Thursday, June 30, 2011

ECW Fans Invade Michael Ignatieff Campaign Stop

The original, unedited footage of Michael Ignatieff and Nardwuar the Human Serviette from a Vancouver campaign stop during the 2011 federal election.

You wouldn't believe how many Bothans died to bring us this information.

More From the Relentlessly-Whiny Canadian Left

When the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council waved a red flag in the face of thousands of rabidly-censorious Canadian left-wingers, Charlie Smith of the Georgia Strait interpreted it as a red flag in the face of a raging bull.

And he's the bull. In so many ways.

Smith, of course, is among thos outraged that Sun News Network personality Krista Erickson asked "iconic" interpretive dancer Margie Gillis some challenging questions about her funding.

Smith is outraged that the CBSC has called for a halt to the complaints. Gillis' self-organized campaign to complain to the council has amassed so many that it can't process them all. So he recommends that, instead, the implacably-censorious left go directly to the CRTC.

In going to the CRTC, Gillis' cronies would be scrambling for an even bigger fly swatter than the CBSC; one that cannot be ingored.

And the CSBC very much can be ignored.

As Ezra Levant and Brian Lilley recently alluded to, it was the CBSC that, based on a single complainant, attempted to direct all radio stations in Canada to air an edited version of "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits.

Radio stations decided to ignore the ruling. The CRTC directed the CBSC to revisit their deicision, and they backed down.

The CRTC, however, cannot be ignored. If they decided to give in to the demands being made by Charlie Smith and the rest of the mice following Margie Gillis in her pied paper act, they could pull the Sun News Networks' broadcast license.

There should be no doubt that those expressing contrived, sanctimonious and generally false outrage at Gillis being asked some tough questions are prepared to accept nothing less than that. They're already demanding it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Relentlessly-Whiny Canadian Left

4,100 Gillis-organized crybabies wirte the CBSC

If one were to judge from the volume of complaints received by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, one would think Krista Erickson's interview on the Sun News Network with Margie Gillis is a geat and terrible thing.

News outlets like the Globe and Mail and distinctly not-news outlets like The Mark and the Toronto Star have repoted that the CBSC has received more than twice the number of complaints about that one specific interview than it normally receives in an entire year.

However, they're declining to report a single salient detail:

The complaints are the result of a campaign organized by Gillis herself.

In a previous Facebook note, Gillis expressed sadness at the malicious hate messages being posted on Erickson's own Facebook page. That much is to her credit. But in the very same post, she recommended that her followers write to the government to complain not about Erickson's conduct, but rather about her views.

"Filing a letter with the CRTC , with copy to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and to the Prime Minister, stating that the unilateral view depicted in that interview is not what we want for ourselves or how we wish to be known in the world would be a far more fruitful action and it wouldn’t replicate the hatred we want to denounce," Gillis writes.

That's almost as comical as concluding her campaign call with a direction to "be brave, be clear, be compassionate."

Uh... what? What does compassion have to do with Margie Gillis' outrage at being asked some challenging questions on the Sun News Network? Or being confronted with her bizarrely-sanctimonious attitude toward Canadian society (the same Canadian society that supported her interpretive dance endeavours to the tune of $1.2 million over 13 years).

Speaking of sanctimony.

In a comical turn of events, the Star's resident hate addict, Heather Mallick wrote a column about the complaints, wherein she depicted Erickson as "venomous".

Mallick even seemed to echo Gillis' bizarre insistance that 1998-2011 is a 35-year period.

"Viewers are up in arms about the bullying the much-loved Gillis took from the angry, wired Erickson for having received a total of $1.2 million in government cultural grants over the decades," Mallick writes. Huh? 13 years "over the decades"? It seems that Mallick shares Gillis' extremely bizarre sense of time.

She acknowledged the Facebook campaign, but failed to attribute it to Gillis.

Quelle suprise!

One would almost think Mallick forgot that it was herself, not Erickson, who once penned a column in which she declared that then-Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin dresses like a porn star. That column blissfully ended her career at the CBC, even if the Star has breathed undeserved life into it. But the most salient detail seems to be that Mallick is so unashamed of her own venmous performance that she maintains it on her personal website.

No rational person needed the reminder, but that's how contemptible a person Heather Mallick is.

This author would love to see her go on the Sun News Network to defend her condemnation of Erickson in light of her own conduct. Unfortuately, Mallick is far too much of a coward to do anything like that.

For the CBSC, there should really be only one response to the complaints, spurred by Gillis' own wounded pride: severe disintrest in the complaints, and immediate dismissal.

After all, one could likely safely guarantee that if one were to examine the complaints submitted to the CBSC and compare it to the petition that Avaaz so feverishly organized in order to prevent the Sun News Network from ever coming to air, one would likely find each one of those 4,100 complainees had signed the petition.

Because that's what this is about: it's about the relentlessly-whiny, impacably-censorious left trying to run the Sun News Network off the air.

If the CBSC doesn't treat this comical complaints with the seriousness they deserve -- which is none -- the Sun News Network should summarily respond to them with a middle finger. Perhaps even an exploding one.

Shake it off, ignore the crybabies, and just let them wail. No one's listening to them anyway.

Tim Pawlenty: The No-Decline President

Pawlenty set to take on all comers regarding foreign policy

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Republican Party Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty auditioned a new mode for the primary election: the combative Tim Pawlenty.

In a speech on his foreign policy vision, Pawlenty took no prisoners. He relentlessly pursued the foreign policy missteps of President Barack Obama, and fellow Presidential candidates Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and John Huntsman.

“America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment and withdrawal,” he declared. “It does not need a second one.”

Pawlenty excoriated Obama for not being prepared to support the famed "Arab spring" uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya. (Only in the case of Libya did the US offer any significant amount of support.) He scathed Obama for failing to support an Iranian protest against a rigged Presidential election that could have brought a pro-democracy revolution (if that is, indeed, what the Arab Spring is) to the Middle East and Africa.

He teed off on fellow Republicans Paul, Huntsman, and Romney -- especially Romney. For a lack of commitment to the war in Afghanistan. Romney recently declared that the US has no business fighting another country's war of independence, seemingly forgetting that the United States and NATO invaded Afghanistan in a bid to dislodge a government that tolerated the operation of terrorist groups within its borders and eventually replace it with a stable, international-law-abiding, government.

That may not fit in with Ron Paul's "fiscally conservative at any cost" agenda, or Mitt Romney's "say anything to become President" agenda. It's what Pawlenty promised when he launched his bid to be President: the truth.

Pawlenty spoke strongly about the need for a US foreign policy that focuses on bringing democracy, and refuses to spare un-democratic US allies like Saudi Arabis is or Egypt was.

Ron Paul will inevitably confront Pawlenty with questions about how the costs of a strong interventionist will be controlled. He will be absolutely right to do so, and Pawlenty will need good answers.

But there is one thing the GOP can depend on: the Democrats are not having these kinds of debates as they roll toward the 2012 election. If the Republicans choose the right candidate, they can turn these debates into occupancy in the White House, and Tim Pawelenty -- whether he's President or not -- will have been key to it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Folly of Michele Bachmann's Minimum Wage Campaign Bomb

Bachmann stands by abolishing minimum wage

In 2005, Republican Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann made a bold declaration. She suggsted that the United States should abolish the minimum wage.

In 2005, Bachmann declared that abolishing the minimum wage “could potentially wipe out unemployment because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”

There was plenty to object to in this statement in 2005, and there remains plenty to object to now. For Bachmann's taste for free-market economics to crowd out any role for anything as basely protective as a minimum wage signals a lack of serious consideration of the issue.

In many regards, the United States has already effectively abolished the minimum wage. In failing to properly address the issue of illegal immigration and the undocumented labour they provide, the US has opened a de facto loophole through which anyone who doesn't wish to pay a worker minimum wage actually doesn't have to.

When asked about the minimum wage, Bachmann responded by explaining her position on job-killing regulations. It doesn't seem unfair to conclude that Bachmann thinks of the minimum wage as just such a regulation.

