Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Internet, Does it enhance free speech or allow some to limit it?

Internet censorship
Along with writing the occasional article on my own blog I tend to surf the internet seeking to broaden my political views and to learn how others feel about important issues that affect our daily lives. The Net is a wonderful place to do this because it provides an incredible platform for individuals to share their own beliefs and ideologies, or comment on those of others without fear of reprisal. It also allows for interaction amongst individuals of similar beliefs or different ideologies, akin to a virtual town hall meeting, only without the risk of a brawl breaking out.

Now, anyone who reads my own blog regularly knows that I lean to the Right, but I strive to be nonpartisan. I have long ago come to the conclusion that Left, Right, or Middle every political ideology has it's share of both idiots and leaders of men. It's just a fact of life, just as no particular ideology is entirely correct or completely wrong. So, at the end of the day as long as we maintain an open mind there is always the opportunity to share our beliefs and occasionally make a convert, or become one to an extent ourselves. That is, as long as the opportunity to speak freely exists for all. This is one of the internets greatest strengths, free speech.

Or at least I thought so until recently. So let me tell you about the recent censorship I experienced personally, from a source who appears at least on the surface to stand for free speech and an open exchange of ideas.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trust the Liberals to look a gift horse in the mouth....

At times it strikes me that some on the Left will never truly be happy until all of us are equal in their eyes, equally poor, equally as dependent on government, and equally educated at whatever level they deem sufficient for us common folk. Most importantly they appear to find distasteful the very idea that any individual through hard work, personal risk, and diligence might be in a position to provide a better life for themselves and their family.

Case in point, Alberta MLA and Liberal Education Critic Kent Hehr has presented a motion that would see the elimination of all government funding to private schools in Alberta.

“There is a place for private schools in Alberta, I just don’t think the government should be funding them,” says Hehr. “Government money should be allocated to government institutions, like public schools. We could channel millions to our public education system if we stopped designating dollars to private schools.”

“Public dollars continue to go into the wrong pockets and it needs to stop. By eliminating private school funding we ensure taxpayers dollars land where they are needed, our public education system,” says Hehr.

Now while the above makes for a great sound bite and fits well into the Liberal parties portrayal of themselves as the only party that truly cares about people, it overlooks a couple of pertinent facts.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

One can only wonder where it will all lead....

Over the years as I have watched the world go by it has become more apparent on a daily basis that the manner in which our democracy works is at times it's own worse enemy. Although from an early age we are taught that the different levels of government exist to serve the people, unfortunately in practice it seldom works as originally intended. In reality, many basic human traits make the practical application of good government far more difficult to implement than it appears on paper. Greed, lust for power, ignorance, prejudices, and people's general inability to understand that every action has a consequence, all play a role in making perfect government only a dream that will never be achieved.

Those that "serve us" in government rely solely on the electorate process to maintain their seats of power. So our politicians have learnt well that the people's loyalty can be bought with a few baubles and trinkets. Every election brings more promises of what the electorate can expect "in payment" from each of the political candidates if they are elected. What we generally see is a bidding war for votes with every party pulling out the cheque book and removing all stops in their zeal to promise the voter more than their opponent can. The problem is compounded as the demands of the electorate and the promises of those running for office increase with each election and every generation of voters. Now on first glance, one may wonder if this is such a bad thing, after all it is taxpayers money intended to be spent for the common good and the betterment of society as a whole.

Friday, November 23, 2012

This boy is definitely a "chip off the old block"

As the Federal Liberals go through yet another leadership race in the hopes of finding someone to lead the chosen people out of the wilderness, I can't help but marvel at the desperation in their ranks.

Although one has to ask, why would we expect this race to be any different from ones of the past. In the last decade the Liberal party has certainly had some interesting potential leaders, looking back to 2006 they also produced a bumper crop of poor choices for party leadership.

