Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Union of European Socialist Republics

Vladimir Bukovksy, a former Soviet dissident who spent 12 years in prison camps, warns that the European Union is on its way to becoming a totalitarian dictatorship… which would come as no surprise since it was inspired by and modeled on one in the first place. Bukovsky was given access to Soviet Politburo and Central Committee archives in 1992 when Boris Yeltsin's government invited him to testify in the trial by the Russian Constitutional Court to determine whether the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had been a criminal institution. This is a must-read article from The Brussels Journal:

In 1992 I had unprecedented access to Politburo and Central Committee secret documents which have been classified, and still are even now, for 30 years. These documents show very clearly that the whole idea of turning the European common market into a federal state was agreed between the left-wing parties of Europe and Moscow as a joint project which [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev in 1988-89 called our “common European home.”

The idea was very simple. It first came up in 1985-86, when the Italian Communists visited Gorbachev, followed by the German Social-Democrats. They all complained that the changes in the world, particularly after [British Prime Minister Margaret] Thatcher introduced privatisation and economic liberalisation, were threatening to wipe out the achievement (as they called it) of generations of Socialists and Social-Democrats – threatening to reverse it completely. Therefore the only way to withstand this onslaught of wild capitalism (as they called it) was to try to introduce the same socialist goals in all countries at once. […] The Soviets came to a conclusion and to an agreement with the left-wing parties that if they worked together they could hijack the whole European project and turn it upside down. Instead of an open market they would turn it into a federal state.

… [T]he original idea was to have what they called a convergency, whereby the Soviet Union would mellow somewhat and become more social-democratic, while Western Europe would become social-democratic and socialist. Then there will be convergency. The structures have to fit each other. This is why the structures of the European Union were initially built with the purpose of fitting into the Soviet structure. This is why they are so similar in functioning and in structure.

… Today’s situation is really grim. Major political parties have been completely taken in by the new EU project. None of them really opposes it. They have become very corrupt. Who is going to defend our freedoms? It looks like we are heading towards some kind of collapse, some kind of crisis. The most likely outcome is that there will be an economic collapse in Europe, which in due time is bound to happen with this growth of expenses and taxes. The inability to create a competitive environment, the overregulation of the economy, the bureaucratisation, it is going to lead to economic collapse.
HT Armed and Dangerous

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Saddam had WMD

Investor's Business Daily. Translated tapes reveal WMD possession by Saddam Hussein. Sadly, you may have heard about this first at the London Fog, just like I stumbled across it at FreeDominion.

Nobody disputes the tapes' authenticity. On them, Saddam talks openly of programs involving biological, chemical and, yes, nuclear weapons.

In a tape dating to April 1995, Saddam and several aides discuss the fact that U.N. inspectors had found traces of Iraq's biological weapons program. On the tape, Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law, is heard gloating about fooling the inspectors.

"We did not reveal all that we have," he says. "Not the type of weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported, not the volume of the production we told them about, not the volume of use. None of this was correct."


These are extraordinary developments. They deserve a full airing in the media, since they essentially validate part of Bush's casus belli for invading Iraq and deposing the murderous Saddam.

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Censor, shut up

The Free Press dead tree version has a "~><~ REBUTTAL . . . ." to Rory Leishman's column, sent by the CBC's favourite voice of hate and intolerance, Mohammed "My Mind Is A Machine Gun, My Body Is The Bullets, And Every Jew Is The Target" Elmasry.

Leishman did not... explain... why Canadians shouldn't use our country's enlightened (sic) hate laws in response to the deliberately targeted republication of those offending Danish cartoons.
If you need that explained to you then you have either not seen the cartoons or you're beyond the reach of a Rory Leishman column. But how about the "deliberately targeted" (literally) mass murder of random Jews, Doc Savage? Since you're OK with that, you should probably be OK with our contempt for your sense of the "offensive". Welcome to Canada. My people take murder more seriously than the "crime" of bringing you an opportunity for crocodile tears.
Isn't the law supposed to identify anti-Islamic hate literature as clearly as it does anti-Semitic propaganda?
Where to begin to untangle this mess. First of all, whatever your religion, you are not to be listened to if you find a cartoon to be grounds for the police getting involved. Someone who publishes a cartoon has done you no violence. But I guess that someone who is more troubled by cartoons than by mass murder probably has little sense of why that would be significant.

Note how he used the phrase "deliberately targeted" above, to blur the line between violence and utterances. This is to bring you to falsely exempt as self-defence the recent ridiculous outbursts of violence, and threats, in response to utterances.

Elmasry is done, yet he continues.
Leishman makes matters worse by continuing to twist quotations of mine out of context, or omitting salient facts that he knows, but chooses to ignore whenever they challenge his biases.
"Although you cannot fool all the people all the time, you can appear to refute every unanswerable fact and argument with boiler plate about deliberate misrepresentation."

We then hear about how "many" (!) Israeli prime ministers and IRA leaders and even the sainted Nelson Mandela were once designated as terrorists by the British, and, therefore Hamas may do the same. It's a diversion, but, I can't find an analogue in any of those nationalist movements to the inculcation of suicide bombing in children.

Look at the language he uses to speak of the Taliban -- "popularity... grassroots organization... influence... youth". He is in fact reiterating an earlier statement he was called on in Leishman's column:
As for the Taliban, their popularity as a grassroots organization and their influence among Afghani youth does not mean that we Canadians should agree with them.
There you go, folks, for now you are authorized by Chairman Moe to disagree with this.
After the hapless individual has been secured in the hole, people start chanting "Allah hu Akbar" (meaning, God is great), and throw palm sized stones at the head of the victim from a certain distance (a circle is drawn).

The stones are thrown until the person dies or until he/she escapes out of the hole and crosses the circle. Escaping is impossible, given that the individual's hands are tied behind their backs and they are buried in a hole upto their necks or shoulders (in the case of males and females respectively).
Sometimes it's the grassroots movements that appeal to young people that are the worst ones. Environmentalism, Hitlerjugend, people drawing cartoons of prophets, people chanting the name of their god and throwing rocks at somebody until brains come out.

No brains will come out of this column when struck by a rock, not even by a rock so big that Allah himself couldn't lift it.

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RRSP debt liability

Think the government is caring enough to help you save for your retirement? Right before walking into the bank on Monday morning to borrow for the March 1st RRSP deadline, I listened to this podcast on Stefan Molyneux's Freedomain Radio site, in which Molyneux speculates on the real reasons why the government allows you to defer your taxes and the consequences of that policy. Compellingly logical, this podcast gave new meaning to the word "liability" for me… highly recommended.

HT Jay Jardine

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

I won't stop typing until they lop off my hands

Mark Steyn:

Something very remarkable is happening around the globe and, if you want the short version, a Muslim demonstrator in Toronto the other day put it very well:

''We won't stop the protests until the world obeys Islamic law.''

Stated that baldly it sounds ridiculous. But, simply as a matter of fact, every year more and more of the world lives under Islamic law: Pakistan adopted Islamic law in 1977, Iran in 1979, Sudan in 1984. Four decades ago, Nigeria lived under English common law; now, half of it's in the grip of sharia, and the other half's feeling the squeeze, as the death toll from the cartoon jihad indicates. But just as telling is how swiftly the developed world has internalized an essentially Islamic perspective. In their pitiful coverage of the low-level intifada that's been going on in France for five years, the European press has been barely any less loopy than the Middle Eastern media.

What, in the end, are all these supposedly unconnected matters from Danish cartoons to the murder of a Dutch filmmaker to gender-segregated swimming sessions in French municipal pools about? Answer: sovereignty. Islam claims universal jurisdiction and always has. The only difference is that they're now acting upon it.

