Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Friday, January 18, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Cruise Indoctrination Video Scientology Tried To Suppress
Monday, January 14, 2008
From http://ezralevant.com/2008/01/kangaroo-court.html by Ezra Levant (via Andrew Sullivan)
I have just returned home from my session at the kangaroo court, called the Alberta human rights commission. Here is my opening statement that I delivered at the interrogation. I will post more details about the interrogation soon.
Opening remarks by Ezra Levant, January 11, 2008 –
My name is Ezra Levant. Before this government interrogation begins, I will make a statement.
When the Western Standard magazine printed the Danish cartoons of Mohammed two years ago, I was the publisher. It was the proudest moment of my public life. I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website, ezralevant.com.
I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the
I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.
I have read the past few years’ worth of decisions from this commission, and it is clear that it has become a dump for the junk that gets rejected from the real legal system. I read one case where a male hair salon student complained that he was called a “loser” by the girls in the class. The commission actually had a hearing about this. Another case was a kitchen manager with Hepatitis-C, who complained that it was against her rights to be fired. The commission actually agreed with her, and forced the restaurant to pay her $4,900. In other words, the commission is a joke – it’s the
It’s bad enough that this sick joke is being wreaked on hair salons and restaurants. But it’s even worse now that the commissions are attacking free speech. That’s my first point: the commissions have leapt out of the small cage they were confined to, and are now attacking our fundamental freedoms. As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, a man who helped form these commissions in the 60’s and 70’s, wrote, in specific reference to our magazine, being a censor is, quote, “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions. There should be no question of the right to publish the impugned cartoons.” Unquote. Since the commission is so obviously out of control, he said quote “It would be best, therefore, to change the provisions of the Human Rights Act to remove any such ambiguities of interpretation.” Unquote.
The commission has no legal authority to act as censor. It is not in their statutory authority. They’re just making it up – even Alan Borovoy says so.
That common law has been restated in various fundamental documents, especially since the Second World War.
In 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
The 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights guaranteed, quote
1. “ human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,
(c) freedom of religion; (d) freedom of speech; (e) freedom of assembly and association; and (f) freedom of the press.
In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed, quote:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
Those were even called “fundamental freedoms” – to give them extra importance.
For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values.
It is also deeply procedurally one-sided and unjust. The complainant – in this case, a radical Muslim imam, who was trained at an officially anti-Semitic university in
It is procedurally unfair. Unlike real courts, there is no way to apply for a dismissal of nuisance lawsuits. Common law rules of evidence don’t apply. Rules of court don’t apply. It is a system that is part Kafka, and part Stalin. Even this interrogation today – at which I appear under duress – saw the commission tell me who I could or could not bring with me as my counsel and advisors.
I have no faith in this farcical commission. But I do have faith in the justice and good sense of my fellow Albertans and Canadians. I believe that the better they understand this case, the more shocked they will be. I am here under your compulsion to answer the commission’s questions. But it is not I who am on trial: it is the freedom of all Canadians.
You may start your interrogation.
Friday, January 11, 2008
by Ilya Lichtenstein
A recent Avanoo question asked “Who do you think won the Democratic debate?” The results were pretty evenly divided among Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, with John Edwards a strong third. But digging deeper with the Wisdom of Communities, we saw an interesting pattern- when filtering results by religion, 80% of atheists thought Barack Obama won the debate. Hillary Clinton, the overall frontrunner, has 0% support among atheists so far. Was it something he said?
It is a bit of a problem, the title "Atheist"--No one really wants to be defined by what they do not believe in. We haven't yet settled on a name, but you wouldn't expect a Baptist minister to go around calling himself an a-Darwinist. But it is crucial that people who do not have a sky god and don't have a set of supernatural beliefs assert their belief in moral values and in love and in the transcendence that they might experience in landscape or art or music or sculpture or whatever. Since they do not believe in an afterlife, it makes them give more valence to life itself. The little spark that we do have becomes all the more valuable when you can't be trading off any moments for eternity.
Ian McEwan in the TNR (via Andrew Sullivan)