Friday, March 31, 2006

What the Jill Carroll episode tells us about the Middle East

A huge sigh of relief followed the news that Jill Carroll, the American reporter for the chirstian science monitor was released by her terrorist captors yesterday. The joy was expressed both in the west and especially in the Middle East. But out of all the blog posts I have read on the subject, none of them seemed to have remarked something that was extremely obvious and sickening about the reaction.

Something that tells us a lot about the sick mentality that's gripped the Middle East for the past, oh I don't know, 100 years. All of her defenders in the Arab world called for her release on the basis that (a) she was sympathetic to the so-called "Arab Cause" (b) The fact that she sympathized with he plight of the Palestinians, (c) the fact that she opposed the Iraq War, (d) the fact that she has in the past denounced Western Imperialism in the Middle East.

But what if Carroll wasn't that sympathetic to the Arab problems facing the region today? What if she was an ordinary reporter who gave no opinion of the subjects which she wrote about? Or worse, what if she was a pro-Israel advocate? What if she was for the Liberation of Iraq from Saddam's totalitarian rule? Would the same people who called for her release in the Arab world, be equally passionate about lobbying for her release?

Don't count on it.

We've seen other hostage situations where those who were kidnapped whose fates were not as lucky as Jill's, without a voice of protest from the same group that called for the release of Jill. People like Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl. Who never had the luxury of many peaceniks and Arab nationalists calling for their release. At least not to the same level.

Showing us that in the Middle East today, people who don't exactly see eye-to-eye with the current Arab public opinion, risk being ignored or shown indifference for their fate if ever they get kidnapped. This matters because it is precisely things like this that give Arabs and Muslims a bad name. If the Arab world wishes to convey that it is capable to live peacefully with the western world, then ideology from within must be clear that ALL hostage taking, regardless of the hostage's political views, must be met with the same level condemnation and lobbying.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Foreign Policy with a spine. (part 2)

What does it say if I learned this from a foreign blog?

Canada Suspends Aid to Hamas-Led Gov't




And we're the first western country to do so! Good job Peter!

TORONTO - Canada said Wednesday it was suspending assistance to the
Palestinian Authority because the new Hamas-led government refuses to renounce violence and recognize
Israel. Hamas responded that Ottawa's decision was hasty and unfair.
ADVERTISEMENT

It was the first government besides Israel to cut off financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas won the legislative elections in January, and other nations were expected to follow suit.

Hamas formally took power Wednesday, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swearing in its 24-member Cabinet.

Hamas and new Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh insist they won't soften the militant group's violent ideology or formally recognize its longtime nemesis.

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that Canada had no choice but to suspend assistance and decline any contact with the new Hamas Cabinet.

"The stated platform of this government has not addressed the concerns raised by Canada and others concerning nonviolence, the recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the roadmap for peace," MacKay said. "As a result, Canada will have no contact with the members of the Hamas Cabinet and is suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority."





Source

H.T. The SandMonkey

The financial black hole that is public education.

A quick look at the Liberal Leadership campaign quickly points out that some leadership candidates, especially Belinda Stronach and Bob Rae, wish to make education a central policy in their plank. The NDP as well, has been very loud over the past few years regarding federal funding of education. Here are two problems that spring up immediately.



1. Constitutional: Education is Provincial responsibility For any fed to start meddling in this would create an immediate clash between local and federal governments. Especially in Quebec, where they view education as a major tool to enforce its distinctive nature (language, culture etc...).

2. More funding doesn't mean better academic results, if anything statistics show us its the inverse. More funding, more problems (at the same time a cut in funding doesn't exactly show good results either). Edwin Feulner and Doug Wilson have some revealing statistics in their new book Getting America Right.

Since 1965, according to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the federal government has spent $321 billion on education, including a 90 percent increase since 1997, compared with a 40 percent rise in overall federal spending. Shouldn't the logical result be all sorts of wonderful academic improvements in US schools? Sorry, it hasn't worked out that way. Since 1995 test scores for American school children have fallen steadily behind those of students in Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, and most other industrial nations. In 2003, for example, the United States ranked fourteenth out of thirty-five nations in the eighth-grade math testing. In other words, it looks as though education ranks among the black holes of Federal Spending. -- P.22


If there's one place politicians never look at, its the failures of the actual bureaucracy within the education system. But that would mean pissing off the unions, which left-of-center parties never dare to alienate as they serve a powerful political force for their election campaigns.

(H/T Right Wing News)

Media Management 101

I'm late (as usual) on commenting on the issue of Harper restricting reporters access from Cabinet meetings. Long and short of it, I don't think its a smart strategy.

Look, I understand Harper's view on this matter. These scrums between cabinet ministers and journalists, while sometimes informative, have always been a fertile occasion for a gaffe or inconsistency in the past. Something which Harper cannot afford in this minority government, as it would mean days and days of damage control, which in the end slows down the government process and is an easy way for the party to loose focus. With this technique, at least he can help keep his government keep their eye on the ball.

Second of all, we know that "photo ops" have not been kind to Harper. From his Afghanistan trip, the media kept talking about his waist size and his choice for soft drinks rather keeping it professional. So the media isn't exactly innocent on this matter. And it certainly raises cynicism about their bitching of wanting to "report the news". So the restriction on photo ops can be understandable as well.

However, I think in this case the negatives outweigh the positives. For starters, creating tension between the media and your administration is not the smartest way of delivering your message. Having a hostile media to deal with means that in the future they will not hesitate about reporting any minor missteps you make into a front-page controversy. Editors and columnists might also feel the rage of their co-workers which in turn leads to negative editorials.

And further more, not allowing the media to report on the cabinet meetings isn't exactly the best manner to show progress. It doesn't show people who are not political junkies out there that government is indeed getting down to business and work is being done. Had I not been a "political junkie" who follows the news on an hourly basis, I would have no idea that these cabinet meeting are going on in the first place...which would make me question "What is the government doing nowadays?" Making me completely unaware of any progress or action the government is making on certain legislation.

And thirdly, it tends to show that your not willing to handle tough questions in periods of difficulty. Which is very bad. As many people rate their leaders for their behavior and handling of matters in times of political crisis. Restricting access to the media in this case would just seem to cement the perception that your not willing to take the heat. (Making people wonder...if you don't want the stress, then why did you take this job in the first place).

So in conclusion, is it illegal? No. Is it understandable? In a way. Is the right way to reach out to voters? The negatives outweigh the positives in this case. Meaning no.



Although I don't think Harper or anyone else in his cabinet is restricting any access to the media overall, I haven't heard that complaint, but only that its restricting access to them at certain times.

A time which reporters see politicans more vulnerable.

Moment of Silence

Pte. Robert Costall, 22, of the First Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Edmonton, was killed early Wednesday.

An American soldier was also killed and three Canadian soldiers were injured in the battle, which took place in Helmand Province, about 110 kilometres north of Kandahar.

At least eight Afghan National Army soldiers were also reported to have have died.

Costall was born in Thunder Bay, Ont. He is survived by his wife Chrissy and their one-year-old son Colin. Chrissy and Colin live in Namao, north of Edmonton.

Costall's aunt, Colleen McBain described the news as "pretty devastasting."

"I feel it's all from a movie, but it's not a movie," McBain told CTV News Wednesday.

"It's real and there's a lot of other families going to go through the same thing. Unfortunately I think Canada's going to be in there for a long time."


Thank you Pte. Robert Costall, for all the sacrifice you've made for your country and for the security of the world. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.



The fact that this guy was only 22 with a wife and child makes this loss really hard to swallow.

Source

Monday, March 27, 2006

Hamas update

A couple of amusing (as well as depressing) news reports regarding Hamas and the Arab World.

1. The annual reunion of the totalitarian di*kheads (also known as the Arab League Summit) agreed unanimously to support and recognize the Hamas government only a few days after Hamas stated clearly that not only will the refuse to disband its militant wing, but further shield them from any Israeli attack or arrest. Oh yeah, that's the right message to send the world! Unfortunately the international community (as usual) seems to have its head stuck beneath the sand.