[..] Now in the cartoon jihad and other episodes, the restraints of Islamic law are being extended piecemeal to the advanced world, by intimidation and violence but also by the usual cooing promotion of a spurious multicultural "respect" by Bill Clinton, the United Church of Canada, European foreign ministers, etc.

The I'd-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing-in-perfect-harmonee crowd have always spoken favorably of one-worldism. From the op-ed pages of Jutland newspapers to les banlieues of Paris, the Pan-Islamists are getting on with it.

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The wisdom is under the cap

This week's featured beer is Robert Simpson Confederation ale:

The brewery prints the following reminder on the underside of each cap:
"In Heaven there is no beer, so drink some now while you are here."
If you forget why you are here, drink a beer.

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Heritage tyranny

According to the London Free Press, the city will soon give formal notice that it intends to designate the Locust Mount property as a heritage property. This designation, under recent amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act by the Liberal government, would allow the city to:

  • prohibit demolition of Locust Mount until the owner has obtained an unlikely permit for a replacement building, issued at the discretion of the same city that issued a moratorium in the first place;
  • increase the maximum fine from $250,000 to $1 million for illegally demolishing the property;
  • allow the city to recover the costs of restoring the property if illegally altered; and,
  • enforce property standards to end so-called demolition by neglect.
The Free Press reports that the city does not immediately intend to forward a bylaw to the effect of designating the property as it still hopes to maintain the fiction of governing with consent by obtaining the approval of the site's owner, Drewlo Holdings. Drewlo had previously applied for permission to demolish the structure at 661 Talbot St. to make way for new developments. City staff had recommended that the city designate the property without the owner's consent, but council is holding out the bribe of offering Drewlo Holdings consideration for bonus zoning or extra density for the rest of the property.

Heritage bylaws are simply nothing other than the appropriation by the municipal government of others' property rights without having to go to the trouble of actually acquiring the property. They are poorly rationalized by an apparent heritage "value" that can neither be measured nor well described, but that is certainly not an attribute that is held in common.

The 147-year-old home of former mayor Elijah Leonard has been unheated since a fire gutted the building in 2000, and holes in the roof and open windows allow the weather and animals inside. Prior to the city's interest in the site's heritage, Locust Mount had attracted no attention to the majority of Londoners who had not even heard of it. A google image search of "locus mount" results in precisely one picture of the building, burning to the right. How does such a decrepit and unheard of property become the focus of the city's attention to the exercise of its authority? Because it can…
"If the developer can't make a return on investment with it, we shouldn't be forcing him to preserve it," [Coun. Roger] Caranci said. "I say let those who want it preserved step forward and pay for it. I love the building, but it's just too far gone."
Unlike force advocates like Couns. Joni Baechler and Judy Bryant, Caranci at least has it almost right, except that he omits to consider that the developer's return on investment or the condition of the building shouldn't be of concern to the city at all. Property taxes have, however, made it inevitable that investments are the city's concern as their revenue depends on the rate applied to the assessed values of properties — this piggy-backing of state interest on individual interests has led to many other violations or manipulations of property rights, no less egregious or arbitrary than heritage bylaws. Whether heritage bylaws are any worse than eminent domain abuses, or whether or not council avails itself of its power to force Drewlo Holdings into maintaining Locust Mount, are less worrisome questions than the fact that the city has such control over private property and private interests in the first place. Zoning bylaws, smoking bylaws, pesticide bylaws and numerous other arbitrary powers have turned local governments into "battlegrounds where ideology and politics are the only basis for decision-making" [Terence Corcoran].

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Virtual exploitation

Blogging on hold for the rest of the evening. A visit to The Blog Quebecois has revealed a Sims / Civilization style simulation of McDonalds.

A review:
The game requires the player to learn and master all the complex techniques of a big international corporation like McDo. You'll bribe South American officials for the rights to clear rainforests for cattle and soy; you'll plump up cattle with additives; you'll coerce and influence government and scientific interests back home; and you'll manipulate your employees to achieve the highest profits.
From the game:
Making money in a corporation like McDonald's is not simple at all. Behind every sandwich there is a complex process you must learn to manage: from the creation of pastures to the slaughter, from the restaurant management to the branding. You'll discover all the dirty secrets that made us one of the biggest company of the world.
Now, I will test the agenda.

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The police syndicate

An unusual story in the London Free Press today reports that some London banks are hiring private security guards to protect their premises in the wake of the Camouflage Bandit who has robbed 19 banks across southern Ontario in the past two months. The action by the banks is not what makes the story unusual — if I'm not mistaken, private security guards used to be a common fixture in banks. Instead, the Free Press for some inexplicable reason canvassed the reaction of London police chief Murray Faulkner:

"We cannot recommend security for banks," Faulkner said.
After which he contradicts the disapproval with a confused equivocation that ends up suggesting that private security guards would be effective:
"I think the banks have taken this on themselves, knowing there is a rash of robberies. How they make that determination is up to them. The security people are there as a preventative strategy, rather an apprehension strategy.

"It would be my summation to suggest a bank robbery would not occur where security is on duty."
Faulkner's hesitancy about approving the use of security guards is evidently not based on their role in the deterrance of crime. Nor is it likely a compassionate concern for the competitive disadvantage of poor banks that cannot afford security. Murray Faulkner represents a closed shop on policing services that unions could only envy, and like other monopolies cannot fail to see competition as a danger. The police force's syndicate is in most aspects of its services exceedingly secured by law, but Faulkner is careful to suggest that noone should even consider exercising any of their privileges:
Faulkner said police expect security guards to be "great eyes to quickly read the situation and respond," but he said they shouldn't get involved in stopping a robbery in progress. He said a guard could not only thwart a robbery but also collect important evidence. Police would expect a guard to call 911, notice what the robber is wearing and the car in which he flees.

"What we don't want is an individual to go in and corner the robber. Then what happens is you've got a real mess on your hands (if the robber has a gun)."
…which would make bank security guards nothing more than an expensive accessory. Surely banks already expect that their own staff would be alert enough "to call 911, notice what the robber is wearing and the car in which he flees."

For modest proposals for implementing private policing based on existing models in Switzerland, the United States and, yes, Canada, check out Chapter 6 of Home on the Urban Range by Filip Palda, available in pdf.

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Who produced those jeans you're wearing?

I never know what kind of day
it is
on my battlefield of ideas.

Roy Harper
Via Anonalogue, "the last Kyoto supporter."

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hurt feelings a criminal offense

A German court on Thursday convicted a businessman of insulting Islam by printing the word "Koran" on toilet paper and offering it to mosques.

The 61-year-old man, identified only as Manfred van H., was given a one-year jail sentence, suspended for five years, and ordered to complete 300 hours of community service, a district court in the western German town of Luedinghausen ruled.

[..] The maximum sentence for insulting religious beliefs under the German criminal code is three years in prison.
HT: Nealenews

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Once the power of government is unleashed, there is no stopping it. In order to deal with a shortage of organs in the crumbling public health care system, the government now wants to claim your remains after they've sucked the blood out of your living body.

A few days ago I posted Paul McKeever's comments on a private member's bill put forth by NDP MPP Peter Kormos. If passed, this bill would assume consent was given to harvest your organs unless otherwise expressly indicated.

A second private member's bill has now been put forth by Conservative Frank Klees. This proposed mandate would employ the power of the state's monopoly over services and force you to make a choice. If you refuse, no health care or driving privileges for you.

A second private member's bill on organ donation was introduced in the Ontario legislature yesterday that would deny driver's licences and health cards to Ontario residents unless they have filled out a donor card.

