The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Ground control to Major John
Picture of the day certainly must be this hard-to-believe-it-isn't-PhotoShopped one, which I found through Drudge, of actor John Travolta's Florida compound, showing two of his five private planes parked just outside his palatial home.
Five personal aircraft, and he's lecturing the public about fighting global warming. Right.
And, oh yes, I count seven cars or trucks in the photo, plus what looks like a small bus hiding behind some trees in the bottom left corner.
One more related item on the subject of hypocrisy: The Financial Post has a comprehensive roundup today of hypocritical celebrities, with Al Gore and Michael Moore providing the best examples.
The Canadian Press is reporting today that "the federal government's massive investments in biofuels will be of little benefit in cutting dependence on fossil fuels or reducing greenhouse emissions." This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Frederic Forge of the Library of Parliament's science and technology division.
CP points out that one of the biggest green initiatives in the Conservative budget is a $1.5-billion investment over seven years to promote renewable fuels such as corn-based ethanol. Read the full story here.
And here's a newer story, giving ethanol producers the podium.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Big Brother vs Big Banks
The NDP's unending quest for revelance has led it down the kneejerk populist path of proposing legislation to prohibit banks from charging ATM fees. The New Democrats obviously think the issue is a winner because they're now circulating flyers to neighbourhoods (mine, at least!) dealing with the subject.
I had to laugh at the flyer's "Have your say" section, which encourages readers to place check marks beside these three statements:
YES, banks should stop gouging consumers with unfair ATM fees.
YES, the federal government should put an end to ATM fees.
YES, Canada's NDP is on the right track for average Canadians.
I guess this all just proves once again that the NDP has absolutely no idea of what a voluntary transaction entails, and that even if it did, there's something distasteful, unfair or immoral about an economic system that allows free-market transactions.
Hummer vs. Prius
Which of these two vehicles proves to be kindest to planet earth, calculated on taking all impacts and reducing them to a cost per mile basis. Not even close! and here. A tip of my best baseball cap to the Dave Rutherford Show.
Space, the final battlefield?
An American general talks about Communist China's space weapons program, which may soon include "introducing weapons of mass destruction into space."
Tories on the floor of the House: The Liberals are thieves and liars
Conservative MP Scott Reid stood up yesterday on the floor of the House on a point of privilege, and in no uncertain terms called Liberal MPs Mark Holland and Marlene Jennings thieves and liars.
Those boxes filled with Conservative papers? They were labelled properly and waiting to be moved. The Liberals took them and hid them. They've been pouring over them for a year, hoping to find something that could be used to embarrass the Conservatives during an election. Or so Reid claims.
Reid wants an apology from Holland, from Jennings, from Stephane Dion, and from former interim Liberal leader Bill Graham, since it is Reid's claim that the Liberals have been deliberately hiding these papers for a year, so Graham must have known.
Reid also wants the matter handed over to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, and he wants the Speaker to declare that Holland and Jennings are in contempt of Parliament.
What did the Speaker say? He didn't disagree. And he wants to hear from both Holland and Jennings before he decides to refer this to committee.
You can see the full text of Reid's speech to the House, and the Speaker's response, at Angry in the Great White North.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Hoax of Rogue Elements within the Iranian Regime
The Iranian government's decision to take 15 British marines hostage is an act of war. The decision was both deliberate and central. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is not a rogue element. The regime created it to conduct the operations which the leading clerics did not trust the [regular] army to execute.
And I might add that rogue elements are shot in Iran.
They took the hostages because that is what they do...
Taiwan facing nearly 1,000 missiles
Communist China has been building a massive short-range missile arsenal, deployed exclusively against Taiwan. Five years ago, the number of missiles involved was less than 400; today it's nearly 1,000.
Make no mistake, the Communists can not tolerate the Taiwanese democracy. It runs afoul of their repression on the mainland, their use of radical nationalism to distract their own people, and their subsequent need to replace the United States as the leading world power.
Soliciting drug deals
OK, so get this: Guards at Toronto's ancient Don Jail apparently don't search lawyers, doctors, psychologists and clergy before they meet with prisoners. Even so -- nine, count 'em, nine -- lawyers have been caught trying to smuggle drugs into the jail in just the last five years. The latest is 72-year-old Edmund Schofield.
