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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Puts Adscam into perspective

What do you call a statesman who stole 43% of his people's annual budget for his own personal benefit, according to the IMF and his own government's audits?

Yassir Arafat.

Posted by Ezra Levant on July 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Excuse du jour

Toronto has been ablaze with gunfire for days. Last week, its socialist mayor thought he'd blame, oh, the United States for the violence in his own Canadian city. That's novel -- but it beats coming to grips with the fact that criminals don't obey gun laws any more than they obey other laws.

But what exactly did Mayor Miller mean by blaming the U.S.? Did he mean the massive tourist influx of U.S. Blacks who come to the city each year for Caribana? Surely not, from such a master of political correctness.  If not them, then to whom was he referring? And does such a blatherskite really deserve any serious analysis?

I think it's obvious -- he was engaging in cheap anti-Americanism, with imagery of white Republicans in his mind; they weren't in town this weekend.

Posted by Ezra Levant on July 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack

Liberty on the long weekend

[x-posted to stephentaylor.ca]

I find myself thinking about liberty on this long weekend between the summer months of July and August (the sweet spot of summer).  I find myself grateful to live in a country where I am free to worship in manner of my choosing, to speak freely without fear, to question those in power, and to consume chemicals which alter my brain chemistry.

This weekend, my poison of choice is the pride of Ireland: Guinness.  How wonderful it is for adults to make the decision to enjoy this imported drug.  It tastes good too!

I find myself also thinking about Marc Emery who was arrested on Friday by the RCMP at the request of the US DEA and how this appears incongruent (at least to me) for countries such as Canada and the United States to do this when they supposedly love "liberty".

Facing extradition to the United States, Marc faces three charges: conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

These charges stem from Marc's online marijuana seed company, which operated in B.C. with impunity for about ten years.  The DEA is upset that about 75% of Marc's online customers were American.

I remember thinking, when I was younger, that stores that sold items promoting marijuana use (pot lighters, pot t-shirts) should face sanctions.  After all, these stores, in my opinion, were promoting a lifestyle that is arguably detrimental to society.  When I grew up, I realized that individual choice (of adults) in a truly free society trumps what any tyrannical child might impose otherwise.  In the end, if we wanted to benefit society, the government would raise our children in state-run daycares, give us all government jobs, ban alcohol and caffeine, and would mandate daily exercise.  But then in what kind of country would we live? It all sounds rather socialist to me.

I admire the United States for the various struggles which it has faced that ultimately forged the nation as a free country.  "No taxation without representation", "Live free or die" and "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are all inspiring mottos and any country that wishes freedom and liberty for its citizens would do well to live up to them.  Our southern neighbour and ally is generally considered to be the freest country on the globe.  However, their current push to extradite Marc Emery's from Canada to face these charges challenges this notion of America's paragon status of liberty.

This DEA action also leaves me unsettled because at its root, it is quite political.  The decriminalization of marijuana is a heated and current issue and it is no secret that America is watching this quite closely.  Emery is arguably the most public advocate for "liberalization" (root: liberty) of marijuana laws and he's the leader of the most active (and prominent) political party fighting for this issue (the BC Marijuana Party).  The RCMP, at the request of the alien DEA, raided the HQ of the BCMP.  This upsets me as an advocate for democracy and the free and open discussion of ideas without persecution.

In America, the second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms.  This amendment was born out of the colonists' struggle for freedom 'against tyranny' from the British Empire.  The fight for freedom begot freedom and now Americans have the right to buy and carry guns.  Advocates and defenders of the second amendment will tell you "guns don't kill people, people kill people".  Yes, killing people is abhorrent, but the right to the tools of self-defense is at the root of liberty.  Gun manufacturers aren't guilty when one of their products is used illegally (or when guns get into the hands of children).  Equally, Marc Emery should not be guilty of "conspiracy to manufacture marijuana" for selling seeds.

The selling of those seeds landed Marc the charge of "conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds".  Like alcohol, marijuana is a soft drug and is relatively inert when enjoyed consensually by adults.  Psilocybin (magic mushrooms) is illegal to cultivate, sell and consume in Canada and in the US .  Unlike marijuana, this drug has hallucinogenic effects and is therefore "harder".  Here is a website of a company, based in San Antonio Texas, that sells Psilocybe spores with impunity.  The company asks that you do not cultivate and grow the spores into mushrooms but rather use their product "for scientific research".

Marc is free of any Canadian criminal charge, yet this weekend he being detained in a correctional facility until he can face American charges in British Columbia.  This acute alien challenge to a current Canadian political discussion has me unsettled as a defender of our sovereignty.  As a Conservative, I consider it an affront to my liberty (and yours) for any government to feel that it is responsible for protecting me from me.

The summer heat, the DEA, and this Guinness has gotten me quite agitated.

Maybe I should have a smoke.

STEPHEN TAYLOR

Posted by Stephen Taylor on July 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

That "other" Department of Immigration

The Telegraph editorializes, here, about how judicial activism has created what is effectively a parallel department of immigration in Britain -- a situation very like what Canada has with respect to immigrants and refugees. Even when Canada's federal Department of Citizenship and Immigration ascertains that someone entered Canada under false pretences or has a bona fide criminal record in Canada or his country of origin, due process allows such a person a long, drawn-out adjudication process before a deportation order may be enforced.

The other side of this coin is that if a Canadian marries someone from a dangerous regime like, say, the renegade Commonwealth of Australia, Immigration Canada can delay, delay, delay, till the unfortunate Canadian and Australian married couple just give up on obtaining landed immigrant status and go live elsewhere. Or, someone can hail from the real thing in the category of rogue state or at least totalitarian junta like, say, Burma, and be turned down by some twenty-something twit who makes up her mind to refuse as soon as she discovers the applicant is a practicing Christian.

Still think Immigration Canada -- er, I mean, the court -- doesn't engage in "profiling?"
(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on July 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Niall Ferguson on Chesterton, Lewis, Waugh, and moral vacuum

Here (HT:  Kathy Shaidle) . . . and why hard-shelled materialism ain't up to it.
(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on July 31, 2005 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Profiling and Political Correctness:
reductio ad absurdum

Profiling makes statistical sense. Paul Sperry argues this point very cogently in an Op-Ed in the NYTimes [registration required], in which he criticizes New York City Mayor Bloomberg for saying that inspection of bags in subways will be completely random. U.S. Constitutional rights aside, this is a dumb policy.

From everything we know about the terrorists who may be taking aim at our transportation system, they are most likely to be young Muslim men. Unfortunately, however, this demographic group won't be profiled. Instead, the authorities will be stopping Girl Scouts and grannies in a procedure that has more to do with demonstrating tolerance than with protecting citizens from terrorism.

Critics protest that profiling is prejudicial. In fact, it's based on statistics. Insurance companies profile policyholders based on probability of risk. That's just smart business. Likewise, profiling passengers based on proven security risk is just smart law enforcement.

Alan Adamson, at Silly Little Country, has a similar response to the critics of profiling. Noting that Suspect #1 in a recent Trono mugging is a white male, Alan says,

We would not want any 'racial profiling'. So I hope it is recommended they pull over some young black males in order to catch suspect #1.

... Sex should be fair game too. So I hope the police are apprehending women as well in looking for suspect #1.

Posted by EclectEcon on July 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Milton Friedman on Drugs

Back in my undergrad days I had the opportunity to have a chat with Milton Friedman. What he has to say about drugs is interesting and important, given the (Marc Emery) circumstances. (I also thought it a good idea to post this given some of the comments for my previous post).

Here is an excerpt of the interview ("Friedman and Freedom") published in The Queen's University Journal:

The War on Drugs


Peter Jaworski
: In a 1972 Newsweek article, I'm shifting topics here, you compared alcohol prohibition to the current prohibition of drugs. Now you wrote then that the War on Drugs has caused more problems than it's solved, and that drugs should be legal. Do you still feel this way?

Milton Friedman
: Absolutely!

PJ
: Even hard drugs—cocaine, heroin?

MF
: Absolutely.

PJ
: Would you restrict the use of drugs in some circumstances?

MF
: I would say that people should be responsible for their behaviour when they use drugs. Just as drunk drivers should be arrested for drunk driving. Not for being drunk, but for driving while drunk and endangering other people. And I should say that if a drug addict, while on drugs, engages in activities that harm other people he should be punished as well. The question is whether the government should have the right to say what you may put in your mouth any more than it has the right to say what you may put in your mind.

PJ
: But couldn't we say that certain drugs, perhaps, just as ideas, once inside might lead to certain consequences and wouldn't we be...

MF
: Of course they might! And I think that information should be generally available. And people, knowing that, will behave accordingly. But that's a different question. It's clear, if you go back to that article, that the prohibition of drugs has had the exact effect that I'd described. It has produced a great deal of corruption. It has involved the violation of civil rights—personal and individual freedom—and it hasn't stopped people from taking drugs. There would be much less damage from drugs if it were perfectly legal and open than there is now.

PJ
: Now you also said in that same article that this was an ethical issue as well.

MF
: Absolutely—I've just said it—what right does the government have to tell me what I may put in my mouth? If the government has the right to tell me what I may put in my mouth, why doesn't it have the right to tell me what I may put in my mind? There is, in my opinion, no government policy that is as immoral as drug prohibition. Tell me, how can you justify killing thousands of people in Colombia because we can't enforce our own laws?

If we could enforce our laws, there would be no demand for drugs because it is illegal for people to consume drugs. But we can't enforce our laws. And the result of that is to create an illegal industry that leads to the kinds ofdevelopments you have in Colombia where thousands of people have been killed.

(You can read all of it here).

jaworski.blogspot.com

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Affirmative action - for the fat and bald

I'm not sure what to make of news like this, except to note that once bureaucrats get started they are quite beyond paraody:

Drinks companies have been ordered to use uglier men in their advertising campaigns.

The Advertising Standards Authority believes "balding" and "paunchy" men would be less likely to encourage women to drink to achieve social success. [...]

The Authority objected to a poster which showed three women "hooking" a slim, young man in a parody of a fairground game.

The industry regulator instructed the firm: "We would advise that the man in the picture should be unattractive - ie overweight, middle-aged, balding etc.

"In its current form we consider that the ad is in danger of implying that the drink may bring sexual/social success, because the man in question looks quite attractive and desirable to the girls.

This little tidbit of entertainment/Orwellian nightmare comes to us from Britain, but that just throws down a challenge for our own regulators to match it.

Posted by Kevin Jaeger on July 30, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Two-Tiered Support for Retaining Walls

In an absolutely brilliant item, Brian Ferguson relates that some folks in San Francisco were hesitant about letting private parties donate money to make repairs and upgrades to public property [retaining walls and a median strip]. Quoting from CanadaEast.com,

Robin Williams and his wife, Marsha, offered to donate $80,000 US to fix a retaining wall and median strip near their home in the city's Seacliff neighbourhood.

City supervisor Gerardo Sandoval balked, fearing Williams would be getting preferential treatment. Sandoval said he didn't want the city to go "down the slippery slope" of putting privately funded projects ahead of those needed in less affluent areas.

But after city staff assured him that Williams' generosity would free up funds for poorer neighbourhoods, Sandoval joined nine colleagues in voting unanimously Tuesday to accept the comedian's gift.

Brian's response to all this is:

No, no, no, no, no. Has this man paid no attention to progressive Canada's efforts to protect Medicare from the two-tier virus. Any of the true friends of medicare could tell him that private money doesn't free up funds for poor neighbourhoods, it doesn't add to total resources available, it doesn't reduce waiting times for things that are crucial to a community's identity:

City officials said the funds will be used for new benches, irrigation, planters and bronze memorial plaques.

What will actually happen is that as the rich start to buy their own bronze memorial plaques, their own retaining walls and their own median strips, support for the publicly funded median strip system will fall, leading not to increased funds being available for poorer areas but to a reduction in total public funding for median strips. And before you know it, every median strip in San Francisco will have two tiers.

There is much more at his site.

Brian Ferguson is one of Canada's best health economists. If you do not recognize the sarcasm in what he wrote, let me assure you that he is a strong advocate for allowing people to spend more to supplement the health care coverage provided by the gubmnt.

Posted by EclectEcon on July 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

North Korea's song and dance

Here.

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on July 30, 2005 in International Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I'm shocked

I'm shocked, shocked, that the government wasted money buying fishing licenses for Aboriginal fishermen off the East Coast.

The real story here isn't that Canada's Indian Industry -- defined not as Indians themselves, of course, but rather the thousands of lawyers and bureaucrats who perpetuate the permanent state of grievance and dependence for Indians -- is wasting more money. That's a truism. The real story is that the Marshall decision, even though it is as hyperactive a case of judicial reach as I can think of Canada, did not go so far as to require the feds to actually buy Aboriginals fishing licenses, fishing boats and even build wharves for them -- all of which the Liberals did in addition to the judgment.

Not bad, considering the only law the decision was based on was a 1760 treaty of surrender from the Micmacs to the British King's governor in Canada -- one term of which was to furnish Indian hostages as insurance against breaking the treaty.

Posted by Ezra Levant on July 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

The disease of anti-Semitism

In Commentary, here, Paul Johnson credits the influx of Jews from Spain's expulsion of 1492 to the Netherlands for the rise of Dutch commercialism and trade supremacy. Johnson also credits the end of Jewish proscription in 17th-century England (when Jews were permitted to settle there, again, after being expelled in 1290) with the industrial revolution. Johnson points out that the "trend now is to stress the role of immigration, with Jews playing a significant role" in the development of Anglo-Saxon industrial ascendancy.  A similar argument could be made with respect to the ethnic Chinese in southeast Asia and the ethnic Indians in east Africa, and their seeming penchant for creating commerce throughout the regions.  (For more, go to Burkean Canuck, here).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on July 30, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Ontario to regulate Traditional Chinese Medicine

On the surface, this appears to be a good idea, but how do you regulate an industry that has no consistent internal structure?  TCM is a mish-mash of contradictory and untestable theories, with different practitioners holding to some theories but not to others.

They can't even agree on the most fundamental theoretical underpinning of their practise: the nature and properties of Qi.

If the government starts to issue certificates of regulatory compliance, people might think it an acceptance of TCM as an equal to Western scientific medicine.  It's not clear that this is the intention, but it might very well be the result.

The CBC reported the news of the plans of the Ontario government, but of course, provided no background, nor did it voice any concerns, or pose any questions.  Yet again, the CBC reprints a government news release and calls it journalism.

[Extended entry at Angry at the Great White North]

Posted by Steve Janke on July 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Perfidy of the French

When America was responding to thousands of its citizens killed by terrorists, French politicians and diplomats became those terrorists' lawyers, using every wrinkle in "international law" to hamstring the American response and defend Iraq (and their business dealings there).

But now that France is getting worried about Parisian bombings -- well, they seem a little more relaxed about things.

But this isn't surprising. To France, unilateralism is a tool of national interest, and multilateralism and legalism are a tool to trip up the "Anglo-Saxons".

Posted by Ezra Levant on July 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Friday, July 29, 2005

Why I like Republicans

Showletter

Posted by Michael Dabioch on July 29, 2005 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Extradition for Emery?

Free_emery_says_natpostMarc Emery, the renowned pot provocateur, was arrested in Halifax earlier today. Rumours are circulating (courtesy of the CBC) that Emery was arrested on orders from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and that he will be facing extradition for selling pot seeds from Canada.

Emery is the publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, runs Pot-TV, and is the proprietor of EmerySeeds.com. He is currently scheduled to attend and speak at the Liberty Summer Seminar, but it looks like, once more, prison will keep him from talking about liberty.

Last year, after the Seminar, Marni Soupcoff (who spoke last year, and will be at the Seminar again this year) convinced her National Post colleagues to sport the Free Marc t-shirts you see in the photo. That's Paul Russell, Adam Radwanski, John Geiger, and Marni Soupcoff from left to right.

For a Western Standard story on Emery, read Desperate beef producers look to drugs for relief  (PDF)

This story is developing...

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Ancient wisdom still applies

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: the Roman Catholic Church's antiquated rules about sex and birth control contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Now comes word, however, that African countries with a high rate of Catholic citizens actually have a lower rate of HIV infection. The report seems to be a raw statistical analysis, and doesn't spell out what the causal factors are for the correlation. The simplist explanation, of course, is that a high rate of Catholicism means more people are likely to abstain from bed-hopping before marriage, are more likely to abstain from all high-risk sexual behaviour (such as anal sex), and that, once married, couples are more likely to be monogamous.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on July 29, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Poland vs Belarus -- Lessons in history

Poland's history has always revolved around freedom. But unlike some nations, Poland is showing herself to be an avid student of history and is working hard to avoid repeating mistakes.

Poland is leading the charge against neighbour Belarus, the home of Europe's last dictator Alexander Lukashenko.  Poland knows a lot about the dangers of leaving dictators to fester.  In 1933, Poland approached France to join in a plan to move in on Germany, having recognized the danger the newly installed leader Adolf Hitler would pose not just to Poland, but to all of Europe.

France declined, and the rest is history.  A lesson to all those who screech against "preemptive war" aimed at dictators.

True to form, though, the EU is doing little to support fellow member Poland.  The result is interesting.  Democrats in Belarus are looking to Warsaw, and not Paris, for leadership.  The Polish capital is seen by the oppressed as the capital of "New Europe".  Other nations supportive of Belarus democratization are taking their cues from Krasniewski, and not Chirac.

It makes me wonder at what the balance of power in Europe will look like in 20 years.

[Extended entry at Angry at the Great White North]

Posted by Steve Janke on July 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Grewal comes clean -- now, how about radio silence?

Gurmant Grewal, M.P. claimed, here, and in earlier media comments that he had the support of the Leader for his recording a meeting with Paul Martin Chief of Staff Tim Murphy and Minister of Health Ujal Dosanjh.

Now, Mr. Grewal says, here, he went against the advice and wishes of the Leader of the Opposition.

In the words of a Conservative voter not involved in the thick of politics who said to me, "Can't you just get him to shut up?!"

Please.
(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on July 29, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Who knew?

That a ukelele could sound like this.  As the Steinway sitting in my living room might suggest, I'm no guitarist nor ukelele-ist, but Jake Shimabukuro clearly qualifies as something of a virtuoso on the instrument (HT:  Gideon Strauss).
(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on July 29, 2005 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Roberts Is A Conservative -- Wink, Wink!

I keep getting email after email from pressure groups urging me to write senators to press them to confirm John Roberts for the Supreme Court. But I continue to doubt whether Roberts is the conservative strict constructionist fan of limited government the White House and others insist he is. A few lawyers around town who know him claim he is, but really, as Ann Coulter argues, we are just taking President Bush & Co. at their word. In her latest column, Fool Me Eight Times, Shame on Me, Coulter writes:

"He is David Hackett Souter, only the most recent reason Republican presidents -- especially Republican presidents named 'Bush' -- have lost the right to say 'Trust me' when it comes to Supreme Court nominations.
The other reasons are: Earl Warren, William Brennan, Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy.
Like John Roberts, Souter attended church regularly. Souter was also touted for his great intellect. He went to Harvard! And Harvard Law! (Since when does that impress right-wingers? So did Larry Tribe. It is one of the eternal mysteries of the world that liberals are good test-takers.)
At least when Souter was nominated, we needed a stealth nominee. The Senate was majority Democrat back then. The Judiciary Committee consisted of eight Democrats and six Republicans -- two of whom were aggressively pro-abortion. A year later, faced with the same Democratic Senate, the current president's father nominated Clarence Thomas. Who would have thought the current Bush would be less macho than his father?
Roberts would have been a fine candidate for a Senate in Democratic hands. But now we have 55 Republican seats in the Senate and the vice president to cast a deciding vote -- and Son of Read-My-Lips gives us another ideological blind date.
Fifty-five seats means every single Democrat in the Senate could vote against a Republican Supreme Court nominee -- highly unlikely considering some of those Democrats are up for election next year -- along with John McCain, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Lincoln Chafee. We would still win..."

Coulter's fears may be justified. I reviewed all the decisions Roberts has written or participated in while on the District of Columbia Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals (there are a few dozen) but have not been able to discern any particular judicial philosophy. Roberts ruled against the District of Columbia in the recent CSX case, in which the railroad challenged the D.C. law forbidding the rail shipment of hazardous materials through the District. I thought, well, perhaps this means Roberts is a strong supporter of the Interstate Commerce Clause, reasoning, as he did, that it trumps state or local laws. A liberal lawyer told me that no, Roberts' ruling was a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the law. I thought maybe his ruling in Hedgepeth v. WMATA, the so-called French Fry case, in which he upheld a public-transit system regulation requiring the arrest of juveniles for minor infractions, offered some insight into his views. No way, another liberal lawyer told me. As Roberts pointed out, the regulation itself may have been assinine but the Constitution did not forbid it. Roberts reached a constitutionally correct decision, and not a particularly courageous one at that.
So to all those out there saying 'come hop on the bandwagon with us because Roberts is clearly a real conservative,' I say, 'bullocks: the burden is on you to prove it.'
The presence of all this Bush administration-generated hype about Roberts' conservatism is just pure public relations. There is little or nothing in the way of hard evidence suggesting what kind of Supreme Court justice Roberts might be. Conservatives are just taking Bush's word for it.

(brought to you by vadum.blogspot.com, originally posted here)

Posted by Matthew Vadum on July 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Just wondering

Over at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation blog, Tanis Fiss notes that Winnipeg city council will vote on whether to "completely privatize garbage collection," a move that could save the city $2 million a year. Fiss comments, "Let's hope they reduce taxes accordingly." I share Fiss' hope but I think this is unlikely to occur. Does anyone know of an example of a city reducing the cost of a specific program and cutting taxes proportionately to the savings. My guess is that more often than not city council (or whatever level of government) uses the money elsewhere, that reducing costs through privitization is meant to defer cuts to social spending.

Posted by Paul Tuns on July 28, 2005 in Municipal Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

President Moriarty

Actor and Enter Stage Right scribe Michael Moriarty, who announced his intention to run for the US presidency in 2008 in ESR's pages back in May, is the subject of a story in the Halifax Herald today.

“Yeah, we’re going for it,” Moriarty said this week in a telephone interview from his home in Maple Ridge, B.C.

“We’ve got three years to get on at least one state’s ballot. Our target is five per cent of the vote. That’s it, five per cent.”

Even a percentage that small can be significant, Moriarty said.

“The last two races have been so close, they had to go to court in Florida to try to decide them,” he said. “This is a tied-tied competition. So five per cent holding is gold.”

Read the story here.

Also, I have it on good information that the Western Standard will be running a profile of Moriarty in the coming weeks.

Cross-posted at ESR's Musings

Posted by Steve Martinovich on July 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Queer eye for the anti-gay marriage guy

Readers of the Western Standard know that the weeks of babble about Stephen Harper's big plans for a makeover were a lot of bunk.

Still, it's fun to imagine what might have been.

Posted by Kevin Libin on July 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Help

Ok I know this isn't exactly on topic but my blog has been hacked and I need some help.  Anybody out there have  any Wordpress skills? Because I am completely in the dark - and so is the blog.

See the result of the hack at The Meatriarchy

If you can help email me: meatriarchyATyahoo.ca

Posted by Justin Bogdanowicz on July 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CAFTA Passes in the U.S.
(barely)

From Ben Muse, a reliable, well-informed source of information about international trade policy,

At bedtime in Juneau (about 11 PM) the Washington Post is reporting that the House approved CAFTA 217 to 215: Trade Pact Approved By House .

Apparently it wasn't pretty:

To win, the White House and GOP congressional leaders had to overcome resistance from dozens of Republican members who were also concerned about the agreement because of issues ranging from the perceived threat to the U.S. sugar industry to more general worries about the impact of global trade on U.S. jobs...

It is apparently so difficult to win over the vested interests with comparative advantage arguments that voting-rule games must be played to win:

When time for the vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement expired at 11:17 p.m., the nays outnumbered the yeas by 180 to 175. But, a few minutes past midnight, the GOP leadership, ignoring Democratic protests that the rules were being violated, had rounded up enough votes to win by 217 to 215...

Maybe, just maybe, the U.S. sugar lobby will continue to lose some of its power.

Posted by EclectEcon on July 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Deadly sacred trust

Hot from the Fraser Institute's busy presses is a new report on the country's sickly medicare system. An accompanying release reads: "'Canadians are being short-changed under our current health care system. Despite spending more than almost every other developed nation on health care, Canadians are experiencing inferior access to physicians and technology and suffering very long waits for treatment.

Canada

is also less successful in reducing deaths from preventable causes than other developed nations,' said Nadeem Esmail, co-author and senior health policy analyst at the Institute."

In other words, our vaunted medicare system, the sacred trust which is worshipped by so many of our fellow citizens, is killing us financially and literally.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on July 28, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

First Nations U purge

In the month since I wrote our Western Standard cover story on the First Nations University of Canada affair, there have been more revelations about the events of mid-February, which saw the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations assume a stranglehold over the college's administration. You can find the latest news on the front page of the Leader-Post.

I'm still amazed that, aside from the National Post (which commissioned on op-ed from me on the subject) the MSM outside of Saskatchewan have ignored this story.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on July 28, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Prohibition Residue

Lcbo_ott_july9b_450 The "LCBO" is a cool, funky acronym for "Liquor Control Board of Ontario" - a name that brings to mind government stores, rationing and long line-ups in Eastern Europe before the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Full article on Living in Unmentionable Times

Posted by Michael Dabioch on July 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Carolyn Parrish undermining military discipline?

It's one thing to criticize government policy, but it's another to be undermining the top commanding officer of the armed forces who has the full confidence of the government.

When General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff, speaks, he is translating the policy position and the directives of the government into mil-speak for his staff and his soldiers. 

Rogue MP Carolyn Parrish was offended by the blunt military assessment provided by the general, thinks he should be muzzled, has diagnosed him with testosterone poisoning, and has said that the Canadian public should be told that he does not speak for the government.

For a member of parliament to publicly undermine the ability of the top officer in the armed forces to give orders likely to be obeyed could be construed to be an act of sedition.  It's a stretch, but it might be worth trying to teach Carolyn Parrish a lesson about the power of words and the price of ignorance.

Posted by Steve Janke on July 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Paul Martin's women -- Stronach and Parrish

First, there was Belinda Stronach. To cross the floor, she demanded a cabinet post (we assume). Upon completing the deal, Prime Minister Paul Martin was subject to laughter from the Ottawa press corps during the press conference when he asserted that her reward of a cabinet post was entirely based on merit.

Is Paul Martin about to be humiliated again?

[Carolyn] Parrish, who was booted out of the Liberal caucus last year after she criticized the government of U.S. President George W. Bush as "bastards" and "idiots," also said she is interested in returning to the Liberal fold, but only if she receives a personal invitation from the prime minister that has no strings attached.

Most leaders would make it clear to a rogue like Parrish exactly where she stands in the pecking order. But here we have a very loud woman like Parrish who is a darling of a media deperate for stories during the summer when domestic stories are few and far between, and a Prime Minister who is not a strong leader at the best of times, and is still wounded from a bruising spring session of parliament. I'd say there's a fair chance that we're going to be presented with another scene of the Prime Minister being laughed at by reporters.

[Cross posted from Angry in the Great White North]

Posted by Steve Janke on July 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served In Electrons


Tipper's Name: John Kerry
Where it happened: Chicago
Total bill / Tip amount / Percentage: $432.00 / $0.01 / 0%

What happened:
John and his lovely wife ate dinner at our fine establishment drinking some of our finest wine with his sweetie pie. He racked up a 432.00 and left without a tip. Unless you count the penny that was on the floor next to his seat. Thanks John.


The Bitter Waitress.


Posted by Kate McMillan on July 27, 2005 in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Windows Vista

It's official, the first beta of Windows Vista is now available for download. Check here for screenshots, as well as Microsoft's published fact sheet. My first impression is it looks cool. However, keep in mind this OS was basically 5 years in the making. From 1990 to 1995, Microsoft went from Windows 3.0 to Win95. Obviously things have cooled off since 2001. I still think that the "damn kids these days" should have to learn to navigate C:\> before we let them get lazy with a pretty GUI. Damn kids...

HT:NeoWin CP'd:Highway 401 Blog

Posted by CharLeBois on July 27, 2005 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Quote Of The Day

Indeed.

Posted by Kate McMillan on July 27, 2005 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

But Doesn't This Steal Jobs from "Real" Workers?

Blind workers at two different Lighthouse work centres in Texas are employed making uniform pants for U.S. soldiers.

The Army contract calls for about 60,000 pairs of trousers to be made by San Antonio Lighthouse this year and 120,000 pairs at El Paso Lighthouse for the Blind.

Similar work, along with production of the accompanying uniform jacket, is being done by sight-impaired workers in North Carolina, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the National Industries for the Blind of Alexandria, Va., which oversees the contract.

The three-year contract is worth about $15 million to the participating nonprofit agencies, said Jim Gibbons, NIB's president. Workers in San Antonio are paid $8 to $13 per hour plus benefits, Delgado said.

In the past, I have heard rumblings from unions that such projects steal jobs from "real workers". Maybe they do, although I find the term "real workers" objectionable.

If the contracts are not won via competitive bidding, but instead are awarded because of social policy to provide more jobs for people who are blind, then regardless of the merits of the programme on social or moral grounds, yes, the contracts do steal jobs from other workers, real or not.

[thanks to Rondi Adamson for the pointer]

Posted by EclectEcon on July 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Taylor Made Librano Search Engine!

Posted by Kate McMillan on July 27, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Countdown to Election 2006

boldtjul262005

Posted by Rob Huck on July 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (71) | TrackBack

Can Jeffrey Simpson add?

In a piece, here, Jeffrey Simpson complains about provincial governments' failure to increase funding for post-secondary education to keep pace with their health care spending increase. He argues that provincial governments shouldn't now be asking for federal funding for post-secondary education since, he implies, it's their own fault they've spent all that money on health care instead of spending on education. With this argument, Jeffrey Simpson raises an implied question: Can the man do simple arithmetic?

Quick lesson in history, constitutional jurisdictions, and demographics:
  1. At Confederation ("1867," for those of you educated in public schools outside Alberta since 1970), education and health care was made a provincial area of jurisdiction under Section 92 of the BNA Act;
  2. From 1917 forward -- and, especially, since WWII -- the federal government's ability to raise tax revenue has tended to outstrip the demands of its jurisdictions . . . except, of course, when it invents new program spending or things like the AdScam;
  3. Since WWII, provincial governments' abilities to raise tax revenue has been outstripped by the funding demands accruing from health care and education;
  4. '2' and '3' have led to a widely held observation that there is a "fiscal imbalance" between the federal gov't's ability to raise revenue and the provincial gov't's spending demands;
  5. Through the 1960s and 1970s, education spending by provinces tended to be higher because that was the period in which most Baby Boomers were pursuing post-secondary studies; and
  6. Now, as the leading edge of Baby Boomers are reaching their 60's, health care spending demands are rising sharply.

(Altogether now: "I blame the Baby Boomers, I blame the Baby Boomers, I blame the Baby Boomers").

Um, "Of course provincial spending on health care has risen -- outpacing post-secondary education spending -- there's more people more prone to need health care!"

And, when the federal government is running surpluses before they invent new graft, er, spending programs, why shouldn't provincial governments try to divert some of that money into something substantive like post-secondary education before it goes to line the pockets of one more partisan?

One more thing, Mr. Simpson. While there is a federal order of government and a provincial order of government (not to mention municipal governments), there's, still, just one taxpayer funding them all.

(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on July 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Tune in tomorrow

It’s not a big network gig, but I will, nevertheless, be rocketing into the wonderful world of live television tomorrow and Friday. That’s when I’ll be sitting in for the vacationing Doug Kooy as guest host of Online, 9 p.m. til 10 p.m., on NOWTV, cable 10 in the Greater Vancouver area. Online is a current-affairs talk show which usually includes a phone-in segment. Here's hoping everyone within earshot (eye-shot?) will tune in.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on July 27, 2005 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Unrest In Cuba

Another story that has been simmering below the media radar. Herald Sun (Australia);

Castro planned to address supporters in a Havana theatre this afternoon to commemorate the 1953 assault he led on a garrison to launch a revolutionary movement that brought him to power six years later.

His critics say there is little cause to celebrate for Cubans who face persistent economic hardship, dilapidated housing, low wages and food shortages.

Record heat and power cuts of 12 hours or more a day led to scattered protests, vandalism and rare anti-Castro graffiti this summer, veteran human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez said.

Authorities have responded by mobilising rapid deployment brigades of militant supporters to disperse pockets of protest with batons, he and other dissidents said.


Babalu Blog is a good choice to keep track of news in the "Tropical Socialist Worker's Paradise".

Posted by Kate McMillan on July 27, 2005 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Some Girls

This week's assembly of right-thinking women.. And, they bathe!

Posted by Kate McMillan on July 27, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Canada vs Denmark -- History repeats itself

Could Canada and Denmark actually get into a fight over something as silly as Hans Island?

Not all Danes think this is silly.  From the Copenhagen Post:

Foreign troops haven't occupied Danish territory since 1946, when Soviet troops withdrew from the Baltic island of Bornholm, nearly a year after the end of WWII hostilities.

Now, however, a new threat to the nation's sovereignty is rising, says Josef Motzfeldt, vice president of Greenland's Home Rule.

And it wouldn't be the first time Canada got into a fight over something tiny.  Remember the Pig War of  1859?  Probably not:

One of the America's most unusual wars involved only one casualty -- a pig -- and yet it could have changed the course of history. The bizarre conflict took place on present-day San Juan Island (in Washington state) and involved American and British troops, and even warships.

Normally, the shooting of a pig would be a small matter, but American and British tempers were short in those days. Both the United States and England claimed the San Juan Islands; ill-defined boundary lines were to blame.

History repeating itself?

For more quotes and analysis, see the extended article at Angry at the Great White North.

Posted by Steve Janke on July 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Canada vs Denmark -- Serious business?

Canada and Denmark are having a spat over some tiny lump of rock and ice in the Far North.  Now you have a choice to make:

(A) I live in a transnational post-colonial utopia where nation states are an obsolete idea fading away in the face of socially progressive post-democratic organizations like the EU and the UN.  The controvery over Hans Island is amusing, will of course be resolved through negotiation, and allow me to indulge in mental exercises that highlight how useless a military is in this enlightened environment.

If this is you, go here.

(B) I live in a world where nation-states vie for advantage, and where challenges to territorial integrity must me met with a vigorous response.  Weakness draws the attention of the strong and the bold.  The controvery over Hans Island is serious business, sending signals to all Arctic powers concerning Canada's capacity, and more importantly Canada's willingness, to exercise more than a nominal control over the North.

If this is you, go here.

Or read both pieces and leave a comment.

Posted by Steve Janke on July 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wanted: Conservative columnist. Convictions for stalking not a problem.

After eight weeks, the, um, controversial and, er, well, let's say ambitious, Rachel Marsden has "severed her relationship with the National Post." And I'm sure that's exactly how it went down. She spurned the Post the same way she spurned Liam Donnelly's advances. And Michael Morgan's.  And Neil Boyd's.

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that Marsden actually mysteriously stopped appearing in the national pages a few weeks ago (she remained in the Toronto section, which has different editors than the comment section). Then, on Friday came news of the resignation of publisher Les Pyette, who had long been rumoured to be the only guy at  Don Mills headquarters who didn't think hiring Marsden was a really bad idea. Not to worry. If Marsden's track record is any indication, she'll be hosting her own national news show in no time.

UPDATE: A reader points out that Marsden's Post column suddenly stopped appearing right after the London bombings, when she apparently wrote this piece on Islam, which appears on her website, but apparently never made the papers. No wonder, with statements like: "Western democracies have to wise up to the fact that “tolerance” of Islam is as much about "freedom of religion" as allowing your kids to trash your house while you're away on vacation." I don't know what that means, exactly, but it sounds dangerous.

"UPPITY DATE" UPDATE: Revisionism is catching, it seems. The third link above, which used to point to the item about Marsden on the Zerbisias blog no longer does, because Antonia has inexplicably dropped the item. Take it from me, you're not missing much. Just AZ suddenly getting all mawkish about  Marsden's, er, severance, and recounting how everyone had ganged up on the poor girl, who never stood a chance—this after her own harsh (but justified) criticisms of Marsden's character and writing (hurry, there's no guarantee how long this post will stay up, folks).

AZ appears to allude in her latest post to something about the comments getting out of hand (again, after she herself greenlighted in the thread a link to an anti-Semitic website (don't ask)). But Typepad (which AZ uses) allows you to turn the comments section off, without deleting the original post, so that couldn't have been the problem. My guess? Marsden's already landed herself a column at the Star. Don't be surprised if AZ never mentions her again.

Posted by Kevin Libin on July 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

A survey of Canada's moral decline

Over at my blog Sobering Thoughts, I have an overview of Canada's moral decline that will appear in the August issue of The Interim. Here's the intro:

"For about 40 years, Canada has been the laboratory for an awful social experiment. Beginning with contraception (1967) and divorce (1968), Canadian society has become a culture, coarsened by narcisicm and nihilism; these, in turn, have led us to abortion (1969) and euthanasia (2005?). Canada has become a culture, corrputed by death. But in order to reverse these deleterious social trends, one must first understand them."

The purpose of the article was merely to explain what has happened and that future battles lay ahead, including polygamy, pedophilia and further curtailing of religious rights. I did not mention this in the article but my guess is that the battle over women priests in the Catholic Church could end up being adjudicated in a Canadian court, so total is secular politic's intolerance of religion, or at least, in Canada, Christianity. Future articles in The Interim will examine why we've arrived to where we are today and what to do to turn things around.

I end the overview by exhorting my fellow so-cons to not stop fighting; we might not see victory but at the very least we will be laying tracks for our children and grand-children to win the culture wars. And for those of faith, I urge them not to despair, reminding them that despair is a sin -- it is the belief that the Supreme Court or Parliament is more powerful than God, which is a heresy. I don't think there is much cause for optimism but there is always cause for hope. For those of you worried about morality in this nation, do something about it. I explain what in the concluding paragraphs. It means so-cons must learn to work together, redouble their efforts and try new strategies. It means never, ever voting for a political candidate that does not represent one's own moral views. It means becoming informed about issues by reading religious and conservative blogs, The Western Standard, LifeSiteNews and The Interim, among other publications, and sharing that information with others. (I'd suggest also purchasing subscriptions to TWS and TI for local schools and libraries.) I no longer have any patience for so-cons who complain that "Canada sucks" or that "Canada is hopeless." If that is your attitude, leave or shut-up; you are of no help to us. Things are bad and will probably get worse. But are social conservatives doing the things that will reap rewards when society finally says enough is enough? I don't think we are.

Posted by Paul Tuns on July 26, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Russia's growth industry

According to The Guardian, the estimated total dollar value of bribes given in Russia this year will be $300 billion, ten times larger than was used to bribe officials in 2001. The Indem think tank which came up with the number says the increase in the dollar value of bribes is reflection of the power of the bureaucracy. The Guardian reports:

"The survey gives ammunition to critics of Vladimir Putin's administration who argue that the Kremlin has cemented the role of an all-powerful bureaucracy which has used a time of economic growth to line its own pockets rather than spread prosperity. One study has estimated that about 10% of Russia's millionaires are bureaucrats."

Posted by Paul Tuns on July 26, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Zimbabwe-Red China connection

Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe went to Beijing where he was showered with aid, trade and a co-operation agreement. China, which had earlier this year sold military equipment to African nation, also promised Mugabe  eight military training jets as gifts. The Daily Telegraph reports that Chinese investment is directly linked to "Zimbabwe's township clearance programme." But China and other Asian despots are supplying not only military hardware but a model of government. The Christian Science Monitor reported earlier this month:

"Take Zimbabwe's ongoing demolition of thousands of urban homes and shops. It has left homeless up to 1.5 million, mostly city dwellers, and forced many to seek rural refuge. It echoes, some observers say, China's government-led 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, when urbanized elites were stripped of status and forced to learn peasant ideals while laboring on farms."

Furthermore, the CSM reports, Chris Maroleng of the Pretoria, South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies, finds that some African countries may "attempt to replicate some models from the east" including "the Tiananmen model or the Pol Pot model." Of course, that model looks even better when it is giving out goodies. But as long as Beijing is funding serial human-rights abuser Zimbabwe shouldn't Canada refrain from funding Beijing as Helena Guergis suggests?

Posted by Paul Tuns on July 26, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Outward Bound for Islamofascists

Gee, these guys really sound like they have been oppressed by decadent, Western culture. No wonder they want to blow us all up. Clearly, Muslims in the U. K. suffer immensely at the hands of their infidel overlords.    

Posted by wonkitties on July 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

US-Born Economist, Teaching in Ireland, Takes Krugman to Task about Canada

When I started writing this item earlier today, the most frequently e-mailed piece from the NYTimes was Paul Krugman's column about why Toyota chose to locate its newest North American assembly plant in Canada rather than in the U.S. It may still be...

In a recent posting on The Atlantic Blog, Bill Sjostrom dissects Krugman's column very effectively.

He tries two lines of attack. One is to claim that American workers have lower productivity because of low government expenditure on schooling.

... Krugman's implicit claim is that more government spending improves schools. The difficulty here is that the evidence for this assertion is at best spotty, and there is a good deal of evidence that spending more makes little if any difference (see, for example, the work of Eric Hanushek of Stanford and Jeff Grogger of Chicago).

So why are Canadians/Ontarians reportedly more productive than, say, Alabamans or Texans? Is it our puritan work ethic? I honestly don't know, and I'm not convinced that it is due to our already-established manufacturing base because if it were, other places in the U.S. might be just as productive. Perhaps this is an instance in which a company's public statements should not be taken at face value but should be interpreted instead as a statement by Toyota to prospective employees: We expect you to work hard and produce a lot because you will be fired if you don't.

His other line of attack is to assert that Canada's national health insurance system gives Canada an advantage.

When Toyota sets up in Canada, it has to attract employees, either from other employers or by getting them into the labor market. Since everyone gets the health care the government provides, it follows that Toyota will still have to pay Canadian market wages. From the point of view of health care, the only advantage to moving to Canada is if the Canadian system can supply health care at a more advantageous combination of cost and quality, a doubtful proposition.

But Krugman is not trying to praise Canada, he is trying to get Americans to sign up for Canadian style national health care. Suppose the US created a Canadian style system. Then everyone would get the government health package regardless of whether they were working. To get employees to work for Toyota (and any other employer), the employers would have to compensate them for the wages lost to the extra taxes.

In other words, Krugman has raised the same issue that has been raised in the softwood lumber wars and has committed same error (or falsification, depending on your perception of the biases involved). It is inappropriate to talk about Canada's alleged subsidy to employers via gubmnt-funded health care without talking about tax levels and the costs from health care waiting times at the same time.

Let's also not ignore the massive subsidies offered to Toyota by every level of gubmnt. Maybe Texans and Alabamans are just smarter than Ontarians in their decisions not to subsidize major companies.

Cross-posted at The Eclectic Econoclast

Posted by EclectEcon on July 26, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Does Canada Still Have Free Speech?

Here is an interesting story from today's Washington Post.

Muslims Call Comments by WMAL Host 'Hate-Filled'

A local radio talk show host touched off complaints from an Islamic civil rights organization yesterday after repeatedly describing Islam on the air as "a terrorist organization" that is "at war with America."

The organization, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), asked the station to take disciplinary action against Michael Graham, who hosts WMAL-AM's late-morning call-in program.

A station executive, Randall Bloomquist, said yesterday that Graham's comments were "amped up" but justified within the context of the program. He said the station, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co., had no plans to reprimand Graham.

The show host touched off the flap during a discussion of the Muslim community's response to recent acts of terrorism. Graham suggested the fault lies with Muslims generally because religious leaders and followers haven't done enough to condemn and root out extreme elements. "The problem is not extremism," Graham said, according to both CAIR and the station. "The problem is Islam." He also said, "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam."

CAIR denounced the comments yesterday as "hate-filled" and "Islamophobic" and asked its members to contact the station's advertisers to express their dismay...

NOW, if Graham had made such comments on CFRB, wouldn't he be on his way to jail by now, charged with a hate crime or a human rights violation?

(This thought brought to you by vadum.blogspot.com.)

Posted by Matthew Vadum on July 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack