In The News - An Editorial
In these turbulent times, it's important to keep informed. This is more than just looking at the headlines. We need to pick up the paper, have a seat and really take in everything we read.
South of the boarder, things haven't exactly been going the way US president, Barack Obama, had hoped.
Currently the total of Obama staff members that have been removed or resigned is four. The world is looking at a trade war that could stimulate another Great Depression like the one we "enjoyed" in the 1930s. The powers that be in the US are arguing over a so called "stimulus package" that recently passed. Even so, the American people are still buying the mantra "hope," when the people who know and have worked with Obama are abandoning ship.
This stimulus package is hotly debated. It accounts for nearly a trillion dollars of the US tax payer's money. The plan was to "stimulate" the economy and make sure that banks have the money for "small business to get the loans they need;" however, the package was laced with pay offs to executives and social programs which are not expended to yield much fruit. Finally, the package would transfer funds to the banks and organisations (which incidentally caused the problems in the first place) which would be destributed to the people in the form of loans, which the people wouldn't have been able to get in the first place.
The Buy American program seems to have been a failed experiment in protectionism. It pays to know what you're doing when proposing such a large change in trade laws, and stepping on feet of your best trading partners and suppliers, doesn't it? The president has said he doesn't want to spark a trade war by enforcing protectionism, when protectionism was a direction he tried to move the country towards in the first place. Back peddling once again, Obama has said he still wants to "reopen NAFTA." And the crowds love it. Bravo. It must take real skill to jazz people on their own downfall.
While endandgering ties with your greatest trading partner, Canada, you should also consider the assistance you request of it. Obama has claimed that the "war on terrorism is over" and fashioned himself as a peacemaker; however he has also pushed for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan. An increase of 17,000 American troops to be exact. Obama has also asked for Canada to supply more troops. I must scoff at the gall of this request. Obama risks trade, risks another depression, slaps the US's trading partner in the face, claims to end war, and then increases troop deployment while asking for help from those he has scorned. He must have Sun Tzu's "Art Of War" under his pillow.
Still, the media paints this man as revolutionary figure. A man of peace and prosperity. I guess it's popular to end the second Iraq war since :
- the American people didn't like
- the world didn't like
- was unpopular
- and was after something that people didn't think existed.
Perhaps it's time to increase troop deployment in Afghanistan and focus on a war that :
- the American people didn't like
- the world didn't like
- was unpopular
- and was after someone that people don't think exists.
Perhaps a war motivated by unfinished business and oil is not as popular as a war motivated by revenge and white hot anger.
However, the new administration has seemed to have increased sale revenues have increased in at least one sector. With Obama's boastful opposition to the American people's right to bear arms (a lesser known clause known as the second amendment), gun sales across the US have increased in such reported amounts as 15%, 20% and even 40%. It would seem that his leftist policies and disregard for the rights of his citizens have people worried, causing people to buy firearms while it is still their right. So instead of decreasing the number of guns out there, the number has increased dramatically. I find this amusing. I need to ask, have you ever tried to do something silly, believing it to be the right thing, only to have it blow up in your face? Oh yeah... right. Your entire presidency so far.
Protectionism may not be the best word to describe the president's policy as he seems to be less then interested in protecting the status quo. His boast to tax coal based electrical power out of existance threatens the energy industry. Currently, coal power accounts for half of all the electricity produced in the US with petroleum accounting for a large amount as well. Given that electricity and oil are among the commodities that are purchased from Canada (along with wood, iron ore/steel and many other resources) with whom the new president is risking cutting off trade relations with, we may all have cause for concern. "We need change" may yet again become the catch phrase of the day, as hundreds, even thousands of people in both Canada and the US (along with the rest of the world) face the possibility of losing employment.
During these troubles, I am forced to recall the foreboding words of Joe Biden, "Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. ... Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said ... we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
Consider your words marked Joe, but believe you me, I knew this was coming. You, your electorate and your leader have generated a crisis to test the mettle of your "chosen one." What did we get? The new US president has admitted "I screwed up." Right from the horse mouth (or perhaps that of another equestrian). This said after the impending Obama meltdown.
What do I admit? "No kidding!" That's what happen when you get to power on rhetoric and election promises instead of aptitude and hard work. "Hope" and "Change" are just empty words and are simply no match for "Prowess" and "Sense." I hope you, and your followers, are happy. Look on the brightside. You may have destabilised the world in just one month. Only 47 more to go. Hopefully we won't get a second term of America's first socialist president.
Though I must admit, watching you screw up, makes me happy. Soon we may all see just how much of a fraud you are.
In other news, Obama has signed off on having Guantamo Bay prison closed within one year. Domestically, this raises questions as to what will happen to detainee, Omar Khadr. This man has been inprisoned there for the last 6 years after being wounded in a gun fight in Afghanistan. During this battle, he attacked US soldiers and threw a grenade that killed a US soldier and medic, Sgt Christopher Speer. Among his other crimes included preparing explosives and planting land mines.
Due to the release of the disasterous propaganda movie, "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantamo Bay," much of the public sentiment reflects the misguided idea that people can end up in this prison through a comedy of errors. In reality, to end up in such a prison, a person must be caught engaging in dangerous terrorist activities.
Back home in Canada (and I say that because it is my home, not his) Khadr has found supporters in the request to have him extradited. Much of it is organised by his family, who have known connections to Osama bin Laden, and have been found engaging in terrorist activities of their own. Khadr's terrorist colaborators, I mean supporters, in Canada have cited the Geneva convention in stating Omar Khadr should be treated as a victim and not a combatant. They have cited the wounds he recieved (while killing a soldier I might add), the fact that when he was captured he was 15 (again, refered to the Geneva convention) and the fact that he is young.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not so easily swayed. He has taken fire for refusing to repatriate Khadr once the prison closes and has said he will not discuss the matter with Barack Obama during the February 2009 meeting.
Objectively, let us look at the facts. As with the matter of closing Guantamo Bay we must look at Khadr as we do with all the other inmates. Is he innocent or is he guilty. Regardless of his age or treatment while in prison, Khadr is guilty. The evidence of his involvment in terrorist activites is quite clear. There is evidence that he killed a soldier and medic, Sgt Christopher Speer. While Khadr's supporters will state that Speers was acting as a soldier and Khadr should not be charged with killing this medic, it will not change the fact that Khadr killed a soldier. Khadr has also admitted to his involvement in killing this soldier.
Proof exists that Omar Khadr has helped manufacture weapons and explosives and has planted land mines. Those supporters of his "plight" while quick to inform themselves of international law and the Geneva convention, and been even quicker to forget that the use of land mines have been banned by an international treaty known at The Ottawa Treaty.
I am losing more and more sympathy (the sympathy I never had in the first place) for Khadr the more and more I read about him. Particularly when interogations come up in coversation. I can't pity a man who uses indescriminant weapons to kill, and asked to be killed himself when first captured.
While on the topic of international law, we should also look at the laws his supporters are trying to use to have this terrorist set free. They cite The Geneva convention stating that children should be shielded from combat and are not to be recruited for service. They conveniently overlook the covention's frequent mention of age. This age being 15, the magical age when these laws no longer apply. The age that Khadr was when he started fighting and was captured. None of these laws apply to him.
However, some may argue that he was recruited before this age and should be given special consideration. This begs the question. Who exactly would he have been recruited by? Who exactly would have arranged for a minor to be shipped from Canada to a warzone? Who send this man to a warzone where he would be shooting at both American and Canadian troops? Given that his family members are known terrorists with ties to Osama Bin Laden, and enjoy "Canadian of Convenience" citizenship status, it is quite likely (as many have argued) that this recruitment either came from his family, or those his family is close to.
Returning Omar Khadr to Canada, and to his terrorist cell (commonly refered to as the Khadr family) would be a mistake. It would be shouldering the guilt the man (for he is not a child soldier) bears. It is ignoring the consequences he must face. It is letting a dangeous man free. The facts show that people who are released from Guantamo Bay return to terrorist activities, with the organisations they worked with before, and even are promoted.
Still, the majority of Canadians who have been asked have sympathised with this terrorist, Omar Khadr, and wish to see him returned to Canada. Slowly but surely we are earning the name "Kanukistan."
In lighter news, we move on to entertainment. Professor Ferenc Szasz, a history professor at the University of New Mexico, has reported that rap music may actually have origins in Ancient Scotland.
It is the theory of Szasz that the Scottish art of poetic jousts known as "flyting" was the precursor to rap music. This style of poetic prose was laced with insults, and while deminished in Scottish literature after the middle Ages, this style never died out. Szasz further speculates that it was carried over to North America by Scottish immigrants and was learned by African slaves. This later changed into the "rap battles" with which we may be more familar.
While some disagree with Professor Szasz theory, and contend that rap is purely of African-American origins, the backlash from this theory is believed to be more wdiespread.
Fashion experts are placing stock in their belief that eager members of Generation P (P for Poser but I will also accept Pretender or Pretentious) will soon be stocking up with kilts and sporran accessories. While there has been no increase in the purchase of red hair dye as yet, it's believed to be as inevitable as today's youth debbubing themselves after their "recently discovered" Scottish heritage.
More fearful of the backlash are parents who have been adjusting and trying to connect with existing pop culture. With "MCing" expected to be renamed "MACing" along with other shifts in neologisms, parents feel they may once again be left behind. Also fearful are those who have been concerned with the less than conservative fashion trends in clothing. While they are now happy that this trend may mean that we no longer have to see the tops of underwear for use of saggy pants, these groups are now concerned that the common belief may be true and children may not have any underwear at all under their kilts.
Turning the page we have updates on what going on with the Canadian government. The Liberal-NDP coalition that hoped to supercede democracy in our country has been met with the previously announced roadblock. Prime Minister Harper released the budget on January 27. While it was met with some criticism, it seems that this has stopped Canadians from returning to the polls just months after the last election.
NDP leader Jack Layton has said "Working families canít afford more failed policies, more mistakes, more bad management of the economy.Ē People tend to agree that it is true we can't afford more mistakes. Just as some people can't afford the costs of the subsidised houses Layton took the place of needy family by living in, at the tax payers expense.
The new Liberal party leader, Michael Ignatieff, has been dubbed a traitor to the coalition for agreeing to support the new budget so long as there are regular accountability reports. This has no doubt come as shock to some, given that just two days earlier, Ignatieff accused Harper of trying to manipulate the Canadian people by releasing some of the details of the new budget early. This surprise act of co-operation and bi-partisanism has stopped a would be plot to overthrow the Harper government and has divided the temporarily united left.
In related news, man in Switzerland reported his compass needle spinning rapidly in all directions, just as massive swarm of Monarch Butterflies swirled around and died in midair. In Arizona, the ominous white bisson calf was born, signalling things to come. An eight year old boy in Romania, (born mute) opened his mouth to speak and a mass of vampire bats flew out, consuming all the cattle in his rural village.
As you can see, it's very important to keep in touch with the news, as it helps us keep perspective on our ever changing world.