Friday, December 19, 2008

Civility, trust and honour.

A “POW Rolex” Recalls the Great Escape by Alan Downing
Underlined in Wilsdorf’s letter to Nutting are the words, “…but you must not even think of settlement during the war.” The news that Rolex was offering watches on a buy-now- pay-whenever” basis must have spread through the camps like wildfire. More than 3,000 Rolex watches were reportedly ordered by British officers in the Oflag VII B POW camp in Bavaria alone...Wilsdorf hedged his bet further by making this offer available to British officers only, in the belief that their word was their bond.[emphasis mine]
Great story.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gimme a break, Olivia...

From Olivia Chow's website:
The poll-rigging behaviour sometimes known as “freeping” is a common tactic used by right-wing groups to get public opinion in their favour. “If you have to rig polls in favour of your opinion” said the administrator, “it says more about your core ethics and the weakness of your position, than it does the issue.” [emphasis mine--ed]
Olivia, rigging online polls has been done by zealots on both sides of the spectrum. Trying to spin that behaviour as solely owned by right-wing folks is just stoopid. Or dishonest. Or both. Additionally (given internet history), the tactic is only known as "freeping" if right-wing folks do it. Otherwise, it's just plain garden-variety vote/ballot stacking.

But let's keep this straight: an online poll is just a poll of site visitors: it's not scientific in the slightest. If a site happens to get more lefty visitors, the poll will generally reflect that. If it gets more righty visits--same-same. And sometimes [gasp!!! who'da thunk it??] folks from one side or the other will suggest visits to a site they don't usually frequent, just to influence the poll.

In other words, online polls are as true a reflection of reality as your outrage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I couldn't be more impressed...

"Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident," a distraught Dong Yun Yoon told reporters gathered near the site of Monday's crash of an F/A-18D jet in San Diego's University City community.

"He is one of our treasures for the country," Yoon said in accented English punctuated by long pauses while he tried to maintain his composure.

"I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could," said Yoon, flanked by members of San Diego's Korean community, relatives and members from the family's church.
Man who lost family when jet hit house: I don't blame pilot.

My sincerest condolences and respect.

There is an eloquence that comes naturally from honesty, from who you are:

"I know there are many people who have experienced more terrible things," Yoon said. "But, please, tell me how to do it. I don't know what to do."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A couple of quick jots...

This one time...at caucus:
One of the Caucus members said that the Taliban were able to put out better videos than Dion's staff. (Western Standard)
Ooooh. That's gotta hurt ;-)

Me at SDA:
Lesson: Bailouts support identifiable voting blocs is all. They're bribes.
People who support the bailouts don't give a rat's ass about the at least equivalent number of jobs scattered throughout the economy that will be lost, caused by the dollars consumers don't have to spend because they're funding the bailout.

And an interesting tactical thing:

Let's say there's an election in the next while, and you're still thinking wrongly enough about economics and philosophy to want what the coalition wants. Two way split, anyone? The best communicator? The most experienced governing party? I mean, who do you vote for...it's not like there's a huge ideological difference. And the Bloc? Lotsa Quebec folks kinda like them, even knowing they won't govern.

Fun times.

Oh. And this:

Evidently Oprah was talking to some reporters about a gathering some time after the election,
"I said I would be happy to talk to Sarah Palin when the election was over… I went and tried to talk to Sarah Palin and instead she talked to Greta [Van Susteren]. She talked to Matt [Lauer]. She talked to Larry [King]. But she didn't talk to me.”

Winfrey’s comments came in response to rumors she refused to invite the former vice presidential candidate on her popular daytime show.
But why would a daytime talk show host not want a vice-presidential candidate on the show before an election? Fear of poor ratings?

Just askin'...

They may be right...

Harper put it to the other parties that they should stand on their own two feet when it came to raising funds and operating as parties.

Without exception, the other three parties screamed "we'd die".

OK. Maybe they're right.

But that's not Harper's fault.

If the conservatives went broke today, they'd have money by Monday; they're used to raising their own.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Time for an Election

If the Coalition is as great a deal as its supporters say it is, then I'm sure they'll also trust Canadian voters to recognize that fact.

If the Harper Conservatives are as great a deal as their supporters state, then I'm sure they'll trust Canadian voters to recognize that fact.

It's really quite simple: the folks who don't want to, or won't, put their preference up to a vote don't trust Canadian voters to make the right decision.

All else is just puffery, grandstanding and self-serving rationalization.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Not beyond me...

The Prairie Wrangler poses this question (probably rhetorically) over at his blog:
how the opposition can play the “the Conservatives haven’t spent enough” card not a week after the “the Conservatives have spent us into a deficit” card is beyond me
Easy. Politics Without Principles.




Wanna know how much sense a bailout makes?

Read this: "Autoworker chief pleads for government to save his job by stealing others' money to give to him".
If you want to know how well an American automaker bailout will go, look no further than AIG, which made the very same claims: "too big to fail," "bridge loan," "we need time to reorganize." The government gave AIG an initial $85 billion infusion, described as a "loan" -- which doesn't make sense, because loans are made to be repaid, and AIG wasn't expected to pay it back. It does make sense when one realizes it was all a bait-and-switch: the government didn't intend to make a real loan, but to buy out a strong controlling portion of AIG. And as scary as it should be to any liberty-loving person, it was merely a prelude to nationalizing the rest of the major insurers and other big industries.

And by the way, do the math: if you get 79.9% ownership for the initial $85 billion, then what does $152.5 billion get you? Doesn't it seem like the investment is effectively throwing money into a black hole? If you were a private investor who put $X into a badly performing company for 80% ownership, and suddenly you had a capital call for another 79.4% of your initial investment, wouldn't you start wondering if you should pull out while you can and write off the losses?

AIG claimed it would sell off "assets" to repay the loan, and the loan is necessary to keep it afloat because there's insufficient income to meet its debt obligations (in no small part from credit default swaps). If this were done by an individual, the situation would be someone who has a sudden cut in earnings, gambled away the next several months of pay, owes money right now to a great many people, and has been refused by banks for a loan to repay his existing debts. He just doesn't have the income to repay the latest loan. AIG effectively said it needed a payday loan for the next six months, which it will use to pay off the people currently breathing down its neck, and it will repay the latest loan by selling its furniture. Ask yourself: who in his right mind would become the next creditor to such an irresponsible person? No rational person would.
H/T Billy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Catch-up...

Been busy lately, but I wanted to point Canadian readers to this post at Somena Media.

It's a posting of Bruce Clark's "A Critique of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission" with a reference that Mr Clark was the lawyer for the Gufstason Lake defendants.

Read the whole thing, but the short version is that because of the limitations/terms of the Commission, "the commission can not expose wrongdoings of the government." Mr Clark further states "The commission will look at symptoms but neither the cause nor the liability of the causer. It can not and will not investigate crimes by the government."

I'm not sure I entirely agree with Mr Clark's conclusions, and I did some investigating that led me to believe that the Commission may actually discover/expose any such facts it finds, only leaving any consequent civil or criminal legal adjudication to actual trials regarding the specific incidents, for example.

That would mean that the Commission itself is to be only an impartial fact-finding agency, and not--instead--a civil or criminal trial court apportioning blame, reparations, liability etc.

However, what I don't know is if I am correct. I could be very wrong, and the Commission could be hamstrung exactly to the degree Mr Clark says it is.

