Our opinions of and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.
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On Chinese Goods - Dana
Tweaking The Template - Dana
If I Posted... - Dana
On Automobiles - Dana
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Tuesday, March 30, 2004
I've come across a problem in the commenting tool that will block a user from posting a comment due to 'comment throttling'. This really isn't a problem, its built into Movable Type to prevent comment spam. Unfortunately I don't know if any other users are being affected by this.
I'll try to correct the problem as soon as possible.
The error message is:
Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:I've set ThrottleSeconds to 0 but that doesn't seem to help even after a restart of the server. Is the ThrottleSecond parameter even valid in Movable Type 2.661? Another suggestion was to ensure that the time zones were set to the same value if the server hosted several blogs. I corrected this as well but the error message still comes up even after a server reboot.
In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.
Please correct the error in the form below, then press Post to post your comment.
As a side question does the Movable Type application read the mt.cfg file on the fly or only once during startup?
We got my first comment spam today... not good. I guess since we're hosting canadiancomment ourselves that we can expect it to probably get alot worse.
Anyone else using Movable Type have problems with comment spam? If so can anything be done to prevent it?
I'ld rather not have users register like I see on some other sites. It's just to much work for someone to do in order to leave a short blurb. I guess since I've never actually registered at another site maybe registering isn't as bad as I think.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
I'm reading Margaret Thatcher's book Statecraft: Strategies For A Changing World and Chapter 7, Human Rights And Wrongs is very interesting.
She basically makes the argument and lays out the proof that the 'right' has done more to create and defend individual rights and liberties than the 'left'.
This fundamental division between conservatives and socialists, with the former much concerned about liberty and the latter more keen on equality, applied to domestic policy. But it applied to international affairs as well. Listening to the New Left preen itself on its pluralism and inclusiveness, you might be forgiven for thinking that it was they who expended their energies in pressing conservative governments to respect human rights. But that, of course, is nonsense. It was, rather, the capitalist West which compelled the socialist East to treat its subjects as human beings, rather than as pawns or chattels.The main concern she has in this chapter is that 'liberty' is now taking on a new meaning that it has traditionally had:
The answer is that rights no longer seem to mean what they used to do, and are being used to diminish not expand libertyShe basically divides the advocates of 'liberty' into two camps: those who are realist, and those who are utopians. In the realist tradition she places, naturally, Great Britian, and those societies that are founded on its laws and customs. She uses the Magna Carta as an example due to its clarity and commonsense clauses:
+ (39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.Another example is the English Bill Of Rights. What it defines as a 'right' is clearly identified and the means to ensure it are clear as well.
+ (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.
The other example of course is the American Declaration Of Independence. This document and the resulting American Constitution and Bill Of Rights make unmistakably clear what is defined as a right:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.In contrast to the realists, the utopians do not clearly define rights and in the cases where they do the means to ensure them are unclear. Using the French Declaration Of The Rights Of Man as an example:
The representative of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, inalienable and sacred rights of man, in order that this declaration, being constantly before all the members of the social body, shall remind them continually of their rights and duties; in order that the acts of the legislative power, as well as those of the executive power, may be compared at any moment with the ends of all political institutions and may thus be more respected; and, lastly, in order that the grievances of the citizens, based hereafter upon simple and incontestable principles, shall tend to the maintenance of the constitution and redound to the happiness of all. Therefore the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen:Throughout the French Declaration no real 'rights' are ever granted. The only 'rights' a Frenchman had were those determined by law. Law of course changes over time and so in short, no rights were really granted. A 'right' cannot be revoked under any circumstances. This is of course how the first French Republic came to an end.
4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.
5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.
6. Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally or through his representative in its formation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents.
The U.N. Declaration Of Human Rights is another example of a utopian declaration that though well intentioned provides no means to ensure its articles are met. It clearly states what rights should exist but it provides to idea as to how these rights will be realized:
Article 22.So I guess in short, the utopian will create declarations and constitutions that are idealistic, not realistic. Because of this the utopian versions become not rights designed to protect individuals but instead tools used by those in power to advance their political or social causes. That may not be their intent but it is often the result.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
Rights as declared in the realist cases cannot easily be redefined because they are:
1) clearly identified as to why they exist (ie. bestowed by God, a natural right of man, etc...)
2) the right is granted to the ruled (ie. the commoner) instead of the ruler
3) the means to ensure the right is respected are already in place when granted, or the method to ensure it is clearly defined
Utopian rights on the otherhand are often not rights bestowed to the individual but instead are obligations placed upon others in order so that someone else's rights are met. In the case of the U.N. Declaration Of Human Rights, all kinds of rights are bestowed upon people. Free education, guaranteed employment, etc... but of course these are not just rights but they are also obligations placed upon others in society as well as obligations that the ruler must meet. The conflict between these two obligations leads to too much confusion as to what the intended right really is.
As well utopian rights are often all encompassing instead of limited to what is practical. In the American and British traditions the number of rights is quite small and restricted. This ensures that they cannot be redefined easily. Utopian rights on the otherhand include everything imaginable, nothing is left out. Because they include everything as a right, nothing ever becomes ingrained in the psyche of the society. This is of course because all things cannot be ensured and in a utopian declaration most rights will go unmet.
Few things in life are guaranteed. Realists accept this. Utopians of course do not.
I was over at the grocery store about an hour ago and there to my surprise were donair kits! Bonte Donairs are now available in Ontario! God bless Bonte!
This is the first time I've ever seen them in Ontario. Sweet day. Oh sweet day.
