“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Canadians set the record straight on historic revisionism

Today’s letters: The Oscar for historical revisionism goes to …

Paul Russell | Feb 26, 2013 1:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Feb 25, 2013 5:00 PM ET
More from Paul Russell | @justapostie NATIONAL POST

Re: Post Oscars, Feb. 25.
Argo’s Oscar win as best picture embodies all of Canada’s factually historic undercover victories, from Wars in 1776 and 1812 to the invention of the light bulb. Ken Taylor’s U.S. recognition and appreciation in 1979 was so over the top that Ben Affleck’s claim of research oversight verges on wilful blindness.
Another Academy Award-winning movie that overlooked Canada was The Longest Day. Our country has the most successful and third-largest battle contingent taking part on D-Day, but our efforts were not even mentioned in the film. To add insult to injury, Ottawa superstar Paul Anka was cast as a U.S. Ranger.
This is no way for a superpower to treat a trusted neighbour. Just because several Hollywood movies feature Edison’s refinement of the light bulb in 1879, doesn’t mean he really didn’t go to Toronto and purchase the first patent of 1874 from its inventors, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans.
According to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, Canada was 90% responsible for the success of Argo. Still, the Oscar went to its American creators, and once again, Canada, got nothing but the “Golden Fleece.”
Michael John Charette, Oakville, Ont.
How’s this for irony? Two of the contenders for best picture at Sunday’s Academy Awards (Lincoln and Argo) are both significantly wanting in historical accuracy. Lincoln mistakenly portrays Connecticut’s senators as having voted against the abolition of slavery, when in fact they most certainly voted for it. In Argo, the CIA is wrongly given the credit for rescuing six Americans from Iran, when it was the Canadian embassy and its ambassador Ken Taylor’s highly clandestine plan that was responsible for their historic rescue. Even former U.S. president Jimmy Carter recently refuted the movie’s inaccurate portrayal of the incident.

The performances in Argo would have been just as formidable, had they got the documented facts straight.
Victor Redlick, Toronto.
Surprise, surprise! The United States has taken credit for getting six citizens out of Iran in 1979. No wonder — Hollywood is simply a reflection of America. For many Americans, the rest of the world is an afterthought, not worthy of its attention, let alone gratitude. The movie reflects the pervading attitude that the world is America and all else might as well be on another planet.
Argo should not have been nominated, being one of the weaker movies of the year. I’m convinced that if Ben Affleck had been nominated for best director, neither he nor the movie would have received the attention they did and neither would have won in their respective categories. I think the win speaks more to the influence of George Clooney than to the movie’s artistic merits.
Marc Lafleur, Caledon, Ont.


  1. John Kerry works his magic

    America’s new top diplomat is already facing trouble and confusion as he begins a two-week trip whose major focus is on coalescing international action on Syria.

    With John Kerry in London Monday on the first leg of his nine-country tour of Europe and the Middle East, administration officials were scrambling to salvage a planned meeting between the new U.S. secretary of state and the leaders of the Syrian opposition coalition scheduled for Thursday.

    Following a Monday meeting in London with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Kerry condemned the Syrian regime's use of rockets to attack civilians in Aleppo but declined to specify any of the steps he suggested earlier this month the Obama administration is "evaluating" to change the situation on the ground in Syria. He downplayed the notion that any new American initiatives would be unveiled at the upcoming Friends of Syria meeting in Italy.

    "Now, let me make clear, we will continue to work closely with our British allies to address the growing humanitarian crisis, and to support the Syrian Opposition Council. We are coordinating with the Syrian opposition coalition, we're coordinating with the U.N. and with others in order to help get relief to the victims who need that help," Kerry said.

    The leaders of the Syrian opposition council are threatening to boycott the Rome meeting, according to the New York Times, "to protest what they see as fainthearted international support." The administration sent U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford to Cairo to try to persuade the coalition leaders to show up in Rome.

    Kerry urged the opposition leaders to attend the Rome meeting Monday, casting the meeting as a unique opportunity for them to discuss ways the United States can help persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to change his thinking.