I hope not, and I'll be paying attention, because, if there is one thing I *am* very, very sure of, it's that Mr Clark (in fact, every First Nations citizen) has every good reason to distrust the Canadian federal government given past actions. I don't blame Mr Clark one bit for being suspicious.

And I hope First Nations people aren't betrayed again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Great Regulation Shortage of 2008

Look around you because it's an astonishing trick.

The politicians and bureaucrats are (so far, successfully) framing the economic mess you're surrounded with as "The Great Regulation Shortage of 2008."

I guess it's understandable because the meddlers are fighting to keep their taxpayer funded "regulator jobs".

The important question is, though: "Why on earth would anybody still believe them?"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rex Murphy, Human Rights, Ezra, etc...

HT to Ezra/pointing at Rex Murphy on Human Rights...

From Rex (go read it all...)
The essential point is that the most basic rights, those of freedom of thought, speech and expression, belong to the individual. That is why we call them intrinsic or human rights. They are rights that inhere in our basic status as human beings. They are our most profound rights, belonging to our character as human beings. And, for that reason, we neither multiply them trivially nor dilute their force and meaning by placing them in piecemeal cohabitation with less fundamental accommodations.

Like the right not to wash one's hands while working in a fast-food restaurant, or the alleged right to strip past a certain age, or the right not to be offended by a Mark Steyn article. These "cases" may have merits, and some wild philosopher may articulate those merits. But they do not abide, as rights, on the same plane as freedom of thought, speech and expression. They may be something, but what they are will not be inscribed on any cenotaph: They are not human rights.

Human rights, the real ones, are ours from the beginning. They are not bestowed by the state, because the state does not "own" them; they are not a state's or a ruler's or, for that matter, a human-rights commission's to give. It equally follows that they are not a state's or a commission's to abridge, circumscribe, tamper with or make a toy of.
There's a simple test that goes a long way to deciding if a Human Right as described is real, or simply one of the many made-up fakes masquerading as actual rights these days, and it's this:

Real "rights" don't require that you do anything to, or for, anybody to recognize or provide them; all they require is that you leave other people alone.

So: when it's not a real right, pretty please, stop referring to such things, even casually, as "rights". It just confuses people.

You can always use the term "legal permissions" or "State permissions", or "involuntary taxpayer provided benefits" or "coerced business accommodations" or some such in your efforts to be accurate. You'll find that terms like that fit the bill for essentially all the fake rights.

And, just to be very clear: claims for "positive rights", "economic rights" and "social rights" always and every time are claims against your real rights. They are nothing more than arguments to take your stuff.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A note on Ms. Palin...

Antonia Zerbisias has a completely different take on it than I do, but hats off to Antonia for linking to this from The Nation's Katha Pollitt
Palin's presence on the Republican ticket forced family-values conservatives to give public support to working mothers, equal marriages, pregnant teens and their much-maligned parents. Talk-show frothers, Christian zealots and professional antifeminists--Rush Limbaugh and Phyllis Schlafly--insisted that a mother of five, including a "special-needs" newborn, could perfectly well manage governing a state (a really big state, as we were frequently reminded), while simultaneously running for veep and, who knows, field-dressing a moose. No one said she belonged at home. No one said she was neglecting her husband or failing to be appropriately submissive to him. No one blamed her for 17-year-old Bristol's out-of-wedlock pregnancy or hard-partying high-school-dropout boyfriend. No one even wondered out loud why Bristol wasn't getting married before the baby arrived. All these things have officially morphed from sins to "challenges," just part of normal family life. No matter how strategic this newfound broadmindedness is, it will not be easy to row away from it. Thanks to Sarah, ladies, we can do just about anything we want as long as we don't have an abortion.

[W]hile Palin did not win the Hillary vote, the love she got from Republican women, including very conservative, traditional women, shows that what I like to call the feminism of everyday life is taking hold across the spectrum. That old frilly-doormat model of femininity is gone.
As far as I see it, the above being generally true and generally good stuff, Palin and her candidacy did way more for "the feminism of everyday life" than, say, Bill Clinton (the last great Democratic "emancipator") ever did.

It might be gracious to just give her some of the credit for it...without being snide. After all, she did all that by just being who she was.

Oh, yeah...what wasn't true in the above quote? This part:
No one said she belonged at home. No one said she was neglecting her husband or failing to be appropriately submissive to him. No one blamed her for 17-year-old Bristol's out-of-wedlock pregnancy or hard-partying high-school-dropout boyfriend. No one even wondered out loud why Bristol wasn't getting married before the baby arrived.
Absolutely true that "Talk-show frothers, Christian zealots and professional antifeminists" didn't say that stuff; virtually nobody from the Right did.

But lotsa sniggering passive-aggressive statist-leftist jokesters did.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Confusing?

Antonia Zerbisias notes: "How people can vote for the first African American president in American history, with all that implies, while simultaneously voting to discriminate against gays is testament to the incoherence of American politics and the lack of clear cut philosophy guiding people's choices...."

"....How do some people deny other people the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, even when it's no skin off their noses?" she asks.

She's correct that there's a lack of clear-cut philosophy at the heart of what she sees as the disconnect.

The right of people (of any and every gender...and number) to marry, free of government preference or censure, free of state interference, is based on an ultimately individualist position: the individual right to choose the structure of one's own consensual relationships.

Pretty much everything Barack Obama stands for, though, is antithetical to individualism. And so Obama's voters made a mistake individualists wouldn't make. That's not a surprise.

Update:

I found this quote here at MSNBC:
"I think it's mainly because of the way we were brought up in the church; we don't agree with it," said Jasmine Jones, 25, who is black. "I'm not really the type that I wanted to stop people's rights. But I still have my beliefs, and if I can vote my beliefs that's what I'm going to do.
What Ms. Jones actually means, of course, is "if I can vote to make others behave according to my beliefs, that's what I'm going to do".

A perfect example of what I'm talking about.

And this (another perfect example) in the same article:
"What the church does is give that perspective that this is a sacred issue as well as a social issue," said Derek McCoy, African American outreach director for the Protect Marriage Campaign. "The reason I feel they came out so strong on the issue is one, for them, it's not a civil rights issue, it's a marriage issue. It's about marriage being between a man and a woman and it doesn't cut into the civil rights issue, about equality.
I'm sure Mr. McCoy wouldn't have a problem if, say, his behaviour was to be affected by, say, a strict Muslim view, then. After all, to Mr. McCoy it's "a sacred issue as well as a social issue"; it's not at all about his right to choose his own consensual relationships.

Yeah, I'd say "the lack of clear cut philosophy guiding people's choices" is exactly the problem, Antonia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Finally.

And it's about time. A Democrat says it, in an open letter to journalists):
If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city. -- Orson Scott Card
I have huge differences of opinion with Mr Card, but he's right about what he's saying here.

Read the whole damning thing.

A grateful H/T to QandO


Understand? This financial mess is *not* a result of free-market failure.

Big "gun control" laughs at Boston Legal

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"If you don't vote..."

"If you don't vote..." so the saying goes: "...you don't have a right to complain".

Uh, horsepuckey. If anything, it's actually "If you vote, then you don't have a right to complain." And here's why:

If you vote, you are accepting the process, with all that entails. So, if you vote: that's your kick at the can because you believe that voting *is* the concrete embodiment of you having your say. After all the talking and investigating, it's your folded and popped into the box decision.

Well, the results are what they are, all nice and proper like you say you like it, so now, if it's anyone, it's *you* who can shut up and just live with it.

Me: I'll just keep right on complaining and speaking my mind. After all, I had *nothing* to do with that voting nonsense.

(me at StageLeft)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Read this.

Howard Husock.

The Trillion-Dollar Bank Shakedown That Bodes Ill for Cities

...written in AD 2000. 8 years ago.

Understand this: you have only two choices.

You can have an imaginary economy based on the day-dreams of ambitious bureaucrats and politicians. Or you can have a real economy based on what people really trade and why they do so. You don't get both, and one doesn't work.

Imaginary economies work as well as imaginary parachutes.

So, yeah...I don't want no steenking bail-out. The capital everybody is worried about is still all out there. This is just a fight about who gets to keep it, and--if it's the government keepin' it--how much they get to pretend it's worth.

h/t Billy

Monday, September 29, 2008

Close but no cigar...

Taxes could get sky-high with aerial technology (The Press of Atlantic City/Richard Degener)
A new high-tech aerial photography system that can spot an illegal porch from 5,000 feet is being marketed to tax assessors as a way to grow revenue...

"We're not supposed to be spying on people. When it gets to the point where we're doing aerial spying on people's lives, I've had enough," [State Senator, Jeff] Van Drew said.
Well, yeah, Jeff...I guess that's true. I mean, it is true--but what makes aerial spying the point where the line between right and wrong gets crossed?

Anyways, you've had enough, so please quit and take a few more meddlers with you. Mmmm'kay thnx.

You got it wrong, Nancy.

Pelosi: We must insulate Main St from Wall St.

Nope. Actually, we must insulate Wall Street and Main Street from Pennsylvania Avenue.

In other words, separate the economy from the government just like we separate the church and the government--and for exactly the same reasons.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

For decades...

...Canadians have been commenting that the CBC has a strong statist-leftist (essentially Liberal/NDP) bias, and the statist-leftists have been denying it.

Yeah, well now the publisher of CBC news just plain admits it.

Except he titled the admission "We erred in our judgment."

The truth is they finally got caught with no room to weasel about it.

And it's not really a compliment if Mr Cruikshank is just realizing the bias exists.

Quote:

"Your third party vote is not wasted. It serves to enslave your mind just as well as a major party vote does."--Brad Spangler.

Link to article containing quote.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Do you get it...yet?

You poor bastards have been voting for the lesser of two evils for so long that evil is all that’s left now.
Billy at The Agitator.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Democrat I respect...

My head is still shaking!

ex-DEMOCRAT Mike Gravel (former Democrat US senator) speaking on radio regarding Sarah Palin.

QandO for the file. It's a great listen.

I'm still laughing at the show's hosts.

Addendum: I was thinking about this post and doing some follow-up surfing and, in all fairness, the guy is now a Libertarian, so I read. I guess that's no surprise for me since a) I come to my corner of the LRQ with my political growth starting from the left, as well, and b) the guy was making sense.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Investors Daily article...

...Stealth Socialism ...well worth the read.

H/T New Paltz Journal by way of Billy.

The same madness has deeply affected Canada as well.

Social justice means massive State interventionism.

It just sounds prettier. That's why they use it.

Dion Liberals would ban assault rifles in Canada...

OK...I'm a reasonable man, willing to entertain an opposing argument.

If assault rifles are such a bad, bad thing for anyone to have, how about we start with "police & government first"?

Then maybe we'll talk.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Call me stupid, call me wrong...

Fine. Have at 'er. We can have a spirited debate about that if you'd like.

But call me a liar? That's different. (screenshots from a post on Werner's *other* blog)...

The first version:


All he did there was opine that *I* was psychiatrically ill.

That version I left alone.

Then Werner went back and added something:

From Werner in the updated version:
He has even gone so far as to fabricate things I supposedly said, because he's run out of things to write about me.
and that I am:
obsessing about, libelling and fabricating things about other people
---------------------

So, to Werner: Piss off.

You unarguably did advocate violence against me (and others who don't agree with you and who won't comply) a number of times in this post on your site and I explained exactly how you were advocating violence against me in my comment at 4:28 PM, September 03, 2008 in this thread.

I'm understanding enough to accept that you were too shallow or ill-informed to realize that was what you did (hell, it's getting obvious you don't yet understand the deeper but inescapable and clearly demonstrable consequences of what you were advocating).

However--and this is where things get interesting--I am quite sure you clearly understand that "fabricating" means "lying"...
(fabricate: to concoct to deceive; to invent a story or lie; to make up for the purpose of deception)
...because it's just a bigger word you can use in place of a smaller one, and not an integrated philosophical or political concept requiring insight. Besides, you bill yourself as a pundit and translator ; you claim a degree of professional expertise with words.

Additionally, though, you also now clearly imply I am "libelling" you or "other people". How so? For libel to take place, what I said about you (or these other people, if somehow you didn't mean yourself) must not only be critical, it has to be untrue.

(Is that what you were referring to when you suggested I'll "be facing criminal charges soon if [I] don't stop [my] deranged behaviour" in a comment on my previous thread? Libel is a tort, Werner. Even if proved, libel is a civil, not criminal, wrongdoing--and, in any case, again, what I said was true. Or are you accusing me of something else that *is* criminal?)

In any case, are you also aware that, especially given that you bill yourself as a pundit (generally understood as: a public figure offering public commentary on public issues) that I think I'm correct when I suggest that the bar for someone to successfully be held as libeling you is likely to be higher than it might be when compared to comments made about a generally private citizen?

To sum up:

I said you advocated violence. You did.

You, on the other hand, explicitly said I was fabricating/lying. I wasn't. You didn't even say you thought I was lying/fabricating. You simply said I *was* fabricating/lying.

Want to guess which one of us I think is actually closer to being guilty of something like libel/defamation? And do you also understand that I'm very sure that it is not even necessary for a plaintiff [that would, in this hypothetical example, be *me*] to prove that a defendant [hypothetically *you*] intended to defame?

Oh yeah, one last thing, for now: you said I "dedicate almost [my] entire blog content to [you] and [your] blog."

Bullshit. I've written 5 or 6 posts referencing your blog; this post makes maybe six or seven. I've written over 250 posts, so you occupy maybe 2% of my output. Your math is evidently every bit as accurate as your logic.

Update (Sept 5th): Gawd, Werner Patels changed it again...(see the comments on this thread for my--I dearly hope--last reply)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More on Werner Patel's double standards...

I commented in my last post about Werner's ethical inconsistency.

Here he is today prattling on about about how it's wrong for Jason Cherniak to vet the comments on Mr Cherniak's blog...

Here's Jason Cherniak's latest example of "Liberal" when it comes to freedom of speech:

I am also going to be picky about comments. Responding to a story about income trusts with some accusation against Ralph Goodale will not get in. Responding to a story about In and Out with "well you're responsible for sponsorship" is also not enough. However, if you mention sponsorship in an intelligent way and actually make an argument, then I will allow it. Think of your comments as letters to me, where I will print what I find interesting. I know some people do not like this form of comment moderating on blogs, but my experience is that there are many Conservatives who spam Liberal blogs during an election. I am not going to allow this blog to become a victim of that.

So, you can't write about the truth? The sponsorship scandal never happened and must not be talked about? Is that it? Liberal digressions must be swept under the rug?