Conservative Frank Klees said his bill would make those people who are 16 or older specify either yes, no or undecided to the question of whether they want to donate their organs after they die.

[..] "By building this mandatory declaration into the application process for a driver's licence and health card, I believe we'll guarantee that the issue of organ donation is considered by every Ontarian on a regular basis," Klees said.
Does choosing "undecided" mean your assent is assumed?

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Socialized health care in action

When they said "Fix For A Generation," which generation did they have in mind? From the London Free Press:

Two Canadian babies born in Buffalo because of a hospital backlog are "the tip of the iceberg," for expectant moms in Ontario, warns the head of nurseries at London's hospitals.

Much greater than the number of mothers forced out of province is the number of Southwestern Ontario residents forced out of the region when the London neonatal intensive care unit is full, said Dr. Henry Roukema, director of nurseries at St. Joseph's Health Care London and London Health Sciences Centre.

About 30 to 50 per cent of the time, the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Joseph's is forced to close its doors to expectant mothers in the region.

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London Ontario - A municipal garbage dump of altruistic ideals

For those arriving at this page looking for garbage collection dates in London Ontario, the garbage calendar can be found here.

According to an article in today's London Free Press, the vast majority of Londoners are quietly complying with a recent bylaw limiting "free" curbside pickup to four containers.
Only about one per cent of London homeowners are failing to obey the city's new four-container trash pickup limit.

"That's just a signal that people are ready for a change like this and I think it's because there's a lot of awareness out there," said Jay Stanford, the city's manager of environmental services.

The fraction of homeowners not complying are running out of time to cut back on how much garbage they toss out.

"Right now, the concerns are minimal," Stanford said.

"We're not hearing any negative backlash from the public, although that may change once we start leaving bags behind."
The trash ration took effect January 16, but Londoners were granted amnesty until mid-March. It's not too late to clean out your garage and basement before the city begins to impose fines for exceeding the limit. Scoping out the neighbour's bag count and filling the private bins of malls and big box stores is an option for enterprising Londoners producing excess trash after the amnesty ends.
If leaving extra bags behind doesn't encourage compliance, Standford said the last resort will be to issue $125 tickets.

"We've got to be reasonable in all our actions because I think that's the best way to be successful," Stanford said.
Certainly it is "reasonable" to expect that people will "comply" when faced with threats of force. Success in London is equated with following the laws put forth by elected bandits, and if Londoners don't like it, blame the province.
The limit was imposed to encourage recycling and to move the city closer to the 60-per-cent landfill waste-diversion rate the province wants in place by 2008.

The limit requires Londoners to keep to a 108-kilogram cap, far beyond the 20 kilos the average household generates during each trash cycle.
According to previous evaluations, the average resident puts out less than four containers or bags, depending on your interpretation of the bylaw. So why the fuss? More regulations and another source of revenue for the city. Fred Tranquilli said in justification of the changes, it's a 'wake-up call' to prepare Londoners for additional changes."
Standford said the city imposed the limit in January because waste volumes are lowest in winter months.

[..] By summer, city council will consider a more substantial option that could require Londoners to separate food scraps from trash, a move that would sharply reduce trash volume, but at a cost of as much as $4 million a year.

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Big Man takes on Big Idiot

Courtesy the chronically sardonic friend to the Fog known as Little Big Man.

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The non-sectarian presumption

Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever sends along this letter in response to the Izvestia editorial on that mythical beast, "non-sectarian" education:

I agree that it is a mistake for the government to use taxes to subsidize "faith-based" schools. However, it is self-defeating to base that opposition on the idea that a society that funds multiculturalism should protect funding for a "melting pot role" of public education. Intentionally or unintentionally, all schools - public and private - have a major influence on a child's beliefs about the nature of reality, about how it can be understood, and about morality.

When a government funds or subsidizes a school with taxes, it eliminates any pretence of a separation of church and state. The state becomes a god of sorts. The schools it funds become its temples. The taxpayer becomes the state's followers, compelled to pay for the temples and to accept, on faith, that the state is the origin of moral truth. All schools a government funds are "faith-based" in that sense.

In a day when tax-cutters are blamed for murders, our politicians - to avoid offending any voter - fund public schools in which moral relativism wages war against objective codes of right and wrong. At a time when the criminalization of blasphemy is considered seriously in some quarters, Mr. Tory would have the state fund mysticism in a war against the idea that man can understand the universe and use reason alone to distinguish right from wrong. The religious and the moral relativists must be free to teach their children their beliefs and philosophies, but not at the expense of those whose philosophy they seek to destroy.

Instead of funding public or private schools with taxes, we must let every parent pay tuition directly to the school that their child attends, and only to that school. A separation of education and taxation is reason's only hope.

Paul McKeever
Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario

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Cartoon fuhrer

Tim Blair HT Damian Penny:

"You cannot imagine the frenzy that these cartoons cause. As soon as a copy of the Evening Standard arrives, it is pounced on for Low’s cartoon, and if it is of Hitler, as it generally is, telephones buzz, tempers rise, fevers mount, and the whole governmental system of Germany is in uproar. It has hardly subsided before the next one arrives. We in England can’t understand the violence of the reaction."

It wasn’t only Hitler complaining about Low. In 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain singled out Low while appealing to newspapers to temper their critical commentary of Germany. Chamberlain said:

"Such criticism might do a great deal to embitter relations when we on our side are trying to improve them. German Nazis have been particularly annoyed by criticisms in the British press, and especially by cartoons. The bitter cartoons of Low of the Evening Standard have been a frequent source of complaint."

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Soups with racial subtexts must be denounced

On the road to dhimmi serfdom… From the Washington Times:

French authorities have begun closing down soup kitchens run by anti-immigrant groups that serve pork because the practice is offensive to Muslims, who cannot eat pork.

In Strasbourg and Nice, food handouts have been banned because they could lead to "public disorder."

"Schemes with racial subtexts must be denounced," Mayor Fabienne Keller said.

In Paris, police have stopped charities from serving pork soup at major stations on "administrative grounds," claiming the soup kitchens do not have the correct papers.

The scene has been repeated all over France in recent weeks after complaints that right-wing groups have been serving "racist" food. The groups giving out the soup say it is nothing more than traditional French cuisine. They say that hundreds of homeless people will go hungry.

Angry Muslims retort, however, that they are deliberately offering ham sandwiches and soup made of pork to discriminate against those who cannot eat the meat for religious reasons.
One presumes that Muslim groups face no similar obstacles or protests serving halal foods.

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"We Will Turn the Five Year Plan into a Four Year One!"

According to the London Free Press, Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty's government is proposing extending the terms of office for elected municipal board and school board politicians from three years to four years. The legislation, if passed, will apply to officials elected in November's elections.

If this is not a case of politicians protecting politicians from citizens' opportunities for holding them accountable for an extra year, the prooffered rationales are pretty unconvincing. McGuinty, addressing a meeting of civic officials in Toronto:

"It's a matter of respect. We have fixed four-year terms at the provincial level and federal terms can run a maximum of five years. Why should you be any different?"
McGuinty's first interest ought to be the respect accorded to citizens, but his comparison of municipal officials with provincial or federal representatives is misleading. His government's legislation providing for fixed four-year terms in Ontario is a political artifice that supercedes only one aspect of the parliamentary tradition that otherwise governs the calling of elections at the provincial and federal levels — a tradition that does not govern municipal councils. McGuinty is pretending an equivalence exists that does not. When a politician invokes respect he merely appropriates a common sentiment and scatters it into the barren ground of passive assent. But he continues:
"It's also a matter of efficiency. Three years is too short. A four-year term is the ideal period of time for a council to forge an agenda, implement it and then seek the people's judgment.
I must differ — history suggests that the agendas of central planning authorities are suited to five-year plan increments. But for meeting agenda quotas, a four-year plan has at least got to be better than a three-year one! Nevertheless, this rationale supposes that the role of municipal councils is to have and implement agendas — what are these? In simpler times, the role of municipal councils was to judiciously administer those few functions suggested by the sources of their revenues — that is, basic services to property such as roads and sewers. One year alone is plenty of time to implement a budget ordinate to those proper responsibilities. Unfortunately, the purview of municipal responsibility is assumed by politicians — and by too many voters — to have expanded to grandiose capital projects and social and cultural engineering, line items that financially require multi-year commitments. A like-minded politician, McGuinty is sympathetic to agendas.

Needless to say, mayor Anne Marie DeCicco is of the same mind:
Politicians can work longer without the distraction of elections and newcomers will have more time to learn how to make their mark, she said.

… [Controller Bud] Polhill rejects the argument new council members face a learning curve, saying candidates have ample time to learn before the election.

"Don't ask taxpayers to pay for your apprenticeship," he said.
The work of responsible politicians is exceedingly simple and undemanding — which is why the position of councillor, for example, is part-time. With three-year terms, politicians are given far too much leeway as it is to reinvent their trusts. The politician who, like DeCicco, considers that judgment by the electorate is a distraction obviously confuses the matter of who exactly is employing her — when she begins to believe that she is working for herself in a position of authority, her term has been long enough already.

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If ya don't have yer bylaw, ya can't have any pudding!
How can ya have any pudding if ya don't have yer bylaw?

To many, existence is apparently unconscionably precarious in the absence of a law or regulation. In response to the suggestion that the attempt to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides in London would soon be revisited by council, I wrote this:

Freedom is not a participant in any battle against tyranny. Tyranny exists materially in the use of force. Freedom, on the other hand, has no substantive form — freedom is literally nothing, the simple absence of tyranny. So far as a battle between the two can be described, it is a battle that cannot be won by the absence of one participant. And so, to those who value the imposition of obligations on others, something that has not yet been done will always remain something to be done.
Charging ahead just to prove the point is London councillor Bill Armstrong. From the London Free Press:
A London city councillor wants to renew the debate on banning pesticides — a move others see as futile. Coun. Bill Armstrong said last night he will try to get the issue on the agenda of Monday's meeting of the environment and transportation committee.

"We don't have a bylaw… The job isn't finished and we've got to get it finished."

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If Venona then what Venona now...

Eric S. Raymond on the persistent Soviet propaganda line. (HT: Billy Beck)

While the espionage apparatus of the Soviet Union didn’t outlast it, their memetic weapons did. These memes are now coming near to crippling our culture’s response to Islamic terrorism.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Creativity is not manufactured at City Hall

[Thanks to Dick both for the title and for an excellent post and attendant comments on the subject.]

London city council's public commitment to popular urban planning theory is mercifully much greater than its will or ability to act upon it — the contribution to implementing the Creative Cities Task Force is a relatively innocuous $100,000 in the 2006 budget. As grateful as Londoners might be for council's forbearance with our taxes on this particular matter, the retarded pace of implementation of the proposals is cause for much greater appreciation. Joel Kotkin, writing in The Australian on February 20, is not kind to the hip or artistic pretensions of dirigiste planners.

From For thriving cities, it's not enough to be cool: Dense, arty neighborhoods have failed to attract talent and capital. What people really want is affordable space:

[F]rom Sydney to San Francisco, the political imperative all too often has been not to look for ways to stay safe or competitive, but instead how to make cities cool and hip. To many public officials, the key to building a great city in the 21st century lies in cultivating the arts and entertainment venues that appeal to a so-called creative class of youngish, hip professionals.

The pied piper of this theory, the American academic Richard Florida, has some cities sold on the notion that "without gays and rock bands" they are doomed to lose "the economic race" in the new century. Across the world, cities have adopted strategies such as promoting gay districts, focusing resources on building cool downtown lofts and investing heavily in the construction of arts palaces and other such cultural ephemera. "Instead of having the arts we can afford," gushes one true believer, Andrew Refshauge, former deputy premier of NSW, "we need the arts for the economy to bloom."

Of course, this kultur uber alles approach negates the pattern traceable as far back as ancient Greece that arts and culture do not foster, but follow, the growth of economic and political power.

[…] Perhaps most troubling, the craze over coolness stops cities from focusing on the fundamentals — such as investing in basic infrastructure, education, broad-based economic development, good parks and efficient sanitation — critical to their long-term prospects. These basic functions affect the lives of most adults, including members of the bohemian creative class, once they begin to worry about buying a decent house, expanding a business and the imperatives brought on by raising a family.

[…] City leaders in the private and public spheres need to recognize three basic things about making modern, successful cities. First, cities must be allowed to grow naturally into the surrounding countryside in order to allow the continuous construction of housing for upwardly mobile middle and working-class families. Second, they must provide a tax and regulatory environment that encourages entrepreneurs to build companies and expand employment. Third, and most important, they need to understand that economic reality matters more than artistic pretence.
For the sake of space I've omitted the examples Kotkin cites that demonstrate the economic failure of "creative cities" policies and that make for the most entertaining and pointed reading — they can be read in the article's entirety here. Other excellent articles by Kotkin on the subject of creative cities include The Rise of the Ephemeral City, Ideological Hurricane, and The War Against Suburbia — excellent reading all.

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Paul and Karla should have done it in the name of The Holy Keebler Elves

Peter Mackay, whose judgment is such that he is the former lover of Belinda Stronach, is now musing on censorship.

MacKay said those who published the images must have known they were risking people's safety. For safety's sake, he said media must accept certain limits on expression...

"Respecting people's freedom of expression (is important) -- but the danger here towards loss of life and violence clearly outweighs republication, in my view."
The message is clear to all, Canadian citizens and foreigners alike. To get special privileges in Canada, exhibit hateful rage, burn things, and murder people with complete psychopathic certainty that your victims have deserved it from the beginning of time. People like Peter MacKay, who believes in nothing beyond fucking over everybody else for a pension, are especially impressed by the mysterious power of this level of conviction -- at least, when it is grounded in absurd claims of "offence" to fictional characters.

Jim Whyte, in comments on the linked post, has a better idea:
The risk to our soldiers in Afghanistan will be most efficaciously reduced by putting rounds through the right foreheads. Then, and only then, should we talk about respecting other peoples' religious or cultural sensitivities.

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Behind closed doors council discusses equality and safety for all

It's an election year here in Foggy London Ontario, so council is more willing than usual to leave the comfort of the city cafeteria to meet with the public, only to retreat behind closed doors to discuss the fate of the vassals.

Council Mismanagement Digest

What's up with this piece of news? As the city continues to crumble and the craters on the street multiply, the collective representives consider bribing workers to stay.
In an unusual move, an arbitrator has called the city and its firefighters to get together for one more shot at negotiating a new contract.

Jim Holmes, president of the London Professional Firefighters Association, confirmed yesterday the association and city have been ordered back for mediation March 31.

Unlike the arbitration hearing last November, the mediation will be held behind closed doors, Holmes said.

"This is kind of unheard of," said Holmes, who'd been awaiting a ruling since November.

"I'm not sure why he's called us back, but if he thinks we can reach a deal, we'll go back to the table. We'd like to reach an agreement."

[..] The key issue appears to be firefighter demands for so-called retention pay the city says it can't afford and firefighters don't deserve since there's no shortage of firefighters or applicants.

The association argues the issue is about wage parity with police, who last year negotiated retention pay.
Expensive foreplay over the proposed fourplex

The legal battles continue in this hate filled city. The battle over 915 Richmond rages on, and London taxpayers look on helplessly as their money is appropriated to fund it all. *Yawn* Legal battles with developers, the OMB board and neighbourhood groups begging the city to intervene on their behalf, are so common place that such stories lack the shock value they once had.
A proposed Richmond Street development that sparked accusations of betrayal and secrecy on city council faces a final hurdle today before the Ontario Municipal Board.

The board will not sort through the issue of whether council debated a freeze on development in secret. Ontario's top court already quashed the freeze on that basis, a decision council hopes to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Instead, the board will hear evidence about the design of the proposed fourplex at 915 Richmond St., likely the last issue that must be resolved before the building goes up.

An earlier design for the building by developer RSJ Holdings Inc. was rejected by the board as too modern for the neighbourhood.

[..] If the board approves the design, RSJ immediately will seek permits to demolish the existing homes and build, Patton said, adding work could begin as early as next month.

By then, the city may know whether Canada's top court will hear its appeal of a unanimous ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The tab to taxpayers, which had topped $220,000 before the city sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, is growing at a rate of $545 a billable hour. That's the fee charged by the city's lawyer, George Rust D'Eye, a municipal law expert.
Parlour rubs area wrong way

There's a body rub parlour slated to move into an East London plaza, next door to an adult video store, and neighbours and ever lecherous East London Crackdown are demanding government intervention.
An east London neighbourhood may soon be home to a new body rub parlour that appears to be sliding through a loophole in a city bylaw meant to limit their number.

Residents on Spruce Street and workers in a nearby animal clinic are fighting the owner of Sweet City I, who wants to set up a second parlour on Dundas Street.

The new parlour, which would run 24 hours a day, will endanger children, seniors and young women, damage property values and clog the dead-end residential street, neighbours told board of control.

"It's a safety issue. (The body rub parlour) shouldn't be anywhere near residences," she said.

That's also the intent of a city bylaw that prohibits adult entertainment establishments from being next to an occupied home.

But the bylaw doesn't prohibit such establishments next to empty houses.

Sweet City I owner Abe Vergara applied for a licence last May 31 after the adjacent house was vacated.

"We have no grounds to say no. Is that correct?" Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell asked staff, who agreed.

Vergara's application was timely for another reason. Two adult entertainment parlours had closed and controllers had recommended reducing the total number of available licences from nine to seven. Vergara applied before council could approve the recommendation.

[..] At one point in the debate, controllers and council members who joined them seemed determined to fight the application in court.

"If we have to go to court, so be it," Coun. Cheryl Miller said.

But after receiving legal advice in a closed-door meeting, controllers were more cautious. They asked staff to prepare legal options for their next meeting March 1, where the public will be allowed to make more presentations.
The ambiguous public is not waiting for council and already their hysterical threats and laments redound in the streets of East London.
The block that fronts Dundas Street between Spruce and First streets already has an adult novelty store and video store. If council can't stop the body rub parlour, neighbours will do what they can to continue their fight, Doyle said.

"We're going to be their worst enemy. The London police are going to be on our speed dial," she said.
Esat London Crackdown, the gang that sets up a live video cam on Dundas street and tracks and photographs prostitutes and crackheads, has similiar intimidation tactics in mind in case the body rub parlour opens.
. . . East London Crackdown, whose Internet site claims to expose drug use and prostitution on Dundas, now has the broader sex trade and the proposed body-rub parlour in its sights.

Organizer Mark Burrows vows to photograph people entering the new parlour and their vehicles, and post pictures and licence plate numbers on the Internet.

"We'll sit down in lawn chairs with cameras and take shifts," Burrows said.
A follow up story indicates that council might have 'legal' grounds to prohibit the parlour afterall. In a bizarre twist, a follow up article features self proclaimed supporter and contracter involved in the renovations for Sweet City 2, affirming the house next door was not unoccupied at the time of the application. He claims he was living there.
The claim no one was in the house in May is "garbage," Lowell Taylor said.

If Taylor is right, council may be able to reject the application, said Brett Stein, the city's manager of licensing. "We're investigating."

While neighbours of the proposed Dundas Street parlour have rallied against it, Taylor isn't one of them. In fact, he's laboured since August to help it open, he said.

Taylor said he lived at 419 Spruce St. for five years, staying rent-free in a house owned by a businessperson who also owned the Dundas Street plaza where Sweet City 2 is planned.

In exchange for lodging, Taylor, a contractor, made improvements to the house and maintained buildings in the plaza, he said.

Taylor said he was asked by Sweet City in August to take over work at the proposed parlour.

Reached there by phone yesterday, Taylor said, "It's gorgeous. They spent $60,000 inside."

Taylor lived at 419 Spruce until October, when he was told the properties were being foreclosed and he was to leave within a week, he said.

City officials say they have no record of the property changing hands and pointed out there has been no hydro service to 419 Spruce since early 2005.

But Taylor's story was supported by a neighbour two doors down, who said power to the property was coming from a generator.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Heritage 2
London 0

Asserting a vicarious identity or ownership with collective pronouns such as "we" or "our" is harmless enough when it comes to sports teams. It's such a common fallacy that the assertion often goes uncontested and a democratic interest is easily appropriated. But when local activists and politicians arrogate that idle sense of possession for the purpose of making policy, it exacts a great cost both to taxpayers and to individual property rights.

In London, the popular mass of assumed collective proprietorship is often expressed through the vague and arbitrary medium of heritage — "our heritage" — and it far outweighs any consideration of private use of property, as two recent examples demonstrate.

A barrier that for 71 years has stood in some form between Londoners and Wonderland Gardens will be removed this summer…
innocently begins an article in the London Free Press. The "barrier," one would be at pains to discover in the text, was until 2003 nothing more than the private management of the property. Just so that we know which side the Free Press is on…
The removal of a dilapidated chain-link fence will mark the beginning of a new park-like era for the heritage site, whose once proud ballroom burned down last summer.

… In place of the ballroom that once featured big-name acts such as Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, city staff want to build a pavilion that is covered above, open on all sides and designed to pay tribute to the site's heritage. … A long vacated pool will be replaced with trees and neglected walkways restored, creating a path along the Thames River from the gardens to Springbank Park. And the site, for decades privately managed, will be turned into a public park.

… The plans were embraced yesterday by London's board of control, which recommended them to council. "I think it's important we return (the Gardens) to the people," Controller Gord Hume said.

The plans should end speculation that council might turn part of the site over to developers, Controller Bud Polhill said. "People still have it in their minds there will be condos at the top of the hill, but it's going to be a park."

… [T]he city will build the elements of the new park, being mindful of heritage and landscaping, a process it hopes to complete by summer 2007, [city parks manager Andrew] MacPherson said.

While the city can't firm up costs until it sends out a request for proposals, the ballpark estimate is $1.6 million. To fund the work, council last year set aside $100,000 and will receive insurance money from the fire — $500,000 has been given and more is being negotiated. MacPherson expects the total insurance payment will more than cover the total cost of the new park.

… "I believe the community has been waiting quite some time for this," Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said. "It will be returned as a public space."
The prospect of the area becoming a private space is clearly something the city is anxious to avoid — but why? Whether or not the insurance company proves to be as generous as the city hopes, the attractive location of the site by the river and the existing Springbank Park would entice an excellent price for the property from developers — oops, can't do that, says Bud Polhill — and the sale price as well as the insurance combined would make for a decent property tax reduction for Londoners. But the political benefit of invoking a collective heritage where none had existed — Wonderland Gardens was never a park but home to a bandshell and dance pavilion — is more appealing to politicians than benefits that accrue to individuals.

Interestingly, as cited above, the word "condo" has acquired a pejorative sense in London that other forms of residential property usage have not, even other high-density buildings. By a rhetorical interpretation, condo owners are associated with an unseemly wealth that implies a disengagement from social participation. By a political interpretation, apartment dwellers have at least the affiliate advantage of not exercising a property right at odds with the city's exercise of collective appropriation. But that doesn't give developers a free pass to build apartment dwellings. One such development has been in limbo for a couple of years now because of … you guessed it … heritage. In January 2004, city council met behind closed doors to discuss a hastily contrived bylaw preventing development along Richmond Street between Huron and Grosvenor streets, a four block stretch, in response to RSJ Holdings Inc's plans to build a four-plex rental unit at the corner of Richmond and Cheapside, prompting concerns for the area's heritage streetscape. The development may finally be going ahead, but it has taken a great deal of pandering to heritage sensibilities as well as over $220,000 in taxpayer money. From the Free Press:
A proposed Richmond Street development that sparked accusations of betrayal and secrecy on city council faces a final hurdle today before the Ontario Municipal Board. The board will not sort through the issue of whether council debated a freeze on development in secret. Ontario's top court already quashed the freeze on that basis, a decision council hopes to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Instead, the board will hear evidence about the design of the proposed fourplex at 915 Richmond St., likely the last issue that must be resolved before the building goes up. An earlier design for the building by developer RSJ Holdings Inc. was rejected by the board as too modern for the neighbourhood. City staff say they will support the new design before the OMB, said RSJ lawyer Alan Patton, who believes the board will follow suit.

… But the head of a neighbourhood group doesn't think the developer has done enough to make the design fit into the streetscape. "There's not a discernable style," said Kevin Lang, president of the St. George Grosvenor Neighbourhood Association.

A previous ruling by the board went against the neighbourhood group. If the board approves the design, RSJ immediately will seek permits to demolish the existing homes and build, Patton said, adding work could begin as early as next month. By then, the city may know whether Canada's top court will hear its appeal of a unanimous ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal. The tab to taxpayers, which had topped $220,000 before the city sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, is growing at a rate of $545 a billable hour. That's the fee charged by the city's lawyer, George Rust D'Eye, a municipal law expert.
Anyone interested in the incredible history of this arbitrary exercise of authority in the name of heritage and its attendant expenses can find it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here… oh, and here. It's no wonder they keep getting reelected — it's an awful lot of work keeping track of how they've been screwing us.

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Liar, Liar, pants on fire

As if I needed any, more validation for saving my $1.75.

Via Nealenews, hypocrisy in action:

From the Red Star, Emerson February 19th:

"The truth of the matter is, when I came into politics I came in as a Paul Martin Liberal, I was not a political person," Emerson told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.

" I'm still not much of a political person, as perhaps you can now tell . . . . I'm not the sharpest political knife in the drawer, I quite freely admit that."

[..] But he continued to insist — as he has since he made the jump — that there's no need to resign his seat and face the voters a second time in a byelection.

"I made a decision that I thought was in the best interests of the people of the riding and the people of the province. I realize it may make some people angry, and it may be offensive to some people, but I stand by the decision."

[..] Emerson now says he ran "reluctantly" for a second term as a Grit and explains his partisan attacks on Harper as an example of the usual campaign rhetoric indulged in by all politicians.
Immediately after the defection, Emerson, quoted by CTV, February 6th:
"I fundamentally went through the thought processes many times over, and came to the conclusion I can be more helpful to the people of my riding, the people of my city, the people of my province and the people of my country doing this, as opposed to being in opposition and trying to become a powerful political partisan which I have never been," Emerson said.

Emerson said he originally entered politics at the behest of former prime minister Paul Martin. At that time he was not a Liberal, but decided to enter politics to serve the people of his riding.

He said he would have "absolutely" stayed on in Paul Martin's cabinet if the former PM had been re-elected.
If David "not sharpest political knife in the drawer" Emerson is so committed to representing his contituents honestly, then why isn't he sitting as an independent? If he is truly opposed to partisan politics, he should have ran as an independent in the first place. But Emerson requires power to "serve" the people in his riding, and independents don't receive party benefits nor cabinet positions. Emerson understands that to "win" it's best to deceive - by his own admission, he is not interested in opposing, but ruling and the most effective way to rule is to join the party holding the majority of the power.

Unfortunate perhaps, but inevitable, most voters base their vote on the competing parties rantings rather than on the particular merits of the candidate, so many voters who cast their lot with Liberal Emerson are no doubt angry. I have no sympathy with the voters in his riding however, nor in any other riding for that matter - honesty is not part of the game and picking your fav behind a ridiculous cardboard booth propped up on a makeshift support, along with other faceless voters, thus sealing your fate and that of your neighbours for a fixed but uncertain duration, is both irrational and unjust.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Broadband redistribution

The CRTC's original power as the sole and privileged distributor of scarce broadcasting licenses technically still exists but increasingly as a ceremonial function — technology and the proliferation of licenses has effectively depleted the power of the function to little more than that of a wavelength traffic cop. But no government bureaucracy or regulatory body will willingly limit itself to a proscribed mandate if the power described by and contained in that mandate becomes obsolete — the acquisition and maintenance of power quickly becomes the private justification of their existence, whatever their public title is.

The CRTC in particular has reinvented itself as an arbiter of morality and a driving force behind social activism in licensed communications from the position of the progressive-left humanism with which it has become infested. And now, according to the Globe & Mail, it has invested itself with the power to expropriate what are effectively taxes for their objectives.

The CRTC said yesterday that Canadian telephone customers have been overbilled to the tune of $652.7-million over the past few years, but the money will not be going back to them.

The federal regulator ruled instead that telecommunications companies such as Bell Canada and Telus Corp. should use most of the money — equivalent to about $50 a customer — to expand offerings in underserved markets, primarily rural and remote communities.

When the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decided in 2002 that it wanted to encourage competition in the local phone services market, rates were set high enough to attract new entrants. In effect, a cushion was built into the rates and the companies were told to put some of the money into so-called deferral accounts.

[…] CRTC chair Charles Dalfen told reporters yesterday that expanding broadband services, also known as high-speed Internet, is an important social and economic goal.
Thanks to Little Tobacco for pointing out this story.

Remember this from the Conservative Party's Policy Briefing Note for Candidates before the 2004 election?
“The Conservative Party supports the restructuring of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, reducing its mandate to registration and/or marketing and bandwidth and to dealing with the international communications negotiations.”
I came across no mention of this in their most recent platform, but now that the Conservatives are in a position as a government to deal with its agencies, I would hope that it is not forgotten. It could not happen too soon.

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And don't forget Stalin

Despicable tyrants:

The Muhammad cartoon protest took a new direction in Pakistan this week as demonstrators took to the streets in Islamabad brandishing signs that proclaimed "God Bless Hitler."

Tens of thousands of people took part in the latest round of protests, which took place throughout Pakistan - with gunfire and rioting erupting in some precincts. By midweek, three people, including an 8-year-old boy, had been killed.

[..] Despite wide coverage of the Pakistani protests, the incendiary pro-Nazi placards were ignored in Western media accounts.
HT: Nealenews

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The Red Ensign Standard no.37

Temuin at West Coast Chaos has hoisted the Red Ensign Standard no.37. Check out the best of the best of the past two weeks from that diverse group of bloggers who fly versions of the historical flag of Canada — the Red Ensign.

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Islam is a religion of peace

Nigerian Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad attacked Christians and burned churches on Saturday, killing at least 15 people in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger over the drawings.

It was the first major protest to erupt over the issue in Africa's most populous nation. An Associated Press reporter saw mobs of Muslim protesters swarm through the city center with machetes, sticks and iron rods. One group threw a tire around a man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze.

Yo, peace out!

And elsewhere:
The row also showed no signs abating in Pakistan where a cleric offered a £600,000 reward to anyone who killed the Danish cartoonists. Muhammad Yousef Qureshi, the leader of the hardline Jamia Ashrafia religious school in Peshawar, announced the bounty after Friday prayers. The reward also included a Toyota car, he said.

"This is a unanimous decision by all imams of Islam that whoever insults the prophet deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize," Mr Qureshi said. "This killing will enhance respect for Islam and for Muslims. Next time nobody will dare to commit blasphemy against our prophet," he told the Guardian.

May peace be upon him.

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To print or not to print? The Strand takes a stand

To print or not to print? - Editorial

We won't be like other institutions. We will value the freedom to choose just as highly as that to express. And above all, we will try to the best of our abilities to reach out to the greatest possible audience we can, hopefully inspiring some discussion and critical thinking along the way.

You can see the cartoon we almost didn't publish below. In light of everything else, it seems pretty damn tame. Hell, those could be any two guys kissing! And who doesn't play tonsil hockey in the Tunnel of Love? As for the other ones, you can view them online, but only if you want to.

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Without religion all we have left is the supreme court

According to columnist Ted Byfield, those crazy Christian ladies at REALity magazine are claiming that "Judges in Canada are appointed because they or their law firms have paid large sums of money to the party in power, or have personally worked diligently for the party in power."

Who would have thought? I suspect in their religious zealousness they are simply jealous of the new oracle competing for absolute authority in Canada. All good citizens know that Canadian judges are beyond human frailty.

When a person is appointed to the bench, explained our chief justice [Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in a lecture delivered last November in New Zealand], he or she acquires a unique wisdom and knowledge conferring an ability to determine with certainty how Canadians must live.

. . .

This person is no longer just a lawyer who backed the right party.

He is now a seer, an oracle, a clairvoyant with new powers and insights into the soul of the nation.

. . .

And there's a reason.

Every religion must have some kind of final, absolute, unimpeachable authority.

Christians find it in the Bible, or in the traditions of the church, or in both.

Official Canada has no religion any more, but it still requires this unassailable final voice, and must therefore endow the Supreme Court with this indispensable sanctity.

And who might these divine seers be?
When Irwin Cotler was Liberal minister of justice, the following became judges:

Michael Brown, Cotler's executive assistant and policy adviser.

Yves de Montigny, Cotler's chief of staff.

Randall Echlin, legal counsel to the Ontario Liberal party.

Rosalie Abella, named to the Supreme Court of Canada, wife of Cotler's close friend Irving Abella.

Marsha Erb, Alberta Liberal fundraiser and close friend of Alberta Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan.

John J. Gill, co-chair of the 2004 Alberta federal Liberal campaign.

Vital Ouellette, unsuccessful Liberal candidate in the 1997 and 2000 provincial elections.

Bryan Mahoney, Liberal candidate twice defeated by Calgary Tory Myron Thompson.

Edmond Blanchard, former Liberal minister of finance in New Brunswick.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Better whip out the "Piss Christ"

In the interests of consistency and diversity of religious representation, I feel it necessary to whip it out here and now . . .

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Raising horrible children

Why teach your children about real life when you can indoctrinate them into partisan political mythology marketing?

Kids want to know.
Kids need to know.
And it's up to you to tell them…

And your kids had better leave home as soon as they possibly can…

Guaranteed to turn your child into an insufferably self-righteous activist automaton, Why Mommy Is A Democrat is a new children's book written by Jeremy Zilber, a man who apparently actually believes what he's saying. Check out the sample pages and pay attention to the absurdly callous Republican fatcat figures in the background. Stereotyping your opponents as demonic inhuman caricatures is all fun and games in the political world, kids!

Robustly politically correct to the end, there is conspicuously no father figure in Why Mommy Is A Democrat. Remember, kids, traditional father and mother families may be suspect — that's why Jeremy Zilber is so gentle with your sensibilities by living with a partner instead of a wife or girlfriend.

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Don't like it? Don't buy it

Female activisits continue to invest images, words and ads with with the power to "cause" males to discriminate:
Following complaints from a feminist group and incensed customers, New Brunswick's Moosehead Breweries has pulled an ad that implied women should speak no more than 50 words a day.

The ad, which appeared in the Onion, a U.S.-based satirical magazine, read: "The average woman speaks 10,000 words in a day. Roughly 9,950 too many."

"It's offensive," said Rosella Melanson, executive director of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women. "It's saying women should not be listened to."
Some women, like Rosella Menlanson for example, should not be listened to. As a woman who does not rush into hysterics because someone makes a satirical joke about women, I find such comments "offensive". I don't require your particular brand of "protection", and I resent your world view which paints women as pathetic, weak creatures who must resort to censorship to gain respect.

Go get a real job melon head. Actions speak louder than words.

I encourage all readers to purchase a case of Moosehead this weekend.

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What's the derivative of zero?

Institutions founded on principles of egalitarianism founder when it becomes apparent that some people benefit more from that egalitarianism than others. Confronted with the inequity, one solution is to debase the benefits until they are of equally poor value to everyone. From the London Free Press:

Ontario is extending its review of proposed changes to the Grade 12 math curriculum and whether calculus should continue to be included. … [Education Minister Gerard] Kennedy says he's received e-mails and letters from those who want calculus kept in the curriculum and those who say it's too difficult.

A task force will examine senior high school math courses and consult experts to ensure the classes meet the needs of students. It will report back to the minister in late March with its view on how much calculus should be included.
Or, ensure that the distribution of benefits are subject to no more strenuous a standard than mere chance. Also from the Free Press:
Parents of some French immersion pupils are angry the London District Catholic school board has moved to a lottery system to see which kids get into one program. Enrolment in the board's middle immersion program — which starts in Grade 4 — is soaring and parents are fresh from a battle to save the program from being chopped because it has nowhere to expand. But many are upset because a first-come, first-served process to register for the program that takes 60 new students a year has been replaced with the lottery.

The board says the change was made to offer all applicants an equal opportunity.

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Vulture Culture

Paul McKeever on the Organ donor debate currently brewing in Ontario:

Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever today condemned NDP MPP Peter Kormos' private member's bill which, if passed, would presume a dead or dying person has consented to the harvesting of his organs.

"As it has been described, the bill, if made law, would violate both the liberty and the property of individuals", says McKeever.

"It would violate the liberty and the property of every living adult of sound mind by requiring that adults take defensive action to prevent the state from seizing their body parts.

"It would also violate the property rights of every individual because, in principle, ones body parts, after death, should be considered a part of ones estate. Control over the use of those body parts should be in accordance with ones wishes. Ones body parts are property and have value. That value belongs solely to ones estate, not to the state.

"Finally, in a civilized society, the law presumes that those lacking the capacity to reason also lack the capacity to consent. Accordingly, in a civilized society, a dying person who lacks the capacity to consent to the state harvesting and seizing of his organs must be presumed not to have consented. To allow the state to presume consent in such a situation would be no different in principle from allowing the state to presume that a brain-dead woman has consented to the use of her body for sexual or reproductive purposes."

