This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Alternatives ...

Is it even remotely possible that Osama bin Laden is bored with waging violent jihad? He has been assigned such acclaim for his stellar role in enthusing the brotherhood of Islamic jihadists to embrace their role as human missiles one wonders at the potential for a sense of ennui overtaking his passionate soul.

One supposes that if one devotes one's time to an unwavering symbolic gesture it becomes tedious from overuse. So it must be with Osama bin Laden, judging by his latest communique. Who would've guessed it? It must be abundantly clear by now that this man is no news recluse; he obviously keeps abreast of the world's concerns.

And if it is anthropogenic environmental change of a truly disastrous variety, why then he would like a little bit of the action. Move over, Al Gore, you've a competing environmentalist breathing fire and brimstone at your doorstep. Mind, his accommodations likely are more reflective of those of a committed environmentalist, as opposed to your opulent digs.

It's entirely possible that Mr. bin Laden feels rather resentful that one of his world stature received no invitation to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos . His presence most certainly would have added a frisson of excitement. He could have stood up there at the lectern: "All industrial nations mainly the big ones, are responsible for the crisis of global warming."

Which he did anyway, but it was aired on Al Jazeera instead, a more accommodating venue, it would appear. Predictably one supposes, Mr. Bin Laden criticized his former nemesis, G.W. Bush for not (giggle not here) signing the Kyoto Protocol on the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. And he lambasted corporate influence in the U.S.

And oh dear, Osama, what're you trying to do to Obama? - condemning government bail-outs to banks...? "Discussing climate change is not an intellectual luxury but a reality", he hectored. And financial bail-outs by wealthy countries helping big industry cope with the global financial crisis only gave assistance to those who caused the meltdown."

He got that one right. You listening, President Obama? "When those perpetrators fall victims to the evil they had committed, the heads of states rush to rescue them using public money", he thundered. (Lynch them!) "We should stop using the dollar and get rid of it ... I know that there would be huge repercussions for that, but this would be the only way to free humankind from slavery ... to America and its companies."

The world's got this man wrong, obviously. He is studiously concerned with the environment, empathetic with the plight of the poor and the downtrodden, scornful of heartless capitalism; in short echoing the very points of view of U.S. President Barack Obama. Next thing we know, the American electorate, having been disappointed in Mr.Obama's initiatives, will turn elsewhere to discover hope for the future.

Is it possible Mr. Bin Laden can offer hope they can believe in? Osama, you cad, hitting a guy when he's already down!

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Crime and Punishment

Legally sound, morally repugnant, according to the Supreme Court of Canada which ruled in an unanimous, 9-0 decision that the Government of Canada is in full legal compliance in its insistence on having the final word on matters relating to foreign affairs. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson took the opportunity to reiterate the government's stance of non-interference with a friendly government's handling of an enemy combatant accused of serious war crimes.

The Supreme Court justices went out of their way to ensure that government and the country at large understands that this is a legal decision. Which does not impair their apparently collective condemnation of unjustness on the part of government by withholding from Omar Khadr other legal obligations, as they see it, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Despite the five charges levelled against accused terrorist Omar Khadr: murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, material support for terrorism and spying, the learned justices hold that his human rights as a Canadian have been neglected through the government's refusal to request his repatriation to Canada from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Claiming that his charter rights were violated when Canadian government officials undertook to interrogate him at Guantanamo Bay with a view to sharing the results of that interrogation with U.S. officials. Is that not precisely what collaborating, co-operating countries do to assist one another?

Is there any question that this man represents a violent challenge to law and order, security and public safety in North America?

Sleep deprivation is cited as the torture to which Mr. Khadr was exposed, rendering him more malleable under questioning due to extreme fatigue. A maltreatment which, according to the collective wisdom of the justices constitutes a situation which "offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects." Yes, well it would, and it does. Under most circumstances.

This is a man who as an impressionable boy was taught by his Islamist-deranged parents to hate the very democratic institutions within Canada that gave them the freedom to live as they preferred, even while they deplored the odious rot they saw within its society and its government. The Khadrs, Islamist jihadists involved with the most extreme threats to Western stability taught their children hatred and trained them to murder those whom they hated.

The Elder Khadr, father to Omar, had no compunction about sending his teen-age son to terrorist training camps; he saw that as his children's religious obligations toward a warped version of Islam. The Western social consciousness that deplores the very idea of holding adolescents accountable for violent actions moves in sympathy with Omar Khadr.

We do, on the other hand, judge and try and impose penalties on young people who commit violent social atrocities, holding them accountable for their dreadful actions against others, while still nominally protecting them from public display and too-onerous sentences seen as an offence against their youth.

In all such instances the judgement and the sentence should fit the crime. In Mr. Khadr's instance that seems to be the case, up until now, although the final sentence is still unknown. Even "time off for good behaviour" is a possibility. And then, heaven forfend, his presence will become Canada's problem once again.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

On The World Stage

Canada a stooge of the United States? An avidly dedicated follower, highly dependent for its economic, political and social well-being on the good auspices of their neighbour? To the first a hearty guffaw (and a bit of equivocation due to trade realities), to the second a hesitant but needful assent; in some measure; uncertain for the first index, a modest dissent for the following two.

Addressing the World Economic forum at Davos, Switzerland, Prime Minister Harper admonished that during summits in Canada of the G8 and G20 leaders "the discussion should be less about new agreements than accountability for existing ones." Resisting the badly battered U.S. administration's healing nostrums for its financial ills.

And hearking back to an earlier, inadequately addressed and woefully unfulfilled agenda item, Mr.Harper warned that Canada will be focusing the upcoming G8 meeting it will be hosting on maternal and child health in developing countries, stressing the grim reality that 9-million children die before they reach the age of five.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, tasked with co-chairing aid for Haiti with his Republican successor had high words of praise for Canada's Haiti-earthquake relief efforts. "It has been unbelievable. I'll bet you on a per-capita basis, they're No.1 in the world now in helping Haiti." (I'll bet he's right.)

"Probably because of the prime minister's matching grant program but, for whatever reason, the Canadians have all given money and all want to support it. You should be very proud of that. I'm very grateful", he said. "It's super that you've got that out there early so everybody's thinking about it", Bill Gates contratulated Stephen Harper.

Given Mr. Gates's monumental investments through his charitable foundation in world health, with a focus on helping children in Third World countries live into and beyond infancy, this represents recognition from a dedicated sponsor of world good. International acclaim and national disinterest.

(For although Canadians, appreciative of their prime minister's swift decision-making and action on the Haiti file, and they do take pride in the alacrity and generosity of the response, they give no credit to government in terms of popular political support.)

And in the wake of U.S. President Obama's unveiling of new rules for U.S. banks in an obvious partisan-political attempt to redeem himself in the re-election prospects of the vast American public which had voted in a new era only to find itself mired in the old one, international markets reacted negatively. With fears that banks' reactions might halt recession-recovery.

As the sole G-8 nation whose banks hadn't faltered during the massive global recession, and from the perspective of a country whom that recession touched with relatively minimal misfortune without maiming early prospects for recovery Mr. Harper took exception to the quaint notion that the G-20 - which had earlier pledged conformity in reforming the global financial system - would or should follow suit.

"Through the Group of 20, we will be encouraging strengthened financial sector regulation, and improved co-ordination between regulars. But Canada will not go down the path of excessive, arbitrary or punitive regulation of its financial sector", he cautioned. Adding aptly that "the consequences could actually be worse than before the crisis", without a global approach.

So then, might the American administration be prepared to think again about how these now proposals will affect the larger financial, global community? It was, after all, U.S. financial institutions and their ill-advised, worthless monetary papers with insubstantial credit back-up and dubious-to-absent assets that produced those dread repercussions around the world.

It makes no sense that an administration that reacted with giant stimulus programs - to benefit the wealthy, the industrialists, the financiers who then turned around and pampered themselves excessively while managing somehow to post huge surpluses - suddenly discovered the white-hot anger of the unemployed, the homeless and the socially-politically disaffected.

Back to the drawing board to address a real need to achieve a global consensus on financial regulations, but one geared to address a global issue, not a national political stale-mate. Perhaps a closer look at Canada's example, one enthusiastically endorsed and admired a year earlier, when Canada remained afloat while her partners began to sink under huge, destabilizing debt issues.

Canada, trumpeted Mr.Harper, has a "well-regulated, free-market economy with a private financial sector of enormous strength", whose banks rarely signed on to the irregular high-risk mortgage loans that U.S. lenders did, heedlessly sending worthless paper that no one could quite understand, onto the international market.

"We intend to build on that advantage. We intend to see the financial sector in Canada grow." Imagine, luring international finance to Canada's securely conservative system, edging away from the laissez-faire American tradition that failed government oversight.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Empathetic Charity

The heart-wrenching travail that earthquake-struck Haiti faces with 180,000 considered to have died, another 200,000 injured and many more homeless has the world's attention. That attention has been turned to charity in an international attempt to ameliorate a dreadful situation where millions of people are hungry, thirsty, ill and in need of shelter.

From all over the world: Netherlands, United States, Canada, Israel, Cuba, Taiwan, Spain and countless other countries, medical teams, search and rescue teams, military, and humanitarian NGOs have converged on the country to help the desperate survivors. And as much aid as is being provided, it has not yet been sufficient to meet the needs of those survivors.

