Sunday, August 31, 2008

One man, one vote.

Hurricane Gustav is going to New Orleans. It'll be an election issue.

Please remember, it was not Hurricane Katrina that flooded New Orleans last time, but the failure of the levy system that our government claimed could withstand such storms. It was government incompetence and lack of accountability, not a hurricane, that wrecked New Orleans so badly last time.

Jim , Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Scupper the Republican Convention! Is it a sign?

phil, Hong Kong,

It's a bad sign for the Republican party when even God is against you !

Bolter, London, Uk

Appearing on Keith Olbermann's wretched show, the first word's out of Moore's mouth after Olbermann asked him about the potential postponement of the RNC were "Gustav is proof there is a God in heaven." (Video link here.)

Does it matter if some people hate you?

Excruciating Suffering

Four Franciscan monks were savagely attacked by feral thugs invading their San Columbano Belmonte monastery near Turin, Italy, last week.

Three of the monks, aged 86, 81, and 76, were tied and gagged, then punched, kicked and beaten with clubs. Another, 48 year-old Father Sergio Baldin, suffered head injuries that left him in a coma, as well as "serious respiratory problems" resulting from having choked on the food he had been eating when the assault began. He heroically put himself in the way of the rabid fury that had been directed at his older Brothers, according to one of the other monks:
"Father Sergio (Baldin) came to my aid. He put himself in front of me to try and defend me, but he too was knocked down without mercy. They hit him until he stopped crying out. Then they beat Father Salvatore and Father Martin as well. It was terrible."

In the Indian state of Orissa, violence against Christians has reached frightful proportions. Earlier last week a mission in Orissa was torched by a bloodthirsty mob of 700 maniacs:

The mob chanting anti-Christian slogans when reached Padampur in Bargarh district, attacked the orphanage where Fr Edward lived. Ms Rajni, a 20 year old student who lived in the orphanage and was also working as an auxiliary nurse in the orphanage confronted them. When Fr Sequeira arrived at the spot the mob locked him and Rajni into separate rooms, and ordered the children to vacate the orphanage. The mob then ransacked Fr Sequeira's room, poured petrol on him, Rajni and set the orphanage on fire. "I was engulfed in flames, I could hear the cries of Rajni and the mob was cheering and shouting through the windows," recalls Fr Sequeira.

"When I started to suffocate I found a crack on the wall that was damaged in the attack and kept my nose there to breath some air. All the while I could hear the cries of Rajni from the next room where she was writhing in agony. After sometime, there was silence and I thought she must have managed to escape from the room," recalled Fr Sequeira. Unknown to Fr Edward, the girl was burnt alive and had breathed her last.
People from the neighborhood who heard the cries of children rushed to the rescue, broke the walls and brought him to safety. That is when the mob attacked him again outside the orphanage and was beaten up mercilessly till he became unconscious.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has issued a list of several dozen Christian (Protestant and Catholic) churches, convents, hostels, as well as the hundreds of houses and other buildings burned during the spiralling wave of barbaric anti-Christian attacks. Over 25,000 Catholic schools in India have shut their doors in protest of "...the incapacity of the central government to stop violence at a time when anti-Christian sentiment is growing and the faithful are tortured and killed," said CBCI Chairman Osvaldo Cardinal Gracias.

The CBCI listed several deaths from the anti-christian violence so far, but another Indian Christian group, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), claims that the death toll is much higher:
"We have received authentic information that the death toll is 100", says Dr Sajan George, national president of the GCIC, "and more butchered bodies and burnt corpes are being found". The Christian activist is also calling for the resignation of the entire government of Orissa, which is incapable of stopping the massacres against the Christian community. He provides an example: "In Bakingia, two families of seven Christians - Daniel Naik and Michael Naik and their families - were tortured and killed, their bodies were found with their heads pulped and smashed, they were recognised by their clothes. Bakingia is about 8 kilometers from Raikia police station".

This past week I received the monthly prayer focus from The Barnabus Fund, from where I first encountered the news of the persecutions in Orissa; their official site doesn't seem to have incorporated these latest updates yet, so I will quote directly from their e-mail, concerning yet another wave of brutality, in Angola, Africa:
Muslim extremists recently attacked the Christian community in the town of Andulo. In an horrific incident, the school-age daughter of a deacon at one of the churches was decapitated. Forty believers were assaulted or tortured, and one of them needed 20 stitches in his head. The mob burned three church buildings. They also went to believers’ houses to intimidate them and damaged or destroyed items of property. ...

When pain and torment grows unbearable, we say the agony is "excruciating". The root of that word makes it fitting to use as a description of the horrors endured by those like Father Sequeira; excruciating comes from the latin, excruciatus, past participle of excruciare, from ex- + cruciare to crucify, from cruc-, crux cross.

"The pain from the crucified one".

In the face of the rising tide of such suffering, it is hard to feel any hope for the future. How to keep faith when the world seems filled with evil triumphant over good? Fr. Edward Sequeira had devoted 25 years of his life as a missionary in India, and was managing a leper colony as well as an orphanage when he was beset upon by the crazed mob that tried to burn him to death for his good deeds. As hard as it is to contemplate the pain his scarred physical body will bear from the building's flames, it is harder still to imagine the searing damage done to the soul within. As he told his brother, upon awakening in the hospital:
"...cries of Rajni and the guilt of helplessness of saving her will always haunt me."

It must fall upon the shoulders of those of us so far spared such excruciating suffering, to pick up our own cross and follow in their footsteps, carrying forward the news that there can still be some good found in the world... good of our own making.

Dem.s critique Palin.

You will recall the frenzied responses American conservatives and the rest of the fascist/racist world indulged in when Obama picked his vice-presidential candidate. Yes, the car-burnings, the suicide bombings, the killing of helpless small animals with large calibre guns. Well, Now it's time for the Left to show us how civilized people conduct themselves in public life. Reason. Yes, that concept developed in Modernity since the late 18th century, what we say we respect, Reason: here's the Left to show us all how it works.

I watched with the eye of a seasoned observer the body language of John McCain as his VP nominee made her speach and I could see he knew that he had made a mistake.

John, Lisbon, Portugal

Videos show that she is carting her four-month old Down syndrome baby with her out in the heat of the campaign trail. Unaccustomed as we are here to seeing children used in a campaign, that seems to be going way too far. I'm not sure if it is cynical, irresponsible or cruel.

mary rose gliksten, windsor, UK

A gun toting member of the National Rifles Assoc. to go alongside the war-mongering Bush supporter. Forget America. God help the rest of the world.

jack , London, UK

Prior to this I thought McCain was a dangerously cagey opponent the Democrats ought to fear. Now I see him as a ridiculous figure. Absolutely laughable. Pathetic. The short term political gain of Palin's pick will not out weigh the damage he's done to the Republican brand.

Gavrielle LaPoste, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

I'd say the choice of Palin was an insult to the intelligence of the American voter, but since (slightly less than) 50% of them/us voted twice for the biggest imbecile ever to demean the office of President, I'd probably be wrong. McCain looks more unhinged by the day. Read the Time interview?

Keith, Milwaukee, WI, USA

She was mayor of a town so small that it didn't have a garbage service or a school district. It had a police dept. and a public works dept. That's it. It was a part time job. Alaska has less people than the city of San Francisco, only 683,000 people. Her "executive" experience is irrelevant.

Diego Tecpatl, San Francisco, USA

She was a small town mayor and served a couple years as a governor of a sparsely populated, one-dimensional state.

Beyond that, her chief experience has been as a sportscaster and beauty queen contestant.

Ron S, Atlanta, USA

Clearly McCain picked her because he knows he can't win, but wants to go out as a "maverick". I just hope that there aren't any women out there voting for McCain simply because he picked a woman as VP. Her views are scary...! I, for one, would be petrified if she became President.

sandy, boulder, usa

I am appalled by this choice. The woman only has a undergraduate degree in journalism with a minor in political science. No foreign policy experience or training at all. A callous, transparent ploy showing that McCain is not a maverick - he has become a slave to the religious right.

Mary, Chicago, USA

Why should we rather vote for Osama Barka? Well, as one woman commenting in the Washington Post put is: "Obama is going to bring us all home again."

Tough choice, huh?

A few comments on Sarah Palin.

Hilary's supporters are not stupid; this is Bush in a skirt.

Andrew, Paris, France

Palin: great mom, exec experience, enlivening. An above-average, "average American", with on the job training. But she hasn't the brains for the presidency. The average American isn't up to the task. That's why we're sinking now: a disdain for intellect and reflection. Obama is better for us.

George, Little Town, USA

Not to mention with every polar bear she picks off with that stupid gun she is helping accelerate their extinction, which is already occurring because of melting icecaps.

Is she into the environment, or trophies? Doesn't she know the USA has a policy against assasination?


John, New Yprk, NY, USA

Hopefully this will backfire in a big way. Any Clinton Democrat or MOR undecided will not flock to fascist fundamentalist Palin just because she is female. How insulting they think any woman will do to pacify the "femnists", so may as well throw in a reactionary to make the ultra-Right happy too.

Archi, Dorset, UK

Palin is anti abortion, Pro Death Penalty Pro Guns !
but the most disturbing - she is for drilling in Alaska and upsetting ANWR - check out this Wildlife Reserve! Bush senior since 1989 has been trying to get drilling going - and his son too ! This is about Oil ! and serious Money !

david, Monte Carlo, monaco

I smell a McCain trick in Sarah. She is a simple place holder thru the GOP Convention. Tom Eagleton comes to mind. McCain will trick the GOP and after the Convention swap in Leiberman! No doubt!!!

Paul Currier, San Francisco, USA

So this is the 2nd most experienced person to lead the most powerful nation in the world? Experience - Uni of Idaho, PTA, Mayor of Small Town. Gov of icebound state 3k miles from DC.
BTW you forgot to say Climate change denier, anti-gay, NRA, pro-oil driller in Alaska, anti-Polar Bear. God save us

Paul, Cincinnati, USA

Hey, Lee in Sterling, USA
She DID get paid less when she became governor compared to the male governor who preceded her. Know why? She cut her OWN pay and sold his jet on eBay.

Then she cut everyone's taxes except the oil companies, whose windfall tax gave $1200 to EVERY man, woman and child in AK.

Dan, Montana, USA

McCain / Palin '08

Palin / Jindal '12 & '16

Thomas , Monee, USA

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pick the Veep.

I love this gal. Born in Idaho, lives in Alaska. Hunts, goes fishing, has five kids, runs a business, mayor, governor, beats up corrupt old-boys network of in-house crooks.

What a gal!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Don't miss Howard's thoughts on the conclusion of his trial

It sounds like it went well, but the judge will not give his decision for a couple of weeks.

In any case, congratulations to Howard Rotberg for fighting, for four years now, to insure that he held the line in defending the ethics necessary to the operation of a free society. He has made himself into an icon we can all now use and follow in our work to help renew all that is necessary to individual rights, freedom, and the self-ruling democratic traditions of our nation.

He may even have taught certain short-sighted people in corporate Canada that their ethics are a long way from what they need to be if they are to share in reproducing the freedom and responsibility on which our forms of business, and the book (writing) industry in general, depend.

Well done Howard.
Howard Rotberg: Second Generation Radical

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Agree With The Democrats

I had come to believe that there was no longer much common ground between the current Democratic Party and my own political views. I certainly used to feel at home with them, many years ago, but as I followed their response to the last decade of changes across our world, my faith in their wisdom and judgment subsided... to say the least.

Yet, I'm man enough to admit when I've made a mistake.

I owe them an apology, for a lot of the bad things I've said about them in recent times. It seems that I do, indeed, retain much in common with the Democrats, after all. Shows what happens when you take the time to listen, to actually listen, to what the "other side" is saying, to get first-hand, straight-from-the-source information, rather than listen to someone merely telling you what it is that someone said. Shame on me for forgetting: "you're not always right, they're not always wrong."

This video provides many examples of sincere sentiments expressed by former President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden, even Barack Obama, that I find myself nodding along with in complete, genuine, agreement.

Busy Busy, but Covenant Zone still buzzes.

It seems we've all been to busy to have done much blogging this week. And I'm not sure if the entire team will be able to make it to this week's Thursday meeting at the downtown Vancouver Public Library, 7-9 pm, in the atrium in front of Blenz Coffee. But I'll be there, with my blue scarf and ready to talk to those interested in thinking of how the individual can defend their stake in the systems necessary to a free, self-governing society, and in meeting people who might be able to help out in any kind of political action, or reporting on the public scene, that one may wish to organize in future.

More evidence freedom needs to be renewed by real leaders and exemplars

I found this in the email this morning:
QUEBEC, August 27, 2008 – B’nai Brith Canada has renewed its call for civilized political discourse as Canadians gear up for what is expected to be a fall election. The Jewish human rights organization has called for calm, reasoned debate, in the aftermath of an earlier incident today where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was compared to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler during a demonstration by Quebec artists angered over government cuts to arts funding. In full view at this protest were signs displaying Nazi swastikas. It has also been reported that a speaker ended with a raised arm, while shouting ‘heil Harper’.

“The comparison of Canada’s Prime Minister to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is obscene and offensive,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s Executive Vice President. “Such statements trivialize the Holocaust and inject ugly rhetoric in what ought to be reasoned debate on real and pressing political issues.

“As we move closer to what appears to be a fall election we call for political campaigns that are free from bigotry and prejudice. We urge politicians and citizens alike to engage in meaningful dialogue that addresses the concerns of the electorate and moves towards practical solutions.”
Welcome To B'nai Brith

The thing is, calling people Nazis or Hitlers has become utterly commonplace; you might even find examples of it on this blog, though with much more worthy targets in mind, I hope. It's all evidence that we live in a time when the freedom that sustains reason and civility is being eroded. When real thinking goes, it is a sign we are less free in all kinds of ways. Unfortunately, I doubt there are many among our state-dependent "artists" who are entirely sympathetic with Harper on this one.

B'nai Brith needs to ask itself how do we help renew a free society in which children would actually be educated in schools and universities not to play the victim (and also hence the worthy supplicant) of the "hegemonic" state and politicians like Harper (i.e. a "conservative", white, male, Christian). If reason and an ability to engage in some kind of serious historical thinking is return to Canada, we need to put a damper on the culture of victimary thinking altogether. To this end, we all need to consider our dependence on the institutions of this culture, such as the "human rights" commissions.

If it's ridiculous and offensive to call Harper a Hitler, is it really very much less ridiculous to call some marginal poor and angry person promoting "white" nationalism a dangerous neo-Nazi who needs to be tried and punished under a "human rights" law that punishes public thought crimes that "may", in future, lead to contempt for someone, and under an opaque bureaucratic process that does not afford the due protections of established rules regarding entrapment (framing), search and seizure, trial procedure (rules of evidence, etc.), that an accused enjoys in proper criminal law?

It is offensive to Jews (if merely ridiculous to Harper) to call the Prime Minister a Hitler. But is it not also offensive to Jews to portray every loser antisemite who happens to be a white nationalist, a neo-Nazi, a serious threat requiring organized Jewish involvement in costly and lengthy show trials that some might reasonably see to be something of a smoke screen to suggest Jewish leaders are really in the forefront of battling Judeophobia, when all around us the antisemitism we have yet to fully understand (as evidenced by its resurgence among those resentful of the Jews' post-Holocaust victimary status) grows in the name of a left-Islamist critique of modernity and of leading nations (regionally and globally) like Israel and the United States, an alliance that now persecutes (or threatens to persecute) Jews in Canada for "hate speech"?

And if there were further proof needed that at least some political activists posing as artists need to be thrown off the public dime...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama's Hip-Hop Ya-Ya

Hope and Change. Hope and Change. Hope and Change and Ya-Ya.

And some say he's all shuck and no jive!

Well, I say "Dig it, daddy-0," this cool cat could well be our next president.

(By the way, I'm the good-looking one in the photo above.)

Howard sounds pumped

Well, I spent 4 hours with my lawyer today [yesterday], preparing for the trial.

There are some very interesting developments but I cannot share them until tomorrow.

I know that at least 3 newspapers are sending reporters to cover the trial.

It is very important for the future of Canadian culture and freedoms that what happened to Mantua Books and myself be well publicized, so that cultural elites and cultural monopolies will never prostitute themselves again to the cultural intimidation of totalitarian values and the vile ideology of moral equivalency and cultural relativism.

There are some serious questions to be asked of some of the NGOs who chose not to speak out on my behalf, and who spend their time battling non-existent enemies.

Tomorrow a strong light will be shone on a major Canadian corporation, and this light will disclose some fascinating things, about the use and abuse of cultural power.

Remember that I am not doing this for myself or for my small publishing company, but for the future of our children and grandchildren. I have waived any claims for financial damages beyond the Small Claims Court maximum jurisdiction of $10,000. If we can stop what has happened to me, and if others see my example and join me in standing up to intimidation against our freedoms, then our freedoms shall prevail

Howard Rotberg: Second Generation Radical

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Obama lin Biden fascists go to work...

Alex Jones' lackeys scream "Kill Michelle Malkin!"

Gateway Pundit: MICHELLE MALKIN ATTACKED AT DENVER PROTEST!! (via five feet of fury)

Just a bunch of fringe leftist moonbats? Well, as Malkin herself reports, they share something in common with the great leader.

Fine example of the idiocy of using "human rights" commissions to police thought

No doubt there is much in any discussion of cannibalism among the warring Maori tribes in pre-colonial New Zealand, or among many other tribes, that one can get wrong. But for a scholar to be hauled into bureaucratic hell simply because someone is offended at the mere recognition of what is now widely know among scholars - i.e. that cannibalism was once a common practise, not least in New Zealand - is absurd.
Racism claim over cannibal book - 27 Aug 2008 - Maori news - NZ Herald
The above-linked article notes:
Sent anonymously to Dr Moon, the complaint said This Horrid Practice "describes the whole of Maori society as violent and dangerous. This is a clearly racist view claiming a whole ethnic group has these traits".
Besides the obvious injustice of allowing accusers to go unknown to those who have to defend themselves, the complainant would have an academic point if Moon actually said that Maori society was only violent and dangerous: the whole point of human sacrifice, according to leading anthropological thinkers, Rene Girard and Eric Gans, was to defer social tensions, either to create a moment of peace through the act of sacrifice, or to sacrifice in the name of furthering a pre-existing sign of peace and the need it signified fairly to distribute the pieces of a victim at a sacrificial feast, thus acting to defer all the resentful tensions that had been previously focussed on the victim(s).

But to say, like this complainant, that it is wrong to suggest that a "whole ethnic group had these traits" is to show total disrespect for what a tribal culture actually is. In a tribal culture there are not free individual persons in the modern Western sense. There is no democracy where one is bound to consider more than one perspective and decide which one to vote for, independently of any necessary allegiance to clan or tribe. No, in the tribal world, everyone is bound to the collective myth and ritual sacrifice. It is compact. There is no opting out.

Moon's complainant, in misrepresenting the pre-colonial world, should be taken to the "human rights" commission and left to rot in bureaucratic limbo! And the bureaucrats should be left to rot in figuring out what to do with such a miscreant. This limbo should be permanent, almost tribal.

The article also notes:
Released in August, the book posits that consuming vanquished enemies' mana had little to do with the underlying reason for Maori cannibalism. Instead cannibalism, in pre-colonial times, was simply about "rage and humiliation".
I find this a dubious argument. As I understand it, the archeological evidence is that in their first few hundred years on the islands the Maori effectively hunted and exterminated much of the available big game animals. Human sacrifice, in New Zealand as elsewhere, went in hand with a turn towards a more sedentary, agrarian, militaristic, and hierarchical society. The resentment that such a centralized society creates, with tribal chiefs claiming more and more control over the collective ritual (by which production and warfare is organized, and the economic fruits of labour and warfare are distributed), encourages the development of awesome human sacrifice at the centre of society, as a way to mediate resentful tensions focussed on the centre. But to say it was simply about "rage and humiliation" towards/of the victim is to say there was no rational element to the practice, which would indeed be de-humanizing. The Maoris, even though bound to a fierce ritual code and mythic understanding, had some degree of rational thought about what they were doing. Even the most primitive human has a minimal degree of reason and conscious recognition of what he does. As noted, I would guess that the shortage of animal protein on the islands, and the need for more centralized military organization, had the arguably rational effect of encouraging and growing the practise of human sacrifice, as it did in pre-Columbian Mexico.

In any case, I remain firm in my belief that the human rights commissions are on the side of the cannibals and that what they are doing in feeding learned victims to the resentful masses is not ethically far removed from cannibalism. Indeed, since we no longer have the rational dietary need to eat our fellow humans for protein, nor the religious need, the humiliation and figurative dismemberment of writers, in an age when government people can and should know better, is arguably a much greater sin than anything the cannibals ever did.

Kiwis? hah! (HT: Blazing Cat Fur)

Sowell goes aphoristic

The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer-- and they don't want
explanations that do not give them that.
Now that the Senator with the furthest left voting record in the Senate and the Senator with the third furthest left voting are the Democrats' nominees for President and Vice President, there will be great expressions of indignation over being "negative" if anyone dares call them "liberals." Actually, leftists would be more accurate.

G.K Chesterton said: "I defy anybody to say what are the rights of a citizen, if they do not include the control of his own diet in relation to his own health." But California citizens and citizens of New York City have tamely accepted their politicians' decisions to forbid restaurants to serve certain foods, even when citizens want those foods.

The recent death of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn should make us recall what he said when he was awarded the Nobel Prize: "The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles." What would a Barack Obama presidency mean, other than more concessions and broader smiles, while Iran goes nuclear?

Right after liberal Democrats, the most dangerous politicians are country club Republicans.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that what he admired about FDR was his willingness to experiment in order to help the economy. That experimentation helped prolong the Great Depression, since people tend to hang onto their money when the government creates uncertainty by constantly changing the rules.

At one time, it was said "The truth will make you free." Today, there seem to be those who think that rhetoric and hype will make you free. It might even be called the audacity of hype.

Thomas Sowell :: :: Random Thoughts

Heard today on CNN: "Hope is a great breakfast but a lousy supper."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Islamophobia lecture: Mohammed Elmasry, Khurrum Awan, and Derrick O'Keefe joined by publicly unannounced additional speaker: Greg Felton

UPDATE: Don't miss the report on this event from Elane at Dust My Broom. It really completes the sad picture.

Last night, a friend of Covenant Zone went to hear a Canadian Islamic Congress-sponsored seminar on "Islamophobia"(pdf of poster) at a Burnaby Sunni mosque, Masjid Alsalaam, featuring: 1) Canadian Islamic Congress head, Mohammed Elmasry; 2)Elmasry's now famous young protege in the invoking "human rights" to punish "hate speech" game, Khurrum Awan; 3) devoted anti-"Zionist", radical leftist, editor, NDPer, and public school teacher, Derrick O'Keefe. They were joined by a surprise additional speaker, not mentioned in the pre-talk publicity: the Judeophobic (Felton would insist on "anti-Zionist") conspiracy theorist extraordinaire (his books are thick!), Greg Felton.

Now our friend arrived at the talk late, and missed the introductory remarks and at least half of Mohammed Elmasry, the first speaker's, address. What's more our friend reported that the four speakers all rambled on in an "unprofessional" and unengaging speaking manner and so he was not able to maintain full attention. So, his report on the evening, based on written notes given verbally, over the phone, to the present writer (who organizes the notes for coherency and adds only a few comments of his own, drawing on his questioning of our friend about the event), is somewhat schematic in nature. While our friend tried to capture the speakers' more memorable words in his notes, he cannot always be sure of the exact words used.

Nonetheless, my friend has been careful to report only what he recalls being said, and without any conscious literary license. He is disgusted at what he witnessed from the speakers, but he wants to report honestly.

The recently built Burnaby mosque impressed our friend with its clean modern look, and with its fine wood paneling. The large central room of the mosque had an internal divider and the meeting was held on one side so that when the meeting took a break for prayers most people left the one side and crossed the divider into the other. Our friend counted the audience at about 140. He estimated that about 120-125 of these were Muslims judging from the number who went to pray. The women sat on the right of the room, the men on the left. There were about 80 men and 60 women. Almost all ages were represented from young children to the relatively elderly. The women almost all covered their heads, but in general the dress, manner, and speech of the audience was rather Westernized. The crowd seemed temperate in their general disposition. They did not seem widely impressed by the speakers. Not all audience members applauded each speaker and the applause was lukewarm, polite but not enthusiastic. There was no kind of "gatekeeping" being done, no one trying to appear vigilant about outsiders; our friend felt welcome and was politely shown where to sit upon his late arrival. At the end of the speaking, an impressive table of food was laid out and all were invited to partake, though the woman who was apparently chairing the event suggested the ladies defer to the men and let them get food first.

Mohammed Elmasry

Given his late arrival, our friend had little to say about Elmasry's talk. What he could tell me was that Elmasry was, at one point, emphasizing the importance of Muslims knowing their Koran and Hadith, and the history of their faith, in order to know how to respond to the allegedly widespread "Islamophobia" of the contemporary West, and to stand firm in their faith. It seems to have been implied that someone well-educated in matters Islamic will find it easier to deal with critics. One might have thought that more knowledge might also lead to doubts or a respect for how much is unknowable and uncertain to the truly learned person, hence the need for a humble faith; but this was not apparently how Elmasry approached the question.

Derrick O'Keefe

The next speaker was Derrick Okeefe who began by noting that he is writing a book with Afghan politician Malalai Joya. He also tried to impress the crowd with his credentials by noting how he had attended the Cairo conference against imperialism and zionism (I'm not sure what year O'Keefe attended) which was for him a wonderful experience. He joked how he had been honoured to be smeared by people back in Canada (apparently those who think hanging out with Hezbollah and Hamas types is a mark of political shame and moral and intellectual failure).

O'Keefe told some story about an immigrant woman in France who was refused citizenship for "lack of assimilation", or something like that. O'Keefe then implied that Muslims might fear a similar fate in Canada in future. He went on to discuss the public debate recently unfolded in Quebec over what constitutes "reasonable accommodation" of immigrant cultural differences, again implying this debate was a threat to Muslims, a sign of Western Islamophobia of which, he declared, we have recently witnessed a wave. Nonetheless O'Keefe thinks "progressives", among whom he counts himself, are in the majority in Canada. Thus, it seems to have been implied, the Islamophobic wave must be explained as something that a powerful minority promotes.

Without being explicitly Judeophobic, O'Keefe complained about media complicity in this Islamophobia, claiming that much of the Canadian media is in the hands of two or three families. (For non-Canadian readers, this should be taken as in large part a reference to the Jewish Asper family.) He complained that one can't raise money in Canada for a popular political party like Hezbollah, which gets labelled terrorist by the government. He complained about Canadian General Rick Hillier referring to the Taleban in Afghanistan as murderers and scumbags. O'Keefe made some comment about writers using a defense of "satire" as an excuse for their Islamophobia. One supposes he meant Mark Steyn. O'Keefe apparently doesn't like Irshad Manji and made some attempt at a joke about Canada having lost her to the United States. He slagged Terry Glavin and suggested there are no shortage of writers who will tell "them" (the Islamophobes? the ignorant Canadians?) what they want to hear.

Khurrum Awan

Khurrum Awan began his talk by making some kind of apology that confused our friend. He referred to some memo he had received from his employer and suggested this was an explanation for why, despite having come all the way from Ontario, he was not as prepared to speak as he might have been.

It seems Awan told something of the story he has often told in the Canadian media and kangaroo courts about his fight against Maclean's magazine. He began by claiming there had been some long history of hate speech in Maclean's and in the National Post so that he and some law school friends decided to do something about it after counting 22 Islamophobic articles in Maclean's penned by Mark Steyn and by Barbara Amiel who is Conrad Black's wife, he desired to point out.

Our friend's mind was elsewhere when he heard Awan complaining about some writer's comment about "sheep shaggers" but those words jolted him and brought thoughts of Awan's apparent lack of concern for the young ears and perhaps the sensitivities of the women in the audience. Awan also made some sex-related comment about Aisha, the Prophet's bride, but unfortunately the logic or point in invoking this story was lost on our friend.

Awan claimed that the celebrated writer, Oriana Fallaci, whom he compared to Ernst Zundel, had been cited by some UN body for hate speech. He called Mark Steyn names along the lines of rightwing Muslim-hating bigot.

Awan said Maclean's magazine had refused to treat with him and his aggrieved lawschool friends when they first complained about the "Islamophobic" articles, because Maclean's just assumed they would go away if ignored. They didn't know Khurrum Awan, apparently.

He also said the Canadian Muslims had Jewish people to thank for going after North Vancouver columnist, Doug Collins, showing that the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal could be used to sanction hate speech. Muslims like himself, he implied, were only doing what Jews had already done. This no doubt explains why he feels somewhat upset at the waves of criticism he and his fellow "sock puppets" have received.

Awan complained about certain well known journalists for their bigotry: our friend remembers mention of the names Margaret Wente, Christopher Hitchens, Christie Blatchford, Daniel Pipes; David Warren was mentioned as not quite as bad. Referring to "right wing" writers he made some comment like "all of you know what kind of people they are".

He suggested that in response people should write letters to the editor. If the letters are not published people should complain to the press councils, though that wouldn't work with reprobate publications like Maclean's that are not a member of any press council.

Awan declared the Canadian criminal law useless for going after hate speech. Apparently the legal test to prove criminal hate speech is demanding; and so there needs to be an easier way to shut up what Awan considers to be hate mongers.

So Muslims have to mobilize politically. British Columbia Muslims should go after the media - particularly the one company that apparently controls so much of it. And they should threaten to punish the government with their votes and voices if it thinks to dismantle the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

Awan tried to get some symbolic credit for the sixteen or seventeen thousand dollars that he said he and his young law school friends have spent in pursuing Maclean's; and he bragged that they had cost Maclean's two million dollars in legal expenses and lost circulation. He said that "we" need your help; and he called on the audience to give money to help fight Islamophobia.

Greg Felton

Then came Greg Felton who spoke for about 10 minutes, about half the time of the other, pre-announced speakers. I was quite interested to ask my friend if Felton had been introduced so as to give some sense to the audience of his public reputation and his peculiar capacity for writing thick books explaining how the United State of America has been progressively taken over by the "Zionist lobby" over the course of modern history, or peculiar essays on how the Ashkenazi Jews are not actually descendants of the Biblical Hebrews but of some central Asian tribe that converted to Judaism for relatively recent benefit, and whose claims to a homeland in Israel are thus bogus.

However, it turns out Felton was simply introduced as an "extra speaker", and as a friend, by Dr. Naiyer Habib, Elmasry's mostly silent partner in the recent kangaroo court prosecution of Maclean's magazine at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Only Felton's writing about the Maclean's/Mark Steyn affair and his attacks on "right wingers" who are attacking the various Canadian Human Rights Commissions were highlighted in his introduction. But in the course of his comments, Felton did make some apparently self-referential remark about how if you want an investigation into what happened on 9/11, they call you a conspiracy nut. (Poor Greg has been called worse than that!)

Felton also spoke about the "reasonable accommodation" debate as some kind of threat to Muslims. He made some complaint about how antisemitism is a prejudice held by some marginal class, while anti-Muslim prejudice is a social norm. He went on to make some half-understood comment about Zionists and anti-Muslim hate mongers.

He mentioned that it was ironic that Judeophobic Doug Collins, or Collins' prosecution, had enabled Khurrum Awan in the latter's BC Human Rights Tribunal fight.

He spoke of "genocide" in Palestine. He called the media an attack monster. He claimed that the goal of some Islamophobes was to turn Muslims who complained into some kind of violent rabble so that the Islamophobes could turn around and say "see, we told you so". So, Felton implied, using the Human Rights Commissions to attack Islamophobes was the right approach.

Questions from the floor

Then came four questions from the floor. A microphone had been set up at the back of the room. The questions were described by our friend as "loaded" (i.e. sympathetic to the speakers) and rambling, despite a call to avoid speech making. Our friend summed up the questions thus:

1) Why is the media one-sided? Awan responded and used the National Post as his example. They have an agenda. 4/5 of what they write is to serve their owners' agenda. Only 1/5 represents the views of minorities. He called on people to write letters, lobby, take legal action, to fight this agenda. It may have been at this point that he called the radical leftist O'Keefe, whom our friend believes to be a publicly declared atheist, a "brother". Our friend remained confused throughout the evening by a question at the top of his mind: why are Muslims hanging out with highly secular Western atheists with nihilist "values"? (The arguments made at this blog about the growing left-Islamist alliance, and the central role of Israel and America hatred in this, have not apparently fully convinced. Then again, it could be that there are few other people this cast of characters can call on to back each other up in a public forum.)

2) Why didn't "we" complain when Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded? Elmasry replied that "we" did complain, vociferously, but no one (presumably in the media or goverment) paid attention. This was taken to be a call for financial support.

3) Why don't we have a blog for our media? O'Keefe replied that this was an important suggestion. Felton chipped in that blogs are replacing newspapers.

4) Why can't we start a paper on the internet? Elmasry replied that we need lots of dollars for that.

I will defer to later the question of why or if Mohammed Elmasry, head of the Canadian Islamic Congress and frequent spokesperson for Islam in the Canadian media wanted to appear before a largely Muslim public with Greg Felton, not to mention Derrick O'Keefe. For now, I will leave that speculation to readers. Of course, it seems that Felton was not entirey desired, to the extent his name never made it on the public promotional material for the evening. Was Felton just a late addition, or was he intentionally left off the publicity material because his presence, while deemed of value to the Muslim public, might nonetheless attract the kind of public outrage that befell the Vancouver Public Library for giving Felton a forum during "freedom to read week"?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Presidential Quiz

Here's a fun, short quiz for my fellow American History buffs, courtesy the Chicago Tribune:

I found it a pretty challenging test; I scored 13 out of 15, giving me 86%. Some really good questions, I thought; "They really expect their readers to be well-versed in Presidential trivia!", I even said to myself half-way through. Boy, was I naive.

When I was done, I looked around the site to see if there might be similar history tests I could take. (There are) I quickly noticed a link to an article called "Presidential Portraits", which I was supposed to go through first, evidently, because the biographies of the Presidents listed there GIVE ALL THE ANSWERS to the US Presidents test.
Sheesh! What a letdown. I guess it's meant to be a test of one's reading comprehension more than one's basic historical knowledge.
So you can either take the test in the Chicago way, by studying the answers ahead of time, or just plunge into the test, as a raw measurement of your Presidential lore.


Thanks to Walker for this piece.

From an interview with Michael Crichton, Wired Magazine.
Sep/Oct 1993:

The tendency to characterize people's beliefs - instead of focusing on their actions - is one of the true abuses of the power of the media. Look how quickly Kimba Woods was transformed from respected jurist to Playboy bunny; just as I went from author to racist Japan-basher. In my case, what was striking was how many journalists applied the Japan-bashing label, without appearing to have read my book. The hazards of this practice became clear in a few months, when the Columbia Journalism Review reported last December that the term "Japan-bashing" was invented by an American public relations flack at the Japan Economic Institute, a Japanese lobbying organization. The term was promoted as a way to stifle debate, including legitimate debate, on relations with Japan. The man who coined the phrase said: "Anyone who uses that term is my intellectual dupe."


Thursday, August 21, 2008

More analysis of Normal Schizophrenic Canadian Vacationing in Denver Found Dead with Pound of Cyanide, Not a Jihadi

Dag wrote about the "Normal Schizophrenic Canadian" tourist here.

Pastorius at IBA has posted the latest analysis from Ilana Freedman:
Denver Police have closed their investigation into the mysterious death of an indigent man in a suite of a luxury Denver hotel. They announced that his death was suicide, and that there was no link to terrorism. An FBI spokesman has also stated that the incident has no apparent terrorism connection.

The man was Saleman Abdirahman Dirie and, the coroner's verdict notwithstanding, his death raises far more questions than have been answered by the Denver police, who seemed quite happy to wash their hands of the whole affair. But the story surrounding Dirie's death is bizarre, and needs to be unraveled.

The facts, as far as they have been released, are these: Saleman Abdirahman Dirie was a 29-year-old Canadian citizen, a Muslim, and a former refugee from Somalia with no visible means of support and no money. He came to Denver from Ottawa by bus and checked into an upscale hotel (where the least expensive rooms rent for nearly $250 a night) for which he paid cash. There are reports that several thousand dollars in cash were also found in his room. He was not seen again until his body was found six days later next to a one pound jar of sodium cyanide crystals.
Read the whole thing...

Covenant Zone kinda rocks

Just a reminder: we meet every Thursday, 7-9 pm, in the atrium of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, in front of Blenz Coffee. Look for the blue scarf.

If you are interested in defending and exercising free expression in Canada, it's a place to be...

Ezra Rocks

Do we need more evidence that the "human rights" world view is an ill-considered intellectual scam, based on a taken-for-granted, incurious, worship of much-sought-after victims, a religious desire that corrupts the rule of law?

No, but apparently that is not the case at Canadian Human Rights Commission HQ. There are still fools there who are trying to justify their rather arbitrary scapegoatings of Canadian citizens (they prefer to go after that tribe known by its enemies as Poor, White, Christian T----; and they seem deferential to the tribe known as lEgalistic jewZZZ, Righteous and Articulate). When you scapegoat someone, and then forever after the event, you should NOT have to "justify" the bloody action. It should be taken for granted as a necessary sacred and unquestionable act, the road to peace, order, and good government, in conformity with the divine commands recognized in your culture's daily lived myth and ritual. The hate mongers MUST be punished or all hell will come to the country.

When the Aztecs slaughtered and consumed annually their tens of thousands of sacrificial victims they didn't have to pretend to advance sophisticated legal arguments to justify the act. No, everyone simply "knew" it was what the gods demanded (though no doubt there were codes to insure proper respect for due process, such as how to skin and process the victims for the feast). And no doubt some of the victims were convinced to believe their deaths were divinely required. It was necessary that some should die for the good of the cosmic order. And being drugged and dressed ceremonially before having your chest ripped open before an adoring crowd was arguably a better fate than being surprised by a war party, refusing to be taken prisoner, and so being quickly bashed to death, most unceremoniously, by an Aztec battle club fixed with numerous obsidian blades.

For some reason, I am reminded of what David Bowie said after viewing film of the Nazis' Nuremberg rallies: Hitler was the first rock star!

So what the heck does the Canadian Human Rights Commission think it is doing? You can't live half-assed in the world of arbitrary sacrifice (the choice of victim, admittedly , is never purely random since one must always be able to claim the victim gives off some sign of sacred import) AND in a world of rule of law according to a carefully-evolved constitution, centuries old, that has had good reason to claim it respects the individual and his rights, and to insure that "justice" is not arbitrary.

No you have to make a choice. Apparently they don't get this. They think they can be modern and Aztec at the same time. Chief of "Human Rights", Jennifer Lynch, has told Parliament: "When I arrived as the new chief commissioner 10 months ago, I was pleased to join a modern organization well structured to undertake its mandate and supported by an enormously talented and dedicated staff." That's almost mythic, and that's why Ezra rocks, in his latest blog:
Ignore for a moment the double jeopardy here – that Rev. Boissoin was prosecuted by the Alberta HRC, and then again by the CHRC, something that would never happen to, say, an accused murderer, but happened to an accused pastor. Look at what the CHRC’s investigator and political commissioners recommended: that Wells’s complaint against Rev. Boissoin be prosecuted by the CHRC.


Think about that. The CHRC’s investigator has recommended that I be let go for the exact same act of hate speech that Rev. Boissoin committed – and he wasn’t let go.

Just in case the double standard wasn’t clear enough, as paragraph 21 notes, I even declared that I was willfully committing a hate crime.

How does the CHRC justify this double standard? In a single, vacuous sentence. See paragraph 28: “In [the Boissoin] complaint, the letter appeared in a different context”.

Boissoin’s column appeared in the Red Deer Advocate – a mild and mainstream newspaper, as part of a broader debate. It was the heartfelt view of a Christian pastor. I simply reprinted it as an act of defiance. Yet Boissoin was the one sent on for prosecution?

Paragraph 31 says I was let go because my publication of the column wasn’t in a “forum which espouses extreme views of hatred”. Right. Neither is the Red Deer Advocate.

Paragraph 32 indicates that I knew the column was a “hate crime”, and Rev. Boissoin didn’t. Right – so I willfully promoted “hatred”, as opposed to Rev. Boissoin.

But for sheer creative writing, look at paragraph 33: Dagenais invents a new test for section 13 hate speech cases. She says my publication was “more likely” to promote a debate than to promote hatred. Is that the new test? Something can promote hate, but if it also promotes debate, then it’s not hate speech? They’re making this stuff up as they go along, and it’s not hard to guess why: Rev. Boissoin was poor, powerless and easy prey for them. I’m a noisy troublemaker, and Rob Wells is forcing them to deal with me. Still, exactly the same excuse could be used for Rev. Boissoin – we know for a fact his column led to a great debate.

Let’s do it again, with gusto

I’m disgusted with Rob Wells – he’s just as despicable as Fred Phelps. But he’s just an individual bigot, and he's got the freedom to utter his filthy speech. What’s truly appalling, though, is how he’s turned the CHRC into his personal anti-Christian inquisition – going after the Christian Heritage Party, Rev. Boissoin and Fr. de Valk. Without the CHRC’s aid and comfort, Wells would still be driving around Edmonton in his hatemobile, a pitiful, angry, junior Fred Phelps. But, thanks to Jennifer Lynch and the rest of the team at the CHRC, the taxpayers of Canada and the laws of Canada have been hijacked, yet again.

So let me publish the same illegal words again. And let me do it for a different reason.

I’m not publishing these words as part of any “debate”. I am publishing them for the express purpose of promoting contempt – contempt for Rob Wells, and contempt for his gophers at the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

I’m publishing it to promote contempt for Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissioner of the CHRC who presides over an anti-Christian inquisition, and for all of the other commissioners – David Langtry, Robin Baird, Roch Fournier, Sandi Bell and Yvonne Boyer – who have joined forces with the real bigots of this country, people like Rob Wells, and even the corrupt thugs working at the commission who gaily join neo-Nazi groups like Stormfront, with the commissioners’ full approval.

I have contempt for them, and I wish to spread it to all of my fellow Canadians.

Jennifer Lynch: like most bullies, you are a coward who picks on penniless pastors like Rev. Boissoin. Why don't you come and get me?
And let there me no doubt: Ezra's contempt is rightly and successfully communicated. Pick up your obsidian clubs, Jennifer and crew, because we're not going to be your willing victims in the name of "human rights".

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Walker keeping abreast of the latest scams in "human rights"

It says on Walker's blog that he's only 16.

Makes you wonder what they put in the milk in the Cowichan if he grasps what all kinds of supposedly educated and mature Canadians don't:
You see, a complaint has recently been filed with the British Columbia Human Rights Commission because staff at a Vancouver H&M asked a woman called Manuela Valle to be more discreet while she was breastfeeding her child. That's right, you read that last sentence correctly. As Valle was waiting for her husband, who was trying on clothes, she started to breastfeed her two-month old daughter in the store. A clerk came by and asked her to move to a change-room to breastfeed, so as not to offend the other customers, and Valle was hustled off. Valle stated later that she was made to feel like a shoplifter. Of course, the most reasonable response was the one which Valle gave, which was to state, "I am being arrested for breastfeeding my baby," while being moved to a change room to do so (she actually said that).

This is not the first such complaint to be filed recently in Canada. There's been another one filed in Toronto, via a woman named Allison Loblaw. She complained to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, claiming that a female clerk rather rudely and quite embarrassingly told her to use a change room to breastfeed.

Now, while I can understand that embarrassment and a certain amount of anger, I cannot help but feel that such human rights complaints are actually opposed to rights and freedom. Let me explain.

I am a libertarian, or at the very least, an individualist. I believe in the ideal of a free society: maximum personal freedoms, and no government interference in our interactions, unless absolutely necessary because of violence or other outright criminal behavior. From this viewpoint, I uphold a woman's right to breastfeed, as I would uphold all other personal freedoms -- so long as it is understood that one person's freedoms do not trump any other person's.

However, from this viewpoint, I also support a "free response," which means that while I support a woman's right to breastfeed, I also support the rights of the people around her to voice their disapproval of such. If a mother can breastfeed in public, so too can people voice discomfort, and ask her to do so elsewhere. Especially considering that breastfeeding is an action conducted by choice, such a balance of freedom in interaction within society seems fair enough to me. Everyone's on the same playing field.

It is therefore hypocrisy, to me, for someone such as Manuela Valle or Allison Loblaw to lobby in favour of their rights to breastfeed in public, while at the same time using a government bureaucracy to, in effect, silence people when they respond to said breastfeeding. If you only support your own freedom, then you don't believe in freedom at all. These women are only interested in their own freedom to act, and to use tax dollars to enforce any such agenda is much less than admirable.

The Manuela Valle incident was the focus of a "nurse-in" protest -- basically like a sit-in -- only with nursing mothers at that H&M store. That's a great response. An interaction between citizens, and a voice for Valle and other breastfeeding advocates which does not involve a government bureaucracy looking over the proceedings. I have no problem with that.

But I do have a problem whenever someone uses a bureaucracy -- like Human Rights Commissions -- for their own ends, or for the ends of whatever cause they believe in. Breastfeeding advocacy, like any other cause, is something to be decided upon by us: the citizens. We're not children. We can't go running to the government whenever something doesn't go our way, or whenever the others don't play nice. To do what Valle and Loblaw are doing is equivalent to not only taking your own toy and going home, but to having your parents come in and take everyone else's toys as well. We can't have everyone on the same level of free citizenry when some people feel it necessary to stack the odds in their favour by going to a higher power.
Rights commissions not the place

Obama The Commander-In-Chief

This cheered me up:

(Thanks to James at Sanctus, for a well-needed laugh)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some Sunday reading. Featuring: Nick vs. the state dicks; and Howard vs. the coward victim worshippers

Because the other side has given up on reason... what titles must we write in future....?

Nick at Ghostofaflea has some great lines:
...It is no business of the government to intervene in religious disagreements of this kind. Incitement to violence... actual violence... is another matter entirely. It is true any number of bigotries are tribalism dressed up in theological language. It is also true many take whatever their creed as justification for mayhem and slaughter from lone maniacs to psychopathic state-actors. But mere disagreement about the truth cannot be the province of the government, let alone rogue bureaucracies or criminal bureaucratic cliques acting with the power of the government. [I think Nick means this kind of thing]

My creed holds I must have the freedom to be wrong; to deny salvation itself. It holds that the nature of salvation is such that it may only be discovered and accepted as a free gift. My virtue cannot be legislated, let alone the fate of my soul.

Scientologists should be free to believe whatever outrageous UFO nonsense they wish. But I must be free to describe their UFO nonsense in those terms and be free to discourage the overly credulous from believing Scientological faith and practice where a high credit card limit may purchase their ersatz salvation. Once the government steps in to say that my disagreement may bring Scientology into hatred and contempt I can only reply, yes, that is the precise idea. There are many ideologies that should be brought into hatred and contempt, must be if liberty - civilization itself - is to survive. That our law is incapable of distinguishing between opposition to an ideology and incitement to violence against the con artists and rubes who advance it is to show not only badly written law but a Canadian Establishment that has lost the capacity for reason.
Ask yourself: What kind of "church" sues to prevent public discussion of its theology? What other cults use thought crime legislation to enforce opinions that cannot win converts by reason and example? What other ideologies dismiss disagreement as false consciousness and insist on the power to indoctrinate the children of their opponents?
Ghost of a flea: Operation: Cult Fiction

And in related news:
Perhaps in anticipation of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets of Paris and London and San Fransisco, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explains there is no timetable for withdrawal from the independent, United Nations recognized state of Georgia. Call me cynical but I suspect he need not have bothered. An alphabet soup of so called human rights organizations and so called anti-war activists seem utterly indifferent to reports of slave-taking "forced labour" and continuing Russian military operations in violation of an internationally brokered ceasefire.
Near uniformity in support of Russian imperialism in comments at The Toronto Star. Historical sidebar: Toronto citizens crowd the port to welcome President Jefferson Davis. More recent historical sidebar: Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves a piece of paper. That was a couple years ago and he is even more wrong now. Military force is the only thing that will resolve this dispute.
For those in need of some visual confirmations of the horrors of this war, from the p.o.v. of the Russian soldier and his desire to record images of burning bodies, check out this link (HT Michael Travis)

Finally, don't miss all the latest at Howard Rotberg's blog detailing his forthcoming trial against Canada's book monolith:
I have gone to some pains in recent postings to explain that I think that the young Palestinians who lied and lied some more about me are to be pitied. But the all too human tendency in this world, exacerbated by elements in our current culture, is always to blame somebody else for everything and shy away from taking personal responsibility for your actions.

What I am referring to is the way that the media who reported the incident and the corporate executives at Chapters in fact by their liberal inclinations for moral relativism and sympathy for the perceived underdog, actually encourage the Raneem Al-Halimis of this world to lie and to think they can get away with their lies.

Why? Because look how inadequate was the investigation by Chapters. Look how the PR Director, Ms. Gaulin, automatically assumed that the word of an 18 year old part time employee should be preferred to that of an author, a lawyer, an activist for race relations, and a developer of affordable housing in the very community in which he had been attacked, without proper protection by his hosts, and she did not take up my offer to talk to two reputabe professors in the audience for the whole lecture.

Look how the police were so fast in releasing the troublemakers, before they even completed their investigation by talking to me. Look at how easy it was for Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress to say he had "every confidence" in the Waterloo Police, without even taking the time with me to receive the sworn affidavits that I had.

In other words, the real blame extends through our media, our police, our cultural corporations like Chapters, the NGOs and even the Jewish NGOs! They are so eager, in their misconceived liberal sympathies for the "perceived victim" that they don't care if the perceived victim is victimizing others.

Now let's turn to the Israel-Palestinian problem. The United Nations treated the Palestinians unlike any other refugees, by creating United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. This perpetuated the problem, rather than attempting to solve it and created a whole class of people whose income and jobs depended on the perpetuation of the problem and not its solution.

I have written on this blog about one Western country's inappropriate reaction to Palestinian terrorism (Germany in the 1972 Olympics) and in fact the IOC's inappropriate reaction. In fact, I would argue that the West, particularly Europe has in fact encouraged a maximalist, rejectionist Palestinian leadership, beginning with the way that Yassr Arafat was so frequently feted and the way in which intellectuals continued with him the all too often intellectual love affair with totalitarians and men of violence.

Then, when Israel offered the overly generous settlement at Camp David, was the Western world there to counsel the Palestinians to accept it? No, in fact when the Palestinians chose to make a reaction not a diplomatic one, but one of the worst examples of killing innocent civilians in history - i.e. suicide bombings against civilians as part of a death cult, did the West penalize or even denounce the Palestinians for adopting this death cult, and turning their schools and media into brainwashing factories for suicide bombers?

No, in fact, as I show in my novel, the more violent and disfunctional the Palestinians became the more certain elements in the West, especially in Europe and especially in our universities, became pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. Even as the Palestinians rejected democracy by voting in a totalitarian Islamist killing machine, controlled by non Arabs in Iran, the West was still silent.

So do you see the metaphor? Sure the Palestinians were at fault in my case, just as they have been at fault in many cases of their conflict with a country that is trying to set up a state for them in the West Bank and Gaza.

But in both cases, we cannot only fault the poor mixed up people who have done the vile deeds. As my writing shows, again and again, it is we in the west, who are perpetuating and in fact deepening the problem by our morally corrupted responses.

So, Heather Reisman and Sorya Ingrid Gaulin at Chapters, you are a main part of the problem. What you have done to me is an interesting metaphor for what the western, educated world has done to the poor pitiful Palestinians, and their Jewish neighbours.
The Metaphor

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Is Paris Burning?

Motoring in France? What a romance in store for you, ami. It's sooo European. As is this:

Violences urbaines : les chiffres 2007

Lu dans Minute du 6 août :

"Le nombre de « violences urbaines » commises en 2007 en France a été discrètement publié par le ministère de l'Intérieur. Il s'élève à 93 016, dont 37 359 incendies de véhicules, soit 102 par jour ! Le reste se répartit entre 26 217 incendies de poubelles, 7 955 dégradations de mobilier urbain (recensées dans la même catégorie, que celui-ci soit juste endommagé ou totalement détruit), 6 856 jets de projectile (les destinataires étant principalement les policiers et les pompiers), 5 658 rodéos automobiles et 4 101 « violences collectives à l'encontre des forces de sécurité, de secours et de santé », à distinguer des « jets de projectile » qui sont des actes individuels…"
That's translatable from French into English as something like a whole whack of cars burnt, like 102 per day par jour.

Subtle. I can't believe my eyes. How does one hide 102 burning cars every night? And mobs attacking the police? Look, it doesn't matter if they do it par jour or not, once is enough and too much. If the police cannot or will not protect themselves, what are they doing for the citizens par jour? Nada.

Europe isn't finished: If Osama Barka becomes president, Europe is just beginning. They'll come to Paris, Texas, too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Big Momma state is growing

Wolf Howling reports on a proposal in the UK to take some obese children away from their parents to be raised by the state. Socialized child rearing is of course a recurring theme in the history of the Utopian left. Still, to see that the past's hard-won lessons that the state cannot be anything but a terribly poor alternative, a desperate last resort, to the family as a locus of child rearing are not yet seriously common sense in what once claimed to be a leading nation is sad indeed. In the Brave New World, the psychopaths will all be thin... and they will not wear childish swastikas on their arms.

Welfare state socialism may have been the ruin of many British families, along perhaps with the success of capitalism in making food and other consumables very cheap. More of either won't solve today's problems; only a re-invigoration of civil society along with appropriate spiritual disciplines can to do the job...

Also at Wolf Howling: The American Pychological Association knows what you must think about global warming and is seeking ways to make you think it:
[...]By editing CNN and PBS news stories so that some saw a skeptic included in the report, others saw a story in which the skeptic was edited out and another group saw no video, Krosnick found that adding 45 seconds of a skeptic to one news story caused 11% of Americans to shift their opinions about the scientific consensus. Rather than 58% believing a perceived scientific agreement, inclusion of the skeptic caused the perceived amount of agreement to drop to 47%.

American Psychological Association leaders say they want to launch a national initiative specifically targeting behavior changes, including developing media messages that will help people reduce their carbon footprint and pay more attention to ways they can conserve. They want to work with other organizations and enlist congressional support to help fund the effort. . . .
The left is in near total control of academia and the MSM and they are now but a step away from complete control of the reigns of power in Washington. They are pushing the Fairness Doctrine to eliminate conservative opinion from the radio waves. As I blogged the other day, they are planning to criminalize policy differences, dreaming of show trials for the Bush Administration. And now they wish to insure that the U.S. no longer hears both sides of an argument. What has gone wrong in America? And what is wrong with these psychologists that they are so convinced of the truth of their position that they cannot see beyond that and even recognize the ramifications of what they are suggesting? What does it mean when they see their job as being the cynical manipulation of opinion?

Isaac "Purple" Hayes is dead.

Perhaps best known as the leader of the Purple Gang, a group from Detroit, the Purple Gang itself was notorious as a mob of bootleggers, so many of them imprisoned that when Elvis went to prison he found that the whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang.

Jimi Hendrix, Seattle-born guitarist, was much taken with Hayes, going so far as to write the song that has immortalized them both: "Purple Hayes," the lyrics of which include this famous line of comradely love: "Excuse me while I kiss this guy."

Hayes is reported to have turned purple at the mention of it, hence the nick-name.

So long, Purple, we miss you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ultimately it is the law that must be changed, by citizens living in freedom

There is speculation in the blogosphere thanks to this post at Free Dominion that the Canadian Human Rights Commission is getting ready to throw Richard "maximum disruption" Warman under the bus. Some may see this as the CHRC looking for a scapegoat to avoid further public scrutiny of its own establishment. While I might quibble that this would be to misuse the term scapegoat, there is no doubt a risk that we may be now encouraged to forget that, whatever becomes the public historical legacy of Richard Warman, Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, now often known as "Warman's law", was bound to lead to all kinds of injustices, to a highly politicized legal and judicial process, and hence a low-level civil war between conservatives and leftists, whether or not Richard Warman ever got involved in the leftist war against the leftist conception of "hate" using typical leftist tactics. The Canadian state was bound to be backing such a war the moment it wrote into law Section 13. It is impossible for such a law not to become a political tool, unless it be widely ignored and left unused. At least "maximum disruption" Warman has honestly recognized this fact.

Citizens disturbed by the latest revelations in the documents represented and linked at Free Dominion should re-affirm their commitment to a free society in which policing of hatreds becomes the responsibility of individuals and institutions in civil society. The moment we give this job to the state - the moment criminal or "human rights" law becomes concerned not just with wrong actions but also with "wrong" thoughts - especially in a society that defines itself as "multicultural", we have effectively given up our freedom to the whims of those who will define for the competing groups in society what is and is not politically acceptable. We will become locked in resentful group identities and will not lessen hatreds but only fail to mediate them effectively. Instead, we must re-affirm individual rights and responsibilities in ways that maximize our shared freedom. We must protect each other from hate.

At Covenant Zone, we are trying to do our part to maintain the culture of freedom and democratic self-rule in Canada. To this end, the "end" without end, the "end" that allows for no dangerously Utopian visions of an end, such as the leftist conceit to be fighting to end hate and conflict (and only becoming their yet more dangerous agents in the deluded Utopian process) we meet every Thursday (in spirit we meet forever without end) to keep the conversation of free people going. If you can join us here in Vancouver, please do, in the atrium of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, 7-9 pm, in front of Blenz Coffee. If you can't, consider creating your own Covenant Zone.

Normal Schizophrenic Canadian Vacationing in Denver Found Dead with Pound of Cyanide, Not a Jihadi.

"He was fine. He was just a normal person."

The pound of cyanide found in a Denver hotel room with the Muslim's corpse? Well, a souvenir, of course. The man's sister says he was normal, so that's it. Normal.

"In Ottawa, Mr. Dirie's sister told the Citizen that her brother suffered from mental illness, and she angrily rejected any suggestion that he was tied to terrorism or had any intention of harming Mr. Obama."

Canadians have a northern, deep-snow sense of normal, maybe. Who are we to judge?

"He was not a terrorist," said the sister, who declined to give her name. "We don't want to hear that word, it hurts us. It is against our religion."

I'm becoming more convinced each line that a pound of cyanide in a Denver hotel room is just normal prior to the Democratic Convention.

"Her brother, she said, had travelled alone to Colorado for a vacation. The family, she said, was devastated to learn that he had died in his Denver hotel room. "He was just going on a trip," his sister said." .... Mr. Dirie's sister said her brother had been doing well since he began receiving treatment for his illness at the Royal Ottawa Hospital about three years ago.

"He was fine. He was just a normal person."

Her brother was taking his medication regularly when he left Ottawa, she said, and was not suicidal. She did not know how or why he would have come in contact with cyanide....

Not possibly related to this:

What? Are you crazy?

Clown Nation

Imagine Phormio asking Ion for ship-building advice. What's odd about an Athenian admiral going to war against Sparta asking a pompous fool of an actor who knows about ships because he recites Homer? Uh, I think I'm being rhetorical. Maybe not.

We are going to war against a number of nations in the near future, like it or no, and we might have Osama Barka as our president. If he becomes our commander-in-chief of our military forces, who should he turn to for military advice? Obviously some actor who has great experience in war movies. I mean, of course, Ion.

Maybe I failed too at irony.

I might next try being irenic.

The art of representation. That's what it's all about here. Who represents us? And in the seeing and the re-presentation, who are we really? Go Osama! Lead on. And Send in the Clowns.

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can't move.
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

Just when I'd stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
Sure of my lines,
No one is there.

Don't you love farce?
My fault I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want.
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don't bother, they're here.

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer,
Losing my timing this late
In my career?
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
Well, maybe next year.

This year we have people determined to vote for Osama Barka. Who sent for the clowns?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two months after Maclean's magazine subjected to Maoist show trial by the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal, at Robson Square, Vancouver...

Does Premier Campbell pay attention to the news and what actually happens in our province?
Premier Gordon Campbell stopped by Beijing's Main Press Centre Tuesday to sell his message about the state-of-the-art media centre the province is building in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games.

Instead, he found himself in a political discussion with reporters from some of China's government-run media who wanted to use his press conference to focus on problems affecting the Vancouver Olympics.

But the questions seemed to have more to do with political positioning than with eliciting information.

When one reporter from the China Daily, considered by Westerners to be a government mouthpiece, zeroed in how Campbell will handle "anti-Olympic groups such as the Anti-Poverty Coalition," Campbell gave a political lesson of his own.

"In Canada we will be open to opportunities for people to express whatever views they have," he said. "There will not be opportunities to break the law, [but] we will make sure there will be full and equal expression throughout the 2010 Olympics."
It clearly wasn't what he was expecting when he announced that the new media centre, which will be built at a cost of $2.5 million, will serve upwards of 3,000 reporters and editors who can't get International Olympic Committee accreditation to the 2010 Winter Games.

In fact, none of the questions he received dealt with the 2,600 square-metre facility, which will be built at Robson Square.

He gave a terse "no" when asked if he was surprised that government-run media would zero in on the issues of poverty and free speech in Canada.

But the premier also didn't shirk from answering the questions, even though he knew that these issues would overtake his good-news message.
Campbell fires back at Chinese critics

Covenant Zone is considering joining the growing boycott of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, to be lifted only when Canada does away with Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and its equivalent in the provincial "human rights" codes. Dear Readers, do you think that a good idea?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

B'nai Brith: putting their "faith" in criminalization of Judeophobia

UPDATE: fourhorses at Free Dominion points out some of the government agents whom B'Nai Brith should be targeting next, according to their own logic in the following post.

UPDATE 2: And let's not forget how our criminal law can be corrupted once judges must play the game of defining and punishing "hate" speech, rather than clear incitement to violence:

A number of the bloggers who have been calling for an end to Canada's "human rights" commissions, or at least to the powers of these commissions to police our freedom of expression, saw this recent press release from B'nai Brith as a hopeful sign that that organization was reconsidering its record of working with Canada's "human rights" commissions to prosecute internet hate mongers. Those who had hoped that Canada's organized Jews would stop fighting the last Holocaust by fooling themselves into thinking that going after socially marginal "neo-Nazis" was somehow a politically serious act, and who had called instead for Jewish organizations to concentrate on the threat of a next Holocaust posed by antisemitic Islamists and allied leftists who, in Canada, are now using the "human rights" codes to attack critics of political Islam, including Jewish defenders of individual freedom, will probably be disappointed at the recent decision of B'nai Brith to put its faith in Canada's criminal hate speech laws. However, at least B'nai Brith's target is now those one can take a little more seriously as promoters of a second Holocaust.

Today came the news that B'nai Brith is lobbying the Ontario Attorney General to prosecute under the criminal code, in order to combat the rampant Jew hatred, posing as anti-Zionism, at Ontario's universities:
TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada has urged Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley to proceed swiftly with hate crime charges against demonstrators who took part in an anti-Israel event last February at McMaster University.

Protesters chanted “death to Jews” and “Viva Jihad,” while waving signs that promoted hatred and violence.

In a letter to Bentley, B’nai Brith Canada said that Hamilton Police urged that “you proceed with hate crime charges in connection with the anti-Israel rally held at McMaster University on Feb. 29, 2008. As reported by various news outlets, including the Hamilton Mountain News, hate-filled slogans such as ‘death to Jews’ and ‘Viva Jihad’ traumatized those in attendance.

“We urge you to…proceed with hate crime charges against demonstrators who actively promoted hatred and violence.

“B’nai Brith Canada’s 2007 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents illustrates the growing trend of antisemitic incidents across Canada taking place at educational settings. This is especially true with regards to university campuses where incidents rose dramatically, more than doubling from 36 cases in 2006 to 78 in 2007.

“While free speech is undoubtedly a fundamental component of Canadian society, it should not act as a shield for protesters chanting ‘death to Jews’ and ‘Viva Jihad.’ As universities across Canada gear up for a new academic year, we look to your leadership to signal that poisonous messaging that promotes hatred and violence against a particular segment of the community – in this case Jewish students – will not be tolerated, on or off campus.”

In the letter, B’nai Brith acknowledged that Bentley has fought hate crimes throughout Ontario: “We are well aware of your ongoing commitment to combating hatred against all of Ontario’s diverse communities and welcome your ongoing efforts on this front. Please do not hesitate to call upon B’nai Brith, which stands ready to lend its expertise and assist in any way possible.”

Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s executive vice-president, said, “We are calling on the Attorney General to act on the request of the Hamilton police. Failure to bring this matter to a resolution is at odds with the severity of the offence.

“Campus is an important microcosm of society where there can be no immunity from hate. As universities across Canada gear up for a new academic year, any further delay leaves Jewish students at risk.”
For me, the question is whether a chant of "death to Jews" can be seriously taken as an incitement to violence, rather than a vile comment on the highly politicized legacy of the Holocaust. While a free society must tolerate the expression of pretty much all resentments, it should draw the lines at actions that are violent or that are seriously and directly intended to encourage violence.

But this is to say we should not confuse the issue in terms of "hate speech", since pretty much every human being has hateful expressions of one kind or another in his or her speech. What should be illegal is clear and direct incitement to violence, not words that some (inevitably politicized) seer can interpret as passing Canada's judicial tests for words "likely to expose a person or group to hatred or contempt". Ultimately the test of incitement to violence would likely be that violence did indeed flow more or less directly from the act of incitement.

I think B'nai Brith is intellectually confused if they think the widespread problem of Judeophobia and the left-political Islam alliance against Israel, America, and all free societies can be tackled through the heavy hand of the criminal law. Throwing student radicals in jail will not teach such people to like Jews or Israel. It will surely have the opposite effect much more often. It will create martyrs and thus foster the cause of the hate mongers, further encourage conspiracy theories of a Jewish lobby controlling Western governments, and only encourage the forces of moral relativism to say: well if one can't say that about Israel/Jews, nobody can say similar things about Islam, or Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, etc. etc. And given the current inability of Canada's "multicultural" politicians to make distinctions between relatively free and tyrannical cultures, we will likely have all kinds of necessary expressions of cultural or political contempt threatened by criminal sanctions. Again, let me remind that I am not defending actual incitements to violence. But any attempt at outlawing resentments would just be a Utopian project bound to fail in all kinds of ugly and dangerous ways.

The colonization of our universities by hateful antisemites and conspiracy theorists - much teaching in the humanities today is a sophisticated form of conspiracy theorizing where human reality is wrongly presumed to be constructed by one or another form of the will to power - is a tragedy of great proportions. But in the face of this calamity we cannot bow to our emotions to strike back in ways that might appeal to our sense of injustice, or our own desire to practice a will to power, but not to our pragmatic reason.

I have often argued that the only real protection for Jews from the age-old, but ever-modernizing, threat of Judeophobia is not the heavy-hand of the law but rather a widespread determination from our neighbors and co-citizens to defend the reality of a free society. What protects us is faith that there are others among us who will "get our backs", who will defend the individual against collective sacrificial violence from any quarter. Jews need to be ever vigilant that they are not falling for the old illusion that finding and prosecuting a "scapegoat" or two among the legions of Judeophobes will solve the problem. Yes, real violent criminals need to be prosecuted; but there is no reason to think that criminal prosecution solves the problem of Jew hatred. Weimar Germany frequently prosecuted Nazis; that did not stop their rise.

A free society cannot be defended by government but only by an ethic that is inculcated in sufficient numbers of individual citizens who know it is their responsibility to stand up to hate mongers wherever they are. If we leave this task to the governments, popular resentments, of which Judeophobia is always a leading contender, not the love of individual freedom, will sooner or later rule the day.

A free society cannot be built on fear of hatred but only by coming better to understand the human or anthropological nature of resentment, that we may further human self-understanding accordingly. We must do the hard work of facing down hatred by talking freely in ways that help people understand and mediate the resentment that makes Jew hatred both something unique among the various racisms of the world, and a sign that provides a clue to something fundamental to our shared human, often resentful, nature. The Jew, as member of the "chosen people", those first to develop monotheist thinking in a serious way, is obviously a symbol for some aspect of our universal humanity that we need better to understand.

I would suggest to B'nai Brith that the very fact that many leftists at our universities have made implicit or explicit alliance with Islamists, that they are ready to appease and encourage the most resentful forces of an anti-modernity, anti-freedom, anti-global economy movement suggests that the most fundamental lessons of the Holocaust have never really been learned. I would suggest that the nature of antisemitism is less than fully understood by most Jews and intellectuals in the West. I would then go on to suggest that no one should fall into the trap of thinking that he can prevent the next Holocaust by relying on criminal law and not on the work of expanding human self-understanding, work that can only be done in a society where freedom of expression is, with only a few exceptions (laws against personal defamation, fraud, incitement to violence), unlimited.