Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« September 2008 |Main| November 2008 »

Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama's aunt is an illegal alien living on welfare

Heh.  McCain probably can't talk about this, but someone sure should.

Obama's aunt - who he wrote about in his book - is apparently an illegal alien (one ordered deported) living on welfare in Boston.  Though, it should be noted, she did seemingly find the money to donate to his campaign.

I wish there was a reporter this weekend with the guts to ask him if he would allow his aunt to be deported, if elected.

Is this a legitimate story?  I believe it is.  After all, Obama's the one who wants to compel everyone else to be less "selfish."  He's the one filled with lofty pronouncements about his family.  He's the one who traded on his exotic African relatives to get to where he is today (after all, what is "Dreams From My Father", other than one of those soft-focus paeans to imagined African wisdom?).

How can a man talk about sharing, love, compassion, and so forth while he lets his aunt live in a run-down slum on welfare - indeed, accepting her money?  For that matter, given that she is committing a crime, and that it's illegal for his campaign to have taken her money, "what did he know and when did he know it?" seems like an appropriate question.  Particularly in light of this:

She declined to answer most other questions about her relationship with the presidential contender until after the November 4 election. “I can’t talk about it, I just pray for him, that’s all,” she said, adding: “After the 4th, I can talk to anyone.”

So, is there a reporter out there with the guts to ask Obama, "Senator, when did you find out that your aunt was living illegally in the United States, indeed under a deportation order and why did you accept an illegal campaign contribution from her?"

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 31, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (66) | TrackBack

I hope this one makes its way to Stockwell Day's new Inbox

The Chinese Communist regime is now admitting that its animal feed industry produced massive amounts of melamine-poisoned feed - and they have no idea how far the stuff went through the food chain (although we do geogrpahically that it reached the United States).

Feed and foodstuffs imported from Communist China will need a really close look for a very long time.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 31, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Toronto's budget to increase city debt

Mayor Miller has decided that now is not the time to cut back spending nor is it time to pay down any debt.  What do these hard times call for you ask?  Well increasing spending and the size of government of course!  Mr. Miller is asking for a capital budget of $1.6 billion, which would add $367 million to the debt making it $2.7billion.
This is what Mr. Miller told the Toronto Sun;

When I studied economics, I studied Keynesian economics, and it's very clear that at a time of uncertainty like this, governments should be investing, particularly in infrastructure that helps build a strong economy," he said. "That's what this budget is all about.

How long ago did he go to school?  Because I really think that he has to take a refresher course.  Deficit spending does not work.  Government spending does not generate real productivity and large debt hinders long term growth.  But whatever, what infrastructure are you improving?

$38 million to renovate Nathan Phillip Square (City Hall).

$80 million to make new bike paths.

$100 million to demolish the eastern part of the Gardiner.

Right because I can see why bike paths and fixing the council chambers is vital to the economy.  Also the best way to 'invest' into infrastructure is to rip a vital piece of it down?  Is this man insane?

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on October 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Georgia Straight "poised" to report that Dewey Defeats Truman?

Today's issue of The Georgia Straight, Vancouver's weekly alternative newspaper, has let the cat out of the bag about next Tuesday's U.S. elections. A photo of Barack Obama is featured on the front cover with the legend "Our Best Bet: Barack Obama is poised to become the most powerful man in the world. So what does this mean for Canada?"

Their feature story, by Doug Sarti, does qualify the cover stance by noting "if" Obama wins. Yet the fact that newspaper devotes two pages of speculation about what Obama might do as president (such as appointing Arnold Schwarzenegger as Secretary of Energy, for example) implies that the newspaper is acting as if it obvious that Americans must realize that they have to stop guzzling "the Bush Kool-Aid". So, they might as well run this story now.

Although this is not as egregiously obnoxious  as the newspaper in New Mexico that reported "Obama Wins!", The Georgia Straight is being a bit disrespectful towards U.S. voters who have yet to cast their ballots.

John McCain, the latest poll numbers report, is catching up to Obama. If he manages to pull off an upset next Tuesday, I'll bet the Straight's editors will wish that they had paid Mr. Sarti a "kill fee" and held the "What can we expect from President Obama" story, just in case. Better to be careful and wait than to look foolish, eh?

Posted by Rick Hiebert on October 30, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Meanwhile, Canada has a new Cabinet . . .

. . . and wihle my opinion counts for zilch up there, I'm much happier with this version than the last one.

I particularly look forward to Beijing trying to get around Trade Minister Stockwell Day.  Have fun, cadres!

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 30, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is Obama A Socialist?

No.  So says George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux (who also blogs over at cafehyek.com). But that's no reason to not be concerned over his "socialism-lite".  Read the article for the Christian Science Monitor here.

Since we're talking about Socialism, here's a great article in the Wall Street Journal about where the United State may be headed.

This is, I think, the proper way to asses the direction the political class is trying to take the U.S. right now.  Not to a Soviet-style hard-core Socialism, but to a stuffy, slow or no-growth European model of decay and constant nanny-state meddling, protectionism, unionism and cultural elitism.  We just may be about to take our place with the “retired” old-world powers of Europe.

I would add however, unlike the author, that I don't think a McCain victory next week would really stop it.  It has to be a public opinion shift, or else people have to feel what “soft-socialism” is like and dislike it enough to move past it.  Most American's still have that "Cowboy" spirit, and I think that if we start to become more Europe-like there will be significant revolt.  The college students, professors, do-gooders, non-profit workers, government employees, elderly, and union workers will love it; but the small businesspeople, the salesmen, the low-level corporate employees (not the big-wigs, they'll love the anti-competitive rules) will revolt.  They do most of the producing, so hopefully they'll have the power to overcome the rent-seeking class.

It's not damnation we have to fear, it's stagnation.

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on October 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

No free speech in Australia

The Australian government will now decide what its citizens can and cannot read on the web. (h/t/ drudge)

Posted by Moin A Yahya on October 30, 2008 in Freedom of expression | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Al & Mike Show Episode 43 - Incrementalism

Gerry Nicholls joins us to talk about incrementalism versus a more direct small-c conservative approach. Jay Currie joins us as well.

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 October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Voting and Elections - how important are they?

