Saturday, April 30, 2011

Not ready for prime time: Jack Layton goes limp under pressure

Jack got the infamous rubdown here.
Too soon to tell if a "happy ending" is in store for the rest of the NDP
Whether or not Jack Layton was masturbated by an attendant at a massage parlour in Toronto in 1996 is of no moral consequence.

However Layton's reaction to the story, the timing of which is obviously political, that in 1996, police found him naked in a "house of ill-repute," is further demonstration, if any more was needed, that the NDP leader is not fit to be the head of Canada's government.

Aside from the obvious lack of judgement demonstrated by a well-known city councillor, as he was in the 1990's, in receiving services of any kind at a bawdy house, Layton's response to the news of it does not bode well for his ability to react to pressure with grace.

Sex has got a lot of men into trouble over the years and most politicians are men with a lust for power, so the term political sex scandal is almost tautological.

There are ways to handle it and there are ways to deal with it effectively and what one does shows a lot about leadership skills.

Layton went to the book on this scandal by immediately claiming "smear" and having his wife issue a statement of support. If that sounds familiar, it's because Bill Clinton did much the same thing. The difference was that in Clinton's case, his scandals didn't break two days before a general election.

And unlike Layton's, Clinton's excuses also had the advantage of not making him look stupid.

Layton has claimed that he went to the massage parlour, pictured above, to get a "shiatsu."

He said he believed the location was a legitimate massage parlour and that he did not receive any sexual services there. That might be true.

But look at the facade of the massage parlour in question, in a seedy part of Toronto's Chinatown, an area that Layton would have been very familiar with, since he was the municipal representative for that area.

If you told me that place is a "legitimate" massage parlour, I'd laugh at you.

There's also a certain incongruity, which is my polite way of saying hypocrisy, to someone who wanted to ban lap dancing and said, "a strip bar is not a petting zoo" who then goes to the sort of place where the clients are the ones being petted.

Layton's reaction was to be rattled, to decry a basic component of the political process that he voluntarily and heartily pursues, and to look and sound beaten.

Being Prime Minister is about leadership. Layton himself has made leadership a central issue of his campaign. Lame, implausible excuses, self-pity and bad reactions are not the way leadership is best exercised.

Canadians are lucky they found out what Jack Layton's version of "Canadian Leadership" is before it's too late.

UPDATE: In a song-and dance interview with the CBC about his little visit to The Velvet Touch Massage Parlour (now if that name isn't a giveaway!), Layton casts more doubt on the veracity of his story than if he had the good sense to keep his mouth shut.
The NDP leader, responding to reporters' questions, said he went to the clinic around 9 p.m., recalling that it was probably after a workout. 
"I went for a massage at a community clinic"
You can see the alleged "community clinic" above. Does that look like a community clinic? Have you heard of many legitimate massage clinics that are open at 9 PM?

Harper talked about Layton being all smiles and snake oil. He got the smiles right, but that would be massage oil, Steve.

(h/t to Blazing Cat Fur for the update)

UPDATE 2: It looks like "Velvet Touch" is a popular name for massage parlours. Here's one I found in Edmonton. And here's one in Youngstown, Arizona, and another in Melbourne, Florida. And here's a Miss Velvet Touch in Niagara Falls who offers massages (among other things)! I bet the clients of these other Velvet Touches all mistook them for 'community clinics' too!

Friday, April 29, 2011

e-Jack-u-Layton all over the news: Via Blazing Cat Fur and SunTV - Jack Layton found naked in bordello in 1996


Will May 2 provide a Happy Ending for Canada?

Watch the video below and see the rest of the story of Jack "off" Layton's alleged erotic massage incident at Blazing Cat Fur





UPDATE: The puns keep cumming (ow!)..

"If Layton wins, it'll be him jerking you around"

"NDP has a problem with premature e-JACK-u-LAYTON"

UPDATE 2: Small Dead Animals shows us the scene of the Layton rubdown.. Maybe it was classier 15 years ago..hahahhaha

Is the glorious revolution coming to Canada?

