Did Martin Know?

On Saturday I mentioned that PM Martin doled out 450 patronage appointments in one month in the hopes of surviving the confidence vote in the House. (see It's Just a Coincidence! Really!) A visitor to the blog referred me to a story in the Edmonton Journal that questions the credibility of Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal.
  1. First and foremost, the point of my post was to point out how desperate Martin and his Liberals have become. Not once did I mention Grewal's claim that the Liberal's tried to bribe him with one of those appointments.
  2. Secondly, as I stated in the comments section, the meeting lasted about 4 hours. If the Liberals really are telling the truth when they say that Grewal approached them rather than the other way around, why did the meeting last so long? It sure the hell doesn't take 4 hours to tell someone to get lost.
There is now evidence suggesting that not only did the Liberals try to buy Grewal's vote, but Martin knew all about it.
Although the Liberal government won a crucial budget vote less than two weeks ago, the Opposition parties are not letting the prime minister breathe easy just yet.

The Opposition is pushing for an RCMP inquiry into the audiotapes that Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal alleges proves Liberals were trying to woo defectors with deals prior to the budget vote.

CTV News' Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reports that the Prime Minister knew of the negotiations.

According to Fife, the full four hours of transcripts of Grewal's taped conversations with a top Martin aide and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh show:
  • Martin was ready to talk to Grewal about defecting like he did with Belinda Stronach
  • Grewal was offered a government position two weeks after the vote

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Fisking Craig McGregor

At least one positive thing can be said about supporters of the Democrats in the wake of the 2004 US Election - they didn't come out en masse and say John Kerry was an amazing candidate. Even they could recognise they picked a mediocre candidate out of a mediocre bunch. Unfortunately in Australia, we still have glowing, unadulterated adulation for the soundly defeated Mark Latham. And unsurprisingly, it comes via The Age - where Latham's own biographer, Craig McGregor (who has long used Fairfax pages to textually fellate Latham) cannot contain himself:
But Latham's tragedy is not just a personal one. It was a tragedy for the Labor Party, which needed the ideas and innovation Latham provided;
He had ideas and was innovative? Must've missed that part. My apologies. I mean, yes, when you compare him with the comparatively brain-dead Simon Crean.
and it was a tragedy for Australian society, which needed the imagination and radical energy a Labor leader might have provided to move forward from the moral and political despond of the past decade.
The what? We've slashed unemployment, slashed interest rates, stemmed the flow of illegal immigrants, taken the major issues seriously, increased revenue, decreased debt, increased income, cut taxes, won four elections, etc etc etc... that's a real "despond" there.
It shouldn't have happened.
Would you like a violin, so you can play yourself a song while you cry me a freakin' river?
Latham was undoubtedly the best Labor leader Australia had produced in years.
How many years? Better than Crean? Almost certainly. Better than Kim Beazley? Unlikely. The election results speak volumes.
He was an intellectual. He had a philosophy. He created policies.
He was a what? Intellectuals don't normally describe conservatives as a "conga line of suckholes", or their Prime Minister as an "arselicker" repeatedly. And isn't it a sad indictment on the Labor party when creating policies is seen as a favourable attribute?
He had a vernacular sense of humour that delighted people.
And of course, it didn't alienate any swinging voters. Oh no. Not at all. A grown man running for the leadership of this country couldn't possibly have turned off anyone with his crude, low-brow, unfunny humour.
And he had passion, which gave new heart to a party that not only faced an unprecedented electoral loss under Simon Crean's leadership - far worse than its eventual loss under Latham - but had suffered a virtual total loss of direction and nerve.
According to Roy Morgan polling, Latham inherited an 8 point two-party preferred lead in December 2003 and ended up losing by 5½ points. According to Newspoll, he inherited a two point deficit. I wouldn't call that giving heart to a party. And I wouldn't call those polling results "far worse" than Simon Crean's record - Latham inherited better polling than he finished with under every major polling company.
Until a week or so before the election, some public opinion polls had him actually winning.
And that counted for so much in the long run. Ladies and gentlemen, this qualifies as journalism at The Age. I'm almost sickened by the deliberate distortion of facts and deliberate attempts to rewrite Mark Latham's place in Australian political history.

(Cross-posted to The House Of Wheels.)

That lo, my mind doth melt away...

The Gomery Inquiry is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys. Longtime Liberal party organizer and head of Pluri Design Jacques Corriveau denied that paying the salaries of 3 Liberal workers was a plot to divert sponsorship money to the party. The 3 were with Pluri Design when the firm raked in $2.3 million in subcontracts between 1998 and 2000. Inquiry lawyer Bernard Roy asked,
"So you returned a part of your profits that you obtained from certain clients to the Liberal party."

To which Corriveau replied,
"Completely false. That doesn't correspond with reality."

Of course he may be telling the truth - I'm certainly in no position to be able to dispute anything he has said. But I can certainly question some of those things. For instance, he described Liberal party organizer Giuseppe Morselli as a friend. Back in April he told the Inquiry that he didn't know Morselli very well. Corriveau explained,
"To correct my testimony, I very much agree that I knew him and he was a friend."

Justice Gomery then asked,
"Why is it necessary to correct your testimony? Weren't your previous answers an attempt to mislead us?"

Evidently he was at a loss to elaborate on the contradiction. I'm well aware that over time our memories are not as reliable as we would like them to be. But how do you not remember if someone is a friend or not? It's things like this that cast a shadow of doubt on his testimony.

On top of that he already admitted that he placed the 3 aforementioned Liberal staffers on the payroll at the request of Michel Beliveau, the former head of the party's Quebec wing. Does this mean it was an elaborate scam to divert funds to the party? No. But it sure seems fishy in light of everything else.

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Zarqawi 'to contact bin Laden'

IRAQ'S al-Qaeda wing today said leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would send a new message to Osama bin Laden.

The news came in an internet statement signed by the group's spokesman Abu Maysarah al-Iraqi. "We break the news to you, our brothers, that our sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ... will be sending his new message to sheikh of the mujahideen, the prince of al-Qaeda Organisation, Osama bin Laden," it said.

The statement could not be immediately authenticated.


MathewK -

Ok, and now are we all supposed to be scared, oh my God they are talking, it's all over, the world is coming to an end, we should never have gone there!!
Oh no appease appease, as in 'The Kingdom of Heaven', convert to Islam, repent later?

Do we give these bastards too much airtime? Everytime one of them sends us a grainy video or voice message, we fall over ourselves to broadcast this all over the world.

How is Zarqawi going to get in touch with Osama, is he going to text him, send him a fax, a 'wish you were here' postcard, an email perhaps?

What is he going to say to Osama, hey bin, what's up, hows the cave going, any lighting issues, my sewer's not to shabby mind you, I have free running water, the rest of these Iraqis are complaining about basic services. No worries here man, it's all good here, the young and dumb are primed and still buying that crap about the virgins and Jihad!!

Punish the victim..

The head of the Dutch wing of Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) has been charged with crimes against the Sudanese state over a report on rape in Darfur. The state crime prosecutor said Mr Foreman had failed to hand over evidence on which the report was based. The charity says it is confidential.

Pro-government militia in Darfur are accused of mass rape and killings, but the government denies complicity.

"He's been charged with crimes against the state by the government on the grounds that they didn't seem to have appreciated our report on rape in Darfur". Mr Foreman had said "medical privilege" and patient confidentiality prevented him from handing over documents requested by the authorities.

Another reason for respecting the information, Mr Prescott explained, was because women "made pregnant as a result of rape outside wedlock can be arrested by the authorities" in Sudan. He said the charity stood by its report, which he described as "accurate and truthful".

Sudan's state crime prosecutor said he had come to conclusion that the report was false.

The report - The Crushing Burden of Rape: Sexual Violence in Darfur - which came out in March, was based on the treatment of 500 women over a four-and-a-half month period in Darfur. It details nearly 300 of these cases, with several written up as witness statements, Mr Foreman said.

Rape is a sensitive subject for the Sudanese government. The government had always maintained that, as it runs contrary to Islam, rape is not taking place on the scale that numerous United Nations and international agencies have claimed.

