Monday, February 28, 2011

Is Stephen Harper against drugs or on drugs?

Sucking and blowing, saying one thing and then doing another.  If this were an Olympic event Stephen Harper would be a strong contender for gold. 

Against taxing income trusts then taxing them, against stacking the senate then cramming it full, against deficits then running up the biggest ever, against soft sentencing then appointing a judge who let's a rapist walk the street. 

Harper's rhetoric is good, but its only rhetoric...intended to win the support of Canadian voters, and then its discarded.

We have a huge structural deficit created by a government that spends too much and taxes too little.  Now they want to impose mandatory jail terms on people growing as few as 6 pot plants.  And what will it cost the taxpayer to house,clothe, feed and care for those incarcerated under this new initiative?  More to follow.

But its all about protecting Canadians right? I gotta call BS here.

If the Conservative really want to put a dent in drug use, then the only logical thing to do is jail users...not those providing the supply. How do I reach this simple conclusion?  Its called know, supply and demand.

Choking supply by jailing penny ante growers will only make the growing of pot a more lucrative option, and when mucho bucks are at stake there will be criminals who will gladly take on any added risks for the increased rewards.  Higher costs mean higher prices and that means more crime by those users unable to afford the increased price of a dime bag. 

Of course jailing druggies would cost even more and I have little doubt that some privileged little Tory offspring would end up rattling their prison bars with a tin cup, so you know it ain't gonna happen.

The common sense approach?  Find another wedge issue Stephen, cause this one is just stupid.  Tossing a recreational pot smoker in jail for growing a few plants will do nothing to protect Canadians and will only hurt in the long run as scant government resources are wasted on a dumb ideological agenda.

That's what this is all about anyway, ideology over common sense.  Let's hope common sense prevails. 

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Donate to Cons in 2008 - Get seat on bench in 2009 - Let rapist walk in 2011

Props to Dammit Janet for linking THIS PDF which lists Judge Robert A. Dewar as a donor to the Conservative Party of Canada, citing Elections Canada as its source. 

This story is getting lots of attention.  How could it not?  An appointed judge lets a man convicted of raping a woman at the side of a road off with a suspended sentence, meaning he's free to walk the streets.  You can read about it all over the place: Macleans, CBCWinnipeg Stun just google it and you'll get plenty of hits.

What those articles fail to mention is that Dewar was appointed by Stephen Harper's Conservative government or that he donated to the CPC in 2008.  The faux 'Tough on Crime' agenda looks to be just another wedge issue in the politics of anything goes that Stephen Harper has infested this country with.

Maybe Harper and Rob Nicholson need to watch this video, without taking it seriously.

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More on Conservative appointed judge who let rapist walk the street...

Imagine for a moment that a judge appointed by a Liberal government decided to grant a suspended sentence to a man found guilty of rape, allowing him to freely roam the streets.

How do you suppose Stephen Harper and his Conservative minions would react?  What would the commentary be like in our increasingly conservative media? 

If your imagination is lacking, allow me to paint a picture.  Harper would be going full bore, seeking to score as many points as possible.  He'd be branding the opposition as soft on crime and telling voters this is why Canada needs a Conservative majority government, to restore law and order to our fair land. 

Of course, like on so many other issues...he'd be so full of it his eyes would be brown.

Columnists in QMI papers like the Toronto Stun would be all over it, like Toronto mayor Rob Ford on a piece of pork at rib fest.

The problem is Judge Dewar wasn't appointed by a Liberal or a NDP government, he was appointed by the Harper Conservatives.  (Government of Canada link announcing Dewar's appointment

Dean Pritchard of QMI writes about reaction to the ruling - CLICK HERE - but says nothing of the the politics behind the decision to appoint this man.  More galling is that the release makes no mention of any  experience in criminal law for Judge Dewar.  The GOC release says the focus of his practice was areas like corporate law and litigation. 

The article does make mention of an acquittal last summer by Judge Dewar in case against a man accused of repeated sexual assaults on a young girl.  The case is being appealed, and there are obvious reasons to question this judge's fitness for the bench in light of this more recent ruling.

So Mr. Harper....will you step in and remove Judge Dewar?

Yeah....I know it will make you look bad, but it seems the right thing to do.  Are you willing to spend some of the political capital you've built up?  Or are you too scared that the negative press will hurt you at the ballot box. 