Why would the Arab Dicktators offer such aid? Two reasons

-By helping create havoc the Israel/Palestine region, these guys know that their own populations will be stuck on Al Jazeera and its controlled press detailing day by day the Israeli "atrocities" while they go on about their business of corruption, patronage and tighten its grips on its dissidents.
- Had they refused to do so, they would face the wrath of their fundamentalist religious sheiks and mullahs. Meaning Iran in 79 all over again.

Basically common sense and democracy are dammed either way.

2.As for the Hamas cabinet...

Meanwhile, the sole Christian minister in the prospective Hamas-dominated government said on Saturday that he was resigning.



Tanas Abu Eita, from the West Bank town of Bait Sahur near Bethlehem, declined to say why he had taken the decision when asked by AFP. He was to have been the tourism minister.




I guess he finally got the memo as to what Hamas truly thinks of Palestinian Christians.



Hamas meanwhile responds in typical Arab fashion...blame someone else!



Hamas sources confirmed that Abu Eita had tendered his resignation and blamed local and US-led international pressure.




One thing you have to know about these guys...its never their fault when a misstep occurs domestically.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

WMD's and Al Qaida Links and Russian involvement with Saddam explained.

If your a regular reader of ITM, you already know that some of the documents relased clearly showed a connection between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein's regime. But just what exactly are the specifics? How close of a relationship was it? What did it involve? Was it made through a third-party connection or was it a direct line of communication? And what more did the documents revealed?

Now unless you think spending weeks looking through the docuements themselves is your idea of a good time, go ahead.

But...Randy from RightWinged.com (who is guest blogging at Expose the Left) gives us a roundup of all the past and present news releases concerning what we know so far about the documents that and offers some analysis of his own.

Here's the post. Its quite long (a good 15 minutes if not more should you go through the links), but VERY well worth the read.



If anything save the page as it will be usefull should any more findings come out concerning Saddam's reign.

Syria tightens its grip to power:

You know the scary thing about all this is that the Liberals considered these folks to be "peacemakers".


Syrian security forces have arrested a dissident writer after at least four other people including his son were detained for speaking out against the government, rights activists say.



Both the Syrian Human Rights Organisation and Anwar Bunni, a human-rights lawyer, said Ali Abdullah, who spent five months behind bars last year, had been arrested at his home for "unknown reasons".


Just another day in Bashar Al Assad's hell hole.

Source

In defense of...

Just my opinions on some recent news items which came up that caused a few emotions to burst up around the blogsphere:

In defense of....The Afghanistan Mission

Ever since the case of Abdul Rahman came up (the Afghani citizen who converted to Christianity and who now faces the death penalty) there's been some grumblings on this side of the Atlantic. I've even read some comments that went as far as calling for the withdrawal of troops as a means of punishing the new Afghan government's policies on religious freedom. Look...I understand the frustration, I too find the case of Abdul Rahman to be appalling, and I pray to god that he will walk out of all this in one piece, but let's just take a deep breather and examine the situation:

Let us remember that Afghanistan was trapped in decades and decades of religious fundamentalism, war, tribal clashes, poverty, foreign occupiers, etc. Therefore we really shouldn't expect any miracles to occur in terms of human rights and religious tolerance in a short time. We can't expect a country that was living in the what is considered to the equivalent of the dark ages 5 years ago to suddenly embrace 20th century form of social enlightenment in such a short while.

For enlightenment to start taking hold in Afghanistan (and the Muslim World for that matter) certain pre-requisites need to take hold such as Educational institutions, Proper Infrastructure, a developed economy, an appreciation for the arts, and then slowly society begins to progress.

Withdrawing troops now, would most definitely make all the progress so far collapse, resulting in the return of the religious Fundamentalists to take power. Taking the country is the opposite direction its going now...backwards.

In defense of...the Ralph Klein Budget:

I know a large increase in spending in the recent Alberta Budget might make a few Fiscal Conservatives wince at the sight, but truth is its to be expected, if not applauded. (Hear me out for a second!).

Wasn't the whole argument behind budgetary tax cuts (which Klein did in the 90's) was that it would result in higher government revenue in the future? (which it did). So as Alberta's population increases due to its economic boom, money must be spent to improve Alberta's social programs and infrastructure now that the money is available. That doesn't mean spending should be done uncontrollably, but only to say that an increase in spending is to be expected.

Which in a way justifies the whole concept of Reaganomics



In defense of...The Flat Tax

Vincent Geloso has good post regarding the Flat Tax and the countries that have adopted it as its tax system. And guess what? All of those economies grew impressively. Give it a read.

In defense of...Harper's original policy on Hamas.

When Harper hinted last month that he may not recognize the results of the Palestinian elections that saw Hamas sweep into power, the left in this country screamed bloody murder at such insult to their ideological brothers in Palestine. Well...earlier this week, the new cabinet Minster responsible for security stated that not only will Hamas refuse to recognize Israel, but actually assist its militants on the attacks in Israel.

Not that the left would give a dam about the "collateral damage" to Hamas' operations anyway, but the centrists out there have to believe that it was the right thing to do on Harper's part.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Oh sure, Al Jazeera is not a Medium.

I'll try to post my overall thoughts on the Al-Jazeera and they're recent expansion of opening an English-language channel soon this weekend when I hope to have more free time (my opinion on Al Jazeera is rather complicated, I can't exactly describe it in 1000 words or less). But here's a taste of the essay:

Score another one for bad reporting from Al jazeera. Check out this headline on their web site:

Is the US war on Iraq a 21st-century crusade?


Before I go on...take a guess whether this is an editorial or an actual news report...if your believe that its the later, then unfortunately your correct. Here's the full "news" report. Basically it goes on and on about the possibility of Iraq being motivated by Christian Fundamentalists in the United States in hopes of reviving their own religious prophecies...which is fine...provided they report the storey fairly and accurately using reputable sources.

But as usual when it comes to Al-Jazeera "reporting". This report strikes out.

Strike 1: Practically three quarters of the report is based on the opinions of the like of Dr Muhammad Ayash al-Kubaisi, a muslim "scholar" who describes the Iraqi insurgents as "resistance fighters" and implied in the past that the U.S. is deliberately blocking the release of French Hostages in Iraq.

Strike 2: Instead of seeking U.S. legislators themselves (the ones who authorized the attack in the first place) to ask for their take on the matter, they instead go on to ask a Jewish pro-Israeli activist for his opinion on the matter. Along with a lowly ex-Pentagon advisor.

Strike 3: Instead of tying the conclusion of the report strictly to the hypothesis on which it started (religious motivation) they drag on about early 20th century European expansion in the Middle East which was motivated by Military and commercial imperialism rather than religion.

Just notice the vibe they're trying to imply: a. Is the war in Iraq a Crusade? b. dedicate three quarters of the report to the opinions of Islamists and Arab Nationalists who agree c. Limit the opposing viewpoint to 20 words and finally drag out the history book and recount the horror stories of past Western Imperialism.

What do you think their trying to tell their naive viewers in relation to the original question?

Its one thing to present this kind of crap as an editorial, as it still leaves the viewer with the impression that an opposing viewpoint exists. But as an accurate news report? Bull.F&$#@ingg.shit.

Keep in mind, they posted this in their ENGLISH website, where they try to convince you of their "accuracy" and "moderation" you can only imagine their reports in Arabic.

More about Al-Jazeera this weekend (Hopefully).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

So much news, so little time.

Quite a few things to blog about. But I'm in a hurry, so I'll try to summarize things as brief as I can in one post.

-The Afghani Ambassador speaks my language: Check out what he had to say to the idiots who were protesting regime change in the Middle East this past week-end:

"Where were you when the women of Afghanistan were imprisoned?" he asked. "Where were you when the children of Afghanistan were denied schooling? Where were these demonstrations for human rights and dignity and honour?"


Good questions. But when the ambassador offered to speak to some of these "Peace Activists" face-to-face to discuss their fears, as usual, they went AWOL:

"I have contacted some of these groups. They're sort of reluctant to discuss the issues."


But...but...I thought the left wanted "debate".

...

-But then again, Mr. Samad should tone down the human-rights rhetoric a notch considering his government is in the process of executing a man whose only crime was to convert to Christianity.
(Don't expect the left to raise much hay about this btw). If your a Canadian resident and want to voice your displeasure, Candace has the details.

...

-This is why the UN is a @#$*ing joke!

...

-Yet another voice of Muslim reason: His name is Amr Khaled.

I'm familiar with his lectures, which is why I was surprised to see him talking politics as he usually limits his talks focusing on religion and morality. Best part about all this: Khaled is VERY popular with the young Muslim population in Egypt and throughout the Arab world. Make no mistake he will make a impact.

...

Jordan's struggle for Democracy and Human Rights.

Let me introduce you a three Jordanian bloggers who are aiming to bring widescale change to their part of the region:

Roba from And Far Away: An Art student based in Amman, self-described Feminist, blogs mostly about Art and personal experiences, but her posts on Middle Eastern politics are well worth the read.

Batir Wardam from "Making A Difference: Jordanian writer and researcher striving for a democratic and sustainable change in Jordan and the Arab world. His posts are very well thought out and very well researched. His writing style and sense of logic resonates very well no matter which country your reading him from.

Natasha from Mental Mayhem: She's Christian, a journalist working in Washington. And a dam good blogger. Nothing I write about her blog here will bring justice to the quality of the her blog. In fact, she ranks right up there with the Boys from ITM and the SandMonkey as part of must-read Middle Eastern blogs.

Three more bloggers for Freedom in the Middle East.

...

Just one thing regarding this. Having a guy who believes that Stalin was "right wing" and that the Communist revolution didn't work because he didn't go "far enough" conduct a research on Conservatives is like asking David Duke to conduct a racial study. (h.t. Dust My Broom)

Hey! That's me!

I can honestly say that I can identify with Adean's latest cartoon:



Only:
1. I don't play Golf.
2. I'm not married.
3. And most of my relatives live overseas.

Ashley MacIsaac: A freak of nature.

When I heard this mourning a guy named Ashley MacIsaac was running for the leadership of the Liberal Party, the first thought that came to mind was "I heard of this guy before!", but it certainly wasn't within the context of the entertainment sector.
Truth be told I only found out he was a "fiddler" today.

No, it was from somewhere else within a different context...it wasn't until during my Lunch hour that I remembered reading about him last year on Joel Johansesn's blog ProudtobeCanadian.ca And it was in a MUCH less flattering picture Okay, are you ready for this?

Turns out "Ashley" made some headlines in the past.

Just a Glimpse (have a vomit bag ready before reading further)

Last year, MacIsaac sued the Ottawa Citizen for reporting something he thought cast him in a bad light. While performing in Ottawa the fiddler picked out some Asian women in the audience and joked about them spreading SARS, according to the Ottawa Citizen.


Wow! Something tells me he and Reg Alcock would be birds of a feather in the Liberal Party. Anyway:

In 1996, MacIsaac was quoted as saying he enjoyed sexual acts involving urination with his 16-year-old boyfriend, according to the CBC.CA web site (and you know the story must be true since the state-run CBC is staffed by Liberal Party and NDP apologists, hacks and appointees who might normally take a dive for a fella named Ashley).


And before you think that this is just drug-induced talks by MacIsaac, just know that he confirmed this with the Montreal Mirror:

And during that interview, I did ask MacIsaac about all the rumours. In particular, his penchant for pee. Ashley, as it turns out, loves to have men piss on him. He discussed that with me. And that rumour about a 15-year-old boyfriend? I didn't have to bother to ask; he was right there in the room with us, eager to get his name in the article.


Read the rest by Joel.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I don't know about this...

The family of the slain Afghani man who was accidentally shot by the Canadian Troops in Afghanistan wants to come to Canada.

Thank you for the sheep. But can we come to Canada?

That was the response today from the family of Nasrat Ali, the Afghan father of six who was killed by a Canadian soldier on patrol here last week. Semen Gul, Ali’s widow, had said earlier that the family would be asking for $30,000 (US) in compensation from Canada for the loss of their main breadwinner, a man who allegedly had 15 dependants in close kin, including a daughter-in-law and toddler grandson.

But today, Ali’s oldest son, Nisar Ahmed, 22, told the Star through an intermediary that what his family would like most is temporary relocation to Canada, so that the younger children in the family can get a good education.


Look I can certainly sympathize with their loss. Loosing the breadwinner in the family is a major setback in many parts of the Muslim world. But I have some reservations about this request, for two reasons.

  • How can I say this without sounding like an insensitive jerk? But to accept that request would imply that we consider the whole incident was our fault. When in fact it can be argued at worst that it was just a tragic case of miscommunication on both sides.

  • It would send a dangerous signal: If we accept this demand, we will definatly not see the end of this. You have no idea how far some people are willing to go to get their families out of places like Afghanistan, so if word gets out that all that needs to happen is you getting killed by Canadian soldiers and your family gets a one-way ticket to Canada to start a new life with new opportunities, you can bet the house that tomorrow we'll be seeing hundreds of desperate men running towards the Canadian base hoping to get shot in hopes of martyring themselves for the well-being of they're families.



That doesn't mean I don't think other arrangements should be considered.

(H.T. Nealenews)

Caging the Beast

Let me rip a quote from the X-Men 3 Promo in which Wolverine is quoted as saying "Sometimes when you Cage the Beast...the Beast gets angry"

Enter Akbar Ganji, the Iranian Dissident Journalist recently released from Jail after a 5 year sentance:

We get this:

"My views have not changed at all. Jail and pressures never forced me to change my views. Today, I'm more determined to say what I said six years ago."


And this:

"My husband is so weak physically now. He is just 108 pounds. But I'm happy he is back home," his wife said. "He needs rest; please don't put too many questions to him. He's not going to be so outspoken." "No, I'm more radical than before," Ganji interrupted.


The will for freedom is not something that can tamed with a jail sentance. And that's something the bastards over in the Middle East will realize as the moderates gain more clout.

Welcome Home Akbar.

(H.T. Regime Change Iran again! Make that site a daily reading.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

George Clooney: Neocon Point Man in Hollywood?

The left has Micheal Moore, the right has Geroge Clooney? At first glance this may sound insane, but read carefully the letter which Max Boot sends Clooney following his Oscar win.

Even "Syriana," which has been criticized for its America-bashing by a lot of conservatives (myself included), has a neocon message. It's a protest against the influence of Big Oil on U.S. foreign policy. Neocons couldn't agree more. They argue that the policy supported by the oil companies--backing Middle Eastern despots--is leading us to ruin. It only helps create anti-American suicide bombers--as illustrated by "Syriana." The movie suggests that we should be helping liberal Arab reformers, like the fictional Prince Nasir, just as neocons have been urging.

Then there's "The Peacemaker," your terrific 1997 thriller that sought to shake the nation out of its post-Cold War complacency by showing how
easily terrorists could smuggle a nuclear bomb into the U.S. Neocons in the 1990s were arguing for a more ruthless anti-terrorist policy. Your character, Lt. Col. Thomas Devoe, didn't let legal niceties stop him from saving New York.


Read the rest here.

(H.T. VodkaPundit)

Roommate Stories

One major aspect of College or early bachelor life which many of us experience and go through is the process of living with roommates.

Its always an interesting experience to say the least. Roommates make you laugh, piss you off, freak you out, from time to time they give you murderous tendencies. But at the end of the day these experiences give us all stories to tell our friends in the bar, our girlfriends/boyfriends during dinner time, our co-workers around the water cooler, our family members during the holidays, heck some of those experiences may be used as ice-breakers with certain people.

All in all, they make for good laughs. Which is why I was happy to see KenD of the Canadian Honkey-Tonk Bar Association set up a new blog specifically about..."Stupid Roommates". Read about the horror stories and hilarious experiences many like you go through with they're roommate(s). Or if you have the courage, share one of your own. All at:

Stupid Roommates

The right idea, the wrong guy.

This is encouraging:

A group of exiled Syrian opposition leaders has announced they are to form a common front to oppose President Bashar al-Assad's government.
Speaking after a meeting in Brussels, former Syrian Vice-President Abdul Halim Khaddam said all factions agreed that the regime Damascus had to go.



It is indeed very important and promising that exiled Syrian opposition leaders have began organizing a common front against Bashar Al Assad's totalitarian hell-hole. And hopefully they'll begin lobbying foreign governments to keep putting the squeeze on Syria while its becoming more vulnerable by the day.

