Friday, December 16, 2005

The Journal of Guns = Bad

My God, did you see the headline at today?

Man accused of shooting officer was under firearms ban

There ought to be a law. It ought to be illegal for people who are banned from owning firearms to own firearms. It ought especially to be illegal for people who are banned from owning firearms to use an illegal firearm in the commission of a murder.

When will Paul Martin's Liberals have the courage to stand up to the evil of gun violence?

I know, I know. I'm just an old softie. But dammit, sometimes you have to do what's right!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Am I the only person in Canada who remembers this promise?

From The Star, December 12, 2005 (emphasis added):
Prime Minister Paul Martin is calling on Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to say whether he'd use the notwithstanding clause to override the Constitution and revoke same sex marriage legislation.

Martin says it's clearly a Charter of Rights issue, and he believes Harper eventually will have to state whether he'd use the constitutional override to keep his promise to scrap gay marriages.

The Liberal leader says he doesn't believe the prime minister of Canada should be able to cherry pick which Charter rights to support.

But turn the clock back almost 2 years to the day. From, December 19, 2003 (emphasis added):
Prime Minister Paul Martin says he would use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause if the Supreme Court rules that churches must perform gay marriages.

"Oh, yes I would," Martin said Thursday on CBC Radio when asked whether he would use the clause.

"I would look at it if it was a question of affirming a (religious) right," he said, explaining that it would be used only under extreme circumstances.

Please complete the following sentence:

The Prime Minister of Canada must only be allowed to "cherry-pick" which Charter Rights he would support if he is a member of the _________ Party.

[thanks to Let It Bleed for the Star link]

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Update on my voting intentions

Because clearly this is the top of mind issue for Canadians from coast to coast to coast to longest undefended border with a pretty big part of that border on the top left corner that we pretty much usually forget about 'cause it's Alaska and who wants to go to Alaska, it's just like Canada but with more penguins.

A couple of posts below this one, in the middle of a vituperative tongue-swallowing eructation of electoral fire, I said that anyone who votes for "this garbage" can go and do to themselves something that 3 out of 4 dentists would not recommend.

I thought it was obvious what that meant, but a cryptic message from Kateland (not to mention a cheerful and gentle missive from Anonalogue) has caused me to consider that I was perhaps not as clear as I had intended--although in fairness to my commenters, their concerns might have had nothing to do with this at all...

In any event, this is what I meant:

For "this garbage", please read "Paul Martin's Liberals and their [allegedly] insider-trading, self-dealing, meddling, brainless, bureacratophiliac hangers-on."

For the record, as of December 11, 2005, I intend to vote for the CPC candidate in the federal election. My despair over the Tory position on The Issue Which Shall Not Be Named has been leavened by the fact that ultimately I think there should be a free vote on you-know-what.

Moreover, I am totally convinced by Occam's position on the election, which is: "Nothing good can even begin until the levers of power have been pried free from the Liberals' white-knuckled grip." [Note appropriate apostrophe placement--an Internet rarity! Blessings be upon you, brother Occam!]

As a semi-principled mostly-libertarian (I'll explain this in the comments if anyone cares...), I believe that Canada will either become better (more free) or worse (less free) during my lifetime. The only political party that stands any chance at all (i.e. a snowball's chance in Hell) of the former is the Conservative Party. The Dippers and the Liberals are both much worse, for a hundred reasons--although I should add that I respect NDP voters more than Liberal voters. At least Dippers believe in the power of ideas (albeit the wrong ideas) rather than just the idea of power.

I have many reservations about the Tories: bad intentions about you-know-what, bad ideas about drug policy, execrable me-tooism with respect to corporate welfare, an inexplicable attachment to socialism in dozens of areas... but politics is a zero-sum game. One party will win in January, and the rest will lose. A vote for "none of the above", while appealing from a philosophical perspective, means I will be subject to the unadulterated average vote of my fellow Canadians. Obviously my single ballot has slim to no chance of affecting the outcome (and Slim just left the building) but I have to try. I want the Tories to win, even though they are by any objective measure a hodge-podge of bad ideas offered up by an unappealing bunch of meddlers. More importantly, I want the Liberals to lose--an objectively evil cabal of thumbsuckers and would-be dictators.

You've heard the phrase, "don't make 'the perfect' the enemy of 'the good' "? Well, I will vote Tory because in this election, 'the bad' is the enemy of 'the incalculably worse'.

