Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Barack Obama Playing Chicken With Reality

If the US defaults, Obama will be to blame

At a time when the United States is facing an economic crisis which continually threatens to deepen, one would think President Barack Obama would have better things to do than play chicken.

He doesn't.

The bigger problem is that Obama thinks he's playing chicken with his Republican political adversaries. He isn't. He's actually playing chicken with reality.

As the prospects of a debt default looms, Obama is demanding a permanent increase of the legislated debt ceiling. Republicans are prepared to extend a temporary increase to stave off a default in August, but Obama is unwilling to accept that as a compromise.

On top of demanding a permanent increase to the debt ceiling, Obama also wants to increase taxes.

Never before has the core of Obama's fiscal policies been so clearly on display: borrow, tax, and spend. And if the Republicans refuse to go along with it, precipitate an economic catastrophe and try to avoid the blame.

There is little question that Obama alone is not responsible for the debt the US currently risks default on. Republican and Democrat administrations alike have spent irresponsibly for decades, running up the US public debt.

But Obama is the one in charge right now. He's the one who inherited the responsibility of ensuring the US' finances are mattered responsibly. That puts the onus on him to figure out what eh problems are, and accept the solutions proposed by Congress.

Simply put, the problem is not that Congress won't allow him to borrow as much as he'd like to. The problem is the spending. It doesn't take a master economist to figure out that one cannot solve a debt problem by taking on more debt. Nor can one solve spending problems by milking the economy dry for additional revenue.

It's a basic and fundamental lesson being taught by reality right now: the United States cannot afford to continue spending the way it has been. Nor can it afford to follow the Obamacare path into permanent profilgacy.

What Obama hasn't realzied is that, in this game of chicken, Obama cannot possibly win. If the Republicans refuse to accept his "compromise", the US will default. If the Republicans accept his "compromise", the US will careen into fiscal oblivion.

Barack Obama must stop playing chicken with basic reality immediately, vainly hoping his opponents will blink. If he declines to do so and the US defaults, American citizens should impeach him immediately.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"The $300,000 Woman" Sandra Ruch on the Cost of the Canada Boat to Gaza

Ed Miliband and the "New Centre"

Labour leader politely tells Tony Blair to stuff it

In an interview with the BBC, Labour leader Ed Miliband has dismissed concerns voiced by former Prime Minister Tony Blair that settling on the left will doom the Labour Party to a future of electoral defeat. Blair has urged the Labour Party to move closer to the political centre.

Miliband disagress on what the centre is.

"Tony Blair is entitled to his view, I've had conversations in private which have been good conversations with Tony Blair but let me just say this - it all depends on where you think the centre ground is," Miliband said. "I'm absolutely a leader placing my party firmly in the centre ground but there's a new centre ground in our politics."

"The new centre ground, for example, that means you speak out on these issues of press responsibility, a new centre ground that says that responsibility in the banking system - which we didn't talk about enough when we were in government - is relevant, a new centre ground that says people are worried about concentrations of private power in this country when it leads to abuses," Miliband declared. "And that's the new centre ground."

As with so many things, the Labour leader is flat-out wrong. He's wrong in his preoccupation with countering "private power". Abuse of public is the far-greater threat.

Certainly, private power can lead to abuses. But there are already mechanisms within society to handle these abuses: criminal law.

But there are entirely too few societal mechanisms equipped to deal with abuses of public power. The greatest threat of abuse of public power in Britain has always been the Labour Party.

For evdience of this, one needs look no further than the saga of the Militant Tendency, a group that managed to seize tremendous influence within the Labour Party in the 1970s and 80s. A hardline Marxist group, the Militant Tendency demanded the "nationalization of the commanding heights of the British economy". They even managed to ram a policy resolution through the 1972 Labour Party convention.

It wasn't until former Labour Leader Neil Kinnock recognized the threat the Militant Tendency posed to British civil society that they were expunged from the Labour Party. If not for Kinnock's wisdom, the threat may have never been dealt with.

Some doubt that the modern Labour Party possesses Kinnock's wisdom. Much more recently, Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, and former Minister of the Environment, has warned that the Labour party has been infiltrated by radical Islamic groups that aim to re-establish Britain as a Muslim theocratic state governed by Shariah law.

