Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Free the Interview!

Even though he's as firmly entrenched on the global naughty list as his father ever was, North Korea dictator -- and the only fat person in that entire country -- Kim Jong-Un got his Christmas gift early.

Sony Pictures has scrapped The Interview.

After threats of "9/11 style attacks" on movie theatres Sony has cancelled the film's release. They have no plans to ever release the film... or so they say.

But if Sony truly has no commercial plans for the film this is an opportunity to give the ultimate middle finger to Kim Jong-Un and the North Korean hackers who prove that some how this narcissistic twit's bruised ego -- not the millions of starving people in their country -- is somehow that country's greatest priority.

How do they do this? That's simple. All they have to do is give the movie to the internets.

They could do it under the guise of an deliberate act or they could orchestrate a "leak." But even in the extremely unlikely event that somehow Kim Jong-Un does have cells of terrorists ready to attack movie theatres,they'd be rendered utterly redundant against the faceless mobs of the internets downloading and sharing the film at will.

The movie's already been made, the money's already been spent. At least by giving the film up to the internet Sony can gain some return on their investment... even if that return is jamming their thumb in the eye of a hopelessly-narcissistic tyrant.

I know that would at least get them on my nice list.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Let's Not Call it Jihad After All

I know what you're thinking: he must be joking right?

No.

I know what you're thinking now: then he must be nuts. Right?

No.

I know what you're thinking now: has he gone soft on Islamic terrorism?

No.

In writing this blogpost I fully expect a lot of my readers to have an impulse to disagree vehemently, especially considering the as-of-this-writing-ongoing terrorist hostage taking in Australia. I'm prepared to accept that. I also have faith in my readers to fully understand the argument I'm going to make. Whether or not you agree with it is, of course, entirely in your hands.

But I'm fully serious when I say that we shouldn't call Islamic terrorism "Jihad." And I'm entirely sincere when I say that we should call Islamic terrorists "Jihadis."

Here's why:

In calling their terrorism "Jihad," and in calling themselves "Jihadis," these terrorists are seeking something absolutely vital to their cause: a sense of justification. A means to aggrandize their barbarism. We shouldn't strengthen their claim.

Muslims do, indeed, treat Jihad as a religious obligation. Canadian traitor/walking bullseye Abu Anwar al Canadi said so himself. But then the question remains: what, exactly, is Jihad?

ISIS and al Canadi seem to think Jihad may be declared against anyone who takes up arms against them. Many Islamic scholars --
among them those of the Ahmadiyyah Jiamat -- would disagree. They would contend that Jihad has specific conditions which must be met. Those conditions, in short, are:

1. Muslims may only fight against those who prevent themselves or others from practicing Islam.
2. Muslims may only fight against those who fight them without cause.
3. If the above conditions are met, Muslims may only fight battles they have the means to win. They are not permitted to sacrifice their lives in vain.
4. Moreover, Muslims may only fight in the way in which they are fought.

Such scholars would contend that Jihad can take several forms, and the fourth condition described above is particularly crucial in this. Jihad could very well be an armed conflict. But it depends on by what means Islam is being attacked.

If the "attack" is religious criticism, then Muslims are encouraged to respond by debating their critics. If the "attack" is one of poverty, (the attacker need not even be another person or people) then Muslims are encouraged to give of their time and money to alleviate that suffering. If the attack is by force of arms then they are allowed to protect themselves by force of arms.

Taking a close look at these above conditions, it's clear that ISIS cannot truly justify any attacks they perpetrate as Jihad:

1. Neither Canada nor Australia prevent Muslims from practicing Islam.
2. Although Canada and Australia are both fighting against ISIS in Iraq, ISIS has given us cause to do so.
3. Even if condition #1 were met and even if condition #2 were met, ISIS does not have the means to defeat us in Iraq or Syria or in Canada or Australia.
4. Even if all above conditions were met, ISIS is permitted to fight us only in the way we fight them. In this case that means with their fighters operating openly, in uniform, under a declared state of war.

If any of the above conditions are not met, they cannot truly and rightly justify their actions as Jihad. And it isn't merely "any" of the above conditions that are unmet. It's "all."

So according to Islamic doctrine, the battles ISIS is waging, the attacks they are threatening us with, are not truly Jihad. It's merely terrorism. But if we ourselves call them "Jihad" we are helping them establish a religious pretext for their actions that they otherwise cannot truly and rightly establish.

Here is the reason why we should not call this Jihad: because if we do we are actually doing them a favour, and doing much of their dirty work for them. And we shouldn't do that.

