June 29, 2005

The president's speech

June 29 - Not much to add on the President's address last night, although the irritation by some that Sept. 11 was mentioned would seem to affirm Rove's observations on the reaction of the left to that infamous day.

Root causes, people. Remember them?

They [the enemy] know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty, as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits, and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.
As we inch toward success, those who chose to express their opposition to the war by characterizing it as President Bush's personal war it might do well to remember that the Civil War at one time was referred to as "Mr. Lincoln's War" and he ended up being known as the Great Emancipator.

It almost makes me glad that journalists don't take history courses.

One perhaps original thought: as I read the speech, it struck me that media focus on the presidential election of 2008 might inadvertantly be sending a different message to the anti-Iraqi terrorists, who may be believe that they need only hold on for another 3-1/2 years until an appeasement president is elected. (Please note that is not an accusation, but merely an observation with a vague speculation.)

Nice joke in this email which I got from a friend who got it from a friend who's brother sent it to him. Need I mention the brother lives in Alberta?

A popular bar had a new robotic bartender installed.

A fellow came in for a drink and the robot asked him, "What's your I.Q.?"

The man replied, "150."

The robot then proceeded to make conversation about Quantum physics, string theory, atomic chemistry and so on.

The man listened intently and thought, "This is really cool." The man decided to test the robot. He walked out of the bar, turned around, and came back in for another drink.

Again the robot asked him, "What's your I.Q.?"

The man responded, "100." So the robot started talking about football, baseball, and so on. The man thought to himself, "Wow, this is really cool."

The man went out and came back in a third time. As before the robot asked him, "What's your I.Q.?"

The man replied, "50."

The robot then said, "So, you gonna vote Liberal again?"

I will be working two shifts tomorrow (mostly so than I won't feel guilty when I book off on July 4) so want to take the opportunity now to wish those of you getting out of town a happy Canada Day and Independence Day! Camping, barbecues, baseball games, hot dogs and beer. What's not to like?

Posted by Debbye at 06:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 28, 2005

I wish I had me a Democrat to vote against!

June 28 - Sorry for the non-posting; I've been trying to get to sleep before the full heat of the day sets in but that means I wake up when the family starts drifting home and using the computer.

I have to work tonight so will miss the president's message, but there are some things I wish he would say in addition to those he is expected to say.

I wish he would start by reminding us of the feared casualty figures in the taking of Baghdad at the start of Iraqi Operation Freedom. You'll remember, I'm sure, the urban house-to-house fighting scenario that was envisioned; I don't remember exactly how many casualties were anticipated but it was in the five digit range.

We were prepared to accept those losses. What does it say about us that we were prepared to accept a huge number of casualties in the early days of the war but can't handle what are undeniably lower figures over a longer period?

I wish he would say that the anti-Iraqi forces too understand Vietnam Syndrome and that they know that the steady drip-drip of casualties sap at our will and fortitude. The only issue is if we will capitulate to it or, recognizing their strategy, remain implacable.

Nothing has changed in our reasons for trying to change the unchallenged rule by despots in the mid-east. The mission remains the same. It takes effort and will to endure in any long-term struggle, and we have those qualities within us and need only to marshall them.

I wish he would say that "everything" didn't change on Sept. 11; that day was simply one event in a series of attacks on the U.S. What did change is that we had a president who responded with more than words.

I wish he would then remind those indignant over Rove's remarks about the response of many liberals to Sept. 11 that those recollections were accurate, and that perhaps they doth protest too much and that should we revert to pre-Sept. 11 policies we would be making ourselves more, not less, vulnerable.

I wish he would explain to Barbara Boxer that the reason he is unable to get European allies to assist in Iraq is because they are more anxious to appease the Islamofascists than confront them. It's not a failure in American leadership but rather the timidity of a European leadership that has yet again failed to confront fascism.

I wish he would remind Sen. Clinton that she had her chance to influence American response to terror attacks during her eight years in the White House and that, given the abject failure of the Clinton administration to adequately respond to those attacks, shutting up might be a good plan.

I wish he would go off-topic and state that it is deeply stupid to start the 2008 presidential campaign now, and remind Democrats that they would be wiser to worry over the mid-term elections.

I wish he would tell the US media to lay off the round the clock coverage of the missing girl in Aruba.

Lastly, I wish he would denounce the "no trans fat" Oreo and urge legislation that declares the original Oreo to be a national treasure and forbid tampering with or altering it.

Posted by Debbye at 05:44 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 18, 2005

Standing up for dad

June 18 - David at Silence No More has written a insightful and timely post on Standing Up For Dad:

I believe that most of the aggression and violence found in today's society can be attributed to two reasons: the lack and demise of traditional physical activities in our schools and the lack of fathers in their children's lives.

As a kid growing up before the onset of political correctness, staples like dodge ball and floor hockey were part and parcel of our daily segregated gym class in school, along with playground games like tag, red rover and 'King of the Mountain'. This served several purposes: we burnt off energy and aggression through fair play, learned our strengths and weaknesses, teamwork and individual successes and kept in shape. It also allowed us to learn boundaries and limits for our aggression before we would be punished. (My emphasis)

(I was going to say more on that last sentence but I think maybe it's something you either do or don't get. Hint: the words "learn" and "before punishment" are key; furthermore, compare "learn" with "teach.")

On the underrated importance of fathers taking the lead on some aspects of childraising, I cannot stress enough how important it is that he not be belittled, corrected, or interfered with in any way when he is talking to the kids. If rolling one's eyes must be done, do it in another room. Show the man some respect, for heaven's sake. I am so tired of women who think they gain something besides a reputation for boorishness by degrading men. What they really get is boys who are ashamed of being male (try to fix that self-esteem issue!)

I should disclose that I have three sons who have grown into fine men.

When they were young, it didn't take long for me to realize that their Dad was qualified to teach them things that I couldn't, things like standing up to pee and shaving.

He taught them how to fight fair, and how to parry, duck and counter-punch. He taught them how to pull their punches. He taught them how to avoid a fight and when to brace themselves because a fight was going to happen simply because the other guy wanted it. He taught them that they would heal from most everything except the shame of backing down, but that discretion was also a sign of true valour.

[Me? I was all about "finding alternatives." Their Dad told them that everything I said was absolutely right and that peaceful solutions were the best solutions, but that it was always good to have a Plan B. That's when he took them outside for some basic lessons.]

Dad taught them to stick up for one another and that the older ones should take care of the younger ones. They learned by logical extension not only that it was indeed their business when a big kid was picking on a little kid but that if another little kid got involved then the big kid felt outnumbered and might say stuff while he walked away but what mattered was that he walked away. He taught them that victory comes in many forms and never to crow.

He taught them that the best offense and defense was to look the other guy squarely in the eyes.

He also taught them - by deed as much as by word - to be courteous to women, to carry the heavy stuff, and open doors. He taught them that women don't always fight fair, and that if a woman wanted to rant then just take it - it would blow over - but never, ever hit a woman. He taught them that men who hit women were the lowest of the low, only barely above rapists and child abusers, and not real men but chickensh*ts.

This man routinely left his clothes on the floor, yet he taught them how to be good men. Really, which is mattered most? They are his clothes and his business because I'm not his mother.

And that's the key: husbands and significant others don't need to be mothered but need to be wifed and be made to be feel that they are indeed significant, and the real pity of it all is that today's Super! Feminist! society disparages that kind of uncritical love.

By the way, the Barbara Kay column David references is available in full here, courtesy of Proud To Be Canadian, and has one more praise of men that is too often given short shrift:

Far more men are engaged in protecting women and children from violence than perpetrating it. Healthy boys with strong fathers—and father figures like male teachers—learn that their attraction to power can be a tool for doing good. Their instincts for gallantry, fair play and protectiveness are easily mobilized when aggression is properly channeled.
Here's a thought: let's stop taking them for granted and say "Thank you."

Posted by Debbye at 11:08 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

The Real UN Blog

June 18 - Given the discussion over the House bill requiring that the U.S. withhold funding from the U.N. until some long overdue measures for fiscal accountabiliy and whistle-blower protection are implemented, it is imperative that we take a sober look at the vital role of the U.N. in today's world.

Blair Hansen wrote something a while back that I think worthwhile to read in the light of this debate: The Real UN Blog. It puts everything into the proper context.

(I really hope he starts posting again.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Explaining oneself

June 18 - Ex-pat Yank Robert Tumminello has written about the experience of living abroad during and after Sept. 11 and the accumulation of events that led to his becoming a blogger:

Yet what was also troubling was how so many in the British mass media were becoming increasingly at ease with "intellectuals", "scholars" and "activists" who possessed what can only be described as "interesting" takes on American policy and just about anything to do with Americans as people. Indeed, nothing was off limits: Americans are fat; they are idiots; they are racists; they are gun-lovers; they are hypocrites; they hate Muslims; they drive cars; the drive SUVs; they are Christians (oh, the horrors that some actually are Christians!). You name it. Of course, if an American so much as quietly mumbled "boo" about disagreeing with someone who thinks it's approved by a holy book to crash a hijacked plane suicidally into a building, he is deemed to be "intolerant".

There we were. Although the attitude was not universal of course, while in the U.S. during September and October 2001, as Americans tried to figure out what to do next and worried about what further attacks might be in the pipeline, in too much British and other media, Americans were simultaneously ceasing to be "people". Instead, Americans were more than ever before just human representatives of some Zionist-defending (or, just replace "Zionist" with a three letter word starting with "J"), environment rubbishing, globe-gobbling, imperialist corporate state. I also found increasingly that a large segment of the population here really did have no clue about America other than what they see and hear in that media. That is not a criticism; it's just a fact: Americans are, somehow, "a quick read"; everyone else in the world is, of course, "complex".

What the? Looking for somewhere sanity might be found (it sure wasn't in most newspapers, on radio, or TV), I retreated to the net. (Amazing that sentence, isn't it? Looking for sanity on the internet?)

I found this to be an absorbing read because it recounts a journey back to the common, American denominator without being maudlin or bitter.

Many of us have been surprised to find ourselves agreeing with the Republicans on a number of issues, and I think Robert summed up the reason:

While not a "conservative" technically, I believed -- and still do -- that we as Americans are all united by one thing: While we might argue over "policy A" or "policy B", overall America and democracy and freedom are worth defending. Period.

And I found that conservatives, far more than my liberal friends and increasingly even moderate Democrats, seemed to better understand that.

I don't recall "America, democracy and freedom are worth defending" being on the list when exit polls were conducted in the 2004 presidential election, and the fact that it wasn't reflects indicates just how out of touch pollsters are with those they presume to analyze and "explain."

If the American media and pollsters are that disconected with Americans, how can foreign media not amplify that disconnect?

Posted by Debbye at 07:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Back in the "good ol' days"

June 18 - This was forwarded to me:

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1940's, 50's, 60's, and 70's:

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day, and we actually were able to function and survive.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, DVD'S, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms! .........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them.

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL.

And you are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the government regulated our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

I would add that no one cared about our self-esteem. They did care about our manners, though, as well as our grades, doing our chores, and shoveling the sidewalk and/or carrying grocery bags for elderly neighbours.

- Unknown (at least to me; if you know who wrote it, let me know and I'll append their name.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:00 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 16, 2005

Douglas Wood's rescue

June 16 - Wretchard makes some very shrewd observations about the rescue of Australian Douglas Wood in Iraq in The Six Weeks.

Posted by Debbye at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

Double-dealing in Librano-land

June 16 - The Judge is Angry:

MONTREAL - First, it was Jean Chretien taking John Gomery to court. Now, Justice Gomery is taking Paul Martin to court.

What gives? Gomery is annoyed that the Martin government had a secret exchange of letters with Chretien's lawyers acknowledging that even as the former prime minister dropped his court case alleging Gomery's bias against him, he could make the same accusations later after the release of the judge's findings.

Gomery didn't know about the letter. He read about it in the papers. And he's furious. The Martin government professes to support him, but it looks as if it was undermining him.

The May 30 letter was signed by federal government lawyer Brian Saunders, but as far as the Gomery Commission is concerned, it was approved by the Clerk of the Privy Council, Alex Himelfarb. Mere government lawyers, acting on their own, don't make deals on behalf of one prime minister with another.

By coincidence, or not, May 30 was the same day Chretien's lawyers withdrew his case, removing a very inconvenient obstacle from the Martin government's path to political recovery.

Gomery was having none of it. The next day the judge said he would take the Martin government to the Federal Court to clear the air about his alleged bias, before he sits down to write his findings and recommendations. His lawyer, Lorne Morphy, complained in a letter to the government that the exchange of letters with Chretien puts "Justice Gomery and the commission in an extremely delicate position" and that to have the allegations of bias hanging out there "is, simply put, unacceptable."

Newsbeat1 has the excerpts from yesterday's Question Period on this issue here.

Posted by Debbye at 01:00 PM | Comments (6)

"Isn't he?"

June 16 - Great post by Kateland! Being a parent means always dealing with bullocks and, as she could have added, never backing down.

Posted by Debbye at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

That damned gun registry again

June 16 - Audit targets firearm registry:

OTTAWA -- Costs for the controversial gun registry program could continue to "spiral out of control" unless the government takes steps to curb spending, an external audit warns.

The financial report compiled by Hill and Knowlton for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, obtained under Access to Information by Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz, recommends the government shift the Canada Firearms Centre to another larger department to wrestle down costs.

I have a much better idea of what to do with that infernal registry.

Posted by Debbye at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

A bewildering number of lawsuits

June 16 - My question about the libel suit against David Frum has been answered - in spades. Many thanks to Candace for finding this discussion thread on the Frum column and for digging up an older item on Adscam-related lawsuits.

I'll state this up front: I believe it is up to bloggers to stand by and defend these commentators. It pisses me off beyond reason that their colleagues are not doing so, but things are what they are in Canada these days and it won't be the first time bloggers were trailblazers.

Frum wrote he has been served with papers accusing him of libel.

There are confirmed reports that National Post columnist Andrew Coyne and reporter Laurent Soumis of the Journal de Montreal have also been served and, although I have yet to find confirmation, CTV's Mike Duffy and Warren Kinsella may also have been served. (Note that I have no way of ascertaining if these four as the ones to which Frum was referring and there are in fact good reason to doubt this is the case.)

Of necessity this is a fairly long post so click on the extended entry for more, but I'm putting Kate's opening on this side of the post because she tears a deservedly giant strip off the feckless Canadian media:

In any sane democratic country, a slap suit against an opinion columnist by a government operative would provoke outrage and non-stop editorials in the mainstream press. The item would be leading the newscasts, with punditry convening soberly on our TV screens. Reporter scrums would pepper government leaders to explain their actions in curtailling that most hallowed (in their eyes) of all freedoms - freedom of the press.

But of course, this is Canada - a nation of "natural governing" one-party rule in which a "living" constitution permits such limits on speech as are consistant with a Liberal Kleptocracy.

So, as the Liberals draft laws that push more and more areas of government operation outside the reach of Freedom of Information requests, weaken protections for whistleblowers, when they brazenly refuse to acknowledge the defeat of their government in non-confidence motions and ignore the Auditor Generals concerns about billions of tax dollars being funneled into unaccountable foundations - the Lloyd Robertsons and Peter Mansbridges busy themselves studiously studying Stephen Harper's facial expressions and providing Canadians "Better News Through Polling" .

They remain virtually silent on the assaults on members of their own profession - silent, because for the most part, the majority of mainstream media in Canada functions as nothing short of a communications arm of the Liberal Party. In other words, they see themselves as nothing less than an unelected arm of government.

I'd ask that Americans readers try (and I know it's hard) to keep in mind that the truth is not relevant in libel suits up here. Also keep in mind that, as I am constitutionally incapable of understanding the libel laws up here because they conflict with my cultural bias toward inherent rights, I have no idea if any of the statements allegedly made by the defendents are libelous under Canadian law.

I don't know if this column is what prompted Tim Murphy to have Andrew Coyne served, but anyone who has read his blog and columns knows that Coyne is damned good at linking to his sources of information and writes well-reasoned columns and posts. I could see why they would want to silence him if we lived in Iran or Zimbabwe, but we don't.

I can't ensure the veracity of this post at the CNEWS forum, but it served as a damned good starting point to pursue the other threads of this story and I was able to confirm at least part of its information.

On the libel suit against David Frum:

Terrie O'Leary vs National Post, CanWest Publications and David Frum: Sent libel notice related to the May 17 edition of the National Post in which Frum wrote, "They might observe that he never manipulated government contracts to direct business in a firm run by his chief of staff's boyfriend." O'Leary claims that the statement is defamatory and calculated to disparage her both as a person and in her former capacity as Executive Asst. to the Minister of Finance of Canada.
I don't know if this is the cause of Frum's notice, but the ironically titled May 17 column Averting Their Eyes from Scandal - Since 1993, Ottawa's Press Corps Has Been Taking a Nice, Long Nap can still be read online. (Links for the the hearings on the Earnscliffe contracts are here and here.)

Mike Duffy of CTV is also rumoured to be sued:

Liberal Party organizer/PMO staffer Karl Littler vs Mike Duffy CTV: Suing for defamation over remarks Duffy made about Littler visiting strip clubs and engaging in improper and unlawful behaviour due to his position as an official of the Liberal Party and Deputy Chief of Staff to PM. Seeking $250 thousand in general damages, $50 thousand in punitive damages.
The remarks were probably made on air so there isn't a link (at least one that I could find.) The best I found was a CTV article in this post from Angry about whistleblower Allan Cutler and staffer Karl Littler (but there's nothing about strip clubs in it.)

And yet another journalist:

BCP Communications, John Parisella, Yves Gougoux vs Sun Media, Canoe and Laurent Soumis: Suing for defamation over May 12 article written by Soumis. The article linked BCP to allegations that Liberal Party election expenses were paid out of the sponsorship program. Seeking $250 thousand in real damages from each defendant, $100 thousand in exemplary damages from each defendant.
I couldn't find a May 12 article in the English Canoe archives, but the Canoe search feature turned up confirmation of the lawsuit against Laurent Soumis in .pdf here and other search results of articles by Sourmis (in French) are here. A quick check in Google turned up this translated item from CBC Radio Canada on testimony about BCP here but it consists mostly of denials.

Frum reported here

Along with at least four other public commentators, I have recently been served with libel papers by a leading figure in this story.
Frum declined to state the name of his accuser so I am going to respect Frum's reticence and not play pin the tail on the donkey.

Blogger Warren Kinsella is supposedly being sued over what he wrote on his blog:

Terrie O'Leary, Earnscliffe Research and Communications vs Warren Kinsella: Libel notices issued to Kinsella and warrenkinsella.com on behalf of Earnscliffe and to Andrew Davis over his reprinting and highlighting of transcript from his appearance before the Public Accts. Committee.
The hearings were published and televised, but for all I know there could be some law forbidding Kinsella to write about it. (If this is true it is worthy of Bizarro World.)

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Kinsella may also be suing on his own behalf:

Warren Kinsella vs Scott Reid: In his blog Kinsella has indicated that he would sue the PMO official for suggesting that he had committed perjury in his appearance before the Public Accts. Committee last month.
Hey, anyone can play! The CPC is suing Immigration Minister John Volpe:
Conservative MP Lee Richardson vs Immigration Minister Joe Volpe: Libel notice filed against Volpe after Volpe associated Mr. Richardson and the Conservative Party with the Ku Klux Klan.
And of course we musn't forget the suits filed by fired patronage appointees Jean Pelletier, Marc LeFrancois, and Alfonso Gagliano who are suing the Canadian government because they deem their reputations were besmirched due to their alleged involvements in Adscam. I don't want to be sued so I'd best not speculate if these lawsuits are Golden Handshakes Librano Style.

Lastly, the Canadian government is suing various people over Adscam (although I don't see Jacques Corriveau on that list.)

Francois Beaudoin won his lawsuit and, more importantly, was vindicated, but what of Miriam Bedard who was crudely attacked by her former boss Pelletier and for which he was supposedly dismissed? (see 2 paragraphs up and remember: Bizarro World.)

Lastly, the Chretien threat to challenge to Judge Gomery is still hanging like a Damocles Sword over the Inquiry and Liberal lawyers are urging Judge Gomery to exonerate both Chretien and Martin.

Posted by Debbye at 09:26 AM | Comments (5)

Tagged again

June 16 - I've been tagged again - twice- in the book game and again the answers of those who tagged me are very interesting. Shaken calls it a "book virus bookthing" but good-naturedly answers the questions here.

A lot of people including Shaken have cited The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I'm embarassed to admit I've never read it, but maybe it's about time I did.

Bruce was also politely requested to contribute and does so after he tries to track down the origin of what he too terms a "virus" and again, there are some surprises in his answers - like listing all 21 books of the Master and Commander series.

Both Shaken and Bruce list The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as books that meant a great deal to them and, like The Fountainhead, it's a title that has appeared fairly regularly.

Posted by Debbye at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

Canada criticized by U.N. committee on arbitrary detention

May 16 - UN group condemns Canada:

OTTAWA (CP) - A UN committee says it is gravely concerned about Canada's system of jailing suspected terrorists without trial using national security certificates.

The UN committee on arbitrary detention, which is visiting Canada at the federal government's invitation, said persons detained under security certificates are denied the right to a fair hearing.


The committee noted that all four of the people currently detained under security certificates are Arab Muslims, and one of them has been detained for five years.

All four of the suspects now in detention argue they face a risk of torture if returned to their homelands.

The timing of these criticisms coincides with accusations by the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations that security forces have used unacceptable intimidation when investigating terrorism. Shaken refutes the allegations quite admirably.

But everything happens in threes, right? So of course it's only now being reported that last February yet another member of the Khadr family had come under scrutiny. This latest involved the seizure of Zaynab Khadr's laptop when she landed at Pearson Airport after a trip to Pakistan. The contents of her laptop allegedly included bin Laden tape clips calling for - what else? the murder of Americans. She says she didn't know that the clips and some songs - including one titled "I Am A Terrorist" - were on her computer.

Posted by Debbye at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)

Frum and Steyn on Canada

June 16 - David Frum's A Scandal So Immense is a concise description of events that lead to the political crisis in Canada. He gives just the facts, as they say, and the accumulative impact is immense when viewed in the whole.

By the way, I didn't realize before I read this item that David Frum was among at least five people who have been served with libel papers:

There is though one warning I'd better immediately deliver to readers: Along with at least four other public commentators, I have recently been served with libel papers by a leading figure in this story. ..
Is this public knowledge? I could well have missed reading about it during the past couple of days, but I thought I had kept abreast of most of the big stories.

So even if I'm only the latest in an entire parade of people who have said so, I think it worthwhile to go on record and state that this is outrageous. These suits may well be nuisance suits, but, if only by their stifling effect, they constitute an explicit threat to press freedoms and freedom of speech.

Back to the main subject, Frum touches on some key points over this recent period. On corruption:

Some of that money ended up in the pockets of influential Liberals, allegedly including the brother of former prime minister Jean Chretien. Some was kicked back to the Liberal party and its campaign workers. The Gomery inquiry has also revealed a disturbing nexus--that's a word to which no lawyer can object--between senior figures in the Liberal party and organized crime.
On the Gomery Inquiry:
Then Judge Gomery took his hearings onto cable TV. Night after night, Canadians heard firsthand stories of tens of thousands of dollars in cash left in envelopes on restaurant tables, of alleged Mafia figures giving orders to party chairmen, of kickbacks, bribes, and fraud. ..
On Paul Martin and how he secured the votes to survive the budget vote:
Paul Martin has always benefited immensely from his reputation as the Mr. Clean of the Liberal party. ..

The first thing he had to do was trample on Canada's constitutional traditions. ..


And then Canadians learned the reason why: Over the period that the Martin government had been losing vote after vote in the House, it had been secretly negotiating with the disappointed loser of the Conservative party's 2004 leadership contest, Belinda Stronach, the billionaire heiress to an auto-parts and land-development fortune.

I've only quoted bits and it deserves to be read in full, especially the five reasons he offers to explain the public's reluctance for a change in government. (Link via Newsbeat1.)

Mark Steyn tells of reading The Globe and Mail on a recent airplane flight. He's not overly complimentary. Then he spies a video monitor which instructs “To begin, press EXIT.”

From Exit strategy by Mark Steyn:

The Liberal Party of Canada” isn’t the catchiest name for a Quebec biker gang. .. it’s essentially engaged in the same activities as the other biker gangs: the Grits launder money; they enforce a ruthless code of omerta when fainthearted minions threaten to squeal; they threaten to whack their enemies; they keep enough cash on hand in small bills of non-sequential serial numbers to be able to deliver suitcases with a couple hundred grand hither and yon; and they sluice just enough of the folding stuff around law enforcement agencies to be assured of co-operation. The Mounties’ Musical Ride received $3 million from the Adscam funds, but, alas, the RCMP paperwork relating to this generous subsidy has been, in keeping with time-honoured Liberal book-keeping practices, “inadvertently lost.”
After a nice transition to a bit where he reminds us that the Westminster system depends on a certain modesty and circumspection from the political class he suggests an exit strategy.

Posted by Debbye at 07:24 AM | Comments (5)

June 15, 2005

Those Grewal tapes (still)

June 15 - Whether they are altered, edited, or doctored, the Grewal tapes are still controversial.

Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe seems to believe the contents of the tape are genuine, and says the Liberals are lying:

Duceppe said the prime minister has systematically refused to answer questions about when he became aware of backroom discussions with Tory MP Gurmant Grewal.

"When did he know? Did Paul Martin participate in a criminal act?" Duceppe said yesterday outside Parliament.

"He refuses to answer. And it's been a while. We're getting tired of being lied to, right in our face (by Liberals). "They're lying in the House. They're lying to the public."

Top Liberals were heard on tape discussing career opportunities with Grewal in exchange for missing a May 19 confidence vote.

The opposition insists the talks with Grewal were possible violations of anti-corruption provisions in the Criminal Code.

Martin spokesman Scott Reid said the Bloc leader is basing false allegations on doctored tapes.

The tapes are in the custody of the RCMP, and they will eventually get around to examining them (snark.)

Posted by Debbye at 02:05 PM | Comments (4)

Italians consider dumping the Euro

June 15 - Italians consider trashing euro, returning to lira:

Roberto Castelli, the silver-haired Italian justice minister from the Northern League, a major coalition partner in the government of Silvio Berlusconi, said his party will present concrete proposals this week for calling a referendum on ditching the euro.

"Does [the British pound] sterling have no economic foundation because it is outside the euro?" he asked. "Is Denmark living in absolute poverty because it is outside the euro? Are Swedes poor because they are outside the euro?"


Nevertheless, government economists say privately Italy could gain short-term economic benefits from leaving the euro.

By devaluing its currency, Italy could immediately boost exports, jobs and manufacturing investment. The real value of Italy's massive public debt, equivalent to some 105 percent of gross domestic product, could be slashed by devaluation.

EU leaders are furious about rebellious Italian dissatisfaction with the single currency. "It is just inconceivable that a country could envisage dropping out of the euro," said Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of postage-stamp-sized Luxembourg, which is currently the revolving European Union president.

Posted by Debbye at 01:53 PM | Comments (17)

Good news! The mob scares Canadians more than we do!

June 15 - If you find this headline shocking then you clearly haven't been paying attention: Canadians see Bush, bin Laden as national security threats. But wait: the facts of the story are far more interesting than it first appears for reasons which, strangely enough, are not explored in the article:

TORONTO -- Canadians believe U.S. President George W. Bush is almost as great a threat to our national security as Osama bin Laden, according to a government opinion poll obtained by the National Post.

The 1,500 people contacted for the poll, conducted last February for the Department of National Defence, listed "International Organized Crime" as the top danger, with 38 per cent ranking it as a great threat to security concern and another 50 per cent listing it as moderate.

But tied for second in the poll were "U.S. Foreign Policy" and "Terrorism," with 37 per cent rating it a great risk. Just behind those worries came "Climate Change and Global Warming." (Emphasis added)

Organized crime worries Canadians, but the article doesn't touch on that but rushes over to the number 2 concern.
Experts said the results reflected a continuing "schizophrenia" in the Canadian public's attitudes towards defence -- still worried about international terrorism even three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, but also concerned about the power and aggressive policies of the Americans.
One expert (me) says that the continuing schizophrenia is manifested by an exclusive focus on the second highest rated threat rather than the first.
The poll, by Ekos Research Associates Inc., surveyed Canadians' attitudes towards a wide range of defence, military and national security issues, part of an annual public opinion polling process by the Department of National Defence.

It was considered accurate within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Most of those contacted for the poll had "great confidence" in the Canadian Forces' ability to respond to natural disasters in Canada, but only 25 per cent felt the same way about how our military would handle a terrorist attack on Canadian soil.

That's just sad. It's akin to feeling confident about the ability of the fire department to rescue a cat stuck up in a tree but not about their ability to handle fires.
The poll suggested other security concerns preying at the public's mind include "Weapons of Mass Destruction," listed as a great danger by 30 per cent of those surveyed, and "Potential Weaponization of Space," which 26 per cent of those polled found a great concern.

Health threats, such as the SARS outbreak of 2003, nuclear threats, natural disasters and countries in turmoil, such as Sudan or Haiti, were the least worrisome threats according to the poll.

Potential Weaponization of Space. Right. That is clearly of far more concern than genocide in Sudan. (Now you know why prices for tin foil have risen.)

Still, I find it odd that organized crime would rate as a higher cause of concern than U.S. foreign policy and terrorism, unless (and this is a long shot) respondents have take the "Librano" definition to heart, in which case the poll results may be more interesting than the article lets on.

14:22: Via Neale News, according to the latest Angus Reid Consultants poll, health care is the top concern of Canadians followed by poor government and leadership issues.

International issues / War / Peace are way at the bottom at 2%, tied with Unemployment, Same sex marriage and Crime / law and order.

Don't you just love polls?

Posted by Debbye at 05:54 AM | Comments (17)

Reclaiming Sept. 11 website

June 15 - It didn't take long for a website dedicated to reclaiming the Sept. 11 memorial on behalf of those intended to be honoured to appear. You can visit Take Back The Memorial for the latest news on this project.

The opening statement says it all and with better restrained fury than I am capable of summoning.

It struck me that my letter(s) should properly go to the U.S. Ambassador to Canada and the U.S. Department of State.

Other ex-pats might want to consider a similar recourse.

Posted by Debbye at 05:28 AM | Comments (0)

The future of the U.N. (updated)

June 15 - First the past: Two E-Mails Contradict Annan on Oil-for-Food. Heh.

The June 13 NY Times previews a report from a Congressional committee on the U.N. which in its wording clarifies what the U.N. is:

In judging the United Nations and its lapses, the task force said it had focused on the responsibilities of the states making up the institution rather than just the institution itself.

"On stopping genocide," the report said, "too often 'the United Nations failed' should actually read 'members of the United Nations blocked or undermined action by the United Nations.' "

In other words, the U.N. is only as good as the members, and the majority of member countries are dictatorships.
In a foreword to the report, Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Mitchell said they were "struck by the United Nations' own receptivity to needed reforms" but added that the changes "must be real and must be undertaken promptly."


While the report noted the damage caused by the [U.N. Oil-for-food] scandals, it stressed that one of the consequences was that the United Nations' top leadership realized the need to make fundamental changes. "Real change may now be possible without resorting to the stick of U.S. financial withholding," the report said.

In its only reference to Mr. Annan's term in office, it said that a "fundamental criterion" in selecting his successor when his term is completed at the end of 2006 should be "management capability."

The report said that the institution's current problems stemmed from the politicization and bureaucratic unwieldiness of decision-making in the General Assembly and Security Council and "absurd level of member state micromanagement" as much as they do from failures in Mr. Annan's leadership.

While crediting Mr. Annan with proposing changes, the report faulted him for lack of follow-through. "The secretary general has often put forward good-sounding reform proposals then failed to push hard against predictable resistance from staff and member states," it says.

06:10: The Opinion Journal weighs in on John Bolton's potential confirmation vote today and how the proposed reforms may be the U.N.'s last chance.

Posted by Debbye at 03:55 AM | Comments (1)

Protecting the border

June 15 - Canada: Armed Agents Needed on U.S. Border:

While U.S. Border Patrol agents along the frontier are armed, officers of the Canada Border Services Agency are not allowed to carry firearms. They currently are instructed to call the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or local police if they run into a threat and, as officers testified before the committee, that help is often extremely slow in coming.

"The committee has reluctantly come to the conclusion that if the federal government is not willing or able to provide a constant police presence at Canada's border crossings, current border inspectors must be given the option of carrying firearms," the report says. (Emphasis added)

Another proposal calls for Canada to allow up to $2,000 in duty-free goods from the United States by 2010, freeing up customs agents to focus on potential threats to security rather than acting as tax collectors.

"Canada needs a system within which personnel on the crossings are border officers first and clerks second — the reverse of the current situation," the report says. "Raising personal exemptions for travelers will help border officers better direct their attention to border security rather than revenue collection." (Emphasis added)

Double ouch.

Posted by Debbye at 02:52 AM | Comments (1)

The fork in the road

June 15 - Even though I don't often post about Iraq, it is never far from my mind. It is painful to read that bombs kill 28 but it reminds us of what kind of people are held at Gitmo: monsters who deliberately target and murder civilians. Such acts are clearly outside the rules of engagement and that is why the Geneva Convention, which sought to protect civilians, takes a harsh view of "illegal combatants."

It is beyond my comprehension that so much sympathy is wasted on those of their ilk rather than on their victims, who are guilty of nothing more than going to work or shopping (much as were the victims of Sept. 11.)

At some point the high road taken by left wingers came to an abrupt end and the road forked. Their ideals were confronted by their anti-anything-American, and they found themselves confronted by the same philosophical, moral and ethical dilemma that has challenged us all since Sept. 11.

The failure of the left is that they thus far refuse to recongize that there is a challenge which requires they think through their ideology and adapt. Rather, they remain frozen at the fork, seemingly unable but perhaps incapable of departing from their traditional anti-Americanism to offer ideas and solutions in this new war with an enemy which, they shouldn't need reminding, implacably opposes all our beliefs in tolerance and human rights.

One curious item in the report from Iraq is on the arrest of Jassim Hazan Hamadi al-Bazi, also known as Abu Ahmed:

In announcing the arrest of al-Bazi, the government said he built and sold remote-controlled bombs used in roadside attacks from an electronic repair shop in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

He sold the bombs for about $18,000 each "and was involved in building suicide vehicle" bombs and land mines that were used in Balad and Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, the statement said.

I would like to take that to mean that they are worried about funding, but I suspect that al-Bazi was feathering his own nest.

Paradoxically, his rights will be protected only because the Iraqi government he is trying to destroy adheres to the sanctity of those rights, whereas the government he wishes to impose does not. Had he been caught under the reign of the Islamofascists or the Ba'athists, he would have endured torture and a painful death.

And the left would have been silent.

04:49 - Dr. Sanity charts La Belle Indifference of the mainstream press and, were I not inherently tech-challenged, I would try to devise a similar one for the Canadian media and the current political crisis.

Tables may defy me, but I can make a list!

Item #1 - PM Martin said he was mad as hell over Adscam, but Opposition Leader Stephen Harper is faulted for appearing angry.

Those who adhere to a double-standard cannot be considered impartial or objective.

Posted by Debbye at 02:32 AM | Comments (0)

In praise of male shoppers

June 15 - Sorry for the lapse in posting. As many of you know, I work in retail. Christmas and Father's Day are real challenges and remind me how very much I adore male shoppers.

Men* are terrific shoppers. They come, they see, they buy.

Oh, there's the occasional dithering over ties, but generally they are in Hunting Mode: moving silently and unobtrusively through the terrain seeking their prey and, upon bagging it, exiting the bush.

Christmas and Mother's Day finds men - and their progeny - in perfumes and household wares. They acquire items like Calvin Klein's CK Summer One 2005 and toaster-ovens - already boxed - and depart. It takes 30 minutes tops.

When the more adventurous traverse women's wear, they too are in Hunting Mode: move a few steps, pause and observe. Repeat until they see something they really like, ask for help, and tell the associate that the intended recipient is "about your size." (Although there are those who are better prepared because they checked the woman's closet and noted what size is on the majority of her clothes; that seems to be a learned trait, though.)

Christmas and Father's Day heralds the arrival of female shoppers - and their progeny - in droves to Men's Wear. I predict the vast majority of Toronto fathers will receive a dress shirt and a tie for Father's Day.

Women do not merely feel the fabric, check the size, and make their purchases. Nooo, they behave as though they are in Women's Wear, and must touch, feel and examine every single item in sight - not because they are considering a purchase, but because it is their imperative. They are neither silent nor unobtrusive.

Needless to say, I bless them all because with every purchase they ensure my continued employment, but anyone who believes women are inherently neater and tidier than men has never worked in retail.

*Some male shoppers - the teenage variety - aren't strictly speaking shoppers: they are there to check out female shoppers of the teenage variety. They too are in Hunting Mode but their tactics are different.

Posted by Debbye at 01:25 AM | Comments (5)

June 12, 2005

Those Grewal tapes

June 12 - Does one really have to be a rocket scientist to see the blindingly obvious? I can well believe that Tory support plummets because the poll (surprise, surpise) focused attention on a secondary issue.

Decima also asked the respondents to its poll, which is considered accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times in 20, to indicate whose version of events they believed in the Grewal affair. Specifically, they were asked who they believed initiated the discussions about Mr. Grewal crossing the floor.

About 25 per cent sided with the Liberals, who said the Conservative MP initiated the conversation, compared with 23 per cent siding with Mr. Grewal, who said he was called by the Liberals.

If we are to take it as a given that there are serious questions about Grewal's ethics, then the proper question is why on earth Prime Minister Martin's chief of staff Tim Murphy and Minister of Health Ujjal Dosanjh were even talking to him to about crossing the floor, yet this poll sidesteps that issue.

Who made the first overture is not the point; what is alarming is that discussions were held with someone who is supposedly under investigation for misconduct in an immigration matter, and the final discussion on the tapes were held in Grewal's office, which means that Tim Murphy was pursuing the discussions and was free to leave at any point.

Although we often refer to Canada as a one-party state, one thing we overlook is that, in a one-party state, the only way to "get ahead" is to be a member of that party.

Perhaps that's why Benoit Corbeil's allegations that lawyers routinely traded "volunteering" for Liberal party candidates in return for bench appointments were less shocking than they should have been because we secretly suspected that this was indeed the case and that the appointments were due less to competency than to political connections.

The ethical crisis in Canada lies not so much with the political parties and their elites as with the Canadian (or Ontarian) electorate which has chosen to accept the corruption and patronage appointments as "business as usual" and thus admitted, in effect, that this is the best Canada can ever be.

There is a direct correlations between a country's ideals and how strenuously they attempt to achieve those ideals. When, in the name of sophistication, the citizens of a country fail to strive for honesty and ethics in government, they thereby bequeath to their children mediocrity. That is not a legacy they of which can be proud.

Posted by Debbye at 05:50 PM | Comments (47)

June 09, 2005

Poundmaker update

June 9 - The Poundmaker protest continues but they are running out of money and the car they relied on for transportation has broken down.

Darcey has a brief update and adds

I am guessing they would appreciate moral support so be sure to take some time and email your greetings to Tyrone to pass on: tyrone45 at nativeweb.net.
He linked to this analysis by Lance of Catprint in the Mash which makes several good points about the specifics of the electoral process which laid the groundwork for the protest and how the deficiencies of that process are being challenged. (I would quote some excellent portions, but I can't seem to copy excerpts alone.)

Short version: they are taking peaceful, legal action to redress their grievances. Would that the rest of Canada took note.

Sorry about the light posting - I slept through the day (yay!) and have to hit the road.

Posted by Debbye at 08:32 PM | Comments (1)

June 08, 2005

Reclaiming Sept. 11

June 8 - Debra Burlingame, the sister of the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, writes The Great Ground Zero Heist for today's Opinion Journal and states what should be obvious:

The so-called lessons of September 11 should not be force-fed by ideologues hoping to use the memorial site as nothing more than a powerful visual aid to promote their agenda. Instead of exhibits and symposiums about Internationalism and Global Policy we should hear the story of the courageous young firefighter whose body, cut in half, was found with his legs entwined around the body of a woman. Recovery personnel concluded that because of their positions, the young firefighter was carrying her.

The people who visit Ground Zero in five years will come because they want to pay their respects at the place where heroes died. They will come because they want to remember what they saw that day, because they want a personal connection, to touch the place that touched them, the place that rallied the nation and changed their lives forever. I would wager that, if given a choice, they would rather walk through that dusty hangar at JFK Airport where 1,000 World Trade Center artifacts are stored than be herded through the International Freedom Center's multi-million-dollar insult. (Emphasis added)
She concludes
Ground Zero has been stolen, right from under our noses. How do we get it back?
I've been struggling since I saw this item early this morning to find the right words about this, but I keep coming back to my initial impression.

Those who call themselves intellectuals habitually climb onto the corpses of true heroes and cynically exploit them to advance ideas that have little to do with those things that motivate heroes.

It's not elegant phrasing, but it's how I feel. Am I wrong?

There are an impressive series at links at Mudville Gazette on this controversy and, given those who are rallying behind this cause, this is one formidable group of people who will not be deterrred.

Time to reclaim Sept. 11.

Posted by Debbye at 08:51 PM | Comments (5)

Peters on aid to Africa

June 8 - Ralph Peters has some concrete proposals about The Smart Way to Aid Africa:

Educate the people: Nothing would be of more use to Africans than a long-term, comprehensive commitment from the United States to help them educate themselves at every level, from primary school through advanced-degree programs.

If you want to reduce disease, educate the people. If you want to break down violent rivalries, provide unbiased education. If you want to build economies, train workers. If you want to foster democracy, promote literacy.

In short, if you want to help Africa stop being a basket case, concentrate ruthlessly on education. Let the Europeans do the feel-good projects. Let celebrities give away granola bars. Stick to the mission of helping people learn.

Some African countries are significantly ahead of others in educational progress, but every one of them could use our help. Governments may be wary — despite their rhetoric, political bosses like to keep the poor ignorant (a rule that applies to our own inner cities as much as it does to Africa). But the people desperately want education.

When I visited Mozambique — one of the world's poorest countries — no one asked me for a handout. They asked about books and scholarships.

Good, no-nonsense ideas. (Link via Newsbeat1.)

Wretchard has two recent posts on Zimbabwe here and here.

The first entry contains a letter from Sister Patricia Walsh of the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe and speaks for itself. The second entry is about "Stay Away" which seems to be a 2-day general strike at minimum and the quoted sections hint at possibly more. The bigger danger lies in how Mugabe will react should millions of people flout his authority.

Wretchard muses on the possibility that the U.S. has contingency plans should events in Zimbabwe erupt. I'd guess that the U.S. would prefer the kind of approach used in Liberia, but South Africa's Mbeki would be unlikely to go against Mugabe until the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorated far below what we could in all good conscience countenance.

(Note: the NY Post requires free registration. Sigh.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:01 PM | Comments (11)

HR committee passes bill on reforming the U.N.

June 8 - By a vote of 25-22, the House International Relations Committee passed a U.N. Reform Bill, short-titled The United Nations Reform Act of 2005 (.pdf) which ties U.S. funding of the U.N. to reforms in that institution.

From Fox,

Among the reforms demanded are new accountability measures, the establishment of an independent oversight board with broad investigative authority through the Office of Internal Oversight Services and new procedures to protect whistleblowers. The OIOS, under the bill, would have the authority to initiate investigations into mismanagement and wrongdoing, establish procedures to protect U.N. employees or contractors who report allegations of misconduct and establish policies to end single-bid contracts.
I guess it hardly need be noted that many of those reforms are also needed in Canada.
"Scandals involving the Oil-for-Food program, peacekeeping operations, the World Meteorological Society, the World Intellectual Property Organization, as well as alleged wrongdoing by high-level staff have illustrated the systemic weaknesses in the U.N.'s current oversight efforts," reads a statement from Hyde's office outlining the bill's main points.

U.S. lawmakers also want new rules for financial disclosure, including forcing senior U.N. officials to declare their financial interests. They also are asking for an ethics office to be created to ensure those officials don't take advantage of their position overseeing certain measures to line their own pockets.

The reform act also insists on more stringent codes of conduct for U.N. peacekeepers and stronger investigation of allegations of rape and abuse on U.N. missions. It mandates that the United Nations adopt a single, enforceable, uniform code of conduct for all personnel serving in peacekeeping missions and that peacekeepers are trained on the requirements of that code. The code also should be translated into the native language of the peacekeeping troops, the bill says.

Additionally, the Hyde bill calls for the creation of a centralized database to track cases of misconduct to make sure those individuals aren't sent on future peacekeeping missions. Alleged misconduct should be independently investigated by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office of Internal Oversight Services, according to the bill.

Democrats opposing the bill believed that the reforms should not be tied to U.S. funding.

U.N. officials responded as one might expect:

The United Nations would not comment on specific reforms, but U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the organization itself have been "very clear" on the issue of tying U.S. funds to U.N. reform and that "withholding as a tool for reform is not one we feel works."

Posted by Debbye at 06:21 PM | Comments (6)

Jihadists in Lodi?

June 8 - I'm having trouble dealing with this story, Feds Probe Possible California Terror Cell, mostly because I've been to Lodi and it was small.

Guess it's grown, though; according to this, it had an estimated population of 61,027 in 2003.

But still, Lodi? I guess the residents are even more shocked than I am.

Posted by Debbye at 05:52 PM | Comments (4)

"Madison" and "Adams" join the Monarchist

June 8 - I hope Americans and Canadians have been sufficiently intrigued by the links to The Monarchist to continue to read their current outpouring and read their archives.

There are welcoming some new members of that team with familiar names: Madison and Adams, who charges right in with An Atheistic Individualist Defense of Monarchism. (He doesn't say, but I assume the writer is invoking John, not Samuel, Adams.)

The sorest grievance of our Founding Fathers was that they were denied their rights as free Englishmen, and that could not and would not be borne. I think that this Adams incarnation can safely be regarded as one who found a sympathetic hearing from the Crown and Parliament, which brings to bear the "what if" line of historical reasoning which is somewhat applicable in a Canada which was populated by Loyalists but who retained nonetheless a recognition of their duties and rights as Englishmen in this country.

[I mean no disrespect to Quebeckers or Acadians, yet I think it accurate to say that the philosophical connotations of being "free Englishmen" is deeply ingrained in the unfolding of the political histories of the U.S.A. and Canada - at least pre-Trudeau - which is the only basis on which an Adams might still be arguing on behalf of the monarchy. ]

I realize that the teaching of American history has changed a great deal since (ahem) my day, but, if we are to reclaim our heritage, the full recognition of what our traditions and institutions owe to Mother England must be acknowledged and respected, and it wouldn't hurt Canadians to do the same.

Yet at the end of the day, I am an American and thus willing to place my hopes in the works and dreams of men, not the intervention of monarchs however benign and most definitely not in the intervention of someone appointed without Parliamentary review to represent that monarch.

Nonetheless, the site has some of the most thought-provoking essays I've read, and I don't think I'm being overly complimentary when I compare their work to that of Stephen den Beste. I'm only speaking for myself, but some of the essays I've read have resulted in my leaving the computer to pace and reflect on the points they've made.

There are aspects of the Parliamentary system which jar an American consciousness. There are no fixed terms, but that is supposed to provide a different kind of check - yet a check nonetheless - on tyranny:

What the Liberals don't seem to understand is that it is not for the government to determine if it has the confidence of the House, it is the members of the House who make that determination. And a majority of them have just voted for the government to resign on a procedural motion, which obviously constitutes a very serious challenge to the continued legitimacy of their authority to govern this country. The only way for them to get out of this mess now, is to seek clarification from the House at the earliest possible opportunity (as in today), that they still have the democratic and constitutional authority to carry on.
Yet that clarification was delayed until the vote was rigged, which leaves Canada in a limbo state that far too few in Ontario recognize.

I took a Canadian history class, and (perhaps unfortunately) exposed my far too open American nature when I expressed disbelief on learning that such was not mandatory in the Ontario school system. That may explain part of the reason Canadians did not take to the streets when the Martin Rogue Government failed to "seek clarification from the House" at the earliest opportunity - too few realized that respect for parliamentary safeguards as well as protocol demanded the Liberals call that vote immediately and not at a time of their choosing.

We Americans cannot afford to be smug on this: our own school systems have failed to provide comprehensive civics classes which would give our younger citizens a working framework to understand the traditions and workings of our own government, and we should look to the current crisis in Canada as a red flag moment for our own country.

One example: you will not find the phrase "separation of church and state" anywhere in the Constitution, yet far too many Americans believe it resides there, and some of those misguided citizens are lawyers and journalists who ought to know better.

For Canadian readers, it is not so necessary to agree with views advocated by the essayists of The Monarchist as it is to read and study them. Such writings in my country came to be known as a collection of works called "The Federalist Papers" which informs our consciousness to this day, and as Canada finds herself on the brink of an identity crisis, it might be useful to be open to more than one frame of mind before declaring the debate ended.

Posted by Debbye at 05:26 AM | Comments (11)

June 07, 2005

Putin and the rollback of democracy in Russia

June 7 - Long but interesting read in the Washington Post on The Rollback of Democracy In Vladimir Putin's Russia (may require free registration).

Posted by Debbye at 01:31 PM | Comments (2)

Not on Maya's watch!

June 7 - This is The best Chicago dog story ever!

The [120-pound] pit bull first latched onto the boy's groin, and then bit into his ankle, police said. His 9-year-old sister, who was walking with him, began swatting at the dog with her book bag. The boy yelled for his sister to run away so she wouldn't get hurt. That's when Montiel and her son went for the door to help.

"In our minds, we were going to go out and save the boy," she said. "But our dog had other plans."

As soon as their front door opened, Maya [a 74-pound black Lab] blew by, knocking the Montiels over "like bowling pins," she said. Montiel went down and Michael hit a wall.

Maya bounded down all eight stairs of her front porch in one leap, aimed for the pit bull and bit.

India let go of the boy, and as he fled with his sister, the two dogs began circling each other, Montiel said. Soon, India got the best of the smaller Maya and locked onto her neck.

The police arrived and it took 7 bullets to bring the pit bull down, which later had to be euthanized.

Maya is recovering, but may need further surgery. Teachers and workers at the school attended by the sixth grade boy who was attacked have taken up a collection.

(Via Mudville Gazette, who have their own dog photos posted.)

Posted by Debbye at 01:09 PM | Comments (8)

Further down that road

June 7 - Michael Yon continues the narrative of his travels in Iraq. After leaving Dohuk (his visit was recounted here,) he travels a bit further afield to a Yezdina village inhabited by a people who practice an unusual and ancient religion and his visit with Mr. Qatou Samou Haji Aldanani, the Headman of the village, is to relive the past 25 years of Iraq's history.

Future possbilities and memories of the past merge in Michael Yon's Lost in Translation.

Posted by Debbye at 12:04 PM | Comments (2)

New EU Constitution

June 7 - The Daily Telegraph proposes A healthy Constitution which sounds somewhat familiar on first read.

I especially like this part:

VIII Any uncertainty arising from ambiguities in this Treaty shall be resolved in favour of the individual citizen rather than the state, and of national governments rather than European institutions.
(Via Peaktalk.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:15 AM | Comments (5)

June 05, 2005

The Tipping Point, Part II

June 5 - Americans may well wonder that a blog titled The Monarchist has produced some of the most stirring and urgent writings on behalf of liberty in Canada that I've ever read.

(In truth, I wonder myself but I am also bemused by my own feelings for and loyalty to a Queen whose ancestor was utterly reviled by my ancestors so have just filed that contradiction away in the belief that insight will come in its own time.)

Walsingham wrote a follow-up to the widely acclaimed Tipping Point (which dispensed with any last beliefs that all Canadians are inherently passive) and in The Tipping Point - Part II, the basic framework of consensual government and how the federal government have broken that bond is reinforced:

Because the truth is this: in democratic government, process not only matters, it is central. It matters more than anything else; more than any specific outcome that it might produce. The “true left” should understand that it is not simply that a corrupted process that worked against the right - and the West, and Quebec - this time around; might well work against them the next time. They should understand that faith in a process that is open, fair and consistent - i.e., in a government that is representative and responsible - is the only thing, other than tyranny and coercion, which can hold a society together for any length of time. Free men will consent to submit their wills to those of others only when they believe that they do so as the outcome of a process in which they have been heard, on a fair and equal footing, along with all others; and - most critically - that that same process will turn their way, if and when they come to command majority support. Nothing will dissolve the bonds and restraints that make a democratic society function – presuming, of course, that the society is composed of men and women who retain the capacity to be affronted by insult and injustice – faster than the discovery, by any semi-defined and quasi-permanent constituency, that the process is rigged against them.
Americans should recognize that argument; it was our permanent disenfranchisement that lay at the heart of the War of Independence.

I have to go to work and wonder at my co-workers who are more afraid of Stephen Harper than those in government who have stripped them of their rights as free people.

Posted by Debbye at 09:15 PM | Comments (15)

What do you do when you wake up on Planet X?

June 5 - Answer: start a blog and call it Waking Up On Planet X!

As Candace explains, I fell asleep in a democracy ...

It is always cause to celebrate when insightful commenters choose to strike out on their own and start blogs, and given the political situation in Canada and the inclination of the media to elide (at best) or applaud (at worst) the brazen acts of this government, the voices of those who oppose the dismantling of democratic safeguards and the destruction of those institutions meant to separate partisan ends from the country's needs are the more urgently needed.

Welcome, Candace!

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

Got a hammer?

June 5 - Greyhawk's Dawn Patrol reports against a sobering backdrop:

Insurgent violence has claimed the lives of 12,000 Iraqis over the past 18 months, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Thursday, giving the first official count for the largest category of victims of bombings, ambushes and other increasingly deadly attacks.
The WaPo article then reports some news in Operation Lightening and thus tacitly acknowledges that there is just cause to hunt down the "insurgent" bastards.

This item actually appears a quarter through the Patrol, though, because Greyhawk prefaces today's entry with something he wrote last January after the Iraqi elections:

So amidst the triumph, I saw yesterday as a Memorial Day, of a sort, for those many who fell to make it possible. Some might try and use those deaths for their own ends, or to justify their belief that we should never have walked this path. Such people don't believe in heroes. They can't even comprehend this simple fact; no one is more opposed to war than the soldier. He knows the cost and has seen the carnage. But as I wrote at the top of the sidebar long ago: The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior, who prefers to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day he stands fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.

Today we re-build broken things. Grab a hammer or get out of the way. (Italics in original)

Read the whole thing, follow the links, then grab a hammer. There's lots to rebuild here, too.

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

Joseph Stephanides - fall guy?

June 5 - Fired U.N. Official Seen as Fall Guy. Ya think?

My mind is too full of similarities between Adscam and the OFF scandals to articulate them, and the involvement of Canadians Louise Frechette, Reid Morden and Maurice Strong bodes ill.

Now we can add another set-back to Canada's self-image as a caring society: Canada Free Press has an expose of yet another indication of the Strong family's hypocrisies, this time involving Oxfam, which uses Chinese slave labour to make their anti-povery wristbands.

Posted by Debbye at 03:01 AM | Comments (1)

Hong Kong remembers Tiananmen Square

June 5 - Hopes may be dashed for a day, but the spirit of liberty endures. Thousands Mark Tiananmen Square Anniversary in Hong Kong proving that the ideals and mettle of those students have achieved a place in history that not even the Chinese bureaucrats can erase.

There is also this fine tribute by Tuning Spork.

8:25 - Through seredipitous means, I happened upon a blog that reprinted Nicholas Kristoff's original reporat on the massacre which appeared in the NY Times on June 4, 1989. Time has not dulled the brutality of using tanks against human bodies.

Posted by Debbye at 02:55 AM | Comments (2)

Operation Lightening

June 5 - Marines Find 'Insurgent Lair' Outside Baghdad.

Air conditioning? I guess it is one thing to detonate bombs that will tear the limbs off of children in a marketplace but an entirely different thing altogether to be uncomfortable while planning those attacks.

Posted by Debbye at 02:48 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005

EU Referendum and bloggers

June 4 - Thanks to Dave J. for pointing the way to EU Referendum, a site that is discussing the UK referendum on the EU Constitution.

Of course, there are rules ...

The value of blogs for political debate away from the closed circles of the elites is becoming apparent in Europe. Nicholas has a very interesting post about a French blogger, who, in the words of the BBC, made the European elites feel "the sting of these online upstarts, the bloggers" by using the medium to articulate his opposition to the EU Constitution and whose essay was disseminated throughout France. He didn't single-handedly create the "Non" vote, of course, but I suspect that the enthusiastic reception of his writing indicates that in France too, the mainstream media is no longer speaking to or for the people.

Posted by Debbye at 02:25 PM | Comments (2)

Canadian Voices

June 4 - The Grewal tapes exposed something horribly wrong in this country. We've grieved and gotten angry, but that isn't enough.

There are some people out there determined to bring honour and integrity back to Canada, and a lot of them are at Harper Liberals .

Everyone has a different breaking point. These people have reached theirs.

Posted by Debbye at 01:41 PM | Comments (3)


June 4 - Glenda tagged me!

Number of books I own: On shelves or in boxes? Hundreds! I never throw a book away, and have lugged my books from university through 4 cities and 2 countries.

Last book I bought: To Dream in the City of Sorrows by Kathryn M. Drennnan. It's a Babylon 5 book and sheds some light on Sinclair's growth into becoming Anal'shok Na. (I really miss that show.)

Last book I read: Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen.

Books that mean a lot to me:

1. Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion, and the other collected works (including the fragments in Unfinished Tales) by J.R.R. Tolkien.

2. The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Goldhor Lerner.

3. Children: the Challenge, by Rudolf Dreikurs.

4. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein

5. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

I am tagging Tuning Spork who answers here, Broad at Bat, The Essay who responds here, and Nicholas who replies here.

June 9 - Expat Yank Robert also tagged me. His list is here.

Posted by Debbye at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2005

A road less well traveled

June 3 - One last link before I try to get some sleep, and it's about something that I for one really need: a smile.

Michael Yon, who is embedded with the historic Deuce Four, has a post and some photos from his stay in the Iraqi city of Dohuk outside of Mosul:

A visit to this place affords more than a break from the rugged routine of war; it also provides a postcard of a possible future for all of Iraq.
We can get so lost in operations, terrorist bombings in mosques and casualty figures that we feel as if all of Iraq is in turmoil and forget that most of Iraq's people are busily building, working and thriving because they have faith in their futures.

Many thanks to Mrs. Greyhawk's Dawn Patrol for linking us up to this all too rare look at what's happening in the sections of Iraq that few reporters see fit to visit.

Another bit of news: Jason Van Steenwyck re-upped. He was thinking of hanging up his spurs but, as he put it,

... my government is asking me to stay on one more year in command. And how can an officer turn down command?
I don't know!

Posted by Debbye at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)

That EU Referendum

June 3 - Pieter has an insightful post analyzing the results in the referendum on the EU Constitution in Holland. The diversity of opposition revealed a very basic flaw and how it could be addressed:

What is required in all member states is, rather than throwing pre-cooked and complicated documents in front of the voters, a debate about what Europe should look like first.
Essence precedes existence? Or in Yogi Berra's language, It's awfully important to know where you're going or you might not get there.

There's also a look at the vote in France and he also has some links to others' reactions, and a rather gloomy prediction:

Hitler or Mussolini references seem over the top but they do not come out of thin air. They reflect genuine fears on this side of the ocean that once more Americans will be called upon to help sort out another major European mess (from that perspective Bosnia was a telling precursor). As it is, there's very little appetite for a third major effort - in whatever form - on the old continent.
Sadly, the final sentence is all too accurate.

Posted by Debbye at 12:45 PM | Comments (2)

What Martin has learned from this period

June 3 - This morning I read that the PM vows to clean up mess:

MONTREAL (CP) - The Liberal party's efforts to rebuild its electoral fortunes in Quebec were reinforced Thursday evening with Prime Minister Paul Martin vowing not to let those responsible for the sponsorship scandal ruin the party's reputation for
honesty? decency? integrity? open government? adherence to Western standards of democracy? No, something ever so much more important:
rehabilitating the country's finances.

"We, the Liberals, put our government finances in order," he told a party fundraiser where an estimated 1,200 supporters each paid $500 to dine on grilled salmon.

"And we didn't do it so that a group of people could tarnish the reputation of our party and cause people to lose confidence in our country's political class."

WTF? Canadian confidence in the political class relied on a balanced budget? Was that why money was stripped from the provinces and the health care system crashed? Or maybe why there was a $41 billion overcharge on the pension plan? Or why the gas surtax, which was supposed to go toward highway maintenance, didn't? How about the extra charges levied on VHS tapes to promote Canadian artists? Surcharge on airline tickets to cover increased security costs? Missing HRDC funds? Gun-freaking-registry?

It was all about the balanced budget! (Now there's a slogan you don't often see on a protest placard.)

The Martin Comedy Revue continues:

Martin, who said he understood the disappointment of Quebecers and Liberals caused by the scandal, vowed to subsequently introduce measures to prevent a repetition of such abuses.
Been there, heard that. Specifics?
"As prime minister, I will do everything in my power to ensure that your government deserves your respect."
Ah, you see, that's part of the problem: the Prime Minister's Office has too much power. How about returning power to the House of Commons where it, you know, actually belongs! No?
Transport Minister Jean Lapierre told the gathering that the event demonstrated that the Liberal party is financed openly and not behind closed doors.
How does a salmon dinner prove that? Because it isn't a golf tournament? I suppose it is nice to know they can organize fund-raising dinners without Joe Morselli or Jacques Corriveau, but can they run a campaign without "fake volunteers?"
"We have nothing to hide. Our books are open and our hands are clean," said Martin's Quebec lieutenant, who was joined at the event by cabinet ministers from across the country, including Conservative-turned-Liberal Belinda Stronach, who received a standing ovation.
I'm going to be sick. Back in a sec.
"Tonight is the beginning of the reconstruction of the Liberal party throughout Quebec. We will rebound in Quebec thanks to the unwavering integrity of our leader, Prime Minister Paul Martin," Lapierre said.
And rebound in Saskatchewan! and in Newfoundland! and in Alber ... (maybe not.) Is he actually channeling Howard Dean? That would be really icky.
Recent opinion polls suggest, however, that the party faces an uphill climb to regain public support in Martin's home province. The Bloc Quebecois has consistently received about 50 per cent of support in polls, suggesting it was headed to winning a record number of Quebec's 75 seats.
If Martin's "unwavering integrity" is the best they can offer then there will be no challenge to the Bloc, because opinion polls cast doubt that voters believe he posseses any integrity, wavering or otherwise.
The audience delighted in Martin's attack on Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper for their "underhanded dealings" that he said are threatening the country's stability.
Clearly the crowd appreciated satire.
Martin said if Bloc MPs wanted to defend Quebec's interests, they would have supported the budget, which contains millions of dollars in annual spending for the province.
What is "bribe" in French? Never mind, the important thing is that Quebeckers recognized it as one and refused to be swayed by baubles and beads.
"Their objective is to destroy the country," the prime minister said. "And in that, they will never succeed."
Because the Liberals have that market cornered!
As for Harper, Martin questioned how the Tory leader can explain "his common agenda with the separatists."
You're losing 'em, dude. Everyone in the room knows why Harper and Duceppe joined forces: to get rid of you and your crooks. Try another tack.
Martin said the interests of Quebecers have been defended by Liberal MPs, senators and ministers who have spearheaded Canada's positions against participating in the U.S. anti-missile shield and in favour of ratifying the Kyoto protocol.
There you go: anti-Americanism plus "you're so progressive":
"Through its progressive ideals, its social values, and its innovative ways of doing things, Quebec plays a key role within Canada," he said.
So that's why the Liberal Party interfered with the political process in Quebec! They couldn't trust Quebeckers to, no, that doesn't track. Why did they interfere with the process in Quebec again?

The Canadian federal system is flexible and allows provincial experimentation and creativity, Martin added,
That's right, I had forgotten that the federal system is flexible (it's so flexible it can ignore non-conficence motions,) it experiments (it cheats,) it's creative (just check out the Adscam invoices! they even constructed a secret Olympic stadium in Rimouski!)
noting past efforts that produced pension plans and ongoing plans for early learning and child care.

Despite references to internal political battles, Martin spent much of his time outlining Liberal achievements over the past 12 years and the party's plans for the future.

As prime minister, Martin said he will follow his record as finance minister and not run deficits as have the other members of the G8.

"We have learned a very important lesson from this period. We can no longer allow the government to live beyond its means."

That is the very important lesson they have learned from this period: don't live beyond one's means.

To repeat: the Liberal minority government is embroiled in a Constitutional crisis, corruption scandals and may have been caught attempting to bribe an MP, and what did they learn? That the government cannot be allowed to live beyond its means.

PoliSci 101: the government has no means except that which it squeezes from us, the taxpayers, and given what has been promised to the provinces and the NDP, the ways in which this government can avoid a deficit are limited. They can raise taxes or renege on promises -- or both.

But the budget will be balanced. You have Martin's word on it because he knows what Canadians really want. Then all we private citizens have to do is learn to live within our (reduced) means.

Posted by Debbye at 09:22 AM | Comments (8)

June 02, 2005

The end of innocence

June 2 - There couldn't be a worse week to ramp up action at work!

The revelation as to the identity of "Deep Throat" has inadvertantly sharpened the differences between the scandals rocking Canada's Parliament right now and Watergate, and it isn't pretty.

The break-in at the Watergate Hotel eventually revealed illegal wiretaps on political activists, mail tampering, vandalising the Muskie and other campaigns, CIA activity on U.S. soil, and that U.S. presidents since Kennedy had habitually taped telephone conversations. Deplorable as those were, they were mostly acts of agencies that went beyond their mandates and, as a result of the hearings, they were curbed.

That is not what is being revealed in Canada. We should be so lucky up here for the scandals to be about agencies that went beyond their mandates - oh, for the good old days when the RCMP planted dynamite and burnt down barns!

The current scandals are all about personal gain - Adscam is about stealing money, plain and simple. The Liberals offering inducements to MPs to defect and/or abstain on the vote are the acts of a group of people who believe that others are as power-grubbing and mercenary as they are.

That is a poor reflection on Canadians, because the ease with which the Liberals and NDP were able to bribe the provinces and cities is itself an inditement.

When Inky Marks went public, it was pointed out that he had no proof. Grewal got that proof, and he is now being denounced for getting that proof.

It is hardly surprising that accusations of tape-tampering are being leveled, but to my mind the fact that Tim Murphy was in Grewal's office settles the matter: Grewal held the power, so Murphy went to him; Murphy could have walked out at any time; Murphy was in that office because Grewal had something Murphy wanted - a vote.

Had Grewal taped a conversation with a child pornographer in order to get evidence to take to the police he would be hailed as a hero. But he taped conversations that persuade that the worst fears about this government are true: that appointments are handed out as pay-offs - even important positions like Ambassadorships - and if competence is not even a consideration, it explains why government agencies up here are run so poorly. [Note I am not saying that Grewal is incompetent - only that they were going to offer him whatever he wanted, not what he was suited for.]

Watergate was a double-edged sword for Americans. The euphoria of being proven correct - that those funny sounds on our phones, late mail delivery, and strange looks at work were not all due to paranoia - was accompanied with sorrow, because our government had interfered with the right to organize legal, peaceful protests and thus our rights under the First Amendment.

That was the angst of Watergate - learning that being right brings its own costs.

The scandals rocking Canada are all about greed and the lust for power. Those who have long believed the Liberals are corrupt are being proven right, and we are finding it is not a cause to celebrate.

The part that is most perplexing is the failure of Ontarians - and the media - to realize that the Murphy scandal is far more serious than Adscam. The latter is about money, and greed is something we all encounter, but the former is maniuplating the powers of government, and that threatens far more than our pocketbooks.

If Canadians allow this to pass, then truly consensual government in Canada has gone from endangered species to extinction, and I doubt it can be revived by conventional means.

Posted by Debbye at 08:55 PM | Comments (6)

June 01, 2005

The Grewal tapes

June 1 - I've spent a greater portion of the day reading the Grewal tape transcripts and watching CPAC.

Between those and the new revelations as to the identity of Watergate's Deep Throat I am struck by the cosmic forces that have forced these two scandals to interweave in counterpoint.

Nixon's downfall was due to his attempts to protect his people; Martin is trying to do the same. The word "irony" springs to mind.

What can I possibly say? More importantly, what will Canadians say?

The transcripts of the Grewal tapes are in .pdf here, here, here, and here.)

June 3 - And the missing section here.

(Courtesy of Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:13 PM | Comments (9)