Thursday, May 07, 2009

Daily Digest May 7, 2009



Making the right call

Stay close to home this summer

Appreciating the value of music

Patterns of 'vice' an ongoing issue

A victory for pandering

Why Ignatieff's Liberals changed their tune on EI

Promises of change hit wall of reality

Voters facing tough choice

Canadian fans deserve another NHL team for Canada

The wrong direction
Porking out

Water issues affect Canadians, too

Welcome boost for poverty bill

For a second NHL team

 Stimulus, sure - just watch the cost

The Phoenix that should rise in the North

Bludgeoning the hunt

NHL must look to Ontario

Chrysler's a winner, taxpayers are losers

Plenty of lies, memory lapses at Oliphant inquiry

Hope for a cure

The trickle down effects of recession

Red Bull calm down

Proposed human rights amendments fail to protect freedoms

Retrograde bill hurts Alberta's fine reputation

Bully fight packs powerful lesson

Youth injustice

New law takes a stab at law and order

Should we fight unfair seal rules?

Pork fears unwarranted during flu scare

Canada-EU deal could be bigger than NAFTA

EI just might be straw that breaks the Tories' back

Response to flu virus may be hazardous to our health

Election latest twist in strange times


Al-Qaeda seizes on Taliban's problem

Pakistan 'to eliminate militants'

Afghan anger at deadly US strikes

Afghan official: 147 killed in US-Taliban clashes

Harper makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

PM hails U.S. Afghan help

Buy America policy now a big `concern'

Emerson goes against the tide in push for border reforms

Canada challenges U.S. meat labeling at WTO

PM criticizes Russia over diplomats' ouster

Iraq on brink of third great mistake

Canada aims to curb flow of Czech asylum seekers

Czech PM says Canada 'soft' on refugees

Run-of-river power projects breach environment regulations: documents

Eliminate rights bodies, PC leadership hopeful says

Poll shows high mistrust of Campbell

Feds tout Canadian science

Harper vs. Parliament

Tories play catch-up on EI

Bloc leader warns Ignatieff will disappoint Quebec

The PMO strikes again as Kevin Lynch gets Giornoed

The wrong person is leaving as Lynch loses stare-down with PMO

Ignatieff a scornful aristocrat, Bloc says

Tory nominations drive Jaffer from politics

Truculent Toews has too much to say about the bilingualism issue

Something wrong with the Liberals

Can Ignatieff save the Liberals?

Iggy's morally contemptible words's-morally-contemptible-words/

Ignatieff should be boasting about EI system, not condemning it

Flaherty says credit card regulations coming soon

Jury out on winner in Canada-EU aviation deal

CATSA seeks OK to expand 'virtual strip searches'

Swine flu: People, you're not panicking enough!

Obama does his Bush impression

Education our only magic elixir

Fixing the Pakistan `problem' tied to Afghanistan

Afghan battle cry: Never surrender

200,000 Year Old Statue Found On Moon
Pas de peau de phoque sur les uniformes canadiens à Vancouver

Harper en visite surprise à Kandahar

Schreiber craint d'être forcé de quitter le Canada

Une députée libérale dans l'embarras

La Cour fédérale saisie du dossier

Sommet trilatéral à Washington - Karzaï et Zardari promettent d'être plus fermes envers les talibans

Un Canadien retenu au Soudan - L'ONU contredit Ottawa

L'arrivée des Américains amènera des progrès, dit Harper en visite à Kandahar

Day pense poursuivre devant l'OMC les pays interdisant le porc canadien

Wayne Wouters remplace Kevin Lynch au poste de greffier du Conseil privé

Une majorité de Québécois veulent l'abrégement de la mission en Afghanistan


"We do not hear that debate."

"I believe ... we will have the numbers we need to begin what we really hope is irreversible progress,",
the words of Prime Minister Harper in Afghanistan in welcoming the American troop surge into Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

"We do not hear that debate." is the concluding sentence of the article below that differs in its prognosis.

Whether or not there is a debate on the Digest rests with you: whose is the more realistic assessment, Harper"s or Fuller's?



From: Larry Kazdan
Subject: Letter to Editor re:  UN loses even more credibility over flu,  Barry  Cooper, May 06

Re: UN loses even more credibility over flu,  Barry Cooper, May 06
About 25,000 children die each day from causes that are preventable, a total of  9.5 million children per year.  One might expect our public intellectuals to be up in arms, demanding that whatever action is needed be taken without another moment's delay.  Instead we have Professor Barry Cooper telling the World Health Organization to stick to modest goals of monitoring the ebb and flow of disease, and to eschew "right to health" policies directed at women, the poor and victims of discrimination.  How tragic the world situation that allows vulnerable children to die, and how pathetic the response from certain academics whose main contribution seems to be cool indifference to the plight of others.

To: Metro <>
Subject: Letter to Editor re: Making each vote count in British Columbia,  Paul Sullivan, May 6

Re: Making each vote count in British Columbia, Paul Sullivan, May 6
Those opposed to STV claim the new system is confusing, and these opponents seem happy to confuse the situation even more.  For example, they claim unfairness that MLAs in different constituencies can get elected with different percentages of the vote, without mentioning that under STV, the ratio of voters per MLA is consistent in all ridings.  The B.C. Citizens Assembly was composed of 160 randomly selected citizens.  After reviewing all these 'confusing' issues, the Assembly concluded that the STV system of proportional representation, which also retains regional representation, was much fairer than our current winner-takes-all regime where large minorities often end up with no MLAs to advocate on their behalf in the Legislative Assembly.
Larry Kazdan,
Vancouver, B.C.

From: The Natroses

Hi Joe,
To Zeb and others  that are interested in the War of 1812, and other events in our history that led to Canada becoming a nation in 1867.
It is a real shame, that across Canada - the history between the first settlements of Canada and Confederation are mainly blanks, or have been discounted where there is little informative tidbits and tangible history that would inform people what Canadians are made of. We have seen tidbits of it throughout history and into present days. Tidbits of bravery in WWI and WWII, where people from other countries learned, don't ever under estimate the skills and the cleverness of Canadians. How about the tidbit, of the Canadian embassy employees rescuing Americans, and sneaking them out of Iran?  Remember that one, where any Canadian traveling to state-side, a free night of drinks and congratulations, for Canada having the balls to pull it off. What the Americans were most surprised, is that the PM of the day, OKayed the adventure. The ordinary Americans, seen Canada's politicians as not having enough principles to stand up and take action. They see Canada, where our history is only displayed in some dusty history book or museum and is not worthy enough to be under full display for their own citizens to see and the rest of the world to see. It would do some good, for Canadians to know how the White House, got its name. How we made the Americans run, or think twice when making plans to invade. It was one war they lost, and it would tell would be terrorists or other countries in the event of being attack, the Taliban would look like a bunch of grade-schooled children, compared to what Canadians would do to those who would attack or invade us.
As for the current federal government, history of our country, has been downloaded onto the provinces, and than downloaded unto the citizens of the provinces and territories. Politicians and government talk a lot about how Canadians respect the rule of law, but never why and how the history of Canada has reflected it. Canada was not formed because we wanted rule of law; it was formed to protect our lands from would-be invaders, it was formed to give us a greater say in foreign affairs; it was formed to claimed to the world, that Canada was its own nation. Rule of law, was a given, where people who settled this land, often settled their affairs on their own, with a sense of what is right and fair. There were settled more times than not, without having higher authorities such as the ruling British officers standing over us, to ensure the settlers were following the laws of Britain. Our anthem, Oh Canada expresses the very same things. We stand on guard for Canada, not standing on guard for the government of Canada. It is what our politicians and governments have forgotten, or have chosen to ignored - the people of Canada and how they work and unite in good and bad times, without the need for a bureaucratic government telling us how to do it, when to do and what not to think, and so forth. So, I have my doubts that governments will come up with the cash in a timely fashion, and where the celebrations will be once again lopsided, with the American version of the War of 1812 events. But then again, it will suit the Canadian government purposes, since it will not be telling Canadians of a past where the builders of this country were ordinary people,with humbled education backgrounds and not the politicians of today, with their demanding hand in everybody's back pocket.   

From: Ron Thornton

Hi Joe:

Just one of the silent majority here (okay, who am I kidding) looking to make a small contribution to the Digest. Among the issues...

*The Seal Hunt* - you know, seals are cute. A turkey is not, and we kill millions of those ugly dumb birds and nobody says anything. What we need are some ugly seals. The Europeans want to ban the import of North American seals, yet they allow their own members to continue playing wack-a-sealy. I'm guessing that this is just protectionism or they got some ugly seals up in Scandinavia.

*Swine Flu* - unless you and I start dropping like flies, the WHO has just become another of a long list of alarmist organizations that scream bloody blue murder to achieve some level of relevance only to prove that they haven't a clue. 165 Canadians out of 33 million have had this flu, and China locks up all Canadians visiting there. NASA wants me to believe it found a piece of Mars in the Antarctic that was blown off that planet by a meteor, delivered to Earth, only to be discovered within a couple of hundred of years of us sifting  through the ice. Al Gore and David Suzuki want us to believe man is causing the earth of heat up and believe the solution involves sending money to places that never developed much beyond the stone age and tribal conflict. I can't even take my vehicle to Canadian Tire for a tune up without some twit there trying to soak me for all sorts of parts to make it run to his high standards, rather than my own. As for political parties being the bastion of democracy, I guess we already know the answer to that one. Now, if there is somebody out there who I can actually trust, someone who might actually have a clue, please let me know. You get the feeling that if they are not trying to screw you, that they are simply being retarded, and there seems to be an awful lot of them who are "they."

*Nannies* - I had one when I was a child. I called her Mom. Nice lady. Too bad everyone can't have a nanny like that. Her husband is a nice guy. I call him Dad. However, if you are too busy to look after those you are supposed to love the most, then it probably is not a good thing to ship your child's parental surrogate in from some foreign land, take away their passports, pay them less than minimum wage, make them wash the car, clean up the family business, along with doing what nannies are supposed to do. If this is what you do to your nanny, then your ass should be grass. I never was big on slavery. Those who are should be locked up no matter who they are or who they know. Then again, having such folks work alongside some honorable people in a senior's facility changing adult diapers might allow them to gain some perspective and maybe some real class.

*Democratic Tory Nomination Rules* - Well, the President of the Conservatives finds it strange than anyone would call its nomination process undemocratic. I think Don Plett is on to something and maybe we should extend his vision of democracy to the electorate as a whole. In future, any constituency that has a sitting Member of Parliament will not be part of a general election unless two-thirds of each and every member of the electorate in that constituency votes in favor of, well, voting. The sitting MP will no doubt receive support from the dead and the others (more than half of the population) who couldn't care less. So, even in a 10,000 - 0 vote in favor of exercising their democratic rights, the day will be carried by the 10,000 who did not participate. Yes, Mr. Plett, I'm just as perplexed as you are why anyone would think such a process was undemocratic.

*Returning Abousfian Abdelrazik to Canada From Sudan* - Is Abdelrazik a terrorist or not? The RCMP says he is not. If he is not, they he should be returned home. If he is, then show us the proof or give us the arguments. Considering how the governing party views democratic principles, it also brings into question its thoughts on civil rights. Then again, maybe we are just trying to be more like China, another fine nation known for its ability to reason, its democratic principles, its civil rights, and one which holds the marker for most international debt. Why bother selling out to China when we can become China?

Thanks, Joe.

From: "Derek Skinner"
Subject: Fw: Brasscheck TV: Shutting down the Internet

Knowing where Rockefeller comes from this is probably a legitimate concern. If the U.S. shuts it down, I suppose Canada will be blacked out.  Derek

Rockefeller wants to shut down the Internet

Subject: Canada-EU trade talks - A 60-year-old dream
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

Trade talks between Canada and the EU send a worrying signal about Doha

WHEN NATO was under negotiation in 1949 Canada wanted to create not just a military alliance, but a transatlantic economic and political union too. The heft of the larger European countries, it reasoned, would restrain the growing clout of the United States. Rebuffed, Canada was drawn firmly into America's orbit. Sixty years on it has come back with a scaled-down plan, starting talks on May 6th with the EU aimed at a bilateral trade agreement.

From: Rubie Britton
Subject: Keep Jobs in Canada.

Please consider pledging your support for
     By doing so you are stating that you, as a Canadian, disagree with the current legislation that allows Canadian corporations to easily send jobs into offshore markets, thus compromising local job opportunities and placing further strain on a struggling economy.
     Your vow of support for actions that will seek to prevent Canadian corporations from continuing to send jobs offshore is very much appreciated by everyone who currently feels threatened in this economic atmosphere.
    Please sign on to the petition below and pass on to your email lists.
    Many of your neighbours,friends the CLC, OFL and the Labour Councils in this region and across the country appreciate your support.



Global Viewpoint

May 7, 2009
Graham E. Fuller is a former CIA station chief in Kabul and a former vice-chair of the CIA's National Intelligence Council. He is author of numerous books on the Middle East, including "The Future of Political Islam."

For all the talk of "smart power," President Obama is pressing down the same path of failure in Pakistan marked out by George Bush. The realities suggest need for drastic revision of U.S. strategic thinking.

-- Military force will not win the day in either Afghanistan or Pakistan; crises have only grown worse under the U.S. military footprint.

-- The Taliban represent zealous and largely ignorant mountain Islamists. They are also all ethnic Pashtuns. Most Pashtuns see the Taliban -- like them or not -- as the primary vehicle for restoration of Pashtun power in Afghanistan, lost in 2001. Pashtuns are also among the most fiercely nationalist, tribalized and xenophobic peoples of the world, united only against the foreign invader. In the end, the Taliban are probably more Pashtun than they are Islamist.

-- It is a fantasy to think of ever sealing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The "Durand Line" is an arbitrary imperial line drawn through Pashtun tribes on both sides of the border. And there are twice as many Pashtuns in Pakistan as there are in Afghanistan. The struggle of 13 million Afghan Pashtuns has already enflamed Pakistan's 28 million Pashtuns.

-- India is the primary geopolitical threat to Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Pakistan must therefore always maintain Afghanistan as a friendly state. India furthermore is intent upon gaining a serious foothold in Afghanistan -- in the intelligence, economic and political arenas -- that chills Islamabad.

-- Pakistan will therefore never rupture ties or abandon the Pashtuns, in either country, whether radical Islamist or not. Pakistan can never afford to have Pashtuns hostile to Islamabad in control of Kabul, or at home.

-- Occupation everywhere creates hatred, as the U.S. is learning. Yet Pashtuns remarkably have not been part of the jihadi movement at the international level, although many are indeed quick to ally themselves at home with al-Qaida against the U.S. military.

-- The U.S. had every reason to strike back at the al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan after the outrage of 9/11. The Taliban were furthermore poster children for an incompetent and harsh regime. But the Taliban retreated from, rather than lost, the war in 2001, in order to fight another day. Indeed, one can debate whether it might have been possible -- with sustained pressure from Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and almost all other Muslim countries that viewed the Taliban as primitives -- to force the Taliban to yield up al-Qaida over time without war. That debate is in any case now moot. But the consequences of that war are baleful, debilitating and still spreading.

-- The situation in Pakistan has gone from bad to worse as a direct consequence of the U.S. war raging on the Afghan border. U.S. policy has now carried the Afghan war over the border into Pakistan with its incursions, drone bombings and assassinations -- the classic response to a failure to deal with insurgency in one country. Remember the invasion of Cambodia to save Vietnam?

-- The deeply entrenched Islamic and tribal character of Pashtun rule in the Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan will not be transformed by invasion or war. The task requires probably several generations to start to change the deeply embedded social and psychological character of the area. War induces visceral and atavistic response.

-- Pakistan is indeed now beginning to crack under the relentless pressure directly exerted by the U.S. Anti-American impulses in Pakistan are at high pitch, strengthening Islamic radicalism and forcing reluctant acquiescence to it even by non-Islamists.

Only the withdrawal of American and NATO boots on the ground will begin to allow the process of near-frantic emotions to subside within Pakistan, and for the region to start to cool down. Pakistan is experienced in governance and is well able to deal with its own Islamists and tribalists under normal circumstances; until recently, Pakistani Islamists had one of the lowest rates of electoral success in the Muslim world.

But U.S. policies have now driven local nationalism, xenophobia and Islamism to combined fever pitch. As Washington demands that Pakistan redeem failed American policies in Afghanistan, Islamabad can no longer manage its domestic crisis.

The Pakistani army is more than capable of maintaining state power against tribal militias and to defend its own nukes. Only a convulsive nationalist revolutionary spirit could change that -- something most Pakistanis do not want. But Washington can still succeed in destabilizing Pakistan if it perpetuates its present hard-line strategies. A new chapter of military rule -- not what Pakistan needs -- will be the likely result, and even then Islamabad's basic policies will not change, except at the cosmetic level.

In the end, only moderate Islamists themselves can prevail over the radicals whose main source of legitimacy comes from inciting popular resistance against the external invader. Sadly, U.S. forces and Islamist radicals are now approaching a state of co-dependency.

It would be heartening to see a solid working democracy established in Afghanistan. Or widespread female rights and education -- areas where Soviet occupation ironically did rather well. But these changes are not going to happen even within one generation, given the history of social and economic devastation of the country over 30 years.

Al-Qaida's threat no longer emanates from the caves of the borderlands, but from its symbolism that has long since metastasized to other activists of the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the Pashtuns will fight on for a major national voice in Afghanistan. But few Pashtuns on either side of the border will long maintain a radical and international jihadi perspective once the incitement of the U.S. presence is gone. Nobody on either side of the border really wants it.

What can be done must be consonant with the political culture. Let non-military and neutral international organizations, free of geopolitical taint, take over the binding of Afghan wounds and the building of state structures.

If the past eight years had shown ongoing success, perhaps an alternative case for U.S. policies could be made. But the evidence on the ground demonstrates only continued deterioration and darkening of the prognosis. Will we have more of the same? Or will there be a U.S. recognition that the American presence has now become more the problem than the solution? We do not hear that debate.