Saturday, September 04, 2004

Oprah: An Agent of Moral Insanity

FIRST-PERSON: Oprah Winfrey: agent of moral insanity
By R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Aug 31, 2004

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Oprah Winfrey, widely cited as one of the most influential and admired women in America, showed herself to be an agent of moral insanity when she featured a program celebrating young children seeking sex-change procedures and transgender identities. In one episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the true nature of our modern sexual confusion was made clear, and the broadcast should long be remembered as one of the most frightening hours in television history.

The program, broadcast on Tuesday, Aug. 24, began with Oprah introducing the children seeking a sex change. "This is going to be a very fascinating show, OK?" Oprah began. She then introduced her first young guest: "He is an 11-year-old child. He likes skateboarding and PlayStation. He listens to rap, studies hard, gets good grades and wears those trendy baggy pants. He was also born a girl."

Oprah then moved to the broader theme of her program. "And right now according to experts, there are thousands of children who are living what appear to be very normal lives but deep inside they know something is terribly wrong or they feel that something is terribly wrong, and these children are saying that they were born in the wrong bodies. Their parents have to decide whether or not to let their children live as the opposite sex. Eleven-year-old Kayla lived for years with this secret."

According to a video broadcast on the program, Kayla was born a girl in 1992, but her mother reported that "Kayla never played with girls' toys, never played with dolls. About two years of age on, Kayla was more into dirt and bikes.... She would pick out baggy pants, boxer underwear. She didn't like girls' underpants."

At some point, Kayla saw an episode of the Oprah show and was prompted to declare that she was now a boy. She told her mother that she believed she was a boy born into a girl's body. Her mother, Angelina, responded in a way that left Oprah nodding in approval. "My first reaction was basically blowing it off. A few days later, I said, 'OK, let's find out more about it.'" As the show unfolded, the audience was told that Kayla, now "Kaden," was facing struggles at school. Early puberty presented additional challenges, so Angelina put her 11-year-old daughter on Depo-Provera. Kaden told Oprah's audience, "When I'm old enough to, I want to get testosterone and my surgery."

The next child featured on Oprah was Dylan, a boy who at age 4 declared that he wanted to become a girl. Now, a couple of years later, Dylan is even more certain that he wants to be a girl. Dylan's mom shared that this has become something of a stress point in the family. "Dylan's dad has a real hard time accepting this. He'll reprimand him." As Oprah continued the questioning, it turned out that Dylan's mom has been buying him dolls and painting his fingernails. Dylan's dad, Derek, is indeed having "a real hard time accepting this."

After a conversation with a "transgender therapist," Winfrey then confronted Derek with his refusal to go along with his son's desire for a sex change. Coming out of a commercial break, Oprah told her audience: "And as I -- I was saying to Derek during the commercial break, I was saying that this is your holiest hour. This will be your holiest hour as a parent, being able to allow your son to be himself and to love him as he is. Whatever that turns out to be, you know, that's where, where you will be challenged emotionally, spiritually and otherwise, I think."

Oprah's third young guest was Halle, a young girl who at age 6 announced that she wanted to be a boy. As Karen, the child's mother, explained, "When Halle turned 3, she said she wanted to be a boy. My husband, Eric, and I thought Halle was just a tomboy, maybe she'd grow out of this, maybe she'd just be a lesbian. Then Halle began to act out. She became verbally abusive and was extremely depressed. At one point, Halle said to me, 'I'm not meant to be here, Mama. It would be easier if I were in heaven.' Halle was 6 at the time. We started to see a therapist. She told us Halle was transgendered. When we discovered what transgendered meant, we were devastated. We felt like we were losing our little girl. Halle told us to call her Hal. When Halle turned 7, we began to let her live full time as a boy. At school, he told his friends that he had a boy's heart and a girl's body. Even though I miss my daughter, I am so lucky to see my son happy."

"Hal's" parents are very broad-minded about their child's sexual and gender exploration. Looking to the future, "Hal's" mother commented: "He knows his options. He knows about blockers and he knows about the hormones, but those are things that he absolutely has to come to terms with and he has to make those decisions. We support him whichever way he chooses to go. And we've always supported that. We've always said, you know, 'We understand you are a boy inside. You feel like a boy, but if you ever change your mind, you just tell us and we will support you,' because we don't want him to feel like he's got to be one way or the other."

After all this, Winfrey celebrated what she called an "evolution" in social tolerance and cultural acceptance of the idea of a sex change, even among children. "I have seen such a change in the way parents parent, you know," Oprah declared, "even in the years that we've been here, 18 years, seeing such a -- a difference -- this generation, your generation, is so much more open to accepting children as they are instead of trying to -- forcing whatever your own idea was."

This isn't "evolution," this is insanity. Oprah and her guests were involved in an absurd and horrific exercise in moral insanity. What culture can survive such a rebellion against the moral order? What devastation and destruction will be brought into the lives of young children before some level of sanity is re-established?

The ideology of the homosexual movement has been subverting the reality of gender for decades. The very fact that human beings are created as male and female flies in the face of the utter rebellion against and rejection of the moral order that stands at the very center of the homosexual agenda.

Instead of helping these young children to grow into maturity as the boys and girls they were meant to be, growing into womanhood and manhood with the assistance and moral direction of parents and other authorities in society, these children are encouraged to "explore" their gender and sexuality in order to determine who they really are. The very idea that we "discover" our gender as a matter of interiority is itself an act of aggression against the moral order and a demonstration of human arrogance against the divine design of creation.

The postmodern enablers of the homosexual movement and its transgender wing have convinced the cultural elite that gender is merely a matter of social construction and biological accident. Sexual and gender "identity," we are now told, is simply a matter of coming to terms with the self and its own orientation. Gender is now a plastic reality, moldable and changeable throughout one's lifetime.

Oprah, joining the insanity as an agent of moral revolution, brought on a guest introduced as a gender therapist to clarify the issues. Explaining Dylan's situation to his father, therapist Jana Ekdahl told Derek, "Dylan feels that he's in the wrong body. Dylan wants to be a little girl. And there's really nothing that you can do to change that nor is there anything that you've done to cause that. Frequently parents, especially mothers, feel that they've done something to cause it, but that's just not true."

Oprah Winfrey, ever the scientific expert, asked, "It occurs in the womb, does it not?" Ekdahl responded with assurance that gender orientation "does occur in the womb." She went on to suggest, "The research so -- so far shows that it occurs in the first trimester." As she explained, "Something happens, whereas the brain develops in one direction and the body develops in another. For instance, for Dylan, it might be that his body was developing as a boy, whereas his brain was developing as a girl. Then he comes out, and he looks like a boy. So it's much easier to change the body. We can't change the brain."

But this isn't medicine at all -- it's more like therapeutic voodoo. Jana L. Ekdahl, the therapist featured on the Oprah program is, according to her own website, a psychotherapist who "welcomes the transgender population." As she explains, "The youth of today are indeed our future. I have had the rare privilege of meeting and working with gender-variant youth. They are changing the face of gender for us all. I sometimes view them as archetypal warriors on the cutting edge of that space between the two polarities that we hold onto so tightly. Perhaps it would serve us all to go to that place ... that special space between genders ... and see what we find there."

What we find there is an absolute moral meltdown. The very notion that we should see young children suffering this level of sexual confusion as "archetypal warriors on the cutting edge" of gender development is insidious, tragic, and should be scandalous. Ms. Ekdahl's agenda is made clear when she suggests that it would "serve us all to go to that place."

Oprah interviewed Ms. Ekdahl as if she represented the medical establishment, but her own website identifies her education as including baccalaureate and master's degrees in psychology, and certification from the State of Washington as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Sexual Minority Specialist -- whatever that is. As she shares with her perspective clients, "I embrace the philosophy of Carl Jung and Depth Psychology. The union of East and West is essential to my work, as I have studied to learn about the modalities of each. Buddhist thought and Native American spirituality are interwoven into the fabric of my psyche. I have access to this wisdom to share with my clients, either directly or otherwise."

Is this where we are headed? Oprah Winfrey did not merely feature the subject of children struggling with their identities, she chided the parents who would not go along with this "evolution" in moral consciousness and, as she warned one parent, "And what do you think will happen if you remain as closed as you are? What damage will be done by you not opening up to who he really is?"

In reality, that father was the only adult to appear on that program with the slightest degree of common sense and moral wisdom. Yet, he was the one blamed for wanting to limit his child's self-exploration and gender transformation.

America learned a lot from Oprah’s sex-change program. We learned that we are in much deeper trouble than most Americans could ever have conceived. We learned that the moral revolution pushing a complete transformation of the sexual order has now progressed to the point that our children are being told they should explore their gender identity and, if inclined to do so, change genders. We also learned that Oprah Winfrey has taken sides in this revolution. After this show, there can remain little doubt that she is an agent of moral insanity.

