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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Knife at a Gunfight

The multiplicity of Palestinian governing bodies have been contradicting each other as they flop around incapable of reaching a real peace with either Israel or their own militants. Within two days they have suggested they would abandon the dual state solution:
In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said if peace talks fail and Mr. Sharon follows through with his "disengagement" plan, the Palestinians would push for a single bi-national state of Arabs and Jews.

Such a scenario would spell disaster for Israel's Jewish character, because the Palestinians' higher birthrate would soon put Arabs in the majority.
globe and mail
Then, today,
Palestinian leaders on Saturday reasserted the right to unilaterally declare an independent state in the absence of a peace deal with Israel, responding to Israel's own threats of one-sided action.

The go-it-alone declarations reflect both sides' frustrations with more than three years of fighting and stalled peace talks.

The executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, one of the Palestinians' key leadership bodies, met late Friday to discuss the ongoing conflict with Israel and reiterated the right to declare a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Arab parts of Jerusalem ? lands that Israel took control of in the 1967 Mideast War.
globe and mail
What these statements reflect, along with a remarkable incoherence in Palestinian policy making, is the reality that with Iraq gone, the Saudis disinclined to continue funding terror and the militants refusing to even discuss disarming per the roadmap, the Palestinians have been painted into a corner. And it is a shrinking corner as the Israelis, fed up with the ongoing homicide bombings, roll on with their fence. A fence which is strikingly simple in conception and which will quickly reduce the militant to impotence against Israel.

As I point out below, the Israelis don't have much to worry about when it comes to the idea of a war in the cradle. The internet gives the State of Israel the capacity to offer virtual citizenship to every Jew in the world.

A unilateral declaration of the state of Palestine would be a remarkable and rather interesting event. If that state claimed only to the pre-1967 boundaries it might well be that the Israelis would be inclined to say, "OK, there's your state." But it would not solve the real issue which the Palestinians are unwilling to face: their own death culture and the militants it creates.

To have a real Palestinian state that state would have to be able to ensure security within its borders. But, time and again, the various Palestinian governmental organizations have refused to take action against the Palestinian militants. Were there to be a state of Palestine, those militants would have to be contained. If they were not the Israelis would, rather quickly, declare war and wipe out as much of the terrorist infrastructure as they could reach.

The reason often cited for the Palestinian failure to control its militants is that to do so would be to create a civil war. Which is probably true. When Israel was created the need to eliminate independent armed forces created much the same situation:
The famous incident of the Altalena does appear. The American vessel, purchased by the Etzel and dubbed with Jabotinsky's pen name, set sail from Marseilles loaded with weapons for the newly created State of Israel, in late May, 1948, and reached the Israeli coast during a month-long truce. A dispute over the distribution of the weapons (now illegal, due to the truce) between the Etzel and the new government resulted in Prime Minister David Ben Gurion's order to fire on the ship.

Nineteen men were killed, the weapons were lost to Israel's war effort, and the rift between Israel's Right and Left widened.

But the incident increased Ben-Gurion's determination to impose unity and discipline on all fighting forces, under one sovereign government. By the second part of Israel's War of Independence the various military forces were fusing, according to one standard, into the Israel Defense Force.
jerusalem post
At some point some Palestinian is going to have to make the decision Ben-Gurion was faced with. To date not one of the Prime Ministers has shown any inclination to do so. The Troll of RamallahTM is never going to crack down on his own fighters. So the Palestinians are trapped by their own cowardice in an increasingly dire situation.

My own sense is that the contradictory positions coming out of Palestine at the moment foreshadow the realization on the Palis part that the game they have played until now has failed. Partially because it was a short sighted, nasty and hopeless game to begin with; but mainly because 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq have changed everything. Up to and including the willingness of the Americans and the Israelis to keep playing such circular and murderous games.

Now the Palestinians are going to have to have what I hope will be a short, sharp civil war which will bring a realist administration into power. The alternative is to be locked down behind the wall and forgotten.

Armed and Dangerous

Next time wussy Mark Steyn goes on and on about how safe his little American town is because all the citizens are packing, we might remind him that Canadians are way too tough to need guns:

The moral for a man who broke into a Newmarket home just after midnight yesterday: Don't underestimate an older couple with an attitude and a few good kitchen implements on hand.

A good thing for the intruder that Gladys, 59, didn't find her rolling pin. If she had, he might have had a few more bruises to add to those he got being shoved down the stairs and pummelled by Gladys' husband Clifford, 66, and then struck repeatedly in the back by Gladys wielding her metal tea kettle.

"I couldn't find the rolling pin so I picked up the first thing I saw," Gladys said yesterday as she sat beside her husband in their modest home. "I wish I had found something heavier. If I had thought faster I would have got my rolling pin from the kitchen drawer."

"I grabbed the telephone and phoned 911 while I heard my husband struggling in the basement," the 5-foot-tall woman said. As she dialled, Clifford smacked the intruder with every ounce of energy he could muster in their dark basement.

"He fell down all 10 stairs and I ran down behind him," Clifford said. "I grabbed him around the neck and kept punching him and punching him and he rolled over on his back.

"He kept yelling at me to stop hitting him because he was on drugs. But I told him I wasn't finished with him yet."

Clifford said the culprit tried to kick him but he managed to get away, then grabbed the culprit's feet as he ran upstairs.

Once upstairs, Clifford took the phone, and that's when Gladys went into action.

"I turned around and saw this tall man trying to get out of the back door, and I thought to myself, you son-of-a-gun," Gladys said. "I picked up the kettle and started driving it into the back of him and he kept trying to get out the back door.

"He never said anything. I just kept hitting him until he got out of the door. I knew I had to protect my husband with everything I had."
toronto star(hat tip: acccordian guy)

San Francisco Indymedia Implodes: smiles and Chuckles all round

Go read the comments on the implosion of SFindymedia - home of the craziest leftie Bush/Hitler folks on the net - is having an internal war. Oh Joy! But the best part is that both Instapundit and Little Green Footballs have the war up on their mega sites. Which leads to a vast string of hilarious comments.

Update:I just tried going to that set of comments....I was automatically redirected to their front page....Indymedia.....They can dish it out but they sure can't take it.



With the Islamist militant groups, we face people who hate us more than they love life. When you have large numbers of people ready to commit suicide, and ready to do it by making themselves into human bombs, using the most normal instruments of daily life ? an airplane, a car, a garage door opener, a cellphone, fertilizer, a tennis shoe ? you create a weapon that is undeterrable, undetectable and inexhaustible. This poses a much more serious threat than the Soviet Red Army because these human bombs attack the most essential element of an open society: trust.
Thomas Friedman, nyt
Friedman kicks off a five part series on how to contain the terror within the Muslim world with this pretty astute observation. Because if the West loses its capacity to create and protect trust amongst its citizens it begins to lose the very things which make it worth preserving. Terrorists must not be allowed to do this.

The Downside

Peter Tupper catches the Mars fever but quickly recovers:
Considering the track records of sending probes to land on Mars, perhaps we should think twice before actually sending people to the Moon and Mars, as President Bush reportedly will soon announce.

This may also result in scrapping the shuttle fleet.

I can think of all kinds of bad scenarios: draining away billions of dollars in economic hard times, crippling unmanned probe missions and space science, losing the American presence in space entirely, some catastrophe killing a crew.

I suspect that the next person to set foot on the Moon will speak Chinese, not English.
mighty fast pig
I suspect this post pretty much sums up the raft of objections which will be raised - mainly on the mushy left - to the entire enterprise. Here are some quick answers:

"track records of sending probes to land on Mars" are not awful. I don't have the stats to hand but as I recall it is about 60/40 loss/land overall. Yes, it is too bad about the Beagle. But robots do the darnedest things. A manned craft will tend to solve problems like a bit of debris in front of the tire..."hey, Bob, would you kick that rock out of the way".

"This may also result in scrapping the shuttle fleet." And this would be a bad thing because?? The shuttle fleet, or what's left of it, is twenty year old technology and materials science. There are dozens of alternatives and most of them would be more efficient, less polluting and much less expensive.

