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Monday, June 30, 2008

Mandatory arrest claims yet another victim

The over-use of tasers by police appears to be the least of your worries, if you are male and have ever had a girlfriend.

Due to the moral panic over allegations of domestic violence -- most of which are either minor or false -- police now consider it de rigour to make an arrest before bothering to conduct an investigation. And if the male accused doesn't immediately turn himself in for finger-printing, he is liable to be followed into his home without a warrant, pepper-sprayed, and shot dead, as happened here.

Mr. LeClair might not be a saint -- who among us is? -- but the fact that he had custody of his 9-year-old daughter, and many supportive relatives and friends, suggests that he wasn't the most hardened criminal, either. Imagine the outrage if police shot dead a mother under similar circumstances. (Hard to do, I know, because it is hard to imagine the police taking any step whatsoever to pursue an allegation of domestic violence against a woman.)

The only questions that remain are which police force is going to determine that appropriate use of force was employed by the arresting officer, and which judges are going to find him not civilly or criminally responsible for taking this little girl's daddy away from her forever.

Posted by Grant Brown on June 30, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Ron Paul: Personal freedoms and the Internet

An excerpt from Ron Paul’s latest column:

"The most basic principle to being a free American is the notion that we as individuals are responsible for our own lives and decisions.  We do not have the right to rob our neighbors to make up for our mistakes, neither does our neighbor have any right to tell us how to live, so long as we aren’t infringing on their rights.  Freedom to make bad decisions is inherent in the freedom to make good ones.  If we are only free to make good decisions, we are not really free."

Click here for the full article.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on June 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WS Radio: Tom Palmer

Wsradio_header

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.

On today's program, we'll be interviewing Tom Palmer. Tom is "Vice President for International Programs at the Cato Institute, director of the Center for Promotion of Human Rights, a Senior Fellow of the Institute, and director of Cato University, the Institute's educational arm," and a blogger.

We'll talk with Tom about the recent D.C. v. Heller Supreme Court decision which made clear the fact that the second amendment is an individual right to have a gun, rather than some sort of collective right.

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.

Posted by westernstandard on June 30, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Adam misses the point, but he makes mine

One of the biggest dangers in dealing with news out of Communist China is to make sure you get the entire picture.  The situation in Weng'an, Guizhou is a prime example.

In a post yesterday, Adam Y. approvingly noted the riot that seemed to result from a coverup of a rape and murder committed by the relative of a local cadre.  While those of us who follow Communist China closely can sympathize with the local citizenry, most readers of this news will see the word "riot" and quickly dismiss those who were involved, especially as nearly everyone has placed "alleged" in front of the incident in question.

I suspect, however, that these readers would be much closer to Adam and me if they knew the victim's uncle was himself beaten to death by Communist-backed thugs after he demanded justice for his niece.

This wasn't merely a reaction to a coverup of an alleged crime; this was a counter-attack against a regime that unquestionably murdered one of their own.

For myself and Adam, that wouldn't be much of a distinction, but as I said, there are a lot of Americans, Canadians, and other inhabitants of the globe who are not as informed on this subject as he or I.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on June 30, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Lemieux: Ugly Nationalism

This week, Western Standard columnist Pierre Lemieux argues that nationalism and liberty don't go together very well at all. Here's an excerpt:

Imposing a general context of liberty allows people who don’t like certain forms of autonomy to make private arrangements to escape them — private arrangements like marriage, religious groups, sects, corporate bodies, and miscellaneous contractual agreements. When the values imposed are not libertarian, however, the Nation State needs many laws and cops to impose the majority’s (or a minority’s) values and lifestyles on others.

...

Nationalism is necessarily a statist affair, the liberticidal imposition of some people’s values on other people... Québec solidarity means forced solidarity. What is the nation if not coerced solidarity, mainly in favour of the rulers?

Read more...

Posted by westernstandard on June 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Morgentaler to get Order of Canada

LifeSiteNews.com is reporting today that the Order of Canada Advisory Council has voted to award the Order of Canada to abortion advocate Henry Morgentaler:

OTTAWA, June 29, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews has received confirmation through various sources that the Order of Canada Advisory Council has indeed voted to award the Order of Canada to notorious abortionist and militant atheist Henry Morgentaler today or tomorrow.  There is reported to be a movement among Members of Parliament and others to attempt to stop the award or at least protest it as being inappropriate and against the opinion of a majority of Canadians.

In more Order of Canada news, The Canadian Press reported a few days ago that New Democrat MP Charlie Angus wants to strip Conrad Black of his Order of Canada. Black lost an appeal of his fraud and obstruction of justice convictions last week, which prompted Angus to call for the Governor General to remove Black for the prestigious Order of Canada.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on June 30, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vince Miller, RIP

Vincemillery Antiwar.com is reporting that Vince Miller died yesterday:

Vince had been a libertarian activist for over 37 years. He was one of the founders of the Libertarian Party of Canada and was an editor of the early magazine Libertarian Option. In 1980, Vince founded the Libertarian International, to join libertarian organizations from around the world. In 1989, Libertarian International expanded by merging with the Society for Individual Liberty to create the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL).