Using state power -- also described as public power -- to force Britons to live under the tenets of Shariah law would be the ultimate abuse. Fitzpatrick seems to be convinced that the Labour Party isn't taking this threat seriously.

While Miliband may be more interested in milking the News of the World scandal for all he can get, and pretending that his party's experimentation with "tripartite" economic regulation, which routed Britain's ability to regulate the amount of debt assumed by British finanical instutitons, wasn't partially to blame for the economic meltdown, it's important to remember that it's the Labour Party's flirtations with tyranny that have been most destructive to the British polity.

Ed Miliband would prefer that Britons be concerned with what unethical journalists or reckless financiers are doing than what elements within his own party would do with the public power they so desperately covet. As long as they can describe themselves as "the left", Miliband may be truly blinded to their corrosive influence.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rick Perry Is Running Out of Time

Perry's choice comes with a choice for conservatives

Texas Governor Rick Perry could be a contender.

As the governor of Texas, Perry already has a leg-up on many other Republican presidential hopefuls. Texas is the largest Republican stronghold in the United States, and Perry has already demonstrated that he can win there. Moreover, Perry enjoys a very positive buzz among conservatives, many of whom are still waiting for the right candidate.

Perry could be a contender. But first he has to decide if he's going to run for President.

With only fifteen months to go until November 2012, and only seven months until the February, 2012 Iowa caucuses, Perry is at risk of losing the precious time needed to build his base outside of dedicated conservative circles and the state of Texas.

Many American conservatives are still waiting for what they deem to be a "true" conservative candidate. Mitt Romney has been judged to fall far short of the expectations of these individuals, and many of them look to Perry as someone who can both satisfy their ideological demands and defeat President Barack Obama.

Perry currently has an exploratory committee exploring Perry's prospects as a Presidential candidate.

But those waiting on baited breath for word from Perry need to consider two basic scenarios: the first is one in which Perry decides to run for President, even with no guarantees.

The second scenario is one in which Perry -- who is already secure in the Texas governor's office for another two years -- chooses not to run for President, and these individuals will have to learn to make do with the field of candidates making themselves available.

These individuals will need to learn a pivotal lesson from 2010: the perfect is the enemy of the good.

In 2010, many conservatives turned their nose up at Senator John McCain, judging him to not be a good enough conservative for them. The result as President Barack Obama, one of the worst disasters the United States has ever seen -- by nearly any measure.

If American conservatives decide to stay home on election day 2012 and the result is another term for Obama, they may have no one to blame but themselves, and their fellow conservatives may have nobody to blame but them.

It's not unreasonable to suspect that they may already be to blame.

These individuals should start preparing themselves now to make a difficult choice that may be foisted upon them: put their ideological vanity, or watch the disaster continue.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Romney & West: The GOP's Dynamic Duo?

Democrats probably couldn't take an Allen West VP nomination

If speculation that Allen West is being considered for Vice Presidential candidacy wasn't heating up, it may well be now.

During an Independence Day event hosted by the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Representative Allen West was asked about the possibility of a Vice Presidential bid.

His answer was one of non-committal, and perhaps even surprise. "Why not?"

Reverend Larry Thompson suggested that West has been mentioned frequently as a possible Vice Presidential candidate. That seemed to be news to West, who didn't have much to say about it.

But as front-runner Mitt Romney -- regardless of how tenuous his lead may be -- continues to bid to extend his command over the Republican Party primary election, the notion that Romney may consider West doesn't seem that far off. Romney has expressed his admiration for West in the past.

West is a strong conservative, and a strong speaker. He has some truly remarkable ideas.

However, nominating Allen West as the VP candidate could also attract the feverish hatred of the American left. When the left came for Sarah Palin, they certainly didn't draw the line at sexism. Would they draw the line at racism?

If deflating the Democrats' claim to moral superiority were the only goal, that in itself could be worthwhile. Fortunately, the impending meltdown of the American left isn't even remotely the only asset West has to offer.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sanda Ruch Explains Why Greece Is Preventing the Flotilla From Grand Standing

Of course, this isn't the most embarrassing moment for the "Canadian boat to Gaza" (aka the Sea Hitler). Even after a generous offer by the Greek government to take the flotilla's aid to Gaza, under UN supervision, the Tahrir decided to make a run for it:

Just another reminder that the flotilla isn't about delivering aid to Palestine. It's about grandstanding against Israel, nothing more.