However I have a couple of problems about those who were present at this meeting:

1. Abdul Halim Khaddam. Don't get me wrong I appreciate the way he's trying to redeem himself after years of service under Hafez Al Assad, and it took alot of guts for him to reveal his knowledge into the Syrian involvement into the Harriri Assassination, but there's still one major problem: He's still tainted by the old-regime. What the Arab world now needs in new blood in terms of political leadership, one that isn't influenced by past corruption and tyranny. While Khaddam's contribution is valuable, I think its best for him to remain on the sidelines for this one.

2. The Muslim Brotherhood: The LAST thing Syria needs is input from the people whose ideology is leading the self-destructing cycle of defeat in the Middle East. Islamists have never been interested in democratic reform or human-rights improvement. Its pretty useless to mount a force for change while you have a contingency in your movement that aims to extend totalitarianism in the population's personal lives. Not to mention the close relations that the Brotherhood has with Hezbollah, I don't think having them as part of the opposition is the best solution.

But what the heck...its a start I guess. We'll see what recommendations and actions they make in the following months.

(H/T Regime Change Iran)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Iraq War: Three years later

Today marks the three year anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom. And of course anniversaries like this cannot occur without the usual protests of our resident hippies and they're kissing cousins back in the Middle East.

Before I go on about the supposed "Peace Protestors", let's just go through what has been accomplished in the three years following the removal of Saddam's regime.

1. Iraq now has a democratically elected government that answers to its people and not from its inner circle. Individual tenants of freedom are now in place in Iraq. Such as Freedom of Speech, freedom of the Press, Freedom of worship etc...
2. Palestinian Terrorists have lost a major source of income and diplomatic backing.
3. Ditto for Al Qaeda.
4.Libya has abandoned its WMD programs.
5.Syria has withdrew from Lebanon after the Lebanese students movement protested the occupation of their country. (Actions and protests that Syria always ignored and rushed in the past)
6.Democratic movements have spread throughout the Middle East.
7.The voices of moderates in the Middle East is becoming bigger by the hour.

All these events cannot have occurred without the military action in which Bush, Blair and every single nation that took part of Operation Iraqi Freedom decided to take.

Of course order has not been "restored". But then again, "order" in a country like Iraq was absent for over 40 years. You cannot fix the crap that's been left over from the previous regimes for over 40 years in a mere three years.

Changing the status-quo (which in this case endangered the lives of Westerners) is never easy, no matter which country or region its taking place. Which brings me to our beloved "Peace Protestors".

"Iraq is a quagmire and has been a humanitarian disaster for the Iraqis," said Jean Parker, a member of the Australian branch of the Stop the War Coalition, which organized the march. "There is no way forward without ending the occupation."



As usual, the Liberal-Left take it upon themselves and use they're mysterious telepathic powers in order to convey what the Iraqi people feel and think about they're current situation.

It should be pointed out to Ms. Parker that the only people who are hoping to create the humanitarian disaster are the Iraqi insurgents themselves. Trying to create tensions among groups, slowing down the reconstruction of hospitals, schools, assassination elected officials etc. And that should we take her advice and withdraw all western forces from Iraq. These insurgents would have the upper hand, with barely anyone tracking them down.

So what does that say about the "Stop the War Coalition's" humanitarian outlook towards Iraq?

Let me be perfectly blunt here:

The Liberal-Left and the anti-war lobby couldn't give a fu*k about the well-being of the Iraqi people or anyone else for that matter. If anything they cheer on any sign of chaos as a justification to their own political views.
Rather than express concern about the innocent lives that it might affect.

They cry and scream about "prisoner abuse" that's easily comparable to hazing rituals at McGill University, yet shrug or ignore the un-humane torture and executions committed by the very regime they opposed toppling.

They suddenly become Isolationist Fiscal Conservatives when it comes to Financial aid packages to Post-Saddam Iraq, yet throw an tantrum when it comes to a leader who hints he will not financially support a terrorist organization which can be summed up as a "mini-Taliban".

In short, they want a failure of the Iraq mission, only to brag and feel exonerated in they're original political views, rather than aim to make the mission a success that would benefit the entire world.

And that's exactly why I not only disagree, but despise the modern anti-war movement. They're hatred and loathing of one man, runs soooooooooo deep, that they're willing to "cut and run" from a mission that would end up resulting in decreased security, more instability in Iraq, more human-rights disasters at the hands of Islamists, a bigger humanitarian crisis than any of us could ever imagine, all for political retribution.

(Will the real racists please stand up?)

So on this day. should any anti-war prick give you a hard time about your personal views on this matter: Just turn the table on his race-baiting tactics and counter it with:

"So what do YOU have against the Iraqi people that would make you want to withdraw U.S. troops and create chaos and havoc in the country"?

Should you get an interesting answer, please e-mail it to me.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A differential treatment for Canadian hostages? Yeah right!

Its hard to question the testimony of a person that went through a personal traumatizing experience, which in this case involves a kidnapping at the hands of terrorists, without sounding like an insensitive, ideologically closed minded jerk. But heck, here goes.

According to this CBC article, Adam Budzanowski, a Canadian volunteer for JumpStart, a US-based educational charity, was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza on the assumption that he was a US-citizen.

Okay, before I go on, let me inform you of some background information which I received due to my upbringing in the Middle East to the best of my knowledge. Now in the Arab World, its easy to distinguish the locals from the Westerners (most of the time). And among the westerners, you can usually also distinguish one nationality from another. Usually its through they're linguistic accent. You can distinguish the Brits from the Americans, the Italians from the Germans, the Portuguese from the Spaniards etc...

HOWEVER, there are two groups which you can barely distinguish from one another. The first is among New Zealanders and Australians. And the second, as much as the Canadian lefties hate to admit it, the Americans and the Canadians.

11 years of living in the Middle East and I haven't met a single Arabic resident who can distinguish one from the other just through appearance or accent. They usually have the same interests, the same dialogue, the same choice of leisure, etc etc...The only way which they're able to distinguish them from another, is through identification. Remember that...Paper Identification (Passports, driving license, etc...) is usually the only measure in which Middle Easterners are able to distinguish Americans from Canadians.

Now let's get back to Budzanowski,

The Toronto native said armed men burst into the JumpStart office and aimed their guns at him because they thought he was American. They didn't believe he was Canadian, even when he showed them his passport.


Hmmmm....

With a mask over his head, Budzanowski said he was taken to a building with cement floors, shoved against a wall, a door and pushed down a staircase.

"I was sure they were going to physically harm me," he said.

Budzanowski said he was moved at least four times overnight and prevented from sleeping.

But he said his captors treated him "nicely" when they realized he was Canadian.

Now what exactly does he mean by "Nicely"...and was it really because he was Canadian? We'll see.


"Later at night when they realized, they changed from extreme rough to lightly rough. Today they changed and treated me nicely," he said.


Woah!! Hold on!!! Time out!! Flag on the play! Let's go through this step by step:

Frame 1: Terrorists burst into his office, they think he's American (according to him anyway). He shows them the ONLY WAY which can prove his Canadian identity in which they can distinguish him from an American citizen...doesn't deter the kidnapping.

Frame 2: Even after showing his Canadian passport, they give him a hard time. But suddenly out of the blue...they realize he's Canadian? On what basis? Did he rant and rave about the Maple Leafs? Did he take an online citizenship test while they witnessed? What giveaway gave the terrorists the epiphany that Mr.Budzanowski was Canadian? And from there, we realize the treatment went from "extreme" to "light". But there was still a rough treatment.

Frame 3: Terrorists apparently had a change of heart about Canadians within 24 hours (again according to what I'm provided with here). And suddenly treat him "nicely". (Again why? Did he lecture them about the so-called Canadian identity of "MultiCulturism" and acceptance and Canada's "pacifist" outlook to conflict? Did they do some online research while he was held up?) And finally let him go.

Obviously there's alot of holes in the storey here, at least from the way its described. Maybe the CBC left out some details, maybe Mr.. Budzanowski is still traumatized from the whole event to give an accurate detail of his kidnapping, maybe he didn't really understand the situation , or at worst...he's not telling the real story.