Read the complete obituary here.

I met Vince in July 2000 at the ISIL World Conference in Waterloo, Ontario. He was a gentleman and a passionate friend of liberty.

May he rest in peace.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on June 29, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Bob Barr vs. Ron Paul: Two Visions

Congratulations to Bob Barr, Libertarian Party nominee.

First, he basically tells Stormfront to "drop dead."

Then there's this excerpt from an NPR program, Justice Talking,  in which Barr was interviewed about his views on Lawrence v. Texas and Roe v. Wade in 2003. Lawrence v. Texas was a landmark ruling in which (in a 6-3 decision) the Supreme Court of the United States struck down state laws criminalizing consensual, private sexual acts.

I can't seem to find a direct link to the interview. Kip has it up on his blog here. Kip's blog is one of my daily reads and I highly recommend it.

If you don't want to listen, here is the relevant part of the interview:

"Unlike a lot of my conservative colleagues...I do think there is a right to privacy that is inherent in the Constitution...I thought [Lawrence] was a very sound decision based on privacy."

This is in contrast to Ron Paul's response to Lawrence v. Texas here. Paul argues that "The State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards." Before the House of Representatives in 2004, Paul said,

The state of Texas has the authority to pass laws concerning social matters, using its own local standards, without federal interference. But rather than adhering to the Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a state matter, the Court decided to stretch the “right to privacy” to justify imposing  the justices’ vision on the people of Texas.

So there you have it. A real libertarian affirms the constitutional right of consenting adults to do what they like in the privacy of their own homes, while Ron Paul claims that state police power legitimately extends into your bedroom, based on nothing more than the mob's will.

Two visions. I know which one I think is more consistent with individual liberty. How about you?

Posted by Terrence Watson on June 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Burn, Baby, Burn - Rioting in China

There are major riots going on in China tonight, related to the apparent cover-up of the rape and murder of a fifteen year-old girl by the son of a state official.

Reports say that 10,000 people surrounded and burned down a police station in response:

Good for them. Hopefully they'll keep up the good work through the Olympics and beyond.

As I've noted here before, China has a long history of going a bit nuts every few decades and setting themselves back. See the Cultural Revolution, Boxer Rebellion, Taiping Rebellion, and so forth for examples. Perhaps we should even count Tiananmen too, for that matter. Perhaps the underlying structural issues that China faces, combined with a slowing global economy and the tightening that they're seeing related to the Olympics will set something new off and do in, or at least badly injure, the current regime.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on June 28, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Who Needs Spies When We Have the Media?

Another major leak. This time about covert operations within Iran. To everyone's favourite traitor, Sy Hersh - the same SOB who broke My Lai, Abu Ghraib, and exposed a great deal of Israel's nuclear program.

What is it that Gen. Sherman said? That he'd kill all of the reporters following his army but, if he did, we'd have news from Hell by breakfast? It was something like that.

Seymour Hersh is worse than a spy, though. At least spies serve something.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on June 28, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (46) | TrackBack

Barr on YouTube

This is a pretty awesome video. And not just because of the message (which is good), but also because of the choice of music--Canada's own Arcade Fire.

(Enjoy)

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 28, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Supreme Court expands freedom of expression

While we're busy lamenting the Human Rights Commission in Canada, and debating whether Canada or the U.S. is freer, our Supreme Court has expanded the meaning of "fair comment," giving all of us a little more freedom.

The details of the case are not important (in my judgment). It was about an abrasive radio DJ saying mean things about someone or other, and making reference to Nazis and the Klan and so on in the process. There was something about homosexuality in there as well, but, frankly, who cares? What matters is this:

"A key component of the fair comment defence has long been that the person making the comment must sincerely believe in it. In the course of the ruling, however, the high court modified that test.

"Commentary must still have a factual basis, be made without malice and be in the public interest, said Binnie.

"But the test of honest belief is not whether the specific person holding the opinion believed it. The yardstick is whether any person might honestly hold the view based on the facts at issue."

The Globe and Mail puts the whole test in point-form:

"The comment must be on a matter of public interest.
"It must be based on fact.
"Although it can include inferences of fact, the comment must be recognizable as comment.
"It must be capable of satisfying the question: Could any person honestly express that opinion on the proved facts?"

Justice Binnie, speaking for the unanimous court (get that? Unanimous! Nine to zip), said some things that, I think, are a nice hint to those of us who want to see the end of the HRCs. Read the following lines and tell me the court isn't wholly unsympathetic with their kangaroo-counterparts:

"We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones."

And:

“An individual's reputation is not to be treated as regrettable but unavoidable roadkill on the highway of public controversy, but nor should an overly solicitous regard for personal reputation be permitted to ‘chill' freewheeling debate on matters of public interest,” Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said."

Unavoidable roadkill. That's what he said: Roadkill! It's not a sad fact about public commentary and opinion that people's reputations are on the line and sometimes exposed to ridicule, it is part and parcel of public controversy.