Jan Pronk, head of the United Nations in Sudan, said he deplored the arrest.

Story from BBC News

MathewK -

I wonder if any groups will be protesting or rioting in the streets over this, I'll bet 'rape' is a sensitive subject for the Sudanese goverment, heck they still don't understand what all the fuss is over the genocide in Darfur. Offcourse they want the evidence of the mass rapes, find out who has been complaining, then finish them off.

It seems us fools in the west are the only few crazyies who believe there is some sort of campaign against the black Sudanese, so what if a hundred thousand are dead, there is no conclusive proof that they were killed by groups backed by the government. As far as the government in Khartoum is concerned, the so called refugees just moved to Darfur as part of the seasonal migration process, you know like the birds that fly north and south depending on the seasons, can't understand why all these aid groups are hanging around stirring up trouble.

So what if a few infidels are raped and killed, the Koran was flushed down some toilet by someone somewhere, death to the infidel!!

I wonder if the weak kneed UN will do any more than be 'deplored' by the arrest.

Fallaci On Trial in Italy For Blasphemy

They are calling the official charge "defamation of Islam" but blasphemy is really what it is all about. Oriana Fallaci has had the temerity to criticize the uncriticizable, and European multi-cultis are aligning with Islamists to figuratively stone her to death. The dying old WWII Resistance fighter will fight the good fight against tyranny with every breath, of course. A blog called Dagger-in-Hand has a translation into English of the "charges" against Fallaci, who is being tried for making the following "criminal" statements:

1) during the occupation of Montecassino in the 9th century “the Muslims amused themselves by sacrificing each night the virginity of a nun. Do you know where? On the altar of the cathedral.”

2) while occupying Constantinople in 1453, the Turks led by Mohammed II “decapitated even newborns. And extinguished candles with their little heads.”

3) “In a woman the Koran sees above all a womb to give birth.”

4) “In the dream that the sons of Allah have been nurturing for years, the dream of blowing up Giotto’s Tower or the Tower of Pisa or the cupola of St. Peter’s or the Eiffel Tower or Westminster Abbey or the cathedral of Cologne and so on . . .”

5) “…halal butchery is barbarous” just as “shechita butchery is barbarous. That is, the Jewish version which is carried out in the same way and consists ofslitting the animals’ throats without dazing them.”

6) France is a country “where Islamic racism, that is the hatred of the infidel-dogs, reigns supreme and is never put on trial, never punished. Where the Muslims declare openly: “We must take advantage of the democratic space that France offers us, we must exploit democracy, that is, make use of it to occupy territory.”

Where not a few of them add: “In Europe the Nazi position was not understood. Or not by all. It was judged a vehicle of homicidal folly, when actually Hitler was a great man.”

7) for Muslims “biology is a shameless science because it is occupied with the human body and sex.”

8) “ . . . we will have to resign ourselves to the yoke of a creed that . . . instead of love spreads hatred and instead of liberty slavery.”

9) “a Right and a Left . . . that (in Italy) are both on the side of the enemy (Islam).”

10) the demands of the Islamics with regard to school curricula mean that in literature classes “we will not be allowed to include for example The Divine Comedy . . .nor the Canticle of Creatures nor the Sacred Hymns of Alessandra Manzoni . . .” etc. etc.

11) “ . . . the uncouth wailing of the muezzin . . .”

12) the terrorist attacks of the last twenty years have caused six thousand deaths “to the glory of the Koran. In obedience to its verses.”

13) “Our Jesus of Nazareth . . . they put him in their Danna where he eats like Trimalchio, drinks like a drunkard, screws like a sexual maniac.”

14) “. . . the revolting, reactionary, obtuse, feudal Right is found today only in Islam. It is Islam.”

15) infibulation is “the mutilation that the Muslims force on little girls to prevent them, once they are grown . . . from enjoying the sexual act. It is a female castration that the Muslims practice in twenty-eight countries of Islamic Africa and because of which two million persons die each year fromsepsis or loss of blood . . .”

16) the Italians afflicted by atavistic loss of pride “are not offended when Islamic immigrants urinate on their monuments or soil the sacristies of their churches or toss their crucifixes out the window of a hospital.”

17) “. . . Islam is a pond. And a pond is a trough of stagnant water. . . it is never purified . . . it is easily polluted, like a watering hole for livestock of little value. The pond does not love life: It loves death. . .”

18) “ . . .despite the massacres through which the sons of Allah have bloodied us and bloodied themselves for over thirty years, the war that Islamhas declared against the West . . . is a cultural war. . .they kill us in order to bend us. To intimidate us . . . Their goal is not to fill cemeteries. Not to destroy our skyscrapers . . . It is to destroy our soul, our ideas. Our feelings and our dreams. It is to subjugate the West once again.”

What a strange and motley collection of people is assembling to fight the Islamic colonization of Europe. A cancer-ridden old literary lion living in exile, a beautiful African-born female politician, a young Dutchman with weird hair, and a silver-haired queen from a thousand-year-old dynasty. Maybe they should adopt a formal name for themselves -- something like, oh maybe -- The Fellowship of the Ring?

For sale: One French democracy, going cheap, barely used

It's difficult to understand the contempt that French President Jack the Knife has for his country and it's people. A looming vote on ratifying the EU constitution in France has seen various pre-vote polls emphatically denying it's approval by the French. So, in accordance with democratic principles, what would the duly elected government be bound to do? Acquiesce to the will of the people. No, if you are El Presidente of Francistan, you get to completely disregard what the dribbling masses have indicated to be their wish, and push on with your agenda regardless.

FRENCH President Jacques Chirac is expected to urge countries to vote on the European Union's constitution even if France rejects the charter on May 29 as polls suggest, Britain's The Times newspaper reported today. Mr Chirac would support moves to keep the constitution alive even after any "No" vote because France did not want to be seen to be blocking the European project, The Times reported, citing unnamed French diplomats.

That should be the cue for the French people to take up their knives and forks and storm the Palace. Eventually, the 'unnamed diplomats' will realise that being appointed and not elected does not make you any more important than your average voter. Just as the socialists demand, they know what is good for you, even if you don't know it yet. They will TELL you what is good for you and your country, and you'd better agree if you know what's good for you.

Cross posted at Bastards Inc.

The Corby Verdict

She has been found guilty, they have sentenced her to 20 years and a fine of 100 million rupiah.

The judges dismissed around 70% - 80% of her evidence, I guess they bought everything the prosecutor gave them.

Fucking hell, if the prosecution said that Santa Claus exists they'll believe it.

This is really depressing.

Update -

Cop this, not only are her defense team going to appeal the verdict, the prosecution is also going to appeal the sentence, they want life, apparently the 20 years is too little. This fellow is a real piece of work.

From what I heard over the radio, the judges barking at her, I just wonder why these Indonesians bother with trials and prosecution and all that crap, why don't they just take her out the back and shoot her.

What surprises me is the attitude of Indonesians, I'm talking about the people in that country, it might be an Australian on trial, but it's their justice system, don't they stop to think it could be one of them on trial there, it's their system that one day they might have to face.

Lastly, anyone who goes to Bali or Indonesia after this is very very brave.

What’s a Suicide Bomber’s Biggest Problem?

A 100% casualty rate. And I guess it’s starting to show. . .

Explosives attached to a dog

IRAQ insurgents attached explosives to a dog today in a bid to bomb a military convoy near the northern oil centre of Kirkuk but the animal was the only casualty, police said.

The insurgents wrapped an explosive belt around the dog's body and detonated it as the convoy passed through Dakuk, 40km south of Kirkuk. "The dog was torn apart by the explosion which caused neither injury among the soldiers nor any damage.”
You know – I’ve never really had much time for the notion that there’s some endless line of Jihadis, all keen to atomise themselves for Allah (though I guess 72 virgins might sound kind of appealing). . .

I wonder what the dog gets?

What is a Visa?

It’s a bond of trust. A contract, if you will, that states, clearly and unequivocally, that yes, you can visit our country, you can see your friends, join with your family, if they are here. But at the end of that agreed period, that trust period, you must return home . . .