Doing the right thing will bring a lot more focus to this issue than my little blog...even if it is the proper and decent thing to do.  Maybe it'd be better to hop behind another piano and warble another old song instead. 

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs - Not a .500 team yet

All news and politics makes Gordie a dull blogger...I do have other interests, and one of them is sports, something I write about on the odd occasion...

I am a hockey fan, and a Leafs fan to boot (go ahead, make fun).  I always support the home team, which makes life pretty depressing for this long time resident of the GTA.  Leafs, Jays, Raptors...ugh, if it wasn't for 6 out of 8 teams making the post season in the CFL Toronto residents wouldn't have the word 'playoffs' in our collective vocabulary.

And now, with the Leafs surging and sitting just 4 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Buds' bandwagon is starting to fill up.  I have no problem with that, what bothers me is all the talk of how Toronto has finally reached the .500 level due to their having won 27 games and having lost 27 games in regulation.

The problem is they've lost more than 27 games this season, they've actually lost 34.  They've lost 7 games this year in overtime and by shootout, 3 and 4 respectively.  Now, I'm not very good at the new math...but this old school  guy doesn't see how 27 wins against 34 losses equates to being a .500 team. 

Yes I know the NHL, in its infinite stupidity, awards 1 point for teams that wait until after regulation to lose.  So based on this arcane point system the Leafs have garnered 61 out of a possible 122 points, but that still doesn't make them a .500 team in this fan's books.  

Viewing the current Leafs as a .500 team is part of a loser mentality, and maybe that's part of the problem.  They've lost 7 more games than they've won, but by using the league's idiotic point system they can boost  their battered egos and think they're playing .500 hockey when in reality they're 7 games below the mark.

A word for Burke, Wilson and the boys in blue and don't settle.  If you want to call yourselves a .500 team then finish the schedule by winning at least 7 more games than you lose.  Do that and you won't have to worry about clawing your way into the playoffs, it'll be a done deal.

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Harper's judge lets rapist go free, cites victim's attire as mitigating factor

For those who don't think Stephen Harper is having an effect on this country, I suggest you read today's news and look at more than the headline.

A convicted rapist is out on the streets with a two year conditional sentence because a judge appointed by the Harper government thought the victim gave out signals that 'sex was in the air' by the way she dressed.

Note to women:  In Stephen Harper's Canada I guess that means if you go out in a tube top...well, if you're sexually assaulted don't expect your attacker to be put behind bars.  Not exactly the strong Law & Order message we've been hearing about. 

What brilliant criminal lawyer did Harper and his sycophant staff foist upon Manitoba's citizens? Well, errr...according to the above linked news story, Judge Dewar doesn't have a background in criminal law. Nope, corporate and commerical litigation.  

Great choice Stephen. Oh, but I'm sure you'll find someone else to blame.

This might sell in Harper's Christian and Missionary Alliance church, I doubt many women in the CMA wear tube tops to services. But its hard to imagine the majority of women in Canada being happy with the people being chosen to sit in judgment by our current Conservative government.

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Note to Gerry Nicholls, Relax...Harper will deliver if given time

A blog I visit frequently is that of Gerry Nicholls, the cleverly branded Making Sense With Nicholls.

Apart from intelligent and witty writing, Mr. Nicholls adds something very valuable to the political discourse that takes place in this country, be it on Parliament Hill or here in the blogosphere.  That precious commodity is honesty. 

Anyone familiar with Gerry's blog and my little soapbox will know that we hold divergently opposing views as to the role governments should play.  While I favour an active government in promoting progress, Mr. Nicholls is very much the Libertarian and thus sees government as an  impediment to progress. 

Do note that our ultimate goal is the same, progress...its simply a matter of opinion as to the best way to achieve it.

So why do I enjoy reading a blog written by someone whose ideas I disagree with?  Because on MSWN (hope you don't mind the acronym Gerry) the author doesn't chain himself to a party or a person., just to a vision and set of ideals. When Stephen Harper and Gerry Nicholls were both with the National Citizens Coalition, they were singing from the same hymn book.  Less is more, let individuals and private enterprise employ the capital they earn as they see fit to make Canada a better and more progressive society. 

