Nov 082012
 

Obama_Romney_168x100I don’t claim to understand the American political system. It is quite complex and has actually changed several times over the years, but in general it goes like this:

The United States of America, contrary to what most people believe, (including many Americans) is not a democracy – it is a republic – a federation of states. Each state may be called democratic, if by democratic we mean that it elects its representatives in each state legislature and each state government derives its powers from the consent of the governed.

The US federal government on the other hand is elected by the states themselves and not by the popular vote of the nation as a whole. So the US is a mixture of a democratically elected House of Representatives, a State-appointed Senate, and a President elected by the States with each State having selected its electors by popular vote within each State, the only exceptions being Maine and Nebraska.

It is the Presidential election system of winner-take-all based on a plurality of votes in each state which keeps out smaller parties who would have to demonstrate a very broad appeal to be able to command the ballots of a majority of the electorate. Hence we have two historical parties develop over the years to dominate the system; the Republicans and the Democrats.

Try as they might, smaller parties like Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Party or Jill Stein’s Green Party face a Herculean task of pushing out either the Democrats or Republicans to take first place and get any electors in the Electoral College.

Write-in candidates like a Green Ralph Nader or a quasi-Libertarian Ross Perot didn’t stand a chance with the winner-take-all system of electoral votes. Consider that Ross Perot, in the 1992 election received 18.9% of the popular vote, almost 20 million votes but not one Electoral College vote.

Running for the House of Representatives or the Senate is somewhat different for independents and several have been elected to these Houses but the Presidency will probably be forever beyond the grasp of any third party.

Thus, Americans are left with two parties to dominate the political scene for the foreseeable future.

The differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the US are much starker than the differences we see here in Canada between the Liberals and the Conservatives. In fact, this election has made me consider the duality of voters in the US and to a similar extent here in Canada.

With a large degree of generalization I would say that these are the two types of voters.

One is a producer; the other a parasite or moocher.

One has personal integrity; the other is willing to sell his soul to the highest bidder.

One asks no one to sacrifice himself to him; the other demands others sacrifice themselves to him.

One has pride in accomplishment; the other takes pride in destruction.

One is peaceful; the other violent.

One is patriotic; the other wishes to destroy the state.

One tells the truth; the other lies.

One is willing to listen to the argument of the other person; the other has no time for debate.

I leave it up to you to decide which of these would vote Republican and which would vote Democrat.

I’m sure there were both liberals and conservatives who placed themselves on the side of the peaceful, productive, truthful, patriotic, creators and thought that their opponents were on the other side. In fact there is some truth to that. There are people from both sides of the aisle who could be said to fit one description or another. There are no doubt Democrats who believe they are genuinely truthful, productive and patriotic as there are Republicans who are truthful, productive and patriotic.

That is the problem the US is having; not necessarily with a two party system, but with having each party represents only one aspect of a complete truth.

The Democrats are considered to be the defenders of individual liberties such as the right of a woman to choose the destiny of her own body, the right of gay people to enter into consensual relationships and marriages (If I can use that term), the right to consume mind altering drugs, the right to behave in ways not conforming to tradition.

The Republicans are considered to be the defender of economic and property rights, the right to self-defense and to bear arms, the right to own and keep property, the right to treat one’s home as one’s castle, the right to create and amass wealth, the right to trade freely with others.

But each Party has its list of faults. The Democrats are seen to be destroyers of business, wealth re distributors, protectionist, squanderers of the public purse, and pacifists. The Republicans are seen to be war mongers who are anti-gay, anti-women, against personal liberties and any aberrant yet peaceful behaviour such as consuming mind-altering drugs.

In general these observations are accurate. And yet while the US has had the Democratic Party control both Houses and the Presidency for the first two years of Obama and the Senate and the Presidency for the last four years, the war on drugs has escalated and they are still in Afghanistan and have active military operations throughout the world. When the Republicans were in power we saw a massive increase in regulations and government spending and debt.

It seems that regardless of which Party achieves power Americans are doomed to see the steady erosion of both personal and economic rights and liberties. I don’t believe anyone can say with absolute certainty that a Romney Presidency would be any better than an Obama Presidency; although personally I believe Obama to be the absolute worst President our neighbour has had the misfortune to endure.

I can say this with certainty. Unless one or both parties begins to adopt the perceived positive policies of their opposing Party the United States is doomed to fail as a nation.

