Idealistic Naivete Can Kill.

Ideals are a good thing. Getting out and pursuing your ideals and goals is also always a good thing.

Being blinded by your ideals to the point of experiencing a complete loss of common sense and endangering yourself however is not such a good thing.

A recent event brought these self-destructive people to mind for me. I will list three prime and suicidal idealists who have died of naivete.

PIPPA BACCA

Pippa Bacca

Recently a performance artist named Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo (known as Pippa Bacca) decided that in order to demonstrate that all people are good at heart and somehow promote world peace, she would hitchhike throughout the Middle-East while wearing a wedding dress.

Ms. Bacca’s ill advised trip lasted from March 20, 2008 until March 31 when she disappeared in Turkey. Bacca’s raped body was discovered and identified shortly afterwards.

The unfortunate Pippa lasted less than two weeks on her journey and in giving her life she actually achieved the opposite of her goals. Bacca’s death illustrated that indeed not all people are sweethearts and the Middle-East simply is not a terribly peaceful place. Hardly a point that somebody needed to die to prove.

TIMOTHY TREADWELL

 Timothy Treadwell (AKA The Grizzly Man) made a name for himself with his documentaries where he would approach and play with wild grizzly bears in Alaska.

 Despite numerous warnings from park officials, Treadwell would insist upon sneaking into areas in order to get his footage. Park records indicate that Treadwell’s violations included: Guiding tourists without a license, camping in the same area longer than the Parks Service’s seven-day limit, improper food storage, wildlife harassment, and conflicts with visitors and their guides.

 Treadwell’s goal was to demonstrate that grizzly bears were simply gentle giants who loved human company. Grizzly bears were not dangerous in Treadwell’s world, they simply were misunderstood. Many environmentalists applauded this man’s work and considered him a great pioneer in building human/grizzly relationships.

 The law of averages finally caught up to the “grizzly man” in early October 2003. The partially eaten remains of Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard (his girlfriend) were discovered near his campsite. Treadwell had set up a campsite next to a salmon stream in fall when grizzlies are fattening up for winter. While Treadwell clearly did not realize it, the grizzlies realized that Treadwell and his girlfriend are indeed made up predominantly of protein and they were promptly consumed.

 When park rangers came to the campsite, a grizzly was present and protecting it’s kill. The rangers shot it. Shortly afterwards rangers were forced to shoot another young bear as it charged them. Despite the assertions of Treadwell, bears are rather aggressive when there is meat about. Treadwell’s idiocy not only led to his own death and his girlfriend’s death, but to that of two of the bears he claimed to love.

 RACHEL CORRIE

Rachel was a nice young idealist living in the American Northwest. Like many young people, Rachel felt there was wrong being done on the planet and that she must do something to remedy these wrongs.

 Unfortunately Rachel was recruited by the “International Solidarity Movement”. Rachel was filled in on the atrocities of the Zionists in Israel and promptly took off to halt these evils in the Gaza Strip.

 On March 16, 2003, Rachel was run over and killed by an armoured D9 bulldozer while trying to block the machine with her body. It would appear that bulldozers are much faster in Israel than they are here. I work with them constantly and have never had difficulty in stepping out of the way.

 The outcry was immediate and some elements of the anti-Israel community have shamelessly tried to capitalize on Rachel’s death. Corrie’s death has been called murder (despite multiple investigations indicating that the driver could not have possibly even seen her much less chased her down) and a play has even been travelling North America telling the Rachel Corrie story. A nice looking and idealistic girl makes the best sort of martyr for these kinds of things.

 While the left has canonized Rachel Corrie, others who have looked more deeply into the issue have christened her St. Pancake.

 To begin with, the “International Solidarity Movement” is anything but a peace group. Increasingly it has been indicated that this group thrives on finding foolish Western kids and dropping them into war zones in hopes of drawing attention to their cause. One of their reps says it well: George Rishmawi of the ISM told the San Francisco Chroniclethat “When Palestinians get shot by Israeli soldiers, no one is interested anymore. But if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.” This George Rishmawi is an activist with the Palestinian Communist Party by the way.

 The death list for this “International Solidarity Movement” also includes Tom Hurndall. Shot in the face while volunteering for ISM was Brian Avery. Australian ISM volunteer Kate Edwards sustained severe internal injuries while out there for the cause.  The ISM is doing well generating these Western martyrs.

The ISM is hard at it trying to recruit more young western martyrs here.