Eliminate  the overbearing 'Big Brother' force that is government in this country and shrink it to something more manageable. Rather than handing over basically half of every dollar we earn  to various levels of government, leave it with the individuals and businesses that earned it.  Call it dollar democracy if you want.  People can vote with their wallets by the economic decisions they make in the marketplace.

Quite frankly, from a distance and viewed in the abstract it does make....errrr, sense.  The problem though is that it is an altruistic ideology, and I for one lack Gerry's faith in the altruism of my fellow citizens and in the corporations that operate in this country.  I do think most people WANT to be altruistic, but away from prying eyes studies by economists have shown that when left to our own devices..the vast majority look after number one and we're anything but Altruistic.  For reference I'd suggest reading Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics.   

Besides, Canadians don't want a less active government. 

The majority of Canadians expect politicians to play an active role in managing both society and our economy.  Sure we may argue over the degree and extent to which our elected officials tax us and the decisions they make in spending the money we give them.  But we like our social programs, our health care system, the social safety net.  No, not everyone, just a significant majority. 

Don't believe me?  Let's look at the Mike Harris example.

Ontarians elected Mike Harris' Progressive Conservatives to two consecutive majority terms.  The pendulum had swung too far and Ontario was ready for smaller government and a lower tax burden.  The NDP government of Bob Rae had its hands all over the economy and in doing so rang up a very large debt.    Harris reduced the size and scope of government, he cut  taxes and handed out rebates, I myself applauded the 'Fewer Politicians Act'. 

A problem however ensued, a large deficit left by the outgoing provincial Tories, the result of not enough revenue to cover the services the province provides....Sound familiar?  Dalton McGuinty's Liberals came in and had to break a key election promise to balance the books, bringing in a health care levy meant breaking their no new taxes pledge.

Did Ontarians vote them out of office at the first opportunity?  No, they returned the Libs to Queen's Park with a second majority in the subsequent election.

So what's my point?

Canadians of course want to pay less in taxes, we want value for the money we  turn over to various levels of government.  But we also understand that the government services upon which so many rely cost money. 

Back after the October 2008 election, we saw the real Harper when the newly minted Conservative minority delivered its first economic statement.  With the global economy reeling in the early days of the global financial meltdown, the Conservative response're on your own. 

Faced with near certain defeat in the house Harper was looking at fighting another election on a do nothing platform of non-government intervention.  Libertarians would have applauded it, but there aren't enough  of that ilk in this country to form a government.  Harper made the wise political choice, he caved on his ideals and gave Canadians what they want, a government that takes an active role...and thus the Economic Action Plan was born.

But he did stick to his agenda of lower taxes, which has given us bloated deficits that future generations will have to pay for. 

And that Gerry Nicholls, is where Stephen Harper will finally be able to deliver on his less government pledge that he was so adamant about in his days with the NCC....that is if he can form the next government with a majority mandate.

The record breaking debt he is saddling us with is going to hamstring Ottawa's ability to take an active role in the future.  Another five years of increased spending and decreasing taxation will leave the feds incapable of funding programs like Health Care.  We'll be spending so much on debt  service as interest rates climb that Canadians will be forced to turn to the private sector for health insurance.  That's where the NCC has always maintained,  it belongs. 

Mike Harris used this method often during his tenure, its called 'inventing a crisis', an  Ontario PC government minister (Snobleton if I recall correctly) even admitted to it.

If you want programs kicked back to the private sector, you have to create a crisis in order to do it.  Canadians would severely punish any party which advocated what the NCC does in terms of health care.  But if you go to Canadians with a choice of massive tax increases to maintain services, versus the option of buying a tailored private insurance plan..the argument shifts dramatically.

If that happens Mr. Nicholls both you and Harper will once again be in sync and your's will be the loudest voices in the Libertarian choir.  So cut your former colleague some slack, sure he's not acting like a Libertarian now, but to effect true change he needs to dramatically alter the Canadian landscape to get the rest of the country singing in tune.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Harper's plan of action and Canada's role in the tumultuous Middle East...

Damn, there's nothing.

Oh wait, he is encuouraging Libya to engage in peaceful dialogue with its people. There ya have it folks!! The new Canadian paradigm for Foreign Affairs, direct and decisive encouragement.  Possibly followed by milk and cookies.  More to follow...maybe.

You were expecting something substantial?

Uhmm.........go talk to Washington, or Israel.  No, talk to the U.S. first, they'll pass along whatever Tel Aviv tells them. 

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oil back to $100 - Time to double the gasoline budget

Not the best of news for those with budgets already squeezed by record breaking debt loads, but like it or not a barrel of oil traded over $100 again today for the first time since October of 2008.   (NEWS STORY)

With all the unrest and uncertainty in the Middle East some are predicting we'll be paying $2.00 or more a litre by the end of the year. Increased costs for those traveling, for food...for anything and everything that relies on transportation to bring it to market.

That means inflation, and inflation historically means higher interest rates as central banks tighten monetary policy...more bad news for Canadians in heavy debt. Higher rates means our housing market will take a hit, as buyers' ability to borrow is squeezed like it was in the earlly eighties as house prices tanked an average of about 25%.  Good news for those with money saved though, higher returns on interest bearing investments and cheaper homes down the road. 

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Freedom of speech is great, just don't criticize Israel. Right Harper?

According to a news piece in the Toronto Star, the reason Bev Oda provided funding for aid group Kairos "NOT", is because of their support for Palestinian aid groups that have been critical of Israel. (News Story)

The horror! Imagine, criticizing Israel, such temerity can not be tolerated.

I was incredibly surprised to see this information basically confirmed in The National Post of all places. THIS ARTICLE contains a transcript of a speech given by Citizenship and Immigration minister Jason Kenney while in Jerusalem. In his speech Kenney says:

"We have defunded organizations, most recently like KAIROS, who are taking a leadership role in the boycott".

The boycott Kenney refers to is against Israel, although apparently there is zero basis for this allegation in regards to Kairos. I'm pretty certain though it made Mr. Kenney a darling of the Israeli media.

Let's make things simple and just pass a law that says Israel is always right, and that freedom of speech is all well and good except when criticizing this one nation. You can even lie about a faith based aid group if you like, provided that in slandering them you stand up for this foreign country.

Why our minister of Citizenship and Immigration would even be in Israel is beyond me. According to Statistics Canada a grand total of just 4,950 people have emigrated from Israel to Canada between the years 2001 and 2006 (STATS CAN TABLE) with the total immigrant population being just over 20,000 all time.

Has the minister been to the Phillipenes? Canada has over 300,000 immigrants from that country. In fact there are 50 nations (according to StatsCan) that have immigrant populations in this country larger than that of Israel.

I realize the Jewish homeland is a cause celebre with Harper's Christian Conservative base, but this is getting ridiculous.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

65% of Canadians say Harper not the best choice

Stephen Harper has been Prime Minister for over five years. That's five years of legislation, five years of press conferences and interviews, five years representing Canada on the world stage. No other leader of a federal party has had a sniff of the Prime Minister's office or the chance to show Canadians how they would operate as leader of Canada's governing party.

And yet, despite the enormous advantage of having the seat of power, over 65% of Canadians say Stephen Harper is not the best person to serve as Canada's Prime Minister. (Poll Results)

Contrast these results with the approval rating of Barack Obama in the United States where almost 50% of Americans approve of the job being done by the guy in the White House. (Obama's Approval Story)

Of course with 5 federal parties in Canada the dynamics are very different. Even with two thirds of Canadians disapproving of a Prime Minister's performance, it is still possible to garner a mandate with just 35% support, maybe even a majority.

And with the left crowded with four parties (Liberal, NDP, Green and Bloc) the Conservatives do have another inherent advantage. Interestingly almost 30% of Canadians chose to remain undecided or opted for 'none of the above' when asked who would make Canada's best Prime Minister.

It will be interesting to see what the next poll numbers say as this survey was conducted before one of Harper's cabinet ministers admitted to doctoring a document to cancel funding for a multi-faith based group.

According to on-line news sources the funding would have gone toward priorities that are perhaps out of keeping with Stephen Harper's Conservative values. The funding the Harper Tories axed will "NOT" go toward:

-reducing human rights violations
-encouraging environmental sustainability
-promoting gender equality

Ah well, if you don't think Stephen Harper represents the best Canada can do for a Prime Minister, you're with a strong majority.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Is Harper selling out the Christian right in hopes of a majority?

The western based Refrom movement of Preston Manning invigorated a long ignored constituency in this country, that of socially conservative Christian voters. Abortion on demand and same sex marriage were two of the issues that galvanized support for the western populist party under Manning's leadership. And he was able to ride their support all the way to becoming leader of the official opposition in Canada's parliament.

But it wasn't enough.

Canada is and was a socially progressive nation, and even though the Reform party was able to supplant the Progressive Conservatives at the ballot box, their appeal wasn't broad enough to win them seats in eastern Canada.

Not until the Reform movement under a new moniker, the Canadian Alliance, merged with the Progressive Conservatives to form the Conservative Party of Canada.

Now with two consecutive minority mandates under their belt, and under the guiding hand of Stephen Harper, the CPC is tantalizingly close to that elusive majority. But to do it they need to do two things.

Keep the socially conservative base happy, while selling out on the ideals of their Reform roots in an effort to broaden their appeal.

And they're not doing a bad job.

Thanks to Harper's Conservatives being handed a balance sheet flush with surplus after surplus, Canada has been able to weather uncertain economic times better than most. The Conservatives have thus created the illusion of strong fiscal stewardship despite huge increases in spending in tandem with ill advised tax cuts that have led to record deficit spending.

And on issues near and dear to social conservatives, Harper has steered the CPC away from policies that first helped propel the Reform party to prominence. A prime example was our Prime Minister voting against a bill designed to criminalize coerced abortions, and further stating that he would oppose any attempt to introduce any new abortion legislation.

To fundamentalist Christians Harper must appear like a real Judas, but I don't think they should be surprised. In fact, like George Bush, I think Harper's religion is more of a prop than a deeply held conviction.

It appears (at least to this blogger) that our Prime Minister is hoping things stay as quiet as possible on any contentious issues that might erode his base. Canada doesn't have vice presidential running mates to broaden or shore up a shaky base of support. There's no Sarah Palin in this country looking out a northern kitchen window dreaming of high elected office in the nation's capital.

Harper has to play both sides all by himself.

For those wrapped up in fundamentalist Christian theology and seeking a party and a leader that reflects their desire for a politician to literally embrace the Bible, there is after all the Family Coalition Party...which could only serve to erode Conservative support at a time when Stephen needs every vote he can get.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Is Evangelical Chrisitanity the Trojan horse of neo-conservatism

Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Born Again...

Christians of the religious right go under a number of different labels, you've probably encountered at least a few in your neighborhoods, schools and places of work. If you've ever run into this animal then you've probably been 'witnessed' to. That is to say you've probably been told of the joy that comes from turning over your life over to Jesus. And if the conversation has turned to politics no doubt you've been told that guys like George Bush and Stephen Harper are incredible while the others such as Ignatieff, Obama and Layton are not to be trusted.

There's a reason for that, Evangelical type Christians vote overwhelmingly for Republicans in the U.S. and for Conservatives in Canada. The major difference between Canada and the United States in this regard? We don't have nearly as many up here.

But in terms of politics, what a great constituency to have voting for your party!!! Think about it...Christians of this ilk are extremely well skilled in the art of blind obedience. That's what their faith is all about. George Carlin described religion very well, it has served for generations as a means to control primitive minded people.

Black and white, right and wrong, heaven and need to think or decide anything, just sit back and listen...oh, and don't forget to tithe. That's 10% off the top by the way, before taxes not net. Of course you won't object because this is what God wants. You wouldn't want to make him mad now would you? Read the Old Testament and you'll see what God does to people who piss him off.

Some reading this may come to the conclusion that I'm not a very religious guy, but in the most important sense they would be wrong. I do actually consider myself a Christian. Does that mean I take every word in the Bible literally, and as Divine truth? No, not even close.

The human capacity to analyze, interpret and make judgement is by far more precious and God given than any words in a 2,000+ year old text.

But I digress...

In looking at the Church of Canada's Prime Minister, The Christian and Missionary Alliance, it certainly fits the Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Born Again mold in my opinion. The president of our Prime Minister's church, Franklin Pyles, has this on his bio page:

He has also worked as a church planter in urban Chicago for seven years and served as pastor of Urban University Church in Detroit.

It leads me to wonder...Is Pastor Pyles an American? I've tried researching it on-line but have thus far come up empty. I suppose I could ask him to add me as a friend on facebook and inquire directly, but then I already have too many crackbook peeps that I've never even met.

Perhaps I could prevail upon some other dogged bloggers to assist me in this research.

In looking at many of Canada's Evangelical or Fundamentalist churches a common denominator is that they are branch plants of American based faith groups.

The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada traces its roots back to 1804 in Kentucky.

I've looked at others and the story seems to be the same in a lot of cases, but in terms of searching out presidents or senior church officials I'm finding it difficult to find any information about nationalities.

If any out there in the progressive blogosphere have had similar thoughts I'd be interested in discussing it via email.

In the meantime I'll share an old article I came across while studying this possible connection, something I think is very much worth reading.

How Canada's Christian Right was built

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hey Ezra...Go after NCC donor disclosure next okay?

Conservative commentator Ezra Levant has his shorts all in a knot because a lobby group called Environmental Defence is targetting Environment Minister Peter Kent.

Read his whining hissy fit HERE: Foreign billionaires campaigning in Canada

Ezra practically diapers himself in the Maple Leaf and spews outrage at this lobby group taking U.S. donations.

Oh the horror, its not U.S. style politics, it IS U.S. politics he laments.

Cry me a river baby. Stephen Harper worships at the altar of everything American and adores the hardball tactics of Republican Theo Thugs. Harper is on record equating our Parliament to nothing more than a hoser version of the U.S. Electoral College.

But back to non registered lobbyists, Stephen Harper has had plenty of help from his own lobby group, the National Citizens Coalition. They don't lobby the government directly, no...the NCC spends buckets of money trying to influence the voting habits of Canadians.

Who funds them?

I'd love to know but apparently that information is closely guarded as "a matter of principle". Hmmmmm, I wonder if any comes from Mr. Harper's American friends, and how much?

My guess is third party lobbying is okay fine with Mr. Levant, but only so long as it is in support of a Conservative agenda.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Iran protests - The U.S. would never interfere in another nation's affairs...Would they?

Accusations by Iranian government officials that Washington and Israel are behind the anti-government demonstrations taking place in that country are probably falling on a lot of deaf ears in the west.

We're 'the good guys' right? I mean, countries like the United States would never interfere in the internal affairs of other nations....Would they?

The United States never interfered in Cuba or in Iran itself. Chile, Venezuela, Guatemala...everyone knows when it comes to sovereign nations, the U.S. and other western powers are all about democracy.

They say in war the first causality is truth, and when it comes to controlling information and public opinion, the battle never ceases.

We in the west would do well to finely tune our cynisim and aim it directly at our own media sources. After all we wouldn't want to be tricked into believing the enemy is engaging in atrocicties invented by PR firms.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Taking in Biebermania with the Princess Raspberry

Biebermania, Bieber-Fever...if you're the parent of a young girl chances are you've heard of Canada's newest and biggest singing sensation. Yesterday I went with my daughter (Princess Raspberry) to take in the Justin Bieber 3-D movie, 'Never Say Never'.

I had my opinions on this Stratford kid before going, many seeded by her older brother, my son Buddy. I knew of the youtube connection and assumed this Ontario teen was something of an overnight success...good looking, decent set of pipes, a couple little dance steps. He uploads a few songs onto the net and THEN BAM, he's a major recording artist.

My preconceived notions, it seems, could not have been more wrong.

One of my Dad's favourite bromides is that there are no overnight successes. That many major stars toil in obscurity for years before getting their big break. At just sixteen years of age one might be excused for thinking Bieber is an exception to this rule...but he isn't.

This is a bio-pic and it starts with videos of Justin at 2 or 3 years of age banging away on the drums, not long thereafter there's home videos of him playing the far too big for him. By 12 he's already busking on the streets of downtown Stratford, performing in a local Idol competition and placing second.

Justin Bieber was no overnight success, it just seems that way. He started working his way to stardom from the moment he stoped using diapers...maybe before.

Even after he'd been discovered record labels weren't convinced, apparently it took a youtube video with Usher to seal the deal and convince them he was marketable without a media machine like Disney backing him.

And still the kid kept working hard. Apparently radio stations weren't too keen on playing his music, so he started going all over North America to radio stations far and wide, guitar in hand. That certainly helped, but I think the hundreds of screaming girls outside of their stations helped more.

Being just 16 Justin has grown up with the internet and social media. I don't see it as some might, that he exploited social media like youtube to become a star. For today's youth, its just the way things are done.

Justin Bieber had tools at his disposal teen idols of previous generations didn't. Michael Jackson, Donny Osmond, Elvis Presley never had twitter to connect directly with their fans. When he was just getting started, going to a radio stations for interviews, he'd tweet it. He wasn't a big star, just a gnat in the music industry trying to make a name for himself, but he had die hard and loyal fans. Girls would descend on the radio station with their screams and their signs.

The stations didn't have to promote him, he could do it all by himself, with just a cell phone.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the movie...although Raspberry enjoyed it more. This was my first ever 3-D movie so that made it cool, and from what I hear its already number one at the box office.

Is Justin Bieber just a flash in the pan? Maybe, but I wouldn't bet against him being around for a long time. That's actually the whole theme behind the movie, and the reason its called 'Never Say Never'.

If your son or daughter told you they wanted to be a major pop star, one so famous they could sell out Madison Square Garden in less than half an hour...what would you say? I'm betting a lot of parents would say: "That's a nice dream but its not realistic".
Justin Bieber tells his fans to follow their dreams, that anything is possible, to Never Say Never.

Its a pretty good message for kids, and adults too.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Economist muses on Canada's neutered Conservative PM

At Gerry Nicholls' blog "Making Sense With Nicholls" I was directed to read an article in The Economist on Canada's Prime Minister.

The article (CLICK HERE) describes our evangelical, libertarian PM as an incrementalist. One who is willing to sell out on his true agenda in the name of political expediency...getting elected.

Speculation at the end of the article is about a bolder Harper emerging were he ever to win a majority. But the author of the article then ponders whether that's something Canadians actually want, or perhaps we prefer Harper neutered by minority rule.

The comments on Mr. Nicholls' blog (part of are predictable, with conservative types all a chatter over this negative but apt description of Stephen Harper.

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Delighting in Rob Ford's health woes is undignified

Toronto mayor Rob Ford is in hospital to have kidney stones removed -NEWS-.

Delighting in another person's misfortune is hardly a laudable trait. You don't have to like the populist Toronto mayor, but rejoicing and poking fun at his plight is hardly the classy way to operate.

Members of should show a little more class and a lot more taste in this blogger's opinion.

Yes I'm talking to you:


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2011 - The year houses started owning people

With more and more people voicing concern over Canada's housing bubble, and with mortgage rates climbing and lax mortgage lending rules tightening, this is looking more and more like the year when houses could very well start owning people instead of the other way around.

In fact some are already there, meaning if they sold their homes they'd still have money owing. Just think, people paying a premium over what a lease would cost so they can say they "own" their home, only to sell it and still be paying for it. In another few years I think we may very well see people turned off of real estate in the same manner as some who lost their shirts in the stock market who now avoid equities like the plague.

Even with all the 35/40 year ams and no money down mortgages out there, some people like to think 'Canada is different'. Uh huh, that's why the city of Saskatoon is loaning first time middle income buyers 'down payment' money: Leader Post Article

People earning 45-70K in Saskatoon can apparently qualify for low interest loans...Ah well, at least there will be a place for hurting Real Estate agents to move.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Huffington Post over to the dark side, sells out to MSM

The blogosphere just became a whole lot less progressive with THIS NEWS about The Huffington Post being sold to AOL.

Well, if we want corporate and heavily filtered news there are plenty of other options. In the meantime I think its time to plan the viewing and then the funeral.

Let the censoring begin, like last year when Jesse Ventura's article on the 9/11 terror attacks was axed. Hrmmmm, maybe HP was never that progressive after all?

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Can criticizing Israel get you sued? Ask Jimmy Carter

I'm going to go out on a big limb here and state my opinion that the creation of the nation state of Israel was a big mistake. I've written about this before, how Zionists used terror tactics to gain control over then British controlled Palestine.

And I've also mused about the fixation of the Harper Conservatives and Ignatieff Liberals on garnering the Jewish vote when so few Canadians are of that particular faith:

Supporting Israel - Wooing CanWest, Not Jewish Voters

Why All The Fuss Over Israel

Does that qualify as criticism? Should I be worried?

I don't think so, but former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is reportedly being sued over a book he wrote in 2006 entitled, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". According to an article in the Jerusalem Post the lawsuit alleges that the book was intended to deceive the public and promote an anti-Israel agenda.

You can also read about it here:


and here:

Obviously there are individuals who don't like to see Israel criticized. But this lawsuit is likely to spur more interest in the book President Carter wrote. It was I believe P.T. Barnum who coined the phrase: "There's no such thing as bad publicity".

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Harper leaving one helluva mess for our next PM

Stephen Harper is beginning to look a lot like that little brother or sister who comes into your room with his buds, pulls out all the games and toys for his friends to play with, then leaves it in a total state of disarray.

But hey, he sure is a popular guy...especially with his closest friends. In this case that would mean big business...think of the banks and oil companies.

Sure that 2% cut in the GST only means a penny or two here and there for us working stiffs, but to major concerns it's a huge windfall. And then there's cuts to taxes for profitable business, the companies that make money. Now we're talking billions of dollars every year.

Way to go Stevie!!!

Sure, some future government and another PM is going to have to straighten this all up. Its like what the Chretien/Martin Liberals inherited from the Mulroney and Trudeau governments. Huge debts every year and an ever increasing national debt. Thankfully Paul Martin got it under control and had Canada running in surplus for 5 consecutive years, paying off somewhere around $50 billion of the accumulated deficit during his time in finance.

Stevie has wiped all that out in just one year. But if you listen to the ads coming from the CPC, he's the one responsible for the strong balance sheet he took over from the Liberals.

He takes his friends into your room, points out what a great job he's done keeping it clean, and then he trashes it.

Real nice Stephen, but then politics isn't always nice. That's something you seem to understand better than most.

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Hey Stephen Harper - NEWS FLASH - You're a 'Tax and Spend' guy too

Can somebody do Canada a favour and buy our Prime Minister (pro-tem) a freaking clue? I'd ask Stephen to buy it himself, but he'd only borrow the money...

So Ignatieff is a 'tax and spend' Liberal...uh huh.

And what does that make you, the leader of Canada's governing Conservative party? I'll give you the answer, you're a 'tax and spend' Conservative.

Ya see Mr. Harper, I know this is pretty basic, but maybe they didn't cover it in any of your economics courses. Governments in Canada have always collected taxes, after which they spend the money. Liberal, NDP, doesn't matter. Governments take in tax revenue and then they fund (or spend it on) programs like health care, the military, politician's salaries, senators, keeping 24 Sussex (your temporary home) in good repair.

Its worked pretty well in this country, except when governments (like your's) spend too much and take in too little.

Hope that helps. Wouldn't want your economics degree being used as toilet paper.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Egyptian crisis - The end of Bush Senior's 'New World Order'?

Anti-Globalization types and conspiracy theorists often point to a speech made by the elder George H.W. Bush back during the first Gulf War in which he heralded the establishment of a "New World Order" or NWO for short.

The NWO according to these groups is a movement toward one world government, with US corporate and multinational interests as masters of the universe.

Regardless of how one feels on the whole NWO question, events in Egypt have certainly sharpened our focus on how the west deals with many other parts of the planet, particularily the Middle East.

Lost in many history lessons about the impact of World War I is that it wiped out the Turkish or Ottoman Empire, putting most of the world's proven oil reserves under western control. After the so called "War To End All Wars" the former Turkish empire was carved up into a number of different countries, none with democratically elected governments.

Instead of elected leaders, many in the Arab world found (and find) themselves ruled by dictators and thugs, or by royal families such as in Saudi Arabia. And that's all well and good, so long as those leaders are willing to appease Washington and western interests.

But now in places like Tunisia and Egypt people on the street are rising up and demanding reform and true democracy. Its not a new story, its happened before in places like Cuba and Iran, where the people grew tired of corrupt and brutal regimes and engineered their replacements.

The questions now are:

How far will this spread?
Is the order of the world changing?

We've seen the unification of Europe and the establishment of the Euro as a prominent currency. The economies of China and India are growing and modernizing at breakneck speed. Is the Arab world now poised to rise up and rid itself of the yoke of Western domination? If so what does it mean to us in the west?

Taking the historical view I am definitely concerned. Times like these have typically led to armed conflict. And given the technology and weapons of the modern era, a war of any size and scope has the potential to dwarf the carnage of any of the previous world wars.

Ultimately it is in the best interests of western nations to rid ourselves of our dependency on oil. Eliminate our need to dominate the world's energy markets and our interest in the Middle East will be signinifcantly reduced.

Leave individual nation states to be governed by people popularily chosen, not by dictators and despots beholden to foreign interests, and the world will be a safer place.

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