"draining away billions of dollars in economic hard times" Which hard times would those be. The American economy is growing at 7%, the Fed is looking the possiblity of a 0% fed funds rate square in the eye, the stock market is surging and the unemployment rate is dropping. More to the point, the investment in a Moon base and a Mars mission would stimulate virtually every sector of the American economy. Not to mention the confidence boost it would give the American people.

"crippling unmanned probe missions and space science" not likely. If anything, the unmanned program would get a huge boost from a) setting up a Moon base from which probes could be launched at a fraction of the current cost, (You can't quite throw a probe out of the Moons gravity well, but a decent hallowe'en rocket would ddo the trick. (Leaving aside the little problem of getting gunpowder to burn without oxygen.)) b) the need to place supplies on Mars reliably, c) the ability to build a space station in Mars orbit, d) the ability to launch probes from Mars with its much lighter gravity.

"losing the American presence in space entirely, some catastrophe killing a crew" People are likely to die on this project as they did on the way to discovering America. Missions will be lost. The records of the early days of flight attest to just how risky this sort of thing is. But, if people are willing to go at it with a clear goal in mind, eventually the entire process will become safe and inexpensive. Kinda like civil aviation is today.

"I suspect that the next person to set foot on the Moon will speak Chinese, not English." If you have a hundred dollars I would be happy to take the American side of that bet. The Chinese are at the "spam in the can stage" and there is no reason to think they are going to get to the Moon in less than a couple of decades.

Moon, Mars and Beyond

President Bush is setting up to announce a serious and far reaching program to establish a base on the Moon and the send men to Mars. I am enough of a child of the 60's to remember being in a little town in Massachusetts watching the first moon landing. And, out of all of the interviews I've done in the last few years, one of the highlights was to meet Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon.

A few weeks ago Donald Rumsfeld sent a memo which suggested that despite the successes in the war on terror, the root causes of that war were not being addressed. In it he asked,
Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.
usa today
No doubt he had in mind a direct assault on the madradssas; but the real war is actually won and lost before a family sends its son to learn nothing but the Koran and jihad.

The great adventure of space, the drama and the narrative of technology, courage and the high frontier is the exact antidote for the brutal medievalism of the madradssas. If you are a little Pakistani or Syrian or Palestinian boy your imagination will be engaged, your dreams captured by the sheer beauty and power of space exploration. And, deep down, as the mullah villifies the Great Satan, you will ask why there is no Islamic space program.

Here is the great opportunity America, and the West at large, needs to help shove the Islamic world into the 21st century. As I write India, the second largest Muslim nation in the world, is quickly becoming an information and technical economy. Its programmers and techs are hauling the long dormant Indian world toward the forefront of the world's real opportunities for wealth. Much the same thing is happening in China. It is not happening in the Islamic world.

A Moon base and the manned exploration of Mars is a multi-decade project. It will require resources from around the world. And somewhere within the billions that will be spent there needs to be a few million to create interest in the Islamic world. Partially this can be done simply with lots of free literature in the relevant languages. Websites, interactive games and little plastic models can all play their part. But, more ambitiously, there is no reason that there cannot be schools set up which, while Islamic in religious preference, focus on training the very best Islamic students in the basic sciences, math and languages needed to be part of the new space program.

The key thing here being to invest enough money so that admission to "Space School" is a real, rather than statistical, possibility. It is the sort of program which needs to start very early. The objective could be to offer a real alternative to the purely religious education of the madradssas which would equip its graduates to play a role in the 21st century world. In essence it would offer the village parents a choice for their children.

Much of the funding for the current, jihadi driven, madradssas has come from Saudi and other Gulf states eager to either export Wahabbism or, more cynically, Wahabbis who threaten the regimes of those states. As the bombs go off in the Kingdom the foundations and charities which have engaged in this activity are pulling back their funding lest they be accused of funding terrorism. It might well be possible to convince these foundations to pitch in to help fund the poorer Islamic students at Space School.

There are great practical reasons to go back to the Moon and to get to Mars;but the most important reasons are intangible. This grand human enterprise, this great dream, might well be the lynch pin around which a new, modern and pragmatic Islam is constructed. Not for nothing is the crescent moon the symbol of the Muslim world.


The dreams aren't nearly bad enough to qualify as nightmares. They're more nightcolts--annoying, but little more. If a nightmare's a banshee thundering out of your closet with a soulsplitting shriek, a nightcolt's a kid with a sheet over his head jumping out and going "Boo".
ratty's ghost
This girl's writing could get addictive. It isn't the topic, it is the 11 degree twist from reality which guides her hand. Wonderful.

What the looney right doesn't get

In the new Club for Growth ad, a farmer says, "Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading ...," as his wife finishes, "... Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs!"
ny daily news
On of the reasons I blanch at being labeled a conservative is the total lack of realism or sophistication in some conservatives views of liberals and of their fellow conservatives. Latte sipping is the name of a column Jeremy Lott has at the American Spectator. Sushi eating, hello! It's common as dirt throughout middle America. This is simply silly. And it speaks to the fear of any sort of change which infects a certain sort of social conservative, finger waggling, mentality. If latte sipping and eating raw fish are evil, it is simply impossible to imagine what these folks must think of homosexual marriage or legalizing marijuana.


Mud at The Miracle

Copies of a B.C. Muslim newspaper have been turned over to the province's hate crimes unit after it published an article accusing "the Jews" of everything from faking the Holocaust to staging the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Canadian Jewish Congress made a complaint seeking a criminal investigation into what it called "a virulently anti-Semitic article" published in The Miracle, a weekly newspaper distributed in mosques in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
national post(via Damian Penny)

If there was a justification for Hate Crime Laws, publishing Edgar Steele's vile rantings would be it. The tragedy of taking a classical liberal position is that I worry more about the danger of the state being able to invent thought crimes than the minimal damage an idiot like Steele, and the morons who publish him, will inflict.

The problem is that when I want to suggest that certain strains of Islam are violent and hate filled, I want to be able to do that without a busy body being able to charge me with a hate crime. And, to be able to do that I have to object to the lunacy of hate crime legislation in general. Very unCanadian of me I know; but there it is.

What the publisher might want to consider, and I have no doubt the Senator and the MP are considering right now, is why such rubbish would be of interest to the readers of The Miracle. If it is a matter of giving the people what they want then they are simply promoting hatred and should be called on it. If it is free speech then they should immediately grant a reply to the CJC. (Likely one word -"Bullshit" - would suffice. If this is a genuine editorial position then the following should happen, a) all government subsidy of whatever kind should be immediately and permenantly withdrawn, b) all advertising paid for by the people of Canada or by our political parties should be immediately and permenantly withdraw, c) the RCMP and CSIS should immediately undertake an investigation to determine if The Miracle has any terrorist links or foreign funding from terrorist organizations.

Blogging Light, Head Stuffed

Sorry to be so light here. I have a cold, Susan has a cold, Sam has a cold...We're a snuffy bunch.


Kansas City

The Kansas City Star has the article I was interviewed for up. There is an irritating registration so just use

password tada
You can read it here.

And thanks to Smug Canadian for the heads up.

Ah, there's the Beagle

This just in on the fate of the Beagle.Ah, there you are.



Our ex PM came 20th overall out of 65 in the polling for Idiotarian of the Year over at Little Green Footballs. Not too shabby for a Canuck. Thanks to all who voted.

Wahoo, Snow!

The proprietor - that's him above on the right, and I are taking an hour or two off to go and frolic in Vancouver snow before it turns to.....rain. But, as I prayed from the time I got to Vancouver when I was seven, maybe it con't....Maybe it will snow two or three feet....Maybe.

What's Up in Saudi

The two camps divide over a single question: whether the state should reduce the power of the religious establishment. On the right side of the political spectrum, the clerics and Nayef take their stand on the principle of Tawhid, or "monotheism," as defined by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the eponymous founder of Wahhabism. In their view, many people who claim to be monotheists are actually polytheists and idolaters. For the most radical Saudi clerics, these enemies include Christians, Jews, Shi`ites, and even insufficiently devout Sunni Muslims. From the perspective of Tawhid, these groups constitute a grand conspiracy to destroy true Islam. The United States, the "Idol of the Age," leads the cabal. It attacked Sunni Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, both times making common cause with Shi`ites; it supports the Jews against the Sunni Muslim Palestinians; it promotes Shi`ite interests in Iraq; and it presses the Saudi government to de-Wahhabize its educational curriculum. Cable television and the Internet, meanwhile, have released a torrent of idolatry. With its permissive attitude toward sex, its pervasive Christian undertones, and its support for unfettered female freedom, U.S. culture corrodes Saudi society from within.

Tawhid is closely connected to jihad, the struggle -- sometimes by force of arms, sometimes by stern persuasion -- against idolatry. In the minds of the clerics, stomping out pagan cultural and political practices at home and supporting war against Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq are two sides of the same coin. Jihad against idolatry, the clerics never tire of repeating, is eternal, "lasting until Judgment Day," when true monotheism will destroy polytheism once and for all.
Michael Scott Doran, foreign affairs, et seq.
The good news is this is not the only Saudi position as Doran goes on to point out in this crucial Foreign Affairs piece.
the doctrine of Taqarub -- rapprochement between Muslims and non-Muslims -- marks the left. Taqarub promotes the notion of peaceful coexistence with nonbelievers. It also seeks to expand the political community by legitimizing the political involvement of groups that the Wahhabis consider non-Muslim -- Shi`ites, secularists, feminists, and so on. In foreign policy, Taqarub downplays the importance of jihad, allowing Saudis to live in peace with Christian Americans, Jewish Israelis, and even Shi`ite Iranians. In short, Taqarub stands in opposition to the siege mentality fostered by Tawhid.
It is an argument rather like the arguments which raged over the legitimacy of the Inquisition. After all, if one knows the truth one is obliged to defend that truth and that, rather quickly, leads to the idea of heresy. If you take your version of the truth seriously, a heretic is an offence against God to be dealt with by death or forced conversion. Not so very long ago, the Western world fought war after war between those whose beliefs could not tolerate the existence of the beliefs of others and those who left the final judgement to God. It is the critical hinge in Western history and one which still creaks today.

The founding of the American Republic was the first time a state specifically excluded itself from deciding questions of religion. Other states have followed; but America was the first flower of this Enlightenment. For the Muslim world that Enlightenment is, as the pomos would say, contested:
To better understand how al Qaeda reads Saudi Arabia's political map, one can turn to the work of Yusuf al-Ayyiri, a prolific al Qaeda propagandist who died last June in a skirmish with the Saudi security services. Just before his death he wrote a revealing book, The Future of Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula After the Fall of Baghdad, which gives a good picture of how al Qaeda activists perceive the world around them.

According to al-Ayyiri, the United States and Israel are the leaders of a global anti-Islamic movement -- "Zio-Crusaderism" -- that seeks the destruction of true Islam and dominion over the Middle East. Zio-Crusaderism's most effective weapon is democracy, because popular sovereignty separates religion from the state and thereby disembowels Islam, a holistic religion that has a strong political dimension. In its plot to denature Islam, al-Ayyiri claims, Zio-Crusaderism embraces three local allies: secularists, Shi`ites, and lax Sunnis (that is, those who sympathize with the idea of separating religion from state). Al Qaeda's "near enemy," in other words, is the cluster of forces supporting Taqarub.
It is pretty obvious that the Saudis are not the West's friends. What Doran is able to do is show the roots of this anger and the paranoia which drives it. Again, it is useful to remember that the Inquisition's greatest concern were heretics, not infidels; the parallel with the Sunni Wahhabi's fury and fear of the Shi'ites, both within the Kingdom and throughout the Gulf, is striking.


