Wednesday, July 29, 2009
"I supported him [Obama], I voted for him, I will not again."
Update: Kathy Shaidle agrees with Ed Morrisey that "Gates should have stood on civil liberties, not race" and he would have provided a "teaching moment".
Sure, and if my dear old Aunt Lois had wheels she'd be a bus. Gates is a race baiter, so his first instinct was to get his back up about "racist cops". Had Gates not been Gates he might have used ordinary common sense and cooperated with Crowley who was there to protect his home from a suspected burglary in progress. In which case, Obama wouldn't have been suckered into defending his pal's race baiting and we wouldn't be hearing about any of this.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I don’t know about open primaries or other reforms but I don't buy your initial premise. There is no "problem" with so-called "low voter turn-out". The 59% turn-out in the last federal election was excellent. It certainly doesn’t represent a "democratic deficit" and neither do the other quoted turn-out numbers of 51% and 41% for BC and Alberta respectively.
People don’t vote for a wide range of reasons but my guess is general apathy counts for the greatest numbers - they don’t vote because politics is not really relevant to their lives. They’re not tuned in to the various party platforms and so it doesn’t matter to them which representative or party is elected.
So whatever the voter turn-out and whatever their reasons, in a free society people are entitled to their apathy, to be left alone if they so choose. Everyone doesn’t have to be a political junky - and thank God everyone isn’t. Moreover, people who are unaware of the issues and party platforms have a duty NOT to vote - as their votes would only add random noise or, worse, distortion to the process.
Why not treat election results as a statistical sampling of voter preferences and not get anxious about voter turn-out? Let’s face it, a sample of 30%, 40% or more is a very LARGE sample. The daily polls which attempt to predict election results in the run-ups to elections typically consist of one or two thousand respondents.
So let’s not tinker with the system with a goal of enhancing voter turn-out. This could ultimately lead to idiocies as in Australia where voting is compulsory or to hokey proportional representation schemes. Both would be big mistakes.
So please don't encourage our electoral officers. Instead, spend your time and energy tackling some of the real democratic deficits such as unelected senators and regional inequities in seat distributions.
Excellent comment thread too.
‘I’m a natural scientist. I’m out there every day, buried up to my neck in sh**, collecting raw data. And that’s why I’m so sceptical of these models, which have nothing to do with science or empiricism but are about torturing the data till it finally confesses.
... Eco-guilt is a first-world luxury. It’s the new religion for urban populations which have lost their faith in Christianity. The IPCC report is their Bible. Al Gore and Lord Stern are their prophets.’
... Reading Plimer’s Heaven And Earth is at once an enlightening and terrifying experience. Enlightening because, after 500 pages of heavily annotated prose (the fruit of five years’ research), you are left in no doubt that man’s contribution to the thing they now call ‘climate change’ was, is and probably always will be negligible. Terrifying, because you cannot but be appalled by how much money has been wasted, how much unnecessary regulation drafted because of a ‘problem’ that doesn’t actually exist.
Friday, July 24, 2009
By now this is old news but here’s some interesting commentary on the subject:
... let us examine the issue of racial profiling as it pertains — or doesn’t — to Mr. Gates’s arrest. As I wrote on Wednesday, the suggestion that Gates was "profiled" is ludicrous. Gates was not simply driving or walking along and into the awareness of some racist cop looking to exert authority over him.
... if Crowley’s account is accurate, it was Gates who profiled him, imputing racial animus as the reason for the sergeant’s presence on the front porch.
Somehow the president in the last few hours, in his now characteristic stereotyping, has managed to insult the nation's police with his "stupidly" comment, the nation's surgeons with his reference to greedy tonsil-cutting, and the nation's elderly with his aspirin quip — all reminiscent of the "typical white person" castoff, Pennsylvania clingers speech, and the Special Olympics one-liner. Given his propensity to apologize abroad for the purported sins of other earlier Americans, can we expect some "I'm sorry"s for his own clumsy generalizations?
He should have said, "I am a friend of Gates, and therefore I'm inclined to believe his story. But since there's no way I can know what actually happened, I'll decline a comment."
... Instead, he developed the Gates' narrative of racism, and I think in a situation in which it was at least, as of now, entirely unwarranted.
Hope and change in Obama’s "post-racial America".
... whereas Gates’s rantings about police bias might ultimately be dismissed as standard ivory-tower posturing, Obama has now put the presidential imprimatur on a set of untruths that will only fuel disrespect for the law and impede the police in their efforts to protect inner-city residents from crime.