Michael Ignatieff
Half the battle was teaching voters how to pronounce his last name (honestly, I never mastered it), but that was the least of the challenges facing the Liberal party with Michael. Here was a Canadian who moved to the United States, lived there for almost 30 years, crooned publicly about the wonders of living as a pseudo American, and then when he thought he could take the Liberal leadership and possibly become Prime Minister he parachuted back into Canada. Well as we all know he did become the leader of the Liberal party and went onto lead the party into a federal election that resulted in the Liberals almost being wiped of the face of the Canadian political map. Upon being soundly defeated, old Michael stepped down and now splits his time between teaching positions in Toronto and Harvard. Alas, a true Canadian patriot.

Bob Rae
Need I say more? As the former NDP Premier of Ontario, Bob was instrumental in leading that once successful province down the road of financial ruin. Bob made even America's President Obama look like a spendthrift when it came to holding the reins on the public purse. Once he had left a trail of fiscal destruction in his path he moved on and set his sights on the top job in Canada, Prime Minister. Now old Bob knows an opportunity when he sees one, and when the Liberals needed a leader he was not about to let the fact he was a card carrying member of the NDP party stand in his way, he simply jumped ship. However, what he couldn't leave behind was his record as Premier in Ontario, much to his dislike that stench clung to him and he was beat out by Michael Ignatieff. However, after Michael moved on Bob did get the job of acting party leader for the Liberals and the good news is that he could hold most of his caucus meetings in a broom closet.

Now , back to the present leadership race. The shining star in this one as far as most Liberals are concerned is Justin Trudeau, the son of former Canadian Prime Minister (and international playboy), Pierre Trudeau. Now amongst many Liberals, Pierre is held in the same reverence as say John Kennedy is with American Democrats. However most of us remember him better as the guy that flipped Canadians "the bird" from the back of the train on his way out of town or as the Prime Minister who coined the phrase "fuddle duddle". Someone who as a nation we could all be proud of, mind you I understand he did date Barbara Streisand.

So can we expect more from junior?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spend , spend , spend, where does it end , end , end?

I just read an interesting article on President Obama's recent re-election and particularly his spending habits during his first term. Now while I have for a very long time been critical of the reckless spending of most levels of government (on a global basis, including our own) the numbers quoted in this particular article opened my eyes to the fact the monetary crisis is far worse than I believed.

Here's a couple of facts to roll around in your head, if they don't cause you some sleepless nights you obviously can not comprehend the shear size of money involved, or you are simply naive. Sorry, but if there is a third possible reason for lack of panic I really want you to tell me, but trust me on this one I will need some convincing.

-Every hour - as in every 60 minutes of every day of every week of Obama's first term in office his administration was spending $188 million of money that the United States did not and does not have. This spending spree continued 24/7 for his entire term! Even worse, is the fact that this is just federal spending and does not include municipal or state. I fear if I combined all levels of government spending during that period and published the resulting number many individuals would emulate lemmings and head for the cliff. Who knows, upon seeing that number I might join them myself!

- If second term Obama performs in the same manner the American federal debt will hit $20 trillion by 2014, a figure so immense that there is not enough liquid cash in the world to bail it out. Think about that statement for a moment, "not enough liquid cash in the world".

The above numbers are staggering, but in all fairness Obama can't be blamed entirely for this fiscal disaster. When he walked into the Oval Office the debt was sitting at $10 trillion, his predecessor George W. had taken it up by $4 trillion during his two terms. So the nation is suffering from two wild spenders in a row. Unfortunately President Obama inherited a runaway train and rather than applying the brakes he opened the throttle. In fact, by 2014 he will have personally created as much federal debt as every preceding president combined over a period of over 225 years (including George W). It's ironic that George W and Obama, (two individuals who couldn't be more different in some ways) over the span of 14 years created $14 trillion in federal debt, approximately 70% of what will be owed by the nation in total by 2014.

Now for those Democrats or Republicans that live by the belief that their man in office can do no wrong, if you truly can not see the problem here it is too late to save you. You have already drank the "koolaid" as they say.