Why America Wins Wars

Specialist James Kiehl, age 22, from Comfort, Texas, was killed, along with six other soldiers at the same place and the same day that Jessica Lynch was taken prisoner. His body was one of those that our special forces heroes dug up with their bare hands near the hospital in Iraq. They held the funeral service in Comfort at the Baptist Church, and then took him ten miles to Center Point, Texas, and buried him.
soldier's funeral

When we turned off the highway suddenly there were teenage boys along both sides of the street about every 20 feet or so, all holding large American flags on long flag poles, and again with their hands on their hearts. We thought at first it was the Boy Scouts or 4H club or something, but it continued .... for two and a half miles.
(via Andrew Sullivan)

Song Lyrics

Excellent, popup free, spam free, song lyric site. Better still is the fine print:
All lyrics are provided for informational and educational purposes only, mostly for my wife who's a librarian who's sick of getting hammered with pop-ups at work when someone asks her to look for a song lyric. Enjoy the spam-free fruits of listening to her complain. Song lyrics are subject to all U.S. copyright laws and remain property of their respective owners. If you're one of those copyright owners or their legal representatives and want your material removed from this site, send an e-mail to . If you're a webmaster from another lyrics site who's going to threaten me or pretend to be a lawyer, save yourself the trouble because I'll just ignore you. For anything else you can reach me at
song lyrics library
Can you say "fair use"? There, I knew you could. (via

Jean Chretien needs your vote!

Over at Little Green Footballs our ex-Prime Minister is being creamed in the Idiotarian of the Year Voting. Now, ok, I know he doesn't stand a chance against an Idiot the size of Michael Moore. We'd have to send in Canada's own Naomi Klein to stand a chance against that colossus. But here are the competition in our weight division:

7. Kofi Annan 383 3.5%

8. BBC 344 3.1%

9. International Solidarity Movement 309 2.8%

10. Jacques Chirac 289 2.6%

Maureen Dowd 289 2.6%

George Soros 284 2.6%

Democratic Underground 251 2.3%

Al Franken 212 1.9%

Noam Chomsky 199 1.8%

Your votes (and you get five so give 'em all to the little guy from Shawinigan) have pushed Jean from 115 to 149 in just a few hours. Voting closes at 11:59 PST tomorrow so let's get in there an give Jean the send off he deserves. Go here to vote!


The last time this happened Detroit very nearly went under.
Gas power gave way to the future yesterday with the Toyota Prius, a so-called "hybrid" vehicle, driving away with North American car of the year honours. If last year's hype was about horsepower, this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit puts the spotlight on new ways to motor -- hybrids that combine electric power with another energy source, such as fuel cells or low-emission gasoline engines.
london free press
If people are offered the choice between expensive, polluting, inefficient cars and sleek hybrids, lots of them are going to go for the silent menace. The question is whether Detroit learned anything from having its luch eaten in the 1970's as people voted for Honda Civics to extend their gas mileage.

Words, Now Action

Just how far the writ of the new Afghanistan constitution will run is an open question.
In some respects, however, the constitution is more conservative than its draft version. Muslim fundamentalists lost their demands for a parliamentary democracy, but the strict interpretation of Islamic law known as sharia appears to have been introduced by the back door. The constitution was amended to say that "no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam."

There were also concessions to women, who are politically and socially disenfranchised. Men and women have been declared equal, despite fierce resistance from fundamentalists. Also, two female delegates from each of the 32 provinces will be represented in the lower house, twice the number allotted in the draft version. But some female delegates complained the constitution did not go far enough because the right of girls not to be forced into marriage ? a major problem ? was not mentioned.
What is important here is the fact the loya jirga met, deliberated, voted and very nearly fell apart without there being a full scale inter-ethnic or civil war. This, on its own is encouraging.

None of this will please the Taliban or Osama - if he is not actually dead - but, then, that is really the point isn't it.


Blogs Canada

Jim Elve's Blogs Canada is listed at #18 over at Truth Laid Bare....Outstanding!

Vote Early, Vote Often

Its time for Robert Fisk Award for Idiotarian of 2003. Now I know that faced with the fatman, Michael Moore and France, Canada doesn't have a chance....but let's not forget our former PM's performance as Chirac's BitchTM. I think he should at least get into the run off. So, with less than 24 hours of voting to go the little guy from Shawinigan is stuck at 116 votes...I figure about 350 should push him over the top. Vote at Little Green Footballs and vote stategically. You have five votes. Plumping for Jean, that is voting five times in a row for him, while it may dislocate your sense of democratic decency, will bang him up to the top of the poll in no time. And, for all you bloggers out there, post a note and send more Canadian votes our guy's way.