    "They should come and meet because in fact, countries have been helping them, and because we are precisely meeting to determine how to help President Assad change the calculation on the ground," Kerry said. "I said that previously in the United States -- that President Assad needs to be able to change his calculation. And President Obama has been engaged in examining exactly in what ways we may be able to contribute to that. That's the purpose of this meeting in Rome."

    Kerry said he would meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday in Berlin, and that he plans to discuss specific proposals Syria at the Rome meeting.

  2. Former Bush administration ethics attorneys are raising concerns over the close relationship between a pro-Obama dark money group and the White House.

    Such an arrangement under President George W. Bush, they say, would have alarmed them.

    President Barack Obama’s dark-money group Organizing for Action (OFA) is staffed by former Obama campaign officials and is aimed at building grassroots support for the administration’s policy agenda. The group is not required to disclose its donors and recently began soliciting corporate funding.

    Obama is scheduled to speak to supporters on a post-State of the Union conference call arranged by the group after tonight’s speech. The call will take place during grassroots fundraising “parties” that OFA has organized across the country.

    1. .

      Regarding the initial stream,

      Canada’s pique is surely justified, yet it comes across as whining. They have a talented and powerful entertainment industry themselves. They should recognize the power of propaganda and act upon it.

      Whether contained in Goebbles’ films, Moa’s little red book, or North Korea’s ‘Dear Leader’ mythos, propaganda has been a vital tool of governments since ancient times. And while some say that history is written by the winners, it can also be written by the losers if they are powerful enough.

      This year, the CIA cooperated in the making of two films, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, the first a feel good revision of history and the latter an attempt to justify that which cannot be justified.

      In today’s world, the fact that these stories are put up on the big screen automatically provides them with legitimacy in the eyes of many.

      Get with it Canada. Join the club.


    2. ”In today’s world, the fact that these stories are put up on the big screen automatically provides them with legitimacy in the eyes of many.”

      Substitute: …In the eyes of MOST

    3. .

      And when we counter with "Prove it!"

      We are told, "top secret". National security concerns. We could 'prove it' but then we would have to kill you.

      And the people in their righteous indignation then rise up in fury and shout "OK. Makes sense."


    4. Mr. West, (formerly Col. West, formerly Congressman West) is proof.
      w/one shot.
      Unspeakable torture, indeed!

      (or would you rather be a troop under th command of one of the New Castratti?)

      ...let me guess:

      You'd choose to be Col. Castratti selling out your troops. gain favor in DC.

    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    6. .

      Lord, Doug, if I could understand half your gibbering, I might be insulted.


    7. Anyone. Repeat: Anyone that makes ad hominem attacks against any poster on this site will have all their comments deleted. No more warnings. This is no longer the EB. That will apply to all future posts. Follow the rules or say goodbye.

    8. Does that mean if I find your statement to be "laughable" and tell you so that is "ad hominem", or do you mean if I just call you a X, y, or z for making a statement that is wrong, that is ad hominem?

    9. this is what I have: An ad hominem is an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument.

      This ought to be interesting.

    10. 1. Define it yourself.

      2. You and anyone else have my permission to attack any idea that I put up and you will have the comment left up to speak for itself. If you call me or anyone else that posts here on a regular basis a “nazi.” you will be tossed. If you spam a post , you will be tossed.

      3. If anyone attacks you in a similar fashion, they will be tossed. If they attack your religion on a personal basis, they will be tossed.

      4. Your arguments and rebuttals are welcome. I respect your defense of what you believe in but I certainly do not agree with you.

      5. מזל טוב

    11. How do you KNOW what I believe in?

      Most of the time I have been pointing out that your statements and posts put Israel to one standard and hold no one to any standards.

      מזל טוב back at ya.

    12. I guess no one, including you, will accuse me of being: not being an american, having loyalty to another nation over this nation or any other slanderous attacks that you an others have done in the past.

  3. What if there was a meeting ...
    And no one came?

    Or was that a war?

    If the Syrians stay home, well, that would be good, for US.

  4. LibertArian?
    This Karl Rove Republican is OFFENDED!

  5. Yes, I am still alive, just trying to catch up on all the real World stuff my wife would have done in the past year.

    Not doing well, mind you.


  6. The U.S.'s Stealth Fighter Is Too Heavy and Slow, So the Pentagon Made Its Performance Tests Easier

    To put it bluntly, the Pentagon's new trillion-dollar fighter jet doesn't go a fast as it should, doesn't turn as sharp as it should and doesn't handle as nimbly as it should. This is bad news, explainsWired's David Axe. For the pilots who will eventually take the F-35 into combat, the JSF’s reduced performance means they might not be able to outfly and outfight the latest Russian- and Chinese-made fighters," writes Axe. "Even before the downgrades, some analysts questioned the F-35′s ability to defeat newer Sukhoi and Shenyang jets." That all sounds like bad news, doesn't it? If our expensive new jets can't beat the Russians or the Chinese, who can we fight? I'm pretty sure al Qaeda doesn't have an air force.

    The good news in the new Pentagon report is that... well, there is no good news, really. Not only have the requirements been adjusted down to make up for the F-35's poor performance, but a series of problems with the plane's software and safety measures hint at future downgrades to the jet, including adding on heavy hardware that will make the planes even more sluggish. That's what you get when you try to design a single plane to do everything–ironically enough, which was done partly to cut development costs. At least they still look cool:


    Libertarians? Who needs Libertarians?

    As the F-35 and Rufus's Osprey demonstrate, we need MORE Big Government!

  7. Should upgrade the F-15 and 16 and carry on.

    ...without the deadweight of Big Government Gravy.

  8. Imagine Harry Truman, or Ike, watching Moochelle at the Oscars.

    In my lifetime, we've gone from Harry driving his wife home in his Plymouth, upon retirement to THIS!

    ...A Monarchical Presidency that spends more on ONE vacation in Hawaii, than the entire British Royalty does in one year!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. 747 for him, 767 for her.

    Equality is paramont, dont'cha know.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. sure not to take any private jets to Vegas.

    Heaven Forefend!

  13. --and I speak out of later knowledge--

    Heaven forefend me from the most of the average run of male humans who are not good fellows, the ones cold of heart and cold of head who don't smoke, drink, or swear, or do much of anything else that is brase, and resentful, and stinging, because in their feeble fibres there has never been the stir and prod of life to well over its boundaries and be devilish and daring.

    John Barleycorn by London, Jack

  14. Deuce, would you like to see Trish show up again some day?

    Do you think she will while Doug is referring to her as an "unspeakable suck-ass."

    Do us all a favor and drop the ban-hammer on this guy.

    1. I agree on us all being of a "kinder and gentler" nature. However, I think Trish fit in very well and had thicker skin than most of the men on this blog. I doubt she was "run off" by the likes of something someone said.

    2. I had a policy with the old bar in that don’t type a comment to someone that you would not have the guts to say to someone on a bar stool next to you, especially in a right to carry state Like Texas.

    3. A right to carry state being a polite state.

    4. DeuceTue Feb 26, 03:09:00 PM EST
      I had a policy with the old bar in that don’t type a comment to someone that you would not have the guts to say to someone on a bar stool next to you, especially in a right to carry state Like Texas.


      No offensive but that's pure nonsense.

    5. Really. There is nothing that i have said that I would not have said to you, straight up and face forward.

  15. I totally concur and they are the new rules of conduct.

    1. I'm not claiming to be blameless in the ad hominem/vulgarity department, and I recognize that I can't call for sanctions on other posters if I continue to sin, myself.

      However, it's sickening to keep losing good commenters because of this nonsense (mine, as well as others.) I promise to do better, and if I don't, I'm sure you will drop the hammer on me, also.

      (just be gentle; I seem to be going a bit soft in the head.) :)

  16. But I rebranded and redecorated for a reason.

  17. "Ken Taylor sets the record straight about Argo’s take on the ‘Canadian Caper’

    There was no life-or-death interrogation at the departure gate. No anti-authority bravery by a lone-wolf CIA agent. And Canadian wannabe heroes didn’t try to grab a spotlight that properly belonged to the U.S. intelligence service.

    In the wake of Sunday night’s win by Ben Affleck’s Argo for best-picture Oscar in a ceremony viewed by more than 39 million Americans, the man who served as Canada’s ambassador to Iran during the 1979 U.S. hostage crisis says he has accepted Hollywood’s penchant for poetic licence, especially now that key figures are vouching for the importance of the Canadian contribution to the rescue mission.


    1. But we should take "Lincoln" to be absolutely historically correct, no poetic license needed.

    2. Honestly, I so detest the man and the legend, I can’t torture myself to watch the old buggering killer.

    3. My understanding is that all three "Historical" films (Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, and Argo) were all 'loose' with their historical facts for 'creative' reasons.

  18. Michelle Obama was there and the Canadian Ambassador was not.

    1. The Canadian Ambassador doesnt have Harvey and Lily Weinstein kissing his ass. oops! Can I say ass?

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  20. WASHINGTON -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have released “several hundred” immigrants from deportation centers across the country, saying the move is an effort to cut costs ahead of budget cuts due to hit later this week.

  21. Merely hype to put fear in the hearts. If you read the whole article, no big deal. Over reaction over a 2% cut.

  22. Spending More, doing less, it's the New American Way.

  23. Trish called Rufus a Steaming Pile of Dogshit.

    Neither was "run off" at the time, as I recall.

    ...I have less enthusisam for the future having Rufus here again to suck O..... A..

  24. Quirk said...

    Lord, Doug, if I could understand half your gibbering, I might be insulted


    If you simply rectified your ignorance on the subject you could understand.

    Check out the circumstances under which Col. West left active duty.

    ...or don't.

    1. .

      I knew the general story of Col. West but it's been a few years so I revisited it this morning. As I thought, the story merely supported the post I put up.

      From wiki (on Mock Executions)

      In April 2003, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen West (who later served a single term as a Congressman for Florida's 22nd congressional district) had an Iraqi police officer named Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi seized and brought in for questioning based on allegations he was planning an imminent attack on Mr. West's unit. After Mr. Hamoodi was allegedly beaten by an interpreter and several U.S. troops, Mr. West took Mr. Hamoodi out of the interrogation room and showed him six U.S. troops with weapons in hand. Mr. West told Mr. Hamoodi, "If you don't talk, they will kill you." Mr. West then placed Mr. Hamoodi's head in a bucket used for cleaning weapons, placed his gun into the bucket and discharged the weapon near Mr. Hamoodi's head. Mr. Hamoodi then provided Mr. West with names, location and methods of the alleged ambush. However, the alleged ambush—supposedly scheduled for the following day—never occurred, and a search of Mr. Hamoodi's residence uncovered no evidence of any plans of attack. Mr. Hamoodi was subsequently released without charges. For his involvement in this incident, Mr. West was charged with violations of two statutes of the Uniform Code of Military Justice; however, charges were subsequently dropped after Mr. West was fined $5,000 for the incident and allowed to resign his position with the U.S. Army without court martial.[4]

      However, if you don't like Wiki, this from Gerald Atkinson (I'm sure you'll like old Gerald. He likes to spout off on the 'warrior ethic' and the 'feminization of America' and he thinks what Col. West did was just super.)

      "An informant told the soldiers that one person involved in the attack was a town policeman. Col. West sent two sergeants to detain the policeman, who was placed in a detention center near the Taji air base. The interrogators had no luck at first, so Col. West decided to take over the questioning."

      West, accompanied by a few of his soldiers, attempted to gather information from the detainee. "He said his soldiers, 'physically aggress[ed]' [read 'beat up'] the prisoner. A subsequent investigation resulted in nonjudicial punishment for them in the form of fines."

      After the physical 'aggress' failed, Col. West says he brandished his pistol. "I did use my 9mm weapon to threaten him and fired it twice. Once I fired into the weapons clearing barrel outside the facility alone, and the next time I did it while having his head close to the barrel. I fired away from him. I stood in between the firing and his person. 'I admit that what I did was not right but it was done with the concern of the safety of my soldiers and myself.'"

      Col. West said he informed his superior of his actions. The incident lay dormant until the Army conducted an overall command-climate investigation of the brigade. The investigation turned up the interrogation technique, and Col. West was charged with one count of aggravated assault [under the Uniform Code of Military Justice].

      West said the gunshots spurred the Iraqi to provide the location of the planned sniper attack and the names of the three guerrilla fighters. The planned Iraqi ambush was forestalled. The information garnered by Col. West's interrogation of the detainee [2] allowed him to avoid [the planned ambush areas] as [his unit] conducted sweeps [to find Saddam's guerrillas]...

      Adam West: True American Hero

      (comments below)


    2. .

      The two stories above on Col. West only vary as a result of the different perspectives of the authors.

      However, the facts of the case are clear.

      1. An 'informant' fingered a policeman and indicated the man was planning an attack on West's outfit. (The only comment I would make regarding the informant was this was in 2003, in Iraq, sectarian violence all around, and we didn't have a clue who our friends were, which informants were trying to help us, which trying to mislead us, which trying to settle old scores, and which were trying to simply make a buck. Interestingly, the person fingered was a policeman and no doubt he had a few enemies.)

      2. West ordered the man arrested, questioned him and when that didn't work turned him over to a half a dozen of his boys to be beat up.

      3. When the beating did no good, West went through a mock execution, an action prohibited by the Geneva conventions. At this point, the detainee 'confessed', stated where the ambush was to take place and fingered three other accomplices involved in the 'plot'.

      4. However, the attack never took place, and after an investigation by the military, no evidence was found to connect the policeman to any kind of a plot. He was released without charge. There was no foiled attack because there was no attack.

      5. West was fined and allowed to resign his commission.

      Yet, this is the evidence you offer as proof that torture saves lives? I would suggest you look up the definition of proof.

      There is no proof here, merely your opinion. It's the same thing I complained about in my post above. An alternate scenario offers about the same 'proof' as West offers: an Iraqi 'informant' trying to settle a grudge with a policeman over some previous grievance fingers the cop, a little revenge and maybe a few bucks in the bargain. Heck, maybe the informant actually thought the cop was guilty. It doesn't matter either way.

      West has the guy arrested, questioned, and beaten up. He's not getting the answers he wants so he decides to have a little fun with a mock execution. The prisoner although offering nothing up to this point, when his head is stuck in a bucket and a gun fired next it, becomes quite focused. He tells West anything he wants to hear. Plot? Of course. Accomplices? You betcha. My sister's address? You got a pen and paper.

      The uncertainty of any info obtained under torture in most cases make it inactionable.

      I say 24 is a tv program and Jack Bauer doesn't really exist. You say torture saves lives. I repeat, prove it.


    3. OK, I was wrong about West, but never forget KSM:

      "'I'm a very dangerous mastermind,' said Mohammed, who confessed to the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the Brink's robbery, St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and the Lincoln and McKinley assassinations. Mohammed also accepted responsibility for spreading hay fever and cold sores around the world and for rained out picnics."

    4. .

      ...but never forget KSM...


      You and I went around on the same subject wrt KSM back in 2009 when Panetta was going through confirmation hearings for CIA director.

      As I recall, I was right in that case too.



    5. I do not recall.
      ...and you can't beat it outta me.

  25. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Like poor, frugal, hardworking Barry, and his equally poor, frugal, hardworking, proud
      American Wife.
      Spending all of their time concerned with the poor, while hanging out always with the rich.
      Both victums of poverty, racism, and oppression.
      boo hoo hoo.

    3. O..... A..

      Orange And Green snowcones.


    4. No Doug, it is you; a bitter old man playing the victim card.

    5. Are you married, Ash?
      ...any kids?

  26. ...And tell us that the Obamas do not spend 365 days a year playing one phoney card or another.

  27. I especially like Moochelle presenting the Bengazi trophy to her poor friends.

  28. Right click anywhere on your desktop's taskbar, go to the police with, and no access to the keylogger is installed between your keyboard and then store it for future retrieval. No-one will know you might be curious as to what it really is.