Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mohammed "The Moderate" Abbas

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The ever-mediocre media have just reported a bombing in the city of Eilat, in Israel. Besides their traditionally ridiculous ab-use of the word 'militant' to refer to terrorists, the media have in the past few months been destroying a word I hold dear: "moderate." Palestinian Authority President Mohammed Abbas and the al-Fatah organization he leads keep being called "moderates."

The al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades, who claimed responsibility for today's bombing along with Islamic Jihad, are part of Abbas' al-Fatah. Their gangs of gunmen rove around Palestinian areas engaging in gunfights with Hamas gunmen and killing civilians in the process - when they aren't busy plotting how to explosively embed nails in Israelis. These are not moderates.

A moderate is someone who isn't blinded by ideology and dogma. A moderate is someone who acts based on the objective value and reasonableness of his action. Who can see the other side of the story and sympathize, even if he isn't necessarily convinced by its arguments.

"At his family home in the northern Gaza Strip, Siksik's brother Naeem told reporters: 'We knew he was going to carry out a martyrdom operation. His mother and father prayed for him to succeed.'" (The quote is from Reuters, but as they did such a terrible, mediocre job reporting the story, I won't be giving them the benefit of a link.)
Killing himself is success? Killing random strangers in a bakery is success? What objective criteria in the world could possibly be taken to view death as something to value? How is this in the least rational? The Siksiks and other Fatah supporters and members are not moderates.

Here's a rational response from a real moderate. Ms. Parvinder Sandhu was Dawson shooter Kimveer Gill's mother. Here's what she had to say to the victims of her son's atrocity at Quebec's biggest CEGEP. "He was a little bit sad this year, but we never, never thought that this could happen," Ms. Sandhu told the National Post yesterday. "The person who would never hit or hurt -- even with words -- someone, how could he do such a big thing? This is the shock we have now. It is out of the question, what he did."

She went on:
"The girl, I feel so sorry for her parents. If you want to give them the message, tell them that the parents are feeling very, very sad and very, very mad about what happened there, and we never expected that," Gill's mother said.

"My sympathy is with them, and they should forgive us because it's not our fault. We did not raise him that way."

That is a normal moderate action. If you're a journalist and you read this, please stop calling Abbas, al-Fatah and company 'moderates'. (And if you could use the more accurate description "terrorist," instead of militant, that would be great too.)

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Here are some related articles:

Hamas Plan to Kill Abbas
Background to Palestinian on Palestinian violence
Mediocre Media 6

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Layton on ATM Fees - nobody is holding a gun to your head

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NDP leader Jack Layton has been making headlines with his proposal to ban all "ATM fees" in Canada.

More specifically, he is talking about banning the charges you pay if you use another bank's ATM. Normally those fees are about 1.50 to the owner of the ATM you use and about the same to your bank. Why do the banks charge said fees.

1) Say the Royal Bank has a popular ATM location. ATM's are not "free" to operate, there is the receipt paper, someone has to load the cash, cleanup the machine. Why should the Royal Bank be subsidizing the customers of other banks?

2) When you use an ATM other than your own bank's there are interchange fees paid to the cash dispensing bank. While those fees may not be $1.50, they are for sure not 0.00. Why should your bank be paying those fees when you could use their own ATMs and save everyone the hassle.

One could never walk into a branch and get cash from from a branch of the competition - let alone for free. Why are ATMs any different.

If you don't like the selection of ATM's your bank offers, switch. Personally my bank gives me access to a network of over 6000 ATMs across Canada that I can use without paying a penny in fees. You chose to use the bank that you did. Don't expect their competition to allow you to use their ATMs.

Interac may be paid for, but the recurring costs still exist. ATM's cost around 50,000 each. The banks wouldn't install as many ATMs if they couldn't recoop their investment.

You have that choice. If you want to use that ATM, it's your money, it's your choice. Governments have no role in regulating free enterprise.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sharing Quip of the Day

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A friend wrote this piece of brilliant advice recently:
"At a wine and cheese the trick is to position yourself in advance next to the good wine and the cheese that's available in the smallest quantity (this usually means it's the most expensive). Stay there, loiter, and only speak when confronted by others who are also loitering. Seriously..."
To which another acquaintance responded (partly my contribution):
"Excellent advice on the wine and cheese. The only thing I would add is to bring a bag from the SAQ (Societe des Alcools du Quebec; Quebec's liquor commission) and a bag from one of those small-cheese-selling-pastry-shoppes: that way, once you get positioned in the good loitering spots, you can nab the products in the bag and act like you're an employee doing a recall of expired goods."
Sharing is for people who are afraid to use their elbows in line.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Costa's Canada

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I was talking to a friend of mine in school, Costa, who happens to have been a longtime member of the BANPAC (Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians). Of course, we had to trade blogroll links.

Costa's been blogging for a while and he's had some good material in the past (I remember it being one of the first blogs I visited when I started bouncing through my blogroll to comment on other blogs). More recently, he has an in-depth post on what he'd do if he was Prime Minister.

Check out Costa's Canada, CCP's new blogroll partner!

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