(R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler and information on “The Albert Mohler Program,” a daily national broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to

Films Pushing On-Screen Sex Boundaries

From the September 03, 2004 edition
Films push boundary of onscreen sex
By Stephen Humphries | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

A bold sexual revolution is under way in cinema. No longer content to depict sex in the soft-hued, highly choreographed, and artificially lit style of the Hollywood movie, a clutch of directors have begun to include explicit, unsimulated sex in their films.
"The Brown Bunny," an unrated film opening in many art-house theaters Friday, includes a scene in which Oscar-nominated actress Chloë Sevigny performs a sexual act in such detail that perhaps even Dr. Ruth would blush if she saw it.
This month's Toronto Film Festival, meanwhile, includes the North American premières of two sexually explicit films that have already caused a stir in Europe. Catherine Breillat's "Anatomy of Hell" could pass for fare shown in a theater that deals in films rated XXX, and Michael Winterbottom, the acclaimed British director of films such as "Welcome to Sarajevo" and "Code 46," will offer up "Nine Songs," a drama that purports to show how sexual relations change over the course of a relationship. The two actors in the film have full intercourse.
Suddenly, 1995's NC-17 rated "Showgirls" seems quaintly tame by comparison.
The trend, which started in Europe five years ago, for now seems relegated to the fringes of the art-house circuit - where such "unrated" films are shown. And observers say it's likely to stay there. But they add that such films will embolden Hollywood filmmakers to up the ante on sexual content.
"I think what you'll actually keep seeing is mainstream movies pushing it a little more, inching it further and further but not quite taking you to the pornographic realm that things like 'Brown Bunny' go to," says Christopher Kelly, film critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Mr. Kelly cites last year's "In the Cut," directed by Jane Campion and starring Meg Ryan as an example of a fairly mainstream film that drifted into a more pornographic realm. Though the thriller was edited to obtain an R rating, an unrated "director's cut" on DVD includes two extras in flagrante delicto in the background of one scene.
Just 50 years ago, Hollywood films were fairly chaste. There was no need for actors to include a "no nudity clause" in their contracts because bedroom activity was depicted by vague innuendo.
By the 1970s, changing cultural mores resulted in a far more laissez-faire attitude. Films such as "Last Tango in Paris" and "Don't Look Now" explored sex in a mature, if carnally suggestive, way. Films that showed sex, such as Japan's "In the Realm of the Senses," as well as porn films, found a market as X-rated movies.
But in more recent decades, Hollywood has shied away from overly graphic images because more sex generally doesn't pay. For example, "Showgirls," despite the furor over its rating, was a box-office flop.
A 2003 study by the Christian Film and Television Commission analyzed the box-office returns of 1,120 films over four years and found that the more explicit films sold fewer tickets.
If anything, it's the independent films outside the Hollywood studio system which are likely to test the boundaries between porn and erotica. John Cameron Mitchell, director of the avant-garde indie "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," is seeking financing for a comedy that will include real sex. In the meantime, everyone is waiting to see how "The Brown Bunny" fares.
"It'll be interesting to see if Chloë Sevigny's career gets hurt by this," says Joseph McBride, assistant professor in the cinema department of San Francisco State University, who observes that "Showgirls" torpedoed the career of its star, Elizabeth Berkley. Ms. Sevigny, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for "Boys Don't Cry," parted ways with the William Morris Agency in January. Many speculated the agency had been unhappy with the actress because of "The Brown Bunny."
Hollywood has always had a snobbish disdain for the pornography industry and for porn actresses who have tried to cross over into the mainstream, Mr. McBride says, so it's unlikely that many actresses will follow Sevigny's lead.
The pornucopia of explicit movies is, in large part, a reaction to the often adolescent approach of Hollywood movies: When sex isn't being depicted comedically as a form of male humiliation - think of any Ben Stiller comedy or "American Pie" - it's treated as little more than an obligatory scene wherein actors interrupt the narrative of a story to titillate the audience.
Mr. Kelly favors the idea of directors treating sex more seriously and understanding it as a universal, defining human theme. Still, he wonders whether it's possible to include actual sex in a film without it becoming a stunt.
Every movie has some degree of reality, observes Gregg Kilday, a columnist for the Hollywood Reporter. Some actors actually perform dangerous stunts for an action scene. Similarly, when two stars kiss on screen, they're not faking the act. What precludes directors and audiences from demanding that actors engage in actual sex is taste, decorum, and social mores.
The latest wave of edgy directors deplore such artifice. "What's wrong with showing sex?" demanded Mr. Winterbottom after screening "Nine Songs" at this year's Cannes Film Festival. One argument is that scenes of actual sex in a movie can serve to heighten realism in a story.
But Mr. Kilday says the effect is so jarring for viewers that the opposite is true. "The fact that two actors may be engaged in sex somehow becomes too real, and suddenly you're not watching a fictional representation," he says.
Audience reaction of that sort is likely to check further demand for onscreen sex.
"The truth is not necessarily arrived at through the actual doing of the deed," says Linda DeLibero, associate director of film and media studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "If that were so, there just couldn't really be such a thing as art."

Leftists Abuse Republican Convention Goers

Pro-family advocates say there is one aspect of the Republican National
Convention that went virtually unreported by the mainstream press. American
Conservative Union president Richard Lessner says that after massive
demonstrations failed, those protesting the convention tried a lesser tactic. He
says street protestors broke into small, roving bands of obnoxious people that
cornered delegates wearing convention credentials and regaled them with all
kinds of obscenities and profanities. Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working
Families said the popular media chose to ignore these deplorable tactics. "I
know delegates," Bauer says, "that have been shoved around and delegates that
have been in fist fights." He pointed out that there are some real far-left
thugs in the streets and thinks it's a sad thing to see this sort of thing
happening in the United States. In spite of the sad treatment, it did not deter
the celebratory delegates who anticipate a win at the polls in two months. [Bill

Friday, September 03, 2004

Editor Writes About Event Before It Even Happens

Media 'Con Game': Predetermined Storylines
By Nick Schulz
Published 08/31/2004

NEW YORK -- Harper's magazine editor Lewis Lapham is being appropriately mocked for a major pre-GOP-convention boner. In the September issue of his magazine, which has been on newsstands for over a week, Lapham writes about the "Republican propaganda mill" and the GOP convention:
"The speeches in Madison Square Garden affirmed the great truths now routinely preached from the pulpits of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal -- government the problem, not the solution; the social contract a dead letter; the free market the answer to every maiden's prayer -- and while listening to the hollow rattle of the rhetorical brass and tin, I remembered the question that [Richard] Hofstadter didn't stay to answer. How did a set of ideas both archaic and bizarre make its way into the center ring of the American political circus?"
That's right, Lapham wrote about the GOP convention speeches before anyone even stepped to the podium. Lapham has apologized for what he's calling a "rhetorical invention," use of "poetic license," and a "mistake."
But the only "mistake" Lapham made is in revealing for all to see what has long been known by anyone who pays attention to the news: the major media routinely bring to their coverage of significant political events a predetermined storyline -- you might want to call it a "Lapham". Facts that undermine the storyline are ignored or explained away as aberrations to The Truth. For the editor of Harper's and other establishment press figures, it really makes no difference to them what will be said at Madison Square Garden because the Laphams are already set, loaded in the scribblers' word processors and television anchor tele-prompters and ready to go.
We at TCS have seen Laphams at work at a number of gatherings we've covered over the years. At the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg a couple of years ago, the predetermined storyline was that the United States was a menacing global economic hegemon that was exploiting the underdeveloped world and ruining the environment. Enlightened bureaucrats at the UN and intrepid eco-groups, the Lapham went, were all that stood athwart the Red, White, and Blue corporatist menace yelling 'stop'. Little did it matter to major newspapers or the BBC and CNN that leaders in the developing world made common cause with the US at that conference in pushing for freer trade, more economic development and growing economies.
At the recently concluded global AIDS conference in Bangkok, the storyline there advanced by activist groups and parroted by their friends in the press, was a familiar one. The US government, captive to Christian conservatives and American business interests, was undermining the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The truth was much simpler and more uplifting: the US, under President Bush's leadership, has taken charge in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The U.S. has committed more resources to treatment and prevention than all other donor countries and has insisted on quality drugs so resource-poor Africans get the treatments they need without making the AIDS epidemic worse.
Now we have another major political event, the GOP convention in Manhattan this week, and Lewis Lapham has already provided us with a predetermined media storyline: The GOP will advocate limited government and free markets even though doing so is "bizarre" and archaic."
My colleague and TCS host James K. Glassman recently highlighted two other Laphams in a convention preview. Glassman pointed out that the establishment media will portray "Republicans like yahoos and religious fanatics." But what about those high-profile Republicans who share some establishment media values? For example, convention speakers Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani are pro-choice. And John McCain buys into green dogma on global warming and favors restrictions on political speech. For these Republicans, the media will roll out another Lapham to round out the picture. As Glassman puts it, they'll be "portrayed in the media as weird anomalies." (As if on cue, NBC's Tom Brokaw included in his Sunday broadcast the Lapham that the GOP was engaged in a "con game" by having Schwarzenegger, McCain and Giuliani speak.)
In reality, Schwarzenegger and Giuliani do not feel they are in a party of troglodytes. They feel welcome in a party that emphasizes freedom, choice and responsibility. Yes, there are differences among Republicans over issues like abortion, but there's far more tolerance for dissenting views on controversial issues in the GOP than in the Democratic Party (remember former Pennsylvania governor Bob Casey?). And as for supposed anomalies like "maverick" John McCain (with whom TCS has had deep differences on some issues) he embodies the GOP's insistence on peace through military strength and a robust, assertive American foreign policy.
To elite media outlets, facts won't get in the way of a good Lapham.