Oct 042012
 
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser

When Saudi nationals perpetrated the September 11th attacks in the United States it did not go unnoticed that there was dancing in the streets in many Muslim nations. It is not a secret that millions of Muslims around the world and even those living in Western countries despise Western values and refuse to integrate into the free and civilized world.

Even today we have prominent American and Canadian Muslim organizations and leaders who are in league with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabi Mullahs of Saudi Arabia and are working tirelessly to destroy the West and every good it stands for.

Not all Muslims are against freedom and capitalism. Not all Muslims are our enemy.  But where are these Muslims? Why don’t we hear from them? For the celebrity few who do speak out, like Ayan Hirsi Ali, or Sam Solomon there are death threats and intimidation. Many keep silent for fear of retribution from the greater Muslim community.

I was invited by Salim Mansur, professor of Political Science at Western University and a frequent quest on our show, to attend and video the September 30th launch of a new voice for the many Muslims in Canada who have either remained silent, or who have spoken out with nobody willing to listen to them. The new organization is called Muslims Facing Tomorrow. Salim Mansur is the Vice President of MFT while activist and author Raheel Raza is the President.

At the meeting journalist and television host Christine Williams spoke and the keynote address was delivered by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, ex-USA Navy Seal Lt. Commander and Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).

What I heard at that event is precisely what I had been longing to hear from an organization of Muslims; a call to reject all violence, to embrace Western values and freedoms, including the freedom to offend as with The Innocence of Muslims video trailer.

I did not hear a single note of reticence in their condemnation of those Muslims calling for the curtailment of free speech or any other individual right protected by both the US and Canadian Constitutions. In fact, during the question period one man stood up, gave his name and declared that he was a Muslim apostate and suggested that the crowd give up their belief in superstition. There were no gasps of shock at such an admission, in fact a few people even applauded.

If such a man can stand up in a crowd of about 160 Muslims (by my count) and declare his apostasy without fear then I knew I was in the right room.

While ideas matter it is not ideas which kill people it is people who kill people and even though there are many tenets of what many have come to understand as Islam which are antithetical to peace, freedom and justice it is not the notion of Islam which kills. It is individual Muslims who kill. Those who espouse evil should be routed out as evil and likewise those who espouse freedom and peace should be lauded for their courage to do so.

I have wrestled with the apparent contradiction of what I understand to be Islam and the individual actions of Muslims. That evening I listened as speaker after speaker affirmed that there are many types of Islam. There are Muslims who, much as many Christians do, pick and choose those things attributed to Muhammad in the Koran. Dr. Jasser outright rejected the notion, for example, that Muhammad consummated a marriage to nine year old Aisha. He simply does not believe it. He rejected the call to kill Infidels or Jews regardless of what it says in the Koran. We have seen this before in Christianity as many choose to reject those aspects of the Bible which are inconsistent with civilization and have relegated such passage to history and myth. This may be how a religion reforms itself.

As if in answer to my own thoughts Dr. Jasser also addressed the Muslim notion of al-Taqiyya. He was asked by conservative blogger Dr. Roy Eappen; ‘How does one know that they are not being hoodwinked by moderate Muslims?’ He said that putting his position on the public record and doing it consistently through word and action should be enough to convince people of his sincerity.

When a Muslim stands up publicly to denounce anti-Semitism, misogyny, violence, homophobia, arranged marriages to six year olds and acts consistently to show that he is sincere what more do we need to know to accept the fact that Islam to him is completely different than it is to the Osama-bin Ladens and Wahhabis of the world?

(Originally broadcast on Just Right #270, October 4, 2012.)

Jul 232012
 

mike_harris_168x100

 
 
 
 

Created and hosted by London talk-show personality Jim Chapman, Left, Right, and Center was launched and aired live from the studios of CJBK am 1290 Radio in London Ontario as a weekly Wednesday feature of his regular three-hour-a-day show Talk Of The Town. Regulars Jeff Schlemmer (a lawyer with Neighbourhood Legal Services) represented the ‘left,’ while Robert Metz (president of the Freedom Party of Ontario) represented the ‘right.’

On this show Gil Warren of the London and District Labour Council filled in for Jeff Schlemer and I filled in for Bob Metz. The topics under discussion were the 1999 Ontario election, taxes and democracy.

