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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Hoisting the Blue Jack

Nick Packwood at Ghost of a Flea has created the Red Ensign blogs, a collection of bloggers who recognize and celebrate Canada's proud history in the face of the sad depths to which thirty years of hopeless government have brought us. As Nick puts it,
This country has also been a force for liberty. The third largest navy in the world fed Britain through the dark days of the Blitz and Hitler's north Atlantic wolf packs. This is the country that took Vimy Ridge and that stormed Juno Beach. Let's bring back that Canada.
ghost of a flea
The flag you see here and will see over at the top of the right column is not the Red Ensign; rather it is the Royal Canadian Navy Jack which my father served under during his service in the Navy during World War II. He was one of the men who kept the wolf packs at bay.

September is a funny month for me. My father died in September almost twenty years ago. We had, by the time he died, moved from antagonists to friends and, in a very strange sense, had become best friends. I say strange because our friendship really began when I recommended Anthony Powell's "A Dance to the Music of Time" to him and he devoured it. Right then our friendship, our sense of enjoying one another's company, was locked in.

My dad was a profoundly conservative man in ways which I will never be. He really had fought for King and Country which, for a kid from the poor end of Hamilton, was key. It was key to understanding the rest of his life as well.

When he volunteered as a rating the Navy sent him back for his first year at McMaster. He was barely seventeen and they had plenty of seventeen year olds who did not have a place in university. But, a year in, he went.

As a young man Dad had two great talents: the first was a nearly perfect memory for cards. As a rating he was making twenty to thirty dollars a week playing poker. Patiently. The second was a draftsman's eye for pinups. With a little tempra paint my dad put truly bodacious babes on sailor's duffle bags throughout the fleet. Five to ten bucks a bag and he'd take six or eight out on patrol in the corvette at the mouth of the St. Lawrence. (And, yes, I would give my eye teeth for one of those duffle bags, one on which must be in an attic somewhere.)

Over a beer one night he told me that he was making more money as a rating in a week than his father made as a postman in a month. "I've never been richer. Even after sending my mother my sailor's pay."

It didn't last. After Dad was overheard by senior officers arguing with a gunnery officer that the aim of the gun my father was about to shoot would hit the lighthouse at the point outside Halifax habour - the round missed by no more than half a dozen yards - off Dad went to officer training. At eighteen, he became the youngest sub-lieutenant in the Canadian - or, for that matter, the Royal, navy. No more poker, no more babes on sailor's duffle bags.

There was one problem: as an officer Dad had to supervise the shore patrol which rousted the sailors from the bars of Newfie John and Halifax. The problem was that, by law, he was three years too young to actually enter those bars. I asked him how he solved it. "Oh, I lied and the doormen took one look at the military police behind me and believed me."

When Dad died we covered his coffin with the Navy Jack. I could not be prouder to fly it on this site. I miss my Dad every day.


Sully gets defensive

I get countless emails from mostly conservatives arguing that the only reason that I have become disanchanted with Bush is that I'm gay, obsessed with gay marriage, and nothing else matters to me. They even accuse me of betraying the war because of it. On the left, some agree. These kinds of charges, because they are really about my motives and integrity as a writer, are impossible to disprove, and so I have largely ignored them.
andrew sullivan
I wrote an article at the beginning of March about Sullivan's wobblies at the American Spectator. In it I said,
At a guess Sullivan has been finding it a tad difficult to lead a sushi/latte, blue state lifestyle, replete with liberal friends, old Harvard chums and lazy summer days in P-town without, once in a while, saying what he really feels about Bush’s social conservatism. In that company, and kicking around ideas at The New Republic, it is pretty hard to ignore the absence of any sort of fiscal plan, exit strategy for Iraq or, or candor about WMD’s.

Sullivan has too subtle a mind to miss the inconsistencies between his personal positions and the positions the President has maintained to entice straight, non-blogging, Evangelical Christian, red state core supporters to help re-elect him. So Sullivan has a dilemma. Sullivan wants the Republicans to win in 2004, but he also seems to want the party to ditch the social conservatives and fundamentalists whose politics he despises. Bush doesn’t. Bush can count noses, Sullivan doesn’t have to.
My sense is that the FMA brought home to Sullivan how profoundly conservative, in the non-libertarian sense of the word, Bush really is. His doubts about Bush are very much my own. The essential difference is that when I look at Kerry I cannot imagine America or the West being anything other than devasted by four years of a man so utterly out of touch with America and, frankly, the rest of the world.

If the world worked entirely on the basis of elites Kerry might be a sound choice; but the world doesn't. It works because regular people who know which cars they own - because they have to make the payments every month - show up. Bush understands that, Kerry doesn't and does not, in fifty days, have the capacity to learn, even if he wanted to. Which he doesn't.

It's precisely because I am so pro-war that I am so enraged that this administration went into Iraq on a wing and a prayer, when so much was at stake. I'm not alone in this among many neoconservatives; I'm just alone in being so vocal about it. I still hope we win; and I will support any president, including this one, who is serious about fighting it. But, unlike others, I cannot ignore the evidence of incompetence in front of me for short-term political reasons.
Sullivan is wrestling with his sure knowledge that Kerry really is a threat to the security of the West. His rage is our rage, his anger at the failure of the present Administration to prosecute the war with the rigor and the ruthlessness which it requires is our anger.

The difference is that I know, as does Sullivan though he won't admit it, that Kerry would be ever so much worse.

A bet: come election day Sullivan, disgusted with Johnny Cambodia will be back to holding his nose and backing Bush. What a long strange trip it will have been.


Steyn on Kerry

f I’ve been following the campaign correctly, the typical John Kerry day involves an early-morning stop at Bud’s Truck Stop on Rte 103 at which the Senator orders a hot dog. Asked what he wants on it, he says an aubergine and lemongrass coulis. Afterwards, he heads to Idaho for a windsurfing photo-op to communicate his virility, after first flying out his stylist from Cristophe’s to mousse his hair into its windswept and tousled position. Following questions from the press on the cost of his hairdresser, he first denies that he has a hairdresser and then, when her curling tongs and rollers are pointed out in the back of his family’s SUV, snaps, “She’s not my hairdresser, she’s the family’s hairdresser.”
mark steyn
You owe it to yourself to go read Mark on Johnny Cambodia. Funny and utterly devastating.

Don't be Cheeky to Mother

The CBC, the Mother Corp to all the Canadas has sent the following letter to which provides an RSS feed from the CBC. (A service which the CBC does not currently provide.) I'll quote the letter in full:
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 15:06 DST
From: Maggy Larouche (

We are writing you in regard to your website (the "Site") and more specifically regarding CBC RSS feed available at:

Your current use of CBC content infringes CBC's intellectual property rights. This includes, without limiting, to use CBC headlines, lead and link to full stories, to publish and distribute CBC content without its authorisation.

By using CBC intellectual property fraudulently, the Site and its owners are breaking the law and infringe upon CBC rights. In consequence, we are summoning you to remove the CBC RSS feed from the Site within 24 hours upon sending this email. If you do not make the requested modifications, we will have no alternative than to make a demand to the court to that effect without delay. CBC reserves all legal and fairness rights, including, without limiting, claims for damages and interests against those implicated in violation of CBC's rights.

We thank your for your comprehension and cooperation.

Sincerely yours,
Maggy Larouche
Distribution Manager
New Media
As Sean over at Polspy puts it,
To any CBC employees reading PolSpy, here’s what I have to say: Listen up you clueless fucktards, you don’t own any intellectual property. Your ‘corporation’ is funded by and owned by Canadians. What you own, we own. It’s our intellectual property, not yours. If that bothers you then I suggest you goddamn well privatize and get your filthy mitts out of my wallet.
Sean was feeling a wee bit cranky when he wrote that and is not legally correct; but he sure as hell catches the right sentiment.

Legally, the status of hyperlinks - which, to a degree, is what an RSS feed is - is more than a little problematic. Clearly a link to the front page of a site is fair game, but what about "deep linking", that is linking directly to the page where the story is? (Which is the bread and butter of blogging.) A good roundup of the legal issues in the American context can be found at who I deep link to here.

However, as I understand what are doing they are probably copying the headlines from CBC and placing them in a file which, in turn, generates the RSS feed. Which would look rather more like an infringement. But here my own ignorance of exactly how an RSS feed works limits the usefulness of my comments.

What the CBC should realize, however, is that has done the Mother Corp a huge favour by ensuring its material is available to the growing number of people who are using RSS feeds.

Rather than letting loose the lawyers a much more creative solution would be to hire to consult on providing the RSS feeds and, gosh, put the feed on the CBC site...Bet it would cost less than suing them.

(As Ms. Larouche was kind enough to offer her email address why not drop her a line. I know I will.)

Martin's Dilemma

In his first speech to the UN General Assembly, Mr. Martin staked his ground as an ardent multilateralist, prepared to sacrifice some of the sovereign rights of nations for effective international protection of populations.

It is a position sure to meet resistance from many countries which fear interference in their internal affairs.

Mr. Martin criticized the UN Security Council for dithering while people in the Darfur region of Sudan were massacred and driven from their homes by government-supported militias.

After more than a year of debate, the Security Council recently passed a resolution threatening sanctions if Sudan does not stop the violence, and endorsing an African Union peacekeeping force for the region.

Mr. Martin announced that Canada will provide $20-million to the AU force, and called on other countries to ante up.

"It is good that the international community is moving but it has taken far too long," the Prime Minister said, adding he would have preferred a more "robust" resolution.

"The Security Council has been bogged down in debating the issue. . . . The fact is, though, that while the international community struggles with definitions, the people of Darfur struggle with disaster."

He said the UN, as part of a reform process now under way, should adopt a principle called "responsibility to protect," which would assert the right to intervene in a country when the government is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens.
globe and mail
Which is great. It would be wonderful to think the UN would take a robust stance on protecting human rights. It is nice to know that Martin is on record supporting this. Supporting intervention "in a country when the government is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens". is an absoutely grand idea.

What it would have meant is that Canada would have supported the invasion of Iraq - which was actively denying its citizens their rights and that we can look forward to deposing the regimes in Khartoum and Zimbabwe.

All great ideas.

Except, of course, the Carolyn Parrish end of the Liberal Party will have a litmus test for intervention - do the Americans support the intervention? OK, then we don't. For the left of the Liberal Party and the entire NDP protecting human rights takes backseat to cleaving a foreign policy seperate from - if not actively hostile to - American foreign policy. (Especially under Bush but if Johnny Cambodia is elected there is not going to be a sudden rush to support US foreign policy goals.)

Martin's dilemma lies in having to reconcile his own, somewhat idealist beliefs with the staunch anti-Americanism of much of his party.

top Ten tips for Bush

Good advice with tounge firmly in cheek over at Tech Central Station
3) Debate Nader. After slanderously accusing you of suppressing votes, the Democrats abuse the legal system seeking to deprive Nader of State ballot access. Counteract this actual vote suppression by giving Nader debate-generated free publicity.

4) Promote a first ladies debate. I'm sure you know why this would help you. I bet that Kerry's richer half would eagerly debate, and the colorful language she would employ in debate would liven up the campaign.

Spooky News

Dr. Norm Spector has transfered his for free daily press summary to what I assume is a paying gig at McLeans....Meaning McLeans gets it.

Three issues: no hotlinks (huge mistake), no comments, no links to other bloggers.

Against which you have to consider than Spector used to write these things for Prime Ministers.

Status Quo

Over at the BlogsCanada E-Group, Canadian rocker and pomo political analyst Mathew Good, has been writing about Iraqi politics. In the comments he wrote,
"That’s not to say that such logic is absolutely inaccurate, but like the example of imperialist complication of social behaviour, the acceptance of a global status quo based on the understanding that a moderate evil is the best possible option is to doom the possibility of the development of new social and political models based on conditions unknown to us."
Blogs Canada E-group

There need not be an acceptance of a global status quo - but be careful what you wish for.

The neo-con argument for the intervention in Iraq was the remaking of not only Iraqi society but the entire, sick, set of societies in the Middle East. Now you and I disagree as to the legitimacy of such an intervention; but you will agree that it certainly represents a significant departure from the status quo, business as usual approach which characterized the West's relationship with the Middle East.

There is a substantial conservative criticism of the war which argues that distrubing the status quo was a) none of the West's business, b) likely to release greater devils than Saddam, c) not in the West's interests. This criticism was based on the premise of "inherency", namely that the Middle East and Muslim society in general was incapable of becoming any less barbaric, any more democratic.

At this moment the barbarism of the insurgents in Iraq is going some way to proving the conservative's arguement. The quaint, medieval, directed by God, beheadings suggest that the Iraqis are not ready to become more democratic or even able to value human life.

The religious fanaticism of al-Sadr and his milita also provide compelling evidence that the Shi'ite majority is too obsessed with religious purity to allow the formation of a civil society.

John Kerry, with his assertions that the interim Iraqi government and the Coalition have lost control over large sections of Iraq, is providing yet more confirmation that the Iraqi people are simply incapable of democracy or respect for human rights. Today, Kerry basically called the interim Prime Minister of Iraq a liar for suggesting the violence is confined to three relatively small pockets of the country.

Kerry's remarks, while coming from the left, are further confirmation of a large body of opinion in the United States and the West in general which cannot accept the idea Iraqis may be able to build a new, civil, and less evil society on the ruins of one of the nastiest regimes the world has recently seen.

Against this there is the neo-con vision of a democratic, civil, secular, Iraq. Naive? Perhaps. And certainly blotched in many respects.

But, of the two visions, the neo-con idealism with its inherent faith in the capacity of the Iraqi people seems rather more attractive than the paleo-con/left belief that Iraq is essentially a lost cause. The paleo-con/left position extrapolated to the rest of the Middle East would leave millions of people stuck in the grip of autocracies which treat their people as cattle while furiously lining their own pockets. It would leave the Islamic world stuck in a terror breeding delusion that fifty years on the utter failure of that world to modernize is somehow the fault of the Jews, long gone colonial powers and America.

For years Middle Eastern societies were allowed to sumper in the stew of their own dysfunction. Foreign policy realists were dispairing about any change fearing it would be for the worse. So long as the various Middle Eastern countries kept the oil flowing, it really didn't matter what they did to each other or to their own people. That realism lead to the acceptence of assorted evils as the cost of doing business. It lead to the process of willfully ignoring the rise of jihadism. It lead to a blind eye being turned towards the Gulf States funding terror and the madrassas which taught Islam as a justification for that terror.

The status quo was seen by realists as the best which could be achieved with the crooked timber of the Middle East. Stability, even horribly oppressive stability, even stability purchased with the lives of Kurds, Marsh Arabs and Shi'ites, had the great virtue of keeping the oil flowing. Evil was accepted, even embraced, for the sake of oil.

The neo-con departure from the status quo was inherently destabilizing. It lead directly to the current bloody confrontation with the forces of barbarism. It is not a safe strategy. Rather it takes a tremendous risk for the possibility of an even more tremendous benefit: a remade Middle East.

The invasion of Iraq is a precise affirmation of the belief that we can "affect positive change past a predetermined point". Introducing democracy and the rule of law in a Middle Eastern nation opens "the possibility of the development of new social and political models based on conditions unknown to us".

Which of course leads me to wonder why Mathew isn't rooting for the success of the Coalition.

Update: Victor Davis Hansen writes in the Wall Street Journal,
For a half century, liberals rightly deplored the old realpolitik in the Middle East, as America and Europe supported autocratic right-wing governments on the cynical premises that they at least promised to keep pumping oil and kept out communists. Now President Bush not only renounces such past opportunism, but also confesses that "for too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability." He promises not complacency that ensures continual oppression, but radical changes that lead to freedom.
wall street journal (reg. req.)


Remember Adscam

Now that there is an actual judicial inquiry underway instead of the silliness of Members of Parlaiment not being allowed to ask follow up questions we are beginning to get afuller picture of how the money was pissed away.

Five years back Treasury Board wrote,
"Treasury Board Secretariat has had several dealings with Groupaction over the last three months," the e-mail says, "and they've all been wretched experiences. Not only do they charge exorbitant amounts for work they do not perform, but the work they do perform is at best, incompetent."

"This is absurd," says the document, "why is the government of Canada continuing a major contract with an incompetent supplier?"
Groupaxtion continued to get contracts.

Of course, Canadian idiots re-elected the Liberals so we really have only ourselves to blame.

Is Islam the Enemy?

In the comments which followed my post on the first beheading, a chap named Adam Khan took me to task for demanding that Muslims condemn the culture of terror which produces this vileness,
Let's be frank, you will not give a muslim the benefit of the doubt unless he denounces the Palestinian cause, signs on to George w.'s crusade, and asserts that muslim society is inferior.
adam khan
I note that Mundir Badr Haloum, a lecturer at a Syrian University, wrote a column in the Lebanese daily Al-Safir, suggests that Islamic society is directly responsible for a culture of terrorism.
"Indeed, we as Muslims produce terrorism, succor it, and praise it. We condemn it only when forced to. Motivated by considerations of power, interests, and diplomacy, we wear a pained expression on our faces but in our hearts we rejoice at the brilliant success - a large number of casualties. Unfortunately, in this black reality it does not matter if it is an American, Israeli, or Russian mind who is responsible for certain terrorist operations … or whether those who kill themselves are poor, ignorant, or destitute …"

'Reform is the Only Path to Our Return to History as Muslims and Not as Terrorists'

"This is a reality that must be acknowledged as a first step toward a non-terrorist Islam … an Islam that teaches the values of truth and justice… Islam as a religious establishment is today in need … of a precise definition of its position between earth and heaven, between this world and the next. If it chooses the earth, it must accept the laws of politics that regulate earthly affairs, and must leave the holy to those who occupy themselves with the affairs of heaven. If it chooses heaven, it must leave politics and earthly affairs to those who find interest in them. He who cleaves to both realms undoubtedly [chooses] terrorism and certain death…
memri hattip relapsed catholic
If there was a great deal more of this sort of open discussion of the culture of terror within the Islamic community, I would be far more inclined to give the members of that community the benefit of the doubt.

The Intifada is Over

Micheal J. Totten links to this week's New Republic article in which Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren argue that the intifada is over and talk about how Isreal won,
Israel's triumph over the Palestinian attempt to unravel its society is the result of a systematic assault on terrorism that emerged only fitfully over the past four years. The fence, initially opposed by the army and the government, has thwarted terrorist infiltration in those areas where it has been completed. Border towns like Hadera and Afula, which had experienced some of the worst attacks, have been terror-free since the fence was completed in their areas. Targeted assassinations and constant military forays into Palestinian neighborhoods have decimated the terrorists' leadership, and roadblocks have intercepted hundreds of bombs, some concealed in ambulances, children's backpacks, and, most recently, a baby carriage. At every phase of Israel's counteroffensive, skeptics have worried that attempts to suppress terrorism would only encourage more of it.
the new republic (subscription) via michael totten
Not without cost,
The price Israel has paid for its victory has been sobering. Arafat may be a pariah, but Israel is becoming one, too. Increasingly, the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty is under attack. Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, for example, has called Israel's creation a "mistake." In Europe, an implicit "red-green-black" coalition of radical leftists, Islamists, and old-fashioned fascists has revived violent anti-Semitism. Along with the desecration of Jewish cemeteries by neo-Nazis and the assaults on Jews by Arab youth, some European left-wingers now sense a sympathetic climate in which to publicly indulge their anti-Semitism. In a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Greek composer and left-wing activist Mikis Theodorakis denounced "the Jews" for their dominance of banks, U.S. foreign policy, and even the world's leading orchestras, adding that the Jews were "at the root of evil." In the Arab world, a culture of denial that repudiates the most basic facts of Jewish history--from the existence of the Jerusalem Temple to the existence of the gas chambers--has become mainstream in intellectual discourse and the media. Government TV stations in Egypt and Syria have produced dramatizations based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Boycotts of Israel are multiplying: The nonaligned states recently voted to bar "settlers"--including Israelis who live in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem--from their borders. Among young Israelis across the political spectrum, there's growing doubt about the country's future and widespread talk of emigration.

In its victories and its defeats, Israel is a test case of what happens to a democracy forced to confront nonstop terrorism.

Totten has his own analysis which is well worth reading.

Mine is prosaic: never negotiate with terrorists. Take the battle to the terrorists. Accept the fact it will not be pretty and that there is every chance Kofi Annan will strike you from his Christmas card list.

Update: Norm Spctor has posted the entire article at Shotgun.


Lorne Gunther who is single handedly trying to revive the somewhat stale National Post Editorial Board Blog finds that Johnny Cambodia has, gasp, contradicted himself,
just before Christmas, following the capture of Saddam Hussein in his little hidey hole full of Mars bars and 7-Up, Kerry proclaimed "Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better of without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president."

Contrast that with the text of the NYU speech this past Monday: "Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."
across the board
Four hints for improving the blog:

1) Put in comments!

2) Get Coyne and Cosh to contribute.

3) Hire for, say, $20.00 an item, independent bloggers to add a bit of yeast.

4) Get Sheila Copps to contribute.

The Defining Moment

Fredrick Turner writing over at TechCentralStation
The new tone that entered the blogosphere was a sense of responsibility to the truth. The bloggers looked around themselves and saw that nobody else had the powerful means, the democratic and distributed organization, the robust egalitarian truculence, and the absence of interest conflict to act as the truth's final guardian and court of appeal. The mainstream journalists had abdicated their responsibility, the political parties were obviously willing to bend the truth, the academy had philosophically repudiated the concept of truth, the courts were increasing based on adversarial rhetorical virtuosity, rather than the establishment of fact. So it was up to the bloggers.
tech central
Essentially, bloggers are unwilling to put up with the evasions and frauds which MSM has offered as business as usual for years. The big difference is that bloggers now have the means to competently analyze MSM stories using swarm tactics which MSM simply cannot match.

This will not work for every story; but MSM does not know which story will attract the attention of the Pajamaheddin. Keeps them a bit more honest.

Blame the Producer

The memogate storm is now focusing on the producer of the 60 Minutes story.
CBS News executives want to know why Mapes, one of Rather's most trusted producers, repeatedly assured them that both Bill Burkett and the documents he gave her could be trusted — only to have both widely called into question by Internet bloggers and rival news organizations soon after 60 Minutes aired the story. On Monday, CBS said the story should have never run, and Rather apologized to viewers.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that Mapes arranged for Burkett to talk to a top aide to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
usa today
The glimmering of a connection to the Democratic Party is here. For the moment only a laspse in journalistic "ethics"; but the digging has begun.

If the Dems or the Kerry campaign can be linked to the forged memos or their fallout it will tarnish Johnny Cambodia all the more. If not, the forged memos have distracted the media for close to two weeks which has left Kerry struggling for traction. Either way Bush has come out ahead on a story which should have hurt him.

Scramble the Bureaucrats

Belmont Club links to a think tank study about what Europe's response should be to terrorism, genocide, weapons of mass destruction and the other evils which stalk the world.

The bullet?
Those threats are to be met by "A ‘Human Security Response Force’, composed of 15,000 men and women, of whom at least one third would be civilian (police, human rights monitors, development and humanitarian specialists, administrators, etc.). The Force would be drawn from dedicated troops and civilian capabilities already made available by member states as well as a proposed ‘Human Security Volunteer Service’." To keep this formidable force within civilized bounds and to prevent it from riding roughshod over the rights of terrorists, mass murderers and nuclear proliferators, they will adhere to the European version of Asimov's Laws of Robotics.

1. Respect the primacy of Human Rights;
2. Act within a legal framework that is locally acceptable;
3. Act within the framework of multilateral treaties and obligation;
4. Adhere to the "Bottom-Up" approach, to "take account of the most basic needs identified by the people who are affected by violence and insecurity," preferably by working with non-government organizations.
5. To act within a regional political setting whenever possible;
6. To use law enforcement as the primary mode of fighting threats to global security. "The use of law, and particularly international law, as an instrument does not pertain just to diplomatic fora and decisions concerning whether to intervene: they are at the core of how operations should be conducted."
7. To use force as a last resort: to be "prepared to kill in extremis, as human security forces should be. Hence, in line with principle 1 (primacy of human rights) and principle 6 (legal instruments), minimum force is key. Minimum force suggests for instance that it would be an over-reaction to kill someone who threatens violence when an arrest can be made."
belmont club
They left out,

8. If all else fails sing Kumbayah.

Free the Children

There is a sad article in the Guardian,
I can't help contemplating a survey of a different species: a Big Outdoor Child Watch. I know only too well what it would find. Chicks are now pretty much extinct, outside their own nest areas and a shrinking number of poorly maintained reserves. Juveniles, common in the 1970s, declined in numbers throughout the 1980s and are now rarely seen away from their parents, except in impoverished areas. And adolescents, though not yet endangered, are seen as pests and controlled accordingly. In sum, children are fast disappearing from the outdoor environment, by far their preferred habitat.
the guardian
Tim gill goes on,
It suggests that, in a single generation, the "home habitat" of a typical eight-year-old - the area in which children are able to travel on their own - has shrunk to one-ninth of its former size. Do not underestimate the significance of this change: for the first time in the 4m-year history of our species, we are effectively trapping children indoors
One of the reasons I moved over to Galiano was that I was stunned by the total lack of unsupervised outdoor activity I saw with kids in Vancouver. Partially it was parental fear - traffic, child molestors. But it also was driven by the weird desire to have kids "organized".

Between two sports, tutoring to make up for the percieved deficienecies in the school system and a general fear of "bad influences" parents seemed determined to keep their kids under adult supervision 24/7. The kids, of course, came up with lots of ways around this; but the fact remains kids under 12 are rarely seem on the street without a parent or caregiver.

What's being lost here is the essential goofing around, pick up baseball, ride your bike, childhood which the parents enjoyed. The skills, resilience, self-reliance and street smarts which propel kids into interesting, non-conventional, creative work are being lost to child resume building.

Worse, the spare time children have is being gobbled up by computer driven mass entertainment. A chap I met on the soccer sidelines referred to "Super no friendo" to describe the effect of six hours a day of video games. Kids who IM rather than walk three blocks to see their best friend are missing some pretty essential social skills.

The problem is excerbated by the effects of parental peer pressure. "You let your child walk to school?" is larded with disapproval. When I got my elder son a bus pass when he was eleven this was greeted with blank incomprehension by many of my parenting buddies. Public transit!? Surely not.

Being able to find your way around your city, walking home after dark, going out without a fixed destination, are all risky and all critical learning opportuities. Kids make choices eventually - not letting them out the door on their own until they can drive is not going to improve their ability to make those choices.


On the heels of the news that Iraqi terrorists have beheaded a second American hostage - not to mention the twelve Nepalese - Kofi Annan has this to say,
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the taking and killing of hostages in Iraq. But he also said Iraqi prisoners had been disgracefully abused, an implicit criticism of the U.S. treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib.

"No one is above the law," Annan said. "Again and again, we see fundamental laws shamelessly disregarded — those that ordain respect for innocent life, for civilians, for the vulnerable — especially children."
I have long suspected that Kofi "Oil for Food" Annan was an affirmative action appointment. No, not because he's black, rather because it was Africa's "turn". But his declaration that the invasion of Iraq was illegal and then his drawing a parallel between the beheading of innocent civilians and some frat house idiocy at Abu Ghraib confirms it.

There is, pace Kofi, a slight distinction between beheading someone and dressing them in women's clothes. If you can't see it you have no business being Secretary General of the local pound, much less the UN.


She loves me, she loves me not

Johnny Cambodia seems to be having more than a little trouble with his searing memory these days...can't keep his story or his voting record straight.
Staking out new ground on Iraq, Sen. John Kerry said Monday he would not have overthrown Saddam Hussein had he been in the White House, and he accused President Bush of "stubborn incompetence," dishonesty and colossal failures of judgment. Bush said Kerry was flip-flopping.

Less than two years after voting to give Bush authority to invade Iraq, the Democratic candidate said the president had misused that power by rushing to war without the backing of allies, a post-war plan or proper equipment for U.S. troops. "None of which I would have done," Kerry said.

"Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell," he added. "But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."
Kerry is rapidly moving into laughable territory. When George Bush can make fun of you it is time to call it a day.

Kerry takes the gloves off

Jake Tapper on Nightline does a devasting and very funny analysis of Johnny Cambodia's fighting spirit. Round one can be found here.

Allah is Merciful

The militant in the center read out a statement, as the hostage rocked back and forth and side to side where he sat. After finishing, the militant pulled a knife and cut his throat until the head was severed.

The victim gasped loudly as blood poured from his neck. His killer held up the head at one point, and placed it on top of the body

"The fate of the first infidel was cutting off the head before your eyes and ears. You have a 24-hour opportunity. Abide by our demand in full and release all the Muslim women, otherwise the head of the other will follow this one," the speaker said.
abc news
Over at the Blogs Canada Politics E-Group I have been suggesting that I am not willing to give Muslims the benefit of the doubt unless and until I hear Muslim organizations and clerics condemn this sort of bestial killing. This, apparently, makes me a bigot.

OK, I'm a bigot.


School's Out

There is a great article over at The Tyee on Matt Hern and the evolution of schooling,
At 3:30, a well-tattooed Matt Hern comes out of the office and tells everyone it’s time to leave. “No overtime!” he jokes. Another group will be coming in soon to take up one of the many programs the centre offers: from basics like French, art and drama to more esoteric subjects like gentrification and zines.

Hern is, in his own always-colourful words, “a pig in shit” here. The Purple Thistle is one of the most recent incarnations of more than a decade of work as an educator, student and observer of alternative schooling models. In his recently published book, Field Day: Getting Society Out of School, Hern says there are cracks in formal education systems that aren’t likely to be fixed from within. He advocates that schools decentralize and follow an institutional model closer to that of the venerable library.
the tyee
It's a bit long but Hern is one prong of the two prong attack which will leave industrial era education roadkill. Theother prong, yep, it's Al Gore's invention....the internet.

Kitty Who

As CBS looks as silly as can be, dedicated Bush haters are, no doubt, nashing their teeth at the loss of their other great Bush smear - Kitty Kelly's hatchet job. The launch date of her book happened to coincide with the invasion of the pyjama clad. Whatever excitement old allegations of sex, drugs and rock and roll had, they were lost in the baying as new media took town old.

Apparently the angels smile on Karl Rove. Who would have thunk it.

You mean it wasn't typed on a Composer

CBS News today apologized for the "60 Minutes" story charging that President Bush had received favorable treatment in the Texas Air National Guard and said its source for the story was Bill Burkett, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel who has urged Democrats to wage "war" against Republican "dirty tricks."

"We made a mistake in judgment and for that I am sorry," anchor Dan Rather said in a statement..."After extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically," he said. "I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where -- if I knew then what I know now -- I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question."
washington post
CBS is blaming ex-National Guardsman and noted Bush hater Bill Burkett for misleading them.

Yeah, right,