Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why America Should Elect Hillary (or..NOT Elect Trump) In Simple Terms

People like things simplified. Makes it easier for the masses to understand things.

So, here is the simplified version of why Trump needs to lose and why Clinton needs to win:

Is it racist to want to secure your borders and have people enter your country via a legitimate process? NO! A nation state SHOULD secure it's borders.
Is it realistic or workable to build a wall along the border? NO! Illegal migrants will tunnel or build taller ladders.
Is it realistic or workable to deport all illegal immigrants and have them go through the legit process?  NO! There are too many and they are too hard to find!

Is it racist to say that many Muslims on planet Earth have values that are inconsistent with western society? NO! Islam is not a race and many muslims on planet Earth believe in sharia law, that men come first, that non-muslims are infidels and that the penalty for leaving the faith is death. Not all, but not none either. Let's not fool ourselves.
Is it realistic or workable to ban muslims from entering the country? NO! Again, Islam is not a race or skin color. A muslim can be white. And such a policy feeds the machine of hatred and makes radicalization easier.
Do you really want the kind of country that labels all Muslims as villains? NO!

Is it understandable that many Americans feel like they're getting screwed on trade deals? YES!
Is it realistic or workable to cancel NAFTA when labour costs in the US mean that muscle jobs will go to Asia or Africa regardless? NO!

Is it understandable that many Americans are fed up with left-wing political correctness and speech policing? YES!
Is it a good idea to elect a President who would make fun of a disabled person or make sexist comments about a female journalist because he doesn't like the questions he's being asked? NO!

Is it understandable that many Americans are fed up with the Washington and Wall Street establishment? YES!
Is it a good idea to elect a President who has ripped people off through everything from real estate deals to a fraudulent university? NO!

Is it sexist to say that Hillary Clinton has a history of deceit and inconsistency? NO!
Is it better to have a President who is willing to cut shady deals and get things done in a polarized environment than to have one who insists on an ideologically blind course a-la Carter or Obama? YES

Please, America, elect Hillary Clinton.

But that's just the way I see it.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

On Kaepernick, Free Speech and Oppression

Pro football player Colin Kaepernick is protesting the alleged oppression of blacks in America by refusing to stand for the national anthem. It seems to me there are a few issues related to this, and they can be dealt with separately. But in the end, those bashing each other are in the wrong. Completely.

Issue 1: Kaepernick's Freedom to Protest
Colin Kaepernick lives in the USA, a free country. It is his right to criticize his own country. It is his right to protest. It is his right to protest and criticize publicly. It is also the right of everyone else to criticize him, his decisions, his protest and his reasoning. So it's okay for him to protest. It's also okay for him to be supported, praised or criticized for it.

Issue 2: Kaepernick's Specific Form of Protest
By not standing for the national anthem of your country, you are implying that the country itself is guilty of whatever it is that you are protesting. The flag, the anthem, represent more than what people say. It's not just respect for veterans, or war dead, or freedom in general. It represents your country in the aggregate. So, by choosing this form of protest, Kaepernick is accusing the entire country of systematic oppression. If that was not his intent, it is still the message he sends. So, if he didn't intend it, I would recommend to him that he choose another form of protest. If he did intend that, then....

Issue 3: The Oppression of Blacks in America
Are blacks oppressed in America? Judging my news stories you would think so. Do facts and statistics back it up? Well......

Nominally, many more white people are shot by cops every year, for example. Over 60% of the total. However, proportional to their population, blacks are shot more. But blacks statistically interact with police far more. 90% of all blacks murdered in the USA are murdered by other blacks. Digging deep into those realities requires a much larger conversation about race and culture in America, both within the black community itself and as a whole country.

Kaepernick plays in a league where the majority of players are black. They are watched by more people than any other sport in the world. This league requires teams to interview minorities for head coaching positions.

About 13% of Americans are black, according to the 2013 census. Almost 9% of the US Congress are black. That's not too far off. They're not there yet, but clearly progress has been made. 12% of all police officers in America are black. The President is black. The past two Attorneys General have been black. The Secretary of Homeland Security is black.

This is not to say that blacks have never been oppressed or that everything is perfect with respect to race relations in America. Is there racism? Absolutely. All sorts of racism, and not all of it is directed at blacks. Is that disgusting? Yes. It's reprehensible. There is still a lot of work to be done. There are only 5 black CEOs in the top 500 biggest companies, for example. But are blacks oppressed? Does the USA, as a whole, discriminate against or oppress blacks? I would suggest that you look at the evidence and make up your own mind.

So, it's fair game to support or bash Kaepernick. However, if it cannot be proven that the country itself is oppressing blacks, then he would be wiser to think of a better way to protest racism in America.

But that's just the way I see it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Twitter Banning Milo Will Only Make Him More Famous

Wow! If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would think that Twitter actually likes Milo Yiannopoulos.