What Alan Keyes Actually Said About Homosexuality

What Alan Keyes actually said
WorldNetDaily ^ | 9/3/2004 | Joseph Farah

A lot of weak-kneed Republicans are running away from Alan Keyes because of his remarks about homosexuality. Weak-minded "conservative" pundits are making themselves look more "mainstream" by denouncing Keyes. Homosexual activists and their friends in the press have conducted a high-tech lynching of the U.S. candidate from Illinois.
It all started earlier this week when Keyes gave a radio interview in which he expressed support for a proposed amendment to the Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
"The essence of ... family life remains procreation," he explained. "If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principle excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism."
Now, if you read news reports of Keyes' remarks, you might be surprised right now about his comments.
If you tuned in any of the talking-head shows, you probably thought he called Mary Cheney, daughter of the vice president, a selfish hedonist because she is reportedly a lesbian.
If you heard any discussion of this quote anywhere in the establishment media, you might think he said that anyone who is a homosexual is, by definition, a "selfish hedonist."
Even if you carefully read accounts of this interview in "mainstream" press sources, you might even think he condemned Mary Cheney as a sinner.
It's not surprising you got that impression. Here is a sampling of the way various major news organizations covered his remark:
 Los Angeles Times: "On Tuesday, Alan Keyes, the Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, denounced gays as 'selfish hedonists.' Asked whether that applied to Mary Cheney, Keyes replied, "That goes by definition. Of course she is"
Associated Press: "Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes labeled homosexuality 'selfish hedonism' and said Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter is a sinner."
Washington Post: "Further tension erupted yesterday when Illinois Senate candidate Alan Keyes called Mary Cheney a 'selfish hedonist.'"
This is the way a determined, aggressive, partisan, biased pack of jackals cover someone they consider a real threat.
Alan Keyes is a black man who doesn't dance in their minstrel show. Keyes is a thinker who is not afraid to say what's on his mind and on his heart. Keyes is one of the most politically incorrect men in America.
Worse yet, right now Keyes is challenging one of the new darlings of the establishment press; Barack Obama, a conventional, "safe" black man who does what he's told and lives on the Democratic Party plantation.
But this is slanderous distortion. This is mean-spirited deception. This is character assassination, and it insults the intelligence of every American when my colleagues get away with this kind of mind control.
Alan Keyes didn't say all homosexuals were selfish hedonists. Read the quote again: "The essence of ... family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principle excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism."
He said those promoting same-sex marriage are advocating a lifestyle choice based on selfish hedonism. This may seem like splitting hairs to those embracing the same-sex marriage program; as most of my colleagues in the press do. However, they are two entirely different statements. Every major news organization in the world unfairly accused Alan Keyes of saying something he didn't say. In other words, they lied. They lied big time. They twisted. They distorted. They even put words in his mouth.
Further, it wasn't Alan Keyes who uttered the name of Mary Cheney. It was the interviewer. He asked whether or not the universal rule Keyes laid out applied to Mary Cheney. He said yes, because it applies to anyone and everyone who takes the position that same-sex marriage is OK. He didn't condemn her as a sinner. That was an invention of the Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organization in the world, which disseminated this fabrication all over the planet to thousands of other news organizations.
Guess what? What Alan Keyes said in that interview is 100 percent correct. I may very well be the only commentator who has the guts to say it, but say it I will.

Nazi Sterilization Victims Get More Cash

More payouts for Nazi sterilisation victims
Wed 1 September, 2004 18:58

BERLIN (Reuters) - Some 2,500 people forcibly sterilised by the Nazis will
see their compensation payments almost double under an overhaul of state
pay-outs to Hitler's German victims.

Payments for those who were sterilised will rise to 100 euros (68 pounds) a
month from 61 euros and many other German victims of Nazi abuses will become
eligible for compensation for the first time, the German Finance Ministry
said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Nazis sterilised tens of thousands they considered "unfit" to have
children, including people who were mixed race, blind, deaf, severely
depressed or physically disabled.

"People who were sterilised suffered a terrible injustice, which affected
their whole lives. They couldn't start their own families and now in old age
they are often alone," Marga Elser and Volker Beck, lawmakers from the
ruling Social Democrat/Green coalition, said in a statement last week.

"We believe Germany has a moral duty to allow them to live out their
twilight years with dignity."

The ministry also said all those jailed by the Nazis on political, racial or
ideological grounds could claim 77 euros for each month of their
imprisonment up to a total of 2,556 euros. Previously, only some former
prisoners were eligible for compensation.

It also said it would relax the criteria for claims by children of victims
of euthanasia programmes and other Nazi-sanctioned abuses.

Six years ago Germany annulled thousands of verdicts passed by Nazi courts
in cases where people were tried under laws deemed to have violated
"elementary principles of justice" or which supported the ideological aims
of the Third Reich.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Interactive Marketing Moves Toward 'Big Brother'

Interactive marketing moves one step closer to Big Brother
CNN Money | September 1 2004

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - In Minority Report, a chip implanted inside Tom Cruise's character flashes personalized ads -- a startling reminder that advertisers dream of the day when they can get inside consumers' heads.

Well, Big Brother is about to move one step closer to making Hollywood fantasy a reality.

Meet the Human Locator. It's a new technology developed by Canadian ad agency Freeset Interactive that purports to detect when humans are near, track their movement, and then broadcast messages directed at them on a nearby screen.

To hear Human Locator mastermind and Freeset President Bastien Beauchamp tell it, the system can even speak to passersby, beckoning them to come closer to a message screen or begging them not to leave.

The Human Locator is essentially a camera and computer that collects data on the number of people walking within a certain target area, the direction they're headed, and their speed.

Imagine, for instance, walking down the street and passing by a blank wall. Suddenly the image of a car appears. As you pass by, the image shifts as you move. A voice greets you with "hello!" As you start to move away, it says "don't go," as it launches into the latest marketing pitch.

Conspiracy theorists can relax, however. The Human Locator can't yet identify, say, obese pedestrians and then bombard them with images of a cheeseburger and fries.

"Maybe in five or 10 years," said Beauchamp, noting that engineers are now working on the ability to detect moods from facial expressions.

1984 or a Brave, New World?
"This opens up a whole new era of what [advertisers] can do," said Beauchamp, an advertising industry veteran who estimated that he spent two years and about half a million dollars of his own money working with a team of 10 who finished building the Human Locator this summer.

Beauchamp said about 10 American and Canadian companies have agreed to buy the system, which can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000 for the equipment, software license, and customized features. He declined to identify the early adopters, but he said one charter customer is the Canadian government, which expects next month to start using the Human Locator's interactive technology as part of a promotional campaign.

To many people, the thought of walls whispering about Absolut Vodka or of the government using a human-tracking system may sound horrifying. But analysts estimate that consumers already process thousands of product messages, both overt and subliminal, a day.

Sam Ewen, the chief executive officer of Interference, a New York marketing firm, noted companies are becoming increasingly adept at tracking consumer habits. Often they're doing it with their customers' implicit support.

For example, he noted that in Japan, a consumer scouting for, say, a new boyfriend can program her interests and preferences into a cell phone that uses Bluetooth short-range wireless technology. If there is another Bluetooth user looking for someone with a similar profile, their cell phones will alert them both that they're in each other's range.

"The possibilities can be frightening," said Ewen, who is researching the history of surveillance for un upcoming segment on the Discovery Channel. "You start to find that, between credit cards with magnetic strips and phones wired for (global tracking), you start to create a situation where there's less and less of an ability to remain anonymous."

Human Locator is just taking interactive marketing to a new level as advertisers do everything they can to crack the subconscious. "What soft drink manufacturer wouldn't want to know that a person hasn't had a sip of liquid in three hours, then find a way to give them that message, and then [give them] the incentive and direction" to go buy their product? asked Ewen.

Added Jon Zast, the media architect with ad agency Wieden + Kennedy in New York: "The potential is huge."

Zast said the underlying technology already exists and is being used mostly for security purposes, such as face recognition.

The obvious next step, said Zast, is for advertisers and marketers to embrace it, too.

"The more and more people get inundated with images and messages, the more and more they shut them off," said Zast. "One way, then, to communicate with people is to make messages very personal or localized. If you can make images feel like they're constantly fresh, it's current and it's exciting."

Satellite Tracking of U.K. 'Criminals'

Satellite tracking for criminals begins in UK
BBC | September 2 2004

Prolific offenders and paedophiles are to be monitored by new satellite technology under three pilot schemes beginning on Thursday.
It is the first time a European country has used satellites to monitor the movements of offenders.

Convicted burglars, robbers and car thieves will be fitted with an electronic device that can be tracked by satellite 24 hours a day.

The trials are in Greater Manchester, West Midlands and Hampshire.

Straying offenders

The electronic device will be monitored by a control station which records the location of the offender to within a few metres.

If the offender strays into an area they are excluded from the police are alerted.

The system will also be used to prevent sex offenders going to playgrounds and schools and to stop people convicted of domestic violence from approaching their victims.

Offenders will be required to wear the device as part of a community sentence, or as a condition of their release from prison.

Initially, the system will be used to track up to 120 offenders at any one time, but if the technology works, the Home Office will massively expand it in England and Wales.

Home Secretary David Blunkett launched the trials in Greater Manchester on Thursday.

He calls the scheme a "prison without bars".

Speaking at the launch, he said the system would help to ensure offenders are "sticking to the conditions of their licence and staying away from crime".

He said: "Our sentencing reforms were not just about being tougher on the most serious offenders.

"This technology will allow us to develop and promote the tough community sentences which are vital if we are to prevent re-offending and give non-violent offenders a chance to serve an effective sentence in the community."

Broken curfews

Correctional services minister Paul Goggins told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it could cover several thousand people, including 5,000 prolific offenders.

He said: "We estimate there are 5,000 prolific offenders causing major problems and mayhem with their offending behaviour, day in, day out. So they would be a clear target.

"It will be a very, very clear, constant reminder to the offenders that we're watching them, we know where they've been, we know what they're doing and if they stray, we'll act to stop them."

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of probation union Napo, said the system was a "very expensive resource" only suitable for the most serious criminals.

"Satellite tracking is another form of control which by itself will not prevent crime. It must be seen as part of a package," he said.

'No major complaints'

Ex-prisoners' campaign group Unlock favours the tagging system as an alternative to jailing offenders.

Unlock's chief executive Bobby Cummines said: "I welcome this with open arms.

"I welcome anything where we can monitor people in the community instead of throwing them into prison."

Mr Cummines said tagging systems allow families to stay together, which is the key to rehabilitation.

Human rights group Liberty also said they had "no major complaints" with the system.

The electronic tagging which the government currently relies on is only able to set off an alarm when the offender breaches a curfew.

If a criminal walks out of the house after their curfew an alarm will sound at a central control room, where operators then notify police.

However, under this system there is no way of knowing where the criminal has gone.

Babies Risk Being Commodities: Geneticist

Babies at risk of being 'commodities', says Lord Winston

Genetic pioneer Lord Robert Winston says the technology that he helped develop now risks turning babies into "commodities".

The British test-tube baby doctor, who fronts television series such as The Human Body and the current Child of Our Time, gave a warning in Auckland yesterday against parents having a new baby specifically to use its tissues or body parts to save the life of a sick older sibling.

"It does raise important questions about whether society might be at risk of allowing babies to be used as commodities," he said.

"For me it's an ethical issue. You are subjecting an embryo to removal of cells for DNA analysis that is of no benefit to that embryo. That is having a medical procedure without any informed consent."

Lord Winston, who arrived yesterday to speak at a charity art auction for the Liggins Institute, is scathing about scientists such as the American Dr Panos Zavos who are using the new techniques for "Frankenstein" projects such as cloning the genetic material of two dead people to bring them back to life.

"It may be that they have cloned someone," he said.

"But to date, as far as we can say, virtually every animal species which has been cloned has turned out to have some problems with its genetics. It's almost unthinkable that that wouldn't happen in humans too.

"Therefore if they did clone someone, they would be throwing themselves open to the worst imaginable legal claim."

In contrast, he said, true scientists were far more cautious.

"It's not the scientists and medics that are jumping ahead of society. Often we are more conservative and want to go more slowly."

He believes Britain's regulatory body was wrong when it decided recently to allow genetic testing of test-tube baby embryos to choose those that had the right tissue type to help a sick older child.

If the older child had a rare kind of anaemia, a shortage of certain blood cells that made the child weak, would it be right to select a new baby that might then have difficulty creating its own blood cells? Would it be right to use its tissue to repair the older sibling's bone marrow?

"What happens if it doesn't work?" Lord Winston asked.

"Can you then use [the baby] a few years later to be a bone marrow donor? It's then becoming a more conscious individual.

"What if the older sibling's kidney fails? Could the new child then be used for renal transplantation?

"That individual may be sucked into being forced to make the sorts of decisions that a child of that age should not be expected to make. It may be under pressure from the family to become a donor for a weak older brother or sister."

Ethically, he said, it would be better to put more effort into finding adults with the same tissue type who could make conscious, voluntary decisions to donate tissue or organs.

Similarly, it was now possible to choose the sex of test-tube babies and make sure they did not contain certain genetic abnormalities. But in that case, Lord Winston believes, most parents will not take the technology to its ultimate conclusion of "designer babies".

"It may in the long term be possible for parents to choose the genetics of embryos, but I have a lot of reasons for believing that they won't want that," he said.

"If you ask most parents what they want, it's not anything other than, 'I want my baby to be normal'."

The Labour peer said he did not want to be involved in Child of Our Time, the BBC series that is following the lives of 25 "millennium babies" born on January 1, 2000.

"I thought it was quite dreadful stuff," he said.

But he changed his mind when a colleague told him the first episode was the best television he had ever done.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

City's Traffic Ticket Racket Pulling In Less Dough

Aug. 24, 01:01 EDT
City coffers in fine mess as drivers fight insurance hikes
Eric McGuinness and Allan Pulga
The Hamilton Spectator

City income from traffic fines and other provincial offences is running $100,000 a month below expectations, even though Hamilton police are issuing more tickets.

Officials blame a shortage of justices of the peace to hold trials, more people fighting tickets, sentences being suspended, fines being reduced and people failing to pay.

Joe Rinaldo, general manager of finance and corporate services, reports revenue for the first five months of this year fell $470,000 short of the budget projection. And that budget projection is lower than last year's because 2003 fine collections fell $1.5 million short of forecasts.

The city was counting on the provincial offences court to generate income -- after expenses -- of almost $4.5 million this year, money that would otherwise have to come from property taxes.

Kevin Christenson, the city clerk responsible for Hamilton's provincial offences administration office, said due to the number of offences, there will always be a backlog of trials.

But he said a shortage of justices of the peace isn't the big problem. The "big one" is people failing to pay, he said, which keeps the court's collection department busy.

In his budget variance report to council for the period Jan. 1 to May 31, Rinaldo said the city is stepping up efforts to collect unpaid fines in hopes of improving year-end results.

Alison Melo, a consultant at Highway Traffic Agents in Burlington, an agency run by two ex-police officers that defends motorists on traffic charges, said more Hamiltonians are challenging their tickets in court because of high auto insurance rates.

"Insurance rates are going up for no reason at all, so the last thing you want to do is give your insurance company additional reasons to up your rates," she said.

That leads to an even greater backlog of trials, not to mention reduced fines or even dismissed charges.

She also said city income isn't being lost because of court leniency.

"Hamilton is apparently the toughest court in the province. They don't reduce much, they don't give many breaks, and the (police) officers are generally always (present) in court."

But revenue from the court has come up short of targets ever since the city took over administration from the province in February 2000.

And earlier this year, Hamilton wrote off as uncollectible $10 million of $24 million in unpaid fines handed over by the province. The writeoffs were for pre-1997 fines.

The city's corporate services department rents courtrooms and office space in the provincial John Sopinka Courthouse on Main Street East, but cases are heard by justices of the peace assigned by the Ministry of the Attorney General and the judiciary.

There are currently 301 justices of the peace serving Ontario.

In a report submitted during budget discussions last spring, Rinaldo told council police had issued 13,000 more traffic tickets for moving offences in 2003 than in 2002, but revenue was still short.

There were also 3,250 extra charges laid by bylaw officers, environment ministry inspectors and other enforcement officials. And Hamilton police spokesperson Carol Pacey said this year police had issued more than 28,000 tickets by the end of July, on pace to match or surpass the 2003 ticket count.

The 2003 budget projected 10,000 more traffic tickets at an average fine of $100, but Rinaldo said that didn't take into account dismissed charges, reduced fines, suspended sentences and extensions of time to pay.

Toronto STD Rate Exploding

Sep. 1, 2004. 01:00 AM
Unsafe sex on rise: Health official
STD rate doubles in past five years
Arrest brings grim statistic to light

Days after police arrested an HIV-positive man for allegedly having unprotected sex with a string of unwitting women, Toronto Public Health is warning residents of a resurgence in sexually transmitted diseases.

On Monday, a 28-year-old downtown Toronto man was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly lying, or deliberately hiding, that he was HIV-positive to at least three women so they would have unprotected sex with him.

"Most people who are infected behave responsibly," said Dr. Rita Shahin, acting director of communicable disease control at Toronto Public Health. "It's unfortunate there's a small minority that doesn't and they put people at risk."

The rate of sexually transmitted diseases in Toronto has jumped over the past five years, with HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia increasing by about 50 per cent, according to public health statistics.

"People talk about condom fatigue and people are tired of those messages. It's life-long behaviour so it's hard to sustain," Shahin said.

Police allege a downtown Toronto clothing store employee has known for more than two years that he was HIV-positive yet failed to disclose that to several women before having unprotected sex. "As a result we do tragically have one woman that has been diagnosed with HIV and we believe that there may be more," Inspector Bruce Smollet of the sex crime unit told a news conference.

He knew the women — "good, average citizens, hard-working people" — through work or socially, and police fear there might be others who had sexual contact with the accused, which is why they released his name and photograph, Smollet said.

Police have already received several calls and are urging anyone who has had sex with the man to call police, public health or a physician and get tested.

"I don't want to raise a lot of panic, but this obviously is a significant issue for people who may have had sex-related contact with (him)." But, Smollet added later, anyone having sex with those women could also be at risk, "so it's an ever expanding spiral of people who are going to be affected by this."

Police arrested Vincent Walkem on Monday after receiving information from a woman through an "agency," Smollet said, declining to give more details. Walkem was scheduled to appear in court for a bail hearing yesterday, but Smollet said police were recommending he be held in custody.

Contacted at her home yesterday, Walkem's stepmother, who didn't want to be identified, said she doesn't believe anyone in the family knew about his condition and was shocked to learn of the arrest through media reports. "I'm freaking here and his dad is out of town ... he's going to be devastated," she said. She described him as "quiet" and "nice" and said he has been on his own for many years.

Smollet suggested Walkem had been "ordered" to notify potential sex partners about his HIV infection but Shahin said all new HIV patients — except those not identified because they were tested anonymously — are counselled to ensure they have support and told about "their responsibilities" to ensure no one else is exposed. It's difficult to ensure compliance, but if public health learns of a breach it can issue a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act before further steps can be taken, including a fine or jail. But "I don't think we've ever gone down that road in public health yet."

A person can become HIV-positive up to three months after his or her last sexual contact. "If it's past the three-month window period, then their test right now would tell them whether they've been infected," Shahin said. "If someone had sex in the last month, they would need to be tested after three months following the last contact."

Elder Bush Blasts NY Times Bias

His son can speak for himself, but Bush Sr. is done with 'Times'
Media Mix
By Peter Johnson

Like many U.S. presidents, the elder George Bush has had a love/hate relationship with the nation's so-called paper of record, The New York Times.
But Monday, Bush told CNN's Paula Zahn that he has "given up" on the paper. He said that his son, President Bush, may have as well.
"The thing that troubles me is, in my opinion, their news columns are getting to show a certain bias," Bush said. "There is a new way you do it now: 'Reporter's Notebook.' That gives you a little chance to be an advocate in the news column. Or 'Washington Whispers' or something like that. And that relieves the reporter of objective reporting. ... I've given up on them."
Zahn: "Has the president given up on them?"
Bush: "I don't know. He might be like his mother; she won't read it anymore."
Bush had a colorful, often playful history with Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who doggedly poked fun at his language and syntax when she was a White House correspondent during his administration.
But his son has had a frosty relationship with the editorial page, which repeatedly has taken him to task on his policies. Bush refused all interview requests from the Times until the eve of the Republican National Convention.
Times editor Bill Keller said Tuesday that the paper's "notebooks" are intended to give reporters a chance to elaborate on bits of color that might not otherwise fit in a straight news story.
As for bias in its news pages, Keller said Bush's charge doesn't "stand up." While "unacceptably snarky" lines "with some attitude" do creep into notebooks, Keller said, editors "try to fight that. But sometimes when somebody is writing the lighter side of the news, a kind of snide turn of phrase will turn up.
"We do our best to make sure that doesn't happen, but occasionally it does," Keller said. "But notebooks are not by any means a vehicle for people to slip their personal opinions into the newspaper."
'Hardball' gets its groove
Chris Matthews' obsession with politics may be rubbing off on viewers: For the past three months, Matthews' political chatfest Hardball has beaten Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN by a slim 5% margin: an average 576,000 to 546,000 viewers.
While numbers for both shows pale compared with Fox News' Shepard Smith (1.5 million), Hardball is MSNBC's bright light.
It has "succeeded in establishing a beachhead, which is something we haven't been able to do in seven years," says NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.
For his part, Matthews says he consciously has tried of late to tone down his trademark shout-'em-down style, a change he already has made on his weekly syndicated Chris Matthews Show.
The change came after Matthews watched reruns of Hardball and discovering just how many times he interrupted guests. "It was unnerving. It just bugged me. So I said, 'I gotta stop this.' "
Don't hold your breath, but he's thinking about trying out a new line during this week's Republican convention that he says will disarm whomever he happens to be talking to at the time. The line: "... but finish your thought."
Matthews started his career in politics as a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and as a top aide to House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill before segueing into political commentary and now a "passionate anchor" role.
His definition of that role? "A guy concerned about the issues. He's not some person who is just assigned to politics, but who loves politics, loves the game, and deeply believes the stakes are high."
GOP ratings: Cable draws
Some 1.4 million more people watched the first night of the GOP convention on cable than did the first night of the Democratic convention in Boston. But the Big Three networks didn't air Monday's opener in New York as they did in Boston, which sent viewers to cable. (Networks air an hour tonight, compared with no coverage on Boston's second night.)
All the gain went to Fox News with 3.9 million viewers (up from 1.6 million in Boston); CNN drew 1.3 million (down from 2 million); MSNBC had 854,000 viewers (vs. 1.1 million); and PBS drew 1.9 million (down from 2.5 million).

Leftist Violence in New York City


September 1, 2004 -- The demonstrations grew demonic at the Republican National Convention yesterday as protesters set fire to a traffic light, tipped over a fruit cart, tossed around garbage cans, attacked a journalist and spit on Republican conventioneers in a wave of mayhem across Manhattan.

Police said more 1000 people had been arrested by 11 p.m., but that number continued growing as the NYPD rounded up activists gathering at the New York Public Library, Herald Square, Union Square, Madison Avenue and elsewhere.

At least 16 arrests involved assaults on cops, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The huge number of arrests did not humble those behind the anti-Bush outbursts.

"We've showed that there are thousands of people in New York who are willing to stand up to the police," said Eric Laursen, a spokesman for the A31 Action Coalition, which coordinated more than a dozen demonstrations yesterday.

"The streets of New York belong to the people."

Last night, a lot of those people were angry — and nasty.

At Madison Square Garden, the protests got physical — and a little wet — as Bush-haters roughed up and spit on GOP delegates who got caught up in the demonstration crowds as they tried to enter the convention.

One 63-year-old delegate from Mississippi told The Post he was manhandled by protesters who tried to block his way.

"I don't mind them demonstrating, but to spit on people is unbelievable," he said, as he wiped phlegm from his hat.

Shortly after 8 p.m., a crazed protester took out his anger on the media — by rushing onto the outdoor set of Chris Matthews' MSNBC talk show. He tried to grab Matthews as he interviewed Christie Whitman, but security grabbed him first and he was arrested.

The string of protests — and arrests — continued long after dark as throngs of anti-Bush activists went wild along Madison Avenue between East 26th and East 29th streets, tossing garbage cans and setting a traffic light on fire.

The mayhem caused a group of Brooklyn GOP supporters attending dinner at Scopa on East 28th Street to hole up inside until the cops cleared the area, making nearly 40 arrests.

Cops also broke out their nets and made more arrests as protesters left en masse from rallies at Union Square. On East 17th Street, some 60 people were busted for blocking a sidewalk. On East 16th Street, dozens more were arrested.

At about 9 p.m., mayhem broke out at West 35th Street and Sixth Avenue when protesters blocked a bus load of delegates from Louisiana from getting into to the Garden.

Cops swarmed in and tried to restore order, but not before protesters overturned a fruit cart filled with bananas and other victuals, some of which were quickly turned into messy missiles. More than 100 were arrested and carted away in a city bus.

Earlier in the day cops used orange plastic netting to corral and arrest protesters, including some starting off on a march by the War Resisters League and the School of the Americas Watch at the World Trade Center site.

Police said organizers of that afternoon's marches, who did not have a permit, had agreed to have their group of several thousand parade two-by-two north toward Union Square.

But witnesses said that when the head of the march got bunched up, a police supervisor ordered officers in with the netting to bust about 200 people. Some out-of-town journalists were swept up in the arrests.

"They just moved in without any warning," said David Brune, 60, a protester who called the arrests "totally unnecessary."

Other witnesses said cops first warned people to disperse, but many did not hear them.

Other protests and marches occurred in subways, in front of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, outside the Fox News Channel's Rockefeller Center studios, and outside Sotheby's auction house.

Activists at the Port Authority Bus Terminal tried to unfurl a blue banner that read "Four More Months" from the side of the fourth-floor parking lot, but it got snagged on a railing.

Cops spotted the banner and chased down the two protesters.

Also yesterday, authorities revealed details of how a Bush-hating Yale student wrestled with Secret Service agents and tried to get close to Vice President Dick Cheney Monday night at Madison Square Garden before being charged with assault.

Thomas Frampton, 21, a straight-A student and son of a prominent attorney, allegedly approached and spewed anti-war messages at Cheney after dressing up as a GOP supporter and using false credentials to get into the Garden, officials said.

Frampton, who was released on $50,000 bail, is a prominent Yale activist who has been arrested in the past, a prosecutor said.

He gained notoriety when he was among a group of Yale students who filed charges demanding the university president be fired over his handling of a labor situation at the school.

Additional reporting by Ikimulisa Livingston, Erin Calabrese, Douglas Montero, Andrea Peyser, Carl Campanile, Tatiana Deligiannakis and Angelina Cappiello

Gov't Hands Out Info on How to Shoot Up On Drugs

Wed, September 1, 2004
Shooting up 101
Pamphlet teaches you how to do it properly

Remember the free crack pipe kits government is giving out to drug addicts? Now they're handing out detailed instructions -- with diagrams -- on how to shoot up, including where to stick the needle, how to prepare your drugs and neat tips on how to strain dope from one syringe to another.

It's a pamphlet called Prevent and Protect Yourself & Others: Safer Injection Drug Use, and it's handed out to addicts at clinics and other establishments.

"Choosing a Vein," reads one header, where they give advice on how best to inject drugs into your system.

"Rotate sites," it says. "Try to use new sites, too much of one vein will cause it to collapse."

You may want to test your shots first before you take a full dose of dope if you're "using a new dealer," it continues.

"Find a comfortable position, use tourniquet to tie off vein ... insert needle into the vein at 45 degree angle. Bevel up. Untie tourniquet. Inject slowly."

And my favourite:

"Give your veins a holiday once in a while!" it says.

"Smoke, snort or eat your drugs instead."

Wow. I am a wild party.

How about: "Give your veins a holiday, don't use drugs for a while."


I guess that makes too much sense. I thought the crack kits were bad. This pamphlet takes the cake.

Nowhere in the brochure does it give tips or advice on how to quit drugs.

Instead, it gives you the ins and outs of drug use and it reads more like a Suzy Creamcheese homemaker magazine than medical advice on how to avoid contracting a disease.

"Split up drugs when dry," it says. "Use your own spoon, filter and water."

"Don't shoot up alone," it says.

What, bring a friend?

Don't inject the needle into your head or wrists, it says. That's good advice. But other parts of your body are OK, it says.

"If surface veins in the arms are good, use them but rotate sites regularly," it recommends. "The veins on the back of the hand and the top of the foot are fragile, so inject slowly. It will hurt."

I don't get this much detail from my dentist on how to brush and floss properly.

This is all part of some new-age approach to dealing with drug addicts called "harm reduction."

It's the same philosophy behind the crackpot idea of handing out free crack pipes to crack heads.

We're supposed to coddle the addicts and "bring them into the fold."

When they're "ready" for treatment -- after we've given them five years supply of crack pipes, needles and how-to manuals -- we then ask them if they would like treatment.

Aren't they dead by then?

What's interesting is that every recovering addict who has called me over the past few days -- in response to my columns on the subject last week -- is against this approach.

Most of them are enraged that government is doing this and they say all it does is encourage drug use and make it more difficult to quit.

Every time I ask proponents of this harm-reduction approach for scientific evidence to back up their claims that it helps reduce the spread of disease and does not encourage drug use, I never get any.

That's because it doesn't exist.

Joe Clark: Sleeping With the Enemy

Wed, September 1, 2004
Joe Clark? Sleeping with the enemy?

A ONE-TIME loyal supporter of Joe Clark is attacking the former PM for "sleeping with the enemy." Newfoundland Tory MP Loyola Hearn, one of the architects of the new Conservative Party, launched his assault after learning Clark flew to Germany and Afghanistan last February on a personal invitation from a Liberal cabinet minister.

Some of the details of the trip were revealed in an access to information request obtained by Sun Media. Hearn says the timing of the trip with former defence minister David Pratt is highly suspect because it came shortly after Clark split from the new Conservative Party and just weeks before he expressed his support for Paul Martin's Liberals. He sat in Parliament as an independent.

"It's hard to think that somebody of Joe Clark's supposed stature would play games behind the scenes," Hearn said.

"You know, that's sleeping with the enemy," he added. "All of this shows that he certainly had to be pretty cozy with the Liberals."

The trip took Clark and Pratt to Munich for a conference on defence policy and Kabul where Canada was in command of the allied forces.

Clark, however, suggested there was nothing secret or sinister about his travels, telling Sun Media: "The visit was public and was covered by (television) and other media."

Defence department news releases about the trip made no mention of Clark.

Pratt denied there was any political motivation for inviting Clark on the trip.

CTV to Air Anti-Catholic 'Prom Queen' Again

CTV to Air Anti-Catholic "Prom Queen" Again September 3rd.

TORONTO, August 31, 2004 ( - On September 3rd, CTV will be re-airing the film "Prom Queen" about the Oshawa teenager Marc Hall's successful fight to force the Catholic school board to allow him to attend the highschool prom with his homosexual partner. The movie was criticized by representatives of the Catholic Civil Rights League, the organization that monitors anti-Catholic bigotry in the media, when it first aired in June. Michael Connell of the CCRL said at the time, "Given CTV's track record of anti-Catholic stereotypes in its comedy programming, including recent offerings of the show Comedy Inc. and most notoriously the anti-Catholic stunts of the now cancelled Mike Bullard Show, we can expect that all the 'humour' will be at the expense of Catholics."

The CTV website lauds the made-for-TV movie as a 'David and Goliath struggle' between Hall and the Catholic school board who are portrayed as relentless dogmatists. "This is a movie for everyone who has had the chance to stand up for what they believe in," said Susanne Boyce, President of CTV Programming and Chair of the Media Group.

One recent reviewer said that the film, "is deliberately calculated to offend Catholic sensibilities." Writing online on a film and entertainment website, the anonymous reviewer said, "There are crucifixes, plaster statues and holy pictures everywhere, and Marc himself is shown (not once, but twice) framed by a crucifix of light, thus casting him in a saviour role."

Less obscurely, Toronto writer and broadcaster, Michael Coren, wrote in June when the programme first aired, "Catholic-bashing is the last acceptable hatred. In circles where racism and anti-Semitism would be rightly condemned, anti-Catholicism is positively celebrated."

To express concerns to CTV:
Write to:
CTV Television Network
P.O. Box 9, Station 'O,' Scarborough
Ontario, Canada M4A2M9
Telephone: (416) 332-5000

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

'Big Brother' Is Driving You Around

Big brother is driving you

A new speed limit database working with a global-positioning system could be the first step to the eventual electronic governing of vehicle speeds. Dave Moore explains.
The new watchword or acronym for safety and anti-speed lobbyists in Europe is ISA, or Intelligent Speed Adaptation. Such a system is mooted for British motorists once a digital speed map of the country is established. Then, cars fitted with ISA devices will automatically have their speeds adjusted by the electronic overriding of brakes and throttle at the behest of an on-board computer.
That computer will be reacting to messages from a satellite positioning system which will have used the country's digital map to compare the specific speed limit for the stretch of road the car is on and the actual velocity at which it is being driven.
Should a driver attempt to exceed the posted limits, the accelerator pedal is designed to resist and vibrate, while an electronic warning sound is emitted and a light flashes on the car's dashboard. At the same time the actual speed limit will be shown on the screen.
Britain's chairman of the commission for Integrated Transport, David Begg, suggests that British motorists will actively choose to use the technology, "because it will prevent them from inadvertently exceeding the speed limit and will save many from losing their licences".
In Leicester and Leeds, ISA has been fitted to 20 cars and digital speed maps of both cities established for a trial of the proposed systems. However, computer malfunctions and teething problems mean that preliminary results will not be available until later this year.
In Sweden, more than 10,000 people in four cities have already been driving adapted vehicles in a controlled test of the set-up. After the $NZ20 million trial, more than 60 per cent of the participants wanted to retain the system in their cars.
Results from the Swedish exercise, which took place in 2002, have that country's National Road Administration estimating that death and injury levels would fall there by 30 per cent if every vehicle had the system.
The Swedish study found that drivers became less likely to exceed speed limits and that those with the worst driving records showed the biggest improvements. It was also found that drivers spent less time looking at their gauges and more at the road ahead, became more aware of pedestrians and allowed greater distances between their car and the one in front.
Despite lower peak speeds, average velocities and travelling times actually improved, while traffic flows also sped up and there were fewer instances of sudden braking and other unplanned manoeuvres.
Other benefits predicted include lower fuel-consumption levels and a drop in air pollution of more than 10 per cent.
There were some negatives, with many drivers saying that the system interfered with their enjoyment of motoring. Van and truck drivers with the system complained that it actually added to their daily work stresses.
In Britain, the main supporters of ISA point to improvements in road policing methods. Professor Begg said that "speed cameras and road humps could be removed because there would be far greater compliance with the speed limit". He said that the courts could be given the option of ordering motorists to have ISA fitted to their cars as an alternative to a driving ban.
A study by the transport safety department at Leeds University estimated that ISA could reduce deaths and injuries by 20 per cent if the system was generally in use. The university's Professor Oliver Carsten said that ISA would prevent cars from "drifting" over the speed limit and triggering speed cameras.
Initial versions of ISA are expected to cost about $NZ2500, with the price dropping as technology improves and the number of users increases. It is expected that more sophisticated versions of ISA would eventually become available, which would take into consideration real-time traffic density, weather conditions and even collisions and accidents that may have occurred in the users' immediate surroundings.
By working with existing satellite navigation systems, ISA could even direct nervous drivers away from black spots.
Britain's AA has reservations about ISA. The motoring group appears to welcome ISA as an additional driver safety tool, but railed against its "Big Brother" connotations.
The AA's head of roads policy said: "There are concerns that this system could be draconian and restrict freedom. But as long as it remains optional and can be switched off then it could be useful."
ISA devices are expected to be offered as optional accessories by car manufacturers at first, but British proponents of the system do not rule out making some level of ISA compulsory in all vehicles at some point.
Meanwhile, insurance giant Norwich Union is experimenting with tracking devices as a way of establishing a Pay As You Drive insurance scheme.
Hundreds of motorists are road-testing technology that could mean insurance premiums in the future calculated on how often, where and when people drive their cars, with adjustments for how quickly they drive.
Norwhich says that for the first time motorists will begin to understand what drives their premiums, ultimately allowing them to have greater control and to adjust their driving patterns and styles to reduce their motoring costs. Black box telematics devices are being fitted into 5000 Norwich Union customer cars across Britain.
The black box is smaller than a DVD case, and it records real-time vehicle usage and sends the data to Norwich Union using similar technology to that used by mobile phones.

Half of NYers Believe Government Complicity in 9/11

Zogby Poll: Half of New Yorkers Believe Government Complicity in 9/11
Zogby | August 31 2004

