Archive for October, 2011

Ron Paul Update

David — October 20, 2011

For those interested in following Ron Paul’s campaign I recommend Daily Paul and Google News.

Daily Paul gives you the libertarian perspective while Google News, a popular news aggregator, shows you any and all news related to Paul whether negative or positive. Combining these two sites gives one a good overall sense of what is happening.

For those who haven’t been following along here are some of the recent videos put out by Ron Paul’s campaign:

Club meeting

Dave Killion — October 20, 2011

The Club is getting together tonight for our final discussion of “They Thought They Were Free“, and here is an excerpt that I found striking not only for its insight, but for its relevance to current US circumstances –

“If any occupation ever had a chance of succeeding, it should have been the American (sometimes called the Allied) Occupation of western Germany. As occupations went, it was probably the most benign in history, in part because the fortunes of their history have nourished benignity in the American people, in part because the Occupied turned out to have the same kinds of tastes and talents, and even cousins, as the Occupiers. That the Occupation did fail (if its object was to do any better than Versailles) is now clear, I think, to anyone who does not define peace as order or democracy as balloting. It failed because it was an occupation, and no occupation has a chance of succeeding. (Emphasis mine)

The day the American troops came to Kronenberg, a sergeant rode through the town in a jeep and designated homes which were strategically located for occu[ancy by the troops responsible for maintaining security. One of the homes belonghed to a woman with two babies; within a few hours her furniture was out on the street, along with her and her children. She addressed the Corporal in charge of the eviction, explaining to him, in English, that she was not a Nazi but an anti-Nazi. His reply was not unfriendly. He said, “Too bad, lady.”

It was too bad, lady, but that’s the way it was. It was an occupation; worse yet, it was a civilized occupation, which, as such, violated Machiavelli’s inviolable injunction either to liberate or exterminate a conquered people but under no circumstances to irritate them by halfway measures. The halfway measures of the American Occupation were halfway just, but they were halfway unjust, too. How could they, being civilized, have been otherwise.”

This last bit of the book has been interesting, but a great deal of what Mayer writes comes in the form of declarations, rather than arguments, and so I haven’t taken them to heart to the degree I did his earlier chapters. That may be all I have to say about this great book, but I haven’t quite finished, so if I find something else I’d like to share I’ll put it up tomorrow.

Rest assured

Dave Killion — October 19, 2011

A while back I posted about an incident in which the police tased an 11-year-old boy. Well, good news. The police investigated the police, and the police told the police that they were justified in their actions. The police determined that the police were telling the truth. Having been assured by the police that the police didn’t do anything wrong, the confidence citizens have in the police should remain intact.

All the same, this might be even better –

“Resident of British Columbia should have more confidence in their police starting in 2012. When things go wrong – as they sometimes will – police errors will be investigated by an independent group.”

Such a good idea! I wonder why no one ever thought of it before.

Cross-border baloney

Dave Killion — October 18, 2011

Here’s a letter to the Toronto Sun –

The endorsement of free trade by International Trade Minister Ed Fast (Buy America will help Canadian Economy, Oct 18) is a welcome development. Too bad the government says one thing and does another! While decrying the harmful effects of trade barriers, Canada maintains a slew of tariffs, taxes, subsidies, and other regulations against foreign goods that leave us northern consumers no reasonable option but to ‘Buy Canada”. Let our elected hypocrites remove these hurdles (even unilaterally!) and not only will Canadians become more prosperous, but we will have far more credibility when lecturing other nations.

 

Double standard students

Dave Killion — October 17, 2011

Canada has a student loan program which is once again about to hit its funding limit. The Canadian Federation of Students isopposed to having the lending limit increased… they want the money to just be given to them

“This country is effectively bankrupting a generation before they even get to their first job interview,” Dubois said at a news conference in Ottawa, standing alongside a digital counter showing the total student debt in Canada.

The CFS says the government should provide grants to provinces to reduce tuition fees in lieu of tax credits to students and convert some student loans to non-repayable grants. Dubois said the system could act in the same way that the federal government provides provinces with health-care funding.”

Bailouts and subsidies? You call yourselves students, but you beg like corporations!

 

Occupied elsewhere

Dave Killion — October 16, 2011

Saturday was the day many major Canadian cities were ‘occupied’, and Victoria was no exception. Saturday saw over 1,000 people gather and march, but that has trickled down to about 16 tents pitched in the town square. I’m not sure what impact this is going to have on Wall Street, but you never know.

Back east, the situation sounded similar. From our friends at Liberty PEI

“As I arrived, just behind schedule, a man was speaking about what it was like to live with AIDS on PEI. This was my introduction to the main theme of the afternoon, economic injustice. There were appeals to the vague ideas of corporate greed and poverty reduction/elimination and basic human rights. Some speakers were more focused on specifics like wasteful government spending (not unlike the Tea Party) on certainly Island and federal projects, and public housing. Still others got down to business about actions each person could take such as supporting local businesses and using cooperatives to take control of their own futures. And proportional representation made a cameo.”

If this movement hopes to have any impact, I think they are going to have to find a target somewhat less amorphous than big business, Wall Street, and Corporations.

Local boy made good

Dave Killion — October 15, 2011

A local entrepreneur recently passed away here in Victoria –

“Alex A. Campbell – who died Tuesday – was Victoria’s own homegrown hero.

The modest businessman was known as much for his philanthropy as for his success with Thrifty Foods in the competitive supermarket business.”

Starting out as a grocery clerk when he was only 15 years old, Campbell went on to found a grocery chain that had twenty outlets, 3700 employees, and was worth $260 million when sold in 2007.

I’m glad that Campbell was able to develop a business that operated in keeping with his temperament, but I would be the last person to say he should serve as a model for every retailer. My family has always shopped chiefly at Thrifty Foods and I can attest to the fact that it is indeed known for two things – generosity to community groups, and high prices. I knew many people who shopped there to support what they saw as a civic-minded institution, and others who shopped elsewhere because they valued lower prices more than charitable corporate conduct. If another chain in this area were to raise their prices in an attempt to do well by doing good, I think the number of consumers they would draw would be far outweighed by the number they would lose. Most people I know don’t want to pay a charity premium, but would rather keep their shopping and their charity separate. Happily, a free market makes it possible for both groups to shop the way the each prefer, and it made it possible for a good man like Alex Campbell to do good things.

Voting with their feet

Dave Killion — October 14, 2011

Just in case you need directions.

Carpe Diem brings to our attention this article from the Globe and Mail. Here’s a sample –

Canada’s stronger economy is becoming a magnet for Americans hunting for work.

In a reversal of historical flows, immigration lawyers report a surge of calls from Americans who want to move north. Statistics bear out their observations: A record number of Americans applied for temporary work visas last year, Immigration Canada statistics show, spurred largely by the contrasting health of the two countries’ labour markets.

The last time I looked at the stats, Canadians migrated to the US at ten times the rate Yankees moved to Canada. Adjust for the population, and the ration was more like 100 to 1. So although I’m sure there are more Americans than ever coming north, I doubt very seriously the historical flows have reversed.

Also, I cannot help but notice that although a tremendous amount of media attention was given to Americans who swore after the re-election of George W. Bush that they were going to come pouring over the border, it wasn’t until Democrats controlled the White House that it actually happened.

A more egalitarian totalitarian

Dave Killion — October 13, 2011

Well, that's not really what I had in mind, either.

 

 

Is it time to modernize the monarchy? Could be

“British Prime Minister David Cameron has written to Canada and 14 other Commonwealth nations where the Queen is head of state requesting their views on modernizing succession.

“We espouse gender equality in all other aspects of life and it is an anomaly that in the rules relating to the highest public office we continue to enshrine male superiority,” Cameron wrote.”

I don’t think overcoming primogeniture and the sexist component are really going to correct what’s wrong with monarchy, namely, its existence.

A sad state of affairs

Dave Killion — October 12, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought this was interesting, although I’m not perfectly clear on what the point is meant to be, if anything. Maybe it’s meant to show the US has more ignorant hillbillies than urban sophisticates, but then why are liberal bastions like California and the New England states more likely to permit first cousins to marry than gays? Another thing I noticed is the use of the word ‘allow’, which I don’t think is very accurate. ‘Recognize’ would be better.

The greater tragedy is not that there are states that recognize/allow some marriages and not others, but that the state plays any role at all in the personal relations of free people.