Sunday, April 26, 2009

True Patriot Abandonment

I recently had the opportunity to read excerpts from True Patriot Love in Friday’s National Post and again in MacLean’s magazine. My first impression of this man auditioning to become the leader of my country is that he is a gifted writer. That being said, when I am making my choice of which individual I’d prefer to become my Prime Minister, policy is far more important than the ability to write a narrative. Thus far Ignatieff refuses to release any policy. I want to know what he intends to do if elected when I make my decision; not read superlative rhetoric trying to convince me that he loves this country despite living anywhere but here for almost his entire adult life. I am getting the feeling that he loves 19th century Russia more than 21st century Canada.

That’s what I find creepy about this book, that he has composed this elaborate exposition of why Canadians love our country. I am a young adult and I love this country so much that I choose to live here! It’s as Mr. Ignatieff writes in his book “a country begins to die when people think life is elsewhere and begin to leave.” Oh, really? He thought life was elsewhere, and he left. Does this then suggest that the country is born again when those who chose to emigrate and live abroad for 30 years triumphantly return and immediately begin to campaign for their ascension to political power? Michael got out of Dodge before I was born, and returned when I was 26. I have my own reasons for loving my country, and I will not accept a naturalized foreigner obsessed with Czarist Russia to tell me why I am a Patriot.

Furthermore, he only decided to return to Canada after the Gomery Commission was going full steam ahead and ravaging the Martin Regime in the polls. It took Liberal insiders to actually visit him in New England feeding him delusions of grandeur to pry him away from the United States. Does anyone doubt that had Paul Martin won a majority in 2004 that Michael Ignatieff would still be living in Boston telling people he’s an American?

Now that he has ascended to the throne of Liberal leadership, the biggest obstacle standing between Iggy and true patriot power is justifying his 30 year absence. It is imperative that he make Canadians feel comfortable with his perpetual decision to live anywhere but here before he will ever be elected Czar of Canada. He must convince Canadians that he loves his country, despite not wanting to live here. Enter True Patriot Love, a manifesto of convoluted hyperbole designed to enlighten Canadians about how they feel about patriotism. It goes far beyond the author attempting to convince the reader that he loves his country; it has the audacity to inform Canadians of how we feel. Did he happen upon these revelations while he was living in Great Britain or while he was living in the United States?

It is abundantly clear in reading his writing, that Michael Ignatieff has a substantial preoccupation with his family ties to Russian Czarist aristocracy who were forced to flee Russia during the Russian revolution. My own ancestors immigrated to Canada from Scotland over 200 years ago, because the new world was the land of opportunity and they wanted to live here. They were not forced to flee here as refugees because their own incompetence of governance led to the collapse of a hereditary monarchy. My patriotism has been passed down from generation to generation of middle class Canadians with a love of country that was born from our desire to live here. My ancestors did not resent that they had to leave their homeland; they were not angry that they had been overthrown from a position of entitlement and power.

Here is an excerpt from MacLean’s review of True Patriot Love,
http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/04/17/book-review-michael-ignatieffs-true-patriot-love

“Michael Ignatieff was drawn more to the Russia his grandparents, father, and uncles had fled than to the Canada they embraced, the country prepared for their arrival, in effect, by people like the Grants. “Between my two pasts, the Canadian and the Russian, I felt I had to choose,” Ignatieff wrote. “I chose the vanished past, the past lost behind the revolution. I could count on my mother’s inheritance: it was always there. It was my father’s past that mattered to me, because it was the one I had to recover, to make my own.””

He was not lured back to Canada for love of country, he returned because he wants to be the Czar of Canada. He resents that his ancestors were forced to become Canadian, and as evidenced by the sub-title “Four Generations in Search of Canada”, he confesses that his ancestors spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide if they even liked it here. Four generations to make up their minds, that despite living in Canada they still felt the need to search for it. This culminated in Michael himself deciding that he wanted to live abroad once he had entered adulthood. This was not just a one year venture teaching English in Korea, he left for 30 years. He admits to telling people he was American while living in America. That sure sounds like true patriot love to me...*cough*cough* When I visit the United States, I wear my Team Canada hat, my Team Canada shirt, because I want everyone who sees me to know where I’m from because I am proud of my Canadian heritage, whereas Michael Ignatieff is in love with his Russian lineage

“When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.”

-Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Racism?

I have always believed that the United Nations is an organization that provides a necessary legislative framework for international politics. Its successes may be few and far between and the laundry list of corruption and incompetence is very disturbing.

Take for example this week’s UN conference on racism. A similar summit held in 2001 quickly escalated into an anti-Semitic hatefest, prompting a number of delegates to walk out in protest. To right this wrong, the beautiful minds in the UN bureaucracy decide to take their mulligan in 2009. In a move that represents either gross incompetence or targeted malice, the racism conference began on what would have been Adolf Hitler’s 120th birthday and the keynote speaker on opening day was none other than the President of Iran; a nefarious lunatic who has called for the destruction of the Jewish State and has hosted an international symposium to prove that there was no Holocaust.