Depending on you browser settings you can click here to download the show or use the player below to stream it.

Apr 212012
 

On April 21, 2012, Freedom Party of Ontario held its “Red Alert” dinner on the top floor of the Primrose Hotel in Toronto. The video of the event was released in parts. This second part features a speech by Freedom Party officer and election campaign manager Robert Vaughan, who was emcee for the event.

Mar 292012
 

Good Lord! – The Right, The Honourable
Abortion And Islam – Morally Superior?
Rude Interruption – The McBean Consensus
Puzzle Unsolved – Issues Resolved

The sphere and cylinder conundrum video by itself.

Depending on you browser settings you can click here to download the show or use the player below to stream it.

Mar 222012
 

On March 22nd, 2012 I sat down with Lord Christopher Monckton for a one-on-one discussion of education, journalism, Catholicism, Islam, conservatism, and philosophy.

Mar 182012
 

Video I took on March 18, 2012 of Lord Christopher Monckton speaking to supporters of the International Free Press Society – Canada at Windermere Manor in London, Ontario. Topics of his speech included the United Nations, environmentalism, science, reason, Agenda 21, Marxism, Islam, and abortion as one of the reasons for the eventual downfall of the West.

Mar 152012
 

241 - Monckton-Essex - 168x100

GUEST: The Rt Hon Christopher Monckton, Autodidactic Mathematician, Game Designer, Architect, Journalist, Politician, Skeptic
GUEST: Professor Christopher Essex, Dept Of Applied Mathematics And Past Director, Theoretical Physics, UWO; Co-Author Of Taken By Storm

Global Warming – Has All The Hot Air Dissipated?
Advising Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – Changing The Views Of The Iron Lady
From SudoKu X To The Puzzle That Is Lord Monckton
The Courtier’s Conundrum – The Intersect Of Science And Politics

Depending on you browser settings you can click here to download the show or use the player below to stream it.

Mar 082012
 

Stockholm SyndromeLast week the Fraser Institute released a ranking of the schools in Ontario based on the scores each school received from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

The EQAO is an arm’s-length Crown agency of the Government of Ontario instituted under the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris in 1996.  Its mandate is to conduct province-wide tests at key points in every student’s primary, junior and secondary education and report the results to educators, parents and the public.  The question on EQAO’s tests are developed by Ontario educators and linked directly to the learning expectations in The Ontario Curriculum. The EQAO has an annual budget of approximately $33 million.

When I was a trustee on the London Board of Education I remember the reaction of the teachers, administrators, trustees and unions to this form of standardized testing. They were opposed to it.  But not opposed on any solid educational grounds.  They opposed it purely on partisan political grounds.  The memory of the hatred the teachers unions had for the Mike Harris years is still seared into the minds of many today.  That was a time when the common pronunciation of the word “harASSment” was changed to “HARisment” to reflect the harASSment the teachers felt they were being subjected to by the HARRIS govt.

Every time the EQAO scores are released we see the same teachers and administrators line up to condemn the results mainly because of the sense of effrontery they feel at having their profession assessed by the government.

And no wonder.  The results (although I have to admit many failings in the validity and reliability of the testing) have always shown how poorly the public education system is at achieving the results mandated by their own curriculum.  And while the nature of the curriculum is a topic for another day, suffice it to say that it is a failure in itself; a failure to teach the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to proceed to the next stage in their lives.

The ranking of school scores is always frowned upon because it reveals something of the education system which teachers and boards would like to ignore.  First, areas of lower social demographics or immigration do poorer than schools that have children from more affluent and established families, and second, that if these factors are accounted for what is revealed is the poor teaching ability of the staff at particular schools.

In London the elementary school which scored the lowest was Sir John A. MacDonald, a school which is in a lower income area of town and has a considerable number of immigrant children. However, these same demographics can be found in many other schools in this city and in the province and these schools scored higher than Sir John A. MacDonald.  In fact almost every school scored higher since “Mac” had a score of zero out of ten.

What I find most interesting is not that a school can perform so poorly on the EQAO tests but that the parents of the children attending this school don’t protest but instead actually praise the teachers and staff at the school.

I believe they are suffering from a form of “Stockholm Syndrome”.

From Wikipedia:

“In psychology, Stockholm Syndrome is an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.