So what is it when someone who has entered into this contract, this bond of trust, then subsequently decides to renege? What really happens when this person decides that, no, even though they fully understood these terms when their passport was stamped (after they had agreed to the terms in the first place), they don’t want to return home, they don’t want to abide by the terms of that contract. What is it, exactly, when they decide they want to stay, invited or not?

It’s a breach of faith. It’s a tearing up of that contract of trust. It’s an act of hurling that agreement, that bond, in our faces, as a Nation. It’s an act of spitting on the goodwill that had us grant that visa in the first place.

So what do I think we should do about it? I think we should curtail the granting of these visas immediately!

Mum of another 3-year-old wants out

The mother of a three-year-old child born in immigration detention in South Australia wants the same treatment for her child that former detainee three-year-old Naomi Leong has received.

And she was born in detention, why? Because you breached the contract of faith, dear lady, that’s why. You took that contract, and told us to stuff it.

Virginia Leong and her daughter Naomi, who was born in Sydney's Villawood detention centre in May 2002, were released from the centre on Monday on bridging visas after worrying psychiatric reports about Naomi.
Oh sure. A three year-old. What does any three year-old want? Mummy. That’s it. Nothing more. And mummy was there from minute one. Of course, mummy and child were able to leave at any time, as long as that departure included fulfilling the contract mummy entered into when our Nation granted her a visa in the first place. But no, that’s no longer good enough, and now we’ve been betrayed, thanks to the idiot, shrieking Left. We’ve been beaten into submission by a bunch of screaming fools. And so the floodgates open. . .

But the Yu family at the Port Augusta residential housing project, part of the detention system, believe there is little difference between baby Bonnie's case and Naomi Leong.

"I really sad because I'm not good mummy," Bonnie's mother, Yu Lia Xia, told ABC radio.
Damn right you're not! You’ve put your child into prison. Why? Because you wish to leave China? Well guess what – there are several million others who would like to leave China, too. So what gives you the right to jump the cue? Because we trusted you? As far as I’m concerned, this breach of trust is the one reason we should refuse you. It’s the one reason we should shove you on the next plane back home. Home to China, where I now think you most definitely belong.

"I can't give her anything. I want they give me new life (like) Naomi. All is the same. Only the country is different for Bonnie. They both in detention centre and they both born in detention centre. Mrs Yu said Bonnie had been incarcerated for too long and detention was not good for her. She never saw outside, never talk (to) a lot of people," she said.
And so the child here is being used as what? A moral club. A tool with which to beat us all about the head. An emotional baton, wholly encouraged by the Left, with which to blackmail us into allowing this person to stay. Why? Why should she stay? Merely because she wants to? Not good enough!

I, for one, am not swayed by this – and I’m not swayed on principle.

In fact, I’m appalled by the moral vacuum this entire situation inhabits, because of the fundamental betrayal of faith and trust that it represents.

We should not be rewarding this. And the government should not be swayed by the screamings from the leftist press. This person faces no threat. This person faces no trial of personal safety. This person is simply fleeing from personal circumstance; a 'refugee' of opportunity.

Sorry – no room for that, not when there are others, far more deserving. . .

Asian Muslim condemns UK/US

A noted female asian Muslim has condemned the UK and US governments for it's treatment of detainees from actions related to the war on terror. Who is this brave soul? Why, it's Irene Khan, politically, culturally and religiously impartial head of Amnesty International.
Forgive me if you read a touch of cynicism in my remarks. This organisation has all the credibility of Newsweek and Dan Rather. It's annual report slams the USA for it's treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and calls it the "gulag of our times". Perhaps Irene needs to read Russia's political history in more detail. The conditions in Cuba are not even close to what Stalin's dictatorship created. Why even try the moral equivalence line? Equating Stalin and Bush and Hitler is fashionable, I understand, but come on, gulags?

Why not just come out and call them Nazi death camps? So it's OK for Muslim's to slaughter Christians by the hundreds of thousands in Sudan, but you flush one religious text down the shitter and IT'S WAR!

She said the US claimed to be promoting freedom in Iraq, yet its troops had committed appalling torture and had ill-treated detainees. She described Guantánamo Bay as "the gulag of our time". She said: "The US administration attempted to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management speak such as 'environmental manipulation', 'stress positions', and 'sensory manipulation'."

Of course, jihad videos of terrorist scum getting their rocks off filming infidels being beheaded slowly doesn't constitute human rights abuses. Not to this Muslim. Where is the outrage towards the countries preventing action being taken against the Sudanese government? That'd be Russia and China.

The US had described the situation as genocide, but nothing had been done, said Ms Khan. The UN was paralysed because of China's imports of oil from Sudan and Russia's arms exports to the country.
Does Amnesty International actually get into China or Russia? No, they go into the countries that willingly allow them free access to their societies, and sink the slipper in. I have one final question for Irene.

How's that woman's voting franchise thing going in your home country of Bangladesh? Is this two-bit festering shit-hole going to enter the modern era like those hated western democracies and allow women equal rights? Probably not, the place is a Muslim bastion after all. This excerpt from the Bangladesh Election Commission.

"7.4 What is needed to attain their extensive participation in exercising suffrage is to motivate them adequately through education while creating a reassuring environment in which female voters can come to the polling station and cast their vote without intimidation and fear."

Sounds like a fantastic place to live. If you are a Muslim male. Look in your own backyard first Irene.

Cross-posted at Bastards Inc.

The Gray Lady Discovers Sexual Differences

When Larry Summers noted the real-world discrepancies between men women in math and the sciences, he was pilloried by the Leftists in the MSM, who took offense at his assertion that the differences do exist. The most easily excitable ones immediately interpreted his comments to mean that he thought women were dumb.

Well, now some research has indicated that perhaps women simply don't like the subject as much, which Larry never disputed:
The women in the study opted out of a math tournament more often than the men did, despite the fact that many of the women performed the problems better or equally well. By declining the chance to compete, the women also turned down a shot at higher pay.

Most men, even those who performed poorly, chose to compete.

Wow, what a shocker! Men like to compete, and competition helps hone skills. Who'da thunk?

The real surprise, though, was that the New York Times saw fit to publish a commentary on the study. But, of course, the Gray Lady, like most Leftist outfits, abhors competition, and the inherent risks in it. So it opted for this sop to its Leftist fanbase:
The women in the experiment who didn't want to bother with a five-minute tournament are not likely to relish spending 16 hours a day on a Wall Street trading floor. It's not fair to deny women a chance at those jobs, but it's not realistic to expect that they'll seek them in the same numbers that men will.

For two decades, academics crusading for equality in the workplace have been puzzled by surveys showing that women are at least as satisfied with their jobs and their pay as men are. This is known as "the paradox of the contented female worker."

But maybe it's not such a paradox after all. Maybe women, like the ones who shunned the experimental tournament, know they could make more money in some jobs but also know they wouldn't enjoy competing for it as much as their male rivals. They realize, better than men, that in life there's a lot more at stake than money.

I wonder if John Tierney has ever tried living a full social life without money. The fact of the matter is that men, in their social role as providers, are going to be more about the money than women. What this means is that money isn't as big a priority for women (although the things that money can buy are) as it is for men.

But, if not money, what will men compete with each other for? Men are biologically programmed to compete, so compete they will. And in the end, on a primal level, it's about competing for women; or, more specifically, about competing for the chance to mate and thereby pass genes on to the next generation. As men make millions of sperm all the time, they are more wont to cast their seed far and wide. Similarly, as women make very few eggs, they are in the biological role of being the chooser, and ultimately nurturer, which doesn't assign as high a priority to competition.

Of course, most of us learned about this difference between boys and girls even before we entered puberty. Some of us have fought against the roles; some of us have sought to straddle both roles. But few of us deny that these roles exist, or that they are rooted in both our biological and social evolutions.

For such a Leftist rag, you'd think that the Gray Lady would be more appreciative of the biological fact of sex.

By the way, the Calico Cat figured all along that there was more to Larry's remarks than the MSM were giving him credit for:
You will also notice that he is trying to spin his remarks as meaning “I don’t really know if innate differences cause men to be better at math, but I’m just saying that it should be investigated.” However, he knows that it’s a politically incorrect statement, he would never have said unless he really was already convinced.

My conclusion is that Lawrence Summers is personally familiar with research studies in this area, and he has drawn his own conclusion that they prove that there are innate differences between men and women related to mathematical ability.


[Cross-posted at Between Worlds and Chicago Boyz]

Degree of Guilt

As the Gomery Inquiry progresses the testimony just keeps getting more and more interesting. According to Kroll Lindquist Avey accountants,
...Groupaction Marketing, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the federal sponsorship program, may have given more than $1.7-million to the federal Liberal party in unregistered donations.

The sum is in addition to the $800,000 that nine advertising firms involved in the sponsorship program, including Groupaction, made in official donations to the Liberals, for a total of $2.5-million over the 10 years examined...

Actually the exact amount of the official donations is $801,627. Throw into the mix the fact our Liberal government understated the true value of the program - the accountants say the figure is $355 million, a full $105 million lower than what the feds claim - and it's certainly not hard to see where the charges of corruption are coming from. And while the accountants haven't been able to determine with any degree of certainty that the $1.7 million went to Liberal coffers, on the surface it's starting to appear as if Montreal adman Jean Brault was telling the truth when he originally made that startling claim.
The 15 payments identified by Mr. Brault include $965,000 to Alain Renaud, a lobbyist whom Mr. Brault said he paid while Mr. Renaud was working for the Liberals. Another $430,000 went to Jacques Corriveau, a Liberal fundraiser and friend of Jean Chretien, the former prime minister; according to Mr. Brault, Mr. Corriveau said the money was for the Liberal "cause," but Mr. Corriveau has insisted he was paid for legitimate lobbying work.

In addition, what I also find incredulous is the response provided by Liberal party lawyer Doug Mitchell,
...said the $1.7-million identified by Kroll greatly overstates the amount of "improper or illegal payments" received by the Liberals.

Greatly overstates the amount of improper or illegal payments. Hmmm. No denial of any wrongdoing. No flat out denial of complicity or direct involvement in criminal behaviour by the Liberals. Just an overstatement. That's like a bank robber on trial for making off with $1 million and his lawyer saying he only stole $250,000! In other words what's being disputed here is not the fact the Liberals are thieves but rather the amount of money stolen. Very interesting indeed.

More reading here and here.

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The King is dead

Left to right. John Jarratt, Graham Kennedy, John Hargreaves, Bryan Brown, Graeme Blundell.

King of Australian television, Graham Kennedy, has died at the age of 71. Unfortunately, Graham suffered through prolonged illness over the last years of his lfe, but retained his wit even at the end. I can't even begin to describe the influence Gra Gra had on Oz TV through the 70's and 80's. An inspired comic genius, ad-libbing lines at will, Kennedy could bring the house down without saying a word. Between Kennedy and Bert Newton, they cornered the market on satire, cynicism and comedic timing. Newton's GMA is a toned down version of their previous evening show, but you can still see the flashes of brilliance on the odd occasion.

Today's crop of 'stars' such as Rove, the Glass House morons, and any number of other Australian produced contemporary productions pale into insignificance agaisnt Graham's achievements. 19 Logies including 5 Gold statuettes. King of Moomba. And on and on.

Graham starred in one of my favourite films 'The Odd Angry Shot', as Harry, a second tour SASR Corporal leading his section through a twelve month tour of Vietnam. Harry's best lines include 'You'd better make it murder, cos I'm gonna knock your fucking head clean off!' and 'Everybody's got to be somewhere, and your here, so you'd better get use to it'.

Graham Kennedy is an Australian legend. The king is dead, long live the king.

The End is Nigh. . .

After the last ‘Don’t blame me, I’m actually protecting you’ speech from the chief maniac himself, it rather looks like Abu was very much starting to feel the noose - and the rope’s clearly being tightened by none other than his fellow (non-Sunni, but maybe a few of those as well) Muslims, who have well and truly woken up to what Abu is really all about.

Zarqawi defends killing Muslims

AL-QAEDA'S leader in Iraq defended the killing of "innocent Muslims" in suicide bombings against US forces, saying it was legitimate under Islam for the sake of jihad (Holy War), according to an audio tape attributed to him today.

"The killing of infidels by any method including martyrdom (suicide) operations has been sanctified by many scholars even if it meant killing innocent Muslims. This legality has been agreed upon ... so as not to disrupt Jihad," Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said on the tape posted on an Islamist website.
Okay, at least he’s being honest. But one has to ask the question. If you’re happy killing innocent Muslims (potentially all Muslims), then what’s the point of the Jihad?

Stay tuned. Abu answers that question for us in just a moment.

The Jordanian militant, Washington's biggest foe in Iraq, quoted Muslim scholars to justify the loss of Muslim lives in suicide attacks in Iraq. His message appeared aimed at winning Sunni Muslim support for the insurgency.

"Protecting religion is more important than protecting (Muslim) lives, honour or wealth," said the man who sounded like Zarqawi. "The shedding of Muslim blood ... is allowed in order to avoid the greater evil of disrupting jihad."
This man is stark raving mad. Taking this to its extreme, what is a religion, any religion, without any adherents (because they’re all dead)? It’s nothing, null, void, extinct. And that is the best description for that which inhabits this man’s soul. And, this said, I must conclude that the starkness of this insanity (and some deeper insight into it) resides with the apparent preparedness of maniacs like Abu to effectively commit their religion to the ultimate sacrifice, in order to wage war in its name. . .

But this all just puts Abu’s very, very latest 'worst hits' announcement into some broader perspective. Is he injured? Maybe - but I somehow doubt it. Abu is, however, most definitely one minute from midnight, and he knows it. Trapped, hunted by just about everything that moves, his life’s hanging by a thread. As a result, I strongly suspect that this latest announcement (to be sealed by a ‘death’ announcement; watch for it over the next little while) is actually a last, desperate bid to get his neck out of the noose, before he finally says ‘goodnight’.

Let’s all just hope he doesn’t pull it off.

Bush Doctrine Creates More Bush Country

Fouad Ajami, one of my favorite Middle East writers, reports on the impressions he got from his recent trips to the Middle east:
To venture into the Arab world, as I did recently over four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, is to travel into Bush Country. I was to encounter people from practically all Arab lands, to listen in on a great debate about the possibility of freedom and liberty. I met Lebanese giddy with the Cedar Revolution that liberated their country from the Syrian prison that had seemed an unalterable curse. They were under no illusions about the change that had come their way. They knew that this new history was the gift of an American president who had put the Syrian rulers on notice. The speed with which Syria quit Lebanon was astonishing, a race to the border to forestall an American strike that the regime could not discount. I met Syrians in the know who admitted that the fear of American power, and the example of American forces flushing Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole, now drive Syrian policy. They hang on George Bush's words in Damascus, I was told: the rulers wondering if Iraq was a crystal ball in which they could glimpse their future.

The weight of American power, historically on the side of the dominant order, now drives this new quest among the Arabs. For decades, the intellectual classes in the Arab world bemoaned the indifference of American power to the cause of their liberty. Now a conservative American president had come bearing the gift of Wilsonian redemption. For a quarter century the Pax Americana had sustained the autocracy of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak: He had posed as America's man on the Nile, a bulwark against the Islamists. He was sly and cunning, running afoul of our purposes in Iraq and over Israeli-Palestinian matters. He had nurtured a culture of antimodernism and anti-Americanism, and had gotten away with it. Now the wind from Washington brought tidings: America had wearied of Mr. Mubarak, and was willing to bet on an open political process, with all its attendant risks and possibilities. The brave oppositional movement in Cairo that stepped forth under the banner of Kifaya ("Enough!") wanted the end of his reign: It had had enough of his mediocrity, enough of the despotism of an aging officer who had risen out of the military bureaucracy to entertain dynastic dreams of succession for his son. Egyptians challenging the quiescence of an old land may have had no kind words to say about America in the past. But they were sure that the play between them and the regime was unfolding under Mr. Bush's eyes.

Indeed, this is a spectacular meeting in time. The fact is that people everywhere want some same basic things, summed up by the Virginian Renaissance Man, Thomas Jefferson, thus: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As the world has modernized, the list of demands has grown, but the same basic rights underlie all. Thus, given an opportunity, the people will act.

Unfortunately, American power hasn't always been on the right side. For this, America is understanbly excoriated and suspected. But it is curious (though not to true liberals) that anti-Americanism is strongest in relatively peaceful societies that are yet repressed by nominal allies of the United Sates (e.g., Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia), and yet not quite as strong among the people abandoned by America when they sought to answer her bright call (the Shiites of Iraq).

This time, though, America might just be on the right side, and, at the very least, her intentions seem true and sincere. A glaring exception thus far, however, is in Uzbekistan. But that will not stop Lebanese activists from pursuing their own opportunity to try the democratic experiment, especially as America keeps an eye on, and continues to pressure, Syria.

Mr. Ajami even draws the obvious correlation with Europe at the end of the Cold War:

As I made my way on this Arab journey, I picked up a meditation that Massimo d'Azeglio, a Piedmontese aristocrat who embraced that "springtime" in Europe, offered about his time, which speaks so directly to this Arab time: "The gift of liberty is like that of a horse, handsome, strong, and high-spirited. In some it arouses a wish to ride; in many others, on the contrary, it increases the desire to walk." It would be fair to say that there are many Arabs today keen to walk--frightened as they are by the prospect of the Islamists coming to power and curtailing personal liberties, snuffing out freedoms gained at such great effort and pain. But more Arabs, I hazard to guess, now have the wish to ride. It is a powerful temptation that George W. Bush has brought to their doorstep.

Read the whole thing, and thank goodness for writers like Mr. Ajami!

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds and Chicago Boyz]

Spoken Like a True Liberal

Keith Thompson, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, tells the story of yet another disaffected liberal finding some common cause with Bush voters:
I'm leaving the left -- more precisely, the American cultural left and what it has become during our time together.

I choose this day for my departure because I can no longer abide the simpering voices of self-styled progressives -- people who once championed solidarity with oppressed populations everywhere -- reciting all the ways Iraq's democratic experiment might yet implode.

More devastatingly for the Left (and in perfect keeping with Mike Jericho's observation about the Left's resemblance to Nazis), Keith notes the corruption of individual identity under the aegis of the Left's elites:
True, it took a while to see what was right before my eyes. A certain misplaced loyalty kept me from grasping that a view of individuals as morally capable of and responsible for making the principle decisions that shape their lives is decisively at odds with the contemporary left's entrance-level view of people as passive and helpless victims of powerful external forces, hence political wards who require the continuous shepherding of caretaker elites.

Leftists who no longer speak of the duties of citizens, but only of the rights of clients, cannot be expected to grasp the importance (not least to our survival) of fostering in the Middle East the crucial developmental advances that gave rise to our own capacity for pluralism, self-reflection, and equality. A left averse to making common cause with competent, self- determining individuals -- people who guide their lives on the basis of received values, everyday moral understandings, traditional wisdom, and plain common sense -- is a faction that deserves the marginalization it has pursued with such tenacity for so many years.

I wonder if Keith has gotten any death threats yet. Still, it's a bold step in the right direction.

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds and Chicago Boyz]

Zarqawi Injured

I hope this is true. There's a corroborating story at ADN Kronos International, and an earlier one at the Washington Times. Knock on wood, folks.

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]

Who Got Who

The deal is in. Via NRO:


We respect the diligent, conscientious efforts, to date, rendered to the Senate by Majority Leader Frist and Democratic Leader Reid. This memorandum confirms an understanding among the signatories, based upon mutual trust and confidence, related to pending and future judicial nominations in the 109th Congress.

This memorandum is in two parts. Part I relates to the currently pending judicial nominees; Part II relates to subsequent individual nominations to be made by the President and to be acted upon by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

We have agreed to the following:

Part I: Commitments on Pending Judicial Nominations

A. Votes for Certain Nominees. We will vote to invoke cloture on the following judicial nominees: Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Circuit), William Pryor (11th Circuit), and Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit).

B. Status of Other Nominees. Signatories make no commitment to vote for or against cloture on the following judicial nominees: William Myers (9th Circuit) and Henry Saad (6th Circuit).

Part II: Commitments for Future Nominations

A. Future Nominations. Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good faith. Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.

B. Rules Changes. In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress, which we understand to be any amendment to or interpretation of the Rules of the Senate that would force a vote on a judicial nomination by means other than unanimous consent or Rule XXII.

We believe that, under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word “Advice” speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President’s power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.

Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.

We firmly believe this agreement is consistent with the traditions of the United States Senate that we as Senators seek to uphold.
While both sides will undoubtedly claim a victory, the conservative true-believers are not happy, from what i've gathered in the last half hour or so listening to the radio and tv pundits.

i'm not overjoyed at the compromise, but i'll have to live with it. What choice do i have? Last time i checked, i am not a United States Senator.

So this is a deal that allows the Democrats to save face, while still giving the Republicans a vote on some of the nominees. Or, it's just as accurate to say that it allows the Republicans to save face while still allowing the Democrats the option to filibuster in the future.

In the world of civil litigation, lawyers say it's a good settlement when both sides are unhappy. But there's another rule in negotiating settlements: "Never negotiate away your leverage in exchange for "goodwill."*

If there's one thing plaintiffs attorneys and Democrats have in common (besides John Edwards) it's that you can't trust a single one of them to act in good faith. Like Sam Gompers, they want only one thing: "more." And they're absolutely shameless about getting it. We saw that in the way guys like Harry Reid completely flip-flopped on the issue of floor votes for judicial nominees.

That's why the most troublesome part of the deal for me is this clause:
Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that that's a promise meant to be broken. And when they do break it, as i promise you the Democrats will, we'll be arguing about the meaning of "extraordinary circumstances" instead of the meaning of the Constitution.

That's the biggest problem with the deal. It takes the issue of constitutionality off the table. The true-believers have a right to be angry on that point. By conceding to the minority a power to block majority will on judicial nominees, the Republicans have conceded the constitutionality of that procedural tactic. They have caved in on the principle that has brought about this entire crisis. And for what? A bit of goodwill. A promise to be good from now on.

Ha! That's worth about two dead flies.

Why would Senate Republicans negotiate away all their leverage by giving up the nuclear option in exchange for a promise? Because they are suckers? Because they love Senate tradition more than they love the Constitution? Or because the Republican Senate leadership is just plain bad at their job?

As i mentioned before, my ideal solution would have been to do away with all filibusters on all issues. Why the hell should one half of the legislature have that stupid rule when the other house does very well without it? The filibuster is almost never used for a noble purpose.

i agree with the late Tip O'Neill, who was wrong about so many things. But he was on the right track when he wrote:
Thanks to television, the House of Representatives is now recognized as the dominant branch of Congress,. [sic] In 1986, the Senate brought in TV cameras as well. But the senators ramble on for hours, whereas our members can speak for only five minutes, apart from "special orders" at the end of the day, and a few other exceptions. Unlike the rules of the House, those of the Senate allow for unlimited debate and unrestricted amendments. Now that the Senate is on television, the prestige of the House should continue to increase."
[Thomas P. O'Neill, Man of the House, p. 290, Random House, 1987]
Today's compromise, in favor of a supposed status quo that's not even really a status quo, ensures that the Senate will remain the weaker, less prestigious house in my book. How can anyone say otherwise when its own rules allow the minority to dictate to the majority and no one has the guts to do anything about it?

* Okay, i don't know if that's really a negotiating rule, i just made it up. But it should be.

[Cross-posted at annika's journal.]

High Time.

You know, I have absolutely no problem with this. In fact, we should be doing it far more frequently.

Identity fraud swoop

AN alleged ringleader of a major identity fraud ring may have his citizenship revoked under a fresh crackdown on Australian citizenship bestowed on former migrants, refugees and dual-nationals.
Good. And high time we made it clear, too. Why do I think we should be doing this? Because we can. Citizenship that is bestowed is a supreme privilege, not a right. After all, had their criminal nature been known in the first instance, that citizenship wouldn’t have been granted (in fact, they wouldn’t even have been given a visa). And I can’t think of a more powerful deterrent, when it comes to the potentially criminal elements we may have mistakenly bestowed citizenship upon.

Australian Federal Police's Identity Crime Taskforce charged the 39-year-old New South Wales factory hand with 15 counts relating to forged Commonwealth documents in March. The scope of the AFP investigation has identified Victorian suspects among up to 1000 people involved in the supply of fake identities.
Well, if you’re found guilty as charged, then bye, bye, crim’. And good riddance. Who needs migrants like this, anyway. They cause misery and harm, whilst also robbing our community of the opportunity to grant someone who is potentially far more deserving and valuable a place in our migrant intake. Of course the Lefties will shriek ‘racism’ (no matter what the ‘race’ involved actually is, which makes that particular howl just more of the usual LW BS), and argue that this line of reasoning relegates migrant citizens to some second class status (as in, one that can be revoked). The answer here is actually very simple: ‘So what’. If they’re convicted of a crime (especially a serious one), we should reserve the right to kick them out, and for all the reasons already cited.

The Federal Government revoked the Australian citizenship of a man in an unrelated case in February, the first time it has used its powers in 12 years and only the sixth time in history.
Twelve years? What the hell took you so long? And only the sixth time in history?

Opposition citizenship spokesman Joe Ludwig believes the authorities may be looking at a number of people whose criminal behaviour allows the Government to revoke their newly bestowed Australian citizenship, which could lead to their eventual deportation.
And your point is precisely what, Joe?

Mr Ludwig said he was seeking to know whether the Chinese-Australian involved in the alleged identity fraud may also face citizenship revocation.
We still don't seem to be getting Joe's point, do we - but don’t worry – he’ll get there. And when he does, right on cue, it’ll be Labor to the rescue! Good on you, fellas. Keep it up. Just give us yet more confirmation of the fact that acting in Australia’s best interests is the furthest thing from your minds (and another reason to keep you away from Government for yet another four years).

Cornelia Wants a ‘Sorry’

Well guess what, Cornelia – so do I.

Locked-up Rau to seek compensation

CORNELIA Rau will seek compensation from the Federal Government for being locked up "like a caged animal" in an immigration detention centre.

Ms Rau, 39, also wants an apology from Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone for being wrongfully detained for almost a year. Denying she was mentally ill, the former Qantas flight attendant said she was poorly treated by police and immigration officials.

This is fairly typical. And unfortunately, far too many schizophrenics fall into precisely this trap.

The German-born Australian resident said her 10-month ordeal at Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre and South Australia's Baxter detention centre was a nightmare. "I have never been treated so unfairly in all my life," she said. "I was put into prison because I didn't have my passport on me. I couldn't get a lawyer there. I couldn't contact human rights groups like Amnesty.”
Personally, I think the fact that your family didn’t report you missing for four months was pretty unfair. The fact is, though, Cornelia wasn’t telling anyone who she really was, because she was in the grip of a paranoid schizophrenic delusion. And as for the passport - well, whatever did happen to the false German passport she was supposed to have been carrying – the one that supported the false name she gave the authorities?

"You are at the mercy of the Government. You can't voice your opinion because there's nobody to talk to. I don't think Amanda Vanstone would have liked to be in my situation -- she would have liked to have been able to contact a lawyer."
What? Try your family, Cornelia. Seriously - they were one phone call away, too.

She would not discuss why she used false names during her detention, including Anna Schmidt. "I had my reasons," she said.
Yep - it’s called a paranoid schizophrenic delusion, Cornelia.

In a rambling speech from prepared notes, she denied she was mentally ill but said the world could be a scary place. "I don't have an illness, I am very healthy," she said. They say that I have got schizophrenia, (but) I don't hear voices or have any symptoms of any illness."
Anyone getting any clues right now as to why it was she went off the deep end in the first place? Because the ‘I don’t have an illness’ syndrome is pretty typical. The next stage - ‘I don’t need to be taking these pills’ - is but a heart beat away.

Ms Rau disappeared from a Sydney psychiatric hospital in March last year. She was found by Aborigines on Cape York Peninsula and subsequently spent eight months in the Brisbane women's prison. She was moved to Baxter in October, despite her family listing her as missing in August.
Listing her missing under her real name (rather than the false one she kept giving), and some four months after she disappeared (assuming she left at the end of March, and her family reported her missing at the start of August, which otherwise means it was up to six months that they actually waited before reporting her missing). What a shame she wasn’t using her real name when she was picked up, or for the months she was put away. And what a shame her family didn’t seem to need to know where their mentally-ill sibling actually was for so very long.

None of us would have ended up with this mess if she or they had.

So where does Cornelia’s ‘sorry’ come into this? Pretty simple, really. Sorry I didn’t take my medication, which caused me to go into that delusional spin. Sorry for all the trouble I caused as a result, and the expense I put the community to. Sorry for how much it is now costing the community to have me treated and rehabilitated after I failed to take those meds in the first place. And sorry that it took my family four months to report me missing from that mental hospital (which kind of speaks volumes), and which was potentially the single most significant, exacerbating factor of this entire, sorry mess.

The first lady takes it in her stride

US First Lady Laura Bush has been heckled by both Jewish and Muslim protesters during a visit to Jerusalem's holy sites. As she slipped a note between stones of the Western Wall, Jewish protesters demanded the release of an Israeli jailed in the US for spying for Israel.

At the nearby Dome of the Rock mosque, Palestinians said she was not welcome.

The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, is Judaism's holiest site and Islam's third holiest. A visit there by Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2000 sparked the current Palestinian intifada.

And has the situation improved since the 'sparking' of the intifada, well there is this big bloody fence that they have to wake up to everyday.

Accompanied by the wife of Israeli President Moshe Katsav, Mrs Bush spent a few moments of silence in the women's section at the Western Wall.

Israeli police held back demonstrators demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli American who was jailed in 1987 on charges of spying for Israel. Mrs Bush then rode in a motorcade for the short drive to the adjacent Dome of the Rock mosque - which she described as "magnificent".

Israeli police formed a cordon to prevent Muslim worshippers jostling her. "How dare you come here! Why is your husband killing Muslims?", one shouted.

Anyone jostling and protesting when Saddam killed how many thousand Shiites, well lets not get ourselves into a knot, it's a lot easier to wake up and yell something anti american, no worries, life goes on after that, try that crap against Saddam in the good ol days in Bagdhad, next thing you'll hanging by the legs from the wall, wishing for a power cut.

Palestinian militant group Hamas issued a statement saying "we see in the visit of Mrs Bush an attempt to whitewash the face of the United States, after the crimes that the American interrogators had committed when they desecrated the Koran".

Er, bomb-everyone-forget-questions Hamas, the story was retracted, haven't you see the news lately, maybe you should check. No no why let the truth get in the way of a good ol fashioned Jihad, bugger it, Jihad is becoming over used, intifada part 2, the young and dumb are primed and ready for their speedy, albeit arriving in several parts, journey to paradise.

Mrs Bush arrived in Israel from Jordan where she attended the World Economic Forum conference on the Middle East on Saturday. She urged Arab leaders to expand the rights of women in their societies. "Freedom, especially freedom for women, is more than the absence of oppression," she said. "It's the right to speak and vote and worship freely."

Who does this woman think she is.. coming here calling for freedom for women, vote, good Lord, hasn't she heard, there is democracy all across the Middle East.
Just like in western countries, people of the Middle East are free to criticise the west.


Newsweek Duplicity

Most Americans are already aware that Newsweek is a resolutely anti-Republican sensationalist outfit. In keeping with most such publications, the editors consistenly slap together "high brow" (read elitist) fare, at once feeding the readership scraps of tabloid journalism while its opinion pages consistently mocks the same demographic. None of this is news, as anyone who reads the rag on a consistent basis can attest.

What is less clear, perhaps, is just how vicious its overseas editions get. Its Japanese edition, for example, excoriates America (and not just the red states), featuring a picture of American flags in trash cans. And yet, the contemporaneous edition in the US features a picture of President Bush, with only the blurb "America Leads ... But Is Anyone Following?" as the only indication of its slant. Again, the cynical give Red Staters their pretty pictures, and Blue Staters their liberal [read Leftist] text, because we all know Red Staters are illiterate anyway ploy to try to shore up its dwindling reader base.

Gaijinbiker at Riding Sun provides more examples.

Even before this, I'd been considering cutting Newsweek out of my reading list. After the Koran-flushing debacle, I decided that I'll get my readings of George Will from the Washington Post instead.

(Via: Instapundit)

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds and Chicago Boyz]

Hitch Socks It to Gorgeous George

Christopher Hitchens, living contradiction to the notion that humor is dead among liberals, takes on "Gorgeous" George Galloway, darling of the International Left, in, of all publications, the Weekly Standard. Reflecting his impeccable Britishness, Hitch concludes the following about his target:

Perhaps I may be allowed a closing moment of sentiment here? To the left, the old East End of London was once near-sacred ground. It was here in 1936 that a massive demonstration of longshoremen, artisans, and Jewish refugees and migrants made a human wall and drove back a determined attempt by Sir Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts to mount a march of intimidation. The event is still remembered locally as "The Battle of Cable Street." That part of London, in fact, was one of the few place in Europe where the attempt to raise the emblems of fascism was defeated by force.

And now, on the same turf, there struts a little popinjay who defends dictatorship abroad and who trades on religious sectarianism at home. Within a month of his triumph in a British election, he has flown to Washington and spat full in the face of the Senate. A megaphone media in London, and a hysterical fan-club of fundamentalists and political thugs, saw to it that he returned as a conquering hero and all-round celeb. If only the supporters of regime change, and the friends of the Afghan and Iraqi and Kurdish peoples, could manifest anything like the same resolve and determination.

Ensconced in these sort of remarks, however, Hitch doesn't spare his readers a wealth of information. The whole thing is worth a read.

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]

Fun Times in the Nuthouse

Is Kofi on drugs?

Well, he's probably not, but he might as well be. Readers of this blog would've already seen how the UN are overspending by at least US$700 billion on their rebuilding. Now that buys roughly 6 million kilograms of cocaine. Only after ingesting that much would I come up with such a stupid statement as this:
Secretary-General Kofi Annan believes congressional proposals to withhold U.S. dues to the United Nations unless certain reforms are enacted would be counter-productive and hinder his ability to bring about changes, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday.

Republicans on the House International Relations Committee on Thursday circulated preliminary proposals for a measure that would cut funding for at least 17 programs, demand reductions in staff for others and seek new U.N. positions, such as a chief operating officer and an "ethics office."

If some of the proposals, like reform of the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission, are not enacted, 50 percent of U.S. dues would be withheld.
In the real world, money is earnt, not handed on a plate. Unfortunately, the UN wants to continue to be a waste of finances, without being accountable or responsible. While we've come to expect this, generally speaking when money is on the line, people will actually attempt to keep to their word and/or do what it takes to get the money they want/need.

However the United Nations is a special case - and since they really don't answer to anyone, they can get away with virtually anything. As a result, the Human Rights Commission is able to do as it pleases, passing criticisms of countries that go nowhere, and withholding attacks on the worst human rights offenders because its an organisation littered by countries who don't uphold the very charter the UNHRC is based on.

Is there any doubt that given a tenth of its current budget, it would achieve the same amount? It's more likely to achieve more than less, simply because currently the UNHRC does absolutely nothing of any value. They criticise Cuba virtually every year, and still Cuba won't even let UNHRC inspectors into the country. Cuba laughs this off, as does every nation "censured" by the Human Rights Commission. And with good reason. When an unaccountable, corrupt organisation passes biased resolutions for purely political reasons that have no standing, and aren't taken seriously by the countries that are meant to change as a result of the resolution, you don't achieve anything.

The UN has had years to pass reforms on billions and billions of dollars worth of income. They've done virtually nothing other than ask for money. If reform will not start from within, then it must be done externally. The Republicans on the House International Relations Committee who are looking at kick-starting these reforms have already done as much as the UN in an effort to reform this twisted group of dictator-appeasing socialists, and thus the UN criticises them for it. They don't want their easy flow of free money threatened. It's as simple as that.

Same old UN, different day.

(Cross-posted to The House Of Wheels.)

Today's Word of the Day is Superficial. Brought to You By the Citizens of Canada

That sure didn't take very long. Paul Martin and his trained seals no sooner survived the confidence vote by the very skin of their teeth when suddenly the MSM pull out the knives.
Ottawa ? The man who prides himself on his skill as a political tactician lost the biggest gamble of his political career last night. And, at least according to some, it didn't need to be that way.

After his defeat on a vote designed to force a spring election, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper finds himself today with a chunk of his political capital spent, a temperamental image with the Canadian public, and some members of his party sniping at him for what they believe was the frittering away of the massive advantage given to him by the sponsorship scandal.

Well we can debate this until the cows come home but the bottom line is there is nothing wrong with Stephen Harper's leadership ability. It's so easy to play the proverbial Monday-morning quarterback but truth be told it was under Harper's watch that Conservatives from coast to coast finally got their asses together to work for the common good.

He may not be flashy or flamboyant or colourful but so what? As Canadians, we have been subjected to the testimonies of various individuals all of whom have provided detailed accounts of the corruption running rampant throughout this government. We have heard about secret meetings, payoffs, kickbacks, brown envelopes etc. If that isn't enough to topple a government than I don't know what is. If people prefer being lied to and stolen from over a supposed bland leader then we as a people are in more serious trouble than I thought. And we as a people deserve what we get. We've made our beds.

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Half Full or Half Empty?

Well, I had originally planned to post a rather large entry about the confidence vote but have since changed my mind. All I'm going to say is, at 153-152 I wouldn't get too complacent Mr.Prime Minister. You may have survived the vote but according to my math half of the House has no confidence in your government's ability to govern. Enough said.

World's media distraught. Saddam humilitated.

Hundreds of newspapers world-wide are running with pictures of Saddam in his jocks, standing in his cell. This has been claimed that it is humiliating and degrading to the former dictator. There are serious attempt to discover who took and released the pictures by the US government.

The photos "were taken in clear violation of Department of Defence directives and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals", a statement said.

I understand the US military angst for soldiers taking happy snaps and then seeing them splashed across the world's media. If people looked at this issue realistically, and compared Saddam in his underwear to 30 years of opppression of his own countrymen, invasion of Iraq and Kuwait, threatening the region with nuclear and chemical weapons, maybe people wouldn't be so quick to blame the US government for allowing Saddam to be 'humiliated'.

Being humiliated and degraded is the least of his problems at the moment. He is on trial facing the death penalty. I have no doubt that Saddam would draw comfort from the fact that the world's media are keen to seem him viewed only as a strong, sartorially elegant dictator, instead of what he really is. A semi-nude, bedraggled sociopath. Imagine the wailing and gnashing when the pictures of his execution and death mask are published.

Cross-posted at Bastards Inc.

Respect is a Two-Way Street

Unfortunately, the old human habit of equating fear and intimidation with respect does not easily die. We see this every day in power relations. China doesn't feel respected by the US, so it bullies Taiwan. France doesn't feel respected by the US, so it bullies Germany. Islam doesn't feel respected by non-Muslims; so radicals try to intimidate infidels and apostates. Think this is fantasy? Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Saudi Institute in Washington, sets the record straight, at least with regard to the dismal situation in Saudi Arabia:

Although considered as holy in Islam and mentioned in the Quran dozens of times, the Bible is banned in Saudi Arabia. This would seem curious to most people because of the fact that to most Muslims, the Bible is a holy book. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia we are not talking about most Muslims, but a tiny minority of hard-liners who constitute the Wahhabi Sect.

