Saturday, December 31, 2005

Principle Above Career

Finally, kudos to Sir Bob Geldof for taking a job as a consultant for Britain's Conservative Party on issues of poverty.

Geldof has, in the past, shown respect to both Pope Benedict and President Bush on life issues and he has proven he has no time for the empty anti-Christian rhetoric or anti-conservative partisanship of most in the entertainment industry. He is obviously someone who marches to the beat of his own drum in the best possible sense.

He is an inspiration to all true artists.
This is one entertainer who may actually make a difference.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Euro-Trash Chic

CaribPundit concludes:
By his willingness to offend Christians and Hindus, and his hands off respect for Islam, Atldax is proving himself to be very European. Would the last courageous man in Europe turn the lights out when he leaves.
Mr. Altdax is a Swedish fashion designer who makes bold statements via denim.

Russians Can't Pass Gas?

An update on Russian gas pains.
  • The Brussels Journal:
    1. Prominent Estonians Call for Move Against German-Russian Gas Pact
      The idea to thwart the Russian-German Gas Pact by moving the Estonian seaborder in the Gulf of Finland to its maximum extent is catching on. Today, the Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleht – one of the two national quality papers in Estland – devotes a front page article to the joint appeal by former Prime Minister Juhan Parts (Res Publica party, opposition), MP Igor Gräzin (Reform Party, a member of the governing coalition), former Tallinn Mayor Hardo Aasmäe and professor Heiki Lindpere (Professor of Maritime Law, Tartu University) to move the Estonian seaborder to the maximum limit.
    2. Berlin-Moscow Gas Pact Easy to Thwart… if Balts Have Guts
      East European countries regard the Russian-German agreement to build a gas pipeline on the Baltic seabed with misgivings. Though it is far cheaper to build an overland pipeline through Lithuania and Poland, the North European Gas Pipeline Company (NEGP) will directly link Russia and Germany, bypassing transit states. The 1,200 km long seabed pipeline from Vyborg to Greifswald will allow Moscow and Berlin to cut off gas supplies to the countries lying between Germany and Russia if they should ever wish to. This has prompted some to compare the NEGP gas deal to the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
    3. Schröder Exchanges Berlin for Kremlin
      The former chancellor is not the only German who is going to work for NEGP. Matthias Warnig, the head of Dresdner Bank in Russia, has been appointed CEO of the pipeline company and will become a close collaborator of the former chancellor. Herr Warnig is a close friend of Putin’s. In fact, their friendship goes back to the time that they were both working for the local gestapos of their respective countries. Warnig was a Major in the East German secret service Stasi from the mid-1970s until the collapse of Communist dictatorship in 1989. Putin worked as a KGB agent in East Germany in the 1980s. Warnig was assigned to help him recruit spies in the West.
  • BBC:
    1. Putin admits Ukraine gas 'crisis'
      Ukraine says it is happy to pay market rates, but wants price increases to be phased in gradually over several years.

      In an apparent concession, Mr Putin said Russia would be prepared to offer Ukraine a loan in the region of $3.6bn to help it adjust to the new arrangement.

      "We must give our Ukrainian partners the opportunity to arrange their budget in such a way that it can adapt to market relations," he said.
    2. Russia-Ukraine gas row heats up
      But Russia's defence minister warned that any such increase could have serious consequences.

      "The agreement on the Black Sea fleet base is one part of a bilateral treaty, the second part of which contains recognition of mutual borders," Sergei Ivanov said.

      "Trying to revise the treaty would be fatal."
  • Kiev Ukraine News Blog:
    1. Ukraine, Russia Fail to Resolve Dispute
    2. Dispute Between Ukraine, Russia Heats Up
      A dispute between Ukraine and Gazprom, Russia's state-owned natural gas monopoly, grew more intense Tuesday as Ukraine threatened to take a portion of Russian gas exports to Europe and Gazprom called such a move theft.
    3. Russia Warns Ukraine Against Siphoning Off Europe-Bound Gas
      "Eighty percent of our gas transits through Ukraine, which was the motive behind our Ukrainian colleagues' decision to start to blackmail us ... But we are ready to go to the Swedish court in the event of Ukraine's unsanctioned use of gas," deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev told Channel One television, referring to the Stockholm International Court of Arbitration, which acts as a neutral body for resolving East-West trade disputes.
    4. Gazprom Warns Ukraine: No Contract, No Gas
      Asked whether Ukraine would be able to satisfy domestic demand by using reserves in its underground storages, Medvedev said the natural gas in those reserves was meant for export and that the reserves did not contain extra amounts of gas for the domestic market.
    5. Ukraine Says It Will Not Accept Blackmail, Pressure From Moscow
      Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk's remarks were the latest volley in the ongoing feud over Moscow's demand that Ukraine pay more than quadruple the current price it pays for gas imports from Russia. Kiev has refused, saying such a sharp hike would harm energy-inefficient industries and poor consumers.
      . . . . .
      Russia provides almost half of the EU's gas imports, and some 80 percent of that goes through Ukrainian pipelines. The feud has raised fears that these supplies could be interrupted.
    6. Moscow Seeks To Use Petro-Power As Political Tool
      But it is doing so in a highly differentiated way. Ukraine, having shifted out of Moscow’s orbit since last year’s Orange Revolution, has been slapped with the biggest demand for a price increase. Prices charged to Georgia and Moldova, which have also turned their gaze westwards, have nearly doubled. Yet Belarus, loyal to Moscow, is still getting gas at the old price.

