Friday, October 31, 2008
Getting Rich By Being Poor
..and all for fielding a squad that couldn't pull down a bronze medal at a Ringette tourney.
This why Toronto is a Mecca of Post-Modern Capitalism, and why other Canadians hate and fear us. In most towns you have to succeed to succeed. Here we rule by sucking.
National Post Getting Less National All The Time
Friends tell me notices have appeared on National Post boxes in downtown Toronto saying they will no longer be serviced after Saturday. Similar (or the same) notices popped up on boxes at service centres on Highway 401 east of Toronto earlier this week.
He also points out that the paper is essentially high-tailing it out of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Another, perhaps relevant series of factoids: BCLSB regular Jermo Sapiens recently placed this piece in both the National Post's on-line and print editions, but received nothing in the way of recompense. Now, I remember The Star publishing some of my stuff as Op-Eds back in the 1990s, at which time they paid out $150 per article. Finally, if you read the on-line NP these days, you'll see a fair bit of content being supplied by various Blogging Tories (Taylor and Janke esp.). So, as things go sour on The Natty Post, are they turning to writers who are willing to wordsmith for free? Are they using bloggers as unpaid labor?
PS. The Natty Post website is silent on what they pay for Op-Eds.
Religion And Politics: U.S. Vs. Canada
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Harper On Newly Moderate CHRC
Well, this is not the exact wording but a summary by Kadey O'Malley. Nevertheless, I bet some people out there named "Ezra" are crapping themselves. Cuz it sounds like our PM is primed for inaction on this particular issue.
Another hint along the same lines comes from Stephen Taylor's response to Shaidle, in which he argues that HRCs are doing a good job "self-discrediting". Presumably this is in advance of their spontaneously disbanding.
There Is Nothing Undemocratic In Trying To Get Margaret Wente Sacked
Trying to deny a columnist an outlet for her controversial opinions? Oh my, how Fascist!!
But wait, what are the people behind Fire Margaret Wente" actually asking people to do? From the Facebook page:
1. Send a letter to the Globe and Mail:
To: Letters@globeandmail.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Call the Globe and Mail
Find Patrick Martin and Edward Greenspon in the directory, and demand Wente be dismissed.
3. Cancel your Globe subscription, or call someone you know who subscribes and encourage them to cancel.
4. Educate yourself about the real history of Indigenous peoples on this land, and share accurate information about what went on, and what's going on, with your friends and colleagues.
Well, it sounds like they are asking folks to use their powers of persuasion on the Globe's editorial staff. Scary shit! And it also sounds like their asking people to exercise their rights as a consumer to withdraw the money they send every year to the paper and use it to purchase other goods and services. Can you not just feel the Totalitarianism oozing off your computer screen?
And lets imagine for a moment that they succeed: the G&M looks to its bottom line and, weighing subscriptions lost vs. losses it might take were Ms. Wente to write for some other publication (maybe these guys), they decide to throw her overboard.
Has something undemocratic happened? Hardly, I would argue. In fact I would even go further: something wonderfully Capitalist has happened. The Market responded to the desires of the marketplace. Carry on Capitalism!
When Barbara Kay Reads, Bad Things Happen
One really has to wonder what the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau would have made of this nonsense. The term "noble savage" signified high praise by Rousseau and many other romantics of the eighteenth century, when "primitivism," another word that would raise native hackles today, was all the rage.
For one thing, this in context is a lotta hoosegow. Neither Pound nor Wente used nor intended the term in the sense noted above.
Secondly, the concept of the "noble savage" entails its own set of condescending stereotypes. For example, the "noble savage" as a literary character tends to physically resemble a white guy with a tan. For example, check out this description of Oroonko, the protagonist in Aphra Behn's early novel "Oroonko, or: The Royal Slave":
He came into the room, and addressed himself to me and some other women with the best grace in the world. He was pretty tall, but of a shape the most exact that can be fancied: the most famous statuary could not form the figure of a man more admirably turned from head to foot. His face was not of that brown rusty black which most of that nation are, but of perfect ebony, or polished jet. His eyes were the most awful that could be seen, and very piercing; the white of 'em being like snow, as were his teeth. His nose was rising and Roman, instead of African and flat. His mouth the finest shaped that could be seen; far from those great turned lips which are so natural to the rest of the negroes. The whole proportion and air of his face was so nobly and exactly formed that, bating his color, there could be nothing in nature more beautiful, agreeable, and handsome.
And it is entirely unsurprising that the most famous example of the type, Tarzan, is in fact a white man transplanted into the jungle.
But arguing like this with Barb Kay is essentially offering pearls to swine. After spending a good couple hundred words of digression on how not all uses of the term "savage" are derogatory, she simply pivots in the last few sentences to offer her own personal assurance that Margaret Wente doesn't have "a drop of racism" in her. Since all this babbling about Rousseau and Co. does absolutely nothing to prove this contention, one wonders what the point of it all was. A gratuitous display of erudition? Or, perhaps more accurately, of googling skills?
PS. Jonathon Kay claims that the assertions in Wente's column are "entirely substantiated". Claims, but does not offer a shred of proof. Well, here's a point-by-point debunking of those assertions. Care to put up or shut up, Jonathon?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
From The Slashdot comments:
It's as if someone said, "You know, I like MySpace, but the blog posts there just aren't inane enough. I wish there was a site where people could quickly and easily share every minute of their boring lives with the world."
My sentiments exactly.
File Under "Sucks To Be Poor", or: Why Bono's Midlife Crisis Looks A Bit Different Than Yours
Shoulda learned to play the guitar/shoulda learned to play them drums.
A Great Sound And Fury, Signifying Nothing?
When did you decide which party to vote for?
On election day 15%
After the leaders debates 12%
Before the leaders debates 15%
Before the campaign began 54%
Here is the complete poll. I'd be interested in knowing what the party breakdown was for voters who made their minds up before the campaign began, vs. those who made their minds up during its course. I don't think you can derive that from the numbers given here, but its early and I still need to coffee up.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Ezra Levant: To Know Him Is To Sue Him
Interesting how little role "Free Speech" Issues played during the last election campaign. This battle is over, I think. With M-446 dead and a Tory Majority thwarted, all the Speechies have to show for it is their mounting legal bills.