We should just call it for what it is: terrorism. Barbarism. Because that's what it is. But let's not call it Jihad. Because that's what it isn't.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Loopy Logic of Abu Anwar al Canadi & HIs Apologists

It was almost like clockwork: no sooner had John Maguire -- aka Abu Anwar al Canadi -- released his propaganda video threatening Canada and calling upon Canadian Muslims to kill non-Muslims, opponents of Canada's anti-ISIS mission began blaming this on the government.

Their argument? Terrorists would not be attacking Canada if we hadn't sent our forces -- first military advisors to the Iraqi military and now CF-18s -- to fight ISIS.

It's not a strong argument: one that suggests ISIS should be able to dictate Canada's foreign policy just because we're afraid that some Canadian Muslims have taken up ISIS' cause. It's an inherently cowardly argument: a suggestion that Canadians should submit to living under de facto occupation by the Islamic state.

That's a bad idea.

Anyone who thinks that such a strategy would protect Canada from attacks are sadly mistaken. And if they're using al Canadi's speech to support that argument they didn't listen closely enough.

From the treasonous little monster's speech:

"Have you forgotten that Allah tells us how the disbelievers will behave towards the believers? Allah says that the disbelievers will never cease fighting you, they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion, if they are able to do so. 

So, the mujaheddin continue to call you to one of two options: hijra [migration to the Islamic State] or jihad.

You either pack your bags or you prepare your explosive devices. You either purchase your airline ticket or you sharpen your knife.

You either come to the Islamic State and live under the laws of Allah or you follow the example of brother Ahmad Rouleau and do not fear the blame of the blamers."

Al Canadi -- he has comically taken a name meaning "the light of Canadians" -- has declared that Muslims in Canada must kill non-Muslims essentially just for being non-Muslims. He argues that non-Muslims will not refrain from oppressing Muslims and preventing them from practicing their religion, so it is permissible for them to kill us.

This is false and al Canadi knows it. The fact that he was not prevented from converting to Islam while in Canada is proof of it. The religious freedom of Muslims is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That freedom does not exist in lands dominated by ISIS, not even for Muslims. In the so-called "Islamic State," it's Islam or death. Hell, it's one specific sect of Islam or death.

There are thousands of murdered Christians, Kurds, and even Muslims of what ISIS deems to be the "wrong sect" scattered across ISIS-occupied Iraq and Syria to attest to that. Many among them are children.

And al Canadi somehow musters the gall to accuse Canada of committing atrocities... all while he knows full well that his ISIS friends have been murdering children.

In short: Abu Anwar al Canadi is a liar. When al Canadi is not lying he's making claims -- that ISIS only threatens and attacks Canada because Canada fights them -- that even if he actually believes them cannot possibly be true.

They're relying on the lies and demonstrable absence of logic in Canadi's speech in order to justify their position. And in doing so I'd argue that they're effectively giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

The Canadian passport bearing the name John Maguire has now been revoked. There are only two ways he can ever return to Canada: either in handcuffs, or with a bullet embedded between his eyes.

Personally, I prefer the latter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Should Veterans Trust the Liberals?

Let it not be said that Julian Fantino hasn't fouled up his portfolio at Veterans Affairs. It's undeniable: he has.

The Conservatives don't have much time to right this ship before the 2015 election. The election is actually the least of reasons to do it... the best reason to do it is because it's the right thing to do. But right that ship they must, and they should do it with a minister who is up to the job. Someone like Laurie Hawn or Leon Benoit.

The Liberals are gearing up for the 2015 election by promising that they are the party to right that ship.

Yeah, right.

It should also never be said that the Conservatives haven't done far, far better on Veterans' Affairs than the Liberals did the last time they were in government. It should also never be said that this wasn't hard.

Consider, for example, the sad story of Stephanos Karabekos.

The year was 1995. David Collenette was then the Minister of National Defense. Karabekos was a close associate of Collenette who had campaigned for him during the 1993 federal election.

Trouble began to brew for Mr Collenette in his own riding when the Chretien government decided to cut veterans' benefits to former members of the Greek resistance living in Canada. As of 1997 there were 8,400 former members of the Greek resistance in Canada.

It turns out this was a problem. Department of Veterans Affairs projections suggested that, under the renumeration plan of the day the $65 million paid out to such members would account for 60% of the budget. Clearly something had to be done, and did the Liberals ever. In the 1995 budget they stopped all support payments to veterans of any resistance movement, including the Greek resistance movement.

All the VA offices were open, but it didn't matter. Former resistance members could find no assistance there.