They give travel tips and assure you that they will put you right in the war zone. You have to pay for it yourself of course as most of funds that head that way seem to have been set aside for explosives and such.

 Lets look through Rachel’s activities upon arrival.

 First Rachel got herself into the imaginary mode that she herself was indeed a Palestinian woman being oppressed by Israel.

Next, Rachel decided to help young school children by teaching them how to burn American flags.

Look at the love and passion in the face of this young western “peace” activist.

 

 Now the importance of good flagburning technique can never be understated. Had the poor young fellow pictured below been able to take advantage of Rachel Corrie’s tutelage, he may have been able to avoid his nearly premature trip to 72 virgins.

After Rachel’s teaching duties were completed, she was ready to be moved to the front lines.

 While ISM activists deny it, the constant barrage of missiles into residential areas of Israel sort of indicate that Palestinians are getting them from somewhere. A common method of this is to dig tunnels into neighboring countries in order to smuggle ordnance in. Israel uses bulldozers to close these tunnels.

 Rachel sadly thought that it would be wise to stand in front of one of these slow-moving machines with very limitted visibility in order to stop it.

 Rachel was crushed shortly after her shortsighted effort.

 There are a great many pictures of this incident out there. This is due to the ISM moving rather too quickly in cooking their spin on this new martyr.

Shortly after Corrie’s death, the ISM placed photographs on a website which it claimed showed the events leading up to Corrie’s death. AP, Reuters, and many Internet discussion pages reported that the photographs showed two (perhaps three) different bulldozers and inconsistent pictures of the sun’s movement across the skies. The ISM then changed the site to show a more consistent group of photographs.

 The death of Rachel Corrie and the others listed above were truly tragic. Any premature loss of life is a sad thing. All three deaths could easily have been prevented however by just a dash of common sense.

 If you know a young person who wants to make their splash in activist circles, it may be advised to tell them to put on a mask, attend a protest and smash the windows out of a Gap store as so many others do. It may lead to an arrest and some tear-gas pain, but it will beat the hell out of being eaten by grizzlies, being raped and killed or being squashed by a bulldozer. They will live long enough to realize how important self-preservation is.

Just stick to delivering mail.

 The Canadian postal workers used to gleefully hold the Canadian public hostage with their chronic strikes that would cripple the nation. They often would strike (or threaten to) shortly before Christmas when people wanted to send their gifts and such. We were dependent on mail and strikes were often settled quickly and in favor of the workers in order to end the damage being done.

 It has now been over 10 years since the last general strike by Canada Post workers. This must be a new record since the postal service was unionized and there is no indication that we will see a strike any time soon. The reason for this is that when the postal workers last went on strike in 1997 the world had changed on them. Email, private couriers and fax machines had made the nation far less dependent on the postal service. Instead of driving the nation into fear and discomfort as they usually had done when going on strike, what the postal union garnered in the 1997 strike was rage and loathing. The public was annoyed by their strike, but with modern technology the outcome of the strike was not the expected shutdown of business and finance as past strikes had been.

 With this sudden and complete loss of public support, the Liberal government pounced and drafted back to work legislation. What was great with this is that the postal workers were now forced to settle for an offer that was even less than the last one from Canada Post that they had rejected. The humbled postal workers grumbled back to work fresh with the knowledge that the public was no longer nearly as reliant on their unskilled and over-compensated efforts as they used to be. The postal union has not dared to strike since.

 While strikes are off the table for the union as the postal service is now so easily replacable and the public really does not feel that glorified flyer delivery people deserve any further raises, this has not stopped the union from trying to exert force and power upon Canadians.

 While unions are supposedly there for the representation of workers, they are increasingly poking into the world of global politics. The latest stunt has been for the president of their union to call for a boycott of goods from Israel and to threaten to block mail to and from Israel! The threat came from a letter sent in response to a Jonathan Kay article in the National Post. The response from CUPW president Denis Lemelin is below:

Re: Jonathan Kay asks: Now that CUPW is boycotting Israel, will Canada Post deliver mail to the Israeli embassy? April 28.
If Jonathan Kay admits “I’m no labour expert”, why does he direct questions about the internal workings of CUPW to everyone except the union itself? If he had bothered to ask us, we would have supplied a pretty simple answer: Unlike the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinian mail, CUPW has no plans to block mail to and from Israel as of yet. Our concern is that the policies of the Government of Israel are unjust and violate international law; therefore we will be encouraging our members to boycott Israeli made products. We are taking this position because over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organizations have called for a global campaign similar to the one applied to South Africa in their apartheid era. These measures will continue until the Israeli government recognizes the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, puts an end to military assaults, hydrocide and other acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people, and until Israel fully complies with international law, including a raft of UN resolutions. It’s time to push for a fair and just settlement so that both Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace. 