...and here he is telling me he doesn't want me to comment on *his* blog...
From now on, please stay on your blog, and keep your anarchy BS off this site. You have not contributed anything substantial to this discussion, except sing the praises of your own selfishness and disregard for democracy and those living in it.
Now, Werner claims I "didn't add anything substantial" and was only "sing[ing] the praises of [my] own selfishness" with my comments. Decide for yourself, here and here.

Werner, you oughtta be ashamed of yourself.

Only a screencap will do justice to this one:

Highlighted Werner Patels quote: "What a great family where 17-year-olds sleep around and become pregnant. "

Regular readers will know that Werner has asked me not to post over at his place. Evidently he found me difficult.

Fine. I'm happy enough to make my point here.

Werner, you oughtta be ashamed of yourself.

Mr Obama, quoted at Fox News:
“I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be a clear as possible: I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits, and people’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as governor, or her potential performance as a VP. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories...You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and you know teenage children, that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that’s off limits.”
Up till now, our disagreements aside, I've been willing to cut Werner some slack and I've kept his blog on my "Blogs I Appreciate" list. Today, his blog leaves there for a new and well-deserved place on my "Blogging Yo-Yos" list.

Werner occasionally makes sense, but the more I read his blog I realize that he is correct only in the fashion that a stopped watch is correct twice a day. I'd love to know what things Werner might consider ethical principles because...well, I'll just give this one example, since Werner prints as though he's an Obama supporter:

Here Werner opines about how it's sensible that people are losing interest in unions, noting that "No one needs those mob-like organizations anymore anyway."

And yet he completely ignores Mr Obama's position on unions, including the fact that Mr Obama supports the Employees Free Choice Act which, among other things, could make secret ballots on union workplace certification a thing of the past.

...if Barack Obama becomes president, secret ballots seem destined to end for at least one type of election: union certifications.

Currently, when 50 percent of workers in a company sign statements to unionize, that merely sets up a second stage, where workers vote by secret ballot to determine if the company would be unionized. Under the new proposal, using a system called “Card Check,” unionization would occur as soon as half the workers had signed cards stating that they favor union representation.

In other words, up until now, a worker could placate union supporters and sign a statement saying that he wanted a union and then vote against the union when he was protected by the secrecy of the voting booth.

While the Bush administration promised to veto the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act,” Obama has made his feelings about the legislation very clear. Last year, Obama promised, “We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s not a matter of 'if'; it’s a matter of 'when.' We may have to wait for the next president to sign it, but we will get this thing done.”

Obviously I have severe disagreements with Mr Obama's positions on a huge number of things, but he undeniably showed some class today regarding Ms Palin's kids. That's more than I can say for Werner.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin

I have my disgareements with Ms Palin.

But I freakin' LUV watching Obama supporters in panic mode.

By the way, didn't Mr Obama make some kind of big speech a couple of days ago? Not much mention of it on the news ;-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This article is almost too stoopid for words...

If Everyone's Talking, Who Will Listen? (Washington Post)

The article starts off talking about how there's just so much freaking information out there...
But the implications for our democracy are troubling. To achieve their goals, political movements need to reach and influence tens of millions of citizens. Despite conventional thinking that the Internet helps spread information, such reach is actually impossible online...

The opportunity to educate [read: propagandize--ed.] millions of citizens, so essential to significant movements of the past, has dwindled. In the early New Deal era, the Roman Catholic "radio priest" Father Charles Coughlin promoted ideas for economic reform to a weekly audience estimated at 40 million, which helped pressure President Franklin D. Roosevelt to enact Social Security, the Works Progress Administration and other programs...
Plain english translation: "If there isn't any rationing of the media, of information, people might/will stop acting like sheeple. It'll be harder for us folks who know better than most people to manipulate them.

The madness doesn't stop:
Rather than call for government regulation of technology itself...
Yeah, let's not take away people's computers. Folks might not stand for that.
perhaps the best way to limit the avalanche is to make the technologies that overproduce information more expensive and less widespread. It could be done via a progressive energy tax designed to keep energy prices at a consistently high level (while providing assistance to lower- and middle-income Americans)...
Make the price so high they just stop using 'em.
It's possible that over time, an energy tax, by making some computers, Web sites, blogs and perhaps cable TV channels too costly to maintain, could reduce the supply of information. If Americans are finally giving up SUVs because of high oil prices, might we not eventually do the same with some information technologies that only seem to fragment our society, not unite it? A reduced supply of information technology might at least gradually cause us to gravitate toward community-centered media such as local newspapers instead of the hyper-individualistic outlets we have now.
Plain english translation: tax stuff until people can only go to the few places the zombie who wrote this drivel likes for their information ration.

But why be surprised? Take a look at what this pompus airhead thinks is good news, and why:
This solution may sound radical and unlikely, but as an environmental analyst, I've spent long hours studying energy consumption. Two years ago, I wrote an article speculating that the real problem behind America's loss of manufacturing jobs was low energy costs that made shipping so cheap that employers had overwhelming incentive to send jobs overseas. My argument that higher energy prices could reverse 50 years of outsourcing was met with skepticism. Yet that's exactly what has begun to happen this year as the high cost of oil has brought some manufacturing jobs back to such cities as Bowling Green, Ky., and Danville, Va.
That's a "socially concious" way of saying that "high energy prices" is good news and "low energy prices" is bad.

Tell that to your wallet. Watch your wallet belly-laugh.
Dusty Horwitt is a lawyer who works for a nonprofit environmental group in Washington.
Really? There's a shocker.

What a fukkin dolt. As my brother says: "Gawd save me from people with a plan."

All of which ties in nicely with this.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mr. Biden

Mr. Biden might be the purest proof recently of the idea that political ambition is about obtaining power, not about principles.

Now the Vice-Presidential candidate with Mr. Obama, Mr Biden had this to say a short while ago:

On Mr. McCain: "I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off."

On Mr. Obama: "Is he ready? Right now I don’t believe he is, the presidency is not something that lends itself to on the job training."

Obviously, he just wants the job. He'll work for anybody.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

People are going to find out what "suspended" means...

...because Der Rodham didn't quit her campaign. She suspended it.

Billy might be wrong and, if so, I'm wrong too.

There is nothing I trust about that woman. Except her ambition.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rules are not a substitute for thought...

Over at Billy Beck's Two-Four:
'Til tomorrow, ponder this item, ladies and gentlemen, linked at Say Uncle.
I have no idea what Billy will have to say about it, but I'm going to concentrate on this, from an online commenter named "Steve":
I witness crimes and call 911 on a weekly basis and there is nothing I can do but watch the crime take place and relay the information to 911. If I had known that I was able to intervene I could have stopped a violent sexual assault in front of the YMCA on Tuesday evening. So what's the law? Are we intervening on our own now or what? [emphasis mine]
Note that Steve is not asking whether or not he "should" intervene; he's asking something different. Steve wants to know if he is "able" to intervene on his own and asks, looking for an answer: "what's the law?".

That's pathetic. What is this "we" garbage? I'm able to decide that sort of thing for myself.

Finally...

BRITISH COPY EDITOR NARROWLY AVOIDS CLICHÉ!!!

A bus doesn't plunge: "One dead and 44 hurt in bus fall" (BBC).

Will wonders never cease?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pro-censorship mental gymnastics...