Who is Milo Yainnopoulos, you ask? He is a writer/editor/commentator for Breitbart. More than that, he is a campaigner against 3rd wave feminism, political correctness, and restrictions on freedom of speech. Most of all, he is a pisser-off of people.

He is a self-described gay-conservative and Donald Trump supporter. He has argued against gay marriage (although his reasons are interestingly bizarre). He has argued that gays and women are not oppressed or marginalized anymore. He has argued that modern feminism is anti-male and a "cancer". He has argued, with facts and statistics on many issues that piss people off, including his assertion that there is no gender wage gap (his argument, agree or not, is compelling). He has argued, again with facts and statistics, that there is no campus rape epidemic in the US (not that any rape is okay, but inflating numbers is his issue).

You get where I'm going.

Milo is crass, rude and deliberately offensive. But he's not always wrong.

Milo Yiannopoulos has roughly 300,000 followers on Twitter. His army of supporters is about to grow massively. Now, maybe to you that's a good thing and maybe that's a bad thing. But let's get a few things straight:

1. Milo intends to piss you off.

Free speech. To Milo, restrictions on this are bad in pretty much any case. He intends to make an issue of this by deliberately saying things that are hurtful and offensive and even mean. If you ban him, you make his point for him. One note...I've never heard of Milo calling for violence against anyone. So you may not like what he says, but unless he's calling for harm against innocent people, he has the right to say what he wants. And he will say all sorts of shit to make this point, and draw out people and challenge them. Way to fall for it, Twitter.

2. You don't have to agree with Milo.

Okay. You think that what Milo says is bullshit. You believe that there is a gender pay gap. You believe that there is a rape culture on college campuses. Okay. If you ban Milo from speaking (especially at your campus) you make yourself the villain. If you challenge him to a debate, he will undoubtedly accept. He has said so. If you bring facts and figures and a damn fine argument and oratory instead of shouting and protests, you may well convince those watching. If you shriek and attack you give him victory by default. Way to fall for it Twitter.

3. Political correctness has led to Milo, Trump et al.

You may think that Milo can sometimes go too far. But the best example of going too far is political correctness. George Carlin said, quite rightly, that changing the name of a condition doesn't change the condition. So some words we don't like we replace with other words that mean exactly the same thing....but don't make us feel the same way. It is, at it's base, intellectually dishonest. And it has run rampant to the point where we feel like making people feel comfy is more important than telling the truth. The vacuum that (and the corruption of both the left and right in office) has created has led to a backlash in the form of people like Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopoulos. They now have a huge platform to rail against those frustrations. Way to fall for it Twitter.

The problem I have with him is that he is a very large hypocrite.

1. Gays for Trump

Milo's argument against gay marriage was, in my view, silly. It is a civil union under a different name, sure. However to many of us it was, and is, about the fact the being homosexual is just as normal, natural and okay as being straight and that they should not be categorized in a lesser way. But he claims to be a gay-Catholic-conservative. I can get gay conservative. Trump just nominated a massively anti-gay man as his running mate. Milo responds by saying that it's politics, essentially, and that Trump doesn't mean it. But this just sounds like excuses to me. Milo would never let the left off on such lame sophistry. He knows it too.

2. Decorum

I watched a video where Milo lambasted some shrieking protesters for being rude to Cristina Hoff Sommers (a much classier and more civil challenger of political correctness and 3rd wave feminism). Rightly so. But he doesn't apply the same rules of decorum to himself. He is deliberately rude, mean and viscous. He calls it "jokes and funny". Please, Milo. Hold yourself to the same standard you hold others. If you had, you'd still be on Twitter. Honestly I could give a shit about Ghostbusters or whether it has a female cast. But Milo's tweets about fat and ugly people, or comparing an actress to a man are rude, if nothing else. Mind you, that doesn't excuse Twitter for keeping ISIS accounts or the accounts of world leaders calling for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews. They are hypocrites too.

3. Feminism and Islam

When Milo challenges feminists to be as hard on Islam as they are on Christianity, he is absolutely right. Both religions, in their holy texts and teachings, are explicit in their belief that homosexuality is wrong. Often it's much worse than that. Feminism only challenges Christianity. Political correctness at work, no doubt. But Milo lets Christianity off the hook and challenges only Islam. Christianity is anti-gay as well. He is gay. He claims to be Christian. Ummmm....

So, you may like Milo. You may hate Milo. But I think the arguments he is stirring up are important to our freedom and society. I guess, in his crude way, that's his point. Although part of me thinks he's just building a brand. In the end, though, making him a martyr just makes his voice louder. You may not have heard of him before reading this blog. But you will hear a lot about him from now on. Everywhere. Bank on it.

Way to fall for it, Twitter.

But that's just the way I see it.