Sincerely,

Denis Lemelin
National President, CUPW

As of yet????!!!  Who the hell do you think you are??? It is not the place for postal workers or their union to decide which nations they will or will not deliver mail to or from. It never will be their place.

 To Canadian postal workers I say this; Your skills are on par with that of children who deliver flyers after school and on weekends for minimum wage. You can and will be easily replaced if you push things too far.  If ever you take it upon yourselves to start selectively delivering our mail based on political stands of your union, you can rest assured that privatization of your employer will be very soon to follow. You lost the last time you listened to your union leadership and went on strike, you will lose again if you follow the path that your current president is following. You have it pretty good right now. I stongly suggest that you either take your union leadership to task on this one or replace them. You are government employees and are obligated to deliver that mail. Stick to your mandate.

Freedom of speech.

This being my maiden posting on my new blog, I can’t think of a more appropriate subject right now than that of freedom of speech.

The internet has brought about a new platform for the exchange of thoughts and ideas. This easy and inexpensive means of communication has empowered millions around the world. The evolution, growth and potential of the internet is astounding. Any person can speak their mind and have it potentially published to millions. People can research and find in minutes what used to take days in a library. The internet is an incredible tool and has brought the power of the individual to a new height.

Due to all of the above of course, those who feel that discourse and expression need to be controlled are terrified by the developments of the last decade.

One of the most effective means of maintaining a dictatorship has been to stifle expression and communication between individuals. If people have limitted access to information, they can be easily led. If people have limitted communication among each other, they can be easily oppressed.

In the late 80s, I had the good fortune to be able to tour parts of Soviet Russia and some of Eastern Europe. Security was very tight at borders. Unlike most border crossings where one would expect to be searched for things such as drugs or weapons, what I was searched for in communist Russia was books and cassettes. The largest threat that the communists saw to their evil regime was the introduction of outside thought and news to their populace. The availability of government produced literature was amazing. Books and leaflets were everywhere and were exceedingly cheap and often free. Outside literature was of course nowhere to be seen.

Even prior to the internet, communication throughout the world was improving in leaps and bounds. Despite the best efforts of the communists in Russia, news from the outside world leaked in and eventually the populace learned what misery they actually were enduring. Gorbachev and the concept of glasnost came about in hopes of easing the inevitable transition as it was clear that the regime could not be sustained. His efforts were too little too late and the communist regime finally collapsed upon itself from pressure within.

Decades of cold war were fought to try and fight communism in Russia. In the end, it was not bullets that brought that horrible regime to an end, it was information and communication among citizens that brought communist Russia down.

The power of free speech and communication can never be understated. This power threatens those who would stifle freedoms and oppress individuals and must always be vigilantly protected.

Free speech is not a left/right issue. Free speech is essential for people on all sides of the political spectrum (aside from totalitarians). Even an individual as loathsome as Noam Chomsky recognizes the importance of this as he said here:

“If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”

Despite how clear it is that free speech and expression are essential in a free society, free speech is always under attack by people for a variety of reasons. Currently in Canada, we are seeing quite a story unfold as the entire blogosphere is under attack by some individuals who are abusing the Canadian Human Rights Commission and our legal system.

The prime individual who has been leading this assault on the exchange of ideas on the internet is a man named Richard Warman. Some years ago, Warman learned that the Human Rights Commissions in Canada could be used to make a living. Warman began with the easy pickings on the internet. By appearing as the plaintiff in most section 13 hearings, Warman could not only shut up those who were posting ideas who he felt should not be expressed on the internet, Warman could also gain personal compensation for his hurt feelings while he was at it. Despite the rather staggering evidence easily available, Warman somehow takes offense when it is pointed out that he is a professional litigant and a censor. Well Warman, the shoe fits so get over it.

It was a nice little racket for Warman for awhile. By initially targetting self-proclaimed nazis and white supremacists, it was easy to win cases as few people will stand up to defend people like that. The problem that Warman soon encountered however was that despite his assertations and those of people such as Warren Kinsella, there really are not that many nazis or white supremacists in existence. The gravy train was drying up fast. Rather than seek a real job, Warman and people such as his pal from the HRC Dean Steacy decided to create online identities such as “Jadewarr” and “Lucy” and began to troll discussion forums in hopes of provoking actionable speech. Entrapment is another term for what appears to have happened. It appears that somebody in the human rights office stole the wireless internet signal of an innocent woman in order to make these offensive postings online. That sort of indicates that these people were quite aware that what they were doing is dead wrong but clearly they felt that violating the rights of others is well justified in their hunt for imaginary nazis and such.

The reason that much of these happenings are coming to light is that these anti-speech people have finally bitten off more than they could chew. In targetting fringe discussion forums and such, Warman and his ilk have been able to slide under the radar until recently. When respected individuals in the media became targets of the Human Rights Commissions however, things quickly fell apart. Ezra Levant masterfully exposed the goings on in the Star Chamber when he videotaped and broadcast his interrogation on the internet. Macleans magazine (a Canadian institution) became a target of the human rights commissions as well. What this did was finally shine a light on what has been going on in Canada in the last decade with these commissions.

Like most vermin, Warman despises having light shone upon him. The kangaroo courts of the Human Rights Commissions have been exposed and one of his better means of income is being threatened. In a response of desperation, Warman has turned to the civil courts in hopes of stifling discussion of his doings. It is hard to keep track of the list of lawsuits he has initiated. From what I can gather so far, those Warman has targetted so far are:

Ezra Levant

Conservative discussion forum owned by Connie and Mark Fornier; freedominion

Blog smalldeadanimals run by Kate McMillan

Blog five feet of fury run by Kathy Shaidle

Columnist Jonathan Kay and the National Post itself and perhaps others, the list appears to grow daily.

Despite this, Warman takes offense to being called a serial litigant.

In a new twist to this, it looks like has-been Warren Kinsella has jumped on the bandwagon.

The posting on a discussion site that Kinsella took offense to in his statement of claim is below:

From planting hateful screeds on the internet to photographing bathrooms stalls at knee-height, there is no place where stawart Nazi hunters like Richard Warman and Warren Kinsella fear to tread. How can anyone reasonably complain about the fact that people like these are using our tax dollars to sell off our most essential freedoms when there are Nazis hiding behind every Canadian maple tree?

Yet the only Nazi-like behaviour I have ever witnessed in Canada has come from people like Richard Warman and Warren Kinsella. To the best of my knowledge, I have never met an actual Nazi. Although there are many Canadians who adhere to the Soviet version of socialism, I have yet to encounter a single one who has tried to convince me of the merits of National Socialism.

So where are all these Nazis?

According to Warren Kinsella’s intrepid knee-height photography in public men’s room toilet stalls, there is at least one of them on the loose. The camera never lies, right?

Kinsella did post pictures of bathroom scrawlings on his blog and Warman has been involved in posting on questionable sites.

I am not a lawyer, but I really do not see what is actionable here. If it gets far enough, I am pretty confident that a judge will ask the same question.

The logic behind this spate of lawsuits is likely a SLAPP attempt (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Essentially by attacking the blogosphere and free media with this barrage of legal action, Warman and Kinsella are hoping to intimidate and mire individuals in legal costs in hopes of stifling the speech that they have determined must not be uttered.

Legal defense is expensive and time consuming. The victims of these suits are likely going to suffer under years of stress, lost time and expenses in the many thousands even if they are found to be innocent in all this.

It is frightening to see the efforts that some people will go to in order to stop the free exchange of ideas on the internet.

Sure, plenty of things said are offensive and idiotic. The price to be paid by stifling speech in order to stop some of these offensive comments is way to high however.

Canada has criminal laws to cover true hate speech as well as libel. The anti-speech folks know that their case would never withstand the scrutiny of a criminal court thus they have resorted to using human rights commissions and civil courts in hopes of stifling discussion.

The precidents that could be set in the coming months are terrifying. I encourage everybody to discuss and keep this issue alive. The vicitims in these suits need help too. All of them have the means to donate to their legal defenses on their sites. You do not need to agree with or even like what they have to say, but it must be understood how important that it is for these people (and ourselves) to have the right to express ourselves.

The links to those targetted by the anti-speech crowd are below:

Smalldeadanimals

Ezra Levant

Freedominion

Jonathan Kay at the National Post

Fivefeetoffury

Their fight is all of ours.