Lea Anderson writes in The Calgary Herald:
Demanding the elimination of human rights laws to allow a journalist to be offensive or contemptible to a fellow Albertan is not the longstanding western tradition I know.
Actually, Lea, (other than the quickly overturned Alberta Press Act) allowing a journalist to be offensive or contemptible to anyone, Albertans included, is *exactly* the longstanding western tradition I know.

But let me ask you, Lea: what mental contortions could lead you to actually propose censorship while stating:
Milke demands we gut our human rights laws, the very week George Bush requested China allow more basic rights and freedoms, and the week Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died. He was famous for chronicling the abuses and terror of the Russian gulags, one of the biggest human rights catastrophies ever.
??? I just don't get that. Solzhenitsyn was punished because he was a journalist who offended someone.

Perhaps you aren't familiar, Lea...China and The Soviet Union aren't exactly known for...uh...freedom of expression. In fact, and to be specific, Soviet bureaucrats found Solzhenitsyn very offensive; that's why they put him in the Gulag.

I understand you might find this complicated, Lea, but it might help you to read the next bit and pay special attention to the bolded, underlined parts.

From Wikipedia:
During World War II, he [Solzhenitsyn] served as the commander of an acoustic recognizance unit in the Red Army, was involved in major action at the front, and twice decorated. In February 1945, while serving in East Prussia, he was arrested for writing a derogatory comment in a letter to a friend, N. D. Utkevich, about the conduct of the war by Joseph Stalin, whom he called "the whiskered one," "Khozyain" ("the master") and "Balabos", (Odessa Yiddish for "the master"). He was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda under Article 58 paragraph 10 of the Soviet criminal code, and of "founding a hostile organisation" under paragraph 11.[12] Solzhenitsyn was taken to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, where he was beaten and interrogated. On 7 July 1945, he was sentenced in his absence by a three-man tribunal of the Soviet security police (NKGB) to an eight-year term in a labour camp, to be followed by permanent internal exile. This was the normal sentence for most crimes under Article 58 at the time. [emphasis mine]
In other words, Lea, I think your position on this subject is kinda contemptible; the sheer lack of logic you display is offensive to me, especially every time I think of you voting.

I admit though, I was especially entertained by this word salad of yours:
Milke's attempt to defend free speech abuses by eliminating human rights is an assault on our dignity.
You toss those terms together ("free speech", "abuses", "rights", "assault", "dignity") with such careless, delicious abandon; it reads almost like you understand them.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oh, of course I trust the government...

...and the folks who work for 'em.

Words fail me. This just just horrible.

...and par for the course these days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

He's (she's ???) got a point.

I think we need to change the name of our country to Kafkada... (batb at SDA)

I don't know batb at all, but still that's straight up dead on the money.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Update on Mandatory Voting...

Readers may remember a discussion I had with Werner Patels over at his blog on the subject of mandatory voting (details here).

As I described in the post at the link I just referenced, Werner found me difficult and asked me not to post at his place. I comply: king/castle and all that, as I noted.

However, I revisited the thread to see what had gone on in my requested absence, and I noticed a few things, and I'm still free to comment here.

First: Werner's statement that:
Australia has implemented mandatory voting -- an entire country like that (especially Australia) isn't wrong when it goes down that path.
Sorry, Werner, "another country did what I think is a good idea" isn't a rebuttal; it's just a variation on the old logical fallacy known as "the appeal to authority". In other words, nice as Australia might otherwise be, so what?

Second, this paragraph from Werner:
Sorry, but unless you [ed.--meaning me, Ron] can show me that you are at least somewhat a decent person who is not only concerned with his own beer-drinking or hockey-watching time, and how going to the polls would cut into that "precious" me-time for you, I refuse to waste my time with someone who leaves his dirty boot imprints on our democracy.
Do me a favour, Werner, don't trot out "unless you can show me..." after telling me I'm not welcome to speak at your place to what you're writing. That's just bad manners.

In any case, dealing with your pre-emptive (and, as it happens, wrong-headed) smear, I hardly drink ever (a six-pack would be a very heavy year of drinking for me), and I don't watch more than a couple of hockey games every few years. Also and in any case, your valuation of the usefulness of what I do with my time is worthless when it comes to being a good argument for how I owe some of it to accomplish what you want.

My time is *my* time, and I use it for *my* purposes. I have enough respect for you to allow you the same, in spite of your very evident lack of regard for me or the time or differing values of others. And you have the gall to question if I'm decent all the while you trot out that authoritarian, clearly coercive "force 'em to vote" nonsense.

Third: commenter "Ben" followed with this:
Interesting how Ron Good claims that he doesn't have time to vote, but he DOES have time to write long posts explaining why he doesn't have time to vote!

I agree with you, Werner that non-voters give up all rights to the benefits of democracy. It disgusts me when people say give excuses for not voting, and then complain about the outcome. If you don't vote, then as far as I am concerned, you forfeit your voice.
Again, Ben, for starters, my time is *my* time, just like yours is properly yours. Also, I think posting my opinion in detail and perhaps affecting the viewpoint of others is a hell of a lot more civilized (and, I think, more effective) than pushing people around either with my vote, or by forcing people to vote. So: I didn't *ever* say I didn't have time to vote; I said my time is my time and I have other things to do with it.

And these two quotes coming up aptly explain why I don't--and won't--agree that my rights are contingent on your approval or the approval of some democratic vote:
"Neither one person, nor any number of persons, is warranted in saying to another human creature of ripe years that he shall not do with his life for his own benefit what he chooses to do with it. All errors he is likely to commit against advice and warning are far outweighed by the evil of allowing others to constrain him to do what they deem his good." John Stuart Mill

"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." from The Law - Frédéric Bastiat
(And no, that's not an appeal to authority: the relevant thing is what they said, not who said it,)

But then, Ben, you take the "forcing folks to do what you want" stuff to a brand new level:
Well, after some thought, I have the following proposal. Make voting mandatory, but in addition, force voters to write a simple test before voting. This doesn't need to be a long test -- maybe just 3-5 short-answer questions, asking them to specify the main issues of the campaign, and each party's view on each issue. For simplicity, the parties could be limited to the Liberals, PCs, NDPs, and Greens, but the voter could address other parties' views if they want. The test would also be designed to ensure that he voter is not forced to divulge their preferences, i.e., it would be non-partisan.

If the voter gets a minimum 60% grade on the test, then they can vote who whomever they want. Otherwise, they are not allowed to vote, and they are fined some pre-fixed amount.
Ah, so "after some thought" your genius proposal is to force folks to vote except they have to also write a test first to see if they're qualified, and if their test answers don't meet your suggested bureaucratic approval, you fine 'em and disenfranchise 'em.

Fourth: Ben closes his post with:
And if all parties agree to the new rule (which they should, if they really are worried about low voter turnout), then voters will not have the option of voting for the party that would repeal the law.
Ah, I understand. If Ben has his way, in the name of freedom, voters forced to vote would also be prevented from voting for what they might vote for.

Man, and you think those statements somehow display a logical and deeply considered commitment to freedom and individual rights, Ben?

Fifth: Werner ends the thread with:
at least people will have to participate in the democratic process, which would make the eventual outcome at least halfway legit (unlike the current government in Alberta, which claims majority status but has the support of less than 22% of the entire electorate).
Uh, yeah...a democratic vote is somehow more legit if people are forced to vote than if they choose to vote. That's just weird.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I don't think *I* will play along.

On Language (New York Times)

So what effect has capitalizing “I” but not “you” — or any other pronoun — had on English speakers? It’s impossible to know, but perhaps our individualistic, workaholic society would be more rooted in community and quality and less focused on money and success if we each thought of ourselves as a small “i” with a sweet little dot. There have, of course, been plenty of rich and dominant cultures throughout history that have gotten by just fine without capitalizing the first-person pronoun or ever writing it down at all. There have also been cultures that committed atrocities even while capitalizing “you.”

Still, there seems to be something to it all. Modern e-mail culture has shown that many English speakers feel perfectly comfortable dismissing all uses of capitalization — and even correct spelling, for that matter. But take this a step further: i suggest that You try, as an experiment, to capitalize those whom You address while leaving yourselves in the lowercase. It may be a humbling experience. It was for me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tata Air Car

Gawd, I love capitalism :-).

...sucker runs on compressed air and needs a 1 litre vegetable oil change every 50,000 miles.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Omar Khadr's lawyer said:

"We're hoping that the Canadian public will recognize that if you put aside any concerns or guilt or innocence... and look at the compassion we feel, that children have a special significance in society," (Canoe News/CP).
Why in the world would I want to put guilt or innocence aside?

...in a courtroom, no less.

Given the strong emotional response from the public to the video, Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae cautioned that Khadr's fate should not be subject to a "popularity contest."

"He was brainwashed and sent in to fight NATO troops. I think we all recognize that's deeply troubling to Canadians," said Rae.

"We have our troops there, obviously it's deeply troubling to all of us. The issue is not that. The issue is, isn't it appropriate for Canada to take responsibility for Mr. Khadr?"

Canada?

Nope. I wasn't involved and none of my friends were either.

But, heck, I'll go with the brainwashed bit for the sake of argument. Let's see where that takes us...

So... If not Omar, how about the parents taking responsibility and paying the appropriate price? Would that work for you, Bob?

After all, isn't responsibilty a direct correlate to control? Who controlled him, Bob? It wasn't "Canada" pulling Omar's strings.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mandatory Voting...

Over at Werner Patel's blog (Werner Patels - A Dose of Common Sense) Werner's running a couple of posts in favour of mandatory voting, here and here.

I gather Werner is displeased at my behaviour on his blog because he's asked me not to post there any more. I'm not sure why he found me that troubling, but: fine with me; it's his place, so if that's how he wants it, that's what he gets. Castle/king and all that very good stuff.

But that doesn't mean I'll just let things slide. After all, Werner did say: "From now on, please stay on your blog..." ;-)

I challenged the idea of forcing people to vote on ethical grounds. You can read the details by visiting his site, and in any case Werner didn't really address those objections. He chose instead to engage in name-calling and also to note how lots of folks agreed with him.

Well, OK, he's free to behave how he wishes at his place...

But anways, all purely ethical considerations aside in favour of more practical considerations, I was re-reading the two threads, including additional queries posted by ScruffyDan, and I came across these curious exchanges:

Scruffydan:
Mandatory voting may increase voter turn out, but not voter education. I fail to see how forcing uneducated voters to cast a ballot will make things better.
...to which Werner replied:

Voter education as such is a hopeless undertaking -- at least, in this country. We'd have to raise the general level of education first and then move on to political education. As this re-education process will take decades, and we don't have time to wait for that, must happen now:

(a) Mandatory voting (plus stiff fine for those not voting)

Evidently, Werner thinks (even apart from the ethical considerations he chose not to discuss) that forcing uneducated people to vote *now* will somehow still improve things--even though the voters won't be motivated or knowledgeable.

Exactly how that will work isn't explained but I'm sure the mental gymnastics required to even make the idea seem sensible would be thrilling to watch.

But there's another flaw in Werner's reasoning.

Werner and I had this exchange:

Werner: "Look at the rotten and corrupt government Albertans are now stuck with because so many people didn't do their share".

Me: "Actually, by your logic, the damage was caused by the only people who *did* do their share: the folks who voted."

In reply, Werner wrote:

The last Alberta election clearly demonstrates what happens when people are too lazy to vote (they were home getting drunk or watching a moronic hockey game, no doubt): we end up with a government that has no democratic legitimacy (with only 22% of the electorate, it is certainly not a majority government and therefore doesn't deserve the number of seats it claimed for itself) and that views itself as being not accountable to voters at all (after all, only a tiny minority of voters showed up for the election, so the government doesn't feel obligated to do right by the people of the province).

and Werner had stated earlier in the thread that "Most of those who stayed home would not have voted for Stelmach, because the 22% who did already represent his only remaining core support (give or take).

That's fascinating.

If Werner is correct (and he has no way of knowing, actually--he's just assuming) then, logically, Werner *must* be saying:
  • that it was the *left* that was too lazy, too ignorant, too selfish or too stupid to vote, and
  • that Mr Stelmach's supporters were the only folks responsible enough to do what Werner calls "their civic duty".
I'm not sure those were the points Werner was trying to make, but those are the only things that logically follow.

------------------------------------------

An aside:

Don't take this post as any sort of blanket condemnation of Werner. I disagree with him lots about this issue and others, but he often makes good points; he works to be benevolent and he's worked hard to gain some considerable skills. Plus, he's brave enough and straight-up enough to put his real name behind what he says. He stays on my "Blogs I Appreciate" list.

This is *my* place.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

From an article written by...

...Imam Zijad Delic in the Ottawa Citizen:
The limitless free speech model -- which posits that the solution to harmful and hateful speech is more and better speech -- does not work for minority communities, and our complaints illustrate that.
Too bad, Imam Delic. It works for me, and I'm a minority of one. What you propose doesn't work for me.

What your complaints best illustrate is that you are willing to use the force of law, and are ultimately willing to use "main force", to compel some level of obedience to your standards.

I object, and I refuse.

Quite frankly, I obviously respect you far more than you evidently respect me. Because: as long as you physically leave me and mine alone, I don't give a rodent's butt about your standards--except that you're welcome to them, and you are free to live by them. And that's not me giving you permission--that's me understanding your rights.

You are also free to offend me, to call me and the ideas I hold dear every and any name and insult you can muster, wherever and whenever you like, and you are free to tell people that you don't think they ought to support me in any way; you are free to tell people that they ought to dislike me.

As long as I treat you likewise, what you can't properly ever do is touch me, or tell others that they should touch me, in any physical, tangible way, ever, at all. And, consequently, you can't properly shut me up.

Your problem with the "solution to harmful and hateful speech [being] more and better speech" is actually only that you understand that accepting that definition requires more effort on your part than you are willing to provide; accepting such a definition requires skill and patience--and, ultimately, better arguments, and it requires a commitment not to coerce others. Simply, your abject lack in those areas is exactly why--and the only reason why--that definition doesn't work for you.

You wrote:
The fact is that a discussion of free speech cannot be divorced from a discussion of who in our society has the power to express themselves and through which medium.
Oh, horse puckey. Wrong. The fact, instead, is that a discussion of free speech must be divorced from a discussion of who in our society has the power to express themselves and through which medium.

In any case, as long as you have access to a working mouth, let alone a podium, a megaphone, a CB radio or a photocopier, you unarguably already have all the tools you need to express yourself.

If you want room in a national magazine, you are free to buy one or build one, and all you need then do is freely convince enough people to read it. That's what Macleans has already done; you just don't want to have to go to the trouble yourself. If I didn't know how hard you are working to take away my ability to speak freely, I'd have to say you were just plain lazy. As it is, you merely value expediency in getting what you want over principles. In other words, you are impatient and willing to push people around.

Besides, the fact I read your article is more than evidence enough that you have sufficient access to express your views. You plainly disagree with me and, yet, here you are: in the Ottawa Citizen, with a potential world-wide audience--and it didn't cost you a dime. Clue in, Imam Delik: you have the freaking Internet.

All of which are side issues.

Understand this, Imam Delic, my right to free speech is not up for negotiation in any case. It's mine, pure and simple--and no one except a band of arrogant, self-righteous, presumptuous thugs would ever consider curtailing it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A beautiful article on...

...use of the semi-colon (Slate).

From the article:
Slate's founding editor, Michael Kinsley, once noted to the Financial Times that "[t]he most common abuse of the semicolon, at least in journalism, is to imply a relationship between two statements without having to make clear what that relationship is." All journalists can cop to this: The semicolon allows woozy clauses to lean on each other like drunks for support.
I use semi-colons but only ever as a way of joining discrete sentences that share not the same general thinking but, instead, more the same thought. In other words, I use them only when the connection between two sentences is clearly much closer than the general relationship between other sentences in the same paragraph. I use them to recognize a connection, not to imply a connection.

I also don't ever use semi-colons to connect anything that couldn't otherwise stand as two complete sentences.

I love punctuation, so: how about you? How do you use semi-colons, if you do?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where things come from...

Talking about Ireland's refusal to go EU over at Werner Patel's place...

One well-known writer (whose name shall not be mentioned; I'm not interested in laying troll-bait) noted the essential difference between the view of human rights held in Europe as opposed to Britain and North America. Succinctly, the difference is that Europeans generally regard human rights as mere permissions granted by God or government, while the classical liberal (British/North American) tradition holds that humans have rights innately, entirely regardless of the opinion of governments, God or deists/theists.

That difference is glaringly obvious when examining the machinations of the EU dogmatists--just as obviously as it is when examining the "Civil" legal theory of Quebec law as opposed to the (albeit eroding) "Common Law" underpinnings of English Canadian law.

You've described where the impetus is coming to erode Britain's autonomy and common law legal tradition; in Canada the eroding of common law and individual autonomy comes just as directly from the heavily Quebecois (in other words: European) influenced eastern Canadian large-L Liberal party and the NDP/marxist and Bismarkian/European influenced Fabian statists they raid for practical ideas on how to increase or (where necessary) re-apply the power of the State.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Freedom, limits and blasphemy.

"I don't think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy," said Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. "There can be no freedom without limits."
Look: there is *no* proof for the existence of a deity--not any proof, not for any of them, not God, not Allah, not Odin or Zeus. There is proof that each of those had adherents, but--again--no proof whatsoever for the existence of the deities themselves.

That makes *all* religious/theological belief mere opinion.

Freedom with limits is just newspeak code for a discussion regarding the size of the cage and who gets to be the zookeeper. Making blasphemy illegal just makes religious people the zookeepers.

I am a human being. I am no one's property and no one's rightful subject, and I am likewise subject to no deity or deities.

So, to Mr. Wade of Senegal or any others who would restrict or remove my freedom of expression based on such charges:

If you attempt to charge me, convict me, fine me or jail me based on your mere wish not to be offended, understand that I will always take those attempts as mortal threats to my life, peace and security, and that I will hold all who act in support of such attempts as mortal enemies as well.

I will not instigate aggression, but--anytime I choose, whenever it suits me, and whenever I think it's necessary and appropriate--I *will* fight back.

In other words: Don't Tread on Me.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Pay attention.

These people get it.

For reasonable people who believe in equality and safety for all, it is easy to condemn Boissoin’s hurtful and inflammatory language. Furthermore, the temptation is strong to want to silence such an angry diatribe which might find an audience of people willing to join his war against equality.

While it is difficult to support Boissoin’s right to spew his misguided and vitriolic thoughts, support his right, we must.

If Boissoin was no longer able to share his views, then who might be next in also having their freedom of expression limited. Traditionally, the LGBT community’s freedom has been repressed by society and its laws.

Plus, it is far better that Boissoin expose his views than have them pushed underground. Under the glaring light of public scrutiny, his ideas will most likely wither and die.

The BCHRC should pay attention.

h/t Ezra Levant

(You know, I really don't know much aboutwhat Ezra thinks about a lot of things; I'm just not that familiar. But I agree completely with his opinion regarding so-called Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals. There are courts for real grievances.

Commissions and tribunals are insults just by their existence; they are designed specifically to control people politically as opposed to control acts of aggression or fraud.)

What Mark Steyn and Macleans are putting up with in BC is both absurd and frightening; the Commissioners are acting like ideological thugs--but the Alberta Human Rights Commission order against Rev. Stephen Boisson is so dementedly juggernautish in it's bullying, the reasonable mind staggers.

As Mr. Levant (properly) puts it:

It is the most revolting order I have ever seen in Canada. Ever.

I'll excerpt a few lines from her ruling:

In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward...

That's insane already. No-one was hurt. The complainant was an officious intermeddler, a busybody, the town scold, an anti-Christian activist named Darren Lund who had an axe to grind, and Andreachuk gave it to him.

Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.

So a busybody with no standing spends time filing complaints -- and gets a tax-free reward for doing so. Oh -- and for his "suffering". Not suffering at the hands of Rev. Boission, but "as a result of his complaint". People in the community ridiculed Lund for filing the complaint -- as they should. And so Andreachuk will get the pastor to pay for that. Why the hell not? Who's going to stop her? Her political patron, Ed Stelmach?

There's more--and it's not pretty. Go Read. And pay attention (and, no--as it happens I don't agree with the good Rev one tiny bit...but that's not the point).

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wal-mart in Peace River Alberta

Check over at QandO for a neat article on Wal-Mart.

We have a Wal-Mart coming to Peace River (Alberta) really quick. I mean, it's already here, it just hasn't opened. I couldn't be more pleased. Middle of June.

I work in a small, family-owned business here in Town and there's some competetive crossover with stuff Wal-Mart carries. So: we're gonna have to work to keep customers happy, and that's great because it means that--besides making business more fun, more challenging--every other small retailer in town is gonna have to up it's game, too. The best way to do that is to treat customers better than Wal-Mart does...and that's not easy. Wal-Mart is really good at what they do.

Customers have *all* the power in Wal-Mart territory.

That's a good thing (fun link).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hmmmm....

If voting doesn't work to lower taxes--and it never will: "The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else". Bastiat/1850--there's always this:

Fuel protests herald grim times for European green policy
After hundreds of angry drivers shut down highways in England yesterday in protest against green automobile taxes, and drivers and fishermen in France and Spain paralyzed their ports and roads in a fuel-tax protest, politicians began to signal Europe's ambitious emission-control policies may soon have to be abandoned.

While Europe has led the way in using tax incentives to encourage people to buy low-emission cars and to build carbon-neutral houses in order to meet Kyoto targets, it has become increasingly apparent that inflation-battered voters are no longer willing to go along.

Political leaders in Britain and France are seeking the reversal of tax policies designed to make polluting vehicles more expensive, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and some British ministers calling on their own governments and the European Union to relax ecologically friendly taxes in order to give relief to citizens suffering from fast-rising food and fuel prices.

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper launches a European tour today to persuade leaders that Canada's greenhouse-gas policies are acceptable, he may find the gaps between their views have narrowed, as formerly ecologically assertive leaders react to rising voter backlash against green policies.
The guy who wrote the headline doesn't get it.

These aren't fuel protests; these are tax protests.

The protesters quite sensibly aren't targeting the private companies. They're targeting the government. One can only hope this really means more folks are finally catching on.

--By the way, when you think of "Big Oil" you might have the wrong folks in mind anyways.

As The Economist points out:

...the national oil companies (NOCs) [are] owned or controlled by the governments of oil-rich countries, which manage over 90% of the world's oil, depending on how you count. Of the 20 biggest oil firms, in terms of reserves of oil and gas, 16 are NOCs. Saudi Aramco, the biggest, has more than ten times the reserves that Exxon does.

Check this Federation of American Scientists publication, the 2007 report to Congress titled: The Role of National Oil Companies in the International Oil Market (PDF--and, by the way, Foxit Reader, which is free and scum/malware free, works better and faster than Adobe Reader IMNSHO).

From the report:

Every firm in the top ten reserve holders, with the exception of Lukoil, in both 2006 and 2000 was state owned. Among the major international oil companies, Exxon Mobil is ranked fourteenth, BP seventeenth, Chevron nineteenth, Conoco Phillips, twenty-third, and Shell is ranked twenty-fifth in 2006. These five firms hold only 3.8% of world liquid reserves, and their major holdings are in the United States and Canada.

In contrast, the top ten firms listed in Table2 hold 80.6%of the total world liquid reserves. The top ten companies in 2006 in Table 2 have an average reserve to production ratio of 78 years, with INOC, the Iraqi National OilCompany, the highest at 173 years and Lukoil, a privately held Russian company,the lowest at 24 years.
H/T SDA

Please, someone tell me...

What are the good and honourable reasons leftists/socialists would be against secret ballots anytime?

Secret Ballots May End in [American] Union Elections If Obama Becomes President.
...[U]p until now, a worker could placate union supporters and sign a statement saying that he wanted a union and then vote against the union when he was protected by the secrecy of the voting booth.

While the Bush administration promised to veto the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act,” Obama has made his feelings about the legislation very clear. Last year, Obama promised, “We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s not a matter of 'if'; it’s a matter of 'when.' We may have to wait for the next president to sign it, but we will get this thing done.”
I think the reason is that union activists/supporters want their intimidation targets more easily identified, but if anyone has a better, non-thuggish reason, I'd love to hear it.

After all, maybe I just don't understand.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rules are not meant to *replace* thinking...

Grapevine student with top grades won't be valedictorian (Dallas News)
Anjali Datta's GPA of 5.898 may be the highest in the Grapevine High School history, but she can't be valedictorian and get a one-year scholarship from the state because she graduated in three years instead of the usual four.
Rules are not meant to *replace* thinking. Or honour.

That's something this shining light (Shadle Park (Spokane) High School's Andrea Nelson) understood at the 3,200-meter Washington state championship race.
The awards ceremony took place, then Nelson got off the awards stand, walked over to Cochran, removed the first-place medal from around her neck and draped it over Cochran's.

"It's your medal," Nelson said to her, the Tri-City Herald reported. "You're the state champion."
Later, said Nelson: "She totally deserves it. She crushed everybody."

There are *no* principles involved.

from CNN: Sources: Dems could meet Florida, Michigan half way
Clinton and her supporters have been pressing for a compromise that seats as many delegates from the two states as possible. Clinton's Web site encourages people to write to the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

"There is one number that we are going to be satisfied with, and that is 2.3 million people having their votes counted," Clinton supporter Tina Flournoy said. About 600,000 people voted in Michigan and about 1.7 million in Florida.
Understand this: if Clinton thought she'd lose in those states, she would be fighting every bit as hard to ensure those 2.3 million people wouldn't get their votes counted.

Principled bahaviour isn't her strong suit.

Not that I have a dog in this race anyways; Clinton, Obama or McCain...jeezuz, you poor Americans. That's your top 3 for President???

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There's always Toronto...

...and the mayor is an idiot.

Miller aims to ban handguns, shut ranges
Mr. Miller has pushed for a national handgun ban and for tighter controls at the U. S. border, and said yesterday he made no apologies about banning sport shooting [in Toronto]. He pointed to the shooting death of bystander John O'Keefe on Yonge Street this year by a legally registered handgun.

"After John O'Keefe's tragic killing, I don't think there's any defence for sport shooters any more," he said. "It's a hobby that creates danger to others.… Guns are stolen routinely from so-called legal owners."

"Do we as a society value safety or do we value a hobby that creates danger? And nobody can deny that that hobby directly results in people being shot to death on the streets of Toronto."
Does this reasoning make sense?

Well, try substituting automobiles for guns, and stolen or street racing car accidents for shooting deaths. If it makes sense for the one, it oughtta make sense for the other.

Let's ban cars and motorcycles while we're at it, then.

Miller may love his children, wife and his dogs--but he's still a shallow-thinking twit. I'm sure the criminals will pay a lot of attention to the ban. Don't they always?

H/T SDA

Leading Edge Nanny Statism...

I wrote my last post about Zero Tolerance, and Mike asked me:
Honestly Ron, where do you find this stuff...it would be funny if it weren't so common.
OC noted:
"This is the stuff of life. Greasy-pated, microphallic bureacrats, strutting around trying to impose their tiny, little wills."
Yup, and Britain's Daily Mail is one prolific source of examples. After all, Britain is leading edge these days when it comes to nanny-statism.

Like this one: Health and safety zealots tell youngster her 2ft paddling pool needs a lifeguard

For nearly a quarter of a century, Lourdes Maxwell has celebrated the arrival of summer by putting a paddling pool in the garden. This year, however, her two grandchildren and the children of her neighbours may have to find another way to cool off in the heat.

Miss Maxwell's local council has decided that the pool - which is only 2ft deep - needs a lifeguard.

The 47-year-old divorced mother of three has also been told she must have insurance before she can inflate the toy outside her house in Portsmouth.

The health and safety edict came after she wrote to the city council asking for permission to put a bigger pool in the communal garden outside her home.

Not only was she told it was too dangerous, but the council told her to empty the existing pool.

After her MP intervened [emphasis mine], the local authority softened its stance, saying Miss Maxwell could have a pool if she paid for insurance and ensured supervisors were on constant watch...Miss Maxwell, who is a full-time carer to her son Aiden, said yesterday: "It is absolutely pathetic. I have had a paddling pool outside the front of my flat every summer for 24 years, ever since Aiden turned one year old.

"Neighbours' children would come and enjoy the pool and I would give them ice lollies. It was always a very social occasion."

She added: "Now suddenly I'm not allowed.

"I asked around for insurance and they just laughed at me. No one offers insurance for paddling pools.

"I'm always there to supervise but they're trying to tell me I need lifeguards for a kiddies' pool as well - it's crazy."

Nigel Selley, Portsmouth Council's neighbourhood manager, defended the ruling yesterday.

He said: "We did not have sufficient assurances that the risks associated with providing such a facility would be well-managed.

"We have since spoken to Ms Maxwell and she is aware of our concerns for child safety and the risks associated with drowning."
Oh yeah, she's certainly aware of your concerns, Nigel.