Friday, July 15, 2016

All Lives Don't Matter

I've gone a long time without posting anything to this blog. That's given me time to accumulate some juicy items to talk about now that I'm ready to start posting again. I'm tempted to start out with a post about how activist groups are a threat to our society, causing the complete disregard for freedom of speech, but I'll save that one for later this weekend.

Right now I want to talk about the idea that this or that identifiable group's lives matter. This controversy unfortunately culminated this past week with the Canadian national anthem being hijacked at the MLB All-Star game.

It would seem to me that any logical, rational thinking person would agree that no life matters more than another based on race. A black life matters as much as a white one and vice versa. But the notion that ALL lives matter is complete bullshit. There are a whole bunch of people on this planet whose lives don't matter and shouldn't matter.

A pedophile's life doesn't matter.

A serial killer's life doesn't matter.

A serial rapist's life doesn't matter.

A person who would torture a cat's life doesn't matter.

A terrorist's life doesn't matter.

I could go on, but you get the idea. The planet and the human race would both be better off without those categories of people. We would not miss them or mourn them.

So let's remember that words mean things. Empty platitudes don't do anything but reinforce the delusional practice of ensuring everyone feels good and are never offended by anything at the expense of honesty and freedom of speech.

But that's just the way I see it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

This Weekend The Conservatives Can Start Winning or Keep Losing

The federal Conservative party is having it's policy convention this weekend. It's a convention that will, even more than their leadership race in the coming year, decide whether the Conservatives will win or in 2019.

Several things have to happen for the Conservatives to win the next election. An electable leader is, of course, one of them. But what the party stands for matters much more at this point. A smiling leader of a party that has policies the public doesn't like will be a smiling leader who loses. Say what you like about Justin Trudeau, the Liberals are party that has put themselves in start contrast to the Tories. They are for government intervention in the economy. They are for taxing the rich more. They are against pipelines and oil development (despite their rhetoric...the actions speak volumes). So what will the Conservatives stand for? Here are some things they need to do:

1. Support gay marriage.

This train left the station 15 years ago. Canadians support LGBTQ rights. They see this as a human rights issue because it is. No religious belief can justify denying human rights. Being gay, lesbian, transgendered is not bad, evil or harmful no matter what any holy text says. If the Conservatives don't get rid of their opposition to gay marriage they will lose in 2019 no what the other policies are and no matter who the leader is. They will make it easy for Trudeau.

2. Admit climate change is real.

Yes, the science is settled. Yes, there damn well is a massive scientific consensus on climate change. It is real and humans are at least partly causing it. This doesn't mean abandoning the resource sector. But it does mean that there is an expiry date on some elements of that sector. Plan realistic policy around that and you can win over Canadians. Keep acting like it's a commie hoax and you will lose in 2019.

3. Defend the job creators.

Tax-the-rich schemes sound good to people who aren't rich. A blend of jealousy, blind ideology and a disregard for economic liberty can create economic stagnation. It is quite possible that the Liberal policy of taxing more and spending more will result in a worse economy 4 years from now. Canada must remain competitive, but for the Conservatives to be competitive they must shed the image that they are protectors of corporations and fat cats. Instead they must clearly communicate why competitive taxation and responsible spending make sense to people who rely on Canada's public services.

Stephen Harper may well be correct that in 2019 Canada will need a strong Conservative party more than ever. Looking at the Trudeau Liberals it's hard to argue.

But that's just how I see it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Electoral Reform Will Require An Investment In Technology

Is Elections Canada ready for electronic voting machines? They should be. We all should be.

Many municipalities have used ballot machines for years. Why hasn't Canada? If you have a fillable ballot that is fed into a machine that counts it (much like many school exams have been doing for 40 years) you open up your elections to many different ways of balloting as well as complete portability. The results will also be tallied much faster.

Using electronics in voting has been shown to be safe and is much less likely to be taken advantage of by those seeking to commit electoral fraud. The ballot is fed into the machine and counted. The results are transmitted. Clean. It's 2016. The next federal election should occur in 2019. In 2019 we shouldn't be counting paper ballots with scrutineers and waiting 5 hours to find out who's won the bloody election!

Electronic balloting makes other kinds of electoral systems more easily possible. An electronic ballot machine allows instant tabulation of single transferable votes. With STV you rank the candidates in order of preference. If a candidate doesn't get a majority of votes then the last placed candidate is dropped and their votes are re-counted using the second preference. Rinse and repeat until you have a winner. more winners without majority consent.

Using technology to enhance your elections would also allow people to vote in their riding from another riding. This would be exceptionally valuable for post-secondary students and communing workers. It eliminates a burdensome process of applying for special ballots and mailing them in.

There, of course, would be a cost to adding this kind of technology to our elections. But we spend all sorts of money on things that matter less than our democracy. It would be money well spent.

So, the Government of Canada should be looking at this prior to changing the electoral system. Spend the money, have the hearings, get public input, choose a system and then put it to a vote. And yes, Mr. Trudeau, you have to have a referendum. You can't change the way we vote without our consent. If you don't know that then you're not qualified to be dogcatcher, let alone Prime Minister.

But that's just the way I see it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

After Seeing The Left in Power, Can We Say They Are Better Than The Right?

Yes, I know. It's been forever since I posted on this blog. But sometimes you need to take a break and accumulate some topics to write about. In this instance I'm not sure I can keep my big mouth shut.

Okay, I admit it. Full disclosure here. I live in Alberta. I'm a red Tory. Which means that for years and years I voted Progressive Conservative. Federally I was a Reform/CA/Conservative supporter for years. But in 2015 not only did I vote for Trudeau's Liberals, I voted for Notley's NDP. Both of those votes were a response to my disinclination to reward bad behaviour. In both instances the party I voted for seemed like the only possible alternative. So, there you have it. Pissed off at my brand, I punished them. But in some ways I cut off my nose to spite my face.

That's not to say that a good beating behind the woodshed won't improve Canada's conservative parties. But in 4 years a party can do a whole lot of damage. We're seeing it both in Edmonton and Ottawa.

Let's start in Edmonton. The Notley NDP seemed very reasonable during the election. But since then we've seen some unbelievably bad choices. These are deliberate choices based on blind ideology, not reason or reasonability.

Nowhere in their 2015 election platform did the NDP mention a carbon tax. This is really a just a revenue generator, and a pretty shabby one. Any economist can tell you that fuels, especially fuels in a winter climate, are inelastic. That means that increases in price do not decrease consumption to the same degree. Fuels are extremely inelastic. So we're going to pay more to run our vehicles and heat our homes, while not one bit of CO2 will be reduced.

We also have the decision to cease all coal-fired power. Yet the plan for what it will get replaced with and how that will be paid for is nonexistent. Don't tell that to the NDP, since they'll just tell you that a combination of wind and solar should do the trick. But nowhere in the world has that kind of power fuelled a place the size of Alberta. We don't have hydro power. And nuclear power creates nuclear waste, which only takes millions of years to not really environmentally friendly. The costs will be staggering. The results will be catastrophic. It simply cannot be done with current technology.

Finally, we're seeing a continuation of the lousy budgeting practises started under Allison Redford. They're posting an $8 Billion deficit this year. But that's just in their operational spending. They are also borrowing $5 Billion more for capital projects, which are conveniently separated out in the budget. That's $13 Billion in one year, not $8 Billion. In one year. They say we won't have a balanced budget until 2024! That's 8 years of deficits. That's irresponsible. Had they simply held the line on spending (not cut, just freeze) the deficits would have been much less. Once you reach balanced books you can start looking at spending again.

Increasing taxes on job creators doesn't help with economic recovery or diversification either. So how do you diversify? It's not exactly easy. If you want different kinds of industries to locate to your jurisdiction, then you have to attract them. You have to offer them a competitive business environment and the labour to match. So you have to invest in education and bribe them with tax breaks and subsidies. But where does the money for that come from? Trees? And does this sound like the NDP program?

Moving on to Ottawa and our selfie-taking Prime Minister, I just just get the feeling that grown-ups aren't in charge. Cutting defense spending while we're facing more threats from extremists and aggressive states is foolish. We have a huge arctic area that is defenseless to an aggressor like Vlad Putin. Our allies are fighting a barbaric Islamic extremist movement while we talk about...talking. Brutal. Embarrassing.

But while keeping Canada safe doesn't seem to be a spending priority, the Trudeau Liberals are spending heaps on other things. Saddling us with huge deficits while, like Notley, punishing investors and job creators is the order of the day. A puny "middle class" tax cut was the bribe we all fell for, isn't it? Meanwhile the Parliamentary budget officer has stated that the budget process under the Liberals makes transparency more difficult. So much for a more honest government.

Lastly, Trudeau's pathetic insistence that as Prime Minister it's not his job to "cheerlead" pipelines is the same thing as saying "keep it in the ground". His refusal to bring crooked Montreal mayor Coderre to task over his hypocritical comments on Energy East shows he doesn't have the nation's interest clearly in mind. He doesn't really give a shit about the west either, as evidenced in the selective EI increases that left out the Edmonton area. The fact is that even if the whole planet reduced CO2 emissions we would still have an energy sector. We're going to need oil for some fuels and for lubricants and other products. Those pipelines are essential to Canada, not just Alberta. And shipping resources through Energy East has the potential to help Europe get out from under the resource thumb of Russia. I guess Trudeau, Coderre and his cronies would rather have trains full of oil in flames.

Stephen Harper deserved to be voted out. So did the Alberta "look in the mirror" PCs.

But can we really say that what we got instead is any better? There's no evidence showing that.

But that's just way I see it.