As the U.S. election draws ever nearer, I thought I'd offer a post with some links to some articles and quotes that help put elections in perspective.

Should you vote for the "lesser of two evils"? - great article by the late Leonard Read

Lorna Doone and the 2008 Election - on why it's sad that who wins has to matter

Shut up and vote! - on why voter encouragement is stupid

The Election Doesn't Matter - on why there are better ways to fight for freedom (probably not for statism though)

The Four Boneheaded Biases of Stupid Voters - by Bryan Caplan on why voters make bad decisions

Stopy Worrying About the Election - on how you can always be free, regardless of who's in power

Some quotes:

“I am really sorry to see my Countrymen trouble themselves about Politics. If Men were Wise the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not Wise the Freest Government is compelled to be a Tyranny. Princes appear to me to be Fools. Houses of Commons & Houses of Lords appear to me to be fools, they seem to me to be something Else besides Human Life.” - William Blake

“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.” - Milton Friedman

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right."
- H.L. Mencken

“And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.” - Frederic Bastiat

"An election is nothing more than the advanced auction of stolen goods"
- Ambrose Bierce

"Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters."
- C.S. Lewis

"Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves."
- Herbert Marcuse

"An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry."
- T.S. Eliot

"Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - Juvenal

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

A bill to ban water bottles in Ontario

Bill 112 was introduced by Liberal MPP Kuldip Singh Kular and it passed first reading on October 21st, 2008.  This is explanatory note attached to the Bill;

The purpose of the Bill is to encourage public confidence in the water treated and supplied by municipal water systems and to reduce waste and the     consumption of energy associated with the production and recycling of plastic bottles by proposing a province-wide ban on the sale of single-use plastic bottles of water.

This is what Bill 112 proposes to do about it.

    Prohibition on sale of bottled water

   1.  No person shall sell or offer for sale in Ontario single-use plastic     bottles of water.

Individuals that break this hypothetical law would be facing a fine between $500 and $1500.  Corporations that are in violation would receive a fine of $10 000 for the first offence and $25 000 for repeated offences.  The directors or corporate officers that approve the sale would also receive a fine of up to $1000 and possible imprisonment for 1 year.

Kuldip Singh Kular is the representative for Bramalea-Gore-Malton and he is the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Health and Long Term Care.

Dr. Kular, I officially despise you.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on October 29, 2008 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (53) | TrackBack

Stephane Dion's Green Shift is well and truly dead

Well, if there was any doubt before, there isn't any now.  Someone in charge has directed the Liberal Party webmasters to alter TheGreenShift.ca yet again.  Immediately after Stephane Dion's historic loss, the Green Shift website disappeared, and attempts to reach it at TheGreenShift.ca caused you to be redirected to the main Liberal Party website.

But now the link to the Liberal Party has been deliberately removed.  Today, if you go to TheGreenShift.ca, a 302-redirect sends you to GreenShift.ca.  Remember Green Shift?  That is Jennifer Wright's company.  Wright sued the Liberals over their use of the name, a suit that was settled out of court with the agreement by the Liberals to pay Wright a licensing fee for the use of the name.

All that money spent on lawyers and licensing fees so that Stephane Dion could have his precious "Green Shift", and now the Liberals are sending traffic coming to their former website to Jennifer Wright's website.

Stephane Dion might have insisted on staying on as interim leader, but it sure looks like the Liberals aren't waiting for him to go before expunging Dion's contribution as thoroughly as possible.

From Angry in the Great White North.

Posted by Steve Janke on October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Separatist to be Dean of the House of Commons

In case you missed it, Bloc MP Louis Plamondon has become the Dean of the House of Commons.  You get that title if you are the longest serving MP in the House of Commons.  Don't worry it's not a position of any real authority or importance.  It is more of a position of respect.  The only job that I know ofPlamondonlouis_bq_2 that's attached to it is presiding over the election of the Speaker of the House.

The Dean of the House of Commons is meant to be the steady hand.  The man with experience that other members from all parties can go to for advice.  Mr. Plamondon first became a Member for the PC Party in 1984.  With nearly a quarter of a century of experience, he is certainly qualified to give such advice.  Still I find this funny.

The ironies of giving a separatist such a title of institutional respect brings a smile to my cynical heart.  It demonstrates that the Bloc Quebecois has become an entrenched institution in Ottawa.  It was never suppose to be like that.  The Bloc were suppose to be the outsiders fighting the system from within.  Now they are an integral part of the hated federalist system.

It also says something about turn over in Canada compared to the States.  I forget the exact number but something around two thirds of the Members of Parliament get re-elected on average.  In the States it is more like 90% get re-elected.  The Dean of the House of Commons goes back to the mid 80s and the US Dean of the Senate goes back to the late 50s.

Even if it means that our most stable party caucus is the party that wants to leave the country, I truly think that Canada has the better of that deal.  No old tyrants in our Parliament thank you very much.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Reform, schmeform

The CCP's latest effort to make farmers feel better falls flat.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 29, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alleged Assassination Plot a Ploy?

Jack McHugh, over at the SFEBlog has a post about the supposed assassination conspiracy against Obama.  Big surprise, it appears the media and law enforcement have over sensationalized it.  Whether or not this is a deliberate attempt to secure a specific electoral outcome I don't know, but all the incentives are there for media and law enforcement to over sensationalize this...and everything else.

Newspeople need customers and, "if it bleeds, it leads".  Law enforcement officials need taxpayers to feel that they are very very important and that without them we'd all be dead, and that they need more money.  Both of these arrangements make it advantageous to overblow security threats and violence.  As John Stossel would ask, are we scaring ourselves to death?

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Political Ad Watch: More from Maine Congressional candidate John Frary

FraryYou know John Frary, he's the colourful, delightfully frank, and solidly conservative Republican candidate for the House of Representatives in Maine's second congressional district. I introduced his campaign with what must be the most entertaining political debates I've ever seen, Peter Jaworski conducted a wide-ranging interview with him, and he's the author of our current feature article "Reconsidering the War on Drugs."

First up, here's his new radio spot "Three Amigos" [mp3]

And then, this, his latest ad "Has Your Patience Reached The Outer Limits":

Professor John Frary, ladies and gentlemen, the anti-Pelosi.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 29, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The American Conservative non-endorsement endorsements: "grim prospects for conservatives"

Thanks for those Slate endorsements Peter. I've been a regular reader of Slate forever and the weekly Slate Political Gabfest podcast is one of my weekend fixtures for below-the-fold US news and cocktail chatter (though I counterbalance it with AFF's Inside Washington Weekly for a libertarian-conservative take). I've grown to love the regular personalities on both.

Slate was a real innovator in online journalism (read this revealing 2004 profile in Seattle Weekly) and one of the first successes in a difficult business sector. Slate provides a lot of smart commentary, but they've always presented themselves as an opinionated magazine, not an objective newspaper. Sure, their perspectives are probably shared by many of their readers, but it certainly helps them gain reader trust and reach a wider audience when they don't hide their biases and even occasionally engage in these acts of full-disclosure. I wasn't surprised at all by the Obamalanche nor by Jack Shafer's vote for Barr–and I certainly wasn't bothered by it. What worries me is all the newsrooms where the results would be much the same, but all the same present themselves as an objective unbiased news source for their audience.

On a somewhat similar note, in the election edition of The American Conservative magazine, as in 2004, they have not endorsed any one candidate. Instead, the editors asked 18 "conservatives, libertarians, and independent thinkers," including many TAC staff and contributors, how they plan to vote for president. The diversity among this group is a stark contrast to the near-unanimity at Slate. Some of the individuals surveyed include Peter Brimelow of VDARE.com, Reid Buckley the son and family historian of William F. Buckley, Crunchy Con Rod Dreher, estranged neoconservative Francis Fukuyama, Joe Sobran, and Lew Rockwell. Here's the tally:

Barack Obama (Democratic): 5
John McCain (Republican): 3
Bob Barr (Libertarian): 2
Chuck Baldwin (Constitution): 2
Ron Paul (write-in): 1
Ward Connerly (write-in): 1
Non-voter: 4

While there's no clear favourite, Barack Obama comes out on top, followed close on the heels by non-voters and John McCain. While there were a couple of enthusiastic Obama supporters, all the McCain voters noted their reluctance and reservations.

When there's this much disagreement (and so much support for an evident socialist) among such a group who hold fairly similar principles and concerns and when even the conservative McCain voters will be holding their noses in the voting booth, if the GOP find themselves on the outs of the Presidency and both houses of Congress, as seems the likely result,  the party would be well advised to do some good hard thinking about what it is exactly they stand for anymore.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 29, 2008 in Media, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A test to see which presidential candidate you have most in common with

Check out this presidential test by glassbooth.

The test is pretty good. You get 20 points to assign to various issues, from trade and economic policy, to abortion, to drug war-related policy, and so on. By assigning the 20 points, you weight the importance of the issue to you.

Next, you'll be asked to check off whether you support or oppose various policy proposals.

At the end, you get your outcome. Post your outcomes in the comment section.

Posted by westernstandard on October 28, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

A quick Shotgun poll

After reading the extremely colorful, often confusing and sometimes downright silly comments on several posts over the last few months, I've gotten to thinking about who, exactly, you are, oh Shotgun reader.  It seems clear that some are here with a decided partisan bent; some with a decided ideological bent; and some who just seem generally bent out of shape.

So, just for fun, lets conduct a little poll...

What do you think is the most important goal in political life:

A) To reduce the role of government as much as possible

B) To make government as good as it possibly can be at fulfilling it's role, and get the right people to do it

Answers and explanations eagerly anticipated...

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on October 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack

The devolution of tyranny

The Chinese Communist police force long ago became strike-breakers for the cadres; now they've become a security force for the the Chinese Mafia.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 28, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, October 27, 2008

Doctor denied permanent resident status because of daughter's illness.

If ever there has been a story that sums up just how broken our health care and immigration systems are, it's this one.

A Calgary critical-care doctor's application for permanent residency has been rejected because one of his daughters might be a drain on the health care system.

South African physician Stanley Muwanguzi says his 22-year-old daughter has been institutionalized [for treatment of cerebral palsy] since she was a toddler and he has no intention of moving her to Canada.

Note that this case isn't significantly different from the case often cited by those hoping to close our borders that there is "danger" of immigrants just coming here to access welfare and social programs. Blocking doctors from coming into Canada because of illnesses in their families is a direct result of the precautionary principle applied to immigration.

Most of the arguments against liberalizing our immigration policy stem from an improper association of problems caused by expansive social programs with freer immigration policy, but rarely is it so obvious as in this case. It's not about saving lives or allowing anyone to make life better for themself - it's about is preserving a broken health care system that kills Canadians with waiting lists for doctors like Stanley Muwanguzi.

An unintentional result of conservatives supporting restrictive immigration policies is that they often help (at least in the arena of ideas) to perpetuate many other programs that they claim that they want to scale back or eliminate.

Isaac Morehouse had an excellent post arguing for freer immigration in which he addressed "the welfare argument" against immigration that can be found here.

h/t: Ker.

Posted by Janet Neilson on October 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

'Joe the Plumber' is a hero; but not why you think...

Joe is a hero because he's an outlaw.  He is (horror!) practicing his personal liberty to offer plumbing services without groveling at the feet of some state board of plumbing.  I also heard that he's not registered to vote.  I like him.

(Here's an article about how dumb non-voluntary professional licensing is, and who it's really for).

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on October 27, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Today on Political Animals: Is Obama a socialist?

Today on Political Animals, we'll be covering the remarks Barack Obama made to Chicago's WBEZ FM, which Peter Jaworski reported on here. In brief, Obama expressed the view that

We're also interested in exposing one of Joe Biden's recent lies -- that the Obama campaign has not made any contributions to ACORN.

We'll have representatives of the McCain campaign, Bob Barr's campaign, and someone from Ohio's own Buckeye Institute to discuss both of these issues (we tried getting someone from Obama's campaign, but no one was interested.)

Our intention is to go beyond talking points to have a frank discussion about socialism and wealth redistribution.

You can listen live over the Internet here. The show starts at 4 pm, EST.

We also enjoy hearing from callers. If you have something to say, feel free to phone in, toll free, at


Posted by Terrence Watson on October 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Mass graves uncovered in Canada?

Aboriginal children went into residential schools, sometimes against the wishes of their parents. Some of them didn't come out again. So what happened to them? That's the question of this Globe and Mail article raises for me.

The federal government is mapping burial sites at former residential schools as researchers try to identify how many of the estimated thousands of native children who went missing from the schools are buried in unmarked or anonymous graves.

Cemeteries scattered across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have been identified by researchers. Some of the graves have single white wooden crosses bearing no name. Others do not include even a cross.


At...the St. John's Indian Residential School in Alberta (also known as Wabasca Residential School), the researchers found a document from 1961 describing how the principal came across an unmarked cemetery. A second letter indicates the unidentified principal ultimately cleaned up the site and erected 110 white crosses.

"The place was a terrible mess, so much underbrush," according to one of the letters. "Even though it is not finished, one can see a great improvement in it all, at least it is not woods now."


An Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada (IRSRC) report reviewing Indian Affairs documents describes an incident in 1992, when a construction company uncovered at least 19 graves connected to an unmarked graveyard at the site of the former school.

There's more in the Globe's article.

I think it's too soon to say that the children were deliberately killed and buried in mass graves to hide the evidence, but it's still sad news. More likely, I'd guess, the people who could have given the children proper burial just didn't give a damn, and/or didn't have adequate resources to ensure the graves would be identifiable in the future.

If that's the explanation, it doesn't let people off the hook for this travesty. A real investigation needs to take place. Responsibility must be properly allocated.

Posted by Terrence Watson on October 27, 2008 in Aboriginal Issues | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

We're just not into you

That's the message the CCP has been sending the Chinese people for years; it just became crystal clear over the weekend.

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

Ontario to ban cell phone use while driving

According to the Globe & Mail, the Ontario government is considering tabling a bill that would ban drivers from using cell phones. My freedom loving soul cringes at the thought of further regulation governing the personal habits of the people of Ontario.  That being said those who are libertarian inclined should not dismiss this proposal out of hand.

The legitimacy of such a law hinges on if you buy this part of the Globe & Mail article;

Also, the Ontario Medical Association has concluded that driving and talking on a cellphone creates the same risk for the driver as being at the legal limit for alcohol consumption.

If this is so then cell phone use in cars should be banned for the same reason that drinking and driving is banned.  It is not a matter of personal choice but of public safety.  Once someone has become a real threat to those around them the state has a responsibility to act.  If cell phone drivers are a sufficient threat then the state has just cause to act.

Of course one study does not convince me that cell phone driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.  According to the article 37% of drivers use their cell phones while driving.  I want to know how many accidents are caused by this and how severe those accidents are.  I don't know how severe the public danger has to be before the state should act, but at the very least the public danger has to be clearly defined and quantified.

(Also if you ban hand free cell phone use then you also have to ban talking and listening to the radio while driving.)

More on cell phone bans here.


This is an article published in the Edmonton Journal that is related to this topic.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on October 27, 2008 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 26, 2008

All elections are nasty

Politics is nasty, and it has always been nasty.  I don't care what you say, there has never been a period of true high minded debate in any modern democracy.  In Canada one of our nastiest national campaigns was in 1911.  Supporters of the Conservative Party in Quebec went door to door posing as government agents taking names to draft them into "Laurier's navy."

In other words; a vote for Laurier is a vote for sending your children to war.

How about; a vote for my opponent will end the world.

Really as far as nastiness goes the present election in the United States is not that bad. I mean really;

Nothing has even gotten up to this level of nastiness;

So I don't want to hear anymore complaining about politics becoming more nasty.  Political elections are one of the few times that matters where someone will get nothing and someone else will get everything.  There will be hundreds if not thousands of people that worked fifteen hour days for months and will achieve nothing.  Politics is nasty by its very nature and the sooner you accept that the better off you will be.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on October 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bob Barr: He may not win but he's making sense

Bob Barr is everywhere. Alas, I missed him at his speech at Oberlin College (possibly the most leftist place I've ever had a latte in). I also missed his media blitz on Glenn Beck and Fox News. However, I did find video of Bob at U of Florida. And he was in great form. When asked what practical measures would he implement when he first takes office, his answer was sooooo cool. He said that the first thing he would do is cut the executive budget of the president by 10% with the goal of cutting the presidential budget by 50% in order to "Lead by example."

A politician who wants to lower his salary! If he'd shave that awful mustache I could have a serious man-crush. His second measure would be to let congress know that any budget that would spend "one dollar more than the last budget" would be immediately vetoed. Wow. I got your fiscal responsibility right here!

He of the 70's pencil mustache but steel trap mind wrote a column on conservative Uberblog "Townhall.com" outlining why Republicans have abandoned conservatism.

Here are some memorable quotes:

"Over much of the last eight years Republicans have controlled the presidency and the Congress, yet spending rose faster than any time since Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” Earmarks hit a record. The GOP increased domestic, as well as military, outlays. As a result, the budget for virtually every government agency, from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services, expanded"

"The GOP once believed in federalism, but now it is the Republican Party that pushes to expand national control over education. Republicans once recognized that the national government was one of limited, enumerated powers, yet it was Sen. John McCain who led the congressional 'investigation' of steroid use in baseball."

Baseball seriously? That's part of your enumerated powers? Say it ain't so Maverick. Say it ain't so!

There's more about earmarks and even a short line about a wasted vote. After the election, I hope he keeps talking. I may not agree with everything he says but if he's right about most of this, then I understand why Barry is campaigning in Nevada  which has been as red as Tina Fay's Sarah Palin wardrobe.

A story goes that a large trailer park was hit by three tornadoes in a row. The residents were angry. They wanted answers. They demanded someone tell them what happened. Then one man rose from out of nowhere and stood up on a makeshift platform and declared: "Good people I know what has caused your plight. I have the answer to your problem. I know what causes tornadoes like these--Trailer parks cause tornadoes!" And they believed him because no one else was making sense.

The moral of the story: in the absence of leadership, people will follow any Tom, Dick, or Barry with a stage and a message no matter how insane. I don't want to say it but if McCain loses this election it will not because of any major mistakes in his campaign. It will be because leading Republicans stopped being conservatives a long time ago and settled for just being politicians.