      Russia is using its dominant position in oil, too, to favour Russian commercial interests. It plans to cut oil supplies to Lithuania from January 1 in what analysts see as an attempt to press the Baltic republic to favour a Russian buyer over rival Polish and Kazakh bidders for the strategically important Mazeikiu oil refinery.
      . . . . .
      Also this month, Russia started construction, with some fanfare, of the $5bn North European Gas Pipeline, an export route under the Baltic sea to Germany that will bypass the Baltic states, Ukraine and Poland. It attracted even more attention by naming Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor, project chairman.

      Within days, word leaked that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin had asked Donald Evans, the former US commerce secretary and close friend of President George W. Bush, to chair Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company preparing for an initial public offering. Mr Evans this week politely declined, citing other commitments.
      . . . . .
      Moscow has already hinted to US officials and international energy executives that it intends to use its coming G8 presidency to assure the world it can be a pivotal energy supplier to Europe, the US and Asia.
    7. Ukraine Gas Dispute With Russia Raises Supply Fear
      Russia in turn accuses Kiev of dragging its feet and refusing to drop the antiquated barter system. Russian officials ask how Ukraine can aim to join the European Union while refusing to pay market prices for gas.

      Russia says its interests are purely economic. But Mr Yushchenko's supporters accuse Moscow of trying to damage his popularity three months before parliamentary elections. Mr Yuschenko's party is facing tough competition from Viktor Yanukovich, the pro-Russian politician who ran in last year's presidential race. The elections also give Mr Yushchenko an extra incentive to face up to Russia; his stand has been popular with voters little inclined to pay more for energy.
    8. Ukraine Must Stand Up to Russian Blackmail
      That is why when Russia demands Ukraine to pay twice the price it is charging the Baltic states, that is solely due to political considerations. The Baltic states are protected by NATO and EU and Russia had lost the main means of manipulating there.

      Russia is provoked by the Ukrainian temporary vulnerability which enables it to subject Ukraine to various experiments as it is not a member of the clubs mentioned above.

      Russian historical tendency to breach agreements represents an issue in any negotiations with this country. German Chancellor Bismarck once said that all agreements signed with Russia are not worth the paper on which they are written.
    9. Yushchenko Accuses Russians Of ‘Blackmail’
      Ukraine has been refusing to accept the price hike by citing a 10-year agreement signed three years ago between Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrayiny.

      A special clause in the agreement, signed last year, fixed prices of Russian gas at $50/1,000 cu m through the end of 2009, while Naftogaz fixed tariffs for shipping Russian gas to Europe for the same period.

      Analysts said the clause makes Gazprom legally vulnerable in the dispute should the matter be taken to the Stockholm International Arbitration Court, the venue for resolving the dispute.
    10. Ukraine Raises Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Issue in Gas Row
      “We are coming to an understanding that all our economic relations must be in accordance with world, European standards,” Yushchenko told a news conference, when asked about the failure to clinch a gas deal at talks in Moscow on Monday.

      “Therefore, when we are talking about the economic essence of leasing Ukrainian ports and land and the temporary stationing of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, we are undoubtedly talking about a similar approach.”
    11. CIA Chief Pays Secret Visit to Ukraine
      The CIA has been carefully watching Russia's expansion in the energy sector of the former Soviet Union, including aggressive acquisitions of key energy sector companies, such as power distribution firms and oil refineries over the past several years.
    12. Russia, Ukraine Quarrel Over Gas
      Gazprom is not proposing to raise prices for Belarus, which it charges $47 per 1,000 cubic meters. Russian officials say this price is kept low because Belarus has allowed Gazprom to own a gas pipeline there and to lease the land it uses long-term. Many political analysts, however, attribute the price to the country's firm political alignment with Moscow.

      Putin spoke to Yushchenko by phone Friday and said later that they had agreed that the gas dispute should not be politicized, the Russian news agency Interfax reported. "Business and economics is one thing and politics another," Putin said. "Russia was and will be Ukraine's ally."

