As I write this introduction, two momentous world-events are on the horizon. The first, a few days ago, saw the world remember the Holocaust on January 20th, the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, when the extermination of the Jewish people became Nazi policy. On January 27th fell the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Much has been learned, but much has been forgotten. Today anti-Semitism is on the rise, not so much from Ku Klux Klan-ers or neo-Nazis in Germany as from widespread Muslim hatred of Israel. Today, when Israelis are being systematically denied jobs on key committees in the UN, when Israel is threatened with court sanctions in the EU, the World Court, and the UN, the world must again pause to remember the horrors of Auschwitz and the price of "peace in our time." Too many have forgotten, as the history of Rwanda, Sudan, the Balkans, Somalia etc. shows. Canadians would do well to keep the UN accountable for the true atrocities of the world, atrocities which the UN was formed to prevent.
Not everyone has forgotten, however. For all the faults of the current American President, Iraq has just celebrated its first free elections in 50 years
! This happened only because the US, together with the UK and other allies, brought down a man responsible for unbearable tyranny. It would be wrong and inaccurate for me to claim that all Canadians, or even all Red Ensigners are strongly supportive of President Bush's mission in Iraq. However, I can say with confidence that those who fly the Red Ensign, the flag of Canada's former strength, are proud of what is happening in Iraq today. And, though they came to late for me to include in this round-up, many of them are posting on this momentous event.
Sitting on my shelves gathering dust back at home in Canada is an exemplary collection of literature: Encylopaedia Britannica's "Great Books" series. In the preface to that series one may read about the "Great Conversation," many of whose threads are found in those books. We Red Ensigners are not a homogenous bunch. Our group comprises fiscal and social conservatives, social liberals, classical liberals, and several excellent representatives of Libertarianism. Some of us are Americans, others Canadians, and some, like me, are expatriates overseas. What we all share, however, apart from a reasonably civil exchange of ideas in the back and forth of our own chaper of the "Great Conversation," is a commitment to the best ideals of the Canada that flew the Red Ensign.
I am thankful that I come from a country, and live in a country, where freedom of expression is part of the nation's cultural heritage. As Canada continues its journey on this "planet that's evolving, revolving at 900 miles an hour," in the words of Monty Python, Canadians do well to use that opportunity to ponder how best to approach the present and the future. The members of the Red Ensign blogroll are doing just that, whether it be in response to recent government moves to legislate same sex marriage (about which nearly everyone has something to say, pro or con; I'm with the former, for the record), foreign policy, or NAFTA economics.
My own thoughts on Canada in this post will be short and to the point. I left Canada, and am happy here in South Korea. Canada is a land where the lower middle class can barely afford a university education. Staggering levels of personal student loans, in spite of part time jobs and scholarships, work against retraining for better work. In my case such was required when I lost my religious motivation for a career in Hebrew Bible. Meanwhile, public transit in the suburbs is so insufficient that it renders them nearly unlivable without a car--a luxury that is not affordable for many--even as metropolitan authorities squander the people's money without adequate care or thought.
What can Canada offer the world? Much! But as a country it needs to start reinvesting in its human capital. To do this it must first excise the corruption and mismanagement of public funds that has become rampant in government. How best to do that can be the subject of many a blogging post (scrapping the 2 billion dollar gun registry would seem a good place to start); however, my prefatory remarks are done. I welcome you, now, to the Red Ensign Standard, #14!
Red Ensign Standard #14
We open the blogroll with Absinthe & Cookies
, where lth is quoting the poetry of Robbie Burns
to commemorate the Scotsman's birthday anniversary:
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever
Ae fareweel, and then for ever!
Had we never lov'd sae kindly
Had we never lov'd sae blindly
Never met or never parted
We had ne'er been broken-hearted
"lth" doesn’t want Newt Gingrich to be the next US President
, even if Newt is enjoyable on TV.
Still frozen in the great and wonderful city of Montreal, Paul Jané of All AgitProp, All the Time"
is glad he doesn’t live in Poland, considering how many foreign heads of state he’s been insulting!
After reading through all the news and comments on the issue of same sex marriage (I've written on the issue myself), I think Paul has the best post on the subject
--which is to say, it shouldn't be THE subject:
I can't believe it, this is what things have come to in this stupid country; forget about such little details as the fact that we're taxed to death, that both Federal and Provincial Governments all over this country have no qualms about throwing our money away in all sorts of creative and exciting manners, that our Armed Forces are ill-equipped to deal with anything bigger than crowd control after a hockey game, or that, internationally, we have about as much clout as a slightly irritated dung beetle. Rather than worry about those insignificant little things, our entire political life now revolves around whether gay people should marry or not (well, that, and doing our sack cloth and ashes routine when natural disasters strike thousands of miles away), and PM Smug over here is willing to fight an election over it if that's what it takes.
Has it occurred to anyone that we may have lost sight of the bigger picture around here lately??
Meanwhile, on the Quebecois issue of funding for Jewish schools, under with pressure to conform to US-style conservatism on the issue of free choice, Paul opts for a third, more Libertarian way
, one I'm sure our Libertarian friends to the south would agree with.
Resident in California, Dirtcrashr of Anthroblogogy
, notes that he shares a birthday
with Ben Franklin. He also has some thoughts on the new Airbus 380
American John of Arrgghhh!
suggests that his readers buy a recent patriotic bumper sticker with a message
concerning the nation’s support for its troops in Iraq. John is very pleased with his current status as the 19th most popular blog in the US! Congratulations, John! He also is running a caption contest on this fascinating picture
(at the link, please scroll down to the second picture).
Damian over at Babbling Brooks
notes a recent important victory for free speech
in Canada, and is angry
that Blogspot lost two posts in one week. He won’t swear in print, however, lest his mother read it! Damian, you're a better man than I.
Like most Red Ensigners, Chris of Chris and Dennis at Blue Tory
has something to say, one way or another about the politicization of the same sex marriage debate
. He's just picked the best title! (Our American friends should note: in Canada, blue is the color of the Conservative Party.)
Andrew at Bound by Gravity"
notes that when it comes to condoms and sexuality
, there are Catholics, and then there are Catholics. Andrew also doesn’t like it that Harper ran a bunch of contentious ads on the same sex marriage issue without consulting his party. Andrew offers some thoughts on a troubling study showing an absence of awareness of the Holocaust
Huck at Bumfonline
has more thoughts on the same sex marriage
issue, noting brilliantly that gay marriage does not have to lead to polygamy. Huck also has a very interesting take on a recent NAFTA dispute
: he supports the US company, UPS, and not Canada Post. Regardless of their political or economic affiliation, I strongly suspect many Canadians might be quite sympathetic to his comments on Canada Post.
Bob over at Canadian Comment remembers the Holocaust
, and reminds us of the importance of supporting Israel. Bob doesn’t like it when people like the Hon. Mr. P. Pettigrew blow smoke up his ass
. After reading Best of the Web, Bob is upset that the EU is pushing the Airbus
on tsunami-ravaged nations.
at the time of the writing is missing in action.
is also missing during the period in question.
The nearly-Catholic Doxology
loves Football, especially if the Pope
is involved. She doesn’t like it that a lesbian couple in my old part of BC is taking the Catholic Knights of Columbus
to court because that organization didn’t want to rent its hall for their wedding reception. It’s things like this that really tick off a lot of people who might otherwise be more sympathetic to same-sex couples. Rebecca has also posted a picture of the family canine
, saying cats shouldn’t have all the fun.
Over at Dust My Broom
, Darcey continues to monitor how he’s doing on his new year’s resolutions
. Darcey has found a new home
Steve at ESR|Musings
once interviewed Mark Steyn. Like Steyn, he worries about the eventual legalization of polygamy
. Like some other Canadians, Steve also is watching the Democratic National Committee's
elections for the position of Chairman. Like a few other Red Ensign bloggers, Steve is amused by the Norwegian inability to differentiate President Bush’s hand signals from those of Satanists
A "forgetful" cynic, Alan of GenX at 40
writes playfully that "There are two sorts of bloggers - stats nerds and liars. There is some other thing that that distinction applies to, some other private thing...I'll think of it later, I guess." Alan isn’t comfortable when the Leader of Canada’s Opposition fails to understand
the Canadian constitution. If you invite Alan to a party, make sure you know what kind of party he likes
Hammer and Anvil
's James doesn’t like cell phones, and suspects he’ll never own one; he doesn’t like Bell’s expensive rates
for ordinary phone service, either. James wishes his town's architecture had some Quebec kitsch
John Hamilton of Hypthothesis.ca
is listening to Alan Rock
and an interesting music band
. He also was pleased to attend a presentation by a remarkable photographer
by the name of Edward Burtynsky.
The Holocaust represents the depths of utter depravity to which we human beings can sink. John the Mad struggles
as a devout Catholic with the fact of the Holocaust. He has a really frustrating story
about a military dependent born overseas who grew up, married, and promptly had her citizenship questioned by the government, who destroyed her Social Insurance Card in keeping with a post 9/11 bureaucratic rule of some kind.
Just between Us Chicks
had nothing for the period in question.
Keith, who thinks he is a Minority of One
, wonders whether Canada is self-marginalizing
. He would like it to rejoin what Mark Steyn calls the "Anglosphere." Keith also is following the story of a Coptic Christian internet-savvy man and his family who were murdered by Muslim
terrorists. Muslim activists had threatened the man before because of the religious debates he partook of online.
Notwithstanding his busy-ness
, Jason Hayes of Musings
has the highly interesting story
of a man who was instructed a few days ago by the Dept. of Homeland security to appear with his passport and several recent photos for processing. In the spirit of Robbie Burns, Jason also explains what a "haggis"
"Dr. Funk," somewhere in the halls of higher learning continues his Musings of a Canadina Slacker"
. In an amusing and interesting post, he reflects on being from the "working class" in a politicized university where the professors don't know a thing about manual labor
, a Newfy in Singapore, is still concerned about the tsunami
. While moving, Myrick neverthelss found time to wish the Aussies a Happy Australia Day
Nathan, of well, that’s me
. I seem to be first to notice that gay marriage cannot lead to polygamy in Canada, because we've had a polygamous colony for decades which the provincial governments, past and present, have felt would not withstand a prosectution owing to the Freedom of Religion section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now that you're here, why don't you take some time and explore my little site? Several of the last posts are about Canada, but my usual focus is on life here in Seoul.
Curt of the Fraser Valley's Northwestern Winds
has a lot of lengthy reflections on what it means to be a conservative
. In another post on the same subject, he allowed me to duke it out with him
on the subject of conservative opposition to same sex marriage.
is a great site! Do check it out! Alan doesn’t like it that certain Muslim organizations are lobbying to stop the adoption of "Muslim" children by Christian parents
. In a hilarious send up of the Angry Left, Alan writes
of the findings of a recent Canadian study:
30% are ignorant of the Holocaust? 30% couldn't identify Jews as its victims? I bet another 30% got the victims right, but thought it happened in Texas and was perpetrated by Bible-toting, tobacca-chawin' Republicans, who were eventually thwarted by the quick action of Brigadier General Trudeau and his crack CBC commandos. [slightly undiplomatic utterance deleted]!
On the other hand, according to experts, Monday, January 24th also was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year
; Alan is relieved, and so am I.
Nicholas, who has a great site of quotations
in addition to his blog Quotulatiousness
, has thoughts on NAFTA and increased Canadian productivity
, and on asteroids hitting the earth
. I have a great joke from Darth Vader about that, but never mind.
Ray, the leader of our band of Merry Men, has a wonderful background to his site at Raging Kraut.com
. He recently met two of Canada's best looking bloggers
, who, coincidentally, happen to be members of our very own Red Ensign group. Ray doesn’t like the new Tory leader, Stephen Hamper
, who was recently discussed in the Globe and Mail.
Over at Ravishing Light
, Paul Denton, our man in Ottawa and mole in the government who rubs shoulders with the Members of the Gov’t, has some thoughts on Jacque Chirac’s proposed international tax for do-good causes
. Paul despises hockey, so he doesn't watch the CBC much, but finds it frighteningly unexpected
that the CBC could broadcast Star Wars properly! Now, if only George Lucas could do the same!
The blogger who goes by "Right Jab"
has only one post, but it's a good one. He asks some difficult questions
of the government about the ultra-costly (and impotent) gun registry:
"After all, what informed person would vote to spend 2 billion dollars on a database that doesn't do anything? Furthermore, would an informed person allow someone who made a 2 billion dollar
Shiny Happy Gulag
mistake to keep his job and perhaps make more costly errors?"
is missing, presumably somewhere in the Shiny Gulag of Canada....
Ben of Skeet Skeet Skeet
has been selling things to Preston Manning
Joe Clark has been chatting it up
with the eponymous blogger of StephenTaylor.ca
. Stephen, who has a great picture of the two of them, questioned Joe on his abandoning of the Conservative Party of Canada its formative hours. Stephen also has has some good words
for Tory Leader Stephen Harper’s support of civil unions for gays.
Chris in Alberta over at Striving against Opposition
is warmed to find the the Canadian "hockey stick" theory on global warming
is getting second looks in the literature. Chris also follows the money trail, noting Canada’s institutions of higher learning strongly support the Liberals with their bank accounts
Being employed by "the Crimson Assurance" isn't easy, but C. Taylor of Taylor & Company
manages to survive philosophically. In fact, you can read his knowledgeable comments on outsourcing here
. Writing on the fiasco involving the religious right in the US and its war against a certain cartoon character, Taylor turns prophetic
One day there's going to be an undeniably gay cartoon character on Saturday mornings (Snagglepuss doesn't count). Christians would be well-advised to leave it alone."
Chris is also happy to be living in Toronto
. Well, if I could live anywhere besides Seoul, I’d be back there, too.
Freeway to Serfcom
's Jay Jardine has a Libertarian's take on the legal wranglings over Sears Tires
. However, it's not the tires he's worried about on the highway. He also notes that the enemies of the Red Ensign blogroll are monopolizing Wikipedia
. Frankly, I’d never
use anything remotely political on that site precisely for that reason. Jay, unimpressed with a Vancouver radio station’s "Rock the Vote" drive, has some prescient thoughts on young voters and youth unemployment in a great post
, titled, "I voted for socialism and all I got was this crappy T-shirt!"
The Green Baron
has not been heard from since his return to the US from my own present country of South Korea. I didn't do anything to him, honest! Well, ok, he did let us know he arrived.
In our band of Merry men (and women), we are always pleased to have a mythological figure: the Last Amazon
. She likes this recent story about a revealing exchange between President George Bush and Prime Minister Paul Martin
"Most of our side was trying to explain the politics, how it was difficult to do," he said. But Bush "waved his hands and remarked: `I don't understand this. Are you saying that if you got up and said this is necessary for the defence of Canada, it wouldn't be accepted?' "
She also remains very skeptical
about prospects for peace in Palestine, noting that Hamas just won big in local Gaza elections.
Lisa over at The London Fog
react strongly to Ted Turner’s recent comments about Fox News and Hitler with a bit of trivia and commentary on Mr. Turner himself: What he'll put on his tombstone: "I have nothing more to say." Lisa comments
: "I think he has said enough already." On a lighter note, only in Canada does the Supreme Court have to rule, in a 9-0 decision, on the right to masturbate in one's own home. Fortunately for those of us who are single, we're still allowed! Both Basil and Lisa were among the few Red Ensigners to comment on this recent court case. Both have some very punny things
to say! In the same post, Basil notes the new "moan tones" for cell phones personally recorded by Jenna Jamieson! Finally, their eyes south of the border, our intrepid Londoners came up with this hilarious pic
While some bloggers in the group are discussing the nature of conservatism, others are doing the same thing with regards to libertarianism, and Dr. Monger
is leading the pack
The reasons why Canadians are not currently engaged in a class war of gated compounds and tuberculous hovels is NOT because we have medicare and a minimum wage. It's because (a) people are generally not heartless b*st*rds, and (b) capitalism truly does lift (almost) all boats.
Dr. Monger is refreshingly able to admit he doesn’t know everything, and with humility writes a jewel of wisdom
"I think the take-home message here is: authentic sounding declarations made with passionate intensity and a polysyllabic vocabulary are still pretty often just b.s."
Lordy, Lordy, look whose forty!
VW of The Phantom Observer
, that's who! In that post you'll also see some pictures, including a few some other members of the Red Ensign blogs! VW writes on the one rule that Conservatives never learn
, while he also discusses a columnist
former President Clinton wanted to punch!
Our American Red Ensigner in Canada (usually it's the other way around), the ever-insightful and genial Ben of Tiger in Winter
has been posting from Kathmandu
. While there, he can still feel the indifference
of a Kafka-esque world of invisible bureaucracy in snail mail and courier deliverers, but this time it's the USPS at fault, not Canada Post. Ben also reports that he has had has "Kathmandu tummy," and hates being overcharged by unscrupulous taxi drivers! Meanwhile, Ben says
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com
has "hit the nail on the head" with his recent comments on the Democratic Party. Oh, and by the way, the Democrats should listen, because Ben comes from the Brahmin
caste! His relatives, however, are disappointed that he, upon return to Canada, planned to order a cheeseburger.
Across to the UK, now, Mr. Bean feels treatened by a bill attacking an Englishman's right to free speech on the subject of religion. Mr. Bean, however, finds a staunch defender
in our Canadian Tipper of Tipperography
. Tipper, one of many Red Ensign bloggers to remember the Holocaust, notes a recent study
showing 45% of Britons had never heard of Auschwitz. Unfortunately, as noted above, Canadians aren't so much better. On a lighter note, this Libertarian notes an astounding but hilarious comment from a leftie at the Bush inauguration
: "I don't think this voting thing is really working."
Jaeger of Trudeaupia
notes with pleausure the incredible popularity of a recent gun festival for children
in, of all places, Switzerland! Take a guess who’s winning, boys or girls, and then go check out the post. Jaeger also doesn’t like the CBC’s bias
in spinning the elections in Iraq as illegitimate. He suggests checking out the Friends of Democracy
Temujin over at West Coast Chaos
recently reached 5000 visitors
, and promptly told us he’d be going out of town on "personal business." Doing some "right thinking on the wrong coast," Temu wonders about the relevance of the UN
to the world today. Lately Temu has been having trouble with Hello and is cursing Blogspot
! Good thing I didn't download the upgrade. Finally, despite the fact that I turned my back on the hockey players of the NHL years ago, I should mention, solely for reasons of Canadian content, that Timujin blames THIS DONKEY
for the NHL lockout this season. Oh yes, Temujin is ready for fatherhood
! Ladies, take note!
Well, thus finishes the roundup of one of Canada's most interesting groups of bloggers, as listed at Raging Kraut.com
, our "Executive Officer for the week." I compiled this round-up over the last few days, and so I have not had a chance to read all of the blogs' most recent posts. If I missed anyone, I apologize, which I would also do in the event that any mistakes are present. I would direct everybody to the comments thread, where you may read and post corrections and/or comments.
Finally, this blog, while serving as a means of communication for my interest in politics, is primarily oriented towards the experience of English teaching in South Korea, so I crave the indulgence of the reader for the paucity of politics links. Meanwhile, while I will continue to post on Canadian topics from time to time, I will be returning to this blog's primary interest on chronicling the life of an ESL instructor in South Korea.
"Ae fond kiss, and then we sever
Ae fareweel, and then for ever!"