Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin: McCain’s pick for running mate

So who is Sarah Palin? Here are some cherry picked facts from this profile:

elected governor of Alaska in 2006

43 year old mother of five

hockey mom
lives on a lake
ice fishes, snowmobiles, hunts,
NRA member
has a float plane
husband works for BP on the North Slope

a politician of eye-popping integrity

promised: to end corruption in state government, cut spending, and provide accountability.

[took] on the Republican establishment ...lodging .. ethics complaint[s]

crushed the Republican hierarchy (virtually all male) and nearly every other foe or critic

One of her first acts as governor was to fire the Alaska Board of Agriculture

[strong] conservative ... in 2007 vetoed 13 percent of the state's proposed budget for capital projects

most popular governor in America

most popular public official in any state

unabashedly pro life

as star of her high school basketball team she got the nickname "Sarah Barracuda"

describes herself as "pro-business and pro-development."

In her selection speech in Dayton, noting that today was near the 88th anniversary of women winning the vote in America, Palin praised Democrats Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton as current examples of women’s progress and encouraged “Hillary’s 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” to vote Republican.

Great pick John! She looks and sounds like a winner.

Sarah Palin on Glenn Beck

Update: Mark Steyn comes out of his hiatus to comment on Palin's appointment. Not surprisingly, he likes her.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A timid response from the Minister of Justice

Yesterday I received the following response to my email to Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Tony Clement, Minister of Health:

[my bold]

Dear [JR]:
Thank you for your correspondence concerning the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. I regret the delay in responding.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental freedom enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which, in a free and democratic society, may be limited only when such an action is justified.

The Government of Canada is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights. I am pleased to inform you that Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, received Royal Assent on June 18, 2008. Bill C-21 repeals section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA), which shielded some actions of the federal government or First Nations entities from the application of the CHRA. The repeal of section 67 extends the rights of First Nations people, primarily those living on reserve, to file complaints with the CHRC. [Now, if you could just do the same for Section 13]

Canada’s record on human rights is second to none; it is a record of which all Canadians can be proud. [Perhaps, if you don't count Section 13 and the reprehensible behaviour of the HRCs].

As you may be aware, the CHRC, which administers the Canadian Human Rights Act, operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada and reports to Parliament independently. [Yes, but it is within government's power to repeal Section 13 of the CHRA and thus prevent the CHRC from censoring speech.]

With respect to Motion 446, brought by the Honourable Dr. Keith Martin, I can assure you that I will follow this motion closely when it comes before the House of Commons for debate. [OK, but it would be much better if you got behind Martin's motion].

I would like to inform you that my caucus colleague Mr. Rick Dykstra has tabled a motion that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights examine and make recommendations with respect to the CHRC, including its mandate, operations, and interpretation and application of provisions relating to section 13 of the CHRA, which addresses hate messages. I look forward to that review. [Good for Dystra but I have the feeling you aren't four square behind his motion.]

You also express your thoughts concerning Bill C-51. As you are aware, this
matter falls within the purview of my colleague the Honourable Tony Clement,
Minister of Health, to whom I note you have also addressed your correspondence. I appreciate your bringing this to my attention, but will leave the matter to be considered by Minister Clement.

Please be assured that your concerns have been given proper consideration. Thank you again for writing.

Yours truly,
The Honourable Rob Nicholson

c.c.: The Honourable Tony Clement,
P.C., M.P. Minister of Health

In the first few paragraphs he’s sticking to the same pro-forma response he’s given from square one - ie. motherhood, hedging on free-speech and bringing Indians under the CHRA.

The only "news" is that he’s acknowledged Keith Martin’s motion which he’ll "follow closely" and he "looks forward" to a Justice Committee review of CHRC and CHRA Section 13 issues as called for by Rick Dystra’s motion. It’s predictably lame and timid but I suppose better than simply defending HRCs as he’s done in the recent past.

On the same front Ezra Levant reports that two more cabinet ministers, John Baird and Helen Guergis, have called for a review of the CHRC.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jean ‘Jimmy Carter’ Chretien speaks out

Jean Chrétien, spewing his trademark braggadocio and incoherence at a gathering of fellow slime-balls today, criticized Stephen Harper for his handling of the China file:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has short-sightedly risked relations with China by failing to attend the Olympic games and going overboard in honouring Tibet's Dalai Lama, former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said Monday.

Mr. Chrétien said that Canada has to keep in mind that it is too small a global player to hector the Chinese or try to hurt them with boycotts. "It's 1.3-billion people, and I'm telling you that they are moving fast. You think that Canada is very important in the world? I remember when I was going to China ... the press saying: ' Mr. Chrétien, you have to tell the president of China to do this and do that.'

"Oh really?" Mr. Chrétien continued. "You want me to the tell the president of a country of 1.3 billion people you should do this and do that, but I don't dare to say what to do to the premier of Saskatchewan? You have to put things in perspective."

Well, Jean, while China’s size is important, its systematic abuse of its citizens’ human rights is an issue that shouldn’t be ignored. Also, since you think size matters so much, you might have considered that the shear scale of China’s abuse would make bringing it up all the more important. And comparing this with meddling in the affairs of a Saskatchewan premier (who is not similarly abusing his citizens) is apples and pumpkins.

Speaking to reporters afterward Mr. Chrétien continued his fusillade: "We are at the bottom of the ladder in terms of having any influence with China,"

... were he still prime minister, he "would not have hesitated for a second" to attend an Olympic games that obviously mean so much to Chinese national pride.

So, Canada is "too small a global player" and "at the bottom of the [influence] ladder" yet the his attendance at the Olympics would "mean so much". You can’t have it both ways, Jean.

He specifically defended his own record as prime minister, saying ... "Some people who say I never mentioned human rights – they are completely wrong."
C’mon, Jean, didn’t you just say: "Oh really?" ... "You want me to the tell the president of a country of 1.3 billion people you should do this and do that..."?

Anyway, isn’t it bad form for a former PM to publicly bad-mouth a sitting PM? JC, why don’t you just shut your pie hole!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic anxiety

You wouldn’t know it from the headlines and talk shows but according to some polls most Canadians are relatively laid back about our nation’s performance at the Olympics.

On the other hand there’s a large minority led by the media who always manage to put on a great show of emotion ranging from severe anxiety to boastful jingoism, depending on the medal count. If, like the first week this summer at Beijing, there’s a drought in medals the whining is world-class. If the count is just middling there are complaints about apathy and mediocrity and what can be done about it. Occasionally, when our athletes produce outstanding results the crowing and breast-beating are something to behold.

Well, thank God the medal drought is officially over. Our sports neurotics can now shift from shrill whining to snivelling about mediocrity. Maybe by the games’ end we’ll even get in some bragging.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Georgia - where’s the rest of the West?

There’s lots of finger pointing but one thing is clear, dictator Vladimir Putin’s powerful Russia is ruthlessly attacking its tiny democratic neighbor, Georgia. As Glenn Beck put it, "it’s like the US military attacking Martha’s Vinyard". Given the enormity of the situation the MSM , with some exceptions, is giving it relatively light coverage. CTV’s Lloyd Robertson skimmed the story last night ending with an observation that "the Bear’s back" and a smiley-faced "fascinating". OK, I know the Beijing Olympics are on but - good grief!

Georgia has been an enthusiastic ally of the USA even contributing some 2000 combat troops in Iraq. The USA has been a strong sponsor of Georgia’s entry into NATO. With its democratic transformation, the cleanup of its corrupt police and civil service, its strongly free market economy ... Georgia is a natural for admission to the European Union and NATO.

So, in rough order of significance: Where’s GWB’s America? Where’s NATO? Where’s Europe? Where’s the UN? Where’s the "peace" movement?

Of this list only the last two are truly measuring up to expectations. The useless UN remains useless and the "peace" movement’s only anti-war stance is anti-American.

But when will America, NATO and Europe step up and smack Putin down? Military backing for Georgia and the immediate expulsion of Russia from the G8 along with other trade sanctions might be a good start. Maybe today.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The wrath of Ezra: Who is Naomi Lakritz?

When the AHRCC, threw out the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities "human rights" complaint against Ezra Levant, Naomi Lakritz penned this column for the Calgary Herald defending the HRC kangaroo court system.

Naturally, Ezra was outraged and did a vigorous fisking of her column:

... what else can you say about a newspaper columnist who actually supports government censorship of the media? I'm referring to the pitiful Naomi Lakritz, who beclowned herself in yesterday's Calgary Herald. Here is her grotesque column.


ending with:

Naomi Lakritz and Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star: the two lonely
journalists in Canada who support human rights commissions acting as media
censors. What a pair: an atheist Jewish feminist dhimmi, and an apologist for
radical Islam. Meet your new leftist coalition.
Ms. Lakritz is probably wondering what hit her.

So, given Ezra’s level of wrath, it’s fair to wonder: Who is Naomi Lakritz? Why would she defend a rogue government agency bent on censoring her industry? Her brief bio at the Herald reads:

Naomi has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. She started out as a staff writer for the supermarket tabloid National Examiner.

She was then a reporter and later a columnist at the Winnipeg Sun, where she spent 15 years. She came to the Herald in 1998 and is the letters editor, a columnist and an editorial writer.

That seems innocuous enough, although the "B.A. in journalism" is a sign of trouble. J-schools nowadays are hotbeds of radical, lame-brain, po-mo ‘thinking’. Nevertheless, some of her columns would seem to peg her more as a conservative: one criticized green fanaticism; another defended private schools and another took aboriginals to task for their dereliction as parents.

Therefore, given her general track record, I’m willing, for now, to chalk up her defence of her potential tormentors in the HRCs as a misguided knee-jerk defence of what she mistakenly thinks is a "human right" - the right to not be offended. She can’t have given sufficient, if any, thought to the principles of free speech or press freedom. For if she had she’d have noticed that "Human Rights" Commissions are not about protecting human rights but suppressing a fundamental human right.

Update: Mark Milke at the Calgary Herald. [via BCF]. And some stuff I missed at Blazing Cat Fur.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chairman Mo in Beijing

Global socialist and environmentalist Maurice ‘Mo’ Strong has been hiding out in eco-disaster Beijing for the past few years (in the wake of the Iraq/U.N. oil-for-food fraud) as consultant and visiting professor, sharing his grandiose statist vision with China’s government and students. Writing in Maclean’s Magazine this week Chairman Mo expounds on China. Of a number of commentaries parsing Mo’s essay two of my favourites were one by Peter Foster and another by blogger ‘John the Mad’.

Peter Foster does his usual sterling job of reality checking and interpretation concluding with an observation that Strong and his global vision are high maintenance:

... it is difficult to see how any reasonable person, presented with the bizarre facts of his business history and political ideology, could not be disturbed by everything that Mr. Strong stands for and has promoted, especially as the public cost has run into the tens, perhaps even hundreds, of billions of dollars.

Maurice Strong is perhaps the world's most expensive man. He is also the very last person from whom China should be seeking advice if it wants to live in true harmony with the rest of the world.

And ‘John the Mad’ captures the overall flavour of Mo’s essay with this:

On reflection ... I came to the conclusion that Comrade Strong's piece was really ghost written by a gaggle of Chinese communist party communications flacks undertaking damage control for the public relations fiasco leading up to the Peking Olympics.

...[really, however] I accept that Maurice Strong may well have written it. His agitprop is entirely consistent with the plethora of crap written throughout the 20th century by those whom Vladimir Lenin called "useful idiots of the West." His defense of evil is an ignoble, but unfortunately all too common, tradition with those on the left.

Both are great reads and serve as reminders that the Wikipedia entry (puff-piece) for Mo Strong is in serious need of revision to cover the more, ahem, ‘colorful’ aspects of his history.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ethanol: bureaucratic edicts, unintended consequences

Big surprise! Apparently the promoters of ethanol as a "green" fuel have not taken into account all of the problems and costs associated with ethanol use. C.D. Howe Inst. president William Robson comments on some of the problems and on the results of a study by Douglas Auld:

These problems are a classic instance of unintended consequences. Regulations made with one eye on polls and interest groups and the other on administrative convenience often pay no attention to how badly simple bureaucratic edicts fit a complex world.

Ontario has required sellers of gasoline, on average, to mix 5% ethanol in their fuel since 2007. ... Many provinces have similar or more stringent mandates, and by 2010 Ottawa will mandate 5% ethanol across the country.

... New racks have appeared at hardware stores displaying fuel additives romising to solve ethanol-related problems. There are a lot of them, because ethanol in gasoline can cause damage, especially out on the water. [...] For users of marine fuel, ethanol's key flaw is its affinity for water. Boats -- no surprise--operate in wet environments.

Ethanol is an aggressive solvent that can break down parts commonly found in marine, chain-saw and pump engines. ...

Worse than the bureaucratic clumsiness is that the premise behind forcing ethanol on consumers is misguided.

... ethanol is supposed to be greener ... But corn-based ethanol, the major focus of Canadian policies, has a large environmental footprint.

Professor Auld calculates that reducing CO2 emissions by subsidizing ethanol will cost around 10 times the current world market price for greenhouse gas abatement.

... other costs from distorted prices and decisions: Most notable is the diversion of agricultural land to ethanol production, and the resulting upward pressure on food prices.

Naturally, the ethanol lobby begged to differ and called for the study to be withdrawn. To which the C.D. Howe Institute responded:

Finn Poschmann, C.D. Howe's director of research, said there was nothing extreme about Auld's analysis and the assumptions behind it were clearly laid out.

"As far as we're concerned the study was as middle-of-the-road as it gets," said Poschmann.

He said the institute stands by the research.

"I can't imagine any circumstances under which we would withdraw a study, so that's not on."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ezra Levant - Alberta "Human Rights" Commission dismisses complaint

A "human rights" complaint against Ezra Levant by the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities has been dismissed by the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Understandably, Ezra has mixed feelings:

... Is this a victory? I suppose, in a narrow technical sense, it is. I’m off the hook now for both of the HRC complaints. That’s two legal battles done – though I’m still up to my eyeballs fighting defamation suits and other legal actions that the human rights industry piled on top of these complaints.

But I’ve read the dismissal letter three times now, and each time it makes me more angry. Because I haven’t been given my freedom of the press. I’ve simply had the government censor approve what I said. That’s a completely different thing.

Pardeep Gundara – a second-rate bureaucrat, a nobody – had to give me his approval for me to be allowed to go back to my business. For 900 days I was in the dock, waiting for this literary giant to pronounce his judgment on me. And I found favour in his eyes – but barely.

Sorry. I don’t give a damn what Gundara or the HRC says....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Death penalty for the deserving

Mexican-born Texas death row inmate Jose Medellín is set to die today:

Medellín faced lethal injection for participating in the gang rape, beating and strangling of Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14. He and five fellow gang members attacked the girls as they were walking home on a June night in 1993, raped and tortured them for an hour, then kicked and stomped them before using a belt and shoelaces to strangle them.

Their remains were found four days later. By then, Medellín already had bragged to friends about the killings.

The "World Court" in The Hague and Amnesty International are busy attempting last minute interference with the Texas decision.

Update (Aug 6th): The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 split decision, rejected last minute appeals. Medellin was executed at 9:57 PM, Aug 5th. Finally, after 15 years. Good riddance.

Generally, I’m against the death penalty. It’s not out of squeamishness or that I think putting down murderers immoral. It’s because the risk of killing innocents is too high. There are too many cases which have proven the justice system too flawed to trust getting it right sufficiently reliably.

However, there are clear exceptions which justify keeping the death penalty on the books. Medellin is one.

Here are two more:

Monday, August 4, 2008

On global warming and other politics

A wise observation:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

-- Henry Louis Mencken

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Buy the book - but boycott Chapters/Indigo

Why didn't I hear about this earlier?

Five Feet of Fury highlights Howard Rotberg's lawsuit against Mohammedan "beligerants" and Chapters/Indigo bookstore.

Once again Chapters/Indigo has shown its cowardice in the face of idiocy and bigotry.

I wish Howard well in his lawsuit. And when I buy his book it won't be from Chapters.

Poll - Privatize the water supply?

Once again the locals show their unshakeable faith in government and the ease with which they're led by the demonizers of free markets.
Market speculators, otherwise known as market makers and traders, are bad. And, government can always be relied upon for efficient management free from political manipulation. Yeah, sure.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Grant Bristow - neo-Nazi organizer/fighter

A few days ago the National Post published an article by Grant Bristow in which he portrayed himself as a great Canadian neo-Nazi fighter and credited the Canadian Human Rights Commission for its role in his enterprise. Bristow was praised as "a very brave man" by that other fearless Nazi fighter.

It was clear that Bristow was off-base in his praise for the CHRC because he was, apparently, according to him, dealing with real criminals and real criminal activity. It was a matter for real police and real criminal courts, not for "Human Rights" Commissions and their kangaroo courts run by Charter rights abusing amateurs and activists.

Bristow’s piece needed serious rebuttal from a knowledgeable source; and yesterday, as I knew he would, Ezra Levant stepped up to clarify matters:

During the 1980s and 1990s, CSIS -- that is, the taxpayers of Canada -- helped organize and build Canada's leading group of white supremacists. Funding, strategy, organization support -- all of it came from the government.

Their point man was Grant Bristow. He was one of Canada's neo-Nazi leaders, who worked as an agent for CSIS. Without Bristow, Canada's neo-Nazis would have been less-organized, less prominent and more poorly led. Thanks, CSIS.

Now, I understand the need for undercover police work to stop some tough-to-fight crimes. And there might even have been a few cases where the other neo-Nazis that Bristow met were genuine threats of violence. They probably were. But there's an important moral and practical difference between sending in some infiltrator and building up the biggest neo-Nazi group in the country. At what point is the cure worse than the disease?

Bristow knows nothing about the CHRC -- he was never a complainant under its sections; he never worked for it; in fact, the only possible relationship he has with it is as an offender of its thought crimes provision, he himself having generated an enormous amount of "hate", while undercover.

Bristow's Op-Ed -- besides being a self-serving piece of revisionist history (revisionism being something that the Heritage Front was always good at) -- conflates real crimes, crimes of violence, with "thought crimes" that the CHRC seeks to police.

And there’s much more (and).

Now, if only the ‘Post’ would publish Ezra’s piece to correct the record.