Oh, and by the way. Some good news re real Free Speech threats. Just linking to material that might be considered defamatory won't get you in legal trouble. Down with Wayne Crookes!
More On Lib Fundraising Problems
Nor is it clear that the Liberals' financial problems are organizational. Unless you're a lawyer who wants to become a judge, why would you send them your hard-earned money instead of contributing to principled parties such as the NDP and Greens?
In other words, once you gave money to the Liberal Party--not because of their platform, which was malleable--because it seemed inevitable that they would win. Since that no longer appears to be the case, what exactly is your donation buying you?
A warning to those who might take the party to the mushy middle. There's gotta be some "there" there.
Cue The Peasants With Pitchforks!
It is highly undesirable that Stephen Harper continue to hold the Prime Ministership for very much longer for a number of reasons.
— First, he has made the mistake of coming to believe that his persona is the personification of Conservatism. Thus he tolerates no views other than his own, is suspicious of others in the party, bullies his MPs, and cannot delegate tasks without giving up personal control.
— Under his regime the PM’s Office (PMO) with over 100 people has consolidated the vices introduced under previous prime ministers. For example, during preparations for elections, candidates are parachuted in, ignoring the wishes of riding associations which increasingly tend to be bypassed anyway.
— The democratic character of the party organization is set aside whenever it is deemed desirable. Even the local handling of candidates is taken away, as was the case with Diane Haskett, a former mayor of London, whose efforts were thwarted by direct interference from Ottawa (which did not like her Christian convictions).
— Also, Harper seems to have turned his back on what he himself understood in earlier days to be threats to the nation, such as the electoral gag laws silencing third parties, as well as the ever more unsavoury actions of Human Rights Commissions which, instead of bringing equality to Canadians, are pitting groups against one another while extinguishing freedom of speech.
It is almost impossible to understate the influence of Mr. de Valk and his magazine, and you can make a good argument that Harper won the '08 election without the SoCon gang on-side and can therefore ignore them going forward. That is, Harper won by ignoring his base, not embracing it. But it is interesting that Mr. de Valk's commentary echoes, in some of its complaints re the anti-democratic process involved in choosing candidates, allegations made by disgruntled non-SoCons within the party. For example, Charles Conn (Mississauga Reform Party candidate in 1993) represents the small government/socially moderate wing of the CPoC. During this election campaign, Mr. Conn wrote:
The history books are full of 'strong leaders' whose dictatorial, my-way-or-the-highway rigidity led to disastrous consequences for their people.
...lwhatever you do, whichever party is involved, shun like the plague every appointed parachute candidate who was shoved down the throats of members in so many constituencies. Just last fall, an impressive majority of Ontarians rejected MMP. Don't let the backroom party big shots in Ottawa sneak it in by stealth.
So what's the possible upshot of this simmering discontent?
MPs should revolt over this “trained-seal” scenario by quietly but aggressively organizing a bloc of members who will, if necessary, break away to form a new Reform party and do what our Prime Minister will not do but what must be done to save Canada.
...a scenario which is probably not likely at the moment. But who knows? Given the economic hardship ahead of the country, and the persistence of Quebecers demanding money from the Conservative government while not offering it much in the way of electoral return, such cracks in the fragile alliance that is the CPoC could be exacerbated.
Update: What I said.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wai Young Files An Appeal
Shipping In An Ice-Free Arctic
David Frum Advocates A Green Shift
The answer is to prevent the cost of oil to the consumer from declining any further. Let consumers pocket and benefit from the decline to US$65. Then impose a stand-by excise tax on any further declines. If oil goes to US$64, the government taxes $1. If the decline continues to $63, $2. And so on.
Consumers will continue to substitute away from oil. Manufacturers will be induced to continue investing in efficiency. Homebuilders will continue to shift to smaller, more centrally located development. Revenues to the governments of producing nations will be squeezed. Revenues to the governments of consuming nations will rise -- and those governments should use the new tax to cut other taxes, especially taxes on work, saving and investment. I’d nominate the corporate income tax as the first tax to cut -- and ideally eliminate.
Before you faint, Frum has been trying to get his fellow conservatives to take AGW seriously, and has in fact been advocating a carbon tax coupled with cuts to other taxes, for a number of years now. Mind you, he went totally quiet on the issue during our recent election campaign.
The Next Leader Of The Ontario Conservative Party?
A: There are greenhouse gases. I disagree that human contributions to greenhouse gases are so significant that we should be hysterical running around suggesting we have to do all these things to prevent its catastrophe.
We've had periods of global warming and global cooling from the beginning of time and there weren't too many cars or factories at the last global warming period... I think science is far from conclusive.
Randy Hillier, if you haven't figured that part out. Incidentally, the WS piece refers to the Lanark Landowners Association, and Ontario Landowners Association, which Hillier played a large role in, as "excellent associations, worth joining and supporting". Well, yeah, if you like spending the night in jail.
Kudos, incidentally, to the new Western Standard. Looks like they're getting their hands on some half decent material these days. (although it looks like this interview first appeared in the Ottawa Sun)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Pinball Will Not Save The Liberal Party Of Canada
Unless you live here, it is hard to appreciate just how much Toronto loves its Pinball. I have had the pleasure of listening to him speak, and he is (at least when delivering a set-piece) very good. Afterwards, though, when he allows himself to mingle with his audience, is when the wild stuff happens. His bodyguard is apparently under instructions to treat the crowd with kid-gloves, and he is almost literally mobbed by (primarily although not entirely) middle-aged white women, usually a couple inches taller than he is, who want to touch him. The mayoralty is his if he wants it, and who knows that that might serve as a stepping stone to higher office.
So while Pinball is not Canada's Obama, at least not yet, he may be our new Mel Lastman.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Sky Stones Over Guelph!