      Ukraine pays much of its natural gas bill in barter by allowing Gazprom to use Ukrainian-controlled pipelines to transport gas across its territory -- about 80 percent of Gazprom's exports to Western Europe flow that way. This gives Ukraine potential leverage in the negotiations, but Yushchenko has ruled out any curtailing of gas to Europe.
    13. Gas Fuels Hotter Russian-Ukrainian Spat
      The dispute is tricky for this gas-dependent country. Ukraine's energy-inefficient chemical factories will cease being profitable if the price rises above $95 per 1,000 cubic meters, and the country's giant metal works will struggle at prices above $103, Security Council chief Anatoliy Kinakh said. Those industries account for 30 percent of Ukraine's gross domestic product and 45 percent of its export earnings.
      . . . . .
      Yushchenko's government is giving as good as it gets. A senior administration official suggested that if Moscow demands "world prices" for oil, it might consider jacking up the $93 million per year that Russia pays to keep its Black Sea Fleet based in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol.

      Russian media, meanwhile, have reported that Ukraine is threatening to open up Soviet-era military installations to the United States and scuttle military cooperation with the Kremlin. Ukrainian officials said they were not aware of the reports.
    14. Ukraine May Host US Radars
      The Russian military establishment is taking very seriously the possibility that strongly pro-American Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko could dramatically tilt the balance of global strategic power by giving the United States an advance radar base in the historic former Russian naval fortress of Sevastopol on the Black Sea.
      . . . . .
      IA Novosti said Yushchenko could also retaliate against the gas price hike by refusing to sign a recently negotiated agreement with Russia to extend the operation of its 15P118M missile launchers for Russia`s old but still formidable RS-20 heavy ballistic missiles, known in the West as the SS-18 Satan. Under the agreement, Ukraine agreed to assist Russia in maintaining the systems that have been on combat duty for the past 15 years, for another 10-15 years.

      Without that agreement, Russia will have to decommission its existing SS-18s and replace them with new but much more expensive Topol-M ICBMs at an estimated cost of $3 billion-$4 billion, RIA Novosti said.
    15. Russia Threatens Ukraine Gas Cut
      Ukraine has proposed paying market rates - but in phased increases over a period of time, rather than all at once, in the depths of Eastern Europe's bitter winter.
    16. Putin Talks Tough Over Ukraine Gas
      President Vladimir Putin struck a hard line Thursday in a dispute with Ukraine over natural gas supplies, saying that the country could afford to pay the market price for Russian gas.
    17. Yushchenko Sacks Ukrainian State Oil And Gas Company Chief
      Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has dismissed the head of the state-owned Naftogaz oil and gas company, Olexi Ivchenko, his office said, amid a row over gas supplies with Russia.
Perhaps a little more carrot and a little less stick would help.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Canadian Crime Count

Darcy at Dust My Broom says Canadian violent crime exceeds U.S. and points to Canada Blames Us as his source. Canadians enjoy blaming their violent crime on "American" guns. But . . .
There is another more serious difficulty: You don't have to live next to the United States to see how hard it is to stop criminals from getting guns. The easy part is getting law-abiding citizens to disarm; the hard part is getting the guns from criminals. Drug gangs that are firing guns in places like Toronto seem to have little trouble getting the drugs that they sell and it should not be surprising that they can get the weapons they need as well.

The experiences in the U.K. and Australia, two island nations whose borders are much easier to monitor, should also give Canadian gun controllers some pause. The British government banned handguns in 1997 but recently reported that gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled in the four years from 1998-99 to 2002-03.

. . . . .

The 2000 International Crime Victimization Survey, the last survey completed, shows the violent-crime rate in England and Wales was twice the rate of that in the U.S. When the new survey for 2004 comes out later this year, that gap will undoubtedly have widened even further as crimes reported to British police have since soared by 35 percent, while those in the U.S. have declined 6 percent.

. . . . .

Many things affect crime: The rise of drug-gang violence in Canada and Britain is an important part of the story, just as it has long been important in explaining the U.S.'s rates. (Few Canadians appreciate that 70 percent of American murders take place in just 3.5 percent of our counties, and that a large percentage of those are drug-gang related.) Just as these gangs can smuggle drugs into the country, they can smuggle in weapons to defend their turf. . . . .
Some of the commenters on Darcy's post argue that if the statistics are adjusted to reflect the differing definitions of crime and standards of reporting, then Canada still has a lower crime rate than America. Their arguments make a convincing prima facie case. Their arguments also miss the significance of the growth in their crime rate. The directions of these vectors are more important than their starting points.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Wave Never Made It Past The Beach

From EU Referendum: A year after…
Since then, we are told, more than $13 billion has been pledged in aid, with donations from private individuals and countries coming to more than $5 billion. In Britain alone, the public contributed £400 million, eight times the previous record sum, raised for Kosovo in 1999.

That generosity, the Telegraph opines, is commensurate with the scale of the catastrophe, its timing - during the Christmas season - and the fact that 150 Britons were among more than 3,000 foreigners who died. It has been such that the current financial requirements of the afflicted areas have been more than met; one NGO, Médecins Sans Frontières, has even been refusing further donations.

But, for all the money and outpouring of sympathy, this has not satisfied needs. Say the Telegraph, the plethora of sometimes competing aid agencies - 3,645 had registered in the province of Aceh in northern Sumatra alone a month after the tsunami - and the limited managerial capacity of local governments mean that hundreds of thousands of people are still without permanent shelter and that the economy that sustains them - agriculture, fishing, tourism - remains a shadow of its former self.
Read the article for the full analysis.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Strange Tales Of Military Recruiters

Some briefs anecdotes from people I know concerning their experiences with military recruiters:
  1. My cousin was promised a position with Army intelligence by his recruiter. He ended up being a truck driver. Surely, the recruiter (his uncle) must have lied to him! My cousin, on the other hand, will tell you that his re-assignment was brought about by his own failure to learn the Czech language.

  2. The bright young son of some friends was promised a position in the Air Force special forces. (And yes, the Air Force has its own special forces.) Last time I saw him, he was in civilian clothes. The Air Force had offered him some alternative assignments. He could either accept re-assignment to other service in the Air Force or take a furlough until such time as he was eligible to re-apply for special forces training. He took the furlough. It is reported that he could not master some of the finer points of special forces training and was labeled a "screw-up". More lies from military recruiters.

  3. Recently I had a discussion with a young man from a middle class background with whom I have a professional relationship. While discussing some issues regarding his career advancement path, I asked him if he had ever considered military service. I thought the structure of the military might help him through this difficult period in his life. He replied that he had visited a Marine recruitment center and was somewhat surprised by their lack of interest in him as a potential member of the Marines. It seems that his failure to complete high school made him a "quitter" and unsuitable. Perhaps he was too white and not poor enough. Or maybe the recruiter was just lying to him.
There may be a common thread in these stories.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Putting Out The Fire Of Cyber Smoke Signals

The heart of this suit is not strictly a Métis issue but an attack on the principle of free speech and free expression which should be of paramount concern to all Canadians. It appears to be orchestrated by those who would consign any viewpoint that does not mirror their own back to the days of endless separate solitudes.
This is one more reason to read The Last Amazon.
Valarie was the mother of two at that time and had not yet progressed to the ‘mother of many’ designation. She had been isolated for more years than I could possibly have imagined when I first met her. It was the first time that I actually enjoyed doing the laundry. I loved her sense of irony and her quick wit. She stayed on till I finished doing the laundry and I brought her home for coffee. She was busy warning me about the dangers of living in a downtown high rise. Just the other day she heard a terrible racket in the hallway and went to investigate and the strangest thing happened. She turned the corner to walk into the stairway and before she knew what was happening she was lifted several feet off the ground and pinned by her neck against the wall by a man using only one hand. She was at eye level to the largest black man she had ever seen who was demanding to know what her business was. He had another man in a head lock at the other side of him. She managed to croak out that she lived there and only came out to find out what the racket was. She thought she was a goner but he let her go and ordered her to go home immediately as he was taking care of it. She ran back into her home and was shaking so hard that she could barely get her key into the door. She just finished her story and I was in the process of commiserating sympathetically when the Last Amazon’s father came through the door. Valarie jumped to her feet and screamed that’s him and ran out the door petrified.

I was so use to the Last Amazon’s father’s size that most times I took it for granted that his size and appearance often made him immediately intimidating for those who didn’t know him. I admit that it did have its uses and I wasn’t above using it to my advantage when dealing with rude store clerks. I really miss those days when a store clerk would give me a hard time and I could just call out for his attention and the clerks would immediately sweeten up. I always thought it was really wasted on him because he would often go out of his way to assure most people he was not a threat (unless his family was threatened) and went to great lengths of courtesy to put most people at ease. Being 5’ and not particularly intimidating looking, I have always resented being forced to prove that I am not a benign soul by doing something extreme to prove my point.

Of course, I gave the Man a good what for and lectured him long about going around scaring the neighbors and I was more than a trifle annoyed that he probably ruined the only chance I had in a long time for company during the day. He tried to justify it by saying he caught the man smoking crack in the hallway and he wasn’t going to let the some crackie poison the air where his wife and daughter lived, but if I recall correctly, I think I still burned his dinner that night.

Valarie did gather her courage a few days later and came by to apologize for screaming and running out the door when the Man came home from work and so begin a 14 year friendship that has yet to end. In the course of getting to know each other I learned that Valarie was Métis and originally from Northern Ontario. She lived a very troubled early life that was marked by alcohol and extreme abuse. I was very curious about her culture as she made only the vaguest references to it and I had retained very little information from high school history courses beyond that the fact that the Métis were a mixture of Native and European ethnicity. There was some vague memory that Louis Riel was Métis and played a role that is still considered controversial in Canadian history. Such was the extent of my knowledge.

One day I asked her what being Métis meant and she floored me with her answer; it was to be marked by birth as second rate and to never quite being able to measure up. Where she grew up in the North her family was shunned by the Native community who possessed treaty status, and when her family moved to the city they were shunned by their neighbors for being too “native”. When she took the mandatory Canadian history courses in high school she learned that the man her father revered was judged a traitor to this country; she simply hung her head in shame. Up until very recently she could not tell you what it means to be Métis except to say that it was not something she would ever willing choose to be if the choice was hers alone.

But an interesting change happened about 18 months ago. I started to blog and being a good friend she started to read what I posted. Eventually that lead her to read Darcey at Dust my Broom and from Darcey’s site she found other voices; both Métis and Native. For the first time, she has been given a glimpse into her own solitude and experience. She has heard the voices that were silent to her before. There is a hidden value to internet, blogs and blogging, and it is this; it is a way to reach out to others that previously would have remained firmly locked and entrenched in their separate solitude.

All of which brings me to the bizarre defamation lawsuit brought by Manitoba Métis Federation against Cyber Smoke Signals for hosting an online petition calling for a halt in funding the MMF for amending the bylaws or funding a new election until the MMF has complied fully with a Court of Queen’s Bench order issued January 27, 2004 which calls for a fair and democratic vote.
This is the lawsuit that was referred to here. The Last Amazon links to some resources to provide more information about this case. Question: Does anyone see a legitimate cause of action in the original documents under question? The incestuous relationship between MMF and Lionel Chartrand is most interesting. I will, in the near future, post more information about this lawsuit. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Give Them A Fish or

Give them the tools
One such is the Ghanaian Franklin Cudjoe, Director of the think-tank Imani, in Accra. Yesterday all the editions of the Wall Street Journal carried his article “Africa needs freer markets – and fewer tyrants”. As readers have to subscribe to the WSJE on the net, Mr Cudjoe and his staff have made the piece available on their website.

His argument is very straightforward and one that he and numerous of his colleagues have used before: aid that feeds corrupt and oppressive regimes in Africa is not only not helpful, it is counter-productive. As he rightly says, most of Africa is extremely fertile. It ought not experience famine. Why is that situation so prevalent?
Read the rest of the article.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Shot Across The French Bow

A history lesson from EckerNet: Run and Be Recognized

Friday, December 16, 2005

More Confirmation RE: Australia

I AM a NSW police officer with more than 17 years' experience and I tell you that I am scared.

I am scared to do my job and I don't blame the community for taking the law into their own hands.
This published letter backs up the points made here concerning law enforcement in Australia. (Hat tip to CaribPundit.)

Lou Minatti: Neo-Nazi Hunter

Lou investigates the whereabouts of all know Neo-Nazis and they don't live where you thought.
There are more neo-Nazi foreskinhead groups in states like New Jersey, Ted Kennedy's home state of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the great state of California than there are in states like Texas or even Mississippi.
Let's check out the map and see how we did.

Minnesota: 4
South Dakota: 0

Blue State Wins Again!

Kate Has It Right!

From small dead animals: Iraqi Elections
" Iraqi Voter: "Anybody who doesn't appreciate what America has done and President Bush, let them go to hell"
(I'd link to the video, but traffic this morning from Drudge seems to have taken the site down.)

While Canadian media whine on behalf of "Canadians" about having to go to endure election campaigning over the Christmas season, Iraqi's are braving bullets and bomgs(sic) to reach the polls for the third time in a year.

Due to the success of the previous elections in this emerging democratic state in which Bush McChimpyHitler and the Jews Neocons are losing the war for American Imperialism to steal their oil, I suspect we aren't likely to hear a lot about the Dec.15 vote unless catastrophic attacks occur. As conditions on the ground have continued to improve over past months, I'd think that unlikely.

The space above has been left blank for a reason. It's a virtual "second chance" provided for my leftie readers to engage in a little soul-searching about that reflexive reaction they just had to my optimism - in hoping I'm proven wrong.
I suspect the space left is too large relative to the likelihood that it will be used. Go read the rest of her post.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Australian Juxtaposition

These people were surprised by the riots in Australia, this man was not. (Hat tip to The Viking Observer.)

What Is The Price Of Gas In The Ukraine?

It may have just gone back down. From the Kiev Ukraine News Blog: Ukraine May Host US Radars
MOSCOW, Russia -- Russian defense experts warned this week that Ukraine could retaliate against a major price hike on their Russian gas imports by letting the United States use its early warning radar bases for ballistic missile defense.

. . . . .

Russia is raising the price of its natural gas exports to Ukraine from the current level of $50 per 1,000 cubic meters to the price it charges European Union nations, $160 per 1,000 cubic meters.

RIA Novosti said Yushchenko could also retaliate against the gas price hike by refusing to sign a recently negotiated agreement with Russia to extend the operation of its 15P118M missile launchers for Russia`s old but still formidable RS-20 heavy ballistic missiles, known in the West as the SS-18 Satan. Under the agreement, Ukraine agreed to assist Russia in maintaining the systems that have been on combat duty for the past 15 years, for another 10-15 years.

Without that agreement, Russia will have to decommission its existing SS-18s and replace them with new but much more expensive Topol-M ICBMs at an estimated cost of $3 billion-$4 billion, RIA Novosti said.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

An Interesting Juxtaposition

Cuban Priorities: This group is allowed in, but this group is not allowed out.
(Hat tip to The Latin Americanist.)

Setting The Context For Latin American Elections

The BBC has a good country-by-country roundup of the political situation which will be the context for upcoming elections. Find it here.

A Practical Application Of Darwin's Theory?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Important Background Information On Australian Riots

Or "Why sticking your head in the sand doesn't work." You won't find this report in your local paper.

From The Viking Observer: Some background to the Australian riot
Secondly, a bit of background to the Australian riot Sunday and the follow-up Moslem riot Monday. Other than the assault on two Australian life guards that immediately sparked the sunday riot, I have only seen small bits on the background in Australian papers. This is to remedy that. Tim Priest, a pensioned Australian detective held a speech entitled "The Rise of Middle-eastern Crime in Australia" in November 2003. It has been printed in Quadrant in its January-February 2004-issue, and deals with how "reforms" in the Australian police led to a rise in Middle-Eastern crime. Some interesting bits:
When searching the vehicle and finding stolen property from the break-and-enter, the police were physically threatened by the three occupants of the car, including references to tracking down where the officers lived, killing them and “fucking your girlfriends”. The two officers were intimidated to the point of retreating to their police car and calling for urgent assistance. When police back-up arrived, the three occupants called their associates via their mobile phones, which incidentally is the Middle Eastern radio network used to communicate amongst gangs. Within minutes as many as twenty associates arrived as well as another forty or so from the street where they had been stopped. As further police cars arrived, the Middle Eastern males became even more aggressive, throwing punches at police, pushing police over onto the ground, threatening them with violence and damaging police vehicles.

When the duty officer arrived, he immediately ordered all police back into their vehicles and they retreated from the scene. The stolen property was not recovered. No offender was arrested for assaulting police or damaging police vehicles.

But the humiliation did not end there. The group of Middle Eastern males then drove to the police station, where they intimidated the station staff, damaged property and virtually held a suburban police station hostage. The police were powerless. The duty officer ordered police not to confront the offenders but to call for back-up from nearby stations. Eventually the offenders left of their own volition. No action was taken against them.

In the minds of the local population, the police were cowards and the message was, Lebs rule the streets. For a number of days, nothing was done to rectify this total breakdown of law and order. To the senior police in the area, it was more important to give the impression that local ethnic relations were never better. It was also important to Peter Ryan that no bad news stories appeared that may have given the impression that crime in any area was out of control. Had these hoodlums been arrested they would have filed IA complaints immediately via their Legal Aid lawyers and community leaders. To senior police, this was a cause for concern at the next Op Crime Review. ...
Read the rest of the article to find the link to the original speech.

So Sue Me 2

One of the websites that published concerning the lawsuit against M.D.E. is Dust My Broom, a superb Canadian blog. He just published an article about another Canadian website being sued by an aboriginal government organization. It is clear that the lawsuit is aimed at silencing critics of this organization. It is rumored that Dust My Broom is also on that list of critics. Darcy, publisher of Dust My Broom, gives this response:
If some moist girth bastard wants to spend government money entrusted to them suing me for a personal agenda then go ahead. I'm preparing my documentation.
(He provides photographic evidence of his preparation. Read his post for verification.) We must support our Canadian cousins in their battle against this attempt at censorship. I will keep you posted.

Is Norway Becoming France?

From The Brussels Journal: Norway Says No to a Free Cuba
The Norwegian government of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, an extreme-left coalition of Stoltenberg’s Workers’ Party (Ap), the Socialist Left Party (SV) and the green Center Party (Sp), wants to ban Cuban democrats from attending Norway’s national holiday festivities. The SV is also calling for a boycot of Israel.
My dearly departed, but very Norwegian, grandfather just broke into tears.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Europe And The Moral Hazard

America bears some responsibility for the situation one now finds in Europe. George Handlery, writing in The Brussels Journal (The Europe Europe Needs) concludes:
With the emergence of the new, Jihadist challenge, the iniquitous system that, in spite of everything, stumbled to Cold War victory, has reached the boundaries of its (always limited) usefulness. Handling much of Europe as if it were 1945 and not 2005 makes no moral, material or political sense. In a clash of cultures it is madness to confer immunity on the otherwise capable components of one's own "camp." America's chances to win this one, too, without the succor of its equally affected likes, is limited by their comportment. America's moral obligation to do the job alone is hard to detect. A material need to "go it alone" is long since non existent. This situation - for the sake of Europe and America - demands that conclusions be drawn.

One is that political dependency abroad, just as welfare dependency at home, is not the soil out of which responsible self-assertion can arise. Second, what America needs now is not a dependent - irrespectively of whether it is obedient or uppity. What is required are genuine allies who share, commensurate to their abilities, the common cause's burdens and its risks. Unconditional forgiveness is unsuited to achieving this goal. What it earns is not ultimate good will but scorn. Third, if one likes Europe - as the writer does - one wishes for its emancipation. What Europe needs is a Europe that is, by its own right, a global factor. A strong European component of Western civilization and of the modern world, presupposes that it be made aware of its responsibilities. Only this awareness will enable the Continent to carry the burden implicit in the challenge we face. Fourth, the qualification for the job presupposes that that Europe shall become (albeit belatedly) as strong militarily and politically as it is by virtue of its size and economy. Fifth, coddling and exempting Europeans from the consequences of their errors will not achieve this. In order to make Europe strong and assertive not only against its American friends (easy) but also against its declared enemies (difficult), demands that Washington leans on Europe. This can be done by making it clear that in the coming major crisis facing our civilization and way of life nothing should be regarded as automatic. Help will flow according to American interests and European merits. Does this sound brutal? Before crying out, remember that in order to learn how to swim you need to get wet by going into the water.
Read the full article for the analysis that led to this conclusion.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I, Robot?

If you built a machine which would kill another human being some time after you pressed the "start" button, would that remove the need for justification for that homocide? Evidently some people think so. Read Israel finds way to euthanize without breaking the Commandment? and it's followup Casuistry.

New Uses For Dead Rock Stars

Reflections on the anniversary of the murder of John Lennon:
  • Every person of faith needs a patron saint. John Lennon serves well for the modern believer-in-anything.
  • John Lennon has motivated people to do many things (or not).

Friday, December 09, 2005

Orwell Takes A Venezuelan Vacation

This Christmas, the Chavistas know who's been naughty and who's been nice.

Management For Morons

EckerNet gives us Management 101 in Management Hates Me. Managers are such morons! Oh wait, I'm a manager. Read Kevin's article to see if you recognize the pattern.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

9 Minutes Of Narnia!

Solaman points us to the Narnia Super Trailer Download! Go there for the link.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

An Incomplete History Of Europe

From EU Referendum: The European history of Europe
We are all used to the double standard of the clever-dick great and the good (most of whom just happen to be Europhile) that demands prison for anyone who raises the slightest criticism of the accepted view of the Holocaust and shrugs metaphorical shoulders if not disappears in total embarrassment when Communist crimes are discussed.

David Irving is not only in Austrian prison but is, rightly, beyond the pale as far as serious history is concerned. Luciano Canfora who is no less guilty of peddling lies and is probably more consistent in his support for a murderous regime, has his book published in several languages as part of the more or less official history of the making of Europe.
Read the rest of the analysis.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Poland & Israel

From The Polish Consulate: Poland & Israel
Poland has taken over a decade to rebuild relations with Israel, broken off under communism. Now it's hoped that the country is coming to be seen as Israel's gateway into the European Union.
Read the rest to learn more about this unique relationship and why Poland is Israel's strongest ally in Europe.


Gas Attack!

From Kiev Ukraine News Blog: Kremlin Uses Energy to Teach Ex-Soviet Neighbors a Lesson in Geopolitical Loyalty
Russia's state-run energy giant Gazprom has long sought to boost profits by ending subsidies to former Soviet states. Next year prices for new European Union members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will increase by half to between $120 and $125 per 1,000 cubic meters, Gazprom's top executives recently announced.

The price Ukraine will have to pay for the Russian gas supplies will more than triple -- to at least $160 per 1,000 cubic meters. Georgia and Armenia will pay about $110 next year, and Moldova will pay between $150 and $160.

Gazprom explains the move by pointing to the rise of energy prices on global markets. (The average price for natural gas in Western Europe is currently about $200 per 1,000 cubic meters.)

"This is not politics, Gazprom isn't under pressure from the government," Alexander Ryazanov, the company's deputy chief executive, said in Moscow on November 29. "This is simple economics."

But some key Russian policymakers have made it absolutely clear that the gas monopoly's Kremlin supervisors are being guided by more than an economic rationale. They bluntly say that Moscow will continue to subsidize energy supplies to its "allies."

At the same time, it will promote "purely market mechanisms" in bilateral relations with those neighbors that are not sufficiently loyal and that display a "suspicious" geopolitical orientation. "We simply suggest applying market principles while doing business with those countries with which we don't have an alliance-type relationship," argues Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee.
Read the rest for more information.

