Appeasement Doesn't Work

The insanity of this decision astounds me:
The Taliban has agreed to release the remaining 19 South Korean hostages, the South Korean government and the Taliban confirmed Tuesday.

South Korean presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-sun said the release was "on the condition that South Korea withdraws troops by the end of year and South Korea suspends missionary work in Afghanistan," he said.

Great. Now the Taliban is bolstered. Now it knows that it can kidnap innocents and use them as bargaining chips. I expect further kidnappings to continue at an accelerated pace.

I have to ask though, if South Korea has any real compassion for the 28 South Koreans that died on 9/11? Do they even give a damn?

No one wants to see those 19 civilians killed. Yet pulling out, cutting and running from the battle zone and giving into a bullies demands I believe just leads to more harm not less.

MP Maria Minna Should Apologize

On tonight's edition of the Michael Coren Show, Liberal MP for Beaches-East York Maria Minna made the comment to the effect that "What I find most insulting as a parliamentarian is when the Prime Minister stood up before the house voted to extend the deadline of the mission in Afghanistan to 2009 and said that if the house voted not to extend the deadline, he'd extend it anyways..."

Of course that is not an official quote - I'm running by my memory solely. Those out there with better memories can correct the exact wording, but nevertheless the accusation was plain and clear: Harper said he would extend the deadline anyways.

That was a lie.

What Harper actually said was this:
However, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday he would have continued Canada's military mission in Afghanistan for one year if opposition MPs voted down the extension.

"What we would do is proceed cautiously for a year," Harper told the House. "If we have to go further beyond that, we would seek a mandate from the Canadian people."

One can readily understand why Harper would "proceed cautiously for a year" on account of the fact that troops can't be pulled out of commitment next Tuesday. Anyone that says otherwise is living in a dream world. His comments, if really meant as a flaunting of the will of parliament, would have otherwise been pounced upon by the media as such.

Mrs Minna should apologize and retract such a ridiculous statement. Harper's comments were not meant and were never interpreted as meaning he would extend the mission without the approval of parliament. If he had meant that why would he be making the threat to go to the people over this issue? If he didn't feel he needed the approval of parliament then making a threat to fight an election so as to get a parliamentary majority that would approve his extension seems like wheehacky-woohoo.

If you feel so compelled to contact Mrs Minna please do:

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows...

On the eve of Duceppe making his ultimatum on an Afghan pull-out by 2009, Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty and Quebec Premier Jean Charest show signs of support for the mission.

Alright McGuinty didn't actually support the mission, but his expression of support for the troops is nonetheless timely. It's presented a strange situation where both and left seem to have mashed together over this issue when most opinion polls show the Afghan mission to be the Canadian version of the War in Iraq - except for the whole pesky WMD thing.

And that's the kicker here: where the heck was this oppo to the War in Afghanistan when Jean Chretien was in power?

It was nowhere to be found, because it was Liberals behind the war. Now that it's Harper Conservatives the whole concept of the justification of the war is now being brought into question.

No matter what the polls say, and no matter what Duceppe or Layton meanders two things make the war in Afghanistan a war worthy of fighting:

1) 28 Canadians died in 911. That attack had to have a response. That response had to involve seeking justice - which means working to prevent a similar attack from happening in the future. That's why were there fighting Alqeda and the Taleban.

2) If we don't do the fighting who will? That's the one question no one wants to answer. More over by what kind of logic do we figure that by passing the buck on Afghanistan to other nations that have been less than committed to the mission, that somehow this going to solve the situation?

Aerosols did not cause global cooling...

An interesting point to bring up on the climate change debate.

Those members of the Church of Climatology (TM) have one response to climate skeptics who point out that despite CO2 emissions increasing in the period of 1940 to 1970 globe temperatures cooled:
CO2 doesn't match the temperature record over the 20th C. True but not relevant, because it isn't supposed to. The programme spent a long time agonising over what they presented as a sharp temperature fall for 4 decades from 1940 to 1980 (incidentally their graph looks rather odd and may have been carefully selected; on a more usual (and sourced!) plot the "4 decades of cooling" is rather less evident). They presented this as a major flaw in the theory, which is deeply deceptive, because as they and their interviewees must know, the 40-70 cooling type period is readily explained, in that the GCMs are quite happy to reproduce it, as largely caused by sulphate aerosols.

The only problem is that if you look at the wikipedia entry linked by said poster, it shows the graph below.