Update: Mark Steyn:
... The photograph of the arrest shows a bullet-headed black cop – Sgt. Leon Lashley, I believe – standing in front of the porch while behind him a handcuffed Gates yells accusations of racism. This is the pitiful state the Bull Connors of the 21st century are reduced to, forced to take along a squad recruited from the nearest Benetton ad when they go out to whup some uppity Negro boy.
As professor Gates jeered at the officers, "You don't know who you're messin' with." Did Sgt. Crowley have to arrest him? Probably not. Did he allow himself to be provoked by an obnoxious buffoon? Maybe. I dunno. I wasn't there. Neither was the president of the United States, or the governor of Massachusetts or the mayor of Cambridge. All of whom have declared themselves firmly on the side of the Ivy League bigshot. And all of whom, as it happens, are African American. A black president, a black governor and a black mayor all agree with a black Harvard professor that he was racially profiled by a white-Latino-black police team, headed by a cop who teaches courses in how to avoid racial profiling. The boundless elasticity of such endemic racism suggests that the "post-racial America" will be living with blowhard grievance-mongers like professor Gates unto the end of time.
The Liberals claim that it will "boost the economy". Bull shit! The real money quote is here:
[Finance Minister] Hansen said ... "In B.C., we have some big budget challenges because of declining revenues. This will help us to ensure we can continue to provide health care, education and vital social services.""... big budget challenges" - no doubt exacerbated by massive Olympic Games cost overruns. Any way you slice it this is just one more giant freaking TAX GRAB.
The new tax will hit a wide variety of goods and services now exempt from PST - the restaurant industry being one big example. But the single biggest and most important asset most people have is their home. New homes will now cost tens of thousands of dollars more. Real estate commissions and lawyers’ fees will be taxed a further 7%.
It’s time for the BC Conservative party to get rolling.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Today Publius’ at The Shotgun enlightens us in a post entitled "Wither Red Toryism". I don’t know if that title was a spelling error or a wish that Red-Toryism would just wither and die.
Anyway, Publius refers to an article in the Toronto Star that waxes nostalgic for has-been dweeb Joe Clark, progressive conservatism and Red Toryism. Apparently having a Blue Tory right wing representing the Canadian right is just too much - a left/lib "right" is needed:
We are all the losers as a result of this victory of the Reform party, its metamorphosis into a new Conservative party, and the new rigidity of the right.
Oh, really?! This is, of course, just one more confirmation that lefties, for all their blathering about the joys of diversity, really detest the diversity of ideas.
Publius nicely sets the record straight and in closing identifies Red Toryism with the "... homelessness of Liberals in Tory clothing".
Monday, July 20, 2009
Republican Senator Jim DeMint (South Carolina) gave an excellent speech opposing the legislation. Canadian "Human Rights" Commissions and the persecution of Rev Steven Boissoin figure in his speech:
Sunday, July 19, 2009
How much longer can Justice Minister Rob Nicholson stomach the embarrassment?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The Dutch and Belgian practises have become a horror story:
"Over the past two decades, the Netherlands has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia for the terminally ill to euthanasia for the chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for psychological distress and from voluntary euthanasia to nonvoluntary and involuntary euthanasia." Herbert.Hendin MDSome statistics from this report on the Netherlands:
2,300 people died as the result of doctors killing them upon request (active, voluntary euthanasia).In my opinion, if you want to kill yourself, go right ahead. But it should remain a crime for anyone to "assist". The state’s involvement (outside of criminalizing it) will eventually lead to legalized murder. The Dutch experience proves that. And in our country the medical system is a highly politicized state monopoly - a monopoly that is perpetually looking for ways to cut costs. Allowing the state the option of killing patients is highly dangerous. And I know, I know, this already happens in many (if not all) hospitals but let's not give them legal cover to expand the practice "Dutch style".
400 people died as a result of doctors providing them with the means to kill themselves (physician-assisted suicide).
1,040 people (an average of 3 per day) died from involuntary euthanasia, meaning that doctors actively killed these patients without the patients' knowledge or consent.
14% of these patients were fully competent.
72% had never given any indication that they would want their lives terminated.
In 8% of the cases, doctors performed involuntary euthanasia despite the fact that they believed alternative options were still possible.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
... perhaps one cannot quarrel too loudly with his appointment to the Order of Merit. But if one happened to be Lord Black of Crossharbour ... one might be sorely tempted to try. Hypocrisy played a large role in Mr. Chretien's particular genius, so should anyone be surprised that there is a certain distinct flavour of it haunting what may be the supreme moment of his life? Having lectured Lord Black and other Canadians on just how un-Canadian it is to accept distinctions from the fountain of honour, and having forced the man to choose between his citizenship and the House of Lords, Mr. Chretien now basks in the resounding knell of the gong to end all gongs. Let's not be afraid to roll our eyes just a little.I’m looking forward to reading Conrad Black’s opinion on the matter.
Why should Canadians care? Lorne Gunter:
A liberal law professor:
... two reasons: First, American judicial trends -- especially the liberal ones -- have a way of creeping into our own legal system. An activist U. S. high court would encourage our own judges to be even more activist than they already are.
... mostly I think we should be fascinated with her confirmation for the insight it is providing into liberal legalthink [in particular liberal double standards] ... If Sonia Sotomayor were a conservative white male, she likely would not be confirmed as a justice on the U. S. Supreme Court ...
I was completely disgusted by Judge Sotomayor's testimony today. If she was not perjuring herself, she is intellectually unqualified to be on the Supreme Court. If she was perjuring herself, she is morally unqualified.
Barack Obama’s email [Yes, I get email from POTUS]:
Update: Thomas Sowell.
It's important for these hearings to be about Judge Sotomayor's own record and her capacity for the job — not any political back and forth that some in Washington may use to distract you.
[Translation: "Don’t listen to the critics." Actually, the nomination hearings involving "political back and forth" is the essence of the process, an intensely political one - hardly a mere "distraction".]
Sunday, July 12, 2009
We already know how little regard Jennifer Lynch has for the truth. She put it in her grostesque, unsolicited memo to Parliament last month when she suggested that truth be removed from the Criminal Code as a defence to the charge of hate propaganda.And in conclusion:
In her latest letter to the National Post she proves yet again that she has no compunction about lying, lying to the public and lying to Parliament.
If one has no compunction about lying, surely one ought to be smart about it. That is, a successful sociopath would not tell lies that are too easily checkable. But that is precisely what Lynch did in yesterday's National Post newspaper. ... [the litany of lies follows]
Jennifer Lynch is a liar.What will it take for the Justice Minister to undo his mistake?
She lies about many things -- more all the time.
Politics tolerates a lot of lies.
But her lie denying her staff's bigoted comments on Nazi websites?
That's the lie that is going to get her fired.
Update: Based on BCF's remark in the comments about Lynch's appointment term I did some checking. According to this document the Chief Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are appointed for SEVEN year terms with the provisos "good behaviour" and "may be removed at any time by the GiC on address of the Senate and House of Commons".
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
As Hunter said: "Dear Pope, Butt Out". Unfortunately, he didn’t.
... catches the anti-capitalist waves now washing over the globe's political classes.
... sweeping 140-page collection of sound bites and instant quotations that will be used by all and sundry as another authority for condemning free markets, globalization, big business, finance, outsourcing, capitalism, copyright law, greed, climate change, energy consumption, etc.
... In Pope Paul's. encyclical [Paul VI, 1967] written when half the world was under Communist dictatorship, not a word was said of problems with Marxism. Still, Benedict explicitly aims to take up Pope Paul's tedious stereotypical message from Populorum Progressio. ... as foundation for a renewal of the old leftist attacks on business, markets and capitalism.
... 159 [footnotes], but none support the big economic analyses and factual claims that make up most of the encyclical.
... Benedict dashes off .. unsupported statements by the hundreds. ... It dismisses "so-called outsourcing"; ... On the current economic crisis - adopts the idea that Big Government is the answer. ..."The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption."; "... excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property ..."
... What Benedict's encyclical betrays, most of all, is a willful disregard for economic history and the massive benefits of free markets and globalization.
... After 40 years of dramatic gains in global wealth expansion, after an explosion of living standards and productivity capability around the world, after four decades of free trade and markets that have turned much of the world into bastions of progress, along comes Benedict with a call to turn the clock back.
Al Gore’s invocation of the Nazi comparison (previous post) in describing the AGW hysterics’ struggle to save the planet is one more example of an attempt to silence dissent. As Lubos Motl said, it’s Gore and his fellow climate alarmists who are looking like Nazis.
Lorne Gunter picks up on the same theme in his column today:
If you visit drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures-- the site of a scientist who, for 30 years, has used satellites to monitor global temperature -- you will see that as of the end of June, the Earth is no warmer than it was in 1979.
.... And while there have been more warm years than cool ones in the past decade-and-a-half, the trend, since at least 2003, has been downward.
... since Al Gore released his movie An Inconvenient Truth in October 2006, the Earth's temperature has lost 0.74F, almost exactly the amount the UN's climate panel claims was gained in the entire 20th century.
... Still, if anything, the rhetoric of global warming and climate change has become even more frenzied since 2006, not less, even to the point where scientists skeptical of the warming theory are being gagged by the Obama administration and the UN.
... when evidence arose last week that the EPA had killed an internal report claiming that much had changed in the past year and that a reassessment of climate predictions was needed, ... EPA climate analyst Alan Carlin was told his conclusions would have "a very negative impact on our office."
... Similarly, UN scientists gathering in Copenhagen this week to discuss what must be done to save polar bears, have excluded Canadian researcher Mitch Taylor, perhaps the world's foremost polar bear expert, because (according to a memo to Dr. Taylor obtained by London's Daily Telegraph) of "the position you've taken on global warming." According the hosts of the conference, Dr. Taylor's views doubting man-made warming "are extremely unhelpful."
"Very negative impact", "extremely unhelpful" - for one thing to governments' ability to sell a carbon tax which Obama needs to fund his socialist universal healthcare plan.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sure. And in Gore’s fevered brain he’s playing Churchill. Get real Al. Dealing with a natural phenomenon is in no way equivalent to fighting a war to defeat an evil totalitarian regime bent on murder, mayhem and global domination. Suggesting such an equivalence is beyond idiotic.
Al Gore invoked the spirit of Winston Churchill yesterday when he urged political leaders to follow the example of Britain’s wartime leader in the battle against climate change.
... Speaking in Oxford ... Mr Gore said: "Winston Churchill aroused this nation in heroic fashion to save civilisation in World War Two. We have everything we need except political will ..."
Mr Gore admitted that it was difficult to persuade the public that the threat from climate change was as urgent as that from Hitler.
Of course Gore’s analogy is based on the assumption that the climate ‘problem’ is AGW and that skeptics are the enemy. His analogy is still way over-the-top. Political and intellectual adversaries engaging in vigorous debate is how free societies are supposed to operate. Drawing an equivalence between what should be a free debate and a war to defeat Hitler is obscene.
However, for those who insist that a Nazi comparison is valid, two can play that game. Lubos Motl, for instance, agrees that the Nazi analogy is a good one. Except that it’s Gore and the AGW alarmists who are playing the Nazi role and the skeptics are playing the persecuted Jews:
If there’s a Nazi comparison to be drawn Lubos makes a far better one.
... I don't think that comparisons to Nazis should be taboo. The AGW movement is becoming radical enough for thoughtful comparisons of Nazism and environmentalism to gain importance.
... Assuming that I ask you to optimize the analogy, where do we stand today? My guess is that with the AGW activists today, we are in the situation of Germany in 1936 or so. It's not yet a "crisis" but the global warming realists enjoy a comparable treatment as the Jews in 1936. The fighters against climate change are slowly (or quickly?) taking over the scientific institutions and international organizations.
... Some pogroms against power plants may resemble a modest version of the Night of Broken Glass - but we're not there yet. It is up to us whether 2011 will be similar to 1938, too.
... But structurally speaking, the current fight against global warming (i.e. alarmism) is similar to the fight against Nazism, indeed. It's not quite the same thing but the number of similarities is sufficiently high for us to learn a lesson or two.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Anyone who has read these authors couldn’t help but notice the strident, intolerant, arrogant posture the so-called New Atheists have adopted against religious belief and believers. Hitchens’s title says it all. Dawkins’ contempt is similarly blatant. And they all rely on arguments based one way or another on modern, and in quantum-physical string theory and cosmology, postmodern ‘science’.
David Berlinski, a professor of mathematics and philosophy, science writer and agnostic ("a secular Jew" whose "religious education did not take") decided, in defense of religious thought and sentiment, to take on these atheists. In his recent book, "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions", he does so with razor sharp wit and logic. Some samples:
... When [Sam Harris] writes that he has been ‘dumbstruck’ by Christian and Moslem intellectual commitments, I believe the word has met the man.Berlinski doesn’t argue in favour of any particular religious beliefs but instead shows how the bellicose proselytizing atheists’ arguments from science are full of logical holes.
... The sciences, many scientists argue, require no criticism because the sciences
comprise a uniquely self-critical institution ... Individual scientists may make mistakes, but like the Communist Party under Lenin, science is infallible because its judgements are collective.
... physicist Victor Stenger scoffs that it is the "last resort of the theist who seeks to argue for the existence of God from science and finds all his other arguments fail". Sheer chutzpah, if I may use the Greek for cheek. It is Stenger who is arguing against the existence of God "from science."
... Having begun with Stenger, I might as well finish him off.... he has completely misunderstood the terms of the problem ... A man must really know his limits, as Clint Eastwood observed.
No less than the doctrines of religious belief, the doctrines of quantum cosmology are what they seem: biased, partial, inconclusive, and largely in the service of passionate but unexamined conviction.
To an editorial in ‘Nature’ that claims: "The idea that human minds are the product of evolution is ‘unassailable fact’ ... With all deference to the sensibilities of religious people, the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside." [Berlinski replies:] Those not willing to put such sentiments aside, the scientific community has concluded, are afflicted by a form of intellectual ingratitude. – It is remarkable how widespread ingratitude really is.
I would find Hitchens’s thoughts even more gratifying than I do had he not enlarged them to encompass nonlinear dynamics and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, subjects that in his ineptitude he waves like a majestic frond.
On Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg’s nihilism: "The more comprehensible the universe becomes ... the more it also seems pointless." He has a point. The arena of the elementary particles – his arena – is a rather depressing place ... What is it’s point?
"The Devil’s Delusion" is a real gem. Berlinski is a credit to agnostics; the religious will thank him; atheists will hate him. It’s win, win, win.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Sounds like great stuff. Unfortunately, however, the book is badly marred by the authors’ goofy Marxist analysis and prescriptions and it’s enough to make Peter Foster puke:
... The "industry" in question consists of a large and ever-growing group of lawyers, bureaucrats, consultants and academics whose careers depend on the "Great Game" of land claims and self-government, which are sold as the cure for aboriginal poverty and dependency.
...The book slaughters a herd of sacred cows, including the validity of "traditional knowledge" and native "justice," and the notion that aboriginals have some special "spiritual" ecological sensitivity.
Claims to sovereignty are bogus because pre-contact aboriginals had no written laws or specialized governments. The suggestion that the U. S. Constitution was inspired by the Iroquois Confederacy is a crock. Chief Seattle's noble words were entirely manufactured. "Culturally appropriate" native medicine is dangerous quackery. "Holism" equals charlatanism. Ethnobotany is BS. The wisdom of elders is primitive ignorance. "Preserving" primitive languages means restricting the ability to think.
... The book derides postmodernism, cultural relativism and Orwellian "Pomospeak," noting that aboriginal policy is marked by obfuscation and denial.
... The book -- which I literally could not put down -- contains an excellent historical background to current policy, good accounts of the origins of such notions as the "Noble Savage" and an explanation of how anthropology came to be corrupted by activism.
... a bunch of ill-fitting Marxism, and references to the theories of Trotsky!
Oh well, maybe the Marxist drivel will at least help to get leftists to buy into the authors’ more realistic assessment of the Indian industry’s role in perpetuating the misery.
... their own "solution" is, if anything, as misguided as, and even more dangerous than, that of the aboriginal industry, since it recommends "socializing ownership so that goods and services are produced not to obtain profits but to satisfy human need." All to the tune of "Imagine." I'm not making this up.
... This otherwise excellent book concludes in a flurry of anticapitalist and even anti-Zionist (!) rhetoric. Example: "While grain is stockpiled in industrial countries people in the Third World starve." Huh? The world's problems are allegedly due to "the conflict that exists between the few who own the means of production and those who are the producers of all value." Where are we? Manchester circa 1845?
Still, it is apparently "by eliminating this fundamental 'difference' that we can become a global tribe and the 'world can live as one.' " Pass the culturally appropriate emetic: I want to throw up!
... "Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry" makes a powerful case that the aboriginal culture must die so that aboriginal people may live. Then ruins it by throwing in The Communist Manifesto.
A few months ago the National Post ran excerpts of the book here, here and here and a favourable review by Jonathan Kay here.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009