Folks, if the guards have caught nine lawyers without the benefit of a formal search procedure in place, you can bet that drug transactions are more rampant in The Don's visiting rooms than they are at the corner of Main and Hastings in Vancouver.
Family-friendly and more
Has last week's federal budget revealed Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to be a stealthy pro-lifer? Fr. Raymond J. de Souza makes the case in today's National Post.
The Stolen Boxes: Has the Liberal Party interfered with the workings of Parliament?
Mark Holland is trying to cook up a scandal to embroil Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, and he's using confidential papers he found in boxes that, for some reason, were not delivered to the Prime Minister's Office, even though it appears that they were properly labelled to be moved.
As a side show, the Liberal Party is also trying to make this into an example of how the Conservative Party failed in its responsibility to move these boxes, leaving them to be found by a nosey backbench opposition MP.
The Liberals know better. They know full well that managing office moves falls under the responsibility of the Speaker of the House, through the function of the Board of Internal Economy. This all-party Board exercises remarkably broad powers when it comes to the smooth administrative functioning of Parliament. When confidential material under the Board's care falls into the wrong hands, and worse yet, is made public, the Board has failed dramatically, and ought to be making waves of its own to find out just what happened.
For a full explanation of the portions of the Parliament of Canada Act that defines the roles, responsibilities, and powers of the Board of Internal Economy, check this longish post at Angry in the Great White North. But the bottom line is that boxes labelled to be moved belong to the House of Commons. Interfering with that responsibility risks bringing the wrath of the Speaker down on your head. It will be interesting to see if Speaker Peter Milliken decides to call the Liberals out on this.
(You might like to contrast Mark Holland's behaviour with Mike Duffy, and what Duffy did when he found himself with confidential information that was given to him inadvertently, and not as a news tip. He returned the material to the rightful owners, unopened.)
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Canada goes tough on Iran, stands with allies
Additional sanctions on Iran are approved by the Canadian government and will be implemented as well.
In the meantime, Canada stands with the United Kingdom, demanding the immediate release of British hostages held illegally by the Iranian regime.
The British personnel were engaged in legitimate and routine boarding operations of merchant shipping in Iraqi territorial waters in support of the Government of Iraq. Canadian naval ships have conducted the same type of operations in this area under the same mandate.
This is a very unusual but fine statement from the Canadian government and clearly showing us that Canada is somehow supportive of the coalition forces efforts in Iraq and if this is the case then PM Harper has done us all proud again.
The Long Arm of Lawlessness
Communist China has a long history of reaching out and pressuring democratic governments to do its bidding. Two examples made news today (plus Russia, which I am not prepared to call a democracy); one of them, Australia, appears ready to deport a Falun Gong practitioner on the laughable assumption that he "would not be in danger if he was sent back."
I should note that there was a time when Canada performed similar craven acts at the Communists' behest. Then came January 23, 2006. I can certainly understand the rumblings out there about the latest budget, but there are still major differences between Harper and his Liberal foes.
62 per cent
Conservative and nationalistic, the upstart Action Democratique du Quebec will now be the official opposition in Quebec. But, despite its out-of-the-blue success, the ADQ does not exactly represent a new phenomenon in the province. Remember the Union Nationale? It was conservative and nationalistic too, which has the Globe and Mail fretting about a return to the days of Maurice Duplessis.
The ADQ's conservatism and nationalism come together in its pro-family policies, which may have the ultimate effect of encouraging Quebec families to have more children, thereby offering the possibility of a frontline defence of Quebecois ethnicity against the rising tide of non-French immigration.
Poll shows support for Israel in US
JPost - Americans oppose giving land to Palestinians by a margin of five to one, according to a new poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates for the Zionist Organization of America.
To the question, "In your opinion, should Israel give more land to the Palestinians?" 60 percent of Americans rejected ceding land while 11% favored it.
The poll, conducted among 1,000 Americans on March 25, also found that Americans overwhelmingly (by a factor of 45% to 4.6%) supported Israel over the Palestinians in the context of the conflict.
But it seems they point to other issues as well...
The study's findings regarding Egypt and Saudi Arabia show that Americans are almost as wary of these countries as they are of Palestinian intentions, as 65% of Americans believe that Saudi Arabia is an unreliable and untrustworthy ally "in the war against radical Islamic terrorism," according to the figures, compared with only 11% who believe the opposite.
Similar sentiments (46% to 24%) were expressed towards Egypt, saying it was unreliable.
Now, trying to maintain some degree of Impartiality, this poll was conducted by the ZOA (Zionist Organization of America), so you can dispute it's validity, however, I personally think it is very close of not an accurate protrayal of American public opinion.
One wonders why British soldiers didn't fight back and kill the ba$t*&^ IRGC thugs if they were well outside of the Iranian territorial waters.
Next time they will shoot back if this happens and I am pretty sure had this happened to American marines, they would have fought back hard and killed the regime thugs. However It's obvious that Europeans always want to learn their lessons the hard way. And I am, very sad to say, kinda glad that Europeans are getting this treatment from the mullahs, which they deserve, for the support they have given to the regime for the 28 long years. Hopefully that will be a turning point for our European friends to see that mullahs of Iran have used them to prolong the misery of the Iranian people and mock the international laws and relations.
By the way, soldiers fight, they don't surrender!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Fit hits the Shan in Gaza.
GAZA (Reuters) - A sewage reservoir burst next to a village in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing at least four people and injuring 20 in a torrent of putrid water and waste that buried their homes, officials said.
Two children, aged one and two, were among the dead in Gaza's small Bedouin Village when the sewage overflowed in what one resident called a man-made tsunami.
And ofcourse its Everyone else's fault But the Palestinians...
Local authorities have scant resources. Since the Islamic militant group Hamas came to power a year ago, Western donors have halted direct assistance to the Palestinian government and Israel has frozen most tax revenues.
Hamas said the cut-off in international aid "prevented the government from improving and developing the necessary health and humanitarian services".
The governor of north Gaza, Ismail Abu Shammala, said the problems started 15 to 20 years ago while Gaza was under direct Israeli occupation.
Here's something from JPost you won't find in the article.
A local Palestinian official blamed shoddy infrastructure for the disaster. UN officials said they had been warning of such a catastrophe for more than two years.
A 2004 United Nations report warned that the sewage facility was at its maximum capacity and flooding was inevitable unless a new waste treatment plant was constructed. It said that even without overflowing, the effluent lake posed a serious health hazard, providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes and waterborne diseases.
All this suffering could be avoided if people tried to make their lives better, instead of trying to make others' worse. I do suppose tho that if this world means nothing to you, why should you care about a little thing such as infrastructure?
*Updated* March Mar 28th
Even Al-Jazeera had this to say:
As far back as January 2004, UN aid agencies in the Gaza Strip had warned that the north Gaza sewage treatment facility was operating far beyond its capacity and posed a grave danger to nearby residents.
What's with this line though?
Angry residents drove reporters out of the area and mobbed government officials.
The BBC gets it wrong
Granted, it's not as bad as the CBC naming the wrong Sherbrooke legislator, but I love how the BBC puts words in Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin's mouths regarding Iran.
Death to the oilsands?
I've written two cover stories for the Western Standard this year dealing with over-zealous environmental rhetoric coming from Ottawa. The first centred on the Tories' green conversion, the second on the even scarier policies of the Liberals -- policies that diverted our attention from what the Tories were planning. It's now time to focus on the Tories again, as they will make public their detailed global-warming-fighting plan on Thursday.
It's not going to be pretty, according to the Financial Post's Claudia Catteneo in today's paper:
"The biggest blow yet could land as soon as Thursday, when Mr. Harper's government is expected to unveil national targets for greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution for the main industrial sectors.
"Word in the oilpatch is that Ottawa's plan will be tougher than Alberta's, but not as stringent as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change."
The bottom line? The Tory plan "will kill the oilsands," the Post asserts in the headline atop the story.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Quebec Election Results
Jean Charest lost his seat ( according to the CBC) but the Liberals won a minority government, ADQ second, PQ third.
Overall Election Results
Last Update:March 26, 11:01:25 PM EDT
Update at 9.25 pm: Jean Charest won his seat after all. Trust the CBC to guess wrong.
Atlantic Canadians who are wondering what my voice sounds like can tune into Andrew Krystal's Maritime Mornings radio talk show, broadcasting in Halifax, Moncton and St. John, on Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. Atlantic time. I'll be chatting with Andrew about my current Western Standard cover story on Justin Trudeau.
The story isn't posted on our site yet, but Ezra Levant's column about the Liberal Party prince is accessible here.
Communist China's latest export: poisoned wheat
I mentioned this in passing earlier today, but Steve Janke has given me reason to give it more attention. The Menu Foods fiasco - at least a dozen pets killed and counting - has its source in exported wheat gluten contaminated with aminopterin. Where was the source? Communist China. More to the point, who was the exporter? The Communist-run China National Cereals, Oils, and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO).
Credit goes to S.J. for ferreting out the COFCO angle and writing the quote of the day:
So as authorities try to understand where the aminopterin came from, they might find themselves demanding answers of an organ of the Chinese government. Good luck with that.
One Large Pizza & a Side Order of Child Support
It is very important to fight crime, but should parents failing to pay child support be a top priority in public campaigns?
I'm with EclectEcon
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Where are the Brits?
Let's take a look at where they are. I pinpointed two IRGC facilities in east of Tehran, within Ghasre Firouzeh area, through Google earth satellite pictures. And those are places where these poor guys might be held.
The first image shows the entire Ghasre Firouzeh military complex where Iranian armed forces from regular army, air force, IRGC and Police forces are located and have their own bases and buildings. The area also houses the biggest military hospital of the middle east belonging to Air Force and built by Americans in late 70s. It was once a restricted area until mid 1990s and then Tehran was booming so fast that the government had to make some highways around this area and started opening it up to ease the heavy traffic of eastern part of Tehran. Ghasre Firouzeh or Turquoise Palace has taken its name from a Qajarid era palace that is located in that area. Check this image
The Iraqi POWs of 1980s had been settled in a stadium and military prison of Ghasre Firouzeh area until 1991-92.
The 2nd image shows us where IRGC Mechanized Infantry Division is located. And the third one showing us the IRGC main HQ. These are heavily defended areas and armed guards watch over high watch-towers 24/7. Moreover, east of Tehran has always been a place for military facilities. IRGC missile manufacturing factory is just couple of miles away from this area.
The entire incident will be getting more interesting as days go by. Just let's hope they are released soon...
News flash: Iranians shot at Americans
Guess what's going to be on page one
A Vancouver Sun experiment not likely to be repeated by the Western Standard: "Suzuki to be guest editor for a day."
UN to Iran: "We REALLY Mean It This Time."
The UN Security Council has voted more sanctions against Iran in an attempt to force Iran to halt its uranium enrichment programme. From the NYTimes,
All 15 members of the Security Council adopted the sanctions, Resolution 1747, which focus on constraining Iranian arms exports, the state-owned Bank Sepah — already under Treasury Department sanctions — and the Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military organization separate from the nation’s conventional armed forces.
No surprises were in the resolution, which modestly strengthens largely financial sanctions adopted in December in a first, limited resolution.
Meanwhile, of course, French and Russian financial institutions and arms dealers are licking their chops in anticipation of big profits to be made; so is Kofi Annan's son.
Addendum: These cartoons from a previous posting capture the situation pretty well. [link fixed]
Saturday, March 24, 2007
My (probably worthless and deservedly unlistened) advice to Quebec voters: vote ADQ
Monday will be the day my governor makes a decision on a transportation tax hike that has consumed the politics of my home state for months. No one in Canada will notice, and truth be told, it will take a Herculean effort for me to pay attention, for I'll have my eyes firmly planted on the Quebec election - and I'll be rooting heavily for the ADQ.
Odds are the endorsement of an American will mean absolutely nothing (in fact, that may be the best for which Dumont et al can hope), but I feel compelled to ask the voters of Quebec to cast their ballots for the ADQ on Monday.
Why? For over thirty years (ever since the PQ became the official opposition in 1973), Quebec politics have been suffocated by the "sovereignty question." Normal political issues have been half-buried in election after election ever since. What has happened? Quebec's politics and its economics have moved sharply left. Some might consider this a coincidence. I disagree.
Down here in America, we have a right-of-center party; in theory it's the Republicans. However, during the previous six years (2001-2006) when the Republicans were in control of both the executive and the legislature for the longest period of time since well before they became the small c-conservative party, government spending went through the roof, a major piece of the private economy was pulled closer to federal control (pharmaceuticals), and federal regulations of political speech increased dramatically.
Why was this? Because America was fixated (and very rightly so) on the War on Terror. Of course, wars for survival take priority over everything else, as it should be, but when that happens, there is a cost - "everything else" drifts slowly - and later far less slowly - leftward.
This is what the debate on "independence" has done, and voting Liberal or PQ will simply keep the stultifying status quo in place - and that status quo must be changed. The provincial Liberal Party, while led by a former Tory, is still too closely tied in many ways to the federal Liberals, who frankly have a vested interest in keeping this false debate alive for the purpose of stifling any local attempt to challenge their centralized, over-regulated, and mandate-driven political platform.
As for the PQ, they, too, are driven by dreams of mandates, central control, and over-regulation. The only difference is their capital (Quebec City) and largely their language. They have revealed their hollowness and lack of vision with past references to the European Union as a "model" for a "sovereign" Quebec in relation to Canada. Anyone of reasonable intelligence who has examined the nations of the EU (particularly those in the single-currency "eurozone") would find this utterly laughable. Quebec citizens arguably have more control of their own destiny vis a vis Ottawa than then either the French or the Belgians (and any other francophones within the EU) vis a vis Brussels.
In short, the "independence debate" is actually, in my view at least, a false one. It distracts from the true issue Quebec citizens must face - ever increasing control of their lives and their livelihoods from the federal and provincial governments. For just over a year, Quebec has seen a federal government willing to put a halt to the former encroachment. Now is the time for them to take action against the latter.
It is time the debate in Quebec no longer be about which language is more suited for socialism. A viable party of the center-right now stands before them as an alternative. I hope Quebec seizes that alternative, and elects the ADQ.
That's my two cents on Monday's vote.
German Judge Implements Theocracy
Hostage Taking version X
Whatever it is, I just want to know if the Europeans or Americans still want to have more Behavior Therapy sessions with the mullahs.
Friday, March 23, 2007
The new Asian tiger: India?
Folks on both sides of the 49th are noticing the big, reforming democracy just to Communist China's southwest.
Canada presses Iran
Canadian government started implementing UN resolution 1737 on Iranian regime as of February 2007 and bans the travel of regime's official and will block their assets.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck.
“Amazing Grace,” Walden Media’s biopic about William Wilberforce and the campaign to end the slave trade, opens in Canada and the UK on Friday, March 23rd, two days before the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire.
As is the case with movie releases, the first weekend is crucial as to whether or not the revenues from the movie will warrant more movies of its type being attractive to movie distributors – in this case, Alliance Atlantis in Canada. Also, the first week will influence how long theatres will keep it on the screens and whether more theatres will put it on their screens.
Why would you want to go see “Amazing Grace?”
Glad you asked. Don’t let the title put you off, if that’s an issue. This movie has cross-over appeal to both political and religious audiences. Politicos will “get” the political dimensions of Wilberforce’s campaign against slavery. And, it’s clear early on in the movie that Wilberforce was profoundly influenced by a Christian ethos.
P.S.: Beyond going to see it yourself, I ask you to let others you know who might want to see it . . . this weekend, if possible! Also, if you blog, please blog about this.
Liberals cry as Harper tells it like it is
I think this has gone unnoticed...
"I can understand the passion that the leader of the Opposition and members of his party feel for Taliban prisoners," Harper said Wednesday during Parliament's question period.
"I just wish occasionally they would show the same passion for Canadian soldiers."
Zimbabwe is one of the last outposts of tyranny along with Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran and Venezuela, not to mention dozens of other Mideastern countries, but I doubt the situation in that African country is going to last long.
Canada can play an important role across the African continent especially in Darfur, Zimbabwe and Horn of Africa where Islamic terrorists are regrouping to threaten the peace and stability of the region.
Glacial Lake Missoula and the Missoula floods
Have you ever heard of 2000 foot high ice dams holding back 500 cubic miles of water? That is more water than found in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario combined. Now here is the scary part, once the water reached a critical height the ice would start to float which would cause a catastrophic release of all that water in an estimated period of forty-eight hours. Speed of the flow would reach 65 mph with choke points increasing the speed to approximately eighty mph. Furthermore this fill release cycle is estimated to have occurred dozens of times. This happened during past ice ages. I cannot think of a better reason to support “Global Warming”. You can read more about it here.
First Iraq, now Iran. AP: Total oil chief in 'bribes' probe
Keeping you informed
I just signed out of Yahoo and on the exit page there was a large CBC ad showing three great Canadians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and international super-hoochie mama Pamela Anderson's breasts. Judging by Harper's finger point and the notes he's holding, the pic was taken while in the House of Commons. The picture of Anderson, well, who cares, right? From a politician's perspective, I suppose you can't pay enough for publicity like this. Crack as many jokes as you like (i.e. looks like an Italian parliament; perhaps we can expect a "three boobs" comment from the NDP). The text of the ad "Hourly video updates from the CBC" seems like an afterthought. In keeping with this approach to the news, let's bring you the latest. Despite what you may have heard, Pamela is staying single and working on a show called Malibu with Baywatch producers. The Liberals demand yet another an apology from Stephen Harper for [insert outrage here]. And in other Baywatch related news, turns out that Carmen Electra is actually petrified of water!
A call to boycott the Beijing Olympics - from France, of all places
Francois Bayrou, previously known as the French presidential candidate who could sneak into the runoff out of appeal to voters turned off by both Nic Sarkozy and Segolene Royal, has called for France to boycott the 2008 Olympics if Communist China continues to support the Sudanese regime and its slow-motion massacre in Darfur. I've now officially stopped rooting for Sarko.
"For all those who've been trying to create this narrative about invading Iran, which is silly, what we've really said is that we're going to use diplomatic means to try to get the government in Iran to change its behavior," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.
This is actually discouraging for those people who have no other means than foreign news channels to find out about their outer world and once they hear about "Behaviour Change", they get completely discouraged and feel left alone. That does not even help change the regime's behavior if that's their intention. It simply gets the mullahs become confident that their own people have no outside support in case of a national anger and they keep on doing whatever evil they have been doing since 1979.
But it's beyond that and it is really interesting to see that people of Iran don't want the US officials to talk of "Regime's Behavior Change". They know as well as Ahmadinejad does that these latest sanctions and useless negotiations barely have teeth, and will do nothing to change Teheran's behavior. So whats the point of changing the behavior of a regime that doesn't abide by any international law and has no respect for them in the first place?
What majority of Iranians expect from the free world is to have their firm moral, financial, tactical and technical support to change the mullahs' regime for the good. They are tired of trash talks in UN or multilateral negotiations that are supposed to get the regime suspend its nuclear programs or stop supporting the terrorists around the world. These useless talks never worked and never will. You can't change the behavior of a natural-born killer who enjoys murdering and hurting others. You either hang that type of person or puts him in a maximum security jail forever. Iranian regime is not an exception. It's a corrupt killing monster that needs to be dealt with properly. No one can get this evil system change its behavior. Once this regime stops doing what it is supposed doing, then it will fade away on its own and that ain't happening. Islamic gov't of Iran's survival is depended on terror, intimidation and deception. Good luck with that.
Stop fooling yourself about the baseless notion of behavior change and start supporting regime change before it's late.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Questions about the Core of Gore
Al Gore is speaking in front of Congress today, calling global warming a "global emergency." It's worth revisiting this week-old Times piece about mainstream scientists uncomfortable with Gore's claims.
Can anyone make sense of this?
Maybe I'm the only one but I just can't keep up with what animal rights activists are thinking. One minute they want everyone to save all things cute and furry and the next they want to kill one that has been rescued and nursed back to health. Can't they make up their mind? It also seems like zoos are always in their crosshairs even though they do most of the work to breed the activists' beloved endangered species. How can anyone possibly take these people seriously?
Fiscal Conservatives? Really?
And here's what the separatists have to say.
A nice condensed account of the errors of "engagement"
James Mann has a terrific new book on the shelves - The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression. Jay Nordlinger gives a short version of his review which is today's Enlightened Comment of the Day. I should note that Mann is talking about America's leaders; the contrast we now see in Ottawa is a large part of the reason why Stephen Harper has been such a breath of fresh air.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
On foreign reserves: are the Communists about to do us an (accidental) favor?
Communist China recently announced it was creating a new investment firm charged specifically with managing its $1 trillion and change in foreign reserves. The cadres insist the new firm "will not hurt the dollar or the American economy." Of course, the cadres are not sincere about this, but their words may be right despite their actions.
In fact, Communist China's depreciation would be impossible without regime's willingness to back it up with massive purchase of American investments (usually U.S. Treasury bonds). Only by swallowing up the bonds (and the dollars in which they are priced) can the Communists hold down the overall dollar supply, and thus make the dollar worth more than it would normally be relative to the Communist currency.
That said, the Communist currency devaluation still has dangers to America. While there has certainly been some damage to American manufacturing, I would submit that the impact on other exporters to the U.S. has been far, far worse. Communist China has now muscled out every other nation except Canada to become the second largest exporter to the United States. Its currency move (begun in 1994) may very well have started the "Asian flu" that hit the economies of Indonesia, South Korea, and to a lesser extent Taiwan. Even Japan's export sector has taken a hit. The damage to so many American allies by Communist China's devaluation makes it had for me to believe this was an accident.
Secondly, the buildup in foreign reserves can create (and in fact, it has created) a mountain of cash that can become a geopolitical slush fund for the Communists. If an American Administration - any American Administration - announced it would take a $1 trillion account and invest it in the stock market, the possibility of "social investments" distorting market decisions would drive most economists to apoplexy. While $1 trillion means a lot less in comparison to the entire globe than it does for Wall Street, the cadres still have a tremendous chance to use their reserves to aid their geopolitical power objectives. At the right time and place, a quick transfusion of funds can help a tyrannical ruler delay hyperinflation (hello, Venezuela), rescue a dictator already neck-deep in it (Zimbabwe, anyone?), or come to the aid of an economically isolated nation (say, the Communist-backed mullahcracy of Iran). The geopolitical gains to the Communists - and damage to the Americans - can be substantial.
Thirdly, there is the effect on the American economy. If Communist China chooses to put its reserves elsewhere around the world, it is no longer swallowing up American bonds (and dollars). The resultant dumping of American currency will send the dollar sinking, and fast. If the Communist play their cards right, they could deal the dollar a body blow from which it could never recover.
Clearly, the move by the Communists to start shifting away from American investments can do tremendous and unspeakable damage to the American economy. So why am I saying the cadres are doing us an "accidental favor"? The answer is simple; the cadres are moving way too soon.
At present (March 2007), Communist China holds just over $350 billion in American debt. Yes, that's quite a lot, but compared to the $8.8 trillion in total American debt, it comes to merely 4%. Even among foreign-owned debt, Communist China's piece is less than one-sixth. This means that Communist China's ability to do long-term damage to the American economy is not particularly high right now. Moreover, the odds of the $350 billion in Treasury bonds finding no takers is practically nil. British investors have been increasing their holdings in U.S. debt at a rate twice as large as the Communists; they would certainly be willing to take a large chunk of what the cadres leave behind.
Moreover, if the Communists decided to scale back on their American investments, their ability to keep their currency devalued against the dollar will vanish. Of course, a drop in the dollar's value is part of the cadres' plan, but it will mean some American manufacturers - and far more exporters among America's allies - will find their products competitive in the American marketplace again.
So, for the Communists to gain geopolitically from dropping the dollar, they would need the knock the dollar so far down it loses its value as the "vehicle" currency in the world economy. If one's intent is to inflict that kind of damage, four percent ownership of total American debt just doesn't cut the mustard.
There will be some short-term damage to America's economy, possibly in inflation and some general capital withdrawal as the dropping currency makes international investors nervous for a time. However, the timing for the Communists couldn't possibly be worse. Communist China is preparing to do visible, painful, and temporary damage to America's economy as it prepares for the Olympic Games and its victim prepares for a presidential election. The political effect in the 2008 race could be a tremendous shot in the arm for anti-Communism. Meanwhile, the Communists' use of their reserves to aid their tyrannical, terrorist-sponsoring allies would bring even more focus to the cadres' nefarious geopolitical plans in the heat of an American election campaign.
Normally, the American political landscape would counteract these problems, what with "engagement" running rampant through the establishments of both parties. However, on the Republican side, anti-Communists of some form are dominating the three main facets of the 21st century campaign - the blogosphere (Duncan Hunter), the polls (Rudy Giuliani), and the current "buzz" (Fred Thompson, best-known for the Thompson-Toricelli Bill, which would have sanctioned Communist China for selling weapons to terrorists - it later showed up as a failed amendment to PNTR). If any of these three were to be the Republican nominee (and my heart is still with Hunter), the events described above could be the added boost they need to win the November election. That would be a political disaster for the Communists.
So why are they doing it? I suspect two possible reasons. First of all, they may not see the political ramifications of their actions. This shouldn't surprise anyone; tyrants have always had serious problems reading democracies. The second reason may be more simple (and is certainly more ominous): the Communists may feel they have no choice but to act now to prepare themselves for the future invasion of Taiwan. I would doubt America would still be feeling the ill effects of the cadres' move by 2012, so this may mean the invasion timetable is being moved up - all the more reason to ensure an anti-Communist is in the White House on January 20, 2009.
Either way, I genuinely believe the Communists are about to make a major geopolitical mistake with their foreign reserves. With a little luck, it will be their last before the Chinese people rise up to take their country back.
On the Communist military buildup
I know nearly everyone is focused on the budget and the Quebec election (heck, even I'm paying less attention to local issues here in the DC area), but the butchers of Beijing are still hard at work trying to replace the United States as the world's leading power.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Champion of Provincial Rights Appears in Great Politician Contest
As the Internet contest to identify Canada's most inspiring politician continues (http://www.timhudak.ca/great-dominion-dust), today's choices include one really important contest. Oliver Mowat, a staunch defender of provincial autonomy, goes head to head against long-time Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion.
Though Mowat was an Ontario premier, he was an avowed decentralist. His political and legal battles against John A. Macdonald -- coupled with a landmark series of Privy Council decisions in favour of Mowat and provincial rights -- confirmed that the Provinces were autonomous from the Federal government and, within areas of provincial jurisdiction, supreme.
As a footnote, many high school students are taught that our Constitution, in contrast to that of the United States, confers all unallocated powers on the Federal Parliament and makes reference to Parliament's ability to legislate for "peace, order and good government." Sadly lacking from this explanation is the fact that our Constitution is more decentralised than that of our neighbour and that Canadian Provinces possess greater autonomy and greater powers than do the U.S. States. Too often students don't learn that a controlling, centralising federal government is anathema to Canada's constitutional order; indeed, when I went to school teachers suggested the opposite! ... Little wonder that so many don't appreciate Mowat's role as a primary force in Canada's separate constitutional evolution.
Nothing against Mrs. McCallion, but she's not Oliver Mowat and, besides, she's still a sitting politician.
Other matches today are uninspiring. For example, in the Western bracket, eugenics proponent Nellie McClung competes against CBC founder R.B. Bennett.
Yesterday, historical footnote Kim Campbell became a footnote in the Great Canadian Political Dust-up, losing to Louis Riel by a decisive 72% - 28% margin.
Voting in today's round continues until 11:59 p.m. EDT.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Last bit of Ottawa news to get completely snowed under by the release of the budget
Canada is getting a new de facto ambassador from Taiwan.