western allies if, in fact, they are unwilling to make the necessary changes in their own nations to bring about positive advances for freedom. From Egypt and Pakistan to China and Russia, Sharansky is absolutely right.

The pollsters merely help make his case. We should not be pissing money away in Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia if all we get in return is hatred and the occasional blast in a bar. Instead, we should tie money to progress and cut it off when that progress is not clearly and markedly visible. There are plenty of countries where we can spend the money and actually get a return that is not delivered with poisonous venom.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Counting Qassams and Shaming the Media

Congratulations to Elder of Ziyon, a blogger who I knew in cyberspace long before he ever became a blogger. He has been cited by HonestReporting for his running tally of Qassam missile attacks launched by the palestinians against Israel on his daily Qassam Calendar carried on his blog.

Elder is an extremely bright, dedicated Zionist and, as such, is one of my internet heroes. You can find a link to his site on the right hand of this blog under "Blogs of Those I Know and Respect" (those are reserved for people who I "knew" before I began blogging although I respect some of those in my "other sites I like" equally as much).

I just wanted to tip my hat to Elder; he's one of the bloggers whose work spurred me to write down my own thoughts on this much lesser forum.

It's too bad he has to do the media's job for it because the media is too damned lazy to do its own work. Anyone interested in Israel and the incessantly biased reporting against the Middle East's only democratic nation should definitely check out Elder's blog and add it to their blogroll. He is truly ahead of his time in countering the typical pro-arab BS that runs through media outlets - particularly Reuters, AP and AFP - when it comes to the ME.

HonestReporting's citation came in response to Hamas' announcement it was ending its so-called ceasefire with Israel after the Israelis sent a bunch of pali terrorists to meet Allah in hell this weekend. The fact is, of course, that there was never any such ceasefire; the palis continued to lob Qassam rockets into Israel on a daily basis and to send terrorists out in the hopes they would infiltrate Israeli borders and kill more innocent Israeli civilians. Yet, the world media never, ever reports these attacks and only seems concerned with promoting the terrorist agenda of the hamassholes and their supporters.

Elder, btw, also keeps a running tally of the number of palis the palis kill in their never-ending gang war. It will be of no surprise to any thinking human being that the palis kill far more of their own citizens than Israel does and that they fire off weapons nilly-willy all over the place all the time, in the process killing many unarmed children, teenagers, women and innocent men. The IDF, on the other hand, targets pali terrorists who have a nasty habit of hiding behind the innocent and those innocents sometimes get caught in the crossfire. Those deaths, too, lie at the feet of the pali terror factions and not Israel.

As I've stated before on this blog and many other areas whereever I can: the palis are a complete waste of time and are perhaps the least deserving people in history of having their own country. Any other nation, attacked by terrorists on a constant basis as Israel is, would have wiped out the palis decades ago and slept with a clean conscience after doing so. Israel, alas, is often too humane for its own good.


It will be interesting to see how history portrays Boris Yeltsin, who died a couple of days ago at age 76. On the one hand, his bold actions and statements in the face of an attempted hardline Communist coup in Russia about 15 years ago temporarily saved the nation from a return to evil days of the Soviet Union.

On the other hand, he prosecuted the war in Chechnya which has been both unnecessary and extremely bloody. And, he also anointed Vladimir Putin as his successor. Putin, in his eight years in power, has largely done what those Communist hardliners Yeltsin stood up to wanted to do in the first place.

In many cases, Yeltsin came across as drunken buffoon but maybe it was the alcohol that gave him the cojones to stand on that tank in the first place and stare down the coup. Either way, I think the western world, not to mention the Russians, would have been better off if he and/or Gorbachev had stayed in power and Putin had been relegated to ex-KGB official rather than massively regressive leader.


It was very interesting to read that scientists have, for the first time, identified a planet outside of our solar system that meets many of the requirements they see necessary for sustaining life.

581c, which hardly seems like a fitting name for such a find, is about the right size and density, astronomers believe. Of course, it's 120 trillion miles away, which, while just around the corner in space terms, makes it difficult to tell. It also orbits a red dwarf sun and until a few years ago, scientists didn't think those solar systems could support life.

This planet, however, seems to orbit its sun at a distance that would set its surface temperature somewhere between 32 and 104 fahrenheit, which most definitly puts it in the right temperature range. It still remains to be discovered as to whether the planet has an atmosphere, what the composition of the atmosphere might be and how dense it is. Regardless, pretty neat stuff for anyone with an interest in the universe outside of our own fairly insignificant little marble.

Personally, I've always been convinced there's life out there among the stars. It's probably just smart enough to stay away from us. They've probably seen the palis in action.


On the fun side of life, the Vancouver Canucks knocked off the Dallas Stars last night in the first round of the NHL playoffs. They now face the much tougher Anaheim Ducks (the team removed the ridiculous Mighty from their name this year) with their massively imposing defensive corps headed by Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer.

This should be an interesting series. The Ducks are combative, fast and have a great blend of youth and veteran leadership. The Canucks are not nearly as tough, fast or deep but they have Roberto Luongo, the best goaltender in the NHL not named Martin Brodeur, and a coach who seems to know just when to tweak his lineup to get the most from his players.

Additionally, there is some bad blood there. The Ducks GM, Brian Burke, was unceremoniously and unfairly dumped by Vancouver three years ago. Burke lost his job because he refused to play all nice for the media and the fans, basically telling people to get stuffed when he felt they should get stuffed. He took his act and arrogance to Anaheim where he has fared very well indeed. As a person who has more than occasionally been accused of arrogance myself, I had a lot of sympathy for
Burke and couldn't care less what he said to the media if he put a winning product on the ice.

I picked Anaheim as my Stanley Cup winner before the season started - based on the presence of Pronger and Niedermayer - but, of course, will be rooting hard for Vancouver all the soon as the hangover from last night's festivities subsides. Damn draft figure by the age of 42, I'd know better.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Au Revoir, France.

The news coming out of France today is astonishing. The country's citizens seem prepared to pack it in - economically, culturally, demographically and politically.

According to exit polls, Nicholas Sarkozy will end up in a run-off with Segolene Royal for the presidency. Sarkozy is considered a Conservative because he freely admits that France's economic situation is growing progressively worse due to the fact that people there simply don't work very much and expect to be coddled from cradle to grave. Additionally, he also realizes that the multicultural efforts of France have helped create a growing and disaffected Muslim minority that is often terrorizing the rest of the nation. There is no debating these facts because they are a stark reality.

Royal, on the other hand, is a socialist. She vows to rollback the extremely modest economic reforms of Jacques Chirac. Chirac, amusingly, was also considered a Conservative which shows the incredible disparity between a European Conservative and a North American Conservative inasmuch as Chirac spent much of his 12 years in power kowtowing to every anti-western, anti-democratic and/or far-left (by our standards) interest he could find.

Amazingly, according to the pollsters and political pundits, it would appear Royal will beat Sarkozy in the run-off even though the results in the first stage of the election looked to favour Sarkozy.

I think that North Americans, by and large, have gotten used to the idea that France is no friend of our continent. Chirac and his toadies like Dominique De Villepin have repeatedly made that clear. In Canada, in fact, it's been clear for much longer than that - ever since De Gaulle backed the Quebec separatists some 30 years ago when he pronounced, "Vive le Quebec Libre" (which roughly translates to "Up the Free Quebec".)

It is also no surprise that the French pig-headedly refuse to face their economic woes. Every attempt by its governments to cut back on the ridiculously short work weeks and the generous but incredibly shortsighted benefits has been met with protests, anger and widespread opposition (not to mention riots, car burnings and violence).

But, what is surprising is that the French, who've long prided themselves on their particular form of arrogance, are willing to pack it in so easily and go quietly into that crescent-mooned night. Not that anyone here should give a shit; in fact, maybe it will end up being a valuable lesson to the Germans, Dutch, Swedes, British and other European nations who have allowed political correctness and economic stupidity to send them teetering to the brink of cultural annihilation. I guess it couldn't happen to a more deserving European country; France is not only anti-Western it is intensely Judeophobic and has been for centuries, regardless of what their politicians would have us believe.

I do kind of feel sorry for people like 60-year-old Eliane de Pouzolz, a retired secretary in the poor Paris suburb of Clichy-Sous-Bois, where three weeks of nationwide youth rioting started in 2005. Quoted after casting her ballot, she commented, "Politicians talk a lot but nothing ever changes. France is stuck."

Sorry, Madame de Pouzolz, it's a lot worse than that. France is unhinged and doomed.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Green And Obscene

In 1988, when I lived in Toronto, I spent about six months working for Greenpeace on a fundraising and awareness campaign around the Great Lakes. It was a pretty easy sell; Toronto sits on Lake Ontario and everyone knew it was massively polluted. Convincing the tony residents of that city to shell out a few bucks to the greenies wasn't difficult.

Sadly, I was mostly at odds with those I worked with, particularly around an election campaign that was underway at that time. It was focussed on the proposed Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States. Greenpeace, and the small numbers of people who made up the Green Party at that time, were massively opposed to free trade; I was 100 per cent for it and still am today. I used to chide them that they were simply scared Canada couldn't compete with the Americans while I believed strongly in the Canadian ability to produce and sell goods to a market 10 times larger than our own.

As Canadians - and maybe even an American or two might know - the Conservative party won that election, free trade came into being and 20 years later Canada's economy is robust and, with the exception of a few instances, the free trade agreement has worked pretty well.

What I learned from that experience is that the Greens, who were often wrong even about environmental issues, should absolutely shut the fuck up when it comes to any other political issues.

This was borne out this week in Vancouver where a star Green party member revealed that during 9/11 he pumped his fist in the air when he learned the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York and his joy grew as a second plane ploughed into the WTC and news followed about the attack on the Pentagon. No doubt the only glitch to his day was when the hijackers of Flight 93 were overtaken by the heroic passengers who gave up their own lives to ensure their descent to Earth and subsequent fiery death didn't take anyone else along with them.

Furthermore, said Kevin Potvin, the 2005 bombings in the London Tube were "not cowardly, despicable and unspeakable acts; they were acts of war...(they - meaning islamic terrorists) are defending themselves from cultural genocide."

Rarely in my life have I read a more despicable, false and asinine comment then Potvin managed to come up with. There is no cultural genocide being practised against the Muslim community; quite the opposite, islamists are exporting a virulent, vicious and hateful brand of religion that is bent on committing cultural genocide against anyone who disagrees with them, including their fellow Muslims.

Furthermore, the British have bent their asses so far over backwards to accommodate Islam that one can almost see the Queen donning a burka if asked. They have removed the Holocaust from their school textbooks for fear of upsetting muslims and just this week, the British Union of Journalists, of which Potvin should be a member, voted to boycott Israel because radical palestinian islamist terrorists kidnapped and may have killed a BBC journalist. (George Orwell may be long dead but his descendants in the British press seem intent on fulfilling his prophecies.)

Anyway, Potvin proves what I have long known: that the hot air emanating from the environmentalist movement is far more dangerous than greenhouse gases. Canadians should not only be wary of Green Party environmental policies but should reject everything about that party not related to the environment. Oh, and since the Liberals recently swung a deal with the Greens to not run against them in a federal byelection in return for God only knows what concessions down the road, we should equally reject that party which has been reduced from one that used to run the country to one that probably couldn't even run a lawnmower (push variety, of course).

Lastly, I'm now shopping for a hybrid vehicle. I still believe in being kind to the environment and I also want to ensure even less of the money that I spend might somehow find itself headed for the arab world. But, hey, Potvin would merely call me a racist bastard and cheer if a hijacked plane lands on my house.

I really do wonder what this world is coming to and I don't like the picture my mind paints when I think about it - the Green Party and the green of Islam are not compatible with the rest of the world's colours, it seems.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tragedy at VT highlights systemic, not gun, problems

Having spent the last week in Australia (well, aside from the day-and-a-half travelling to and from there), I got a rather different interpretation of the tragic events at Virginia Tech than I no doubt would have gotten had I been in North America.

Aussies are great, great people but one thing they didn't grasp at all, even the ones living and working as foreign correspondents in the US, is that US gun laws are not simply changeable at any given time. Over and over again I heard things to the effect of "oh, why doesn't Bush do something about guns" and "the American gun lobby is too powerful and the gun laws too weak" and "thank God we don't live in a place where everyone loves guns so much". Not once did I hear any commentator actually point out that the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution and that the Constitution is an incredibly difficult document to change even if the will existed to do so which, in this case, it does not.

Nor did I hear a single Australian (or Canadian, probably) commentator note that in states that enacted laws allowing private citizens to carry holstered weapons that violent crime statistics went down, for the simple reason that, for instance, a wannabe rapist or mugger is far less likely to act if he thinks there's a chance he might get his fucking head blown off. When it was even suggested that had students at VT had guns the killer would have been stopped very early on, it was merely pooh-poohed as a ridiculous argument when it is actually a very valid, if unpalatable, argument.

I'm actually no fan of guns but as a Jew whose family members either barely survived or didn't survive the Holocaust, I'm trained in their use and have considered stocking one at my home (deciding so far to wait until my children are old enough to respect firearms). While I'm no fan of guns, I am a believer in "never again" and no one's going to get a free shot at me.

Australians were also loathe to point out - although they had to - that they had a rampage at Port Arthur in Tasmania about a decade ago where a gunman killed 35 people and that Britain, Germany, Canada and other nations with much tougher gun laws than the US has have all had people go on rampages that left innocent victims dead on the ground.

And, in fact, despite Canada's laws, the murder rate by gun in Toronto, last I read, had surpassed, per capita, that of New York's. Why? Because gun laws only take guns out of the hands of people who care about laws. And guess what? That doesn't include murderous scumbags like Cho Seung-hui who committed the massacre at VT or Marc Lepine who gunned down 14 female students at Quebec's Ecole Polytechnique about 15 years ago.

I guess what bothered me most about the coverage of the killings was the rather arrogant suggestion that once again the US is a culture based only on violence and an incomprehensible love of firearms. It has become all too commonplace to bash the US around ad nauseum while, for instance in Sydney, roving gangs of Muslim males rape innocent women and, despite the public outrage, receive often insignificant sentences, far-left sympathetic gibberish about the "difficulties in adjusting" and "cultural differences" and little action from the government.

If those women had guns, those "men" would be lying in gutters with their dicks shot off and the world would be an incrementally better place.

The solution isn't to ban guns, it's to make it more difficult to for them to be used by nut jobs. Steps might include, for instance, smaller magazines for concealed weapons requring more frequent reloading, more concrete actions when a crazy like Seung-hui is identified (he was known to police, school officials and students as a complete whacko but of course the warm-fuzzy PC society made it impossible to stop him before he acted) and simple steps like longer cooling off periods between gun purchase and gun possession and stiffer penalties for losing or selling a firearm when it may fall into the wrong hands.

There are also socio-economic and racial factors at play but we can't talk about them. It would be wrong to suggest that some people might be more prone to using guns in a violent manner because that's profiling and God knows we don't want to do that even if the statistics are staring us right in the face.

You can make all the laws you want but to address this kind of problem, the solution does not lie in banning guns. It lies in keeping them out of the hands of the insane and criminal.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nappy Heads In Good Company, Imus Is Not

Some thoughts on Don Imus:

1) Calling members of the Princeton Women's Basketball team "nappy-headed hos" was incredibly distasteful and unbelievably stupid.

2) MSNBC must have really hated having to suspend him for two weeks. I wouldn't even like to guess at what the jump in their listening audience must have been in the days following.

3) There is a significant amount of truth in the contention that if it isn't alright for Imus to call people "nappy-headed hos" then it isn't alright for anyone to use such terms. The terms help perpetuate the stereotypes regardless of who employs them and it's not just African-Americans who are listening to African-American artists etc., it's kids of all backgrounds.

4) The nappiest head that ever walked Princeton's grounds sat on the shoulders of Albert Einstein. Those young women are in some pretty heady company (pardon the pun).

5) It's amusing beyond belief that Al Sharpton got to take Imus to task. Pardon me? In beliefs, Sharpton is to Imus as Mel Gibson is to Michael Richards. What a crock of shit. Of course, being a black bigot is perfectly acceptable, especially if New York Jews are your target...just ask Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan.

6) Why do 67-year-old men continue to wear their hair like they're 17? As if Imus is in any position to make hair comments; he's halfway to Cousin Itt status.

7) This is what one of my editors used to call a "nine-day" wonder because in nine days no one will really remember or care. The media loves to feast on its fallen. Trust me, though, in a week, Paris Hilton will get busted while snorting crushed amphetamines off the chest of an American Idol contestant. Imus will be forgotten - unless he calls Paris a "platinum-blonde bleached bitch ho". Which he might...

8) Whatever happened to Howard Stern?

9) Talk radio, like internet chat sites, are dumping grounds for hatred, vitriol and derogatory language. This is due to the anonymity available, people's general need to vent and their inate belief that their opinions mean something. Of course, I have a blog so, mea culpa. I try to avoid the hate but I've definitely been guilty of the vitriol. I also believe the derogatory terms are unnecessary. My favourite target is the arab world. It's exposed with no further description necessary...

10) Ah, seriously, this shit ain't worth 10 thoughts.

Monday, April 9, 2007

God Was Looking The Other Way

Not being a golf fan, I watched exactly 0 seconds of the Masters Championship over the weekend. I did, however, hear about the victory speech given by some guy named Zach Johnson because it made for good radio fodder today.

Apparently, Johnson is a Christian of faith so he did the whole thanking God thingy that pro athletes seem to find so appealing. "I'd just like to thank the Lord for helping me to (make that shot, stop that shot, catch that ball, knock down that ball, insert relevant sports action here)."

I've never understood this. I suppose I can grasp the concept of a player thanking God for giving him/her guidance, moral fortitude and the strength to avoid the familiar pitfalls that see a lot of athletes show up in as many police lineups as they do commercials.

The idea, however, that God favours any particular athlete or team is ludicrous. I once wrote, and still believe, that the media should ban any and all references to supernatural powers being involved in their triumphs. The only Angels in the outfield have to put their cleats on one foot at a time just like all other players even if Vladimir Guerrero's hitting is occasionally otherworldly.

Johnson, for instance, is 31 years old. His Masters victory was a complete fluke; he'd won one other tournament in his career. However, his victory was not that unusual; unknowns have certainly captured majors on numerous occasions, especially in the past few years with courses being constantly redesigned to overcome technological changes.

In golf, if God favours anyone, it's Tiger Woods. He's the winner of 12 majors, well on his way to setting the all-time records for everything golf related including career earnings and married to a super hot Swedish babe. Tiger doesn't thank God when he wins because he knows his victories are crafted from natural talent, physical abilities, his instincts to put opponents away and hours upon hours of relentless practise. I don't really like Tiger Woods as a personality inasmuch as he's been pretty much invisible on important issues around the game and society, particularly equal rights, but I give him credit for rarely stooping to the traditional media pandering and cliched responses to everything.

In sports, players on all teams thank God all the time. But, would God really let the New Jersey Devils win several Stanley Cups if he cared about sports?

Mr. Johnson should remember that Sunday was also Easter. So, on the one hand, God's got the Pope reminding him of every damn thing that's wrong in the world and, on the other, he's got some no-name golfer wanting to wear a green jacket and take home a big paycheck. Benedict represents 100s of millions of Catholics and is decrying poverty and violence; Zach Johnson wants to upgrade the designer label on his plaid golf pants.

I'm thinking God might have had more important things to do on Sunday...which is probably why Tiger Woods didn't win the Masters.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Short Break From Baseball

Blogging has taken a backseat to baseball this past week. First there was a 12-hour rotisserie draft with a group of friends that have been members of the same league for more than a decade. Then a second draft. Then figuring out where the mistakes were and trying to correct them. And, then the actual games themselves started...

I have loved baseball since I was a child. My grandmother taught me the finer points of the game when I was small, sitting on the two single beds in her room and sneaking me soda while watching the usually woeful New York Mets, a team she followed after the Brooklyn Dodgers left for LA. Tom Seaver was my childhood sports idol. When I was 8, they lost the World Series to Oakland and I bawled my eyes out. When I was 21, the Mets won the World Series, just four months after my grandmother died and I spent several days thinking about how happy she would have been.

The game appeals to me on many levels. It's strategic, tense and anticipatory, full of quirks, strange hops and the many permutations of its individual parks. It has its physical moments with 95 mile an hour fastballs, 400-foot home runs and basepath collisions and its graceful moments with well-turned double plays, strategically placed breaking balls and diving outfield catches.

The mathematics also intrigue me. Baseball can be examined, its tactics can be worked out and their success rates established. It can be translated to paper or fantasy sports like no other game.

Of course, it also has its dark moments, but, really, we can thank the outlandish amount of money at stake for that.

Baseball gets a bad rap for being boring. And, I suppose I can understand the charge in today's world of Xbox and XGames. But, then classics are often considered boring, everything from music to literature to theatre. Among sports, baseball would be considered a classic and like the others, it, too, will persist. Its global appeal will ensure that; it's an inexpensive sport that can be played in almost any environment.

So, anyway, the Mets are off to a 3-0 start, having swept the Cardinals in St. Louis to open the season. God is in his heaven and everything is right in the world. Maybe I'll institute a policy of only posting when they lose and with any luck, I'll never be heard from again.