I wonder how history will best remember President Obama, as the first African-American to be elected President, as the President that introduced a federal health bill, or as the individual who destroyed America's financial future. Only time will tell.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stormy Seas Ahead?

Over the last 6 months there has been tremendous focus on the Presidential election and what it's outcome would be. Well it's old news now and President Obama has another four years to fix Americas economy or continue it on the road to no return. Like most individuals I hope it is the former , not the latter, but unfortunately the man doesn't have a great track record up to this point.

My personal feeling is that Mitt Romney was a more qualified individual and better suited for the task ahead, simply based on his past experience. President Obama walked into the Oval Office with no real life business experience, Mitt Romney on the other hand has a lifetime of practical experience  running a large corporation. Now I for one am not against a bit of  "on the job" training in most instances, but I believe that most sensible people would agree that the Whitehouse is not the ideal  place for it.

However, no point in dwelling on what might have been, the fact is that Mr Obama is back for another term, like it or not. So am I just being negative towards the guy, well lets see how others view his re-election

The stock market took a sharp downturn Wednesday, just a day after President Obama’s re-election. The Dow Jones average dropped about 313 points, or 2.4 percent, as if my writing this it is down 4%!

- How about job creation, or maybe the real indicator is job loss. So how many Americans lost jobs since the President secured another term. Here's a short list of layoffs that have taken place on or since November 6 in about a 3 day period .

Bristol-Myers – 480 Sales Related Jobs in NJ

ING – 2,350
Husqvarna AB – 600
U.S. Cellular – 980
Energizer Holdings Inc – 1500
Ameridose LLC – up to 650 Layoffs
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne – 100
Boeing – 30% of Executives at Defense Unit
Hawker Beechcraft - 240
Vesta Wind Systems - 3000

Now trust me when I say the above list is but a small portion of layoff announcements I was able to find in short order, yet in just the 3 days after the election the list totals over 10,000. What confuses me is the fact that Mr Obama claimed during his campaign that he was the one that could create good paying manufacturing jobs. Seems he forgot to mention his abilities to the companies listed above. My personal belief is that the timing of these layoffs was not coincidental, they occurred right after Mr Obama's election for a very good reason. I suspect many of these companies held off on downsizing hoping beyond hope that the Oval Office would have a new tenant and Obamacare would be repealed. No such luck, so the pink slips went out. Now the count of those seeking government entitlements has increased by over 10,000, throw in the 18,500 jobs the unions killed over at Hostess and there are nearly 30,000 jobs down the pipe simply due to greed and stupidity (on both Obama's and the Unions part). Now the fact is that some of these jobs may come back if business feels a bit of confidence, but some are lost forever (i.e Hostess). But even as jobs come back Mr Obama has already laid the groundwork for a future workforce of part-time rather than full time jobs, he did this through Obamacare which defines a full-time position (for the purposes of health insurance coverage) as 30 hours per week! Think about it, the easiest way for employers to avoid the onerous costs of Obamacare is simply to hire employees on a 25 - 28 hour workweek (just shy of 30 to be safe), so Obama has just reduced the standard 40 hour workweek to 28 in his wisdom. His logic behind this is brilliant, any time the government quotes new job figures all of these part-time positions will fall into them and instead of having two (40 hour workweek positions), and assuming that employers commit to the same umber of work hours (80 per week) they will now count three (25-28 hour workweek positions) and an increase in the number of new positions of 50%! So the government looks like a hero, except of course to the guy that is short 12 hours a week on his paycheck.

Unfortunately while it seems that Mr Obama has the support of a good deal of the population who depend on government entitlements, he is not inspiring any confidence amongst the companies that create the jobs the American population is hoping for. Oops, I hope that statement didn't cause too much grief amongst those of you who are under the delusion that the President or any other politician can actually create meaningful employment, sorry I burst your bubble. All any politician can do is foster an economic and political climate that ensures that employers are confident enough to invest in creating jobs. Unfortunately, continuously bad mouthing the financially successful, and beating the drum of tax increases and additional employer costs (Obamacare) has exactly the opposite affect. I guess that's what one should expect when you have a community organizer in the Oval Office, rather than a successful businessman. Obama's roots as a community organizer are showing through, when he needs more money he just assumes the government will provide it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The sky is not falling Chicken Little

In the days since the Presidential election the media has been rife with opinions on how and why Mitt Romney took second place. Commentators, talk show hosts, or political pundits all have a wealth of suggestions about what changes the Republican party must undertake to win the Whitehouse in 2016. Most of these suggestions tend to cover the same ground, the  Republicans need to get in touch with and win over the Latino vote,  single woman, African Americans, soften their stance on different issues, or learn to sling mud like their opponents.

This election is lost and there's no changing that fact. However, what a lot of this opinionated discussion overlooks is the fact that what America really needs at this moment in history and for the foreseeable future is a President who has truly bought into and believes in a Conservative platform , who places the interests of the nation before their own or their parties. An individual that fully understands the precarious financial position the nation is in and the dire consequences that it is facing due to a succession of free spending fiscally irresponsible federal governments. What America definitely does not need is a another leader who caters to the whims of every ethnic or special interest group as a means of winning their support and the Oval Office. Unfortunately for the last four years and the next four, America has a guy in the Oval Office with feet of clay whose only goal in life is retaining power long enough to see his personal agenda reshape the nation. As a means to do so Mr Obama will promise and do whatever it takes, something he learnt well in the Chicago political arena. He and his party proved themselves the masters of falsehoods and mudslinging over the last six months.And please don't get me started on his promise of open government and transparency..... sheesh. America has never experienced a more clandestine administration, two great examples are the "Fast and Furious" and "Benghazi" fiascoes. These guys would shame even Tricky Dick Nixon

Was Mitt Romney the man America truly needed in the Oval Office?  Probably not, but on the flip side he was a lot closer than the one they have.

Does such an individual exist and if they do is there even a remote chance they would survive the primaries or have even the faintest hope of becoming President? The primaries would certainly be a challenge as the upper echelon of the GOP are not exactly risk takers when it comes to their candidates and certainly respect a pecking order. What the GOP needs is another Ronald Reagan type individual, someone that stands on his principals knowing full well that in doing so he is bucking the "old boys club" in the party. However the electorate might very well reject just such an individual on the basis they simply have become very used to the idea that government provides everything and nurse maids them from cradle to grave. Americans might not be prepared for or even desire a more self-reliant existence, many of them might be very comfortable in their nanny state stupor.

My personal opinion is that the Right must go back to it's conservative values, and I am not referring to issues surrounding abortion or same sex marriage, these are societal and religious ones, not governmental ones. The conservative values I speak of are those of smaller government and sound fiscal management. The country is heading over the fiscal cliff, yes they may postpone it this year, but with current spending practices it is inevitable. Until Washington begins practicing sound fiscal management, and more importantly until the Oval Office has an individual in it that understands their job is to lead the country, not kowtow to every group that promises support, the country will remain on the same Greece like path. A true leader understands that at times they must make unpopular decisions, ones that look further forward than the next election. A true leader does not check the direction the political wind is blowing every morning upon getting out of bed (frankly I am surprised Obama has not had a weather vane installed atop the Whitehouse).

What the GOP does not need under any circumstances is a candidate that will cater to passing whims of this group or that group in hopes of currying favour and winning the Oval Office.  The GOP can not "outbid" the Democrats with promises, nor should they. After all, if they play that game we will simple see two versions of the Democrat party running for the Presidency in 2016 and the ultimate loser will be the American citizenry and the rest of the world.