"With all due respect to Mr. Kormos, with whose views on civil liberties I often agree, this bill should be dropped. That it would help those in need does not excuse the vile nature of violating a human being's liberty and property. Were need sufficient to make body-part harvesting righteous in the absence of consent, there would be no moral reason not to snatch kidneys from healthy individuals by force. This bill is no less revolting in terms of its moral implications.

"Addressing the shortage of organs need not involve a step away from civility and toward a Vulture Culture. Legislation is indeed needed, but it should be legislation that increases the supply of available organs by ensuring that ones body parts are an asset of value in ones estate. Indeed, for the many poor who may die with children, ones body parts may be the only thing of monetary value in ones estate.

"The bottom line is this. It's your body, they are your organs, they have value, and that value should go to whomever you want to have it on your terms. It is morally reprehensible for the government to deprive you of control over your organs or to deprive your estate the value of those organs.

"Recognize a person's body to be a valuable, sellable, part of his or her estate, and there will be no shortage of available organs. Supplies will increase immediately and, as a result, the value of organs will decrease and more lives will be affordably saved."

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Puzzler: Which Religion Is Dumber?

HT Neale.

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Take the blindfold off

Apart from the Western Standard and UPEI Cadre, the student newspaper of the University of Prince Edward Island, very few Canadian papers have published pictures of the now notorious cartoons which are "causing" intolerant and violent individuals to torch buildings and kill innocent people.

But the images do not need to be viewed to incite outrage and censorship - if talking about the cartoons invokes such a strong response, why not just publish the pencil lines or stop reporting on it?

From the Charlottetown Guardian:
Koli Hoogeveen has never see the incendiary cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

And the Charlottetown woman never wants to cast her eyes on them.

Learning of their existence - and their publication - was more than a heavy enough blow for her to absorb.

Hoogeveen, who describes herself as a pious Muslim woman, first learned of the cartoons when violence erupted in Europe and the Middle East.

[..] Hoogeveen didn't need to see the depictions to be stung. Having the cartoons detailed to her though media reports sufficed in hitting her hard.

"It is very hurting", she said.

"It felt like as if I had been raped out on the street while the people surrounding me watched it."
Major retailers have pulled the Western Standard from their racks and the President of the University of Prince Edward Island has ordered the confiscation of all circulating copies of The UPEI Cadre, much to the delight of this woman who prior to the publication of the images by this paper was "forced to suffer in silence".
Hoogeveen is filled with praise for UPEI president Wade MacLauchlan's handling of the volatile affair.

As soon as he learned that the student newspaper contained the cartoons of the prophet Muhammed, he ordered all copies in circulation on the campus confiscated.

He called The UPEI Cadre's decision to run the cartoons "a reckless invitation to public disorder and humiliation."

[..] The student union confiscated the bulk of the offending copies of The UPEI Cadre."
Thanks to a reader of The London Fog for drawing my attention to the story and providing a scan of the article, as it does not appear to be available online. Read the sordid story here.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

EU, UN To Proscribe Mockery of Bigfoot After "Monkey Suit Murders"

If you think about it, misportraying or laughing at, say, Urantia is like throwing a molotov cocktail of hate into the embassy of someone's heart. Stop a minute and feel. That's a real person at the other end of your "free speech".

But you don't care. That could be because you have never heard of Urantia and therefore assume that they are powerless to find out who you are and burn down your house. It could be because you believe, reasonably enough, that the followers of Urantia would resist the provocation to murder you if word of it should spread. In short, in your ignorance, you don't deign to give Urantia your respect. I can hear you now. You ask, How deeply held could their beliefs be when nothing is burning and no random people are being assaulted? Or the classic, What, are they going to sic the Inquisition on me and put me in some 35th century hAliBUrton Ghraib?


Wait a minute, Pig. Who are you to say that the seven superuniverses do not traverse a great ellipse? (If, in your ignorance, you even know enough to deny that.) Chances are you do not have the slightest grasp of the true meaning of Urantia (I'm not saying I do -- it's complex stuff!). Your media only shows you Urantia's worst sides, totally divorced from the context of these living, loving human beings following their faith.

You don't care to find out about it. So when you go to that website you laugh, you mock, and you click away. Maybe you're a newspaper columnist looking for "freaky cults" to write about and you'll use them for cheap laughs in your next column. I bet you won't even try to understand the holy teachings, much less the passion some of your brothers just happen to feel for them.

This is why the Urantians need to seize the respect initiative. The media is populated by very public people who have little respect for religion. But they do demonstrate a deep respect for life, especially their own. The proudly, almost moronically secular mainstream media has shown that they can summon up deep reservoirs of respect for revealed truth almost despite themselves. But that respect needs to be won.

The history of ideas shows that a strongly held belief is always more respected by outsiders and unbelievers when well-used blades protect it from the mockery of the levelheaded. But no psychopathic atmosphere of violence surrounds Urantia; and so, no one respects Urantia.

Admit it. You like to provoke Urantia in its weakness. You long to use the cutting weapon of satire against entire villages of Urantians. To destroy everything that is important to them with your thoughtless artistic depictions of this or that thing they're into. Go ahead and accuse them of the vilest crimes and associate them with known death cults. You swing your big dumb classless fists at their ideas because you know they'll just cringe like a bunch of Christians and hope you go away.

Yes, their numbers are few, too few for mass riots. To win your respect for their beliefs, they need to start with a more low-key approach such as random sniping or the public murder of a leading Scientologist. After a few lessons in the GRAVE SERIOUSNESS with which Urantians hold their spiritual tenets, society will take care never to call into question their belief that Havona natives must achieve certain experiential developments in liaison with evolutionary beings which will create reception capacity for the bestowal of a fragment of the spirit of the Universal Father.

You could avoid all this by taking Urantia seriously today. There's no need to endanger everybody with tasteless, needless acts of impoliteness that turn loving, sane religious people into murderous savages via the reverse alchemy of disrespect. Today or tomorrow, you will show a new deference and modesty. Your heart will open, through love or through violence. It is your choice.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


The sign on the front desk reads "Queeries." The office has a giant window in the shape of a Q. Green walls and purple carpets greet students.
Any idiot on the street can have pride — the difference between genuine and vicarious accomplishment being entirely subjective, apparently — but only certain self-designated classes can have Pride:
The Pride Library at the University of Western Ontario has come out of the closet, with 200 people celebrating its opening yesterday on the main floor of Weldon Library after 10 years of being shuffled from place to place.
"Valentine's Day at Western is never going to be the same again. It's got to be the queerest Valentine's Day we've had," joked James Miller, the library's co-ordinator and founder.
"This facility is unique in North America. At Western, we embrace diversity as a defining principle" [said UWO president Paul Davenport].
"You have something we don't have in Toronto. I am extremely jealous," said Mathieu Chantelois, host of PrideVision TV's Read Out! and a regular on CBC's The Hour.

Chantelois spoke of the relief he discovered in high school when he read a book with gay characters. "I started crying and crying and couldn't stop crying. It wasn't a story about them; it was a story about us, about me."

The library is important not only for research, but as a social centre, he said. "To flirt, to find boyfriends and girlfriends, that is important as well."
The library entrance also features a stained glass work by London artist Lynette Richards.

"Stained glass is a metaphor for light coming through," she said. "I hope that window will encourage people to let their own light shine through."
Pride seems to mean a lot of things these days — it means the suggestion of cultural fiat, it means substituting meaningless buzzwords for principles, it means coquettish emotional demonstrations, it means banal absurdly inscrutable metaphors. It's too bad that one thing Pride clearly doesn't mean is dignity.

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