canadiancomment

Our opinions and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.

Saddam Takes Billions

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It turns out Saddam was pretty well off, I figured he would be pretty comfortable but holy crap, this man knew how to skim. Check out some of the numbers in this story about all the money Saddam and his inner circle stole from the oil for food program.

I Am Joe, and I'm Canadian

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Remember that line from the Molson ad a few years back, come on everybody does. Mark Steyn has a different take on that famous line, read it here.

Solution for Hamas

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I have been reading over at RAND and found an article by Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson. It's about what has to be done with Hamas before peace can be made between the Palestinians and the Israelis. For full story click here.

Just to give you an idea of some of the things they cover, I'll give you some of the best quotes.
"Unlike the Irish Republican Army, Hamas — the largest and most powerful of the religiously based Palestinian terrorist groups — cannot be tamed by political compromise. Hamas’s radical Islamist doctrine indicates that even in a new Palestinian state, Hamas will try to use the state as a platform first to defeat its secular rivals and ultimately to extinguish the state of Israel. Hamas, then, must be coercively disarmed. If it is not, any new state will be doomed to instability and probably civil war."
"The PA’s unwillingness or inability to disarm Hamas feeds Israel’s reluctance to advance the peace process."
"At this point, direct pressure on Arafat is probably useless. But the U.S. could go around him. Selective investment in equipping, training and advising Palestinian security forces would provide a real incentive to ambitious and forward-looking Palestinians to distance themselves from Arafat."
"There’s still a need for a Plan B, however. All these efforts might fail to quell Hamas’s terrorist threat, making U.S. military intervention the only option for stopping an insurrection from a Hamas-led coalition."
"The preferred outcome should be for re-energized U.S. political engagement in the Middle East peace process, coupled with counterterrorism assistance to an enlightened PA. But should intervention prove necessary, the U.S. must ensure that it is not merely to protect an elected Palestinian government but also to secure a fair and honorable Palestinian administration that could stand as a democratic example for the entire Middle East."
Yasser Arafat and all other corrupt officals need to be removed from power, they only slow down the peace process. They also hold back real leaders from taking power, leaders who want to make real changes that would help their own people and also help the Palestinians and Israelis grow together, instead of apart.

The Palestinian Authority Speaks

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I'm going to give you some quotes from the PA, tell me what you think of them. Remember the U.S. and the rest of the West support a Palestinian state, go figure.
"The new Fuhrer [Bush] will return the world to the Stone Age, while Hitler only left tens of millions of dead."
"The world stands today at the edge of a dangerous slope which threatens the destiny of all humanity. The President of the most powerful nation in the world suffers from megalomania and thinks he's a prophet. He uses military force to rearrange the world as he likes.
"No doubt that the personality of President Bush will be juicy material for tens of psychology books, for he has many characteristics of historical figures that left a negative impact on course of global history lead by the Fuhrer of Germany, Adolf Hitler, and his Nazi and racist proclamations. The Cuban President, Fidel Castro who has deep knowledge of President Bush's history already called him "Fuhrer of the globalization era or the new world order."
"The Palestinians will shake the earth under the feet of the blood and oil sucking neo-imperialists - the "American European Russian alliance".The right wing lobby, [which] controls Washington and runs a dirty war against all that is Arab and Muslim. It is a Fascist right that formed an alliance with the Fascist Israeli Colonialists."
"The political and military balance of power is not completely against the Arabs. There are very vulnerable spots and internal crises that the Bush-Sharon alliance suffer, and the Arab resistance is able on the various burning fronts to force this alliance to pay a dear price."
The total message the PA continues to send to its people is that the US and the West are paramount enemies of the Palestinians and the Arab world, and must be fought. This anti American hatred continues at the very time that the US continues to give political and financial support to the PA.

I say cut off all funds to the Palestinian Authority, money going to an organization like this is down right wrong. The PA doesn't want peace with Israel, teaches hate of the West and Israel to their children and enrichs themselves at the plight of their own people.

Shoko Asahara To Hang

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Don't remember that name, I forgot it too. Shoko Asahara is the leader of the group that set off Sarin gas in the subway system in Tokyo. He was found guilty of 13 charges and is sentenced to hang for his crimes. Full story here.

For a little more information on Shoko Asahara read this story. It's a short profile of him. He started out wanting to be Prime Minister of Japan, I guess that never panned out for him now did it.

Israel's Barrier

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There has been a lot of talk recently about the barrier Israel is building to keep out terrorists or suicide bombers, whatever you want to call them. I think the wall is a good idea, the Israelis have tried to make peace several different times and it has failed. Largely the fault of Yasser Arafat, so as a last ditch attempt to protect their people the Israelis have choose to build themselves a wall. It's not the Israelis who want a wall, it's the terrorists who are making the wall a necessity.

You have to put yourself in the shoes of the Israelis, living in fear of getting blown up on a bus or sitting down for a coffee with a friend. It's scary, it doesn't matter who you are, it could happen. If we in Canada, had to deal with such a situation, we'd be wondering why it took the government so long to build a wall to save us.

What about the Palestinians you say, don't they deserve a country to call their own? Yes they do but time and time again they have had a change for their own country and didn't take the offer. Starting in 1947 all the at up to the present, they were offered a chance at peace and they didn't take it. There comes a time when you have to realize that violence is not working and move on the something else, like getting a state peacefully, building an economy, school system and infrastructure.

Sure I realize the wall could be the cause of some undesirable situations, like keeping law abiding people away from their jobs and families but I blame suicide bombers for the wall not Israel so that argument isn't going to work with me. Israel wouldn't be building this wall if there was a two state solution, so blame Arafat and the terrorists for the wall, I do.

Johan Goldberg over at NRO has recently done a good article on the subject, give it a read here. He makes some good points about the wall like,
"Others don't like the wall because it will remove "incentives" for Israel to negotiate a permanent peace. In other words, they object to the fact that the wall will work. Because the "incentives" for Israel to negotiate are the waves of terrorists blowing up old ladies on buses and kids in pizza parlors."
It's pretty simple when it's laid out like that isn't it. It's hard to argue that Israel doesn't have a right to defend it's own people, right or would you rather they went back to taking over towns and villages instead, because that slowed down the rate of suicide bombing too.

Wall or no wall the two sides must agree to live beside one another in peace before the wall will not be needed any longer, so it's up to the people to decide how long the wall will stand.

Al-Qaeda Plays Hockey

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I just had to put this story on the blog, it's funny stuff. Al-Qaeda plays hockey is a very funny story about how the Americans would kick Al-Qaeda's ass if they played hockey against one another.

The Onion always has a couple of funny stories on their site. I would like to meet the people that come up with this stuff, they'd be a ball to hang out with. Check it out if you don't already.

I have one question though, how bad would Canada bet Al-Qaeda? Seeing as Canada could make 2 or 3 teams that could beat the Americans. It would be a massacre, something like when Canada beat Switzerland 45-0 back in the day. The Americans have a pretty solid team but could never beat Canada in a seven game series, they might get a couple games but that would be the best they could do.

So you Canadians out there that don't like the Americans, take pride in our hockey because it's one of the few things that the Americans can't come close to us at.

If O'Reilly Says It's Ok

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I've heard way to much about Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" but I'm going to add another story to the growing number in the media. It's not like Mel needs any more help getting people to hear about his new movie, it's all over the place.

Bill O'Reilly has seen the movie and he says that there is nothing wrong with it at all except for the violence, which he thought was a little much. Here is the full story.

O'Reilly says that it stays pretty much to the Bible, except for a couple details and that people shouldn't be alarmed. O'Reilly makes a good point as it's quoted here, "People who hate Jews don't need a movie to fuel their neurosis. Haters will find a way."

Of course with all the talk about the movie, good or bad, we'll all just have to watch the movie and decide for ourselves. If Bill O'Reilly thinks it's OK, it must not be that bad.

Does Crime Pay?

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Apparently in Toronto it does. Police Cheif Julian Fantino thinks the current system is way to lenient. Click here for full story.

Fatino says its an all to familiar pattern, the police make the arrests than the accused are right back out in the streets the very next day.

Fantino said the American justice system "isn't the ideal system," but he said it does move more quickly than it does in Canada. "Look at the sniper shootings there and look at how quickly those cases went to court and how they were disposed of very quickly. Here, you've got cases that go on for years. We go through all kinds of hoops. We have to bring fairness back to the system."