Binnie said more. And I wonder if he wasn't speaking about Ezra Levant (our former publisher when we had a print edition) and Paul Jones (publisher of Maclean's) when he said:

“Of course, the law must accommodate commentators such as the satirist or the cartoonist who seizes on a point of view, which may be quite peripheral to the public debate, and blows it into an outlandish caricature for public edification or merriment,” he said. “Their function is not so much to advance public debate, as it is to exercise a democratic right to poke fun at those who huff and puff in the public arena. This is well understood by the public to be their function.”

"Judge Binnie expressed a concern that issues of public interest could go unreported “because publishers fear the ballooning cost and disruption of defending a defamation action. … Public controversy can be a rough trade, and the law needs to accommodate its requirements.”

I know some other costs that are ballooning--the costs of facing down a bunch of puffed-up bureaucrats in the kangaroo circuit.

I'm positively giddy. Dear Canadian Constitution Foundation: I can't wait for your next "Judging the Judges" (last year's study, in PDF) report. Last time, you said the Supreme Court judged in favour of liberty and equality before the law in 83 per cent of the cases you analyzed. Now we've got one more case that went our way.

Dear 'Roos: I can't wait for you to make the mistake of judging some publisher or newspaper columnist or public commentator "guilty" who has the means or the temerity to say "bollocks to that" and "I'm going to take this to a real court." Precedent has been set. Put your joeys in your pouch, flyers and boomers of the "I don't understand your question" tribunal, and find some sort of real employment. You know, the kind you don't have to be ashamed of.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 28, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekend Discussion Thread: Is Canada Freer than the US?

Is Canada freer than the US? That's the question Anthony Gregory asks at the LRC blog, noting that  "[Canada] doesn't have quite as much a police state or as many prisoners, or an empire, and its economic freedom score according to the very pro-US Heritage Foundation is only ever so slightly lower than America's." Recently, Gregory recognized that freedom of speech and religion are rather shakier here than in the US in response to a colleague's post about the Stephen Boisson decision, but I wonder if he realizes how few gun rights Canadians have.

I find it hard to quantify and compare freedom, it's clear that individuals in Canada and the US have different freedoms, but I think that Gregory may be right to say that outside of economic freedom, Canada is freer than the US. Of course all sorts of personal biases come out when assigning relative importance of different liberties, but our lack of a heavily militarized economy and society, more reasonable drug laws and sentencing, and relative security (for a portion of) our civil liberties and privacy might outweigh the HRCs, the Firearms Act, and other liberticidal measures.

There are other ways to compare freedom: compare how much government intervention "touches" the daily lives of individuals in each country, calculate government spending per capita, a Tax Freedom Day, or some other measure, use some sort of freedom index etc., but any way you slice it, it's no exact science. There's been a bit of this discussion here at The Shotgun already, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts, dear reader.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on June 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Lefties ♥ Levant

Toronto's Eye Weekly has a feature article about former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant. There are, as one might expect given the publication, the usual jabs at Ezra, the "ranting neo-con stereotype", but the article is still well worth a read.

"It’s now been over 850 days since Levant’s former magazine was the subject of a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission for publishing those Danish editorial cartoons, a dozen satirical images of the prophet Muhammad.
What might have been perceived as a stunt by a garrulous young media mogul to get banned from the newsstand at Indigo and gain national publicity for a regional magazine has turned into a fight against Canada’s institutional definition of human rights — and the tribunals implemented across the country to enforce it."

I'm often asked by Western Standard readers what Ezra Levant does now that he's parted ways with the magazine, the profile gives a little window into his life, background and motivations but also into his time spent blogging, researching for his book on the HRCs, and traveling for speaking engagements.

" 'Rather than seeing this as unfinished business with the magazine,' says Levant, 'I had the time to go through seven or eight years of rulings from the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Not just judgments, full transcripts of 200 cases.
'I wouldn’t call it destiny, but it was a fortunate coincidence that they decided to go after me when I wouldn’t roll over. I’m stubborn — stubborn, and organized.'
The curtain rose in January of this year, when his defiant appearance before a human rights investigator was filmed — and promptly posted online, putting Levant’s daily blog diatribes in context."

Reading about Ezra's Alberta HRC investigation, I just had to go back and watch those youtube videos again. What a great start to my weekend!

Posted by Kalim Kassam on June 27, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

For those who are interested in such things...

I wrote a post on the 14th Amendment and the doctrine of incorporation here. This post was in response to Timothy Sandefur's recent erudite post on the subject, which can be found here.

An excerpt from my post:

The substantive due process interpretation of the [Due Process] Clause requires the states not only adhere to the right process, but also that the laws they pass by way of that process meet additional, more-than-formal requirements. According to the vulgar form of incorporation, these are the requirements set out in (most of) the Bill of Rights.

...

If California meets the procedural standards for the making of a law, but does not meet these other, substantive standards, then it hasn't made a law at all. Thus, when it puts people in jail on the basis of that "law" it is depriving them of their liberty without due process. It would, in fact, be exercising naked coercion, might without right.