What, was Mel Gibson not available? I don’t blame the President of Iran for making his malicious statements; what did you expect? As the great philosopher and Sunnyvale Trailer Park Supervisor Jim Lahey once said “a shit leopard can’t change its spots”. Personally I blame the dunce who decided it would be a good idea to invite a zealous racist to be the keynote speaker on the opening day of a conference on racism! Ban Ki Moon, the Supreme Chancellor of the League of Nations , expressed shock and dismay that the President of Iran said what he said. Seriously? The fallacy of his naivety is astounding! That’s like having Mel Gibson write and direct Schindler’s List and then being surprised when he attempts to blame history on a Zionist conspiracy.

I applaud Barack Obama for boycotting the Conference. It would have been far more appropriate to invite the first black President of the United States to speak in lieu of a zealot. That would allow the international community to discuss the progress that has been made in the world’s most powerful nation and how that can serve as an inspirational example for countries where racism is still a serious problem. Instead they make a mockery of what should have been a hallowed institution by asking a Holocaust denier to make a speech about racism on Holocaust Day in Israel.

The United Nations is broken. Can someone please fix it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fire in the Sky

Happy Earth Day! I did not do anything noteworthy to celebrate today, other than driving my car around needlessly and flushing the toilet a lot. I did see an interesting story in the news this evening regarding the Sun emitting less heat than previously recorded. Satellites have confirmed that there has been a recent lull in solar flares in recent years. I did take Introductory Astronomy in my freshman year at University, but I was unaware that solar flares operate cyclically. When I first saw this story break, my initial reaction was that it was going to be used to explain why global warming has stopped despite Co2 levels continuously rising. Anyone who experienced this past winter in the Northern Hemisphere knows what I'm talking about. In Vancouver, spring came 3 weeks late this year (thus trees are cranking out pollen at an accelerated rate, and my allergies are going bananas). Lest we forget that Al Gore won a Nobel Prize convincing us that there was a direct linear relationship between Co2 in the atmosphere and temperature, where global average temperature has not increased since 1998.

Who could have guessed that there exists a relationship between temperature on the Earth and the amount of "cosmic magma" that our great ball of fire in the sky shoots in our direction? The Sun fires star-matter at us and it gets hot, it stops and it gets cold. Fantastic, where's my Nobel Prize? Am I suggesting that the Global Warming movement has been debunked, and anyone who advocates their position is misguided? No. What I am saying is that the debate is not over. We need healthy skepticism on both sides of the aisle to discuss healthy and constructive solutions to real problems.

For example, I would like to stop buying oil from the Middle East and Russia. Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other mischievous potentially destructive regimes are almost solely dependent on oil exports to fund their governments. I would like to cut off their source of money. In order to break the dependence on crude oil, we need an alternative source of energy. In the near term, that has to be electricity. However, if we want to put an electric car in every driveway, we need to dramatically increase our capacity to produce electricity. If the demand for electricity grows exponentially faster than our ability to produce it, the price of it will go through the roof. I support an "all of the above" strategy on electricity. More nuclear, more wind turbines, more solar panels, more everything. As it stands, Canada benefits greatly from the sale of oil, but we also have a lot of uranium. Pound for pound, exploding atoms are the most efficient means of producing energy that we currently can produce. Let’s produce more. That concludes what I have to say on Earth Day…

Vetting

My Little Oxford Dictionary defines "vetting" as "submit to careful and critical examination". Evidently to the NDP, this does not include plugging a candidate's name into a Google search. We saw multiple examples of this in the last Federal Election, and again in this BC Provincial Election. Infact in my own riding of West Vancouver, won by the man I voted for John Weston, we lost our NDP candidate because video of him surfaced on YouTube describing his experiences on LSD. Another BC NDP candidate was lost because he was found to be skinny dipping in the presence of young children, and in the past few days a BC NDP candidate was lost because of Facebook pictures of him groping women.

I ask myself, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Does the NDP attract loony candidates or do they select loons because they are a loony party? I don't know, it is probably a little bit of both. The only thing that I know for sure is that I dislike the NDP more than I like the Conservative Party that I vote for. Perhaps that seed was planted because I became politically aware as a youth in Boob Rae's Ontario, but it has been reinforced by their repeated decision to select lunatics at the riding level. If you scroll down my Blog you will see that I am no fan of the carbon tax man Gordon Campbell, but I am faced with the dilemma of either voting for a Ralph Nader-esque fledging BC Conservative Party and risk the NDP winning, or voting for someone that I don't like to block Marxists from winning the election. I am leaning towards voting strategically, despite my past condemnation of the strategic voting strategy federally. I have never missed an election at any level. I even voted in every Student's Council Election in University. But at least federally, each time I voted Conservative I went home at the end of the day and felt good about myself. I am not sure how I will feel voting for someone that I don't like, but I suspect that I will feel worse if the NDP wins.

All I can say with any certainty, is that this dilemma sucks. How can I vote for a party that advocates and introduced a carbon tax?

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

-Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tea Bagging

Never in my life have I attended a protest or rally. The closest I came was this past December when it appeared inevitable that the Liberal Party of Canada was going to form a coalition with Marxists and separatists to topple the Conservatives in order to form government. I was livid about a potential legislative coup D’├ętat just weeks after the Canadian people voted. As passionate as I was about the issue, I decided to spend my lazy Sunday on the couch watching football. I am no fan of public protests, but I do support the right of people gather in a public setting and peacefully express their approval or opposition to an issue.

When I first caught wind of the Tea Party protests, I didn’t think much of it other than being a clever idea. Citizens parading their opposition to taxation in the spirit of a protest that helped spawn the American Revolution. I watched Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert joke about “tea bagging”, a pejorative that I was not familiar with until I saw Will Ferrell tea bag a drum set in Step Brothers. I found the humour amusing, despite it being a jab at my Conservative/Libertarian brethren.

My mood quickly shifted from cheerful to angry when I saw how the non-Fox media decided to cover the protests. It was framed as a malicious right wing conspiracy attended by ignorant disciples of the Pied Pipers at Fox News. This mainstream reporting climaxed with Janine Garafoolo talking to Keith Olberman; where she hypothesized that none of the protesters had the slightest clue what the original Boston Tea Party was. Then she proceeded to decree that all the Tea Baggers were disingenuous racists who were there only to protest a black man being President under the guise of taxation. If that was not enough, next came the theory that the “hatred center” of right wing brains are enlarged, placing extreme pressure on the frontal lobe. Unlike Colbert joking about the funny taste in his mouth after a long night of tea bagging, Garafoolo was being serious!

To see how the left is pilling on right wing protesters, it bothers me because those protests were peaceful. Nobody was being arrested, there was no need for riot police, it was a protest carried out in the manner that protests should be. Conversely, often when the left gathers for a protest, people wear masks, throw trash cans through shop windows, they clash with police, basically behaving in a destructive manner that causes property damage in the area where the protests are held. Look no further than the G8/G20 protestors, who act as though smashing things accomplishes their goal. It is a case study in irony that the left would chastise peaceful protests while ignoring those which are violent. I am troubled to learn that the only reason that I am a Conservative is because an evil part of my brain is engorged, while leftists engage in righteous violent protests because they are justified in doing so. To Janine Garafoolo, I say fuck you, but I suppose that I only feel that way because as a right winger I am bred to hate.

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.“

-Andre Gide

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Somalia: The 18 year case study for Anarchy

Anytime I find myself debating possible solutions to the suffering and plight and the third world with some of my left leaning friends, they struggle mightily to conjure up any resolution that does not include military force. Economic sanctions tend to cause the most damage to the most vulnerable people, while food drops and aid payments often find their way back to the oppressors. When there exists political instability amidst economic disparity, the alleviation of the suffering of the citizenry is virtually impossible without landing some boots on the ground to impose order.

Sadly, civil wars are uncomfortably commonplace in Africa, where poverty is rampant even at the best of the times. Civil war only serves to magnify the suffering of the common folk. Be it the Rwandan genocide in 1994 (estimated 800,000 killed), Idi Amin in Uganda in the 70s (estimated 300,000 dead), a decade of turmoil in the Congo as left nearly 5.4 million people dead, Charles Taylor and his two civil wars in 1989 and 2003 killed an estimated 200,000 people; and so on and so forth.

But perhaps the most illuminating example of civil war induced anarchy is Somalia. When President Barre was overthrown in 1991, the country plunged into a bloody conflict that is still being fought today. In the immediate aftermath of the 1991 coup, an estimated half million people died in a famine prompting the United Nations to spring into action in concert with the USA in Operation Restore Hope. The first President Bush committed the troops to go in, and then passed the football on to Bill Clinton. Less than a year later, Slick Willy withdrew American troops after 18 died in Blackhawk Down. A withdrawal that when viewed through the prism of hindsight deserves the moniker Operation Extinguish Hope.

I suppose the question that we should be asking ourselves is do we want to change the world? It is a noble endeavour to be sure; as no moral human being wants to stand idly by while innocent women and children are suffering and dying needlessly. It is as they say; evil prevails when good men fail to act. The strategy that we have adopted since the days of Live Aid has been to dump money and food on the continent. What has changed? There are certainly scattered success stories in Africa, but by and large trillions of dollars and 20 years later, what progress has been made?

I support trying to make a difference and striving to make the world a better place. But before I present my solution, I must qualify that I unequivocally reject the theory of Karl Marx that all warfare is class warfare. I subscribe to the theory that some people are just evil; who for whatever the reason lack a conscious and are capable of the most heinous acts. Morality is not perfectly correlated to salary. Evil acts are not restricted to the impoverished. History can provide countless examples of the wealthy engaging in morally empty and arguably evil behavior. Sadly, the willingness to cross the line between right and wrong can at times be profitable. It is a type of sociological evolution that encourages the “evil gene” to flourish, but it is imperative that those of us who value civilized society are steadfast in our resolve to fight evil.

The solution to these civil wars and rescuing countries like Somalia from the abyss becomes apparent if you watch the film Shake Hands With the Devil. We need to send in Blue Helmets, an international force skewed to African membership, and loosen the rules of engagement. If they are willing, I’d suggest putting that force under the command of Romeo D’Allaire and Colin Powell, and start killing bad guys. The nation building model that would be best suited for individual situations is a conversation for another day. As a former Registration Officer for Elections Canada, I’m actively working on some ideas.

To those who would cite Blackhawk Down as proof that military intervention is ineffective, there is insufficient evidence to support that claim. 160 elite American soldiers in a two day battle against thousands of Somali militia men, inflicted a casualty rate in the neighborhood of 50 dead Somali militants for each dead American. Clinton withdrew the American forces 3 days later, so we have no idea what good we could have accomplished had we stayed. What we do know for sure is that the withdrawal has left that country in worse shape. This perpetual state of anarchy has created a lawless society which is now making headlines on a daily basis for rampant piracy. I am also not optimistic about the pending rise to power of the “Islamic Courts Union”, now that Ethiopia has withdrawn its forces from Mogadishu. Islamic and Courts are two words that make me very squeamish when placed in sequence.

What I don’t know is the willingness of the United Nations forces or the appetite of the citizens of Western Democracies for the use of military force to at least attempt to make the world a better place. Because what he have been doing has not been working, and either we strengthen our resolve to alleviate suffering in the long term, or we just wash our hands of these failed states and mount a few rocket launchers on civilian freighters passing through the Gulf of Arden.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable” - JFK

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ignatieff's Poll Dancing

It is safe to assume that Michael Ignatieff is feeling pretty good about himself right now, as recent poll numbers put him within striking distance of a majority government should the trend line continue. This week’s Ekos Poll has the Liberals at 37%, the Conservatives at 30%, and the NDP at nearly 16% nationally. If these numbers are accurate, it would suggest that that the Tories have lost nearly one million voters in only the past few months, many of those in the past few weeks. Most of that support has shifted to the Liberals, while the NDP has also lost some support to the fledgling Ignatieff juggernaut.

That which has me befuddled is what exactly has influenced this exodus? What happened? Ignatieff’s approval rating has gone up, Harper’s has gone down. Where the enigma presents itself is that Iggy hasn’t done anything! Sure, he gives wonderfully scripted press conferences proudly parading his extensive vocabulary and he seems quite comfortable in this idealess complaining. Call me a policy wonk, but I want to know what a political party intends to do if elected before I will even consider voting for them. At present, the Liberals have released no policy whatsoever, no suggestions, no ideas, nothing. On their website there is no link to any policy page. The NDP to their credit, at least have a page filled with vague and lofty platitudes. It seems counter intuitive to me that any political leader would experience such a dramatic shift in support without saying anything at all about what he would do if elected. Evidently this policy-free Rope-A-Dope is working.

If Ignatieff hasn’t really done anything, it is more likely then that the exodus is a result of Stephen Harper’s perceived failures. I just don’t understand what precisely Harper has done to persuade Conservative voters to switch allegiances. By all accounts, the Obama visit was a resounding success. The PM proved to be the superior orator in the Q&A with the media, as Obama without his precious teleprompter spent an unusually high amount of time mumbling and pausing. Did Harper lose a million votes for allegedly being in the shitter when the G20 was taking its team picture? Somehow I doubt that.

In this his 4th year as Canada’s Prime Minister, I think it is unlikely that a million people suddenly decided that they did not like him on a personal level. The perception of him as an icy and boring policy wonk was every bit as prevalent in 2006 as 2009. It is possible that this minor dust-up with Brian Mulroney has cost the Tories some support in the center, which would be ironic considering that Mulroney left office as one of the most unpopular leaders in a generation. Perhaps hindsight is 20/20 and his popularity has increased in retrospect as former PC’s reflect on the nostalgia of the 80s. If this is the case, it is elastic support that Ignatieff may not be able to sustain in the long-term.

The most likely cause behind the polling trends is the economy, as recessions are far more likely to punish the ruling government regardless of how much responsibility they bear for the crisis. In this case, the crisis originated in the United States and spread north of the border. Furthermore, the Canadian banking industry has been relatively insulated from the banking collapse in America and Europe. Many European economists are pointing to Canada as the model for how financial markets should be regulated. Of course I will give credit where credit is due and say that Paul Martin deserves some accolades for the state of our financial sector.

Unemployment has now reached 8% in Canada, which is still better than the United States. The Canadian job drop is due largely to a significant decline in consumer spending south of the border. As a result, Canada has experienced a significant decline in employment in both the manufacturing and resource sectors; two sectors that employ predominantly males, where men vote in greater proportion for the Conservative Party. This likely explains the significant exodus from a demographic that had previously voted Tory.

The good news for the Prime Minister, which seems lost on those answering telephone polls, is that the Toronto Stock Exchange is up over 20% since the beginning of March. Oil and other resources are back on the rise, which benefits the Canadian economy. If this trend continues, Canada could start adding jobs again in the near future. Equity markets always lead in front of employment statistics. We have yet to see what effect the massive Pelosi/Reid/Obama stimulus package will have on the American economy. I doubt that Mr. Ignatieff would openly cheer for its failure, but the truth remains that his probability of victory is significantly higher if the Obama Plan deepens the recession, keeping Canada in a state of economic melancholy.

"If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor."

-Albert Einstein

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Oliphant Inquiry

The more that I see of this Oliphant Inquiry, the more embarrassed I am as a Canadian that we are even doing this. Yes, it was requested by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in an attempt to clear his name. He had been cleared of criminal wrong doing in court, likely aided by the fact that the principal witness continuously changes his testimony and admits to lying in signed documents when it suits his purpose. He has no credibility as a witness, and it was not until he was facing deportation to Germany on charges of fraud and corruption, that he started making shocking “new” accusations in an attempt to remain in Canada where he would be needed as a witness.

I understand where the current PM would grant a former PM’s request for an Inquiry to clear his name. The only reason that it is necessary is because the CBC, led in large part by Don Newman, frequently headline all Schreiber related nonsense as urgent breaking news that is as Newman would say "very interesting". Even during this current testimony, where the witness is being caught in lies and deceit time and time again, Donny is reporting on Schreiber statements of alleged Mulroney criminal acts and hypothesizing what that would mean in a court of law if it were true. But of course that would never be accepted in a court of law because the man saying it is a confessed liar who will say anything he can to avoid extradition to Germany to face fraud charges. This is crazy.

Again, I don’t blame Stephen Harper for trying to put some distance between Mulroney and the current government before this charade started. Based on how the CBC is reporting it, clearly the downside of being associated with unsubstantiated, unproven allegations outweighs the positives of Mulroney being cleared. All it takes is a simple cost/benefit analysis in a Game Theory Matrix to see how what Harper did was the right thing to do. Even so, there is likely a price to pay in the PC wing of the Conservative Party; I just hope that my “progressive” colleagues don’t listen to the Chantal Hebert’s of the world who are telling them that this mess will lead to them voting for the Liberal Party. Perhaps you might view Michael Ignatieff as a solid alternative, but I would urge you to at least wait for him to unveil some semblance of a policy platform before altering which party you support. I am not predicting that his policies will be destructive; I just have no idea what they may be because he won’t say anything beyond vague and convoluted platitudes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Mulroney Quarantine

I have been watching this recent contrived dust up between the current ruling Canadian Conservative Government and Brian Mulroney. I don’t get what all the fuss is about, and I assume the left leaning CBC journalists whom are banging the drum most loudly are making much ado about nothing. If anything, they are attempting to create a fissure within the Conservative party comparable to the collapse and partition that occurred after Mulroney abdicated. I was never a fan of Mulroney, though I was heading into my freshman year of high school when he passed the reigns on to Kim Campbell.

Evidently Mulroney was not very popular with Canadians at the end of his reign of fire, as evidenced by the two seats and destruction of the PC party that followed in his wake. There have long been extensive rumours, allegations, and investigations into Mulroney taking cash money in envelopes under the table in return for government favours. I have a 500 page book on my bookshelf called "On The Take" by Stevie Cameron that outlines in detail Mulroney corruption. None of the charges or allegations have stuck in court, yet, but we are about to embark in a new inquiry into his shady deals, where he admittedly accepted at least $250,000 for what he described he thought was a gift??? No strings??? Mulroney, who eventually claimed that money on a tax return, says that he took the money from the Arms Dealer, but did not do anything for it…or at least that we know of.

I get why the left-wing are trying to pour gasoline on the issue and over-exaggerate the repercussions of the alleged Mulroney extradition from Tory membership by the PMO. It makes perfect sense that the ruling government would want to quarantine their former leader as an Inquiry begins into his accepting cash money from an arms dealer. Now I watched this Schreiber clown testify on the first day of the Inquiry, and to say this man has no credibility is an understatement. One thing we know for sure is that the Bear Head project he was trying to bribe Mulroney to adopt as a government contract was never accepted. Whether or not Mulroney should have taken the money on moral grounds is debatable, but it is virtually certain that he will never be found guilty of a criminal act.

This Schreiber clown frequently contradicts himself, changes his testimony, and pleads ignorance when backed into a corner. He claimed to have no idea that the Bear Head company that he was the Chairman of made political donations to the Liberal Party prior to the 1993 election. Meanwhile, he wrote it in his diary two weeks before the election. $5,000 to Chretien and $5,000 to Paul Martin. The only time I saw him smile in the whole ordeal was when the prosecutor mentioned that the Conservatives only won two seats in the 1993 election, which was followed by the Crown asking why he continued to make cash bribes to Mulroney after he was left powerless. Great question. Bribing a politician to accept a military contract when the politician does not even hold a seat in parliament, let alone the Prime Minister’s Office, is just stupid.

So I applaud Prime Minister Harper for putting Mulroney under quarantine while this Inquiry is in progress. Do I think Mulroney will be convicted of anything criminal, not at all. My bet is by the end any Canadian paying attention will think; let’s just never again have anything to do with Karlheinz Shreiber. We will have heard all we need to know by the end of this charade. But temporarily quarantining Mulroney is a must do because all those blowhards like Don Newman, Chantal Hebert, Susan Bonner, and even Peter Mansbridge are going to beat that dead horse for all it is worth while the Inquiry is on TV. Any pundit who wants to see another split in the Conservative party will squeeze every last drop they can out of this mess. To think the Conservative party will split again is wishful thinking gone awry. We already took our long march through the wilderness; we will never again split into two parties. That led to over a decade of Liberal rule, which explains why the Liberals are so excited to hypothesize it will happen again, but it won't.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BC Provincial Election

I always like to describe my ardent opposition to Marxism with “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” With the writ now officially dropped in the BC Provincial Election, I am once again being bombarded with the far left propaganda so often espoused by the NDP, and Comrade Marx before them. Granted, this misguided Robin Hood Syndrome which influences NDP policy does not come from a morally wicked place. But however noble the intentions, the economic consequences of punishing success and rewarding failure creates a moral hazard leading to a deadweight loss of mutually beneficial transactions that are not transferred to another agent.

This election is about choosing the lesser of two evils, as I certainly do not count myself among the fans of Gordon Campbell. I am adamantly opposed to carbon taxes and cancelling entire sessions of the legislature is absurd. I cannot in good conscious support this man to run my province, but the alternative would be far worse. Gordon may not quite be the Sherriff of Nottingham, but neither is he the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I am likely to vote for the fledgling BC Conservative Party, but Campbell being replaced by Carole James is frightening beyond the outer limits of imagination given the current economic climate.

The NDP can destroy an economy at the best of times, so I shudder to think of the devastation they’d reap upon British Columbia during these “worst of times”. For example, I have recently had the opportunity to spend some time up close and personal with some of the ambitious relics of NDP rule, the Pacificat Ferries. The “Manhattan Project” that went horribly awry and arguably represents one of the single largest fuck-ups in the history of Confederation. Even the Bricklin SV-1 looks like a brilliant idea by comparison.

While the Catamaran Ferry is an amazing design and the province clearly needed new ferries, the NDP insisted that they be built in BC by their loyal friends over at the Shipworkers Union. Rather than take advantage of the comparative advantage of International Trade, they awarded the project to a partisan union that had no experience building this type of vessel. The average Joe may view the decision to “keep the jobs in BC” as noble and productive, but again the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Why buy 3 high quality boats from Germany at a lower cost, when you can buy 3 pieces of shit for twice the price? By the time these little aquatic Hindenburgs (originally budgeted at 200 million dollars) the mess went from bad to worse. The boats never functioned properly, plagued by mechanical problems, and their wakes hit the BC waterfront with the force of a Tsunami.

By the time these marvels of stupidity were decommissioned in 2003 less than 5 years after rolling off the assembly line, the NDP had already been guillotined by the Campbell Liberals. I now find myself in an uncomfortable situation. Do I vote for the fledgling Conservative Party and risk the election of a Marxist, or do I vote for the Sherriff of Nottingham whom I don’t like, as a defensive measure?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gender Equality

As much as I have been a vocal supporter of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, when I see that the elected government is proposing legislation to make wives the property of their husbands, I say no way. When we examine our long term goals for transforming a terrorist state into a peaceful Democracy, I strongly believe that gender equality is a fundamental prerequisite. Whatever influence we have in that country must be used to block this legislation. What separates the civilized world from the uncivilized? Gender equality. Those countries that treat women as property are far more likely to be the most violent, insane, and morally reprehensible. Be it in Africa or the Middle East, when women are oppressed, those countries tend to be more barbaric. When women have a strong voice in society, it adds nurture to the nature and tends to move the country in a more progressive and productive direction.

I have always believed since the beginning of this war on terrorism, that if we can export anything to the uncivilized world to make the planet Earth a better place for all of us to live, women’s rights would do far more good than Democracy. I love Democracy and I believe that it is the best form of government, but exporting gender equality should be the top priority of our missions abroad.

Monday, April 6, 2009

North Korea

Here we go again; North Korea is testing its long range missiles. In 2006 the Taepodong missile that they tested blew apart seconds after launch. This time it reached far into sky and several thousand miles past Japan before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. When I see something like this happen, my immediate reaction is why do it, and what do they have to gain? Clearly the N.K leadership can’t wipe its own ass without say so from Beijing, so evidently China calculated that it had something to gain by testing the resolve of the United States, Japan, and South Korea. It is as Joe Biden predicted, that enemies of the United States would “test his mettle” in the first year of his administration.