Thousands of children have been said to have been orphaned. Young children without their parents, without hope for the future, wandering about, unaided. Families tenting under absurdly inadequate shelters. People still in danger of dying from wounds that have not been tended to. Food rations given out, but to the hale who can retrieve them, shoving away the weak.

Seven thousand criminals have been loosed from the national penitentiary; they have joined ordinary thugs in looting and stoking fear of assault and rape. Children are being abducted and attempts made to sell them to high bidders from abroad. Bodies are still not all collected and are causing a health hazard as they decompose.

And in this mix there is the instance of a number of volunteers from Quebec, who went on their own initiative to Haiti to aid and assist as orthopedic specialists. Spurred by the grace of humanitarian impulse. And now that they have had second thoughts on the matter; they have made overtures to the Province of Quebec to pay their $800-per-day stipends.

There are of course, other medical professionals from Quebec engaged by the Red Cross and other NGOs, paid by their organizations for their humanitarian work in Haiti. Theirs are true stipends, paid by public subscription through charitable donations to advance the work of NGOs like Medecins sans Frontieres, in amounts bearing no resemblance to that which the Association d'orthopedie du Quebec believes they should receive.

Perhaps they don't quite understand the definition of "volunteer". Nor, come to think of it, charity.
Main Entry: 1vol·un·teer
Pronunciation: \ˌvä-lən-ˈtir\
Function: noun
Etymology: obsolete French voluntaire (now volontaire), from voluntaire,voluntarius adjective, voluntary, from Old French, from Latin
Date: circa 1600
1 : a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as a : one who enters into military service voluntarily b (1) : one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest (2) : one who receives a conveyance or transfer of property without giving valuable consideration

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

In Defence Of Good Governance

Before the election of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to head Canada through a Conservative-led government, the electorate was warned time and again that things would never be the same again. That Mr. Harper's malign conservative agenda would be unveiled and Canada would become another kind of country altogether, mean and miserable.

Nothing of the kind has happened, needless to say.

Instead, under Prime Minister Harper Canada has flourished, even in the face of a global financial meltdown which impacted this country far less than elsewhere. Not of course because of anything the current government did in response - although they are owed a little bit of credit there, too - but because of Canada's, ahem, conservative type of banking system.

Internally the country has benefited from the intelligent, steady hand of this man who has more than adequately proven he has a gift for governing well - despite himself, some might say. He has made some errors, none all that grave, that he hasn't been able to engineer himself out of. Externally, our relations with other countries has never been better.

Our international responsibilities have been carried out in a far superior manner than under previous governments. And under this current Conservative-led government all manner of social problems within the country of long-standing have been graciously addressed. Much more needs addressing. The pity of it is that despite the outstanding performance, this government has no friends.

Perhaps the Prime Minister's standoffish attitude with the national press earned him the immediate censure he received as a result of shutting out Canada's inquisitive press, trying to do their work in the best possible way. That has been ameliorated, but the rancour toward the Prime Minister has not been lifted, and the press goes out of its way to keep the candle of suspicion and blame well lit.

Canada's loyal opposition goes out of their way to smear the government at every opportunity, accusing it of not rising to the occasion of governing well, although it's clear they could do no better, and have no real, practical answers for issues the government struggles with. The quality of their admonishments, in fact, lead to the conclusion they would falter and fail in governance.

The latest imbroglios, the parliamentary enquiry into the handling of Afghan prisoners and the damning accusations of Foreign Affairs' Richard Colvin, aligned with the proroguing of Parliament has been played to the hilt by the Liberals, the NDP, and sectors of the public, whipped to a happy frenzy by the press.

The self-serving spin of the opposition parties in questioning the honourable role of Canada's military in Afghanistan, along with Foreign Affairs bureaucrats purportedly unresponsive to the cranky claims of Mr. Colvin, and the presumed government cover-ups of potentially embarrassing slip-ups would have had little traction without the enthusiastic support of the press.

Which gleefully reports ad nauseum of the government's attempts at suppression of vital information from the public, of attempted cover-ups of wrong-doing, of scape-goating a righteous public servant, of closing down the parliamentary enquiry by 'undemocratically' choosing to do what previous governments have done; deciding to suspend Parliament - in a barely-concealed hate-fest against the government.

Which has responded rather majestically by spurning false accusations and calmly going about its business as a government, responding to external calls for catastrophic assistance, and internal requirements for a government to conduct briefings, produce a budget, and welcome the world to its doorstep through the Olympics-venue-invitation.

And just incidentally indicating it has every intention of reconvening the Commons committee on Afghanistan which has been tasked to consider Canada's ongoing, non-military mission there after the scheduled troop withdrawal, but which has preferred to bog itself down in a clearly partisan manner with the previously addressed non-issue of Afghan detainees.

And although Parliament Hill reporters have accused the government of refusing to ante up legal fees for Mr. Colvin's private lawyer, as symptomatic of an evil vendetta against the man, they have given approval after all. Isn't it past time to stop selling this government short and attributing to it misdeeds never even contemplated?

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Holocaust Remembrance

The European Jewish Congress and Tel Aviv University jointly released surprising new survey findings regarding the state of anti-Semitism worldwide.

According to the survey, anti-Semitism rose in major Western countries throughout 2008, particularly in Germany, Switzerland and Canada, and spiked dramatically in early 2009. The survey also found that without any outside triggers, anti-Semitism remained at high levels even before the onset of the economic crisis or the Israel offensive in Gaza. What’s more, despite efforts at Holocaust education around the world, anti-Semitic perceptions prevailed and the exploitation of Holocaust metaphors and symbols of the Nazi era rose steadily.

The survey also found that synagogues, cemeteries and Holocaust memorials were desecrated in 2008 on a weekly, sometimes even daily basis in many European countries. After dozens of violent incidents, Jewish children increasingly fear being attacked on their way to school or synagogue and need special protection in most European capitals.

This day marks the mournful remembrance of 65 years since the liberation of the infamous Auschwitz death camp. With the end of the Second World War, news of the extent of Nazi determination in pursuing their "Final Solution" become public, as photographs of skeletal survivors of the Nazi death camps were printed in newspapers all over the world.

It was established that through a regularized system of collection, incarceration and slow but steady mass murder the world was relieved of the existence of no fewer than six million Jews.

These were men, women and children whom the Nazis conceived of as sub-human, eminently dispensable, in an urgent need to rid the world of a race of people subsumed by the need to control the international community through their (sub-human) skills, intelligence, creativity, enterprise and expertise expressed through their malign intent to control the world's banking system and news publishing.
A dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents and violence against Jews has been recorded during 2009 around the world and especially in Western Europe, according to an annual report authored by the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA) which was presented Sunday by the Chair of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky.

The report was published ahead of the International Day against Fascism and Anti-Semitism and the Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz which is marked on January 27.

According to the report, an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents was recorded last year, especially in Western Europe, where 2009 had a record number of violent acts committed since World War II.

More anti-Semitic incidents were recorded during the first three months of 2009 than during the entire previous year – a fact the report attributes to Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008.

The sharpest increase was reported in France, where 631 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in the first half of 2009 (compared with 474 throughout 2008); Britain came in second with over 600 incidents, while the Netherlands recorded some 100 anti-Semitic acts – same number as the year before.

In addition to the increase in the number of cases, there has also been an escalation in the severity of the acts themselves. Hundreds of incidents were considered extremely violent, and included eight murders – six slain during the terror attack in Mumbai, India; Johanna Justin-Jinich, a Jewish student who was murdered in Connecticut and the security guard that was killed during the attack on the holocaust museum in Washington D.C.

The authors of the report also noted the "modern blood-libel" phenomenon such as the Swedish newspaper article that accused Israel of organ trafficking and anti-Semitic television shows that have been broadcasted in several Muslim countries including Turkey. The report also mentioned the latest allegation of organ trafficking in Haiti.

One of the report's main findings was that some 42% of Western European citizens, mainly from Poland and Spain, believe Jews exploit their past as victims in order to extort money.

Another surprising discovery was an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents that stem from internal political conflicts ahead of elections, such as those that occurred in Hungary and the Ukraine, with cooperation between radical left factions and Muslim communities.

The report also noted that when governments actively battle Anti-Semitism, it results in cases such as those that occurred in the US, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.

The conscience of the world was stricken after the revelations of institutionalized mass murder concentrated on ridding the world of that pestilential race that was responsible for proving its value to humankind in a multitude of ways, from the disproportionate numbers of Jews in all fields of the humanities, the arts and the sciences who contributed outstanding work on behalf of the entire global community.

It was well enough known that even before the end of WWII - and before the liberation of all the Nazi concentration camps that held a minute portion of Europe's Jews that had been successfully annihilated - that their fate appeared of scant concern to those in power, from the sitting Pope, to heads of European states, to humanitarian groups. Disinterest more than adequately demonstrated that little was done to save those Jews, including orphan children, that could be saved.

Ocean-going ships carrying desperate Jews were turned away from one potential safe-haven port to yet another and finally the ships were forced to return their human cargo to certain death.