On a last note, the good news is that Obama is now in his Legacy term of office, more to the point is the fact that after the first two years or so he will effectively become a lame duck President as Democrat politicians try to put some distance between themselves and him prior to the next election. So hopefully he won't cause much havoc or do too much more harm to the nation and the world.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No relief for democracy on the horizon.....

Well, after spending most of the evening watching the Fox News network coverage of the Presidential election, I am ready for bed. Now barring a miracle akin to parting the Red Sea it would appear that I will awake to four more years of watching the destruction of America under the hand of President Obama.

However, the reality is that as a Canadian I am by default simply a third part observer. Unfortunately, even as a third party observer it saddens me greatly to see the once shining example of democracy, liberty, and free enterprise, so readily and willingly give up the very things that their forefathers shed blood to win. Instead, as a nation it appears they prefer the embrace of an all powerful centralist government that dictates every aspect of its citizens lives, much like the one they fought to escape from over two centuries ago. The vast portion of Americas citizenry have sold their freedom for a handful of beads, much like Native Americans traded away Manhattan in the 17th century. Only the currency has changed, in today's world the beads have been replaced with government entitlement programs.

While it would be easy to simply watch our southern neighbours readily chase after socialism,  a path that for many years it appeared that Canada was all to eager to embrace ourselves, the repercussions of where Americas path is leading are frightening. Unfortunately the failure or success of America has a ripple affect on all nations to some degree, and to Canada in particular. America bears a responsibility to the rest of the world as for so many years they have intentionally entrenched themselves in the very economic fabric of the world economy. They are now to a great degree a large portion of the very foundation of world economics, think about it, is there anymore recognized or accepted currency worldwide than the American greenback? Is there any single nation with greater power to consume? America's credit rating is downgraded and world stock markets fall.

Just a mere 10 years ago if I had suggested that between our two countries that Canada had the more fiscally responsible Federal government, I suspect that someone would have had me committed. Now in the present, I would simply be stating a fact. How has so much changed in just one decade?

I suspect it lies with the fact that after a flirtation with a somewhat socialist agenda we came to the conclusion that it simply was a fantasy that could not exist in the real world if we wanted a prosperous future. A future that would provide the greatest opportunities for the most people. This is something that I imagine America too will discover with time, lets just all hope that hey don't wait too long.

In the meantime if the past four years is any indication of what the next four will hold, President Obama will likely continue to attempt to spend America into prosperity and out of debt. Who knows, maybe over the next four years the man will actually propose a budget that will garner a single vote from members of his own party in the Senate ( unlike his 2011 budget that was voted down by Senate Democrats 97-0). At least that would be a start, a weak one but a start none the less.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The NDP, Stupid is as Stupid does

It's no secret that I am not a big supporter of the Leftwing politics of the NDP, but to be fair I do realize that they have a place in the Canadian political landscape. Any political system to be truly balanced  needs to represent both sides of the political spectrum. Besides, in present Canadian Federal politics there is so little difference between the Liberal party and the NDP that even each parties supporters are confused. So if nothing else this tends to keep the Left in disarray, generally a good condition for them to be in as far as most sensible individuals are concerned.

Usually I am not the least bit surprised by any of  the socialist nonsense that the NDP generates on a regular basis, and I long ago stopped scratching my head trying to understand their logic. Having said that, recently the NDP surprised even me.

It's seems that last week the Federal Government announced that they had managed to cut their budgeted spending over the course of the fiscal year by $8 billion. Now generally anytime a government spends less than planned it is a cause for celebration, particularly due to the fact that it occurs on about the same frequency as  a pass by from Haley's Comet. Unfortunately this impudence on the part of the Feds did not sit well with the NDP who naturally felt something was amiss. After all an unspent taxpayer dollar is a wasted dollar in the mind of the NDP,  worse yet is the potential loss of an entitlement program, even one that serves no rational purpose. Never mind the fact that every dollar our Federal government spends is a borrowed dollar that adds to our ever growing Federal debt. So exactly how did the Federal NDP party view this "travesty"?

