Friday, March 30, 2007

Stephen Harper's anti-Palestine stand isolates Canada

Interesting article in the Globe and Mail today. Buried on page A11 (!) this shocking message;

Canadian officials yesterday confirmed they would not meet any member of the new government, taking a harder line than the White House.

Yes, really!

Canada risks isolation in the Arab world if it does not rescind its ban on meeting with members of the new coalition Palestinian government as the United States, United Nations and much of Europe have done, Palestinian Authority leaders caution.

The warning comes after Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay and Prime Minister Stephen Harper both snubbed Mustafa Barghouti, the moderate new Palestinian Information Minister, who was in Ottawa this week.

And then the lie by MacKay:
"Until such time as we see progress in the area of the Quartet principles, which call for the recognition of Israel, which call for the cessation of violence, which call for the road map to be adhered to, we are not going to deal directly with a terrorist organization, namely Hamas," he said.
As the Globe and Mail points out, "Mr. Barghouti, a one-time presidential candidate seen as a moderate, with no links to the Islamist Hamas party, [...]"

, and the PM's consistency is far from consistent; they DID meet with Mr. Barghouti before:
[...] Mr. Barghouti has met with Canadian officials in the past, including the Prime Minister's special envoy to the Middle East, Wajid Khan.

I guess policies are only to be followed when convenient.

And then this:

This trip, [Mr. Barghouti] said, was planned before the unity government was formed, but he decided to proceed as a "golden opportunity" to boost relations with Canada.

Instead, the chilly greeting has left Palestinian officials fuming.

Well, Mr. Bargouti doesn't seem to understand the political climate in Canada. Conservatives are pro-Israeli fundamentalists, and most of those tend to be somewhat anti-Palestinian. When it comes to the treatment of the Palestinian people, there's nothing new about our so-called "new" Canadian government; just a bit more backwards, that's all.

The Palestinian Authority leaders caution Stephen Harper's conservative Government:

Canada risks isolation in the Arab world if it does not rescind its ban on meeting with members of the new coalition Palestinian government as the United States, United Nations and much of Europe have done [...]

Globe and Mail article
See also this article.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blogging cowards want to stop Jason Cherniak?

Find the latest critics of Jason Cherniak on the Stop Cherniak blog:

I wonder who set it up. Bloggers profile gave me little information.

But here's their message:

Who Are We?

We are Liberals who are deeply concerned by Jason Cherniak being the president of Liblogs.

Cherniak's History

- Cherniak knows who a "normal jew" is: "I just wish that the reporter would have interviewed normal Jews who are still supporting the Liberals instead of nutbars like Jewish Women Against the Occupation."

- lead the witchhunt that managed to get young (19 year old) Thomas Hubert booted from the position of VP Communications for the BC Young Liberals

- Cherniak has given constant support for bellicose militarism

- there is a rumour that he sexually harrassed a female member of the Liberal Party by threatening to ruin her reputation after she refused to go out on a date with him

- spread the rumour that, in the last election, "Olivia Chow won because NDP supporters from across the city voted early and often at different polling stations in Trinity-Spadina."

- removed audacious ontology from Liblogs because a co-blogger put up an NDP ad.

We need a new President!

I think if these guys are serious about stopping Jason, they should start to show their real name(s); G!D, I hate anonymous bloggers! At least Jason Cherniak is for real.

Maybe there are only two kinds of Liberals; those like Cherniak and Warren Kinsella, and then the cowards. Or is this a Conservative joke?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Is THIS claim by Jason Cherniak true ?

Can anyone confirm this?

[...] just the [rumour that Olivia Chow won because NDP supporters from across the city voted early and often at different polling stations in Trinity-Spadina] led the federal Liberals to fight for a new rule that voters must show ID before receiving their ballot.
Did Stephane Dion's Liberal Party base a new policy on a rumour?

Keep me posted!

Are the latest rumours about Jason Cherniak true?

Rumour has it ("let me be very clear; I am not suggesting that the rumour is true. I am only stating that it is out there") Jason Cherniak
- has sexually harassed a female member of the Liberal Party (find out more).
- is a sexist (find out more).

Actually, these are not real rumours. Press the "more" link behind the "rumour" and it will refer you to posts by REAL progressive bloggers who are upset with Jason's blogging behaviour; behaviour that includes some of the craftiest writing skills available to him. Isn't it wonderful how progressive bloggers love attacking Jason Cherniak?

Read more about it here:
- Did Jason harass a female member of the Liberal Party? Find the middle ground for women - by Robert McClelland
- Is Jason a sexist? Read more about it here:
Rumour Monger - by Eugene Plawiuk

Other posts about Cherniak's latest rumour:
- Idealistic Pragmatist: More Cherniak Logic
- Accidental Deliberations: But he's just the messenger
- Peace, order and good government, eh?: Rumour has it that some people on the internet make shit up
- Dr.Dawg: Ugly Rumours
- Right of Centre Ice: Liblog propaganda hub speaks: Chow cheated! Bomb Iran!

Friday, March 23, 2007

President of Liblogs suggests bombing Iran's nuclear reactors

Bombing is fun!

Jason is at it again. This time he suggests it's time to bomb Iran. Why? Because British Marines were seized in disputed waters near Iran.

He doesn't think; "hmm, what ARE British marines doing in disputed waters, are they trying to provoke Iran into war?" No, his little brain works a bit different, and he presumably made the following unconscious think pattern, somewhere inside that little head of his.

A. British Marines were "kidnapped" by the Islamic forces.
B. This is an "act of war!"
C. Let's "bomb" the hell out of "them".

Of course it wouldn't be Cherniak if he didn't package it the MSM way. Simplifying the issue (leaving out the fact that the waters are disputed) and asking questions to back-up a a favoured position are some of Jason's favourite techniques.

A: Isn't [Iran's kidnapping of British seaman] an act of war?
B: Perhaps the response will be to bomb military targets such as nuclear reactors?

Canadian Observer suggests petitioning Jason Cherniak to enlist for military service. The only question remains: will Jason serve Canadian, American or Israeli Armed forces?

Other posts criticizing Jason Cherniak:
- Oh! What a Lovely War!
- Dion’s Blog Campaign Co-Chair Calls for Bombing of Iran
- Bending the Pretzel


Update: Due to a Google glitch the comments section seems to have disappeared...

Hey Big Spenders II

Robert McClelland has updated the previous chart to include provincial budget increases.

(I hope Robert is better with numbers than this joker).

Click on image to enlarge.

The Most Frugal
: Jean Chretien whose 10 budgets barely increased spending by little more than the rate of inflation.

The Most Frugal Currently in Power: Although the new Premier of New Brunswick, Shawn Graham, brought in his first budget with a program spending increase of just 3%, I think it’s fairer to give this honour to Manitoba’s Premier Gary Doer and his 8 budgets.

The Biggest Spender: Drunken sailor Ralph Klein whose last 7 budgets increased program spending by a whopping 70%; not surprising considering the state of Alberta’s demockracy. The new Premier, Ed Stelmach has yet to bring in his first budget so we won’t know until April whether he inherited Ralphie’s drunken spending habits.

The Biggest Spender Currently in Power
: That honour goes to both PMS and Saskatchewan’s Premier Lorne Calvert with Ontario’s McGuinty and BC’s Campbell hot on their heels. Way to bring down the NDP average Calvertasshat.

While this doesn’t give a clear picture of what party is the big spending party, it does set the record straight on program spending increases at both the provincial and federal level.

Thanks Robert.
Read his own post or comment here.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Is Stockwell counting his last days in office?

Liberals ask RCMP to probe Day nomination
OTTAWA – The Liberals have asked the RCMP to investigate the circumstances around how Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day first secured the nomination in his British Columbia riding.

Liberal MP Mark Holland said Thursday new documents his party happened upon raise serious questions about the matter, and have been forwarded to the national police force.

Back in 2000, Day was the newly elected leader of the Canadian Alliance but did not have a seat in the Commons. MP Jim Hart stepped aside in July to allow Day to run in a byelection, which he won handily that fall.

Shortly afterward, reports circulated that Hart had been paid $50,000 to move aside. The RCMP briefly looked into the matter at the time to determine whether Hart had resigned in exchange for money, which is a criminal offence, but decided against launching a formal investigation.


Another page, a motion apparently voted on by the Canadian Alliance's governing body, approves payment of $20,000 to Hart to pay for his living expenses while he waited to start another job. The motion says the intention was that the party pay half the amount, and the Office of the Leader of the Opposition pay the other half.

Read the whole post

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

ProgBlog Moderator DID get the numbers wrong - will he admit it?

Yes Scott, you did get it wrong. I did have another "Einstein moment" (the second one this week!) and came up with the following numbers:

Libs: 82
Dippers: 50
Green bloggers: 27
Unaffiliated with any political blogging group: 200


According to this post at least a few bloggers were unaccounted for. According to Scott Tribe this would only amount to 0.1 percent "others":

And stop trying to paint my motives for not listing the BLogging Tories who are amongst our group. I deemed them such a small percentage I didn’t bother listing them. I didnt bother listing the 1 or 2 sites that put themselves under the banner of the Progressive Canadian Party either, and as in the BT member’s case, it wasn’t out of spite. They were all part of the 0.1% “Other” category.

As I outlined here this could not (and never) be right since a single blogger already accounts for 0.3 percent (My first "Einstein" moment of the week: 1/395 * 100 = 0.3%)

What Scott did was add up the "Others" (read Tories and a bunch of bloggers affiliated to other political parties) with the "Unaffiliated with ANY political blogging group"; not so smart. This, intentionally or not, inflates thes number of "Unaffiliates".

When I called him on it, he had this to say:
You're REALLY splitting hairs Erik if you're trying to attack me over whether my addition is right or not. If you think I made a counting mistake.. its very simple for you to double-check my numbers.

So that's what I just did.
Will Scott admit he made a mistake?

UPDATE: Scott did admit he made a mistake (see comments), but is still unwilling (for reasons unclear to me) to give the exact numbers. Be assured, that the current breakdown is flawed; the "unaffiliates" group is not as large as Scott likes you to believe it is.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Scott Tribe's breakdown doesn't make sense - did he fudge the numbers?

First off; I never was great at math. And I don't have a great sense for stats either. But have a look at this "Membership breakdown at Prog Blog". It doesn't make sense.

He claims the following:

And stop trying to paint my motives for not listing the BLogging Tories (note plural, EA) who are amongst our group. I deemed them such a small percentage I didn’t bother listing them. I didnt bother listing the 1 or 2 sites that put themselves under the banner of the Progressive Canadian Party either, and as in the BT member’s case, it wasn’t out of spite. They were all part of the 0.1% “Other” category.. which I didnt originally mention.

Since there are 359 bloggers (Scott's numbers), some quick math would show that a single blogger = 0.3% of the whole ProgBlog community (1/359 *100). So how does the 0.3% per blogger account for the 0.1% "Other" category?

It doesn't make sense.

Scott writes:

Am I doing something wrong here or is Scott Tribe fudging the numbers? Who's the Lord of Statistics out there? I bet I'm just being too serious.

Scott pisses me off AND bans me from posting on his latest posting (it seems)

I tried to leave another comment on Scott's personal blog, but, too late. Suddenly his post was "Sorry, comments are closed for this item." And that on my birthday!

Well, you don't have to miss my comments. I've left the thing I wanted to add here, and debate is welcome on my blog. Imagine it under the last post:
Membership breakdown at ProgBlog

Update: Scott's math seems to be worse than mine too. Have a look at what's wrong with his presented Membership Breakdown at ProgBlog

I already said the reason it was removed..
Yes but you didn't before message 1. of this posting. That's my point. You left a reply saying that I went overboard on the title (so fashionably liberal of you!), but that was all. I had to find out myself I was censored.

One more:
And stop trying to paint my motives for not listing the BLogging Tories who are amongst our group.

Is it unfair to mention that I find it important to see the listings of Blogging Tories in the breakdown as well, for the reason outlined in the post. So where is the paint? Was it the question mark you had trouble with?

The ungrounded accusations, that you seem unwilling to debate, make you look like a bloody biased partisan hack. And I get really tired of arguing with partisan hacks, regardless what party they represent.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Iraq: A country drenched in blood - nearly three-quarter million Iraqi deaths

Remember this?

At a meeting on December 12, 2002 [George Tenet] said to have assured the President that the evidence against Saddam amounted to a "slam dunk case," [...]. The search following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S., British and international forces has proved unproductive and no stockpiles of WMD were found following the occupation of the country.

Well it has resulted in this:

Four years to the day after US and British troops invaded Iraq, its people are full of fear. Iraqis often have a look of half-suppressed panic in their eyes as they tell how violent death has touched them again and again.

"I have fled twice in the past year," said Kassim Naji Salaman as he stood beside his petrol tanker outside the town of Khanaqin in central Iraq this weekend. "I and my family used to live in Baghdad but we ran for our lives when my uncle and nephew were killed and we moved into a house in the village of Kanaan in Diyala."

Mr Salaman hoped he and his family, all Sunni, would be safer in a Sunni district. But almost everywhere in Iraq is dangerous. "Militiamen kidnapped my brother Natik, who used to drive this tanker, and forced him into the boot of their car," he continued. "When they took him out they shot him in the head and left his body beside the road. I am frightened of going back to Kanaan where my family are refugees because the militiamen would kill me as well."

Happy birthday, Erik!

Whole article: Iraq: A country drenched in blood

More: The US invasion has caused nearly three-quarter million Iraqi deaths

How Progressive is ProgBlogs?

According to My Blagh?


The peril in taking that first step down the authoritarian road is that every subsequent step becomes less difficult to make.

Read the whole story

Israeli Author, Peace Activist Tanya Reinhart Dies at 63

Remembering Tanya Reinhart:

The Israeli linguist, author and peace activist Tanya Reinhart has died of a stroke at the age of sixty-three. Reinhart was one of the most outspoken critics of Israeli government policies and one of Israel's leading advocates for Palestinian national rights. We play an excerpt of a speech she recently gave in New York and her comments in a 2004 Democracy Now! interview.

Watch it Now! - Read more

Purging is HOT!

My latest post got censored by the ProgBlog Moderators. Why? I'm not sure.
ProgBlog moderator Scott did leave a comment saying my post was "incendiary" and that I had "gone overboard on the title". Look for the original post on my blog and decide for yourself.

Jason Cherniak, recently characterized as "the laughing stock of the blogging community", has purged pro-Palestinian blogger "Audacious". Reason? Well, according to Audacious certain ads run on the Audacious weblog didn't sit well with Jason Cherniak.

It's hard to believe that Jason Cherniak, the God of Liblogs, would accuse another blogger of running ads for the NDP when Cherniak does the exact the same thing on his own blog; he even runs ads for the same political party. Maybe a slight difference is that Jason does get paid for the ads (Jason is soo smart), where audacious refrains from accepting money from other political parties.

Anyone who has paid any attention to both blogs will have noticed the different takes these bloggers have on the P/I conflict. Jason's fallacious blog entry "what is anti-Semitism?" shows where he stands; entries by audacious had more of a pro-Palestinian bias. Could this be the reason for the purge? Will we ever find out the real reason?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Is Coast Capital Savings backwards?

Here's a good reason to get a free chequing account with Coast Capital Savings. But I do wonder. Is Coast Capital progressive or just backwards?

Many Canadians are unhappy with bank fees in general, not just the fees for using another bank's cash machines highlighted by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

They think service charges are high and increasing all the time, despite the fact that many customers are adopting low-cost electronic banking.

They also feel they don't get a break from their banks for being long-time loyal customers.

"About 30 years ago, we had no fees," says Caroline Hubberstey, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Bankers Association.

"The cost of banking was covered off in the spread between loan rates and deposit rates. Borrowers paid for the banking activities of other clients.

I see. Sometimes being backwards can be a good thing...

(Again; context is everything)

Whole Story: Why are bankfees so high?

Liblogs purge of the week: Jewish blogger Jason Cherniak purges pro-Palestinian Blogger over ads

Jason Cherniak, recently characterized as "the laughing stock of the blogging community", has purged pro-Palestinian blogger "Audacious". Reason? Well, according to Audacious certain ads run on the Audacious weblog didn't sit well with Jason Cherniak.

It's hard to believe that Jason Cherniak, the God of Liblogs, would accuse another blogger of running ads for the NDP when Cherniak does the exact the same thing on his own blog; he even runs ads for the same political party. Maybe a slight difference is that Jason does get paid for the ads (Jason is soo smart), where audacious refrains from accepting money from other political parties.

Anyone who has paid any attention to both blogs will have noticed the different takes these bloggers have on the P/I conflict. Jason's fallacious blog entry "what is anti-Semitism?" shows where he stands; entries by audacious had more of a pro-Palestinian bias. Could this be the reason for the purge? Will we ever find out the real reason?

UPDATE: Progressive Bloggers moderator Scott purged this posting from ProgBlog website without any consultation or explanation. He did leave a comment saying my post was "incendiary" and that I had "gone overboard on the title".

Purging is Hot!

Read the comment

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Staying the course in Iraq makes sense... for Halliburton

Why staying the course makes sense for Halliburton:


Today, almost 90 years after Vida Halliburton's eyes glanced upon the gold band around her finger, the company that took the family name is now a vast multinational with operations in more than 120 countries. It enjoys a remarkably close relationship with the Bush administration whose Vice-President, Dick Cheney, was its CEO between 1995 and 2000, and holds no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars. Last year it made $2.6bn (£1.3bn) in profits from revenues of $22.6bn.

But Halliburton also comes with plenty of controversy and the company has been at the centre of numerous inquiries over alleged accounting malpractice, suspicious payments to officials and overcharging.

While Congress was barely able to muster a "what a shame" for blatant American cronyism, Congress did find the move of Halliburton's headquarters to Dubai beyond the morality of good behaviour, Democrats leading the folly:

But news of the proposed move, announced at the weekend, has brought an immediate and bitter backlash. A number of senior Democrats have accused the company of nothing less than a blatant attempt to avoid both paying US taxes and the heat of the ongoing federal investigations into its business operations. How could a company that had benefited from so many government contracts, they asked, simply up and leave? There were vows that Congress would launch new investigations.

Read the whole story: The Independent

Sunday, March 11, 2007

(audio) Actor Mike Farrell on Activism - Excellent

Don't miss out on this excellent interview with Actor Mike Farrell (hosted by Joshua Scheer, on the Engine That Drives His Activism.

Listen to the interview (mp3)

Did Churchill pen 'anti-Semitic' paper?

Sometimes the blogosphere seems to be off into it's own direction. Other times it's ahead of the news. Read the latest article on Winston Churchill:

Weeks before he became British prime minister in 1940, Winston Churchill may have stopped the publication of an article he had written in which he suggested that the Jews were partially responsible for "the antagonism from which they suffer," according to a paper published by a Cambridge University researcher.

The Churchill article, titled "How The Jews Can Combat Persecution," was written in 1937, and argued that "the wickedness of the persecutors" was not the sole reason for the ill-treatment of Jews throughout the ages. While Churchill described Jews as "sober, industrious and law-abiding" and praised their willingness to fight and, if necessary, die for the country they lived in, he added: "Yet there are times when one feels instinctively that all this is only another manifestation of the difference, the separateness of the Jew."

Read the full article on Winston Churchill

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cherni-yak logic (1)

Wanna see some absurd logic?

When an individual constantly condemns one country for human rights abuses while ignoring the abuses of other countries, that person is singling out one country. [...] The person might not "hate" Jews, but the adverse effects of the person's position are clearly to discriminate against an entire nation of Jews. How can that not be anti-Semitic?

So when a North-Korea correspondent consistently condemns the human rights abuses of North-Korea, but not those in Pakistan, then the correspondent discriminates against the North Korean people?

When Sheila Fraser exposes only Canadian government corruption, but not those of the US, she discriminates against Canadians?

Cherni-yak logic
. It doesn't have to make sense to be Cherni-yak™.
I wonder about the quality of his Cherniak's legal work; sloppy at best?

This post can also be found here: Cherni-yak

Full Alberta shelters turning away abused women

And I was thinking all homeless people had moved to Victoria:

The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters says more and more abused women are being turned away in the province, a trend being called the dark side of the economic boom.

According to the council, more than 13,000 women and children used shelters in 2006, but another 14,000 had to be turned away because the shelters were full — a 16 per cent increase over the year before.

Meanwhile, Alberta's shelters received nearly 100,000 crisis calls in 2006, a nearly 50 per cent increase over the last two years.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Robert McClelland apologizes, really!

Read his latest posting here:

As you all know, recently I made a remark in the comments of a post that many people felt was offensive to Jews and crossed the boundaries of what constitutes good behaviour in the blogosphere.

My comment was never intended to cause offense to anyone but it did and so I sincerely apologize for making it.

Well done, Robert.

Purging progressive blogger Robert McClelland from the PB-blogroll is arbitrary, draconian and unfair

I've got serious problem with the latest purge by the moderators of PB. I believe it's anti-progressive to purge a member on grounds of one or two comments which, when taken out of context, can be seen as anti-semitic.

This is what Psychols had to say (I couldn't have said it any better):

Blogging is possible because free speech is an entrenched right in Canada. As moderators you have an obligation to defend it

- not just against government intrusion but against the whims of political correctness. Disagree with Robert, take offense, scream your platitudes and congratulate yourselves on being defenders of “rightful thinking”. Say whatever you want, just try to resist the pressure to define progressive thinking and to ban bloggers who say things that offend you current sensibilities.

Here are some optional responses PB-moderators could have considered before removing Robert:

- Approach Robert (email/ blog) that you find his postings anti-semitic. Talk it out. The web is good for that, so is email.

- Warn him that PB doesn't find his postings kosher. That if he plans to make anti-semitic statements, he should do this at his own blog, not at the PB diaries.

- Take off the offensive comment.

- Lock him out of the PB diaries postings (login), so he won't be able to post on the PB site anymore; but as long his own blog postings are progressive and not explicitly anti-semitic/racial, you will keep carrying his blog on the blogroll.

But no, PB-moderators went for all or nothing. On or off? Let's vote. 5 to 1; off it is. Canada's progressive version of "you're with us or with the terrorists"; forget about nuance.

PB's removal of Robert is draconian. Removing him for a "tasteless" posting is a disproportional response. And just because the decision was made democratically, doesn't make it right. It's democracy abused. Not kosher, "sure as hell isn't 'progressive'".

Canada = Conservative + Authoritarian.
I do think Canadians have a tendency to react more repressive than, say the Dutch, probably due to the more conservative and authoritarian environment Canadians grew up in.

Studies have shown that people who have grown up in an abusive environment, are more likely to become the abuser themselves. This is how a Canadian “fetish for a repressive action” can be explained too. I want to back this up with a little story.

My wife is Canadian and we lived together in Holland for about two years (I've lived there all my life until we moved to Canada together almost 5 years ago). Once we were stopped by the police, about 200 metres from our home. Because I was in a hurry, I had forgotten to bring my drivers license (the Dutch don't have the nifty credit card licenses Canadians have). But I also wasn't wearing my seatbelt; again I was in a hurry and the store was only another 200 metres away.

When the policeman stopped me, he asked for my drivers license and insurance papers. I told him that I had forgotten my drivers license but that I was in walking distance of my home - "I can get it for you right now". He wouldn't have any of it. So I started to argue with him! My wife could not believe what she was getting into; arguing with authority? Because her Dutch is only limited she didn't understand the whole story... the policeman also wanted to fine me for not wearing a seatbelt.

Since this was going to be a really expensive trip, I lied. It told him I WAS wearing a seatbelt, and that I had taken the seatbelt off to show him the insurance papers (those were in the glove-compartment) knowing quite well the policeman had legally not a foot to stand on, because he was on his own and it was going to be his word against my wife's and mine. I ended up paying only for not having my drivers license on me, still an expensive little trip to the grocery store.

The gist of the story? In Holland people dare to speak up to authority (legit or not); in Canada people normally don't.

It's the hypocrisy of the PB-moderators that's hard for me to swallow. Yes, Robert should speak up to authority (the Germans) when Jews (or "fags", "sickos" or anyone else who was put into concentration camps by the Third Reich regime) were being purged; not speaking up is considered morally wrong. But when Robert does speak up to authority (PB moderators), unwilling to apologize for a statement he believes is falsely labeled anti-semitic, then PB moderators punish him by removing him from the blogroll. Demanding from him to speak out in 1943 for injustice, but demanding an apology for speaking out 2007 is hypocritical, and the reaction of taking him off the blogroll is called repressive, not progressive.

I AM speaking up, not for myself, but for Robert: "WHAT A SHAME". And I'm truly disappointed in the greater Progressive Bloggers community for not speaking out. Aren't there about 300 people subscribed to PB? I've only heard from a handful.

Scott, the "The Progressive Bloggers moderation team has voted to remove My Blahg from the blogroll by a 5-1 vote. The decision is final" is authoritarian and repressive, definitely not progressive. I demand that you apologize for citing this; if not, should Scott be purged now?

And "to now be hearing from a very few blogs that we're a bunch of authoritarian ideologues at the site" isn't progressive reasoning either. You know just as well as I, that the opinion of a few can be morally superior to the opinion of the majority; democracy has its flaws. And yes, taking repressive actions is authoritarian.

With regard to the WWII, I wonder what your family, Scott, would have done when they started purging "the Jews". Of course, speaking out ("what a shame") was the right thing to do...but also naive. I've visited several concentration camps in Holland (Westerbork) and France since I was a child; trust me, concentration camps where not the place you or your family would like to literally end up in. And sharing your opinion too freely (muster the "what a shame") would often have meant a guaranteed free trip to Auschwitz. As a matter of fact, the majority of the people (with Jewish neighbours) were NOT able to muster a “what a shame”; they were too afraid...

Dr. Dawg, it is in this light (as described above, imposing on the nuance), that you should be able to see the difference between what Robert said:

When next they come for the Jews I doubt I’ll even be able to muster up a “what a shame”

and what you said:

“If “freedom of expression” is the issue, let me say unequivocally that no one is urging that Robert’s site be shut down. He’s as free as he’s always been to say anything he likes. But he doesn’t get to be on our progressive blogroll if he’s going to defend a vile comment about not giving a crap if they start rounding up Jews. Period. And if you don’t like it, start your own blogroll. No one’s stopping you

People who mustered "what a shame" paid for it, big time. Dr. Dawg, I find your characterization of Robert's comments defamatory. I demand an apology; should Dr. Dawg be purged now?

Scott has already explained that he doesn't think Robert is an anti-semite, but your comments (Dr. Dawg) make me think you are not so sure. Call Robert tasteless, indifferent, even disguisting, but do you dare to call Robert an anti-semite?

When they come for the Jews I've got no clue if I will be able to muster up a "what a shame"; I’m not planning to apologize; am I going to be purged now?

Jason Cherniak recently called the Jew Noam Chomsky a Holocaust denier (Chomsky clearly isn't). Making defamatory statements about a Jew is anti-semitic; Jason didn’t apologize. Why was Jason not purged?

It is inconsistent to purge Robert McClelland, but not Jason Cherniak. Both made statements that can be conceived as anti-semitic, none of them have apologized.

I'm truly sorry about the actions taken against Robert McClelland, one of our fellow progressive bloggers. I realize some of his postings can be conceived as tasteless, indifferent, even anti-semitic. But part of it is his style, and, when it comes to anti-semitism, some of his remarks were (purposely?) taken out of the necessary context, causing the latest witch hunt.

The response to purge him from the blogroll was inconsistent, draconian, and unfair; there is no reason to single him out.

To apologize or not
I personally don't feel the need for apologies. This is the blogosphere; writers use free speech (an “entrenched right in Canada”) to express their opinions. It’s repressive to insist on an apology for offensive comments, not progressive.

“As moderators you have an obligation to defend [free speech]”, not to suppress it.

Progressive bloggers, we've got to stand up for one another. I ask the PB-moderators to consider putting Robert back on the blogroll, I HOPE OTHERS WILL DO THE SAME. It is not fair to punish Robert any longer for his unwillingness to apologize for a statement he believes is falsely labeled anti-semitic. His opinions are appreciated by many, and, most importantly, progressive.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What's wrong with Dr.Dawg?

As always, God is in the details.

Robert McClelland wrote this:

Not me. People like Klownsella, Chernyuk and Smeagol the Jew have taught me it’s not worth getting involved. When next they come for the Jews I doubt I’ll even be able to muster up a “what a shame”.

But according to Dr. Dawg he said this:
If “freedom of expression” is the issue, let me say unequivocally that no one is urging that Robert’s site be shut down. He’s as free as he’s always been to say anything he likes. But he doesn’t get to be on our progressive blogroll if he’s going to defend a vile comment about not giving a crap if they start rounding up Jews. Period. And if you don’t like it, start your own blogroll. No one’s stopping you.

The details:

- Robert's comment was not that he doesn't "give a crap if they start rounding up Jews". This is what he said: When next they come for the Jews I doubt I’ll even be able to muster up a “what a shame”

Why would anyone want to attack Robert McClelland in such an irresponsible manner?

- Dr.Dawg gets spanked here too

Another handout for Big Oil

Interesting post by Robert McClelland:

Hey, the poor oil companies can barely manage to get by on their tens of billions of dollars in profit every year so why shouldn’t the taxpayer fork over a billion dollars to help them out.

Alberta wants Ottawa to help build a $1.5-billion pipeline that would put carbon dioxide emissions from the northern oilsands industry to work in oil wells hundreds of kilometres away.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Guy Boutilier is pushing Premier Ed Stelmach’s plan to capture C02 and send it through a $1.5-billion, 400-kilometre pipeline that would allow it to be used to help get more oil out of low-producing wells.

Boutilier wants Ottawa to pony up with $500 million for the pipeline, which would start in his riding in northeastern Alberta. Another $500 million each would come from the province and industry, he said.

You really have to admire the Conservatives on this one for showing their compassionate side by extending a helping hand to the downtrodden billionaires in this country. For that and your rejection of liberal NIMBYism–as demonstrated by your willingness to allow this project to begin in your own backyard–I salute you, Mr. Boutilier.

How progressive is Progressive Bloggers?

I believe in democracy. I think most progressive bloggers do, but I have a problem when people use it to oust others from contributing.
I believe in free speech. Does PB?

At issue: the riddance of Robert McLelland.

Jews are being (pardonne le mot) fucked on a daily basis.
Robert McLelland statement "Fuck the Jews" CAN be conceived as an anti-semitic statement, but doesn't necessarily have to be conceived that way; it all depends on the context.
Here's an (somewhat extreme) example of context: Every day many Jews do get fucked, literally speaking. And, most probably, a lot of them enjoy it quite a bit (I hope), since sex can be a pleasant passing of time :). Theirs nothing wrong about fucking a Jew, just like there's nothing wrong about fucking an Arab, a Canadian, an Israeli or a Dutch person; enjoy fucking!

Clearly this wasn't the kind of "fucking" that Robert had in mind, but it does show that "Fuck the Jews" doesn't have to be an anti-semitic statement.

So what is an anti-semite?
As a matter of convenience let's use the Wikipedia description:

Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed at Jewish persons as a religious, racial, or ethnic group, which can range in expression from individual hatred to institutionalized, violent persecution.
So discriminating someone solely because he's Jewish is anti-semitic. But, for example, criticising the state of Israel because you don't agree with one of their policies doesn't have to be anti-semitic. Yes, there's a fine line somewhere, but is it up to the "Chief Moderator" of "Progressive Bloggers" to decide where that line is?

I'm Anti-everything
Generalizing is the issue here. Everybody does it, yet it's the root of the problem. When I hear a "State of Union" address by George Bush, my instinct tells me something which comes pretty close to "Fuck the Americans"; all the double-speak and spin, it just makes me sick. But I do realize there are plenty of Americans who are more disappointed in George Bush than I am. That's why you won't (easily) find something like "Fuck the Americans" on my blog.

I also have problems with a lot of the policies of the government of Israel, as you can often read on my blog. Does this make me an anti-semite? NO! If that makes me an anti-semite than we can call pretty much anyone who criticizes a Jew, Jewish Institution, the State Israel etc. an anti-semite.

Jason Cherniak could be considered an anti-semite...
Take Jason Cherniak as an example. He talks about good and "bad" Jews in many of his posts. Is he therefore an anti-semite? I don't think so.

Jason does smear the Jew Noam Chomsky, accusing him of being a Holocaust-denier. As Eugene pointed out (thank you, Eugene) Noam Chomsky is not a Holocaust-denier. Do we consider smearing a Jew with false accusations anti-semitic? Conceivably.

The 5-1 vote; Democracy abused.
Robert's use of language is not my "cup of tea". I don't like his provocative style of writing in a lot of his postings and comments. But this is the Internet! It's free speech, and I'm glad it's here. Love or hate Robert's postings, 95% of what he writes is progressive (and a lot more progressive than Conservative Liberal Jason Cherniak).

The vote to expel Robert does remind me another time and place: Germany in the 1930s. In both cases democracy was implied from the top. I don't remember voting for or against Robert, nor do Germans remember voting for or against extinction of the Jews.

Above all freedom of speech is at the core of a well functioning democracy. I believe most progressive bloggers blog because they are idealists. And to me Robert is clearly one of them. If his postings become anti-semitic of nature, we, as a community of progressive bloggers, should call him on it. But removing him from the PB through a vote from the top is not Progressive.

Criminalizing War; the Belgians lead

Real progress to criminalize the excesses of war has been made in Oslo;

Good news from Belgium. After forty-six nations--including Britain, Canada, and Germany--met in Oslo in February and agreed to work towards a global ban on cluster bombs over the next year, Belgium became the first nation to make investing in companies that produce the weapons a crime.

Under the new Belgian law, the government would publish a list of manufacturers and "prohibit banks from offering credit to cluster bomb makers and from owning shares or bonds in these companies."
I think everyone can agree this is real progress. Not for the Americans:
The United States was noticeably absent from the Oslo conference (as were China and Russia). This is not surprising, since the Bush Administration continues to move towards a renewed arms race. At this critical moment when we are pushing Iraq and North Korea to abandon any ambitions to become a nuclear power, the Bush Administration is attempting to build "the first new nuclear warhead produced by the United States in more than 20 years." (This after the Administration's effort to build a nuclear "bunker buster" weapon was thwarted by the normally "see no evil hear no evil" Republican Congress).


Monday, March 05, 2007

Big Oil and Health Canada; together we're...getting cancer?

Big Oil and Health Canada; together we're strong?

A small Alberta community is rallying behind a local doctor they believe is being silenced by Health Canada because he raised concerns about high rates of cancer near the booming oilsands.

Health Canada officials have filed a complaint against Dr. John O'Connor.

O'Connor alerted the media last year to what he believed was a disproportionately high incidence of colon, liver, blood and bile-duct cancers in patients who live in Fort Chipewyan, a small community downstream from major petroleum refineries.

In filing the complaint against O'Connor with the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons, Health Canada did not explain the action, but said the doctor was causing undue alarm.

Meanwhile, physicians who work alongside O'Connor in Fort Chipewyan believe officials are targeting their colleague because his comments potentially threaten billions of dollars of investment in the province's oilsands.

"I am absolutely shocked that they would treat a physicians of this calibre like this. There's a deliberate attempt to beat him down or shut him up," the area's head nurse, George MacDonald, said.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

War in Afghanistan; also lost?

The world loves America, sort of:

Thousands of angry demonstrators took to the streets in Afghanistan yesterday after US forces were involved in a panicked shooting which left 16 civilians dead and 23 injured.

Local people as well as a number of Afghan officials accused the American marines of opening fire indiscriminately following a suicide bomb attack on their convoy in Nangarhar province.

With protests continuing to grow, and the police coming under attack from stone- throwing crowds, the US military maintained that the casualties were the victims of a "complex ambush" in which gunmen had carried out a synchronised attack following the blast in which a marine was injured.

US propaganda machine; it get's so tiring...

But Mohammad Khan Katawazi, the district chief of Shinwar district, where the deaths took place, insisted that they "treated every car and person along the highway as a potential attacker" as they attempted to speed away from the scene of the explosion.

Abdul Ghafour and Noor Agha Zwak, speaking on behalf of the Nangarhar police and government, and Zemeri Bashary, the Interior Ministry spokesman in Kabul, also claimed the deaths and injuries were due to American fire.

Ahah, so who do we believe? Afghan officials or, the occupiers?

Four months ago, British Royal Marines were also accused of shooting bystanders after their convoy had been hit by a roadside bomb in Kandahar. On that occasion the British authorities maintained that most of those shot had been trying to prevent the convoy from leaving the scene.

The killings in Nangarhar came just a few days after a suicide bombing at Bagram airbase, near Kabul, during a visit by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, killing nine people.

Both the Taliban and Nato forces in Afghanistan had said that a comparative lull in fighting during the winter would be followed by renewed campaigning in the spring.

Yesterday, as crowds blocked roads shouting "death to America" and "death to Karzai", some of those who were injured related their version of what had happened.

Yeah, they really love the American "liberators".

"They were firing everywhere, and they even opened fire on 14 to 15 vehicles passing on the highway," said 38-year-old Tur Gul, who was shot twice in his right hand. "They opened fire on everybody, the ones inside the vehicles and the ones on foot." Some said that they were fired upon although they took care to get out of the way of the departing convoy.

Tur Gul complains because he was mistakenly shot in his hand? Shame on him!

Whole artile: Independent

Friday, March 02, 2007

Wesley Clark: US planned to take out seven countries in five years (video)

See it yourself:

General Wesley Clarke about the US plans for future wars:

About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in.

He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.”
I said, “Well, you’re too busy.”
He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.”

This was on or about the 20th of September.

I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?”
He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.”

So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan.

I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?”

And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” -- meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office -- “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.
Wesley Clark about the Middle East and the America's interests in the Middle East:

The truth is, about the Middle East is, had there been no oil there, it would be like Africa. Nobody is threatening to intervene in Africa. The problem is the opposite. We keep asking for people to intervene and stop [the wars in Africa].

There's no question that the presence of petroleum throughout the [Middle East] has sparked great power involvement. Whether that was the specific motivation for the coup or not, I can't tell you. But there was definitely -- there's always been this attitude that somehow we could intervene and use force in the region.

Whole Article: Democracy Now!

Authority deficit or authority fetish?

I always enjoy reading “the Economist”. I have been carrying the 21st edition of “the world in 2007” (not the weekly magazine, but the special New Year edition) around for a while now and today, on the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, I took the time to read an article by Peter David (foreign editor of the Economist), “The authority deficit”.

In short, not a bad presentation of what’s been going on in the world when it comes to a shift in powers; some level of authority formerly controlled by states, alliances of states and their multilateral agreements (think nuclear proliferation), seem to have been more equally distributed to people, often represented by NGOs. No problem there.

But the opening paragraph bothered me, especially the following:

“[Less authority] makes the world less orderly, and therefore less safe.”

Peter David does nothing to backup this statement, on the contrary. On page 17 he writes that the “alternative could be worse”.

“Steadying the international order by renewing its institutions will be hard [..]. But restoring the authority of the state will be a good deal harder, and possibly undesirable too. The danger is that governments seeking to restore their fading authority will [..] choke off the free movement of ideas, capital and labour that have lately made the world such a disorderly place-and so many people so much more prosperous and free. Better, perhaps, not to try.”

So what is he suggesting, a prosperous and more free world is the result of ideas, capital and labour, yet another result is that we are less safe?

It seems like Peter’s nostalgia for those good old times (like so manu Conservtives), when authority meant something, and this seems to confuse his conservative brain. When you profess that the world today is less safe than say 50 years ago, then it's wise to back it up with some facts.

The world is not a pretty place. It never has been, but progress has been made. Yes, people, some of them united in NGOs, have played a big role in reducing the empowerment of the traditional powers. But it’s time to start seeing this as a good thing, not a loss of some sort. Unless, of course, you’re writing for a conservative magazine like “the Economist”.

We're in 2007 now, it’s time to let the fetish for power, finally, go.

- Article: Subscription only
- Interview with Peter David with a similar message