Posted by Jay Lafayette on October 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Political Ad Watch: The Life Politic with John McCain

The shots, the fonts, the music, the dialogue, and the colours are all right. Here's what it would look like if Wes Anderson made a campaign ad for John McCain:

(h/t Hunter Baker)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 25, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Onion: Ron Paul promises to return when country needs him most

Picture_2 Things are panning out almost exactly as Ron Paul was predicting for the last 30 years. When he had a national audience during the 2008 Republican primary process, he was dismissed, insulted, and jeered; even now that he has been vindicated, instead of listening to him the political and media establishment are taking advice from Hank Paulsen, Ben Bernanke, Barney Frank, George Bush and all the other guys who assured us that there was no problem, the economy was on solid footing, the housing market was not in a bubble, sub-prime would not be that big a problem, inflation doesn't matter etc. If you're as frustrated as me, rest assured that there is a reason: the world is not yet ready for Ron Paul.

Though it may seem like this is the time that the world needs Ron Paul the most, he knows better. Like the sagely Merlin of Arthurian legend he will disappear only to return when the time is right. The Onion reports:

WASHINGTON—After piling the last of his Campaign for Liberty signs in the back of a beat-up Ford truck Thursday, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) once again abandoned his candidacy for president and rode on out toward the low western sun, but not before vowing to come back to Washington "when [the country] is ready." "When the river swirls and the wind blows, and when uncontrollable inflation forces us to revert to the gold standard, and the Federal Reserve bank is exposed as the unconstitutional, neofascist cabal it really is, you'll see me coming over that hill," said Paul, leaving a dusty cowboy hat and a stack of "no" votes on his seat in the House of Representatives. "But don't you fret, America. If you ever feel like your government is getting too big or too intrusive, just give a little whistle, and there I'll be. I'll be there quicker'n you can spit." Although no one has seen or heard from the Texas congressman since Thursday, sources report the Ron Paul for President campaign has gained an additional $2.3 million in contributions since his disappearance.

And while we're making Ron-Paul-as-wizard jokes, I think its an appropriate time to remember current.com's fantastic sendup of the first Republican Debate at the Reagan Library:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 24, 2008 in Humour | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Independent MP André Arthur blames Tories for their minority woes and Quebec underperformance

Andrearthur_2jpeg Independent MP André Arthur was the first candidate endorsed by the Western Standard in the Federal election. Arthur, a libertarian, sits as an Independent so that he can vote and speak freely based on his own convictions, though the Conservative Party chose not to run a candidate against him in the Quebec City riding of Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier. He was reelected by a mere 662 votes.

Arthur sat down with Maclean's reporter Philip Gohier for an interview about his thoughts on the election, the Conservatives' underperformance in Quebec (which he blames on poor strategy and organization by the CPC and ADQ), and his thoughts on the future:

Q: You consider it a loss to have kept 10 of 11 seats?

A: Look, they should have doubled their Quebec caucus. There was a bunch of ridings where we figured the Bloc was in trouble. We made a list at the start: Saint-Maurice—Champlain, that was winnable. Even Michel Guimond in Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord was beatable with a good campaign. The choice of candidates was bad; the campaign strategies were bad; there were some appalling things like [former senator and public works minister] Michael Fortier's anti-Bloc truck. In the end, the one who won most handily for the Conservatives was the one who barred the central organization from doing anything in his riding—and that's Maxime Bernier. Bernier told me on the air that when they wanted to send in their famous truck in his riding, his father Gilles said, "I'm going to stop it before it gets in."

Q: Given the Conservatives' persistent weakness in Quebec and the absence of strong voices in its Quebec caucus, are you expecting to play a bigger role?

A: Not at all. I'm not in the caucus. I'm not a Conservative. I collaborate in a piecemeal way, when it helps the Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier riding. My attitude won't change. If they consult me, I'll tell them: "Fire your organizers, find yourself some strong candidates and start campaigning right away."

Q: You seem more frustrated with the Conservatives, or more specifically, its organizers, than you have in the past.

A: I'm frustrated because it's put us in a dangerous situation. Canada needed a majority government. With the economic period we're entering, we don't need cat fights in Parliament. We needed a strong government. I'm ticked off at the Conservatives who put national unity in danger by letting the Bloc get in their way in an election where separation wasn't even an issue.

Q: You've said on your show that you don't expect this government to last as long as the last one.

A: We lasted two-and-a-half years. Now, as soon as the Liberals dump Dion in May, whether it's [Frank] McKenna or anybody else who replaces him, the first thing that person will ask for is an election and he or she will get one. The only reason we lasted that long in the last Parliament was the Liberals and their financial situation. They were well aware they were going to be flying with Air Inuit.

Read the rest.

Though "Le Roi Arthur" is still most well-known for his outspoken opinions as a radio shock jock for 38 years, he reveals that he's also very politically astute; I suppose that's what's necessary for getting elected as an Independent in our party-centric democracy.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 24, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Florida Protects Free Speech

Our Human Rights Commissions now threaten an MP for his speech.  Elsewhere, the Florida Supreme Court abolished two old common law doctrines (inavsion of privacy and false light) on the grounds that they interfered with free speech.

The Florida Supreme Court is usually pretty bad on business and tort law issues, but here they got the right answer. Hopefully, our esteemed jurists will get a crack at these cases soon. The problem is that few of the people who get with these human rights complaints appeal or the courts overrule the commissions on very narrow rounds instead of the broader issue of speech.

Posted by Moin A Yahya on October 24, 2008 in Freedom of expression | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Charles Fried Votes for Obama

Charles Fried who was Ronald Reagan's Solicitor General, and is a Harvard Law Professor and a leading conservative thinker announced that he voted for Obama. His reason: the Palin nomination.

Professor Fried also spoke at the Canadian Constitution's Foundation's Annual Law Conference last year.

h/t: Bashman

Posted by Moin A Yahya on October 24, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Will Wilkinson: "Thank you for not voting"

Dontvote Robert, you argued that despite the calls for mandatory voting from the democracy fetishists, those 40.9% of registered voters who stayed home in the Federal election should neither be shamed nor criminalized. Of course, I agree.

The key word in our system of liberal democracy is liberal, that means that crimes are those actions which infringe on the rights of others–abstaining from voting is no crime. In fact, I think that if our Charter right to freedom of expression is to mean anything, it ought to protect this form of speech.

Cato's Will Wilkinson writes in the Ottawa Citizen that a low turnout may be a healthy sign for a democracy. Why? Less voter pollution:

The virtue of opting out is especially clear once you grasp that more voting isn't necessarily better voting. Specialists in public opinion have exhaustively documented the average voter's shocking ignorance about the main issues of the day, the names of their local candidates for office, or the policies the candidates support.

The flakiest voters -- the ones least motivated to show up at the polls year in and year out -- also tend to be most poorly informed. So when turnout drops, it tends to leave the pool of remaining voters with an improved average level of political knowledge and policy know-how. If well-informed voters have a better picture of the candidate or party most likely to promote the general welfare, then especially high turnout can actually tilt an election away from the better choice, leaving everyone a bit worse off. And that's not very civic-minded.

Read the rest. You can also watch a longer discussion between Jason Brennan of Brown University and Will Wilkinson on why some people just shouldn't vote here:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 24, 2008 in Freedom of expression | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Re: Michael Coren and the surveillance society

As a follow up to Lindy's post about Michael Coren's support of CCTV cameras in cities, consider this parable David Brin uses in his book "The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?"

(Yes, yes, I know: this solidifies Kathy Shaidle's impression that libertarians read too much dystopian sci-fi, but bear with me. At least Brin has a PhD in the hard sciences. He's also an incredibly sensible libertarian; see his 2002 speech to the Libertarian Party convention, especially the bit on pragmatism.)

Here is Brin's Tale of Two Cities:

Consider City 1. In this city, there are cameras everywhere, and the feed goes right to police headquarters.

In City 2, there are cameras everywhere, but any citizen can view any camera at any time, including the cameras at police headquarters.

Brin supposes that in each society there is a marked absence of street crime. In City 1, the police use state-of-the-art image recognition software that allows them to efficiently scan for potential criminal activity.

In City 2, the police may still use that kind of software. At the same time:

Each and every citizen of this metropolis can lift his or her wristwatch/TV and call up images from any camera in town.

Here a late-evening stroller checks to make sure no one lurks beyond the corner she is about to turn.

Over there a tardy young man dials to see if his dinner date still waits for him by a city fountain.

A block away, an anxious parent scans the area and finds which way her child wandered off.

Over by the mall, a teenage shoplifter is taken into custody gingerly, with minute attention to ritual and rights, because the arresting officer knows the entire process is being scrutinized by untold numbers who watch intently, lest her neutral professionalism lapse.

Because the police know their own activities may be under surveillance, they are reluctant to abuse the camera system: "Any citizen may tune in on bookings, arraignments, and especially the camera control room itself, making sure that the agents on duty look out for violent crime, and only crime."

Both societies may be inferior to a camera-free society, but Brin's point is that City 2 is almost certainly preferable to City 1. And, he argues, a camera-free society may no longer be a feasible possibility. The question isn't about whether Toronto, Winnipeg, etc. will have cameras, but who will control those cameras?

His answer is that it is better -- for our freedoms, anyway -- if everyone can control the cameras, at any time. This is the choice we moderns face between privacy and freedom.

Shaidle is right, I think, to suggest that what bothers libertarians about the surveillance society is the very presence of the cameras. We don't like being spied on. But one reason we don't like being spied on by the law is because we think the law is often wrong. To the extent that the law is wrong, it's a good thing that it is also inefficient.

Cameras have the potential to increase the efficiency of law enforcement, without ensuring that the law will become more just. That's a problem for libertarians, not merely a symptom of their "virtually cryogenic state of adolescence."

At least in City 2, society gets the benefit of cameras, but also some additional assurance that the cameras will be used for good and not evil.

Posted by Terrence Watson on October 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Strange Days

It's not often one sees more resolve from Europe than America, but it does happen on occasion.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 24, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

(Video) Ron Paul on Greenspan's delusions and the state of the GOP

UPDATE: "Give this man his due. Back then, in the height of that bubble, in the height of that party, he did. Ron Paul knew and said then that something was wrong with our financial system a long time ago" says Neil Cavuto of Fox Business as he begins his interview with Paul:

That's one more person listening to Ron Paul.

You can view Greenpan's testimony before the Congressional hearing here.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 24, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Your awesome Sarah Palin song of the day (from Russia with love edition)

Previous awesome Sarah Palin musical parodies here and here.

(h/t Xeni Jardin)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 24, 2008 in Humour | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 23, 2008

American latitude and longitude but Canadian politics

From an e-mail:

A Balloonist and a Fisherman

A man in a hot air balloon realizes he is lost. He lowers his altitude and spots a man fishing from a boat below..
He shouts to him, 'Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am.'

The man consults his portable GPS and replies, 'You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.0 9 minutes west longitude.

The balloonist rolls his eyes and says, 'You must be a Conservative!'

'I am,' replies the man. 'How did you know?'

'Well,' answers the balloonist, 'everything you tell me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you're not much help to me.'

The man smiles and responds, 'You must be a Liberal'

'I am,' replies the balloonist. 'How did you know?'

Well,' says the man, 'You don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and now you expect me to solve your problem.

You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but, somehow, now it's my fault...

Posted by Bob Wood on October 23, 2008 in Humour | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Stop the presses II. Women pose nude for calendar

Fresh on the heels of the shocking discovery (shocking, I tell you!) that an award-winning Canadian artist believes in challenging traditions (see below), comes word that (can you believe it?) a group of Canadian female biathlon competitors has posed nude (with their weapons placed in strategic places) for a fundraising calendar.

What an amazing, startling, completely unexpected thing to do! Surely, no group of females has ever done anything remotely similar to this. No wonder the Vancouver Sun considered it so newsworthy today. 

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 23, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Stop the presses. Artist is an iconoclast

The currently-touring-Canada winner of RBC's Canadian Painting Competiton is Jeremy Hof of Vancouver. He's quoted in an RBC newspaper ad this week as saying, "I believe in challenging traditions in the pursuit of unfamiliar approaches and outcomes for painting."

Wow! How daring! A modern artist who actually believes in challenging traditions!?!? Who would have ever guessed?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 23, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The next four years . . .

. . . and why they could be a lot of trouble . . .

. . . no matter who wins November 4.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 23, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

(Video) Maine congressional candidate John Frary debates some forgettable Democrat windbag

Frary_2 In a single glance, with his brimmed hat, cane, and cigarette in mouth, you can tell that John Frary isn't your typical candidate for Congress. After winning the Republican primary, the retired history professor sold his stock portfolio to run against the "ignorant incumbacrat" Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud in Maine's second congressional district.

Frary doesn't want to go to Washington to join the class of layabout professional politicians, but instead to ruffle some feathers and get results. He makes few campaign promises, but he means them: to always say exactly what he thinks, to serve a single term, and to donate his entire salary.

He's an old school conservative of the variety one sees far too rarely, in disposition and politics a composite of H.L Mencken, Robert Taft, and William F. Buckley with a generous dollop of his own curmudgeonly personality: he's firmly pro-life, a root-and-branch opponent of both the liberal welfare state and the War on Drugs, and a strong believer in limited government, home-schooling, offshore drilling, the right to bear arms and the gold standard.

Frary doesn't hold back, he's frank and politically incorrect, with references to "enviro-kooks", "union thugs", victim group "perpetual whiners" and his "ignorant hack" opponent peppering his campaign materials–oh, and what campaign materials! His website is like nothing I've ever seen in politics before: its full of intelligent commentary, brimming with wit, and features as a campaign theme song the Liberty Bell March from Monty Python's Flying Circus. Besting his website is a brilliant piece of campaign literature, an eight-page pamphlet called the "Frary Home Companion" [pdf]

A constituent asked: "Does the Second Amendment give me the right to shoot my neighbors dog?"

Frary's response "Well that would be my interpretation, but I am a well know cat person"

And that's just on the cover–it gets better.

For a study in contrasts, take a look at this debate between the indomitable Frary and the weak-kneed milquetoast pol Michaud:

In his most recent column "How to Cause the Next Depression" Frary says "we could use someone in Congress who actually knows which historical examples might apply to the current Panic, from the Gold Standard of the Byzantine Empire to the Tulipmania Bubble in Holland to the restrictions on free trade that followed the last great crash in 1929 and caused the Depression"

I couldn't agree more and I'm looking forward to flipping on C-SPAN while Obama-Pelosi-Reid lead the US down the road to socialism to see the good professor Dr. Frary give a lesson on the subject to the "sound bite spewing metrosexual mediocrities currently infesting the Potomac" (i.e. his colleagues).

"A serious candidate" pronounces Frary "allows himself to look grumpy when he feels grumpy," and there's plenty in Washington to be grumpy about today. If you're a U.S. citizen and feeling grumpy, go ahead and send him a cheque, he could certainly use it.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 23, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Blaming 'Laissez Faire' For the Credit Crisis Is Shoddy

Great article from Mises.org on how absolutely stupid it is to claim that laissez faire caused the credit crisis.

A fundemental rule of sound argument is to define your premises.  In this statement, "laissez faire caused the crisis", one of the premises is that we currently live under a system of laissez faire.  This requires a definition of laissez faire, which is seldom given by those making the claim, yet the phrase gets defined de facto in the context of the article in which the statement appears.  And it ussually comes to mean completely unleashed free-market capitalism - a definition which would destroy the original statement, since we do not live under such a system.

Read the article.

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on October 23, 2008 in Economic freedom | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Free to Choose my Milk

The way the state has treated this farmer, you would think that he was a drug dealer or something! What is more puzzling is where are the voices of the left and the right on this? The left, which is all over personal choice, is silent. The right, which is all about free markets, has bought into the big state mentality. After all, no more Listeriosis jokes now means more regulation. So don't expect much action from the suits in Ottawa, Queen's Park, or anywhere else.

Posted by Moin A Yahya on October 23, 2008 in Economic freedom | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Who owns you, Michael Coren?

I listened to part of the show today on 1010 CFRB Toronto called Two Bald Guys With Strong Opinions

Today's show was two guys arguing for and against CCTV cameras on public property. It was my first time listening in, and I was driving so I couldn't call in and the phone number was not mentioned. I don't know whether the hosts just pick a side for the sake of the show, or whether Michael Coren was really taking the point of view of the surveillance statist. I'm going to assume he means it.

He put one caller on the spot (who brought up the Patriot Act) by insisting he name one government program that government had actually taken advantage of. The guy choked up, maybe a little nervous. But Michael had, in the previous three minutes, brought up human rights abuses by the HRCs (freedom of speech and expression, after all, is a human right). In light of this, why doesn't Michael name us one government program that hasn't failed or been abused by government in some way? 

It was surprising and sad when Michael characterized libertarians as people who don't fully believe in the rule of law. In reality, all libertarians know that freedom is impossible without the rule of law protecting the rights of individuals. Maybe Michael just doesn't know enough about libertarian political philosophy. Here you go, Michael, why not learn about it from an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand source: Wikipedia. Or an even shorter version from Cato's David Boaz here.

Coren is in favour of the use of CCTV cameras. He's even in favour of using them to catch people for consensual crimes -- he said they should be used to catch drug dealers. In practice, that means users too. His argument is essentially an argument for a surveillance society that will help prop up the failed war on drugs.

I hear they now have loudspeakers on some of these cameras in the UK so that bureaucrats can bark orders at people if they throw a candy wrapper on the ground.

These cameras have been abused already to spy on people inside their own homes. Take a look at this, Michael. How many of these cases go unreported?

The thing that Michael needs to know is that in Canada we love our civil liberties and we don't want one camera per 14 people like in the UK. But adopting other countries' bad ideas is something governments do best. So maybe ours will adopt CCTV cameras with Michael's endorsement.

I heard a guy call in and say "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide." Michael did not disagree. I heard that line from a Mountie who wanted to search my car. He said if I don't allow him to search my car, then that means I have something to hide. It was because of this illogic that I refused the search. The mounties don't have a right to search my car unless they suspect that there's something illegal going on. And refusing a search is not a reason to think that something illegal is going on. It's reason to think that I don't want some stranger looking through my stuff. It's also reason to think that I like freedom from tyranny.

I heard this same newspeak from Michael. He said that CCTV cameras on government property liberate us. That is like saying war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. 

This is the London, England that Michael Coren wants for Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto and so on.

So Michael Coren, who owns you?

Posted by Lindy Vopnfjord on October 23, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics, Canadian libertarian politics, Canadian Politics, Freedom of expression, Marijuana reform, Media, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

(Video) Taki on Christopher Buckley and National Review

When Christopher Buckley endorsed Barack Obama and departed from his late father's magazine National Review, Peter agreed with much of Buckley's diagnosis of the modern conservative movement calling them "sham conservatives" who profess small government principles yet celebrate George W. Bush and Stephen Harper, who have presided over the largest Federal governments in the history of their respective countries. Peter asks: "Are there any real conservatives left? Or have they all taken to calling themselves libertarians now, for fear of being confused with the big government sham variety?"

I'm happy to report to him that there are still many "real conservatives," and they don't call themselves libertarians for the simple reason that they aren't. Although stragglers and hangers-on like David Freddoso and John Derbyshire still write for National Review, the home of mainstream post-war conservatism, most are homeless and dispersed, having been pushed out of the mainstream of the conservative movement which remains thoroughly wedded to a largely un-conservative Republican Party.

However, one group of these conservatives with a strong antiwar, immigration restrictionist, and traditionalist bent, the paleoconservatives, have built up alternative conservative institutions like the Rockford Institute and The American Conservative magazine.

Taki Theodoracopulos a prominent paleocon, co-founder of The American Conservative, proprietor of Taki's Magazine the "online magazine for independent conservatives" and, incidentally, a McCain supporter had this to say about Christopher Buckley and the conservative movement:

Scott McConnell, the editor of The American Conservative and a former neoconservative, provided some background about the battle in National Review over immigration and foreign policy in this 2003 article.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 23, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Al & Mike Show Episode 42 - Kyoto the Dog

Jay Currie joins us, as well as Kyoto the Dog in this special episode of the Al & Mike Show post election.

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 October 22, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Canada - EU trade agreement

The Wall Street Journal reports that Harper and Sarkozy have signed an agreement to begin negotiations of a Canada-EU trade agreement, and speculates that it might have a little something to do with a certain Democratic presidential nominee threatening to unilaterally rewrite NAFTA.

Here's the best part:

The free-labor point is key. As recently as half a century ago, Canadians and Americans were pretty much free to work in either country without the visa restrictions that apply today. Under the proposed Canada-EU agreement, a computer geek from, say, the University of Waterloo -- one of whose alumni developed the BlackBerry -- would be able to take a job in Hamburg or Dublin if he wished; forget about Silicon Valley.

Isn't that awesome? It's so smart I have a hard time expressing just how smart I think it is.

Canadians will like having the option of being able to work more easily in the EU (who wouldn't?) and I can't see blue-collar workers feeling as threatened by trade with more developed nations like they so often are with the prospect of freer trade with, say, China. And, like all trade liberalization, it will be good for everyone - they are projecting an increase of almost 23% in trade between Canada and the EU with a deal.

The WSJ writers sound jealous, and they should be. You've got to admit, no matter how frustrated you might be with Harper - this looks awfully good on him.

Thanks, Obama!

Posted by Janet Neilson on October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Tories and Incrementalism

In case anybody missed it, I had a column yesterday in the National Post.

It's my post-election advice to the Conservative government: Drop the incremental stuff and start acting like real conservatives.

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Ron Paul speaks; is someone listening?

Noting Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul's Friday appearance on CNN, Salon writes that he:

"push[ed] the same apocalyptic message he served up during the Republican primaries, with one difference. His prediction of doom makes a heck of a lot more sense now than it did then."

Salon is a left-leaning webmagazine, not the sort of place which normally pumps up politicians who talk about free markets and limited Constitutional government. After affording Ron Paul the same sort of indifferent hearing one gives to the ramblings of an eccentric uncle throughout his bid for the Republican nomination for president, some among the media, recalling that Paul kept repeating something about an impending financial crisis, are giving him a second, much more attentive, audience.

The Politico's David Marks interviewed the libertarian Congressman on the financial crisis, the bailout, and what ought to be done:

Q: Did leaders, both in Congress and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, encourage excessive lending and borrowing by lowering financial standards for obtaining mortgages many people couldn’t afford?

A: Greenspan, presidents of both parties and members of Congress bear some of the blame. He was there pumping money like crazy when it wasn’t backed by anything. The ideology has been around a long time, and he was responsible for pushing it along. This contradicted his basic free-market beliefs. He himself has warned about stealing value. But he still orchestrated this effort. He became chairman in 1987, and we saw the stock market crash almost immediately. He was steering the economy through money policy during that time. But the system’s been around a long time, and he was working within the system.

I date the current bubble to 1971, when Bretton Woods ended. [Bretton Woods refers to the post-World War II system that allowed governments to sell their gold to the U.S. Treasury at $35 an ounce.] This credit crunch should be seen as a system built on a flawed monetary theory. You can’t sit there and create new money to everything that’s offered. If that’s the case, we’d all be rich.

Q: Should the federal government be taking any action?

A: There’s a lot the government could be doing to explain to people what’s happening. … You can do a lot of things instead of regulation. When Enron failed, we passed Sarbanes-Oxley, which was counterproductive.

We need less regulation, other than of the Federal Reserve. They shouldn’t be allowed to fix interest rates. We should encourage people, if anything, to save money rather than spend money.

Today, capital only comes from a printing press. Lower taxes, less regulation, change the rules of the Federal Reserve. We also need to change our foreign policy. What we’re facing today is an admission that we can’t afford to run a lavishly expensive empire. We need to bring all our troops home.

This idea that foreign policy is not connected directly to economic policy is total foolishness. This is what always bankrupts empires. It did it to the Soviets. Osama bin Laden knew it, and he sucked us in.

This is a wonderful time to come to our senses and have a restoration.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Ron Paul has been speaking about the instability of the U.S. Federal Reserve monetary system for decades and explained the factors which led to the creation of the overblown housing market in this speech to Congress in 2003.

The Austrian economists, among them Ron Paul, were right in predicting this mess, just as they predicted the Great Depression and the more recent dot-com bubble–might enough people have the sense to listen to their prescriptions for recovery this time?

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack