Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday digest

- It appears as though the Clinton Administration spied on the late Princess Diana and their tactics included the illegal use of phone taps. No reason is being offered other than that she was romantically involved with a billionaire American.

No doubt the howls of protest against this questionable use of state power are going to be at least as deafening as they are every time the (legal) use of wiretaps against suspected terrorists is used by the current Administration.

And shouldn't they have been dedicating those resources towards al-Qaeda or other enemies of the state?

- Kofi Annan's last words as Secretary General of the United Nations are expected to amount to basically a finger-wagging lecture towards America. One would hope for a little more balanced an assessment given the UN's track record over Annan's tenure, an example of which can be found in this article on Darfur, not to mention the billions that went to Saddam in kickbacks under Oil-for-Food.

- This is probably the most bang-on commentary on Israel and the Palestinians I've read all year. Titled "The Big Lie About the Middle East", here's a sampling:

To promote the canard that the troubles of the Arab world are rooted in the Palestinians' misfortune does great harm. It encourages the Arabs to continue to avoid addressing their colossal societal and political ills by hiding behind their Great Excuse: it's all Israel's fault. Certainly, Israel has at times been an obnoxious neighbor, but God help the Arab leaders, propagandists and apologists if a day ever comes when the Arab-Israeli mess is unraveled. One wonders how they would then explain why in Egypt 4 of every 10 people are illiterate; Saudi Arabian Shi'ites (not to mention women) are second-class citizens; 11% of Syrians live below subsistence level; and Jordan's King can unilaterally dissolve Parliament, as he did in 2001. Or why no Middle Eastern government but Israel's and to some extent Lebanon's tolerates freedom of assembly or speech, or democratic institutions like a robust press or civic organizations with independence and clout--let alone unfettered competitive elections.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter has said that the Canadian government's withholding of aid money from monsters like this is "literally a crime".

Thank God he was only a one-termer.

- Students in Iran have begun to protest against the dictatorship they are ruled by, while President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has started to refer to himself in the third person at a Holocaust denial conference being sponsored by his government.

How ridiculous it is that some think that this guy should be negotiated with.

- Now here's a very hard-hitting look at inner-city youth today, while this article suggests that quotas amount to the "new racism" because they're paternalistic and encourage mediocrity:

... (M)any people, including such black writers as Shelby Steele and John McWhorter, argue that affirmative action has in fact become the new racism. Not only does it discriminate against those denied admission to universities, but it also tells its supposed beneficiaries that they cannot succeed under neutral standards. As McWhorter once told me in an interview, African-American culture is saddled with a legacy of racism that makes many young people view academic achievement as a "white thing." Under these circumstances, "the last thing you want is a policy that doesn't expect the best of its young people. Lower the bar, and you're encouraging them to only do as well as they have to."

- The anti-Semitism directed towards Bob Rae's family at the recent Liberal convention is disgusting. I would hope that the Liberal party does a better job of vetting their delegates if they continue to play ethnic politics next time around.

Talk about divisive.

- Another self-anointed poster girl for diversity and tolerance, Rosie O'Donnell, didn't demonstrate a lot of sensitivity when she made fun of Chinese speakers last week.

How come those who are hardest on other minorities are more often than not minorities themselves?


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