My Take: Since the prison raid by the Israelis, the Palestinian Terrorists tried to do something in return, in this case kidnap a westerner. No matter what his nationality is. They take him in, but as time goes by they realize that his holding would not bring any significance to they're cause, they slowly backed off until they released him to the Palestinian authorities. Being a aid worker for a charitable organization which is there to help the people, the terrorist knew that this might turn some of the population against them and exercised a better judgment than they're Al-Zarqawi cousins a few miles away to the east. So...they let him go.

Update: Wow...it didn't take long for the idiots over at the Globe and Mail to spin the shit of this storey all in the name of feel-good nationalism:

"Held hostage at gunpoint by Palestinian extremists in the Gaza Strip, Mark Budzanowski feared for his life – until his captors discovered his passport and declared 'We love Canada'"


Note: They got the name wrong, but they corrected it in the article.
What a load of crap! And people wonder why I don't subscribe to newspapers anymore.

(Promo for this article found at the Mercer report)

Quick Notes

Been pretty busy at work this week, let's see if I can make it up.

PETA Day


If you haven't already done so, its not too late to get to a drive through for late-night burger or something to continue the modern tradition of pissing off the PETA nuts on this very day. Hey look, I like animals just as much as the next guy, but I have trouble taking seriously a group whose members believe that we must "reason" rather than squash the mosquitos on our skin during the summer time.

I made sure to do my part with a 1/4lb burger for lunch, 12 oz sirloin steak for dinner, and 12 spicy buffalo wings at the pool hall an hour ago.

Calling all New England Freedom Lovers.

Should there be any reader of this blog living in the New England region, take note:

Here's your chance of showing the Iranian student movement your support. The Iran Freedom Concert Committee is holding a (what else?) concert Saturday at Harvard University to kick off they're solidarity campaign. The event is supported by numerous organizations as well as a bi-partisan effort by Republican and Democrat student groups. The main significance of this event? The Video Feed will be broadcasted directly to the student leaders in Iran to show they're honorable quest for Human Rights and Democratic reform under the repressive regime. And believe you me, nothing could be a bigger moral booster to these guys than to have the knowledge that they're struggle and determination is recognized and supported by the international community.

The event is scheduled to begin at 9 PM, at the Leverett House. The committee is planning on other events in the future on campuses across the U.S. For more information visit:

http://www.iranfreedomconcert.com/


And take note on whenever they come to campus near you.

Harper's visit to Afghanistan

What they said.

That's all.


My candidate for bravest journalist award.

This Guy.


Arabian Dissent censored!!....in China?

I knew this blog might make a few heads explode back in my ancestral region, but apparently I've done something to piss off the Chinese Government (why? I have no clue!). One reader e-mailed to inform me that Arabian Dissent was blocked from servers in China. Which is odd, because I don't remember ever blogging about China or its government. Anyone else received similar complaints?

Update: Mea Culpa! Apparently I did blog about China here. (Note to self: Never blog drunk again. )

Monday, March 13, 2006

Letter to Akaash Maharaj

This is the letter which I sent Akaash Maharaj after reading on his blog of his trip to Jordan for yet another pointless UN-sponsored event. Now the letter is addressed to him, but the message is consistent to all Western Politicians or anyone else who think anything constructive can come out of these conferences. And I'd also like to stress that I do not question Mr. Maharaj's sincerity regarding this trip. This is just one man's opinion on the impotence of organizations like this when ti comes to Middle Eastern matters:



Dear Mr. Maharaj

I was rather surprised to read on your blog that you will be attending the latest UN-Sponsored Middle Eastern event in Amman, Jordan which seeks to create dialogue about the status of Middle Eastern Politics and the democratic deficit which exist in that region.

The reason for my surprise is based on many ironic facts surrounding your trip. The first being that the very conference aimed at strengthening "democratic institutions" in the Middle East is being held in a country that has been known to crack down on its dissidents by locking them up without trial, but we'll just leave that embarrassing factor aside. Another irony is that the very "MP's" from across the Middle East whom you'll be meeting are mostly (if not all) unelected political hacks whom were appointed to their positions by the Arab dictators who have no interest in seeing any "democratic changes" take place.

I mean think about, you will be meeting with a wide range of politicians who are representing regimes that have repressed the very same values you aim to champion at this Conference ( freedom of expression and equality of citizens; the development of strategies for the diplomatic resolution of international conflicts; and peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians.). I'd be interested to know how you will be addressing these issues to the very same politicians that have depended on the suppression of those values in order to remain in power.

Being an Arab-Canadian who was born and raised in the Middle East, and who have lived in 3 Arab States (Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE) for a combined 11 years, I can tell you right from the beginning that these "Conferences" are nothing more than an attempt by the Arab Heads of States to put on a phony song and dance show just to offer some kind of proof that they are sincere in their efforts in reforming Human-Rights laws and Democratic Reform in they're respective nations. Since the days of Jimmy Carter's Presidency, countless Middle Eastern "MP's" have been attending conferences like these with very minimal impact. You don't have to look far to realize that, just find a list of the Middle Eastern Leaders at the time of Carter's presidency, and then get a list of the current Middle Eastern leaders. They're as different as Night and...well..later that night. The family names are the same, however the only difference is that the leadership has been passed from father to son! A quick look at the laws concerning Freedom of Speech and equality among citizens would reveal literally no progress. Heck, some laws have not progressed since the days of the Ottoman Empire.

All this to say, that these types of "conferences" are meaningless sir. They're just an opportunity for Western Diplomats to pat themselves on the back, convincing themselves that they offered something constructive for the interest of peace and democracy, while the Arab diplomats simply sweep the recommendations that come out of these conferences under the rug, and laugh it up in they're own inner circles how they suckered those "do-gooders" into believing they're efforts. Mr. Maharaj...25 years of useless "dialogue" is long enough. This is a time for action to speak louder than words.

Now I don't want you to take this as a criticism of your efforts. I do in fact believe that you are sincere in your efforts to contribute positively to a change in the status-quo in the Middle East which would benefit us all. Which is precisely why I'm urging you to ignore these "conferences" and focus your time and effort on other means of constructive action for change. For starters, you can speak to a number of academics, journalists and activists who have experienced the turbulent conditions of the Middle East first hand. People such as:

Wafa Sultan: An Arab-American psychologist living in L.A. who escaped Islamic persecution in the Middle East and who occasionally appears on Al-Jazeera Television debating many of the people who are standing in the way of Peace and Democracy.

Joseph Farah: Arab-American veteran journalist of over 25 years. Farah spent a big chunk of his career as a Middle Eastern correspondent and now runs his own News Organization: World Net Daily. He can be contacted at: jfarah@worldnetdaily.com

Amir Taheri: Iranian Born journalist who has an impressive resume in his experience in covering Middle Eastern matters. He can be contacted though his agency: Benador Associates here and is available for public and private discussions. eb@benadorassociates.com

If your looking for something a little closer to home than there's reform activist Irshad Manji or Salim Mansur, who teaches Political Science at the University of Western Ontario.

These are just a few of the many experts who can offer solid, concrete analysis and recommendations and not just feel-good rhetoric and endless cycles of discussions that lead nowhere. However, I'd also like to offer you some recommendations on what you can bring up during this conference on some recent challenges that have been raised in the Middle East.

1. The jailing of Yemeni Journalist Mohammed Al-Asadi who did the tragic mistake of publishing a censored version of the infamous "Danish Cartoons" just for the sake of describing current events that were surrounding Yemenis (The burning of embassies, death threats, etc...). This might tie in well with the whole Freedom of Expression discussion.

2.Equality of citizens: I'm sure many Arab Christians and Women would really appreciate they're struggles for equality in that part of the world to be raised and debated. One of them being the disgraceful "Honour Killings" that are widespread in the very host country that your attending.

3. As for peaceful Co-Existence between Palestinians and Israelis: Perhaps you should point out to some of those Middle Eastern "MP's" how some of those Anti-Semitic Cartoons and Television Programs on State-Sponsored Media doesn't exactly give the gullible young generation of that part of the world an incentive to reach out to they're Israeli Neighbors in a friendly manner. (I know it didn't give me the incentive when I saw them when I was a child!)