Half of New Yorkers Believe US Leaders Had Foreknowledge of Impending 9-11 Attacks and “Consciously Failed” To Act; 66% Call For New Probe of Unanswered Questions by Congress or New York’s Attorney General, New Zogby International Poll Reveals
On the eve of a Republican National Convention invoking 9/11 symbols, sound bytes and imagery, half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall say that some of our leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act," according to the poll conducted by Zogby International. The poll of New York residents was conducted from Tuesday August 24 through Thursday August 26, 2004. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/-3.5.
The poll is the first of its kind conducted in America that surveys attitudes regarding US government complicity in the 9/11 tragedy. Despite the acute legal and political implications of this accusation, nearly 30% of registered Republicans and over 38% of those who described themselves as "very conservative" supported the claim.
The charge found very high support among adults under 30 (62.8%), African-Americans (62.5%), Hispanics (60.1%), Asians (59.4%), and "Born Again" Evangelical Christians (47.9%).
Less than two in five (36%) believe that the 9/11 Commission had "answered all the important questions about what actually happened on September 11th," and two in three (66%) New Yorkers (and 56.2% overall) called for another full investigation of the "still unanswered questions" by Congress or Elliot Spitzer, New York's Attorney General. Self-identified "very liberal" New Yorkers supported a new inquiry by a margin of three to one, but so did half (53%) of "very conservative" citizens across the state. The call for a deeper probe was especially strong from Hispanics (75.6%), African-Americans (75.3%) citizens with income from $15-25K (74.3%), women (62%) and Evangelicals (59.9%).
W. David Kubiak, executive director of, the group that commissioned the poll, expressed genuine surprise that New Yorkers' belief in the administration's complicity is as high or higher than that seen overseas. "We're familiar with high levels of 9/11 skepticism abroad where there has been open debate of the evidence for US government complicity. On May 26th the Toronto Star reported a national poll showing that 63% of Canadians are also convinced US leaders had 'prior knowledge' of the attacks yet declined to act. There was no US coverage of this startling poll or the facts supporting the Canadians' conclusions, and there has been virtually no debate on the victim families' scores of still unanswered questions. I think these numbers show that most New Yorkers are now fed up with the silence, and that politicians trying to exploit 9/11 do so at their peril. The 9/11 case is not closed and New York's questions are not going away."
Nicholas Levis of, an advisor on the poll, agrees, "The 9/11 Commission gave us a plenty of 'recommendations', but far more plentiful were the discrepancies, gaps and omissions in their supposedly 'final' report. How can proposals based on such deficient findings ever make us safe? We think these poll numbers are basically saying, 'Wait just a minute. What about the scores of still outstanding questions? What about the unexplained collapses of WTC 7, our air defenses, official accountability, the chain of command on 9/11, the anthrax, insider trading & FBI field probes? There's so much more to this story that we need to know about.' When such a huge majority of New Yorkers want a new investigation, it will be interesting to see how quickly Attorney General Spitzer and our legislators respond."
SCOPE: The poll covered five areas of related interest: 1) Iraq - do New Yorkers think that our leaders "deliberately misled" us before the war (51.2% do); 2) the 9/11 Commission - did it answer all the "important questions" (only 36% said yes); 3) the inexplicable and largely unreported collapse of the third WTC skyscraper on 9/11 - what was its number (28% of NYC area residents knew); 4) the question on complicity; and 5) how many wanted a new 9/11 probe. All inquiries about questions, responses and demographics should be directed to Zogby International.
SPONSOR: is a coalition of researchers, journalists and victim family members working to expose and resolve the hundreds of critical questions still swirling around 9/11, especially the nearly 400 questions that the Family Steering Committee filed with the 9/11Commission which they fought to create. Initially welcomed by the commissioners as a "road map" for their inquiry, these queries cut to the heart of 9/11 crimes and accountability. Specifically, they raised the central issues of motive, means and cui bono (who profited?). But the Commission ignored the majority of these questions, opting only to explore system failures, miscommunications and incompetence. The victim families' most incisive issues remain unaddressed to this day. The Zogby International poll was also cosponsored by Walden Three ( and 9/11 Citizens Watch (, a watchdog group which has monitored the Commission since its inception and will release its findings, "The 9/11 Omission Report," in several weeks.
On September 9th and 11th, will cosponsor two large successive inquiries in New York, a preliminary 9/11 Citizens Commission hearing and "Confronting the Evidence: 9/11 and the Search for Truth," a research-focused evidentiary forum. These inquiries will examine many of the 9/11 Commission-shunned questions and discuss preparation of a probable cause complaint demanding a grand jury and criminal investigation from the New York Attorney General. Possible charges range from criminal negligence and gross dereliction of duty to foreknowledge, complicity and subsequent obstruction of justice. For details and developments, see For press info, contact Kyle Hence 212-243-7787
Zogby International conducted interviews of 808 adults chosen at random in New York State. All calls were made from Zogby International headquarters in Utica, N.Y., from 8/24/04 through 8/26/04. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, and gender to more accurately reflect the population. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Media Skepticism, Hostility to Religion Increasing

Networks Get Religion All Wrong, Survey Says
Number of Reports Increases, but So Does Skepticism, Hostility
Feature by Tim Graham
Media Research Center
August 25, 2004

(AgapePress) - In recent months, a number of dramatic religious stories have unfolded, from religious freedom in Iraq, to the installation of an openly gay bishop to the religious and commercial phenomenon around Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ. To measure the upsurge in religion coverage in 2003 and the beginning of 2004, Media Research Center (MRC) analysts surveyed every religion news story on ABC, CBS, and NBC news programs in the 12 months from March 1, 2003 through February 29, 2004. We then compared those numbers to MRC's first religion news study of 1993. Major findings include:

Religion coverage has more than doubled from ten years ago. Overall, the networks aired 699 segments in the study period, up from 336 in 1993. The number of evening news stories on the three networks is up fairly dramatically (121 in 1993, 303 in the 2003-04 period). The number of religion segments on prime-time magazine shows and late-night and Sunday interview shows is way up (18 in 1993 to 65 in the 2003-04 period). A smaller jump came on the morning shows (197 in 1993, 331 in the 2003-04 period).

But the skeptical tone of religion coverage -- covering religious issues like everyday political debates, favoring "religious" scholars who strongly question the authenticity of the Bible -- doesn't match the religious belief that Americans state in polls. In a Fox News-Opinion Dynamics poll last September, 92 percent expressed belief in God. A broad majority also expressed belief in heaven (85 percent), miracles (82 percent), angels (78 percent), hell (74 percent), and the devil (71 percent).

In February, an ABC News poll found a majority of Americans believe in the literal truth of the Bible. By contrast, polls over the years have established that journalists seldom or never attend religious services and are much less religious than the public as a whole.

That disconnect between the media elite and the public is especially risky for journalists when religion news is "hot," as it is right now. Even when the amount of religion news increases, the media's tone remains cold, questioning, even hostile. The more traditional or orthodox the religious belief, and the more influential it threatens to become in the culture at large, the more the networks seem to explain it away, as something "scholars" and "experts" dismiss.

The Catholic Church received the most coverage among faiths, but coverage of Islam rose dramatically. The 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's pontificate drew significant coverage with a balance of positive and negative angles. Media outlets continued to press stories on Catholic clergy sexual abuse and other ministerial failings. Coverage of Islam was up dramatically from ten years ago, even if it was largely contained to Iraq. The handful of stories on Islam in America mainly portrayed Muslims as victims of discrimination by non-Muslims.

Reporters often approached religious issues from a secular and political perspective. When the Episcopal Church USA appointed openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson, reporters focused relentlessly on the political, not scriptural or theological matters. Most of the TV interview time went to Robinson and his supporters (ten interviews to just one for a neutral church spokesman and one for an opponent). In news stories, the talking heads were almost balanced between supporters and opponents (39 to 45), but the labeling was very imbalanced (42 "conservative" labels for opponents to five "liberal" labels for the church or Robinson's supporters).

The tone of network TV religion coverage was hostile to orthodox faiths, and supportive to minority religions and progressive fads. Gibson's movie was by far the largest anti-Semitism story of the year. News coverage didn't shift from offending Jews to inspiring Christians until February, when a box-office boom became apparent. A much less orthodox product, author Dan Brown's Vatican-bashing novel The Da Vinci Code, was promoted with the mildest of factual challenges, without any notion that it was inaccurate or anti-Catholic, while Gibson's film was questioned thoroughly about its accuracy, its fairness, and its potentially violent impact.

The media's Rolodex of religion experts was dominated by those hostile to religious orthodoxy. The networks heavily favored "religious" scholars and journalists who strongly question orthodox religion and the accuracy of the Gospels, but did not describe them as liberals or secularists.

The MRC Special Report concludes with four ways the networks could improve their coverage of religion in the future: hire a full-time religion correspondent; hire reporters who are themselves religious; present the religious dimensions of social issues instead of focusing solely on political elements; and present viewers with a balance of religious experts, not just a few favored (generally liberal) theologians.

Low Birthrates Keeping World Population Down

Posted on Sun, Aug. 29, 2004
Low birthrates will keep world numbers down
By Donald G. McNeil Jr.
The New York Times

Remember the population bomb, the fertility explosion set to devour the world's food and suck up or pollute all its air and water? Its fuse has by no means been plucked. But over the last three decades, much of its Malthusian detonation power has leaked out.

Birthrates in developed countries from Italy to Korea have sunk below the levels needed for their populations to replace themselves; the typical age of marriage and pregnancy has risen, and the use of birth control has soared.

The threat is more regional than global, explosive only in places such as India and Pakistan. Ever since 1968, when the U.N. Population Division predicted that the world population, now 6.3 billion, would grow to at least 12 billion by 2050, the agency has regularly revised its estimates downward. Now it expects population to plateau at 9 billion.

Where did those billions go? Millions of babies have died, a fraction of them from AIDS, far more from malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, even measles. More millions have been aborted, either to avoid birth or, as in China and India, to avoid giving birth to a girl.

But even AIDS and abortion are drops in the demographic bucket. The real missing billions are the babies who were simply never conceived. They weren't conceived because their would-be elder brothers and sisters survived, or because women's lives improved. In the rich West, Mom decided that putting three children through graduate school would be unaffordable. In the poor Eastern or Southern parts of the globe, Mom found a sweatshop job and didn't need a fourth or fifth child to fetch firewood.

"On a farm, children help with the pigs or chickens," said Joseph Chamie, director of the U.N. population division. Nearly half of the world's people live in cities, he said, "and when you move to a city, children are not as helpful."

Beyond that, simple public-health measures such as dams for clean water, vitamins for pregnant women, hand-washing for midwives, oral rehydration salts for babies, vaccines for youngsters and antibiotics for all helped double world life expectancy in the 20th century, to 60 years from 30.

More surviving children means less incentive to give birth as often. As late as 1970, the world's median fertility level was 5.4 births per woman; in 2000, it was 2.9. Barring war, famine, epidemic or disaster, a country needs a birthrate of 2.1 children per woman to hold steady.

The best-known example of shrinkage is Italy, whose women were once symbols of fecundity partly because of the country's peasant traditions and partly because of its Roman Catholicism, which rejects birth control. By 2000, Italy's fertility rate was Western Europe's lowest, at 1.2 births per woman. Its population is expected to drop 20 percent by midcentury.

Even in North Africa, regarded as the great exception to the shrinking population trend, birthrates have dropped somewhat. Egypt's, for example, went from 5.4 births per woman in 1970 to 3.6 in 1999.

12 billion 1968 estimate of world population by 2050

9 billion Revised estimate by U.N. Population Division

China Realizes Infanticide Isn't Such a Good Idea

To Have Girls Is Glorious
China realizes infanticide isn't such a good idea.
Sunday, August 22, 2004 12:01 a.m.

China's one-child policy has many odious dimensions, but the most gruesome aspect of this type of "family planning" is the murder of millions of infant girls.

As a result, the ratio of males to females in China is unnaturally high, hovering between 117 to 119 boys for every 100 girls in 2000, according to China Daily and People's Daily. There are one-fifth more boys than girls because girls are so often aborted or killed after delivery.

Chinese officials have in the past boasted about preventing 300 million births since the one-child policy was implemented in the late 1970s, and for this they have often received the accolades of Western "family planning" supporters--including, sadly, feminists--who see "overpopulation" as a threat right up there with global warming. The Bush Administration has been the target of bien-pensants from Brussels to Hollywood for withholding support from the United Nations Population Fund, an agency that operates in China despite the coercive nature of the one-child policy.

But now even Chinese officials are starting to admit that the vast majority of these 300 million were girls. So bad have things become that the government has finally started to worry, and earlier this month announced a raft of new programs to reverse the trend. The National Population and Family Planning Commission launched a pilot project called "Care for Girls," which will experiment with incentives in some parts of the country.

These will include cash payments for couples who have a daughter and let her live, as well as privileges in housing, employment and job training. The payments will be doled out to families at different stages of the girl's life, apparently in an effort to prevent families from gaming the system. Some families with girls will also be exempted from paying school fees. People's Daily said another experiment will involve enhancing the political status of the girl and her family.

According to some reports, the government will also start cracking down on hospitals and doctors who perform ultrasounds and other tests that allow couples to know the gender of the child in the womb. It will also get serious about stopping the drowning of infant girls and the practice of abandoning them in the wild. Finally, China plans a re-education campaign--slogans and all--to teach its citizens to treat girls well.
The officials who announced this pilot program put much emphasis on China's, and Asia's, predilection for boys as the reason why China has such a lop-sided gender ratio. Zhang Weiqing, minister of the state family planning commission, said the one-child policy had nothing to do with the imbalance. This beggars belief, and perhaps Mr. Zhang could explain why one of the approaches being experimented with is allowing couples whose first-born is a girl to have a second child.

China seems to have learned the hard way what the one-child program can produce. Because it was first imposed in the late 1970s, men in their 20s are having to deal with the harsh reality of six bachelors for every five potential brides. There are numerous reports of kidnappings of women across the country as frustrated men try any means to procure wives. As a new generation of (mostly male) Chinese move into positions of authority, they have an incentive to correct the gender imbalance.

Democrat, Republican ... Theyre the Same

August 5, 2004
by Joe Sobran

I recently quoted G.K. Chesterton on the flaw in a
two-party system: "The democracy has the right to answer
questions, but it has no right to ask them. It is still
the political aristocracy that asks the questions. And we
shall not be unreasonably cynical if we suppose that the
political aristocracy will always be rather careful what
questions it asks."

In fact, the two big parties always ask the same
irksome question: Which of us do you prefer? If your
reply is "neither," you may, like half the electorate,
stay home on election day.

The proof that both parties are really the same
party is simple: Neither wants to repeal much of what the
other party has achieved. The Republicans now promise to
preserve and even aggrandize all the Democratic programs
and agencies they used to oppose. One "neoconservative"
journalist, Fred Barnes, approvingly calls President Bush
a "big-government conservative."

Actually, the phrase is slightly misleading, even
apart from being a contradiction in terms. Bush is a
bigger-government conservative, or rather a
much-bigger-government conservative, for whom there are
no limits on the size and scope of government. You might
as well call him a totalitarian conservative.

So our "choices" are liberal and conservative
totalitarianism. Both parties are one in seeking an
indefinite, irreversible accumulation of power by
government. They differ slightly on the immediate
direction this growth should take, but there is no debate
on the shared premise that government should just keep
growing. When they promise "change," they always mean
more government; never that the premise itself will

Those who want to choose "neither" but don't want to
stay home on November 2 may want to consider Michael
Anthony Peroutka of the Constitution Party. Peroutka is a
pleasant, good-humored Maryland lawyer who sings and
plays the guitar at his campaign rallies. No extravagant
claims should be made for his singing and strumming, but
his campaign theme may be sweet music to your ears:
finite government.

Peroutka doesn't just want to halt government
growth; he wants to prune away most of the jungle of laws
that has already grown. The Constitution Party is
dedicated to repealing the vast body of legislation,
including overweening judicial rulings, that isn't
authorized by the U.S. Constitution. It wants to change
the two parties' premise.

It's a sign of the times that a party that stands
for recognizing the limits imposed by the Constitution is
regarded as extremist, unelectable, radical, outside the
mainstream. This is a phase new political movements
always have to endure, as the "political aristocracy"
tries to keep them good and marginalized. It happened to
the Goldwater/Reagan movement.

Peroutka denies that he's a "spoiler" hoping to move
the Republican Party rightward. He's not trying to spoil
anything; he's trying to restore something. And, like
most members of his party, he has long since given up
hope that the Republicans will ever restore it.

Everything old becomes new again, and the
constitutional paradigm Peroutka wants to bring back
would by now seem like a novelty. Only serious students
of American history are aware that it once existed. Not
only did it exist, it worked far better than most other
forms of government, despite all pressures to change.

As Chesterton also wrote, "It is futile to discuss
reform without reference to form." For Peroutka, reform
means a return to form. And the form lies close at hand:
in the Constitution. The two parties pretend to honor it,
take oaths to uphold it, and ignore it. The Republicans
sometimes try, in their gauche manner, to amend it, but
the Democrats have long since learned to circumvent it
(especially through the judiciary) by inflating a few
passages and forgetting the rest -- the "living document"
approach, which denies that words have objective meaning.

But no real rule of law can emerge from subjectivist
interpretation, by either legislators or judges. So in a
sense, Peroutka isn't just running for office; he's
fighting for an honest political language that has become
almost extinct among us. The Constitution presupposes
that words do have objective meaning, and that a shared
and reliable political language is one of the deepest
preconditions of a free society. If you doubt that fuzzy
language can lead to tyranny, look around you.

Michael Peroutka doesn't expect to win this year.
But he is confident that in the end, the truth is never
offered in vain.

Supreme Court a 'Tool For Social Engineering'

Top court becomes a tool for social engineering
David Warren
Ottawa Citizen
Monday, August 30, 2004

'Don't try and pull the wool over my eyes," Judge Judy says. (This is Judith Sheindlin, the New York City family-court judge who later became a daytime TV star in the same jurisdiction.) "I'm smarter than you."
While her tone might be different -- there would be no self-deprecating humour in it, only her patented scorn and contempt for opponents -- Canada's newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella might adopt this as her own judicial motto.
She is an embodiment of a class of people who genuinely believe themselves to be smarter than the rest of us, to be ahead on the historical curve -- so far ahead, and moving so fast, that they cannot even hear the patter of the people running to keep up with them.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when Irwin Cotler, our country's new justice minister, introduced Abella to our highest bench.
I laughed, at first -- even though I knew it wasn't a joke, that the appointment of Abella and of Louise Charron, two radical feminist Ontario Appeal Court judges to the vacant places among the Santa suits, was probably meant to provoke people like me.
To provoke, generally, anyone who disagrees with the notion that the law exists to advance projects in social engineering -- to create, by extra-Parliamentary means, what Josef Stalin called "the new Soviet man" (although Stalin might be dismissed today as gender-insensitive, and we need a new word to replace the discredited "Soviet").
Cotler claims Justices Abella and Charron were not appointed for political reasons, that their unambiguous commitment to, for example, same-sex marriage, had nothing to do with the Supreme Court's impending rulings on that very subject, that they were chosen only for their stellar qualities from a large constellation of brilliant orbs.
Moreover, he claimed that the candidates would be thoroughly vetted by Parliament in a special three-hour hearing the next day, by a committee that would not be entitled to ask questions of either appointee, and whose recommendations would not be binding even on themselves. (Thus fulfilling the prime minister's election campaign commitment to a new era in government accountability.)
Were I Judge Judy, I would reply, "Don't try and pull the wool over my eyes. I'm smarter than you."
Not really smarter, however, for I'm at a loss to suggest what could be done to resist the continuing transformation of Canada's Supreme Court into a politically correct Star Chamber.
Cotler is himself a mediocrity, a bubble in the pond, a plaything of the Zeitgeist.
He is a hack -- in politics, as I am in journalism, though compared to me, he knows how to rise.
One gets the impression, listening to him, not only that he actually believes what he is saying, but that he is honestly unaware that anyone watching might consider it to be blathering nonsense.
But what can be done when, to coin a phrase, the members of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition are not "real men?"
Those at the confirmation hearing had precious little time to say anything at all, on or off camera, but wasted what they had complaining about the ludicrous process. Not one -- especially, not one Tory -- could find anything disagreeable to say about either of the candidates.
I submit that a Tory who can't find a single disagreeable thing to say about Rosalie Abella is a Tory in the middle stage of a brain transplant.
This is the woman who attempted to establish, as a young family court judge, such remarkable legal principles as: No child-support payment can be "inappropriately" high; and the final, contractual terms of a divorce settlement may be re-opened at the woman's whim.
These, and other such creative judgments, were struck down by higher courts.
But now, Abella is the Supreme Court. Her views on anal intercourse alone -- and they are extensive --would have been worth exploring.
You don't have to be very smart, however, to know what Cotler knows, and for that matter what his puppeteer, Prime Minister Paul Martin, knows, about the political system they have inherited.
They know that the most extraordinary nonsense can be uttered in Canada, without fear of challenge by anyone in the mainstream of public opinion. Not because everyone agrees, but because no one has the courage.
And besides, even those who are vexed come to appreciate that it is more of the same -- just another small step on the road to perdition.

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2004