Saturday, March 28, 2009

North Koreans observe Earth Hour

I'm blogging as a pseudo-Deforma-Tory.

All around the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea, the citizens observe Earth Hour.

Stormy Night,
Not even a star in sight,
On my way to where the sky is dark,
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Yellowstone Park?

Sesame Street

Cons want to get rid of 2 for 1 sentencing

What a great idea! Let's get rid of the judges' authority to include two-for-one sentencing where the good for nothin' low-lifes get out an extra day early for every day they spend in pre-trial custody. (Insert sarcasm smilie here).

Great! The Conservative government wants to stop judges giving 2 for 1 credit for pre-trial custody. However, what the public may not realize is that those same judges have the discretionary power to impose an overall sentence that includes a minimum or maximum amount of jail time. For example, a judge may sentence someone to five years in jail with 2 for 1 credit for pre-trial custody. If the convicted person had one year of pre-trial custody, there will be three years left. If one includes parole after 2/3 of the sentence, that person will be on the street in 3 1/3 years. Including the 2 for 1 pre-trial credit, that person could be out in 1 1/3 years after sentencing. That person may serve a total of 2 2/3 years in locked custody.

If the Conservatives succeed in getting rid of 2 for 1 pre-trial custody, then judges may give credit through the back door. For example, instead of a judge giving a five-year sentence, he or she may impose of three and a half year sentence. A convicted person will have served one year of pre-trial custody. That person will be eligible for full parole after serving 2 1/3 years. With one year already served in pre-trial custody, that person will be on parole in 1 1/3 years after sentencing.

To compensate for the loss of 2 for 1 pre-trial custody credits, the judges could impose shorter sentences. The results will be the same amount of time served by those convicted and sentenced to jail.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Israel police ban Arab culture day in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli authorities broke up a series of Palestinian cultural events in Jerusalem on Saturday, disrupting a children's march and bursting balloons at a schoolyard celebration in a crackdown that underscored the emotional battle over control of the disputed holy city.

Photo Archive: Bethlehem

Kach you!

I don't know if Kach (כ"ך) is pronounced [katsh] or [kakh]--you know, that spitting 'H' should that English-speaking people can't make. I don't think it's pronouced like 'caulk' with a silent 'L'. I could always ask a Kach-sucker. I won't mention the meaning of Kach. I could be accused of being anti-Semantic.

I went to Wikipedia where I saw the symbols of the Kach/Kahane Chai (כהנא חי‎) movement and the Jewish Defense League. Can you spot the differences?

Note: Hebrew characters displayed above were inserted by copying and pasting.

Kach flag

Jewish Defense League

Kahane Chai (KACH) is listed as a terrorist group by the government of Canada.

Red Tory makes in interesting comment about the JDL:

[I]t’s interesting to note that in its report, Terrorism 2000/2001, the FBI referred to the Jewish Defense League as a “violent extremist Jewish organization” and stated that the FBI was responsible for thwarting at least one of its terrorist acts.

We are anti-Semitic slime

"This revised anti-Semitism denies Jews legitimacy to their historic national claims in Palestine, and gives cover for European and Christian anti-Semites crawling out of sewers once more to spread their slime." (Salim Mansur, Toronto Sun, March 21, 2009)

I wonder about the historic national claims by Jews in Palestine. Back in the early 20th century, the Zionists, who wanted their own state in the Middle East, had wanted land that included today's Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan. There were variations on the boundaries of a new Jewish homeland. Some Zionists wanted to extend the new Israel to what is now Kuwait. Zionists were disappointed in 1921 when the British took away what is now Jordan from a future Jewish state. The British took away 3/4 of a future Israel.

I won't suggest that Israel desires to "re-"claim Jordan as part of the Jewish homeland. I do, however, interpret Mr. Mansur's comment that if we do not recognize the Jewish historical claim of Palestine (everything west of the Jordan River), then we can be placed in the same category of anti-Semites as those who support neo-Naziism. If we oppose the Israeli Apartheid wall, then we are anti-Semites. If we oppose the Israeli blockade of Gaza, then we are anti-Semites. If we oppose Israeli control of the Jordan valley west of the Jordan River, then we must be anti-Semites. If we oppose Israel's control over all the land west of the Jordan River, then we must be anti-Semites.


As an afterthought, why do we call ourselves Canadian when most of us are really Anglo-Americans? Why are there Austrians when they are really Germans? Why do some Arabs call themselves Palestinians when they are just Arabs living in the Jewish homeland?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Woo-hoo! I'm a social libertarian!

H/T: Challenging the Commonplace

Take the test.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Speak out for Israel by speaking out against censorship

People who wish to criticize Israel should not be told that they hate Israelis or Jews. Particularly, Jewish Canadians who wish to criticize the Israeli government should not be deemed as self-hating Jews.

When I write about speaking out for Israel, I refer to speaking out for an Israel where the government and citizens respect the equality and human rights of all people who live within Israel and treat Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza with respect that includes the hope of seeking a positive solution to the situation involving the Israelis and Palestinians.