This is Communist Canadian Leadership
Russia's Jack Layton - he too promised not to stop 'till he got the job done
Ever wonder why Layton struck this pose?

She's old, but she's not THAT old

A reader pointed out a slip up in a Royal Wedding story by our friends at The National Post


Queen Elizabeth II was crowned about 6 decades ago. They only multiplied it by a factor of 10, although time does seem to go by very slowly at formal events.

(hat tip to Doug for this)

UPDATE: I emailed my friends at The Nat Post about the error and they corrected it. Now my friends who got such a laugh at the error are mad at me!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why centrist Liberals should strategically vote Conservative this election

As much as the other parties have been trying to paint Stephen Harper as a "right-winger" and the epitet "neo-con" is usually attached to him by NDP operatives, by comparative global standards, Canada's Conservative government is a centrist one.

Canada's socialized health care, lack of governmental desire to institute any laws restricting abortion access, its open immigration policies including a federal immigration minister who recently advocated to make it easier for Gay refugees to enter this country, all belie the notion of radical rightist ideology.

The danger of the current trend suggesting that the socialist NDP may actually be able to form the lead of a coalition party could ironically lead to Canada having a government further to the right of anything it has seen in years.

The lesson of Bob Rae's NDP government in Ontario shows how this could happen.

Rae was and is an able leader and politician. He was a three-term federal NDP MP and his party's Finance Critic before becoming leader of the Ontario NDP. He was far more capable, when he became Ontario's premier in 1990, than Jack Layton is today. Layton's only pre-commons political experience was as a long-serving, mediocre Toronto City Councillor and his leadership of the NDP has been distinguished by no tanglible result other than a recent polling popularity.

While Rae was more competent than Layton, he shared the same problem as the current federal NDP leader in that he was saddled with a caucus of inept ideologues who were incapable of effective governing. The result was so bad that the political pendulum swung drastically to the right and allowed the election of Mike Harris.

Harris was a conservative and a terrible leader for Ontario. His "Common Sense Revolution" was a sham. His promises to lower provincial taxes were only kept by offloading services to the municipalities, necessitating tax increases at that level. Harris' contempt of democracy was such that he forced amalgamation on municipalities that overwhelmingly rejected it in referendums.

Harris was a cynical, smart politician who knew he could keep a majority by exploiting and neglecting urban constituencies in order to keep rural ones happy. He was a poor leader for Ontario. But his poor leadership would never have come to pass had it not been for the protest vote gone wild that allowed Rae's NDP to create conditions allowing for Harris to succeed him.

Centrist Liberal voters should keep this analogy well in mind on May 2 when they go to the polls.

Layton's NDP includes incompetents and buffoons at the top of the party, including Deputy Leader Libby Davies, who is a 9-11 conspiracy theorist, as well as Joe Comartin, who is a George Galloway acolyte and associates with radical Imam Zafar Bangash,  an admirer of the totalitarian Ayatollah Khomeini.

An NDP government would create economic disaster for Canada that would eventually and inevitably swing the national pendulum so far to the right that it will make Stephen Harper look like Stephane Dion.

Michael Ignatieff may be a bright academic, but as a politician he is hopeless. If centrists want to prevent a real right-wing government from coming to power in Canada, their only choice is to vote for the the centrist Conservatives that are in place now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Totalitarian Food Police coming to Canada?

Some Canadian doctors want the state to take away just about every bit of individual choice you have.

The childhood obesity hysteria has reached the stage where they want the government to impose:
a “sin” or “junk food” tax, banning certain obesogenic foods or ingredients, and modifying the built environment to encourage walking or bicycling. Political will and adequate support of these and other innovative strategies could have a big impact on the obesity epidemic.
The Liberal party has expressed its willingness to interfere with this most basic aspect of your life. The NDP is considering a junk food tax, so if you want your Big Mac and Coke without a massive government levy, you should vote Conservative next week!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Canada's Political Doomsday Scenario

There is one reason and one reason only that Canada is currently going through an election campaign; power lust by The Liberal Party. It was obvious from the outset that the Liberals had absolutely no chance of winning as many seats as the leading Conservatives. So what was their motive?

As the campaign has progressed and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has remained incapable of maintaining the deception, it has become clear that the Liberals planned to form a government with the support of the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP. After a disastrous, equivocating performance on Day One of the campaign, Ignatieff was clearly playing word games by denying plans for a "coalition."  While he may not have planned to award Cabinet positions to the NDP and Bloc, he evidently planned a deal and political deals always come at a price. The price would be paid by Canadian taxpayers, but what did that matter to a Liberal party thirsting for a return to power in the drought years since they last won an election under Jean Chretien?

The Liberal plan has backfired catastrophically. Liberal strategists strikingly underestimated Mr. Ignatieff's profound ineptitude as a political campaigner. His efforts at populism are comically awkward and his personal appeal is minimal. In fact, Mr. Ignatieff's campaign is so deficient that the unthinkable is on the verge of happening - the Liberals may not even be able to hold on to their position as Official Opposition, which if poll trends bear out, would fall to the NDP.

It's probable that Canadian voters will do a reality check and not cast their ballot for one of Jack Layton's candidates on May 2 in anything approaching the numbers that current polls suggest. But what would happen if Jack Layton's NDP did become the party with the second-most seats in Parliament?

It could mean Jack Layton as Prime Minister of Canada. The Liberals might well support a coalition with Layton at the head, anticipating it would implode under the NDP's incompetence and that they would be able to exploit that in another election soon to follow. The Liberals would likely envision better success from that model than they had with the Harper minority government, which stymied them at every turn.

An NDP-led minority government would likely collapse quickly under the weight of its own incompetence, giving the Liberals another crack at power under whichever leader they choose to replace Ignatieff, which they will invariably do soon after their upcoming election debacle. So a minority government means that Canadians will have yet another election within the next two years, if not much sooner.

An NDP minority government would also mean that the Deputy Leader of the governing party is someone who had put forward 9-11 conspiracy theories in Parliament. Libby Davies accused Canada's most important trading and economic partner, upon who our economy is largely dependent, of being complicit in the murder of thousands of its own citizens on September 11, 2001.

What that would do to Canada's international credibility and its reputation abroad can only be speculated upon. We would certainly have new friends in Tehran to make up for all the lost support in the US Congress, but don't look at that to help our economy much.

The reality is that the NDP caucus is made up largely of boobs. In fact, their legendary incompetence was solidified by The Clampetts, Bob Rae's Ontario cabinet during the NDP's only term as the governing party in Ontario. Bob Rae is an able politician, but the NDP ranks are so deficient, he couldn't even fill a cabinet table with capable people. It was that experience which largely drove Rae to the Liberal Party.

Jack Layton's idea on how to solve problems is to raise taxes and increase government spending. Every  leftist special interest group will think they won the lottery. Anyone familiar with the way government spends money can tell you that the result of that will be a worsened economy with few positive results, unless you happen to be an employee of a left-wing NGO.

The one group of people who stand to benefit most if there's a strong NDP showing on May 2 and the Conservatives don't get a majority are financial speculators. The Canadian dollar is at a 20 year high reflecting international confidence in the Conservative government's handling of our economy. Currency speculators stand to make a fortune if they short the Canadian dollar, the value of which would tumble along with that interational confidence if Jack Layton were to be the person who leads the next government.


Ignatieff conveys desperation more than inspiration:



The Blazing Cat Fur parody:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wilileaks show BBC may have been part of al-Qaida's propaganda network

A phone number of someone at the BBC was found in phone books and programmed into the mobile phones of a number of militants seized by the Americans. 
The number is believed believed to be based at Bush House, the headquarters of the BBC World Service...
The US assessment file said forces had uncovered many ‘extremist links’ to the BBC number – indicating that extremists could have made contacts with employees at the broadcaster who were sympathetic to extremists or had information on ‘ACM’ (anti-Coalition militia) activities.
I'm surprised a number at The Toronto Star hasn't turned up there too.

