Thursday, February 23, 2006

Abortions for None!

Rape victim? Sorry. Incest victim? Tough luck.

Yes the beacon of light and hope (to hear Harper tell of it) to Canada has taken the first step to re-igniting the abortion debate in court. South Dakota has outlawed all abortions, except to save a woman's life. (How generous of them.) With a new supreme court, the lawmakers are hoping that this one gets upheld. And it starts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Shadow Cabinet

The Liberal shadow cabinet is (for the most part) complete and can be viewed here. Some interesting choices. It's good to see Mike Savage in there (ACOA), as well as LeBlanc (International Trade), Minna (Women and Multiculturalism) and Godfrey (Intergovernmental). Some of the shoe-ins though are not at all where I would have expected.

For example, I wasn't aware that Ujjal Dosanjh (Defence) had an extensive military knowledge. Lapierre for Industry (I thought for sure that'd go to Stronach, though I guess Transport makes sense for her), and I also wasn't aware that Scott Brison (Environment) was a big tree-hugger. (Though I do look forward to watching Brison and Ambrose go toe-to-toe, as they're both very good speakers.) Also, Ignatieff as Associate Critic for HRDC? He seems less suited for that particular portfolio than Belinda...

The SC is a good mix of Martinites, Chretienites and others, with Hedy Fry and Stephane Dion in there with Ralph Goodale and Joe Volpe. Carolyn Bennett in Social Development seems like a good pick, as does Fry for the Olympics, given her passion for her city. But... uh... Telegdi in Immigration...? Isn't that guy a closet racist or something? I could also gripe about the inclusion of people who are clearly not real Liberals (McTeague, McKay), but they do have seignority.

All griping aside, a strong front bench made up of, for the most part, the names you'd expect to see, showcasing the talent of the Liberal Party - but most certainly a shadow cabinet, as I can't see even a quarter of these people taking on the respective cabinet position.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

And while I'm on the topic

This extremely interesting article on homosexuality in Pakistan really outlines the destructive nature of homophobia, not just on the gay men themselves but on everyone around them.

Meanwhile in Ireland

Support for gay marriage in Ireland is at 51%, while the same number support gay adoptions. There are some other interesting statistics to read too. Remember, this is a country which not too long ago was extremely hostile to gay rights. Now, they're more tolerant than the Americans. The strongest support is found amongst, surprise surprise, young people and higher income earners.

Arrogance (Leadership)

If there is one word I can use to describe the coverage of the Liberal leadership race, by the mainstream media and some bloggers (but especially by the MSM) it is arrogance. Pure, unadulterated, old-boys-club, haughty, high-school-gossipy, personality-cult-driven, vapid, presumptuous arrogance. I suppose I should expect nothing better from a group that just a month ago was fawning over Stephen Harper and now is eviscerating him, as if they had no role in putting him there - and keeping him out in 2004.

(This isn't directed at the entirety of the MSM - some of them, like Hebert, Travers and Coyne, have my deepest respect. But this applies to many if not most of them.)

The MSM is like the popular group in highschool - they're loud, arrogant and control everything, but only because people buy into their smug self-satisfaction, mistaking it for something admirable. (Those of us who did not buy into that illusion in highschool probably have an easier time seeing through it now.) And what's more, they get to decide who's "popular" and who's not, who's cool and who's not, and they have the gall to decide who's leadership material, and who's not.

With the early drop-outs of John Manley, Frank McKenna and Brian Tobin, the three men that the media decided were most well-suited to lead the Liberal Party, they've been in ultra-catty mode, dumping on the other potential contenders like a bunch of Mean Girls, mocking everything from their perceived intelligence (as if Ignatieff is an idiot) to their charisma (as if Brison has none, and I may say, as if Manley was a fountain of it.)

The fact is there are several extremely qualified people who could lead this party, the list of suitable candidates is not limited to three retired politicians from the old boys club. (I can imagine the media's reaction if Manley DID run, though - he was a Chretien guy, in on the scandal. Instead of that, the story is, "No one wants to lead the Liberals." You just can't win.)

What the early withdrawal of these "front-runners" does is pave the way for a contest that can be about ideas, as opposed to Paul Martin-esque personality cults. After all, Trudeau's personality cult developed after he became leader, Martin's before - and look what each resulted in. A corronation of Frank McKenna (which is what the Martinite-controlled party establishment seemed to be looking for) is now impossible. Instead, we're going to have a real contest, for the first time since 1984.

This contest could include several contenders, some more well-known than others, but most well-qualified, despite what the "in-group" has to say about them. They include:

Michael Ignatieff.
The spin/gossip: He's an egghead who's been out of the country for 30 years, supports torture and war, and hates Ukranians.
The reality: He's an internatinally renowned and respected scholar of human rights, and as such does not truly support torture, holds the suffering of Ukranians under Stalin in particular regard as being grotesque, and supported the war in Iraq on human rights grounds. He has remained, despite his absentee status, interested in and aware of Canadian issues. (One of the first things I read in a Canadian history class I took was written by him.) He is charismatic, deeply intelligent, effortlessly eloquent, highly principled and supports a policy of unflinching liberalism.

Scott Brison.
The spin: He's a turncoat traitor with no appeal, is too right-wing, can't speak French, and isn't really that bright, kind of inexperienced (and psst, just between you and me, I don't think the country is ready for a gay leader, not that I care about things like that, really!).
The reality: Brison is under 40 and is already a successful businessman and politician. His French was decent enough 3 years ago to participate in French PC leadership debates, and it's only improved since then. His floor-crossing was a principled (and proper) reaction to the sublimation of his party into a new one that was and is openly hostile to him and his partner's (fiance's?) rights. He is actually quite bright and witty, immensely charismatic - he electrified the audience at the PC convention with his speech, increasing his delegate support dramatically - and to those who say he's not a real Liberal, he's just spent the past year and a half taking and deflecting bullets for the party during Question Period over a scandal that happened before he became a Liberal. People in the party who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal are quite excited that he may run, myself included. And as to "that" issue, let me put it this way - the National Post endorsed him for PC leader, while the TORONTO STAR said the country isn't ready for a gay PC leader in their endorsement of Jim Prentice. Frankly, the only people who wouldn't vote for a gay leader are Conservatives anyway.

Martha Hall Findlay.
The spin: None, really. She's been almost entirely ignored by the media, which I think says something in and of itself.
The reality: A successful lawyer and businesswoman, Findlay is effortlessly bilingual, and a loyal Liberal, voluntarily giving up her nomination in Newmarket--Aurora to Belinda Stronach (which I'm sure to her must have been an extremely painful pill to swallow). All around one of the most solid candidates you could possibly find.

Among many, many others, including Gerard Kennedy, John Godfrey, and Ken Dryden.

Let's keep this race in perspective. It doesn't have the "glamour" of Manley, McKenna or Tobin, but that doesn't mean it's something to be scoffed at.

To be honest...

I thought about doing this a while ago. I just didn't because... well... everything just seemed far too preliminary. But good on the creator for doing it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

We are going to win

I just need to remind myself of that when I read something like this.

Yeah, it's American. But the number of Canadian conservatives I've conversed with (using that term loosely) who hold identical views is larger than I care to reflect upon. So I read and hear things like that, and just calmly remind myself of the fact of the inevitable victory of the just. In Canada, we've already won the hardest battle. All that remains is patience, patience and longing for a time when people like the above-linked writer will be relegated to the same category by the population at large as the Ku Klux Klan.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Extremist Watch, Part 5

Oh no, it's not over yet. Moscow's first gay pride parade has been cancelled. The culprit? Threats of violence from the religion of peace. And no, it wasn't from some random extremist on the street:

"Earlier this week Chief Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin warned that Russia's Muslims would stage violent protests if the march went ahead. "If they come out on to the streets anyway they should be flogged. Any normal person would do that - Muslims and Orthodox Christians alike ... [The protests] might be even more intense than protests abroad against those controversial cartoons."

The cleric said the Koran taught that homosexuals should be killed because their lifestyle spells the extinction of the human race and said that gays had no human rights."

Now, it is important to point out that the Russian Orthodox church also has its head up its homophobic ass, and has compared homosexuality to leprosy, calling the parade "propaganda of sin." However, they issued no threats of violence in an effort to stop the parade.

Moving right along...

15000 Muslims protested in London. It was a largely peaceful demonstration of moderate Muslims. Got that? These are mainstream moderates. How do they suggest the rift between the west and moderate Islam be healed?

"Their freedom of speech should be restricted because it hurts our religion."

I've gotta say, assuming it is possible to hurt a non-physical abstraction, your religion is pretty pathetic if it's possible to hurt it by publishing some cartoons.

Oh, and here's another gem from the same march:

"During the march, the crowd was separated by gender, with men in the front and women behind."

Remember - these are the non-violent ones.

Moving on...

A Pakistani cleric has offered a $1 million bounty for the head of one of the infidels responsible for the cartoons. Wanna make a quick million? Just kill somebody in the name of the religion of peace!

""Whoever has done this despicable and shameful act, he has challenged the honor of Muslims. Whoever will kill this cursed man, he will get $1 million from the association of the jewelers bazaar, 1 million rupees ($16,700) from Masjid Mohabat Khan and 500,000 rupees ($8,350) and a car from Jamia Ashrafia as a reward," Qureshi told about 1,000 people outside the mosque after Friday prayers.

"This is a unanimous decision of by all imams (prayer leaders) of Islam that whoever insults the prophets deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize."

Personally, I'd be scared if I was one of the twelve people who dared exercise his freedom of speech right now. Of course, the irony of someone being murdered in the name of Islam for calling Islam violent is probably lost on these guys...

Finally, a group of Israelis has launched a contest asking people to produce the most viciously anti-Semitic cartoons possible.

Eyal Zusman (30, back from anonymity) and Amitai Sandy (29), graphic artist and publisher of Dimona Comix Publishing, from Tel-Aviv, Israel, have followed the unfolding of the “Muhammad cartoon-gate” events in amazement, until finally they came up with the right answer to all this insanity - and so they announced today the launch of a new anti-Semitic cartoons contest - this time drawn by Jews themselves!

“We’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!” said Sandy “No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!”

And that, my friends, is the difference between the Islamic World and the West.

Now - can people please stop telling me, "It's just a few bad apples", "All religions have extremists", and "We need to be more sensitive"?

Friday, February 17, 2006

More Leadership News

The Globe and Mail ran a story today on the initial, sort of "pre-writ" stages of the Liberal leadership race, during which potential candidates attempt to stake out issues for their campaigns. Here's a basic rundown of what we can expect from potential candidates:

Stephane Dion wants to concentrate on sustainable development, making it the "third pillar" of Liberal success, along with social and economic development.

John Godfrey wants to move the party left and win back votes from the NDP and the Greens, especially on environmental issues.

Scott Brison wants to offer generous tax credits to businesses which are environmentally friendly (noticing a theme, here?) In addition, he wants to champion tax reform, lower income taxes, and a vigorous defence of the Charter of Rights.

Carolyn Bennett, were she to run, would focus on democratic reform, including more grassroots influence in the party and more role for citizens in policy between elections (and any young Liberal who watched Paul Martin smugly brush aside the last policy convention's adoption of the prostitution legalization motion can definitely empathize with that.)

I wonder what Belinda would run on... "I'll show Stephen Harper how to bake a bigger economic pie."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I've been absolutely inundated with emails asking me why I haven't been posting recently. Seriously, my inbox is beyond capacity, I don't think it can take much more. Oh yes, it's been crazy. Crazy!

In response to this outpouring, I'd just like to say I've been extremely busy of late, and will return shortly. My traffic is unfortunately suffering, though it was kept afloat by links from Politics Watch (linking to my Garth Turner open letter) and Calgary Grit (I wonder if he sees a groundswell of hits when I link to him, too?)

Now, before you think I've developed a Cherniak ego*, yes, I was being facetious. Just making sure, since there is always an inevitable sarchasm** with at least a couple of people when one does so.

Be back soon, the keys are under the mat.

* - It seems to have become popular amongst Liberal bloggers to bash Jason Cherniak. I have no particular feelings about him one way or another, but it just seems like the thing to do if I want to be invited to the cool kids' table.

** - The gulf between someone employing sarcasm and the idiot who doesn't get it.

Friday, February 10, 2006

To the Honourable Mr. Turner

(Cross-posted at Centrerion)

To the Honourable Mr. Turner:

Thank you so much for your service to Canada. In only five days as an MP, you have done the principled thing as opposed to the easy thing. For disclosure’s sake, I am a Liberal, and am thus extremely disappointed that a Conservative is now representing my riding (replacing the Hon. Peter Adams). However, if you were my member of parliament, I would not feel nearly as disappointed - in fact, every member of the riding of Halton should feel proud that they have an MP who has already earned the title of “Honourable”, Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green, Independent or any other.

I will admit that your committment to popular democracy is not shared entirely by me (I am a skeptic when it comes to “the people”); I also respectfully disagree with you on floor-crossers. That being said, what I do admire is the fact that you campaigned on honesty and integrity, and unlike 99% of politicians who do so (of all parties), you are actually showing honesty and integrity.

I hope that you are not browbeaten into submission by your party, and I pray that you continue to be one of the few MPs in the House of Commons that I truly respect. Unlike some Liberals, I will not invite you to join our party, because if you did, I think I would be disappointed. Not that I would be unhappy to have a principled, honourable man in the Liberal caucus (to replace Mr. “If the Liberals have won I’d still be a Liberal” Emerson), but your joining the Liberals would sort of defeat the purpose… unless you resigned and ran in a by-election… so on second thought, how do you feel about getting a hero’s welcome to the opposition benches? Just (half) kidding.

Keep fighting the good fight, sir.

The Senate

The Senate, very much Liberal-controlled, should now make itself a thorn in Harper's side. The legitimacy of the Senate to do such a thing could conceivably have been questioned before - after all, it is unelected. But what Stephen Harper has done by appointing a Senator and appointing that Senator to cabinet has said that the Senate is a legitimate part of the Canadian political process. So he will have no right whatsoever to complain if the Senate ends up, say, rejecting his budget. After all, why is an unelected Senate any more an affront to democracy as an unelected Public Works minister?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

We have our first contender! (And other drop-outs)

And it's a name that absolutely no one was talking about. Martha Hall Findlay, whom some may remember as the Liberal candidate in Newmarket--Aurora in 2004, has thrown her hat into the ring to lead the Liberal Party. Asked about her lack of political experience, she responded brilliantly "I absolutely recognize that that's what people will say and I will say, yes, it is bold. But it is a time now to be bold."

Personally, I think she'll make a fantastic candidate. I've always felt sort of bad about her getting the shaft when Belinda defected, since she is a very able woman.

Meanwhile, Gerard Kennedy has ruled himself out.

Also, apparently Martin Cauchon is rumoured to be dropping out. Hmm... keep an eye on that one.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Thank You

A group of Muslim youth have renounced the violence used by the extremists, and even apologized to Norway and Denmark. There's hope yet.

Editorial Staff quits

The entire editorial staff of the New York Press just quit because the publisher wouldn't print the blasphemous cartoons. Damn.

Beyond Insanity

According to this hack, the overriding, ultimate goal of the as-yet undefined and unnamed and intangible "liberal elite" of Canada is to completely destroy the institution of marriage.

Yes, that's right. For years, they've been plotting and planning. This huge conspiracy goes back decades - first they got them to remove homosexuality from the criminal code. Then they made it illegal to fire gays simply for being gay. Then they allowed gay people to participate in marriage. The next logical step after this integration is - what else? - the total destruction of the very institution in which those hapless gays wanted to be included! Wow! It all makes so much sense now! I never realized how we gullible fools were being used.

There is apparently a conspiracy of muslim fundamentalists, gays, mormons and, worst of all, liberals whose ultimate end is and has always been to eliminate marriage.

Now, full disclosure, if marriage were "redefined out of existence", as Kurtz puts it, I wouldn't really give a damn, I've never really been a fan. However, that piece reads like the ravings of an escaped mental patient screaming on a street corner through a bullhorn about the end of the world. Somehow, he's able to take a Justice department report suggesting the decriminalization of pologamy, and through some of the most creative conjecture and narrative I've seen in a while, turn it into a huge conspiracy to forever destroy Canada as we know it.

The worst part is that he's an American. Sorry, Stan, but we don't want your culture war, you can keep it. We have no need for imagined organizations like the "liberal elite" (that buzzword boogeyman American Republicans have invented to run against at election time), nor do we need these insane conspiracy theories. I'm certain the only reason his editor decided to print that piece is because said editor also knows dick-all about Canada and Canadians, and just assumed that Kurtz was right about us.

Geez, Americans certainly have taken an interest in us lately. Unfortunately, the only ones who seem to have noticed us are neo-conservative whackjobs with an ax to grind. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that their good buddy is now the prime minister?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Extremist Watch, Part 4

Sums it up, I think.

Side note: Anyone remember when "cartoon violence" was just a buzzword for obsessive soccer-moms trying to police television?

Stephen Harper-crite

Stephen Harper supports an elected Senate. He said he would never appoint a Senator that had not been elected. His first act as prime minister? Appointing a Senator! His second act as prime minister? Appointing that Senator into his cabinet! Campaign against corruption and patronage, and give an obvious patronage job to an organizer, Michael Fortier, now Senator Michael Fortier, Minister of Public Works.

Add the Emerson defection, and that is what you call being stunningly and embarassingly hypocritical. I wonder how Conservatives are going to try to spin this one in their favour?

The ironic thing?

David Emerson was parachuted into Vancouver--Kingsway by Paul Martin without a nomination fight.



10:40 AM - When do all those Conservatives who decried Belinda's floor-crossing start calling for Emerson's head?

10:42 - Harper arrived in a mini-van. Good visual, Stephen, very good.

11:10 - "The importance of Mr. Emerson's decision is important not just because it changes the balance of power in the House of Commons..." *press gallery laughs*

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Marriage Vote

A website which follows the voting intentions of MPs on same-sex marriage (and was extremely close in predicting the last vote) has 156 in favour of gay marriage, 141 against, and 11 unknowns. That would seem to corroborate what I said earlier - equal rights in Canada are safe for now.

If you know the voting intentions of the following 11 MPs, you can help that site have a complete documentation:

Andre Arthur, Independent, Portneuf PQ
Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Conservative, Jonquiere--Alma PQ
Steven Blaney, Conservative, Levis--Bellechasse PQ
Blaine Calkins, Conservative, Wetaskiwin AB
Luc Harvey, Conservative, Louis-Hebert PQ
Tina Keeper, Liberal, Churchill MB
Gary Merasty, Liberal, Churchill River SK
Rick Norlock, Conservative, Northumberland--Quinte West ON
Daniel Petit, Conservative, Charelsbourg PQ
Paul Steckle, Liberal, Huron--Bruce ON
Mike Wallace, Conservative, Burlington ON

Extremist Watch, Part 3

I am, as usual, in awe of how thorough Andrew Sullivan's coverage of current events is. In this case, I was going to link to a few of his posts on the Muhammed cartoon controversy, but I simply could not pick only a few. I recommend that everyone head over there and read his fantastic posts in defence of free speech. Here's a sample:

"The Danish cartoon clash has been illuminating in many ways. Now, we see where this Pope stands - and, of course, it is against the unfettered right to freedom of speech:

"The right to freedom of thought and expression ... cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers."

The Vatican, while deploring violence, urges legislation banning anti-religious offensive expression. In the end, the real fundamentalists are on the same side."

""Mona Omar Attia, Egypt's ambassador to Denmark, said after a meeting with Rasmussen that she was satisfied with the position of the Danish government but noted the prime minister had said he could not interfere with the press. 'This means the whole story will continue and that we are back to square one again. The government of Denmark has to do something to appease the Muslim world,' Attia said." - from a Reuters report.

They still don't get it, do they? And perhaps they never will."

Also, much as I loathe Michelle Malkin, she does have a great collection of images from the protests.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Various Updates

Re: Who killed Draft Dion?

A murder mystery. My evidence says... Paul Wells, in the computer room, with the facts. Kudos, Paul, Kudos.

Re: Is ridiculous homophobia alive and well?

You bet! The United States voted against two gay groups being included on the UN Economic and Social Council, siding with such great nations as Iran and Zimbabwe, citing concerns that gays support pedophilia. I wish I was kidding.

Re: How dare u speak to me like that?

In respose to this question, I think it's endearing and humanizing, but I will admit that I'm biased.

Re: Why no source on the Godfrey announcement?

Because I forgot that Politics broaaadcaaasts end up on the web. Silly me. (The relevant news is within the first minute or so of Friday's show. And thanks to Dan McKenzie).

Re: Has anyone noticed that no Canadian news outlet has reprinted the blasphemous cartoons?

(To the best of my knowledge.) Just thought I'd ask. I do hope Canadians aren't being frightened by threats of jihad.

Friday, February 03, 2006

John Godfrey to run for Liberal leadership

So says Don Newman.

Godfrey is the MP for Don Valley West and is considered to be on the left of the party.


Extremist Watch, Part 2

It's just so stupid, is it not? Imagine the level of neo-medieval backwardness that must fill the minds of chanters who would actually call for the deaths of innocent people over the publication of a cartoon.

Yet watching the coverage of this hissy-fit over Muhammed, that's exactly what I've seen. It's now spread to London. And this is London, remember, not the West Bank or the streets of Tehran. Here's what I've been able to pick up just watching the CBC's coverage:

"I'm a Christian, and people make fun of God all the time, I don't go out declaring Jihad."
- British citizen watching the London protests

"To hell with free speech!"
- Protesters in front of Danish embassy in London

"What do we want? Jihad! When do we want it? Now!"
- Chanting protesters

"Spain - learn from 3/11"
- Sign held by protester

"Europe - learn from 9/11"
- Sign held by protester

"Death to those who insult Islam"
- Sign held by protester

"Behead those who insult Islam"
- Sign held by protester

And from some other sources:

"Kill, kill Denmark"
- Protesters chanting

"7/7 is on its way"
- Chanting demonstrators, invoking the July 7 bombings

"Kill anyone who insults the prophet"
- Banner held by demonstrators

And that's just the stuff that showing up in the streets of developed, tolerant London. Let's go to other parts of the world:

"Long live Islam, destroy our enemies!"
- Protesters outside the Danish embassy in Malaysia

"Death to Denmark", "Death to France"
- Protesters in Islamabad

"Whoever defames our prophet should be executed."
- Protester in Ramallah

Also notice how the British foreign secretary is calling for people to stop printing the cartoons, because god forbid it might upset some oversensitive bomb-throwers. Political correctness trumps free speech, remember. He refers to the cartoons as "inflammatory", to which I say, "bullshit". Only the neurotic and self-loathing inferiority complexes of a bunch of crybabies and whingers could turn "dumb" into "inflammatory", and only those same people could turn "inflammatory" into actual, literal flames.

Now, there are sane, rational Muslims out there. So I ask - where are they? Why are they never present when things like this happen? Perhaps they fear the fate of Salman Rushdie, who had a death sentence issued against him for criticizing Islam. Regardless, they have a duty to not merely their faith but to themselves and to their dignity to stand up collectively and say that they will not abide this kind of extremism in their communities. They have not done this yet, and the reason for that is simple - there are many of these extremists in all Muslim communities, enough of them that they can fill the streets of London at the drop of a hat, or cause Paris to shut down for a few weeks if they get a little rowdy. When there are that many extremists living amongst you - perhaps even with you - it becomes more difficult to speak out against them.

But they have to. This is a clash, alright, and in addition to an inter-civilization clash, it is an intra-civilization one. The soul of Muslim communities all across the civilized world is at stake, and if the rational, sane ones allow the bloodthirsty extremists to be the face of their communities, they have no one to blame but themselves when there is anti-Muslim backlash.

And yet as I'm watching CBC coverage of it last night, Raheel Raza, a moderate Muslim and author of "Their Jihad is Not My Jihad", the perfect person to speak out against the extremism, was on. Yet instead of attacking the extremists, she instead attacked the newspaper editors. Ah yes, blame the ones who dare practice free expression - it's all their fault. It has nothing to do with a sickness at the heart of Islam, a sickness called extremism, and a sickness that is being all but ignored by the moderate Muslim community. The message, from people like Raza, and Secretary Straw in Britain, is that we should just learn to live with these extremists, as many moderate Muslims seem to have, and simply restrict what we say so as not to incite them to riot - sometimes going so far as to censor Winnie the Pooh's Piglet in British government buildings because Piglet is offensive to Islam (do we all remember that?). Just walk on eggshells and make sure we don't piss them off by doing something outrageous like publish a harmless cartoon, lest the bomb and beheading threats start up anew.

I refuse to live in that kind of society. I will say what I want to say, and if I owned a newspaper would publish what I damn well pleased. If, "To hell with free speech" is their rallying cry, mine is the opposite.

I expect people will not be entirely receptive to what I have written here. That's fine - it goes to prove my point, really. Our society has been brainwashed, it seems, into believing that we must be tolerant of everything to the point of tolerating intolerance. I make no apologies for what I have said here. Islam - yes, Islam, as a whole - must clean up its act, and make it clear that these extremists have no place in their religion or their communities. Until that happens, it is not bigotted or intolerant to say that Islam is, on the whole, deserving of the attitudes it garners from us western infidels.

Freedom versus Religious Extremism

Cross-posted at Centrerion

(Forgive the generalization, as it is just that - obviously there are exceptions.)

One thing that continues to trouble me about, broadly, the "Left", is the tendency for leftists to ally themselves with brutal enemies of western civilization. There were many leftists during the Cold War who empathized with the Soviet Union. In the same vein, today, there are many who try to make excuses for the Islamists. The ironic thing is that they (correctly) attack Christianists for their extremism, yet remain silent when it comes to the Islamists, or if they do have something to say, it is understanding, even sympathy. A perfect example is Michael Moore referring to the terrorists killing civilians in Iraq as "freedom fighters". I wonder if he would apply the same label to the Islamists who are threatening to kidnap and murder innocent European civilians over the silly Muhammed cartoons? Well, I'll cut Michael some slack on this one - they are freedom fighters, in the sense that they are fighting freedom, along with their allies, the PC Left. Take this example of a French newspaper editor who has been sacked for printing the cartoons. Also take note of the lefties on the Wikipedia talk board attempting to get the article censored.

It troubles me because I identify much more strongly with left of centre values than I do with right of centre, yet the values of the left are so frequently and disturbingly used to make excuses for the twisted values of the far right. Political correctness is a decent idea in principle, but when it is used to justify the shutting down of free speech and expression, something is terribly wrong. Liberal ideas should not be used as a weapon against liberalism.

It becomes that much more perplexing when, as mentioned above, these same people will (again, correctly) vehemently opposed and attack the ignorant, irrational, anti-science, anti-freedom, anti-logic, anti-everything-that's-fun Christian right, but they will often go so far as to be apologists for the Islamic right.

Personally, I will have none of it. People of the left must start to recognize that what we are dealing with here is actually something even more dangerous than the Christian fundamentalists - they may be neurotic, sex-obsessed control-freaks, but they do not carry around guns and threaten to kidnap people in order to force "self"-censorship.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How right-wingers really think

This is the kind of stuff they won't say in public, but in private or with the protection of internet anonymity, will gladly offer up.

Criticism of Scott Brison is perfectly legitimate, given that he is a politician. If we are not free to criticize our politicians, there is no point in even pretending to be a free country. However, there is a line between legitimate criticism and vitriolic, venomous, vicious bigotry. Here's the good parts, with corrected grammar to make them less painful to intelligent eyes:

Yeah, that drivel Brison did espout, poopy-dick logic from a swallowing raging fruit. In, out, it's all jizz that smells like shit.

He is a turn coat. Straight to gay. Conservative to liberal. Hell he is just a slimey Fag.

Leave poor Scottie alone!!! (Posted by, charmingly, "Phil Phaggot")

The good news is, he's not as likely [to] father [a] next generation of self interested knuckle heads who blow south one day and suck west the next.

"I've gone toe-to-toe with Paul Martin", Brison's wet dream has come true, that's what he really wanted. Pass the KY

Sometimes I forget that we still have people like this in Canada - and that, depressingly, they vote. And do you want to know something funny? They don't vote Liberal. This is the right-wing uncensored. It's too bad they were kept bound and gagged during the campaign. If anything, a great argument for electing Brison Liberal leader would be that these guys would start coming out of the woodwork to attack, and mainstream Canadians would understand why we're so afraid of them having power.

Quote of the Day

"I have a great deputy in Lucien Bouchard... er... Lucienne Robillard... that's not a Freudian slip, that's a CAREER-ENDING slip!" - Bill Graham, interim Leader of the Opposition.

Photos you wish you could destroy...

Like the Star Wars holiday special whose existence George Lucas denies, and which he has spent considerable time and effort tracking down every copy in order to destroy it, there are some things that you just wish you could destroy. Politicians get a lot of photos taken of them, and the worst ones get used in campaign ads.

This one has got to be the worst one I've ever seen. I wonder if it will appear in an attack ad?


Two interesting bits regarding Oscar-nominated Brokeback Mountain.

First, Brad Pitt is apparently looking for scripts that would allow him to play a gay character, noting the success of the cowboy romance. "He has never shied away from taking on controversial films, and he has often chosen to do smaller, more challenging movies," said a source. Patronizing? Maybe. But I'll tell you, I'll take homosexuality as a fad as opposed to a felony. A reasonable argument could be made that the lives and loves of gay people are being trivialized by things like this, but on the other hand, it is best to balance such a perception with the knowledge that, merely a few decades ago, gay people could be thrown in jail. The ultimate goal should of course be for homosexuals to be acknowledged as people first and gay as an afterthought, but given the millenium of persecution that gays have faced in western society, no realistic person should expect total integration to happen overnight. So I see this as encouraging, as opposed to patronizing.

Second, the government of Alberta (the only government in the country officially opposed to gay rights) is bragging about the success of Brokeback Mountain, which was filmed in Alberta. I guess gay is okay as long as it makes you money, eh Ralph? (Hat tip: daveberta.)

Canada did not shift right

A great piece in the Capital Times points out that the right-wing pundits and pontificators in Washington and the US media talking about Canada's supposed shift to the right are a little off base. It's correct of course; Canada elected far more centrist, centre-left and left-wing MPs than centre-right and right-wing ones.

Here's one of my favourite quotes:

"We are glad to see that Canadians have values-voters, too. We can be optimistic about the end of the social engineering as driven by the (Liberal) government."

Ah yes, as opposed to social engineering as driven by a Conservative government, which is of course just fine. (As an aside, this nonsense about "social engineering" is starting to grate my nerves - all governments socially engineer, that's what governments do. But it's got a cold, diabolic, almost totalitarian negative connotation about it, so it's used, particularly by right-wingers, to describe government actions they don't like.)

Here's some other interesting facts:

"According to a poll conducted for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 54 percent of Canadians who voted Conservative did so because they thought it was time for a change, while only 41 percent said they favored Conservative policies."

"Even with their move to the center, the Conservatives did not win anything akin to a majority of the popular vote. In fact, the Conservatives won only 36 percent support. Almost two-thirds of Canadians cast their ballots for more left-wing alternatives.

In democracies with proportional representation voting systems, which better represent the sentiments of the voters, the Conservatives would not be in a position to form a government. Because Canada, like the United States, maintains a single-district, "first-past-the-post" voting system, the Conservatives prevailed over a divided opposition. But Canada has a multi-party political system at the federal level; the United States does not.

If only 36 percent of American voters back conservative Republicans this fall, Democrats will dominate Congress more thoroughly than they have at any time since the Watergate era and perhaps since the New Deal."

"In fact, for the first time in years, the New Democrats won more seats in the western province of British Columbia than the Liberals, and the NDP made significant inroads in urban centers such as Toronto.

Even though they were operating in a political system that tends to drive voters toward the larger parties, the New Democrats dramatically improved their position by running as an explicitly anti-war, anti-corporate free trade and anti-corruption party. NDP leader Jack Layton explained after the election, in which his party achieved its best showing in decades: "While Canadians asked Stephen Harper to form a minority government, they also asked the NDP to balance that government.""

"The bottom line is this: Canadians have chosen to remove a scandal-plagued government that went by the name of "Liberal." But they only did so because the "Conservatives" promised not to be too conservative."