When I write about speaking out against censorship, I write in favour of seeking dialogues among people who are interested in what is happening in the Middle East. I do not need to be told that I cannot use Israel and Apartheid in the same sentence. I do not need to be told that if I say something negative about Israel, I must also say something negative about the Palestinians or other Arabs. Indeed, I will criticize the Palestinians and other Arabs when I feel the need to do so. I do hope that Arabs seek some form of democracy in their countries and accept religious pluralism that includes Shia and Sunni Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other religious groups. I do hope that the Arab countries improve the human rights and seek equality for women. As for Israel, I don't need people telling me how to frame my "non"-criticism of Israel. I don't need people telling me that I must include how Jews were poorly treated in the Arab countries in 1947-48 and that Israeli-Arabs (or Arab-Israelis) are better treated that Jews are treated in the Arab countries. That might be true. However, I expect that Arab-Israelis will be treated equally to Jews in Israel.

If I wish to call Israel an Apartheid state, that is my choice. If I wish to call for a boycott of goods coming from Israel, that is also my choice. If people wish to call me anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, that is their problem--not mine.

Back in 1992, I voted against the Charlottetown Accord in a federal referendum. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney labelled those who opposed the accord as Enemies of Canada. When I casted my ballot, I was proud to be an enemy of Mulroney's Canada, but not my Canada.

People like myself who wish to criticize Israel do so because we are pro-Israeli and support our Jewish friends. We want to make Israel into a better place for all its citizens and for people living next to Israel. We don't need to be told to shut-up. We need to speak out to make Israel (and Palestine) a better place.

I hope that you will read the op-ed letter that the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star refused to publish. Let your friends know about this letter.

Posted in Rabble-Babble:

This statement was rejected by both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail (as an op-ed). Please help this important statement get into broad circulation - pass it on to your networks (faculty, community, MPs, university presidents, unions etc.). You may also wish to write to the Star and Globe editorials and express your dismay that they have chosen not to publish it.

Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel

James Deutsch, M.D., Ph.D.
Judith Deutsch, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Miriam Garfinkle, M.D.

Over 150 Jewish Canadians signed a statement expressing their concerns aboutthe campaign to suppress criticism of Israel that is being carried on withinCanada. The signatories include many prominent Canadians, including UrsulaFranklin O.C., Anton Kuerti O.C., Naomi Klein, Dr. Gabor Mate, andprofessors Meyer Brownstone (recipient of Pearson Peace Medal), NatalieZemon Davis, Michael Neumann, and Judy Rebick. *

The signatories are particularly concerned that unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism deflect attention from Israel's accountability for what manyhave called war crimes in Gaza. They state that B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have led campaigns to silence criticism of Israel on university campuses, in labor unions and in other groups. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff unquestioningly echo the views of these particular Jewish organizations.

They strongly state that they are against all expressions of racism. While firmly committed to resisting any form of prejudice against Jewish people,their statement explicitly states that these spurious allegations of anti-Semitism bring the anti-Communist terror of the 1950s vividly to mind. The statement underlines the immeasurable suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people due to the severe poverty, daily humiliations, and military invasions inflicted by the State of Israel.

Statement: Jewish Canadians Concerned about Suppression of Criticism of Israel

We are Jewish Canadians concerned about all expressions of racism, anti-Semitism, and social injustice. We believe that the Holocaust legacy "Never again" means never again for all peoples. It is a tragic turn of history that the State of Israel, with its ideals of democracy and its dream of being a safe haven for Jewish people, causes immeasurable suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people.

We are appalled by recent attempts of prominent Jewish organizations and leading Canadian politicians to silence protest against the State of Israel. We are alarmed by the escalation of fear tactics. Charges that those organizing Israel Apartheid Week or supporting an academic boycott of Israel are anti-Semites promoting hatred bring the anti-Communist terror of the1950s vividly to mind. We believe this serves to deflect attention from Israel's flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.

B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have pressured university presidents and administrations to silence debate and discussion specifically regarding Palestine/Israel. In a full-page ad in a national newspaper, B'nai Brith urged donors to withhold funds from universities because "anti-Semitic hate fests" were being allowed on campuses. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have echoed these arguments. While university administrators have resisted demands to shut down Israel Apartheid week, some Ontario university presidents have bowed to this disinformation campaign by suspending and fining students, confiscating posters, and infringing on free speech.

We do not believe that Israel acts in self-defense. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid, receiving $3 million/day. It has the fourth strongest army in the world. Before the invasion of Gaza on 27 December 2008, Israel's siege had already created a humanitarian catastrophe there,with severe impoverishment, malnutrition, and destroyed infrastructure. It is crucial that forums for discussion of Israel's accountability to the international community for what many have called war crimes be allowed to proceed unrestricted by specious claims of anti-Semitism.

We recognize that anti-Semitism is a reality in Canada as elsewhere, and we are fully committed to resisting any act of hatred against Jews. At the same time, we condemn false charges of anti-Semitism against student organizations, unions, and other groups and people exercising their democratic right to freedom of speech and association regarding legitimate criticism of the State of Israel.


Abigail Bakan
Adam Balsam
Sharon Baltman
Julia Barnett
Lainie Basman
Jody Berland
Sam Blatt

Geri Blinik
Anita Block
Elizabeth Block
Sheila Block
Hannah Briemberg
Mark Brill
Stephen Brot
Meyer Brownstone
Eliza Burroughs
Smadar Carmon
Gyda Chud
Charles P. Cohen
Nathalie Cohen
David Copeland
Natalie Zemon Davis
Eliza Deutsch
James Deutsch
Judith Deutsch
Abbe Edelson
Jack Etkin
Elle Flanders
Danielle Frank
Ursula Franklin
Dan Freeman-Maloy
Miriam Garfinkle
Alisa Gayle
Jack Gegenberg
Mark Golden
Brenda Goldstein
Sue Goldstein
Cy Gonick
Marnina Gonick
Rachel Gotthilf
Amy Gottleib
Kevin A. Gould
Daina Green
Lisa Frances Greenspoon
Ricardo Grinspun
Cathy Gulkin
Rachel Gurofsky
Deboran Guterman
Yesse Gutman
Freda Guttman
Judy Haiven
Michael Hanna-Fein
Jean Hanson
Jan Heynen
Maria Heynen
Adam Hofmann
Jake Javanshir
Jeannie Kamins
Marylin Kanee
Howard S. Kaplan
Gilda Katz
Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta
Mira Khazzam
Bonnie Sher Klein
Mark Klein
Martin Klein
Naomi Klein
Joshua Katz-Rosene
Ryan Katz-Rosene
Judy Koch
Anton Kuerti
Jason Kunin
Aaron Lakoff
Michael Lambek
Natalie LaRoche
Richard Borshay Lee
Andy Lehrer
Gabriel Levin
Gabriel Levine
Joel Lexchin
Kim Linekin
Abby Lippman
Lee Lorch
Martin Lukacs
Audrey Macklin
Elise Maltin
Richard Marcuse
Wayne Mark
Gabor Mate
Arthur Milner
Anna Miransky
Dorit Naaman
Joanne Naiman
Neil Naiman
Michael Neumann
David-Marc Newman
David Noble
Clare O'Connor
Robin Ostow
Andre W. Payant
Jenny Peto
Simone Powell
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Fabienne Presentey
Yacov Rabkin
Diana Ralph
Naomi Rankin
Judy Rebick
Ester Reiter
Jillian Rogin
Richard Roman
Joseph Rosen
Herman Rosenfeld
Martha Roth
Marty Roth
Ruben Roth
E.Natalie Rothman
B. Sack
Ben Saifer
Miriam Sampaio
Jacob Scheir
Fred Schloessinger
Alan Sears
Shlomit Segal
Edward H. Shaffer
Noa Shaindlinger
Ray Shankman
Eva Sharell
Elliot Shek
Sid Shniad
Max Silverman
Samuel Singer
Elizabeth Solloway
Susan Starkman
Greg Starr
Jonathan Sterne
Jeremy Stolow
Rhonda Sussman
Vera Szoke
Joe Tannenbaum
Howard Tessler
Marion Traub-Werner
Ceyda Turan
Sandra Tychsen
Cheryl Wagner
Jon McPhedran Waitzer
David Wall
Naomi Binder Wall
Kathy Wazana
Karen Weisberg
Barry Weisleder
Paul Weinberg
Judith Weisman
Suzanne Weiss
Abraham Weizfeld
Ernie Yacub
B.H. Yael
Yedida Zalik
Melvin Zimmerman

h/t: Babble, Challenging the Commonplace, and Dawg's Blawg

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Harper--in his own words

David Akin was present when Stephen Harper gave a speech to the participants at the conference organized by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. Here is a link to a recording of Harper's speech that is found on Akin's website.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why is NATO in Afghanistan? Is Afghanistan in Europe or North America?

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

We know from September 11, 2001 that al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden had suicide pilots aim three planes at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC. A fourth plane was supposed to hit the White House. George W. Bush wanted to capture bin Laden for these attacks. He sent American soldiers to Afghanistan hoping to find bin Laden and also to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan which gave bin Laden a place to train his al-Qaeda terrorists. The US military removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. Bin Laden possibly went into hiding in Pakistan.

Some NATO countries currently have their soldiers in Afghanistan to try to keep out the Taliban. NATO is not looking for bin Laden in Pakistan. Why are NATO soldiers in a Afghanistan, a country located outside Europe and North America? Why is Canada "obligated" to be in Afghanistan? Forty years ago, why didn't NATO help the United States in Vietnam?

I think the North Atlantic Treaty is great for ensuring the security of the member countries in North America and Europe. If Russia, Finland, or Sweden wishes to attack NATO member Estonia, I would hope that Canada and the other NATO countries could come to the rescue against an invading IKEAn Viking navy.

Years from now, the United States will find another country into which it can send its military. Should the other NATO countries be obliged to send their soldiers just because the US needs extra military strength? NATO is great if it sticks to the core of the Treaty. Once it stretches beyond the bounds of the Treaty, it loses the cohesion of the member countries.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Second place party might lead a coalition government

How come I can't read blogs from Blogging Tories complaining that Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the second place Likud Party, might lead a coalition government in Israel's Knesset?