Monday, December 05, 2005

How To Celebrate The Birth Of Christ

From Jessica Warner in the Globe And Mail: We'll take manhattans
Christmas is fast approaching, and with it, the dilemma of what to give the less likable people in our lives: office mates, ex-spouses, born-again Christians. You could enroll them in the Potato of the Month Club, something my friend Nancy once did to her in-laws. You could give them exactly the same thing you gave last year, as clear a signal as any that your relationship is safely stuck in neutral. Or you could give them a pretty little book about a frivolous topic: Toronto writer Christine Sismondo's charming Mondo Cocktail.
. . . . .
Caution: This book is recommended for ironic readers only. Some people might be shocked to read that the best cure for a hangover is a "Bloody Mary with two shots of vodka," that people who have neither the time nor money to drink Grand Marnier in the morning are to be pitied, that the abolition of drive-through bars is a minor tragedy bespeaking a lack of political will on the part of lushes. There is, of course, an element of épater le bourgeois in all this -- reason enough to give the book to the born-again Christians in your life.

Jessica Warner is a research scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Her most recent book, The Incendiary: The Misadventures of John the Painter, was short-listed for the Governor-General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction.
There were three things I didn't understand in this book review:
  1. Is that "lickable" or "likeable"?
  2. What is the meaning of "épater le bourgeois"?
  3. What are "ironic readers"?
Lickable or likeable: you say potato - I say potato. The phrase "épater le bourgeois" means pretty much what I thought it would mean, but I am still wondering who , or what, "ironic readers" would be. Perhaps the phrase construction is a peculiarity of Canadian dialect. I guess there is one more thing I would like to understand - what would be more bourgeois than a research scientist/author publishing in the Globe And Mail? (Hat tip to sda.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Happy Birthday, Beatroot

The Beatroot is celebrating its sixth month of publishing and its 100th post. I have had Peter Gentle's blog on my RSS reader for months, but discovered I had neglected to add The Beatroot to my link list. That oversight has been corrected. Congratulations to Peter and The Beatroot.

Rubbin' Is Racin'

That phrase comes from the world of NASCAR racing and describes the rather "intimate" nature of NASCAR competition. In other words, it is racing as a contact sport. Well, the good old boys have nothing to teach Bernie Ecclestone (owner of all things Formaula 1), who seems to have applied this method in negotiations with the government of Wallonia in Belgium. I want the deal he got. Read English Can Make You a Millionaire.

More International Bloggers Take Notice

More bloggers from around the world have found the lawsuit against M.D.E. worthy of note. Thank you to:It is worth noting that none of these bloggers do so anonymously.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Be Careful What You Ask For

The two big Google search phrases bringing readers to this blog over the past several days are "anal sex" and "sex anal". I suspect those looking for "anal sex" don't expect to end up here.

UPDATE: Original title was edited per Doug's request in the comments. The original title was tasteless, which may have been the least of its offences.

Jimmy Carter Will Wonder What This Is About

The Ukraine wants the world to know about the Soviet Terror famine. Some would even dare call it "genocide".
  • Ukraine Commemorates Victims Of Stalin-Era Famine
    On 25 November, Yushchenko called on the international community to recognize as genocide the famine that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin provoked in the winter of 1932-33 when he imposed grain requisitioning as part of his campaign to force Ukrainian peasants to join collective farms.

    Much of the Ukrainian grain was sold to make money for the Soviet industrialization campaign as Ukrainians starved.
  • Ukraine Demands 'Genocide' Marked
    "The world must know about this tragedy," he said, at the opening of an exhibition dedicated to famine victims.

    Millions of Ukrainians starved to death in 1932-33 as USSR leader Joseph Stalin stripped them of their produce in a forced farm collectivisation(sic) campaign.

    A small number of nations have already recognized the famine as genocide.

    Ukraine has designated 26 November as an official day of remembrance for victims of "Holodomor" - meaning murder by hunger - and other political crackdowns.
  • Ukrainian President Calls on World to Recognize Soviet-Era Famine as Genocide
    Yushchenko demanded that Ukrainian diplomats strengthen their efforts to receive recognition from all countries. Already, some countries such as Canada, the United States, Austria, Hungary and Lithuania have recognized the famine as genocide.

    Ukraine plans to mark the anniversary Saturday by lighting 33,000 candles - representing the number of people who died every day at the famine's height.
So, what is the problem here?
Roman Serbyn, professor of history and a Ukrainian expert at the University of Quebec in Montreal, says: "Ukraine did not make a technically clear case."

Farmers' produce was forcefully collected by the state

He believes the "genocide" designation has proved elusive because the famine is often considered to have been aimed at a social group (peasants) rather than a national or ethnic group.

However, a strong case can be put showing that by closing the borders so Ukrainians could not escape to Russia, Stalin was targeting Ukrainian nationals, he says.
That line of reasoning, with all its nuance, reinforces my desire to never be subject to the International Court of Justice.

Jimmy Carter will need to read again the Walter Durante articles in the New York Times to confirm that this never happened. He was quite sure there had been absolutely no socially unacceptable behavior on the part of the peace-loving progressive patrons of the People's Proletarian Revolution prior to their misguided and unfortunate invasion of Afghanistan during his tenure. He did experience a brief moment of cognitive dissonance at that point in time.