But it isn't merely in this regard that Bachmann has mis-interpreted the minimum wage issue -- if there in fact is such an issue. But it isn't merely Bachmann who is misreading this issue.

Consider a candidate like Herman Cain, who is campaigning on an economic program that includes steep corporate tax cuts. These cuts would certainly benefit the US economy, making it more competitive with other countries for investment. The job creation benefits are clear.

But there is one criticism of corporate tax cuts that cannot be overlooked: it does absolutely nothing for a minimum wage earner.

Left-wing Democrats can be counted on to oppose corporate tax cuts and support raising the minimum wage. On each count they are miscalculating.

For one thing, a minimum rage hike actually does very little -- almost nothing -- to help minimum wage earners. Nor do higher corporate taxes do much to help the average American.

The reasoning is simple: corporations are not, by any stretch of the imagination, nice guys. They are businesses. Large, monolithic industries with an ownership structure that diffuses responsibility across various individuals and groups. Their goal is to earn profit, so they ensure they can do this by passing their costs along to the consumer.

The costs associated with a higher minimum wage are passed along to the consumer. Costs associated with higher taxes are passed along to the consumer. In each case, everyone pays. But some will pay more than others.

Minimum wage workers will see their additional costs offset by their wage increases. Those not earning minimum wage do not. Because a minimum wage increase is infationary, everyone loses. It's a social loss.

But imagine if the Republicans were to counter the Democrats offer to raise the minimum wage and maintain high rates of corporate taxation with a plan to actually increase the minimum wage, and do it in real terms by offsetting it with accompanying cuts to taxes on businesses, across the board, and to pass these changes with legislative provisions that would allow government to punish any businesses that raise prices to recoup their minimum wage "losses" with a fine or a tax increase.

There is clear peril in this. If not properly constructed, such a law could become a means by which "progressive" political forces within congress or the judiciary could increase taxes at the first sign of price increases. The idea is not to fix the price level, but to ensure that price increases are linked to actual inflation or to actual unoffset cost increases.

That would be an approach to minimum wage that is vastly superior to Michele Bachmann's reckless approach to the issue. It would be an eminently resposnible approach that nearly any Republican -- including Herman Cain, excluding Donald Trump -- could win with.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Conservatives Should Not Mistake This For Victory

Back-to-work legislation for locked out workers signals a lawless attitude toward labour

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party won a majority government in the May 2 election, many Canadians were wondering what to expect out of a government that could basically do as it wishes.

The mission for the Conservatives needed to be to do the right thing. To govern conservatively, but not to use the power of the government to conduct ideological warfare against the political opposition.

Ever since 2006 there have been accusations against the Conservatives that they have done the latter, and not the former. The cutting of funding to various far-left groups that had no business receiving public funds in the first place was treated as an outrage by the far-left. It wasn't.

The passage of back-to-work legislation sending Canada Post workers back to work is another matter entirely. It would be one thing if CUPW had ever gone on a full-scale strike. A comparatively small-scale rotating strike had been underway by members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

But in reality, postal workers in Canada have not been working because they were locked out.

The NDP attempted to filibuster the legislation vigorously. They were actually right to do so on this occasion. In introducing back-to-work legislation, the government is forcing postal workers Canada Post itself locked out to return back to work without satisfying their right to bargain.

Canadian law allows workers the right to organize, if they choose, and bargain collectively. The government's actions in frustrating the bargaining rights of CUPW signals an adversarial attitude toward labour unions -- not a good idea -- and a generally lawless attitude toward collective bargaining rights.

Some have tried to argue that the government is not responsible for the actions of Canada Post management. Considering that the operations of Canada Post fall under the authority of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (currently Denis Lebel), the government had the authority to order Canada Post to end the lockout and allow negotiations to proceed.

They declined, and proceeded with back-to-work legislation nonetheless.

Perhaps a relentlessly-adversarial attitude toward labour unions has fooled some conservatives into believing that anything that frustrates a union's ability to function is a good thing.

There may be a litany of political activities -- coercively funded by union membership, and directed toward the pet causes of union leaders -- to object to. But that doesn't justify attacking the basest rights unions possess, and that union leaders were attempting to exercise in this case.

This may be a victory for the Conservatives -- who very much seem to have gone looking for this fight -- but it is not a victory for conservatives.

Anyone who thinks differently is fooling themselves.

Friday, June 24, 2011

In Their Own Words: Jenny Peto on Pride

Jenny Peto explains why she thinks Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and Pride week are so vital to anti-Israel activism. Unfortunately, it isn't because Israel isn't safer for homosexuals than other Middle Eastern countries; she just wants to deny them the PR.

She also expresses a sense of entitlement to colonize Pride for the sake of her ideological goals.

For more on Peto, see The Propagandist. (Confusion to our enemies!)

Herman Cain Warns Of Socialism By Stealth

Cain plans to stop "encroaching socialism"

In a previous post, this author noted that Herman Cain's speeches seemed to indicate that he might be paying attention to Canadian conservatives.

It should be no great surprise. After all, the Republican Party rooted its "contract with America" of the 1990s in many of the populist ideas being promoted by Preston Manning and the Reform Party.

As Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain winds his way through small-town America looking for votes, one may wonder if he's somehow acquired himself a Sun News Network subscription -- or if he's at least watching some of the coverage online.

In Marshalltown, Iowa, Cain delivered a speech warning of "enroaching socialism". In many respects it sounded similar to Brian Lilley's missives on the NDP's "socialism by stealth".

"The nation is at a critical turning point. It is currently heading down the track of socialism. And I said it," Cain declared. "The good news is it's not too late to get it back on the right track."

Cain pointed to President Barack Obama's health care reform package and a controversial National Labour Relations Board ruling regarding a facility Boeing was planning to build.

Cain noted that over-regulation was harming the American economy, and even leading to a situation in which natural resources -- as well as other factors of production -- are going unused, seemingly by government missive.

"I'm not anti regulation," Cain noted. "I'm just anti too much regulation. [But] It's as if this administration doesn't want to use all of our resources."

Of course, stringent management of economic production -- including such ideas as "supply control" -- are central to the practice of socialism. As Lilley notes, it's been seen in Canada already, and there are far-left elements of the NDP who want to take it even further.

Cain seems to be becoming more and more worried that these practices are seeping deeper and deeper into the crevices of the American government. He believes that he has the skills to put a stop to it, and he intends to do so as President.

A big part of that will revolve around taking so-called "problem solving" powers and responsibilities away from the government, and delegating it back to citizens.

"The people closest to the problem are the ones who can solve the problem," Cain insisted.

As President, Herman Cain's goal would be to seek to solve only the problems that government can be expected to be able to solve. He's confident he has the skills to do just that.

"My business problem-solving skills can help this nation," he announced. "America cannot wait."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pat Martin Doesn't Get This Whole "Parliament" Thing

NDP MP seeks to shut down government

As MPs returned to Ottawa after the 2011 federal election, NDP leader Jack Layton must have been worried that one of his new MPs would do something very, very stupid.

He probably couldn't have imagined that it would be one of his veteral MPs who would do something stupid.

Questions abounded whether or not Layton's deluge of first-time MPs would know how Parliament works. Instead, it seems to be Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin who doesn't understand. And he's been there going on 14 years!

Martin's comical blunder revolves around a bill he plans to introduce in the House of Commons that could deny funding to the Senate, by requiring Parliament to vote on a separate supply motion for the Senate.

“We may not be able to abolish the Senate by constitutional amendment, but we can cut off its blood supply,” Martin declared. “We might not be able to get rid of it, but we don’t have to fund it.”

Actually, they do.

As a long-time Parliamentarian, Martin must understand full well that, in order for bills passed by the House of Commons to become law, they must also be passed by the Senate.

If the Senate cannot function due to lack of funds, cannot examine bills, and cannot vote on them, nothing passed by the House of Commons can become law. Nor could the government pass budgets or anything of the like.

It would actually lead to a shutdown of government.

Fortunately, Martin doesn't stand even a remote chance of passing such a bill -- or any other bill -- without support from the Conservative Party. He even knows this. He isn't even introducing this bill out of good faith. He's introducting it purely as part of a point-scoring endeavour.

“It will force the Conservatives to stand and vote to support the Senate, which is kind of delicious given the grief it is causing them lately,” Martin remarked.

Martin is risking a shutdown of the Parliamentary process in order to score political points. Incredible.

Normally, Martin wouldn't be any where near this irresponsible. In fact, in previous years Martin has been a champion of such basic and fundamentally democratic principles as ensuring that bills are examined by committee, even if he opposes them.

The NDP's ascension to Official Opposition seems to have brought out something previously unseen in Pat Martin: an undemocratic streak that would risk an effective shutdown of Parliament in pursuit of political advantage.

Simple Messages Require Little Flash

While a few "teaser" internet videos have been circulating around -- one emulated by the Harper Conservative Party -- Tim Pawlenty has finally released his first official campaign ad.

Pawlenty's previous releases have been marked by dramatic tones befitting a nation in turmoil. To describe them as "flashy" would likely be considered an understatement.

Entitled "results, not rehtoric", Pawlenty points to what he considers a successful run as Governor of Minnesota, cutting spending, standing up to unions, appointing conservative judges, and passing "proper" health care reform.

Pawlenty is clearly seeking to brand himself as the candidate who will pass the conservative agenda and do it responsibly.

The left's response is actually rather laughable. They seek to counter-brand him as fiscally irresponsible, questioning his deficit-fighting prowess by alluding to a projected deficit after Pawlenty left office. (Someone should get these people a calendar.)

As opposed to his previous outings, which were dramatic and nearly frenetic in their tone, this ad is calm, and exudes the confidence Pawlenty seems to feel as a candidate.

The ad is the tip of the spear on Pawlenty's Iowa campaign, where he'll compete hard with Michele Bachmann for votes. With it's clear, concise and simple messaging, it just may appeal to the sensibilities of Iowa voters.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rabble's Solution: Blame Thatcher

Yeah. They're really this stupid

In an interview with the authors of Wikinomics, Rabble co-founder Judy Rebick inadvertently offered the perfect explanation for some of the bizarre material that appears on that website.

The website is essentially reader-produced. Authors are encouraged to contribute based on reader response. That not only means that work that is otherwise unreadable tripe has an unusual staying power on the Rabble site, it also means that the pressure is on authors to produce work that is ideologically soothing, even if it's entirely idiotic.

For evidence, one needs look no further than a column published there by "social justice litigation lawyer" Jim Quail. In searching for an explanation for the Vancouver riot, Quail has reached a rather peculiar conclusion: blame Margaret Thatcher.

It actually offers a crash course in the process by which Rabble's material is produced:

Step one - disregard the facts: Or, better yet, write a column that doesn't rely on one. Not a single, solitary fact to back Quail's bold demagogic assertions.

Step two - disregard logic: The logical lapses in Quail's work are comically overwhelming. Take, for example, this bizarre passage:
"There is a world of difference between happiness and fun: fun is the drug that drives consumer-capitalism. It is the new opiate, displacing religion. Contrary to the line in the Beatles song, fun -- the distraction of immediate gratification -- is one of the things most readily bought with money. On the other hand, happiness -- the existential joy of human meaning and fulfillment -- cannot be purchased. Happiness flows from our involvement in the great collaborative process of society. Fun is essentially solitary, the cold inner loneliness of the party-goer’s relentless struggles to stimulate the pleasure-centres of the brain."
Apparently, Quail thinks he can actually quantify fun. Once one gets past this, it becomes difficult to not speculate on how Quail spent his youth. He proclaims fun to be solitary.

That doesn't seem to be the kind of wisdom that emerges from a person who spent his childhood playing baseball or street hockey with his friends. Rather, it seems like the kind of thought that creeps into the mind of a child who spends his time alone with his model railroad (today it would be video games).

Quail very clearly hasn't been to very many parties. The loner getting drunk by hismelf isn't really having a lot of fun; he's a loser.

Truthfully, fun is something that is typically shared with good friends and family. Yes, sometimes it costs money. But it doesn't have to. And contrary to Quail's assertion, it isn't really something someone can buy.

Comparatively, he declares happiness to stem from "our involvement in the great collaborative processes of society".

It certainly sounds like he's suggesting that the true path to happiness is not through personal achievement and self-actualization. It certainly sounds like he's suggesting that the true path to happiness is not through building strong relationships with one's friends and one's family.

No, Quail seems to be suggesting that the true path to happiness is through participation in massive left-wing "collaborative" social programmes. That idea, frankly, just speaks for itself.

It's with this particular bias in mind that Quail just can't seem to understand Thatcher. So, instead, he chooses to demonize her.
"Capitalism’s political leadership of the past four decades undertook the project of cultural vandalism with a vengeance. Their standard-bearer was England’s Prime Minister Thatcher, who famously summarized the atomization and negation of human society: 'there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.'"
It's true that Thatcher said this. She's never apologized for it, and never bothered to explain it. Personally, this author considers this statement to be a repudiation of the far-left's vision of society, one wherein people's individual efforts were to be directed toward collective goals. Rather, Thatcher viewed society as it is: made up of individuals with their own individual goals, dreams and desires, and that any collective goals have to be built out of those individual goals.

One thing that Thatcher stood firmly against was any sense of entitlement. Like it or not, one thing, more than anything, stood out in the Vancouver hockey riot: a sense of frustrated entitlement. At least in part, this riot was perpetrated by fans who had convinced themselves their team was entitled to win the Stanley Cup. When this didn't happen, they threw a tantrum.

Thatcher would never have tolerated the idea that anyone is entitled to anything. "Social justice litigators", on the other hand, approach their work with the idea that people are legally entitled to certain things; often things to which no entitlement exists.

It's that sense of entitlement that draws Greek protesters into the streets to protest against austerity progreams meant to save their country's economy. Although a riot over frustrated championship ambition seems more childish than a riot to preserve lavish social programs that are literally about to destroy Greece, at the core it's no less childish at all.

It's Margaret Thatcher's message of personal responsibility that holds incidents such as the Vancouver riot at bay. It's the collectivist ideal that Quail champions that ells people that collective guilt erases personal responsibility -- and results in bizarre excuses for apologies that attempt to dissemble any sense of personal responsibility.

Then, of course, there's the ultimate punchline. Considering the age group of the majority of the rioters seen on CTV and CBC news footage, most of them likely have no clue who Margaret Thatcher is.

But fortuantely for Jim Quail, he publishes his work on where something doesn't need to be factually or logically sound, so long as it's ideologically soothing.

Think of it as a political opiate for morons.

Margie Gillis: Almost Famous

Time For Greece To Put On Its Big Boy Pants

Britain determined to leave Greece to save itself

Even as Greek protesters continue to throw temper tantrums in the streets, objecting to the austerity program that could rescue the country from the fiscal abyss, British officials are treading very carefully in regards to any bail out to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debts and keep it within the Euro.

Britain, however, has no plans to be part of such a bail out.

Certainly, the British economy has some interest in Greece's public debt -- perhaps as much as $13 billion. But with the EU poised to extend a massive bail out package to the Greeks, the emerging consensus in Britain is to stay out of it.

It isn't merely the European economy that's under siege in Greece's fiscal troubles: it's also the Euro itself.

Frequently-outspoken London Mayor Boris Johnson has declared that its time for Greece to either learn to stand on its own fiscal feet, or be allowed to fall. The Euro be damned.

"For years, European governments have been saying that it would be insane and inconceivable for a country to leave the Euro," Johnson remarked. "But this second option is now all but inevitable, and the sooner it happens the better."

In a strange turn of events, the Labour Party's former Foreign Affairs Minister, Jack Straw has voiced criticisms of the Cameron government's response that call on the government to move even further away from the EU.

