Archive for the ‘politics’ Category
I wrote the following letter to the editor in response to the following article in the National Post today. I’m interested in your feedback.
The recent scandal relating to police running background checks on potential jurors at the behest of the Crown reaffirms my lack of faith in government. The sad thing is, is that many of the people I speak to don’t understand what the fuss is about.
From the National Post:
Chief Gary Smith [of the Windsor Police Service] said the officers were trying to help prosecutors select “quality” juries in criminal trials.
Do you want someone who’s been convicted of domestic assault sitting in a domestic assault case?” he said in an interview with The Windsor Star.
The information gathered on the 200 people selected for the jury pool included speeding tickets, pardoned crimes and young offender records, which were secretly used by the Crown.
I honestly don’t know where to begin.
- Fairness – if our legal system is not fair to both the prosecution and the defense then the scales of justice are out of balance. The Crown has immense resources at its disposal and to use them in a way to pervert justice is appalling.
- Relevance – in this scenario a run in with the law that I had as a young offender 30 years ago could potentially impact that outcome of a trial of a fellow citizen. Think about that and tell me if you still don’t see this as a big deal.
- Purity of Heart – because the police believed their motives were pure they argue that no wrong was done. I’m sure people that kill abortion doctors use the same argument.
- Privacy – the privacy of my information held by the government must be sacrosanct. Clearly it is not, nor will it ever be.
- Scope – does anyone believe that this practice is both longstanding and widespread? If you do, you need to give your head a shake.
People think I’m a right wing nut when I talk about the steady intrusion of the state into our personal lives and the consistent erosion of our liberties. Whether it’s your information being shared for nefarious purposes, your personal property being seized without trial and conviction (thank you Julian Fantino) or your tax dollars being poured down to buy votes from targeted constituencies – this is what government does. You may want more of it. I’d like less.
Remember – government is comprised of people > people have agendas > information is power. Do you really trust them to do right by you?
Anyone involved with this tragedy should be fired at the least and criminally charged at best. I wonder if they would object to the Crown using the police to run background checks on potential jurors in their own trials.
I believe in liberty. That means that I am free to live my life as I see fit. That means that I can associate with whomever I choose and express my opinions without fear of repression or persecution. When presented with the false choice between liberty and safety I will err on the side of liberty. I believe that the state’s power should be constitutionally limited so that my basic freedoms are not relentlessly eroded over time.
From the Edinburgh Review in 1843: Be assured that freedom of trade, freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of action, are but modifications of one great fundamental truth, and that all must be maintained or all risked; they stand and fall together
I believe in law & order and that we have more than enough laws currently on the books. I believe that if evidence is seized by the police illegally then it must be inadmissible in any attempted prosecution and the police punished. This means that guilty people will occasionally walk free. I believe that the state should never be able to seize a citizen’s property without being convicted of a crime. The state will argue that this can be necessary in the interest of public safety. I contend that this is a nascent form of tyranny.
Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”
I believe that those who commit and are convicted of crimes against people or property should be harshly punished equally before the law – regardless of race, colour or creed.
I believe capitalism is the least bad economic system the world has discovered. I believe in creating an economic climate where corporations can do business competitively is the surest way to generate wealth for all a country’s peoples. This means that corporate taxes are low and red tape is kept to a minimum. I believe that people should be rewarded for taking risks, being innovative and working hard – more than those who don’t.
I believe that I am a better judge of how to spend my money that the state. I believe I should keep more of what I earn. The indignity of being bribed with my own money is an affront to my intelligence and liberty.
I believe that as a rule, the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. I believe single-payer private/public health care system is ideal. I also believe that we should be able to have a reasoned debate about this absent the histrionics.
I believe that I, and I alone, am ultimately responsible for my successes and failures as a person.
I believe that men and women are equal and different and that those who judge others based on race or religion are fools.
I believe that if a gay couple wants to marry it’s no business of mine or the state’s.
I believe in having a strong military to assert our sovereignty and protect ourselves against foreign invaders. I believe that war is a political tool and that clear political objectives must be established before sending our best and bravest into harm’s way. I believe attempting to spread democracy and Western values through the projection of military power – either by war or occupation – is a mistake.
I believe in immigration as a way of making our country stronger by welcoming with open arms people that will contribute to the building of a strong and prosperous Canada. I believe in them assimilating these newcomers into Canadian culture while enriching it with the best of their history and traditions.
I believe in democracy. I believe that democratic countries are more prosperous, advanced and free than those that aren’t. As Winston Churchill stated, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
And finally – I believe I ate far too much Chinese food buffet at the Mandarin for lunch today.
Frontline on PBS is my favourite show by far on television. It offers a compelling and fair analysis of the big issues currently facing the US and the world. Last nights episode was a replay of a show that aired prior to the US election and was essentially a synopsis of the current dreadful state of Afghanistan and some potential ways forward. I can see how it might initiate the typical knee-jerk reaction from the thoughtless on the right but in my view it’s fair and balanced. Calling a spade a spade should be politically neutral if the argument is reasoned and well thought out.
I’m hoping the election of Barack Obama may put to rest, or at least reduce, Candian’s Eurosimilar sense of moral and cultural superiority over the USA. The last time I looked Canada had not elected a black Prime Minister. Obviously we have had a female Prime Minister in Kim Campbell but that was much more of an anomoly than the will of the voters. In her party was decimated in the subsequent election and never recovered…and in fact no longer exists.
Let’s not forget that the long, divisive battle between Hillary Clinton and Obama for the Democratic nomination. Let us not forget the Vice Presidential candidacy of Sarah Palin – regardless of how wierd that whole thing was. Watching Canada’s leaders debate was a picture of stuffy male whiteness + plus Elizabeth May who barely clawed her way into the debates as the leader of a fringe (but admittedly growing) party.
Being a conservative and a reasonably astute politcal observer I couldn’t help but notice the general vacuity of Obama’s soaring rhetoric…but nonetheless I still would have voted for him. His election represents incredible progress from the days of Selma, Alabama only 40 years ago. He also has the fortune of not being George W. Bush or in any way associated with him.
One outcome I hope to see from the election of Barack Obama is the disappearance of the raison d’etre of the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton Victim & Guilt machine. I just watched a video of Jesse Jackson crying while listen to Obama’s speech and can’t help but wonder he was crying because he has no clue what he’s going to do now.
Congratulations to the U.S. for showing the power of freedom (the Patriot Act notwithstanding) and progress. Canada would be well served to use this as a catalyst for similar change.
Tim O’Reilly is interviewing her right now. There is far too much politics interwoven in this conversation but there are some interesting insights on new media versus old media. Thoughts about how the internet is self-correcting in the sense that if a blogger makes an error it will be pointed out in moments versus traditional media who may issue a small correction the following day.
Having said that it’s clear to me that I am in the heartland of liberalism in the U.S. Lots of McCain, Palin and Bush bashing, Obama worshipping and global warming regurgitation. I won’t bother with adding my commentary but I’m sure why this conference is being used as a bully pulpit. Regardless is always interesting to hear the opinions of others