And then, the creation of the State of Israel, through the initial effort of Great Britain, then the United States and Russia, carrying the votes that would succeed in its establishment, through a UN declaration of partition, paving the way for two states, one Israeli the other Arab. Nothing has been adequately resolved since that time in 1948, to pacify the outrage of the surrounding Arab countries and the festering refugeehood of the Palestinians.

The support that the world had initially bestowed upon worldwide Jewry through acceptance of the Zionist agenda to reclaim the historical Land of Israel for Jews has slowly eroded over the course of the years since then. Anti-Semitism so strenuously condemned and deplored post-war, slowly returned with a vengeance in the past decade, as Holocaust-deniers made their pact with the devil and closet anti-Semites enjoyed a renaissance in Jew-bashing that permitted their public disclosures equating Jews with the old tropes of racist diatribes.

Israel itself now has become the foil for world hatred of Jews. The State's fierce critics claim innocence of any agenda deeper than friendly criticism, helpfully recommending trade and academic boycotts to instruct Israel how best it should behave toward Palestinians whose aim is to ultimately destroy the state and integrate it into a greater whole representative of Arab need, desires and aspirations. The world commends moderation to Israel, while it offers friendly sympathy to Palestinian suffering.

Israel has re-discovered its ancient pain. That it must rely solely on its own resources, for none will be readily forthcoming from outside its immediate Jewish enclosure to facilitate an end to its problems as an embattled state representing a reviled people. This was the lesson of the Holocaust, and it resounds to the present day. It is the legacy that history left to this historical people.

And the measure of the resolve of the Jewish people through the actions and determinations of the State of Israel will stand in stead of exterior enablement, proven to be a will-o-the-wisp. Another lesson in human relations and humanity in a long tradition of such lessons.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Help For Haiti

"The government has had help come from everywhere in the world - and still they don't do nothing for people. They don't do nothing for us", according to a Haitian who didn't mind speaking simple truth. The UN food program is handing out food boxes to starving Haitians. But their provisions are so meagre, so inadequate, that UN aid workers, alarmed by the presence of more starving Haitians than they can accommodate, simply resort to restocking the provisions back on their trucks and leaving the starving masses behind.

The UN has claimed to have fed 50,000 Haitians, when millions are without food and water. And having fed tens of thousands once is hardly anything to celebrate, since those people are in need of ongoing nutrition. The country's own agricultural practises have been inadequate to produce sufficient food to feed itself. Not entirely their fault, since North American agricultural products, well subsidized by the U.S. and Canada to benefit their own, dump their produce in Haiti, undercutting native producers.

Colonialism is a thing of the past, and just as well, since it isn't a nice thing at all to impose your presumed needs and entitlements upon the backs of the impoverished and the helpless. So the many special textile-goods-producing factories set up in Haiti in a bland attempt to produce more paying jobs for Haitians produced workers paid a pittance, insufficient as a living wage, doing nothing to alleviate poverty. Their nicely-produced tee-shirts went abroad, selling well and profiting investors.

Yesterday an international donors conference was convened in Montreal, where foreign ministers and other governmental executives from the developed world showed up to pledge support for the miserable country and its needs-abandoned people. "If Canada and America want to do something for Haiti, don't give the money to the government because they are going to take it and steal it", said one Haitian.

"Come and give us the houses. Otherwise people will still be on the streets. The mass population won't have the chance to take part in these new villages. The government will choose their friends to put in it. Preval has done zero for us, nothing. The duty of the government is that, whenever something bad happens in a country, they are supposed to be responsible for what happened. But this government doesn't care about what happened".

Haitian President Rene Preval begs to differ from the opinion of this Haitian ingrate. "The presidential palace has fallen. The parliament has fallen. The palace of justice has fallen. Most government buildings have been destroyed with all their records. Yet we are making progress, and the people know it", he said defying popular opinion. In his defence, his wife points out "he's constantly in meetings" with the U.S. military and the UN, helping to guide relief efforts.

And at the Montreal meeting there was general agreement among donor countries that the task ahead is an onerous one but a necessary one; to pull together to bring the country out of its crisis. "It is a shared task, but it must be led by Haitians", said Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. They're in charge, it's their country. Pity they found it impossible to discharge their duties adequately even before the devastation of the earthquake.

Representatives of 14 countries forming an alliance, "friends of Haiti", assembled at that ministerial preparatory conference. To plan ongoing rescue and recovery and longer-term reconstruction. Not that great sums of countries' treasuries haven't prior to this been bestowed upon this poor country. And have, in the final analysis produced little of value for Haitians, 80% of whom live below the poverty line.

Want to help Haiti? Stop propping up useless governments. Insist on accountability for funds transferred to the government. Pledge to assist the country to return to a robust agronomy base; keep foreign-grown-subsidized produce out of the country. Make adequate investments to produce decent, well-paying industrial jobs for the vast demographic of the under- and unemployed. Help build schools to tutor adults in literacy as well as children.

Help the country re-forest itself, and teach rural dwellers other methods of energy-production for heating and cooking. Drop the imposition of quotas and duties on Haitian-produced imports. Help urban dwellers who are jobless to return to the rural areas and resume traditional farming.

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Limit Prorogation!

They're at it again, and it so tedious. Their attestations of having only the best interests of the country at heart, so patently freighted with self-entitlement to the mantle of honourable politicians as compared say, to the Conservatives, palls. The level of the over-heated breast beating and self-congratulatory initiatives to haul out the Conservative-led current government's agenda of disempowering democracy speaks volumes about the turpitude of those who relish the rhetoric.

The current government's successes stand on their merit, in every conceivable index of achievement, both at home and abroad. The anxious hysteria mounted by the government's loyal opposition parties - speaks of a general dysfunction within the country's political parties, aged and decrepit and utterly devoid of useful and practical ideas, other than the tired old nostrums of knowing better than the incumbents - is appalling.

But there they are, the Liberal party of Canada and the New Democrats, boastfully pulling puppet strings to get their elected MPs back on Parliament Hill in a vividly-delusional display of bombast, hyperbolic denunciations, pomposity of comparisons as the stuff of unimaginative juveniles. "We want to act on this now because we've listened (to) and heard Canadians", avowed Michael Ignatieff.

As he changed his mind about advocating for new limits on prime ministerial powers of prorogation. For the fact of their matter is, Prime Minister Harper is guilty of "abuse of democracy", in temporarily ridding himself of the tedious onslaught of non-achieving, legislative-halting hangers-on whose only aspiration is to dump this government and take over the lax reins. They're entitled, after all.

They're fed up and they won't take it anymore. Oh, that brief moment of opportunity that slipped through their collective greasy fingers when it looked tantalizingly as though the government would fall and they could apportion ministerial placements to themselves; Stephane Dion, haplessly decent and indecently hapless, as prime minister.

They've coasted on the coattails of a Face Book entreaty by a bored university student who clings to the notion that the Conservative-led government aspires to unleash its hidden agenda and he's darned if he'll sit idly by and let it happen. So get up a petition and invite people to sign on, and no sweat! it's done. So that thousands of enthused anti-Harper activists got to feel good about people power as they protested the evils of prorogation.

What a commitment to the democratic ideal. Perhaps as practised by a trio who sought to elect themselves to power. By a scholarly politician who felt himself particularly well endowed to be offered the kingship of his party on bended knee, rather than by an inefficient, inconvenient democratic vote.

It's a question, simply put, of oxen and goring and that kind of thing.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Canada-Iran Relations, Ugh

The insiders have the inside story. Not that there's all that often much to be gained by airing the inside story. And in the case of the three-decades-old escapade revolving around the Canadian-aided rescue of American diplomats from newly-revolutionary Iran, the story lives on. As though former Canadian Ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor hasn't dined out sufficiently on that brief moment with destiny...

Comes a newly-published revelation of that time in 1980 when a Canadian ambassador earned the love and adulation of the American public, revealing that that selfsame ambassador turned diplomacy into a risky, risque stab at intrigue, and intelligence-gathering on behalf of its North American neighbour. A tell-all book, Our Man in Tehran, by a former diplomatic colleague of Mr. Taylor is revelatory, and possibly troublesome.

It would appear that one of Canada's diplomats engaged in espionage. And while famously many countries do just that - political and commercial and military espionage when they can get away with it and not be detected - it is always officially and strenuously denied. For it is, after all, a forbidden activity according to diplomatic convention. Diplomats act in trust and extend trust, country-to-country.

That, at least, is the observable and officially-sanctioned international accord.
.1. The functions of a diplomatic mission consist inter alia in:
(a) representing the sending State in the receiving State;
(b) protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State
and of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international
(c) negotiating with the Government of the receiving State;
(d) ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the
receiving State, and reporting thereon to the Government of the
sending State;
(e) promoting friendly relations between the sending State and the
receiving State, and developing their economic, cultural and
scientific relations.

2. Nothing in the present Convention shall be construed as preventing the
performance of consular functions by a diplomatic mission.

Somehow, events conspired to overturn diplomatic niceties; for after all, wasn't the sparkling new Islamic Republic of Iran behaving in an extremely uncivil, undiplomatic manner in encouraging its students and its Republican Guard to behave in such an unseemly manner toward the official embassy of another country toward whose personnel and the status of its 'territory' Iran had an obligation of protection under the Geneva Convention?