“Stockholm Syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”

Perhaps the most infamous victim who exhibited “Stockholm Syndrome” was  Patty Hearst, kidnapped by the so-called Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. After two months in captivity, she actively took part in a robbery they were orchestrating.

Parents of these poorly scoring schools, in fact most parents who have children in the public education system, a system which graduates many children who are illiterate are incapable of functioning at the same level as say students who graduated in the earlier half of the last century, seem to rally around in defense of the school system whenever it feels threatened by things such as standardized testing.

Why?  They, like a kidnap victim, are presented with little choice.  They are forced to have their children educated in the Ontario Curriculum (whether in public or private schools).  They are forced to pay into the system even if they wish to send their children to another school or home school they are still forced to pay into the public or Catholic education systems.  They feel bewildered at the array of the ever increasing complexity of the curriculum deliberately made so by the teaching profession with the sole purpose of excluding any layman from doing what is actually a rather simple task – teaching.

Left with this feeling of being captured in a system of force they, like Patty Heart actually support the system even when data shows the harm that it is doing to their children.

Here is an excerpt from one parent who had children in Sir John A. Macdonald which aired on the Andy Oudman radio program here in London:

“I have no problem with the education my children have received at Sir John A. MacDonald.  I see remarkable things at that school every day.  The staff are incredible!  Just incredible.  And I’ve seen a lot of teachers. I’ve probably seen a hundred different teachers over the last 12 years and this group of people are a team.  You can feel it when you walk into the front door of that school; the camaraderie, the compassion the care and the excitement for teaching.  They want to see every child succeed, and whether that’s one step ahead or 10 steps ahead, every step ahead is progress for our students regardless of their background, regardless of their ability. That’s what we focus on.

“I’m not a teacher and I know that the foundation they received from Junior Kindergarten to grade eight was exceptional.

“We’ve considered moving not because of the school. We would find a way to get our kids back to the school if we moved out of the area. Mac is an exceptional place.”

This after hearing that her children’s school was ranked 2,689th out of 2,695 elementary schools in the province.

Stockholm Syndrome can be the only explanation for why parents praise a school system which is crippling their children’s minds.

But the education system is not the only area where we see the “Stockholm Syndrome” at work.  It can be found in any area where force is used to, in-effect, victimize or capture the public with no alternatives just as with actual kidnap victims.

When we are told that fire-fighters make over $100,000 a year we don’t hesitate to praise the good work they do, even though the good work they do is done so infrequently and is usually done by unpaid volunteers in countless communities in the country.  The same praise is given to policeman even though the police department has refused to come in under budget year after year.

Our health care system is praised as the best in the world even though it clearly is not.

We have, as a society become a mass of kidnap victims who have become sympathetic towards our captors, repeatedly giving them salary raises, re-electing them to Parliament, and singing the praises of the essential work they provide us even though we somehow know deep down that they are essentially harming us, and leaving us with little or no alternatives.  We either side with them or accept the fact that we are all victims, held captive, by force, every day of our lives.

(Originally broadcast on Just Right #240, March 8, 2012)

Mar 012012
 

239 - Gunning for Liberals 168x100Sometimes an event encompasses so many of government’s problems that it becomes a lightning rod for condemnation by just about everyone.

From the National Post:

“Last week, Jessie Sansone of Kitchener, Ont., was arrested inside his children’s school when he arrived to pick them up after class. He was strip searched and thrown in a cell, while his wife was brought into the police station and his children taken by Family and Children’s Services. After several hours, Sansone was suddenly released with apologies, and told the entire ordeal was triggered when his four-year-old daughter’s teacher reported there may have been a gun in Sansone’s home. The basis of this allegation was a picture she’d drawn of her daddy shooting monsters and bad guys. Sansone is not a firearms owner, and the closest thing to a gun the police found after searching his home was a plastic toy.”

The victims in this story are of course Mr. Sansone, his wife, and their children.

The villains? Let’s make a list;

The teacher who upon seeing what must have been a remarkably rendered drawing for a four year old of a toy gun decides to tell the principle of the school of a potential threat to the welfare of the child.

The principal who calls Family and Children’s Services,

Family and Children’s Services who immediately call the police,

The police, who show up to the school in marked cars and uniforms who handcuff Mr. Sansone and take him away in front of children and neighbours to be stripped searched and held for hours,

The Superintendent of Education at the Waterloo Region District School Board, Gregg Bereznick, who defended the actions of his staff saying that educators are “co-parents,”

And Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty who defended the action of the school.