John Doyle To Be Added to the Tremendous Hypocrites Walk of Shame

It seems arts funding is only for failures

According to Globe and Mail columnist John Doyle, Alex Trebek belongs in a game show host hall of fame, if there is one. Shania Twain belongs in a bare midriff hall of fame, if such a thing exists. Rich Little would be a shoo-in for an untalented comedian hall of fame.

Doyle himself would be a first ballot inductee into a hypocrite hall of shame. If such a thing existed. It doesn't, but it should.

Doyle recently attracted the attention of the Hollywood Reporter for his opposition to a grant from Heritage Canada to fund a festival inducting Trebek, Twain and Little onto Canada's Walk of Fame in the Toronto Theatre District.

"On the cusp of Canada Day, I put it to you that our taxes are collected and spent by a government that has contempt for us," Doyle fumed. "They must think we are airheads, as they dole out our money to fund the celebration of the already rich and famous."

Doyle goes on to infer that Trebek's success renders him unworthy of taxpayer money being spent to celebrate his success on the Walk of Fame.

Doyle, it seems, is like a lot of people: he dislikes a winner.

But it seems necessary to remember that he loves a loser. Consider his outrage that Sun News Network personality Krista Erickson would dare ask "iconic interpretive dancer" Margie Gillis some challenging questions about her arts funding.

During the interview, Gillis would complain that her renumeration as the top "professional" in her field is allegedly unfairly dwarfed by the pay received by other top professionals (who are actual professionals). In other words, she chose her career and when it turned out that it didn't pay what a top doctor or engineer pays, it's up to the government to step in and cover her losses.

Doyle tried to mask his outrage in smug yet spiteful contempt. But the irration and illogic of Doyle's screed was unmistakable. This was, after all, mere questions he was complaining about.

Now the government, instead of doling out $1.2 million over 13 years (1998-2011 was not a 35-year period, as Gillis comically insisted), the government is doling out a mere $500,000 to celebrate Canadians actually being successful on the international stage.

And not merely successful... wildly successful. In fact, Trebek and Twain (perhaps not necessarily Little) boast the kind of success stories that inspires many other Canadians to follow in their footsteps, following their dreams. And Doyle doesn't like it.

It's a bizarre look into the Canada that Doyle imagines for the rest of us to live in: one in which failure is celebrated as if it were success, and success is ignored as if it were failure.

Frankly, it's the kind of backwardness that could only be considered preferable in the mind of a consumate hypocrite; one of walk of shame calibre. Sadly, it seems John Doyle is up to the task.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Alan Sears: Putting Far-Left Rhetoric In Perspective

Sears reveals far-leftist mentality focused on the promotion of hatred of enemies

Writing -- where else? but -- on Rabble.ca, Ryerson University sociologist Alan Sears offers his conribution to a "reinventing democracy" series Rabble has been carrying ever since they beheld what they regard as the horror of a Stephen Harper majority government.

Sears goes on at length about his desire to build "infrastructure of dissent" that will entirely overturn the capitalist system, and usher in some kind of far-leftist utopia that people like Sears refuse to acknowledge that only they really want.

But beyond that, Sears makes it rather clear: far-left rhetoric is as much about promoting the hatred of those they deem to be their enemies:
"I have a dream about the end of Harper, in which he is driven from office, a reviled figure.

His will be a name invoked by parents to scare their little children. He will live on as a historical footnote in the style of RB Bennett and Calvin Coolidge, his ideological predecessors remembered for doing exactly the wrong thing in the face of a global slump, in Bennett's and Coolidge's cases the 1930s Depression.
Very few people who have been paying attention needed someone like Sears to put the rhetoric of the far-left in perspective. The full extent of the anti-Harper hatemongering has been crystal clear to those paying attention, especially during the 2011 federal election, when websites like ShitHarperDid often took to blatantly lying in order to promote hatred of the Prime Minister.

