Friday, November 30, 2007

Tribal Politics

Calgary Herald editor Nigel Hannaford makes some interesting points about the "tribalism" of Canadian voters in a recent column.

Hannaford's point is that while the Tories and Liberals are more or less neck and neck in the polls, Conservative support is more intense and therefore more reliable.

Writes Hannaford: "Folks may tell a pollster they'll vote Liberal, but will they actually go to the booth? Or, will they follow their leader who, confronted with things he doesn't like, just doesn't vote? Until Dion changes his game, I guess we won't know."

And by the way, I am not noting this column simply because Hannaford also mentions me: "Gerry Nicholls, who now conducts a one-man guerrilla war on the Conservatives' right flank, says the Conservatives just aren't conservative enough."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mascot Mania

A couple of days ago, the cutesy-wutesy mascots for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games were unveiled.

The mascots -- Quatchi, Miga and Sumi --- say Olympic officers are "distinct and special – both in personality and in appearance. One is big, gentle and shy . . . one is small, mischievous and outgoing . . . and one is a natural-born leader with a passion for protecting the environment. All three are mythical creatures with roots in local legend."

Me, I would have preferred mascots with a little more edge to them.

For instance, wouldn't these cute little critters make cool mascots?:

-- Gunny - A natural born leader, this pistol packing chimp with a life long membership in the NRA, has a passion for small arms and cheap booze.

Suvy -- A greenhouse gas spewing, gas guzzling mystical spirit that inhabits Sports Utility Vehicles.

And of course, Muhammad-- The Sudanese Bear with a penchant for whips.

Maybe these will be used in the 2014 Olympics.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pakistan's Problems

Joseph B. Varner, the Chair of National Defence and Foreign Affairs Studies at Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, has an interesting take on what's going on over in Pakistan.

Varner argues it might not be wise to force Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf to step down because whoever replaces him might be worse.

Isn't that always the way with that part of the world. It just seems to keep getting worse.

Polling Humour

Got this joke from over at Sobering Thoughts:

The following question was asked in a recent poll:

"Are there too many immigrants in Canada?"

21% Said: Yes

17% Said: No

62% Said: عهد الأمن العالمي بواشنط

Monday, November 26, 2007

Old Time Radio

Radio station CHML in Hamilton broadcasts "old time radio" shows every night and I must say I love listening to them.

Some nights its comedy shows like the Jack Benny Program, Fibber McGee and Molly or The Life of Riley. Other nights feature westerns: Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel or The Cisco Kid.

But my favourites are the detective shows. It's great listening to the adventures of hard boiled PIs like Richard Diamond, Johnny Dollar and Sam Spade.

And the good news is I found an Internet site, where I can download lots of these old shows!

Why do I like these ancient radio dramas?

Maybe it's because, unlike so many shows today, none of them promote a left wing agenda.

CTF Exposes Tory Waste

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is doing an excellent job of keeping tabs on federal government waste.

Today, for instance, the watchdog group released its "Top 100 Tory Handouts".

Some Lowlights:

* Pratt & Whitney Canada received two handouts one for $213-million and second for $137-million.

* $47.5 million went to the Mont Tremblant ski resort.

* $27 million got doled out for a soccer stadium in Toronto.

* Alcan pocketed $19.1-million.

The Liberals used to dish out this kind of money too. I guess in politics the more things change, the more they stay the same.

That's too bad.

Winter Election

Rumour has it the federal Liberals will try and force an election in February.

The idea is they will want to take on the Conservatives before the government has a chance to unveil yet another goody-stuffed budget.

For their part, the Conservatives also probably wouldn't mind having an election sooner rather than later.

Better to go to the polls, after all, before a public inquiry turns up any dirt on the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.

Me, I hope we do have an election in the next few months. Would love to see all those politicians trudging through the ice and snow begging for our votes in sub-zero temperatures.

Yeah, I'm a cruel guy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Politics

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States.

And traditionally Thanksgiving usually means two things: turkey dinners and the Detroit Lions losing.

Well it seems at least one bureaucrat in the United States wants to add political correctness to the tradition.

Powerline points out that the Seattle public school district's "director of Equity, Race & Learning Support" sent a letter to teachers urging them to instruct their students in the "myths" of Thanksgiving.

"The 'myths'," writes Powerline "are a means of teaching students, among other things, that the Pilgrims were 'rigid fundamentalists' who 'egregiously' stole Indian lands and 'massacred' Indians."

Here is the final "myth":

Myth #11: Thanksgiving is a happy time.
Fact: For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship.

No doubt for Christmas the Seattle public school district's director of Equity, Race & Learning Support, will send out a letter urging teachers to remind children that Santa's elves are oppressed, non-union workers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Property Rights

My friend Rolf Penner recently had an excellent piece in the Financial Post on the erosion of property rights in Manitoba.

Check it out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cambodian War Crimes

A United Nations-backed tribunal will soon be holding historic war crimes trials in Cambodia

The accused will be the surviving members of the Khmer Rouge government, which
is believed to have murdered more than one million people between 1975 and 1979.

The massacres, of course, were carried out in the name of creating a Utopian communist society.

I was a university student when these horrors were taking place and I remember having this left-wing political science professor who assured us that the news we had been hearing about the notorious Cambodian"killing fields" was actually a CIA hoax designed to discredit the heroic, anti-imperialist Khmer Rouge.

I sometimes wonder if that professor is still around.

And if he is, I wonder if he telling his students the 9/11 attacks were a CIA hoax.

Probably, old habits die hard.

H/T Dr. Roy

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hanson on the Iraq War

Historian Victor Davis Hanson says one of the secrets about the ongoing war in Iraq, is that the good guys are winning.

Writing in National Review Online, Hanons argues: "Over the last few months, the U.S. military forced Sunni insurgents in Anbar to quit fighting. This enemy, in the heart of the so-called Sunni Triangle, had been responsible for most American casualties in the war and was the main cause of unrest in Iraq. Even more unexpectedly, some of the defeated tribes then joined in an alliance of convenience with their American victors to chase al-Qaeda from Iraq’s major cities."

Hanson calls this "one of those radical, unforeseen reversals in America’s wars that have often changed our history."

I hope he's right.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Media, the Law and Me

Had a wonderful time speaking at Law Society of Alberta's "Media and the Law Seminar" this weekend.

It's not often I get a chance to speak to an assemblage of law professors, lawyers, judges and journalists.

Fortunately, I didn't get sued.

Among the attendees were old friends like Alan Hunter, one of Canada's top constitutional lawyers. Alan worked with me in the old days when I was championing the fight against election gag laws. (It was nice to be able to chat to Alan without worrying about what it would cost in legal bills).

Also met a fascinating guy named David Cohn from San Francisco, who heads up something called, which is all about combining professional news organizations with amateur bloggers.

The seminar itself was held in the Calgary Court Centre, a brand spanking new complex that boasts the latest in technological innovations. For instance, I am told it has the fastest elevators in North America -- which is good because justice delayed is justice denied.

And security in the building is tight.

How tight?

Well I had to go through an airport-style security system every time I went to the bathroom.

I tried not to drink a lot.

Branden on Rand

Here's an interesting video of Barbara Branden discussing Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.

Part 1

Part 2

Friday, November 16, 2007

Media Alert -- Alberta Edition

I will be a guest on The World Tonight at 8:35 PM Alberta time, to talk about my presenation tomorrow at the Law Society of Alberta conference.

By the way, my topic will be "Gag laws and the Internet."

Politics of Paul

I asked a Republican political consultant friend of mine -- who happens to be a libertarian -- what he thinks of American presidential wannabe Ron Paul.

His answer: "Colorful. Nutty. Not serious." But he added: "I hope he continues to the end and becomes even more blunt."

As for me, I think it would be nice to see Paul talk about issues other than the Iraq war.

Anyway for you Paul fans out there check out his video from the Knights of Liberty.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back at Report

Happy to report that I am once again contributing regular columns to Report Magazine.

In fact, my latest Report piece is now posted over at my friend Joel Johannesen's excellent site, Proud to be Canadian.

Check it out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All Hail the People's Party

Received a fundraising letter today from the Conservative Party signed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In this letter, Harper describes the Conservative Party as the "People's Party" and the Conservative Government as the "People's Government."

Hmm, not a great way to ask me for money as I am not a big fan of People's Governments.

