I'm listening to President Bush's press conference right now. Barring any major revelations over the next 20 minutes, it's kind of anticlimactic; not that I believed he was going to announce Osama bin Laden's capture, but I'm not really hearing anything I haven't already heard. I think Bush comes across as a pretty sincere guy, but more than a little exasperated about his allies' refusal to deal with Saddam Hussein once and for all. (That makes two of us.) I wish he was a bit more forceful. When one reporter asked him - twice - whether the capture of Saddam Hussein was an essential component of victory, he didn't even make reference to the fact that no one captured Hitler in 1945, and that certainly didn't make World War II a failure. One more thing: once again, Bush missed an opportunity to come clean about the way his nation supported Saddam Hussein during the 1980s. After 9/11, the President himself said America should try to remain humble, and I think it would do wonders for his cause if Bush just admitted, "Yes, to our shame, we supported the guy once. So did France. So did Russia and Germany. And that's why I think we - not just America, but also our allies - have a special responsibility to end Saddam's reign of terror. As a nation, we must be willing to admit when we've done something wrong, and to take the responsibility to make things right." Update: Geez, even the folks at The Corner don't seem particularly impressed.
More charming scenes from York University: [Miriam Levin, a Jewish student] said she was accosted when she tried to drive on to school property first thing in the morning. The protesters were picketing entrances to the school grounds and blocking traffic: "I told the guy, 'Making me 20 minutes late for class isn't helping the people in Iraq,' and then he started calling me a terrorist and an occupier." She said she could not understand why the man was shouting anti-Semitic remarks at her until her friend, Hannah Wortsman, observed she was wearing earrings with a Star of David design. [...] It was when the line passed a booth set up by the Young Zionist Partnership and the Canadian Alliance that a confrontation occurred. Students who ran the booth claim protesters shouted insults before charging them. "Hundreds of people basically swarmed three people," said Paul Cooper, president of the Zionist group. He said only a few people were confrontational, but everyone else "watched and did nothing to stop it." Duff said his group did not instigate the incident, saying it began with name-calling from the booth. "We attempted to keep moving. Our message was we shouldn't be distracted, but the goal of those people who set up the booth was to disrupt and distract us today." Yaakou Rath, campus president of the Canadian Alliance, said the protesters initiated the confrontation and ended it by pushing him and others: "They chose to attack me and I'm identifiably Jewish, but they didn't attack Paul [Cooper], who's not, and that's scary," Rath said. He said the group also stole the booth's U.S. flag and tried to set it on fire. To all you people who carry around signs reading "Bush is Hitler" and "Zionism is Nazism," rub your few brain cells together and think about this: when the real Nazis got started, they weren't wealthy businessmen, media magnates or military leaders. They were a bunch of violent, thuggish misfits, parading through the streets and terrorizing anyone who dared to disagree with them - and members of one religious community in particular. There's a lesson there, though I doubt you have the intelligence to figure it out. (via InstaPundit)
The move has been made. Go to www.damianpenny.com for the new blog. I'm free from Blogger! Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy!
The new Daimnation! is coming The URL is ready. The host has been bought. Movable Type has been downloaded. I'm just in the final stages of figuring it out, and before long I'll have broken the chains of Blogspot tyranny forever.
We should have seen this coming: a few slack-jawed idiots have trouble figuring out The Matrix is a work of fiction, they kill people while trying to "escape the Matrix," and now the film's producers are being blamed: The producer of The Matrix films has dismissed stories linking the movies with violent behaviour in the US. It follows reports that fans had acted out real-life crimes inspired by the sci-fi hit. In doing so they were apparently copying the film's plot to "escape" the Matrix - a computer-generated world controlled by machines. However, Joel Silver, in London to promote The Matrix Reloaded, said the films were "fantasy". [...] In a report in the Washington Post, the film was named by two alleged killers, a woman from Ohio and a man from San Francisco. They had each reportedly killed their landlord but had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Before long, they'll be putting warnings at the beginning of each film, telling the audience that the work they're about to see is a work of fiction and that they shouldn't kill anybody after seeing it. It's coming, folks.
Landsberg's still at it The Toronto Star's ultra-leftist columnist - er, make that the Toronto Star's most left-wing columnist - is defending her previous column praising conspirokook Barrie Zwicker. She says the National Post's editors ("a staunch voice for Bush America [which] brooks no dissenting voices" - a pretty astounding statement for an employee of the Star, a paper which brags about its refusal to employ any writers to the right to Sheila Copps) only savaged her to divert attention away from their own troubles. Landsberg has only been a conspiracy kook for a week, and she's already mastered Riveroian logic; just as the Jews had Mossad agent Chandra Levy whacked to divert attention away from the 80 billion Arabs they kill each week, the Post is only thrashing Landsberg so people won't notice how much money it's losing. Landsberg also says the people who wrote her angry letters "didn't come up with a single argument or documented fact." Scroll down to my May 14 blog entries and you'll see the e-mail I sent to the Star in which I illustrate the similarities between Zwicker and Holocaust deniers, and note the work Bill Herbert has done debunking the kwazy konspiracy kooks' work. Either Landsberg never saw my letter, or she's lying. You'll just have to draw your own conclusion about that one. You'll also have to draw your own conclusions about this timeline Landsberg mentions in her article, which purports to show how the armed forces were in on the whole thing because they didn't shoot down any of the planes. (The site, needless to say, links to "What Really Happened", the even more blatantly anti-Semitic Rense.com, and other kook sites of even less renown.) A question I've never seen put to the conspirozoids: even if fighter jets had been scrambled in time to intercept the hijacked airliners, what, exactly, were they supposed to do? We're not talking about a Piper Cub flying over Death Valley here. These were four large planes, with hundreds of innocent people on board, travelling over the most densely populated area of the United States. Had the planes been shot down, there almost certainly would have been fatalities on the ground. Can you imagine the outcry from the Riveros and Rupperts if the jets were destroyed before any suicide attacks were carried out? (Do a Google search on "TWA Flight 800" and you'll get the idea.)
Other potential violations of the Geneva Conventions: - Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis" (This one-hit wonder makes Michael Bolton sound like Solomon Burke) - Roseanne sinigng the U.S. National Anthem - "Shoot the Dog," George Michael's coldly recieved "protest" song - Mariah Carey's "Dream Lover" - Christina Aguilera's "Dirrrty" - Jann Arden's remake of "Stand by Me" (one justifiable exception to the right of free expression: you shouldn't ever be allowed to cover "Stand by Me") - Corey Hart's version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" ("dey wouldn't let poo Rudolph join in any rainda games")
The BBC says the rescue of Jessica Lynch was staged by the Americans. Bill Herbert and several other bloggers, who actually know something about military weaponry and special-forces tactics, say the BBC is full of crap. Who you gonna believe? I didn't get a chance to write anything about this when the story broke, but I remember thinking, "you know, the lefties are going to be more outraged by this than by the discovery of mass graves all over Iraq." Just as they consider the 1990 babies-thrown-from-incubators hoax a greater moral outrage than Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait. (One "occupation," curiously, which they never got too upset about.) Update: Wilbur Smith - whose blog I hadn't heard of before, but which I'll be reading a lot from now on - deserves most of the credit for debunking the BBC's story.
Fisk the fraud? Britain's Private Eye notes that on April 2, Fiskie filed dispatches from two different Iraqi towns - and it was almost impossible for him to have been in both places on the same day. The satirical magazine further notes that the Americans had already entered one of the cities at the time Fisk was supposedly there, reporting that they were nowhere in sight.
It's a holiday up here, and the Toronto Star takes time off from shilling for the Kwazy Konspiracy Kooks to explain the origins of Victoria Day. It's beautiful outside - and I'm in the office, preparing for a couple of trials. Life is one depressing defeat after another, until you just wish Flanders was dead.
A blockbuster in today's Washington Post: Al-Qaida has obtained weapons from members of the Saudi National Guard. But don't worry: our Saudi allies are "investigating" the matter. (They've been aware of this illicit arms trade for quite some time, but say nothing has been done because of - I love this - "bureaucratic inertia".) This is a good time to draw your attention to this excerpt from Mark Steyn's The Face of the Tiger, posted on his website: There are only two convincing positions on the House of Saud and what happened [on 9/11]: a) They’re indirectly responsible for it; b) They’re directly responsible for it. There’s a lot of evidence for the former — the Saudi funding of the madrassahs, etc. — and a certain amount of not yet totally compelling evidence for the latter — a Saudi ‘humanitarian aid’ office in the Balkans set up by a member of the royal family which appears to be a front for terrorism. Reasonable people can disagree on whether it’s (a) or (b) but for Americans to argue that the Saudis are our allies in the war on terrorism is like Ron Goldman’s dad joining O.J. in his search for the real killers. [...] Instead of presenting Prince Abdullah with Israeli–Palestinian peace proposals, Americans ought to be handing him US–Saudi peace proposals: clean up your own education system and stop destabilising Asian Muslim culture, for starters. Washington (and London, too) needs to figure out what it wants from Saudi Arabia and whether it’s likely to get it from King Fahd and his bloated clan. We already know one thing we’re not going to get: the Taleban had two major allies before 11 September, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and it’s clear the royal house has no inclination to do a Musharraf. If the West has a medium-term aim in the Middle East, it ought to be the evolution of Arabic Islam into something closer to the more moderate Muslim temperament of Turkey or Bangladesh. I know, I know, all these things are relative, but even that modest goal is unattainable under the House of Saud.
Is this a sick joke? Is Bill Herbert pulling our leg? Did C-SPAN actually interview the Grand Dragon of the Kwazy Konspiracy Kooks, Michael Rivero?
A new low, even by Palestinian genocide-bomber standards: the animal who killed seven Israelis on a Jerusalem bus yesterday was disguised as an Orthodox Jew. I'm not sure what more to say. What more needs to be said? Update: the bomber who killed a Jewish settler in Hebron the other day also disguised himself as an Orthodox Jew. I can hear the IndyMidiots now: "they have no choice but to dress up as Jews, because the zionazis will arrest any Arab who tries to get on a bus." By the way, these are the same people who threw a major hissy fit because the war in Afghanistan started during Ramadan. (Syria and Egypt launching a war of annihilation against Israel on Yom Kippur in 1973, of course, was perfectly okay.)
Victoria Day weekend, when summer officially begins, starts tomorrow. I'm taking Friday off and joining my folks in Terra Nova for a couple of days, so posting won't resume until Sunday. Before I go, let me leave you with the peaceful, inspiring words of Yasser Arafat: "In this day of mourning, the Israeli state was founded as a result of a colonial conspiracy and was established on Palestinian lands whose residents were expelled and massacred," said Arafat. In a speech broadcasted by the Palestinian Authority-run local channel, Arafat said that he will not "accept humiliation and Israeli colonialism and the Israeli aggression carried out against Palestinians and their holy sites." Israel must withdraw from all the lands it occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War and Palestinian refugees must be allowed to return to their homes, he insisted. "For the past 55 years, martyrs, have fallen for the sake of the homeland, freedom and the return of the refugees," he said in the speech from his offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "Every Palestinian refugee knows that his identity will be restored to him only upon the return of his homeland, and he will not be submissive to a patron." [...] Arafat condemned what he described as "the subjugation of the land and the holy places by the Israeli occupation." He said he welcomed peace as the "strategic choice of the Palestinian nation" but accused the Israeli "rule of strength" of delaying peace initiatives in the region.
Steyn not fired? Mark Wickens and Kathy Shaidle both recieved letters from the Post saying Steyn's recent absence can be explained by his vacation, and that he has definitely not been fired. I certainly hope that's true, but Steyn's recent comments in the "letters" section of his website make it clear that he's royally ticked off with the direction in which the Aspers are taking the paper - and he says nothing at all about any vacation. Update for Colby Cosh readers: yes, this post was written before Mark Steyn's vacation was mentioned on his website.
The U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia says the Saudis ignored American requests for additional security just before the Riyadh bombings: Saudi Arabia ignored repeated U.S. requests to tighten security around residential compounds housing American citizens before this week's terror attacks, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia said Wednesday. "We continue to work with the Saudis on this, but they did not, as of the time of this tragic event, provide the additional security we requested," Robert Jordan said in an interview on CBS' The Early Show. Jordan said the U.S. government asked the Saudis for the security improvements "on several occasions." U.S. Embassy spokesman John Burgess added that Saudi officials had provided extra police patrols around the compounds after the United States made the request for more security. But the patrols stopped after two days. The death toll for the attacks stands at 34. And in a staggering example of how the Americans will bend over, time and time again, for their Saudi "allies," the FBI is scaling down the number of agents it had planned to send to Riyadh from 12 to 6, because of concerns over Saudi "sensitivity." Update: the Germans have expelled a Saudi diplomat for alleged ties to Al-Qaida. And the Saudi Defence Minister admits he funnelled millions of dollars to an Islamic "charity" which, according to a CIA report, funded Al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan. Memo to the Democrats: for God's sake, make the Bush administration's ties to Saudi Arabia a major election issue. Until there's a major reckoning with that festering sore of a "kingdom," there will never really be justice for the 3,000 who died on September 11.
If this is true, I'm never buying the National Post again. Ever. Sure, I'll read Blatchford, Fulford, Feschuk and Welch on their website. But the Aspers will never get another cent from me, that's for sure. I can't wait for Maude Barlow and Antonia Zerbisias to protest this blatant example of an owner interfering in his newspaper's editorial decisions. (Yeah, right. Fire a left-wing writer, and they'll scream bloody murder. Fire a right-wing writer, and they'll probably give you a medal.)
I never thought I'd say this, but...God bless you, Richard Simmons: "People have been frying foods since Jesus was on this planet, and there is always going to be greasy, fried, salty, sugary food. It is up to the individual to walk in and say, I don't want those fries today. I have 40 pounds to lose. It is not the fault of the fast food people, and anyone who's trying to sue the fast food places needs a therapist, not an attorney. You have to make your own decisions. That's what the freedom in America is all about."
Is anyone else getting as sick of Hannibal Lecter as I am? (Let me start a serious argument by saying Silence of the Lambs was a good film, but seriously overrated.)
More debunking of the Michelle Landsberg column on Barrie Zwicker and 9/11, from Bruce Rolston. Notable fact: a Canadian was in operational command of NORAD that day - which means Zwicker and his fellow conspirazoids, who insist fighter jets weren't scrambled until two hours (or 50 minutes, or 3 weeks, or whatever) after the jets were hijacked, are slandering one of our own officers. Update: Zwicker defends himself in this letter to the Star, in which he compares the Bush administration to the Nazis. He even uses the word "cabal," just like Tam Dalyell. Here's a letter I sent in response. (Sadly, the Star limits its letters to 300 words, so even if it's printed it will almost certainly be cut.) Sir - It's deeply ironic that Barrie Zwicker, upon being compared to a Holocaust denier, defends himself by saying he's "just asking questions". After all, this is the same argument David Irving makes whenever he's confronted about his theories on the the Nazi extermination of six million Jews. No one, of course, would say Zwicker doesn't have a right to "raise questions" about 9/11. But like the typical Holocuast denier, Zwicker has exhibited shocking intellectual dishonesty while promoting his theories about what happened on that horrible day. Several internet pundits - most notably the gifted Bill Herbert, whose work can be read at http://mckinneysucks.blogspot.com - have pointed out the holes, fallacies and blatant lies in the work of Zwicker and other 9/11 conspiracy theorists. For example, Michelle Landsberg unquestioningly repeats Zwicker's staggering allegation that fighter jets were not scrambled until two hours after the 9/11 airliners were hijacked. NORAD's official records show that fighter planes had taken to the air in a matter of minutes - as anyone who watched the news on the morning of September 11 will recall. I can see Zwicker's response already: "why should we believe that? These records could easily have been faked." It's the conspiro-freak's standard response when confronted with contrary evidence. Barrie Zwicker is a charlatan and a fraud, blinded by pathological hatred for the United States, and the Toronto Star should be ashamed of itself for giving credence to his ridiculous, paranoid fantasies. A final point: in his May 14 letter, Zwicker compares the Reichstag fire to the 9/11 attacks, and the Bush administration to the Nazis. Of course, in the early years, the real Nazis were not wealthy members of the establishment, but a militant, disaffected rabble, blinded by pure hatred for the Jews, who called for the violent smashing of the existing order. Kind of like the radical "activists", on the far left and far right, who eat up Zwicker's theories like candy.
A Kuwaiti-born Canadian citizen might have been involved with the Riyadh bombings: A group of al-Qaeda terrorists, which includes a Canadian believed to be on the run in Saudi Arabia, is suspected of planning or taking part in a series of bombings that killed at least 21 foreigners in Riyadh. Abdul-Rahman Mansour Jabarah, a 23-year-old who spent his adolescence in St. Catharines, Ont., was fingered by Saudi authorities as one of 19 al-Qaeda fugitives who disappeared into the capital after a shootout with authorities last week. Yesterday, a top Saudi official confirmed that some of those 19 fugitives were thought to have taken part in Monday's bombings, in which at least nine attackers were also killed. [...] Mr. Jabarah, who was born in Kuwait, immigrated to Canada in 1994 and later became a citizen, is the only Westerner among the 19 suspects that include 17 Saudis and a Yemeni. "We are aware of the media report and we're checking with the Saudi authorities," said Reynald Doiron, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Department, responding to Prince al-Faisal's published remarks. Mr. Doiron said that Saudi officials had told their Canadian counterparts earlier that there was no evidence linking the 19 suspects to Monday's attacks. Jabarah's younger brother, Mohamed Mansour Jabarah, is being held by the Americans for his alleged connections to Al-Qaida.
Newfoundland and Labrador v. Canada (Minister of Fisheries) Grimey is musing about taking legal action against the federal government for its negliegent management of the Newfoundland fishery over the past 50 years. That Ottawa has been shockingly negligent and incompetent gets no argument from me, but it's hard to see how this one could possibly succeed. Can you imagine the flood of legislation which would result? (Newfoundland itself would probably be sued by Labradorians for its mismanagement of resources in that part of the province, for one thing.) Of course, this is all about electioneering more than expanding Ottawa's duty of care toward Newfoundland. Grimey discussed this lawsuit at a fishermens' rally in Badger's Quay - my mother's hometown! - to which the local Tory MHA, Harry Harding, was not even invited.
Another mass grave has been found in Iraq, this one possibly containing 3,000 people killed during the Shia uprising in 1991. I wonder if Al-Jazeera is going to broadcast footage of the bodies? I'm not holding my breath, unless they can somehow blame this on the Americans.
The "Iraqis" are a bit late jumping on this Nigerian scam - where they send you an e-mail asking you to send them money in exchange for the right to help them smuggle millions of dollars out of the country, to which you're entitled to a share, honest - but this morning I have seven messages in my inbox from "EL Mustapha," who claims to be "personal aide to the Iraqi minister of education and research. Dr Abd Al-khaliq Gafar. That died in the war." The curious part: guess what country "Mustapha" is holed up in right now? (Hint: his listed e-mail address is "firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Of all the bloggers I joined in that Right Wing News seminar the other day, Allison Kaplan Sommer - the only participant who actually lives in Israel - was the only one I had not heard of. Here's her blog, and it's excellent.
Frothing commie-turned-conspirozoid Michele Landsberg gets savaged in today's National Post. (via Kathy Shaidle) It doesn't appear to be online, but a reader advises that Michael Bliss, one of Canada's leading historians, compared Landsberg and Barrie Zwicker to Holocaust deniers in a letter to the Star.
Be afraid, New York. Be very afraid. Thanks to a massive Air Canada seat sale, my brother and I are coming down in late August. (Actually, we're flying to Boston and then taking a train to NYC, so we get to hang out in both cities for a while.) I started this blog largely because of 9/11, and almost two years later I'm about to fly into the airport where most of the hijackers departed, and then make a long-overdue visit to the WTC site. Fitting, in a way. And I hope to meet up with lots of bloggers and readers while I'm there.
More Riyadh developments from Sky News: - 20 people have been confirmed dead, including 10 Americans, an Australian and the son of Riyadh's deputy governor. At least two children were killed. The final death toll could be as high as 50. - at least 160 people, including 5 Britons, were injured. - one of the four attacks targeted a British school.
Another reason to hate the government of Syria: now it's sending out spam to advertise a "Touristic Meeting for Businessmen & Investors." Anyone else get this one?
"McCarthy's witch hunt made the world safe for witches," reads the title of Robert Fulford's latest column. Case in point: Superman: Red Son, a new comic book series in which Superman grew up on a collective farm in the Ukraine and fought for Stalin's USSR. Yeah, I know, this is meant to be an ironic commentary on the character, or something. (The Post's Jeet Heer notes, "the storyline is actually a sly comment on contemporary world politics, where the United States dominates the globe like an unchecked giant. Just as President George W. Bush is willing to bomb any country that could challenge American hegemony, the Soviet Superman uses his strength to gain global dominance." Har, har.) So, when can we expect DC comics to come out with Aryan Superman, in which the character came of age in 1930s Germany, fends off the D-Day invasion and single-handedly wipes out the Jews? (For the record, Stalin came frighteningly close to carrying out genocide against the Jews in his later years, not that you'll ever hear this mentioned anywhere outside a
Jew "neoconservative" rag like the Weekly Standard. Pointing out such a thing is "McCarthyism," I guess.)
10 Americans are among the dead in Riyadh. No word on any Canadian casualties yet. Interesting, that this comes just a few weeks after the Americans announced they were closing their bases in Saudi Arabia. The presence of U.S. troops in the country has been one of the Islamofascists' biggest grievances for years...and this is how they respond. (Stand by for the inevitable conspirozoid bleating about how this is an Amerikkkan set-up, to give them an excuse to keep troops in the country.)
The federal Tories won an Ontario by-election yesterday, comfortably ahead of the second-place Liberal candidiate. The Alliance came third. This gives the Tories 15 seats in the House of Commons, bumping the NDP back to fifth place. (I guess Svend Robinson nominating Rachel Corrie for the Nobel Peace Prize didn't give his party the boost he expected.) Figures. Every time I'm about to give up on the federal PC party for good, they go ahead and do something like this.