Sears writes of a fantasy in which the left -- as people like Sears imagine in -- forces its way into every facet of society and identifies its enemies. He quite literally uses the word "enemy".

"At one point, the Left had a real presence in neighbourhoods and workplaces, and was a serious reference point in union meetings, movement activism and broader political discussion. The perception that there was a socialist alternative meant that the persistence of capitalism was in question," Sears writes. "Now, it is taken for granted and, to be blunt, the Left is largely marginal and fragmentary; stuck in old modes of thinking and infected with a sectarian ethos that seeks out the enemies on our side rather than focussing on solidarity against the real enemy."

The "real enemy", of course, is anyone who doesn't share Sears' political beliefs.

Which is really everything one needs to know about people like Alan Sears. To him, conservatives are not merely fellow citizens who disagree with him. They are the enemy, and they are to be swept away in a mass political revolution that makes all of his utopian political dreams come true.

As the would-be guardian and would-be gatekeeper of the left, some would suggest Murray Dobbin -- the curator of the "reinventing democracy" dialogue -- should seek to contain and isolate such extreme and, quite frankly, fascist views.

He's chosen not to. And it's not shocking. If Dobbin made responsible editorial decisions, Rabble just wouldn't be Rabble.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Five More Things to Proud of This Canada Day -- 2011 Edition

1. CN - Some -- particularly the Canadian left -- are seized with an overwhelming desire to credit Pierre Trudeau as the person who built Canada.

They're absolutely wrong, and excessively poor students of Canadian history.

As John A MacDonald raced the United States across the continent, determined to build a sea-to-sea country North of the 49th parallel, there was actually only two things that made it possible: twin bands of steel, stretching from the maritime coast all the way out to BC.

The building of the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway was far from perfect. As were so many political endeavours those days, it was wrought with corruption. Thousands of workers -- many of them Chinese -- gave their lives so that the railway be finished.

Relentlessly working its way through the Canadian Shield, across the prairies, through the Rocky Mountains, the railway was necessary to impliment MacDonald's National Policy, and necessary to secure BC's membership in Confederation.

Many would have said it couldn't be done. But with Canadian hard work and determination, it did get done. And although the state of Canada's railways has fallen into decline, they have given us a country, if we can keep it.

2. Slave Lake, Alberta - The wildfires that destroyed so much of this Alberta town have not destroyed the will of the residents of Slave Lake.

Even though homes and lives have been razed to the ground by those fires, Slave Lake is rebuilding, reminding us all that the Albertan spirit -- and the Canadian spirit -- is stronger than fire.

3. Viviane Forest - In the history of Canadian sports, few would mistake Viviane Forest as a household name. This is rather unfortunate.

As a paralympic skier, Forest has taken something that many Canadians regard as ordinary -- a trip down the ski slopes -- and made it extraordinary. Despite being legally blind, Forest has amassed an incredibly-impressive collection of Paralympic medals (between the Paralympic games regularly held in conjunction with the Olympic games and the Paralymic World Cup).

In Forest's shoes, many people would give up on something like skiing -- and perhaps with good reason. But Forest's refusal to give up on it, and refusal to give up on competing, embodies the very essence of the Canadian spirit.

4. Christopher Plummer - After decades, it could finally be said that Christopher Plummer is starting to get his due.

For decades he's been one of the best actors on the planet. 2010 was an awfully long time for Plummer to wait to have a breakout year -- and, finally, an Oscar nomination -- and there certainly seem to be even better times ahead for this Canadian thespian.

5. Nardwuar the Human Serviette - Some people find Nardwuar, also of the Evaporators and The Goblins, to be annoying. In fact, he's spun his radio show in Vancouver into numerous appearances on Much Music interviewing -- and annoying -- some of the most famous people in the world.

When watching a Nardwuar interview, his talents are not immediately apparent. But there's something distinctly Canadian about Nardwuar. His enthusiastic and energetic view on life can actually be extremely infectious, if one just allows it.

Sure, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's security may have carried him away -- literally carried him away -- when he asked Harper to do the hip flip game with him. But Nardwuar just rolled with it, and had fun with it. Transforming being carried away by security into crowdsurfing is nothing if not uniquely Canadian.