But to what end? I don’t think that anyone would deny that China hates Japan (read the book the Rape of Nanking), and that it fears the thriving democracy in South Korea. While North Korea is by every standard of measure a failed state, and evidence of the folly of a communist dictatorship; if that regime were to collapse and be absorbed by South Korea, that would be a domestic public relations nightmare for communist China. They cannot use their proxy in Pyongyang to invade South Korea, because the 50,000 or so American troops stationed at the DMZ would drag America into the war. I seriously doubt that China wants another fight with the United States.

So again the question must be asked, what is there to gain by firing rockets over Japan? The downside is that it scares Japan enough to encourage the re-militarization of an old rival. China does not want Japan to have a military again, especially now that it is closely allied with the United States. Japan clearly has the most to lose from a trigger happy N.K regime. If one of those missiles flames out and strikes Japanese sovereign territory, all bets are off. These rockets are hardly technological marvels, and when they are shot up into the sky the N.K military brass should clearly have their fingers crossed that they do not mistakenly strike Japan. Perhaps these tests could serve to scare South Korea, which I am quite certain has no intention of ever invading the North unless N.K troops cross the DMZ and invade South Korea. It is possible that they are motivated by scaring South Korea into increasing aid, but how likely that is to happen I do not know.

I think the answer to the motive lies in Ockham’s Razor; that after eliminating the most complicated hypotheses, the simplest explanation is most often right. With the hope and change anti-war President now in the Whitehouse, it is unlikely that North Korea wanted to flex its muscles to deter an invasion. Obama would never invade North Korea, unless of course that N.K invaded South Korea. It is possible that with the potential perceived weakness of the possible death or illness of the insane Kim Jong Ill, the goal was to frighten their own population and deter a potential civilian uprising. It is also plausible that the goal is to test the new President of the World Police. Will he respond to provocative threatening actions with toughness, or will he wither into appeasement? If Obama responds to threats of violence with appeasement, I strongly believe that will open a Pandora’s Box similar to what Neville Chamberlain did with Nazi Germany. If he responds by being as tough as he possibly can without actually declaring open war, I would hypothesize that it would send the appropriate message to insane dictators around the world.

It is now up to the President to decide how to respond.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Anit Poverty Committee

I feel as though I should clarify my position on what I described as the “affordable housing lobby” in my previous Blog post. First, there is a distinct difference between the meaning of affordable housing in Canada and in the United States. In the US, the chief proponent of affordable housing is the Democratic Party, and the vehicle by which they endeavor to make housing affordable is through the federally subsidized mortgage providers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In Canada, affordable housing is more of a provincial issue than a federal issue, and the organizations that are lobbying for it are not asking for cheap mortgages to buy homes at market prices; but rather they are demanding that the government build them houses and give them away either for free or for cheap. There is no official lobby group whose sole purpose is affordable housing (at least that I could find with a simple Google search). In British Columbia, the two loudest organizations are the Anti Poverty Committee and the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (commonly referred to as the APC and DERA). These are the clowns who trash office buildings and engage in combative civil disobedience with the Vancouver Police. As the APC proudly lists on its website “The Anti-Poverty Committee is an organization of poor and working people, who fight for poor people, their rights and an end to poverty by any means necessary” with an emphasis on “any means necessary”.

In terms of the political parties in Canada who support the agenda of the APC and DERA, or at least the outcome of social housing without the means of civil disobedience, not even the Liberal Party of Canada is on board. They are at least fiscally responsible enough to realize that legislating the banking industry to provide absurd mortgages to people who can’t afford them is folly. Granted, Stephan Dion was a vocal supporter of “Social Justice”, which is the European code term for Marxism. The new Leader of the Liberals does not have any policy at all so it is impossible to say what he supports or does not support. I visited their website, and they offer no policy what so ever, not even the lofty unattainable platitudes of the NDP. The NDP is the only federal party stupid enough to support the goals of the APC, as “affordable housing” is prominently displayed in their policy subsection.

In 2007 after invading and trashing the office of a VANOC executive, the head of the APC David Cunningham was interviewed on a local radio talk show, and I tip my hat to Pratt and Taylor. At first the clown complains that he can only get a job with 2 shifts a week for DERA, and when pressed on the issue, he admits that he is happy working his 2 shifts per week and doesn’t want a better job. Aside from being lazy, it is safe to assume that a major reason that this individual does not want a fulltime job is because at that point he would no longer qualify for subsidized housing and welfare. I strongly recommend listening to the interview, for a clear insight into the mind of the head of the Anti Poverty Committee in British Columbia, the most vocal proponent of “affordable housing”.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4RyjtdNzII&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs3xDDs6Hek

Friday, April 3, 2009

Affordable Housing

One of the big issues for the NDP in British Columbia, and the left wing of the political spectrum everywhere is the availability of "affordable housing" for low income people. It was the whole purpose behind the creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to use government subsidies to put people in houses that they could not otherwise afford, and the sub prime housing bubble was born. As the banks, pressured by government to grant these mortgages in the United States, greatly increased the amount of debt it was issuing relative to the capital it held in reserves then the value of real estate sky rocketed as more people were in the market to buy houses. To make matters worse, investment bankers began to buy up these mortgages at companies like Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers; then bundle them into extremely complicated equities for sale on the open market. The promise was that at some point in the future, they would begin to pay higher returns. I suppose nobody thought to mention that these high returns were supposed to come from low income people who would see a sudden spike in their mortgage payments.

