March 19, 2007

 

Let's get our facts straight there, enviro-hippies...

Please watch this documentary from Britain's Channel 4 and pass it along.


 

Another event for active citizens...

I would like to invite you to our 3rd Annual Canada Strong & Free - Ottawa Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, to be held at the spectacular National Gallery of Canada. At this event, Mike Harris and Preston Manning will present their vision for International Leadership by a Canada Strong & Free.

Free trade and free markets have created prosperity wherever they have been allowed to flourish while foreign aid often feeds repressive governments. Yet Canadians seem more interested in the "values" that aid represents and distrustful of following our "interests" which involve economic growth that would benefit all.

International Leadership - the fifth volume in the Canada Strong & Free series - reaches beyond the false dichotomy between values and interests, showing that merely preaching values accomplishes nothing. These ideas are intertwined and must be matched by practical action, not just words. This milestone project is about finding a productive role in the world for Canada.

Please join Preston Manning and Mike Harris as they showcase inspiring yet pragmatic strategies around the idea that our international efforts should be devoted to reducing trade barriers and helping nations that are committed to free markets, not free handouts. Topping the agenda should be improving our security and trade ties with the United States - not only our biggest trading partner but the ally through which Canada's influence on the world stage could be enhanced and not eroded.

Tickets are available for $195 each or you can purchase a table of 10 seats for $1,950. Tickets are tax receiptable according to CRA guidelines. As space is limited and this event sold out quickly last year, please reserve your place with John Maus at 416-363-6575 ext. 232 as soon as possible.

We would like to thank our dinner sponsor the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada and our reception sponsors Francopol and The Dominion of Canada. Thank you so much for your interest in this important issue - we look forward to seeing you in May.

Sincerely,
Dr. Mark Mullins
Executive Director

 

Cuba's "elections"

The reporter who wrote this is either the dumbest sack of crap, or they honestly believe in the Castro-communist cause and trying to pass this off as a normal story. There is hardly a hint of an indication of just how farcicle and bullshit-ish it is to describe what Castro will go through as an "election."

Unless they filed it from within Cuba, where the state still regularly blocks free speech and regulates the Internet, there is no excuse for this crap. Even more interesting though, it's not even actually a CBC story. Look under the headline, it's from The Associated Press - CBC is just reprinting it.

From: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/03/16/castro-election-070316.html

Castro will be in 'perfect shape' for 2008 re-election
Last Updated: Friday, March 16, 2007 5:33 AM ET
The Associated Press

Fidel Castro will be in "perfect shape" to run for re-election to parliament next spring, the first step toward securing yet another term as Cuba's president, National Assembly head Ricardo Alarcon said Thursday.

"I would nominate him," said Alarcon, the highest-ranking member of parliament. "I'm sure he will be in perfect shape to continue handling his responsibilities."

Mobbed by foreign reporters following a parliamentary session to discuss Cuba's upcoming elections, Alarcon said Castro "is doing fine and continuing to focus on recovery and rehabilitation."

A lengthy process of nominating candidates for municipal elections will begin this summer, leading to several rounds of voting. Then, by March 2008, Cuba should be ready to hold parliamentary elections that are expected to include Castro, Alarcon said.

The 80-year-old Castro was the world's longest-ruling head of state, occupying the island's presidency for 47 years before temporarily stepping aside in favour of his younger brother, Raul, following emergency intestinal surgery in July.

Alarcon said he has been in contact with Castro many times in recent weeks, but stopped short of saying he has seen him in person. He said that even though Castro ceded power to his 75-year-old brother, he never "abandoned his role."

"Fidel has been and is very involved, very connected, very active in all manner of important decisions that this country makes," Alarcon said. "What's happening is, he can't do it the same way he did before because he has to dedicate a good part of his time to recuperating physically."

Switching later to deliberate but fluent English, Alarcon told journalists: "To what extent he will go back to doing things the way he did, the way he is accustomed to, it's up to him."


He wouldn't say whether Raul Castro will remain acting president if his brother becomes well enough to return to work full-time.

Things in Cuba have remained calm and functioned normally under Raul Castro. Though Fidel has not appeared in public, he has sounded lucid and up on current events in a pair of recent telephone conversations with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

After earlier post-surgery photos had shown him looking sick and weak, images on state television in late January revealed a stronger and healthier-seeming Castro.

Although Castro temporarily ceded his functions to his brother, he still holds the title of president of the Council of State, Cuba's supreme governing body.

© The Canadian Press, 2007

 

All interested students take note...

Canada-US Youth Forum in Ottawa from May 12 - May 19, 2007

Dear Colleagues,

Could you please inform students interested in Canadian-American relations with the following information on the Canada-US Youth Forum which takes place in Ottawa from May 12 - May 19, 2007. This program was created for Canadian and American university students to provide them with an opportunity to explore this unique and dynamic relationship.

The Youth Forum is a week-long intensive university course which is offered through the University of Ottawa in partnership with the Foundation for the study of government processes in Canada. This 3 credit course is offered primarily on Parliament Hill and combines interesting reading and lectures with exciting opportunities to meet and learn from leaders, diplomats, and foreign policy experts in the fields of trade, immigration, culture, defence and diplomacy.

I am including an exerpt from a Western Oregon student who recently gave me a copy of a report she submitted to her university upon completion of the Forum. (She sent me a copy in case I wanted to use it for publicity)

"We spent most of our days at Parliament Hill (basically the equivalent of the U.S. Capitol Hill) listening to experts on each of our four areas of research, were given a short amount of time at the end of each leacture to ask questions and during breaks we were able to discuss the quality of the speakers and the information given which we were expected to utilize in our final policy papers. It was just so incredible to be asking experts on the front lines of all of these issues the burning questions that we couldn't find answers to in the library or on the internet. We spoke with immigration lawyers and consultants, top corporate executives, foreign service officers and former parliamentarians. We were able to not only go backstage in Parliament Hill, the Senate, and the House of Commons, but we were also given a private audience at the U.S. Embassy, a private bus tour of the city and a formal dinner at the National Archives... I am confident that I made some unexpected, lifelong friendships out of it, and through that, I took away much more than just three college credits. I can only hope that more students are able to take advantage of this incredible, truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

For additional information, please either direct interested students to the summit's website at www.igloo.org/canadausyouthforum or to contact myself, Gina Comeau - instructor for POLS 2905, directly at gcome020@uottawa.ca.

Sincerely,

Gina Comeau
School of Political Studies
University of Ottawa
75 Laurier Ave., Box 450, Stn. A
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5
Tel. 506-458-7019
gcome020@uottawa.ca

March 18, 2007

 

Socialists and Sharia - Quite a lovely couple?

From: The Wall Street Journal

Islamosocialism
By: Bret Stephens
March 13, 2007; Page A22

"It is a profound truth," declared the British Socialist Party in a 1911 manifesto, "that Socialism is the natural enemy of religion." Not the least of the oddities in the subsequent history of progressive politics is that today it has become the principal vehicle in the West for Islamist goals and policies.

Caroline Lucas, a member of the Green Party faction in the European Parliament, is a longtime activist in anti-nuclear, animal-rights and environmentalist causes, and not someone likely to describe herself as an anti-feminist. Yet in June 2004, she joined British MPs Fiona Mactaggart of Labor and Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats for a press conference in the House of Commons organized by the Assembly for the Protection of Hijab. The Assembly, better known as Pro-Hijab, is a pan-European organization formed "to campaign nationally and internationally for the protection of every Muslim woman's right to wear the Hijab in accordance with her beliefs and for the protection of every woman's right to dress as modestly and as comfortably as she pleases."

Once upon a time, feminists and socialists alike would have translated that as "subservience to the patriarchy." Now they seem to have rediscovered their roots as civil libertarians, at least when it's politically expedient. Consider the issue of the Armenian genocide. In 1998, the French-speaking wing of Belgium's Socialist Party (PS) co-sponsored legislation to criminalize denial of the Ottoman Empire's murder of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians, much as Holocaust denial is also against the law.

Yet for the past several years, the same PS has been blocking the process of criminalization it helped initiate, presumably in the service of free speech. "Additional legal and historical research," says Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx, remains to be done in ascertaining exactly what happened in Anatolia in 1915.

Progressives have also been remarkably mindful of civil liberties in matters of immigration. When the German state of Baden-Wüttemberg last year required applicants for citizenship to answer a series of questions regarding their personal views, the leader of the German Green Party, Renate Künast, denounced it as "immoral." "A country governed by law," she argued, "cannot ask questions about moral values." Among the questions: "Where do you stand on the statement that a wife should obey her husband and that he can hit her if she fails to do so?"

Curiously, however, Europe's progressives have been somewhat less tolerant on other issues concerning moral values and personal belief. Take "Islamophobia," which progressives often consider akin to racism and have, in some instances, sought to ban by legal means. In Britain last year, Tony Blair's government enacted the Racial and Religious Hatred Act, which criminalized "threatening" comments against religious persons or beliefs. Comedian Rowan Atkinson and author Salman Rushdie, among others, warned that the law undermined basic rights of speech. But for London Mayor Ken Livingstone it was not enough: He defined "Islamophobia" as "discrimination, intolerance or hostility towards Islam and Muslims," and regretted that criminal acts were not more broadly defined by the legislation.

Since coming to office nearly seven years ago, Mr. Livingstone has become a symbol of the marriage of the European left and the Islamist right. It's a marriage of mutual convenience and, at least on one side, actual belief. In the Netherlands, a recent study by the University of Amsterdam's Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies found that 80% of immigrants - the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims - voted for the Labor party in recent elections, while the two main center-right parties received a combined 4% of the immigrant vote. In neighboring Belgium, the left-wing sociologist Jan Hertogen credits immigrants for "[saving] democracy" by voting as a bloc against the secessionist and anti-immigrant Vlaams Belang party.

For Muslim voters in Europe, the attractions of the Socialists are several. Socialists have traditionally taken a more accommodating approach to immigrants and asylum-seekers than their conservative rivals. They have championed the welfare state and the benefits it offers poor newcomers. They have promoted a multiculturalist ethos, which in practice has meant respecting Muslim traditions even when they conflict with Western values. In foreign policy, Socialists have often been anti-American and, by extension, hostile to Israel. That hostility has only increased as Muslim candidates have joined the Socialists' electoral slates and as the Muslim vote has become ever more crucial to the Socialists' electoral margin.

More mysterious, however, at least as a matter of ideology, has been the dalliance of the progressive left with the (Islamic) political right. Self-styled progressives, after all, have spent the past four decades championing the very freedoms that Islam most opposes: sexual and reproductive freedoms, gay rights, freedom from religion, pornography and various forms of artistic transgression, pacifism and so on. For those who hold this form of politics dear, any long-term alliance with Islamic politics ultimately becomes an ideological, if not a political, suicide pact. One cannot, after all, champion the cause of universal liberation in alliance with a movement that at its core stands for submission.

This is not, of course, the first time such a thing has happened in the history of the progressive movement, or in European history. On the contrary, it is the recurring theme. In the early 20th century, the apostles of Fabianism - George Bernard Shaw among them - looked to the Soviet Union for inspiration; in the 1960s the model was Mao; in the late 1970s, the great French philosopher Michel Foucault went to Iran to write a paean to Khomeini's revolution. In nearly every case, the progressives were, by later admission, deceived, but not before they had performed their service as "useful idiots" to a totalitarian cause.

But the stakes today are different. At question for Europeans is not the prevailing view of a distant country. The question is the shaping of their own. Europe's liberal democrats were able, sometimes with outside help, to preserve their values in the face of an outside threat. Whether they can resist the temptations of Islamosocialism remains to be seen.

Mr. Stephens was raised in Mexico City and educated at the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics. He lives with his family in New York City. He invites comments to bstephens@wsj.com.

Copyright 2007 - The Wall Street Journal


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