The Shotgun Blog
Friday, February 29, 2008
Clueless Would-Be Censors Attack Mark Steyn Again
Harper's magazine recently published a selection of the "assertions and implications" attributed to Mark Steyn by the Canadian Islamic Congress's "Case Study of Media-Propagated Islamophobia." Harper's published the list without comment -- without, apparently, even bothering to note that much of the list is actually drawn from Steyn's review of Robert Ferrigno's novel Prayers for the Assassin, which was published in Maclean's.
Although I haven't read the novel myself, it's about an Islamic takeover of a large chunk of the United States after New York City and Washington, D.C. are destroyed by nuclear weapons. It sounds interesting, but I haven't had a lot of time to read fiction lately. Read about the novel on Wikipedia here.
You can see Harper's published, without comment, a selection from a document that attributes to Mark Steyn the following claims, among others:
- the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan will be renamed after Osama bin Laden.
- the Super Bowl will have an official break for Muslim prayer and female cheerleaders will be banned.
- the United States will break into pieces after Muslims attack it with nuclear weapons.
Etc. You get the idea. These aren't claims Steyn is making -- they're plot points he's reciting in his review of Ferrigno's novel!
As you can see, anyone reading the list in Harper's who wasn't already pretty familiar with Steyn's writing would think he's a Nazi lunatic. Of course, it's to the CIC's benefit to paint him in that light, but Harper's really shouldn't be helping them get the job done like this.
But here's what I'm really thinking: I suppose the CIC and its censor-happy allies like Warren Kinsella probably know that much of the complaint against Maclean's is based on the review Steyn wrote of Prayers for the Assassin. And if they think Maclean's should be dragged before the inquisition for publishing a basic recitation of the novel's plot, what do they think about the act of publishing the novel itself?
I mean, if a review of the novel is worthy of censorship, then surely the novel itself should be censored and kept out of Canada.
Why doesn't Prayers for the Assassin amount to hate propaganda?
Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO...
Imagine a country that locks up roughly one per cent of its total population. About one in a hundred gets handcuffed and carted off behind bars. Craziness, right?
Imagine that that country is, of all places, the United States of America.
No, I'm not kidding. According to a recent Pew Report, slightly more than one in a hundred Americans is locked up. Those staggering numbers become more worrisome when you look at the breakdowns--one in 30 men in my age bracket (20 to 24-year-olds) can't go to the local cineplex or go to the supermarket or to the local pub when they want, and a barely-believable one in nine black males in the same age group can't.
Men, incidentally--and will feminists please perk up and pay attention, thank you--are 13 times more likely to get tossed in the clink as compared to women (although the women's prison population is increasing at a clip comparable to the relative proportion of women entering college compared to men). But, never mind, we live in an anti-woman North American culture and blah blah breast implants blah blah Barbie blah blah Gloria Steinem and so on.
Why the massive lock up?
It's not because crime has gone up, notes the report. And it's also not because more people are getting caught. Rates of various crimes have remained relatively constant. They explain the mass imprisonment on a scale never-before-seen in liberal democratic countries as a result of a willingness to toss even minor offenders behind bars, and a rise in "three-strikes-you're-out" laws that extend what would otherwise have been shorter stints. They don't mention this in the press release, but the amount of people widdling chess pieces out of soap for marijuana-related "crimes" is shameful.
It's one thing to be tough on crime. It's another to be, uhm, insane.
Obama lies, protectionists cry?
While many observers, including The Economist and US News, have noted inconsistencies with both Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's critiques of NAFTA, it seems like Obama may now have been caught in some direct double-talk. On the stump campaigning for the tightly contested Ohio primary, both Democratic candidates have been attempting to gain points by playing to economic insecurities threatening that they would pull out of NAFTA if not able to renegotiate terms. Here's where it gets interesting: the CTV, relying on "sources at the highest levels of the Canadian government," reports that Austan Goolsbee, Obama's Chief Economic Adviser who has a taste for technocratic policies based on behavioural economics, spoke to the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago "saying that when Senator Obama talks about opting out of the free trade deal, the Canadian government shouldn't worry. The operative said it was just campaign rhetoric not to be taken seriously."
After the Obama camp and the Canadian Embassy in Washington put out denials, CTV continues to insist on the reliability of their sources and named Goolsbee as the unspecified campaign adviser in their original report. It's clear that there has been a lot of posturing on this issue by Obama, and the threats of withdrawal from NAFTA have set off a media flurry in Canada placing on the front page of both national newpapers and soliciting a reaction from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, so it's plausible that if the comments really were only overblown rhetoric and populist pandering that the campaign might reach out to reassure Canadian government officials.
I'll be watching this developing story, already unoriginally dubbed Goolsbee Gate which has been picked up all over the American media in the last couple days. CTV will be under mounting pressure to further corroborate their claims. The story is unlikely to die soon as McCain has now mentioned it and turned it into a campaign issue, telling reporters "I don't think it's appropriate to go to Ohio and tell people one thing while your aide is calling the Canadian Ambassador and telling him something else... I certainly don't think that's straight talk."
MAD won't stop Iranian regime
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) will not scare the Mullahs of Iran, says prominent Mideast scholar Bernard Lewis:
"But with these people in Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent factor, but rather an inducement," Lewis said. "They feel that they can hasten the final messianic process. This is an extremely dangerous situation of which it is important to be aware."
Very well said. The clerical establishment of Iran welcomes death and has no mercy for its own people or others. Let's not go for another useless cold war with an already bankrupt regime. Help change this criminal regime!
Leaping to conclusions
It's interesting how the coverage of yesterday's "gays twice as likely to be victims of violence" report from StatsCan automatically assumes that the perpetrators of that violence must be intolerant heterosexuals. This CanWest/Vancouver Sun story, for example, quotes a Queen's prof saying the report "helps erase the denial about how tolerant and equal Canadian society is."
But not only does the actual report not identify the perpetrators of the violence (gays attacking gays?), but it also contains a section noting that the incidence of domestic violence is twice as high among homosexuals as it is among heterosexuals. (See also this report for more on this subject.)
Moreover, the report does not say what part this high rate of domestic violence plays in the general violence rate. It certainly must account for a significant portion.
Additionally, one might wonder whether, just as homosexual couples are more violent than heterosexual couples, homosexuals in general are more violent towards one another in all their interactions--a scenario which, if true, could also account for even more of the extra violence that homosexuals report.
Fair trade is a poor answer to global poverty
Fair trade sounds pleasant--after all, what could be wrong with "fairness"?--but it's awful, argues Alex Singleton in his most recent column for the Western Standard. And it's awful particularly for the poor and indigent.
"Instead of allowing producers to make their own choices, the Fair Trade scheme demands they conform to their utopian vision of co-operatives, seemingly in the belief that these promote development. The truth is that poor country co-operatives often end up being oppressive. Many co-operative leaders win elections time and time again through rigged elections, and then cream money off the top that ought to go to farmers, who are left in the dark. Of course, many producers want no part of co-operatives, preferring to remain organised as small business owners." Read more...
What if they're both right?
