Monday, January 29, 2007

Conservative ads to bypass Liberal dominated press

The Conservative party has prepared a series of television ads aimed at exposing new Liberal party leader St├ęphane Dion's weaknesses. The Conservatives say that the ads are intended to bypass the mainstream media who have been giving Dion a free ride. They're based on Dion's and other prominent Liberals' own words; and when compared with the Liberals' blatant fearmongering attacks aired during the last election, the Conservative ads are downright gentle, not to mention truthful.

See the ads and discussion at the Western Standard Magazine's The Shotgun blog. Or view them below:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Harper - green crusader

In today's Victoria Times Colonist witty columnist Jack Knox skewered Stephen Harper's green conversion. I couldn't resist commenting:

Hello Jack,

Ref your column today,
'Harper turns into green crusader'. Very true, up to a point.

One record not mentioned in your column or in other coverage of climate and weather is the record breaking, massively successful environmental propaganda campaign. It’s the explanation for the sharp turn-around in public opinion. David Suzuki must be grinning from ear to ear.

Combine an unusually warm start to winter in central Canada, wet, windy weather in BC, Al Gore’s scary ‘truth’-stretching movie and other environmentalist hysterics with relentless news, weather and talk show coverage explicitly or implicitly linking every weather event and non-event with "climate" change. I’ve never seen so many red screens on The Weather Channel declaring "severe" weather alerts - most with laughably weak justification. And trees down in Stanley Park! Heck, we haven’t seen that since that other great ‘climate change’ event, Hurricane Frieda in 1962.

But, sigh, massive propaganda surely affects polls; and polls surely affect politicians. So I guess I should be looking for ways to protect myself, not from the effects of climate change, but from the effects of climate change
hysteria on the economy. And the irony is, even if Suzuki’s dream were to come true and Canada’s green house gas emissions were stopped entirely (along with the economy), the effect on global climate would be .... somewhere between zero and unmeasurable. But don’t tell anyone!


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Climate change - a successful propaganda campaign

Today the Globe and Mail’s lead story is "Welcome to the New Climate" highlighting a new Globe poll’s finding that "4 out of 5 Canadians say they’ve seen it first hand". This is in agreement with a number of other polls that have ‘the environment’ as a top concern among Canadians.

This is bizarre, but understandable. ‘The environment’ a.k.a. ‘global warming’ a.k.a. ‘climate change’ has risen to number one on the list of Canadians’ concerns in the space of one year. Last year it was nowhere near the top - ‘health care’ was it. I find this bizarre because Canada is a sparsely populated country with no immediate environmental crises, a global GHG emissions footprint of less than two percent which will have, even if the GHG theorists are correct, near zero impact on global climate no matter how radically Canada cuts emissions.

Is global warming a reality? It seems so. Is human activity the cause? Not proven and there are competing theories and evidence to strongly suggest otherwise. So why the huge shift in public opinion?

Simple. An unusually warm start to the winter season in central Canada, some wind and unusually rainy weather on west coast, Al Gore’s movie, climate change alarmism by the usual suspects and relentless media coverage (newscasts, weather casts, political talk shows) reporting and repeating every weather event and non-event with an explicit or implicit tie-in to global climate change. In other words there has been a massively successful propaganda campaign. I expect it has been beyond David Suzuki’s wildest dreams. And he’s a fruit-fly scientist, not a climatologist.

And what’s really scary is that this hysteria has gotten ahead of the Tories, forcing them to join the Chicken Little brigades - no, armies. The only chance for a turnaround will be a couple of very cold winters. What are the odds?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Multiculturalism in Australia - Gone!

Australia has apparently dropped official multiculturalism. If only Canadian politicians had similar sense, and nerve. My e-mail to Jason Kenney today:
Jason Kenney
Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)

Dear Jason,

According to
The Daily Telegraph today:
PRIME Minister John Howard officially scrapped multiculturalism today as he sacked Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone and renamed her old department.
The Australian approach to multicultualism seems most sensible. We should consider doing something similar.

Not that I want to see you out of work, I just think your considerable talents could be put to more profitable use.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

George Jonas - wobbly on Iraq?

I’m an admirer of George Jonas’s writing which appears regularly in the National Post. Being an admirer means liking his style and mostly agreeing with him. Mostly. His two recent columns on Iraq, I found problematic.

In his column on January 13th, A Waste of American Lives and in a follow-up column today, Shades of Vietnam, he argued that while he supported going into Iraq, the U.S. should have gotten out “at least three years ago”, shortly after toppling Saddam. He believes that attempting to bring democracy to Iraq was too grandiose and implausible a task and that it is a mistake to commit more troops to it now. Naturally, if you believe a task shouldn’t have been attempted in the first place, it follows that you wouldn’t support trying harder to finish it. So he hasn’t really gone “wobbly” as one reader accused - he never did go along with the hard part of the Bush plan.

But I doubt that George Jonas’s preferred approach was feasible at all:

First, it is doubtful that Britain and the other allies in the war would have gone along with it, so you have to ask whether Bush would have ever pursued it alone. If he had, with the disaster, chaos and civil war that would almost certainly have followed, the political cost to Bush would have been huge, at home and abroad. Would Bush have survived the 2004 election? Who knows but I’d bet not.

Would victory have been achieved in any meaningful sense? Would the world have been safer? Who would have taken control in Iraq? Saddam’s supporters, the Sunnis, controlled the police and military apparatus and presumably knew where the weapons were stashed. Would they have regained control and suppressed the Shiites (again, as they did following Gulf War I)?

Would al-Zarqawi and al-Qaeda have moved in to support the Sunnis? Would we have another pre-9/11 Afghanistan on our hands - this time one with oil resources?

Would Iran or Syria have attempted to take advantage of a weakened Iraq?
There were many unknowns and huge risks associated with the simpler ‘Jonas plan’. The Bush plan was and is superior and while, in hindsight, mistakes were made it could still work. The alternatives were and are worse.

Post Script: A fallen soldier's view of the war and his reasons for joining.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Maher Arar - Newman in Wonderland!

Maher Arar, a dual Canadian and Syrian citizen, was detained by the U.S. INS while returning to Canada via New York. He was detained apparently on advice from the RCMP/CSIS that he had links with al Qaeda. Rather than deport him to Canada he was removed via Jordan to Syria where, Arar alleges, he was tortured. Naturally Syria denies this.

One rather absurd, 'Alice in Wonderland' theme that keeps recurring, especially among those (like the CBC) who leap at every opportunity to smear Republicans, is that Arar was deported to Syria explicitly to have him tortured for purposes of gaining intelligence. The assumption is that the U.S. was subcontracting its dirty work to Syria.

On the CBC’s ‘Politics’ show this afternoon Don Newman, in an interview with U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy repeated this preposterous line of thinking (twice). Leahy, a Democrat, obviously didn't offer up any denials for the Bush administration, and politely avoided setting Mr. Newman straight.

Leahy [48:00]: "...there's no question in my mind shipping him [Arar]back to Syria told us that he would face a very, very unpleasant time."

Newman: "Well that was the idea,was it not? To get information from him, and to get it extracted from him in a way that wouldn't happen in Canada or the United States."


Newman [50:20]: "Can you explain, briefly, because it is a bit of a puzzle to us in Canada. Syria seems to be one of the targets in the axis of evil from President Bush's speeches. Uh..Syria..he won't talk to them about Iraq because he sees them as an enemy supporting the insurgency and yet somehow American intelligence officers send off to Syria, to the Syrian intelligence service, a Canadian [and Syrian] citizen . How does this co-operation work between Syria and the United States on one level and there's no co-operation on any other? ... Why would Syria be prepared to co-operate with the United States in an activity like that if they're on the other ... be sort of like ...sending someone back to Nazi Germany in order to get some information?..."

Well, it doesn't "puzzle" me particularly. This loopy hypothesis is mainly a politically motivated 'story' for which there is no factual evidence and which has no reasonably logical basis. The U.S., with good reason, treats the Syrian regime as hostile to its interests and so would hardly trust any ‘intelligence’ supplied by Syria. There is no reason to expect co-operation between the U.S. and Syria in the war on terror.

So what happened? The simplest scenario seems most likely. The U.S. INS took at face value the information on Arar provided to them by the RCMP (and perhaps had their own information). He was treated as a terror suspect and rather than send him to Canada the INS chose to send him to his other 'home country’, Syria - as far from the U.S. as law would permit.

Was Arar unjustly treated? According to a Royal Commission he was. The head of the RCMP has apologized and resigned, and lawsuits are under way. And now that the Democrats control the U.S. House and Senate it will become a political issue there.

Update (Jan 27th):
Maybe there was more to Don Newman's 'puzzled' assertions than I had thought. David Frum's column in today's National Post peels back a layer or two on Syria - the regime's conflicts with its majority Sunnis and al-Qaeda and on the possibly nefarious relationship between the U.S. state department's "Arabists" and their co-operation with the Assad regime. Anyway, perhaps this is yet another instance proving that when it comes to Middle Eastern politics it doesn't pay to go with the simplest scenario but with the most convoluted and devious one.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Global warming symptoms - the complete list

Well it’s not really a complete list, it could never be because every mildly remarkable weather hickup, anywhere, every day, would have to be added.

But it’s certainly comprehensive, with full linked references.

[Via The Corner]

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Global Warming Hysteria

"Climate advocates are brainless parrots and short term politicians" - Peter Foster

In recent days and weeks, owing to extraordinarily warm and sometimes stormy winter weather, climate change alarmism has been ramped up considerably. The alarmists take the warm weather to be proof positive of man-made global warming and use the opportunity to warn of the need for immediate action. And seemingly on-cue, Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled his cabinet, primarily to appoint a new more powerful environment minister, John Baird, who instantly declared (quoting from memory) "The science is settled. The time for study is over. It is time to take strong action."

But against the army of climate Chicken Littles there are, thankfully, a few level heads. Peter Foster, in his column in today’s National Post reminds us of "...three unavoidable facts about the pretensions of climate policy":

(1) Canada cannot meet its Kyoto obligations without wrecking its economy.

(2) If Canada did meet its Kyoto commitment the effect on climate would be zero.

(3) Even if ALL Kyoto signatories met their Kyoto targets the effect on global climate would be minimal [probably unmeasurable].

In an excellent companion piece U.K. researcher Benny Peiser documents the damage being done to the European Union’s economy through its unilateral efforts to meet its Kyoto targets. For example:

- energy-intensive companies are forced to close down, cut jobs, or pass on costs to consumers.

- Europe’s policy threatens to redirect energy-intensive production to parts of the world that reject mandatory carbon cuts.

- it has led to a significant slowdown in European R&D budgets, a sliding trend that is hampering the development of low-carbon technologies.

So, if the climate alarmists prevail and our government takes immediate radical steps to cut emissions we’ll ruin our economy with a net effect on global warming of .... ZERO. And in the process of ruining the economy we’ll kill our ability to develop new technologies for reducing emissions and otherwise adapting.

If every nation were to sign on to this approach, the cost of fighting global warming would be global depression, or worse. The rich would suffer least; the middle class would be poor; and many of the poor would be dead. Would any of this human suffering concern the environmentalists and the radical activists. Not likely. After all, the poor are happiest being poor and there would just be that many more ‘happy’ people. And who will hear complaints from the dead.