The Bible in Saudi Arabia may get a person killed, arrested, or deported. In September 1993, Sadeq Mallallah, 23, was beheaded in Qateef on a charge of apostasy for owning a Bible. The State Department's annual human rights reports detail the arrest and deportation of many Christian worshipers every year. Just days before Crown Prince Abdullah met President Bush last month, two Christian gatherings were stormed in Riyadh. Bibles and crosses were confiscated, and will be incinerated. (The Saudi government does not even spare the Quran from desecration. On Oct. 14, 2004, dozens of Saudi men and women carried copies of the Quran as they protested in support of reformers in the capital, Riyadh. Although they carried the Qurans in part to protect themselves from assault by police, they were charged by hundreds of riot police, who stepped on the books with their shoes, according to one of the protesters.)

As Muslims, we have not been as generous as our Christian and Jewish counterparts in respecting others' holy books and religious symbols. Saudi Arabia bans the importation or the display of crosses, Stars of David or any other religious symbols not approved by the Wahhabi establishment. TV programs that show Christian clergymen, crosses or Stars of David are censored.


The lesson here is simple: If Muslims wish other religions to respect their beliefs and their Holy book, they should lead by example.

Indeed, good faith is the best way to peace and harmony. Each faith can be cordial and respectful of others without betraying its own teachings. Indeed, the late Pope John Paul II showed the world that this was indeed possible. There's already too much for human beings to quarrel over.

Just one other thing: The West has alrady made several overtures to Islam. It is time for Islam to reciprocate, or at least resolve the problem of those who advocate war. Why? Because, Old Europe notwithstanding, the West has the balls to back it up, so if it must be the hard road, rest assured that the West is ready to rumble.

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds and Chicago Boyz]

Republicans Getting Complacent

John Cole, a life-long Republican, is dismayed by the creeping abandonment by the GOP of some of its more reputed principles. So much so, in fact, that he's produced a checklist of abandoned principles. (Hat-tip: Instapundit)

Color me unsurprised. This is what happens when any party stays in power too long. It's long been a fact of life here in California; it was true during the Gilded Age; and it was true from the time of FDR through to the end of the LBJ Administration. Then again, this is part and parcel of most political systems, including China's dynastic cycles. It's just that in the age of instantaneous communications and 24-hour news, these cycles get shorter and shorter.

Still, the Democrats shouldn't get complacent and expect victory to be handed to them on a silver platter. They can still majorly botch things up for themselves, as they did in three general elections in a row (2000, 2002, 2004).

The 2006 elections should give us a clearer idea of what's ahead. Expect to see the Republican schism exposed a little more, and expect Senator Clinton to attempt to rally the national Democrats to a point somewhat closer to the center, but still recognizably left thereof. That'll be the campaigning. If the Republicans botch it, expect to see logjam continue. If the Democrats botch it, watch for a Republican split come in 2008, and if the Democrats aren't completely down and out, they should be able to exploit that for a win.

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds and Chicago Boyz]

Revenge of the Sith

This article will contain some spoilers, but I don't really consider them spoilers since we all know where the story and characters have to go. Keep that in mind as you read on.

Is it better than that first two? Absolutely. But that still only elevates it to average.

Is it darker than the others? Hell yeah. Lucas promised us Attack of the Clones would be a darker film as well but I haven't met anyone who considers Anakin killing a few Sand People as making a film "darker". This one, however, is the darker film we were promised.

The whole sequence of the Great Jedi Purge with Anakin assaulting the Jedi Temple and killing all the Jedi within (including the younglings in a scene that is all the darker for what it doesn't show) and the montage of the various Jedi around the galaxy being killed (including the lovely Twi'lek Jedi Aayla Secura, played by the equally lovely Amy Allen) is great and brings home Anakin's fall, leaving an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

Of course the film has its problems.

The romantic subplot with Padme and Anakin was laughable in Attack of the Clones and is just a bad in this one. It doesn't feature as heavily, but is still just plain awful - due solely to Lucas's script. As one astute lady in my group mentioned "It must be a long time since Lucas has been involved with anyone because I can't see any other way he could write something so bad and think it romantic."

And speaking of bad dialogue, there is one moment towards the end, nearing the birth of the Jedi twins, that almost caused me to vomit it was so stupid and contrived. I thought about whether or not to reveal it but I will because I think it will help if you are prepared for it.

We all know Padme dies soon after the twins are born. Anyway, we are nearing the birth when a medical droid comes out and tells Obi-Wan and Senator Organa that her life signs are failing yet there is nothing physically wrong with her. "How can that be?" someone asks.

"She has simply lost the will to live."

I kid you not. She effectively decides (while unconscious it seems) "I don't want to live anymore."

Ack! I can taste the bile just thinking about it again.

You had characters as well as some subplots wasted (especially the Wookies), and other things not properly explained, but my biggest problem was how easy Anakin's fall is. Quite literally it is

Anakin: "I shouldn't do it. It doesn't feel right.

Palpatine: "Do it."

Anakin: "Ok." [He does it.] "Oh I shouldn't have done that."

Palpatine: "You did it. Now I can teach you... blah blah"

Anakin: "Ok."

Palpatine: "I now name you Darth Vader."

This actually takes place over a couple of specific events but it really does seem like it is that easy.

What happened to this great tragedy, this great struggle he was to have with himself? I blame this, and all the wasted and unexplained characters and subplots on the fact that Lucas wasted the first two films and then realised "Holy shit. I have a lot to do to tie all this into the original films. No time for subtlety - better just do what is required."

That being said, it does tie in well to the original films, and that is probably the most important thing. While it may seem that I hated this film - I didn't. Yes there is a some crappiness to it but then there are some great moments as well, and there really is an energy to it that never let's up.

Ewan McGregor really takes centre stage in this one and it is good to see. Obi-Wan's final dual with Anakin and seeing how Anakin got so messed up and deformed and crippled is good stuff as Lucas doesn't pull any punches or try to ease the intensity by quick cuts and edits.

Anakin and Dooku, Obi-Wan and Grievous, Yoda and Palpatine - all great duels and action sequences.

As a film, it is only average, but as an action piece it is a great adventure and a suitable finale to the trilogy. If you are a fan of Star Wars, then despite its problems, you will not be disappointed in it.

One last thing is the leftist wank about the parallels to Bush and the War on Terror. Oh there is a parallel there between the films and the real world but, as usual, all the leftist dipshits are wrong about it.

Once his victory is secure, Palpatine sends Anakin to kill the leaders of the factions who made up the Separatist Movement. Back in Attack of the Clones, Count Dooku promises them peace, freedom and a commitment to absolute capitalism if they join him to force the Republic to accept their departure. Just as Anakin is about to kill the Viceroy of the Trade Federation, he makes a plea "But your master promised us peace if we helped him..." but is cut short.

Let's just examine that shall we. They wanted peace away from the Republic and entered a pact with someone they knew to be evil and probably shouldn't have been dealing with (their misgivings about the pact is evident in The Phantom Menace) but they go along and all the way try to appease the Sith in the hope they will get their peace once Palpatine has control, but instead they were betrayed and killed.

Sounds just like what will happen if these leftist arsehole traitors are successful in selling us out to their muslim terrorist allies. The Left's terrorist allies will turn on them the second they are able but these moron leftists can't see it.

(cross-posted at The Asylum)

I know we have a drought.

But this is ridiculous!

Russian lake disappears

A RUSSIAN village was left baffled today after its lake disappeared overnight.

NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo looked on disconsolately. "It is very dangerous. If a person had been in this disaster, he would have had almost no chance of survival. The trees flew downwards, under the ground," said Dmitry Zaitsev, a local Emergencies Ministry official interviewed by the channel.

Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.

"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.
Damn – the Americans always get all the credit!

And while I’m on the subject of credit, would someone please tell Bob Carr (and Sheikh El Bracksistani), to just get on with it, muzzle the Greens, and build some new dams, for crying out loud! I mean, warm and fuzzy enviro’ credentials are one thing, but a super-secret pipeline drilled through the Earth to Bolotnikovo?!?

An engineering marvel, there can be no doubt, but really. . .