If you notice on this graph, the effect of man made sulphate emissions has had cooling effect on the atmosphere increasing at a relatively constant rate since the year 1900. (See purple line)

There are no dramatic long term drops starting in the year 1978 when the EPA implemented a ban on CFC aerosols, or dramatic long term increases in the 1930's when CFC aerosols were first produced.

So, by simple logic, we are left again with the fact that CO2 emissions don't match the temperature record over the 20th century. By the very models referenced by this member of the Church of Climatology (TM) sulphate emissions have had an increasing cooling effect on global climate with no appreciable shifts related to CFC aerosol use.

Further evidence of constant increases in man made sulphate emissions is given here:
Much of the sulfate aerosol in the atmosphere derives from the oxidation of sulfur dioxide produced in the combustion of fossil fuels. Industrial activities are not the only source: Natural aerosols--mostly dust, sea salt, and other compounds of marine origin--do exist, but they have remained in nearly constant concentrations in the atmosphere for a long time. However, the man-made version has increased dramatically since about 1950.

Two points I need to make at this point:

1) if the global climate change poster above really believes that it is "not relevant" that the CO2 emissions record does not directly correlate with the temperature record over the 20th century, why does he feel the need to reaffirm that the discrepancy in the record can be readily explained?

2) By his own reference man made sulphate aerosols do not affect appreciably the global climate over the 1940 to 1970 period more than they do today. So the excuse of CFC aerosols is very much a lame one.

In the end it still means that from 1940 to 1970 the earth cooled yet CO2 emissions rose. This is still a valid point that members of The Church of Climatology (TM) cannot explain.

Proud Beggars

I don't think I've ever quoted a single Bible verse on this blog, but the recent murder by Toronto panhandlers just makes it to much not to:
"My soul hates three kinds of men,/and I am greatly offended at their life:/ a beggar who is proud, a rich man who is a liar,/ and an adulterous man who lacks good sense."-Sirach 25:2

For those that would say that these panhandlers were poor repressed individuals, I'd suggest they consult their conscience for what the truth is.

"...eminently qualified..."

On the eve of a Canadian astronaut breaking a Canadian record for space walking, this ball of horse manure gets spewed:
Prof. Chris Herd of the University of Alberta's earth and atmospheric sciences department said the fact that astronauts like Hadfield and Williams are carrying out construction and repair work in space shows how incredibly flexible and eminently qualified they must be. And with a major contribution of Canadian technology and manpower, he believes today's mission launch is something all Canadians can be proud of.

What a crock.

Just a while ago we found out Astronauts have gone up drunk in the past. Astronauts, we now know, can have serious mental issues and yet still make good astronauts.

Could it be that the reason why the criteria for entry into NASA's Astronaut Corps. is set high only because 1000 people apply every year? Does the emperor really have no clothes?

Let me tell you, I figure the emperor is not only naked, but fat, and hairless too.

Oh wait it gets better. The Astronaut in question had this to say:
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Canada, and it's a tremendous opportunity to participate as a Canadian," he said in a recent interview at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

What he really means is that this is a tremendous opportunity for himself, and it's a tremendous opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Let's not be ridiculous about this. That's the real reason why people become astronauts: self interest. Some justify it by claiming it's in the best interests of all mankind because of the great science their doing.

Unfortunately the last real evidence that anything that came out of NASA has spurred innovation and development in the real world has been lacking in NASA since the Apollo days. Most of the great work that is done in space science comes from JPL nowadays anyway.

A really good reason to become an astronaut though is to be one to try to spur development of space systems to the point where everyone can go - Not some elitist group of NASA designated blow dried suck ups.

Enter Dennis Tito, and Ansari, exit Hadfield and Bondar. Space tourism, or some variant of it, is the only way to get humanity into space in my opinion.

Obama's Canadian President

Oh you bet this is a gaffe:
We missed it earlier, but it has been brought to our attention that Obama referred to the "president" of Canada when talking about NAFTA -- when that country actually has a prime minister.

If they got him on tape doing it I expect Canadian comedians to be playing this up for months.

Chadler Goes Ape on Guliany...

Charles Adler basically dropped a hammer on Guiliani's head with this comment:
His message is simple. If the homeland is attacked again nobody will be rougher and tougher and meaner when it comes to retalliation. In the War On Terror, we must stay on offence, he says over and over and over again.

To the surface observer, Guiliani looks like the in-charge, strong-as-steel father figure. But the surface observer may miss two facts of life which tend to soil the strong father figure image: (1) His son who will not speak with Guiliani because of the way the former mayor disposed of his former wife, who happens to be the son's mother; and (2) his daughter is now on record as a supporter of Democratic Party presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

So outside of the facts that his son won't talk to him and his daughter won't vote for him, Daddy is doing pretty well.

Firstly attacking someone based on their personal life is completely uncalled for. Chadler may or may not be attacking Guiliani in this instance. That is a point of debate.

What isn't a point of debate, is the limited value of bringing up a politician's personal life has to the question of whether he is to be supported or opposed.

We all have problems in our lives. We all make mistakes. It's like my Zia used to say "Don't act like your shit don't stink" - apologies to the language conscious out there but she did have a point.

Most politicians have a horrible personal life by nature of the job. Just how many politicians stay married in politics after 10 years? What about after 20?

I accept whole heartily that our personal lives affect every part of lives. When it comes to politicians I'm sure it is no different. I haven no doubt that links can be readily made between the penchant some politicians have towards making bad policy decisions, and the deteriorating nature of their relationships with family and friends.

That being said making a judgment call on someone based solely or primarily on their personal life is fool hearty.

Far better to judge a politician on what he believes in. In the case of Guiliani, he believes that torturing enemy combatants is ok, sees no problem with abortion on demand, and believes in law and order. He has made no appreciable commitment to cut rampant spending in the US or to do anything but maintain the status quo in Iraq.

That's my gist of Rudy Guiliani. And quite frankly I would say it's way more than enough fore people to oppose rather than to support.

Policies I could go for...

John Williamson offers some good advice on new policy for a Conservative minority government in the envious position of having largely met all of it's goals:
Agenda item one for the Conservatives should be to cut spending. Item two should be to dedicate savings to debt reduction. Canada's debt currently stands at $472-billion. Since 1961, debt interest and service charges have cost taxpayers almost $1-trillion. Canadians would welcome a plan to pay off the debt. It can be achieved if Parliament passes a debt repayment law with annual payments of 5 per cent of total revenues. Each year, Ottawa squanders $34-billion paying interest. As the debt is reduced, significant savings will be realized through lower interest payments.

The third policy item is to cut income taxes, since Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is not taxing to collect money to fund programs, but rather finding ways to spend money government collects. Two years ago the federal surplus totaled $13.2-billion. Last year it was $9.2-billion. The spending of surplus dollars is responsible for Ottawa's 14% expansion.

The only real problem with legislated debt repayment is the same one experienced by the likes of Ontario and the "Taxpayer Protection and Balanced Budget Act."

Let's all remember Ontario did not post a balanced budget with that legislation in place .

It is far better for the government to make debt reduction and spending reduction goals like "Reduce Canada's debt by XX billion over the next 5 years." That's measurable. "Reduce spending by 10 %" that would be another.

However my guess is that for the current Conservative government none of those schemes seem like electoral beating sticks.

Media White Lies

Beware the Media-Industrial Complex:
News coming out of the first day of the caucus meeting was overshadowed by Conservative attempts to keep reporters at bay. RCMP officers were dispatched to eject journalists from the hotel where the MPs had gathered.

While the government cannot bar reporters from doing their job in public spaces like streets, parks and airports, University of Windsor law professor Richard Moon said the Charter of Rights would probably not prevent government officials or the RCMP from asking a hotel to bar journalists. That's because a hotel is private property, and therefore not bound by the Charter's guarantees of freedom of association and freedom of expression.

The RCMP says it would not allow the government to dictate its measures when providing security for an event involving government figures.

However, in this case, the RCMP says officers were responding to a request from hotel management to remove journalists from the premises, just as they would respond to requests for help in removing anyone ejected from a business.

I wonder if I can expect a retraction and apology from Taber at the Globe for one, or the numerous other reporters that have been suggesting lately that the Conservative government was trying to keep reporters out of the loop during that caucus retreat.

Canuck Reporters Boo-Hoo

Taber on Harper kicking out reporters from the hotel lobby where the caucus retreat was being held:
"We were kicked out, then when I came back in to use the washroom, I was followed out by a little Delta hotel employee just to make sure that I got out," Taber said.

"It was unbelievable -- at a caucus meeting retreat such as this -- that we would not be allowed to stand in a hotel lobby and talk to MPs and cabinet ministers. The Tories are very suspicious of us."

No really? Harper, a Conservative in Canada, suspicious of the media? Why, because it couldn't be that the media is horribly biased against Conservatives in this country....

...could it?

Let me remind everyone that this is the same Canadian media that managed to inject the abortion issue into more than one Conservative campaign - and it has been admitted as much by people in the Canadian media establishment.