"It speaks to the lack of transparency and really the fundamental lack of accountability with Canadians," NDP finance critic Peggy Nash stated to the Globe and Mail. "People need to know what programs are being cut, what services are being undermined." 
Too funny....Let me get this straight, the programs that Peggy believes are being cut and the services that she suggests are being undermined are of such great importance that unless the government notifies us what they are, we might miss the entire event?  Really, is this the best she and her party have to offer Canadians? Peggy must be very familiar with the story of Chicken Little!
The ironic thing is that the Feds actually released Public Accounts' documentation last week that clearly indicated where the bulk of the savings were achieved. 
- $6.3 billion was originally budgeted for infrastructure and. $4.5 billion was actually spent.
- Ottawa spent almost $2 billion less than expected on Employment Insurance benefits.
-  The B.C. Provincial government returned $1.6 billion to the Feds after opting out of the HST.
As the official opposition the role of the NDP is to keep tabs on the government, but use some common sense please, there are plenty of places to find fault with our current government, you don't need to create issues where they don't exist. Speaking strictly from the viewpoint of a taxpayer, anytime the government shaves 25% off of a projected annual deficit of  $32 Billion, I am a happy camper. Too bad for the NDP that they don't see this as a good thing as well.

On a last note for my American friends who are reading this,  yes the dollar amounts cited above are correct. I can only imagine knowing this makes you feel even worse about your own Federal governments fiscal irresponsibility that is leading you over a fiscal cliff. You have my sympathy and I hope that Tuesday brings you a positive change in the Oval Office.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stoking the fires of resentment

With the first snow on the ground I suspect I will be a bit more housebound and spending more time "putting my thoughts to paper", as they say. So here I go, for those of you who have any interest read on.

With the race for the Oval Office in its last days we can expect to see the candidates talking themselves up and talking their opponents down. Now to be very honest I have no problem with a political candidate preying on the weaknesses and and character flaws of their opponents. After all, as Harry S Truman would say, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen".

However where I have a problem is when candidates intentionally stretch the truth, creatively edit the facts, or simply assume that a false message delivered in the right tone will fool us simpletons into believing what they want us to believe. Yes, I know that it is common practice, but the reality is that at times it is taken to the point that it creates undeserved animosity amongst the electorate toward a particular candidate. Animosity to the point where a candidate's character or personal integrity are called into question based on nothing more than "political spin".

You tell them Harry
One case in point is the efforts that have been made by Democrat Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid to besmirch Mitt Romney's character, above and beyond the point of common decency.

Really Harry is this the best you can do? " I heard Mitt Romney has not paid tax in the last ten years". The follow up from Harry was even better "It falls upon Governor Romney to prove otherwise by releasing his tax returns"

Frankly if I was a resident of Nevada I would be ashamed to admit that Mr Reid represented my state. This is the same guy that a quick search on the Internet will find hundreds of articles detailing how Harry has somehow managed to increase his net worth from a "paltry" $1.2 Million to the tune of about $11 million during the time he has been a public servant (public servants must be paid very well in Nevada). Interesting as well is the fact that while  Harry was claiming that Mr Romney could  disprove the allegations of tax evasion simply by making his tax returns public, good old Harry has refused all requests to make his own tax records open to the public. I guess Harry doesn't buy into the old adage, "what's good for the goose, is what's good for the gander".

What's really troubling about this is that it is the lowest form of mud slinging and was allowed under the watchful eyes of the President. All Mr Obama had to do to put an end to it was make one phone call. It speaks volumes about the man that he allowed this (and many would say "encouraged "it ) under his watch. I imagine what we have witnessed here is some of the tricks that Mr Obama learned during his tenure in Chicago style politics, not very Presidential to say the least. But on the other hand , pretty much what one would expect from a man who refers to his opponent as a "bulls^^^ter" in a televised interview. Just the kind of guy a nation wants on the world stage.