Astronomers think this are likely "stony-type meteorites", pictured top left. Of these, it is written:
Because they so closely resemble rocks, stoney Meteorites are much harder to find and are more valuable than metallic Meteorites.
Get looking people:
Associate Professor Peter Brown and Phil McCausland, a postdoctoral researcher in Planetary Science, are hoping to enlist the help of local residents in recovering one or more possible meteorites that may have crashed.
...find one and you'll have beer and pizza money for a week.
Wente On Pound On Native Savagery
But then how does this square with his remarks being "true", as Ms. Wente claims them to be? Anthropological classifications, presumably in this case something like Lewis H. Morgan's phases of cultural evolution, come and go for the same reason as they do in other areas of knowledge: they are superseded by better and more accurate classifications. The obsolete classifications are then generally referred to as "false".
In any case, its wonderful how Ms. Wente turns a bit of idiocy on the part of Dick Pound into a bout of native bashing.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Senator McCain's Quest For The Presidency Is Over
Thats from Fox News Executive Vice-President John Moody.
And as it should be. McCain's first response was to swallow the whole story hook line and sinker.
The Lancet: Don't Vote For Geezer McCain! He Could Stiff It Any Time!
Ezra On Pankiw: A Quick Fisking
Pankiw can be prosecuted for spreading "discrimination," every MP is at risk. Not a day goes by when MPs don't offend one group or another. We allow it; we expect it; in fact, we give MPs more freedom than any other Canadians, even exempting their debates from defamation law, on the liberal theory that all ideas should be heard, and in the clash of views, the truth will emerge and the country will be better off. It's called parliamentary privilege, and it goes back centuries. It's one of our ancient civil rights, designed to protect the people's representatives from political interference from the King.
Whether or not Pankiw "wins" his trial is irrelevant. He's already lost, and so have we. The message is loud and clear: The CHRC has ended parliamentary immunity.
Mr. Pankiw has already attempted to play the parliamentary immunity card, to which CHRT chairperson Grant Sinclair responded as follows:
 Nor does it appear to us that the PSA, and s. 52.6 in particular, extends the scope of any privilege or immunity from which Members may benefit. Parliamentary privilege provides Members with an absolute immunity from civil or criminal prosecution when speaking in the House of Commons or engaged in a proceeding in Parliament (see J.P.J. Maingot, Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, 2d ed). Over the years, the assertion of parliamentary privilege has varied in its scope and extent. But as the Supreme Court of Canada noted in Vaid (at para. 23), a narrower concept of privilege has developed in more recent times. The Court referred to a 1971 ruling of the Speaker of the House, who stated that parliamentary privilege "does not go much beyond the right of free speech in the House of Commons and the right of a Member to discharge his duties in the House as a member of the House of Commons".Since Mr. Pankiw is not being charged of reading the content of his householders (pamphlets) from the floor of the HOC, parliamentary immunity does not apply to him.
This, by the way, is the same line of reasoning behind Harper's law-suit against the LPoC. And I'm sure the Ez knows just how far privilege extends. He wrote back in February:
Being called a law-breaker is about the worst defamation you could say about someone, especially a lawyer like me. It's a complete fabrication, factually inaccurate and completely unfair. But, because it was uttered in the House of Commons, it is protected by "absolute privilege". Ms. [Raymonde]Folco is immune to a lawsuit.
Today my lawyers fired off this letter to her. And, until she repeats her accusations outside of Parliament, the letter is all that can be done, legally.
And, just as an aside, Ezra writes:
The suit against Pankiw is clearly unconstitutional. In 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that human rights commissions could only pursue "hate" cases against Canadians whose messages were pure evil -- they were explicitly forbidden from touching political speech.
Here he is referring to CHRC vs. Taylor,  3 S.C.R. 892. But, of course, as I pointed out yesterday, this case referred exclusively to the constitutionality of Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Pankiw is being charged with violating sections sections 5, 12, and 14. So while Levant's argument may be relevant to some other case, it is not relevant to this one.
I Didn't Know This Kind Of Stuff Still Worked
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This government can’t control the price of oil, but it could have controlled the rampant increases in costs by simply managing growth. Will the Premier admit that by ignoring industry requests, requests from former Premier Lougheed, and just about everyone else to manage growth, this government has made a serious mistake?
Premier Ed Stelmach:
Obviously, now we see the true colour of the Leader of the Opposition. He sure as heck isn’t a capitalist, talking about managing growth through the government. Sounds more like what they were doing in the former Soviet Russia.
That was said on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008. I especially like how Stelmach employed the folksy "heck" to show that he is a man of the people. That was a nice touch.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Color Me Skeptical...
(A quick note, since the article linked doesn't make it clear for a couple of paragraphs: the gal above is supposed to be a McCain volunteer, the backwards "B" is supposed to stand for "Barack")
But if this incident happened yesterday at about 9 pm Pittsburgh time--not even 24 hours ago-- and the backwards B was carved with a knife (as the story suggests), then that wound has healed up awfully nice.
So, maybe I'll feel dumb tomorrow, but right now I'm not buying it.
Rob Breakenridge: His Speech Is Free, His Math Sub-Standard
Some further thoughts on yesterday's post and specifically a point raised by Ezra Levant - one that demands some further attention. Ezra writes:
The CHRC has long ago abandoned the legal limits set out by the Supreme Court in its 1990 Taylor case, that prohibited "hate" prosecutions of political views. They are violating the constitution.
Ezra's specifically referring to the landmark Supreme Court ruling which narrowly upheld Section 13 - under which a John Ross Taylor was charged and under which former MP Jim Pankiw has been charged. You can read the full decision here.
Of the argument which follows, I can only say that I was impressed by it and hope Mr. Breakenridge one day finds a context to which it is appropriate.
However, Mr. Pankiw is not being charged under Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. He is being charged under sections 5, 12, and 14. While 12 deals with Publication of discriminatory notices, etc. , 5 and 14 refer to the discrimination and harassment in the provision of services. As householders, Pankiw's pamphlets are a public good/service provided by an MP to his constituents and whoever else receives them. In this case, the publications were used to harass and discriminate against a sub-set of these constituents. That, at least, is the argument.
The fact that the service provided was a pamphlet, a vehicle of communication, is tangential, and therefore so are the implications of this case for the current debate over section 13. Certainly, a repeal of section 13 would not have had any effect of this case going forward whatsoever.
Breakenridge provides a link to the original pamphlets.
Gawd You're Sexy, Part II
Smile, baby, you're beautiful.
Non Un-Defeat Has A Million Fathers
A few weeks ago, Stephen Harper was headed for a majority government and 4 years of unchallenged control over our country and our environmental policies. Coming together like never before, 63% of Canadian voters stopped him. And that's just the beginning. It was close, so every bit of effort mattered. In just the 2 weeks before election day, Avaaz members rallied to run full page newspaper ads and hundreds of radio ads across the country, raised over $135,000 in a few days, produced a song from top Canadian artists that played on radio stations across the country, helped get over 400,000 Canadians to receive voting guidance from voteforEnvironment.ca, and took over 15000 pledges to vote strategically in close races.
Not sure I would give them that much credit, but Avaaz did inspire a nasty news release from the John Baird campaign. Way to go folks, you made 'em look!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Bill Casey A Tory Again?
Earlier this week, Kady hosted an interesting discussion on the make-up of parliamentary committees given the number of MPs from each party in the HOC. I wonder if Casey's return (assuming that he is returning) will give the Tories their long-sought committee Majority?
Update for NN readers:
Recapping Kadey's math
143 MPS + Casey = 144 MPS= 46.7% of House Seats.
12 (standard committee size) x 0.467 = 5.6 members per committee, if these are allocated in proportion to HOC seats.
5.6 rounded up gives 6 seats per committee. Where the committee is chaired a Member of an opposition party, that is a limited majority.
Richard Warman Pot Pourri
An Edmonton man has been ordered to pay $50,000 in damages to anti-hate crusader Richard Warman, who was targeted for death in a series of vile Internet postings.
The threats posted by William Grosvenor, a middle-aged stamp dealer, were 'vicious, profane and extreme,' Ontario Superior Court Judge Lynn Ratushny concluded in a ruling released this week.
The full judgement is here. My favorite bit, from Botiuk vs. Toronto Free Press Publications Ltd., is this definition of a defamatory publication: Note how similar the language is to section 13 of the Human Rights Act:
(13).1 It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.
This makes sense if you consider hate speech (and I have heard it described this way) as defamation against groups. But, since a number of people have made the argument that the language of (13).1 is hopelessly vague, it also begs the question: how is that vague if the concept of defamation is clear? Speechys?...Anyone??
Also, got my first look at Shaidle's The Tyranny of Nice. A review may follow eventually but, at a mere 98 pages, it very much looks like a publication some lawyer took a pair of garden shears too (severely clipped, in other words). Most of defamatory material on Lucy and Warman and Kinsella is missing. There's nothing, for example, re Kinsella's alleged superfluous 3rd nipple. In fact, I can't find any reference to Warren at all (although I have admittedly only glanced at my new E-book). And nothing about me! That really hurts. Anyway, what is left seems a boring cut-and paste of bowdlerized versions of blog posts you've probably already read. Like porn with the screw scenes marked over with red ink.
I Bet They Had Their Fingers Crossed
Rae said today the two men have reached an understanding that the race must be kept civil and respectful.
Yeah, and Rae has already sent supporter Ray Heard out to trash-talk Iggy on Conservative news sites.
The last leadership race was fun. This one already looks to become an embarrassment, but I'm sure it will achieve its own form of trashy glory before all is said and done. Hair will get pulled, spectacles get broken. Iggy will step on a rake. Twice. And accidentally set his own tie on fire. And randomly accuse the Latverians of war-crimes.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Liberals Stuck With One Last Delegated Convention?
Surely the National Executive could make an executive decision on behalf of the membership to implement one-member, one-vote now.
Campbell Clark says surely not:
This point comes up every time there's a leadership race, and lots of people, Liberals and otherwise, agree with you. It's too late to change it this time because it is written into the Liberal Party constitution. (Although some argue they cannot really afford it.)
He also has this bit of good news:
The Liberals are not swimming in cash, but their debt is not debilitating either. They'll be able to finance reasonably ordinary operations and pay for the next election campaign
Kyoto Lawsuit Against Harper Government Fails
Two environmental advocacy groups, Friends of the Earth and Ecojustice Canada, sued the government in September and asked the judge to order the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to comply with a June law requiring it to prepare a plan to meet the emissions targets of the Kyoto Protocol. The law passed with the support of opposition parties, which had a majority of the votes in Canada's parliament.
Such an order would be so devoid of meaningful content and the nature of any response to it so legally intangible that the exercise would be meaningless,'' Judge Robert Barnes said in a 40-page ruling issued today.
Pity, but there you go.
At this moment environmentalists should be looking to make sure the Tories implement the plan they have already offered. It is in fact a series of regulations that set intensity targets for polluters, and then gives them several offset-buying alternatives should they fail to meet these targets. It sucks, but it's there. Should a new government come in, raze the regulatory mechanism that the Tories are building, and start from scratch--well, this counts as another form of delay, doesn't it? Instead, our hypothesized new government should toughen up whatever regulations the Tories leave behind (assuming they are serious about implementing any sort of green plan).
Update: Ruling is here.
On Liberal Party Problems
If they were serious about avoiding another few years of leadership-related infighting, the Liberals would revise their process - either with one of the more drastic steps I suggested last week, or by switching to a one-member, one-vote system. But in their frantic rush to replace Dion, it seems there's not enough time to ensure they don't elect another version of him.
Pretty common sense thus far. One reason I've never actually joined the Liberal party is because signing up is really just the first step in acquiring a say in the direction of the party--in, for example, getting an opportunity to help choose a leader. The second step is brown-nosing your way into the favor of some local riding poo-bah and getting selected as a delegate. And, even once you get to the convention, bizarre and archaic rules "bind" you to a candidate you may not personally support for a long stretch of voting.
