October 03, 2006


Moment of Zen: Way to go Christopher!

It is really important to listen to the points that Hitchens makes, they are extremely valid and relevant when discussing the general retardedness of the left. There may come a day when the left is a bigger threat to our freedom than terrorism.


Maybe there is still some hope left for that pathetic joke of a Continent after all...

From: The Wall Street Journal

'Liberal' Europe?

September 30, 2006; Page A8

LYON, France -- To get a measure of where things stand in the battle of ideas in Europe today, one can do worse than check out the "summer university" put on by the Continent's center-right parties here last weekend. I found myself on a panel to discuss globalization and offered that conservatives might do well -- at the voting booth and otherwise -- to push free trade, liberalize markets, rein in farm subsidies and keep Europe's door open to Turkey. Nothing controversial for this crowd, I assumed, with the possible exception of the last.

The reality check arrived from a German Christian Democrat. "For us, a human being is not only a function of production," he lectured from the floor. "Our voters are not signing up to . . . your neoliberal, neoconservative agenda." (Jeesh, I hadn't even mentioned Iraq.) A senior European executive sitting nearby passed a note, "Please tell him one can be Christian and Democratic and liberal."

Maybe so. Yet the German politician served up a good reminder that conservatism doesn't necessarily mean the same thing on this side of the Atlantic. In Europe's biggest country, as well as in France, right-wing rulers remain wedded to the nanny state -- which emerged with Bismarck -- and to close alliances with guilds and big business that tend to stifle competition. In her day, Margaret Thatcher never felt welcome on the Continent.

A lot has changed since the Iron Lady resided at 10 Downing Street. In spite of some recent victories for the dirigistes, the momentum is with free-market ideas, thanks in part to formerly communist Central Europe, whose zest for capitalism proved infectious back West.

Imagine an arc that starts with Spain, where former conservative Prime Minister José María Aznar planted strong reform roots, which the ruling Socialists haven't strayed from. Continue to Britain and Labour's Tony Blair, who embraced Thatcherism. Then come the Nordic countries that, despite their reputation as welfare utopias, implemented innovative policies to revive stagnant economies. Swedes can use vouchers for schools and other public services; the country dropped the death tax and partially privatized pensions. (Take note, GOP strategists.) Next week a new center-right government comes into office in Stockholm with a pledge to cut taxes, privatize companies and hospitals, and end political control over universities.

Alas, the story line shifts dramatically in the heart of Europe -- France and Germany. On the American spectrum, the nominally conservative politicians who lead both countries would be found somewhere left of the Democrats. German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year failed to win a clear mandate, forcing her into a "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats. With this unwieldy government in place, economic reform has gone nowhere. And even so, her Christian Democratic electoral platform was a hodge-podge, calling for a flat tax as well as a large hike in the VAT. (No prize for guessing which was implemented.) The center-right has been burned in two consecutive elections; many members blame their association with unpopular free-market policies.

The ruling Gaullists in France are even more unabashedly statist than the German right. With his recent success in saving Europe's farm subsidies, keeping Chinese T-shirts out of stores and Polish plumbers and other workers from crossing borders, blocking pan-European takeovers -- the list goes on -- President Jacques Chirac is arguably the greatest champion of what Americans might call leftist policies in Europe. His prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, this year made "economic patriotism" the fig leaf du jour for protectionism of all kinds.

Yet the campaign for next year's presidential elections is livening up the French debate. The leading candidate on the right, Nicolas Sarkozy, wants a break with the Gaullists. Mr. Sarkozy mocks the idea of a French "social model," saying it's neither social (what with chronic unemployment) nor a model (who wants to copy it?). Where Mr. Chirac represents the status quo, Mr. Sarkozy says France must move with the times, citing Britain and America as examples. "Sarkozy has decided to create a quasi-cultural revolution in this country by shooting down the myths, the phony 'consensus' that we have had," says Pierre Lellouche, a French MP and Sarkozy adviser. "For the first time the right is becoming right again." On the left, Ségolène Royal also challenges Socialist shibboleths by praising Blairism and saying globalization isn't all bad.

By next spring France is sure to see a generational change. But don't set hopes too high for one of ideas as well, says Alain Madelin, the country's most prominent laissez-faire politician. The Socialist old guard detests Ms. Royal. Mr. Sarkozy may be "pro-business" or "for lower taxes," but Mr. Madelin asks: "Does Sarkozy understand the mechanism of the market? No. His instinct is to intervene." And free-market ideas don't sell well on election day, says Mr. Madelin, who should know. He won 3.91% in the 2002 presidential vote.

Traditional labels, smudged elsewhere these days, are even less helpful to understanding politics in Europe. Best to set aside the old straight left-right line. Mr. Madelin suggests a return to the triangle used in the 19th century with conservatives, socialists and liberals (or free-marketers) at each point. The liberals are gaining in strength but have found, and need, supporters in both camps.

It can be confusing and surprising; the great intangible seems to be the quality of leadership, of which Europe hasn't had a surfeit in recent years. So Italy's Romano Prodi, leading a center-left coalition since spring, in the early days has proved far more audacious in prying open his country to competition than his predecessor, the "pro-free market" media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, was in five years in power. The imminent departure of the conservative Mr. Chirac -- no matter who wins -- looks likely to boost liberal economic ideas.

Yes, the battle is raging and its outcome far from decided.

Write to Matthew Kaminski at matthew DOT kaminski AT wsj DOT com

Copyright 2006 - The Wall Street Journal


We owe Afghans all that we can offer...

From: The London Telegraph

I'd feel happier if I were Canadian
By Vicki Woods
(Filed: 30/09/2006)

If you wanted to feel the public pulse on how we are governed, you needed only to watch BBC Question Time this week. It was unusually noisy, with a single-minded audience baying at Jack Straw for the Iraq war, and David Dimbleby letting the "debate" run on and on.

It wasn't a debate; it was a savaging by an angry mob, or near-mob. If they'd had rotten tomatoes, they'd have chucked them. Instead, they hurled accusations: you lied about WMD, you finagled the casus belli, you misled the British public, you sucked up to Bush, you poodle, you.

Straw said: did not, did not, did not, with all his lawyerly skill, but convinced nobody.

Brilliantly enjoyable television. Though I always feel a bit uncomfortable when I'm on the same side as a baying mob (the stuckist British sense of fair play being so powerful), I was happy to see Straw face genuine public outrage. It's good for politicians to be thrown in the stocks. The poor beasts don't get out enough.

Straw was unlucky that the panel's token Tory was Kenneth Clarke — not only famously against the Iraq intervention from the start, but also an engaging performer. He struck home like an arrow: "I tend to say that Iraq was the worst British foreign policy mistake since Suez, but, as these dreadful events unfold, I've come to think that Suez wasn't as bad." I thought: blimey, he's right! As did the audience.

Not that it helps the poor bloody infantry who are dodging death daily in Basra (and Helmand – we'll get to Helmand) but I'm glad to be vindicated about my anti-war stance, which is as elderly as Clarke's. I get so many letters from people deeply unhappy about Blair's wars. (Not all: one correspondent crossly addressed me as "the honorary chairwoman of the Wrong-About-Iraq Society".) Daily Telegraph readers are not generally thought of as Make-Love-Not-War appeasers, are they? What they say, over and over, is: "It's not doing Britain any good." And they bitterly resent being called immoral (in so many words) by a Prime Minister in his imitation-of-Christ mode.

Three years ago, the peace-marchers (and Ming Campbell) constantly argued that "half the nation" was against the Iraq war. It never was: a rough third was firmly pro, a third against and a third don't-knows. I can't quite put my finger on the moment when the mood changed: was it after the July 7 bombings? But the "Why are we in Iraq?" question is now answered pretty damningly. We're in Iraq because Tony Blair needed to tell George W. Bush that we would be. Shoulder to shoulder, until the end, for as long as it takes, etc.

The "Why are we in Afghanistan?" question is equally slippery. We went in for reasons that most of us accepted, shocked, blinking and sympathetic as we were in the aftermath of 9/11. George and Tony gave us their tight-lipped bracers about Osama bin Laden being the most dangerous fanatic in history (we agreed); and about civilised nations needing to smack down the Taliban bad hats (we agreed).

It became slipperier when Laura Bush and Cherie Blair appeared on British television to back their spouses. They appealed for the liberation of Afghan women from the tyranny of burqas and begged that they should be allowed to wear nail-polish, please, please. We even agreed with that. Well, some of us. Some of us threw up at the armpit-prickling performance.

I can forgive Mrs Blair for nearly everything she has done during her soi-disant First Ladyship. Her venalities count small in the great scheme of things. But I can't forgive her mugging to camera with her fingers over her eyes in imitation of a burqa. British politicians should not send soldiers to fight and die for nail-polish.

But why are we in Afghanistan now? Tony neglects to say (being otherwise engaged on his Middle East peace legacy) and our lumpen Defence Secretary, Des Browne, sounds a teeny bit muddled. His latest Afghan pronouncement was at the Labour conference: "British forces are risking their lives across the world to end poverty, lawlessness and injustice." In Afghanistan? I didn't know that. Did you know that?

"The job they are doing," he bored on, "creating security which allows people to rebuild their communities, which gives them a chance to end the poverty which stunts their lives – these are our party's fundamental values." There you go, Cherie. Not about nail-polish. All about Labour values.

I never thought I'd ever rather have been born Canadian, but I'm lately beginning to wonder. The new Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, is just back from Kandahar, where 2,500 Canadian troops have been since 2002 with plenty of first-class kit and more than enough ammunition.

Why is Canada in Afghanistan? Well, not for the same reasons as Tony gives. Harper told the troops: "Your work is about more than just defending Canada's national interests. Your work is also about demonstrating an international leadership role for our country." Fancy a prime minister running a war in the national interest, eh? The troops clapped and cheered him – and, quite spontaneously, apparently. CBC News quoted a handy major saying: "Morale was at an all-time high after the speech." Yesterday, I read that the military is pressing the Government hard to get all British troops out of Basra (where they sit like rats in a trap). They want more troops deployed to Afghanistan, and I can see why.

They're right in their demands. We should get out of Iraq. I hope to heaven the Army brass gets what it wants, and damn your legacy, Tony. It's our legacy, too.


Great news for Alberta ... SUCK IT Avi Lewis!

From: The Globe and Mail

Statoil hunts for big oil sands deal
Norwegian energy giant says Alberta key to growth; shrugs off cost worries.

CALGARY — Norway's Statoil ASA is on the hunt for an oil sands project, saying it is aiming to strike a deal worth more than a billion dollars to claim a stake in Alberta's bitumen deposits.

The state-owned company — shrugging off concerns about inflationary pressures in the sector — said its strategy centres on building an integrated project, complete with an upgrader. Executing that strategy would eventually cost upward of $10 billion, but Statoil is looking to acquire both a project and at least one partner.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, the head of Statoil's non-conventional oil unit said he is eager to strike a deal. "We see no reason for hanging around on the street corner," said Peder Sortland, a senior vice-president at Statoil.

Statoil, which is among the top 10 publicly traded oil producers in the world, quietly opened an office in Calgary this spring. Mr. Sortland has made a half-dozen sorties to Canada this year, including his latest trip that winds up today.

The push for a deal in Canada is part of a broader Statoil strategy to boost its production from outside of Norway, and is in line with the global industry's drive to acquire stakes in non-conventional resources. There have been a flurry of oil sands deals in the past 18 months, largely involving large-scale mining efforts, and analysts have suggested the window has closed for deals to acquire that sort of project. That notion does not perturb Statoil, Mr. Sortland said.

He characterizes mining projects as the "first generation" of the oil sands; he is focusing his efforts on in situ projects — the second generation, in his view — that melt bitumen and pump it to the surface rather than excavating millions of tonnes of earth.

Steven Paget, a research analyst at FirstEnergy Capital Corp., agreed with that assessment, saying nine-tenths of Alberta's bitumen deposits have yet to be developed.

"I think there's still more to do," Mr. Paget said.

Statoil is aiming to acquire a stake — a "balanced partnership," Mr. Sortland said — in a project that has not yet entered the regulatory approval phase. Broadly speaking, the price tag for buying into an oil sands project rises as it clears successive hurdles and moves toward production. But the Statoil executive said acquiring a stake in a project at that stage would also allow his company to play a role in determining basic design, including the extraction technologies to be used. He is not ruling out a multiple partnership, but it is clear that Statoil prefers a two-way split. "A partnership of two tends to be balanced," Mr. Sortland said.

Statoil has extensive experience with Venezuela's heavy oil deposits, which pose many of the same production challenges as Alberta's oil sands — particularly in situ projects. At the turn of the decade, Venezuela's Orinoco belt was seen as Alberta's rival for investment capital in non-conventional projects.

But the election of Hugo Chavez in that country, and a subsequent strike and abortive coup, have resulted in increasing pressure against Western oil companies operating in the region, including Statoil.

The Venezuela government is reopening operating agreements to give its state-owned firm, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, a majority stake in upstream operations. The Chavez government has also raised royalty rates, and mused about bringing criminal charges against former officials who crafted the 1990s-era policies that fostered private sector investment.

Last week, Statoil and other Western firms were shut out of the latest preliminary contract round for the Orinoco area. Instead, the government awarded the contracts for estimating reserves to a collection of state oil companies. Mr. Sortland said those contracts do not necessarily mean the same parties will be awarded rights in subsequent rounds.

He said it is not the case that Statoil is fleeing Venezuela for Alberta, but that his company is simply prepared to broaden its portfolio. "We're ready for Canada now."


Here's something for active citizens to check out...

From: David Carment - dcarment@connect.carleton.ca

Monday, October 30, 2006
7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Crowne Plaza Hotel – Ballroom A/B
101 Lyon Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Foreign Policy Under a Conservative Government: An Interim Report Card

CDFAI's 2006 Annual Conference will evaluate the Harper government's record on foreign policy, defence, and development.

The Conference will include thought-provoking panel discussions and an interactive debate. The results of a national public opinion poll will be released at the conference on these themes.

Speakers ~

David Bercuson, Louise Beaudoin, Jean-Jacques Blais, Jean-Christophe Boucher, Paul Cellucci, Adam Chapnick, Andrew Cohen, Peter Harder, Paul Heinbecker, Bruce Jones, Nelson Michaud, Kim Nossal, Stéphane Roussel, Gordon Smith, Denis Stairs.

Themes ~
To register, visit the conference website: www.peopleware.net/1540

Keynote Speaker ~ Hon. John Manley
Keynote Speaker ~ Hon. Peter MacKay

David Carment
Professor of International Affairs


Being a true conservative involves more than just nomenclature...

From: The Wall Street Journal

Why Some Republicans Want to Lose
Disillusioned Conservatives Believe Party Has Gone Adrift, See Value in Democratic Congress
September 27, 2006; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- As the White House and its Republican allies on Capitol Hill work to retain control of Congress in November's elections, a small but vocal band of conservative iconoclasts say they would prefer to see their own party lose.

The array of former members of Congress and officials from Republican administrations dating to the 1970s are using opinion articles, speeches and interviews to make the surprising -- and, to many of their friends and colleagues, near-heretical -- argument that it would be better for the country if their party lost. Some say they plan to vote Democratic for the first time in their lives. The Republican rebels say the modern Republican Party has so abandoned its conservative beliefs that it deserves to be defeated by the Democrats.

Three factors are driving the conservative backlash against the Republican-led Congress. Fiscal hawks are furious about the growth of the federal government. Conservative lawyers such as Bruce Fein, who worked in the Nixon Justice Department and Reagan Federal Communications Commission, are upset that Congress allowed President Bush to claim expansive powers to eavesdrop on American citizens and detain suspected militants without trial. Others say the war in Iraq is a costly diversion from the war on terror.

Other Republicans couch their desire for Republican losses in political terms, arguing that Democratic control of Congress for at least two years would increase the chances of Republicans retaining the presidency in 2008, by giving Republican candidates high-profile Democratic targets.

"Every Republican I know thinks Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the best things they have going for them," wrote Bruce Bartlett, a Treasury Department official during the presidency of Mr. Bush's father, referring to the top-ranking Democrats in the House and Senate. "Giving these inept leaders higher profiles would be a gift to conservatives everywhere," he added in an essay, part of a series by conservatives published recently in Washington Monthly magazine, under the heading: "Time for us to go."

"Republicans need a wake-up call," Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who now hosts an MSNBC talk show, says in an interview. "We ran in 1994 against runaway spending, exploding deficits and corruption. But with Republicans in charge of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, what do we have? The same runaway spending, record deficits and culture of corruption." He uses his show as a forum for those views and has published two essays on the theme.

Most Republicans, of course, don't think it is time for the party to go anywhere and are irked at those who suggest otherwise. Mr. Scarborough says that after his essay was published in Washington Monthly, his invitation to serve as master of ceremonies at a congressional fund-raiser with President Bush was revoked under White House pressure. A White House spokeswoman says the administration decided "that there were better options for an emcee" at the event.

Even many conservative critics of the current Congress say they plan to hold their noses and work to retain Republican majorities in the House and the Senate, arguing that Democrats can't be trusted to keep the country safe from terrorism or to sustain economic growth.

And White House officials wouldn't welcome the stream of subpoenas and investigations that could come from Democratic-controlled congressional committees.

The Club for Growth, a conservative economic-policy advocacy group, says it will give $20 million this election cycle to Republicans who share its antitax beliefs, regardless of the candidates' chances of winning a general election. The group backed conservative challenger Steve Laffey's unsuccessful primary campaign against moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, despite the Republican establishment's belief that Mr. Laffey was unelectable.

Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth, says the group would be happy to see Republican moderates lose -- Club for Growth declines to support Mr. Chafee in what is expected to be a tight race against his Democratic challenger -- but stops short of campaigning against Mr. Chafee and other Republicans in the general election,

"Being Republican has to stand for more than having an 'R' after your name, and if that puts some seats in jeopardy, so be it," Mr. Toomey says. "But accept losing the Republican majority altogether? I just can't quite go there yet."

Mr. Scarborough, for his part, says he can "build a strong intellectual argument" for voting Democratic but can't bring himself to actually do so.

For the moment, Democrats appear less fractured than their rivals across the aisle. Many Democrats are so eager for an electoral victory that they are pragmatically backing candidates they once might have shunned.

Some Republicans, by contrast, having tasted congressional power for 12 years now -- and control of the House, the Senate and the White House for nearly six -- are ready to try being the opposition. Mr. Fein, the former Reagan and Nixon appointee, describes himself as a lifelong conservative who has voted for Republican candidates all his life and is disgusted by Democratic support for affirmative action -- which he sees as institutionalized racism -- and economic populism.

But he says that congressional Republicans have forfeited their right to control both chambers by failing to confront Mr. Bush over his expression of executive power, his interpretation of due process and habeas corpus, and his willingness to ignore legislation that he sees as an infringement of his war-fighting powers.

"A Democratic Congress will obviously not be promoting a conservative agenda, but at least they'll have the incentive, which is critical right now, to exercise oversight and restraint on the president," he says. "And that's much, much more than you can say for the Republicans who currently run Congress."

Mr. Fein recently bought a home in Florida and says he is scrambling to register to vote there in November, when he plans to do something he has never done before: cast a ballot for a Democrat. He says Democratic candidate Christine Jennings, who is running to fill the House seat vacated by Republican Senate candidate Katherine Harris, is "just the type of moderate I like."

Write to Yochi J. Dreazen at yochi DOT dreazen AT wsj DOT com


Liberals just can't stop being unethical, eh?

From: The Ottawa Citizen

Hedy Fry bows out, backs Rae

8 candidates left. Accusations dog Volpe, Ignatieff

By: JULIET O'NEILL, CanWest News Service
Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The crowded Liberal leadership race shrank by one contestant yesterday. But it was Vancouver MP Hedy Fry who halted her campaign, not Toronto MP Joe Volpe, who was the subject of speculation that he would drop out over allegations that he improperly signed up new party members in Quebec.

Fry announced she lacks the resources to hang in and is backing former Ontario premier Bob Rae to replace former prime minister Paul Martin at the December convention in Montreal.

Volpe, describing alleged membership improprieties as anomalies that frequently arise in political campaigns, vowed at a news conference: "I'm staying in the race to win the leadership and to form the next government."

Hours later, similar claims were reported about members allegedly improperly signed up by campaign workers for candidate Michael Ignatieff, a Toronto MP. But Sachin Aggarwal, Ignatieff's director of operations, said such challenges are unsurprising on the eve of the party's delegate selection vote this weekend.

Aggarwal said one allegation that Ignatieff's camp had signed up a man who died two years ago was simply a case of a man who bought a five-year Liberal membership in 2004 and was not struck from membership lists after he died.

Volpe noted the Liberal Party is expected to report this week the findings of an internal party review of allegations of improper party membership recruitment by his campaign. In a news release he said he looked forward to a speedy resolution of the review.

Steve MacKinnon, national director of the Liberal Party, said the party is investigating a complaint by officials in the Quebec riding of Papineau about the validity of about 100 memberships related to the Volpe campaign. He said none of them involved dead people as far as he is aware.

Among the allegations are that members of the Volpe campaign paid for party memberships. Individuals are supposed to pay for their own memberships.

The findings are likely to be made known this week. Penalties for membership improprieties range from a private reprimand to a public reprimand, a fine or disqualification from the race.

But even if a campaign worker was involved in an impropriety, the candidate may not be held responsible.

MacKinnon said he had received an email from George Kunz, an Ontario Liberal, containing lists of Ignatieff memberships, but it was not determined whether this was an official challenge of their validity and whether a review is warranted. Aggarwal had seen media reports about the complaint but had not received a copy of Kunz's list.

The Toronto Star reported last weekend that more than 70 families contacted from membership lists from the Quebec wing of the party reported problems, most often that they hadn't paid a membership fee. There were two cases where deceased persons received membership cards.

The Star also cited nine cases where interviewees named Volpe's campaign as having paid for memberships.

Citing the Star report, Volpe noted that nine of 34,000 memberships is only a handful of individuals.

In these kinds of contests, and I've been through a number of them, there are always these kinds of allegations but happily we have rules and regulations and procedures to address them," Volpe said.

He added that "it defies logic" that any campaign would be interested in signing up members who are not going to show up to a meeting to elect delegates to support a candidate.

Members are to vote this weekend for delegates to the leadership convention.

Besides Rae, Volpe and Ignatieff, other contenders for the leadership of the party include Gerard Kennedy, former education minister for Ontario; Stephane Dion, former environment minister; Martha Hall Findlay, a Toronto area lawyer; Scott Brison, former public works minister; and Ken Dryden, former social development minister and Canadiens goalie.

Three candidates who dropped out - Fry, Carolyn Bennett and Maurizio Bevilacqua - have thrown their support behind Rae.


Why isn't this getting more attention?

From: [Name Withheld]
Reply-To: cyf-talk@yahoogroups.com
Sent: September 25, 2006 2:09:33 PM
Subject: Re: (cyf-talk) Artsy question on equality & a little tangent re parents (sorry)

--- In cyf-talk@yahoogroups.com, "[name withheld]" wrote:

>Expecting everyone to turn out as successful as everyone else is
>expecting Canada to live out a fantasy. Sure it's a nice idea, but so
>is every child in the country having two happily married, loving,
>committed and responsible parents.

Two? why stop there??? Depending on the outcome of a case being heard today/tomorrow in the Ontario court of Appeal, we may be looking at teams of parents...

Of course, the original applications judge on this matter did spell out a problem with that." If a child can have three parents, why not four or six or a dozen? ... What about all the adults in a commune or a religious organization or a sect? ... "

Sorry, I couldn't resist. As much as I hated the entire waste of time on the same sex marriage issue, I think some small tipping of the hat should go out to those who warned of this sort of transformation of the public definitions involved...

Irwin Cotler and many others laughed at those individuals ... but whether you love or hate the idea of poly-parenting, polygamy, and other principles that are the fallout here, it turns out some of the skeptics like Ted Morton were right in their predictions.

It's hardly news to the main SSM lobby, who never really cared. It's hardly news to those who warned against taking the route of the courts ... BUT -- it MIGHT be startling news to the large number of middle-ground Canadians who, while they were understandibly open-minded enough to consider making changes and accepting a redefinition of marriage for same sex monogamous couples, were obviously taken-in by a lobby that knew very well the consequences of taking the Charter route on that issue ... and they were likely not prepared to see a whole raft of other government definitions ripped sideways ...

Watch the news ... I've never seen such an internet drought and conspicuous absence of reporting on Court of Appeal File No. C39998, Superior Court of Justice File No. FD200/03. The case is very significant indeed. There was a CBC Newsworld interview with one of the lawyers that is nowhere to be found online. . . and otherwise nothing except reports from one lobby site or another...

We're one step closer to where I said we'd probably need to go back a few years ago -- towards stripping marriage and even perhaps guardianship down to the brass tacks of private contracting. I think many Canadians are going to be upset about this, including many gay and lesbian folks I know ... but 'dems the breaks when you haul out the court sledgehammer...

While I could never quite bring myself to settle on many SSM issues, I lament the simplicity of Canadians in how they dealt with it on both sides. It has led to this - which many would say is too far ...

This baby's radioactive. At this stage even the most ardent opponents of the changes can only buy popcorn and watch. I only mention it so that you can watch as it happens.

To fellow Tories on either side of the SSM issue - don't gasp too much. We had to see this coming. Best focus on taxes, debt, economics, federalism, and the stuff that's still uniting and changable ...


The UN and its failure to protect humanity...

From: The New York Sun

Devil Wears Striped Pants

September 25, 2006

The last intervention in public affairs Ted Turner made was a month or two back, when he recounted what an agreeable vacation he'd had in Kim Jong-Il's North Korea. (I sent him a postcard saying, "Wish you were still there.") He's now weighed in on the ayatollahs and his line's pretty straightforward: why shouldn't Iran have nukes?

"They're a sovereign state," he said. "We have 28,000. Why can't they have ten? We don't say anything about Israel — they've got 100 of them approximately — or India or Pakistan or Russia. And really, nobody should have them. They aren't usable by any sane person."

Cut to President Ahmadinejad's address to the United Nations. His speech was mostly a lot of run-of-the-mill kook boilerplate — the UN is a stooge of the Great Satan (...if only), America started the Israel-Hezbollah war (...whatever) — but he wound up the usual shtick with a prayer for the return of the Twelfth Imam, the so-called "Hidden Imam" — or, as the Iranian president put it, "the perfect, righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet."

This isn't just some cockamamie pie-in-the-sky deal. Last year, President Ahmadinejad told the Indian Foreign Minister that everything would be hunky-dory in two years' time, which the minister took to mean when Iran's nukes would be ready to fly. But, as the president went out to explain, that's apparently the Twelfth Imam's ETA.

The New York Times and most other media outlets didn't mention President Ahmadinejad's big Twelfth Imam finale. America would appear to be largely uninterested in the arrival in 2007 of "the perfect, righteous human being." If he shows up on schedule, the attitude of most Americans seems to be that they're washing their hair that night. But go back to Ted Turner's observation on nukes: "They aren't usable by any sane person." The annals of human history are filled with millennial cultists of one form or another but ours is the first era in which they have the capability to live up to their sandwich boards. President Ahmageddonouttahere is an apocalyptic with a delivery system: "The end is nigh" is an old slogan. Now the means are nigh.

What to do? Alan Dershowitz is a big liberal but he's a sane liberal and, unlike many of his chums, he acknowledges the threat. So what's his big idea?

He thinks Iran should be expelled from the United Nations.

Yeah, right. There's more chance of the Twelfth Imam eloping with Paris Hilton.

Iran's president was a huge hit at the UN. Short of bringing out some burqa-clad Rockettes and doing a couple of choruses of "This Is The Dawning Of The Age Of A Scary Us," he couldn't have been a bigger smash. I said a year or two back, apropos the UN, that it's a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice cream and blend it with a quart of dog poop the result will taste more like the latter than the former. And last week's performances at the General Assembly were a fine illustration of that. Ahmadinejad and Chavez were the star finalists of UnAmerican Idol, and, just when you need Simon Cowell, the only Brit in sight was the oleaginous Mark Malloch Brown, Kofi's deputy, fawning over every crazy in town. The rest of the bigwigs reacted like Paula Abdul, able to discern good points even in fellows who boast about not having any. That's the reality the Dershowitzes refuse to confront — that structurally the UN enables thugs to punch above their weight.

As further evidence of my fecal ice-cream thesis, the Iranian president followed his boffo speech with a trip to the Council on Foreign Relations where he said the Palestinians were the ones being penalized for an event they had nothing to do with: World War Two and the Holocaust, "if it, in fact, occurred." On the matter of whether it did occur, he said that "more unbiased research should be carried out on the subject." A survivor of Dachau, Morris Greenberg, happened to be in the room and pointed this out. President Ahmouttamatree then queried whether Mr Greenberg was old enough to have been at Dachau.

Hugo Chavez was an even bigger hit, in part because he eschewed the Holocaust denying, doesn't see himself as the warm-up act for the Twelfth Imam, and stuck closer to the American left's talking points — it's all the Bushitler's fault. He denounced Bush as an "imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal" and also "the devil," he held up a copy of some unreadable Noam Chomsky book, gave it a big plug and subsequently regretted that he couldn't meet with the *late* Professor Chomsky. Professor Chomsky isn't late, he's alive and well. Granted, it's easy to get the impression he's been dead for 30 years, since he hasn't had a new idea since the early Seventies. Speaking of which, Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat, agreed that President Chavez was a little overheated but was broadly sympathetic to the general Venezuelan line: "Let me put it this way, I can understand the frustration, ah, and the anger of certain people around the world because of George Bush's policies." Without Bush "frustrating" them, Chavez and Ahmadinejad would be as rhetorically bland as the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

It may be news to the CFR types and the Dems but the UN demonstrated this last week that it is utterly incapable of reform. Indeed, any reforms would be more likely to upgrade and enhance the cliques of thugs and despots than of the few states willing to stand up to them. The most sensible proposal this week came from Chavez, who demanded the UN relocate to Venezuela. You go, girl! Alan Dershowitz would be better off trying to get America expelled from the UN, and encouraging it to join a new group of nations serious about defending freedom in the world: it would be a very small club. This week Jacques Chirac dropped the threat of sanctions against Iran. A few months ago, he briefly mused about nuking the Persians, but he's now folded like … well, not like the Arabs and their tents: they're busily pitching them all over Europe with no plans to fold at all. Anyone who thinks the UN is the body to mediate Iran's nuclearization or anything else is more deluded than Ahmadinejad. At this rate, the Twelfth Imam will be the next Secretary-General.

© 2006 Mark Steyn

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