Collenette's riding, Don Valley East, has a very large Greek community. Many of them were either relatives of a Greek resistance member, or had been themselves. The problem for Mr Collenette was obvious.

He set out to solve his problem in the way that any Liberal would do. He didn't reach out to the Department of Foreign Affairs to reconsider their decision to financially abandon all former resistance members now living in Canada. Instead he paid Stephanos Karabekos to go out and "soothe the feelings" of the Greek community.

For this -- an activity that had clear implications for his ability to be reelected in his riding -- Collenette paid Karabakos $95,000. By the law of the day, any contract of $30,000 or more had to be put up for tender, allowing any individual with the skills to perform the work to bid on it.

Instead, Collenette hired Karabakos -- who, again, had campaigned for him in 1993 -- in contract installments of less than $30,000 apiece. In doing so he was able to sneak DND spending that conveniently helped his reelection prospects past the Treasury Board.

The Greek resistance fighters never did get their benefits restored. But Karabakos got his $95,000 and Collenette did get reelected in 1997. If Collenette really was relying on the Greek vote then Karabakos did a good job of "soothing hurt feelings" in Don Valley West. Collenette was reelected by the same 21,511 votes that elected him in 1993.

The purely-political approach to Veterans Affairs was one the Liberals took constantly during their time in government. There's no compelling reason to take them seriously now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Unberable Lightness of Michael Harris, Part 2: Mowat Logic

Michael Harris' Party of One has finally arrived. And as Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not been the sort of politician that provokes impartial thought -- very few media types have been up to this task, and many who lay claim to a reputation for impartial thought most certainly haven't -- very few impartial reviews of the book are available.

But when I first set myself to the task of examining Harris' "journalistic" work at iPolitics, I made a prediction: that given how stale, banal and amateurish his work at iPolitics was, we could expect his book to be pretty much more of the same.

The book either hasn't disappointed, or has disappointed, based on whether or not you think more of the same stale, banal and amateurish work is a bad thing. Today, the following page of the book was tweeted by a critical reader:
In this excerpt from the book, Harris invokes Farley Mowat -- who served bravely as an officer during the Second World War, God bless his soul -- to rage against the very idea, often attributed to Harper, that Canada is a "warrior nation."

Earlier in the book, Harris makes the case that this so-called "transformation" of Canada into a "warrior nation" was rationalized largely around Canada's participation in the Afghanistan War. Harris also blathers a little about the War of 1812 -- apparently he's rather disturbed that the Canadian government would commemorate a key anniversary in Canadian history -- and a little bit about Libya, but it's mostly about the Afghanistan War.

Mowat fumed that "this son of a bitch incited Canada into becoming a warrior nation."

The logic is altogether absent. If Canada truly has recently become "a warrior nation" -- and has not always been at least partially so all along -- and that transformation was predicated on the Afghanistan War, then that transformation pre-dated Harper's time in office.

After all, it wasn't Harper who was Prime Minister when Canada committed its troops to the decade-plus-long conflict. It was Jean Chretien. He did so without a Parliamentary vote, and without any significant debate. Quite the contrast to how Harper handled the extension of the Afghanistan mission, the Libya mission, and the now-ongoing Iraq mission.

(So much for Harper the anti-democrat.)

Not to mention that Liberals were supportive of the deployment of CF-18s against Muammar al-Ghadaffi in Libya, and against ISIS in Iraq. While Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has chosen to play politics with the latter in hopes of picking up a few stray votes from the NDP, the fractures in his party are crystal clear. It's obvious that were political roles reversed Canada's contribution to the two conflicts would be every bit the same.

So there's a rather glaring factual and logical error. Perhaps we can expect that from Mowat, who for all his writing talent and his iconic Canadian writings was also known to be a little eccentric -- and who was apparently enamoured enough with Pierre Trudeau so as to gift him a dog -- but as a journalist, part of Harris' job is supposed to be to mediate such remarks against facts and against at least basic logic. He seems to have made no effort to perform that vital task in these pages.

Perhaps because if he had the natural and unforced conclusions would hurt his narrative.

All the same, I get the sense that Michael Harris' book has had its 15 minutes of fame. Booksellers don't seem to be especially enthusiastic about it, and I imagine the anti-Harper nutjobs who are the totality of the book's intended audience have already bought their copies.

I don't expect to hear much about the book in future. Excerpts such as the one above make it clear why.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dear Amy MacPherson

I'd like to thank you for making me part of your deranged story defending Jian Ghomeshi. Now that you have, I consider you obligated to answer my very-specific criticisms of your *ahem* "work" on this story.

I'm amused to see you finally see that you've felt some embarrassment at taking the side of someone who seems to get his jollies by beating up women in the bedroom. This suggests to me that perhaps you actually do have some shame, even if you're too proud to acknowledge it publicly.

As with previous updates to your story, I'll dispense will the most banal and meaningless portions of it. You may recall that after Lucy DeCoutere came forward -- and you suggested she was essentially acting as a lacky for the government. I believe your exact words were "civilians won't substantiate for the Star's claims, but the army will." I asked if you would attempt the same hitjob on Reva Seth.

While I'm surprised to see that you actually did, I'm actually quite amused to see that in doing so you've managed to lose your own plot:

"A day after publishing, her article was edited without identifying the changes and the Huffington Post declined to reveal her ties to the executive of the federal Liberal party."

Uh, what?


Amy, this whole time you've been screeching about l'affaire Ghomeshi being the centerpiece of some sort of Conservative Party conspiracy to undermine the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You haven't been able to demonstrate the involvement of even a single CPC figure in the story, but you've alleged this nonetheless. So now your complaint is that the Huffington Post -- you know, that online publication that hasn't carried any of your work in more than a year -- didn't disclose Reva Seth's links to the Liberal Party?

I hate to break this to you, but this doesn't support what your argument has been. It in fact undermines it. You must realize this... don't you?

What amuses me even more is the precise means by which you draw the connection between Reva Seth and the Liberal Party:

"Three months later in August 2014 and two months before the Ghomeshi scandal, the identity of Seth’s husband that was carefully concealed from all other sources was finally mentioned in the Globe and Mail. It turns out that Reva Seth is married to Rana Sarkar and the latter is a close friend of Gerald Butts, who is widely known as Justin Trudeau’s top advisor and longtime pal since childhood.

Recently Sarkar lost his nomination in Don Valley North and it was an unexpected turn of events. The party executive agreed to change the nomination date and this led to accusations of impropriety, as well as complaints about the open nomination process. When Sarkar lost by a margin of 3:1, accusations were levelled against Ontario cabinet minster, Michael Chan, for interfering. Ethnic tensions were also stoked regarding manipulation of the Chinese community to achieve this result."

Huh. So Seth's husband is a failed Liberal nominee. Amy, you seem to have no notion that it's unreasonable to cast aspersions on Seth's motivations by citing the political affiliations of her husband. You don't think that Seth is her own person or something?

Beyond that, Amy, I feel that you must answer the following extremely-important question: why, exactly, would the detail that Seth's husband is a Liberal and a friend of Gerald Butts be disclosed in a column in which Seth explains why she made the mistake of not going to the police with her experience being abused by Jian Ghomeshi?

I imagine that your pal Andrew Mitrovica has never bothered to explain this to you, but whether or not disclosure is ethically required as part of a story or a column is whether or not it's relevant to the subject matter of the story or column.

You don't have to be Inspector freaking Poirot to figure out that the detail that Seth's husband is a Liberal is not relevant to Seth's story of abuse at the hands of Jian Ghomeshi. Amy, if you wish to make the case that it is, then that case is up to you to try to make. But considering that your tactic to date has been to allege that Ghomeshi has been the victim of a CPC conspiracy theory, the detail that the only person whose political involvements you've been able to demonstrate is Seth's husband does not work in your favour.

Previously, I made a half-joke -- because I was only half-joking -- that you've been trying to draw these partisan associations in a badly-contrived game of "six degrees of Kevin Bacon." It's a fun game to play when you're at a party, but the methodology of this game is not a sound journalistic process.

To explain this to you most simply, Amy, drawing a connection of two or more Kevin Bacons during the game does not actually mean that the people being associated actually know or have ever even met Kevin Bacon. It's a game of remote association. Most people understand this.

So while it's more impressive that, in adapting this game as your "journalistic method," you can draw a connection between Reva Seth and Gerald Butts in just two Gerald Buttses than drawing a connection between Lucy DeCoutere and Stephen Harper in three Stephen Harpers, that remains entirely illusory. It doesn't in itself mean that Seth has ever actually met Butts (although I would personally expect that she probably has) and even if she has it doesn't mean that Seth or Butts have any involvement in this conspiracy you bizarrely theorize about.

Before I close out here, I'm going to take note of one more means by which you've attempted to sweep Seth away:

"I inquired about Seth’s credentials. At the Law Society of Upper Canada I found that Reva Seth surrendered her licence and is no longer permitted to practice law in this country. Although she did obtain her degree at Western University, it’s been a number of years since she’s been licenced in this discipline and the degree was a foundation for the next leg of her education.

In journalism it’s expressly important to describe personalities correctly. An example is consensus that a PhD can’t be addressed with the title 'doctor', or it would confuse the public too much about the authority of medical practitioners. If Ms. Seth and the Huffington Post had been forthcoming, they would have identified the complainant as a former lawyer, or someone who holds a law degree but doesn’t update skills as required to maintain a practice, with the authority to advise clients or the public at large."

Well, first off Black's Law Dictionary defines a lawyer as "a person learned in the law." Seth may not practice as a lawyer now, but she has in the past. It's not outrageous that she or others continue to describe her as a lawyer. I'm sure that if she described herself as practicing, or tried to practice, the LSUC will take issue with that. Until such a time as they do you're just grasping at straws, and you already were doing so the instant you contacted the LSUC. Whether or not Reva Seth is a practicing lawyer now is not especially relevant to why she did or didn't come forward then.

But I'd love to make use of this passage to drive home a point I've been making about your professional status as a journalist:

You describe yourself as a journalist in your Twitter profile, and you try to tell the rest of us what is or isn't important in journalism. You promote yourself as a journalist. Yet according to your own profile page on the Huffington Post, that publication hasn't carried any of your work in more than a year now.

Apparently you were, for a short time, a blogger with the CBC. They no longer carry your work either. In fact, I've searched around trying to find even a single publication, online or otherwise, that carries your work. The only one that seems to do so is your own blog.

I don't think it's at all unreasonable to take these facts together and conclude that you are not now really a journalist, you're just some deranged and deluded crank who publishes to her own blog because no one else will have her. Even Rabble.ca hasn't picked up any of your bile, and their standards are almost non-existent.

I think there's a reason for that.

But I'll tell you what, Amy: I'll conclude this blogpost with my personal challenge to you. We'll see how your work measures up ethically, seeing as how you like to talk as if you're all about the ethics.

I challenge you to at least attempt to register your blog as a news organization with the Ontario Press Council. That would make you subject to their judgements regarding the ethical standing of your work. Once you've done this, I'll submit an ethical complaint regarding your take on the Jian Ghomeshi story, specifically about your treatment of those who have complained against Ghomeshi.

If the OPC gives you a pass, you can consider yourself vindicated. I'll then withdraw any and all objections to the ethical standing of your work.

If the OPC rules against you, however, you stop referring to yourself as a journalist and apologize directly to Jian Ghomeshi's victims.

Don't get me wrong, though: I honestly don't expect you to accept this very-generous deal. Because not only are you well and truly fucked in the head, but I think you know it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Memo to Amy MacPherson: It's Over

...Her career, I mean. If she ever works anywhere in the Canadian media again it's going to have to be because some editor somewhere is even more fucked in the head than she is.

Because Amy MacPherson is fucked in the head. I don't really enjoy saying it, but it just so happens to be the most concise way of saying it.

Yesterday, I noted on High Noon that concerned readers -- concerned about the sheer dementia of her take on l'affaire Jian Ghomeshi -- had questioned her about yesterday's developments in the case. Most significantly that actress/RCAF Captain Lucy DeCoutere had come forward.

MacPherson promised an update to her story in "a few." Finally, at 8:48 am ET (6:48 am MT) MacPherson vomited forth this:
So MacPherson's response to Lucy DeCoutere coming forward is, effectively, to smear her by playing "six degrees of Stephen Harper." She managed to make the connection in just three Stephen Harpers. That would be impressive if it weren't incredibly deranged.

And as for MacPherson's claim that "civilians won't substantiate the Star's claims?" Well, today author Reva Seth came forward. Not only is Ms Seth not in the Armed Forces, she's a lawyer. So for MacPherson to try to discredit her with an ad hominem attack, as she tried and failed with DeCoutere, may not be entirely wise.

If anyone has attempted to confront Ms MacPherson with this bit of information over Twitter she has yet to respond. But she also has yet to delete her incredibly deranged conspiracy theory from the internets either (memo to Ms MacPherson: good luck with that).

Absolutely nothing about MacPherson's take on the story makes sense, or is even supported by the evidence -- or any evidence at all. MacPherson has yet to produce any evidence to even remotely support her theory. She's produced no evidence to support involvement from Rob Ford. She's produced no evidence to support involvement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Yet she rambles on regardless.

Whatever Amy MacPherson's next move is, one thing is beyond question: it ought to be retirement. Another thing is beyond question: it probably won't be.