And, oh yes, at every step the party wants to suck money out of you.
With the Tories, it was a 10$ charge and I was in (back in the 1990s). I am given to understand that the NDP process is also quite a bit less baroque. If the Libs want more money out of their Members then, paradoxically, they are going to have to treat them as something more than cash cows.
But what Radwanski doesn't seem to understand is that, at the 2006 Montreal convention the Party rejected one-member one-vote and decided to keep instead that three ring monkey show, that combination of bacchanal and smoke filled rooms, known as a delegated convention. So, as far as I can determine, another one more of these at least is unavoidable.
What should happen now, then, is that they should get the damn thing out of the way. And both a new leader and a series of party reforms--recommitting the Liberals to their grass roots and ditching the convention format--should emerge from the May meeting in Vancouver.
I would like something to be done sooner, but I don't see how that is possible.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Dion, Interim Leader
The main event is going to be ugly enough. Why be forced to endure the warm-ups?
Update: Count me as being one of these guys:
Some Liberals privately suspect Dion decided to stay until his successor is chosen in part because he wanted to avoid a power struggle between the Rae and Ignatieff camps over who would be interim leader.
Unknown Group of Seven Piece Surfaces: Its Just More Rocks!
Cap And Trade In NY Times
An interesting twist: during the last several years emissions in the participant states have gone down instead of up, due to the current economic slowdown, mild weather, and a gradual shift to natural gas.
Roger Pielke Jr. thinks this tells against the whole idea of Carbon Trading because, from their current level
...emissions will have to grow by more than 1% per year for the RGGI to even have any effect on business as usual. And even a growth rate of 2% would result in a reduction in emissions from 2008 of less than 4%. So for RGGI to actually make a difference on emissions trajectory for these 10 states will require a stark departure from emissions trends over the past 9 years. Energy prices, fuel switching, and the push for alternative energy all work against this for this region. Champions of cap and trade will find themselves in the awkward position of cheering for rapid emissions growth for RGGI to show any teeth. Otherwise, it is just business as usual.
But if "business as usual" is a downward trend, what is the problem other than the set-up costs involved in RGGI look somewhat ill-spent? But then the system is there should, upon an economic recovery, the necessary technological advances not have emerged to ensure a permanent reduction in emissions.
More ominous, perhaps:
This fact is compounded by the fact that leftover credits from one auction will rollover to the next, which means it is possible that 2009's extra 20 million tons will roll over to 2010, whose extra 40 million will roll over to 2011 and etc. This effectively means that the "market signal" which will demonstrate the time to pour money into clean energy industries and technology will never arrive.
...which point is perhaps met by noting that the total allowances available can be adjusted up or down as required.
(Note: you can see, though, how the application and adjustment of a simple carbon tax could meet all of these challenges much more quickly and efficiently)
Apparently, Everyone Brought Down Rahim Jaffer
Mat Savelli, who operated the site, said the swaps, combined with another 20 at another site he was monitoring, would have accounted for about 23 per cent of Duncan's 463 validated vote margin of victory. "I won't pretend to take credit for it, but it definitely made a difference," said the 28-year-old Canadian who is attending school at Oxford University in England. "If you can say vote swapping delivered a quarter of those votes and maybe strategic voting delivered a quarter to a half, it made a difference, but there's no way to measure it."
This goes with Michael Geist's claim that his anti Bill C-61 FaceBook Site was the real culprit in Jaffer's defeat.
In any case, a whole lotta of activism for not much of a result.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
When Beer Is The Solution, What Is The Problem?
D'you know you can buy personal explosives (fireworks) on the First Nations reserve up there any time of the year? Lotta stuff got blown up.
Anyway, must sleep now.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
This fin-fish blimp is from an entry to an airship competition in Germany.
Coolest thing I've seen all week.
The Enormous Dick Pound
We must not forget that 400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages, with scarcely 10,000 inhabitants of European origin, while in China, we're talking about a 5,000-year-old civilization.'
Note: Image above refers to what Dick is. Not what Dick's pounding.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Disgruntled Greens Call For E. May's Head
KLRvu Research: How'd They Do?
October 8th, it turns out Gloria Kovach Conservative Candidate has reversed the trendline seen in a poll done by the same company taken in August, immediately before the by-election was supposed to happen.
Kovach is now at 29.94% support with the Liberal Frank Valeriote coming in at 27.63% - which is a significant shift from previous support levels which pegged Kovach trailing by roughly 10%.
'I would suggest that the by-election was able to take on a life of its own in the dog days of summer and allowed the Liberals to run a strong local campaign that seemingly kept their numbers at historic levels. As we have seen in the past, a federal election can usurp the issues that may have been influencing a by-election. I would suggest Gloria has benefited from running a better second campaign, the national campaign simply occurring, and from the growth of the Green party. The Green and NDP have risen considerably and taken support directly from Valeriote,' said Allan Bruinooge.
Requiem For A Green Plan: The Green Shift As Policy
(As an aside, note that in the post above Kinsella writes:
Sifting through the entrails leaked out to the media, was I wrong to oppose a carbon tax right now? No way. I'm for punishing polluters, not consumers. Cap-and-trade; not this.
Warren knows that's all bullshit. You raise prices on polluters and they raise prices on the consumer that purchases their polluting service. Same person pays in the end. A C&T system is just a slightly more dishonest way of going about the process.
And lets admit up front that the Tories quite thoroughly mis-represented the GS .
Lets just consider it as policy.
As policy (and I say this as someone who loyally supported the GS while occasionally bringing up caveats), it was flawed in several respects.
For example, the idea that the GS was a wealth redistribution scheme contained an element of truth. Don't ask me; just ask (now ex-) Liberal MP Ken Boshcoff, who wrote that:
The Liberal Party’s Green Shift announced on June 19th marked the most aggressive anti-poverty program in 40 years. The ‘shift’ will transfer wealth from rich to poor, from the oil patch to the rest of the country, and from the coffers of big business to the pockets of low-income Canadians.