Again, this letter was not a critique of your sincerity or efforts on the matter, but rather of the channels in which you decide to use your efforts. This is just a letter from one concerned citizen to another.

Thanks for taking the time of reading my e-mail, and good luck.


------

Okay...on second thought maybe I do have a good reason to doubt his sincerity, especially after this paragraph on the same post announcing his trip:

Equally, I am conscious that I live in the shadow of men and women greater than I could ever hope to be, who made the world a better place by projecting Canadian values into the international arena: Wilfred Laurier, who created the first genuinely bilingual state; Lester Pearson, who created international peacekeeping; Pierre Trudeau, who created multiculturalism as the post-modern nationalism.


Gut-feeling: this is nothing more than something which he can add on his resume to prepare for his upcoming political career. I'm sorry but his whole history screams out "Politician in Waiting!". But I hope I'm wrong.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

How you can help Freedom of the Press take hold in the Middle East.

Just in case you haven't heard about the case of Mohammed Al-Asadi, he's the editor in Chief of the Yemen Observor.

A few weeks after the whole Danish Cartoons fiasco, Mr. Al-Asadi made the tragic mistake of publishing the actual cartoons with a description of the events that have led to all the demonstrations Yemenis have been seeing in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the Palestinian Territories, etc... (Sound familiar?)

The result: A warrant was issued for his arrest for violating article 103 (a) of the Press and Publications Law number 25 of 1990, which prohibits "publications that harm the Islamic faith and its sublime principles or that degrade the Semitic religions, and humanitarian beliefs.". When 2 other Yemeni journalists tried to show a statement of solidarity, by publishing the cartoons themselves, the government never budged, and issued a warrant for they're arrest as well.

The whole issue is even more pathetic when you consider that the journalists blacked out the Prophet's face in compliance of Islamic laws stating that the Prophet's face never be shown. But apparently that still wasn't enough.

This is predictable as the rise of new media and independent sources in Lebanon and Iraq have ruffled many feathers for those aiming to maintain the status-quo in the Middle East. So therefore to stop the spread of Independent media, states like Yemen have decided to suppress those that are under they're control.

Thankfully, Human Rights Watch and Reporters without borders have taken up the cause to bring Al-Asadi's case to the worldwide audience. And have launched a e-mail petition demanding his release.

This is one of the many bloodless ways which we can help freedom take hold in the Middle East.

All you have to do is send an e-mail to:

moyen-orient2@rsf.org

and they'll usually handle the lobbying in front of International organizations and Governments. However this isn't like any other online petition:

Usually online petitions are not credible as they to draw allot of spam and trolls. For this petition validity is ensured.

1. Make sure you use a proper traceable e-mail service like Sympatico, Rogers, Videotron, AOL etc...not Hotmail, Yahoo etc...

2. Make sure you include Your full name, address and phone number. (They keep that information 100 per cent confidential, its just for validating purposes.).

It takes 1 minute of your time, its well worth it, believe me. Reporters without borders have had some results due to they're lobbying, so this no amateur push.

(H/T Nadz)

Foreign Policy with a Spine

Some good news, for the first time in 13 years regarding Canadian Foreign Affaires: At last! Canada has a coherent Foreign Policy!


Canada voted against a controversial resolution on Palestinian rights at the United Nations yesterday, an early sign that the new Harper government is aligning its Middle East policy more closely with the views of Israel and the United States.

The previous Liberal government had abstained on the identical resolution last year. But on instructions from Ottawa, the Canadian delegation at the UN joined the United States to vote against a non-binding motion calling on Israel to allow all Palestinian refugee women and children to return to their homes.




I particularly liked what Mackay had to say:

It's not a flip to go from neutrality to taking a position," Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said yesterday.

And we finally realize why our Foreign Policy was weak and murky under the Liberal government

Hussein Amery, the president of the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations, said that unlike the Liberals, the Conservatives did not even consult with Canadian Arab and Muslim groups before making such a significant policy shift.


Say What?! Memo to Mr. Amery: Foreign Policy, be it on the Middle East or Africa or Asia, is aimed at reflecting the views of ALL Canadians not just special interest groups and targeted minorities. Using this twit's logic:

  • When Canada got into World War 2, it should have consulted with members of the Italian and German before looking at things from a wider perspective.
  • Canada should have consulted with the South African community in the 80's when it came time to debate Apartheid.
  • Chretien should have consulted with the Iraqi-Canadian community leaders when it came time to overthrow Saddam.

Foreign Policy shouldn't have to be about pleasing certain ethnic groups in Canada Decisions should be based around your basic national interests that best reflect your values. In this case it was either siding with Democracy (Israel) or radical notion that would force a collapse of Jewish Demographics in Israel (The Right of Return). Besides as Shimon Fogel points out in the article, the issue of the refugees have been agreed to be discussed among the final points AFTER territorial disputes have been settled.

Finally! A protest worth mentioning.

Congrats to Winston from The Spirit of Man for attending a protest for an issue that's actually worth giving a dam about: Freedom of Speech.



(Details and pictures here, here and here)


A few hundred protestors gathered in front of the Danish Consulate in Toronto to stand up for Freedom of Speech and its valuable contribution to Western Society, following the retarded reaction by the Muslim World and their weak, pathetic apologists in the West from the whole "Danish Cartoons" controversy. I'm a little disappointed they didn't draw a larger crowd, for a "Progressive" city like Toronto you'd think there would more people that would stand up for this "Charter Right".

I remember reading about this a few weeks ago on SDA, but it completely slipped my mind, it would have been worth the trip just to be in there.

Once again, good job Winston!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bush, Saddam and Milosevic.

The Sandmonkey beat me to it.

Just another reminder

There's nothing much we can do about the horrible death of Tom Fox, the American Peacemaker and Humanitarian worker but to offer condolences to his family and remember the individual sacrifice which he made to stand up for his convictions. Even though I didn't agree with Tom's philosophy on War and Peace, I still admire a man of action rather than a man of empty rhetoric. And that's what Tom did, he actually did something, which is more than what I can say for most his peacenik colleagues on this side of the Atlantic.

Rest in Peace Tom.

Events like Tom's death and Jill Carroll kidnapping are unfortunately other compliments to what I've been saying all along:

Your political views and pacifist nature, does not exonerate you from being perceived as an enemy to Islamist assholes. If your not Muslim AND don't prescribe to they're own brand of "Imperialism" (Muslim supremacy worldwide), your someone who should be dealt with.

There's no other way I can describe it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Why Now?

When your a fringe party like the NDP that's made up of Union Whores and special interest group representatives, you don't really get far in politics. I mean look at it from they're view, you have barely influenced any policy for the past 30 years, many people consider you to be a joke and what's all worse about this is that you can't do much about all this.

Nothing...except to bitch and moan your way through the legislative process. But all in all, your still a party that's going nowhere.

Following today's activity, you can also add the words "Opportunists" and "Hypocrites" in the long list of adjectives to describe the Canada's NDP.

So the NDP have decided to include Belinda Stronach into the investigation after learning that many people are wondering why the NDP have a beef with floor crossing all of a sudden when they barely made a peep when Belinda or Brison crossed over at the precise moment. All in hopes of closing the Pandora's box they opened when they asked the commissioner to look into the Emerson floor crossing.

Canadianna provided an excelent critique of the NDP a few weeks ago regarding the whole Emerson affair.

Remarkably, the NDP, who would be the benficiary of the so-called 'NDP budget' and have the thrill of holding the balance of power for a few more months, decided neither Stronach's nor the Liberal's actions were unethical -- at least not unethical enough to suggest a byelection or to contact the Ethics Commissioner.



What can we make out of all of this:

Apparently The NDP has no problems with floor crossing should they be the beneficiaries of the vote that follows. They didn't ask for an investigation following that floor crossing, not even after the budget vote, not even after Ed Broadbant's ethics package. It was only after they're hypocrisy was revealed that they decided to ask the commissioner to look into it.

But that's just the NDP for ya, Opportunist, Hypocritical and a bunch of old looser hacks bitching and moaning they're way through Parliament.

The Dubai Ports fallout: Everybody Loses!

The aftermath of the Dubai ports brouhaha might have done more damage between the Middle East and The United States in a bigger way than Osama Bin Laden could have ever hoped for.

Thanks to the Xenophobic and opportunistic whores over at the Democratic Party, you now have a valuable ally to the war on terror and economic powerhouse: The UAE, pissed off at the overall reaction. So that's one more number to cross off in the little black book whenever trouble arises.

The American business community will also suffer. Boeing, whose contracts with UAE firms number in the Billions of dollars, sure as hell won't be receiving the red carpet treatment whenever they land in Dubai to bid on the Multi-Billion dollar contracts.

The Arab moderates are now hearing the old "I TOLD YOU SO!" cries from the fundamentalists. Who were preaching over and over about America's so-called "racism", "Xenophobia" and "Anti-Muslim" nature in their sermons during the noon prayers.

The Arab business community (the one Mid-East ally the US government could not afford to loose in the war on terror) is now disgusted. And isn't encouraged at increasing commerce with the United States. Business leaders are blasting away the U.S. in a way which would rival the Mullahs (not a good sign).

Arab Americans, are disgusted with the Democrats and the Republicans, being made to believe that their ethnicity alone is a threat to their nation. Even decorated Arab-American military officers such as Gen. John Abizaid are upset at the fallout.

"I'm very dismayed by the emotional responses that some people have put on the table here in the United States that really comes down to Arab and Muslim bashing,'' Abizaid said at a Capitol Hill meeting with senators.


And to top it all off, we learn that in Long Beach, the port is being controlled by a state-owned Chinese company (H.T Daimnation). But of course, we never really heard the outcries when THAT deal occured.

Disgusting. Absolutly shameful.

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be ashamed to be a pro-American.

To top it all off, all of this won't do DICK to improve security at the U.S. ports.

A clash of epochs not civilizations

One of the mistakes many lefties or Isolationists make when it comes to debating Terrorism and the Middle East is the automatic assumption that the people in the Arab and Muslim world use the same common sense on whatever issue that arises as they do.

It can simply be summarized as "If Scenario A arises, I would act in such and such way, ergo, Middle Easterners would also react the same way".

This can be on anything from war to cultural exchange. For months I've been struggling with myself as to how to explain that the ideologies and common sense used over here in the west, cannot be assumed to be taking place in the Middle East. Well luckily for me, a brave Arab American women by the name of Wafa Sultan summarizes just what exactly the clash between the two worlds can be described as:

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations," she said. "It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete."


She's right in every way. Many practicing Muslims (myself included) do not prescribe to the ideology that's dominating the Muslim World. And there are many more like me. All of us interpret our religion in some way, but not all of us arrive at the same conclusion as the Islamists back home. So it can't be purely all about religion. And Arab civilization has progressed in terms of economy and (to a much lesser extent) culturally.

The clash comes down to ideology. This is the one area where the Muslim World as a whole has not progressed at all since the Middle Ages. Remember the Dark Ages in Europe when a corrupt body of the Church dominated all aspects of human life. And where corruption reached the highest levels of civil power?

The Muslim World is going through the same thing. And what should concern Westerners is that its this lack of progress in ideology that helps feed the ignorance that's widespread today, leading to matters like suicide bombings and the burning of embassies. Our civilizations cannot co-exist peacefully while one is still corrupted by its ideological ignorance.

No amount of "Peace Treaties" or "Cultural exchange for better understanding" will change any of that. And its the reason why people shouldn't expect immediate change following the Iraq war. Europe didn't come out of the Dark Ages in 4 years and people shouldn't assume the same with the Middle East.

Layton pisses away whatever military vote the NDP had.

For all those dippers who claim that Layton's recent political grandstanding is in no way affecting the moral and resolve of the Canadian troops in Afghanistan:

One unidentified soldier cursed NDP leader Jack Layton for his calls for the Canadian army to return to a peacekeeping role. That soldier blamed Layton for a weakening in the resolve of Canadians to continue with a more warlike Afghan mission.

Laurie Hawn, Conservative MP for Edmonton Centre and a former Canadian Forces fighter pilot, was on hand to greet the wounded soldiers. As he left the tarmac, Hawn said any perceived lack of resolve on the part of Canadians could only endanger Canada's 2,200 soldiers in Afghanistan.


Source.

(H/T Mark Peters)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mulitcultursim, Religious Freedom and the Kirpan Ruling.

Brigitte Pellerin has a good article that appeared in the Montreal Gazette this mourning, which explains the position of the people who opposed the Kirpan ruling last week by the Supreme Court. She summarizes the feeling perfectly as many walked on eggshells not to try to sound culturally insensitive in the whole matter.

I also couldn't help but notice that there seems to be a Canada/Quebec divide on reaction to the ruling.


It’s difficult to condemn the Supreme Court’s kirpan decision without sounding like a bigot. But I’ll try anyway. Using the excuse of multiculturalism to give minority groups special status within public institutions is wrong and dangerous.

...

Thus I also reacted negatively to the 2004 Supreme Court ruling, Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, giving orthodox Jews the right to build temporary “succah” huts on their balconies even though they had signed a contract saying they wouldn’t. The Court explained that if “a person’s belief at the time of the alleged interference with his or her religious freedom” is sufficiently sincere, as it was deemed to be in Northcrest, then of course the contract isn’t valid. It was an atrociously bad, and dangerous, decision. Orthodox Jews should have the same right as anyone else to sign, or not sign, a contract depending whether its provisions suit them on whatever grounds they think important. And the same obligation as anyone else to do what they promised. By ruling otherwise, allowing intensity of belief to override one’s solemn word, the court opened the door to all sorts of other claims, not always as inoffensive as a temporary hut.

...

I don’t think most Sikhs want their kids, but no one else, carrying serviceable weapons to school. But the Supreme Court says public schools should grant Sikhs special privileges because God wants it. And all us non-Sikhs are allowed to do is show respect. It’s wrong, and it’s dangerous – not because Sikhs are, but because others may be.



Read all of it online here.

Who do they REALLY speak for?

I knew we were going to face this sooner or later. My beef with the MSM nowadays always revolves around the fact they never really report the full storey to give viewers/readers a detailed description of the issues facing us today.

Be it Foreign relations, the economy, domestic issues, whatever it is, lazy journalism is always prevalent. Well with the Child Care debate is no different.

Today, as a bunch short-haired angry lesbians (who seem to be suffering from a serious case of penis-envy btw) called a press conference to try to frame the whole Child Care debate into a Women's issue. (Fathers be dammed).

Here we go:

They say Harper's pledge to replace those agreements with direct payments to parents of $1,200 a year for every child under six just doesn't cut it.

"While families welcome financial support, it is not child care," Monica Lysack, of the Canadian Child Care Advocacy Association, told a news conference in Ottawa Wednesday.


FACT: The CCAA which is federally funded thanks to the years of Liberal government, never ever cites any of the exhaustive studies into the Quebec Daycare model (which is what this program is modeled after) that shows time and time again that only a small minority of working women use the institutionalized model, and worse its a program that benefited women who didn't need help at all. Already raising the question of whether or Ms. Lysack speaks for the majority of Canadian women.

Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress, told reporters that "for working women, child care is all about equality."


FACT #1: While Byers does speak about "equality" she never elaborates on just how the model which she advocates doesn't help working parents who don't have a 9 to 5 working schedule, women who choose alterative models of child care (nannies, relatives etc...) or those who decide to decrease their working hours to remain home with their newborns. Raising the question once again: Does she really speak for all women/parents?

FACT#2: The media LOVES to get quotes from Labor Unions on this issue. But NEVER have they mentioned how the Liberal model would end up financially benefiting them. The daycare workers would all be unionized, and just like the Mob structure they kick part of their pay to their Union masters for "protection". Of all the articles I've read who quote Union officials, I've never seen this conflict of interest being raised.

Yeah...that's detailed reporting allright.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Interesting reactions to the Kirpan ruling,

I'm glad I'm not the only one who views the latest Supreme Court Decision to be based on absolute crap. Get a load of the logic used by the Court to justify its decision:

une telle prohibition empêche la promotion de valeurs comme le multiculturalisme, la diversité et le développement d'une culture éducationnelle respectueuse des droits d'autrui.


Translation: Such prohibition discourages the promotion of values such as Multiculturism, diversity, and the development of an educational culture respectful of freedom of religion.

I decided to listen in on some talk radio shows (both in English and French) yesterday, to listen to the reaction of people concerning the reasoning behind the this ruling.

(Hand to God, I'm not making any of this up!)

  • One young caller who described himself as a nudist, claimed that he will got to school on Monday totally buck naked, and should the school send him home or take disciplinary actions, he will challenge their decision all the way to the Supreme Court, expecting the same reasoning to take hold.
  • Another student called in to state that he will be creating a new religion which makes it mandatory for every follower to carry a AK-47 with him starting at the age of 12. And will simply fall back on this decision to allow him to take his gun to school.
  • (There were many callers like this, made up probably 40 per cent of the calls taken I heard)
  • One caller made a very good point: How could the Supreme Court allow something in schools that isn't allowed in Airplanes (pocket knives). What if a Sikh decides to take his Kirpan on the plane, and gets it confiscated will he claim that his "freedom of religion" is being threatened in the name of "multiculturism"?
  • One teacher said that she doesn't understand why she's supposed to take away Tylenols pills from students (non-prescription drugs are banned in most schools) but allow a Sikh student to carry something that puts the safety of all students in jeopardy.
  • However, one women who agreed with the ruling argued that the Kirpan is no more dangerous than a pair of scissors or the many equipment that is found in art department. (Good point...sort of...IMO that's more of "apples and oranges" comparison).
  • A few teachers even hoped that Jean Charest would use to the Notwithstanding clause to protect Quebec schools from the decision.
  • One lawyer: Whatever happened to "equality", I thought that was the reasoning for behind the SSM decision, why isn't it for this case?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Right-Wingers take advantage of Alternative Media in Quebec

Living in Quebec sure has its advantages. The Province is home to the REAL North American devil's playground: Montreal. Also Quebec City, who's combination of coziness, beauty and rich history is unmatched by any city on the whole continent. Quebec is also home to the Montreal Canadians (best dam Hockey team in the history of the sport), the Formula 1 Grand Prix, summer festivals like "Just for Laughs" and The Jazz Festival. Combine all that with drop-dead gorgeous women, Molson beer and maple syrup, from the long range Quebec looks like some kind of utopia.

But once you begin to dig into Québec politics. The province takes a nasty turn to modern day version of hell on earth. The threat of separatism notwithstanding, the province is facing some real dangerous challenges.

You have the demographic time-bomb (Its estimated that by 2025 there will be 2 able bodied workers to one retiree), a mounumentous provincial debt totaling over 100 billion dollars (due to lavish social spending), Public Sector Unions whose actions and demands border on extortion and a foreign policy outlook that can be easily spun into Fidel Castro worship. (Americans are pig headed Imperialists!).

In short, Quebec is the socialist experiment whose Revolution Tranquille outcomes have brought its economy and demographics into a vicious cycle of decline. But what's worse in all this is that those who are advocating for modern-day Political and Social change have no voice.

The Action Democratique, Quebec's right-leaning provincial party is limited to a handful of seats in the provincial legislature and doesn't qualify for an official opposition party (despite receiving 20 per cent of the popular vote in the last election). Artists, actors, musicians and academics , all of whom are government subsidized, are made up entirely of radical separatists, Che Guevera admirers, Michael Moore worshippers and late-sipping socialists (Quebec Conservatives and Libertarians call them "La Gauche Caviar").

Why does the Radical Left have such dominance over Quebec society? Well...the short answer lies within the French-Language mainstream media. Editorial boards, Media Figures and News Directors are well known to be staunch status-quo defenders. And whenever a movement comes along which challenges the status-quo is immediately demonized and repressed (as we've seen in the case of CHOI FM). The idea of a political debate usually takes form with a rabid communist on one side with a social-democrat on the other. Resulting in a kind of leftist strangulation of the news and political debate. If your not a pro-soverignist, pro-union or anti-American. Chances are the Quebec media will have nothing which can represent your views.

But within the past few years, Quebec Conservatives and Libertarians have taken advantage of the internet to help break this strangulation, much to the horror of the liberal-left elite in this province.

Let's go through some of those alternative media sources:

Everybody knows "Le Quebecois Libre", the only web magazine in Canada that is 100 per cent, take no prisoners Libertarian magazine. Every two weeks, the site releases a string of articles that slice and dice old socialist myths, advocates greater individual liberty and responsibility, calls for an unrestricted Free Market society and offers commentary on modern day events from a Libertarian viewpoint. And with writers such as Martin Masse, Pierre Lemieux, Paul Beadry, Mathieu Bédard and Bridgitte Pellerin (who now writes for the Ottawa Citizen), you can be sure that this is not a site for the weak hearted Grit or Dipper.

Some right leaning Quebecers have taken advantage of the blogsphere as well, and believe you me, if I had to give ONE argument in favor of bilingualism, it would be for people to be able to read and understand the writings of Laurent (though fortunately he blogs in both English and French), Jonathan, Patrick (Notwithstanding he's a Leafs fan :p), Xavier, Vincent or the mysterious guy behind Kébek.

Their writings are MUST-READS for those who are interested in the developments in Quebec Politics. ALL outstanding bloggers with an amazing writing style. (Something about Right-Wing talking points done in the French Language that just makes their posts fascinating, to me at least).

But the most interesting kind is the most recent phenomenon:

Internet Radio!

Yes, without the CRTC breathing down their necks, or the anal News Directors editing their content, some right-leaning Quebecers have taken the airwaves in hopes of elevating the political debate in Quebec. All these stations are 100 per cent independent, created through the efforts and financial resources of the individual normal, everyday working Joe's behind these stations.

1. XTRM: A Montreal Based internet station animated by former Montreal City Councilor and ADQ activist Jean-François Plante (Laurent talks about him here). Plante's show usually consists of phone interviews where he speaks to other like minded individuals (Vincent was on the show a couple of times) about recent developments in the Quebec Political world. His style is ardent, but respectful to opposing views. He brings with him political experience, so much of what he says usually carries clout. Basically, he rants in a much more respectful manner.
There's no charge for listening.



2. Rockik.com: The rotwiller of Internet Conservative radio based in Quebec City. Now unlike Plante, this station is downright vicious to everything that's Left Wing. From Monday to Friday, 9 am to 12 pm, Ismael Trépanier and Jonathan Bouchard (both in their 20's) rant away slamming the repressive government intervention in our daily lives and hammer away (in a very extreme and personal manner) the politics of the Bloc Quebecois, The Liberal Party, the NDP, and the Parti Québecois. However their Conservative views tends to be restricted to fiscal policies. More or less of the South Park Conservative variety.
The station has apparently had some very good success reaching a large audience, and the guys are planning to open an office in Calgary sometime soon (at least that's what they said in their e-mail to their viewers).

Their is a membership fee to access the archives, however you can listen to the show on the same day for free (provided you register for free).

3. Radio Pirate: Jeff Fillion is back!! One year after he resigned from CHOI FM due to a witch-hunt by the Quebec Political and Social elite, Fillion comes back with his own internet radio station, where he is expected to animate his own show (with several music channels). If you want to know more about why Jeff was censored by the CRTC, please refer to this article by Frederic Têtu in the National Post at the time of the CRTC announcement.

Now if there's any reason the Quebec City region became fertile ground for the Conservatives, its because of this guy. Fillion for years blasted away the ideology of the Left and most specifically the Parti Québecois. He was an ardent defender of the United States and Israel, and slammed the Unions and the pacifists whenever he could. All that in mind, he managed to average 410 000 listeners weekly! (if you want a comparison, Rush Limbaugh averages 200 000 in the entire US market).

The best part is that the CRTC is absolutely powerless to censure or punish him through the net. And Jeff will have a free hand in getting his message out.

Their is a registration fee you must pay in order to listen to Radio Pirate, 5.99 per month. I already signed up, and if your bilingual, I strongly urge you to do the same for the short term.


Will all this activism revive the old "Bleus"? Who knows. But one thing is clear, the left no longer has monopoly of thought in Quebec.