I don't love the Tories. But I love my family and my friends and my self--and the Liberals will continue to make all our lives harder until someone stops them. And the Tories are the only bunch that can fit the bill, despite their shortcomings.

So Go Harper Go! Just... please... don't make me regret this choice even more than I already do...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

This is a stupid headline

From CTV News:

Election day could be bleak, weatherman says

Let me get this straight:

It's in January.

It's in Canada.

And it "could" be bleak.

Personally, I think CTV should have put that under "breaking news". Oh my, here's an update: Summer generally warmer than winter, experts agree! Film at eleven!

How can we miss him if he won't go away?

So NealeNews links to this story at the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, about (must... not... doze... off...) Bill "Intern Academy" Clinton and Belinda "Math Class Is Hard" Stronach. The story headline is "Clinton on Stronach: I never advised that woman".

Except Neale splits that into two lines:
Clinton on Stronach:
I never advised that woman

And my browser showed just the top line. And I'm thinking, I thought she denied that last year?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dumber than shit

I like Calgary Grit's blog. He's generally funny and insightful. But he's fucking lost me when it comes to Paul Martin's latest attempt to shove his own head up his ass. Grit writes that the "crackdown" on "gun ownership" is:
a policy that is:
    a) bold
    b) smart
    c) politically savvy

Yes, I'm aware this won't affect a ton of people. And I'm aware this won't stop gun violence in Toronto. But it's a good start and, unlike most of the policies announced so far this campaign, I really don't see a downside to it.

Okay, so the Martin crackdown has brought Occam out of his blink-and-you'd-miss-it retirement! (Which, needless to say, was shorter than any of my 'tween-post pauses...). But regrettably for my adolescent country, there is nothing else positive to say about the "ban".

Let's take Grit's comments from above one by one.

Bold? Bullshit. Bold would be: concealed carry laws. Bold would be: immediate deportation of landed immigrants found guilty of violent crimes. Bold would be: cancelling the gun registry (for a Liberal). Bold is certainly not saying "oooooh, guns BAAAD" which in Canada is about as bold as saying "Americans are fat!"

Smart? Bullshit. Does anyone honestly believe that "banning" handguns will reduce by any measurable number the quantity of gun-related deaths in Canada?

[pause for deep cleansing breath]

I don't like to insult people simply on the basis of their opinions. I'm not as arrogant as I once was, and I know that smart people can differ on any number of things. I know as well that no-one has ever been convinced of the error of their ways by insult.


If you believe that banning handguns will make our streets safer, then you are a fucking shit-for-brains dumbass.

I note that Grit doesn't even seem to believe this "ban" will work (see his next point: "And I'm aware this won't stop gun violence in Toronto"). It is in fact the most outrageously ludicrous idea I've heard in a few years: if you make illegal guns double-extra-illegal, that'll do the trick.

I am utterly inarticulate with impotent fury. This proposal is the most cynical and disgusting act of a Liberal PM since... I honestly don't know when. I call it "cynical" because both the liar and the audience know it's a lie: even fans like Grit know it's a futile gesture. But somehow everyone accepts the lie. Maybe Homer Simpson was right when he said, "Marge, it takes two to lie: one to lie, and one to listen." Every Liberal who applauded this maneuver is complicit in their own deception, and what is more they know it. No-one over the age of 6 could possibly imagine that "banning" handguns will stem gun violence. It's totally fucked. The handguns that Johnny Whitetrash and Parminder Gangh use to shoot each other are (wait for it) already fucking illegal you fucking morons. How is it that adding another figleaf of public condemnation is supposed to work again? Do Johnny and Parminder get on their goddamn Blackberries and say "Hey, homey, I was going to bust a cap in your ass later, but turns out my gun is illegal, so I'se gonna turn that fucker right in to the cops. Let's settle our drug gang turf war over a nice game of pinochle."

A few months ago, I turned my back on the Tories because of their pathetic attempt to legislate homophobia. Thank Christ I never became a Liberal, because this would fucking spell an end to that. But this crystallizes something in my mind:

If a plurality of Canadians votes to re-install that mendacious parasite Paul Martin in 24 Sussex next month, this country is well and truly fucked. I will become a Western Separatist about 5 minutes later.

Any country stupid enough to vote for this feculent nonsense is not a country I can belong to any more.

If you vote for this garbage, you can go fuck yourself.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Dilbert Blog

Instapundit highlighted the appearance of the Dilbert Blog today. It's freaking hilarious. My two favourite bits so far...

From Dec. 7, "How to Dance":
There was a time when I considered writing a self help book. But then I realized it’s logically impossible. If you think about it, a self help book is really just an author trying to help your sorry ass. It’s not as if you wrote the book yourself. It’s not even close to being “self help.” So stop taking credit for other people helping you. That’s all I’m saying.

From Dec. 4, "Best and Worst Jobs":

Yet another “third highest ranking al-Qaida leader” has been killed, this time by a rocket attack from an unmanned drone. There are a lot of jobs that I wouldn’t want, and “third highest ranking al-Qaida leader” is right at the top. But I can tell you for sure that if I ever got that job, the first thing I’d do is narc out one of the top two guys so I could move up a notch. Apparently one of the perks of being in the top two is having a really, really good hiding place. The number 3 through 10 leadership guys are pretty much scurrying between mud huts and looking at the sky a lot.


Monday, December 05, 2005

A useful reminder that, no matter who wins on January 23, this country is still going to Hell.

From the front page of today's National Post (emphasis added):
Judges should feel "emboldened" to trump the written word of the Constitution when protecting fundamental, unwritten principles and rights, Canada's Chief Justice says.

Beverley McLachlin, in a speech delivered in New Zealand, took on critics who say judges have no business going beyond the strict letter of the Constitution to strike down laws and enforce rights.

"The rule of law requires judges to uphold unwritten constitutional norms, even in the face of clearly enacted laws or hostile public opinion," said a prepared text of the lecture Judge McLachlin gave to law students at Victoria University of Wellington late last week.

"There is certainly no guarantee or presumption that a given list of constitutional principles is complete, even assuming the good faith intention of the drafters to provide such a catalogue."

Judge McLachlin set out a blueprint for when judges must rely on unwritten principles, which she defined as "norms that are essential to a nation's history, identity, values and legal system."

As "House, MD" would say: Nice! After all, this whole "democracy" thing hasn't really turned out like we'd hoped, eh? Voters still have these nasty, brutish ideas about how the country should be run. Sometimes they just need the firm smack of a caring fist, yes?

Thank the goddess that we have our own Northern Lights, our nonet of Philosopher Queens, to identify our unwritten national values. It makes the dirty work of utopianizing our bastard citizenry so much easier.

After all, quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Turns out the answer is: The Judges! Phew. Long centuries of groping towards the ideal form of government, and Beverley "B-Mac" McLachlin has found it. As long as Canada continues to be ruled by The Wise, and as long as those Wise continue to be appointed by The Liberal Party of Hope And Optimism (© John Duffy, National Post, December 3 2005), then this country will clearly continue its historical Short March.

Recall the stirring words of the French Revolution, my friends: Egalité! Fraternité! Obéissance!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Which one of us paid for that crap?

I have long believed that the government should personalize our taxes by identifying exactly what each of us pays for. Say, for example, that the CBC costs about $1,000,000,000 a year. The average family in Canada contributes about $37,000 per year in taxes (according to Fraser Institute calculations). Therefore we could say that about 27,000 Canadian families funded the CBC. I think the feds should randomly select 27,000 families from the tax rolls, and write them a letter: "Congratulations and thank you! Felicitations et merci! This year you paid for the CBC."

We would all get a letter, saying what we paid for. Maybe last year my tax money paid for official bilingualism in North Overshoe, Manitoba. Maybe I paid for three-gazillionth of the gun registry bureaucracy, or for one of those fed-gov junkets ("Congratulations! This year you paid for 19 House of Commons translators to enjoy a 3 day bender at a Quebec lakeside resort! Merci beaucoup!").

Then the government could publish a list of who paid for what. That way I would know who to write my reverse-pledge-drive letter to:

Dear sir,

You paid for the CBC last year. Therefore you paid for CBC News to run a "week in review" thing after the first week of the 2005 election campaign, called Behind the Ballot. Your tax dollars therefore allowed some faceless CBC flunkie to open the show with a video montage of the federal leaders: Martin speaking sonorously of the choice facing Canada, Layton inviting voters to send more New Democrats to Ottawa, and Harper being asked "do you love Canada?" and then (according to THE ANNOUNCER ON THIS NEWS SHOW) giving (and here I am quoting the announcer) "the wrong answer".

Might I invite you, sir, to please quit your goddamn job and start shooting heroin. You would therefore stop paying taxes, and perhaps the CBC would then be short your $37000. If you know anyone else who paid for the CBC this year, please tell them also to become a welfare parasite.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A sotto voce argument in favour of another vote on SSM in the House

I have been very unhappy about Harper revisiting the whole gay marriage thing, for two reasons: tactical (I don't think the Tories should be stressing this issue during the campaign) and moral (I think the Tories are wrong to oppose SSM). As I have noted below, and others have reminded me, my tactical and strategic skills are severely limited by the fact that I don't understand how most people think. Perhaps I am an idiot. Perhaps other people are idiots. Perhaps I am just a square peg surrounded by a bunch of round holes...

Anyway, I am happy to concede that my strategic and tactical advice to the Tories might be better stuffed into my own round hole. Who knows? There's at least one guy with a PhD who thinks I am wrongo, buster. (Although having a PhD certainly does not mean that one is necessarily very clever. As someone (Orwell? Friedman? boy I'm dumb...) once observed, there are some ideas so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them.)

But apart from purely electoral thinking, there is at least one good reason to favour a free vote in the House on SSM.

In the USA, restrictions on abortion were outlawed by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which it is fair to say is at least constitutionally controversial. Whether abortion rights are properly included within the penumbra of privacy in the US constitution is debatable. Both foes and fans of abortion-on-demand appear to believe that the Supreme Court decision does not reflect the actual voting intentions of the current US electorate: keep in mind how viciously the battle over Supreme Court nominations is fought in the US. Anti-abortos and pro-abortos both know that if the abortion question came to a vote, US voters would (in some states) restrict access to abortions.

Put another way, both sides believe that Roe v. Wade is an undemocratic decision: the pro-abortion side believes that abortion is a rights issue, which must be kept out of the ballot box (in much the same way that it would be unconstitutional to legislatively restrict the rights of black or hispanic Americans); the anti-abortion side believes the abortion question should be settled by citizens and not judges. Because the pro- side won in an undemocratic way (which is theoretically fine, because not all questions should be settled by vote, in my opinion), the anti- side feels disenfranchised. The Roe v. Wade decision has therefore led to considerable "social unrest" over the last few decades in the US, because it seems to me that both pro and anti activists agree the Court tipped the scales to one side at the expense of the other.

Putting SSM to a whipped vote in the Commons, as Martin did a few months ago, leads to the same feeling on the part of the anti's. They clearly believe that this was an undemocratic decision, and that a fast one was pulled on the country. The pro's obviously agree, at least a little bit, or else there would be a general shrugging of shoulders at Harper's suggestion. "So what if there's another vote? SSM will win, because it's so popular!" The outcry this has provoked, on both sides, clearly demonstrates that the anti side feels it has been excluded from the decision--and the pro side seems to agree with that, and is perfectly happy thank you very much.

So: if SSM is put to a free vote, and wins, there can be no feeling of democratic exclusion among the anti's. A feeling of democratic exclusion is dangerous, because it leads to all sorts of stupidity (e.g. Quebec separatism*). It could, for example, lead to this issue surviving to be fought AGAIN, in the next election after this one! Dear lord, Clementine, pass the smelling salts!! (as Wells said in another context)

In order, therefore, that this issue be settled within a democratic context**, without either side feeling like it has been the victim of a procedural trick, SSM should be put to a free un-whipped vote in the Commons.



* I mean that Quebec separatism is stupid for Quebec. Personally I support the idea of Quebec seceding, as a benefit for the rest of the country. I just think they're silly for suggesting it for them. Of course, threatening it (without doing it) has been profitable, n'est-ce pas?

** Naturally I find it repugnant that this issue should even be voted upon at all. Since when is it any business of Canadian voters what I do in my own house, so long as it does not harm you? Since when do a majority of my fellow citizens get to decide how I live my own private life? (Ed. note: what frickin' planet are YOU livin' on, bud? Since forever! Now shut up and do what you're told.) However, a functioning democracy is still the best defense we have against the worst excesses of state power (which isn't saying much), so I make this argument in support of a functioning democracy.

Offered without comment (but with emphasis added)

From The Guardian, headlined "Alarm over dramatic weakening of Gulf Stream":
The powerful ocean current that bathes Britain and northern Europe in warm waters from the tropics has weakened dramatically in recent years, a consequence of global warming that could trigger more severe winters and cooler summers across the region, scientists warn today.

*koff koff*

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