Now, Mr. Boshcoff didn't come out and actually say that the GS would send Alberta money East, but we all know where the "oil patch" is, don't we?
And as much I wouldn't mind seeing Alberta screwed out of its oily dough, for other reasons it always bothered me that the GS was not a purely environmental initiative. Environmental concerns were being used as an excuse to scare up funds for the broader Liberal platform, about which I personally had far more ambiguous feelings. I mean, my days as a compassionate Lefty are way past gone. I am far more worried these days about saving the bunnies than helping single-moms or the homeless. And I don't care who knows it. Animals are innocent; people are assholes. But whatever.
Similarly, it bothered me that the only sense in which the GS was "revenue neutral" was in the broader metaphoric sense, in that the Government would spend 1$ for each dollar the GS collected.
And the last thing that bothered me was the general laziness with which the plan was introduced. For example, I cheered when, in September, Dion tweaked the GS so as to assuage certain rural concerns over fuel, heating and other costs. But the fact (and I think Paul Wells pointed this out somewhere) that a Carbon Tax would effect certain regions of Canada more than others should have been obvious at the outset. Anyone with a slightest knowledge of the issue should have realized this. So the Dion Liberals offered a hugely complex green plan without having thought it all though, that none of their MPs ever really understood or could explain in detail, and then they went and changed it. The whole thing would have been a bit more bullet proof if these attempts at amelioration had been in the original version.
Personally, I was reminded of the whole Dion/Suzuki thing, where Dion, before he became Lib Leader even, produced a green policy document that contained cut-and-paste material from "The Air We Breathe" put out by the David Suzuki Foundation. For the Libs Enviro Guy, Dion has been pretty sloppy about assembling and presenting his whole political/environmental philosophy.
In any case, I wouldn't want to over-accentuate the negative. In fact the GS, if fully implemented by a Dion government, would have had minuscule negative economic effects. And, in fact, a Cap and Trade system simply = a Carbon tax with twice the bureaucracy. But, beyond the Tory disinformation campaign, there were plenty of aspects of the GS that lent themselves to legitimate criticism. I don't know if it is entirely impossible to run on a tax, but the Libs made it particularly difficult to run on this one.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
CanWest Stocks Now Worth Less Than Their Weight In Toilet Paper
I'm going over to their building on Don Mills to throw dimes at the windows. See if anyone comes out to fetch them.
Did Copyright Law Bring Down Rahim Jaffer And Insure A Tory Minority?
“I identified that area [Edmonton-Strathcona] as a potential copyright riding, which includes the University of Alberta, last January,” Geist said. “The separation between the two candidates was only a few hundred votes, so it’s certainly within the realm of possibility that a few hundred people voted the way they did because of the copyright bill.
“No Bill C-61 and perhaps those votes don’t even turn up,” he added.
Geist also seems to think some version of the Tory copyright legislation will be on the agenda this time around as well. The more it looks like C-61, the less likely it is to pass.
The Only Reformed Senate Is A Dead Senate
On the political level, an NEP in reverse, in other words.
Ontario and Quebec MPs of all stripes should oppose any such changs. Abolition should be the only reform acceptable to Central Canada.
(But of course talk of Senate reform at this point is simply a slice of red meat waved before the Tory base. It isn't like Harper is serious about pushing Senate reform in the face of a looming recession and looming deficits. But if he ever got serious about it, that's what I would say.)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
A new leadership race now means no effective opposition for another year, means the new Lib leader has to abstain as often as the old, means the party remains broke and divided. Do people really want to go through this all again just to feed Iggy and Rae's voracious ego?
And, Iggy, if there is a leadership race and you choose to run in it, I will hound you to the gates of Hell.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Stupid Election Laws
(PS. East Coast networks are now declaring that the new government will be the party whose name rhymes with "Dory" and that the form of their government will be that signified by a word that rhymes more or less with "Binority" (if that is a word).
See You On The Other Side
I am predicting that the Liberal Party wakes up tomorrow and, having avoided disaster and realizing that another election could come at any time, decides this is no time to go switching horses. Dion gets a 2nd chance; Count Iggy returns to his coffin.
For this reason, the Tory strategy of making every damn thing a confidence motion no longer serves. Who knows how long the next parliament will last, but I wouldn't be surprised if it staggers along for a good while, passing budgets but otherwise harmless.
I am predicting that The Green Shift becomes history and the Libs quickly embrace a cap and trade system along the lines of the Conservative/NDP proposals. The Carbon Tax was an unfortunate attempt at being honest with the voters, and it didn't work. Bye bye! Cap and Trade has exactly the same effect, even regionally, but it is more cumbersome and doesn't have the word "tax" in it. Give the people what they want!
Of all the party leaders, Elizabeth May will have the hardest time of things post-election. The Greens might get more votes than the Bloc, and yet acquire zero seats in reward. Further, while advocating strategic voting to prevent a Conservative Majority is good and noble, it is not the kind of thing that serves the long-term interest of your own party. I don't know what will happen to her, but I expect some bitterness from the Green grassroots. (And, oh yes, running against MacKay was the single stupidest strategic decision by a politician in the last two years. There were other seats she could have won. Expect some second guessing over that.)
So I may have a wrap-up post for tomorrow morning, or not, but by the time you read it I will be on a plane back to TO. See you on the other side!
Solar Cycle 24 Seems To Be Underway
Apparently, the real scientists who predicted that this quiet period was not unprecedented got it right after all.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Layton Trying To Throw One To The Tories?
This could be a close riding. Last time, Conservative Bev Oda, international cooperation minister, won over the Liberals by 10,000 votes. The NDP pulled down close to 10,000. Without the NDP this time, Ransom argues it's a horserace between Oda and his father. Because McKeever resigned after the withdrawal deadline, his name still appears on the ballot and the Liberal party's understanding is that votes cast for him will still count in calculating the party's federal stipend after the election. Most important for the Liberal campaign, it could bleed votes away from Ransom in a part of battleground southern Ontario where every vote counts.
NDP still campaigning for a disgraced and withdrawn candidate...and doing it, in part at least for money, possibly in violation of Election Canada regulations? I guess they are ready to govern.
Just a note: McKeever's comments were not anti-Semitic, just jerk-like, threatening, and sexist.
HT Ms. Kraus.
Khan't Let Go
Maybe he's seen the polls and is trying to switch back...
...And The Group He Founded Hates Morgentaler
Peter Kent made the comment during a recent campaign debate in Toronto’s Thornhill riding.
Buckets and myself have been trying to figure out why the group Peter Kent founded, the CCD, whose mandate says nothing about Canada's abortion laws (or lack thereof), appears on a list of organizations supporting the Canada Family Action Coalition complaint to the Judicial Council (.pdf here) re Henry Morgentaler's receiving the Order of Canada. In fact all I've got for my troubles in this direction are some vague legal-sounding threats from the CCD's President Al Gordon .
Nevertheless, they DO appear on this list, and nobody will say why.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
BCL Interviewed In The Thunderbird
Akins agrees that despite the blogosphere’s importance, it is not a replacement for traditional news. “No Canadian MSM [Mainstream Media] outlet has the resources to do that kind of digging on the 1,500 plus candidates…but smart MSM reporters will keep an eye on smart bloggers who do have the time to keep a special eye out in their part of the world.”
The bloggers accept the limitations of newsrooms, but their charity doesn’t extend to the war rooms. Gallinger thinks that parties must alter their views on candidates’ freedom of expression. “Otherwise, I don’t know how they’re ever going to find any competent candidates in ten years time.”
Murphy disagrees. He thinks the parties simply did a bad job of vetting. “The reporters are saying that they don’t have enough time, but I don’t buy that with the parties.” He attributes their oversight to underestimating the average citizen’s facility with the web.
Murphy expects the parties to become stricter with their candidate selection, not more relaxed.
“The next election won’t be nearly as fun,” he says.
Just to elaborate on the disagreement Jared and I seem to have. There's an old saying: if the mountain won't come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain. Propounding 9/11 truther doctrine, uttering threats, will not become acceptable behavior just because these things are done via a blog or other on-line forum. What I think will be the much more likely result of the blogging shenanigans of the 2008 campaign is that the parties will raise the standard on even their 3rd string candidates for fear of them embarrassing the national campaign. And any bloggers who see themselves as potential candidates one day will take care to moderate their online opinions, or at least the expression of their online opinions.
People like me and Jared and Jago and Buckets and so forth will have to find other ways of making ourselves annoying.
The Price Of Being A Big Tent Party
DOUGLAS: Without going riding by riding, there are a fair number of candidates out there who are taking a strong stand for life. So, I'm hoping that when the election is over on Tuesday we'll find that we have a good contingent of pro-lifers in the main parties that we can work with.
LIFESITENEWS: I presume those would be only Conservatives and Liberals. Is that correct?
Clearly, earlier reports of Anti-Abortion Green and NDP candidates were incorrect.
PS. Sorry if the posts are getting a bit cryptic. The family has arrived and we are all doing the Thanksgiving thing.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Wouldn't It Be Funny If...
What would happen to Dion? His conditions of victory have generally been seen to be: more seats with respect to the Tories and he stays, fewer and the knives come out. This 3rd options doesn't seem to have been considered.
What would happen to Harper? Would he want to stay on after having been denied a majority twice?
Mark Steyn and Macleans Acquitted
Update from the "Speechys are bone-heads" department.
Mrs. [Kari ] Simpson’s plan is simple—and audacious. She plans to file a human rights complaint against the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.
To whom will she present the complaint?
To the tribunal itself!
“Of course, they can’t really hear a case against themselves,” she said, “so my complaint would automatically be passed on to the British Columbia Supreme Court for judicial review. But even if they were arrogant enough to hear the case, the rules say that any Human Rights Tribunal decision automatically comes up for judicial review. So one way or another, my case will be heard.
Her complaint is based on seven years’ worth of complaints to the tribunal, all made by Christians alleging religious bias against them—and all dismissed without a hearing. During this same time, the tribunal accepted many complaints against Christians, filed by homosexual activists, many of those complaints legally baseless, or even frivolous.
The tribunal may not be able to hear a case against themselves, but since the BCHRT "rules of practice and procedure" state that
A person must file a complaint:
a.within 6 months of the alleged contravention of the Code; or
b.if a continuing contravention of the Code is alleged, within 6 months of the last alleged instance of the contravention.
...Mrs. Simpson's detailing alleged offenses back to the early part of the century will get her nowhere. So, sorry ma'am, I suspect your complaint is bound for the waste-paper basket.
By the way, Kari Simpson is the lady who sued Rafi Mair for calling her a Nazi, and lost.
KLR VU's Latest (from Guelph)
Given the rough start these folks got off to, and their unique polling methodology, I'd be interested in seeing how they do. They may be the future of polling (or not).
Friday, October 10, 2008
Stephen Harper In Shit In Quebec
MSM Picks Up Ed Sieb Story
I have the audio-file and if anyone know how to post such a thing to blogger, please let me know in the comments.
Also, as you see below Mr. Sieb denies that he was the man behind the remarks. If this turns out to be true I will offer Mr. Sieb and Mr. Salibi a most fulsome apology. But I think the connection has been pretty firmly established.
Anchor: There are calls tonight for a Conservative Party official to be removed, after anti-Islamic comments surfaced on-line. As CTV's John Hua reports, leaders of Ottawa's Muslim community are outraged.
Unidentified speaker: This is nonsense.
Reporter: It was a post on a right wing website, this woman says defeats years of working for understanding.
Unidentified speaker: It's hate mongering, and Muslims have been at the -- under attack since 2001, 9/11, 2001. And for the past seven years, we have worked so hard to build a good image of ourselves.
Reporter: The comments were found on freedominion.com, a self proclaimed voice of principled conservatism. On the site, a user by the name Ed S. from Ottawa wrote "Ottawa is filled with hijabs, burquas and full veils, like it was a village in Pakistan, appalling." Another online site, Big City Lib credited the comments to Conservative member Ed Sieb, a worker on the Ottawa-South campaign.