More at The Daily Mail

Norman Finkelstein: The Anti-Semites' Favorite Jew

The documentary film American Radical is a sympathetic look at Norman Finkelstein, the former DePaul University professor who was denied tenure after a very public spat with renowned Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.

The whole film is now available to be viewed online at Al Jazeera English.

Finkelstein is notorious as a vociferously anti-Israel Jew who published The Holocaust Industry, which accused Jews of not being interested in Holocaust remembrance so much as manipulating the Holocaust to extort money and support for Israel from Europe. That work solidified Finkelstein as the favorite Jew of the neo-Nazi movement. His shameless, ongoing use of his family's suffering in the Holocaust as validation of his one-sided critiques of Israel earned Finkelstein contempt and discredit as a propagandist.

The documentary is a fascinating look at a fanatic who was raised in an environment of activist extremism. The product of a hysterical mother was a dogged researcher who is less an academic than a polemicist. His  presented facts frequently lack context, but there is an indication that Finkelstein is well aware of that. His work is to serve a cause, and that cause is Palestinian activism, not the truth of the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian and Israeli/Arab conflict.

One of the ironies of Finkelstein's life, which the film demonstrates, is that Finkelstein was both made and undone by his obsession with one particular book: From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine.

That book, by Joan Peters, was intended to bolster the Jewish claim to both Historical Palestine and modern Israel by denigrating the Palestinian claim to that land. Finkelstein's doctoral thesis was able to establish that this popular best seller was based in part on shoddy, if not fraudulent scholarship. That exposé propelled Finkelstein to prominence as a critic of Israel. It was also his undoing, when he accused Alan Dershowitz of plagiarizing from Peters' book by using the same Mark Twain contained in From Time Immemorial. Dershowitz was cleared of plagiarism, but the spruious accusation and the acrimony that Finkelstein incurred  from making it irreparably damaged his reputation and made him persona non grata to university administrators across America.

At about 90 minutes, American Radical is a worthwhile glimpse at one of the stranger personalities in the world of grievance politics. You can see it here. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

From The Toronto Star: Tories beating Liberals at their own game

We’re now told that multicultural Canadians are just plain Canadians. They don’t want to be targeted by predatory Tory operatives who tailor their political pitches in a supposedly sinister form of ethnic profiling.  
And when did this newfound electoral correctness emerge? At about the time Liberals started losing their stranglehold on ethnic enclaves.
..When Liberals pandered to new immigrants and profited from their votes, it was an accepted quid pro quo for the natural governing party — a historic ethnic entitlement. From the birth of multiculturalism under Pierre Trudeau to the proliferation of ethnic delegates in Liberal leadership campaigns, harvesting immigrant votes was a grand electoral bargain.  
In government, the Liberals never missed a foreign policy opportunity to grab a domestic ethnic opportunity: whether rushing to recognize an independent Ukraine or turning a blind eye to the terrorist antics of the Tamil Tigers during Sri Lanka’s civil war, they always eyed the electoral calculus at home.  
Liberal politicians reflexively made the pilgrimage to Punjab so they could circumambulate the Golden Shrine revered by Sikhs in Amritsar, and even opened a dubious consulate in the state to please Punjabi Canadian voters. Now that the Conservatives have caught on and caught up, the Liberals are crying foul — suggesting that demographics is anti-democratic.
Read all of Martin Regg Cohn's column in The Toronto Star

ALSO: Angelo Persichilli: Liberals shooting blanks at a ghost

Randy Quaid premiers Star Whackers movie, weirdness ensues

The film opened on Mr. Quaid standing nude in a windy field with a long fur coat draped loosely around his shoulders. For 10 minutes, he repeats four lines of Shakespeares’s Julius Caesar while wandering around the field with a clump of purple hair – at one point bending over to clench the hair between his buttocks.

Mr. Quaid also appeared as a man with a deer skull adorning his head and as a black-suited assassin armed with a submachine gun. Judging from one scene in which Mr. Quaid uses the weapon to riddle a glossy photograph of himself with holes, it appears that the Quaids used a live submachine gun for the film.

In between random Shakespeare quotes, Mr. Quaid’s three characters graze on grass, play violin alongside a cattle drive and attempt to negotiate with donkeys. At the film’s end, Mr. Quaid repeats excerpts from Hamlet’s soliloquy for about ten minutes before dying.

More in The National Post




 



 

 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

From Fringe Groups: Meeting Nonie Darwish

Nonie Darwish began her story. She was born in Cairo in the 1950’s, and grew up in Gaza under Nasser. She lived her whole childhood in the Arab/Israeli conflict. It was the overriding subject, in schools, cartoons, media, and sermons. Her father started the fedayeen (self-sacrifice) operation whose assignment was to destroy Israel. She learned hatred and retaliation – not exactly normal lessons for children. Peace was never mentioned as a value. Only “jihad” against Jews.

“Jihad,” she explained, is not inner struggle. It is not yoga or self-analysis. In the Middle East, everyone knows what “jihad” means. It’s sharia’s obligatory war against nonMuslims, to establish Islam. The sovereignty of nonMuslim states cannot be conceded (except tactically). By the same token, international law cannot supercede sharia law. Unbelievers must either convert or agree to pay a tax, while being made to feel demeaned/humiliated. She and her school friends were filled with fear of Jews who, they were told, “love to kill Arab children.” Victimhood is essential to jihad.

After her father was killed, the family moved back to Cairo. Nasser paid them a condolence visit. This powerful man put a paternal hand against her cheek and asked, “Which of you kids will avenge your father’s death by killing Jews?” If she didn’t want to do that, she’d be considered disloyal. Noted: at that time, Israel was not in Gaza, not on the West Bank. The ideology of terrorism wasn’t caused by “occupation,” but preceded it.


Read it all at Werner Cohn's blog, Fringe Groups

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Slacker Anxiety Levels off the charts as Playstation Network Down for the Holiday

The PlayStation Network  (PSN) is down today and may remain down for at least another day or two.

The PSN allows online gamers using PlayStation 3 (and PS2 for those retro folk still using them) to play games in real time with and against each other.

Sony's website describes the cause of the outage as unknown to them, but techie media is reporting it being possibly due to hackers shitting it down in retaliation for lawsuits the PlayStation company's parent launched against hacker George Hotz.

What a bummer! I guess I'll have to wait a couple of days before I can rank up from Lieutenant Colonel in Killzone 3!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Iggy says he will form coalition but just isn't going to call it a "coalition"

The Globe and Mail reports that Michael Ignatieff, after repeatedly promising that he would not form a coalition if the Conservatives don't win a majority government, has changed his mind.

The only difference is he isn't going to formally call it a coalition.

No surprise there.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc's White-Privileged, Exclusionary Farmers Market

The Artscape Wychwood Barns, in the heart of Toronto's midtown Ward 21, has won urban planning awards and has become a community hub; a veritable cathedral of Birkenstock socialism where local Councillor Joe Mihevc proudly plays the role of high priest. One of the Barns' most prominent features, where Joe often appears, is a weekly Farmers' Market inside the Barn's spacious open interior as well as its scenic exterior park. Local musicians serenade the shoppers as they peruse the costly, showcased organic offerings that one comes to expect from such a venue.

Now, whatever one may think of his competence following his shepherding of the St. Clair street car fiasco, still the subject of civic suits against the City, there are few politicians anywhere with a stronger commitment to non-discrimination and equity than Joe Mihevc, who was the lead at City Hall in making the Barns project happen.

So it might come as a surprise to Mihevc that, according to a recent Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) Master's Thesis in their Sociology and Equity Studies in Education (SESE) Department, his crowning achievement is a 'white privilege' zone that makes people of colour feel excluded.

Rachelle Campigotto, the author of the thesis, Farmers' Markets and their Practices Concerning Income, Privilege and Race: A Case Study of the Wychwood Artscape Barns in Toronto, claims the Wychwood Barns famers' market is patronized by whites at a ratio disproportionately high to the area, which creates an exclusionary area of white privilege. She reaches her conclusions by using "Whiteness Theory" - something that on the surface sounds like a subject more appropriate to a lecture by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke than an area of study at the University of Toronto.

Preposterous race-fixation is nothing new to UT/OISE's crackpot Sociology and Equity Studies in Education department, which behaves like a cult that conditions its adherents to view everything in terms of race. It is notorious for producing Jenny Peto's anti-Jewish master's thesis that alleged "a mainstream Jewish community that is dominated by racist.. ideologies" and postulated a Zionist plot to use Holocaust education for nefarious purposes. This same department also produced a Master's Thesis recently purporting that Western feminists opposed to female genital mutilation are racists motivated by a "preoccupation with genitalia" and the "pleasure of whiteness."

The Farmers' Market thesis says the "concept of whiteness is a critique of the privilege afforded to those who are white based solely on ‘being white’." So amid all the mumbo jumbo, the idea that Mihevc's farmers' market would be an exclusionary, white-privileged environment is a foregone conclusion.

Characteristic of SESE, the thesis is hopelessly flawed. The author did a survey of participants at the market and measured it, with limited insight, against the demographic data for all Ward 21 rather than the immediate area surrounding the farmers' market. Ward 21 is large mid-town ward where the overwhelmingly predominant mother tongue of constituents is English and like the rest of Toronto, there are a variety of ethnic groups in it. The largest identified ethnic group in Ward 21 is Jewish.

But the Barns themselves are a block away from Wychwood Park, a private neighbourhood that is one of the most affluent in the city. It is a stone's throw from the Forest Hill and Casa Loma neighborhoods, two more of the city's richest areas. The residential streets around the Barns comprise a middle/upper middle-class neighborhood that is predominately, as my Italian friends would say, "mangia cake" (i.e. white bread).

The patrons of the Wychwood Farmers' Market reflect the neighbourhood it is in.  It's no surprise that something produced at OISE and its pathological racial obsessions would fail to take such an obvious factor as that as well as something as basic as culture into account.

Culture may correlate to race on occasion, but they have no intrinsic link to each other. There is no racial component that makes a person more or less predisposed to be at a Famers' Market; that behaviour is a cultural attribute. While I'm not a cultural relativist and think Canadian culture is one of the world's best, it does have an element that is inferior to those of East Asia, the Caribbean and other locales from which many of Canada's immigrants are drawn.

Those cultures aren't so stupid as to produce a large segment of people who pay five times the value for a dirty bundle of carrots or a bug-eaten head of lettuce just because a vendor displays a piece of cardboard with the word "organic" on it. That particular attribute seems to be the province of dumb-ass, upper-middle class North Americans, of whom most happen to be white. That people from countries where the majorities are non-white are less inclined to be conned in that way speaks to a certain cultural superiority among those groups.

What is disgraceful about all of this is the University of Toronto continuing to give imprimatur to OISE's idiotic racialism. Unlike the enlightened part of society that seeks to treat individuals as such, OISE's Sociology and Equity Studies in Education department continues to implicitly teach that we are less individuals than representatives of our racial group.

The public has an interest in what goes on at OISE for two important reasons. One is that we help to fund it through our taxes. But more significantly, generations of Ontario's teachers are produced at OISE and promulgate this backwards type of thinking in classrooms across the province.

It's time the destructiveness of such programs were evaluated and we as Ontarians asked ourselves, are OISE's inane, intellectually vacuous race theories what we want our children to be brought up on?


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Radical, activist radio station CKLN denied appeal of license revocation

CKLN, the Ryerson University radio station that had reportedly been taken over by a radicals with an anti-capitalist activist agenda, and which regularly gave a platform to violent activist group OCAP, lost its appeal against its license revocation.

According to their website, they will continue to broadcast via the Internet.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gazan Islamic Group murders pro-Palestinian Italian pacifist

An al-Qaida linked group in Gaza kidnapped and murdered Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who was there to help Palestinians.

The ISM has attempted to glorify their late member Rachel Corrie, who died in an accident while playing chicken with an Israeli military bulldozer. I wonder if Arrigoni, a poor, misguided person who was killed intentionally by Islamists will merit any long-term remembrance from ISM.

I doubt it. It would interfere with their propaganda messaging.

This disturbing video was put on YouTube by his captors, showing him blindfolded and beaten.

Hamas actually made a half-hearted effort to find him, but retrieved his body. He was strangled to death by his captors.




This video of Arrigoni shows him to be a typical ISM activist, painfully ignorant of the history and culture of the place he's decided to involve himself with. His statements show he has basic facts wrong. But a seemingly well-intentioned person nonetheless who met a fate he did not deserve.



More on this story is at The Jerusalem Post

h/t Blazing Cat Fur

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bloggers SassyWire and Blazing Cat Fur expose neo-Nazi ideology of Iranian-linked Muslim group

Sassy Wire first noticed that a Shia Muslim group that acts as a mouthpiece for the Khomeneist regime, was posting videos by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Poobah David Duke.

The head of the fanatical Shite group has been courted by the likes of NDP Leader Jack Layton, as well as Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and Ontario Provincial Liberal Cabinet Ministers.

It's interesting stuff and you can read about it through the following links:

Blazing Cat Fur's first post on it and the follow-up.

The National Post picked it up.

Mark Steyn's take on it has some interesting points, particularly about the Canadian Jewish Congress' sleepwaking mode for dealing with everything.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Heated Hobbit Labour Dispute



The labour crisis has just been settled, but actors' unions almost were responsible for New Zealand losing the two Hobbit films which have a combined production cost of $500 million.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Baluchistan: The one part of Pakistan we should be embracing?

While doing less elsewhere in Pakistan, the United States should do more to support anti-Islamist forces along the southern Arabian Sea coast. First, it should support anti-Islamist Sindhi leaders of the Sufi variant of Islam with their network of 124,000 shrines. Most important, it should aid the 6 million Baluch insurgents fighting for independence from Pakistan in the face of growing ISI repression. Pakistan has given China a base at Gwadar in the heart of Baluch territory. So an independent Baluchistan would serve U.S. strategic interests in addition to the immediate goal of countering Islamist forces.

You can read all of this fascinating piece in The National Interest
To learn more about this intriguing region, you can check out this information

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Palestinians and Israelis share a martyr

On Monday, Juliano Mer Khamis was murdered by a terrorist in the West Bank town of Jenin. He was 53 years old. It happened outside the new incarnation of the theatre founded by Juliano and his mother, Arna Mer, where they taught Palestinian children theatre arts, and that there were ways other than violence to express themselves. After Arna's death, Juilano continued his mother's work with children in Jenin.

Juliano was the son of an Israeli Jewish mother and a Palestinian Arab father. He identified mostly with his father's culture, in large part due to his Jewish mother's activism on behalf of Palestinians within Israel and in the West Bank.

His own sympathies and activism always were on behalf of the Palestinian side. His goal was to teach them that resistance didn't need to take the form of murder and terrorism. The people of Jenin who knew him loved him. But to Hamas, he was a threat. They labeled him a "Zionist Jew whose hands should be cut off." The reward for his struggle to teach a way other than violence was his murder at the hands of people who see violence as a virtue.

An accomplished actor in Israel, Juliano was not well known outside the Middle East. I met him when he was the star of a micro-budget movie shot in Toronto called Nothing To Lose, which was produced by my friend Julian Grant, who hired me to be the movie's Prop Master. The movie itself was the type that gets parodied in movies about making low-budget movies. It was financed with "felafel dollars," which is to say that the main investors were Palestinian-Canadians who owned some felafel joints.

It starred Juliano, a half-Israeli, half-Palestinian in real-life, as a Hispanic street tough trying to go straight, with Toronto doubled for Chicago. Other actors in it were Baywatch's Alexandra Paul, Michael Gazzo, in his last role before he died, and Paul Gleason, who fans of the Breakfast Club will remember as the principal. One of the financiers, a swarthy, boisterous fellow with a stereotypical Middle-Eastern bushy moustache, appeared in the film as a villain, and he would show up every day with felafels for the whole cast and crew. Yes, every day. I don't think anyone involved in the production ate a felafel for a year after the movie wrapped.

Juliano and I had a number of conversations on the set. He was a sweetheart who recreated his performance in Canadian director Simcha Jacobovici's movie about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Deadly Currents, for me over lunch when I told him I'd enjoyed it. He was also a wild character, full of life, passionate, compassionate and with the outsized ego of a good-looking lead actor. There was one occasion when I had to restrain a stunt man from pounding out Juliano who, taking a boxing scene too seriously, didn't pull his punches.

That was his style.

Years later, our paths again crossed, indirectly in an odd sense. I was one of the first group of executives at Participant Productions in Beverly Hills. At that point, Participant wanted movies to distribute to get its feet wet as a new, but powerful player on the Hollywood circuit.

Arna's Children was a documentary Juliano made about his mother's theatre group in Jenin.

I had reservations about the movie. It was one-sided in its portrayal as Israel as the villain in its conflict with the Palestinians. It showed Palestinian suffering and Israeli actions that caused it, but like most pro-Palestinian propaganda, never showed the context of Israel's actions being in response to Palestinian violence. However, it did give a rare glimpse into the culture of Palestinian youth in the West Bank -- the hate that they grow up with toward not only Israelis, but Jews more generally. It was Juliano's Arab side that bought him his street cred in such a milieu, just as his mother's marriage to an Arab bought hers.

Jeff Skoll, my friend who founded Participant, was moved by Juliano's movie and was one of the judges who helped award it the Best Documentary prize at the Tribeca festival in 2004. Jeff, whose passion as a philanthropist is to celebrate the work of great social entrepreneurs, decided Arna's Children would be the first movie to have Participant's name on it.

Though filled with a spirit of hope, Juliano's documentary also showed how efforts at peace usually fail in a Palestinian society that treasures martyrdom above life. Many of the kids in his theatre group eventually became armed fighters, and some became suicide bombing terrorists.

There's a secret to peace in the Middle East that Juliano's murderers -- who at this point appear to be from Hamas -- don't want the rest of Palestinian society to learn. The first step is simple: stop trying to kill each other and stop teaching others to hate and to kill.

Actors are grown-ups who play make believe for a living. Juliano was an actor who believed that hope and reason could overcome hate. His murderers created a martyr out of Juliano for both sides in the Israel/Palestine conflict. If his goals succeed, then Israel would have a Palestinian neighbour who understands that violence is not the first resort to conflict settlement, and Palestinians would have a culture built on hope and love instead of the worship of death.


(You can see all of Juliano's film, Arna's Children, online at Google Video.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Richard Goldstone regrets falsely accusing Israel of intentionally killing civilians

JERUSALEM — The leader of a United Nations panel that investigated Israel’s invasion of Gaza two years ago has retracted the central and most explosive assertion of its report — that Israel intentionally killed Palestinian civilians there.  

Richard Goldstone, an esteemed South African jurist who led the panel of experts that spent months examining the Gaza war, wrote in an opinion article in The Washington Post that Israeli investigations into the conflict “indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”  

“If I had known then what I know now,” he wrote, “the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

Read the rest of this explosive report at The New York Times