In any event, what's that old saying? Two wrongs do not a right make? Piffle.

"I was ready to do what they asked", a much older and perhaps still less-wise Ken Taylor informed Canwest News Service. "I was working within the framework of my traditional Canadian diplomatic operations." Not so, says a professor at the Munk Centre of International Studies at the University of Toronto, a well-respected international affairs expert. Official diplomacy and espionage do not mix well.

"Embassy staff may find themselves in a situation like the Canadian Embassy in Moscow during the Cold War. Things are going to get a lot more complicated." Harassment, for example of Canadian officials within Iran. Now that's rich. Canada has been on Iran's case since Canadian-Iranian photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi died in Iranian custody on July 11, 2003.

And has, ever since, publicly deplored that country's egregious human rights abuses. Famously bringing one annual condemnation of Iran after another to the General Assembly of the United Nations, and just managing, through strenuous lobbying, to get them passed. So the countries are at moral loggerheads, and there is no diplomatic respect lost between them.

With this added information to Iran's irate arsenal of charges against Canada, in response to Canada's against it, it's entirely likely that Canada's effectiveness within Iran is now placed in jeopardy. Freedom of information has no limits, but discretion occasionally indeed is the better part of valour.

Given, of course, certain untidy circumstances.

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Moral Perspective - Taxpayer Funding

There goes that Conservative-led government, thinking they know everything. Funny they didn't think to ask the previous Liberal-led government who knew of a certainty that they know everything. And still do. Which is why they're working so strenuously to persuade the voting public that the Conservatives have failed at every turn to prove they are more than slightly adept at good governance.

Funny thing that, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has unerringly produced good judgement on just about all indices of responsible and moral matters incumbent on governments to recognize in dispatching their duties to their constituents. From acknowledging and apologizing for historic assaults on the dignity and human rights of segments of Canadian society, to acting in a morally superior way internationally, the integrity of this current government has been peerless.

No one can assume to have perfect insight into all of society's ills, and of being capable of solving intractable problems, both internal and external. Errors in practical judgement in allocating funding for needed resources and initiatives are made, and it is hoped that they will be rectified, but in other areas, decisions made by this government have been outstanding.

In the balance of performance, this government and this prime minister have been second in success of initiative to none. And for some of the citizens of this country it is gratifying to note other little tweaks here and there that seem to have been long in coming. The withdrawal of funding for special interest groups whose particular interests may construe hidden racism, is entirely appropriate.

So the Montreal NGO Alternatives that sponsored an 'education camp' for "500 motivated militants" from Lebanon, Iraq, "Palestine" and Venezuela, is free to raise its own funding from like-minded supporters, and not to anticipate that it will any longer be supported by taxpayer funding. And an "ecumenical partnership" that saw fit to undertake boycotts against one of Canada's partners in democracy will also be enabled to look for private funding.

It was positively overdue that Canada looked a trifle more closely to its funding of an UN-based group whose sole responsibility has been to prop up the fictive phenomenon of "refugee-hood" with respect to the Palestinian population by aiding them in their biased anti-Israel incitements, and the production of slanderous, racist school curricula.

UNRWA goes to great lengths to promote the notion that they are unprejudiced. Even taking to advertising their sterling credentials of neutrality online within Israeli Internet news sources.

UNRWA howls with outrage at Canada's move to fund very specific Palestinian projects which will be accountable, rather than permit funding to go directly into the general treasury of the Palestinian Authority. Which has blatantly and proudly continued to sponsor terrorist acts against Israel, and which has also awarded cash prizes to successful terrorists, and funding to their families.

This is the very same UN special Palestinian source for longevity as refugees that employs members of Hamas in various capacities, including as ambulance drivers which had ferried terrorists from safety from sites in Israel that they had launched attacks upon. UNRA's payroll is rife with "activists" otherwise known as terrorists, and it is past time that Canada halted handing over funding to this group and others of its ilk.

And there it is.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mistaken Identity

Yaowei Wu, a resident of Vancouver, was treated at Vancouver General Hospital for bruises to his head, waist and knees, and fractured bones around his left eye. He was clearly the victim of a vicious beating. The misfortune of being in the right place - his own home, at the wrong time - when police were responding to a call of domestic violence, gave him the opportunity to find out first hand how negatively such behaviour is regarded by police.

In an obvious lesson to malefactors that they need not apply brute strength when strenuously attempting to make a domestic point, Vancouver police appear to use brute strength to demonstrate to those suspected of spousal abuse just how painful that can be. It's a fairly basic lesson, one loosely associated with gangsters and vengeance and illegal acts that would land anyone who practises them a lengthy jail term.

Mr. Wu was rewarded for his ordeal by a repentant visit from Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu who wished to personally apologize to the unfortunate victim, and to promise that a thorough investigation would ensue. The Vancouver Police Department's Professional Standards Section has been called upon to conduct an investigation. Um, police investigating themselves.

It would appear that police sped out to Mr. Wu's home after receiving a 911 call at 2 a.m. from a frantic woman reporting her drunken husband was abusing her and she was worried for the safety of her child. Unfortunately, the caller was a tenant living on the ground floor, and Mr. Wu's residence was on the upper floor of the house. Which was where they headed.

"The cops didn't ask clearly - not even ID me or anything - before they started beating me", Mr. Wu explained. "I think they have an attitude problem." Clearly. Before permitting him to politely, helpfully, enquire the reason for their presence, the responding officers simply dragged Mr. Wu outside where they proceeded to beat him.

Later txhat day, a Vancouver Police spokesperson explained to enquirers that Mr. Wu had "resisted by striking out at the police and trying to slam the door, but the officers persisted in the belief that there may be a woman and child inside who could be in danger." Sounds convincing. Kind of. Days later, at a news conference, police admitted that Mr. Wu hadn't resisted at all.

When Mr. Wu's wife told the officers she was alerting the police they identified themselves to her. When three other police officers arrived, one who spoke Cantonese explained to the couple that this had been the unfortunate result of an unfortunate instance of mistaken identity.

Leading to the actual commission of a crime.

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Tangled Webs

It's a little hard to make sense of some of the things that happen under the guise of protection of human rights. Perhaps not all that surprising, since human beings find it exceedingly difficult to be truly non-involved, neutral and objective. Everyone has their biases, and unfortunately those who are tasked to be the most humanitarian-unbiased find it no simpler to leave their distinctive sense of discrimination behind than do most people.

And that seems to have been the case with former human rights bureaucrat Remy Beauregard, recently expired. Due, many would have it - and on the evidence that might seem to be a logical conclusion - to his furious exasperation at the turn events took, when his decisions as president of Rights and Democracy, a Government of Canada-funded NGO, were brought into question.

Mr. Beauregard was noted to have been present at an Arab League conference on freedom of association in 2008, a peculiar attendance for one dedicated to upholding human rights when it is rather well known that many Arab and Muslim countries are somewhat lax in their own observance of human rights.

A government appointed board member, chairman Aurel Braun and two other members of the board of the NGO, sent a critical evaluation of Mr. Beauregard's position to the Privy Council, alleging that Mr. Beauregard's actions in approving three grants totalling $30,000 to three groups critical of Israel, one located in the West Bank, one in Gaza, another in Israel without seeking the approval of the entire board represented a lack of professionalism.

Rights and Democracy board chairman, Mr. Braun, raised legitimate concerns with respect to the inadequacies of Mr. Beauregard's leadership. The evaluation stressed the need for "accountability and transparency" to the organization, along with tighter financial controls.
Mr. Beauregard was incensed when he discovered he was being criticized, claiming the allegations levelled against him represented "differences of opinion on specific political or policy issues."

That they were, along with a question respecting the balanced vision of Mr. Beauregard's professionalism. At a board meeting of the NGO, two distinct factions emerged; one which was critical of Mr. Beauregard's leadership, the other which defended him with honour and vigour. The exchange of opinions and the denunciations became so heated that they led to several resignations.

And, in the final analysis, likely led to Mr. Beauregard's death of a heart attack, immediately following the meeting.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Unequal Psychoses

Twenty-four-year-old profoundly dysfunctional Trevor LaPierre has been sentenced to a life sentence that far more resembles what a sentence to life imprisonment might look like, than those dispensed as justice to members of the 'Toronto 18'. True, their foul plan to murder and maim as many innocent Canadians as their bomb plots could manage never reached fruition. Nor did their wish to destroy signal Canadian government infrastructure.

Not, however, due to lack of commitment and intent. But as the result of a bit of bad luck for them, and good fortune for Canada and its citizens. There but for the scrutiny and security practised by Canada's security agencies, and the good citizenship of a presumed fellow traveller who saw his duty foremost to the country that he felt indebted to, Canada would have been seized with a debilitating blow, and too many funerals to count.

One must not, of course, overlook the ameliorating, soothing emolument-effect of cold, hard cash. It does assist, sometimes immeasurably, in helping to focus the determination and obligations of anyone teetering on the brink of social stigma, political defence, religious disfavour, and economic uncertainty.

So much for the meting out of justice in response to a very real and very dangerous plot to warn the Government of Canada that some of its citizens have split loyalties and some of them are not averse to demonstrating the extremely explosive level of their consternation, commitment and conflicted ideals.

For Trevor LaPierre, who deliberately plotted with malice aforethought to seek out a helpless victim and destroy his life by sending a hunting knife into his helpless face with 46 stab wounds, there were no extenuating excuses for the manner in which his young lifeplummeted from rationality to murderous psychosis.

He was held to have been deliberately manipulative, scorning the intelligence of the court-appointed psychiatrists by presenting an exaggerated and feigned manner symptomatic of a depth of psychiatric illness reality denied. "The most consistent diagnosis is malingering", stated JudgeGlithero. Who also admitted the undeniable fact that the young man is possessed of a warped mind.

A diseased mind that planned to murder, but planned also, even before committing that murder, to present as non-responsible due to mental incapacity. His distressed mother will attest to her son's mental incapacity. She remembers and mourns the loss of the son he was, and despairs hopelessly over the son he has become. TrevorLaPierre's planned act of murder was successfully carried out.

For that crime, he will be ineligibility to seek parole for the next seventeen years of his life. For the crime of apprehended mass murder, the Toronto 18 members, as a group of young men susceptible to the allure of violet jihad and determined to succeed in their planned atrocity, justice is far more lenient.

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Contrasts in Justice

Satha Sarachandran, a Sri-Lankan Canadian convicted in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn of aiding terrorism by procurement of arms, has been sentenced to 26 years in prison. His attorneys informed the court that the 30-year-old who had been arrested while attempting to obtain surface-to-air missiles in Long Island, New York, yearned to live a good life, one his parents would be proud of. His emotions, however, had been caught in the Tamil cause for a homeland of their own.

"During the course of his young life he was simply unable to resolve his emotional response to horrific violence in a more productive positive manner", they wrote in his defence. Conspiring to assist in the violent upheaval of a country for any cause, however seemingly worthy, perhaps has no defence. But, declared Siemon Wezeman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, "Are these not more or less misguided people?"

The plot which Satha Sarachandran undertook to lead had its beginning as talks between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers were collapsing, and Sri Lanka resumed bombing the Tigers stronghold. Such 'rebel' groups (referred to as terrorists in other circles, and outlawed as such within Canada) are anxious to take possession of surface-to-air missiles.

"They're highly sought after. Anybody who attempts to acquire missiles on U.S. soil really runs a risk of being napped in a sting operation", explained Matt Schroeder who manages the arms sales monitoring project at the Federation of American Scientists. Terrorists favour them for targeting commercial airlines if they can, like the Mombasa attack on an Israeli airliner in 2002.

Mr. Sarachandran was a "leader and role model for younger Tamil children", testified his lawyers; he was involved in volunteering at the Tamil Youth Organization in Scarborough, Ontarioand serving as a counsellor. He became distraught after visiting his homeland, witnessing the assaults committed by the Sinhalese-majority government against Tamils. He organized a rally back in Canada to try to move that government to protest.

After the devastating South Asian tsunami, he helped to raise critical funding for humanitarian relief, in his position as national president of the Canadian Tamil Students Association. And then - he involved himself on a mission under the direction of the Tamil Tiger agent who was the mastermind behind the assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi - to procure a shopping list of weapons.

The deal that was made with undercover FBI agents was for 10 missile launchers, 20 missiles, 500 AK-47s and the services of a trainer for the princely sum of $937,500 (likely raised within Canada). The arms to be delivered to a rebel ship located in the Indian Ocean. And this was when an undercover officer launched the police action arresting Satha Sarachandran and his team.

Satha Sarachandran has descended from the heights of attainment and a bright future to the depths of criminal arraignment and incarceration for almost as many years as he has lived. His criminal activities designed to aid and assist a terrorist group equally brutal in their disregard for human life as was the Sri Lankan military has resulted in the surrender of his freedom.

This, in stark contrast to the prison sentences handed out to members of the 'Toronto 18' jihadis who plotted to wreak havoc and destroy countless lives in Canada. Where home-grown Islamist jihadists angered by the prosecution of a war across the Globe, determined to demonstrate their bona fides as terrorists by committing their atrocities on Canadian soil.

And for their vicious and determined plots, foiled before they could be triumphantly carried out, they received a relative avuncular slap on the wrist, and are now free to resume their lives as citizens with an unfortunate past, but looking into their new and near future with great hope and anticipation.

Guarantees? There are none.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

The Logic of Justice

Here's another member of the Toronto 18 terror squad that couldn't get their act together before they were handily intercepted and apprehended, found guilty in his trial in Ontario Superior Court. Another sterling member of Canadian society, Shareef Abdelhaleem, 34 years of wisdom. Guilty! For participation in a terrorist group and intent to cause an explosion in association with a terrorist group.

"The court found that the Crown established the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt on both counts", a spokesman with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada advised. Not fair, claimed his lawyer, who felt the case should have been stayed. Why? Because his client fell victim to entrapment. For the purpose, needless to say of prosecution.

Prosecution? Well, because his client was planning to annihilate other Canadians. A righteous atrocity, get it?

The Crown's witness who was handsomely paid for his patriotism in agreeing to infiltrate this group of would-be terrorists "put him in a position right in the heart of the plot". That plot was to build bombs as powerful as possible; a "weapon of mass destruction", packing two tonnes of ammonium nitrate into a single bomb.

Mr. Abdelhaleem was described in court as being an intense and temperamental man whose interest in jihad made him a willing participant with the Toronto 18. He intended for the bombs he would be involved in constructing to destroy "big blocks" of Toronto. "He said there would be blood, glass and debris everywhere", effectively shutting down the country.

Obviously, he, like all the others who pleaded guilty have recanted, and shed their jihad identities to resume their Canadian citizenship personas. They've learned their lesson. They were bad boys, no doubt about that. But consider; it has been a learning experience for them, permitting them to grow into responsible adulthood.

Punishment? Well, haven't they been more than adequately punished? A pat on the back will do now, and an avowal of deep understanding for their personal trauma. And off you go! [Be good now...!]

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The Public Dole

Funny how politicians are, they become concerned with the public weal to an extent they hadn't been while in public office, but seeing the way things should be, seek to make alterations that might better reflect democratic values to take place once they leave public office. Their legacy as upright and concerned legislators.

A politician as morally challenged as the Honourable Jean Chretien who pulled all kinds of tricks misusing public funds to favour himself and his cronies suddenly gets 'religion' on leaving politics.

"More public contribution to meet the requirements of every party is a very small price to pay in order to have a very substantial reform of political financing", he is reputed to have explained, although it taxes the imagination to conceive of his being able to articulate that mouthful.

So, unilaterally, without exchanging opinions within his caucus, let alone polling the opposition parties, he took unto himself the public duty of pushing through his political funding reforms. They sounded good and honourable. While promising some complications on the way to sainthood.

Donations to political parties would be restricted to make the process more seemly, more open, more democratic, more - far more - unlike the American system. Corporate and union donations would be verboten. Individual donations would be tightly capped. The taxpayer would be pleased to contribute to this new system whereby each party would be allocated a $1.95 per vote allowance.

Did anyone really realize what a princely sum that would turn out to be? For political parties, that is. For taxpayers to fork out, as well. The new policy would be revenue neutral, it was said. What? Forfeiting uncertainty for certainty. As it happens, the reality is that all political parties collect from Elections Canada cheques far more than they ever realized through traditional fund-raising.

Roughly 50% greater revenues are accruing to all registered political parties through public funding, commensurate with the number of votes they garner.

And here's a painful fact; in the four years prior to the new funding formula the Bloc Quebecois raised under $1-million in corporate donations. Now they can sit back and rest on their laurels, lifting not one pinky to raise funds, and they receive $12-million in public handouts.

This is a special kind of insanity; the Canadian public in a salute to democratic values is paying handsomely to have a separatist party do its utmost to continue wreaking havoc in Canada. How utterly satisfying.

"The Bloc has all this dough; they never have to fundraise again", commented the former president of the Liberal Party who had resisted Mr. Chretien's funding reforms.

Little wonder the virtuous, and well funded Conservatives attempted to slip a retraction of that bill into their November 2008 budget, eliciting howls of outrage from the opposition parties who rushed into non-confidence and an attempted defeat of the government, hoping to divvie up the governing spoils between them.

It's interesting, as University of Calgary prof. Tom Flanagan, an erstwhile colleague and collaborator of Prime Minister Harper's, that as a result of these public subsidies to the country's political parties which has them comfortably funded, they have been able to engage in what some might describe as permanent campaigning.

Bah, humbug, who needs it? A change is due and overdue. Either put a more reasonable cap on corporate and union donations, along with individual largess, or lower the current publicly-endowed allowance.

Funnily enough American President Barack Obama is steaming over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to ease restraints placed on corporate spending on election campaigns. The ruling, 5-4, held that corporations could dispense cash as they would to finance campaign ads both pro- and -con political candidates.

"It is a major victory for big oil, Wall street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of every day Americans", he fumed. Just can't seem to win for losing.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Not Dangerous?

A man whose persistent, ceaseless and brutal predations upon women have earned him, over the space of twenty years, prison sentences for extortion, assault, threats, unlawful confinement, harassment, uttering threats, assaults causing bodily harm, criminal harassment and obstructing a peace officer should be identified as a psychopath.