Unidentified speaker: Freedom of expression stops when it attacks me or my rights. It attacks me or anybody from my community as -- as he has projected us.
Reporter: CTV News contacted Ed Sieb for his reaction, and over the phone, he told us that he is a member of the Conservative Party, and is connected with the candidate in Ottawa South. But when it comes to the website www.freedominion.com, he says he frequents the sites ones or twice every month but is not the user Ed S. and has nothing to do with the hateful remarks. When CTV went to hear Sieb's side of the story at a agreed place and time, no one was home.
Unidentified speaker: Because we are reacting, he's denying. He's in denial. Why would somebody else use his name and post such a hateful message on it, and especially if he's working for the Conservative Party.
Reporter: She says the Ottawa Muslim community also deserves an apology from the Prime Minister.
John Hua, CTV News.
Time To Sack Puffy
PS. Adam Radwanksi has a nice bit on how inappropriate it is for Harper to sling his own mud on issues like this, legitimate or not. Something I've written about a couple of times.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Stay Cold Part II
"I don't want to say that we go around the country having a different program in every province or every region. We're a national government. We have to govern for the interests of the country," he said.
Actually, Mr . Harper, you do go around doing having different programs for every province and every region. For example, your youth crime policy, which says jail 'em at 14 everywhere but in Quebec. What you don't do is offer anything specifically tailored to the cities and their needs. Hence the result you see: no love, no votes.
Coyne To Harper: Stay Cold, Brother!
Oh, and by the way, snowed under by the macro-lousy economic news of the last couple of weeks was this smaller piece of lousy news: Toronto resale home prices last month fell from the same month in the previous year for the first time in ten years. Previously, they had been going up at about the rate of inflation or a little less, even while sales themselves were off 15% or so from 2007. That probably indicates a significant change in buyer/seller psychology. You might continue to price you house higher if you feel that the market will turn around in the short term. When you start cutting the asking figure, that can mean the market consensus is that things will suck for awhile.
Speechys Rise Up!
I appreciate you taking the forward your concerns to my office. I would like to express that I and the Conservative government strongly believe that individual rights and freedom of speech are paramount in a free and democratic society.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Market Meltdown As An 100% Capitalist Green Plan
"It's a cruel thing to say ... but if we are looking at a slowdown in the economy, there will be less fossil fuels burning, so for the climate it could be an advantage," Crutzen told Reuters in an interview.
Recently a number of economists have argued that one means of cutting down on carbon emissions is via a "planned economic recession". Apparently, an unplanned one will work as well.
Ed Sieb, Bearer Of The CPoC Secret Agenda
My fondest dream is assasinating Yvonne Ridley! That vile appologist for Islamofascism.
Whoo hoo! While Stephen Harper's been careful to give the 2008 version of CPoC a moderate face, its back-rooms seem packed with the crew of the old Reform Party crazy train.
This, by the way, is Yvonne Ridley. Not a particularly admirable person, but...
Stephen Harper Flop Sweat Time!
When the two biggest items in your election platform amount to climb-downs from earlier initiatives--in the case of cuts to arts funding an initiative announced what two weeks ago?--then you are clearly making up policy in response to the latest polls, and it is obvious you have redefined the term "plan" so that whatever it is you have amounts to one.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Questions For Ottawa South Tory Candidate Elie Salibi
There's a fellow that posts on a Far Right Political Forum called FreeDominion using the moniker "EdS". He is an interesting guy. Here's something he wrote about Muslims:
Yeah... well... you ought to live here in Ottawa... hijabs, burkhas and full veils all over the place. Medieval nonsense, if you ask me. And the men!!! Wearing jalabas, and shalwar kameez, with sandals, and walking in the middle of the street, like it was a village in Pakistan. Appalling!!
When asked what happens when you hit a Muslim with a car, EdS responds:
Oh, G-d, don't do that! You'd be surrounded by hordes of Arabs in a moment, all demanding your death! It would be like a scene out of the aftermath of an Iraqi IED bombing - hordes of kids standing on top of the car, more hordes of ululating veiled women, men in jalabas and sandals milling around.
I purposely drive a wide berth around them, when I see them in the street. I know better!
Lovely stuff! And you can find more of EdS fascinating opinions on gays, for example, here.
Now, interestingly enough, EdS describes himself as a moderator on the Canada Divided website, which advocates Quebec separatism, among other things. When you check the Canada Divided member-list, it is obvious that the EdS from FreeDominion is one Ed Sieb. For example, Ed Sieb is the moderator of the "War on Anglos" forum, and posts several times here. Also, the link to his website goes back to FreeDominion.
Now, Mr. Salibi, here's the kicker. Ed Sieb seems to be working for you. He is listed as being the Electronic Newsletter Editor of the Ottawa South Conservative EDA. Further, I have heard but cannot confirm that he is currently your "policy co-chair", and he certainly appears to have been involved in your campaign as of early September. Is any of this information out of date? And, if not, are willing to stand behind Mr. Siebs view as expressed above? And, if not, why is he working for you?
Note: I haven't figured out a way to link to individual FreeD posts, so you might have to scroll down to see the material I am referencing.
Tory Reb Strikes Back...Again!
Now Charles has a message for the Canadian people!
The history books are full of 'strong leaders' whose dictatorial, my-way-or-the-highway rigidity led to disastrous consequences for their people.
Perhaps it would be better for Canadians to keep the Harper-controlled Tories in check for a while longer by only electing enough of them to form another minority government.
Let's see if they can start to lead by the democratic policies the country so desperately needs instead of copying Liberal pandering.
Suggestion: unless your current MP has been an absolute trainwreck, re-elect him or her.
And whatever you do, whichever party is involved, shun like the plague every appointed parachute candidate who was shoved down the throats of members in so many constituencies. Just last fall, an impressive majority of Ontarians rejected MMP. Don't let the backroom party big shots in Ottawa sneak it in by stealth.
Charles W. Conn, Mississauga.
Take THAT, Ray Heard!!