I added some more stuff to the webserver last night. I added an awesome statistics package called awstats. You can see all the site statistics that it generates here.
I also added the MovableType plugin AWStatsReferers but I think it may have messed something up. Everything works OK but now all my CGI scripts take a bleeding long time to run. If you click on one of the comment links you'll see what I mean. Perl scripts seem to run fine though.
If anyone knows what's happening here I'ld appreciate the help.
Mark Steyn takes a few shots at Richard Clark in The Telegraph today. Some good quotes:
Having served both the 42nd and 43rd Presidents, Clarke was supposed to be the most authoritative proponent to advance the Democrats' agreed timeline of the last decade - to whit, from January 1993 to January 2001, Bill Clinton focused like a laser on crafting a brilliant plan to destroy al-Qa'eda, but, alas, just as he had dotted every "i", crossed every "t" and sent the intern to the photocopier, his eight years was up, so Bill gave it to the new guy as he was showing him the Oval Office - "That carpet under the desk could use replacing. Oh, and here's my brilliant plan to destroy al-Qa'eda, which you guys really need to implement right away."
The details of the brilliant plan need not concern us, which is just as well, as there aren't any. But the broader point, as The New York Times noted, is that "there was at least no question about the Clinton administration's commitment to combat terrorism".
Yessir, for eight years the Clinton administration was relentless in its commitment: no sooner did al-Qa'eda bomb the World Trade Center first time round, or blow up an American embassy, or a barracks, or a warship, or turn an entire nation into a terrorist training camp, than the Clinton team would redouble their determination to sit down and talk through the options for a couple more years. Then Bush took over and suddenly the superbly successful fight against terror all went to hell.
In October 2000, Clarke and Special Forces Colonel Mike Sheehan leave the White House after a meeting to discuss al-Qa'eda's attack on the USS Cole: "'What's it gonna take, Dick?' Sheehan demanded. 'Who the s*** do they think attacked the Cole, f****** Martians? The Pentagon brass won't let Delta go get bin Laden. Does al-Qa'eda have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention?'"
Apparently so. The attack, on the Cole, which killed 17 US sailors, was deemed by Clinton's Defence Secretary Bill Cohen as "not sufficiently provocative" to warrant a response. You'll have to do better than that, Osama! So he did. And now the same people who claim Bush had no right to be "pre-emptive" about Iraq insist he should have been about September 11.
Friday, March 26, 2004
The Star editorial today doesn't seem to think that there is any problems with the Supreme Court here in Canada. Given Paul Martin must appoint two judges and his plan for a committee to review or question the appointees The Star responds:
This is a bad idea when it comes to the Supreme Court.I would respond to The Star with; of course you don't find fault with the current method of appointing Supreme Court Justices. They probably haven't rendered a decision that your editorial board disagreed with in years. What about the rest of us though?
The court's judicial independence is not in question. Few people would find fault with the calibre of these jurists, who have served Canadians well in judgments on issues of national importance. Currently, justices are appointed at the Prime Minister's discretion. Appointees must be a judge of a provincial superior court or have 10 years at the bar of a province.
Contrary to what The Star may believe there are a lot of people who find fault with many of the current members of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court now creates law and yet few Canadians could name one member of the Supreme Court. How is it that such an influencial body is so poorly understood by the Canadian public?
That of course is what The Star is afraid of. They prefer that its members remain unknown. They prefer that the Canadian public has no input into who sits on the bench. That of course benefits their social agenda. The Supreme Court is used to pass law that no Canadian politician would touch. Gay marriage is a good example. Even the Liberal Party would balk at passing legislation that legalized gay marriages. The court on the otherhand is answerable to no-one. And hence it can do what it pleases.
Contrary to what The Star may think, having a judiciary that creates law is not in the long term interests of a country. Especially if that judiciary doesn't answer to anyone. If you are being given the power to create law then the Canadian public deserves to know what your past record has been and why you are being appointed.
If the editorial board of The Star is so concerned about judges losing their independence then I'ld ask... Why do we bother voting for our MPs? Both create law and influence our lives. Any reasons used to justify voting for our MPs equally apply to voting for our judges.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
It's more than a year after the Iraq War started and all I can say is that I'm astonished at the events and controversies it has caused.
Who could have believed that so many people have spent so much time discrediting the war? From news editors, to members of governments, to average smucks on the street. A quagmire? A military disaster?
Looking back you'ld think that the U.S. had invaded Sweden. I can understand why an invasion of Sweden would be something to get worked up about. But Iraq? Saddam Huessein?
Can you believe the people who held up protest signs opposing the war in Iraq? And their friends who had signs comparing Bush to Hitler? It's quite beyond belief. Did they actually believe the Bush = Hitler comparisons?
The split between the members of the NATO alliance. Could anyone have predicted its near demise over Iraq? It's quite mind boggling given what NATO has been through over the last 5 decades.
Democrats such as Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, etc... referring to the war as a 'great deception' or 'a plot hatched in Texas'. Al Gore has been transformed from a somewhat odd robotic-like character into a complete mental case. Howard Dean went from being a typical governor of a typical state into a complete nut ball. All over Iraq?
Who did these people think they were saving? The Iraqi's? Did the people opposed to the war actually want the Iraqi people to live under Saddam's rule forever? What did they offer as an alternative?
Maybe I'm totally out of the loop on these things. I don't know. Perhaps I get too much of my news from blogs and other online sources. Perhaps my news hasn't been filtered enough.
I just wish I could understand it all. Did these people really want Iraqi's to live under Saddam? Did they just not know any better? Did their hatred for America or G.W. cause them to overlook Saddam's crimes? Or was it all just some unconscience game to them? Their way of rebelling perhaps?
I don't understand... and I don't think I ever will.
[Via Cox & Forkum]
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
canadiancomment will be down from 5:00am to 8:00am Thursday morning. Don't blame me. Blame my internet provider.
I know that this has been blogged to death at this point but I can't help but reproduce it here.
Richard Clark in 2004:
Frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he’s done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We’ll never know.Richard Clark in 2002:
I blame the entire Bush leadership for continuing to work on Cold War issues when they back in power in 2001. It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier. They came back. They wanted to work on the same issues right away: Iraq, Star Wars. Not new issues, the new threats that had developed over the preceding eight years.
Actually, I’ve got about seven points, let me just go through them quickly. Um, the first point, I think the overall point is, there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.So let me get this straight? In 2002 he claims the Bush administration had 'changed the stategy from one of rollback with Al Qaeda to a new stategy that called for the rapid elimination of al Qaeda'. Now in 2004 he claims the Bush administration ignored the problem. These guys are beyond belief.
Second point is that the Clinton administration had a strategy in place, effectively dating from 1998. And there were a number of issues on the table since 1998. And they remained on the table when that administration went out of office — issues like aiding the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, changing our Pakistan policy — uh, changing our policy toward Uzbekistan. And in January 2001, the incoming Bush administration was briefed on the existing strategy. They were also briefed on these series of issues that had not been decided on in a couple of years.
And the third point is the Bush administration decided then, you know, mid-January, to do two things. One, vigorously pursue the existing policy, including all of the lethal covert action findings, which we’ve now made public to some extent.
And the point is, while this big review was going on, there were still in effect, the lethal findings were still in effect. The second thing the administration decided to do is to initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years and get them decided.
So, point five, that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.
The sixth point, the newly-appointed deputies — and you had to remember, the deputies didn’t get into office until late March, early April. The deputies then tasked the development of the implementation details, uh, of these new decisions that they were endorsing, and sending out to the principals.
Over the course of the summer — last point — they developed implementation details, the principals met at the end of the summer, approved them in their first meeting, changed the strategy by authorizing the increase in funding five-fold, changing the policy on Pakistan, changing the policy on Uzbekistan, changing the policy on the Northern Alliance assistance.
And then changed the strategy from one of rollback with Al Qaeda over the course [of] five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of al Qaeda. That is in fact the timeline.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
When I Was Young… is one of the best pieces by Victor Davis Hanson I've seen in a long time:
The world has changed. What was once liberal is now illiberal, and the old progressivism has become mean-spirited and opportunistic. What was once idealistic is seen as calculating. When I read about the “Jews” now, it is almost always negative and emanates either from the European left or the so-called liberal university here in the United States. Israel, still democratic and still attacked by autocracies, is now hated rather than respected, not for what it has done, but for what it is. The world snored, for example, this week when suicide bombers were foiled in their attempts at getting at a chemical weapons dump so that they might once more gas Jews. Neither Kofi Annan nor Desmond Tutu, for all their recent media appearances, said a word when Palestinians apologized for murdering a jogger in Jerusalem on the mistaken impression that the poor Arab was a “Jew.”
Monday, March 15, 2004
Best Of The Web Today reports that one of the suspects of the Madrid bombings is a Jamal Zougam. Zougam's was investigated in August of 2001 for suspicion of helping plot the attacks of 9/11.
Best Of The Web Today writes:
"A high-ranking Spanish investigator said Zougam had not been arrested during the 2001 crackdown because he was not implicated in specific crimes," the Times reports. Now, of course, he has been. The cost of waiting now stands at 201 lives.Here they are exactly right. Because of Spain's exacting legal procedures, 201 people were killed. Now I'm not partial to the details of his arrest or release but our Western legal standards have come under extreme criticism and debate. From the prisoners at Guantanamo, to the legal bruhaha here in Canada over the Arar and Kahdr cases, and now to the Madrid bombings, we are starting to see how our legal systems are being used against us.
And I don't want to hear any of that crap concerning how if we bend our legal systems to be harder on the terrorists then the terrorists will have won. Hogwash. Our legal system is designed to bend with the times and to adjust depending on the situation. In the grand scheme of things I have very little fear that if our legal code is hardened to deal with terrorists and their supporters, that someday those same changes will be somehow used to implement some sort of facist or police state. Odds are in ain't gonna happen.
9/11 in and of itself could have been prevented had the FBI been able to legally prosecute the suspects they were investigating at the time. I'm not going to blame the FBI because we all know that if they would have tried to prosecute the suspects the cases would have been thrown out of court.
This is especially disturbing to me given John Kerry's statements that the War On Terror is exaggerated and that it should be fought primarily in the courts. If Kerry won the November election I really worry about the long term consequences to our way of life.
I honestly believe that Islamic Militarism must be fought and defeated. Militant Islam as far as I'm concerned has the potential to match the ambitions of the Nazis or Communists of the past century. Legalities would never have prevented their rise and it will never work with our current foe. Only time will tell if Islamic Terror will fade away into history by itself or if it will continue to thrive and spread. I'm just not willing to put the fate of our civilization into the hands of a few judges.
Sunday, March 14, 2004
This is just no good. The Popular Party of Jose Maria Aznar admitted defeat to the Socialist Workers Party days after the bombings in Madrid.
Many are attributing the lose to Aznar's support of U.S. policy after 9/11. This seems unlikely since the Popular Party was expected to win the election which leaves only one reason for the loss.
The Madrid bombings of last week.
This is a very bad precedent. Either Spaniards turfed the Popular Party due to the bombings themselves (ie. they caved into terrorism), or either for the governments immediate reaction after the bombing and their initial statements that it was ETA that was responsible.
Since the government had every reason to place ETA at the top of the list of suspects, it looks like the people of Spain may have caved into the terrorists. I'll check out some Spanish blogs in the hope of gaining some insight but this really worries me.
First we have the terrorists being emboldened, knowing that if they strike they be able to take down governments that are vocal in the War On Terrorism. And second we have European governments that have to accept that if terrorists strike, it will be them who will be blamed and possibly removed from power.
A lot will depend on how the new Spanish Prime Minister adjusts Spain's foreign policy but we'll have to wait and see. This could be very bad.
UPDATE: Here is what Nelson Ascher has to say at EuroPundits:
Today's election in Spain proved that what didn't work in Israel worked pretty well and will go on working in Europe. Many Europeans seem to think that if they allow the Islamofascists to kill Jews, Americans and other Muslism without interfering and, by the way, sponsoring them, they'll be left alone. Islamism became today the real power-broker in the European continent. Sometime in the future some European government will try to fight them and, after a bombing or two, it will be deposed by voters decidedUPDATE II: From John at Iberian Notes:
to become, in practice, "dhimmis" rather than to risk their necks. The Thursday bombers gave the orders and the Spanish voters followed them. That means that shariah is beginning, slowly, to be imposed on the whole continent. Wait for more of the same. As Churchill once said, they'll have both war and dishonour.
A victory for appeasement. A victory for cowardice. The Spanish people demonstrated today that they have no courage.
Project: FREE IRAN! reports that an uprising is occuring in Iran's northern province of Mazandaran. The link contains further details and pictures of the clashes.
Uprisings in towns across Iran have become quite common. The theocracy of course does its best to limit the spread from neightbouring towns but the law of averages dictates that it is only a matter of time before one of these uprisings spreads beyond the control of the government. God bless Iran and its people when it does.
The Project: FREE IRAN! web site contains further details of Islamic Law Enforcement Forces being attacked by teachers and their students in Hamedan after the security forces tried to intimidate the teachers to return to their classes.
It seems safe at this point to claim that Al Qaida or a group linked to Al Qaida carried out the bombings in Madrid last week. The Spanish government still refuses to rule out ETA as suspects which given ETAs history isn't very surprising but still odd none the less. I'm certainly no expert in ETAs past behaviour but the bombings last week don't seem typical of ETA.
Regardless given all the announcements by Spanish authorities Islamic terror groups of some sort seem to be the main culprit. We have:
- Al Qaida videotape claiming responsibiltiy
- Three Morrocans and two Indians are in police custody
- A van was found near the scene of the bombing containing explosive caps and a cassette tape of Koranic verses
There is still talk that the bombings may have been co-ordinated by both ETA and Al Qaida but at the moment I haven't seen any indication or proof that this may be possible.
I just hope that the Spanish people learn the right lessons from the bombings. We in the West are all targets. Islamic terror groups could case less how much sympathy or support Westerns give to them or other Islamic causes. In their medival view of the world we are the enemy. No amount of sweet talk on our behalf will change that.
It troubles me too that anti-government protests are already occuring in Spain with people demanding to know who is responsible for the blasts. I know that the bombings were traumatic and may lead people to act unreasonably but the bombings only occured a few days ago. Are the protestors in these cases just anti-government? Are the protests politically motivated due to the elections?
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Charles Krauthammer has a good take on French support for John Kerry.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
The American Enterprise Institute has the text of a speech by Niall Ferguson titled The End of Europe?
The speech basically discusses the potential for future conflict and/or tensions between the E.U. and the U.S. His argument is that these concerns are misplaced because Europe's future is one of decline and stagnation (Is that contradictory?).
On the economic side he points out the stark differences between what Germany contributes to the E.U. and the proportion of votes it receives. He makes the logical point that this contrast cannot last forever and that Germany at some point will turn off the spiget. Will France be as receptive to continuing with E.U. integration without Germany footing the bill? Not likely.
Anyways he makes various points concerning economics, population changes, etc... plus he touches on the subject that Europe is a post-Christian union.
Ladies and gentlemen, I only wish that were true. The reality is--and it is perhaps the most striking cultural phenomenon of our times--that Western and Eastern Europe are no longer in any meaningful sense Christian societies. They are quite clearly post-Christian--indeed, in many respects, post-religious--societies. In the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, less than 1 in 10 of the population attends church even once a month. A clear majority do not attend church at all. There are now more Muslims in England than Anglican communicants. More Muslims attend mosque on a weekly basis than Anglicans attend church. In the recent Gallup Millennium Survey of Religious Attitudes conducted just a couple of years ago, more than half of all Scandinavians said that God did not matter to them at all. This, it seems to me, makes the claim to a fundamental Christian inheritance not only implausible but also downright bogus in Europe. The reality is that Europeans inhabit a post-Christian society that is economically, demographically, but, in my view, above all culturally a decadent society.He doesn't really expand much else on the above statement. I believe he should have because I think the idea that Europe is post-Christian in many ways leads to the problems that he mentions earlier in his speech.
As post-Christian nations, Europe does not have the confidence or fortitude to deal with difficult issues either within its own borders or elsewhere in the world. I know that you can give all kinds of non-Christian nations or peoples who deal successfully with the modern world but cultures are a difficult thing to quantify and understand. The history of cultures is one of rise and fall. When vibrant/creative/hopeful they thrive and influence those around them. When they lose these qualities, they retract, become decadent, and care little for the future. I believe that Europe has passed through this stage. After fighting WWI and WWII, it lost hope. With a loss of hope, came gradually decreasing populations. With a decreasing poplution the economy shrinks. Simply put, modern economics can not deal with a shrinking population in a large economic unit (If anyone knows of any research in this area I'ld be interested if you pointed me in its direction).
Anyways, I think Europe is in the midst of a radical transformation on a scale not seen since the times of the Roman Empire. These are interesting times in which we live.
Opinion Journal continues its work of investigating the U.N. oil for food program that was established with Iraq during the 90's.
A letter has come to The Wall Street Journal supporting allegations that among those favored by Saddam with gifts of oil was Benon Sevan, director of the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food Program. As detailed on this page on Feb. 9, Mr. Sevan's name appears on a list of individuals, companies and organizations that allegedly received oil allocations or vouchers from Saddam that could then be sold via middlemen for a significant markup. The list, compiled in Arabic from documents uncovered in Iraq's oil ministry, included many of Saddam's nearest and dearest from some 50 countries, including the PLO, pro-Saddam British MP George Galloway, and French politician Charles Pasqua. (Messrs. Galloway and Pasqua have denied receiving anything from Saddam.) According to the list, first published by the Iraqi daily Al Mada in January, Mr. Sevan was another beneficiary, via a company in Panama known as Africa Middle East Petroleum, Co. Ltd. (AMEP), about which we have learned quite a bit.It's astonishing that these allegations are not gaining any traction within the media. Doesn't the media love a controvery and/or cover-up?
Equaling astonishing is that up to now not one U.N. member country has demanded an investigation into the program. Maybe they just don't want to rock the boat? Or were too many people aware of what was going on?
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Mohamal Sadiq Al Husseini Al-Hayat has an article at Dar al hayat titled The Mossad Is Behind Every Strife.
The article doesn't mention Mossad at all except in the title but it does make many indirect references to what his readers must assume is American-Israeli cooperation in stirring up conflict in Iraq:
Only the naive, the dull-witted or the believers in the Greater Middle East (GME) promote that the perpetrators of the massacres in Karbala and Al Qazimiah are Arab Muslim Sunnis. The aim is clear. Martin Indyk, former American ambassador in Israel said it before; it is to implement a policy of divide and conquer.Some of this stuff is just plain nutty.
[Via Le blog de Ployscopique]
Joel McLaughlin and his pals took to the streets in support of common sense. The University of British Columbia chapter of Protest Warrior counter-protested at a rally staged by the Canadian Federation of Students that was organized to protest against tuition hikes. Little did they know Joel and company were waiting for them.
Here are links to all the Canadian chapters of Protest Warrior:
Thornhill Secondary School
University of British Columbia
University of Toronto
sault ste. marie
Check out the videos on the original Protest Warrior site. It looks like alot of fun so join one of the chapters listed above or if there is no chapter in your town or community start it up yourself.
Sheila Copps has her feathers in a bunch over the nomination battle she lost last week.
Copps has always seemed quite comical to me but she just keeps outdoing herself. If the vote was so messed up do to Paul Martin's interference why would she possible want to refight it? The best case is that she wins and then spends four years ignored by her party. Best case for myself is that she loses the second time around.
Anyways the longer she can keep this up the better it is for the Conservatives. If this continuing conflict (and the general left-right struggle within the Liberal Party) can continue to pull votes away from the Liberal's left wing then the opportunity for the Conservatives to win added seats in a federal election increases.
For years we have been subjected to vote-splitting on the right and now we may be able to watch it happening on the left. And quite frankly the timing couldn't be better. Lets be realistic, the Conservatives are not in a position to win the next election. They have my vote but I really don't see a Liberal collapse on the short-term horizon. The opportunity is there though to prevent a Liberal majority. Without a majority the Liberal's would have to power share with the NDP which if I can gauge the Canadian electorate would be a long term winning situation for the Conservatives.
With the Liberals dependent on the NDP for votes, the NDP will naturally want alot of legislation passed, most of which (on the social side at least) will make the majority of Canadians cringe. With so much NDP influence over the Liberal's agenda, the right wing of the Liberals will start to defect to the Conservatives at which point you have the makings of a long term Conservative majority.
Wishful thinking perhaps but very possible.
According to The Globe And Mail the NDP have landed a high-profile canadidate in Monia Mazigh. You can forgive yourself if you have no idea who she is but she is the wife of Mahar Arar the man who spent a year in a Syrian prison.
And my oh my wouldn't you know that she is running in my riding of Ottawa South. Safe bet is that she won't be getting my vote. Anyways.
What exactly makes Mrs. Mazigh a high profile candidate is beyond me but according to her both the Liberals and the NDP have approached her:
She said she had been wooed by Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal party as well by Mr. Layton but has previously voted NDP and feels closer to that party.Maybe I'm missing something. A high-profile canadidate? The media is constantly telling me that Tony Clement is 'unknown', 'low-key', etc... I must be hanging around the wrong people or something.
And to top it all off she doesn't even live in the Ottawa South riding. Suffering Canadian politics is messed up.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
[Via Being American in T.O.]
Victor Davis Hanson has his own website now at http://victorhanson.com. Today the gods smile upon us.
The problem with Hanson's work of course is that when you buy a book you kind of hope to get a couple of weeks worth of enjoyment out of it. Whenever I buy one of his books I burn through it in a couple of days.
canadiancomment has officially moved to its new location at http://canadiancomment.no-ip.com
We'll keep checking back here to keep up on the current comment threads but you'll find all the new posts at the new site.
Check it out and please update any links or bookmarks to the new site.
I was reading the website of an English soccer (football) club a while back. The website offered a product that was offered by the team's fanclub that I think we are missing out on over here in North America. The product could be a real money maker for a graphic artist with a good business sense.
So do you what to know what the interesting product is already? Well here you go then, it's a sticker that has the picture of a face on it that goes on the bottom of your toilet bowl. Yes, you heard me right, on the inside of the toilet bowl. Why you ask? So that every time you feel the need to go, you can crap right on the face of someone you dislike.
In the case the of the soccer club, the picture on the sticker was of a rival team's head coach. The possibilities are just about endless though. It could be of a rival team's star player ( Kobe, Lindros, Owens, Bonds ), a celebrity that you can not stand ( J-Lo, Madonna, Penn, Moore ) or it even could be a political figure ( Chirac, Chretien, Kerry, Bush ). There's something for everybody, all ages and all walks of life!
This product may not be politically correct but a lot of people have got very rich being politically incorrect ( Flint, Stern, Limbaugh, McMahon ). So what's to stop this great little product from sweeping across North America, nothing! Cause I know that nearly everybody is full of shit!
So you have a nice day and keep a look out for the Shit Sticker to hit stores near you. I even came up with a cheesy little tag line for it. Come in and buy your very own customized Shit Sticker, it will be a "Moving Experience"! Pretty lame I know but I couldn't resist.
Monday, March 08, 2004
Well thanks to cerdity's original encouragement I managed to get canadiancomment up and running on Movable Type. The site hasn't officially moved yet, its just that I managed to get it working and would hope that a few people could try it out and make sure everything works OK.
I've tested it on my own PC here but I want to ensure that there are no problems that I can't see since I'm viewing it locally. Plus if there are any obvious security issues that any of you can detect I'ld like to know.
The new version of canadiancomment can be found here. The layout is the same with a few minor changes and of course it includes capabilities native to Movable Type that are not available at Blog*Spot.
Also if someone could check that the TrackBack works properly I'ld appreciate it. If I view other sites using the Movable Type bookmarklet I can get a list of TrackBack entries. If I view the new version of canadiancomment it asks me to log in and then presents me with a standard new entry page. I can't see the trackback entries. I can ping them if I enter the URL manaully but I of course can't expect other people to manually create the TrackBack URL entry to ping.
So check it out, leave a few comments, and let me know what you think of it.
Prince Edward Island is going to running a budget deficit in this coming calender year, it may be as big as 107 million. So what's the big news? The big news is that PEI's Provincial Government is Conservative and it's going to try to make up the short fall by taxing the health care system. Story here.
I didn't think that conservative governments are supposed to make up for budget short falls by raising taxes. I though they were supposed cut government spending, by cutting nonessential programs. Cut the fluff, so to speak.
I have an idea that would cut down on government spending, I say join the three Atlantic provinces ( PEI, NB, NS ) into on province. Eliminate three governments and replace it with one. Do you know how much money that would save right off the top? I wouldn't even want to guess. The savings could be into the healthcare and education systems.
Is this idea viable, I think it is? I know there would be some drawbacks but I think the positives would out weigh the negatives in the long run. Give me your thoughts about this subject, you may have some great input seeing as I have only been thinking about this idea over the last day or two and have probably missed something obvious.
Sunday, March 07, 2004
Capitalism Magazine has an excerpt of Jean Francois Revel's Anti-Americanism: An Introduction. I haven't read it yet but its been getting some great reviews (and some pretty harsh ones as well).
The exerpt deals mostly with his previous book Without Marx Or Jesus but here are some snippets:
I was also pleasantly surprised by the conversations I had with a wide range of Americans—politicians, journalists, businessmen, students and university professors, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives, liberals and radicals, and people I met in passing from every walk of life. Whereas in France people’s opinions were fairly predictable and tended to follow along lines laid down by their social role, what I heard in America was much more varied—and frequently unexpected. I realized that many more Americans than Europeans had formed their own opinions about matters—whether intelligent or idiotic is another question—rather than just parroting the received wisdom of their social milieu.
Or again, however astonishing it may seem half a century later, Soviet propaganda, thanks to its echo chamber in the free but credulous world, succeeded for years in persuading millions of people that it was South Korea that had attacked North Korea in 1950 and not the reverse. Picasso himself signed on to the swindle when he painted Massacre in Korea, which depicts a squad of American soldiers opening fire on a group of women and naked children—thereby demonstrating that artistic genius need not be incompatible with moral ignominy. (The massacres could only have been perpetrated by Americans, of course, since it was well known that any acts that might jeopardize human life were deeply distasteful to Joe Stalin and Kim Il Sung.) Let me mention also for the record the farcical allegation of bacteriological warfare waged by Americans in Korea, a lie made up on the spot by a Soviet agent, the Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett. The astonishing thing is not that it was cooked up, but that even outside Communist circles it could gain a certain credibility—and this in countries where the press is free and it is easy to crosscheck data. The mystery of anti-Americanism is not the disinformation—reliable information on the United States has always been easy to obtain—but people’s willingness to be disinformed.
Anti-Americanism increased tenfold by 1969 as a result of the war in Vietnam. But Europeans, and above all the French, with remarkable unfairness forgot or pretended to forget that the war was a direct offshoot of European colonial expansion in general, and of the French Indochina War in particular. Because France in her blindness had refused to decolonize after 1945; because she had rashly become involved in a distant and protracted war in the course of which she had, moreover, frequently pleaded for and sometimes obtained American help; because France, humiliatingly routed at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, was forced in 1954 to sign the disastrous Geneva Accords, handing over the northern half of Vietnam to a Communist regime that promptly violated the agreements: it was thus unquestionably only after a long series of political blunders and military setbacks on the part of France and the French that the United States was induced to intervene.
Inevitably then, today as yesterday and yesterday as the day before, a book about the United States must be a book dealing with disinformation about the United States—a formidable and perhaps Sisyphean task of persuasion, doomed to failure, since the disinformation in question is not the result of pardonable, correctable mistakes, but rather of a profound psychological need. The mechanism of the Great Lie that fences in America on every front, and the rejection of everything that might refute it, evokes the equivalent lie that surrounded the Soviet Union ever since 1917—not to the detriment, but to the advantage of the Communist empire. Here again, among those who fed from the idealized and falsified images of “existing socialism,” a sort of mental flyswatter swiped away at facts that were too threateningly real.
Good news of the day is that Mark Steyn will be writing for the Western Standard which begins publication March 12.
Saturday, March 06, 2004
Since so much has been written about The Passion Of The Christ I'll spare you my thoughts other than that I loved it.
For an interesting response to the many critics who have called it anti-Semitic check out Steyn's article in the JP.
I just watched the television ads that the Democrats down south are complaining about. They've been claiming that George W. is using the September 11 tragedy to his advantage.
I personally feel that everything related to September 11th does reflect positively on G.W. but regardless check out the videos here and let me know if you think they are in bad taste in any way. Considering the magnitude of what happened I think they did a good job of including 9/11 without glorifying the event or G.W.'s response to the event.
Don't ask me why it took this long but our soldiers in Afganistan have received new transportation this week to replace the aging Iltis jeeps. Better late than never I guess. Full story click here
The new Mercedes-Benz G Wagons have features like armour plating, bullet-resistant glass windows and a grenade-proof roof, do you think this could have helped Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy? If it would have saved his life, does the government have some explaining to do?
Here Warrant Officer Alain Blanchette voices his opinion of the new Canadian ride, "You feel like you've got something around you that is going to protect you. I know one thing for sure. Everybody will be more confident and secure in this vehicle than the Iltis."
Well anyway this is good news for our troops stationed in Afganistan, I hope it makes their job easier. I hope the government of Canada continues to support our troops in the field by giving them new and improved equipment, every little bit counts when lives are on the line.
I know this quote is only going to be funny for about half the population, but here it goes anyway.
"They're for tax cuts and against them. They're for NAFTA and against NAFTA. They're for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act. They're in favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts."That's President Bush talking about John Kerry and his ever changing views, you thought it was funny, me too.
For a story full of Kerry's flip-flops read here. This story even has a nice chart that shows Kerry's before and after views, check it out.
Friday, March 05, 2004
Well this is the first weekend I've had in a long time where I didn't have work to do. Oh its sweet... I got most of my software submitted yesterday and the demo today went fine. All in all I must say this software stuff totally blows. I'm not a full time coder, in my more relaxing days I decided I wanted a change and went on loan to a software design group.
The work is interesting and challenging and all but I never imagined the time constraints I'ld be working under. I haven't coded anything significant since university, certainly not in an environment like this anyways.
Anyways, the worst of it is over. I've just gotta grind through the next month or two...
So canadiancomment hasn't fallen apart without me. Not that I thought it would or anything I'm just glad to see that Bob managed to keep things going. Thanks Bob, its greatly appreciated that you haven't given me flak for not posting anything lately.
What I've missed most is reading other blogs that I use to frequent. I'ld must rather read than post for the simple reason that other people are better at this than I am. Regardless, I'm looking forward to reading some of my favourite Canadian blogs... Le blog de Polyscopique, Spin Killer, cerdipity, Being American in T.O., Autonomous Source and many others that you can find on the sidebar.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Letters that threaten terrorist attacks on targets in Prince Edward Island have been received by authorities this week. The letters are claiming that the birthplace of confederation will be made pay because of Canada's involvement in Afganistan. Full story here.
RCMP Sgt. Richard Thibault has said that a threat assessment is already underway.
"As we know more about the letters and the threats or the validity of the threats themselves, action will certainly be put in place to ensure the public's safety."Zain Esseghaier of the PEI Muslim Society expressed shock over the threats.
"As Muslims , as Islanders and as Canadians we categorically and unequivocally condemn all kinds of terrorism."I personally think Esseghaier's statement is a good move by the Muslim Society. As an Islander it's good to hear that our Muslim community renounces all forms of terrorism and stands with us as Islanders and Canadians.
I just hope that these letters weren't sent by someone as a hoax, this as a very serious thing to be joking around about. I would think that people would have more common sense than that, but you never know.
If terrorist are in fact behind the letters and are planning attacks on PEI, then I hope that a group of disgruntled farmers or fishermen are the ones that find the terrorists before the police do. Believe me the terrorists would wish they had never set foot on PEI. They would pay a dear price for messing with us Islanders, let me tell you.
We Islanders may live in the smallest province and be known for our warm hospitality but I'll tell you one thing, never threaten our tightly knit communities because we will do whatever it takes to protect them. So be warmed, all would be terrorists, if you're planning anything on PEI you better hope the police catch you before our loyal citizens do, that is unless you plan to become a martyr.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
The CBC is reporting that Canada will send troops to Haiti. Paul Martin says Canada will participate in stabilizing Haiti but does not have the military capacity he'd like to have. Full story here.
By the sounds of things Paul Martin doesn't think we have the military capabilities he thinks we should have, I wonder which party is responsible for that? Here's a little secret for you Mr. Martin, you're the Prime Minister, do something about it!
Make up for the mistakes that your party has made, outfit the country's military better so Canada can take its rightful place along side other nations, as we try and make the world a better place to live.
I know we have troops in Bosnia and Afganistan, they are doing a great service for our country but we should have a bigger role in world affairs. Like back in the days of Lester B. Pearson, when we were the top middle power in the world. Those were the days.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
I found a quote the other day that explains why our friends on the far left don't seem to understand our logic most of the time. It's from Ludwig Wittgenstein.
" If you ask a man how much 2 plus 2 is and he tells you 5, that is a mistake. But if you ask a man how much is 2 plus 2 and he tells you 97, that's no longer a mistake. The man you are talking with is operating with a wholly different logic from your own."So that's it, I guess everyone in the world doesn't operate on the same logic as we do. It's true that everyone on the Earth will not all agree on all issues, so it's comes down to how you agree to disagree.
Some people can make their own ideas better by adding other people's thoughts, others react negatively to new or different ideas. So the most we can hope for in the world is that everyone can be reasonable.
Being reasonable doesn't mean being soft when faced with unreasonable people. Unreasonable people only understand one thing and that's power, about half of the world today still operates on this type of system. This is what people on the left fail to realize, sure here in the West we can talk things out among ourselves but in many other place in the world power comes from the barrel of a gun, it's a fact.
The world is an ugly place to do business, someday it my not be that way but it is for now. We on the right wish that all of the world's people could just get along, the same as people on the left wish. We on the right though are realists, we're not one big happy world just yet, I promise you we'll not see a near prefect world in our time. So let's be reasonable and see how this whole thing turns out.
I'm going to give you five quick facts, see how many of them that you know. 5 for 5 means your very informed while 0 for 5 means you should read more.
1. That 40% out of 44 million Koreans have one of the three most popular last names, they are Kim, Lee and Park.
2. In 1992 the CSE ( Canada's version of American's NSA ) spied on Mexican trade representatives during the NAFTA Negotiations.
3. In 1976 two U.S. soldiers were beaten to death with axe handles and iron bars by several North Korean soldiers. Do you know what the offending act was? The Americans were attempting to cut down a tree that was in the DMZ.
4. At it's peak, foreign aid to Somalia soared to $80 per person, the highest in Africa. Aid was equivalent to half of the gross domestic product. I think drugs and guns made up the other half.
5. In February 1982 Hafez Al-Assad put down a revolt in the city of Hama by leveling it with artillery and bombs. The death total was thought be as high as 25 000 people, who were Syrian citizens.
Did I slip any in there that you didn't know, if I didn't, I never want to get into a debate with you that has to do with facts. For those of you that knew all of them, here is a one question bonus round, if you know this one, I will be truly amazed.
Bonus - Osama Bun Laden's number for his satellite phone used to be 00873682505331, he used this number when he first moved from Sudan to Afganistan. No sense in trying it though, I would imagine he has changed it in light of all that has gone on lately.
Guess what you win for knowing all six, yup that's right the exact same thing as all the people that didn't know any of them, NOTHING. You can take pride in the fact that you know your shit though, if nothing else.
Cheer up, things could be a lot worse, you could live in the Sudan. Here are some stats from the U.N. that will make you glad your living in Canada, even though you may be going though some misery at work.
- 74% of boys in the Sudan were survivors of "close" shelling or air bombardment.
- 85% have witnessed somebody starve to death.
- 92% said they have been shot at a one time or another in their lives.
- 97% said they have witnessed someone being killed.
How's that for the shitty end of the stick? I know it's a little bit of a strange time to be posting a story but what can you do when the dog sees a rabbit outside and decides she needs out. She must a howled for a half hour before I gave in though.
Monday, March 01, 2004
Ellen sent me these today to try and cheer me up from my life of misery at work:
C code. C code run. Run, code, run! (please?)The first one really gets to my current predicament.
My job is secure. No one else wants it.
Don't steal. The government hates competition.
Liberals want misery spread equally.
Life would be so much easier if we just had the source code.
Annoy a liberal. Work hard and smile.
Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats.
Sometimes I wake up grumpy; other times I let her sleep. ;-)
Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.
Canada's pride and joy, the Sea King is ready to fly again. It's a shame our brave soldiers have to make do with this out dated piece of crap helicopter. Sea Kings Cleared to Fly.
I wonder how much it has cost our military to have the Sea King in service, besides lives? The Liberal government made one of it's worse decisions, when it decided to cancel the contract for the new helicopters the Conservative government had ordered.
I forget where I seen it but somebody suggested that every Liberal MP should be made fly over the Atlantic ocean in a Sea King helicopter. Good idea isn't it. I wonder if that would have changed their minds on the status of our beloved Sea Kings?
Does anybody really understand everything that is going on in Haiti? I bet it's a real complex situation. One faction or another fighting against each another, allies trying to stab one another in the back. It's a regular a three ring circus down there.
I have one way to solve the situation in Haiti or at the very least understand the situation better. We should send Sean Penn down there on a fact finding mission, he could do a lot of good there. He has experience and he's the only person in the world who knew that Saddam didn't have WMD, even Saddam didn't know he had none.
With any luck at all Penn could tell us all we need to know about Haiti, and with any luck he would never come back here either. It would be a win-win situation for all.