I do not believe that the theory of a sub prime mortgage was based in evil. I hear it all the time with the "affordable housing lobby" in Vancouver that all you need for a successful career is to live in a house; that once they own a home, they will transition from a low income job to a high income job. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that the egg came before chicken. As it turns out, living in a house versus living in an apartment has no appreciable affect on income, and that it only serves to increase debt burden leading to a bursting bubble. The idea of a sub prime mortgage was to be the vehicle to deliver houses to low income people. Give them a low interest rate, no money down loan to start, and once they had turned that home ownership into a successful new career they would then be able to make up the difference. Had Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other mortgage providers been legislated to offer a fixed rate at market value to people of low income, the loan would have been unaffordable from the beginning.

Which political persuasion in the United States forced this absurd policy on the free market? Liberals. Conservatives should have done more to prevent the bubble from getting so big while they had control of the legislature and the Oval Office from 2000 – 2006, but they still were not the ones who created the problem. So now, the Democrats have a monopoly on the legislative and executive branches of government, and they are saying that they need more intervention and oversight. Meanwhile they were the very people calling the shots at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but that oversight did not stop those two mortgage providers from collapsing. Infact, the policy of the Democratic Party was what was responsible for the collapse! But ask Jon Stewart who is to blame for this crisis, and he blames CNBC for not reporting on the problem, not the Democratic Party who CREATED the problem.

As the band Nine Inch Nails once sung in a song, “He sewed his eyes shut, because he is afraid to see”

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The hypocrisy of Jon Stewart

I just stumbled upon a series of clips on Youtube that is a must see for anyone concerned about the causes of the collapse of the American financial market, and who also followed the Jon Stewart attack on Jim Cramer. I would love to meet the individual that put these clips together because frankly, he or she deserves a Pulitzer...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Wz0pWnWIU

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlL1lrNMJtU

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AwqRIoZipY

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDZSXmfnDLo

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

History Repeating

They say those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. As we move forward from this current “economic crisis”, what should be done going forward to prevent history from repeating? I keep hearing the power brokers like Barney Frank and Timmy Geithner proclaiming the need for tighter regulation, and an increase in the interventionist powers of the Federal Treasury Department. Or as Barney said 50 times on a recent Economist Podcast “Systemic Risk Regulator”, where ostensibly the Government intervenes in the financial system with broad based, absolute powers anytime they believe there is a flaw in the system that could lead to a possible collapse. The irony being that Barney Frank had executive oversight over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and announced that there was nothing wrong with them months before they collapsed from over $30 per share to less than a dollar. Frank had oversight, said there was nothing wrong, and evidently something was very wrong. The collapse of Fannie and Freddie drove the collapse of financial markets around the world last September. Thank God we had federal oversight… (sarcasm intended)

I don’t support more regulation, and I don’t support less regulation. I support the proper regulation. As I see it, there are three crucial regulations that need to be in place and enforced.

1) Banks should not loan money to people who will not be able to pay it back, and if they do it should be small sums. If a family makes 30 thousand dollars a year, has no assets, they should not be provided with a no money down mortgage to buy a $250,000 house. If an individual has a visa maxed out at $3000 and they can barely afford the minimum payments, they should not be issued a brand new MasterCard.

2) Financial institutions should be forced to hold a certain proportion of cash to back up equity positions and loans. They should not be allowed to issue billions in dollars in loans, or purchase excessive amounts of high risk equity if they do not have the cash on hand to back it up. This was what caused the stock market crash in 1929. Too many people and banks taking out loans to buy stocks, inflating the stock market with money that technically did not exist. When everyone realized it, they rushed to the banks to withdraw their money and there was no money left to withdraw.

3) There needs to be more transparency at financial institutions, as there is supposed to be. If a company hides debt, or misleads the public on the nature and structure of its assets, that it illegal. The government should enforce the law, and throw whoever is responsible behind bars.

On the matter of the bonuses to the AIG executives, I say it was a mistake to allow federal money to go into the pockets of the people who ran the company into the ground. Whoever in government allowed that to happen should be fired, Liberal or Conservative. But government suddenly getting into the business of capping executive compensation at large companies is a slippery slope. Tax dollars should not find its way to their pockets, but whatever contracts that were signed should be honoured. I think Alex Rodriguez is overpaid, but that doesn’t mean that I believe he should have to give any of that money back if he fails to hit .300. If these companies want to reward failure, let them do so, because in a competitive market they will eventually go out of business. Nobody should be “too big to fail” and if they are, chop them up into smaller pieces and sell them off like what was done with Microsoft.