To be clear at the outset, any adult who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child in their care is being mistreated by anyone should report their suspicions.

That being said here is what was wrong with the behaviour of all of the villains I have listed. They are insane. They are nuts. They are lunatics who should not be in the charge of children, arresting people, running school boards, or running a government. That’s my knee-jerk opinion of course. The same opinion held by almost anyone who has heard this story.

A more considered analysis would take the following form:

It is not unlawful for Canadians to own guns, even handguns under special permission. Therefore if a child draws a parent with a gun shooting monsters and bad people then the proper action for the teacher should have been, “That’s nice, dear. I hope he got them all.” Who among us, males especially, as children have not defaced their school work with drawing of tanks, jet planes dropping bombs, zombies and blood covered NAZIS? Of course the older ones among us remember a time when guns were thought of as weapons to defend ourselves and to hunt with. They still are but unfortunately around the late 1960s the liberal revolution of the state education system implemented a systemic program of indoctrination into the pacification of the populace. I remember as a School Board Trustee on the London Board that some Trustees would even correct other Trustees if they referred to the little dots preceding a point in a written document as “bullets.” They were told to call them “fuzzy dots” or something equally as inoffensive.

Such a dangerous philosophy as pacifism has disarmed us and has given many of us adults and our children the incorrect notion that guns, whether long guns or hand guns, are evil and that they should be abolished. Well that is of course wrong. Guns are tools which can defend your life and that of your family. If anything children are to be taught anything about guns it should be on how to use them. People should be allowed to buy and carry handguns. It flows from our basic right to our life that we have a basic right to defend it and there is no better means than a .44 strapped to your hip.

That leads me to the police. They could have stopped this witch hunt in its tracks by telling the principal that a drawing of a gun does not give them probable cause to arrest and strip search anyone. It does not give them cause to enter into anyone’s house and search it. They should have chastised the principal and the Family and Children’s Services personnel and directed them to stop wasting their time. But, unfortunately the police in this country have been led to believe, erroneously that they are the only ones who should be entrusted with guns. They believe, erroneously that they have an exclusive monopoly on their possession and use and that any civilian in possession of one is a danger to their children and the public.

As the police were taking Mr. Sansone into custody Family and Children’s Services were taking the children into their custody. And these are the villains we must watch the closest. While the police eventually let Mr. Sansone go with an apology, these were the words from Alison Scott, the executive director of Family and Children’s Services “We’re still investigating this one,” The parents should move out of town now that Family and Children’s Services have their eyes on their children.

Superintendent of Education, Gregg Bereznick’s comment about how teachers are “co-parents” has perhaps riled up people the most in this sordid affair. An educator definitely acts in loco parentis or in place of the parents as any adult does who is given temporary charge over a child while the parent is away, such as a baby-sitter. But in loco parentis does not mean that an educator can indoctrinate the child in contrast to a parent’s wishes. In loco parentis is restricted by the nature of the relationship between the parent and the adult given temporary charge of the child. In this case a teacher’s responsibility is to teach the child and not attempt to ferret out dirt on the parents so that the state can arrest them. Co-parenting implies an equal responsibility in the upbringing of the child. This is not the case. It doesn’t even come close to the case and any notion that a teacher might have that he or she is a co-parent of their student must be dismissed here and now and once and for all.

The raisson d’etre of the state education system is the political indoctrination of children. This case illustrates that purpose perfectly. My advice to any parent with a child in public school is to get their children out of there as soon as possible. If not, then I would strongly suggest that when your child returns home you ask them about their teachers and what they have learned and that you de-program them. At the very least teach them to be free thinkers and to suspect that anything a teacher tells them to be true is probably incorrect and that they must prove for themselves that it is correct.

Finally, to the biggest villain of them all, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. Although if Tim Hudak and the Conservatives, or Andrea Horvath and the New Democrats were in power I would addressing this to them as well because they are three peas in an intellectual pod. Get out of our children’s minds. Stop filling their heads with lies. Abolish the School Boards, put every public school up for sale and let parents have a choice in where they send their children and their tuition. Dismantle this indoctrination machine called the Public Education System and let Ontario children grow up unencumbered by your anti-intellectual, anti-reason, garbage spewed at them every day in the classroom.

(Originally aired on Just Right #239, March 1, 2012)