His continued, uncontrolled and deliberate criminal behaviour, and his inability or lack of willingness to attempt to manage his vicious temperament stand as reason to condemn him as a dangerous offender.

Now 46 years old, he has learned nothing at all, from the time twenty years earlier, he attempted to have the Supreme court of Canada prevent his girlfriend from obtaining an abortion. That was simply a mild aberration of behaviour.

He has since graduated to a lifetime of offering sexual violence to one woman after another. Despite which, Ontario Superior court Justice Andromache Karakatsanis sought a continuance of a long-term supervision order against Jean Guy Tremblay.

She, obviously has faith in his ability to somehow transcend his intractably monstrous psychopathy expressed in ongoing violence against women. Who ever was it that said women sitting in judgement of crimes committed against women know what they suffer and with that knowledge exercise the full strength of the law to protect women from further abuse?

Crown attorney Rita Zaied put forward her argument that Tremblay represents a danger to all women, and the risk to the public could not be managed by 'supervision'.

This man's long string of arrests and imprisonments for violating women's human rights, for terrorizing them and threatening them and brutalizing them seemed insufficient inducement to the presiding judge to pronounce him an intolerable and ongoing threat to society.

A man who was diagnosed as being in possession of a "narcissistic personality" and paranoia associated with a history of lying to women. Judge Karakatsanis appears to feel she is lecturing to a malleable young man not yet set in his misogynous state of war against women.

"Mr. Tremblay: You are 46 years old. You have caused serious harm to many women in the past. It is time for you to turn your life around", she admonished him, giving him yet another undeserved break in his long life of violence and prison time.

Turn his life around? He's had no previous opportunities? A likely event.

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Gilding the Disaster-Data

How about that? An apology from the UN's climate change body, the very collectively-responsible environmental group gold-medalled by the United Nations and co-recipients of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, admitting that perhaps there may be some truth to the critics' contentions that some of their findings were overstated, the result of misinformation, and just plain w r o n g.

As though the world isn't in deep enough trouble with the unmistakable signs of Climate Change.

Climate change due to normative, natural cyclical changes in weather patterns having their detrimental effects on the atmosphere and the very geography of the Earth, not necessarily Global Warming, as a result of human-derived activities deleterious to the globe.

There is ample room in all of the environmentalists' and climatologists' speculations and hypothesis to allow for both to be implicated, with an emphasis on natural cycles.

But fudge the "proofs" laid out by the IPCC? Unequivocally state with certain conviction that human activity is solely and despairingly the cause of the catastrophic scenarios that our changing environment is leading us toward, and giving as proof unassailable truths? Well, !oops!

That part of the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relating to the high likelihood of Himalayan glaciers "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high", appears to have been ill-advised for positive/negative inclusion. The alarmed public was informed that India and China, Nepal and Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan, whose dependence onmeltwater from the Himalaya would face disaster.

Oh dear, it would appear that an Indian glaciologist had mused, simply mused, on the potential for such a scenario in a 1999 interview, that it had no scientific verification in data, observation or fact. Yet, though theIPCC agrees it used imperfect (wrong) data, they are not quite all that contrite, as it happens.

"This conclusion is robust, appropriate, and entirely consistent with the underlying science and the broader IPCC assessment", they responded, insisting they stand by their overall conclusion about glacier loss. Yet a glaciologist who contributed to the 2007 report gave his opinion that the glacier error was immense, and he had forewarned his colleagues about its inclusion.

Wait, we're not finished yet. That was just yesterday's unfortunate revelation. There's another, and it's just as impressively inconvenient a truth of lack of vital data-gathering and egregious conclusion-reaching in its own way; perhaps even more so. Two U.S. researchers now conclude that American government scientists have been rather remiss in their professional conduct.

Having skewed global temperature readings simply by choosing to bypass thousands of weather station readings right around the globe, and most especially those located in colder altitudes, and more northerly latitudes. Say, for example, from Canada, where the Canadian government operates 1,400 surface weather stations; over 200 above the Arctic Circle.

Yet in their professional environmental-tally wisdom the scientists chose to use "just one thermometer (for measuring) everything north of latitude 65 degrees". Where in the 1970s some 600 Canadian weather stations were involved in a global data-base courtesy of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, today data is collected from a mere 35 Canadian stations.

Of those 35, only one is now used by NOAA as a gauge for all Canadian territory above the Arctic Circle. Joseph D'Aleo, a meteorologist, and E. Michael Smith, a computer programmer, also state that the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has "cherry picked" Canadian weather stations to be included in their database; selecting those stations sited in southerly locations; the high Arctic now only contributes 3% of the Canadian data.

NOAA, according to the two critics, overlooks temperature data from Bolivia, a high-altitude, landlocked country, assigning temperature values instead based on data from stations located at lower elevations in Peru, or the Amazon basin. Unsurprisingly, the result is a warmer-than-reality global temperature record.

"NOAA ... systematically eliminated 75% of the world's stations with a clear bias towards removing higher latitude, high altitude and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler", the two authors write in their study published on the website of the Science and Public Policy Institute.

"The thermometers in a sense, marched towards the tropics, the sea, and to airport tarmacs." Ergo, Global Warming.

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Diminished Favour(itism)

There will doubtless be much gnashing of teeth at the perceived slight when Quebecers come to the realization that finally they do not represent the most entitled segment among Canadian society, that their province does not quite qualify for the largess formerly unhesitatingly - actually deliberately and with votes-aforethought - allocated to the province in commemorating their fetes nationale.

A province where Canada Day celebrations are not thought of as being exceptional, since so many French Canadians would far prefer to celebrate Jean Baptiste Day, and feel nonetheless that funds doled out parsimoniously to the rest of Canada and generously to that singular province simply recognize the premier importance of Quebec within the Canadian confederation.

However, the regional imbalance is now set to become a dim memory of Liberal favouritism excesses. In the interests of party politics and reaping Quebec votes.

Since, in fact, the program doling out taxpayer funds for various such celebrations, inclusive of National Aboriginal Day, Canadian Multiculturalism Day and Canada Day - oh yes, of course, Quebec's Fete nationale holiday, (June 21; 27; July 1, and June 24, respectively) dated from the era that saw the Liberals' discredited "Sponsorgate" program erupt on the national scene.

It's taken this long for the current government to put a rein on the inequities of sharing out available funds as it had little option but to honour the existing funding agreements until expiration. Which has now occurred. A new formula is set for introduction that would finally permit each of the provinces and territories to receive funding based on population size.

The Quebec organizing committee that had formerly received a whopping $3.2-million out of $3.8-million in available funding in 2008 for organizational purposes will be dissolved. As representing unnecessary costs in maintaining the committee's structures and travel costs, now viewed as redundant. All regional committees will be affected.

According to the announcement by Canadian Heritage Minister, James Moore there were no abuse of funds, merely unnecessary costs. Now, funding for country-wide celebrations of Canada Day will be available to municipalities and community groups who wish to make application for those non-commercial grants.

Dispensing with the regional committees which had used roughly half of the entire $6.7-million Celebrate Canada program. "We're frankly cleaning up a program that was badly structured and badly created by the Liberals back when they were in government" said Mr. Moore.

"...this is our first opportunity to change this and we're changing it in a way that will respect taxpayers [and] make sure that Canada Day is not being used for political purposes and is rather celebrated properly with government funding in a way that is proportionate across the country."


In the 2009 fiscal year the program's funding had been increased to $9.6-million to reflect increased support for other provinces. Despite which, Quebec with less than 24% of the Canadian population, still managed to scoop 40% of total funding.

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Moral Proportionality

Utterly amazing the way human sensibilities are so adept at disconnection. Those who engage in travel as tourists, enjoying their visits to picturesque, environmentally beautiful, romantic and historical parts of the world, defend their decisions to visit places where the vast bulk of the population lives in dire poverty, struggling to exist from one day to another, as 'helping their economy' by their tourism dollars.

And so it is in Haiti -, utterly ruined by its own history of corruption, gangster governments, rule-by-fear-and-intimidation, following hard on colonial rule that stripped its people of their human dignity, and the land of its resources - has perennially constituted a blot on the Western Hemisphere, as one of the most poverty-stricken, miserable places on Earth.

But the Island of Hispaniola, is situated in the Caribbean, one of the most lovely destinations for holiday-goes who worship sun, sand and warmth, and Haiti, occupying one-third of that island also has remarkably beautiful white sand beaches and aqua-tinted waters where international cruises tend to stop over to enable their clients to relax, scuba-dive, luxuriate in comfort.

The piteous fact that Haiti now lies in utter ruin due to the devastation wrought by a catastrophic earthquake, following hard on its earlier weather losses, is no impediment to the determination of those who spend their dreams, cash and time visiting such island getaways. The beaches still present as pristine, the waters irresistible.

So luxury cruise liners continue to visit those private Haitian beaches to enable paying customers to para sail, kayak and snorkel to their hearts' content. In their own defence, they maintain they are favouring the people of Haiti by their presence through their tourist dollars. Foreign tourists see no evil, hear no evil, speak of no evil.

While international aid agencies, and government teams of rescuers, disaster planners, move mountains of emergency aid, medical equipment, food and water, and at the same time assist in the disposal of untold numbers of dead Haitians, visitors to the country whose pampered feet tread those sandy beaches, dip into the limpid waters, unperturbed at their presence at the scene of such unspeakable horror.

"We are very sensitive to the idea of delivering a vacation experience so close to the epicenter of the earthquake, and we appreciate that many guests might feel the same way. However, given the terrible economic and social challenges Haiti now faces, they need the positive economic benefits now more than ever", an industry representative explained.

Results from a Cruise Critic poll taken over the past weekend indicate 66% of the 4,000 respondents polled felt in agreement with that statement. A 20% minority felt that continuance of visits under the circumstances were representative of 'poor taste'. "We have not had a large number of guests wanting to cancel", added the industry spokesperson.

Those that have, and know no want appear to be slow off the mark in identifying human values. But there is nothing particularly new about this. Those fairly large numbers of any society who look forward with pleasure to visiting parts of the world renowned for natural beauty, culture and history, wander those areas seemingly without notice of the masses of humanity living at absolute poverty levels.

And then we are taken aback at the (relatively low) incidences of tourists to such places being robbed, injured or murdered. By, of course, desperately poor people wishing to avail themselves of some of that disposable income foreigners expend, lavishly living a lifestyle they themselves could never begin to imagine.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Careful Cabinetry

The Government of Canada is busy, involved and alert to its duties. The Prime Minister has been busy meeting, along with members of his cabinet, with visiting foreign dignitaries; most recently Yemen came calling, asking for international aid funding. Prime Minister Harper met with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, stopping by briefly on his travels to key NATO countries to discuss "momentum"in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister has also been busy with any number of other distractions.

Above all, Canada's emergency response to the tragedy ongoing in Haiti. Determining the level of aid to be offered, dispatching Canada's DART team, naval vessels and additional military in an effort to help restore calm and order to a scene of chaos and desperation.

And then too, the vital coordination of a cabinet shuffle. And prior to that official movement of members of the current cabinet there was another initiative in informing the cabinet of priority given to health and security safety issues to be brought forward for discussion at cabinet meetings, excluding other issues that might require additional funding.

Cost-cutting measures to be undertaken in a needed effort to restrain the budget, in an attempt to bring order to the funding issuing from the country's treasury, and the need to balance that with the nasty deficit and groaning debt owing to stimulus responses to the economic downturn.

Cabinet ministers who are performing an outstanding job in their portfolios stay right where they are.

And those who have done fairly well, but could perhaps do better in other portfolios considered more suited to their talents and background experiences have been placed elsewhere. Those ministers whose performances have been understated have been retained, but given other ministries to look after.

All orderly and well considered and in the best interests of Parliament and of the people it serves.


People Die Out Here

I stepped out into a blinding light, into the whitest world under an impossibly blue sky. The naked sun seared me right through my polarized goggles. The next thing that hit was a cold so deep and complete it was surreal. My first breaths torched my throat and chilled my lungs. It was cold from another dimension, from an ice planet in a distant galaxy. And this was summer in the Southern Hemisphere. *
She's an achiever, little doubt about that. Meagan McGrath on a year's leave from the Canadian Forces where she is a major, is now in Chile, awaiting a flight home to Canada. She has, on her own, managed to ski to her destination, the South Pole. When she had started out on her trip from Hercules Inlet on the coast of Antarctica in early December she had fallen into a crevasse, and was unable to extricate herself without assistance. After her rescue by a team from Patriot Hills, she took time off for introspection, to determine whether she felt herself prepared to continue.

Finally, the conclusion she reached was that she would go on. She completed her Antarctic Odyssey of 28 kilometres on January 15th 2010, having set off on her original trek on December 1st of 2009. It was, in fact, on her second day out that she had fallen into the crevasse. Her confidence in her ability to resume her odyssey led her to set out again. "I shut out the world for a few days and tried to make my own decision about whether I wanted to carry on. And I carried on, and it seemed to be the right decision."

She finally caught sight of the South Pole base roughly six kilometres distance over the horizon on her penultimate day of solo skiing. Having arrived, she was congratulated and treated to a hot cup of tea and cookies. The day she arrived at her destination the temperature stood at -36-degrees, with a whipping wind. This determined women demonstrated to herself and the watching world that she was able to surmount loneliness, fatigue, extreme cold and the literal unknown on her way to achieving yet another life-time goal.

Ms. McGrath pulled two sleds, each weighing roughly 200 pounds, while carrying about 40 pounds of fuel and supplies on her back. She skied about ten to twelve hours each day. Some of the challenges she faced included white-outs and diminished battery charge due to the lack of sunlight. She was in limited contact throughout with the South Pole Expedition Agency, Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions, reporting her status. A slight cold slightly hampered her progress as she made the final push for the Geographic South Pole, crossing the 89th Degree.
After a few stabbing gulps of thin air I was quickly reminded that I had gained almost two miles in altitude during the three-hour flight from McMurdo. While the plateau was flat as a griddle, it was also as high as the Austrian Alps. The South Pole Station rests on a nine-thousand-foot thick slab of ice soaring ninety-three hundred feet above sea level. I immediately felt light-headed, lead-footed, and slightly nauseated, but I still had to drag my bags and the cooler of vaccines to the Dome. I forced my body to move, even though it felt like I could not.*
"I have shown I'm able, quite capable and knowledgeable about how to function in a polar environment. So I was really happy with that side of things", she said. She also mentioned that the hardships she had faced and overcome had reminded her of the struggles of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and other early Antarctica explorers. "When I think of these guys, I think, 'What drove them to want to do this so badly?' Because back then, of course, it was so much more difficult. They challenges they must have faced. Holy crap, you know? People die out here."

And they did. They hadn't the space-age technology available to them back then that modern-day adventurers do now. The high-tech gear, the warm clothing, the speciality foods. They attempted to estimate where they were, they had no GPS devices, no satellite telephones, no way where they could conceivably communicate their status, and their dire situations, requiring emergency assistance. None of which takes away from this woman's feat of courage and strength and creative ability.
The effects of chronic hypoxia, a syndrome caused by oxygen starvation, and hypothermia at the Pole have never been adequately studied. Since enzymes and coenzymes work properly only at certain temperatures, it would be interesting to find out what happens to the chemical reactions in our bodies when our core temperature never rises above ninety-seven degrees, as seems to be the case here.

The history books call the times of Scott and Amundsen and Shackleton the Age of Heroes - an age that ended with Shackleton's fatal heart attack in 1922. But there were still heroes on the Ice: They were here, battling fire and deadly cold to keep us all safe, or for that matter, flying into the deep Antarctic night to drop a precious cargo into a small crescent of burning barrels. * (Ice Bound - a doctor's incredible battle for survival at the South Pole. Dr. Jerry Nielsen.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Security Before Aid

Aftershocks still occurring in Haiti, further terrifying the injured, the homeless, the horribly needy, starving, thirsty people of the capital city and environs. Oh yes, and the other cities of Haiti also struck by the devastating effects of the earthquake. Buildings that had been partially destroyed reacted to further shocks by crumbling into dust and rubble.

Survivors desperately seeking safety sleep wherever they can, as far away from further collapses as possible, out in the open.

"Everything in Haiti is broken. there is not one person in the country without a friend or family member dead", grieved the country's Information Minister. The international community's shock and horror was instantly transformed into pledges of immediate assistance for the hundreds of thousands of starving, desperate Haitians, awaiting medical treatment, coping with the stench of decaying bodies and human excrement scattered everywhere.

And UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, wringing metaphorical hands, said what all such officials have said since time immemorial: "This is one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades. The damage, destruction, loss of life is just overwhelming", visiting Port-au-Prince. The thing of it is, everyone seems to be 'visiting' Port-au-Prince; the world's news media, government officials, humanitarian groups.

The single landing field with its destroyed air traffic control tower has seen landing preference given to visiting elites, re-directing humanitarian missions like that of Doctors Without Borders' urgently-required medical equipment to land elsewhere, in the Dominican Republic, and from there to make their way overland to Haiti. Elites cannot wait; suffering people must.

Looters have taken to smashing into shops in the downtown area to extract whatever of value they can, while they can. Troops have been dispatched from the United States and from Canada to ensure that order can be reinstated, to enable medical personnel to work in safety, tending to the dire wounds of Haitians, before too many more die from lack of medical attention.

Heavily outnumbered police may feel somewhat inadequate to the task, facing off against machete-wielding looters as gangs battle each other over stolen goods. Just as all government institutions collapsed in the earthquake, so too did the national penitentiary holding thousands of Haiti's most dreaded criminals and thugs, releasing them to their former neighbourhoods, to prey on those unable to defend themselves.

Many of the three thousand escaped prison inmates are now armed with assault rifles and guns which they wrested from prison guards. A rumour has gone the rounds that gangs deliberately set fire to the country's collapsed Justice Ministry to ensure records of their criminal past and their incarceration could not be retrieved.

Amid all the chaos and misery the UN has been able to feed about 40,000 starving Haitians. Leaving millions more desperately awaiting help and sustenance. Trucks carrying food and water stream out to various parts of the city only to be halted by clogged streets full of debris and wrecked vehicles hauling away corpses for disposal.

"The distribution is totally disorganized. They are not identifying the people who need the water. The sick and the old have no chance", critiqued one aid worker. But the aid workers and the medical personnel are doing what they can under horribly distressed conditions. Rescue workers from France, Belgium, Spain, Turkey; medical teams from Israel, The U.S., France.

Haitians take comfort in singing God's praise, in praying to Him most high.

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Clearing His Good Name

He has his supporters, chief among them his loyal wife, striving to convince any who would listen that her husband is innocent of all charges brought against him. He is a simple, uncomplicated, ordinary man who wishes nothing more than to be left to live out his life in peace. And security from constantly being harassed by agents of the Canadian government tasked to route out those suspected of having infiltrated Canadian society for the purpose of engaging in violently destructive acts.

Mohamed Harkat stands accused by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service as a "jihadist". CSIS has been tasked by the Government of Canada to "collect, by investigation or otherwise, to the extent that it is strictly necessary, and analyse and retain information and intelligence respecting activities that may on reasonable grounds be suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada and, in relation thereto, shall report to and advise the Government of Canada".

And CSIS has done its duty to the country and to its citizens. The unidentified CSIS agent currently testifying at a federal court hearing with respect to the security certificate regime under which Mr. Harkat was apprehended, characterized the man as a facilitator, one who handled logistics and served as a fetcher, someone who ran errands; not himself directly engaged in the violence that fanatical jihadists are so famed for.

"Ultimately, he is part of the support network that permits groups associated with the bin Laden network to operate", a federal court was informed by the CSIS agent. As far as the federal government is concerned, Mohamed Harkat represents a foot soldier in al-Qaeda's arsenal of dedicated 'holy warrior' personnel arrayed against the West. He has been linked to terror groups associated with al-Qaeda.

He fought in Afghanistan in the 1990s, arriving in Canada as a sleeper agent who could be depended upon to assist in terror activities aimed directly at the country. His original detainment occurred in December 2002, and the government has been attempting since then to deport him to Algeria, where he was born. Mr. Harkat prefers his life in Ottawa, denying ever having aligned himself with terrorism.

However, he has been identified by the nom de guerre of Abu Muslim who operated a Peshawar guest house in Pakistan familiar to the mujahedeen and extremists on their way to and from training camps in Afghanistan. He was well provided with the funding required to establish himself on his arrival in Canada, although he maintained a safe, low profile performing menial work.

The CSIS agent described Mr. Harkat's work as a driver for a mujahedeen leader in Afghanistan, and spoke of his association with an Yemeni who also happens to be a senior al-Qaeda associate. Doubts have been raised about some of the information known about Mr. Harkat on the basis of their having been obtained from the 9/11 mastermind, under U.S. waterboarding torture.

There is one overriding fact here that should not be overlooked. Canadians depend upon their government and the government's security arms to keep them safe and secure from terrorist acts. Any single individual with the background as attributed to Mr. Harkat is not privileged to remain in a country which has good reason to view him with full suspicion as one who might do great harm to the country.

Mr. Harkat is an Algerian, Canada is on good terms with Algeria, a respected country with no reason to believe that it would undertake to punish this man to the extent that he claims. In any event, why is that particularly Canada's problem? Mr. Harkat chose to lend himself to global jihad. Of free will he made the choice to align himself with malign groups choosing to visit death and destruction on the free world.

Extradition is a tool of government that should be available as a way in which the country's safety and security can be assured. No one should believe that their individual religious imperative to express and carry out destructive and murderous acts can trump the aggregate human rights of a country and its population.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Fatwas and Global Responsibilities

Finally, a breath of sanity from Islamic leaders in Canada. After the attempted Christmas Day bombing, some 19 Canadian (and one U.S.) Islamic leader got their heads together and decided to release a religious edict, a fatwa, to express their anger, annoyance and disgust at attacks taking place on North American soil by um, disaffected young Muslims. Stating, unequivocally that in their enlightened collective opinion any attack by extremists within Canada and the United States would clearly constitute an attack upon the ten million Muslims resident in those countries.

Interesting, welcome, and somewhat limited. What about Islamist attacks say in Spain, in the Middle East, in Britain, in Indonesia? Don't they count? Don't law-abiding, faithful Muslims live there too, along with Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Hindus, and perhaps members of other religions. Isn't an attack by fanatical Islamists anywhere at all in the world an attack against freedom, liberty and human rights? Don't all people have the basic right to live as they will, without being terrorized by fundamentalists who consider them human scum?

Perhaps the 20 Islamic leaders would have done well to consult an expert on anti-jihadist activities, another Muslim, for example, whom these attacks pains for many reasons, not the least of which the fact that they are enacted by those who express their devotion to Islam. One cannot doubt that someone of the ilk of Tarek Fatah or Irshad Manji would have been helpful in formulating the declaration, and making it eminently more geographically inclusive.

The intellectual and moral spearhead of the fatwa which honourably states: "In our view, these attacks are evil and Islam requires Muslims to stand up against this evil", was none other than Calgary-based Imam, Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada. Who has said, "We are part of this society. This is my home, and if anybody attacks on Canada, in fact, attacks on my home."

Nice, very nice, Very much appreciated the declaration that it is a duty incumbent upon every Muslim in Canada and the U.S. to safeguard the two countries. Hey, what about all those other countries of the world, don't they need protection from demented, overheated Islamist jihadis? How about extending that fatwa to China, India, the Middle East, Europe, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Yemen, for starters? Isn't a jihadist-missionizing entity a blot on humanity?

And isn't Mr. Soharwardy the very individual who sponsored a Calgary Human Rights tangle with Ezra Levant for his temerity in posting the world-of-Islam-offending Danish Mohammad cartoon and pointing out his personal opinion of Muslim hypocrisy? And what about the postings in the past on his ISCC website equating Israeli-Palestinian relations with a Holocaust perpetrated by Jews upon Arabs?

And his slandering of Christians who had undertaken humanitarian relief in the wake of the Indonesian tsunami disaster, claiming that Christian missionariers were interested only in absconding with Muslim children, and using humanitarian work to rescue the tsunami-afflicted as a ruse for their true purpose? A slander that was responsible in part, for the murder of three Christian schoolchildren by an enraged Muslim in Indonesia?

Imam Sowarhardy was also an enthusiastic proponent of Sharia to become part of the Canadian legal system, a move that would have led to Muslim women becoming victim to sharia law, unprotected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Gee whiz, is this the best we can do? Really?

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At The Nuclear Gates

Not to fret, not to worry. Nuclear Armageddon simply will not happen. Why? Well, just because. We will it not to.

We absolutely and without a second thought refuse to allow it to. Other agencies responsible for keeping the world safe from catastrophic nuclear fission will simply step in to breach the gap - when clearly tainted nuclear administrations in whose hands those armaments have the potential to be surrendered to the avails of terror determination - to save us all.

Pakistan, the world's premier incubator of jihadists, inspiring others to aspire to their heights of success, is thought to be in possession of roughly 80 nuclear warheads. Consider what one or two of those warheads suddenly slipping out of their hands might accomplish. Not to worry; the weapons are guarded. The U.S. has generously given $100-million-worth of technical assistance to Islamabad under its nuclear protection program.

In a spirit of thankfulness and brotherhood, most Pakistani nuclear sites are off limits to curious and expert professional American personnel.

However, it is estimated that between eight to twelve thousand Pakistans are involved in some capacity as part of assembly personnel or security, with the country's nuclear program. So don't even begin to think of the tradition within the country of Islamist infiltration of police, the armed forces - why not the nuclear establishment?

Remember, it wasn't all that long ago that Pakistan's numero uno nuclear scientist sold nuclear know-how - to North Korea, to Libya, to Iran, to Syria. Oops. All those responsible world-member-states enjoying nuclear status. Makes one feel warm and secure, doesn't it? Add that to the conclusions published by the West Point military academy documenting a number of very particular incidents.

A suicide bomber striking Pakistan's nuclear airbase at Kamra; a group of suicide bombers blowing up the gates at a cantonment in Punjab where one of the country's nuclear warhead assembly plants is located; 63 left dead there. Another attack at Kamra nuclear base. An army headquarters attack in Rawalpindi where 10 gunmen in army uniforms held the base for 22 hours. Another attack in Islamabad at the naval command centre.

All extremely secure, well-guarded, high-value sites. Last year alone over three thousand Pakistani citizens were killed in terror attacks. Somehow it is the Americans the citizens of Pakistan revile and detest, not the Islamists among them. And the country's military leaders have no intention of sharing control of the country's nuclear program with any foreign interests, particularly the U.S.

Although they appear incapable of protecting and defending their own critical police and armed forces and governmental institutions from attack, they are more than confident that safety measures they have taken are more than adequate to meet the challenge of al-Qaeda determination to avail themselves of nuclear devices that go pouffe! you're dead.

Kind of comforting that the U.S. army is in the process of training a crack unit to seal off and neutralize Pakistan's nuclear weapons. In the event, the dimmest of possibilities, that evil lurks where it should not, and terrorists somehow get control of the means to make the world even more miserable than it already is.

Until you remember how reliably astute and capable U.S. secret service agencies [and the U.S. army in protecting its own from home-bred assailants] have become....

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