June 23, 2006

You can't make this stuff up

June 23 - Some quick hits: Charles Krauthammer pays tribute to our kick-ass cousins in Why I Love Australia. Do they show Australia Rules Football in the U.S.? The game is tough and gritty with daz-za-ling-ly dressed refs.

CBC execs try damage control (I know what you're thinking and no, Don Cherry didn't say anything that freaked out the Perennially Panties-in-a-Bunch Crowd):

CBC programming executives scrambled to do damage control yesterday in the wake of a firestorm that erupted after fans of The National learned that the flagship newscast would be bumped eight nights this summer for an American Idol knockoff reality show.

After announcing The National's schedule shift yesterday, The Globe and Mail received 50 e-mail messages from readers from readers enraged that the Peter Mansbridge-led news hour would be pushed back to 11 p.m. on Tuesdays, starting July 18 and ending the first week of September. (Emphasis added)

Kind of gives you an idea as to the size of CBC's loyal viewership.

N.B.: The Globe and Mail requires free registration. (Links via Newsbeat1.)

John Hawkins lists the Worst People in America as selected by bloggers and also his own selections and brief reasons for his picks -- and reminded me of some people I'd forgotten to despise. Only one of my picks didn't make it: Maureeen Dowd.

Attila girl wants silly pictures:

Send me pix if you want to participate: I'm interested in the silliest examples you've seen of cell phone towers dressed up to look like something else.
Ever wish al Zarqawi's Mom kept a blog? Hey, this is the internet, where all your secret fantasies are realized (via Kate.)

Ace highlights some reviews of the Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank affectionately (?) nicknamed "Donk."

And, in case you were worried about Saddam (cue dramatic music) he's ended his hunger strike after missing one whole meal. Damn. I was really conflicted: force-feed him or just let him starve to death?

Don't Pester the Teacher: Tony Snow did some great stick handling with Helen Thomas during today's White House briefing that included questions about the latest NY Times breach of national security story about the program to track money sent from al Qaeda operatives to and from the U.S. (I wonder how much President Bush's approval ratings will go up this time? Seems to me that, if the people at the NYT really wanted to hurt the Republican administration, they wouldn't print these stories. But what do I know?)

The other Snow, Treasury Secretary John Snow, also held a news conference on the program.

I just don't get it. You have a gaggle of reporters just dying to break a Watergate-type story, yet somebody has to explain to them about "follow the money" to track down wrong-doing? That was covered in the movie, wasn't it?

President Bush and Gen. Pace attended a T-Ball game today. The things you have to do when you're president ...

I need to get myself off to work (One. More. Night.)

Posted by Debbye at 04:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Terror Watch

June 23 - CTV reports that Saudi Arabia shootout kills 6 'militants' (another was arrested) after security forces "stormed a suspected al Qaeda hide-out":

One policeman was also killed in the clashes, it said.

The statement, carried by the official Saudi news agency, said security forces chased seven members with "deviant thoughts" who "belong to the astray bunch" to a house in Riyadh's al-Nakheel district. The Saudi government often refers to al Qaeda members as individuals with "deviant thoughts."

The house was "a hideout for crime, corruption, and a base for the plots of aggression and outrage," the statement said.

Why do the pronouncements from these guys always make me groan as much as did those incessant quotes from Chairman Mao's Red Book back in the day?

June 24 - 19:01 CTV reports that 17 were wounded in the attack and over 40 suspects have been arrested in sweeps after the raid.

Maybe the Saudis were feeling a bit left out what with all the arrests in Toronto, Britain, heavy action in Afghanistan and the recent U.S. arrests of 7 plotters:

Five of the suspects were arrested Thursday in Miami, after authorities swarmed a warehouse in Miami's poor Liberty City area, a federal law enforcement official said.

One person was arrested in Atlanta on Thursday, and another person was arrested before yesterday, according to CNN. (Bolding added)

(That last sentence made me giggle because I was expected a place, not a date, but it can't be that funny if I have to explain it.)

Most of the chatter on Fox is actually worth listening to because they are doing a great job of speculating about things that can only make wanna-be terrorists nervous -- like the rumour that the head of the terror cell was an FBI agent.

Our guys in Iraq continue to rack 'em up: on Monday a senior Al Qaeda operative and 3 others were detained (no names released.)

Sorry, I shouldn't be happy. I should be sombre, and Weighted With The Enormity Of It All, but I'm not. Maybe it's because it's Friday, maybe it's because we ducked another bullet, but more likely it's because Ace is hot on the story:

You will not be surprised that the "timing" of these "arrests" of "terrorists" is being "questioned."
His link to Allah is, as always, beyond funny.

Here's your CanCon and a return to seriousness: when I read the CNN headline (on the World page) "Rights boss: Stop terror abuse" I actually thought ... but no, alas, it was just

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, taking aim at the war on terrorism, reminded all states on Friday of their duty to ban torture and give all security detainees a fair trial.

In a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Arbour also voiced concern at the alleged existence of secret detention centres, saying they facilitate abusive treatment.

Although she mentioned no names, her remarks were clearly aimed at the United States and its allies in their "war on terror" launched after the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in 2001.

"It is vital that at all times governments anchor in law their response to terrorism," Arbour told the 47-member state body ahead of the U.N.'s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, being observed next Monday. (bolding added)

Your timing sucks, bitch. Consider

The torture and murders of two soldiers who, by all legal definitions, qualified for protection under the Geneva Convention: Private Thomas Tucker and Private Kristian Menchaca.

A government worthy of condemnation: Sudanese militias kill hundreds in Chad
Car bomb in Philippine market place kill 5, wounds 10 in a probable attempt to kill the governor of the southern province;
Tamil Tigers Caught Laying Sea Mines:

A POWERFUL explosion occurred off the coast north of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo today, with police saying it was probably a sea mine planted last week by Tamil Tiger rebels.

The explosion was heard about 15km from Colombo, near the site where police on Saturday arrested five Tigers in diving gear who were laying sea mines, Sri Lanka's police chief Chandra Fernando said.

"There are no reports of casualties. We are investigating," Fernando said.

"Last week we had information that there were eight sea mines. Seven were accounted for but we had not found one. The blast today is probably that mine."

Officials said sea mines were similar to limpet mines but magnetically attached to a ship's hull and could be triggered to explode by a time-delay fuse or by remote control.

One of the five arrested divers had swallowed cyanide and committed suicide to prevent being questioned, and another two who took cyanide were taken to hospital.

The terror attack links are in fact relevant to Arbour's admonition to "governments" as these terror attacks were undertaken by groups that intend to take state power. This one, howerver isn't because it relates to a man who, pre-Spider Hole, actually held state power and lied to the U.N.: Hundreds of WMDs found in Iraq.

And the NY Times continues their normal job of assisting the terrorists by revealing a clandestine program intended to follow the money:

WASHINGTON, June 22 — Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

Data provided by the program helped identify Uzair Paracha, a Brooklyn man who was convicted on terrorism-related charges in 2005, officials said.
The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.

Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia, the officials said.

I wonder if they are referring to Hambali. who provided the money, or to Canadian Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, who paid the bombers directly for the Bali bombing. *
The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department, "has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities," Stuart Levey, an under secretary at the Treasury Department, said in an interview on Thursday.
Maybe liberals are so shrill about the rights of terrorist because they also enable terrorists.

(Louise Arbour is a Canadian, if that needed clarification.)

*09:46 - FoxNews TV says it was probably Hambali.

12:23 - Newsbeat1 has a nice list of terrorists killed or captured since Zarqawi's death.

Posted by Debbye at 08:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 22, 2006

Stuff we always suspected ('cause we turned out so good)

June 22 - And now for something we always suspected about raising healthy children: Alpha Patriot reports on some studies that indicate that over-protecting and over-anetheticizing your kids is bad for their health.

I especially love the clip in which the The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents warns parents that healthy, energetic play may result in some boo-boos.

Let's bake up those mud pies!

Posted by Debbye at 09:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2006

Privates Thomas Tucker and Kristian Menchaca

June 21 - It was probably as well that I couldn't post this morning. I'm no less angry this evening, but the best steel is tempered and going white-hot in the moment diverts us from the aims of the war.

Anyone who, after Sept. 11, still believed we were dealing with a rational enemy, should have been disabused of that notion after the kidnapping and execution of Daniel Pearl. The video-raped beheading of Nick Berg and the triumphant circulation of that vicious act on the internet was yet another blow to individuals who, and I say this with respect, wanted peace instead of war.

Who the hell doesn’t prefer peace? But when the cost of peace means turning Iraqis and Afghans (and that's just for starters) over to the kind of monsters that murdered Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, and countless others, then excuse me for a second so I can grab my gun compose myself.

Bless today's uncompromising New York Post editorial (may require free registration) Barbarians

Thuggish, depraved butchers - that's what America is up against.
And John Podhoretz, who cautions that this latest barbarity may exploit our divisions and alter not only our strategy but also our principles:
But the kidnapping and apparent torture/murder of Privates Tucker and Menchaca may represent a new strategy. If similar kidnap efforts are successful, if this event was not a fluke but an ambitious new tactic to throw Coalition forces off-balance, then things are going to change in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq likely hopes to make service personnel believe themselves at risk of death by torture from any band of Iraqis they encounter - so that they'll act differently: cautious, suspicious, with the hypervigilance of someone in the midst of a battle. If it works, civilians who mean our armed forces no harm may find themselves shot or killed by mistake as a result of the hair-trigger posture our forces will have to assume to keep themselves safe.

Could anyone blame them?

The answer, of course, is yes. If this is a new strategy, it exists not only to terrorize American and Coalition forces but also to divide them from Iraqis - to sow fear and hostility that will go both ways, to cause an upsurge in resentment and anger toward U.S. forces.

Our soldiers already know this.

There is a further reason for cooler heads to prevail. I think it likely that this recent barbarity was an al Qaeda public relations stunt intended to shift focus from brutalizing Iraqis back to brutalizing coalition forces.

Al Qaeda's recruitment posters proclaim "Kill Americans, See the World." Their Iraq chapter has graphically demonstrated that they are returning to that basic theme in an effort to restore their reputations after Zarqawi's indiscriminate murder of Muslims revealed too much about the true nature of al Qaeda.

This isn't the first time we've been outrageously provoked (remember the bridge in Fallujah?) and it likely won't be the last, but we are not children, we are not to be diverted, and we will pursue this war to victory.

19:38 - Bombing an ice cream shop? Not exactly a high-value target, unless you are targeting kill civilians (or children.) The so-called insurgency is all about bloodletting, not politics. No matter their banner, all the anti-Iraqi forces have been unmasked and I think Zarqawi's legacy will be impossible for any of them to overcome.

20:00 - The Boston Herald drives home the point that the Silence deafening when U.S. is torture target (via Newsbeat1.)

Of course, torture is wrong yet if the inmates at Gitmo don't like rock music we can always alter our tactics. How about playing them some Gershwin? or Bernstein? Some Tiny Tim would be nice, but that's probably going too far.

Posted by Debbye at 09:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Fearless" James Loney

June 21 - Some proclaimed former hostage James Loney a hero. What. Fraking. Ever. I'm more inclined to scoff at those who are so desperate to produce a hero that they'd select someone who did nothing heroic (other than survive) rather than look to the fine men and women who voluntarily risk their lives for us every day in places like Afghanistan, but that's just me.

But giving him a "Fearless" award when his heroic feat was to conceal his homosexuality because his captors would likely kill him if they learned he was gay?

I was thinking on my way over here how surreal this is," the soft-spoken Loney told reporters.
Surreal doesn't even begin to describe this.

Posted by Debbye at 05:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2006

"Religion and politics are an explosive mixture" but ...

June 20 - I'm sick of double-talk. In the wake of the arrests of southern Ontario men alleged to be planning terror attacks here, Muslims condemn extremism:

The Muslim Canadian Congress gathered with the Bangladesh Association of Toronto to urge Muslims to be vigilant against the spread of extremist interpretations of Islam, which they said are spread by "misguided fanatic youth and their mentors."

"Imams and other clerics who peddle politics need to be told to take their politics to the electorate and not to the pulpit," said Tarek Fatah of the MCC.

"Religion and politics are an explosive mixture and invoking God on one's side in a political dispute is dishonest, callous and dangerous."

Fatah said Muslims shouldn't have to pay for the alleged crimes of the 17 terror suspects arrested this month.

"We want Muslims to know there is nothing to apologize for," Fatah said. "We can't run from this."

That last paragraph is a head-scratcher. I get the first sentence and I get the second sentence, but I have no idea what the two sentences taken together are supposed to mean.

The MCC urged the government to work toward finding a solution that will keep Muslim youth away from terrorist activity.

I'm not sure what they want the Canadian government to do, but somehow I suspect the Canadian taxpayer will be expected to foot the bill. Can't blame them for that - it's as Canadian as royal commissions. Or maybe it's supposed to be in exchange for no longer accepting foreign donations? (see next section)
They also called for an end of the occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and for a ban on foreign donations to places of worship.
Is it just me, or did the Muslim Canadian Congress, a religious organization, go on to make a political statement about Iraq and Afghanistan after saying that religion and politics should be separate?

It's far too easy to infer that they are connecting the Canadian presence in Afganistan (and the American presence in Iraq) to growing Islamic radicalism here, and there are bound to be some who will believe that it was an implicit threat that things could get worse if Canada does not withdraw from Afghanistan (although I think it more likely they were just doing a variation of "it was wrong but ...)

Same old, same old.

Posted by Debbye at 07:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Universal smugness

June 20 - Ouch. Hartley Steward doesn't pull his punches in 'Nice' people finish last:

So, have you dropped the idea of sewing a cute little Canadian flag onto your backpack to endear yourself to strangers when you holiday this year? There goes another precious Canadian conceit.

It seems that even the unbearable niceness of being Canadian won't keep you safe in this dreadful new world of ours. The smug Canuck smile has surely been wiped off your face by the gory details of the alleged Muslim terrorists' plans uncovered in Toronto.

But there's no reason for Americans - or Europeans, Australians, Indonesians, or anybody - to grin at Canadian discomfort because we've all been guilty of thinking our essential niceness and decency immunized us from hatred. Americans failed to learn after the first attack on the World Trade Center to take bin Laden's declaration of war seriously and we paid a terrible price for our stupidity in 2001.

Canadians, or more specifically Torontonians, ducked the bullet this time and only time will tell if enough took the lesson to heart, but people up here do have the regrettable advantage of having witnessed terror attacks where other "nice" people live such as New York, Bali, Madrid, and London.

Our paradox

We've all been raised to believed that people will respond to kindness with kindness and, by application, to tolerance with tolerance. Those notions remain valid and not ones we should discard, yet it's the exceptions to those rules that will kill us.

Canadians, as do most Westerners, need to figure out how to be both tolerant and vigilant. It is extremely difficult because it is a paradox, requiring simultaneous trust and distrust, and all the harder because experiences in both London and southern Ontario indicate that new converts were used, indicating (again) that those wishing us harm are not easily identified.

All in all, it’s kind of depressing that we’ve gotten to this point. Like everybody, I made some vows to myself in those early days after September 11. Most of them were echoed by millions of Americans, but there was one in particular that I knew might be the hardest to keep: to keep my anger focused on the actual evil-doers, not to lump all the members of that culture with said evil-doers, and to persevere in winning Muslim support against evildoers.

We all know that Japanese-Americans were placed in detention camps during World War II. We know that it was rationalized as being to protect Japanese-Americans when Japan invaded as U.S. soldiers would fire upon anyone who looked Japanese while repelling the expected invasion.

So, did anyone else fear that Muslim-Americans with roots in the Mid-east might be rounded up? C’mon, you know you did. Anyone who knows American history would have had the thought flash across his or her mind even if it were immediately rejected.

But, and it’s a big but, I think most of us would have hit the streets and protested against such a draconic move. That’s something the left doesn’t seem to understand about those of us who are determined to protect and defend our country, and that’s why so many of us were won over when President Bush early on made it clear that he regarded Muslims as allies, not enemies, and declared this war as one against the evil practice of terrorism.

We know that we committed a sin during World War II. And I know that, although my rage some days challenges my early vow, that same vow has provided ballast and returned me to my earlier conviction: that we — Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian – are in this together.

You're either with us or against us

Stewart lays it out:

The time has come for the international Muslim community to take some responsibility. It's time to squeal their heads off to security forces everywhere when they know something. Time to drop the dime on friends, neighbours, associates -- to show some courage and old-fashioned fortitude. Time to stop whining about a possible backlash against ordinary, law-abiding Muslims and begin to participate in the solution.

We don't need another lecture on our insensitivity to the Muslim world. We need help.

Note that he addresses this to the international Muslim community.

A more than substantial number of terror attacks have been carried out by Muslims, and those in Western cities were carried out by Muslims who had been living in or raised in Western countries. Those attacks were proclaimed to be in the name of Islam. Like it no, Muslims have been put on the proverbial spot and each thwarted and successful attack lessens the patience Westerners have for the counter-accusations of racism, victimhood and the outright denial uttered by far too many international Muslim leaders.

It really is a pity more liberals seemed incapable of of respecting the sincerity of Bush's call for tolerance after Sept. 11, but it would have been a far bigger pity if many Muslims hadn’t paid attention and, by choosing their allegiance and trusting their governments, helped expose cells like the one in Lackawanna and perhaps even this most recent Toronto cell.

The extent to which tips led to the takedown of international terror cells is impossible to ascertain and it might even be reckless to overly speculate on the subject, but logic tells us that some degree of inside information had to come into play.

That realization should counter outrage or any kind of opportunist backlash because, just as we do not always recognize the foe, we also do not always recognize the ally.

We were all forcibly enrolled in an intense training course on Sept. 11 and it is right that we hated being forced to take it, but don't forget that Muslims were also enrolled in that course and that Muslims were not only among the victims of Sept. 11 but have comprised the majority of casualties since.

In the end, Muslims have as large a stake in this war as do we, and we should never stop reaching out to those communities.

14:43 - I can't believe I failed to include the fact that success in fighting the terrorists in Iraq and Afganistan is largely due to the massive number of tips received by the police and armies as well as coalition forces in those countries. The grim degree to which Iraqis and Afghans have a stake in destroying terror networks there is beyond any dangers we've yet faced in North America.

[This was written Sunday but I've only now been able to publish. Sorry it's so stale.]

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Munu -- me in and (more often) me out

June 20 - My internet provider's frequent incapability to connect to Munu sites (including mine) continues to be a problem. Sometimes it lets me in long enough to start a post and then it loses the connection when I try to save.

I wouldn't be so angry if they had actually tried to address the problem, but when the same person asks me three different times in one conversation if I'm sure my modem is on then I get a little miffed.

This should all be resolved by Thursday because Hooray! We live in a country that allows consumers alternates.

Now let's see if this stupid post will publish.

Posted by Debbye at 11:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 18, 2006

Rules? In a knife fight?

June 18 - Comments are down to deflect spam attacks yet I am serene: the guy at my internet provider maybe managed to fix whatever was keeping me from mu.nu sites (and I hope I didn't just jinx all his efforts.)

This past week in Washington has been breathtaking if only for sheer insipidity. Of course I'm not saying that the renewed focus on Iraq is intended to distract us from dealing with border control and immigration issues (which are, despite Senatorial efforts to combine the two, entirely different problems) but I don't know if I should be angry, amused, or resigned when I hear a Democrat Congressman say that Zarqawi came to Iraq after the U.S. army. (I heard it on Fox, I don't remember the idiot's name, and my forgiving nature is more due to the fact that I am really bad at names than charity or forebearance in my nature.)

Now, I'm just a normal U.S. citizen who tried to exorcise my desire for revenge after Sept. 11 and examine the various suggestions as to how to best deal with the threat to my country without yielding to blood lust. I spent more time than my family liked reading various opinions and following the news (on the other hand, being glued to internet pages at least kept me quiet, so my family sensibly considered it an even trade.)

When then Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the U.N. back in 2003, I watched it on CNN and then read the speech on the internet. I had never heard the name Zarqawi prior to that address nor had I known that an al Qaeda terror camp specialising in chemical weaponry operated in northern Iraq but I did know, because it was widely publicized at the time, that Saddam Hussein had increased the cash award to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers to $25,000. That, for me, was sufficient evidence that Iraq under Saddam funded terrorism and the confirmed link to al Qaeda that Powell offered was additional, not primary, proof that we needed to deal with Saddam and end his support to terrorists. (If I haven't made it clear a sufficiently tiresome number of times already, I consider terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians to be acts of terrorism.)

Now I don't know why someone elected to national office who presumably considers himself to be sufficiently informed so as to speak to the issue on national television (much less vote in the House) didn't know that Zarqawi was operating out of Iraq long before we invaded. I am willing to assume that he is ignorant rather than mendacious (as in by her excuse she damned him.)

One significant point in Powell's speech that provided a key point of clarity was the term "nexus of terrorism" -- a phrase and comprehension that I believe seperates those of us who demand victory in the war on terror and understand that the limits by which many would constrain us also separate us from those who aspire merely for a stalemate.

Quo vadis?

I watched the movie Network tonight with several terrific people (sadly I worked last night and didn't wake up early enough to meet or hear the iconic Darcy and friends) and, although I had seen the movie before, the issues it raised were extremely disturbing even thirty years after it was made.

I find I have been stymied in my writing because I'm tired of reitering the same arguments -- yet I also recognize that we are losing the edge we need to fight this war because that which we call the MSM is truly meant to entertain than to inform.

Ain't the blogosphere grand? I didn't even have time to dwell on this before I read Gerard's terrific post "RULES? IN A KNIFE FIGHT?": Redrafting the Rules of Engagement in the First Terrorist War which crystallized much of my irritation with how ridiculously far we are going to accomodate the enemy even as we fail to assert that our goal is victory and to do what it takes to win.

Victory, people. Not a stalemate, a draw, or defining a new line of engagement. Total, complete, annhilatory victory. Read the whole thing.

Bottom line: if loudly playing hip-hop music is "torture" then many parents of teenagers can now seek recourse in the courts. (Needless to say, if it is rock music the kids are blasting out then some of us parents have the consolation of knowing our kids have good taste.)

Hell, I'm doing what I've done too often: making a stupid joke to obscure how furious I really am.

Let's put it on a personal level: suppose your child is missing. Suppose you have very good reason to believe your child's life is in danger. Suppose some bastard knows where your child is and the identity of the person(s) threatening said child.

What would you do? And how moral are we be if we wouldn't do exactly the same for any child? And how quickly have some forgotten that, on Sept. 11, aboard AA Flight 77, students, i.e, children were flying to LA for a National Geographic conference?

There are things about which I am intractable. Anyone who can look into the eyes of a child yet not be swayed from murderous intent is a monster, and we slay monsters, not coddle them much less want to understand them.

If we aren't willing to defend our children then we are useless and need not concede defeat becuase we have already been defeated. It's really as simple as that.

Posted by Debbye at 01:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 17, 2006

Letting people choose

June 17 - Posting continues to be difficult: the denial of service attacks targeting My Pet Jawa have affected alll Munu sites (despite the inconvenience, there's also some satisfaction that a fellow Munuvian is pissing off the right people but that is offset by the infuriating fact that the Jawa Report is still off-line) plus my ISP seems to have intermittent problems finding the the Munu server. At least I have options if my ISP can't resolve the second problem.

Indeed, one of the fundamental values of Western civilization (and capitalism) is that there are a variety of options for most situations, yet when we women make choices that don't fit with what other women believe we should do there is an incredible amount of spin to make it appear that what we have freely chosen is evidence of victimhood.

For example, child-care advocates continue to be baffled by a strange phenomenom in Alberta and British Columbia. Despite the West being one of the "hottest job markets" in the country, more women in theose provinces are leaving the workforce and the numbers are especially high for women with children under the age of six. Now I'm no expert, but it seems to me that they are opting to stay home with the kids until they enter school.

Shocking, huh? They could have jobs, you know, yet they choose to stay home and focus on raising their young children during "the formative years."

But the author of the study concludes that this is due, among other factors, to the lack of child care::

The author of the study, Francine Roy, says women are entering and exiting the job market for reasons that have little to do with financial need.

Instead, Roy argues that factors such as the availability of day care, educational levels, number of children and the type of employment drive women's participation in the workforce.

"The rising participation rate of women in eastern Canada appears associated with greater use of daycare and higher education levels in Quebec, lower birthrates in the Atlantic provinces, and a lower proportion of immigrants than in the West," Roy writes in the study.

One of the implication seems to be that lack of education causes a woman to make poor choices - like stay at home and raise her own kids. The CTV item doesn't include any data from the study supporting any of Roy's conclusion (which doesn't necessarily mean there was none) but it is fairly apparent that her bias has led to her to a complete failure to consider the one factor that many parents with pre-school children would immediately recognize: the desire to nurture one's children. (Sometimes Dads are the ones with the nurturing trait, and it's thrilling to see more and more of them opting to be the at-home parent.)

Having constant, one-one-one interaction with young children in those early years is not only incredibly satisfying for both parent and child but has the additional benefit of establishing a solid bedrock for the child which can stabilize him or her after they enter the "real" world of elementary school as well as later on when they become teens and the inevitable struggle ensues to redefine limits and capabilities as well as themselves as independent from the parents (except for money, shelter, food, and the family car!)

One of my aunts told me long ago that the primary duty of parents is to raise responsible adults. You can't sub-contract that job out, yet universal childcare with the attendant heavier tax load will force women out of the homes and into the job market.

The sad part is that having government agencies raise children is being presented as an ideal scenario by daycare advocates. There are two glaring problems with that position: the ridiculous notion that we can raise children on an assembly line, and the inability to have quality control. (Actually there are three: the absurdity of thinking the government actually performs routine tasks better than the average person.)

Whatever happened to the tiresome assertion that each of us is unique? Uniqueness doesn't roll off assembly lines (reminds me of the old joke that you can buy a Ford in any colour you want so long as you choose black.) Uniqueness, also known as individuality by us older types, is nurtured by consistent, one-on-one interaction that parents are best fitted to provide. The family remains the best setting where good qualities can be encouraged and bad qualities can be dealt with, and it should go without saying that dealing with behaviour problems when they first appear is far better than trying to deal with them after they become entrenched characteristics.

I make this claim about the family for one simple reason: parents love their children. Parents have an ongoing interest in their children's future. Parents are emotionally invested in their children in ways that reach far above and beyond someone who is paid to look after their children. Parents don't go on strike.

I keep thinking that the real impetus for government day care is that the social engineers are frustrated that, try as they might, this country continues to produce square peg children who defy efforts to pound them into round holes and they figure that if they can get the children at any earilier age it will better their chances of making children more pliable, i.e., into uniform, cookie-cutter kids.

Issues over quality control are fairly self-evident when you are dealing with a monopoly and more so when the government is the sole provider. Both health care and education issues continue to plague us, and tangential to the problems in the education sector, it is worth noting that children who learned to read at home before they entered school do better scholastically than those whose parents rely exclusively on the schools to teach that basic skill.

People conveniently forget that even that bastion of early childhood education, Sesame Street, was specifically designed to be viewed by both parent and child, which tends to reinforce the necessary role of the parent as a child learns how to learn.

Am I saying that families where both parents work cannot raise children well? No, but I do think it is a lot harder and a lot more frustrating because we've already devoted our best and most productive hours of the day at work. And then there's the need to discipline children, which require two vital tools: patience and maintaining a calm atmosphere. That's damned hard to achieve when your day is one long rush: rushing to get them and you ready to leave in the morning, rushing to pick them up after work, rushing to prepare dinner, rushing to bathe them, rushing to read the bedtime story ... all this yet rushing to get them to bed at a decent hour. Even with both parents performing those tasks, where's the time to teach them why it's wrong to bop another child on the head with a Tonka truck? or find a suitable answer to "why is the sky blue?" or "why do I have to kiss Aunt Martha even though she smells funny?"

Interestingly, David Warren comments on the steady encroachments on personal freedoms, including the destruction of the family unit, with the goal being that "the citizen becomes a kind of jelly to be fit into any desired new mould."

So, rather than deplore the choice to stay home and raise their kids, we ought to applaud their good sense and committment to parenting.

So if you opt to say at home with kids and someone says "what do you do," i.e., where do you work and what job do you perform that enables you to pay more taxes, just look them straight in the eye and say "I'm an early childhood specialist." And you will be telling the truth.

(David Warren link via Newsbeat1.)

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June 14, 2006

Old Glory

US flag waving2.jpg

You're a grand old flag,
You're a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You're the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there's never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

Music and lyrics by George M. Cohan

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June 11, 2006

Harper meets with Muslim leaders II

July 11 - This updates an earlier report on a meeting between PM Stephen Harper and Muslim leaders: according to Parliamentary Secretary Jason Kenney, the PM's meeting with Muslims may lead to study

"It was a very useful exchange of ideas. We heard concerns, obviously, about some of the extremist elements and how they're trying to mislead youth," Kenney said.

"We heard concerns that the government stand in solidarity with the community against any kind of backlash, and we heard suggestions about how we could go forward, perhaps with some kind of study or review of the issues that came out last month."

Bloody. Hell.
Those issues, Kenney said, included challenges faced by Muslim youth in Canada -- particularly young men -- the influence of extremist elements within the Islamic community, and methods of combating that influence.
I get where they're going, but another fraking study? Why not a Royal Commission? I can see it now: a Royal Commission to investigate why young Muslim men think they're entitled to murder innocent people.

Try this as a Subject for Study: Once it was decreed that Israeli civilians were a legitimate target, it was open season on all of us.

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A possible result of the Harper meeting with Muslim leaders?

June 11 - John B. had a great, common sense idea: set up a BadJihadWatch to root out terror elements, and I guess someone listened because CTV reports that

Muslim religious leaders promise to report any suspicious behaviour from their followers to authorities and abide by a zero-tolerance policy against preaching hatred in the wake of last week's terror arrests.

Leaders representing more than 30 mosques and Muslim organizations throughout Canada gathered in Toronto on Saturday to deliver the message -- and remind Canadians not to discriminate against Muslims.

The leaders admitted there are pockets of radical fundamentalists within their community who believe in violence, but said co-operation by the Muslim community led to the arrests of 17 terror suspects.


"Canadian youth of Muslim faith have been unduly influenced by radical thought," said Yasmin Ratansi, a Liberal MP.

That last admission, of course, is not limited to the youth of Muslim faith.

What on earth should we expect when our media and schools deliberately promote the notion that Western civilization is degenerate and evil? The "home grown" nature of the alleged terrorists refers to more than place of birth or upbringing: it is about institutionally planting and nourishing the seeds of contempt for this country because it is a Western one.

But, as I've stated repeatedly, most people who feel alienated do not to strive to become psychopaths. We've seen that kind of radical thought before, with the FLQ, the Air India bombers, the Weathermen and the Symbionese Liberation Army, so even if we don't understand it we must recognize that is dangerous for us all.

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Why the CBC?

June 11 - The inclusion of the CBC as a terror target was the most surprising of the revelations that came out of the Toronto terror sweep. The big question was Why? The only news entity up here that is more terror-friendly is the Toronto Star, and they were not on that list.

I trust the CBC is having in-depth meetings to address the "root causes" of Muslim "anger" and "perceived alienation" that has caused so much "resentment" and "humilation."

Those meeting will undoubtably be productive although they won't address the "root causes" of steadily declining CBC viewership (except, of course, for hockey.)

Going a step further, inasmuch as seizing communications and media are top priorities for insurrectionists, Lorrie Goldstein goes there and reaches a surprising answer to why terrorists might be discontented with the CBC: What would happen if our national broadcaster was ever taken over by ... er ... 'militants'?"

"Hello, I'm Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun, reporting live for Sun TV, Torontosun.com and Canoe.ca, outside Toronto CBC headquarters at 250 Front St. W., where terrorists have just taken over the building, demanding that the CBC refer to them as ... uh ... terrorists.
When you come right down to it, that really is the only possible grievance they can have against the CBC.

In a hypothetical interview with OBL, the question is asked if there are women in the group:

"I see, evil spawn of Satan. So, let me get this straight. We storm the CBC's headquarters, overpower their security staff and are now holding hundreds of their employees hostage and threatening to blow up their building and all these infidels care about is whether there are any women in our group, so they will not be politically incorrect if they refer to us as 'gunmen'?"
The beauty of satire lies in how closely it resembles reality, and Goldstein scores a grand-slam on this one.

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Where do they find such wankers?

June 11 - It's hard to be patient in the face of incredible stupidity. Of course it is vital to maintain a presumption of innocence in any arrest (that's why the word "alleged" was invented) but when some fool announces, on behalf on Muslim youth, that 'This is our 9/11' my calm side notes that they missed a vital difference, unless over 3,000 Muslims were massacred in Toronto last week, and my rational side is overcome with disgust that a horrific event would be hijacked by some of the stupidest apologists this side of the Toronto Star.

Of course, maybe I missed coverage of the over 200 Canadian Muslims who leapt to their deaths from a blazing inferno atop the CN Tower. Maybe I failed to read about the dust cloud that swept down Bay Street - a dust cloud that was composed of incinerated building materials and human bodies.

Maybe I was sufficiently insensitive to the reports of the horror in forensic labs as DNA was extracted from intenstines and bone fragments in order to try and identify victims and match them to the heartbreaking posters of the missing that lined Toronto streets.

And that story about a pair of bound hands found atop a nearby building? I totally missed that.

I did note, although not previously report, that some 28 windows at a GTA mosque were broken. (Sorry, my attention has been somewhat distracted by the bombing of Shiite mosques and funerals in Iraq. Maybe the death toll accounts for my inattention.)

It was wrong, but it was also mild; in fact, it seemed downright tame compared to the firebombing of a Jewish synagogue and the destruction of the library in a Montreal Jewish elementary school a few years back events which - Gee! did not compel Muslims to hold press conferences denouncing acts against Jewish and Shiite religious institutions.

Just how stupid do they think we are? Have Muslims been dragged out of their homes and beaten to death? Have they been forced to wear crescent badges so we can readily identify them? Have there, in fact, been widescale reprisals against Muslims?

Of course not. It's not as those cartoons depicting the Prophet were published in Canadian newspapers and set off a rampage in which the Danish Embassy was burned ... besides, this is a free country, and those who want pandering and abasement can get that and more from the Toronto Star which is attempting to put a human face on those arrested which inevitably lead to promoting the alientation and misunderstood theme - a notion that is insufficent given that they allegedly sought to express their feelings with mass murder.

If "teen angst" and "lack of identity" justifies psychopaths, then wouldn't we expect that Christian teens - surely the most marginalized group in both Canada and the U.S. - would be primary candidates for terrorists? (Read Michael Coren's column along that line of thought here.)

But, fortunately, timing is everything. Any theme of finding terrorism as an outlet while searching for an identity is downright awkward given that one primary inspiration for terrorists is DEAD. (Those who are offended that Zarqawi's puffy dead body was put up for display can also be soothed by the Star which, at least in this instance, did give fair time to both sides of the controversy.)

And I can't deny that I was downright inspired upon learning that Zarqawi's last look at life on this side of Hell was at the faces of U.S. servicemen and Iraqi policemen - people he had spent considerable time and resources to kill but who had a most satisfying last word.

Ah, maybe I'm being too hard on these kids. What with the failure to teach criticial thinking at Canadian schools and the Cult of the Don't Pass Judgement Unless it's Against Americans, why wouldn't they imagine that the arrest of 17 alleged terrorists is the same as the murder of over 3,000 innocent people?

Or maybe the media mis-reported the press conference. Maybe the "Muslim youth" were thanking Allah that a real Canadian 9/11 was averted. Ya think?

Posted by Debbye at 02:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 10, 2006

Harper meets with Muslim leaders

June 10 - Unsurprisingly, PM Harper held a closed-door meeting with Muslim community leaders in the aftermath of the arrest of 17 terrorists in Southern Ontario and, although the details of the meeting were not released, the response by one of the participants hints that in addition to the soothing of ruffled feathers, issues of accountability may have been broached:

[Farzana] Hassan-Shahid [of the Canadian Muslim Congress] told The Canadian Press that those in attendance had different viewpoints about what may have led a group of young Muslims to consider violent attacks on their own country.

"It's about time Muslims owned up to the fact it's a Muslim problem," she said, adding that she thinks the community must forcefully denounce extremism.

"We need to be more proactive, rather than issue statements of condemnation," she said.

And then there was some unintentional humour:
[Tarek] Fatah [spokesperson for the Canadian Muslim Congress] said the issue of American-based Islamic organizations spreading fundamentalism and extremism in Toronto was also brought up.

He said two - the Islamic Society of North America and the Islamic Circle of North America - were singled out.

"This is America pushing its fundamentalist Islamist thinking into Canada, not vice versa," he said.

That's a switch. Instead of bashing the U.S.A., President Bush and evangelical Christians, he bashes the U.S.A. for importing Muslim fundamentalism. That man is like totally Canadianized -- he just can't address home-grown Canadian issues without invoking the anti-American card.

By the way, don't blame me for designating Fatah as "spokesman" for the CMC and Hassan-Shahid as being "of" the CMC - that's how the article is written. Another well-known dirty little secret is that the Canadian value of equal rights for women is applied somewhat selectively - although I blame the usually vocally outraged Canadian feminists for that unprincipled failure.

As I wrote yesterday, there does indeed seem to be a concerted attempt to push fundamentalist thinking onto Canada but the source is Saudi Arabia, not the U.S.A.

The Saudi royal family has issued over $70 billion in grants to leading U.S. universities - including Harvard, Cornell, Texas A&M, MIT, UC-Berkeley, Columbia, UC-Santa Barbara, Johns Hopkins, Rice University, American University, University of Chicago, Syracuse University, USC, UCLA, Duke University and Howard University and the purpose of the grants was to establish departments and chairs that promoted the Wahhabist version of Islam.

There is a fairly well-defined line between propaganda and education and it's no secret that many U.S. and Canadian universities crossed that line long ago, but what many don't realize is that Saudi money helps fund that propaganda.

Question of the Day: How much money do the Saudis contribute to Canadian mosques and universities?

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June 09, 2006

Wahhabism in Canada

June 9 - Schools funded and staffed by Saudi Wahhabists have been blamed for teaching the ideology that justifies terror attacks in Pakistan and Indonesia, and it seems that they have kindly included Canada as a recipient of their benevolence.

Newsbeat1 links to a video of an interview with a Sufi Muslim recently aired on CBC's The National in which serious allegations are made that the Saudis have sent Korans to Canada which include tracts inciting jihad (go to Newsbeat 1: If you click on the video clip at 7:55 mark -. there is a story about those arrested. It requires RealPlayer to view.)

Kamal Nawash of the Free Muslims Coalition has a blog entry on the Saudi Royal Family and the Wahhabists which is extremely thorough and puts some key points in perspective:

For most of the 20th century, the Saudi royal family was substantially stronger than the Wahabi religious establishment. However, due to shortsighted policies and a lack of leadership from the Saudi government, the Wahabi religious establishment has gained substantial influence in Saudi Arabia. Over the last 30 years, radical Wahabis have become restless and unsatisfied with Saudi Arabia’s historical division of power. In response to the Wahabi’s increasingly assertive demands, the Saudi government adopted a policy of appeasement. The decision to appease the Wahabis has resulted in the legislation of internal social policy that is based on the most extreme common denominator. As is clear, Saudi Arabia’s policy of appeasement has backfired and has resulted in the propagation of a wicked, backward, violent and intolerant interpretation of Islam the likes of which the Muslim world has not experienced in 1400 years of history.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has become a victim of terrorism with several bombings that killed hundreds of people. In response to terrorism on its own soil, the Saudi government has finally declared war on terrorism. It now appears that the Saudi government realizes that the status quo cannot continue and are taking baby steps to reform their policies by organizing tough police actions and ideologically challenging the terrorists’ theological justification for violence. The Free Muslims Coalition regularly monitors Saudi TV and while we have witnessed intolerant rhetoric by radical Wahabi religious figures, we have also witnessed a sharp increase in the number of religious and government figures who aggressively advocate tolerance, respect for other religions and attempt to discredit the ideology that leads to extremism and terrorism.

Nevertheless, while we recognize that the Saudi Arabian government has taken steps to fight extremism and terrorism, it is not yet doing enough. ..

Nawash calls upon the Saudi government to take steps to end the export of intolerance, but I think it is equally the responsibility of the U.S. and Canadian governments to not allow what is arguably hate literature into our countries.

We really need a chapter of the Free Muslims Coalition up here. John Lawrence's latest article in Canada Free Press, Toronto area Muslims feel singled out, expresses the frustrations many feel when Muslim leaders adopt a stance of victimhood in the wake of terror arrests rather than express determination to weed out those in their community who threaten us all:

As for those in the muslim community who don't like the tactics of Canada's various security agencies and police forces, I issue this challenge to you. Flush these cowards out of your mosques. Condemn all radical speech as unacceptable and turn over any and all information regarding subversive activities involving any member of the muslim community immediately. ..


You, Mr. Hindy, are no better than any other Canadian, and as a Canadian, it is time for you to put Canada first and to stop this rhetoric about how you are being persecuted. There is a groundswell of emotion rushing against your religion not because of remarks by our Prime Minister as some have suggested, and certainly not because of the allegations put forth in the form of criminal charges.

The fault, my fellow Canadian, lies at the doorstep of your mosque and others like it. Deal with it like a man and stop blaming every one else. It will not be until the majority of muslims speak out and turn out these sadistic hate mongers that muslims will be looked upon in the same light as every other group in this great land.

Just a caution: there are still many things we don't know about the terror sweep in Toronto last week, including whether tips came from Muslims who noticed there was something decidedly "off" with these men and contacted the security agencies.

Nevertheless, the quick assertions of victimhood are counter-productive as well as wearisome, and they do a deep a disservice to Muslims everywhere.

While it is true that the vast majority of terror attacks are carried out by Muslims, it is equally true that the vast majority of terror attacks target and kill Muslims.

Far too often we only pay attention when it affects Western countries, and that is a dangerous miscalculation. Al Qaeda and its affiliates seek to gather all Muslims under their murderous banner and, as we have seen in Iraq, they murder shoppers at markets and children playing in the streets ...

GI and dying Iraqi girl 0_22_450_baby.jpg
Michael Yon

and they do so with the same indifference with which they murder Iraq police and army personnel - and us.

Victory can only be achieved when people who cherish freedom are willing to stand up and fight for it, and that means all of us - Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jainist, animist, wiccan, agnostic, and atheist.

The war on terror is decidedly non-denominational, and the Muslim community in Canada desperately needs leadership that is willing to stand up and protect the rights of all Muslims from Islamic fundamentalists -- not only in Canada but in the rest of the world as well -- and affirm that tolerance is something to which we are all entitled.

June - 10 08:30 Salim Mansur passionately writes about the economic, social and political morass in many Muslim countries and declares that We Muslims have work to do.

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Zarqawi is still dead

June 9 - I'm slowly moving from the giddiness occasioned by the elimination of the monsterous Zarqawi but the process, as they say, is far from complete and besides, I'm not really in any hurry.

I am kind of relieved that I'm not the only relic person who sang "Ding dong the witch is dead" upon first hearing the news.

I won't comment on the revelation that Zarqawi was still alive when Iraqi police and U.S. forces arrived on the scene because we all have, um, imaginations.

Okay, maybe a little sobriety. Christopher Hitchins writes Why Zarqawi's death matters:

Zarqawi contributed enormously to the wrecking of Iraq's experiment in democratic federalism. He was able to help ensure that the Iraqi people did not have one single day of respite between 35 years of war and fascism, and the last three-and-a-half years of misery and sabotage. He chose his targets with an almost diabolical cunning, destroying the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad (and murdering the heroic envoy Sérgio Vieira de Melo) almost before it could begin operations, and killing the leading Shiite Ayatollah Hakim outside his place of worship in Najaf. His decision to declare a jihad against the Shiite population in general ... has been the key innovation of the insurgency: applying lethal pressure to the most vulnerable aspect of Iraqi society. And it has had the intended effect, by undermining Grand Ayatollah Sistani and helping empower Iranian-backed Shiite death squads.
Read the whole thing, because Hitchins also revisits former Sec. of State Colin Powell's 2002 address to the U.N. in which he cited Zarqawi's presence in Iraq.

Abu al-Masri has been mentioned as the probable successor to Zarqawi. So an Egyptian is likely to replace a Jordanian to head al Qaeda in Iraq? It seems to me that this rather bolsters claims that there are a number of foreign fighters in Iraq, and certainly the inability to name an Iraqi to head the terror group there implies a degree of isolation that I find hopeful.

It hardly needs be said that the biggest challenge for the Iraqi government will be to take aggressive steps to contain the sectarian and criminal violence.

Let Zarqawi's epitaph be that, in the end, he failed.

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June 08, 2006

Zarqawi is Dead. Dead. Dead. (Updated)

July 8 - (Updating continuously and time stamp intentionally keeps this on top.)

06:29 - The no-good, m-f'ing, murderous pscyopath is dead: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi Killed in Bombing Raid. I wonder how he likes it in Hell?

My son called me at work at 4 a.m. this morning and said "You want to hear some good news?" Heh. I hope my, um, enthusiastic response doesn't get me fired. The downer: I told the other people, and none of them knew him by name and I had to list some of his crimes.

And it looks as though they used my fav-ou-rite weapon: Predator and Hellfire.

This is huge, and I mean huger than capturing Saddam Hussein or killing Udai and Kusai, and in terms of the immediate strategy for Iraq, this may well be the turning point. More later, perhaps, when I settle down.

One last word: I can never think of Zarqawi without thinking of Nick Berg. Well, he has been avenged at long last. Rest in Peace, Nick, and all those who fell victim to that monster.

07:32 - I'm still blushing over the language that I used when I first heard the news. I so need to wash my mouth out with soap.

How wonderful and appropriate that Iraqi police made the identification! He has orchestrated the murders of so many of them -- as well as those who stood in lines to join the police (and army) -- that I can easily imagine their grim satisfaction that a vicious foe has been "eliminated."

Pres. Bush is speaking on this, and although he is far more cautiously optimistic than I, I do echo his closing: God Bless the Iraqi People, and God Bless America.

Okay, so now U.S. officials are being cautious. Lord give me strength: I was not convinced that capturing Saddam was going to stifle the insurgency but they thought such was the case however, as I stated at the outset, I think this is bigger than they are saying (maybe because their own optimism has led them astray before? They really need to read more blogs.)

Now Dan Senor is speaking, and he is hitting the nail on the head: this latest instance of "blasting the bastard to Kingdom Come" shows that it take time and patience, but the days of people like Zarwawi are numbered.

I haven't heard anyone say it yet but I just know some wanker is going to try to throw cold water on this and prattle "but Bin Laden is still loose" to which I will pre-emptively respond "what's your point?" I don't care about Bin Laden, I want the strategists and the architects of terror like Zarqawi and al-Zawahiri. I want bin Laden to watch helplessly as his followers fall one by one because more and more people choose to stand up to those who try to rule them by terror, and finally for him to die a lonely, disillusioned man with only bitter dreams of glory to comfort him. I want him to know utter despair before he dies.

8:03 - Rats. Not Predator/Hellfire. Oh well, he's still dead.

08:09 - Australian PM John Howard is more enthusiastic:

"The reported death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is great news for the people of Iraq, the real victims of his murderous behaviour," he said.

"He has been the principal architect of terrorism in that country.

"Not only does his death remove a cruel terrorist, but it's also a huge boost for anti-terrorist forces in Iraq."

The Prime Minister said the Iraqi Government's determination to destroy terrorism should be supported.

"The determination of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, and his new Government to confront terrorism and the insurgency is something that everyone should support," he said.

I love that guy.

Tony Blair was concise as always:

In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said al-Zarqawi's death "was very good news because a blow against al Qaeda in Iraq was a blow against al Qaeda everywhere."
Properly his words should be up on the BBC website but I couldn't find his comments there and I haven't seen any comments yet from Canadian PM Harper. The CTV does quote "terrorism expert" Eric Margolis, though, at that link. They just can't help themselves.

08:39 - Michael Yon's post is aptly titled Death Finds the Devil's Second Most Favored Serpent and concludes:

His death will not likely fracture the terror campaign in Iraq because of the disparity of the insurgency itself, comprised of many distinct and disjointed elements, not all of whom were following al-Zarqawi.

Nevertheless, this is an important victory in the GWOT showing that persistent effort can and will produce definitive results. But al-Zarqawi was largely a media-produced terror hero, now that he is gone, let us not produce another.

08:47 - In the press briefing, Caldwell is calling the information collected at the site "a treasure trove" and confirming that they were 100% convinced they were hitting Zarqawi at the "safe house." Heh. Another humourous concept is that Zarqawi's "spiritual advisor" was also killed.

I may as well admit it: I really, really wish that the kill had gone to the Iraqis. It would have been appropriate given how many of them he has killed as well as a tremendous confidence booster for the police and army. Again, though, I think that being the ones to identify his body parts was a great source of satisfaction.

The press briefing showed Zarqawi's head. Of course there was no intentional irony.

One dead Zarqawi
Courtesy of FoxNews.

11:47 - A good round-up of reactions here at Pajama's Media (link via Newsbeat1.)

I want to extend a hearty congratulations to the people of Iraq, who have endured more than their share of monsters. This may not be the end of their road but I hope this represents a significant turning point for them.

I need to get some sleep, and it occurs to me that a great many mothers in Iraq are settling their kids down for bed about now. None of us can predict what tomorrow will bring, but is it really too much to hope that tonight, if only this night, all of Iraq's children can sleep without fear?

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Streisand Returns - Again.

June 8 - How can we miss her if she won't stay away? Streisand announces yet another stupid concert tour.

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Another cat out of the bag -- and it's a biggie

June 8 - Judi McLeod in The Truth about Toronto Terrorism reveals something that had already been revealed on a talk show in the U.S.:

Did you know that Monday, June 5, 2006 was the chosen date for a terrorist attack on Toronto?
Actually, yes. I connected that dot. Anyone with an ounce of skepticism should have wondered that there were so many conflicting stories about the strike and that it was seemingly called on some fairly flimsy pretexes -- much as I deplore some of the civic service unions, the men and women who work for the TTC are not prone to frivolous strikes much less one with so little notice. Besides, anyone who spoke to a TTC driver Tuesday morning as to how this strike evolved should at minimum have had some kind of Hmm thought -- espcially after the arrests of the 17 terror suspects and the wearisome repeated claims that the TTC was not a target which, as they say, did protest too much.

At first I was dismayed that this became public, but I came to recognize that this disclosure serves the greater good because, if there is one lesson we have learned during the past few years, it is that each of us are on our own when a terror attack (or any calamity) strikes and the best, if not only, means of survival is to be prepared.

Face cloth

Never leave home without them. The life you save may well be your own.

But there's also an implicit question in this story: do you feel safer because our civic leaders have deemed it best that you are in the dark rather than go public and disclose the enormity of the dangers you face?

That answer is fairly obvious: had the strike not occured and the arrests not taken place when they did, how safe would you have been? Do you really believe that they got them all? Is there really any doubt that there are more people out there who want to intimidate Canadians and force their withdrawal from the valuable mission in Afghanistan and their participation in the war on terror?

Do you believe that freedom is God's gift to us all? And how far will you go to cherish and protect that gift?

That is what it comes down to. That is always what it has come down to, and my answer is that I will do whatever it takes -- up to and including keeping faith with the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and with those we have asked to carry out those missions and to remain vigilant on the homefront.

Somehow the inconvenience (and weight) of carrying Implements of Survival in my bag pales in comparison with the enormous tasks which we have asked of these exemplary men and women, and I would be ashamed to fail a task which truly asks so little of me.

And to my family: I told you so.

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That bad, bad Ann Coulter

June 8 - Ann Coulter has caused a big brou-ha-ha (that's news?) over calling 9/11 widows "witches".

That was so wrong. She should have shown them the same level of respect as Mark Steyn and referred to them as "the sob sisters."

Posted by Debbye at 08:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2006

Canada and the War on Terror

June 7 - I've been off-line as the phone company didn't come through and then Munuvia was hit with yet another DNS attack. We must have pissed someone off, which I'll take as a compliment.

The international attention to the terror arrests up here has been astonishing, and all the more so in that the Canadian security agencies involved in the arrests have been more forthcoming than usual about those accused and their alleged specific targets. And too, the accusation that one of them wanted to behead the prime minister adds to the sensationalism in the case.

The Toronto Sun has archived the reports coming out in the aftermath of the arrest of 17 alleged terrorists here.

Judging from my own observations, I would say that awareness by both private citizens as well as by institutions has been increased -- but I'm sticking with generalities for the same reason as I cited in the previous post: give nothing away and make the bastards do their own legwork.

I will only report on the responses of those I know (and those who know me, and my American flag lapel pin intentionally acts to forewarn folks) yet I think it's fair to say that the astonishment here in Toronto is mixed with gratification. After the dismal failure to convict the defendents in the Air India trial which was, in part, attributed to turf wars between CSIS and the RCMP coupled with the revelation that the RCMP was involved in some questionable Adscam doings and had become highly politicized was disenheartening, but the arrests seemingly signaled that those responsible for public safety were in fact making us safer:

The RCMP led the investigation, but the probe included significant co-operation with partners through an Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, or INSET, made up of RCMP, the CSIS spy organization, federal agencies and provincial and municipal police.

INSET teams were created in April 2002 under a five-year, $64-million investment by the federal government.

That means the teams were created when Chretien was prime minister, which is significant and asks a question of those who parrot the sorry "it sends a message" line: Why do you vote for people who say one thing and then do another rather than voting (or at least respecting) those do what they say they will do?

Chretien and his ministers continually pooh-poohed the terror threat in Canada, yet established a high-profile committee to counter terror threats and it was highly successful. The arrests and detainment in Canada under this country's Anti-Terrorism Act (and which was opposed in an open letter from Muslim and civil rights organizations in part due to provisions permitting secrecy and long-term detentions without the formal filing of charges) should have been enough to persuade Canadians that (a) there was a security threat and (b) some strong measures had been taken to contain that threat.

The most striking feature of the case is that the targets were total Cancon -- nary an American business concern or MacDonald's were on that list. Even the dumbest dunderhead should have to concede that their hated for Canada and her institutions went beyond any imagined connection with the USA and spoke to their hatred of the West in general, but I'm not counting on it. The readiness with which many up here blame the USA for everything and anything is so deeply embedded that I doubt anything could excise it, but it is those others who are thinking about this and doing their own math and, if they think about it from this perspective, the aborted attacks say so much about Canada's worth that it may help counter the sense of inferiority that marks much of what is called Canadian self-deprecation.

In short, Canada is a force of good in the world and that makes her a target -- just not in the way that those at the CBC and Toronto Star would project. It is more evident in the West, but folks in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario too have it as part of their heritage: the courage to pick up roots and settle in a foreign country (including the Tories Loyalists* that fled from the American War of Independence;) the willing self-reliance and confidence such a decision requires; the optimism and hope that life here will be better than it was "back home."

Okay, I'm going all Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle on you, but there is a lot of wisdom in that movie (and some grrr-eat humour) but I do have a point: people don't come here (especially given the damned winters) unless they have confidence and yearn to build a better life for themselves and their children. I actually believe that at least some of the familes of the accused had no idea what their kids were up to because that spark and optimism drove them to take a chance and move here and I feel as badly for them as for any family that sees - and disbelieves - that their kids are trashing every gift their parents gave them.

Those who want to invoke the 60s might want to look a little deeper: one of the accusations of my generation was that our parents were too materialistic and insufficiently spiritual and "close to nature." That this accusation was directed at people who had grown up with war-time scarcities was not even a consideration, yet how different is that blindness from the young fundamentalists who have disavowed every reason for which their parents migrated here?

It should be said that recognition of and gratitude for that gift can be perverted if the schools and communities don't celebrate the very heritage that enabled people of all colours, religions and ethnicities to come here and succeed, and by that I am referring specifically to the shared English heritage of both the USA and Canada which molded our institutions and gave legal recognition to individual merit and free will, despite its inconveniences, and just maybe what Canada and Canadians need is to accept that the two countries have that in common as well as a geographical boundary.

Instead of Canadians prefacing sentences with "unlike Americans," maybe we can all say that we -- Canadian, American, Australian, New Zealander, and British -- are all engaged in promoting the genuine values of an Anglosphere which decrees that all are equal and can rise on the basis of individual merit and worth.

On Canadian Appeasement

All the protests, anti-Americanism, Bush-bashing (including that by elected officials) and a refusal to support the Iraq War only fooled the fools -- it did not fool those who allegedly plotted attacks on institutions and landmarks and, had the plot actually gone forward, the death toll as well as the impact on the Canadian economy would have been substantial.

They are even accused of plotting an attack on the Toronto CBC studio, one of the most liberal if not leftist institutions in Canada. The CBC has been lukewarm on Canadian involvement in Afghanistan and their hostility to the USA as well as US efforts in Iraq is unmistakeable, yet they were a target.

Again, only the fools were fooled.

As I noted in an earlier post about some pre-Sept. 11 difficulties between the French and British in their respective perceptions of the international scope of conspiracies to commit terror acts, the French may talk a lot about discourse and negotiations but their security services tell a different story: they are focused, hard-nosed, and sometimes ruthless in their determination to eliminate threats. The problem with the French governments is their hypocrisy, or perhaps it would be better to say that the security agencies operate in such deep shadows that the French people can pretend that they are far too sophisticated to indulge in cowboyish maneuvers or do things like blow up the Rainbow Warrior just because it was attempting to expose the environmental impact of continued nuclear testing in Polynesia. After all, their government was "sending the right message."

There are indeed two Canadas, but it is not divided so much between French and English as between those who recognize that terrorism is an international threat and Canada is vulnerable, and those who will not concede the fearsome reality. Given the need for public vigilance in noticing stray bags, gunfire in the night, or an imam who preaches beyong the fiery, the extent to which these arrests are a wake-up call are yet to be determined.

As it has in the USA, though, I fear the retreat to partisan trench warfare between right and left will be rapid and unashamed, and far too many will not be able to find it within themselves to take the necessary steps to admit that we need to pull together now if only for self-preservation. But I really hope to be proven wrong.

* I should have said Loyalists, not Tories. Thanks to Keith for the correction.

Posted by Debbye at 05:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 03, 2006

GTA Terror Sweet

June 3 - There was a curious story yesterday about some men who were behaving quite peculiarly in the subway. The description of their activities was enough to raise terror concerns:

These two men, spotted May 23 at the Keele subway station, have brought this to the forefront. It could be nothing. It might be something! Who knows? "Two guys with video cameras were hanging around the platform and were on the trains filming the inside and under the seats," a TTC source said. "It was strange." (Emphasis added)
Strange indeed, yet one would think a real terror planner would be considerably more circumspect .. and I figured there was little to the story.


Newsbeat1 linked to a partial transcript of an Al Jazeera interview last May with Taliban military commander Mullah Dadallah (breathless CTV version here) and a veiled threat to Canada was followed by the suggestion that, should Canada withdraw from Afghanistan, there would be no reason to attack:

Mullah Dadallah: "America now wants to avoid the heat of battle, so it pushes other countries towards it. Our operations may increase even more. Our advice to Canada and Britain is to refrain from defending the American propaganda, and from standing by this historic American crime. America wants to get other countries entangled in the crimes it committed in Afghanistan. Our advice to these countries is to avoid the heat of battle, because we will wreak vengeance upon them one by one, like we are doing with the Americans, if they remain here when the Americans are gone."


"Our main enemy is the United States. As for Canada and the other countries - we have no historical enmity with them. But if they want to come here as fighting forces, we will view them just as we view the Americans, and will conduct resistance against them. But if they return to where they came from, and withdraw their forces from here, we will not view them like the Americans, but as countries which we have nothing to do with."

When I left work this morning, there it was on the front page of the Toronto Sun: GTA Terror Sweep:
In a stunning development yesterday, police made a sweeping terrorist bust within the GTA and expected to make several more arrests throughout the night.

"The RCMP, CSIS and the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team arrested individuals throughout the GTA today in relation to terrorist-related offences," confirmed RCMP spokesman Corp. Michele Paradis.

As of about 9 p.m. last night, Paradis also added "there are ongoing arrests."

Though unconfirmed, sources have told the Sun police arrested a possible home-grown al-Qaeda terrorist cell operating in Toronto that had planned to bomb the subway as early as Monday.

Home grown terrorists tranining in home grown training camps:
Police had been watching several alleged terrorist camps since 2004 -- one of which is reported to be in the Muskokas near Bracebridge and another near Thunder Bay, a police source told Warmington late last night.

"Recently some officers followed two men who left the camp near Thunder Bay and headed to Toronto," said the source.

Another Sun source said there was a similar "terrorist" camp near Barry's Bay -- within an hour's drive of several Ontario nuclear operations.

There are reports that the suspects were "amassing weapons" -- including explosives.

Now we return to something curious:

But sources also tell the Sun that the RCMP "planted" that story [see first paragraph of this post] with the media, though reasons remain unclear.
It is regrettable that this cat was let out of the bag, and if this item is true, the "source" should be disciplined.

Iraq fired a Scud missile into Kuwait shortly after the invasion into Iraq began. A CNN correspondence told the world precisely where the missile landed -- not thinking that the information would be of value to the Iraqis and help them correct their aim.

I don't want to seem overly harsh on this, but one of the hardest parts about being a terror and war blogger is that sometimes the dots line up and you gasp "Wow!" and rush off to the keyboard ... only to realize that, if you truly care about helping the war effort, you can not publish your Eureka moment.

We aren't supposed to give out operational information! (Yes, I know, the U.S. news media violates that dictum as a matter of routine. Shoot them. Please.)

There will be a press conference this morning at 10 a.m. EDT. and it should be fascinating. I'm certain Newsbeat1 will quickly provide links as to what information is given out if you can't watch it yourself.

Today is moving day and I'll be losing internet access at some point. More later (Toronto hydro, the cable company and Bell Canada willing.)

Posted by Debbye at 06:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 01, 2006

The Insidiousness of Scent

June 1 - Now that public smoking has been banned, it's time for True Believers to organize for their next assault. In Ottawa, Councillors vote to educate public on perils of perfume:

A citizens' committee on the environment submitted a proposal that the city phase in a bylaw banning people from wearing perfumes and scented products such as deodorants and soaps.
Get in the game, Toronto! The Ottawa City Council is threatening to capture the coveted title for Can't Run the City But Can Run Your Life. But first they have to spend millions to explain to people why perfumed products are wrong:
The proposal suggested starting with a public education campaign,
handled, no doubt, by advertising companies,
then following with a scents ban in city buildings and later a citywide ban.
Sheesh, I could sympathize with (althought not support) any measures taken to deal with those who do not wear deoderants (particularly after this recent heat wave) but take away my Eternity? To the barricades!
Councillors agreed Thursday to a public awareness campaign in city-owned buildings to encourage people to stop wearing scents.

They plan to review the effectiveness of the campaign in 2010 before looking at the committee's recommendations for a scents ban.

Woo hoo! Four whole years for avid anti-aromaists to agitate and organize and get public funding and be a Major Factor in the next city elections which, I've no doubt, it will be a dirty but scent-free campaign. Candidates will resemble the newscasters in the Batman movie.

I tremble to think of what these zealots will do. Throw water on those who wear perfume and after-shave? Distribute circulars on how Musk Is Bad and Roses Ruins Lives? Pontificate on the allure of natural bodily odours?

How about starting with the youngsters? Millions can be spent urging teens to "Just Say No to Scent." City ordinances could be passed requiring that all perfumed products are to be removed from shelves and cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18.

What about potpourri? and incense? Pot Smokers and Orthodox Churches Unite?

It never fraking fails. The zealots came after the smokers and now smokers have been literally ostracized. Now the same argument is being advanced to go after people who thoughtlessly pollute the air with (shudder) artificial smells.

In the proposal, the environment committee argued that people have the right to breathe clean, fragrance-free air in the workplace.
Today the workplace, tomorrow the buses and subways, restaurants, canopied outdoor patios, and child care facilities along with stiff fines for those who violate the law. Beware: the Perfume Police are on your trail.
Several places across Canada have implemented public awareness campaigns urging people to not wear fragrances to help reduce illness and discomfort by those with scent allergies or asthma.
They are coming for You!

Posted by Debbye at 07:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Passports and whining and insults, oh my!

June 1 - Newsbeat1 often posts excerpts from Question Period in the Commons (which is another good reason to visit a couple of times each day) and today's post concerns questions from yesterday as to what the Conservative Government is doing to stop the pending requirement to present passports when entering the U.S. at the northern border.

First I should mention that U.S. tourism has decreased to Canada in the past few years, and provincial and national Liberal politicians and pundits have come up with a variety of explanations: Sept. 11, SARS, the dollar, in short, everything and nothing.

Some, though, have voiced the obvious reasons: Canada was a member of the Axis of Weasels; Chretien flew to Mexico (then a member of the UNSC) to encourage Pres. Fox to vote against U.N. action in Iraq; Canadians seem to love Michael Moore; there's a rather long lists of terrorists are out there with Canadian backgrounds (although some are dead or in Gitmo) yet the prime minister said "there are no terrorists in Canada"; and members of the Liberal Party and the news media persist in insulting us.

Now it escapes me at the moment why Americans might not choose to visit a country that has so much contempt for Americans and furthermore actively campaigned to derail American efforts to deal with a known threat and financial supporter of terrorsts, but the Minister for Public Safety, Stockwell Day, demonstrates considerably more sense on this issue than his predecessors.

Newsbeat 1: Hansard excerpts- Question Period- May 31 ,20060:

Hon. Robert Thibault (West Nova, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on the issue of the border with the United States, this government has abandoned Canadians. The Maritimes depend on American and Acadian tourism. American families have to spend more than $500—the price of passports—to enter Canada. Americans will avoid the Maritimes, and our tourism industry will suffer further. Canadian exporters who must travel to the United States have the same problem. [Americans will need a passport to enter the U.S., not Canada, although the previous government had threatened to enact such a policy as an act of retribution.]

Why is this government abandoning Canadian communities on the passport issue?


Will our government not represent us on this vital question or do we have to depend on U.S. governors to defend our interests? This is bush league leadership. Once again, the Prime Minister shows himself to be a shrub, a little bush. (Emphasis added)

Hon. Stockwell Day (Minister of Public Safety, CPC): Mr. Speaker, insults like that created a lot of problems for the Liberal regime.

A number of speakers take to the floor to whine about how passport requirements will hurt tourism and they all take their shots at the U.S. -- although I should note that they do not for its value in the debate but because they think they're ingratiating themselves with Canadians who they fondly imagine like to hear that stuff.

Somehow I doubt passport requirements will radically affect American tourism up here any more such would affect tourism to other countries. A large number of Americans, as do Canadians, hold passports already, but what may be happening is that the Liberals are establishing the grounds for blaming the Tories for reduced American tourism, as though their own big mouths weren't a major factor.

There's a saying about being careful what you wish for. A common Canadian complaint is that Americans don't know anything about them, but Americans have become more acutely aware of the world since Sept. 11 and, I fear, of Canada -- or maybe I should say the version of Canada the news media up here likes to project.

Posted by Debbye at 08:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Too harsh? Hardly

June 1 - This story sickens me. A man raped his 2-year old daughter and posted pictures of the act on the internet.

The assaults continued for two years, and after his 2005 conviction, the man received a 15-year sentence -- but the sentence was reduced to 9 years by the Quebec Court of Appeals:

In a 2-1 ruling on Tuesday, the court ruled the man's crimes were not among the worst sexual assaults ever committed, and agreed to reduce his sentence from 15 years to nine.

"There was no violence, such as gagging, threatening or hitting the child," Judge Lise Côté wrote.

Because gagging, threatening or hitting the child would have been wrong.

When the court reduced that sentence on Tuesday, Côté cited the man's young age [32 years old] and the fact that he has only one other criminal conviction (for sexually assaulting another child when he was 17).

Only two children (that we know of) have been damaged so we wouldn't want to ruin his life because of this.
The prosecution's case was based on roughly 5,000 pictures and 5,000 videos found on the man's computer, some featuring very young children.
The man has three other children.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Peggy Noonan on a Third Party

June 1 - Peggy Noonan speculates about something that many of us have been thinking about: the need for a third political party.

Partisanship is fine when it's an expression of the high animal spirits produced by real political contention based on true political belief. But the current partisanship seems sour, not joyous. The partisanship has gotten deeper as less separates the governing parties in Washington. It is like what has been said of academic infighting: that it's so vicious because the stakes are so low.

The problem is not that the two parties are polarized. In many ways they're closer than ever. The problem is that the parties in Washington, and the people on the ground in America, are polarized. ..

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