"What the Government should do, instead of sheltering behind the complacent language, weasel words 'it's not appropriate, we shouldn't speculate', recognise that this eurozone cannot last and it's the responsibility of this British Government to be open with the British people now about the alternative prospects," Straw declared. "If this euro in its current form is going to collapse, is it better not that it happens quickly rather than a slow death?"

Johnson clearly agrees with Straw. He blames the Euro for cultivating complacency among Europe's profilgate states.

"The Euro has exacerbated the financial crisis by encouraging some countries to behave as recklessly as the banks themselves," Johnson said. "As long as there is the fear of default, as long as the uncertainty continues, confidence will not return across the whole of Europe."

It would be ironic if economic confidence were revived by the fiscal collapse of the birthplace of democracy. The protesters raging in the streets of Athens don't yet seem to understand that, no matter what, their party is over.

It's time for Greece to put on its big boy pants before the European will to bail them out goes the way of the British will to bail them out.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In Their Own Words: Jaggi Singh of No One is Illegal

How Strong Would Michelle Bachmann's Three-Legged Stool Be?

Speaking to the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Minnesota Representative (Republican) and Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann did what anyone would expect a Republican to do: she invoked Ronald Reagan.

Bachmann declared that in order to bring Republican leadership to the White House -- something she believes the GOP has in spades, and the Democrats lack -- conservative Americans have to build a three-legged stool.

The first leg, she insisted, must be peace through strength. The second leg must be fiscal conservatism. Bachmann envisions the third leg as social conservatism.

It's no different than what anyone should expect from Bachmann, but it demands that a pivotal question be asked: how strong would this particular three-legged stool be? Could it stand?

Should the three-legged stool become the dominant meme of the Republican primary election, the question will remain how other Republican candidates envision this particuar three-legged stool.

For example, would Ron Paul -- campaigning on the necessity of defence cuts -- envision "peace through strength" as one of his legs? Would Mitt Romney, whose health care reforms in Massachusetts so closely resemble Obamacare, be so eager to make a strong commitment to fiscal conservatism?

Yet the leg that could critically weaken the Republican three-legged chair is neither of these. It's likely that of social conservatism.

Social conservatives will quickly object to this idea. But the simple fact of the matter is that some of the episodes of American history remembered most fondly by Americans -- the civil rights movement, the end of slavery -- were (at least at the time) socially progressive events that are remembered as transforming the US for the better.

Social progressivism can run amok. The US federal government's funding of groups such as ACORN and Planned Parenthood are in need of thorough review if not outright abolition. The Democrat position on illegal immigration is simply too nebulous to allow for the emergence of sound policy.

Republican social progressivism wouldn't resemble Democrat social progressivism in many regards. It wouldn't outright pander to special interests, but would embrace conservative values of freedom and equal rights for all citizens. It should resemble the vision and thirst for justice possessed by Abraham Lincoln -- himself the founder of the Republican Party.

Peace through strength, fiscal conservatism and conservative-minded social progressivism is the three-legged stool that could hold the Republican Party solidly enough to climb back into the White House.

Michelle Bachmann may not be the candidate prepared to build it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In Their Own Words: Harsha Walia on the Black Bloc

Those familiar with left-wing rhetoric know full well that "diversity of tactics" is, essentially, a code phrase for violence. A "diversity of tactics" is an action in which violent tactics are tolerated alongside non-violent tactics.

As Harsha Walia of No One is Illegal points out, the Black Bloc tactic is not as marginal among the far-left as many would prefer we believe. Organizers of actions such as the "2010 Heart Attack" anti-Olympic rally communicate with the Black Bloc about their participation in these activities, and even seem to know who the Black Bloc are.

Most damningly, Walia explains that the far-left uses the terrorist activities of the Black Bloc -- and that's very much what the Black Bloc's activities are -- as cover in order to divert scrutiny from non-violent protest tactics.

Walia concludes by insisting that the Black Bloc's allies on the far-left are obligated to publicly keep silent about the Black Bloc's activities.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No, The Kids Aren't Alright

No, Vancouver, You Can't Blame This One on the Black Bloc

Anarchist terrorists couldn't have planned this any better themselves

No sooner had it become clear that the Vancouver Canucks had lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins, it became equally clear that some Canucks fans weren't going to let it go quietly.

Frankly, all too many.

But as violence swept through Vancouver, some people -- such as TSN's Bob McKenzie and CTV's Rob Brown -- blamed the violence on the famed Black Bloc.

A pack of black-clad anarchist thugs who take any international conference as ane excuse to show up and terrorize the local population, the Black Bloc very likely had absolutely no hand whatsoever in the violence following the Canucks game.

First, there's the obvious: a professional hockey championship reeks of too much consumerism for such individuals to be there for their intrinsic pleasure. Then there's the looting. The Black Bloc smashed store windows in Toronto, but few people can recall them actually stealing anything. At least in that meagre sense, they're comparatively honest.

And, quite frankly, hockey fans are far too likely to respond to a Black Bloc rioter by simply beating the shit out of them than a peaceful protester is.

So one can assure themselves that cowards like Alex Hundert would shy away from hockey fans and gravitate toward peaceful left-wing protesters: the latter he can take advantage of. The former he cannot.

Even so, the Vancouver 2011 riot couldn't have gone down any better for the Black Bloc if they had planned and orchestrated it themselves.

Now, the Black Bloc and their water-carriers on the left -- such as No One is Illegal's Harsha Walia -- have a violent incident to point to and declare that the Black Bloc's political violence isn't nearly as repugnant as many would consider it. They'll declare that ordinary citizens, fueled by alcohol and their own frustrated sense of entitlement, can be just as violent as they are.

And who is anyone to say that they aren't right about that?

It doesn't make what the Black Bloc does OK. Nothing accomplishes that particular rhetorical feat.

But Vancouver cannot blame this riot on the Black Bloc. The task of assigning blame will be much more difficult for them than that. They have to look into the eyes of their fellow Canucks fans and wonder if this was a honourable and peaceful fan -- as this author believes the majority of them were -- or if it was another one of these thugs ruining the experience for everyone else.

It should even lead to some soul-searching for the city of Vancouver, just as the 2006 riots led to soul-searching among Edmontonians.

The Black Bloc wasn't to blame for the Edmonton riots. We were. In some way, we all were. The same sad reality applies to Vancouver as well.

Hopefully, next year -- when the Canucks contend for the Stanley Cup again, and hopefully win -- Vancouver will be able to do it better. Then there will be no blame to worry about, and they'll all be able to share the credit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Really Hoped I Was Wrong...

...But maybe I was right. At least it seems that way.

It all begins with this post, after which I noted that Jim Parrot's expressed desire to claim a Stanley Cup victory as glory for himself (well, for Vancouver, BC, and Canada, but mostly for himself) as opposed to glory for the players.

I tried to get the message through to him: that it was the players who had to win the victory, the players who deserved the glory for it, and that he had no right to attach his values to them without their consent.

But Jim has a thick skull. He refused to listen, and went on a two-week long binge of bandwagon jumping and demagogic grandstanding.

I sat back and paid attention. And a disturbing pattern emerged.

It seemed to me that each time Jim wrote a post questioning the patriotism of any Canadian fans not backing the Canucks, or wrote a post about how badly victimized the Canucks and their fans allegedly have been, it seemed like the Canucks would lose the next game.

At one point Jim even pointed the finger squarely at Prime Minister Stephen Harper, blaming him for the Canucks game 4 loss (this despite the fact that Canadian teams have a 2-1 record in the Stanley Cup finals when Harper attends a game). Jim directed Harper to "stay away from our Canucks".

Jim, it seems, had also claimed what was believed to be the Canucks' impending glories for the political left. In this he merely did what all too many political extremists do: that is, make everything about politics. About their politics.

I'm not really a superstitious person. At times I enjoy to feign superstition, because sports-related rituals can be a lot of fun.

I don't believe in anything like hockey gods. But the Canucks' loss has me thinking about changing my mind.

On each side of the ice in this series, there has been a magnificent goaltender who deserves to win the Stanley Cup. In Roberto Luongo, there was a bedrock of a goaltender who was won nearly everything there is to win. In Tim Thomas, there was a goalkeeper who, despite his advanced age, refuses -- simply refuses -- to fade.

But somewhere in between these two players, perhaps the hockey gods saw something else. Perhaps they spied Jim Parrot, this vindictive little worm of a man, trying to claim the glory of a Stanley Cup win for himself; for his own narcissistic ends.

Perhaps the hockey gods looked upon Jim Parrot, heard his petulant whining, his bizarre demagogic grandstanding, and saw someone whose narcissism just cannot be justified. Perhaps it was enough to tip their favour toward Tim Thomas.

Or, much more likely, the hockey gods just don't exist. Injuries to Michael Samuelsson, Dan Hamhuis, Mason Raymond, and Alex Edler (who played game 7 with an undisclosed injury) caught up to them. Perhaps it was the Canucks' lack of championship-calibre play (allowing too many goals in the opening or closing minute of a period, giving up too many blowout victories to their opponents and generally proving themselves to be a fragile team with questionable heart). Poor officiating in the closing games of this series was definitely a factor as well.

One way or the other, maybe the Vancouver Canucks just lost, and Jim Parrot has to live with it, victim mentality and all.

To most Canucks fans, the average Canadian hockey fan should tip their hat. They showed up to support their team in nearly-undreamed of droves, and did so without a surplus of violent incidents or a riot. To most Canucks fan, the message should be: don't give up.

It sucks that your team lost, but all is not lost. Next year is another year. Hopefully, the Canucks can apply the hard lessons learned this year to the postseason next year, and rise from the ashes of this defeat with a triumphant victory.

For Jim Parrot, however, the message is entirely different: before the next time you try to claim someone else's accomplishment as your own, before you try to attach your politics to them without even asking for their agreement, before you try to use a hockey playoff as a wedge between Canadians of the left and the of right, think twice.

At least show them that much respect.

Well, fuck - Everything seemed to be going so well. Thanks, assholes, for ruining a good memory for a lot of people; including your fellow Canucks fans.

Sheesh... Artists Are So Sensitive

Following a blogpost criticizing interpretive dancer Margie Gillis for her bizarre remarks during an interview with Sun News Network's Krista Erickson -- claiming that 1998-2011 was a "39-year period", and that receiving millions of dollars in government funds to do what she loves to do is a "sacrifice" -- a Grant MacEwan music composition graduate by the name of Andy AF Burns decided to take exception.

His "arguments" proved to be razor-thin, but when they weren't extended what he considered to be the demanded consideration of merit.

What followed was, without a doubt, one of the most pathetic displays in the history of the internet. While Mr Burns should likely have been reported to the police for uttering threats, it seems a public humiliation should serve better:

It requires a remarkably disturbed individual to threaten to run someone over with a car, and then call them a "fucking gorilla".

Perhaps it's as good a reason as any to not question an artists' sense of entitlement to a small fortune in government grants: in this case, Andy AF Burns' bizarre mix of sensitivity, irrationality, and primitive violence bubbling just under the surface.

But if any Edmonton-area readers happen to know Andy AF Burns personally, do him a favour: have him seek professional help. He needs it. Desperately.

"Stone Cold" Steve Harper Makes His Own Rules:

The collective role of the Canadian left is played by Michael Cole. The role of the Canadian public is played by Jerry "The King" Lawler and Booker T.

(This happened more than a year ago, but recent goings-on inspired this video re-cut.)

Hitwise: Herman Cain Leading the Internet, Mitt Romney Leading the Polls

Romney holds advantage despite net volume disadvantage

As the Republican Party continues its search for a Presidential nominee who can defeat President Barack Obama, traditional opinion polls and internet volume surveys are telling very different stories.

On the polling front, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is currently considered to be in a dead tie with Obama. According to an ABC/Washington Post/Langer Research poll, Obama and Romney would tie with 47% of the popular vote apiece if an election were held right now.

However, in terms of internet search volume, Romney has doubled up on Obama. (Sarah Palin has been the subject of six times more internet search.)

On its face, it looks good for Romney. However, when judged against the entire Republican field, Romney's performance is not quite as impressive.

According to Hitwise's analysis of internet search volume, Herman Cain is the Republcian candidate who has currently drawn the most interest. He has been the subject of 31% of total search volume. Ron Paul is in second with approximately 27%. Romney is off in third, with a still-very-formidable 25%.

Yet when one looks to Hitwise's fast-moving search terms, Romney holds the lead. His search volume shifted an astounding 2,478% over the period of the survey.

It's important to note that an internet search in no way constitutes a vote. In fact, what one discovers when they search for Cain or Romney could quite easily push a voter to vote for them or to find someone else.

With the "Obamneycare" label being attached to Romney's health care reforms in Massachusetts, it's hard to say whether Romney's blossoming search volume numbers could be a benefit or a hinderence.

The same certainly applies to Cain, as the American left pushes hard to make his expressed-reluctance to appoint a Muslim to his candidate a hot-button issue.

Social media and the internet are expected to be pivocally important in the 2012 Presidential election. Whoever wins the Republican internet battle -- whether it's Herman Cain, Mitt Romney or someone else -- will hold a massive advantage when it finally comes time to decide the Republican nominee.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who Was Really Harassed At the Tory Convention? And By Whom?

Mohan Mishra of No One is Illegal claims police were harassing participants in the "Beat Back the Tory Attack" rally.

But judging from Dan Sawyer's behaviour at the convention site, who was actually harassing people? And who was being harassed? You be the judge. For his own part, Sawyer seems to feel no regret for his behaviour.

Capitalism Has No Soul

Paul B Farrell questions mix of Christian morality with economics

Writing on, Paul B Farrell takes a comparative look at the beliefs of Ayn Rand and increasingly-influential Republican Senator Rand Paul.

Drawing heavily from the works of Rand herself, Farrell draws a stark conclusion: that Christian morality and Rand-ian self-interest are incompatible with one another.

But Farrell overlooks an important question: that of whether or not Rand's take on capitalism is morally or ethically permissable to someone who holds conservative beliefs, even if they favour individualism and self-reliance.

“When I say ‘capitalism,’ I mean a pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism, with a separation of economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as a separation of state and church,” Rand once remarked. “Capitalism is the only system that can make freedom, individuality and the pursuit of values possible in practice because capitalism demands the best of every man, his rationality, and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him.”

In other words, capitalism is the only economic system that can be truly democratic. It allows -- nyet, demands -- individual choice and individual responsibility.

That isn't to say that capitalism is inherently democratic. Democracy is more about individual choice, voting and majority rule. Democracy demands the existence of a system of rules, within which negotiated agreements can be reached. Democracy requires laws and institutions in order to function. In other words, democracy requires some sense of regulation.

The perils of allowing capitalism to roam without some sense of regulation has been well-established. As Farrell notes, this can be seen in The Fountainhead in which a frustrated real estate magnate destroys property being constructed by a competitor who profits by undercutting quality to the degree of sacrificing safety. (Right now, this breed of capitalism runs rampant in China.)

At the other extreme, portrayed in Atlas Shrugged, is that of over-production; one wherein ideolically-vain leftists seek to derail the wealth-producing classes by relentlessly imposing production quotas on virtually everything. When frustrated capitalists decide to stop producing, society incurs massive social losses (the term used in economics when government policy supplants market forces and increases the opportunity cost of producing or consuming particular products, leading to lags in the use of productive resources).

Farrell also invokes the comments of Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero, who in USA Today declared that Rand -- although tremendously influential with the modern crop of GOPers -- is increasingly at odds with some of the moral concerns of conservatism.

"I am somewhat surprised at how few GOP thinkers seem to see how hostile her philosophy is to conservatism itself," Prothero wrote. "Real conservatism is first and foremost about conserving a society's traditions, including its religious and political traditions. But Rand's Objectivism rejects in the name of reason appeals to either revelation or tradition. The individual is her hero, and God and the dead be damned."

“Idolatry of the conservative icon should lead to some soul-searching within the GOP," he continued. "After all, Christian morality has no place in an ‘Atlas Shrugged’ world.”

Arguably, Farrell and Prothero miss one extremely salient detail: respect for the ideas of Rand doesn't necessitate exclusion of all others, including or excluding religion.

It's entirely possible to separate Rand's belief in self-reliance from Christian concerns of morality; this is particularly the case when moral issues, such as abortion, have little bearing on matters of economics. (Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner disagree on this matter, but set that aside momentarily.)

It's a very simple idea: capitalism doesn't have a soul. Humans do.

Ayn Rand may have underestimated the importance of this detail, but there's no reason for the Rand Pauls or Paul Ryans of today to do the same thing.

That they don't even grant the conflict between Rand's ideology and Christianity is a clear indication that they won't take Stephen Prothero's bait. The important question they must answer is where the free market ends and an appropriate level of democratic regulation begins.

Where does capitalism end and democracy begin? That must be a defining characteristic of the economic debate moving forward. Paul Farrell would be wiser to advance this debate, rather than deny it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bachmann-Pawlenty Showdown Could Define Economic Policy

Michelle Bachmann declares candidacy for President

As the GOP Presidential field met in New Hampshire to compete for the hearts and minds of conservative Americans, Michelle Bachmann had a blockbuster announcement:

She's widening the field. The previously-six man field -- Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty -- now has a seventh member.

“This is the first day of taking our country back,” Bachmann announced. “I’ve worked very hard to bring your voice to the halls of Congress. Now, I want to take your voice into the White House, where it hasn’t been heard for a very long time.”

As it pertains to economic policy -- which will be the defining issue of the Republican primary -- Bachmann is every bit as qualified to carry the standard for the Austrian school of economics as any other candidate. This would only serve to facilitate the speculation-promised showdown with Tim Pawlenty, who favours the similar-yet-genuinely-distinct Chicago school of economics.

Austrian school economics focuses on the price mechanism. The Chicago school directs its attention toward the principles of monetarism.

The traditional battle of economists has, of course been between the adherents of Friedrich Hayek and those of John Maynard Keynes. Now, the GOP may be set to settle in for a year-long debate on who correctly interprets the theories of Hayek; a year-long debate pitting Ludwig von Mises against Milton Friedman.

Some will criticize this as distracting from what they regard as the more important Keynes-Hayek debate. But this should be considered an extremely welcome debate.

One thing that Bachmann cannot afford to do is take the Sarah Palin route. She can't fall back on intellectually-lazy "common sense" pronouncements. She needs to keep the ideas flowing. While her critics desperately try to turn the conversation toward whether or not she's stupid, Bachmann should continue to focus on something her critics don't have: ideas.

Naturally, they won't like it. People who have no ideas generally avoid -- to the point of outright refusal -- to talk about ideas.

If she takes full advantage of the advantages a Presidential run will present her with, Bachmann has the opportunity to mold the economic debate in ways that will confound these same critics. They'll rely almost exclusively on lazy ad hominem attacks. If Bachmann can stay above them, she could be the definitive candidate in the 2012 Republican primary.

But that's only if Pawlenty opts to engage on behalf of his Chicago school contemporaries. Bachmann only has the opportunity to mold the debate if Pawlenty takes her on.

This will force the other Republican candidates to sharpen their policies. Which makes the Tim Pawlenty-Michelle Bachmann showdown so pivotally important for the Republican Party.

Did Dan Sawyer Verbally Harrass Tory Convention Attendees?

You be the judge:

Hands Off Canadian Pensions

Government had no right to seize pension surplus, must return it

Unbeknownst to many Canadians, there's a pivotally-important question at the centre of the ongoing -- and escalating -- postal workers' strike.

That question is: to whom do the pensions of Canadians belong? To themselves? Or to someone else?

In 1999, the Liberal government of Jean Chretien had an answer that should outrage all Canadians. They essentially decided that the pensions of public service employees belonged to them, to do with as they please.

They took it upon themselves to seize a $6 billion surplus in pension funds belonging to public service employees, the RCMP and the military and use it to eliminate the federal deficit.

"It was a money grab," fumed Public Service Assiance of Canada Executive Vice President Patty Ducharme. "The federal government has a responsibility to its employees, to the plan members; but they just took that money out of the plan ... and stole it."

"Stole" is a strong word. But it's bloody well close.

As the faceoff between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers draws on, it pays to remember that one of the issues at play in the strike is the state of the CUPW pension fund. The union wants to use funds from a profit-sharing program to restore solvency to the fund.

But they shouldn't have to. The funds snatched from the pension fund should have been returned long ago. They should have been returned, at the latest, five years ago.

It's largely Jean Chretien and Paul Martin who are responsible for this scandalous outrage. (It's one of many underhanded means they used to balance the deficit, including cutting transfers to provinces, raiding EI premiums, and cutting funding to health care and education.) But they don't carry it alone.

It's an absolute outrage that the Conservative Party has bothered fighting this at all. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty should have smiled and obligingly introduced a program to restore the pilfered pension funds in 2006. They didn't, and the government is fighting it still.

The figure under discussion? $30 billion. That's $30 billion being withheld from hardworking public servants, including the woman who brings you your mail (and in this author's neighbourhood, doesn't at all mind when a well-behaved dog accompanies her on her rounds), the RCMP officer you call when you need help (even if he occasionally writes you a traffic ticket), the military personell who risk their lives for us, and countless others.

It's absolutely mind-boggling that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice could decree that public service unions are not entitled to those surplus funds, and sign of a deep rot in that institution.

It's a simple idea: in Canada, our pension funds belong to us. It should be not a whit different for public employees. If their pension managers do such a splendid job that they have a $30 billion surplus, that surplus belongs to the fund, not to the government.

This doesn't mean CUPW is right about everything in this strike. But they are right about this.

Fair is fair. And it's beyond the time for the government of Canada to do the right thing, and restore that $30 billion surplus to these pension funds.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lunatics Behaving... Like Lunatics

With amusing regularity, one of the far-left's favourite political tactics is to set out to capture footage of conservatives behaving badly.

Courtesy of Jeff Jedras we get a vision of how the 200 far-lefties who turned out in Ottawa to fawn over Brigette DePape behaved. It was not, by any means, a positive picture.

Clearly visible in the video, which Jedras (himself not a Conservative) filmed while walking to the convention to cover it as an accredited blogger, are basically the standard far-left sore losers.

"Fuck you, shame on you, go to hell," one man shouts at Tories as they peacefully walk to their convention.

"I hope you choke on your money!" an unseen woman can be heard shouting.

At one point what sounds like a faint "you are Godless" can even be heard.

Each individual Conservative who peacefully passes by their fuming throng is serenaded with shouts of "shame!". (Apparently, Conservatives should be ashamed to win elections, fair and square.)

It's a comical reminder of the extreme double-standard deliberately promoted by the far-left. If conservative protesters were to appear at the upcoming NDP convention, they would instantly declare it to be an act of bullying and intimidation. When far-left protesters present at the Conservative Party convention are subjected to actual bullying and actual acts of verbal intimidation, it's simply brushed off as inconsequential.

Jedras, to his own exemplary credit, doesn't shy away from the aggressive protesters, nor did he hide the evidence of the far-left's typical behaviour, as Rabble does.

In viewing Rabble's own video of the protest, it becomes clear that mr "fuck you, shame on you, go to hell" was not by any means a random protester. Rather, it was Dan Sawyer of Take Back the Capital, who was given a stage to speak on.

Jeff Jedras may be solidly on the left, but he hasn't descended into the depths of hatred those further left than he have resorted to. Nor does he hide it, as many would.

(After all, Rabble did.)

Alfred Apps Takes a Page Out of John Ibbitson's Book (Literally)

Primary election leadership process a welcome prospect in Canada

As the Liberal Party looks to try to rebuild its shattered psyche and equally-shattered electoral prospects, embattled party President Alfred Apps has some bold ideas for the party.

He's clearly been reading John Ibbitson's Open & Shut. He's recommending that the Liberal Party start electing their leaders through a primary process.

More specifically, he wants to emulate the closed-primary process in the United States, in which voters who register as supporters of a particular political party are allowed to vote on who that party's Presidential nominee should be.

(Contrast this with open primaries, in which any registered voter may vote on the nominee of either party.)

“I believe that as a party we should commit, whenever we form government next – and God knows when it will be – that we want to introduce the concept of a registered voters list in Canada,” Apps declared.

The Liberal Party itself has inched closer to electing its leaders in this manner, when it voted to replace its the delegate-based leadership election process with its current one member/one vote system.

Apps insists that a primary election leadership process would go a long way toward revitalizing the party. Right now, the Liberal Party needs nothing as much as it needs to be revitalized. It would do much more than this.

As these primary elections would be conducted on a province-by-province basis, it would force liberal Leadership candidates to engage with the grassroots of the party. Rather than having the option of waiting for a leadership convention and impress a limited number of delegates.

“Liberalism is always in danger of running out of gas or becoming a victim of its own success,” he declared. “There’s always got to be a new frontier of reform.”

Whether or not Alfred Apps should still be the President of the Liberal Party is debatable. But Liberals would do well to listen to his ideas -- particularly this one -- very carefully.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Britain May Need Its Own Clarity Act

David Cameron getting set to face separatists in Scotland

In Britain, citizens are getting ready to face a problem Canadians are by now quite familiar with: a regional government that wants to lead that region out of its political union.

In Canada, of course, it's Quebec. In Britain, it's Scotland.

In Scottish elections last month, Alex Salmond and the Scottish National Party won and are now planning a sovereignty referendum.

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron is set to preempt Salmond. He may plan the referendum from London unless Salmond can allay fears that he may try to use a deceptive referendum question in order to secure a "yes" vote. Canadians are well-familiar with the deceptive tactics often used by separatists.

In 1995, the Parti Quebecois government used an ambiguous and confusing question on the referendum ballot. They also lied to Quebeckers by suggesting Quebec would not need to accept its share of the national debt.

Cameron has already rebuked suggestions that two referendums -- one organized by the Scottish Parliament and another organized by Westminster -- would be necessary for Scotland to separate from Britain. Only one referendum would be necessary.

But Cameron would be extremely wise in preempting any deceptive ballot questions by enacting a British version of the clarity act: one that ensure that any ballot question posed to the citizens of Scotland is clear, unambiguous, and not deceptive.

He shouldn't make the mistake Canadian leaders did, and wait until it's too late. If David Cameron is worried Alex Salmond may attempt to deceive Scottish voters, he should act to eliminate deception as an option.

An Unwelcome Dose of Reality for Brigette DePape

Canadians becoming more conservative

As Canada's far-left gathers to annoint Brigette DePape their patron saint in a protest at the Conservative Party convention in Ottawa, news emerges that DePape would likely consider to be an unwelcome invasion from reality.

A poll conducted by Harris-Decima and Manning Institute offers some insight into the Tories' May 2 majority win: Canadians are becoming more conservative.

This is news to DePape. Appearing in an interview on CBC, DePape declared that "Stephen Harper says conservative values are Canadian values. They are not."

Yet when actually asked by someone -- and it's pretty clear that DePape never bothered to ask anyone outside of a specific ideologically-insulated circle -- Canadians indicated that they were far more conservative than DePape would give us credit for.

For example, only 15% of interviewed Canadians indicated they turned to government as their preferred agent of problem-solving. 38% indicated they count on themselves first, and 18% indicated they turn to their families first. However, only 20% indicated they turn to government last.

54% of Canadians indicated they count on themselves to solve their own personal economic problems. 31% indicated they turn to their families first. Only 3% indicated that they look to the government first.

Conversely, Canadians look to government to solve problems such as crime.

Meanwhile, Canadians are becoming decreasingly confident in the government's problem-solving abilities.

In other words, this poll indicates nearly the precise opposite of what DePape droningly insisted in her interviews on CTV and CBC. Clearly, she isn't nearly as in touch with Canadian values as she would like to pretend.

Conservative values are Canadian values, whether Brigette DePape likes it or not.

Preston Manning is predicting that these values are quickly becoming less identified with the Conservative Party, and more identified with Canadians ourselves.

"As these conservative values become mainstream values, people will less and less identify them with Conservatives. People will just say these are Canadian values," Manning declared.

Adam Daifallah, however, has it one step better. Daifallah has dubbed May 2011 as "the conservative spring" in Canada. He notes that the Conservative majority was built largely off of small-profile moves like abolishing the Court Challenges program, a program many Canadians were actually unaware of altogether.

Canada's already had a spring uprising of sorts, as Canadians are becoming increasingly confident in asserting their own values, as opposed to having them dictated by demagogues such as Brigette DePape.

It's an unwelcome dose of reality for DePape and her fawning supporters. Their refusal to acknowledge it will only continue to drive them further away from the heart of Canadian political culture, into a barren ideological wasteland of their own creation.

After all, these are people without the imagination to so much as ask Canadians what their values are. They prefer to dictate them.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Does America Need a Lion For President?

Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition convention in Washington, Florida 7Represenatitive Allen West quoted Alexander the Great.

"I would not fear an army of lions if it were led by a sheep. But I would fear an army of sheep if it were led by a lion."

In President Barack Obama, it's hard to say whether nor not what the United States has for its President. He is certainly no lion. Nor is he really a sheep. But there is little question Obama has led the United States deeper into disastrous territory than ever before.

Speaking from the FFC podium, West declared that the American people are lions. If they had a lion to lead them -- something they have not had since Ronald Reagan -- the United States would again be a country to be reckoned with.

Quoting heavily from the Bible, West insisted that it would take a lion to rebuild the political foundations of the United States. The question is: does the Republican Party currently have a lion to offer the United States?

There are those who would describe themselves as lions: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich. There are those who others would describe as lions: Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Paul Ryan, Herman Cain.

Whether or not any of them can truly claim possess el corazon de leon is something that has yet to be seen, and yet to be judged by the American people.

Simply put, not everyone can be a lion. The Republican Party will seal its 2012 fate if it offers the American people another sheep.

The Far-Left's Bizarre Love of Mediocrity Strikes Again

Margie Gillis bumbles through interview, hailed as a hero for it

As the Brigette DePape episode has shown Canadians, there's nothing the far-left truly loves more than mediocrity, so long as it's ideologically-soothing mediocrity.

Little else could explain the far-left's sudden love of interpretive danger Margie Gillis, who recently was the quieter -- yet no more polite -- participant in a dust-up over arts grant with Krista Erickson on Sun TV.

Erickson outlined $1.2 million in grants Gillis had received from the Canada Arts Council over 13 years. Gillis accused Erickson of belittling the arts community. The Globe and Mail's John Doyle firmly took Gillis' side:
"Recently, the channel’s Krista Erickson accosted dancer Margie Gillis on air about arts funding and tried to beat her up, verbally. This was comedy of the raw sort. Erickson explained that Gillis is a very famous, award-winning dancer and choreographer. Gillis, who talks in a very soft voice, thanked her for the nice introduction and things proceeded. Erickson, aided by an onscreen crawl, pointed out that Gillis and her dance foundation have, over the past 13 years, received grants totalling $1.2-million. That’s $1.2-million spread over 13 years. She demanded to know why Gillis was costing taxpayers $1.2-million.

Gillis explained that all the money didn’t go into her pocket. It kept a lot of people going. Erickson then went wacky. She waved her arms around in a lame attempt to mimic dance movement. Not a wizard at the arm ballet is Krista, believe me. She looked like the Martin Short character Ed Grimley getting excited. 'This whole thing,' she barked, while frantically waved her arms, 'Why does it cost $1.2-million over 13 years?' Then she shouted at Gillis to try to drown out the response.
As anyone who actually watches the interview would quickly realize, this actually bears very little resemblence to the interview itself.

Gillis may draw some sympathy from the far-left because of her soft-spoken demeanor, but that also requires them to overlook her own behaviour during the interview. She did her best to be slippery, refusing to answer Erickson's questions. Despite $1.2 million in grants over 13 years being outlined on the show, Gillis tried to insist that money was spread out over 39 years... despite the fact that the grants were listed year-by-year from 1998 onward. (There may well have been more grants, but they were not the ones Gillis was being asked about.)

Over and over again, Gillis declared that she had "sacrificed her life" to interpretive dance. Aside from this remark being a little bit creepty, it doesnt' strike a rational person as much of a sacrifice: Gillis "sacrificed" her life to be funded to the tune of millions of dollars in order to do what, presumably, she loves to do.

In fact, since 1998 Gillis has been funded by the federal government, through the Canada Arts Council, to the tune of nearly $100,000 a year. According to her remarks, she also uses that money to fund the salarty of at least one other individual.

But even $50,000 to travel the world spiraling her arms is a pretty sweet gig.

In reality, Margie Gillis hasn't made any discernable sacrifice. She isn't hard put upon.

Nor does her spiralling arms actually do anything toward the goal of world peace. A Canadian fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan does; Gillis does not.

If anyone expected that Gillis' experience yestearday would provoke even the slightest bit of self-exploration to determine whether her behaviour on Sun TV contributed to the argument or not, don't expect it. Gillis has posted a message on her Facebook page asking her followers to write the CRTC and complain about the "unilateral views" expressed on Sun TV.

(She did, to her credit, instruct her followers to stop posting hate messages on Erickson's Facebook page. However, readers of the Nexus are by now familiar with the hateful behaviour of the far-left. They probably won't listen to her.)

It's nothing new to Canada's far-left, who demand merit for every mediocre remark to tumble out of the mouth of their adopted icons. Fortunately for the rest of Canadians -- who are becoming increasingly conservative -- it works out to our advantage.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Class Warfare: It's Not Just Obama

American left pushing class war buttons hard

To announce an economic program at the University of Chicago is nothing if not making a statement.

In an era in which the failures of Keynesian economics are being paraded for the world to see, announcing an economic program on the historic turf of Hayek is bound to turn some heads.

That alone would have been enough to send Pawlenty's message. But Pawlenty had a serious bone to pick with President Barack Obama, one that is proving to be a defining issue between conservatives and progressives in American politics: simply that Obama seems more interested in playing ideological politics than in solving serious problems.

"President Obama is a champion practitioner of class warfare," Pawlenty declared. "He's spent three years dividing our nation, and fanning the flames of class envy and resentment all across the country to deflect attention from his own failures and the economic hardship they have visited on America."

It's not just Obama who's playing at class warfare in place of actually addressing America's real problems.

Consider Rachel Maddow. Now, it's hard to imagine she could possibly confused about how horrible her show's ratings are when her big "scoop" on Newt Gingrich is that he's on vacation in Grrece.

That, and a credit account at Tiffany's.

Maddow attempts to needle Gingrich over his fiscal conservative positions, essentially questioning why someone fiscally conservative would use credit. She (unshockingly) misses the detail that being fiscally conservative doesn't revolve around whether or not one uses credit, but what one does with that credit.

For example, making purchases on credit and then quickly paying them off is entirely permissable for a fiscal conservative. Continually driving up the credit account, and then conveniently increasing one's own credit limit, is not permissable to anyone with a lick of sense.

No one should be surprised to hear this kind of mendacious tripe from Rachel Maddow. This is, after all, someone who thinks that even the most vacuous drivel is made more compelling as long as it's delivered through a smug grin.

Maddow attempts to justify all of this by appealing to Americans' sense of outrage at hypocrisy. That no actual hypocrisy is actually present doesn't seem to be what Maddow considers a salient detail.

It isn't about "hypocrisy" at all. It's about Maddow pandering to her audience, and stoking the fires of a segment of the American population eager to engage in socially-destructive class warfare.

Barack Obama shouldn't have to carry the "class warrior" distinction all on his own. He's getting plenty of help.

NDP Seeking Permanent Second-Party Position

NDP juggling demands of federalists, separatists

Speaking in Ottawa recently, NDP National Director Brad Lavigne has made the party's goal clear: they want to render their 2011 gains in Quebec permanent.

It may be even more than that. Lavigne seems to think those gains may already be permanent, having been hard-earned.

“It wasn’t a mistake, it wasn’t a fluke, it was eight years in the making,” he insisted.

Some things Lavigne said weren't especially surprising. He indicated that the NDP's strategy was to essentially build a Jack Layton personality cult, and they did precisely that.

“We made sure the brand of the party was Jack Layton,” he said. But this is not news to Canadians, after years of listening to NDP operatives refer to the party as "Jack Layton and the NDP".

Moving forward, the NDP's plan is to keep the Liberal Party and Bloc Quebecois down.

“Now that their traditional voting base has left them and many of them have come to us, we have to make sure that we kind of entrench their new home with us,” Lavigne declared. “we have to occupy the space that they traditionally occupy.”

“The four-and-a-half million voters, it’s the new voter coalition,” he added. “It’s the new voting base, we need to cement that in for the long term and make sure there’s not reason for them to go back to their previous home.”

This confronts the NDP with a serious challenge to juggle. They have to juggle the demands of federalist Liberal voters and separatist Bloc Quebecois voters on virtually every policy point: lingual policy, referendum law, even separatism itself.

This has already led to the NDP's position as a federalist party being shaken by a disturbing lack of commitment to federalism.

This is a strategy that is bound to fail. Pander too much to separatists, and the federalist vote will flee from the party -- as it should. Pay the proper attention to federalist demands, and separatists will flee back to the Bloc Quebecois.

The only way to have a chance at keeping all these balls in the air may be to simply declare that the NDP shall have no policy on separatism; that the party shall be neither separatist nor federalist.

Not that this is likely to work either. Those committed to winning sovereignty for Quebec, as those committed to keeping Canada together, are not prepared to accept anything less than a commitment.

The NDP so often brags that they aren't the party of the "squishy middle". They're a flat-out party of polarization, and they're proud of it.

Simply put, Brad Lavigne and the NDP have a choice to make: they can commit themselves to federalism and risk their separatist votes, or they can commit themselves to separatism and risk their federalist votes.

To do anything less is to not be the NDP. To do anything less is to risk having supplanted the Liberals only to ultimately become them.

If the NDP wants to permanently remain Canada's second party, they have a choice to make. Will they make the right choice for Canada? That has yet to be seen.

Dalton McGuinty's Bizarre Message for Ontarians

In the most recent campaign ad released by the Ontario Liberal Party, Premier Dalton McGuinty seems to have a rather bizarre message for Ontarians:

Ontario has become Canada's Detroit. And it happened under the Liberals' watch.

As reported in the National Post, the ad bears a striking resemblence to a recent Chrysler ad, in which the ad insists that Detori will emerge triumphant from the troubles its been experiencing since the 1980s.

Among those troubles is a murder rate that remains perched atop US statistics.

In some of Ontario's neighbourhoods, things have indeed been troubled. The Boxing Day shooting of a teenager, hit in crossfire from a gang shooting in 2005, was a wake-up call for many in Toronto. But Toronto hasn't degenerated into the kind of Mad Max-esque desolation and violence that has seized Detroit.

And considering that Detroit came to be in the sorry state it's in because of utopian left-wing policies turned dystopic, the "progressive saviours of Ontario" message McGuinty wants to sell is rather comical.

Cetainly, the Chrysler ad the McGuinty Liberals are emulating is a worthy model: it's emotionally stirring and inspiring. Their ad is but a pale comparison, but it wouldn't matter much if the ad were a perfect facsimile.

This was a message that was ill-conceived from beginning to end.