Far be it from me to take issue with Adam, but I'm not sure we can be certain that "someone is lying" in the Chuck Cadman brouhaha. Here's why - the widow Cadman made the assertion despite being the Conservative nominee for Surrey North. She wouldn't have made the assertion (given that it was certain to become a headline-grabber) if she didn't believe it. However, she would never have run for her late husband's seat under Harper's banner if she thought he had anything to do with it.
Lest anyone forget, Chuck Cadman never ran as a Conservative; he was a Reformer who lost the nomination, yet won the election in 2004 as an Independent. His widow could easily repeat that if she wanted. Instead, she chose to run as a Conservative - hardly a sign she thinks Harper is corrupt.
Granted, during the 2005 confidence drama, I hadn't yet convinced the good folks who run the Shotgun to reject all sanity and allow me to post here, but I did observe the entire affair (as much as I could from 1,500 miles away), and the tension was palpable, even down here! The sponsorship allegations, the confidence-vote-loss-that-wasn't, the Stronach defection, the Gurmant-Grewal nonsense, and a few other things I'm sure I've forgetten combined to create the most politically combustible atmosphere anyone had ever seen outside of the state of Florida. The Canadian blogosphere alone looked ready to melt from the heat.
So, here's what I think - stress, think - happened, acknowledging full well that I (a) have not seen the particular book passage in question, and (b) am still about 1,500 miles away from the closest part of the Canadian border.
I'm guessing the two folks in question came to Cadman with Harper's offer of an uncontested Conservative nomination and were rebuffed. Given the sense of the times, is it not possible for one of them to blurt out something they would regret and retract, probably during the meeting itself? Something akin to . . .
"Well, what would it take, Chuck? Can you really let these guys stay in office, Chuck? Ya know, if you;re worried about your family, we can talk to Mr. Harper about that . . ."
Genuine concern for his family, combined with outrage at letting the Libs stay in office, could have easily combined to move the mouth in ways to which brain would react, "What the *$&^&%#? Did I really just say that?" Fifteen seconds and a quick and embarrassed retraction later and the meeting is over.
Furthermore, are we even sure the two names upon which everyone has seized (Finley and Flanagan) were even the ones to whom Cadman referred? Surrey North does have a Conservative riding association after all. Is there really no chance that one (or in this case, two) local Tories came to Cadman and went through the above conversational train to hell?
If Cadman really thought Harper had OKed this "offer," he would have gone public (I obviously never met him, but he doesn't seem to be the guy to keep a secret that big). No one would have questionned his decision to vote with the Liberals. Paul Martin would have been able to start an investigation within minutes. Harper would have certainly faced a leadership challenge. If Martin had decided to pull the plug himself and call an election, Cadman would likely won another landslide vote as an Independent (whether he wanted to run or not).
In other words, Chuck Cadman had no incentive to conceal the truth for Harper, whom he (Cadman) owed aboslutely nothing. Moreover, I repeat, Dona Cadman would have no reason to run for her husband's seat as a Conservative if she thought Harper knew about this.
I know the nature of the Canadian political system makes it hard to believe anyone in the Conservative Party would even breath heavily without Stephen Harper's OK. Perhaps I'm relying to much on my experience in American politics, where not even President's can have much more than nominal control over party members. Still, is it really that hard to believe someone made this "offer" and kept Harper in the dark out of embarrassment?
I would humbly submit, based on their actions, that the Cadman family sure seems to believe it.
A sure sign the apocalypse is nigh
I have high praise for Angelina Jolie.
Reason enough for Canadians to cheer for McCain
The Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement are two of the most important economic agreements in the history of the countries on this continent. The net economic benefit from these agreements is very significant. All party countries have realized massive net benefit in employment, investment, and other economic opportunities and growth.
That's what makes it so disgusting to see Clinton and Obama slagging these agreements just to pander to the addled hissy-fits of economic xenophobes of the Lou Dobbs variety. Their misinformed slags should only be expected in the ravings of socialist nutbars like Layton, Moore, Orchard, and Barlow -- not in the speeches of contenders for the Democratic ticket. It's not enough to do as Obama's staffer did and try to whisper that it's just rhetoric. Grow up people.
Same goes for Canadians. It's time to realize that our country's economic interests are at stake. You might giggle and blush every time Obama finds a new way to punctuate his sentences with the word "hope." Some might even smugly (if ignorantly) approve of the turn-your-back-on-the-world Democratic foreign policy. But should NAFTA and other free trade efforts be harmed, Canada will be harmed as well. I'm glad to report that there will be a much more solid free trader (far more of a consistent free trader that GWB ever was) on the ticket. His name is John McCain:
OK, I'm not sure what that "compensation" talk was about. Nobody's perfect. Still, if only because this man is the only one with some intelligence, sense and maturity on matters of vital economic policy, Canadians (and Americans) should back McCain.
An Absurd Fabrication
With regard to this Chuck Cadman nonsense: someone is lying. Someone is lying badly
In summary, the accusation is as follows: that the Tories offered Cadman a bribe to vote to bring down the government in the form of a $1 Million insurance policy. The accusation is specific on this point.
This is absurd. As someone with at least a passing familiarity with insurance, I can tell you right here and now that this story is crap. Anyone with half a brain (admittedly, a set of criteria which seemingly excludes much of the Liberal caucus) should be able to see that. Even the Vancouver Sun, which broke the story, admits it today - burying it at the very end of their article:
The cost of the insurance premiums for a man in Cadman's advance state of illness would be prohibitive, insurance specialists said.
"To underwrite a guy with that condition, the premium on a million-dollar policy would be something like $850,000," said Phil Moller, a chartered life underwriter in Toronto.
Not to mention the obvious truth that such a policy would be impossible to hide - and, in fact, would raise all sorts of red flags the moment that it was written.
For that matter, the Tories spent $17 Million in the whole of the 2004 election. Since, obviously, this money wouldn't have been able to come from campaign accounts, where exactly was it supposed to be coming from?
This doesn't make any sense at all. It's hearsay, passed on from a guy who's dead to his wife, who might well have understood. This is an ugly Liberal smear job - using a dead man to launch deliberately unfalsifiable allegations.
Should We Question Obama’s Patriotism?
The conduct and background of Barack Hussein Obama, over a period of years, raise alarming doubts as to the nature of the man and his loyalty to the United States and, more broadly, to Western Civilization. His thin paper trail suggests that he is either a real-life incarnation of Chauncey Gardener – or that he is someone with an agenda playing a very long game. Some of his associations and actions suggest the latter – with all of the danger that implies.
It’s not merely Obama’s refusal to wear an American flag pin. Nor is it his wife’s ridiculous comments that the success of her husband’s campaign allowed her to be proud of America for the first time in her life. The questions which quietly swirl around Obama run deeper – and are far more disturbing – than a few ostentatiously post-nationalist gestures from two confirmed members of the New Class.
These are the fundamental questions of the day:
Who is Barack Hussein Obama?
How was Barack Hussein Obama raised?
What does Barack Hussein Obama believe today?
Barack Hussein Obama was born in 1961. His mother was white and his father was black. That’s about as far as you’ll get in most biographical sketches. But that omits some critical details. In particular, his father was a Kenyan. To some degree or another, he was a Moslem. His family today is Islamic. Given the short time that Obama Sr. was involved in the life of Obama Jr., it’s fair to say that his religion is probably immaterial to any discussion of how Obama was raised. What is more significant is that he was connected to the Kenyan Mau-Mau terrorist group. A group which, I might add, also had notable communist ties. Obama’s mother becoming involved with a man connected to a foreign, communist-inspired terrorist group is very suggestive, especially when we step back further.
Obama’s grandparents, even in the 1950’s, attended what the church’s current pastor describes as, “the little red church on the hill.” One of his mother’s high school friends, speaking today, describes her as a, “fellow traveller” – a phrase pregnant with meaning.
To hammer home the point even further – after her first husband left her, Obama’s mother married Lolo Soetero, another man with connections to the far-left, in this case Indonesia’s crypto-communist government.
This is very significant. In a recent interview, Obama said of his mother that, “(t)he values she taught me continue to be my touchstone when it comes to how I go about the world of politics." If Obama’s mother was a communist or fellow traveller, that means something. This is especially true given that Obama’s mother would appear to be the primary direct influence on him – his father having left at such an early age and his stepfather being barely mentioned by the Senator.
A recent column by Cliff Kincaid revealed another alarming connection. The “Frank” who Obama repeatedly refers to as a mentor in his first biography was, in fact, Frank Marshall Davis – a member of the Communist Party. When you add to this Obama’s own admission of having attended “socialist conferences” a disturbing picture begins to emerge.
Connect the dots. A woman raised as a Red Diaper baby has a child with a member of a communist-related group. She raises a son who is mentored by communists and attends “socialist conferences.” What sort of individual is that background likely to produce?
Remember, all of this occurred in the contest of the Great War between communism and the West. Communism isn’t merely a matter of political disagreement; it’s a matter of loyalty.
But, it gets worse.
After his father left, Obama’s mother married another Moslem. Again, this is a suggestive fact. Obviously, we can’t choose who we fall in love with – but Obama’s mother appears to have had, especially for the day, rather exotic taste. It makes one wonder what circles she was running with.
They went to Indonesia. There, to some degree or another, Barack Hussein Obama was raised as a Moslem. First he went to a Catholic school, where he was reportedly registered as a Moslem. Later, he went to an Islamic school. People recall him going to Mosque for prayers.
Obama says that he’s no longer a Moslem. Fine. I can accept that. But what of his background? Being raised as a Moslem – and having attended an Islamic school – would seem to make him more likely to be sympathetic towards our enemies in the present war. And, given the impossibility of auditing the contents of the human heart, it opens up all sorts of other, even more disturbing, prospects.
Everything which I’ve just stated would be academic – a matter for curiosity – if Obama’s conduct as a man was beyond reproach. We don’t get to choose who our parents are or what they believe. We don’t get to choose what religions we are inducted or not inducted into as children. We don’t get to choose where we are born. These are all matters in which the individual is blameless. We don’t live in a society which subscribes to the idea that he sins of the fathers must be visited upon the sons.
I do not care – nor should any other person – about the nature of Obama’s ancestors, except to the degree that they have plainly shaped the man that we must contend with today. If Obama rejected his ideological heritage – if he were so firmly and absolutely indentified in the public mind as a fervent patriot – there would be no questions to be asked. But that is not the case.
Obama had a choice.
It was Barack Hussein Obama, the man, who chose to serve on the board of a group which calls the creation of the State of Israel a “catastrophe.”
It was Barack Hussein Obama, the man, who chose to associate himself with a known supporter of Jihadist terror.
It was Barack Hussein Obama, the man, who struck up a friendship with another terrorist who plotted to blow up an Army dance and later lamented that he, “hadn’t done enough.”
Some people berate me for calling leftists “traitors” on a regular basis. I say: if the shoe fits…
After all, can it really be simply a coincidence that, in every major war over a span of decades, the majority of the left has been on the side of our enemies? Can we truly call those who, as Barack Obama does, claim that opposing a nation’s war effort and supporting the victory of its enemies a form of patriotism patriotic?
If Barack Hussein Obama, the man, rejected his background – if he denounced those who tried to murder Americans and those who backed them, if he fanatically opposed our enemies, if he worked to defend the West at every turn, then there would be no reason to examine what he was taught as a child. But, since he does not, we have cause for concern. We are now faced with the very real prospect of a President whose worldview has been shaped by some kind of bizarre Islamo-Communist perspective so bizarre and parodic that, under ordinary circumstances, Michael Savage would reject it as extreme.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
One Question for Dona Cadman
Let me see if I've got this straight:
1) In 2004, despite being the popular incumbent, Chuck Cadman gets screwed out of the Conservative Party nomination in his riding of Surrey North by an ethnic insta-Tory voting block. When the party refuses to overturn the result, an enraged Cadman runs as an independent, and wins the election in a landslide.
2) In 2005, while terminally ill with cancer, Cadman becomes the center of the Canadian political universe as the deciding vote in the epic battle to topple the Paul Martin minority government. Through dozens of interviews each day both before and after the vote, Cadman never even hints at a bribe being offered by any party.
3) Mr. Cadman saves the Martin Liberal government with his vote. He passes away soon after.
4) In the wake of her husband's death, Mr. Cadman's wife, Dona, endorses the NDP candidate in her riding, family friend Penny Priddy, who won handily in the January 2006 election.
5) Later in 2006, Dona seeks the Conservative nomination in Surrey North to contest the next election against Ms. Priddy, and wins the nomination over a local lawyer.
6) In 2008, as part of the pre-release hype of a biography of her deceased husband, Dona Cadman announces that in 2005, the Conservative Party offered her husband a bribe of $1,000,000 in life insurance policy to vote down the Liberal government.
Dona, it seems you owe an answer to the following question: if the Conservative Party of Canada offered, essentially, a $1m bribe to your husband, and if this supposed bribe so offended your husband and yourself as you have described:
Why did you freely choose to seek the nomination for this party?
If the party you have freely been representing as a candidate of record for more than a year now is not corrupt, then why are you allowing this smear to fester?
(cross-posted at Flaggman's Canada)
The Cadman controversy
After Chuck Cadman passed away, just eight weeks following his decisive vote to prop up the Paul Martin government, the rumours swirling around Ottawa were not, as we have been hearing this week, that he was offered a $1 million life insurance policy to vote against the Grits. Rather, the rumours, as reported in this Western Standard story, were quite, quite different.
AT&T, NSA, and the BLF
All those acronyms...
Here's the short story: The "Billboard Liberation Front" (BLF) has "improved" an AT&T billboard in San Francisco to highlight the relationship between the telecommunications company, and the National Security Agency (NSA).
The ad alludes to the fact that AT&T offered voice and data records from their consumers to the NSA without a court order. The Senate was nice enough to retroactively immunize AT&T and Verizon (another telecommunications giant that also rolled over and gave the government their customers' private information) on February 12th of this year. So neither AT&T nor Verizon can be sued by regular schmucks who think the government shouldn't have access to private info without a court requiring it.
From the BLF press release:
“This campaign is an extraordinary rendition of a public-private partnership,” observed BLF spokesperson Blank DeCoverly. “These two titans of telecom have a long and intimate relationship, dating back to the age of the telegraph. In these dark days of Terrorism, that should be a comfort to every law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide.”
Ron Paul vs. Chris Peden
UPDATE: Pajamas Media seems to have access to different poll numbers. Very different. According to this post, Ron Paul is losing in his district by more than ten points at 43 to 32. I didn't find any links to any of the polls. I think this is wishful thinking by the anti-Ron Paul folks out there. They'll learn soon enough, since Ron Paul will win his district on March 3rd.
While Ron Paul's presidential campaign is sputtering to an unimpressive close, his congressional campaign is beginning to look more and more like a slam dunk.
A recent Public Policy Polling poll shows Ron Paul clobbering Chris Peden in the race for the Texas 14th District at 63 to 30. That may be surprising to some, but it really shouldn't be. Paul has faced a Republican challenger just about every election cycle. A challenger that has received at least implicit support from the national Republican Party. And Paul continues to clean up.
Peden is making a big deal out of the two local papers who have given him the endorsement, and is trying to paint Paul as an anti-family and anti-war radical. Since Paul voted no to a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as an institution for one man and one woman, and failed to support a ban on gay marriage, Peden has seen this as an opportunity to claim that Paul--who has been married to the same woman for 51 years, has 18 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild--opposes traditional family values. And as everybody knows, Paul does not support war in Iraq, which Peden sees as an unwillingness on Paul's part to defend the nation against terrorists.
The voters in the district, however, are having none of it. Amongst voters who consider morality and family their central issues, Paul's lead is 65 to 28. Young people, meanwhile, are the largest voting bloc for Paul. Amongst them, Paul leads Peden at a staggering rate of 75 to 11.
In terms of fundraising, Peden has managed to raise in the vicinity of U.S. $150,000. That's impressive. Or, it would be, if it wasn't for something like 5/6ths of that money coming from Chris Peden himself. But 150 grand for a Congressional run is no pittance, regardless of the source. How does Paul compare? He's raised a meager 1.053 million.
While Peden's fundraising is styled after Mitt Romney, his visuals and logo are inspired by McCain.
Here's Peden's logo:
And here's McCain's:
Oops, wrong McCain. Here's McCain's:
Does Peden have a hope? I don't think so. Not when District 14 constituents say things like, "I have an immense amount of respect for Ron Paul. Politics has a way of forcing people to go against their core principles for political gain. That has never been the case with Ron Paul."
Quotes like that are easily had in the disctrict, although this has an interesting source--it was Chris Peden himself who said that about Paul on January 17, 2007. The same guy who, just one year later, thinks Paul needs to be booted out of his seat.
But he won't be. So even though Paul might not become the next President of the United States, he will still be making gold standard, anti-war in Iraq, and pro-gun rights speeches in Congress for a long while still.
Warming to cooling
All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.
More Obama phoniness
The Audacity of Hype takes aim at Canada (but he doesn't really mean it).
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Obama quickly fumbles
As he was mopping the floor with Senator Clinton in the debate last night, Obama left himself wide open for a shot from an opponent who actually is tough on national security (rather than pretend to be, as Clinton is doing).
Here's Obama's flub from last night:
As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad.
It took less than a day for McCain to respond:
I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called ‘al-Qaida in Iraq.’
All in all, not a good day for the Audacity of Hype.
Obama of the North; The cautionary tale of Pierre E Trudeau.
The Weekly Standard has a great piece today (subscription might be needed) about Hussein Obama and his similarities with former PM Trudeau. It's a fascinating read!
"Once in power, he led Canada down a radical new path, muddying what had been a clear sense of identity, deemphasizing the country's Scottish-French roots in favor of a more ambiguous European model. The new Canadian identity--ardently embraced in the early Trudeau years--was equivocal. It stressed multiculturalism rather than biculturalism, extolled diversity and "international consensus," and cast the very existence of the United States as sinister while rushing to recognize Communist China and Cuba. This revolution would remake Canada into something its prewar self would hardly recognize. A people once proud of their history would be weaned away from it and remade into a relativistic, postmodern nation."
(In case you couldn't see it, you might be able to read the first page of the piece on FreeRepublic.com forums):
"Trudeau destroyed the friendly relationship with the United States, inviting a trickle of draft evaders to turn into an onrush. His pet project, the "repatriation" from Britain of the Canadian constitution and the addition of a Charter of Rights, had the effect of handing the courts sway over virtually every aspect of Canadian life, while diminishing the power of the elected bodies. Even after he was finally replaced, briefly by the Liberal John Turner, then by the Tory Brian Mulroney, Trudeau was able to scuttle attempts to alter the Trudeau formula. In short, he succeeded in remaking the country in his own image."
Obama Vows: I Won't Defend America
"I will not 'weaponize' space."
"I will slow our development of future combat systems."
This will show up in some McCain commercial, I imagine. I can't descibe how much I despise Obama and what he stands for.
Hey CBSA, Blow It Out Your A**! (Vol.2)
On February 14th, 2008 the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) released new guidelines which explain how it determines which materials constitute obscenity and hate propaganda, treason, or sedition . The CBSA is tasked with enforcing the prohibition on the importation into Canada of:
Books, printed paper, drawings, paintings, prints, photographs or representations of any kind that
(a) are deemed to be obscene under subsection 163(8) of the Criminal Code,
(b) constitute hate propaganda within the meaning of subsection320(8) of the Criminal Code,
(c) are of a treasonable character within the meaning of section 46 of the Criminal Code, or
(d) are of a seditious character within the meaning of sections 59 and 60 of the Criminal Code;
Posters and handbills depicting scenes of crime or violence; or
Photographic, film, video or other visual representations, including those made by mechanical or electronic means, or written material, that are child pornography within the meaning of section 163.1 of the Criminal Code.
More below the fold:
As Slate's Bonnie Goldstein points out the CBSA "Quarterly List of Admissible and Prohibited Titles" is seemingly full of contradictions. Given the various unclear and convoluted tests, guidelines, and exceptions which go into determining whether a work is, for example, obscene, I wonder how could it not be.
Whenever I read this sort of stuff, I remember the speech posted above which I saw Christopher Hitchens deliver after a debate on free speech at the University of Toronto during my first year.
Hitchens asked what I thought were some excellent questions "To whom are you going to award the task to be the censor?... Do you know anyone to who you would give this job?" When there was no response from the audience, he continued "You mean that there's noone in Canada good enough to decide what I can read or hear? I had no idea... But there's a law that says there must be such a person, or a subsection of some piddling law that says it. Then to hell with that law then."
I find it absurd to think that there's some faceless bureaucrat sitting in some office somewhere deciding to allow "Four on the Whore" but not "Submissive Sweethearts". I find it even more absurd that anyone would seriously think that such an individual could be charged with regulating the morality of a country. Is this the way to protect children from harmful material? For parents to cede their responsibilities to a CBSA agent who makes his living watching and rating violent pornography?
Finally some highlights from the list:
Admissible: Racist Jokes, Distributed by Tightrope Record
Prohibited: Nigger Owner's Manual, Distributed by Tightrope Records
Admissible: Bondage Inspection, Produced by Grapik Art Prod. and Tom "Ropes" McGur
Prohibited: Bondage Fantasy, Produced by TriMax Video
Admissible:Shameless- Please Fill up My Holes, Produced by Sweet Pictures Erotic Reality Entertainment
Prohibited: Piss, Piss & More Piss, Produced by SX Productions
Admissible: The Hills Have Size, Produced by Studio G-1NEO, Cyberworks and Hitozuma Kasumi-san Production Committee
Prohibited: Love From Above
Admissible: Don’t Tell Daddy!, don’t tell my daddy (Disc Set), Produced by Acid Rain and PW PRODUCTIONS
Prohibited: Nuns of Terror, by Arturo Picca & Dante Tiberia, Published by Priaprism Press and Last Gasp of San Francisco
Admissible: Welcome to the Sickest Video on Earth
Prohibited: Feed Me Sir, Produced by Grapik Art Productions and Tom "Ropes" McGurk
Ron Paul says: No social security for sneaky Canadians!
The New Republic's James Kirchick (yes, the guy who brought those infamous newsletters into the mainstream) shares what he claims is a mailer sent around as part of Ron Paul's current presidential campaign. Here it is, including a photograph of what is evidently a very sneaky, somewhat portly, and unusually swarthy Canadian:
All I can say is, I hope he's smoking American-made cigarettes and not stealing additional jobs from the Americans. No Du Maurier for you, Mr. Illegal Immigrant!
Update: Some are claiming this is a fake. Thus, I changed the post slightly to reflect that it is Kirchick who is claiming the mailer is real. In any event, the message isn't that far off this television commercial Dr. Paul aired as part of his campaign some time ago, which showed of hordes of dangerous Mexicans spilling over the border, too. The photograph in the supposed mailer is just one of those guys with his shirt off.
Or it's a sneaky Canadian.
I'm not entirely certain those of us south of the 49th can truly convey how important, great, and yes, transformative William F. Buckley was in his life. I give it a shot here, but I think the best way to do it is to compare the U.S. to Canada - which had no Buckley figure - in recent history.
Buckley was instrumental in ensuring the American right would be one in support of economic liberty and limited government. The radical nature of this is lost today, but in 1955, when he founded National Review, it set off a tectonic shift. Prior to that, American conservatism drew upon its big-government, paternalistic past, much like conservatism in other Anglospheric democracies. Buckley grabbed American conservatism by the scruff of the neck (figuratively, of course), established it as the leading force for liberty, and brought it into the modern age. He built the intellectual foundation upon which Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan built both the modern conservative movement and the pre-W Republican Party.
In Canada, by contrast, conservatism clung to its big-government past. Thus John Diefenbaker could credibly run to Louis St.-Laurent's left in 1957 and 1958. Limited government had no voice (let alone power) in either Parliament or the national discourse for years. Thus there was no genuine answer to the Trudeau fiasco. Socialized medicine seemed far more incremental than it really was, and in part for that reason it was enacted almost without serious challenge. To this day, economic liberty is on the intellectual defensive in Canada, in a way it hasn't been down here for decades.
One could even say that the only Prime Ministers in Canadian history with any sense of respect for liberty and limited government are Wilfred Laurier and Stephen Harper.
This isn't to say America is perfect; we're not (on international trade, for example, Canada's continuing crusade against barriers stands in glittering contrast to our embarrassing record in this century). However, it is far easier and far more respectable to defend limited government and economic liberty in the United States than it is in Canada. That wasn't true in 1955; it is true today because of Bill Buckley.
No Choice Now: Canada must support Kosovo independence
Now up at the Western Standard is a feature article by Joseph C. Ben-Ami and Joseph B. Varner entitled "No Choice Now: Canada must support Kosovo independence."
"The truth is that there are no good choices available to policy makers on the question of Kosovo’s independence--only bad and worse. By delaying a decision on recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Canada has already demonstrated its unease with the situation, and its frustration that the mission in Kosovo should have been so badly botched in the first place. It is now time for Canada to demonstrate its commitment to the alliance by rising above these vicissitudes and joining its allies." Read more...
Chomsky vs. Buckley
Yesterday--and I suppose, given Buckley's passing today, somewhat presciently--I sent Noam Chomsky an email about his televised debate with William F. Buckley Jr. from 1969. Here's part one of the video:
(And here's the link to part two).
I had interviewed, with Western Standard reporter Terrence Watson and fellow colleague Jay Lafayette, Jonah Goldberg this past Monday, and took a bit of an interest in the history of the National Review. That lead me to look up videos of Buckley, the founder of the magazine. The most interesting of the batch of videos was the debate between him and Chomsky.
So I asked Chomsky whether the debate had any relevance to today, and for an anecdote about the debate.
Chomsky wrote back:
"What we were talking about then can be transferred to today very easily. By coincidence, just today an op-ed of mine was distributed by the NY Times syndicate with some comparisons about debate over Vietnam and over Iraq. Many of the other questions, about the general nature of U.S. foreign policy, are persistent.
"My main recollection was surprise at how little he seemed to know about particular issues, and how quickly he wanted to drop them when we began to go beyond general slogans.
"Although this was not on the tape, it's hard to forget the final moments as he walked off stage, in a fury, shouting that he'd have me back on again soon and teach me a thing or too. When I answered politely that I'd be glad to arrange it, he got even more furious. Of course I never heard from him again, or expected to."
UPDATE: You can get more reaction about Buckley's passing at NRO's The Corner.
William F. Buckley, Jr., R.I.P.
Syed Sohawardy on Syed Sohawardy
Syed Sohawardy, the man who launched the human rights complaints against Ezra Levant and the Western Standard has an op-ed piece in today's Straight Goods online newspaper:
The re-printing of the cartoons wasn't about free speech. The originals are readily available on the internet for any who wish to see them. The reprinting is rather about forcing people who are deeply unhappy about the cartoons, and who would not seek them out, to be faced with them again. This is hurtful to many in the Muslim community, and can create ill-will between Muslims and non-Muslims. (Interestingly, other Canadian newspapers and magazines came to the same conclusion.)
Read the entire article here.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The myth of the "Hispanic" vote
Now that Stephen Harper has an open road to having the longest-serving minority government in nearly 80 years (or the longest this side of William Mackenzie-King), it looks like my country will be the only one in North America with a national election.
As such, there may be more interest in my theory of the "Hispanic" vote: namely, that such a thing is as mythical as the "francopohone" vote up there (that "monolith" that split practically three ways in the last Quebec provincial election).
Dion's Fig Leaf is Budget-sized.
In a way, Budget 2008 tells us a lot more about Liberals than it does about Conservatives. Dion should be worried.
Think back a couple of years. Liberals did everything, including telling outright lies, to try to get one more turn out of the well-worn fear smears that had been broken in back when there were two conservative parties in the country and a culture of entitlement running the show in Ottawa.
It worked so well for a few elections: No real evidence required, all of their own sins and skeletons overlooked on the same files. By ’06 the trick was tried and worn out. Canadians no longer believed that so-con bogeymen and hidden agendas waited under their beds. Tories were regular folks with regular families. They were downright moderate. Some of us knew this all along. Others, some reporters included, had to wait for the Chantal Heberts and Larry Zolfs of the world to tell them that the too-oft-unquestioned and frequently published talking points first dreamed up in the days of Eddie Goldenberg and Warren Kinsella reeked more of Grimms than Gospel.
Conservatives have governed for two full years now. Besides watching the explosion of the old smears and myths, we now see what the grits are really all about. We now see what they consider to be the dealbreakers. . . well, besides the overall axiom – no election except on terms that get them back at the trough. . . .
They’re not going to war over Justice legislation and the Conservatives’ tough stand on crime(even if some of them are really squirting the gastrics over the thought of actually getting tough on crime).
They’re not going to war over the Senate. They might oppose reform, but they won’t go to the polls on it . . .
They’re not even going to war over, well . . . war . . . they’ll manage to stay onside on our mission in
In the end, where the threats get the loudest -- and loud enough evidently for the government to take notice and craft a noticeable and palatable compromise – is on spending.
Federal sphere spending is the lifeblood of the Liberals. They may dress it up in many different candy coatings, but this type of spending has always meant more to them than even basic transfers for the provinces to maintain all the priority services like Health and Education. From Trudeau through to Martin, A DREE Debacle or a Billion Dollar Boondoggle was all spending far more fiercely protected than Health and Social Transfers. The Liberals really see this as the priority. The recent budget debates prove it.
There’s no sense in pretending that there isn’t communication between caucuses at some point, be it public or otherwise, over what will come of legislation in a minority parliament. The Harper Government is aware of the realities of minority government. Most Canadians seemed to want the government to work; most didn’t want an election. Most wanted to see some productivity now that they’ve changed the government.
The Prime Minister showed leadership on tough issues like
It would be unfair to say it's the same. It's not at all the same. The Tories have introduced safeguards, tried to prioritize, tried to improve, tried to steer away from pure pork and so on. Still. they have probably operated on the assumption that the Liberals would take down the government and damn all priorities if there weren’t the bells and whistles like the recent industry money and continued “development” spending.
We blue Tories were told, along with all Canadians, what the five priorities of the government would be. We knew them on day one. We were aware that, in the view of many (whether or not all hands shared this view), the only way to get close to ticking off those items was to take the “brokerage politics” approach.
So what to say about Budget 2008? It’s no early-Klein-era suite of fiscal reforms. It’s no CSR. It’s no Thatcher Medicine. The large size of the federal government is not something that gets addressed right now. The Taxpayer’s Federation, in its submissions, offered some ideas and proposals much closer to these concepts. They should continue to fight for these ideas. They’re important – far more important than the now-exposed Liberal sacred cows.
The good news for Conservatives is this – most Canadians don’t mind cutting waste and cutting taxes. They never ever had an issue with that kind of government. While the government rightly or wrongly is taking a very tempered approach on these areas right now, it need not fear introducing a more fiscally conservative fall ’08 economic update or should the government remain that long, budget 2009. When the time comes to seek a new mandate, it’s nice to know that the Liberals would rather go to the polls and to war over preserving big central spending than on anything of actual real importance to the average Canadian family.
Say what you will about the Prime Minister’s approach, he’s achieved his priorities and exposed the lunacy of the opposition – a lunacy that he has had to deal with for two whole years. Perhaps now that more Canadians both trust his leadership and see this opposition lunacy for what it is, we’ll see more Canadians willing to sign on for a majority Conservative government. At the risk of cliché overload, Minority’s the appetizer, not the main course.
I suspect most core Tories wouldn’t stand for the same sort of budget in a majority situation. Good; Neither would Jim Flaherty. Keep that in mind and keep your powder dry in the meantime.
Federal government loses court battle over wheat board.
Federal court judges do not appear to favour western grain farmers in this decision to continue to withold their right to sell the fruits (grain) of their labour to whomever they please. This is a perfect example of the definition of fascism as defined by Jonah Goldberg in his book "Liberal Fascism"
WINNIPEG - The federal government has lost a court battle over the Canadian Wheat Board.
The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court ruling which said the Conservative cabinet exceeded its power when it tried to strip the wheat board of its barley monopoly.
The ruling means the government will need to pass a law in Parliament to make the change - something that will require opposition support.
Kyle Korneychuk, a director at the wheat board, calls the ruling a victory for farmers and for democracy.
The Tories made a campaign promise to open up the wheat board monopoly and allow barley producers to sell independently.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has said he will table a bill to that effect in the coming days, although the Liberals have promised to fight the plan.
© The Canadian Press, 2008
CTF reacts to budget
Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) reacts to the 2008/2009 federal budget
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
A New Tax Savings Plan & Modest Spending Growth
• Program spending budgeted to rise 3.4% in 2008/09, but hold the applause -- spending has already increased by 14.8% under the Conservatives.
• Gone is the promise to pay down debt by $3-billion a year.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) reacts to the 2008/09 federal budget, which was tabled in the House of Commons by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty this afternoon.
The Tax-Free Savings Account - A Pro-Growth Tax Plan:
The Conservative government will allow Canadians to invest after-tax dollars and any investment gains from interest, dividends and capital gains will not be subject to tax. Moreover, savings will not trigger clawbacks on government entitlement programs that are income-tested, such as pension allowances and child tax benefits. Starting in 2009, Canadians will be permitted to contribute up to $5,000 a year to this new savings vehicle.
"The new tax-free savings account is a pro-growth policy that will encourage Canadians to save, reward individuals and benefit the economy," said CTF federal director John Williamson. "This is an excellent policy proposal. Canada needs to reward people that save because their investments fuel economic growth and job creation. The big criticism of the GST cut was that it did little to encourage savings. Mr. Flaherty responded to this concern today by proposing a plan that will not punish people that save."
Finance Minister Flaherty Hasn't Controlled Spending So Far. Will He Tomorrow?
The budget proposes that program spending will increase to $208.1-billion in the next fiscal year, which is a modest 3.4 per cent rise. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have failed to control spending during their first two years in office. When the Liberals left office total program spending stood at $175-billion (2005/06 fiscal year). In fiscal 2007/08, the current year ending on March 31, the federal government's annual outlays will - for the first time - break the 200-billion-dollar mark.
The Conservative government's first budget called for Ottawa's expenditures to grow by 5.4 per cent in fiscal 2006. Yet, at the end of that year government receipts had instead ballooned an astounding 7.5 per cent. The 2007 budget plan announced an additional 5.6 per cent spending hike. The real amount will be 6.85 per cent.
"Under Mr. Flaherty, the size of the federal government has grown by an astounding 14.8 per cent. How is this fiscally conservative or even 'responsible,'" Williamson asked rhetorically. "As prime minister, Paul Martin grew the federal government by 14 per cent over two years. Amazingly, the Conservatives have bested Liberal spending. This is a spend-thrift government."
"The government's overall expenditure level is disappointing. Spending growth has repeatedly exceeded the minister's own target, which is the economic growth rate. As a result, Canada will pay down less debt in the future," said Williamson.
...Less Debt Repayment:
Minister Flaherty will reduce Canada's $467.3-billion debt by $10.2-billion this fiscal year, which ends on March 31. The government plans to reduce the federal debt by only $2.3-billion next year (fiscal 2008/09) and a trivial $1.3-billion the following year (2009/10). Up until today, Mr. Flaherty had pledged to reduce debt by at least $3-billion each and every year.
"Ottawa needs a more aggressive debt reduction schedule. The Conservatives should not be downplaying the importance of paying off Canada's debt," said Williamson. "Debt servicing will chew up $31.5-billion next year, which amounts to $86-million each day. Ottawa should set yearly debt reduction targets, as was done with the deficit, and make those targets the law."
A Little More Good News - Managing the Employment Insurance (EI) Surplus:
The 2008 budget will establish a Crown corporation to manage the EI fund. Future EI surpluses will be invested until needed for EI payments. At the same time, a new rate-setting mechanism will limit the surplus to $2-billion.
"Ottawa has been using the EI surplus as a cash cow and maintaining higher EI tax rates on workers than necessary. That's an unnecessary tax on jobs," noted Williamson. "It is hoped this new agency will reduce the unnecessarily large tax burden and large surpluses. It is unconscionable that Ottawa has accumulated massive EI surplus, tossed it all into general revenue and spent it. EI taxes should fund EI payments, not government largesse."
Embracing the Democrats
In a recent survey by The Canadian Press/Harris Decima, it was reported that Canadians would root for Democrats in this years’ presidential election by a 4 to 1 margin, even among most conservatives.
This result is not surprising, but it begs the question: Why would this be the case, given that a Democrat president supported by a Democrat Senate and Congress could be detrimental to the Canadian economy? The problem is that most Canadians, including some politicians, cannot distinguish a true conservative from a liberal.
Read the rest at BumfOnline.
Well, Budget '08 certainly didn't suck as much as Budget '07, over which I sat at my computer and drank alone while deciding to quit politics. I'm never happy with budgets, but I am capable of putting on my political hat and at least trying to take a look at it the way your standard Canadian or Conservative strategist might.
The biggest thing to notice this time around is exactly what everyone's saying - that it's not much of a budget. Just enough spending to avoid an election.
Dion had a pretty pathetic statement, (Someone described it to me as, "This budget sucks! It doesn't do anything for anyone! But it's not worth forcing an election over. Later!" and that's pretty accurate), and Layton and Duceppe are against it, which is a good sign, in general.
The words "Two new Crown corporations," almost sent me into another solo-drinking tailspin, but I'm not sure they're quite as bad as that sounds. The first is to facilitate public-private partnerships (P3s), which is kind of backwards if you ask me (a crown corp to work on P3s? Really?) but after last year I just consider myself lucky when this government talks about privatizing.
The second one seems to be a crown corp to run Employment Insurance. If I were optimistic, I'd say that if the Conservative Party managed to land themselves a majority it would create the possibility of more seamlessly moving towards privately managed EI. If I were pessimistic, I'd be annoyed by the notion that more bureaucracy would be the way to get surplusses more under control or make anything more predictable.
A new surprise tax-free savings account will allow Canadians to invest up to $5000 in a registered account and make withdrawals and earn interest tax-free. I'm not going to complain about that, though it really would have been nice to see the capital gains tax cut promised by the Tories, but I don't think anyone was seriously expecting that this time around. Hoping maybe, but not expecting.
Other than that... some money poured into some programs over some number of years. Spending is increasing more or less with inflation. Some re-announcements from this fall or earlier this year. Nothing terribly major.
No one was expecting much since Flaherty and Harper have been acting like wet blankets since Christmas, and they didn't get much, which I'm fine with, quite frankly. Government is a lot more likely to create new programs and subsidies than to cut personal taxes or increase freedom in significant ways. (Re-instating the cut you cancelled doesn't count.)
The National Post is calling this Flaherty's first conservative budget. What do you think, Shotgun readers?
(For added fun, you can send Jim Flaherty your budget questions via CBC.)
Not quite cash in brown envelopes, but . . .
Don't expect Senator Clinton to mention any of this (real estate, corruption, and Clinton in the same sentence is not good for her), but I don't see this story getting snowed under the audacity of hype.
Of course, if I'm wrong and Obama does win, maybe Rezko can get the Copenhagen diplomatic post (sorry, I couldn't resist).
Angus Reid poll on recognizing Kosovo’s independence
Canadians Open to Government Acknowledging Kosovo’s Independence
Most think recognizing Kosovo as a country would not boost Quebec separatism
» 60% think Canada should recognize Kosovo’s independence
» 56% say endorsing Kosovo’s independence from Serbia will not affect the debate on Quebec sovereignty
You can view this and other press releases on the Angus Reid Strategies website.
You can watch the budget, via a CBC pop-up video window, by clicking here. We're still about an hour away from the speech, and the CBC is busy chatting it up with the NDP and with the forest industry. Both want the government to spend more money on their pet projects.
Yes, Wisconsin, there is voter fraud
The Milwaukee Police Department has a shocking report on the 2004 election in that Wisconsin city. Here's the jaw-dropper:
. . . the Election Commission reported that between 4600 and 5300 more ballots were cast than voters who can be accounted for . . .
Ten Reasons Why Dion Must Pull the Plug
I give ten powerful reasons why, for his own good, Liberal leader Stephane Dion must vote against today's budget and force an election.
Yes, I know I shouldn't use my powers to help the Liberals in this way, but sometimes you have to act in the interests of the greater good -- the greater good in this case being me getting published.
Free Speech vs. Muslim Sensibilities
Yet for every victory, freedom loving Canadians suffer another setback in the war on creeping sharia. Consider the "welfare harems" reportedly being supported by Ontario taxpayers. Mumtaz Ali, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, recently told the Toronto Sun that, "Polygamy is a regular part of life for many Muslims," estimating that "several hundred" Toronto area husbands are collecting government benefits to support their multiple wives. "Canada is a very liberal-minded country," Ali observed.
Indeed it is. But it is a funny sort of "liberalism" that only rediscovers its ideals about liberty after decades of willful indifference and countless ruined lives. The good news is that the Islamists and their allies in Canada seem poised to lose this particular fight. But the battle to defend Western society has only just begun.
Monday, February 25, 2008
ElBaradei's Real Agenda by Michael Rubin & Daniel Pletka of AEI:
"In working to undermine sanctions, however, Mr. ElBaradei demeans the purpose of his agency and undercuts its non-proliferation mission. He also makes military action all the more likely."
In my opinion, IAEA should be run by somebody like Ambassador John Bolton.
WS Radio: Jonah Goldberg interview
UPDATE: Jonah both links over here from his blog, and calls us eggheads to boot. We'll take that as a compliment.
The discussion ranges from the right definition of "conservatism" (and whether or not what Jonah means by "conservatism" is better described as "libertarianism"), the human rights complaints against Mark Steyn, Maclean's and Ezra Levant, to Jonah's take on Ron Paul (he's sympathetic, but he thinks Paul gets military history wrong, keeps bad company, and should give it a rest already with the goldbuggery), Mike Huckabee (he dislikes his conservative progressivism, and his willingness to use the state to push "heaven on Earth") and John McCain.
WS Radio: Jonah Goldberg
Listen live (QuickTime), Mondays, 4 - 6 p.m. EST
"Political Animals"--the flagship radio show of Western Standard radio--is a weekly political talk show on 88.1 WBGUFM hosted by Jay Lafayette, Peter Jaworski, and Terrence Watson.
We'll ask Jonah what's so fascist about liberalism (or "progressivism"), what he hopes to accomplish with his new book, and a few tough questions as well (like whether or not he's guilty of committing the fallacy of the excluded middle).
Gerry Nicholls will be joining us as well at the top of the first hour to talk about Canadian politics.
Political Animals is on every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, broadcast out of 88.1 FM in the Bowling Green, Ohio area, and on www.wbgufm.com worldwide. To listen to a direct stream, click here (QuickTime). To participate in the discussion, you can call 888-7-WBGUFM, or send us an email at politicalanimals-at-wbgufm-dot-com.
Factoid we all shouldn't have forgotten about Communist regimes
The post that matters isn't the presidency or premiership, it's the leadership of the Communist Party - the one post Fidel Castro didn't give up.
Or, as Jonah Goldberg put it (emphasis added): "Castro will remain Cuba’s vampire-in-chief, whatever his title, until he’s dead."
She's not dead yet
I was very worried that my view of the Democratic presidential race was skewed, as I am just about the only person left in North America who refuses to call the race over.
Then I saw Maureen Dowd, in her infinite wisdom, had come down from her high horse to explain to us minions why Clinton had already lost.
I feel much more confident now.
Richard Warman is Suing Ezra Levant
Ezra reports that Richard Warman, former Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator and complainant in "approximately half" of all Section 13 cases that have come before the commission, has hired a lawyer and is pursuing a defamation lawsuit against him.
Incidentally, the CHRC's handy-dandy website lets you view tribunal decisions by complainant. You can see how many times Warman's name appears on that list here. Note that appearances may be deceiving, because the CHRC's website lists all its decisions, including minor, procedural ones, as well as final decisions in which penalties are imposed.
Ezra also posts this chart which appears to report on the total number of times Warman was listed as a complainant, as indicated on the CHRC's website. On his own website, Ezra vows he's going to "fight like hell."
Wish him luck.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
John McCain vs. MMA
This post started off as a simple plug for the upcoming Mike Miles/CAKMA-sponsored Muay Thai event in Calgary, but I’ve included a little something for US presidential primary watchers.
With friends and business associates, I’m a regular sponsor of Misty Sutherland (Download misty_sutherland.jpg), a great 125 pound amateur female fighter who is on the “Malicious Intent” card with Jesse Miles, Sandra Bastian and some other great Calgary fighters. The event is on March 1, 2008 and you can get tickets by calling (403) 244-8424. Mike Miles and CAKMA always put on a great show to sold-out crowds.
But this isn’t a blog for fight enthusiasts, so here’s something for our political news hounds:
Mixed martial arts (MMA) and combat sports like kickboxing and Muay Thai are extremely popular these days. Fighters like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell have become celebrities and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the biggest organization in the sport, even has its own reality show on Spike TV.
However, huge pay-per-view audiences and mainstream acceptance in the sporting world hasn't come easy for MMA or the UFC. The sport was once under attack by Senator John McCain, who called it “human cockfighting”:
The UFC became a hit on pay-per-view and home video almost immediately due to its originality, realism, and wide press coverage, although not all of it favorable. The nature of the burgeoning sport quickly drew the attention of the authorities and UFC events were banned in a number of American states. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), was sent a tape of the first UFC events and immediately found it abhorrent. McCain himself led a campaign to ban Ultimate Fighting, calling it "human cockfighting", and sending letters to the governors of all fifty U.S. states asking them to ban the event. (Wikipedia)
The Republican presidential primary candidate who sings playfully about bombing Iran once thought voluntary combat among highly trained athletes in safe and controlled environments was just too violent.
The Democrats: Butch v. Sissy
In an unusual development, Maureen Down makes some sense today:
And when historians trace how her inevitability dissolved, they will surely note this paradox: The first serious female candidate for president was rejected by voters drawn to the more feminine management style of her male rival.
Though, it's not really a paradox - Hillary went in trying to play the role of Mrs. Thatcher. but Democrats are more comfortable with Freddie Mercury (real name, according to Wikipedia: Farrokh Bulsara). If we adopt the leftist view and consider biological sex and gender to be separate concepts, it becomes even more obvious - the Democratic Party is the party of sissy little girls, whatever genitals they might actually have.
She goes on:
Hillary was so busy trying to prove she could be one of the boys — getting on the Armed Services Committee, voting to let W. go to war in Iraq, strong-arming supporters and donors, and trying to out-macho Obama — that she only belatedly realized that many Democratic and independent voters, especially women, were eager to move from hard-power locker-room tactics to a soft-power sewing circle approach.
Less towel-snapping and more towel color coordinating, less steroids and more sensitivity.
Business schools have begun teaching the value of a less autocratic leadership style, with an emphasis on behavior women excel at: reading emotions and social interactions, making eye contact and expressing empathy.
It's quite true. It reminds me of an old joke:
Q: What's the hardest part about registering as a Democrat?
A: Telling your parents that you're gay.
Ralph Nader is running for President
The title says it all: Ralph Nader, former Green Party leader, has thrown his hat into the ring for President of the U.S.A. (Here's his "vote for me" website). He's likely to perform as well as last time--taking 0.3 per cent of the national vote--while Democrats will continue to bluster about how Nader will be making it easier for a John McCain-led Republican Party to win again.
Of course that's nonsense. There's no reason to suspect that Nader will have any significant impact on the race for the White House. Many will vote for Nader who wouldn't have bothered to vote at all. As well, those on the left who are serious about adopting a Canadian/Cuban/North Korean-style health care system, withdrawing from Iraq, and having the government become more of a nanny to everyone, should put pressure on the Democrats to shift more in their direction. If they have no one else to vote for, there is little that they can do to cudgel the Democrats over to their side.
The same is true on the right. Without the Libertarian Party, many wouldn't vote, and threats to no longer support the Republican Party would have no effect on the policy process. If only more Americans would cast a ballot for the LP--little else would give the Republicans enough incentive to abandon their big government programs, their fiscally irresponsible spending, and their proclivity to strip Americans of their civil liberties for the sake of "security."
Third parties and people like Nader give at least some Americans an opportunity to express their sincere preferences, rather than picking the lesser of two evils. And since voting is irrational if you vote to change the outcome of the election (you're better off playing the lottery), but rational if you want to merely express a preference (and rank the expression of that preference through voting higher than the costs--including opportunity costs--of going to the ballot boxes), many will have a personally more satisfying day of voting than otherwise.
Ali G interviewed Ralph Nader many moons ago, and it still one of the better political interviews out there. I couldn't find the full-length version, which includes many more insights on how to save the environment by, for instance, "rigging the metre," and other methods that can both save the world and save you some money. (If anyone can point me to the full version of this video, I'll update my post):
From one Castro to another
Cuba's former "dear leader" Fidel Castro has officially stepped aside. Replacing him is his brother, former Minister of Finance and head of the army, Raul Castro. Raul had been acting head of state since Fidel got sick in 2006.
This still leaves Cuba in a bit of a leadership lurch. Raul is a septuagenarian--and it's hard to believe that he will be in tip-top shape for very long.
(Pictured: Fidel Castro with his brother, Raul)
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Western Standard in the news
Jonathan Kay in today’s National Post:
As the recent human-rights cases against MacLean's and the Western Standard show, there will always be complainants and commissars willing to expand the definition of prohibited speech to encompass legitimate discourse. Ironically, the censorship regime that well-meaning Jewish intellectuals helped put in place to fight anti-Semitism a generation ago is now being applied to prosecute the pundits blowing the whistle on the one truly genuine threat that Jews are facing worldwide: militant Islam.