A justice system has to be fair, but it also has to punish those who commit crimes. It also has to do it in a timely manner. If this system continues at its current pace, with the crimianls not paying a price for their crimes, what's to stop crime from getting worse. The only thing worse than crime is not getting punished when covicted of a crime. The criminals have to know that it doesn't pay to commit crimes.

GM Tailgates Fail

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I am would be interested to know how long has General Motors been making tailgates for trucks, anyone know? How could they all of a sudden forget how to make a tailgate that works?

CBC is reporting the story on how tailgate failures might make GM recall some vehicles. For full story and models involved click here.

GM has been making trucks for as long as I can remember, how would you like to be the guy who designed the tailgate that doesn't work? It seems like a pretty simple thing, but you never know. Something like tailgates, brakes or windshield wipers, you would think they would have it figured out by now.

Chretien Warm Up?

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Jean Chretien is appearing in court today, it's not for the Liberal government sponsorship scandal though. He is in court because the Samson Cree band is claiming the government mishandled a natural gas field that was on their reserve. Chretien has to testify on the governments behalf, he was the Indian Affairs minister in 1969 when decisions were made about how the royalties would be managed. Here is the full story.

I just hope this is only the first time that Jean Chretien has to appear in court, I hope he makes another appearance due to his involvement in the sponsorship scandal. There should be a full criminal investigation into the the Liberal government's mishandling of the program. Chretien should have to do jail time if he had knowledge of the mismanagement of the sponsorship program.

Another Week

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Sorry that I haven't been posting much lately but between work and wedding plans I'm pretty busy.

Since my mind is so scrambled these days I can't manage to keep on one subject for more than thirty seconds. So I figured I'ld just link up a few interesting articles I've come across the last couple of days...

Too Diverse?
A Northern Stategy
The UN and the Jews
The Man Who Would Be Khan
Say Anything
A Marine's Journal

Have a good week. And thanks to Bob for keeping the number of posts up to a reasonable level.

Top Referrers to this Site

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Here are the top referrers to our site, I don't have a whole lot of time today so I'm just going to give you a link to their sites. Go and check them out.

- Being American in T.O.

- Spin Killer

- Insults Unpunished

- Cerdipity

- The Meatriarchy

- David Janes

There they are, enjoy. They all do some good work on their sites and if you like them, tell em the boys over at Canadian Comment sent you, they might buy us some Xmas presents or something next year.

Top Ten List

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It's after 1 o'clock here on the East Coast, I'm tired and thinking about going to bed but I have one more thing for you tonight. Top Ten things to do after 1 in the morning when your home and the only one still awake, keep in mind I'm not that young anymore so partying is out of the question.

1. Drink a pot of coffee and stay up for 4 or 5 more hours.

2. The smart choice, just go to bed.

3. Watch Sports Center eight times in a row then watch it once more because you may have missed something important.

4. Stay glued to CNN because Osama Bin Ladin may be captured and you want to be the first person to see it on the news.

5. Watch French Porn.

6. Think about doing some push-ups or sit-ups because your getting out of shape, naw.

7. Think up new ways for you to make your life easier, like buying the winning 6/49 ticket, then hire a maid.

8. Nothing beats A-Team reruns.

9. Fall asleep on the couch and wake up with a sore back after telling yourself not to fall asleep on the couch because you'll wake up with a sore back.

10. Talk to your dog until she thinks she's the sane one in the family, remember dogs eat crap and love to sniff smelly asses.

There you have it my guide to living an exciting nightlife. After reading yet another Top Ten list what do you think of the effect David Letterman has on society?

Rights and Freedoms

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One of my favorite sites on the web is MEMRI. It gives me hope to read a lot of the stories over there. More and more people are talking about rights and freedoms in the Middle East everyday and as long as people are talking, progress will be made towards those goals.

As more and more people come to realize how life could be better, not just the same old propaganda the government puts out, blaming others and everyone but themselves. People's desire for more rights and freedoms will grow as word spreads from one town to the next.

Even up until a few years ago, would you have heard things like this coming out of the Middle Eastern media?
"It is unfortunate that many Muslim religious scholars have a mindset that belongs to the distant past. In earlier times, Muslim rulers called for translations of Greek and Roman works in order to use their knowledge. Building on what they learned, Muslims were pioneers in astrology, medicine, geology, physics, mathematics, and biology at a time when Europe was struggling in the Dark Ages".
"We have come up with tourism as a new economic venture in addition to oil. What? Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination? A visitor interested in coming to this region might think of Dubai, Oman, or Bahrain, but certainly not Saudi Arabia. For starters, we do not issue tourist visas. The only visas are for business and work. Even journalists sometimes have to wait for months before finally getting a visa from one of our embassies abroad."
"Other disturbing signs that reflect our intolerance and rigidity appear in our streets and our malls - faceless people on signs. The faces of men in an advertisement are covered with paint, tape, or plaster. Others, displaying women, are the same. Even the faces of children are blotted out - and let's not forget about women's products sold in pharmacies. And then there is sexual segregation and what almost amounts to a phobia when men and women are together. How many times has a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight been delayed because stewards and stewardesses are busy rearranging seats because a man and a woman - for cultural reasons - feel they cannot sit next to each another?"
"We must begin by looking carefully at our education system. We must look at textbooks that do not encourage tolerance and teachers who take advantage of their jobs to spread poisonously destructive bile and venom. "
"Imagine a 22 year-old college student whose ultimate desire is to become a suicide bomber! The killer of scores of people who believed that not only would she go to heaven but that the act would also be good for the country since it would plant fear in the hearts of infidels, causing them to leave the country! This same college student with her twisted ideas may one day be a mother, responsible for rearing a few members of another generation of Saudis. It is a frightening possibility but also a very real one which must be confronted and overcome."
I hope you get my point, some of these things were thought before, but now they are said in the open, put in newspapers and discussed between families. Times are changing in the Middle East, the hard-liners are trying to hold on to power while new exciting ideas are being exchanged though out the population, ideas of freedom and civil rights and these are powerful ideas indeed.

The Hits Just Keep Coming

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Is it just me or is every piece of news you hear about the Liberals lately, bad or what? The Globe and Mail has yet another story about the Liberals misleading the Canadian people. Here is the story, Ottawa Shortchanging Provinces.

Normally I wouldn't complain about a federal government cutting back on spending but as little as three months ago the federal government lead the provinces to believe they were going to receive larger equalization payments this year. The provinces were planning this into their budgets but now they learn they are not going to get the money the feds lead them to believe they were going to get.

More dishonesty from the federal government, this is starting to sound like a broken record, how many times has this been the theme of a story in the past couple months, too many?

P.E.I.'s Mitch Murphy summed up the mood of the meeting with this comment, “I think this is the 18th federal-provincial ministers meeting that I've been to and I don't think I've been to one where we've had a less desirable outcome.” Strong words don't you think?

John Edwards Posters

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Check this link for some funny posters that could be in John Edwards campaign in the near future. I think a couple of these could really work for him and his run for the White House.

Allah Akbar always has some funny stuff on the site so check it out. One word of caution though if you care about religion, please don't take any of it to heart or you may be offended by some of the content on the site. With that in mind, enjoy.

The Power of Faking It

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[Via Best of the Web Today]

This is classic. Straight from The Journal:

"An Oxford engineering student was surprised but undaunted when he was approached to deliver a series of lectures in Beijing on global economics," reports London's Daily Telegraph. Twenty-three-year-old Matthew Richardson says he knew "next to nothing" about the subject, but decided to give it a try anyway. He checked a textbook out of the library and spent the flight to China studying it:
From it he prepared a two-hour presentation, believing he had to deliver the same lecture several times over to different groups of students over three days.

Mr Richardson, who has the same name as a New York University professor who is a leading authority on international financial markets, was met at the airport and taken straight to a conference centre where, over lunch, "the horrible truth became apparent."

He said: "It became clear to me that my audience was not students, but people from the world of commerce studying for a PhD in business studies having already gained an MBA.

"And instead of repeating the same lecture, I was required to deliver a series of different lectures to the same people over three days."
But he mostly pulled it off. "I ripped out the pages [of the textbook] and disguised each chapter as notes," he recounts. "Because I was speaking through an interpreter I had the time to glance at the pages and prepare myself for what I was going to say next. I ad libbed a bit and really got into the subject. I was learning as much as my audience."

"Several students told him, through the interpreter, how informative they were finding his lectures," he said. But alas, he ran out of material. "By mid-afternoon on the second day I was already on chapter 15 of 16 and I still had the rest of the day and the following morning to go." So he ran for it, checked out of the conference hotel, and moved to different lodgings before leaving the country.

Prof. Richardson, the homonymic NYU prof, was amused: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it seems as if this young man will go far." Woody Allen once observed that "90% of life is just showing up." If only the young Matthew Richardson had checked out another book from the library, he might have been able to fill the other 10%.

The Canada-U.S. Relationship

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I going to give you some stats that give you an idea how much Canada depends on selling exports to the United States of American. This is for all of you that don't like the U.S. and think we shouldn't be as friendly with them as we are. Canada has way more than the Americans to lose if our relationship goes sour.

That's start with a quote from Andrew Cohen.
"The Canadian economy is more dependent than many other economies on exports for the maintenance of a high standard of living, Canada, with its smaller population, has to have a large export market in order to keep down the costs of production. Therefore, it has long been a fundamental need with the Canadian government to follow whatever course of action is necessary to maintain the highest possible level of international trade"
Our large export market is the U.S. and the course of action to maintain that level is to be friendly with the American government, simple isn't it.

Another Cohen quote concerning softwood lumber and food, which is brought up often by people who are anti-American.
" Lumber and food represent only part of a trading relationship of 453 billion which has actually generated few problems in relation to its staggering growth, and which continues to generate a surplus year after year in favor of Canada. Indeed, Canada enjoys a higher trade surplus, per capita, than any other trading partner of the United States. Curiously, the Americans don't seem to have noticed, and if they have, they don't seem to care."
It seems that despite a couple troubling issues between us and the Americans we are getting the better of the deal.


Here are the stats I promised you.

- Between 1990 and 2001 Canada's GNP grew an average of 2.5 %, exports grew an average of 6.8%, see the direct effect exports have on the country.

- In 1989, the year the free trade agreement was signed exports grew to 26.5% of Canada's GNP. By the year 2000 that had grown to 45.3% of the GNP.

- Canada is among the top 6 or 7 traders in the World and we are now producing higher technology products which ensures Canada's place among the World's traders.

- In 2001 , two-way trade between Canada and the U.S. was at 657.7 billion, which works out to about 1.85 billion a day.

- The United States accounts for about 87% of Canada's exports.

- All of the rest of the World's nation make up less than 15% of Canada's exports but if you couldn't figure that out from the last stat, then I'm wondering how you even turned your computer on.

I hope I made my point, until there are other markets for Canadian goods we have to keep a close relationship with the United States. It's not like the government hasn't been trying to open up new markets, remember the trade missions to South America and China.

The American market is just the easiest place for us to do business, they speak our language, have a democracy, promote stability and up hold the laws of trade thought out the World. Having the Americans as next door neighbors benefits us greatly.

Good News for Canada

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Canada is the No. 1 country in the World. Here is the list if you don't believe me. This is a good sign that Canada's economic future is stable. HOORAY for Canada, we rock!

Democracy In Iran?

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Check out this story from CNN about the Iranians that gave a letter of protest to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran. The letter was in protest of the governments conduct concerning the up coming elections when they banned thousands of people from running.

I know Iran is not going to turn into a Democracy over night but every small step the people take is good sign. I predict that Iran will have a democracy within twenty years.

It's moving to see people risking their lives to make a statement to the government like this, hopefully this group will be remembered in Iran for generations as the ones who started the movement to replace Iran's hard line regime. It will be a tough fight ahead though seeing as a great country like Canada doesn't even have an honest government in place.

The Moral Case For Capitalism

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Micheal Novak has posted the text of a speech he gave in Sri Lanka over at NRO.

Novak deals regularly with Asian issues and this speech, Wealth & Virtue, is exactly what South Asia needs. Explaining capitalism in its moral and material terms is a message that is rarely articulated in the Third World.

A small snipit of the article is his 10 moral advantages of capitalism:
In another place, I have counted ten different moral advantages that Hume and Smith foresaw in the new system they were commending to the practical energies of humankind. Time is too short to do more than mention these moral predictions briefly; I ask you to reflect on which of them still apply in Asia:

l. The rise of capitalism would break the habit of servile dependency, and awaken the longing for personal independence and freedom.

2. It would awaken the poor from isolation and indolence, by connecting them with the whole wide world of commerce and information.

3. It would diminish warlikeness, by turning human attention away from war and towards commerce and industry. It would, as Adam Smith writes, introduce "order and good government, and with them, the liberty and security of individuals, among the inhabitants of the country, who had before lived almost in a continual state of war with their neighbors, and of a servile dependency on their superiors." (The Wealth of Nations, III, iv.4).

4. It would bring the peoples of each country and of the whole world into closer, more frequent, and complex interaction, and stimulate them to learn of new goods and new methods through international exchange.

5. It would mix the social classes together, break down class barriers, stimulate upward mobility, encourage literacy and civil discourse, and promote the impulse to form voluntary associations of many sorts.

6. It would mightily augment "human capital" by inciting the emulation of new specialties, skills, and techniques. In addition, it would impart new tastes, and encourage the pursuit of new information and new ways of doing things.

7. It would teach the necessity of civility, since under the pressures of competition in free markets, dominated by civil discourse and free choice, sellers would learn the necessity of patient explanation, civil manners, a willingness to be of service, and long-term reliability.

8. It would soften manners and instruct more and more of its participants to develop the high moral art of sympathy. For a commercial society depends on voluntary consent. Citizens must learn, therefore, a virtue even higher than empathy (which remains ego-centered, as when a person imagines how he would feel in another's shoes). True sympathy depends on getting out of oneself imaginatively and seeing and feeling the world, not exactly as the other person may see it, but as an ideal observer might see it. This capacity leads to the invention of new goods and services that might well be of use to others, even though they themselves have not yet imagined them.

9. It would instruct citizens in the arts of being farsighted, objective, and future-oriented, so as to try to shape the world of the future in a way helpful to as large a public as possible. Such public-spiritedness is a virtue that is good, not merely because it is useful, but because it seeks to be in line, in however humble a way, with the future common good.

10. Finally, it is one of the main functions of a capitalist economy to defeat envy. Envy is the most destructive of social evils, more so even than hatred. Hatred is highly visible; everyone knows that hatred is destructive. But envy is invisible, like a colorless gas, and it usually masquerades under some other name, such as equality. Nonetheless, a rage for material equality is a wicked project. Human beings are each so different from every other in talent, character, desire, energy, and luck, that material equality can never be imposed on human beings except through a thorough use of force. (Even then, those who impose equality on others would be likely to live in a way "more equal than others.") Envy is the most characteristic vice of all the long centuries of zero-sum economies, in which no one can win unless others lose. A capitalist system defeats envy, and promotes in its place the personal pursuit of happiness. It does this by generating invention, discovery, and economic growth. Its ideal is win-win, a situation in which everyone wins. In a dynamic world, with open horizons for all, life itself encourages people to attend to their own self-discovery and to pursue their own personal form of happiness, rather than to live a false life envying others.
Good stuff indeed...

Andrewcoyne.com Is Down And Out

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Today andrewcoyne.com was mentioned in David Frum's Diary over at NRO.

Unfortunately due to bandwidth limitations Andrew's blog is down. Stinking Rogers!

Thats got to totally suck. I guess Andrew has real talent so it probably won't bother him but my poor heart would be broken if it happened here.

Building Momentum

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With John Bryden's jump off of the Liberal ship things are starting to come together for the new Conservative Party.

A wrapup of the good news for the Conservatives include:

- the ad scandal,
- John Bryden's leaving the Liberal Party,
- the latest poll numbers,
- the potential for an interesting Conservative leadership convention,
- a possible delay in what was generally expected to be a spring election,
- and conflict within the Liberal Party (ie. Copps, Martin, Chretian, ...)

So it all adds up to a pretty good couple of weeks for the new Conservative Party. The key, like everything in life, is whether the Conservative Party will use this opportunity wisely. The polls of course prove that the Conservatives are still the only alternative to the Liberals on the national stage. Polls of course can be a poor judge of the public mood but if the Conservatives can keep the poll numbers over 25% from now till the next election then this will be a key indicator of the publics acceptance of the new party.

I'm still doubtful that the Conservative Party has any chance of forming the next government but at least we will see some movement as opposed to the static politics we've had to endure for the last 10 years.

Its shaping up to be an interesting year for us political junkies...

Liberal Blunders

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Check out this Autonomous Source story for a list of things the Liberals have been up to lately, it's not pretty. The name of the story is Getting Lost in the Shuffle. Give it a look, it's pretty interesting to see what happens to a government that doesn't think it can be voted out of office. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for Canada.

Tax Policy

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I came across this story of tax reform changes proposed by Tony Clement. Its a very interesting proposal that is basically a progressive tax system based on lifetime earning as opposed to yearly earnings. His proposed tax brackets are:
- 14 per cent for between $250,000 and $500,000
- 24 per cent for between $501,000 and $750,000
- 27 per cent for those making over $1 million over time
This seems like a very good policy especially for us younger Canadians. The story doesn't really go into details about how it would be implemented though. The transition from our current tax system to this proposal could certainly get messy.

Anyways, tax systems that are seriously discussed are:
- progressive (our current system)
- flat (everyone pays the same rate regardless of income)
- lifetime progressive (Clement's proposal)
Personally I would prefer a flax tax regime simply due to the fairness that would result from it. I guess the definition of 'fairness' in this case is debatable and so your opinion on the flat tax may differ. And quite seriously the chances of Canada implementing a flat tax are about as good as nil.

So that leaves us with the choice of the current progressive system or a lifetime progressive system.

I don't see the need to debate the pros and cons of the current system because its been beaten to death so lets just look closer at the lifetime progressive system.

The lifetime progressive system would allow people to keep more of their earnings in their early income earning years. This would allow people to start saving for retirement early and to make the big purchases early in life such as a home (student loans anyone?). And even if a person wasn't in a situation where buying a home was practical then at least they would have more of that money to invest for the future.

A couple of significant cons to this proposal are as I mentioned earlier, relate to the implementation of it. Would you prorate peoples earnings and stick them at the tax bracket they would have been in as if the system was in place years ago? This would suck if you were past the lowest lifetime earnings bracket because you wouldn't benefit from its lower rate.

Alternatively, would everyone just start at the lowest tax bracket during its first year of implementation? If you go with this plan then overall tax revenues would drop significantly during its first few years in effect. So basically, thats a no go. I'ld love it but we all know how governments work so we can knix that idea.

If anyone has any idea how Clement plans to implement his proposal drop me a line, I'ld be interested in the details. Could it be phased in?

Another con I can see to this idea is that currently when you move from one tax bracket to the next, your overall percentage of tax paid doesn't increase all that much. This allows people to adjust to changes in their earnings gradually. Under Clement's proposal when your lifetime income crossed the $500,000 mark, your percentage of taxes paid would increase from 14% to 24% which would be quite an adjustment to make in one year.

Regardless, it seems like a rock solid proposal that has a lot of potential.

Canada Welcomes the World

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Yes I know we are some of the nicest people in the world but don't you think our reputation for letting terrorists in the country is saddening? I know we are looked on in the world as being a country that is safe for travellers from all walks of life to visit but that being said, shouldn't it be harder to stay or get into Canada illegally?

The CBC has a report that says we are a favorite destination for terrorists. The story goes on to say "Ottawa's immigration laws are arguably the foremost factor in making Canada hospitable to terrorists and international criminals." "Terrorists and organized crime groups increasingly are using Canada as an operational base and transit country en route to the United States."

Even for people that don't like the U.S. this must be troubling. It should not be as easy for organized crime and terrorist to operate in this country. Hopefully the government will further tighten laws that discourage terrorists and organized crime from operating in Canada, this will be a positive step to make the country safer for all it's law abiding citizens.

Farewell Elsie

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After 10 years in Parliament Elsie Wayne is saying goodbye to national politics.

This is a big loss for the Conservative Party on par with the retirement of Deborah Grey last year. Both of these women have been strong Parliamentarians who never failed to lead their party when needed.

Elsie never failed to call a spade a spade and talked directly about issues instead of watering down her arguments. I will have fond memories of her.

I wish her all the best. And any Conservative Party leadership contendor would be wise you win her endorsement.

Clement Takes Shot At Martin

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Finally one of the Conservative Party leadership contenders is going after the Martin government. Tony Clement is the first to come out strongly against Paul Martin's involvement with the sponsorship scandal:
The sponsorship scandal is "the closest Canada has come to our very own Enron — wide-scale looting of the taxpayers' coffers to benefit the friends of the Liberal Party," Mr. Clement told a joint meeting of Toronto's Empire and Canadian clubs in a banquet room salted with his supporters, including former Tory cabinet minister John Crosbie.

“Paul Martin was the chief financial officer of this terrible and crooked enterprise,” Mr. Clement said. “As CFO, he was either implicated or incompetent. Either way, he is accountable."
I haven't been paying much attention to the Conservative leadership race but Tony has perked my ears with this speech. This is exactly what I want in a party leader: someone who forcefully goes after the Liberals and their record.

Most conservative arguments against the Liberal's these last few years have amounted to generalized policy differences. When pushed by the Liberals, conservatives have rolled over. So while Paul Martin was hitting the TV and radio shows these last few weeks, conservatives have been silent, making principled statements that no-one cared to hear.

Up to this point I've been leaning towards Steven Harper as party leader. Steven is strong on policy and a reliable leader who won't make any major mistakes. The problem is of course that he is too nice and polite. Good qualities in a person of course but its not going to get you on the airwaves.

So right now my vote for party leader is up for grabs between Harper and Clement. What will they do to earn my vote? If Tony follows this speech up with more of the same then he's gonna make this a very easy decision for me.

Letter From Abu Musah al-Zarkawi

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Andrew Sullivan has a post on his site that makes a good point about the war on terror. He makes the point that we are making good progress and that only we can choose to lose it.

This is the letter from al-Zarkawi and it's over at the National Review's site. It makes for an interesting little read if your into that type of thing.

Give it a read and give us your opinion, tell us how you think things are going. Maybe you have some suggestions on how things could be done better. I'd be interested in hearing some new ideas on how the war on terror could be won or lost.

I personally think after Iraq the U.S. should take out the Syrian government, that would also free Lebanon from Syrian control. It would be a 2 for 1 deal. I'd leave Iran alone, hoping that the country would move toward democracy on it's own, which is a real possibility.

North Korea should be dealt with by carrot and stick, but don't give into DPRK (North Korea) blackmail. That will only set the stage for more DPRK nuclear trickery. The method of carrot and stick can work with the DPRK because all the major players have nothing to gain from war on the Korean peninsula.

China doesn't want the DPRK to go to war because they'd lose and that would put an American ally on China's border, which the Chinese do not want. Same goes for Russia, A DPRK loss would bring American influence closer to the Russian border, this is also not wanted.

Japan would suffer too because they are in range of DPRK's missiles and would come under attack. Their economy and infrastructure would suffer. South Korea (ROK) would also suffer at the hands of the DPRK if war were to break out. The North has thousands of artillery tubes that are in range of Seoul and would cause major damage and lose of life before U.S. and ROK counter batteries could take them out.

Lastly the DPRK would be wiped out after a bloody war and that is not what Kim Jong Il wants, he treasures his own life to much. So all the parties involved don't want war on the Korean peninsula, it would be harmful to everyone. This being said, that leaves room for the carrot and stick approach to work, make the incentives better than the alternatives to not making a deal and sticking to it.

This leaves the last stage of the war on terror, making states that are supposed to be friendly to the West change their ways for the better. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Epygt have to make moves toward democracy and freedom. This will be the only way for people to give up militant Islam and join the international community. The hearts and minds so to speak.

Economic change in these countries is the first and most important step, give the people something to look forward to. A job and family life are important, make sure they have both. Education is also a must, these children must know more than just the Koran. They must know how to make it in todays fast moving world. Religion is important for these people but it must not be everything to them.

These are my suggestions for the global war on terror, I only have so much time and space so I'll stop at the short summary that I gave you. Hopfully that will give you a idea of where I stand on things. I would enjoy some discussion on this so give me your ideas or call me a deranged lunatic if you like, it's all good.

Kerry Sucking Up to Iran

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MEMRI is reporting that John Kerry or someone from his camp sent an e-mail to the Mehr News Agency in Iran. For the whole story click here.

The e-mail is about how John Kerry will undo all the damage that George Bush has done over the past 3 years, like make terrorist accountable for their actions, not sucking up to countries that are working directly against our goals and supporting our friends and allies that assist us. Kerry will undo all these things, suck up to France, DONE! Go easy on terrorists, DONE!

The e-mail goes on to say things like,"'It is in the urgent interests of the people of the United States to restore our country's credibility in the eyes of the world. America needs the kind of leadership that will repair alliances with countries on every continent that have been so damaged in the past few years, as well as build new friendships and overcome tensions with others."

I guess he going to say he's sorry to Iran, Syria, France, Germany, Libya, North Korea, Russia and Iraq. How's he going to make things right by giving Libya back it's nuclear program. Give Saddam back his country. Give the Taliban their country back. Make cash payments to Syria, France, Germany and Russia for the trouble Bush caused them and lastly give Korea fuel energy and food while letting them keep their nukes so they can blackmail the world again when they need something else down the road.

George W's foreign policy I like, it's his huge budget and imigration laws I don't like. If John Kerry thinks he knows more than the Bush foreign policy team he is sadly mistaken, just because he was a Vietnam vet and went to a few rallies doesn't make him any better off. The only thing John Kerry is really good at (besides being a stiff), is getting really rich women to marry goofy looking dudes, that he's good at.

Good News for Canada

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The recent slide in the polls by the Liberal government is good for Canada. It shows that they are being held accountable by the people of Canada. Here is a recent story in the Globe and Mail that shows the latest poll numbers. It shows the Liberals at 39 down from 48, Conservatives up to 24 from 19 and the NDP up to 18 from 16.

The governing Liberals have had a free ride for too long. They think they can do anything and get away with it, with all the opposition parties divided and/or disorganized. Even if they Conservatives don't win this election it will be closer and that makes the ruling government more accountable, which is good for us.

Canada Wins The Award For ...

... most humourless country. First Don Cherry, and now this. Apparently Conon O'Brien's sock puppet got English Canadians all worked up about insulting French Canadians again. Our gracious politicians chimed in:
Mauril Belanger, the deputy government house leader, told the House of Commons that the government finds nothing amusing about O'Brien making fun of Quebeckers.

NDP MP Alexa McDonough said the sketch featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was "vile and vicious" and amounted to hate-mongering and that the feds should demand their money back.
If you ever were under the impression that not much goes on at the House of Commons, you'ld be right. Quite possibly the biggest political scandel in decades has come to light and Idiot Mauril Belanger is going on about Conan. And the best part is that according to most articles, Quebecers don't give a damn due to Claude Ryan's funeral.

Anyways, I'ld like to make a few points. First, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, isn't real. For reference refer to the picture.


Since he is not a real dog don't take anything he says to be all that reliable. In addition the dog talks which should be an indication that not all is kosher with what you are watching.

As well, his name is Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Since the darned mutt has 'Insult' for a middle name I suggest some of our politicians get their priorities in order.

Second, would you politicians and professional agitators please give it up with the PC crap already? Triumph tore into Hawaii a while back, and no one south of the border thought anything of it.

Third, I'm getting to the point were I am going to start referring everything slightly offensive to the Official Languages Commissioner for an investigation.

Of course I'm going to hold out until I can get a politician from Quebec to say how humourless English Canada has become. When one of them says it, and eventually one will, I'm getting me and everyone I know to harass the hell out of the Languages Commision until we get our investigation.

Why? Well English Canada may be humourless and dull but making such a statement would obviously be insensitive to us. We cannot tolerate statements that create dissonance in our society and disrespect for others. We didn't choose to be humourless. Can't others see how difficult and dreary our lives must be without laughter and humour?

NBC Lets Go Journalist

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Dr. Bob Arnot was a correspondent for NBC in Iraq. His contract was not renewed after he had tried many times to hand in positive stories that are happening daily in Iraq.

In the story Dr. Arnot is quoted as saying "the networks are pretty much ignoring the good-news stories in Iraq." Why is that? Isn't it good news that positive things are happening in Iraq? (I guess Not!)

The only thing that is reported in Iraq is if somebody dies or a bomb goes off. Don't get me wrong, that's news believe me but don't you think doing a fair job and reporting the good news along with the bad would be more fair? What's wrong with the West if only bad news sells? Is that right? What's wrong with us?

They are over in Iraq trying to make life better for over 20 million people. Don't the Iraqis deserve a chance to lead a life of their choosing? Shouldn't they have all the same opportunities we do, if so why is it that half of the West wants the U.S. and it's Allies to fail in Iraq. This is too important to let politics decide the out come.

I find it very hard to believe that everyone is not on board, no matter if you were for the war or not. What's done is done, it's time to make this thing in Iraq work. The consequences of failure in Iraq would be a calamity. Do you hate Bush that much that you simply don't care what happens to 24 million people? Ask yourself that, if the answer is yes, you got some serious problems.

Palistinian Victims?

[Via little green footballs]

Here are some wonderful photos of Palistinian militants in action. The next time you hear the CBC, BBC, CNN, etc... state that Palistinian civilians were killed during Israeli attacks keep these photos in mind:





How messed up are these people anyways?

No Headstones for WWII Vets

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Here is another disturbing story of how our government is screwing the people of Canada. When the government was wasting money on the federal sponsorship program from 1997 to 2001 it could have been doing the decent thing by providing headstones for our WWII veterans.

I don't know if I'm being petty but aren't the veterans of WWII the reason we have this great country we live in today. It would be a small token of respect that the government could show the families by coming up with funds to give the veterans a proper burial.

The government dragging their feet on this matter is disrespectful. We come to expect the government to drag it's feet on almost all issues but in situations like this, providing the proper funds in a timely manner would be the proper thing to do. Give these veterans their dew, is a proper headstone to much to ask out of our government. (Apparently yes!)

Coulter Strikes Again

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Right Wing News has a quote that I think is very funny. It's from Ann Coulter and she is talking about Sheryl Crow and her anti-war views.

"(Sheryl) Crow explained that the 'best way to solve problems is to not have enemies.' War solves that problem too: We won't have any enemies because we're going to kill them. Crow warned of 'huge karmic retributions that will follow.' She seemed not to understand that America going to war is huge karmic retribution. They killed three thousand Americans and now they're going to die."

Don't you think that is funny stuff. I'd like to know where Coulter comes up with this stuff, she'd be a blast to go out to some Hollywood parties with, make fun of all the weasels.

Positive View of America

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MEMRI has a good story by Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari former Dean of Islamic Law at the University of Qatar who thinks America has changed the world for the better since it's foreign policy change after 9/11. Here is the translation, America Has Changed the World for the Better.

He makes three very good points in the story, here they are as follows.

1. "First, the tyrants don't leave until bombs fall. The peoples alone are not capable of struggling with dictatorial regimes except with powerful external help…

2. "Second, America needs to further encourage the democratic trend and reward the countries that have succeeded in the area of political, social, and economic reform, with aid, support, investment, and free trade agreements…

3. Terrorism has an ideological and cultural base that must be dismantled, and therefore America needs to encourage the countries to reexamine their educational systems in full – not only the curriculum – and must give financial and professional aid in developing the educational system…

These are all things the U.S. and International community must do or continue to do. So much is riding on America and it's allies in this fight, I not sure the Democrats will have the guts or will to keep at this course long enough to make sure it all goes right.

Liberal Government In Trouble

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I was reading the Globe and Mail and what do I see, the Liberal government is up to no good, wasting our tax dollars again. Big surprise there! Here's the story that was in the Globe.

Here are some of the better quotes from Auditor-General Sheila Fraser regarding the matter.

"Our findings on the government's sponsorship program from 1997 to 2001 are deeply disturbing," Ms. Fraser said Tuesday. "Most significant was the widespread non-compliance with contracting rules, ...Rules were broken or ignored at every stage of the process for more than four years, and there was little evidence of value received for the money spent."

"In a small number of very troubling cases, sponsorship funds were transferred to Crown corporations by highly questionable methods," Ms. Fraser said. "These methods were apparently designed to pay commissions to communications agencies while hiding the source of the funds. And the amounts were significant.

"Even though the government has cancelled the sponsorship program, I am deeply disturbed that such practices were allowed to happen in the first place," she said. "There has not been an adequate explanation for the collapse of controls and oversight mechanisms."

"The government disagreed with our conclusion that policies and practices were bypassed and considered the procurement appropriately managed," Ms. Fraser said. "I am concerned about this view because it leaves the door open for the same thing to happen again."

It's always a comforting feeling to know our hard earned money can be pissed away so easily by our politicians. The good part is that they get away with it most of the time and will get away with it again. Actions like this one by our governing Liberals are down right disturbing. We should hold them accountable for this.

It Seems Iraq Is Coming Around

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Lately is seems that Iraq is finally starting to settle down. The NYTimes reports that the Jihadi fighters are starting to have doubts:
"The problem is you end up having an army and police connected by lineage, blood and appearance," the document says. "When the Americans withdraw, and they have already started doing that, they get replaced by these agents who are intimately linked to the people of this region."

With some exasperation, the author writes: "We can pack up and leave and look for another land, just like what has happened in so many lands of jihad. Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases.

"By God, this is suffocation!" the writer says.
The letter is attributed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who has suspected ties to Al Qaeda.

Given the sudden decrease in the number of attacks, both large scale and small, it seems that the Jihadi's may finally be having doubts as to the wisdom of taking on The Great Satan.

And as a note to Muslims out there, don't think that the Jihadi's won't sacrifice you to their cause:
"So the solution, and only God knows, is that we need to bring the Shia into the battle," the writer of the document said. "It is the only way to prolong the duration of the fight between the infidels and us. If we succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands" of Shiites.

"You noble brothers, leaders of the jihad, we do not consider ourselves people who compete against you, nor would we ever aim to achieve glory for ourselves like you did," the writer says. "So if you agree with it, and are convinced of the idea of killing the perverse sects, we stand ready as an army for you to work under your guidance and yield to your command."
Let's hope that letters like these help the Iraqi people realize who has their best interests at heart.

Trying Times At Guantanamo

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[Via Best Of The Web Today]

Mohammad Ismail Agha who spent 14 months in U.S. captivity at Guantanamo had a lot of praise for his American captors:
In a first interview with any of the three juveniles held by the US at Guantanamo Bay base, Mohammed said: "They gave me a good time in Cuba. They were very nice to me, giving me English lessons."

...

"At first I was unhappy . . . For two or three days [after I arrived in Cuba] I was confused but later the Americans were so nice to me. They gave me good food with fruit and water for ablutions and prayer," he said yesterday in Naw Zad, a remote market town in southern Afghanistan close to his home village and 300 miles south-west of Kabul, the capital.

He said that the American soldiers taught him and his fellow child captives - aged 15 and 13 - to write and speak a little English. They supplied them with books in their native Pashto language. When the three boys left last week for Afghanistan, the soldiers looking after them gave them a send-off dinner and urged them to continue their studies.

"They even took photographs of us all together before we left," he said. Mohammed, however, said he would have to disappoint his captors by not returning to his studies. "I am too poor for that. I will have to look for work," he said.
This is somewhat in contradiction to the terrors that these 'innocents' are supposedly subjected to. The media and human rights groups have been carping on non-stop about the conditions in Guantanamo since the U.S. starting sending detainees there.

Now I am somewhat sympathetic to the arguments about keeping detainees captive without due process but lets please stop it with the endless tirades about how cruel the U.S. is to send people there. Oh the heat... the bloody heat!

Animal Rights Gone To Far?

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Let me just start by saying this, I believe animals should not be abused for entertainment or just for shits and giggles but if testing on animals finds a cure for something and saves my life one day, then I'm all for it.

This story in Front Page Mag tells about how so called animal rights activists are trying to shut down a lab at Cambrigde University because they do testing on animals. Some of these people are not peaceful protesters, they are threatening and using violence on staff at the lab.

Does that make any sense to you or am I just cold hearted? Hurting humans so they stop doing scientific work on animals, remember this work could benefit us all one day. I just don't see the point.

I did run this by my dog Jessie too. She thought doing tests on animals (at least the ugly ones) was a good idea. These tests could help other animals too, even her one day she said. Well maybe she didn't say all that but that's what she was thinking.

Anyway if these violent animal rights activists don't want to volunteer to be tested on, then I suggest we us animals instead. Maybe we could fine an alien race to do the testing on or maybe somebody else has a good idea. Any death threats or helpful ideas can be left in the comments.

Steyn On Cherry

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[Via Autonomous Source]

Mark Steyn has done an great article on the latest abuses Don Cherry is taking from the CBC. A couple of quotes:
And, of course, the dozy media are happy to support her sense of priorities. If “hurtfulness” is the issue, what about, say, the Americans? Rick Mercer has his own CBC show dedicated to the mockery of Americans. Hath not an American unvisored eyes? If you prick him, does he not bleed? Apparently not. A year ago, the robust pro-US “rant” that got Don Cherry into his last round of trouble was provoked by a Montreal crowd booing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the start of the game. Many Americans were “hurt” by that, but they don’t count. Nor would it be “hurtful” if one were to make generalizations about the English. Yanks and Brits are expected to grin and bear it. It’s the more sensitive identity groups than are in need of the metaphorical protective visors of government regulation and media disapproval. Which sort of proves Cherry's point, if not for hockey then for the wider world.

...

At the risk of earning a second much-coveted "Zero Of The Week" award, I have to say I found his remarks about my silly meandering transcendental stupidity deeply "unnecessary" and “hurtful”. Arguably, my career has never recovered from them, at least to judge from the fact that Mr Todd now has a national newspaper forum and I do not. But, even if you’re unsympathetic to me and Messrs Ecclestone and Lasorda, isn’t the very idea of a “Zero Of The Week” award “hurtful”? One day Mr Todd might forget himself and make disparaging remarks about someone who falls into a more fashionable identity group than right-wing Canucks or millionaire Brits or pasta-slurping Americans and he could find himself in a whole big mess.

...

As for the merits of the case, the question Cherry was addressing was a very interesting one: does an obsession with “safety” actually make you safer? A few weeks ago, I happened to be sitting at the Canadiens/Oilers game absent-mindedly staring at the huge banner of Jean Beliveau dangling down from the roof over the ice. What a beautiful portrait – the epitome of sporting grace. One reason it’s so graceful is that the picture has a face and hair and recognizably human proportions, unlike most of the guys zipping around beneath him. Don Cherry was a coach in the era when, as Colby Cosh puts it, “helmets went from oddity to necessity. He always resisted having them made mandatory, saying they would create more injuries than they prevented by encouraging careless play and dirty stickwork.” Twenty-five years on, head injuries in the NHL are now more common than knee injuries. Don Cherry was right.
Keep your head up Don.

Egypt Needs Change

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What is wrong with a country that has Petroleum reserves, natural gas, a canal, great rivers, tourist attractions, a market of nearly 70 million people and needs over 3 billion dollars of foreign aid a year? Over half of all aid that goes to Egypt comes from the United States of America.

I tell you what is wrong, Egypt has a miserable economy and it's getting worse. It's a bad situation when the people that are unemployed and hopeless are turning to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, because their government does nothing for them. The economy needs to be modernized and reforms made, not just ones on paper either.

Egypt needs a true democracy, not the one that they have now where election are bought and rigged. Government should be what the people make it not the other way around.

The banking sector also needs much work. People can't get loans to start small businesses or add to companies they already own. Businesses also have a hard time dealing with dirty bureaucrats and politicians that are only interested in lining their own pockets.

I think there should be strings attached to the aid money given to Egypt and other countries like Jordan. If the governments aren't making the right reforms, to benefit the people not just those high up in the establishment, aid money should be suspended until the governments make the necessary changes. Tough love is a good idea.

The United States and other countries that give aid money shouldn't have to put up with governments saying one thing and doing another. For example a state run newspaper in Egypt had a recent headline of "U.S. Planning to Bomb Mecca and Cairo", it's a wonder the people are against the west, when they get a daily dose of things like this.

Egypt must be brought into the modern world and if they are serious about making the proper reforms international aid money will be a great start. The current cycle of bad government will not stand. What incentive does the government of Egypt have to make reforms if it is not held accountable for it's actions. That's what I propose the International community should do, hold corrupt government accountable. It's a pretty simple concept, don't you think?

Starting To Use Atom

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Blogger has finally implemented a syndication service called Atom. I don't know why they are using this standard as opposed to the popular RSS but heck I can't complain. At least this allows the proper formatting of titles which for the life of me I couldn't get to work right with any of the free RSS services on the web.

Anyways I've added a link to the Atom feed on the right and I suggest you use that for viewing our site. I'll keep the XML format up for a while until all the RSS readers out there begin to handle the Atom format. From what I've noticed most have already included it in a recent update so hopefully it won't be a problem.

Though I wish Blogger had just implemented RSS into their free service I'll have to settle for Atom. If anyone knows why they've chosen this standard let me know.

Hasselhoff Ended The Cold War

The BBC asks Did David Hasselhoff Really Help End The Cold War:
For that seminal concert, on New Year's Eve 1989, Hasselhoff stood atop of the partly-demolished wall and belted out a tune called Looking for Freedom.

It was during Hasselhoff's current promotional tour of Germany that the Hollywood star made headlines for a remark about this event.

Speaking to Germany's TV Spielfilm magazine, the 51-year-old carped about how his pivotal role in harmonising relations between the two sides of the divide had been overlooked.

"I find it a bit sad that there is no photo of me hanging on the walls in the Berlin Museum at Checkpoint Charlie," he told the magazine.
I'm not sure what to think of this whole thing. I must admit I'm not a big follower of Hasselhoff's career but if he's responsible for the end of the Cold War then hats off to him.

I've included the lyrics for 'Looking for Freedom', the song which he claims had such a profound effect on East Germany:

One morning in june some twenty years ago
I was born a rich man's son
I had everything that money could buy
But freedom - I had none

I've been looking for freedom
I've been looking so long
I've been looking for freedom
Still the search goes on
I've been looking for freedom
Since I left my home town
I've been looking for freedom
Still it can't be found

I headed down the track, my baggage on my back
I left the city far behind
Walkin' down the road, with my heavy load
Tryin' to find some peace of mind
Father said you'll be sorry, son,
If you leave your home this way
And when you realize the freedom money buys
You'll come running home some day

I paid a lotta dues, had plenty to lose
Travelling across the land
Worked on a farm, got some muscle in my arm
But still I'm not a self-made man
I'll be on the run for many years to come
I'll be searching door to door
But, given some time, some day I'm gonna find
The freedom I've been searchin' for
He ends the Cold War and hangs out with scantily clad women all day. Not a bad life...

The Mother Of All Enquiries

Amir Taheri has a great article about what the just announced inquiries concerning WMD in Iraq should really be discussing.
...

Our "Mother of All Enquiries" would show one thing above all else: it was a shame that the so-called international community, ignoring its own resolutions, chose to appease Saddam and, in some cases, even prop up his murderous regime for more than a decade after the first Gulf War.

The nit-picking lawyers’ approach to this complex issue will do further injustice to the victims of Saddam’s terror.

The only proposition worth debating is this: Removing Saddam Hussein from power was an act of international justice - Discuss!

Sure, let’s have an enquiry.
He's got it right...

Khomeini Moves To Iraq

Grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, Hussein Khomeini has moved from Iran to American controlled Iraq. MEMRI has reported this story about his move.

Hussein Khomeini wants religion and state separated in Iran. He also states "Supreme Leader 'Ali Khamenei and former president and current Expediency Council head Hashemi Rafsanjani and everyone who has taken over the regime since his grandfather's time was exploiting his [Ayatollah Khomeini's] name, the name of Islam, and the religious regime in order to continue their tyrannical rule."

Also noted in the story is that members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards were now searching for Hussein Khomeini in Iraq because Iranian authorities fear that he could become a symbol of resistance to the Iranian regime. They have taken this stance because he threatens their hold on power, by saying things like this, "Iran needs a democratic regime that does not make use of religion as a means of oppressing the people and strangling society."

Hussein Khomeini has also made predictions about the future of Iran. According to the story, Khomeini believes that Iran's escalating protest movement "would in not too long develop into a popular revolution, and soon we would see the great event, i.e. regime change." I hope Hussein Khomeini gets his wish of having a democracy in Iran very soon.

It's seems freedom is spreading in the Middle East, with this news out of Syria about a petition that was signed by over 600 000 people who want democratic reforms. This move by Syrian citizens is also a strong sign of hope that this region is making the move toward freedom. Good luck to all those who fight for freedom.

Nothing But Links Today

Here's a collection of articles I've enjoyed lately:

Jonah Goldberg with Division Diversions:
In other words, living in an evenly divided society is an interesting challenge politically, but not a really big problem, while living in a deeply divided society is cause for stocking up on bottled water and shotgun shells.

...

Ask yourself: "If liberals believe that it's such a wonderful thing to live in a united nation, why aren't they more nostalgic for the 1950s or 1920s?" Well, we know the answer. If the American consensus isn't a liberal consensus, then, well, to hell with consensus. So, even today liberal and feminist historians mock and deride the 1950s as if the American soul were locked in a steamer trunk for the entire decade. And liberal politicians, like Dean, talk about the 1960s as a time of great unity, because in their book "unity" means liberal ascendance and nothing more.
Mark Steyn with International Terrorism Takes A Hit:
You can find other examples of long-running local conflicts around the world from Burundi to Nepal that seem to have mysteriously wound down over the last two years.

Might be just coincidence, as the media's bien pensants assure us is the case with Colonel Gaddafi's about-face: nothing to do with Bush and his absurd war, old boy, don't you believe it. Or it might be that putting the bank transfers of certain groups on an international watch list has choked off the funding pump for a lot of terrorism.
Mark Steyn with The Alternative To War Was Simple: Defeat:
The Right should know better. If he wants, Mr Howard can have some sport with Mr Blair. But, if he aids the perception that Blair took Britain to war under false pretences, the Tories will do the country a grave disservice. One day Mr Howard might be prime minister and, chances are, in the murky world that lies ahead, he'll have to commit British forces on far less hard evidence than existed vis à vis Saddam. Conservatives shouldn't assist the Western world's self-loathing fringe in imposing a burden of proof that can never be met. The alternative to pre-emption is defeat. If you want a real "underlying issue", that's it.
Michael Segal with The Know-'Em-All:
To a typical intellectual, how much you know is far more important than knowing whom you can trust and count on. This is why Mr. Bush is so infuriating to intellectuals. He makes no pretense that he has all the answers, and he talks like a regular guy--but the team he leads is reshaping the Middle East with a brashness and vision equal to that of his Reaganite predecessors, as well as making major changes in domestic policy.

Polls show that most Americans admire Mr. Bush's personal qualities, but to intellectuals he doesn't show the personal quality they most admire. Thus to them Mr. Bush's successes seems undeserved, attributable to others. Although the president's IQ is estimated (based on SAT scores) as greater than that of 90% of Americans, he is portrayed as the puppet of smarter men.
Gary "War Nerd" Brecher with Burundi: Heightism Rears Its Ugly Head:
They signed a “peace accord” on Burundi a couple of weeks ago. I guess it makes some people feel better, writing out these treaties and getting the local gangs to sign on the dotted line for human rights and kindness to animals. I hope so, because it sure doesn’t accomplish anything else. There’s a war in Burundi, and there always will be, and no signatures on UN letterhead are going to stop it.

People know that by now. We all know these treaties don’t matter. You see a headline “Peace Treaty in Congo” or “Accord Signed on Rwanda” and you go on to the next story, because you know it doesn’t mean a thing. Even the words they use sound fake, like “accord.” It’s one of those words they only use in the papers. They could sign an accord a day in Central Africa, in fact it seems like they do, and the only difference it would make would be on some bureaucrat’s resume.

...

When you look hard at a place like Burundi, you start to realize that war is normal in most of the world. Tribes move around, try to grab the good land just over the next hill, and when they do, the locals try to push them back. Boom, you’ve got a war.

Europe used to be like that. People don’t remember that the Hungarians only got to Europe a thousand years ago. They came straight off the Steppes and cut through Eastern Europe like a smalltime Mongol horde, and when they came to a nice piece of grazing land they said, “We’re staying.” In those days, it was tribes, not land, that counted. So a king wasn’t king of any particular piece of land, he was king of his tribe of people: “King of the Franks,” or “King of the Magyar.” The big battles come when one tribe decides to make the move on another tribe. That’s what the battle of Hastings was, for one example: Normans vs. Saxons in a classic gang turf war, South Central LA with chain-mail hauberks instead of Raiders jackets.
Enjoy.

The CBC and Don Cherry

I just watched the news on the CBC and they had this idiotic segment about Don Cherry's recent comments concerning the wearing of visors. According to the CBC a controversy has arisen over his assertion that the majority of those who wear visors in the National Hockey League are Europeans and "French guys". The segment had a bunch of whiners complaining about how they were offended by the comments and it also said that some sort of government 'language commission' would be investigating his comments. What the hell is this language commission that they were talking about? Please tell me we don't have any such thing here in Canada.

Why can't the CBC leave Don alone? Sure he's controversial, that's the point. If someone goes on the CBC and calls George W. Bush - Hitler, or Jews - Nazis, no one at the CBC raises an eyebrow so why the segment on this.

This whole thing is similar to his comments last year about the booing of the American national anthem at a game in Montreal. He blamed French Canadians for booing the American anthem and once again the CBC and the 'language police' were all over him. Well the game was being played in Montreal so it was a safe bet that most of the people doing the booing were French. What he said was pretty obvious.

Basically Canadians have become a bunch of over sensitive whiners. To think we are the same country that fought so bravely in WWI and WWII. Is this what we've become?

Democratic Underground

Got this story from IMAO about the Democratic Underground's forum. If you enjoy conspiracy theories then this is the place for you. You will find more off the wall stuff here than pretty near anywhere on the web, aren't left-wingers good entertainment?

Take for example this quote by Raindog on the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. "I would not be surprised at all to find out they have him on ice in fact, that's what I've thought for a while, even though I said it as a joke. What's the big deal about capturing Osama and holding onto him until they need an October surprise to win the election? It's nothing for them to have bin Laden in some Mosul motel 6 on dialysis waiting for the opportune moment to parade him before a gullible and propaganda fed citizenry.

There's all kinds of stuff like that on the site, I was only on the site for about ten minutes and found five or six things I could have posted that are just like that. The only thing is, don't take any of this seriously because it will do you more harm than good to get worked up over this stupidity. Enjoy.

Ricin, Homegrown or Overseas

CNN reported this story about the Ricin scare that took place in Washington on Tuesday. If you've watched the news yesterday or today no doubt you've heard about it.

The point of this post thought is not just to report the story. I would like to know if you think it was Al-Qaeda or related to overseas terrorism? If you don't think so, do you think the Ricin was made by an American and sent to the senate, like the anthrax scare?

Give me your thoughts, homegrown or overseas terror? Maybe you have a conspiracy theory you'd like to share with us all. Maybe you'd like to announce to the world you are the one responsible for the attack and would like to come clean, break the news right here at Canadiancomment. Leave us your opinion in the comments.

The New French Civil War

As more and more Muslims settle in France, the government is scared it is losing it's unique French way of life. We all know that the French are very fond of their way of life, unless of course the Germans want to change it for them.

I predict that the struggle between the natives of France and new and growing number of Muslims will carry on for many years to come. The government has already taken steps to repress Muslims and take away their identity, like banning the Foulard at schools. This is only the beginning of the struggle between France and it's fastest growing group of people.

Moves like the banning of the Muslim headgear will only make the Muslim population resent the government. It will have an adverse effect and relations between non-Muslim and Muslim, maybe that's what the government wants. If this is the case France is headed for trouble and possibly civil unrest.

If Jacques Chirac and his government continue to take steps in this direction it will enable the more radical elements of Islam to take over popular sentiment among the population. I've read articles and population data that predict France will have a Muslim majority within a few generations. If the French government plans on fighting against this trend, then things are going to get very ugly.

"As Jung observed decades ago, man's ability to invent symbols is limitless. Fighting symbols is, at best, a quixotic endeavor, and, at worst, a symptom of national self-doubt." I don't think it could be said any better than that, regarding France's move to repress their Muslim citizens individualism. I would say I hope France works this problem out but I don't know if I do, so I'll leave you with that.

Question of the Night

Do you think Howard Dean should drop out of the race for the White House?

I think he should, he's done like a hamburger that got forgotten on the grill at Burger King for the whole day. Not that I'm happy he's done though, he was the great hope of the Republican party. Howard Dean was an easy election win for George W. Bush.

It should be automatic, if Al Sharpton gets more votes than you in a state you have one hour to do the right thing and drop your bid. (Sorry Al, you entertaining but those should be the rules.)

Martin = Bush

He's a little reality check for the 85% of Canadians that said they wouldn't vote for George W. Bush if they had the chance. One of the major reasons a lot of Canadians dislike George W. is his supposed tilt toward big business. It turns out Paul Martin is all for big business, especially his big business. Everybody must have heard this story by now, Paul Martin's company getting huge government contracts. (Much to the surprise of Mr. Martin, come on does he think we're that stupid?)

When asked in the house about the problem, Mr. Martin didn't let on he knew much of anything judging by this quote,“I would be prepared to ask the Auditor-General to ask why in fact there was delay between the original question and the provision of those numbers, I'm prepared to ask the Auditor-General, Mr. Speaker, if she would like to take a look at this.”

That's a great display of leadership there isn't it. Always look into something if your caught but never before anybody finds out because doing so before hand would be honest and we don't need that from our elected officals, moron! (That would be completely stupid, looking into something before it makes the news.)

Somebody as good with budgets as Mr. Martin is, I find it hard to believe he has trouble telling the difference between $137 thousand and $161 million. It's not like it was a small error to overlook but I guess he could place the blame on his sons who are actually running the company while he runs the country. (And fills his own pockets in the process.) As for all you Bush haters out there, we should be looking after our own country first and that starts with the Prime Minister.

Proportional Representation in Canada

A independent legal commission is recommending that Canada implement proportional representation into Parliament:
An independent legal commission will recommend to the House of Commons that Canada abolish the first-past-the-post method of electing members of Parliament, moving instead to a form of proportional representation.

"We're going to recommend that an element of proportionality be added to the system," Nathalie Des Rosiers, president of the Law Commission of Canada, confirmed yesterday in an interview.
The recommendation will be to have 207 members of Pariament elected directly while the remaining 101 will be selected proportionally based on the proportion of votes received in the election.

I don't think I'm particularly for or against such a proposal but there can be no doubt that this will have a significant effect on Canadian politics. As in other countries that have implemented some degree of proportional representation it certainly leads to a broadening of the political spectrum. I guess each of us would have to determine whether this would be a good or a bad developement for Canada.

The question I would like answered is: Why now? The commission says:
Change is needed, Ms. Des Rosiers said. It is necessary because the country's existing electoral system "no longer responds well to a society that wants more consultation, that wants to participate more in decisions, that is not as interested in an authoritarian form of government as much as seeing Parliament express the diversity of ideas in Canada."
Well isn't that sweet. Anyone who isn't in control of government is going to complain about it but none of that comment amounts to a reason to change the way Canada governs itself.

And all of this is all fair and good but why not allow binding referendums? Referendums would allow Canadians to raise issues of concern to them and bind the federal government to implementing the result. I'ld be curious to know if the panel considered referendums as an alternative to proportional representation and if so why they reached the conclusions they did.

Now I don't want to be a conspiracy theorist on this but the idea of proportional representation is being promoted by people of what I'ld call left of center. Check out Fairvote Canada for a list of people supporting the proposal. Does it seem like a coincidence that referendums are mocked and laughed at by the left and media while proportional representation is not?

As well you might want to check out John Ibbitson's latest column on proportional representation. I happen to agree with John that implementing proportional representation presents us with to many risks with no clear, or at best marginal, benefits. As it is now, Canada has 4 (two months ago we had 5) large political parties represented in Parliament. Why would increasing that number to 6 or 8 make Canada any better?

Predictions for 2004 Canadian Elections

Every couple of weeks I will be posting what I expect to be the results for the 2004 federal election. Be warned that none of this is scientific so don't go out and plan your financial and tax strategies based on my predictions. This is only for my own amusement and to hopefully provide a means of stimulating discussion.

Every week or two, or whenever I deem it appropriate, I will provide an update on my predictions for the election. If I make any changes I will also provide an explanation of why the change was made.

So here goes this weeks predictions...


These numbers are based on the results from the 2000 federal election with the following adjustments:

1) An increase in NDP support due to Paul Martin's perceived move to the right on fiscal matters.
2) A slight decrease in support for the Bloc Quebecois but not as much as many would expect.
3) I combined the totals of the 2000 election for the old Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties. I factored in a slight decrease to this combined total since the leadership convention for the merged party has the potential to turn into a circus if Conservative members aren't careful.
4) The Liberals got whatever was left over.

Any thoughts out there?

Are you a Neocon?

Try out the Neocon Quiz at The Christian Science Monitor.

According to the quiz I am a realist:

Realists…

1) Are guided more by practical considerations than ideological vision
2) Believe US power is crucial to successful diplomacy - and vice versa
3) Don't want US policy options unduly limited by world opinion or ethical considerations
4) Believe strong alliances are important to US interests
5) Weigh the political costs of foreign action
6) Believe foreign intervention must be dictated by compelling national interest

Historical realist: President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Modern realist: Secretary of State Colin Powell
Sounds about right to me.

Only in Canada

Here is a classic from PEI:
Man to collect EI while serving time for EI fraud
WebPosted Jan 30 2004 01:18 PM AST

CHARLOTTETOWN — A man from Cardigan will see jail time for employment insurance fraud, but will serve his sentence on weekends.

In the meantime, he's going to keep collecting EI.

The case came up Thursday in Georgetown. The 35-year-old Blair Hennessey pleaded guilty to 10 counts of filing false EI claims.

The court was told that he's bilked the system for more than $20,000 dollars over the past 10 years.

The judge wanted to know whether his benefits could be cut off. The lawyers advised that it can't be done, but his benefits are being garnisheed in an attempt to get the money back.
Sometimes things don't make any sense around here...