June 29, 2004

A Chronology of Terror

June 29 - Commenter Tim provides this link to The Evidence: Chronology of Attacks on the West:.

I'm at a loss for words. The traces of memories of these attacks pale when confronted with so lengthy a list, but it does confirm that Western countries were stupid to ever bargain with the terrorists.

I wonder if "appeasement" counts as a root cause for terrorism, because meeting the demands of hijackers and kidnappers encouraged (and paid for) further attacks.

Posted by Debbye at 05:10 PM | Comments (2)

Canada got the devil they know

June 29 - The election is over, and the Liberals have been re-elected but to a minority government.

I am deeply embarassed that Laurel and Hardy of the American left came up here to intervene - Ralph Nader urged voters not to regard voting NDP as vote splitting, and Michael Moore spoke out about how it is better to vote Liberal no matter how troubling that act may be.

No members of the American right pulled that stunt, but you can bet there would have been loud screaming had they done so.

Attack ads and fear-mongering work up here, as Toronto voters swallowed their outrage at the corruption of the Liberal Party and voted "for the devils they knew" who will likely form a minority government with the New Democratic Party -who are even further to the left of the Liberals (No looking back.)

Promises of federal funds for Toronto - the transit system, SARS relief, black-out relief, homelessness relief, you name it, it got promised relief - resulted in the ridings going completely to the Liberals and NDP and it looks as though much of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) went the same.

Damian did live blogging of the elections, which makes for interesting reading (even though I knew the results before I got home from work) and the comments have some interesting analysis, including some discussion as to whether the Liberal Party-NDP coalition will hold and, if not, whether another election could be called in two years (although I have my doubts that a Conservative Party-Bloc Quebecois coalition would have held much longer than that, too.)

Olivia Chow lost her bid for a federal seat, which is good and bad because it means Toronto is still stuck with her ...

The CBC has an election round-up and you can link to the individual ridings, but I'm trying to find a freaking map because I am very curious as to how the Conservative Party did outside of the GTA.

I've had a virus thingy and am still somewhat under the weather (that's an indirect way of saying I feel like hell but made it to work) but I found a crappy map thingy at CTV (scroll down to Provincial Breakdown) and it says Ontario went 44.7% to the Liberals for 75 seats and 31.5% to the Conservatives for 24 seats.

Posted by Debbye at 08:03 AM | Comments (8)

June 25, 2004


June 25 - Acronyms are inescapable. I've registered for my share of courses from Professor TBA and we've also got BYOBs, ETAs and RTWTs permanently embedded in our vocabularies.

It's quick communication, and you'd think there would be kind respect sent their way.

Unfortunately, guys, it appears you just lost a biggie.

Posted by Debbye at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2004

Quick hits

June 24 - Sorry for the light posting. I have some excuses ...

I woke up to Wolf Blitzer talking about Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's apology for saying that reporters in Iraq spend their time in luxurious hotels. M'kay. I guess he had to apologize, because that's the 3rd American pastime (after baseball and lawsuits) but saying that reporters are in a dangerous profession doesn't change the fact that far too many of them are pontificating, lazy and smug.

But then Wolf brings in Christianne Amanpour, and I comment to Mark (who is hogging the computer) that Amanpour is mad at Wolfowitz.

"He's my hero," announced Mark.

"Mine too," I replied. "Are you through with the computer?" (He wasn't.)

I got some quick posts in before I ran into this at Let It Bleed, in which Bob is quoting Toronto Star's Harron Siddiqui asserting that Bill Graham is inspirational. I kid you not.

I just naturally had to share that with the family, so we spent an enjoyable hour thinking of ways in which Graham inspires us. (Those ways are not suitable for printing.)

By the way, I neglected to link to an unforgettable item from Sunday's post, Laughing in the Cheap Seats:

Presumably any woman who dares to disagree with Mallick's assessment of impending "disaster" is not a "real" woman. Sort of like how, for the left, Clarence Thomas or Colin Powell aren't "really" black. Again, though, let's focus on Mallick's contention that Canada would be a "lan[d] of women slapped down".
This really is the level of debate up in Ontario, by the way. It would be laughable if it wasn't so damned effective.
Now, to be fair, Mallick is actually doing Canadians a great service, by pointing this out. Because not a lot of people know that one of the most important elements of the Conservative plan is to replace the national anthem: out with "O Canada", and in with The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up". True story. It's on page 14 of their platform. Okay, I made that last bit up: the new anthem will actually be Al-D's "Bitches and Hoes".
Everyone who doesn't live in Ontario will quickly recognize the last section is satire, but I'm going to mention that fact just in case ...

It's raining, which has come to signal my departure for work. I'm a regular rain-magnet these days (and cursed by minor baseball coaches everywhere) but it is my Friday.

I have some unanswered mail, so apologize to those who have kindly written me and will answer tomorrow morning.

Posted by Debbye at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

Terror attacks in Iraq

June 24 - The death and injury toll in Iraq continues to climb as those who oppose Iraq self-rule target the men and women who would provide security for their own country (92 killed in multiple attacks in Iraq.)

If the media (and Michael Moore) weren't so obsessed with their Bush-hatred, maybe they would see, as I do, that those Iraqis who are signing up to become part of and defend the new Iraq are the true inheritors of the Minutemen legacy.

Posted by Debbye at 07:52 PM | Comments (4)

Terror Watch in Turkey

June 24 - A bomb exploded on a bus in Istanbul and police suspect it detonated prematurely while being transported to another location (Turkey bus explosion kills four.) A smaller blast earlier in Ankara wounded two.

A NATO summit will be held in Istanbul early next week.

Posted by Debbye at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2004

Liberals and President Bush

June 23 - I've tried to play down the US election somewhat until the Canadian election is over, but Michael Moore hasn't shown similar restraint and has linked the two elections.

A post over at Belmont Club puts quite a hurting on Moore and his fellow progressives by looking at their real grievance against the U.S. President and those who support them (The Revolution Within the Revolution) and, by extension, the Conservative Party of Canada:

The particular venom with which the Liberals regard President Bush is at heart a reaction to what they perceive as a coup d'etat directed against the carefully constructed edifice of their historical achievements. To understand why the President and individuals like Paul Wolfowitz are described as "illegitimate", one should not, like the man who doesn't get the reference, look to the Florida chads or US Supreme Court decisions. Liberals are not talking about that kind of statutory legitimacy. Rather they are referring to what is perceived as a brazen attempt to negate the cultural equivalent of the Brezhnev doctrine, the idea that certain "progressive" modes of behavior, once attained, are irreversible. In this view, an entire set of attitudes, commonly referred to as "political correctness" and their institutional expressions, like the United Nations, have become part of a social contract, part of an unwritten constitution.


In the days following September 11, the Liberals watched aghast as America went to war -- when that had been abolished! -- against Muslims in the Third World, all but twitching away the hapless figures of France and the United Nations in the process. (Emphasis added.)

I wish I could write like Wretchard but I can't, so read the whole thing. Just how progressive are Democrats when they can't progress beyond the "summer of the 90's?"

There are some serious threats to us, yet when we should be debating issues, we are dodging mud. Liberals and Democrats are shaming themselves during these elections and the voters should be outraged.

By the way, A Chick Names Marzi eviscerates Moore to the delight of us who can never read enough Moore bashing (via this post at Moore Watch.)

Read them all. I'm off to work.

Posted by Debbye at 08:25 PM | Comments (1)

Feminism and Muslim sisters

June 23 - Law enforcement agencies in Britain are openly acknowledging that honour killings are a problem there (Police chiefs try to end 'honour killings' with review of 100 murders.)

Police are to review more than 100 murders in an attempt to understand and prevent "honour killings", it was announced yesterday.

The examination of 117 cases believed to be honour killings, which are classified as murders "motivated by perceived dishonour to a family or community", was welcomed by an Asian community leader.

The majority of victims were women, with many from south Asia, though there were some from Africa, eastern Europe and Arab countries.

Scotland Yard announced the initiative amid growing evidence that women in the Asian community are being subjected to violence and sometimes murdered for defying cultural traditions.

Their perceived crimes can include wanting to go to university, refusing an arranged marriage, having a boyfriend or dressing in western-style clothing.

In 2000 the United Nations estimated that 5,000 women worldwide were killed every year because they had allegedly brought shame on their families or communities.

But women's rights groups and Asian leaders believe the figure hugely underestimates the scale of the problem.

Ram Gidoomal is the chairman of the South Asian Development Partnership, a charity that aims to overcome divisions in ethnic communities, and author of the book Sari 'n' Chips. He welcomed the review but said it should include suicide victims.

"Many more people are driven to suicide because of the 'dishonour' that is purported to have been brought on the family," he said.

"The attempted suicide rate among young Asian women is four times the national average, and with men, too, it is rising."


Scotland Yard announced its review as officers from across Europe gathered at The Hague to discuss ways of tackling honour killings.

One would think that feminists would be in the forefront of demanding justice for our Muslim sisters, but as Damian Penny notes, intellectuals like Germaine Greer actually try to justify their repression. Australian columnist Andrew Bolt nails it:
On the same show, Greer, famed for leading the feminist revolution with her The Female Eunuch, offered a nutty excuse for Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving cars.

"I get a bit worried about certain heavily veiled ladies driving because they have no peripheral vision at all," she said. "You can understand why in some countries they are not allowed to drive."

Oh, so that's why. And women are beheaded there because . . .?

When I proclaim my support of women to choose, I mean something a bit different than the current Liberal fear-mongering about abortion. I'm supporting the right of women to make decisions about their lives and futures, which includes our rights to be at-home mothers, wear a burka, have the independence we gain by driving ourselves to wherever we choose to go, and have the right to say "No" because ultimately, that's the definition of freedom: Having the right to say no.

The Official Feminist Movement jumped the shark long ago. Time to take back what is ours: the right to speak about ourselves for ourselves, and to celebrate our own diversity, that being our right to be individually individual.

Posted by Debbye at 06:49 PM | Comments (3)

Assault in Chechnya

June 23 - There had been warnings that the Chechnyan rebels would launch a new military offensive, but the large number of attackers was a surprise (Dozens die as Chechen rebels sweep into city.)

CNN is putting the death toll at 92, and says at least three towns in southern Ingushetia were attacked.

Col. Ilya Shabalkin, head of the press service for Anti-Terrorist Operations in the Caucasus, told CNN the attacks were carried out by 50 to 100 fighters that included Chechen, Ingush and "possibly" foreign fighters. An Interior Ministry source told Interfax that about 200 rebels took part.

Shabalkin said the acting head of the Ingush Interior Ministry was among the dead. He said the fighters wanted to call attention to themselves to attract money from international terrorist organizations.

Both articles quote Russian President Putin as saying that
those responsible for the deadly attacks should be "found and destroyed. Those whom it is possible to take alive must be handed over to the courts."
But there are conflicting reports not only about the size of the attacking forces but also who the attackers were: according to this at the Command Post, an eyewitness says that some of the attackers were Ingush:
Initial reports put the number of attackers at 200-300, but the Gzt.ru website on June 23 quoted "an informed source in the Russian power structures" as saying that up to 1,500 fighters participated in the raids, with at least 80 of them involved in the attack on the Interior Ministry building in Nazran alone. According to the website, some 20 other installations around the republic were attacked. An unnamed source close to the investigation now under way into the attacks told Interfax that the goal of the attackers, who were outfitted in spetsnaz special forces uniforms and ski-masks, was to kill law-enforcement personnel. (Interfax, June 23)

Reports on the attackers' origins have been contradictory. A spokesman for the Ingushetian branch of the FSB, Aleksei Baigushkin, said that foreigners, including Turks and Algerians, were involved, but that Chechens formed the attacking group's "backbone." Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Southern Federal District, Vladimir Yakovlev, said that prior to the attacks, the fighters had trickled into Ingushetia from neighboring Chechnya and North Ossetia. An unnamed official in North Ossetia's Interior Ministry, however, categorically denied Yakovlev's assertion, saying, "We don't have such fighters". (Newsru.com, June 22)

An Ingushetian traffic policeman who was briefly detained by some of the fighters told the independent Ingushetiya.ru website that all of them spoke Ingush and that while their faces were covered by masks, he could tell by their voices that they were young. The traffic policeman said that after he was released, fighters who were also Ingush stopped him several times on the way into Nazran. "They said that they were getting revenge for murders and kidnappings of their friends," the traffic policeman told the website. "And that they were killing employees of [the Ingushetian police's] criminal investigation [department], spetsnaz and OMON [special police units] for helping the Russian special services". (Ingushetiya.ru, June 22)

Likewise, Rossiiskaya Gazeta cited local residents as saying that the attackers were Ingush, "which partially refutes the version about the invasion from Chechnya," and quoted a Russian special services source as denying that they had also crossed over from North Ossetia. "According to our source, most likely no one came from anywhere," the government newspaper reported. "In the evening, people simply put on camouflage clothing, took weapons out of hiding places and went out to the streets to fight". (Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 23)


A Nazran resident told Ingushetiya.ru that he had spoken to some of the fighters involved in the attack on the Interior Ministry building, who identified themselves as Ingush. They claimed they had "persuaded" Basayev to carry out the attacks in order to "teach a lesson" to the Interior Ministry, FSB and other special services units that have reportedly been involved in "extra-judicial punishment" and kidnappings in Ingushetia.

Best read the whole thing.

Posted by Debbye at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

Rumsfeld memo on "torture"

June 23 - Via Instapundit, it seems that Rumsfeld has been vindicated, but will this receive as much coverage as the accusations? This post at Captain's Quarters links to a CNN report which, after giving full coverage to those who cannot conceive that the wrongdoers at Abu Ghraib prison might have exercised free will in their misconduct, admits that their unnamed informant has changed the story as to what was and what was not approved by the Pentagon:

Meanwhile, a source told CNN that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld never approved a controversial interrogation technique called "water boarding." That source had told CNN the opposite Monday.
Once again, I have to go on trust that there ever was a source who had access to actual information as opposed to scuttlebutt.
The senior defense official who provided the original information to CNN now says Rumsfeld only approved "mild, noninjurious physical contact" with a high-level al Qaeda detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and specifically did not approve a request to use water boarding.

The tactic involves strapping a prisoner down and immersing him in water to make the subject feel as though he is drowning.

The documents released Tuesday, as described by administration officials, help to show what ideas were discussed versus what was actually rubber-stamped by the White House in terms of the legal limits of interrogation.

"We want to drive home what was approved and what was speculated about. It is a distinction that has been lost," one official told CNN.

There has long been discussion on the internet about the use of torture should a pending terrorist attack involve biological or radioactive agencies, and it shouldn't be startling that people in the Pentagon have had similar discussions. We expect them to explore all options even when the decision is likely to be negative on most of them.
Senior administration officials say there were a lot of "academic" musings or "opinion" memos written after the terrorist attacks about how to apply interrogation laws and rules to the war on terrorism.

One official said it was "uncharted territory," and people at various agencies were trying to figure out how to deal with its legalities.

So what was approved?
Mild, noninjurious physical contact such as grabbing someone's arm, poking them in the chest or light shoving.
Read the post at Captain's Quarters, and follow the links.

Posted by Debbye at 09:22 AM | Comments (2)

Gunshot wounds reporting to become mandatory

June 23 - The Ontario legislature is set to approve a law that requires hospitals to report gunshot wounds to police (Call cops over gun wounds, docs told):

ONTARIO HOSPITALS will become the first in Canada required to report patients with gunshot wounds to police, under new legislation being introduced today. Government sources said Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter will table a bill today in the wake of growing support from Ontario doctors to make such reporting mandatory.
This is a sad commentary on the rise of gunplay in Toronto. I feel as though Ontario just lost some of her innocence.

Posted by Debbye at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

UNSCAM update

June 23 - Op-ed by William Safire in today's NY Times with some attention to the Congressional investigation into the U.N. Oil-for-Food program - UNSCAM to most, and The Great Cash Cow to others.

One whistleblower's account states that the U.N.'s contracted inspector, Cotecna of Switzerland, was the key to getting luxury items off-loaded at the port of Umm Qasr:

"Ships were lined up at the port of Umm Qasr, stacks of containers already onshore waiting for inspection. You won't believe the grease being paid. The usual suspects got preferential treatment when the U.N. bosses in New York called the BNP [Paribas] bank to get Cotecna to issue a C.O.A. [Confirmation of Arrival] to release the money."
The Congressional committee has been more aggressive than expected:
However, my call for a Congressional subpoena to overcome his [Annan's] attempt to limit investigation to his internal Volcker committee has flushed out a fact not hitherto disclosed. Annan's press aide complained to The Times that a subpoena had already been served secretly on BNP Paribas (the initials once stood for Banque Nationale de Paris) by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Although the U.N. had warned its bank, as well as Cotecna, the oil monitor Saybolt and all its other oil-for-food contractors, not to cooperate with anybody but Paul Volcker — and had blown off the House International Relations Committee's requests — Annan's advisers knew it would be unseemly and foolhardy to insist that its bank fight the Senate in court.

With his subpoena and investigation thus publicly revealed by the U.N., Chairman Norm Coleman of Minnesota, a Brooklyn-born Republican, felt free to take my call. "This is a major priority for us," he says. "There's a lot of stuff to cover, a big universe of documents, and we're being aggressive about it. Yes, Cotecna, Saybolt, all of them."

He sent out four "chairman's letters," countersigned by the ranking Democrat, Carl Levin, in early June. One was to the U.S. State Department for the minutes of the "661 committee" meetings at the U.N., which reviewed oil-for-food contracts (though not yet for copies of the contracts themselves). Another to the Government Accounting Office, which had first estimated the skimming at $10 billion. Another to Paul Bremer in Baghdad for copies of documents being turned over to the interim government — and the Senate still awaits a response; apparently the White House doesn't want to offend the U.N. Finally, a friendly letter to Annan about the subpoena that would require his bank to open its letter-of-credit files.

I think it somewhat difficult for people who live in countries run by Parliaments to understand what having separate legislative and executive branches really entails. (The reverse is true as well: people in the USA find it hard to comprehend the Parliament system in which the Prime Minister is both head of the legislature and the executive.) In this instance, the fact that the White House doesn't want to offend the U.N. doesn't necessarily mean that it will interfere to keep the Senate from offending the U.N. The President has far more to lose by offending Congress than the U.N.

But this is where it really gets interesting:

But since this involves possible fraud, bribery and larceny on a grand scale, where is law enforcement? Interesting: the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, David Kelley, served subpoenas last week on Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco and Valero about Iraqi oil purchases. That deals with the income side of the scandal, the money for Iraq (less kickbacks) supposedly to buy food.

I suspect Kelley was moved to empanel a grand jury by probable competition from the Manhattan district attorney, Robert Morganthau, on the scandal's payoff side. These two offices compete, and Morganthau's office has expertise on global banking.

In conclusion, this somewhat pathetic countrstroke from the U.N. bureaucrats:
In a counterattack, our global servants hired an accountant to warn of "fraudulent acts" by the U.S. after it took over the U.N.'s mismanaged Iraqi oil account. Now, that will get media coverage.
I wish I could believe that this is a belated recognition of accountability, but I don't see any pigs flying up here today ...

Posted by Debbye at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2004

Kim Sun-il beheaded

June 22 - Heartbreaking news: South Korean hostage beheaded.

One question: have we come to the point where we can be as anguished about this young man as we were about American hostages who have met the same fate?

I hope so. Terrorism is an attack on all free people, and until we realize that, we won't be truly engaged in fighting it.

Posted by Debbye at 08:09 PM | Comments (2)


June 22 - Another reality check for anyone who believes the U.N. is capable of leading in the cause of human rights: 45 corpses, all killed because of their skin colour: Genocide in Sudan. Families head for the hills to escape the murdering Janjaweed Arabs.

The U.N. is capable of only one thing: international hand wringing.

I am not prepared to place my safety in their hands.

(Via Jack's Newswatch.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

More stupid Bush = Hitler nonsense

June 22 - Ghost of a Flea caught something that did slip many of us by, an article in the Chicago Sun-Times that proves that those who are journalists should look a little harder at themselves before attacking (Flea: Hitler.)

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe and Canada, yet it seems to me that articles like the one in the Sun-Times would tend to encourage notions of an International Jewish Conspiracy, which I hardly think is the president's fault unless he is being accused of appointing too many people with Jewish surnames to his administration (and what the hell is that about, anyway? I recognize German surnames, but how does one know they are Jewish?) and if that's a criticism, it implies that those who object are anti-Semitic.

In plain English: since when do Americans judge a person's politics and motives by their surname or colour of their skin? Those who bandy words like neo-con and hint that it has Jewish roots are doing more harm to our country's ideals than the terrorists could possible achieve, or, if you prefer, are helping the terrorists achieve their aims, one of which is for the USA to stop supporting Israel.

It never escaped most of us that the war on terror would, by necessity, have to take on Arafat. That unprincipled scoundrel failed to take President Bush's Road Map seriously; this was not only anticipated but expected, but what Arafat didn't understand was that it was indeed his last chance to be relevant. Now he sits amid the rubble. Who says there is no justice?

The worst anyone can really say about President Bush is that he says what he means and means what he says. So they accuse him of failing to lie! Only a fool could think that a failure in leadership.

Who didn't understand that removing Saddam also removed a major financier of terrorism directed against Israelis? The Palestinians certainly understood it, and those who chose to duck that fact again reveal more about themselves and their anti-Semitism than than any laboured comparisons of President Bush to Hitler.

Who leaked information that the redacted portions of the 2002 report on terrorism covered up Saudi complicity? Was it by chance Democrats? So who is inciting hatred and suspicion?

And yet the staff of the Sept. 11 Commission has found no evidence that top Saudi officials have given money to al Qaeda (No Saudi Payment to Qaeda Is Found.)

The new account, based on 19 months of staff work, asserts flatly that there is "no evidence" that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials financed the group, which is led by Osama bin Laden.

In 2002, a joint Congressional committee was reported to have concluded the opposite in a classified study that was then the most extensive on the issue.

Senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat and co-chairman of the committee that issued the report, said at the time, "In my judgment there is compelling evidence that a foreign government provided direct support through officials and agents of that government to some of the Sept. 11 hijackers."

Although he did not name the Saudi government, those familiar with the committee's report at the time said it focused on Saudi Arabia.

This would be the report released last July of which portions were redeacted, leading many to speculate that it was done to cover up financial support by Saudi officials and the Royal family with al Qaeda.

With Saddam Hussein, we need to find documents, photos and commemorative coin to prove there were ties between Saddam and al Qaeda.

With the Saudis, we need only rumours and speculation to prove ties.

The latest report is based on a broader range of interviews and much greater access to classified documents than the Congressional report, people with knowledge of both operations said.

In addition, members of the presidential commission traveled to Saudi Arabia twice in the inquiry, officials from Saudi Arabia and from the commission said.

Adel al-Jubeir, a senior adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, said the Sept. 11 commission's findings "vindicate what we have been saying all along — that Saudi officials, the Saudi government, the royal family, had no role in funding whatsoever."


The revised account was detailed in a staff report that also sought to correct what it described as other widespread misperceptions involving Al Qaeda.


With highly classified documents previously inaccessible to those outside the government, the commission's staff painted a picture of Al Qaeda that differs in other important ways from what have been widespread perceptions.

It said there was "no persuasive evidence" that Al Qaeda relied on the drug trade as an important source of revenue, or raised money by trafficking in diamonds in the chaotic nations of West Africa.

Mr. bin Laden has less personal wealth than has been widely believed, the report says. Though he is a member of a wealthy family and received about $1 million a year until he was cut off in 1994, Mr. bin Laden never received the $300 million inheritance that has become the stuff of folklore, the report said.

"Contrary to popular understanding, bin Laden did not fund al Qaeda through a personal fortune and a network of businesses," the report said. "Instead, Al Qaeda relied primarily on a fund-raising network developed over time."

It said that Mr. bin Laden himself was only a small contributor to Al Qaeda. But it said that the organization spent an estimated $30 million a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, with as much as $20 million going to the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which provided Al Qaeda with a haven.


The report said that Mr. bin Laden had first set his sights on attacks on the United States in 1992. But it casts doubt on the idea that he and his organization played any role in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center or the thwarted 1995 plot in Manila to blow up a dozen American airliners.

I don't know the truth about Saudi complicity with al Qaeda. I'm willing to keep an open mind, however, until there is actually evidence as opposed to Democrat electioneering tactics.

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to attack others over the things for which the attackers are guilty. We've seen it in spades this election cycle, wherein the Democrats are attacking the current administration for being unprepared for Sept. 11 and overlooking their eight years in office and feckless responses to attacks that took place on their watch.

A Democrat president would have been just as unprepared Sept. 11 as a Republican president, but the country would have had far less faith in a Democrat administration that had reduced the military than in a Republican one because the GOP has always been strong on defense (at least in recent history.)

Now we have a renewal of the Bush=Hitler theme, and it too disguises guilt: the liberal media continues to pretend that Arafat, Saddam and their fellow travellers are not fascists and tries to avert recognition of the truth by pretending that the US president is.

How pathetic.

Posted by Debbye at 07:12 PM | Comments (2)

Canadian regionalism

June 22 - One of the strangest aspects of life in Canada is the intense regionalism. Not because regionalism is strange (at least to someone of my age who grew up in the American West) but because the federal government tends to encourage it and all the divisive antagonisms that it involves.

You see, it comes in handy during election campaigns. So what if lies must be spread to keep the distrust at full agitation level, as Ezra Levant recounts in this column, Anti-Alberta bigotry:

So last week, Martin blasted Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, calling Klein's health-care reform package un-Canadian. "Unlike Stephen Harper, I will look Ralph Klein in the eye and I will say 'no.'," ranted Martin. From Ontario, of course -- not over the phone to Klein privately, not in a memo, but at an election event, using federal-provincial relations as a desperate partisan weapon. "Unlike Stephen Harper, I will defend medicare," he said -- defending it against Klein, the new Liberal demon.

Although nearly every province has private health-care facilities, Martin chose to attack only Alberta.

He did not criticize Ontario and Quebec, with their burgeoning private hospitals. Ontario and Quebec are run by Liberal governments.

The government of Alberta has kept Martin briefed about their proposed changes for months. Martin has never raised an objection, and Anne McLellan, the deputy prime minister, has repeatedly approved of such changes.

So there was no reason to criticize Klein's plans at all -- at least until they provided a scapegoat for the Liberals. And if Klein's plans provide a scapegoat, so do all the other provinces.

For those who have forgotten, early reports on Adscam saw the federal Liberals blaming Quebec, as though the taxpayers of Quebec had not been defrauded just as taxpayers across Canada had been.

Given that the Liberal Party proclaims Canadian unity as their sole objective, why would they make statements that encourage anti-Quebec sentiments unless they prefer a Canada divided and thus weak?

But then we can't have the Liberals running on their record, now can we.

Posted by Debbye at 06:31 PM | Comments (5)

A Canadian soldier speaks out

June 22 - Earl McCrae of the Ottawa Sun interviews a Canadian soldier who delivers a blistering attack on PM Martin and all those who are trying to redefine the military and their role in PM outdated, not our troops:

"I voluntarily became a soldier knowing that it might one day mean me losing my life for Canada. Can Martin say that? When did he ever serve? He's a fat cat billionaire without a clue about what it means to be a soldier. What he said was an insult to every man and woman in this country in uniform. All of them better Canadians than him. But what's he care? Our military size has been so shrunk he figures the Liberals don't need their votes to win."

The soldier was reacting to a front-page newspaper story he read on the weekend in which Martin, during an interview, attacked Conservative leader Stephen Harper's plans for the Canadian military. Martin, according to the article, saying Harper would impose a warlike "ready aye ready" philosophy that is out of vogue in today's Canadian society.

"I went ballistic. Harper never served, either, but he's a hell of a lot more understanding and realistic as to what the armed forces should be than that ignorant fool Martin. As for outdated, it's old Martin who's outdated. What does he think the role of Canadian soldiers is? To hand out candies? Carry toy guns? Just sit around and watch? Being trained and ready to fight and kill the enemy in the defence of freedom is what soldiers willingly do.

"Men and women aren't forced to sign up, they sign up because they're willing and want to be warriors, and somebody tell Martin they're damn fine people, not thugs like he makes it sound. He insults every soldier in this country as well as their families."

The soldier slammed the Liberals' anti-Harper ad on TV portraying him as a warmonger. "The Canadian soldiers jumping out of armoured personnel carriers and attacking with their weapons -- just what the hell is wrong with that? They're soldiers, for krissake. Does the scene turn Martin's weak, little, stomach? Does he hope Canadians will puke with disgust over it? If they do, then we're a nation of pussycats and in real trouble.

Read the whole thing.

The Liberal Party has treated the Canadian Forces abominably. There are a lot of weepy words on Rememberance Day but little else. Their refusal to fund and equip the Canadian Forces should have had a detrimental affect on recruitment yet we still have steadfast volunteers, especially since Sept. 11, of excellent men and women who understand that their beloved Canada is at risk and are willing to defend and protect it.

I've made no secret of my respect and gratitude for all those who serve, but I have to admit a slightly higher awe for the Canadian soldier, who despite the lack of respect they are accorded by the current government, have done whatever they were asked cheerfully and made do with what they had or could procure, including scrounging up paint in Afghanistan to provide suitable camouflage for desert terrain on their blankets and uniforms. (For Americans: there were no uniforms available for desert terrain, so they painted their forest green uniforms and blankets with desert colours.)

I think the Liberals have underestimated the loyalty and pride the Canadian people accord to their armed forces. Martin's unfortunate comments were meant to be a shot at Harper's support for the USA in Iraq, but the shot went astray and struck at the courage and readiness of the Canadian soldier.

(Via Jack's Newswatch.)

Posted by Debbye at 05:44 PM | Comments (2)

June 21, 2004

Canadian elections

June 20 - Sorry about the light posting. The Sunday-Monday period is a rough one due to even odder hours those days, but there is one quick item I wanted to bring up before I go to work this evening.

THE PROVINCIAL Liberals are wasting time and money on a redundant plan for an anti-child porn tip line while dragging their feet on funding for vital resources, frustrated cops said yesterday. "We've been told behind the scenes that we're not getting any money, but nothing's been made official yet," said one officer, who asked not to be named out of fear of having a funding application denied.

Several police agencies province-wide, including Hamilton, Sudbury, Ottawa, Peel and Toronto, have applied to Attorney General Michael Bryant's office for grant money through the Victim Justice Fund to fight child pornography.

But it's been months and they still don't have answers.

This issue has been highlighted as a federal election issue by CNN in this item: Child porn controversy dominates Canada campaign.

Despite this, Liberals have moved to close child porn gap, the issue about child porn in Canada is not only about the laws that are on the books regarding child porn but about how the law is enforced and how the issue is handled when it seemingly conflicts with privacy laws. When there are convictions, the sentence is too often confinement to one's home.

A related issue is a national DNA registry for convicted sex offenders. The national government finally got onboard with the notion after provinces, including Ontario, chose to by-pass the national procastrinators and build their own databanks and allow one another access. Unfortunately, the databank only includes convictions secured after the law was passed rather than include those who are currently serving sentences for sex offenses.

Harper is not backing down on the issue of whether short stories and hand-drawn pictures should be defined as child porn or have "artistic merit" and I am fairly certain that the majority of Canadians share his views and are unimpressed by the belated stance of the Liberal Party.

I caught a CBC Newsworld bit early this morning which announced they were going to explore how Harper is wading into dangerous territory by promoting family values. I need to sleep more than I needed to rant but the phrasing of that promo only reinforced my view that the CBC is dangerously out of step with most Canadians.

Re-uniting families is a favourite theme of our Immigration policies, but Harper is dangerous because he promotes family values? Someone more nuanced than I might be able to work out that apparent contradiction.

More tomorrow.

June 22 - 17:46: Lorrie Goldstein takes on the Liberals' record on crime today and cuts to the heart of it (Sorry, but the Liberals ARE soft on crime):

No, Mr. Martin, no fair-thinking person believes you support child porn. But what many of us believe is that your government has failed to seriously address this issue, along with countless others, when it comes to fixing our criminal justice system. And that after 11 years, enough is enough.

Posted by Debbye at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2004

March 11

June 19 - A common feature over at Ghost of a Flea has been posts that begin "Now is the time at the Flea when we dance" and then the link is to something weird and/or funny.

There's been another dance going on up here, and it is somehow appropriate that Flea is the one who signals an end to that dance and suggests we confront the potential for a terrorist attack here in Canada right before the June 28 elections in his post titled evocatively March 11.

He's right - if one occurs, we'd best be prepared:

It is important to understand the shock that will ensue if and when Canada is attacked. The feelings of anger that follow could be turned to a resolute determination to stand up for responsible government and liberty. These same feelings can all too easily be twisted. We know what the media elites of this country have done with every story in the last two years of conflict. We can only imagine they will be ready to distort any atrocity to serve their own ends.

We need our arguments ready.

Posted by Debbye at 11:28 AM | Comments (7)

Airstrike in Fallujah

June 19 - CNN Breaking News Alert atop the page at this moment reads Coalition says it destroyed a safehouse used by alleged terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network in Fallujah, Iraq. Details soon.

Do you suppose the breaking news has any connection to this story: Hospital: 17 Iraqis killed in Fallujah airstrike?

Posted by Debbye at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

Cats and dogs

June 19 - Some excellent tips on Cat Maintenance from Ozguru (and that final sentence is damned spot on.) (Drink warning alert, by the way.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

EU matters (updated)

June 19 - Hidden in the middle of this article, Leaders accept EU constitution, is confirmation that not all the media is ignoring the real message behind last week's votes in Europe:

Leaders had hoped for a deal Friday to boost the EU's credibility in the eyes of a skeptical public, a week after an electoral drubbing and six months after their last attempt collapsed in acrimony over voting rules and other issues.
Although I didn't link it earlier, I want to make up for that omission by citing an excellent post on those elections at Dodgblogium and another one at Chicago Boyz (the latter via Steven Den Beste.)

11:44 There is a post at Expat Yank that is absolutely priceless: Chirac wrecks relations with someone else.

15:30: John reports on the elections in Spain: the Socialists won 25 seats with 43% of the votes and the Partido Popular won 23 seats with 41% of the votes. Voter turnout was 46%. Read the post - it has some pretty solid analysis of the voting patterns.

Posted by Debbye at 07:35 AM | Comments (1)

Ray Charles, 1930-2004 (conclusion)

June 19 - Ray Charles was buried yesterday, and even though I can't help but feel that a part of us was buried too, that feeling is contradicted by those who spoke, sang and played at his funeral (Heaven's maestro) including Wynton Marsalis, Steve Wonder and B.B. King.

God bless you, Ray, and thanks.

Posted by Debbye at 07:18 AM | Comments (0)

Iraq terror ties in Canada?

June 18 - This is interesting: 3 in Iraq smuggle scam: RCMP concerns the smuggling of car parts into Iraq that were said to be meant for use by Saddamites. Three men from southern Ontario, Salah Abdul Sahib, 44, of Leamington, Munther Yacoub, 55, of Windsor, and Vincent Lewis, 56, of Waterloo, have been charged with smuggling money, car tires and car batteries to Iraq via third countries.

Three southern Ontario men face 296 charges of violating 100 Customs regulations and UN statutes. Three trading companies were also charged.

The Mounties said from 2000 to 2003 some 29,000 tires, worth $800,000, were placed in containers and shipped from Toronto to Baghdad, via Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

Large sums of U.S. currency were allegedly transferred from Canada to Iraq, in contravention of United Nations regulations, Yen said.

The math is definitely off:
Eleven containers of household goods and foods worth about $118,000 were imported for sale here, police said.

The sale to Iraq of 13 containers of tires from China, worth $444,000, and one of batteries from South Korea, worth $26,000, were arranged from Canada, Yen said.

RCMP Const. Annette Bernardon said most of the tires were shipped to Iraq through Toronto's port. "We don't know where they went once they ended up in Iraq. They could have gone anywhere."

It's unclear from the article if the accused men were running a black market operation for the money or because they actively support Saddam (or, as he's in jail, something else? The Ba'athists in Fallujah, or al Zarqawi, maybe?) but if they imported $118,00 worth of goods and exported over $470,000 worth of goods plus $800,000 worth of tires in addition to the "large sums of" US dollars said to be transferred from Canada to Iraq then there is much more going on than is being stated.

Since the hunt is ongoing for Saddam's pilfered Oil-for-Food funds, though, the operation could well have been conducted on his behalf.

The three trading companies that were also charged are Leamington International Foods and Salco Import and Export, co-owned by Sahib and Yacoub, and Treadway Exports.

Posted by Debbye at 07:08 AM | Comments (1)

Michael Moore in Toronto

June 19 - Michael Moore is in Toronto. However can I contain my joy?

He and I seem to agree on one thing: media coverage of the war in Iraq is disgusting. It's a very brief article, but concludes with the revelation of his inner Canadian:

I believe that about myself and this is the Canadian in me, the self-deprecating sense of (being) not worthy."
Huh? I've never seen or read of Moore projecting himself as self-deprecating or considers himself "not worthy," whereas I have seen much evidence that he deprecates Americans and the USA, and his arrogance defies his statement that he believes he is "not worthy." So we have to split on this one: I don't think he's self-deprecating, but I do think he is not worthy.

(Nope. I'm not touching the attribution to Canadians as "self-deprecating" and "not worthy." There are lots of Canadian bloggers up here to tackle that one.)

He is also is unabashedly stumping against the Conservative Party here in Toronto ('Don't go our way'.)

He seems to be endorsing the Liberals. He admits that they aren't perfect, but confides that he knows what it's like to hold his nose when he votes because he doesn't like Kerry all that much. It seems Kerry has "blood on his hands" because he voted for war in Iraq. Funny, such things didn't seem to bother Moore when he endorsed Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark, a man who also has blood on his hands, although I am willing to concede that Clark waffled as much about Iraq as Kerry, which in one sense makes them equal.

Maybe that's the key to Moore's feelings of not-worthiness: he recognizes that he lacks judgement. Who am I to argue?

But I'm pleased Moore is so taken with Canada. I'd suggest he actually move here and pay Canadian taxes (and die as he waits in line for the health care his weight will inevitably demand) but he isn't really that stupid - he just talks as though he is.

Besides, I'd like to think that Toronto isn't big enough for the two of us. Or one of him.

In other Moore news, Ray Bradbury, author of Farenheit 451, is demanding that Moore change the name of his film:

AUTHOR Ray Bradbury is demanding an apology from American filmmaker Michael Moore for lifting the title from his classic science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 without permission and wants the new documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 to be renamed.

"He didn't ask my permission," Bradbury, 83, said today. "That's not his novel, that's not his title, so he shouldn't have done it."


Bradbury, who hadn't seen the movie, said he called Moore's company six months ago to protest and was promised Moore would call back.

He finally got that call last Saturday, Bradbury said, adding Moore told him he was "embarrassed".

"He suddenly realised he's let too much time go by," the author said by phone from his home in Los Angeles' Cheviot Hills section.

In plain English, I think that means that Moore ducked the calls until the movie was launched and even if the name is changed now, it is too late.

But it is suggestive that Moore stole the title and concept for his movie from a patently obvious work of fiction, albeit allegorical fiction.

Moore is nothing more than this century's P.T. Barnum (what is that famous line from Barnum again?) and although he lacks Barnums's flair he supplies his own Jumbo. Mockumentary strikes again to kill truth and reason, and the rubes in Europe (and I guarantee some up here in Toronto) will eat it up.

But I'm okay with that. It's just a bit more evidence that Moore is "not worthy."

10:56: There's more coverage of the visit here, and both Damian Penny and Mark Steyn profess themselves shocked at the Large American Inteference in the Canadian Election. CTV is exhibiting their own bias rather clumsily:

As for those who say he isn't playing by the rules because he manages to be both a social satirist and a documentary journalist not held to the traditional rules of impartiality?
Impartiality isn't the only issue with Moore - it's his departure from facts ... no wait, facts don't count in journalism any more than they do in documentary journalism. My bad. Move along, folks.

12:11 John Hawkins at Right Wing News links to offers by Hezbollah to help promote Moore's film.

Ghost of a Flea swats the pretensions of the Liberal Party and Moore with one blow.

June 21 - 16:48: Burnside acclaims Moore as having made The Dumbass Quote of the Week and has some good advice for Moore.

19:11: Christopher Hitchins has some observations about Moore's latest movie, Unfairenheit 911 (via Daimnation!)

Posted by Debbye at 04:30 AM | Comments (4)

Russian advised USA of terror attack plans by Saddam

June 18 - Russia 'warned U.S. about Saddam' - admittedly slightly old news to most people but it suggests so many things without much in the way of clues. Roger L. Simon's analytical skills make his post on the subject far more interesting than my idle speculation, though.

There's also a persistent refrain running in my head ... Chechnya, Chechnya which must factor in somehow.

Posted by Debbye at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Paul Johnson, Jr., RIP (multiple updates)

June 18 - Al Qaeda militants kill American hostage. I knew Mr. Johnson was doomed when he was kidnapped, but that doesn't lessen my outrage and the sorrow I feel for him and his family.

CNN is also carrying a report from al Arabiya that the al Qaeda leader was killed:

Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, the leader of al Qaeda's cell in Saudi Arabia, was killed, Saudi security sources told CNN.

He was killed while disposing of Johnson's body, the Arabic-language television network Al-Arabiya reported.

MSNBC is reporting that al-Muqrin had been sentenced to 8 years in prison for conspiracy to assassinate Egyptian president Mubarek but was released early for good behaviour (which apparently was evidenced by memorizing several passages in the Koran.)

CNN was pontificating about how safe Saudi Arabia used to be, and my mind flashed back to William Sampson.

Remember him? He is a Canadian who lived and worked in Saudi Arabia. He and some British nationals were arrested by Saudi authorities in 2001 - before Sept. 11 - and convicted by a Saudi court of killing a British banker in 2000 which the Saudis claimed was part of a black market liquor ring.

Mr. Sampson was condemned to be beheaded after his "confession" was shown at his trial (he said he had been tortured.) No other evidence was presented to the court.

His and the British citizens were finally released by the Saudis after Prince Charles intervened personally.

The Saudi Arabia which was considered safe for foreigners was not safe: that safety was an illusion which the Saudi kingdom perpetuated by denying that terrorists were operating within Saudi Arabia and they substantiated these claims by accusing Westerners (and Israelis) of being behind the car bombs and shooting deaths of other Westerners.

This isn't a rant against the Saudis (or the Canadian government for their inaction in the Sampson case.) This isn't even a rant, because I'm too depressed at the news of Williams' death and the manner of his death to go into a rant.

This is rather me looking askance at us and wondering just how freaking stupid we really are.

Al Qaeda hates everyone who doesn't fit their narrow definition of "good" Muslims. They hate Shi'ites. They hate Hindus. They hate Buddhists. They hate Jews. They hate Christians. They hate agnostics, atheists, Wiccans, Taoists, animists and everyone I failed to think of when I made this list.

On reviewing that list, I am struck again at how many billions of people they hate, yet we wail because we are on it? Hell, I'd be ashamed to left off it!

They hate most of the human race. Yes, it's hard to believe because most of us are too busy and productive to waste our time actively pursuing our hatreds, but there you are. We don't understand them because we aren't insane.

We have an enemy. It's name is al Qaeda. It has condemned all of us to death. And how do we respond? By holding partisan-driven commissions to find some way of blaming our government for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. By asking why do they hate us, which rather ignores that anyone who hates "us" so much that they personally inflict horrific deaths upon Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, and Paul Johnson are psychopaths.

A church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed in 1963 and four little girls were killed. The country didn't ask "Why do they hate Negroes" but joined together to condemn the hatred that killed those children and to renew efforts in the Civil Rights Movement.

Did people ask why Clifford Olson hated children?

Did people ask why Marc Lepine hated women after he went on a rampage at an Engineering School or did they confront the hatred and condemn it?

Of course there was countless speculation as to their deranged reasons, but no one credible concluded that the Klan, Olson and Lepine had good reasons to hate their victims and urged black Americans, women and children to mend their wicked, wicked ways.

Canadians didn't conclude that those women and children deserved to die for the sins of other women and children.

Moral equivalence is not moral. It's not even rational.

I presume the video is available somewhere, but I haven't looked for it and, when it inevitably comes to my attention, I'm not sure what I'll do. Some lessons need be learnt only once, and having viewed the Nicholas Berg video I think I got the message:

They are evil.

11:40: Saudi militants show beheaded body of victim from the Telegraph (UK)

The militants - calling themselves "al-Qa'eda in the Arabian peninsula" and the "al-Fallujah squadron" - released gruesome video images and photographs of the killing.

Still photographs showed a severed head, placed on the back of a body wearing an orange jumpsuit, the face turned towards the camera. A dagger rested on the corpse, its point apparently buried in Mr Johnson's forehead.

The Australian press has some additional information about the shootout that killed al Muqrin.

Kevin at Wizbang links to the Drudge photos of Mr. Johnson and has written a very informative post about the events of today as well as background on Al-Moqrin.

Eric at Classical Values has an excellent post on this atrocity and links to other examples of Muslim on Muslim violence including an account of the "cleansing" underway in Sudan (a genocide that Old Media has shamefully neglected, maybe because the U.N. is talking a lot handling it?) and an eloquent statement that is better than all the floundering I've been doing since I first came across the Drudge photos and debated if I should link to them.

Some of the commenters on the Nick Berg video shocked and dismayed me because they reflected how little people understand the universal threat posed by the psychotics in al Qaeda.

No, I don't mean those who urged us to reflect on our sins, the appeasers, or even those who believe we can build high walls and sit this one out; I mean the people who urged a total nuking of the Mideast and used what I call hate speech.

People are outraged by the vicious murders of Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg and Paul Johnson. They should be. But we need to remember the vast number of Muslims that have been killed by al Qaeda and associated terrorists and remember that we share a common enemy with most people who live in the Mideast (and I include Israel in this.)

The enemy has been pretty efficient with their "divide and conquer" strategy. Muslims deplore terrorism yet feel defensive, and we must continue to reach out and affirm that we - the people of the world, i.e., the real international community - face the same enemy.

Another note: before we sneer at Muslims in Mideast countries (outside of Israel) for their ready acceptance that Mossad is behind all the terrorist attacks, we need to clean our own house. Look at our own media and note how they have distorted information: they've lied in claiming that Bush declared Iraq was an imminent threat, that Bush declared an end to the Iraq conflict, and now they write headlines that carefully imply that he claimed a connection between Saddam and Sept. 11.

Despite clearly documented evidence to the contrary, there are many people in the USA who believe the lies and conspiracy theories rather than the truth and all I can figure is that they believe the lies because they want to. So tell me again how much more sophisticated we are than people in the Mideast who watch and believe al Jazeera?

I repeat: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Wiccans, Jews, agnostics, atheists, fundamentalist Christians, Catholics and too many others for me to name share a common enemy.

I have only one motive in linking to these pictures: I want us to transcend the outrage when one of our own countrymen is so murdered and begin to relate more personally when we read of beheadings in Kashmir, the Phillippines or Solomon Islands. It is my sincere hope that the next time any of you read the word "beheaded" it will immediately convey horror, disgust and revulsion whoever the victim and remind you of the nature of the threat to all people.

Lastly, I believe that building a democratic Iraq that respects human rights will alter those dynamics that once lionized al Qaeda but increasingly make it clear that it is al Qaeda - not us - that is the enemy of Islam and peace-loving people everywhere.

Those of you who want revenge on the Saudi government might pause and consider the effect of having an Arab nation run by consensual government on its very borders. (The Saudi Royal family is certainly aware of the threat that would pose to them.)

Mr. Johnson is past pain and sorrow now, and I apologize for any part I might be playing in causing more grief to his family. I do not wish to exploit his death.

June 19 - 05:26: Donald Sensing asks does anyone doubt we must win this war, lays out the options and reaffirms the objective:

The conundrum of our task is that our long-term objectives are exactly those which Islamofascists say will ruin true Muslim society. Every success we gain, in Iraq or elsewhere when the time comes, will be fought tooth and nail by our enemies. But early this year, the high-ranking al Qaeda operative in Iraq, Abu Zarqawi, wrote to his superiors that democracy is "suffocation" for recruiting Iraqis to fight against Americans.

What this means is that the status quo ante bellum cannot be allowed to be reestablished. It was, after all, the womb of the war. The present status quo cannot be maintained either, for it is merely significantly, not decisively, better than before. We must remain focused on the long-term goals and vary our short-term tactics and strategies as we need to in order to obtain them. (Emphasis added.)

He may be preaching to the choir, but I've noticed that the choir needs preaching just as much as the congregation (or at least I know that I need to hear it.)

08:00: Via Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, an Islamic website disputes that Muqrin is dead. I wasn't being prescient or anything as I reflected on the experiences of Bill Sampson, but it is an unfortunate fact that the Saudi government has been known to fabricate cases.

10:35: Tonecluster links to an Amir Taheri column on the practice of beheading that, sadly, is once again relevant and offers an interesting way to respond to this latest murder.

Posted by Debbye at 06:54 PM | Comments (7)

June 17, 2004

The Sept. 11 Commission (updated)

June 17 - Panel: U.S. unprepared 'in every respect' to stop the hijacking jets on 9/11 but there was something they did do which contradicts this statement:



Remember the events of that day? Remember the speculation that fighter pilots may have been ordered to shoot down passenger jets with innocent civilians aboard?

I'm not the only person who was shocked at the notion that we would be asking America's sons and daughters to kill innocent Americans as a last, desperate measure to save other innocent Americans.

There is also that South Korean jet which was flying over Canada and which had lost radio communication, did not respond to orders to land, and which PM Chretien admitted he was prepared to shoot down.

19:16: Some of the statements made at the 12th Hearing of the Sept. 11 Commission are now online and are somewhat more informative and complex than the CNN coverage (which should not be a surprise to anyone.)

The CBC's headline is 'Improvised defence' cost lives on Sept 11. And all this time I thought lives were lost because terrorists hijacked passenger airliners and crashed them into buildings ...

WASHINGTON - At least one of the hijacked planes in the Sept. 11 attacks could have been intercepted had aviation and military officials been better prepared, a report released on Thursday said.
The words could have should be might have in bold and huge capital letters.

Planes were hijacked. The passengers were told that they were returning to the airport, and as the first WTC bombers (from the 1993 attack) were about to be sentenced; who wouldn't have assumed that the demand would be for their release?

Wasn't a Canadian running NORAD that day? (Part of the military exchange program.) Anyone remember his name?

As I noted in the earlier post, lives still would have been lost, and you can bet there would be an inquiry if US military personnel had shot down American planes.

But as I also noted, the 'improvised' response was to order all planes to set down at the closest airport and, if other planes were indeed supposed to have been hijacked, I'd say that the 'improvised' response saved lives.

Instapundit has more links and comments.

Sorry about being so irritated: it's really hard to wake up to such wankery. (So why is it easier to go to bed after such wankery?)

19:40: Michelle at A Small Victory has a much more reasoned response to the "we could have shot the planes down" argument than I do and sums it all up here:

It's frustrating. It's depressing. These people would rather clap their hands in glee over some partisan bickering and sniping known as the 9/11 hearings than anything else.

It's a damned if you do or damned if you don't world.

Bush decides to invade Iraq. He's damned for it.
If he didn't decide to invade Iraq and Saddam took the opportunity to flaunt his disregard for the U.N. resolutions given him by blowing us - or anyone else - up, Bush would be damned for not paying enough attention to Saddam.

No one shot planes out of the sky on 9/11. Damned.
Yet I distinctly remember in the days after 9/11 many people crying that the criminal Republicans in the White House saved their asses by supposedly shooting down the plane in PA.
Oh and imagine if they did shoot those two NYC bound planes down. Where the hell did you want them to do that? Over a populated region? Imagine the outcry.

What a sad state of affairs. Instead of a real commission, we have The Venerable Hindsighters with the Outcry Media playing back-up. (Does that make the Sept. 11 Families groupies?)

I need to believe that the American people are too sensible to fall for all this.

I need to believe that the American people are made of stern stuff, and they are far more resolute and determined than most pundits can conceive.

June 19 - 01:48: What she said. Especially the part about heartsick.

Posted by Debbye at 05:47 PM | Comments (5)

June 15, 2004

Working at the U.N.

June 15 - U.N. Staff Outrage:

Many U.N. employees fear reprisals from their bosses if they step forward with information on the Iraq oil-for-food scandal or report other allegations of corruption, according to a shocking internal survey released yesterday.
A recent poll of 6,086 employees and managers released on the U.N. Web site revealed that the staff has little faith in the world body leadership's commitment to ethics and integrity and that most believe that when allegations of wrongdoing surface, they are not properly handled.
The U.N. does not have provisions to protect whistle blowers. Tell me again how this organization rates respect or credibility?

Posted by Debbye at 08:05 PM | Comments (2)

Canadian elections

June 15 - I'm running late, but here are some articles about the results of last night's debate from the Toronto Sun Eyes right to Harper. Check out The Shotgun for some other commentary (and good stuff daily!)

Posted by Debbye at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)

Towards a sovereign Iraq

June 15 - I'm a pretty patient person (although it's more an acquired skill learnt from child raising than innate) so the setbacks in turning Iraq into Connecticut (per Mark Steyn) haven't given me the vapours or anything.

On the other hand, given the concerns as to when the Iraqi army will be ready to assert itself have been nicely countered with this article in National Review by W. Thomas Smith Jr., Iraq Soldiers Save U.S. Marine:

On the evening of May 30, 2004, Jassim and his fellow members of 4th Platoon, India Company, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) were jointly patrolling the streets of Al Karmah, near Fallujah, with leathernecks from 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. All at once, the patrol was ambushed from the rear by enemy insurgents. A U.S. Marine was instantly struck down with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Reacting as they had been trained to do by their U.S. counterparts, the Iraqis swung into action.

Jassim, who was standing closest to the Marine when the latter was hit, immediately returned fire.

Read the whole thing. As is noted, this was not as isolated incident.

I've used the term "Iraqi confidence" over the last year to define the one, essential ingredient that the Iraqis will need to build a nation of their people, by their people and for their people. That won't be accomplished by empty flattery or patronizing NY Times editorials but by deeds: Iraqis seeing on a daily basis their energy and creativity released to reveal the truly astonishing people that dictatorships try so vainly to repress.

Never doubt the mission. It's Operation: Iraqi Freedom and we are only the midwives.

Posted by Debbye at 07:52 PM | Comments (3)

Who's on your list?

June 15 - John over at Right Wing News asked several of us to submit our favourite 25 fictional characters and has posted the results here.

My picks are below, with the ones that made the top 21 in bold. (One of my choices, Mike, the dinkum thinkum of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, received an honourable mention! So there are at least 3 other very strange people hardcore Heinlein fans out there.)

1. Theoden in Lord of the Rings (the books)
2. Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice (the book)
3. Mike (the computer) in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (the book)
4. Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land (the book)
5. Jacob Fuller in From Dusk Till Dawn (the movie)
6. Professor Digory in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the book)
7. Pippi Longstocking in Pippi Longstocking (the books)
8. Doc McCoy in Star Trek (the TV Show and movies)
9. Victoria Barkley in The Big Valley (the TV Show)
10. The Devil in The Devil's Advocate (the movie)
11. Col. O'Neill in Stargate SG-1 (the TV Show)
12. Jo in Little Women (the book)
13. Coach in Cheers (the TV Show)
14. Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files (the TV Show)
15. The man with no name in Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (the movies)
16. Batman (comics, first movie, TV show Batman: The Animated Series)
17. Rupert St. Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV Show)
18. G'Kar in Babylon Five (the TV Show)
19. Verbal in The Usual Suspects (the movie)
20. Neroon in Babylon Five (the TV Show)
21. Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams (the movie and book Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa)
22. Mr. Rasczak in Starship Troopers (the book)
23. Silent Bob in Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma (the movies)
24. Chris in The Magnificent Seven (the movie)
25. The Joker in Batman (the movie, comics and Batman: TAS)

Jim Rockford and Thomas Magnum had to duke it out (okay, I tossed a coin) when I was making my list because I just couldn't sacrifice Chris of The Magnificent Seven - that would have been wrong.

John has very kindly put up his list as well as some choices that received 3 votes, which include one of my picks, Jo March, and a Chronicles of Narnia character, Aslan, whom I dared not pick because it isn't as though he's a tame lion.

John also put up his Top Ten Villains and Top Ten Female Fictional Characters at the above link. I am really twisted: I didn't agree with any of his female picks, and gee, Tuco and Riddick weren't villains, they were just misunderstood ...

18:30: I went to sleep thinking about villains (scary thought: I slept long and well) and came up with a short list:

Alien (the movies Alien, Aliens)
Predator (the movie Predator)
Angel Eyes (the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)
The Joker (the comics, the movie Batman, TV show Batman: TAS, and the Batman Beyond movie Return of the Joker which was truly creepy.)
Harvey Two-Face (the Batman comics, Batman: TAS, definitely not from the character assassinating movie Batman Forever)
Bester (TV show Babylon 5)
Madame Defarge (the book Tale of Two Cities)
Mr. Murdstone (the book David Copperfield, and also the movie version wherein Basil Rathbone portrayed the heartless monster.)

That list can give you really strange dreams.

Posted by Debbye at 10:24 AM | Comments (8)

Westerners in Saudi Arabia

June 15 - Interesting and relevant interviews in the Telegraph (UK) about Westerners who remain in Saudi Arabia despite advice from their governments that they should leave ('We know something will happen again - and soon'.

Posted by Debbye at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)

The CIA - just as inept as we suspected

June 15 - We never fail to remind the world how inept we are, and I have come to accept it as a part of our national heritage or something. Sigh.

The report "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003" concluded that that terror attacks were down in 2003 (I posted about it here) but the report was wrong, and it seems the CIA might have been responsible for the error (Powell: Inaccurate terror report was `big mistake') either by omission, software, using only half a calandar, or hiring an inept consulting agency. The report was put up on the State Department's website and they too didn't catch the errors (did they check the report? Of course not!)

The State Department correction is here.

Mark Steyn had a column in the British Telegraph about the resignation of George Tenet:

Everything that is wrong with the agency was made plain a few weeks ago with the much-anticipated release of a classified CIA "Presidential Daily Brief" from August 6 2001. This was supposed to be the smoking gun which would reveal that Bush knew 9/11 was coming. It turned out to be far more damaging than that. It revealed somewhat carelessly that the CIA - the most sinister acronym in the world, the all-knowing spooks behind the dirty tricks in a thousand Hollywood thrillers - crib most of their info from television shows and foreign intelligence services.

Under the headline "Bin Ladin [sic] Determined To Strike In US", the most lavishly funded intelligence agency in the Western world led off its analysis with its top piece of "classified" "intelligence": "Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and 'bring the fighting to America'."

Terrific. Your crack CIA operative knows how to go into deep cover in his living room and pose as an average American couch potato by switching on the television... (Emphasis added)

Of course, this only proves that the average American is at least as knowledgeable as the experts, something "everybody knows" except the experts.

Add Sec. of State Powell's admission about the error-ridden 2003 Report on Terror Attacks to the list of things that might have prompted Tenet's resignation and things that the State Department "didn't catch" and we are left with one, sad other thing that "everybody knows": we accomplish things despite our government, not because of it.

But I really wouldn't have it any other way. After all, it gives constant validation to my belief that the citizen is superior to the government

Posted by Debbye at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2004

The feckless UN in Iraq, Serbia and Iran

June 12 - From the Daily Telegraph (UK) comes a report on Danish UN aid worker Michael Soussan who, in his testimony before a US Congressional probe into UNSCAM, blasted the UN's 'shameful silence' over the evils of Saddam:

To Mr Soussan's dismay, the most vocal critics worked alongside him at the UN. The genocide charge was levelled by an assistant secretary general in charge of humanitarian work in Iraq.

His colleagues blamed the Security Council - especially the United States and Britain - for the suffering of Iraqis, ignoring evidence that Saddam was stealing food from his own people's mouths.

They could hardly ignore the wickedness of Saddam's regime. Foreign UN staff could sense the terror in Iraqis they met, and saw for themselves the gilded excesses of the Ba'athist elite.

But somehow that wickedness was taken as a given, then promptly smothered in a warm soup of moral relativism.

"We have a notion of sovereignty at the UN that doesn't distinguish between governments that deserve sovereignty and those that do not. And that really skews our moral compass," Mr Soussan told The Telegraph.

"[My colleagues] devoted most of their moral outrage towards the United States and the UK," he said. (Emphasis added)

Can we say "easy targets?" Of course we can. And anyone who defends the USA will be accused of being brainwashed, bought-off, racist, or, worst of all, defying the international community. Small wonder these bureaucrats took the easy road even if they knew it was a lie. But that's not moral equivalence, that's just plain immoral.
Mr Soussan does not deny the pain caused by sanctions from the first Gulf war in 1991 to 1996, before oil-for-food sales began. A quarter of a million children died, by conservative estimates.

But during those five years, it was Saddam who refused offers to sell his oil and import humanitarian goods under UN supervision. "[He was] banking that images of dying babies would eventually force the international community to lift the sanctions altogether," Mr Soussan told Congress.

By 2000, there was no limit on the amount of oil Saddam was allowed to sell, and few limits on the civilian goods he was allowed to buy.

Iraq was under sanctions only "to the extent that they couldn't import military goods", he said.

Yet still Saddam claimed sanctions were killing 5,000 infants a month, parading tiny coffins in the streets to ram the point home. "The UN did not stand up to this propaganda. It cowered in the face of this notion that the sanctions were killing Iraqi babies," Mr Soussan said. (Emphasis added)

One of Osama bin Laden's justifications for declaring jihad on the USA was that we were responsible for the murder of Iraqi babies, something that has yet to be properly refuted in the international, and, more importantly, the Arab press.

The failure of the U.N. to take responsiblilty and tell the truth is responsible for much of the hatred of the world towards the USA, but we are supposed to "take it" for the good of an international community which has no values, no morals, but does have some dandy committees.

Iraqi babies no longer die due to malnutrition, watered-down drugs, expired pharmaceuticals and lack of equipment in medical facilities, but that fact has nothing to do with the U.N. and everything to do with action that was condemned by the U.N.

UN staff did not speak out when Saddam refused to buy high protein foods recommended by UN experts, or spent oil-for-food millions on sports stadiums, or broadcasting equipment for his propaganda machine.

The UN turned a blind eye to signs that Saddam was bribing cronies at home and abroad with black market oil vouchers, and was skimming billions from funds meant for food and medicine, demanding secret, 10 per cent "kickbacks" on humanitarian contracts.

The UN recently claimed it "learned of the 10 per cent kickback scheme only after the end of major combat operations" in 2003.

A lie, said Mr Soussan, recalling the hapless Swedish company that called in 2000, seeking UN help after being asked to pay kickbacks. The Swedes' plea was quickly lost in red tape and inter-office turf wars. After a "Kafka-esque" flurry of internal memos, the Swedes were told to complain to their own government.

So much for that which some call international law which is used as a club to beat upon democratic countries like the USA but not Ghana, Sudan or Congo.
Now top UN officials are under investigation. Mr Soussan hopes the shock will force a major debate on how to deal with rogue regimes.

"The oil-for-food programme was a deal with the devil. The problem is, that we didn't act as if this was the devil, we acted as if this was a legitimate regime," he said.

Again, that's not moral equivalence, that's outright immorality. At long last, the USA, Great Britain and other members of the coalition didn't deal with the devil, we removed him from power. Isn't that what moral people do when they confront evil?
If such major questions have to wait, a little more transparency would help, for starters.

"If the UN had just stood up once, held a high-level press conference, and said, 'We think the Iraqi government is cheating its people', then the UN would not be in the mess it is now," he said. "It would then be an accuser, rather than the accused." (Emphasis added)

The U.N. just can't catch a break this week, as it's failure in Serbia has been pushed back to the fore with the admission by Serbian officials that the Srebrenica massacre was carried out by Serbian security officials which in turn stimulated the memory of the failure of Dutch U.N. peacekeepers to protect those who appealed to them for help at the U.N. compound, a failure for which the Dutch government at the time apologized and then resigned.

Iran is piling on: they have rejected any further restrictions on their weapon programs and demands to be recognized as a nuclear power:

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi accused France, Britain and Germany -- who have drawn up a tough new document that accuses Iran of not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency -- of bowing to pressure from the United States.
See what I mean? Iran, which is known for its violation of human rights and a known sponsor of terror, need only pull the anti-US card and millions of progressive, peaceloving people will line up to defend Iran's right to terrorize the world - and Israel - with a nuclear holocaust.

Some of those nuts live in the United States. One of those nuts in running for president: Senator John Kerry, who actually believes that we can pursue detente with North Korea and Iran as we attempted with the Soviet Union.

President Reagan's final gift to the USA may have been the timing of his death which not only coincided with D-Day, a major military offensive in the fight against fascism, but also led to the recollection that he defeated communism by his firm resolve to stand up to the Soviet Union and match them missile for missile rather than meekly pretending they were anything less than evil.

Detente failed. Unyielding principles won, and we were dealing with comparatively sane people in the Soviet Union. Would anyone dare to make the same claims about the North Korean or Iranian governments?

Canadians who are pretending to be terrified of social conservatives coming to power in Canada would, if they were honest, be lying prostrate on the floor in a cold faint at the mere thought of Iranian social conservatives but they aren't because it's all about the propaganda, not the reality.

Posted by Debbye at 05:39 PM | Comments (4)

Bassam Salih Kubba assassinated

June 12 - One of Iraq's four deputy deputy ministers, Bassam Salih Kubba, has been assassinated.

Posted by Debbye at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

The final farewell to Reagan

June 12 - I managed to watch both yesterday's services for President Reagan in DC and the final internment service at Simi Valley. As one would expect, they were dignified, religious, and personal.

The buglar played taps, and the flag which had draped the president's coffin was folded and presented to the widow at sunset signaling the official end of a week that was dominated by the American people and thus true hearts filled with sadness, gratitude, and affection.

I've read how thousands of Americans lined the railroad tracks to pay their respects to President Lincoln as that funeral train passed, and we saw that history live as Americans stood by roads yesterday to pay their respect to Reagan (and, quite clearly, to Mrs. Reagan.)

Some of the on-scene reporters trivialized the crowds, comparing the atmosphere to that of a picnic; pardon me, but have any of them ever been to a picnic? I didn't see any BBQs, kids playing tag, dogs, frisbies, or softball games. Somebody, please! Invite these poor sods to a real picnic.

I did see a lot of flags, a lot of tears, and a lot of respect.

The Americans and others who paid their respects to President Reagan understood that it was right and proper that they should do so. It wasn't to be a part of history, as only egotistical reporters could have concluded, but to honour that part of history and the man, President Reagan, who dominated and, by his perseverence and strength, ended a tense era which was dominated by the Cold War and he consigned the Soviet Union to history.

(I do wonder how many of us who reflected on the presidency of Ronald Reagan found therein renewed courage and reassurance that we can defeat the forces of terrorism.)

Like millions of other Americans, I found that my life last week revolved around work, family, and Ronald Reagan with scant attention to other matters. I know that there were important events in the rest of the world, that the German Chanchellor laughed at Barney and ate hot dogs (as well as attended the services for Reagan in DC,) but with that innate isolationism that constantly vies with unwanted responsibilities on the world stage, many of us ordinary Americans took a well-deserved break from Iraq, the presidental election campaign, war on terror, and G-8 intrigue and we focused something that to us is more important: paying our respects as we laid a beloved president to rest.

Somewhat reluctantly, it is time to return to the issues of the day: Sadr's latest adventurism in Najaf, the extent to which NATO countries will support the new Iraq, the Canadian national election campaign, the American national election campaign; in short, those things which will shape the future.

The British paid a full measure of respect to Reagan, as PM Tony Blair and Prince Charles also attended the services in the National Cathedral. We've been a little self-absorbed and thus careless, so let me now say thank you to Great Britain and to all those countries that paid their respects to President Reagan.

I noted in the referrals that someone was looking for the French representative. I don't know if he attended as an official representative of France, but former French president Valery Giscard d'Etaing attended the services in the National Cathedral.

Good-bye, Mr. President. You did your duty admirably, and the tasks of the world have passed to others.

As the final note, the transcripts from the eulogies at the National Cathedral are available online:

Former Canadian PM Brian Mulroney's eulogy is here.

Former British PM Margaret Thatcher's eulogy is here.

President George Herbert Bush's eulogy is here

President George W. Bush's is here.

Posted by Debbye at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2004

Burying an American president

June 11 - I'm staying up to watch the services for President Reagan at the National Cathedral so posting will be light.

One extremely notable tribute today from Lech Walesa, who pays a personal tribute to Ronald Reagan in the Opinion Journal.

From In Solidarity:

I distinguish between two kinds of politicians. There are those who view politics as a tactical game, a game in which they do not reveal any individuality, in which they lose their own face. There are, however, leaders for whom politics is a means of defending and furthering values. For them, it is a moral pursuit. They do so because the values they cherish are endangered. They're convinced that there are values worth living for, and even values worth dying for. Otherwise they would consider their life and work pointless. Only such politicians are great politicians and Ronald Reagan was one of them.
Insightful words, especially apt as both Canadians and Americans are faced with national elections.

Good-bye, Mr. President. I wish I had appreciated you sooner, but glad I came to embrace your vision.

Posted by Debbye at 11:00 AM | Comments (5)

The Russian and American presidents

June 11 - It seems like a lifetime ago when President Bush said that he had looked into Russian President Putin's eyes and "seen his soul." The press mocked that assessment (of course) but one of the things we've learnt about President Bush that when he tosses out comments like that one it is wise to shut up, pay attention, and see what transpires over the long run.

Russia was opposed to the Iraq War, but at least they were consistent: they also opposed the NATO bombing of Kosovo. (Consistency may be the mark of small minds, but inconsistency is often an indication of opportunism.)

There are still some open questions about Russian involvement in Saddamite Iraq including the final days before the fall of Baghdad, but if the Bush administration chose to see how much rope the Russians might require, it seemed that the length was short the amount they needed to hang themselves and we have been able to maintain cordial relations with Russia.

Actually, relations between the USA and Russia seem the best possible between two sovereign nations: we disagree, but do so agreeably; Russia pursues courses in her best interests, we pursue ours; we didn't ratify Kyoto, and neither did they.

In short, both countries are behaving like adults without the burden of control freakery that seems to consume some of our other allies.

Whereas the foreign leaders who are said to prefer a Kerry presidency choose to remain hidden, the Russian leader has come as close as is proper to publicly taking a stand and does so consistent with his opposition to the war in Iraq: Putin Takes Bush's Side Against Democrats on Iraq saying

"I am deeply convinced that President Bush's political adversaries have no moral right to attack him over Iraq because they did exactly the same.

"It suffices to recall Yugoslavia. Now look at them. They don't like what President Bush is doing in Iraq."

He could have openly criticized the French, Germans and Belgians for the same cause, but I'll do that for him by pointing out that they (and Canada under Chretien) also supported military intervention in Kosovo despite the lack of a U.N. mandate.

(Link via Let It Bleed. I found while my post fermented that Kate at the Western Standard blog, the Shotgun, has also picked up the story from the Reuters link from which the Yahoo article was taken.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:53 AM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2004

Ray Charles, 1930-2004

Ray Charles.jpg

Ray Charles has Died.

Damn. Double damn. The man was supposed to go on forever. He made so much music (both written and performed) and is even credited with starting The Twist. (Chubby Checker made the song famous, but Ray is said to have started it all in New York's Peppermint Lounge.)

I was pretty young when "Hit the Road, Jack" came out, but I remember my friends and I all singing it loudly and joyously. Ray had a loving sense of humour that came through so many of his songs.

He shaped American culture and therefore us. Thank you, Ray.

Posted by Debbye at 05:22 PM | Comments (2)

Too damned funny

June 10 - Paul and Fred have made certain that I'll be giggling as I go to sleep with the tale of a Scot with the unfortunate name of Ronald MacDonald and a nuclear shelter ... okay, just read Damn that clown.... I know it's not nice to laugh about this, but it's not my fault it's so damned funny.

Posted by Debbye at 09:55 AM | Comments (4)

Reagan funeral solemnities and dignitaries

June 10 - An impressive list of foreign dignitaries will be attending President Reagan's funeral on Friday, including Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Prince Charles, Tony Blair, Thabo Mbeki, Gerhard Shroeder, Australian G-G General Maj. Gen. Michael Jeffrey, and has been noted previously, Brian Mulroney and G-G Adrienne Clarkson of Canada. A more complete list is here. (I have violated protocol somewhat in how I may seemingly have ranked my list, but that those who played prominent roles during the Reagan era are attending is more to my interest than any protocol. I'm just sorry that Putin evidently won't be there, find it interesting that Shroeder will be there, and never expected Paul Martin or Chirac to attend so have only a shrug as a reaction.)

I expected that both Mulroney and Thatcher would attend, although I feared the health of the latter might prevent her from doing so.

The schedule for today and tomorrow is here, the traditions surrounding a state funeral in the USA are here and some historical background on those traditions are here.

Services concluded yesterday just as I needed to leave for work, so there was again that familiar disconnect of being part of a nation in mourning yet needing to pretend to go about the work routine without reference to it.

CNN (actually, Wolf Blitzer) maintained a respectful silence during yesteday's observances, but as I was leaving they were starting up with that all too familiar phrase "Reagan led the country to the right" which is guaranteed to get my engines fired up (and this is despite the fact that he didn't lead me to the right until I saw the hostages disembarking and the Berlin Wall being busted up. So I'm a slow learner ...)

Do the morons in Old Media suppose that when Reagan was elected in 1980 (and re-elected in 1984) that voters didn't know he was a conservative? We don't elect people to lead us anywhere; we vote to inform those who would lead us as to what we want and heaven help them if they don't deliver.

The US electorate chose a conservative candidate because they approved of fiscal responsibility, a strong defense and had no intention of losing the Cold War.

The voters of the USA led the nation to the right, not Ronald Reagan. Sorry to bust your delusions, CNN, but there is help: try enrolling in a remedial Civic course.

Posted by Debbye at 07:19 AM | Comments (2)

June 09, 2004

Bomb explodes in Cologne

June 9 - "Thousands of nails" on the sidewalks after an explosion in Cologne (Blast injures 16 in Cologne) has caused police to consider a bomb to be the source of the blast.

16 people were injured, including 4 seriously and 1 critically.

Posted by Debbye at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

Six coalition soldiers KIA

June 9 - The deaths of 6 coaltion soliders, which yesterday had been thought to be accidental, have turned out to have been caused by mortar attacks (6 European soldiers were killed in Iraq attack):

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An attack by insurgents caused the deaths of the six eastern European soldiers working in a demining operation, officials said Wednesday.

Officials initially had said the deaths were caused by an accidental explosion.

Three Slovaks, two Poles and one Latvian died in Tuesday's attack, according to Polish Maj. Slawomir Walenczykowski. The soldiers were killed near As Suwayrah, south of Baghdad.

Lt. Col. Robert Strzlecki said four mortar rounds were fired, including one that struck an ammunition depot the coalition forces used for demining purposes. Artillery shells and other ammunition exploded in the attack.

Remember that we are not alone in Iraq and are supported by countries for whom liberty is new and sweet, and that their freedom, in an odd twist of historical timing, is part of Reagan's legacy.

Posted by Debbye at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

Reagan arrives in Washington

June 9 - Reagan's procession under way.

Anyone else start bawling when the D.C. crowd greeted Nancy Reagan with cheers and applause?

As the man shouted, God bless you, Nancy.

Posted by Debbye at 06:10 PM | Comments (2)

June 08, 2004

Canadian elections

June 9 - The shrill warnings that the Conservative Party is full of religious fanatics who will overturn the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in this case abortion rights, is the one card we knew the Liberals would play, and Hugh Windsor in the Globe and Mail column On Harper, media fall for the Grit hype demonstrates how the media play a role in this endeavour.

He leaves it an open question whether the media play an unwitting role, but if they are unwitting then they are also unbelievably lazy, another trait they share with their colleagues further south.

Thus far, Stephen Harper has taken the high road, which itself is a pretty firm message to Canadians who want to see honesty and principles in those who would govern this country.

Francois over at The Bad News Bears puts it on the line:

There two ways to play this part of the game. Attack. Like the Libs, the NDP and to a lesser extent the Conservatives are doing. The other way is to look Prime Ministerial. That’s what Paul Martin hopes to achieve this week with his trips abroad. The question on my mind is, will Harper raise the level of attacks to match his opponents’ or will he just stand there and swat away the attacks, giving him an air of leadership and strength? That seems to be working so far and I don’t believe Canadians need to be reminded of adscam, etc. This strategy is making him look calm and solid while his opponents look ever more desperate.
Francois also makes this point:
He may be able to pull this off but it’s vitally important that he keep a muzzle on his candidates who have a tendency to spout off their personal beliefs on every subject under the sun to anyone who’ll listen.
I'm not sure about that. So many things have become law in Canada via the courts rather than Parliament that Canadians may well thirst for political debate on issues even if though the result would probably be that the current laws stand.

The democratic process requires debate between opposing factions, even within parties, and is important in part because it engages the electorate in those arguments which lead up to the vote.

I dislike the imposition of party discipline because it excludes dissident voices within the party and thus dissident voices in the country. When voters feel their views haven't been allowed to be expressed because of The Party, it gives the appearance that they haven't been given a voice and thus are disenfranchised.

Voters want their say, even if their side loses. It's not really complicated.

Posted by Debbye at 08:07 PM | Comments (4)

Zahra Kazemi - All about the oil?

June 8 - Via Paul, Stephan Hachemi, Zahra Kazemi's son, has written a hard-hitting letter to the editor of the National Post which, given the short link life at the Post, I'm going to quote in full:

June 3, 2004

To former prime minister Jean Chretien:

Like many Canadians, I recently learned of your coming visit to Iran as a representative of a Calgary-based oil company. It is reported that the purpose of your trip is to conclude a deal with the Iranian government on behalf of this firm.

I write to congratulate you.

Your failure to ensure justice was served in the case of my mother, Zahra Kazemi -- who was murdered by the Iranian regime while you were prime minister -- has apparently paid off: You are now most welcome in Tehran.

Last June, my mother was arrested without cause by agents of the Iranian government, who then beat and tortured her to death. No doubt, you remember the case and so are well-informed of the systematic violations of human rights that take place in Iran, as well as the circumstances that surround the killing of my mother.

And yet, knowing this, you are off to shake hands with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the executioners who less than a year ago had my mother murdered.

I can only thank you for doing this now, Mr. Chretien -- for you are demonstrating clearly what a charade Canada's fervent defence of human rights is. Despite your speeches about human rights when you were at the head of our government, you are now conferring your personal prestige on Iran's regime, and by extension its crimes against humanity.

Bravo, Mr. Chretien. I knew I could count on you to take the veil off your government's hypocrisy. The politics that you practice now show how your government favours "business as usual" before human rights. Congratulations.

Stephan Hachemi, Montreal.

I'm not bashing Canada here, because Sen. John F(reaking) Kerry has done something equally disgusting: his primarary Iranian supporter, Hassan Nemazee, is suing the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran for $10 million in damages a move which the SMCCDI regards as frivolous but could restrict their ability to keep the Democrats honest in their dealings with Iran.

Read the whole thing; it is disturbing and raises some questions that should be directed at Sen. Kerry.

Sen. Kerry has already indicated his willingness to treat with the mullahs of Iran, in a move which may be cynical (maybe it's all about the oil!!!!) or could be appeasement but which amounts to a flagrant dismissal of the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. Small wonder US Old Media coverage of the Iranian elections and subsequent demonstrations received so little air time.

As Americans and Canadians, do we support tyrants or those who yearn for freedom? Are we appeasers of murderous despots or do we actually believe in those human rights we are so quick to claim to revere?

Those issues may not seem as urgent or important as bread-and-butter issues, but if we lose our freedom to work and raise our families without fear we will lose the true meaning of freedom.

Election campaign coverage has a way of obscuring issues by focusing on the sound bites instead of the substance of remarks, but President Reagan's death has reminded us that indeed there are pivotal events that can lead either to victory or become yet another missed opportunity.

Would I rather rejoice because millions of Iraqis are entering a new era of freedom or bewail the fact that the French are annoyed with us for ignoring their advice?

Posted by Debbye at 07:24 PM | Comments (2)

No plans yet to remove US troops from Germany

June 8 - Someday (if I'm really, really, bored and have run out of excuses to avoid vacuuming) I'll try to figure out why a country like Germany which declares itself more pacifist than a lamb would be outraged when we try to withdraw troops from there. What enemy do they fear? I thought their polls indicated that they consider us to be the biggest danger to peace ... akin to Hitler and all bad and nasty things in this world. So why would they want us to stay?

Surely it couldn't have anything to do with all those US dollars that bases in Germany add to the German economy, could it? Surely such enlightened people would be willing to take a little hardship just to get rid of those dreadful Yankees! Wankers.

Anyway, the uproar is premature, as this DoD announcement makes clear (Myers: No Final Decision Yet on U.S. Posture in Germany.)

Of course, if we don't pull out, I'll be outraged. Poland is a friend and staunch ally, and I look forward to building stronger ties with her.

Posted by Debbye at 05:56 PM | Comments (2)

Iraq sovereignty a fait accompli II

June 8 - I'm torn between being thrilled for the Iraqi people and wanting to say "duh" (Unanimous U.N. Approval of Iraq Plan.)

There are a few wrinkles according to some of the quotes from member nations of the UNSC in the article, yet none of those wrinkles seem to have been supported by modifications to the resolution and can be dismissed as empty rhetoric.

Despite the victory, four members of the G-8 summit -- France, Germany, Russia and Canada -- have said they won't send troops.
Canada has no troops she can commit, and given the Russian deployment in Chechnya I doubt it would be advisable to bring Russian troops in. As for France, well, there's that accordian on a deer hunt meme ...

I saw a clip on MSNBC with Pres. Bush and PM Martin in which the President mentioned soft wood lumber and Canada's contribution to the war on terror. Martin reiterated Canadian support of the US war on terror.

The President also said that Canada is strongly cooperating on finding ways to cooperate, which I read to mean that Canada continues to prefer cooperating quietly and without public awareness. The Liberal Party has put themselves in an increasingly awkward situation. Lord help them if there should be a terrorist attack here before the elections. The mood has changed, the Tories have pulled ahead in the polls, and Paul Martin may be the only Canadian who remains oblivious to that fact.

Hubris. Martin and the Liberal Party can look it up.

The original draft is here (heh, with "spelling appearing to follow British usage." Sometimes Fox coverage is somewhat embarrassing.)

Posted by Debbye at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

European nations cooperate to capture March 11 suspect (updated)

June 8 - This is interesting: 'Key Figure' Among Madrid Bombing Arrests:

ROME — In coordinated sweeps, Italian and Belgian police arrested at least 17 suspected Islamic extremists, including an Egyptian who was alleged to have a key role in the March 11 bombings (search) in Madrid, authorities said Tuesday.

Officials at Spain's National Court said Rabei Osman Ahmed (search), a 33-year-old Egyptian, was detained in Milan late Monday and said to be planning further attacks.

A senior Spanish law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described him as a "key figure" in the Madrid commuter train bombings that killed 191 people.

Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu (search) said Osman Ahmed was "probably among the principal authors" of the Madrid bombings, and that he "was preparing other attacks."

Osman Ahmed was arrested on a warrant issued Monday by Judge Juan del Olmo, the magistrate leading the investigation into the bombings, said the officials at Spain's National Court. They said they would request his extradition on multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

Osman Ahmed was identified by people living near a decrepit rural cottage where the bombs used in the attack were assembled, the Spanish court officials said. Fingerprints of several key suspects were found in the cottage.

One other suspect was arrested in Italy, while 15 were apprehended in Belgium — including Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians and Moroccans, officials said. One other person was held for questioning in Italy, authorities said.

The suspects arrested in Belgium apparently were not involved in the Madrid bombings, but the investigations in Italy and Belgium were closely linked, said Daniel Bernard, a Belgian federal prosecutor.

He said Belgian investigators were tipped off by Italian authorities.

A current member of the Coalition of the Willing teams up with a former member and a non-member. Result: 17 terrorists are captured.

That sound you hear is air escaping from the faulty balloon the Democrats and assorted pundits sent up which claimed that the war in Iraq divided allies and diverted attention from the war on terror.

European countries will coordinate and cooperate on stopping terrorists because it is in their best interests to do so. No nuance or subtley is required, but may be so freaking obvious that only an elitist or an intellectual could miss it.

June 9 - 18:15: Six more have been arrested in northern Spain in connection with the March 11 train bombings in Madrid.

Posted by Debbye at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Tampa Bay Wins Stanley Cup

June 8 - I'm turning commentary over to Canadian hockey fans for this one: Chris, Paul and Meatriarchy.

Posted by Debbye at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

Hostages in Iraq rescued

June 8 - Some more good news: Four Foreign Hostages Freed in Iraq. Three Italians and a Pole held captive in Iraq by the Green Brigade have been rescued by US Special Forces. Individuals have been detained but there is no information on their identities or nationalities.

The DoD release states the rescued men were Salvatore Stefio, Umberto Cupertino and Maurizio Agliana of Italy, and Jerzy Kos of Poland.

The three Italians had been kidnapped April 12 along with Fabrizio Quattrocchi, who's incredible display of courage and defiance toward his murderers remains a source of inspiration.

Posted by Debbye at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

McGuinty trails own party in polls

June 8 - I guess this just wasn't a good year to break election promises and raise taxes. Dalton McGuinty, premier of Ontario, has one of the lowest approval ratings I can remember: 9%, which is 25% behind his Ontario Liberal Party (Premier hits new low: Poll.)

It's so mean-spirited to mock him, yet it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy:

The Liberals have the support of 34% of those polled, down from 46% last October when they won a resounding majority. [I think they mean a majority of seats in the Ontario legislature.]

Now 52% think the premier is doing a poor job while 32% rate his performance as average.

Tory Leader Ernie Eves and the provincial Tories are more popular than the Liberals or their leader in the poll.

That's harsh. Even I don't like Mr. Eves.

Posted by Debbye at 08:52 AM | Comments (2)

5 years for Adscam answers

June 8 - According to Justice John Gomery, who is to head the judicial inquiry into Adscam, it could take five years before there are answers about Adscam particularly the burning questions who knew and when did they know it.

Five years? I could be dead and buried by then so consider myself free to draw my own conclusions: they all knew. They knew what they intended to do when they first set up the sponsorship program. And if I'm wrong, no one will know it for at least five years by which time no one will remember.

Five years? There will be another presidential election (Guiliani-Rice ticket), another summer and winter Olympics, and the people of Iran will have thrown off the mullocracy but Canada will be waiting patiently for answers to questions long forgotten.

Two people, Chuck Guite and Jean Brault, have been charged with a dozen counts of fraud. Chuck Guite is the former head of the sponsorship program and Jean Brault is an ad executive.

In preparation for the judicial inquiry, former PM Chretien has requested standing, as have former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano, deputy minister Ranald Quail and the aforementioned Chuck Guite.

If they are granted their requests, their lawyers will be able to play an active role, including questioning witnesses, or at least those who are still alive five years from now.

Posted by Debbye at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

Brian Mulroney to deliver Reagan eulogy

June 8 - Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney will deliver a eulogy at President Reagan's funeral on Friday (Farewell to the Gipper) and Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson will attend to represent Canada. (Leave Saul at home. Please.)

NAFTA was crafted by the two men and has been good economically for both countries. The Liberal Party campaigned against the free-trade agreement and promised to scrap it if elected (one of their many promises they didn't keep) and one of Sen. John Kerry's election promises is to scrap NAFTA.

20:10: PM Martin won't attend the funeral. It sure is hard to improve relations with the US while both keeping your distance so as to placate the more left-wing Liberals and not provide the NDP with new ammunition.

Posted by Debbye at 07:48 AM | Comments (2)

June 07, 2004

Thank you, Don (Updated)

June 7 - To heck with it, I'm going to risk being late to work because I want to hear what is probably Don Cherry's last commentary on Coach's Corner. He made the most of his spot on Saturday, praising the Canadian assault on Juno Beach; in what may come to be seen as perhaps his most enduring legacy, Don has never waited for a casualty to express his support for the Canadian military and never hesitated to use his ability to speak to kids to urge them to remember, admire and respect those who serve.

The past 23 years with Don Cherry have been a delightful education for me. Like many women, I was somewhat astonished at this flamboyantly dressed man and more than uncomfortable with some of his statements. As my boys grew up, though, I felt relief than discomfort that someone other than their father and I was giving them some straight talk about sportsmanship (never sucker punch a guy from behind, kids,) backing up your teammates, and playing your heart out.

Not hard to see why the CBC wants to muzzle him.

By the way, Tampa Bay is ahead 1-0 in the first period.

Don is coming on and I'm logging off. Thanks Don, it's been a great era for Canadian hockey coverage.

June 8 - 18:03: Don comments on the lack of talks about his contract.

Posted by Debbye at 08:58 PM | Comments (3)

Reagan remembered in Canada II

June 7 - Words are not coming easily for me this day. As Californians pay their respects to the former governor and president, I again feel that frustration at being here instead of there.

President Reagan's casket was carried into the Presidential Library earlier this afternoon and I found the heartbreak made even more unbearable by the clicking of camera shutters which interrupted that otherwise respectful silence. Aaron found stark words to express the need we feel, almost as a compelling duty, to watch these observances.

Part of the heartbreak is how viewing it forced memories of similar solemn processions from previous occasions of official state mourning. When I saw Nancy Reagan, I recalled other widows: Jacqueline Kennedy, Coretta Scott King and Ethel Kennedy.

Peaktalk may have made one of the best tributes in Goodbye, My Friend:

At the same time many people in Europe rallied the streets on a regular basis to demonstrate against deploying American cruise missiles on European soil as a counterweight to the Soviet missile build-up. Many of my friends joined in these protests, unwilling to see the rationale of the “peace through strength” philosophy that was coming out of Washington. It was in those days that I mentally departed from Europe and saw the deeper values underpinning “Go out there and win one for the Gipper” and “the Shining City on a Hill”, sentences that drew ridicule in Europe. Yet they represented and appealed to profound human emotions, crossed boundaries and inspired many around the world, not least of all myself. So my journey that turned out to be driven by optimism, a strong need for self fulfillment and a deep belief in the ability of the individual to shape his or her own destiny coincided with a period in which the White House was occupied by an inspirational, visionary, wise, and charming man who very effectively communicated the same values to the rest of the world.

Be sure to read Jack's Thoughts in which he neatly ties together Reagan, Juno beach and the upcoming Canadian election. Possible tear alert!

Kathy Shaidle has a delightfully honest post, I'm sorry I used to hate you. Me too, Kathy.

Ouch, even more embarassing moments: former punker Meatriarchy looks at the punk scene, Ronald Reagan and the Prophets of Doom and some stuff we hurried to forget once that wall came down.

Colby Cosh says he began to admire Reagan after his "logic chips were implanted over the years." Heh.

Jason Hayes remembers Reagan and marks the distinction between a politician and a statesman.

Burnside has an excellent round-up of blogger reactions from Saturday and even waded into the Democratic Underground.

Although President Reagan has been absent from public life this past decade, the recollections of the triumphs of his presidency which his death has forced upon Old Media contains a delightful irony which I believe Reagan would fully appreciate.

CNN commentators are claiming that Reagan's political opponents liked him. WTF? They hated him. He was the anti-Chri ... er, anti-progressive. Stephen Taylor fondly recalls the media furor over the Staubach bomb.

Mark Steyn doesn't mince words about Reagan's detractors:

The elites were stupid about Reagan in a way that only clever people can be.
Yes, that sums it all up pretty nicely.

Oh well, big surprise that Old Media are trying to re-write history, but sometimes they just can't resist temptation. CNN had a caption that read "Reagan was the first actor to be elected president." That's like saying "George Washington was the first surveyor to be elected president." Sheesh.

Some columnists are honest. John reports that a columnist for La Vanguardia has used the event to remind us that Reagan created bin Laden (fourth paragraph down) and an editorial which seems to laments the fall of the Soviet Union. John rebuts them quite nicely.

Off-shore, the official reaction in Cuba was candid. Gee, they didn't like him? They have true cause to lament the invasion of Grenada as well as the fall of the Soviet Union.

Bob comments on the Toronto Star editorial and David Janes wades into CBC coverage on Reagan's life and death.

Back home, Alpha Patriot has some great links to Reagan tributes and his own tribute here.

I have to go to work again tonight, but I'm glad I'll be off Friday. This is going to be a difficult week. My heart and thoughts are with America as we mourn.

June 8 - 16:39: Hurrah! Regular AgitProp commenter Chris has started his own blog, Taylor & Co., and makes a wonderful tribute to Reagan with more Cancon than Trudeauphiles might wish.

Posted by Debbye at 04:03 PM | Comments (2)

June 06, 2004

Reagan remembered in Canada

June 6 - Today's front page of the Toronto Sun:

Reagan cover of Sun.jpg

There are a number of articles linked in this article, Reagan loses final battle, Calgary Sun columnist Paul Jackson has a personal tribute in his column A hero passes and Toronto Sun columnist Bob MacDonald recalls the Thatcher-Reagan alliance in The gipper won one for us, and the Western Standard's Shotgun has a number of posts on Reagan (start here and keep linking to subsequent posts.)

Belmont Club recalls how well Horatio held the bridge, Ghost of a Flea has The surly bonds of earth and further and deeply profound thoughts in Unfinished. Let It Bleed has a succinct summation of Reagan's legacy (ha!), Spinkiller recalls Reagan as The man who knocked down walls, and Damian Penny recalls the "Tear down that wall" speech and the memory of a Pole which rightly points at similarities between the election of 2000 and 2004.

I doubt I'm the only American for whom current events was forced into perspective with the recollections of Ronald Reagan's presidency during yesterday's news coverage of his death.

I still lived in California when Reagan was elected governor, and with that idealism of youth that fails to comprehend that government money is only that which comes out of my pocket, I deplored the reduction in the civil service and budget-cutting measures. (Those who forgot those lessons were surely reminded when Schwarzenegger was elected governor for much the same reasons as Reagan.)

I'd be lying if I claimed to appreciate President Reagan during his term of office, but the tearing down of the Berlin Wall began my re-evaluation of of the Cold War and how we had both over-estimated and under-estimated Soviet influence and might.

What I do remember is that Syria, Libya and Iraq were in the Soviet sphere of influence and, in true Babylon 5 tradition, the fight continues although the face of the enemy has changed.

One often gets the impression that progressive forces in Canada regret the passing of the Soviet Union in part because they viewed the Soviets as having a braking affect on American might. Yet this regret is not tempered by the admission that Soviet might kept Russians and Eastern Europeans in chains.

When those who have nothing to lose but their chains are those who live under communism - not capitalism - how can the left continue to justify it's existence? Belmont Club answers in Friday's post Mephisto in which the battle of Thermopylae is remembered (without reference to the fact that the Spartans stood alone while the Athenians dallied to finish their festival - inadvertant Cancon, anyone?) That post read today eerily forces to mind President Reagan's declaration that for America, the best was yet to come, a prospect which was anathema to leftists who must promote dire predictions and gloom because it's their only propaganda tool.

One of the lamentations of the left today is that US aggression against terrorism is causing instability much as the left then warned that a Reagan presidency would plunge us all into an nuclear holocaust.

Why are those who promote themselves as humanitarians those who least believe that human beings have unlimited capacity to greatness? Why are those who give lip service to human rights so willing to doom the oppressed of the world to tyranny in the name of stability? And since when does a revolutionist deplore instability?

The answer is fairly obvious once we shake off those bonds imposed by fear of risk and instability: the human race has steadily marched forward when it embraced tolerance and respect for each another, and when those opposed to progress preach intolerance and distrust they have forsworn the right to style themselves as progressives.

If man was meant to fly he's have wings. But man (and woman) was meant to fly - with all the risks of Icarus and all the glory of Billy Bishop. Maybe Reagan's legacy is the willingness to embrace the promise of the future by accepting the challenges of the present.

Rest in peace, Mr. President. May your legacy long endure.

Posted by Debbye at 01:00 PM | Comments (4)

Canada remembers D-Day

June 6 - Peter Worthington reminds us of things We should remember about the storming of Juno Beach by Canadian soldiers 60 years ago, and Mark Bonokoski reminds us to remember today's Canadian soldiers who serve in Afghanistan, the Golan Heights, and Bosnia.

The problem with lies is the intellectual disconnect necessary to maintaining those lies: if Canada has always been a peacekeeping nation, how does that square with those who served in the Boer War, WWI, WWII and Korea? Clearly the Canadian participation on D-Day was a military offensive, yet the Canadian Prime Minister is in France to comemorate that non-peacekeeping mission.

The lack of financial support for the military and the cynical misuse of funds earmarked for the military (exemplified by charging the military budget for former PM Chretien's purchase of two Executive Jets from Bombardier) resulted in Canada's meagre troop assignment in Haiti, the only other francophone nation in this hemisphere and thus the only place in which a French-speaking military command would be of practical value.

How many young Canadians have enlisted in the US military? How many young Canadians have considered doing so? Both the Conservative and Liberal parties have promised to increase the funding and size of the Canadian military, but to what end?

I'm an American, so I see the military through American eyes. I can't accurately judge how Canadians see their military but I do wonder at the pacifist philosophy of the ruling Liberal Party that seeks to recruit young Canadian men and women to a military that is not supposed to fight.

French President Chirac reportedly warned US President Bush against making any comparisons to the war in Iraq during D-Day commemorations, which of course drew more attention to those comparisons than any words President Bush might have spoken!

We finally learnt on Sept. 11 that evil never dies but merely assumes a new face, yet on this D-Day anniversary we are hearing the usual platitude that they fought so that we don't have to which is also is a lie. The truth is that they fought so that we would be able to continue to do so.

Be grateful to those brave men who stormed the beaches, and do so by remaining true to their cause. That is the only possible tribute.

Posted by Debbye at 11:41 AM | Comments (2)

June 05, 2004

Ronald W. Reagan, 1911-2004

President Ronald Reagan Dies at 93

Ronald Reagan.jpg

When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
-- President Ronald Reagan

Posted by Debbye at 07:48 PM | Comments (2)

June 04, 2004

Zarqawi associate captured

June 4 - Umar Baziyani, described as an associate of Zarqawi, was been captured by Iraqi police forces. He has been in custody since May 30.

Posted by Debbye at 08:18 PM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2004

One last thing ...

June 3 - GO FLAMES!

Posted by Debbye at 08:10 PM | Comments (2)

Tenet Resigns

June 3 - I guess I'd better give a nod to the big story of the day: CIA Director Tenet Resigns.

Pundits will debate the whys while others will say "what took so long." Kerry took a fairly predictable line, but must tread carefully as Tenet was a Clinton appointee.

As for me, I'm going to work. It's Friday!

June 5 - 21:14: Peter Worthington probably has the best perspective on it.

Posted by Debbye at 07:33 PM | Comments (2)

Repression in China

June 3 - Two quick articles on China: Beijing stifles 3 dissidents and Lone Man Stages Brief Demonstration in Tiananmen.

Posted by Debbye at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

Bush at the Air Force Academy

June 3 - The text of the President's speech yesterday to the graduates of the Air Force Academy is here.

Just as events in Europe determined the outcome of the Cold War, events in the Middle East will set the course of our current struggle. If that region is abandoned to dictators and terrorists, it will be a constant source of violence andd alarm, exporting killers of increasing destructive power to attack America and other free nations. If that region grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorist movement will lose its sponsors, lose its recruits, and lose the festering grievances that keep terrorists in business. The stakes of this struggle are high. The security and peace of our country are at stake, and success in this struggle is our only option.
Those who believe Operation Iraqi Freedom is not connected to the War on Terror overlook the fact that there is one root cause of terrorism which we can address and help change, that being the repression and tyranny of Arab states which stifle the creative energy of millions of men and women who, like most of us, desire nothing more than to live, work and raise their families without fear and with hopes of a better tomorrow.

Lest we forget, the Iraqi people have also suffered from the bombs of Zarqawi and his associates as have our soldiers and civilian contractors, and our partnership with the Iraqi people has been forged in blood and perseverence.

Read the whole speech. There's been a lot of events in Iraq since the war first began, but the mission remains the same: Iraqi Freedom.

Posted by Debbye at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

Roger L. Simon, Disaffected Liberal

June 3 - One of my favourite bloggers is interviewed by Andrew Leigh for the National Review.

Posted by Debbye at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

Iraq sovereignty a fait accompli

June 3 - From David Warren, A sovereign Iraq. I'm not going to reiterate the points he makes indicating that the transfer of power has already taken place because my joy is contained herein:

Real praise ought to be showered on the Iraqis. This new political class -- consisting of returned Sunni and Shia exiles, Kurds, tribal lords, Shia clerical henchmen, and the odd, semi-halal, Baath-party "technocrat", has proved capable of forming workable coalitions whenever something has had to be achieved. If you read your history of American constitutional wranglings in the 18th-century, you will appreciate how far they came in how little time.
Is all this very fragile and tentative? Yes, but ... Can a lot go wrong? Yes, but ... To all doubters and naysayers, yes and yes, but and but!

Those of us who supported Operation Iraqi Freedom chose to believe that there was no logical reason Iraq could not be a country run by consensual government that respected human rights.

There will be a great many twists and turns during the implementation of this new style of Mid-east rule, but I'm willing to go on faith rather than cynicism.

Back home, the upcoming presidential election in the USA will, sadly, produce more politicking than honest evaluation of this incredible leap, but in the long term, that won't detract from the victory which rightly belongs to Iraqis.

As always, read Zeyad, Omar, Sam for their insights.

19:15: Grand Ayatollah Sistani has endorsed the new Iraqi government.

Posted by Debbye at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2004

Posting continues to be erratic

June 2 - Sorry, I managed to sleep through the day (well, I'm both sorry and not sorry. You know what I mean.) The thing that bothers me most though is how little time I've been able to spend cruising other web logs.

I've fallen behind on developments around UNSCAM but Friends of Saddam is doing an incredible job of tracking it.

The strange allegations about Ahmad Chalabi are getting stranger, but Roger Simon is trying to make sense of it and how it has become linked to UNSCAM. This post is especially link-ful. As I said, I've fallen behind some, but there is definitely something wrong with the scenario that's unfolding, and we're lucking to have a mystery writer looking at it (and it has Cancon!)

You read Belmont Club daily, right?

You probably also read Ghost of a Flea daily, but in case you missed it, be sure and read Maxims.

I have to go. I hope to have time to answer my email tomorrow, and there have been some excellent comments left here which tells me you all don't really need me ...

Posted by Debbye at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

Death quotes get death quoted

June 2 - Reading the Sun may not be respectable, but it sure is fun.

After all, what other paper would title an article thusly: Saudis kill 'militants'?

Death quote the death quotes. Or maybe I just need more coffee.

Posted by Debbye at 07:40 PM | Comments (3)

Australia Terror Watch

June 2 - An Australian court sentenced British-born Jack Roche nine years in prison for plotting to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Australia (British Muslim is jailed for al-Qa'eda embassy bomb plot.)

The Australian press reports that the prosecutor, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, has asked officials to appeal leniency of the sentence.

Roche could be released on parole from prison in Western Australia in May 2007 - after District Court judge Paul Healy on Tuesday reduced what he said would have been a 12-year sentence to nine years because of Roche's co-operation with authorities in October and November 2002 and his eventual guilty plea.
The article also notes that Roche may have received a light sentence because he may have tried to become an informant after contacting the ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) in 2000.
Mr Ruddock has confirmed ASIO failed to respond when Roche left two messages in July and August 2000 - three months after his return from Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he met al-Qaeda terrorists.

"The Government does see the issue of terrorism and the potential harm it could wreak in Australia as a matter of very real significance," he said.

The government source said ASIO had been aware for more than a year of one officer's failure to contact Roche.

Another Australian, Bilal Khazal, has been charged with publishing documents inciting terrorism on the internet (with more here about a list of targets.)

I have to run a search tomorrow - sorry, I have to get ready for work - but I believe Khazal's name came up during a trial in Spain of al Qaeda operatives accused of assisting the Sept. 11 plotters.

Khazal had been sentenced in absentia by a Lebanese court for his part in the bombing of a MacDonalds in April, 2003.

Khazal is said to be connected with Saleh Jamal, who was arrested in Lebanon and gave an unexpected confession about his association with al Qaeda:

THE Sydney fugitive arrested in Lebanon has confessed to raising terror funds in Australia, recruiting potential holy warriors and organising bombings, Beirut's chief prosecutor said last night.

In claims that surprised Australian authorities, Prosecutor-General Adnan Addoum said the movements of Saleh Jamal, 32, had been monitored before he jumped bail in March using a false passport.

Mr Addoum said Jamal had confessed to attending Palestinian refugee camps since he fled Australia in March and to forming links with al-Qaeda members in Lebanon.

He also apparently confessed to a role in a bombing last month near the embassy district in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Police sources confirmed yesterday that a second man arrested with Jamal, Haitham Milhem, was also a Sydney resident. The nature of the charges against him were due to become clearer by early this morning.

Tim Blair comments here on Roche's sentence, and Professor Bunyip has some links that refer to the website said to be run by Khazal.

Posted by Debbye at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2004

Jose Padilla

June 1 - I woke up this afternoon just in time to catch this Justice Dept. briefing of the case against Jose Padilla on CNN. When they switched to Wolf Blitzer, I recollected that we now have MSNBC on our new television digital thingy and hurray! they were still airing the briefing. Take that, CNN!

I have little trouble with treating Padilla as an enemy combatant because he is one. After confessing to that shocking display of simplisme, I may as well also admit that although those worrying about his civil rights have their points and their cautions should be acknowledged, they might want to remember that we could just charge him with treason and hang him. We are at war, there is precedent, and it could be done in a military setting as he was plotting to engage in acts of sabotage as an agent of a declared enemy, al Qaeda.

This is the crux of the one, primary issue: do we deal with terrorists and terrorism as a police matter or as a military matter? As Comey made clear, we can't prosecute this war or protect ourselves within the structure of our legal system.

This crux has a sub-crux: are we at war? The answer to the latter question informs the answer to the former. That too is simple, which is not to say it's unsophisticated because it requires a degree of sophistication to envision a war in which there are few battlefields in the classic sense (ref. D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, Shiloh) and uncertain methods of assigning victory.

From the Fox website: Transcript: Justice Dept. on Padilla.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Comey tells a story that should be shocking yet isn't. How far we've come.

The final question indicates the media is still lagging behind:

QUESTION: We've read a lot in the media about Jose Padilla and his motivation. Did he disclose anything new or reveal anything in his conversations with interrogators about his motivations for joining Al Qaeda, and any psychological reasons why a U.S. citizen would join Al Qaeda?
Why do we hate ourselves? Comey's answer concluded with this:
But we have not included in this document the extended exploration of his state of mind.
Heh. I am probably reaching, but I read this to say "There's all kinds of nonsense in the media, but we don't care about his motivations or psychological reasons. We just want to prevent him from carrying out his plot and keep him where he can't kill US citizens."

By the way, some familiar names pop up during the briefing: Mohammed Atef, Adnan Shukrijumah (aka Jafar,) Abu Zubaida, Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

Posted by Debbye at 06:32 PM | Comments (4)

Harper pledges to strengthen military

June 1 - A couple of items about the upcoming election: Soldier fortune in which Harper pledges to increase money and troop numbers for the Canadian military, another poll which shows the Liberals slipping, McGuinty is labeled 'political anthrax' and Martin pulling in Chretien advisors for the campaign.

Harper's plans to improve the military is naturally what got my attention first, and the opposing response was typical:

Steven Staples, a defence analyst with the Polaris Institute, said Harper's policy is geared toward a more American-style combat military.

"If you ask Canadians where the government spending priorities should be, seven out of 10 will say education and health care, and only one in 10 will say it should go to defence spending," he said.

"He's appealing to a very narrow group of people."

Yes, the obligatory not-American card.

Moving along, the military has been whittled down (if not starved outright) because it was claimed it was necessary to divert money to finance health care. Now there's no military and the health care system's waiting times will kill you (unless you can afford to travel south for health care.)

Why counterpose one against the other? There is no reason Canada could not adequately fund the military, good health care and fix the education systems (starting to teach kids to read and write would be my first goal.) All we have to do is find a leadership willing to reform the civil service system, eliminate patronge appointments and conduct regular audits to ensure tax dollars are spent as carefully as we spend the money we have left in our own pockets after taxes.

I get monthly statements from my bank. Unlike the current government, I actually look at them and make sure the accounts are reconciled. If there's a discrepancy, I want to know why.

Doesn't everyone?

Lorrie Goldstein injects some common sense and caution in There's McGuinty's way, and the right way.

Posted by Debbye at 05:09 PM | Comments (6)

The Return of The Coyne

June 1 - Andrew Coyne: The Blog is back with a New!Improved!Look but the same, vintage Coyne dry humour and clarity that makes his blog such a joy to read are unchanged.

I found his piece titled "Adscam, the election and the Conservatives" wonderful mostly because he said what I've been fumbling to say for a long time and clarified something I've had a lot of trouble with up here.

Because it isn't just about the $100 million, nor is it restricted to a few rogue bureaucrats and their sleazy advertising-industry friends. It isn't even about corruption, at least as defined in the Criminal Code. Adscam, rather, is woven into the very fabric of Liberal Party dominance, a web of personal, political and even familial ties built up over the party's many years in power and connected at every point with public money. It is of a piece with the HRDC scandal, the gun registry fiasco, the regional development slush funds, the lot. That is why the Liberals, whether Martinite or Chretienite, are so deathly afraid of the whole business. Whatever its virtues as a scandal in its own right, Adscam is more significant as the entry point, the single loose strand from which one can begin to unravel the rest. I do not mean this only in an investigative sense. It is rather the opportunity it provides to focus public attention, adjust public expectations, and through them alter the structure of Canadian politics.
Reform the civil service, get rid of the patronage rewards after elections, and try to make the government accountable to the people of Canada rather then the ruling Party. Check.

But it's this next bit that lends clarity to the muddle Canada has been in for the last little while, and perhaps even some clarity about our Old Europe allies:

For what is striking about the whole Adscam affair is how unsurprising it was, any of it, to anyone. Everyone knew what the Liberals were up to, and everyone knows there is much worse to come. And yet -- perhaps the Liberals' greatest achievement -- we had all grown accustomed to looking the other way, and having looked away the once, to congratulating ourselves on our sophistication. It was deeply shaming, and like all humiliated people, we learned to drown our shame in cynicism. After all, it wasn't as if there was anything we could do to change it. The Liberals were fixed in power, immovably, eternally. (Emphasis added)
I had never thought of cynicism as shame-based, but it could explain a few things, including (by inference) some of the attitudes of the "Anyone But Bush" Democrats in the USA.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Debbye at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

Memorial Day

June 1 - Yesterday was the third Memorial Day since Sept. 11, and, as on the past three, I spent the day online but couldn't find the heart to link or post.

I think I have come to understand the full measure of Memorial Day. We collectively pay our respects to our collective dead and, as a nation and as a family, seek healing. There is comfort in collective grief.

Then we square our shoulders, and proceed with the mission.

It seems to harsh to put it like that, but what else is there? We knew going into Afghanistan that we would be burying young Americans who deserved to lead full and productive lives. We knew going into Iraq that it would be bloody, and when the fight for Baghdad didn't materialize, we feared the very things that have come to pass.

We've spent nearly three years waiting for the other shoe to drop on the homefront and, despite that fear in the backs of our minds, we've stood our ground, overcome setbacks, and kept the pressure on.

Those who deliberately shed the blood of civilians hope that their actions will terrify and cause strength, heart and will to fail. When attempts at appeasement and conciliation result in the enemy believing their victims won't fight back, the last possible deterrent has been removed and thus our last possible hope for defense. All that remains is to surrender or go on the offensive.

(Well, actually there is a third alternative: we can nuke Mecca. Threatening something the enemy holds dear is sound military strategy, but taking out Mecca would probably be the very last card we'd have to play.)

Yes, I know. We should try something else. All those who claim to be wiser, nobler and more enlightened than we speak those two words but offer no solutions or strategies even as they blame us for not coming up with that unspecified something else.

And then it's our fault for not being smarter than they because we didn't come up with the solution that they couldn't provide.

Why am I supposed to listen to such people again? They've already admitted they're dumber than me.

Blood answers blood, and anyone who doesn't comprehend that is either very young or very naive but it is certain that our enemy understands that.

Those who bewail that an armed response sets a cycle of violence into motion are evidently unaware that a cycle of violence was already in motion; those who fret about "how it will end" overlook that it will end when the enemy is dead.

There will be more tears shed on next year's Memorial Day too, and some of them may be shed on behalf of civilians killed on home soil in a terrorist attack. We've become hardened and battle-scarred, and the next attack won't be met with the shock and disbelief of Sept. 11. We'll handle it.

Posted by Debbye at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)