Posted by Terrence Watson on June 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The CHRC rejects the complaint against Maclean's: Good news for liberty or not?

The Canadian Human Rights Commission rejected the complaint against Maclean's magazine.

Meanwhile, the left-wing blogosphere is taking this as a sign that the HRC system works.

So is the rejection of the complaint a good thing or not? Here's Ezra Levant's take.

And don't forget, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal still has a chance to uphold the complaint against Maclean's. But I think they, too, just might opt for dismissal.

Oh well. The BCHRT is also busy investigating a comedian for telling awful jokes ranting like a lunatic at some heckling audience members. Even Warren Kinsella thinks that case is making it hard to defend the Tribunal.

Updated for accuracy.

Posted by Terrence Watson on June 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Relax, folks, it's worse than you think

The U.S.-North Korea agreement continues to age poorly.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on June 27, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Al & Mike Show Episode 29 - Everything is David Suzuki's Fault

Jay Currie joins us for the hour. We go on a veritable rampage against everything!

Listen Now

Subscribe to RSS: Click here for podcast RSS feed. Subscribe in iTunes for your iPod: Click here (Must have iTunes installed)

Posted by Mike Brock on June 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Individual right to bear arms vindicated: Ron Paul supporters dismayed?

One of the neo-Confederate Ronulan cultists lovely folks at lewrockwell.com is already registering dissatisfaction with the Heller decision.

Why? Because, according to Stephan Kinsella's interpretation of the law, the Second Amendment only forbids the federal government from banning guns (actually, that's inaccurate: the claim is more that the Second Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights are "irrelevant and redundant .")

Well, isn't Washington, D.C. under federal jurisdiction, and doesn't that mean the Second Amendment would apply? Things are not so simple. He cites approvingly Kevinn Gutzman's claim that, " the District of Columbia, insofar as it behaves as a state, is properly treated as a pseudo-state by the Supreme Court."

Thus, if D.C. must be treated like a state, then the federal Supreme Court can't overturn a gun ban on Second Amendment grounds, since, as noted, the Amendment (and the entire Bill of Rights) is only supposed to apply to the federal government. QED.

The Cato Institute's Tom Palmer called this line of reasoning "just plain dumb," but, anyway, that's the argument. It's the reason why not everyone is celebrating in Lincoln-hating land today. Stephan Kinsella and others are worried that the 2nd Amendment will be applied against the states through the 14th Amendment, and that highly restrictive state gun laws in places like Chicago will be struck down next.

Let me put that point more concisely: some of Ron Paul's supporters are dismayed by today's Supreme Court decision because they think it might be used in the future to prevent a democratic mob from trampling on an individual's rights. But Ron Paul himself thinks it's just fine for such mobs to restrict a person's liberty, just so long as the mob and the individual reside in the same state.

And people wonder why I refuse to call them libertarians.

 

UPDATE:

Timothy Sandefur responds to Stephan Kinsella here better than I ever could.

Posted by Terrence Watson on June 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

An Objectivist take on American Independence

Sometimes, the ARI is a den of Rand-cultists, but other times they produce gems like this:

Next Friday, on Independence Day, all freedom lovers have some small occasion to celebrate. In a time of overwhelming statism in the U.S, a country, like Canada, with a long tradition of liberty, there seems to be a rediscovery of the principles of their Founding Fathers. We see this in the general displeasure with all branches of government, the Ron Paul r3VOLution, the growing interest in Bob Barr and the LP, the recent decisions from the Supreme Court, and the coming together of diverse groups of individuals on critical issues like civil liberties and foreign policy.

I don't know whether this 'awakening' is real or simply apparent, and I agree with soon-to-be Shotgun blogger Link Byfield, that 'Canada Day' should be re-named Confederation Day, but I do know is that on July 1st and July 4th, I'll be toasting to Canada, to America, to liberty and to the patriots who defended it.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on June 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Bob Barr on the D.C. v. Heller case

Here's the press release from Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr on today's Supreme Court decision which I posted here.

And here's the video:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 26, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Joseph C. Ben-Ami: Louise Arbour is not a disgrace, she's irrelevant

New on the Western Standard, Canadian Centre for Policy Studies President Joseph C. Ben-Ami takes issue with Vic Toews recently calling Louise Arbour a "disgrace" in the House of Commons. Better to just call her "irrelevant," he writes in "Louise Arbour isn't a disgrace, she's irrelevant."

Why "irrelevant"? Because nothing she's said has had any tangible impact anywhere.

An excerpt:

"The discerning observer will notice that the “timely” interventions cited by Ms. L’Heureux-Dube have one thing in common--they are all words. No tangible action, direct or indirect, was taken by either Louise Arbour or her office that resulted in the protection of a single innocent person or civilian.

"How many lives were saved in Zimbabwe as a result of Ms. Arbour’s stern warnings? Answer: none.

"How many rockets did Hezbollah hold back in response to Ms. Arbour’s earnest admonitions in 2006? How many has Hamas held back since? Answer: none.

"How many women convicted of adultery were spared public execution in Iran as a result of any of Ms. Arbour’s strong statements? Answer: none."

Read More...

Posted by westernstandard on June 26, 2008 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

SCOTUS on guns and self-defense

The Supreme Court of the U.S. has issued the following ruling in the D.C. v. Heller case:

In a 5-4 decision, the Supremes ruled that the second amendment is an individual right, rather than some sort of collective "militia" right, to bear arms. Trigger locks and other measures that make it difficult for U.S. citizens to defend their "hearth and home" (to use Scalia's language) are unconstitutional. Americans can now defend themselves without having to ask the potential robber/rapist/murderer etc. to wait a little bit while they unlock their safe, re-assemble their gun, and load it with bullets that they've locked up in a separate safe over there by the microwave in the kitchen.

You can judge by my sarcastic remark at the end that I'm as happy as can be about the decision. Listening to Rush Limbaugh tell me news about the decision elicited a "woo hoo!" from me just as the Tim Horton's guy was handing me my coffee. He thought I was happy about the coffee. Which I was. But not as much as the ruling in this decision.

It is, however, yet another 5-4 ruling, splitting the "conservatives" and the "liberals" on the bench. This, of course, is going to lead to even more handwringing about who gets to be on the Supreme Court in the first place, and about the theoretical orientation--especially the various theories of interpretation--of potential SCOTUS appointees. So it goes, I guess.

SCOTUSblog commentary on the decision:

"the Court concluded “we find they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weaons in case of confrontation” — in other words, for self-defense. “The inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” it added.

The individual right interpretation, the Court said, “is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment,” going back to 17th Century England, as well as by gun rights laws in the states before and immediately after the Amendment was put into the U.S. Constitution.

What Congress did in drafting the Amendment, the Court said, was “to codify a pre-existing right, rather than to fashion a new one.”

That last quote is interesting. According to the court, there was a pre-existing (natural?) right to self-defense that Congress recognized in the 2nd amendment.

You can read the full decision, in a PDF courtesy of SCOTUSblog, here.

Conclusions:

"1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

"2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose... The Court's opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms...

"3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment... Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional."

Here's Cato on the decision.

Bob Levy, Cato scholar, says:

"Heller is merely the opening salvo in a series of litigations that will ultimately resolve what weapons and persons can be regulated and what restrictions are permissible. But because of Thursday’s decision, the prospects for reviving the original meaning of the Second Amendment are now substantially brighter."

Here's reaction from various people on the decision.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 26, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

The "Comedy Police" is Not Amused

Kudos and a rim-shot for my old colleague Terry O'Neill who noticed below the woes that comedian Guy Earle is having at the hands of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. In the Province's version  of the story, though, Mr.  Earle is getting no help from someone who should be an ally:

But Mark Dennison, a longstanding Vancouver comedian and instructor at Langara College's stand-up comedy clinic, said there is a fine line between comedy and outright discrimination.

And from what he's heard, he said, the material Earle supposedly used was "mean-spirited" and a "pointed attack" based on "completely wrong assumptions."

"Comedy is inclusive. We laugh because we see commonality," he said.

"I don't think anything is off-limits as long as it is handled in a way that shows us what makes us the same."

I can imagine Mr. Earle being punished on the grounds that his comedy is not *inclusive* enough, thanks to Mr. Dennison's opinions.

I can also imagine U.S. late night comics like Leno, Letterman and Ferguson having a lot of fun with this. I can see Gordon Campbell being Photoshopped into the uniform of the "Comedy Police", raising gales of laughter across the United States. Well, if Mr. Campbell won't listen to reasoned arguments about how silly the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal can be, perhaps ridicule might work.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on June 26, 2008 in Humour | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The joke's on us

A lesbian, a Muslim and a dumb blonde walk into a bar. The lesbian orders a .....

Looking forward to a punch line here? Sorry, but according to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, a joke of this sort might constitute an offence under the province's menacing human-rights law.

As stated in this space before, though, don't blame the Tribunal. It's the fault of the legislation, and that means that the responsibility for this fiasco rests at the feet of Premier Gordon Campbell. Tell him what you think about the B.C. Human Rights Act by sending him a message here: premier@gov.bc.ca.

And while you're at it, I'm sure he'd love to hear your views about the looming carbon tax.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 26, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Communist China follows in the wrong footsteps

The Soviet Union's biggest problem was that its effort to deceive and defeats its allies could never counteract the devastating indictments from former friends.

Is history repeating itself?

Posted by D.J. McGuire on June 26, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WS Radio: Jason Sorens audio

Here is the audio for our interview with Jason Sorens, assistant professor of political science at the University of Buffalo, and the founder of the Free State Project.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Posted by westernstandard on June 25, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Privacy, property, and North Oaks

First, the good news: The city of North Oaks, Minnesota, is an entirely private city. Did you get that? The whole city is private property. It's all private. From the city website:

"Approximately 4500 residents call North Oaks home.  Because residents' properties extend to halfway across the road, all residential roads in the City are private and for the use of North Oaks residents and their invited guests only.

"The City owns no property.  With residents owning the roads, the North Oaks Home Owners' Association owns the park and recreation areas and trails throughout the City."

Second, the weird-ish/interesting news: Google has been asked to take down the street view feature for North Oaks. Since the roads are private property, and the homes obviously are, and everything in the city is private, Google was asked to take down all of their pictures of the city. At the risk of being charged with trespassing. The mayor said:

"It's not the hoity-toity folks trying to figure out how to keep the world away," said Mayor Thomas Watson. "They really didn't have any authorization to go on private property."

Now, for the questions: I understand that you can't physically be on someone's property without their permission. But what if Google had figured out a way to get long-distance camera lenses, and take street view pictures of the streets and homes without ever being on any North Oaks property? Would that be fine?

We should disentangle two related issues; those of privacy and those of private property. Some people think that private property captures privacy. Like this: Facts and replicas (visual or otherwise) of or about me and things I own are my property. For anyone to use those facts or replicas without my permission violates my property rights to those things. "Privacy" is just a special instance of the broader "private property."

If this were true, then whatever principles guide our theory of property should guide our view on this particular case (and other cases of "privacy-as-property"). But it might not be true. Privacy may be distinct from private property, even though many principles that cover private property may overlap with the principles that guide us in deciding on privacy issues.

Here's a special case that might give you some food for thought when deciding the City of New Oaks case: Broadcast signals from radio stations (and wi-fi signals for internet access) pass through our property. They do so, in many cases, without our permission. Someone broadcasts a message, that message passes through my property (including, so I've been told, my body), and then continues on. Some homes tune in, some don't.

Question: Is this a violation of private property? (True, I can't detect it. But I can't always detect a trespasser either, and we still think that it's wrong, even if undetected. Let us suppose that it is also completely and entirely harmless, would that be a reason to allow it? But the undetected trespasser that does no damage to anything at all still counts as violating my property rights, and thus, on most views, does something wrong quite apart from harm. So maybe that won't work either.)

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Supreme Court on death penalty

Below, I mentioned the Supreme Court's ruling on the constitutionality of the death penalty in child rapist cases. I overlooked the Supreme Court's ruling about the death penalty in general, which The Onion News Network covered today. Apparently, the Court has ruled that the death penalty is "totally badass." See for yourself (lots of foul language, particularly from Chief Justice Roberts):


Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Is 'Totally Badass'

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 25, 2008 in Humour | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Supreme Court on child rape

A bevy of important U.S. Supreme Court decisions are coming down the pipe, including the D.C. v. Heller case which will decide whether the second amendment is an individual right to have a gun, or some sort of "militia" right (or whatever. I never understood the reasoning behind the position that the 2nd amendment is something other than an individual right. But that's neither here nor there).

The most interesting ruling to have been issued today is the Patrick Kennedy v. Louisiana decision.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supremes overturned a Louisiana law that allowed the death penalty in cases where the accused was found guilty of raping children.

SCOTUSblog summary:

"Barring the death penalty for any crime that does not take the life of an individual victim, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty for the crime of raping a child. If the victim does not die and death was not intended, capital punishment for that crime violates the Eighth Amendment, the Court ruled in an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy."

From Yahoo! News:

"In its written ruling, the court specified that even if a rape was particularly atrocious, it was impossible to set down a list of circumstances under which the death penalty would be justified, without opening the door to arbitrary decisions."

Meanwhile, according to MyWay news, the court was split along liberal/conservative lines:

"The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. His four liberal colleagues joined him, while the four more conservative justices dissented.

"There has not been an execution in the United States for a crime that did not also involve the death of the victim in 44 years."

The more conservative justices argued that child rape is a particularly harmful and heinous kind of crime, justifying the death penalty. The fact that Louisiana has this law, and other states were considering it is proof, they argued, of this conclusion. But Kennedy retorted that the consensus was on the other side, since no state has actually used the death penalty on any rape cases in 44 years.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 25, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Krieber and 'terrorism'

The news, that Janine Krieber, wife of Stephane Dion, suggested that pro-choicers might turn to terrorism if C-484 is passed, is starting to spread.

While most national media seem surprisingly disinterested in Krieber's declarations, which I first disclosed here on The Shotgun last week, the Toronto Star's Antonia Zerbisias has now picked up the story.

Interestingly, Zerbisias is bending over backwards not to leap to any conclusions. One suspects that she would not be so prudent if, for example, a wife of a conservative politician had suggested that pro-lifers would turn to terrorism if pro-abortion legistion were to be passed.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 25, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Star Letter

I have a letter to the editor in today's Toronto Star -- it's about Prime Ministerial rudeness.

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on June 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's time for a change in the Conservative Party of Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his retreat from anti-Communism official with the permanent appointment of pro-"engagement" David Emerson as Foreign Minister (CTV and National Post).  As someone who supported Harper in the 2006 election for the anti-Communist policies he had espoused as Opposition Leader, I have no choice but to withdraw that support now and call for the Conservative Party of Canada to change leaders.

Placing Emerson permanently in Foreign Affairs is a terrible mistake; wrong on principle, wrong on national interest, and wrong on politics.  That Harper did it anyway reveals a PM who has lost his way, and unless he is removed, will also lead the Tories into the wilderness.

On principle: Under Harper's leadership, the Conservative Party became arguably the most anti-Communist party in the democratic world.  Its election in 2006 gave Canada an opportunity to be the world's genuine conscience (as opposed to the phony conscience the Liberals and used as a model, which the rest of the world ignored, BTW).  That potential is now in ashes.

On what is best for Canada: After the scare on exports from Communist China, the numerous attempts by the cadres to grab Canadian resources, and the espionage-intimidation network exposed three years ago, one would think most politicians would be aware of the danger the Beijing regime poses to the free world.  Sadly, the elite in Ottawa (much like Washington, I should add) do not see clearly enough - and one of the worst was Liberal Industry Minister David Emerson.  To put him in charge of Foreign Affairs is to ignores these and many other ways where Beijing's action damage both Canadian economic interests and the health and welfare of the Canadian people.

On the politics: It is all but certain that in the next election, the Liberals will try what they always try - scare left-wing and center-left voters who have tired of them to "Stop the Conservatives."  Yet, on this issue (before today), NDP and Bloc voters were closer to the Conservative view than the Liberal one.  Anti-Communism was one issue where these voters would see why it would not make sense to vote Liberal just to prevent the Tories from winning a majority.  That rationale is now gone.

I want to make clear that this change, in my view, must be within the CPC.  This is no way is meant to imply any support for the Liberals.  In fact, replacing one ex-Liberal Foreign Minister who spouts the "engagement" line on Communist China with an actual Liberal who will spout the "engagement" line on Communist China would accomplish nothing.  It must be another Conservative, an anti-Communist Conservative, who replaces Harper; the sooner, the better.

Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby

Posted by D.J. McGuire on June 25, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

B.C. Conservatives come to life

The B.C. NDP has been riding the No Carbon Tax train for a few weeks now in B.C., to considerable success. Now, the tiny B.C. Conservative Party is trying to play catch up, launching a petition against the tax which, as I reported in my posting below, kicks in on July 1.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 25, 2008 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Defining patriotism in Hong Kong

The Communists make a major stumble.

I'll comment on the cabinet reshuffle after it's official.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on June 25, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Liberty Summer Fun

If you really want to "Go Green" this summer, forget about the Liberal "tax shift" and think "Liberty Summer Seminar".

In case you haven't heard of it, the Liberty Summer Seminar brings together conservative/libertarian activists and thinkers from all across the country to discuss social and economic liberty.

But instead of taking place in some stodgy hotel, it's held on a gorgeous, wooded estate near Orono Ontario.

I have been to a couple of these Seminars and I can tell you they are the highlight of the summer season. You hear fascinating speakers, meet interesting people, enjoy excellent barbecued meals and even get entertained by a live band.<.p>

How can you beat that?

So register right away. (You can save money if you register before July 1)

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on June 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Tories Like Me

As someone who once wrote fund raising letters for Stephen Harper, I just couldn't resist taking a jab at the Tories over a letter they recently sent me asking for donations.

So I did.

Check out my column now posted at the Full Comment section of the National Post.

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on June 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Bob Barr on McCain and Obama's energy policies

Bob Barr has been "Waiting in Vain" to see a sensible energy policy put forward by any other candidate, in this video he focuses on McCain's policy and concludes that it is "inconsistent... completely meaningless" and that Obama's "makes even less sense."

Most cringeworthy line: "The Bob Barr solution is the American people's solution." Hey, what a coincidence: That sounds like the Wayne Allen Root solution.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on June 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Coren and Levant chat about freedom of speech

Michael Coren, who used to debate Karen Selick in the Face Off column for us when we were printing magazines, and Ezra Levant, who used to publish those hard-copy glossy pages, sat down together recently for a heart-to-heart about speech in Canada.

The result is worth the watch.

For your viewing pleasure, here are the YouTube videos of the show:

The rest after the jump.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 24, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Is the "green shift" actually a red shift?

Steve Janke seems to think so.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on June 24, 2008 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Star laments lack of "serious" debate

Political columnist James Travers of the Toronto Star Liberal Party Newsletter raises an excellent point about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent low brow attack on Stephane Dion's Carbon Tax.

Responding to Harper's suggestion that Dion's tax would "screw everybody", Travers writes"it's the response of a schoolyard bully who would rather trade punches than compare ideas ...
Canadians deserve a leader who will debate serious issues seriously. They also deserve one who accepts the restraints on power that are part and parcel of a parliamentary democracy."

And yes, Travers is absolutely right. Up until Harper the bully came along Canadian politicians were world-renown for debating serious issues seriously.

Just check out the "serious" debates which dominate Question Period in the House of Commons; if you closed your eyes you would think you were hearing an Oxford Union debating club in action.

Or recall the famous time former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau cleverly uttered a colourful Anglo Saxon word beginning with "F" in the House of Commons; or how about the time he revealed his sophisticated debating style by showing his middle finger to protesting farmers.

Pure oratorical brilliance!

More recently, former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien revealed his flair for Aristotelian logic when he actually throttled a protester.

Too bad the bully Harper can't match the lofty rhetorical standards of his Liberal predecessors.

But as Stephane Dion might say, "Shift Happens."

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on June 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Tribute to the Canadian soldiers

Support the troops.

These are trying times for the coalition forces, especially the Canadian military, in Afghanistan where Taliban has increased its brutality and insurgency recently. Let the Canadian troops know that they're supported...

Posted by Winston on June 24, 2008 in Military | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, June 23, 2008

Amazing Grace

A great tribute to those fallen Coalition Forces' heroes who serve selflessly to further the cause of freedom and human dignity around the world! [+]

Posted by Winston on June 23, 2008 in Military | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

B.C. Liberals' shell game

The B.C. Liberal goverment's $100 bribe, er "Climate Action Dividend," arrived in the mail just now. Pitched by Gordon Campbell as a way of "making it easier for British Columbians to choose a lower carbon lifestyle," the cheque is viewed in the real world as a political sweetener designed to take the edge off the three-cents-a-litre carbon tax* the government is imposing on gasoline starting July 1.

The cheque was accompanied by a little pamphlet entitled "How will you spend your $100?" Suggestions include switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs ($39), weather-stripping windows and doors ($68) and installing crawl-space insulation ($243 -- a figure that would entail the pooling of my cheque with that of my wife and one of my children).

But you've got to suspect that the vast majority of British Columbians are, like me, simply going to put the money into their personal equivalent of "general revenue" and use it to help pay for the higher cost of driving a car.

Shotgun readers are encouraged to suggest other uses.

*The actual figure is 2.41 cents per litre of gasoline and 2.76 cents per litre for diesel and heating oil. The taxes will rise to 7.24 and 8.27 cents per litre, respectively, by 2012.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 23, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

WS Radio: Jason Sorens

Wsradio_header

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.

On today's program, we'll be interviewing Jason Sorens, assistant professor in political science at the University of Buffalo, and founder of the Free State Project. Jason specializes in secessionist movements and decentralization, which will be the topic of his talk at the forthcoming Liberty Summer Seminar in Orono, Ontario, over the July 26, 27 weekend.

We'll talk with Jason about the Free State Project, an attempt to move enough libertarians into New Hampshire to have an impact on legislation and politics to make it a truly free state. We'll also discuss secessionist movements like those in Quebec and Alberta.

As well, we'll talk about drilling for oil, recent revelations about the gay brain, and a pile of other news stories that we didn't get to last week.

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.

Posted by westernstandard on June 23, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sour grapes from the gals

Obama man be the (Democrats') man, but that doesn't necessarily mean he was the beneficiary of sexism. That's my main point in this week's Face to Face debate in the Tri-City News. On the other hand, the woman with whom I debate, Mary Woo Sims, smells the malodorous scent of sexism in Clinton's defeat. Then again, she'd probably be railing against racism if Obama had lost.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 23, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

God save the green?

Are Brits better informed than Canadians, smarter, or just more sceptical?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 23, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Lemieux: For Security Reasons

In his latest column, a time-consuming run-in with airport security leads Pierre Lemieux to examine the various ways in which the state seeks to limit our liberty "for security reasons." Human rights commissions and the limits they place on freedom of speech are only the latest attempt by state bureaucrats to intimidate us for our own good.

Lemieux sees past this facade, reminding us that the greatest danger to our safety comes not from the hateful bigot, but from our own government. "It is for security reasons that we must guard ourselves from the state."

An excerpt:

Perhaps to intimidate me, my luggage sniffer decided to do a heroin test on my suitcase, which came out positive. Princely, he declared he would redo it “to make sure it is not a false positive”.

...

Who would have thought that a major Canadian magazine would one day be investigated and prosecuted for a speech crime? In fact, it was easily predictable. Legislate wide powers for the state, create a self-righteous bureaucracy to enforce them, and you are bound, in due time, to see harassment and prosecutions beyond the dreams of the initial supporters.

Read more...

Posted by westernstandard on June 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gairdner's New Book of Absolutes

Here's a little secret for the readers of this blog.

Bestselling conservative author Bill Gairdner has a new book coming out this fall called The Book of Absolutes: A Critique of Relativism and a Defence of Universals.

Bill calls The Book of Absolutes "an act of political and moral resistance that is going to have all leftists, progressives, and the self-satisfied gurus of moral relativism and political correctness tearing out their hair in handfuls."

But that's not the secret.

The secret is you can order an advance copy of this book now and receive a whopping 20 percent discount!

Go here to learn more about the book and this great offer.

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on June 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Weekend grab bag

Well, we have a slew of news from Communist China, the beginning of a special session in my local legislature that has no other purpose than to raise taxes, and candidate for U.S. Senate in my state that has no idea how markets work.

That last one my be of extra significance up there because most Americans don't realize that our biggest outside supplier of oil is, well, you.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on June 23, 2008 in Canadian Politics, International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack