Monday, June 29, 2009

What you find out when you go behind the newspaper's back

Andrew Nikiforuk being interviewed on Norwegian television.

One of the benefits of having time on one’s hand is that one can follow-up on what seem to be inflammatory statements that appear in the media. The original source often does not back up the assertions being made.

Such a case in point was an op-ed column appearing in today’s edition of The Toronto Star. The writer is an award-winning journalist, Andrew Nikiforuk. In a piece entitled, A Public Tarring in Saudi Canada, he is moaning about an appearance on June 11 of this year that he and a family physician, Dr. John O’Connor, made before a parliamentary committee dealing with the environment and sustainable development.

The committee is looking into the matter of the troubled oil sands development in Alberta and it heard from a number of witnesses before inviting these two to make presentations concerning the native residents of Fort Chipewayan, downstream from the oil sands projects.

Both witnesses were given 10 minutes each of uninterrupted time to make their presentations before the floor was open for questions from members of the committee. Each member was given 5 minutes to ask questions, with a slightly shorter period for follow-up questions after the first go-around.

According to Nikiforuk, he and O’Connor were sandbagged by the 4 Conservative members on the committee. The Liberal, NDP and Bloc members were civil, but “unevenly” informed about the oil sands and the environment, says Nikiforuk.

Earlier this month, Dr. John O'Connor, a dedicated family physician, and I got badly tarred by another one of Ottawa's disturbing political gangs.
The ambush happened June 11 before the House standing committee on environment and sustainable development, which is studying oil sands and water. We testified not as experts but as concerned citizens. We didn't ask to appear; the committee invited us.

As such, we naively assumed that we were doing our duty as Canadians to speak to the House about the impact of world's largest energy project on water: 130 square kilometres of waste water, acid rain, fish deformities, rare cancers and city-scale withdrawals of freshwater.

But both O'Connor and I made a terrible mistake.

Note the allegations and the choice of language. O’Connor is “a dedicated family physician”. Did you ever meet a family physician that wasn’t? Does this give him some cachet that an ordinary family doctor doesn’t have? They were “ambushed” by a “political gang.” They were not there as experts but as “concerned citizens”. They were invited and did not seek the audience.


They have both presented themselves as people with some knowledge and information to shed on the environmental and health concerns related to the oil sands industry, which is exactly why they got invited to make presentations. Neither could make the pretense of ordinary citizens (that would be me and I wasn’t invited), nor, given the fact that Nikiforuk has been writing about this stuff for 20 years and has authored a book on the subject can he (a) claim to be naïve, or (b) disclaim some expertise.

Here is how he self-describes his knowledge in the Star piece:

As a business and environmental reporter, I've written extensively about the oil and gas industry for two decades. My book on the tar sands, winner of the City of Calgary's W.O. Mitchell Award, argues that the project has slowly transformed the nation into a dysfunctional petro-state that governs mostly for hydrocarbons.

He and O’Connor went to Norway as part of a Greenpeace delegation whose purpose was to convince the Norwegians not to invest in the oils sands developments. How many “ordinary citizens” do that?

Here is his description of how he and O’Connor were treated by the Conservatives on the committee:

… the four Conservative MPs on the committee, Peter Braid, Mark Warawa, Blaine Calkins and Jeff Watson, spent most of their time attacking our credibility. They didn't want to talk about water.

Like members of some strange Communist gang, they assumed that Dr. O'Connor was a natural born liar. They insinuated that he had no credibility because he wasn't an industry cancer professional or a highly degreed expert. What, after all, would a family physician know about rare bile-duct cancers, even though his father died of one? They suggested that a 30 per cent higher-than-expected rate for cancers in the community must be a lifestyle issue. In other words, the people living downstream of the tar sands had simply chosen to make themselves cancerous.

Then they questioned O'Connor's patriotism. In May, both O'Connor and I accepted an invitation by Greenpeace to speak in Norway. O'Connor courageously told Norwegians, public investors in the tar sands via their state-owned company Statoilhydro, that unfettered tar-sands development was creating a real public health problem in Fort Chipewayan. The Tories ever so slyly accused O'Connor of taking part in unCanadian activities.

Then came my turn. As a veteran reporter, I didn't expect kid glove treatment but thought the Tories might want to know more about acid rain or the unsustainability of groundwater withdrawals. But they expressed no interest in the conservation of trees and water. They simply belittled me for writing an opinion piece about how oil hinders democracy. They couldn't even hear the irony in their own frat-boy mockery

“Frat-boy mockery”, “members of some strange Communist gang”?

Here is what frat boy Mark Warawa asked Dr. O’Connor when his turn came to ask questions. I will truncate it to cut to the chase.

Mark Warwa: Dr. O’Conner, you stated that there were 6 cases of cholangiocarcinoma (a rare and difficult to detect form of cancer), but isn’t it the case that there were only 2 actually identified in a subsequent study?

Dr. O’Connor: Well, yes, but there might have been 3, except the third potential victim can’t be found.

Mark Warwa: What was the purpose of your trip to Norway with Greenpeace?

Dr. O’Connor: I basically told my story. One of the things that's been a hallmark of this process in northern Alberta is that there's been no action or reaction from government unless media were involved. Actually, in 2006, the mother of Brian Jean, the Conservative MP, alerted CBC of her concerns for the health of the people at Fort Chip, and CBC were told to approach me.

Mark Warwa: In the documentary film Downstream, it appears that the blame for any health issues is pointed at the oil sands. And you've gone with Greenpeace to advocate for the removal of investment in the oil sands. Is all the focus on the oil sands? Are they the total cause of any illnesses in Fort Chipewayan?

Dr. O’Connor: I don't know. I'm only saying that the documentation from science and the illnesses that these toxins can cause may purely coincidentally correspond with what I documented in Fort Chipewayan. It's very difficult not to make the connection, but I'm not saying there is an absolute connection and that this must stop.

Does any of that sound impolite or irrelevant? In the course of a few incisive questions, Mr. Warwa got the good doctor to admit that his initial claim of the unusual form of cancer was grossly inflated. He got him to acknowledge that his purpose in his Norway trip was to spread the news of the inflated cancer rates and to get media attention. He admitted that he could not say that all the health problems in the Chipewayan community were a result of the oil sands.

This is a perfectly proper exercise in questioning a witness and one we would expect our parliamentarians to perform. You don’t just accept the version that walks in the door without testing it against other known information.

Let’s go on to another member of Mr. Nikiforuk’s rogue’s gallery of communist questioners.

Peter Braid (addressing Dr. O’Connor at the outset): I certainly appreciate the importance you place on advocacy. I think that's central to any physician's role.

Wow! That certainly hits below the belt. It is a wonder O’Connor ever recovered from the piece of inordinate impertinence.

Peter Braid: In an earlier question, I think Mr. Calkins referred to the unfortunate higher incidence of diabetes among the aboriginal population. I'm not a scientist or a physician, but as I understand it, one of the reasons for that unfortunate higher incidence is the role of genetics. Have you considered what role, if any, genetics may play with respect to the issues you're speaking about in Fort Chip?

Dr. O’Connor: It could play a part. That is why I left it out there as a question.

Does that sound like somebody making a case for the aboriginals being responsible for their own cancer? It is basic medical science to screen out all relevant possibilities to determine both the illnesses and their causes. These are perfectly acceptable questions.

Blaine Calkins, the other member of the gang of four, got Dr. O’Connor to admit that he did not know very much about the incidence of other health factors amongst the Chipewayans, such as smoking, that might cause more serious diseases. He also got the doctor to admit that he didn’t know very much about bacteria and viruses that effect the strange appearance of the kind of fish eaten by the natives. Again, these are perfectly relevant questions for determining health issues and environmental factors that might explain the observations.

Peter Braid (speaking to Mr. Nikiforuk at the outset): Mr. Nikiforuk, your perspective on the oil sands is critical. I'm just trying to understand what your suggestions or your recommendations are with respect to the ongoing development of the oil sands, how it might be sustainable, and quite frankly, because you seem to be advocating this, how we replace our carbon-based energy system in the world.

Ohmygosh! He is not the slightest bit interested in what Nikiforuk has to say. How did he even get on this committee?

In fact, the only member of the committee to really go after Nikiforuk was Jeff Watson who wanted the journalist to clarify a hyperbolic column he had written comparing Canadian agencies to the old Soviet politburo. That culminated in a bit of an uproar on the committee, but aside from the aggressiveness of Watson, the questions were not inappropriate as they were aimed at the credibility of the witness. If you going to engage in polemics then you have to expect some blowback. Polemicists should not expect softball questions in such a forum.

And considering his depiction of the four Conservative members of the committee as communists, it is clear communism is a strain that runs through Mr. Nikiforuk's thinking.

One of the things that came out of Nikiforuk's testimony that did not get challenged, surprisingly, is that he sucks and blows at the same time. On the one hand he describes the environmental degradation at each stage of the oil sand refining process, including the bitumen stage, as if this is something we need to stop doing, then he goes on to complain that we just sell the bitumen to the U.S. where the value-added refining takes place and that this costs us jobs and we should be doing the refining here.

You can go to this website to read the transcript in full.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I have been around long enough to have lived through the deaths of a number of world famous people: King George VI, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King, Jr., Sir Winston Churchill, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Princess Diana, to name a few over the decades.

The latest is now Michael Jackson.

Three of these bore the title King: George, Elvis and Jackson. One of them was a King: Martin Luther.

Some died of natural causes: George, Churchill, and possibly Jackson (apparent heart failure).

Four of them were murdered by assassins: the two Kennedy’s, King, and Lennon.

Monroe and Presley overdosed on drugs.

Diana was killed in a traffic accident.

Those who died too young: George, the Kennedy’s, King, Presley, Lennon, Diana, and now Jackson.

In each of these cases, people like me who did not personally know any of them is somehow expected to feel something, if one takes the outpouring of sentiment one sees in the media as a guide to life.

The only one on my list that truly gave me a sinking feeling was JFK. I was 17 when he was shot. I had lived through the Cuban missile crisis that he had stick-handled adeptly and it seemed to me at the time that the world had just become a more dangerous place without him in it. There was a spillover effect when his brother and King were also murdered, but it was as a tail to JFK’s head.

Time and historical revelation have revealed that he was a more flawed individual than a teenage lad knew. Although, nothing about his shortcomings takes away his two triumphs: the Russian showdown and the space program.

I didn’t feel very much about George and Churchill. They were for my parents to ponder. For me, they were just historical figures.

The others who died by bullets or drugs had little impact on me, except there is always a bit of twinge one gets that life is fleeting when their young age is factored into the equation.

Jackson is the only one in the group who had a rise and fall just before his death. He had it all and it was blown away by some bad judgments on his part. It is always sad to see a person fall in this fashion, but the decline has been some time in the making and is not news.

We are being exhorted by the commentators in the media to forget the freak show that became Jackson’s life in the last 15 years. We should remember his contributions to music and the entertainment industry.

I listen to music radio, particularly stations that play hits from the past. Mercifully, very seldom is Michael Jackson played on air. My own selection of Jackson’s output is limited to Billie Jean. The rest I could cheerfully discard. His voice was crap. There is nothing attractive about a grown male sounding like a 13 year-old girl.

If you want to listen to a cringe-producing song, play that duet he did with Paul McCartney, The Girl Is Mine. Michael Jackson is the one on the right in the picture below.

“I told you Paul, I am a lover not a fighter”, says Jackson, sounding exactly like a eunuch.

His main claim to fame came from his stage performances and music videos which were very dependant on his excellent dancing routines for impact.

Although I can get past the incessant face surgery and the pigmentation issues, the image of him dangling his infant child off a hotel balcony with a towel covering its face is hard to erase.

That is why I thought irreverent comedienne Sarah Silverman’s twitter comment best reflected my feelings:

Did you hear Michael Jackson's kids are free? That's not nice. I'm sorry. Ugh, I feel bad for saying that. LOOK A BLUE CAR!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why do our courts of justice enforce pure politics?

There is an interesting story in today’s National Post about the efforts of Jennifer Lynch, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, to “re-normalize” (to paraphrase a conceit of Ezra Levant) the mandate of the CHRC, and by extension that of all the other HRCs in Canada, in the matter of the pursuit of hate speech. Lynch has been all over the media in the last week or so after the tabling of a report to the Parliament of Canada, delivering very much the same message.

This is what she had to say:

“Canadians are uninformed and deliberately misinformed about the hate speech provisions of human rights law, and are engaged in a debate that is "completely unbalanced."

To people like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant this utterance would be open season for snorting down their noses. They think they have the upper hand and have this woman on the run. I think they are misreading the situation and are in danger of being outflanked by a wily fox. I think she is getting some pretty good PR advice that, no doubt, we are paying for.

When Ezra Levant published his book, Shakedown, I had an occasion to speak about it at an annual meeting in Toronto of a volunteer association made up of some very knowledgeable, well-educated and socially active people, about 40 in number. These are the kind of people one would normally expect to be up on news and current affairs and they represented a broad section of the community in ethnicity, gender and age.

I was making a proposal regarding Levant’s book and was met by blank stares, followed by a moment of silence. Then a U of T professor of science, with Phds up the ying-yang, put up her hand and asked, “Who is Ezra Levant?” There were only two people in that room who knew the Levant story and I was one of them.

So, when Lynch says that Canadians are uninformed, don’t be dismissive. I think she is right about that. And the other woman who would agree is Christine Elliott, a Whitby lawyer, a member of the Ontario provincial legislature, and current contender for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.

She has poo-poohed a couple of her rivals who want to dismantle the Ontario Human Rights Commission, claiming that this would be a no-win policy platform, much like the ill-fated campaign of former leader, John Tory, to fund faith-based schooling. It would only be a no-win if the electorate are not up to speed on the whole hate speech debacle. She senses they are not.

One thing that might be informing this opinion is accusations that increasingly appear by leftie supporters of HRCs, like lawyer, Mary Cornish, who frames the discussion this way: “The conservatives are against human rights.” That mud could stick in an election campaign.

Of course, the second part of Lynch’s comment contradicts the first assertion. If Canadians are uninformed, then how can they be engaged in a debate? But, leaving aside the logic, it is the accusations she continues to make that her enemies are engaged in a misinformation campaign that is most troublesome.

How does she handle this misinformation problem? She sends the issue to Parliament, where she says,

"We welcome this debate. We want it to be an informed debate in the right forum, a place where people can have an informed dialogue. [That place is] Parliament, and parliamentary committees. This why we did a special report to Parliament [last week]. That's the appropriate forum."

Many people would agree with that. So, it isn’t necessary for her to appear opposite Ezra Levant on a split screen to debate point by point every little unsettling matter concerning the CHRC, because the real debate, as far CHRC is concerned, will be held by parliamentarians.

Levant can splutter and fulminate all he likes, but she has finessed the public debate and need only appear in the media to spread her propaganda.

Clearly, she has staked out the victim territory and intends to defend it. We all know that being able to portray yourself as a bigger victim than the next guy plays well in Canada. So far Steyn and Levant have come as far as they have by pointing to their victimhood and telling Canadians “this too could be you.”

Now Lynch is saying that the whole defense of human rights will be sacrificed by these media bully types; in code, “conservatives want to get rid of human rights”. The valiant human rights defenders are the real victims, and she is biggest victim of all.

“We have experienced 16 months of invective hurled at us, and at any time when anybody has tried to speak up and correct misinformation, gross distortions, characterizations, then the very next day there's been some full-frontal assault through the blogs, through mainstream media. I have a file. I'm sure I have 1,200, certainly several hundred of these things," she said.
"There is an agenda out there, and I’m a public servant responsible for giving effect to the principle that 'individuals should have the right equal to others to make for themselves a life they are able and wish to have,' and I'm going to do it. I'm not going to sit by. Others are afraid to speak out because they know they're going to be attacked. If you Google my name today you'll see how I've been attacked."
She could win this with this strategy.

My suggestion to Levant and Steyn is to cool the sophomoric name-calling you regularly employ. No more “Commissar Lynch” or “Queen of the censors.” This only plays to her position that you folks are unreasonable and “unbalanced”, and that she is the real victim.

And stop attacking her about her spending habits and making her out to be a ninny. She has both inertia and an uninformed parliament on her side, and even if they are informed, there are enough of the bleeding-heart liberals to tip the balance to keep CHRC exactly as it is, or, worse make it bigger and more powerful. It happened in the bastion of conservatism, Alberta, and it could happen in Ottawa.

You keep up the personal attacks and you may be, as they say, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Keep you arguments focused on the evil; i.e. the suppression of free expression.

The thing she said that really did make me laugh out loud, however, was this gem:

"The Criminal Code plays a very valid role. However, when we look at the statistics, we find that there aren't a lot of specialized [police] hate teams across the country. To cede, to remove our jurisdiction, would leave a gap that might persist for years or a lifetime because it would require numerous jurisdictions to step into a gap, and they may or may not be willing to resource that, etcetera, etcetera. So [the hate speech provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act] is an important section. It does serve a purpose."

So the reason why you don’t see many prosecutions under the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code is because the police forces don’t have hate speech specialists?

I don’t suppose the requirements of the criminal justice system that the prosecutor prove “beyond reasonable doubt” the elements of the crime, the presumption of innocence of the accused, the onus on the prosecutor to prove the case, including the intention of the accused, proof of harm rather than “likely to cause offense” standard, the defenses available to the accused of truth and the honest belief in the truth of the statements made, have anything to do with the paucity of hate crime prosecutions.

Of course, like the MO of the HRCs, if you reverse all of that and make the accused responsible for proving their innocence, eliminating intention as an element of the offense, and removing truth and the honest belief in truth as defenses, you very likely will get a larger number of prosecutions

But you won’t get justice. And that is the precious commodity in a liberal democracy you don’t get from the HRCs.

A few weeks ago on the TV Ontario current affairs program, The Agenda, a panel of lawyers, all of whom, in one way or another feed at the trough of the human rights industry, vigorously defended the role of the Ontario HRC.

Hmmm. I wonder why?

Some of them made the point that the HRC should be viewed as a specialist agency like the Ontario Labour Relations Board or the Ontario Workmens’ Insurance Board, where the staff is specialists. Specialists in what? Well, in discrimination, for one thing, and in Jennifer Lynch’s world it would be in hate speech.

Consider the following assertions:

• Homosexuality is a "perversion"
• Homosexuals "spread disorder on earth"
• Homosexuals and lesbians should be "exterminated in this life"
• "Homosexuals caught performing sodomy are beheaded"
• Most Infidels “live like animals”
• "they are evil people, they love perversity", and "they are our enemies"
• "sending our sons and daughters to the schools of the Infidels has devastating effects on their beliefs, their behavior and their character. For the children of Infidels are the most pervert children. At a very early age, they adopt the behavior of their parents "
• "Moreover, attending schools with Infidels may lead to friendship in their heart for Infidel children, which contradicts the foundations of Islam. Because Islam prohibits befriending even the closest relatives if they are Infidels"
• "there is no doubt that it is not permissible for a Muslim to love or to take as friend whoever follows a religion other than Islam"
• "Infidels say they are open-minded, but in reality they have opened their mind to garbage and filth, and closed it to all that is pure and right !"
Men are superior to women
• "men are superior to women and better than them". In general, "men have a more complete intellect and memory than women"
• "Infidels acknowledge this reality, but they do not want to accept the truth because they are blinded by their passions"
Muslim women are superior to Infidel women
• "The veiled Muslim woman is a light in the darkness of the 20th century, she carries the torch of modesty, of chastity and of Islamic values"
• "She brings the liberating message of "LA ILAHA ILLALLAH" to the poor western woman who has lost her femininity, her dignity and her honor and who is now crying for her savior"
• The consequences of immodesty are "rape, venereal diseases, AIDS, herpes, single-parent families, crime, poverty, ignorance and many others"
• "Infidels will never admit that these social problems are the result of their refusal to submit to Allah, because they are consumed with pride"
• "... male Infidels wanted to liberate women only for economic reasons (cheap labor) and to sexually exploit them"
• “male Infidels will not be happy with us until our women are in their beds, in their magazines and in their dancing clubs !”
• "If a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim man ... their marriage is invalid, in fact it is adultery"
Ethnic groups are not equal• "Can we doubt the superiority of Islamic principles over the corrupt principles of Eastern and Western cultures ? Culture is based on the beliefs of a nation. The superior culture is the one closest to the revelation of Allah !"
• "This is the reason why ethnic groups are not equal"
Muslims are superior to Infidels
• "... a Muslim must never put his brother in Islam at the same level as an Infidel. In fact, to place Infidels at equality with Muslims is one of the greatest form of ignorance and injustice"
• "The rule is that the most disobedient among Muslims is better than the most virtuous, the most polite, the most honest and the most loyal among the Infidels"
• "The Muslim nation is actually the most balanced and the most righteous"
• "It is because of this religion of lies, which goes against human nature, that the West is now full of perversity, corruption and adultery"
• Jews "spread corruption and chaos on earth"
• Most Jews "seek only material goods and money, apart from that, they have nothing"
• Jews "unjustly occupy" Palestine for the sole purpose of "filling this land with corruption and transgress the laws of Allah in the name of secularism"
• "owning slaves is not prohibited"
• "Allah has allowed men to marry two, three or four women, but one who fears he will not be fair can marry only one or have slaves."
Democracy is contrary to Islam. Jihad is a duty of sedition• "Democracy is a system in total contradiction with Islam"
• "... freedom is unknown in Islam, it contradicts Islam, therefore it is a false concept"
• "[freedom] serves to justify corruption" and "stooping to the lowest levels of bestiality"
• "Freedom of conscience is actually freedom to leave Islam !"
• “Anyone who leaves Islam, cut his neck”
• "no matter how it is understood and applied ... secularism is a pure negation of Islam"
• "If Muslims are strong and they have the ability to fight the Infidel ruler, to overthrow him from power and replace him with a Muslim ruler, it is mandatory for them to do so. This is part of Jihad in the path of Allah"
• "injustice will never disappear from the face of the earth before Islam and Sharia are properly applied throughout the world"
• "Islam commands us to destroy all idols", i.e. "democracy, human rights, secularism, freedom, equality, and modernity"
• in an Islamic state, Christians and Jews can keep their religion but they must pay a sum of money, the Jizyah. "The purpose of the Jizyah is to humiliate and punish Infidels to encourage them to accept Islam." The other Infidels (Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, etc.) have no options but to accept Islam or “be killed"

If I published a book in Canada with those kinds of statements would you not think they would be viewed as expressions “likely” to cause some people to be held in contempt or to stir feelings of hatred towards them? Do you not think the Canadian Human Rights Commission, with its specialists in hate speech, would be all over this?

Well, you would be wrong on all counts. Such a book was published by a Saudi-trained Montreal imam, and a formal complaint was lodged with the CHRC, and was summarily rejected as being without merit. See this website for fuller details.

Just how much expertise in hate speech does one need to be employed on the public dime?

The problem this Montreal decision highlights is that what HRCs adjudicate is politics, not justice. HRC orders are filed in real courts and are enforceable under our justice system.

So the big policy question: why do we permit the justice system to enforce politics?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.


Jihad Watch reports that for the first time in the United States somebody has been arrested for handing out Christian literature to Muslims.

There is a festival starting today in Dearborn, Michigan. It is the 14th annual Arabic International Festival. It claims to draw 300,000 participants from all over the United States and Canada.

Here is its website.

Notice the list of sponsors to the left of the festival description. How cool is it to have the FBI and the CIA sponsor your festival? That’s like having a delegation of Mounties greeting a planeload of Polish tourists.

Why Dearborn?

Apparently, 30% of the population of that city is Arabic. And, of course, the majority of those people are Muslim by religious affiliation. But, you know, the U.S. is multicultural and free. It is the world’s melting pot of immigrants and foreign creeds. There is no problem with a predominately Muslim-attended festival being held in a country that so vigorously practices Christianity.

You would think.

But apparently not.

A California-based evangelical church, the Arab Christian Perspective, which specializes in proselytizing Muslims of Arabic ethnicity has been denied the right to wander around and hand out Christian literature. It has been doing this for five years at the Dearborn festival, but this year, in the alleged interest of “crowd control”, the authorities decided that this group should be confined to a booth at the outer edges of the festival. It is the only attendee that has been restricted in this fashion.

Under Islamic law, Christians may practice their religion provided they do not do so in your face, so to speak. They must keep a low profile and must not offend Muslims. They must not distribute Christian literature to Muslims. This is the rule in countries where Islam reigns supreme. It is known as dhimmitude – second class citizenship, if you will.

Is this what President Obama meant when he said in Cairo the United States was turning a new page and respecting Islam? He is one smart cookie, knowing how local politicians will be prepared to sacrifice the U.S. Constitution to curry votes.

Goodbye tolerance. Goodbye religious freedom. Goodbye free expression. Goodbye equal rights under the law. Hello dhimmitude and a big, hearty welcome to the United States. I think you are really going like it here. After all, President Barack Hussein Obama has declared it to be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.

By the way, did Obama mention any of this Islamic stuff when he was running for the Democratic nomination and then the Presidency?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Geert Wilders: "Europe is at the crossroads once again. We either choose the road to darkness or the road to freedom."

Our good friend, Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian with the 1950's hairstyle and the retinue of bodyguards, has been in the news again lately. The recent elections to the European Union saw a sharp turn away from the multi-cult, politically correct, socialists to the more European-centred, nationalist parties.

Wilders and his party did exceptionally well and he was recently celebrating it in a speech in Denmark. Go to this site for the full text.

Here are some highlights that caught my attention:

Why is it good news that the socialists lost by such a margin?

Let me answer this myself. It’s good news because socialists are the most inveterate cultural relativists in Europe. They regard the Islamic culture of backwardness and violence as equal to our Western culture of freedom, democracy and human rights. In fact, it is the socialists who are responsible for mass immigration, Islamization and general decay of our cities and societies. It is the socialists who are responsible for the fact that cities such as Rotterdam, Marseille and Malmö seem to be situated in Eurabia rather than in Europe.

And they are even proud of it.

Our Western elite, whether they are politicians, journalists or judges, have lost their way completely. All sense of reality has vanished. All common sense has been thrown to the wind. They take all efforts to deny the things that take place in front of our eyes, and deny everything that is so obviously seen by everyone else.
They won’t stand firm on any issue.

Their cultural relativism affects absolutely everything up to the point where they no longer see the difference between good and evil, or between nonsense and logical common sense. Everything is pushed into a grey area, a foggy marsh without beginning or end. The only moral standard they still seem to apply is the question whether or not it is approved by Muslims. Everything Muslims disapprove, they disapprove too.

On the matter of the cost to the treasury of mass migration, Wilders threw out these figures:

According to the Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, mass immigration has to date cost the Dutch taxpayer more than one hundred billion Euros. According to the Danish national bank, every Danish Muslim immigrant costs the Danish state more than 300,000 Euros. A Swedish economist has calculated that mass immigration costs the Swedish taxpayer twenty-seven billion dollars annually. In Norway a warning has been issued to the effect that the proceeds from North Sea oil will have to be spent entirely on mass immigration, while in France official figures have been published suggesting that mass immigration is reducing growth in the French economy by two-thirds. In other words, mass immigration, demographic developments and Islamization are certainly partly causes of Europe’s steadily increasing impoverishment and decay.

Of course Wilders doesn’t believe it is possible for the Muslim population of Europe to truly integrate with Europeans and he pointed out that this is not a new discovery by citing this 1959 statement of Charles de Gaulle:

“Those who recommend integration must be considered pea-brained even if they are scholars and scientists. Just try mixing oil and vinegar. Then shake the bottle. After a moment the two substances will separate again. Do you really believe French society could absorb ten million Muslims, who would be twenty million tomorrow and forty million the day after? In fact, my own village would no longer be Colombey-les-deux-Églises but would rather come to be known as Colombey-les-deux-mosques.”

I also have come to the same conclusion as his depiction of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict having less to do with a squabble over some crappy desert lands, but a war rooted in religion and race.

Islam forces Israel to fight. The so called ‘Middle East conflict’ is not at all a conflict about land. It is not about some inches of land in Gaza, Judea or Samaria. It is a conflict about ideologies, it is a battle between freedom and Islam, a battle between good and evil, to Islam the whole of Israel is occupied territory. To Islam Tel Aviv and Haifa are settlements too.

Israel is the only democracy in the entire Middle-East. Israel is an oasis of enlightment, whereas the rest of the Middle-East is covered by the black veil of the night.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Only in Canada you say!

Jennifer Lynch, head of the CHRC and renowned international gadabout.

This is nothing short of incredible. But, this is also Canada.

What a country!

Here is the background.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), which has been under fire and public scrutiny for the last 18 months, has issued a report to the Canadian Parliamentary Judicial Committee recommending that, among other things,, not only should it continue in the business of prosecuting hate speech, but that the defense of honest belief in the truth of the statements being prosecuted should be removed from the Criminal Code of Canada.

In case you are not up to speed. Hate speech is a criminal offense in Canada under its uniform criminal code (applies to all of Canada). It is aimed at very serious speech; e.g., something that would advocate violence against an identifiable group, say Jews or Muslims or gays.

But, like any criminal offense under the code it has all the protections that have been incorporated in our criminal justice system since the 13th century. Aside from issues such as burden of proof (the prosecutor’s), beyond reasonable doubt (the prosecutor’s), and the presumption of innocence which attach to criminal prosecutions, it also has statutory defenses; like, it is a defense that the accused honestly believed the truth of the statements made, or that the statements were, in fact, factually true.

None of these applies to prosecutions under CHRC, which is why we have had numerous prosecutions under that mandate, and very few pursuant to the criminal code. Therefore, the thrust of the CHRC is that the criminal justice system should bring itself more in line with the Human Rights tribunal’s protocol rather than the reverse.

This is nothing short of astonishing, given the history of this debate.

When the CHRC came under attack for its attempts to muzzle free speech in the media, it commissioned what it thought would be a self-serving report from Professor Richard Moon, of the University of Windsor, a known human rights advocate. It paid $50,000 of your money for that report.

Money well spent if you are a taxpayer, but not if you are a recipient of an income from the public trough, like the folks who work in the CHRC. Moon recommended that CHRC should get out of the hate speech prosecution arena and leave it in the hands of the police.

Sorry, message not received. Answer, commission the report we really want and didn’t get from Moon. How much? About $100,000 of your money.

Now here is the funny part.

Yes, there actually is something funny.

The head of the CHRC, Jennifer Lynch, (pictured above), who globe trots on your dollar quite a lot to bring herself up to speed on human rights was invited by the national television network, CTV, to discuss her recommendations on a public affairs program. This was good, because she recommended a public debate of the issue of free speech versus hate speech and she agreed to appear.

Then she discovered that the television network had also invited Ezra Levant, who has been the subject of prosecution by human rights bodies and who has written a best-selling book critical of the human rights industry (in Canada, that is an appropriate term). She would have nothing to do with the program if Levant was allowed to debate her – the queen of censorship proclaiming censorship of Levant. She sent a nice young flunky in her place, but he was instructed not to debate Levant (presumably on pain of job loss – oh, how censorship weaves itself into all sorts of nooks and crannies), and was only to spin the public relations line of what a wonderful contribution the CHRC makes to Canadian democracy.

Think I am making this up? Paste the following link in your browser and watch the video for yourself. It’s about 14 minutes in length and starts with a short commercial, so be patient, because what follows is priceless.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who's the naked opportunist?

Let me see if I have this straight.

This guy in the picture above, who is Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and possibly a near future Prime Minister of Canada, thinks that this woman in the picture below (photographed in the middle of an apology), who is Lisa Raitt, the current Minister of Natural Resources in the Conservative government, and possibly a more distant Prime Minister of Canada, should apologize for remarks she made in private to her ministerial aide that were published in a Halifax newspaper, beause these remarks indicated that she viewed a major public problem in her portfolio which she could resolve as also an opportunity to shine in public and advance her career.

Michael Ignatieff is an egghead who left Canada 34 years ago and never looked back or even expressed a whimisical thought about his native land, until the Liberal Party bigwigs knocked on his door and told him he had a good shot to become Prime Minister of Canada. If Lisa Raitt owes an apology to Canadians because politicians cross some invisible moral boundary when they reflect on their own career opportunites, then I think Michael Ignatieff owes Canadians his immediate resignation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A regulator gets it right

I could not normally think of anything more mind-numbing than reading through the proceedings of the Canadian Radio Television Commission (CRTC). This is the arms-length federal agency that sets the rules and controls the licensing of radio stations and television networks. The convergence of radio and television programming over the Internet has now raised the matter of whether this agency should exercise the same measures of control over Internet content as it does over radio and television content. It is studying the matter.

Let us hope it does not decide to take on the Internet.

One of the CRTC commissioners, a lawyer named Tim Denton, wrote a thought-provoking piece about the broadcasting control set up. If you want to read the whole thing, which is worth the read, go to this site and scroll way down near the bottom of the page where his name appears. What I have copied below is an extract of the part where he discusses the issue in terms of its impact on free speech.

The issue as I conceive it is the freedom to speak across the Internet through full-motion video, music, or recorded speech, without the threat of government licensing. It is a more fundamental concern than what happens to the protections and economic models of Canadian broadcasters and the other interests vested within broadcasting policy. It is the right to speak freely – albeit through modern technology – which is challenged every time the Commission looks at its new media exemption orders.

The boundary between what is "broadcasting" and what is not is defined by the predominance of written text.13 If written text predominates, it is not likely to be considered "broadcasting". If it is predominantly full-motion video, or sound, it will be considered "broadcasting" unless the Courts clarify otherwise or Parliament changes the Act. Increasingly, as bandwidth available to Canadians increases, communication among individuals will be conducted in full-motion video, and thus be subject to state licensing of the speakers. Some may welcome this development. I and a great many others do not.

The history of the regulation of speech in this country does not engender confidence that such powers will be used wisely. Canada has experienced several instances in recent times where regulatory commissions of another type and armed with a different mission have challenged the right to say controversial things. The struggles of Ezra Levant,14 Mark Steyn15and others have served as important warnings that regulatory authorities charged with combating racism, hatred, and other evils have consistently expanded their mandates, have abused their powers and eroded fundamental liberties. Wherever there is official orthodoxy, disagreement is heresy, and where there is heresy, there is usually an inquisition to root it out. After centuries ridding ourselves of thought control agencies, 20th century Canada re-invented them.

The Commission’s authority over licensees is enormous and consistently supported by the Courts. Its authority has been exercised in a much more visible and transparent way than by human rights commissions, in a manner consistent with the rules of fundamental justice. Its decisions have been confirmed or corrected by the Courts and the federal Cabinet. The Commission has no plans for the regulation of Internet speech, it needs to be said. However, part of its licensing and regulatory authority deals with the boundaries of expression, and to this subject we turn.

The regulation of speech by this Commission takes place both by it acting directly and by instituting a regulatory regime where speech controls are exercised indirectly. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) is a case in point. The CBSC describes itself as follows:

The CBSC is a creature of the private broadcasters and plays an intermediate role in the regulatory process. With the support of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and the approval of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), but without the heavy club or formalities of government sanctions, the Council promotes self-regulation in programming matters by Canada’s private sector broadcasters.

The CBSC would not exist, in my opinion, unless the broadcasting industry was regulated. Self-regulation of this type is only necessary when it staves off more onerous regulation. Recently an Ottawa talk show host was reprimanded by the CBSC for discussing Islam in what the CBSC considered to be contemptuous terms. The CBSC conducts detailed and careful examinations of complaints against broadcasters.

In some other cases, speech controls are exercised directly by the revocation or non-renewal of broadcasting licences. Such a non-renewal occurred in the case of a Québec radio station whose talk show host was conspicuously offensive. In the case of a particular religious channel, the Commission directly governs the composition of the Board of Directors of the licensee by condition of licence.

Overt regulation is only the outer edge of the problem. So extensive are the Commission’s powers over broadcasters that it is easy to conceive regulation of speech by a wink and a nudge, by back channels, and by the very terms of the exemption order itself. It is entirely conceivable that such an exemption order could incorporate by reference the standards (or lack of them) agreeable to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, or any other speech-controlling body.

In other words your right to communicate across the Internet could be revoked by administrative fiat for failure to comply with a speech code devised by parties other than the CRTC, if the Commission so established. Nor is it difficult to imagine a state of affairs where "broadcasters" across the Internet could be subject to some of the existing regulations, for instance, those concerned with linguistic, religious or political balance that apply to those who use "scarce" public airwaves. Imagine Pat Condell,20 the acerbic British atheist, having to "balance" his views about religion and religions if he were subject to Canadian broadcasting regulation, for example.

Much more important values are engaged by free speech than by preservation of an industrial policy for broadcasting, which is the aim of the Act. History shows that schemes of regulation – and censorship – have a tendency to expand, notwithstanding the decision the Commission has wisely made here.

Both the political left and the right, indeed, everyone with blogging software, have found themselves able to express viewpoints via the Internet which for one reason or another are kept out of the mainstream media. In turn, the Internet has had decisive effects in shifting power from institutions to individuals, and in allowing people to self-organize.

However, if the Canadian portion of the Internet could be placed under the Act, and speech involving video, or sound, became a licensed activity, we would have reversed several centuries of constitutional evolution and gone back to the days prior to 1688 21 of licensed printing presses or, in our case, licensed video telephone transmissions as well as licensed computer users. Several important political revolutions have been fought to ensure freedom of the press and speech; it would be repugnant to nibble away at it in defence of anything as comparatively unimportant as Canadian broadcasting policy. Yet such a possibility does not lack for advocates.

With no change of the statutory language since the Act was passed in 1991, its reach has exploded. Since the latest version of the Act was devised, in the years 1986-87, and 2009, when this hearing took place, 22 years have passed. In that time there have been more than 14 doublings of the power of computers and equivalent reductions in cost, or roughly more than 16,000 increases. The price performance of computer memory has increased at the same pace. What this means is that the video on a mobile telephone held by any citizen may be uploaded through the Internet and reach millions of people, without passing through any "broadcaster" – as the term is commonly understood.

Yet we are confidently presented with the view that the Act says this is a licensable activity – one subject to prior permission of the state. Clearly there is a contradiction between an Act designed for a certain era, when communicating through technical systems was extremely expensive and rare, and the one we are in now. The Commission has to take this reality into account, yet the Act would have us ignore it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Does he make it up as he goes along?

British columnist, Melanie Phillips, has an interesting take on Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo which was intended to heal rifts with Muslims.

There were many things he said that disturbed her, but these ones caught my attention.

Obama said,

For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia.

I wasn’t around in 1861 but my history book tells me that the United States started to fight a civil war that to this day is the bloodiest war America ever fought. By the time it ended in 1865, 632,000 Americans had lost their lives. The war was fought over the issue of black slavery, and it was mostly white men who died for this cause.

I was around in the mid-1960s when several U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and Detroit were convulsed with race riots which burned down large sections of the inner cities. It was that as much as anything done by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. that brought full civil rights to the blacks in America.

I was also around in the md-1950s when the U.S. federal government had to send troops to enforce the right of black students to attend white schools at the point of bayonets.

As Obama frequently likes to say that he wasn’t around then, I guess we will have to forgive him for his appalling ignorance of his own country’s history.

Here is another Obama special,

The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.

The Koran teaches no such thing. Judaism teaches that. The Koran authorizes the killing of Jews and unbelievers.