Anyway to thank me for all my "loyal support", a nifty gift calendar is included with the letter.

Lucky me.

Now I will be able to gaze on the Great Leader of the People's Party every day of the year.

The calendar has photos of the Great Leader posing next to a snow man, there's a couple of him with his cute kids, one of him pretending to look studious at his desk; and of course, the obligatory shot of him basking in the adulation of People's Party supporters.

Wonder when they are going to erect the statue?

The Sport of Politics

Ever notice the way the media covers the ongoing political battles on Parliament Hill?

Rarely do journalists ever weigh the pros and cons of a policy. Instead they focus on the political tactics supposedly behind those policies.

For instance, is Senate reform a good idea?

Who cares.

What fascinates the media is the behind-the-scenes strategy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, we are told, is only using Senate reform as a clever trap to ensnare Liberal leader Stephane Dion. Countless articles are then written explaining and analysing Harper's moves and Dion's counter-moves.

In other words, politics is presented not as a clash of ideas, but as a sporting event. And the media takes on the role of colour commentators providing the fans with all the inside dope of what's really going on in the field.

And we wonder why the electorate is become more cynical about politics.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Harper Breaks Political Rule #1

If you believe the latest poll, the Harper Tories are in a virtual dead heat with the Dion Liberals.

For many people, (especially the PMO braintrust) this state of affairs must be something of a puzzle.

After all, according to the plan, the Conservatives -- basking in the glory of their recent "mini-budget" with its promised tax cuts -- should be riding a wave of popularity right now.

So what's wrong?

Well, media pundits will likely pin the blame on the current Mulroney-Schreiber scandal.

And maybe that's the answer. Or maybe it's more serious.

For instance, it's more likely Prime Minister Harper's problems stem from the fact that he has broken the first rule of politics: Be real.

Harper is pretending to be something he isn't: a Liberal.

That's what voters are picking up on. They sense deception. They think Harper must be hiding something: the dreaded "hidden agenda".

Let's face it, people fear the unknown.

And of course, the Liberals and the media are are doing everything they can to stoke up those fears, conjuring up frightful images of what the "hidden agenda" entails.

What scares voters, in other words, isn't a conservative agenda, it's the caricature of a conservative agenda, a caricature the left has created.

How can Harper turn things around?

Easy. He just has to be true to his roots. He has to proudly proclaim that he is in fact a conservative. Then he has to define what a conservative agenda would mean for Canada.

Would everybody in the country applaud?


But at least everybody in the country would know where he stood.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Willing

Every Remembrance Day it's traditional to recite the famous poem "In Flanders Fields".

But here's an anonymous quote more revelant to the current Canadian military situation in Afghanistan:

We the willing, led by the unknowing, doing the impossible for the ungrateful;We've done so much for so long with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

The Mulroney Affair

Not surprisingly, the Liberals are licking their chops over the latest allegations concerning former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

But I wonder how much political mileage they will get out of this? First off, we are talking about stuff that happened a long, long time ago, and second off, juicy political scandals are the ones where politicians enrich (or appear to enrich) themselves at the expense of the taxpayer.

That's what made the Adscam Scandal such an outrage: the politicians were using our money to fatten the wallets of their buddies.

So far as I can tell, the Mulroney affair lacks such an ingredient.

Still I bet Prime Minister Harper now regrets all those words of praise he has heaped on Mulroney. I know I cringed every time Harper-- in a blatant desire to please Red Tories -- extolled Mulroney's virtues.

In my view, Mulroney was nothing but a crass, political opportunist.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How to Become a Criminal

Pierre Lemieux is a friend of mine, who also happens to be what he calls a "daily criminal."

Read the story here to find out why.

Hint: It has something to do with our stupid gun laws.

Alberta Bound

On November 17th, I will be a speaker at the Law Society of Alberta’s "Media and the Law Conference" in Calgary.

The theme for the conference is "Bans, Blogs and Boundaries”.

Other speakers include The Verdict's Paula Todd and the CBC's Ian Hanomansing.

It should be a fascinating event.

And I am looking forward to visiting Calgary, one of my favorite cities.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Political Animals

Ever hear of The Political Animals?

No it's not a rock band.

The Political Animals, in fact, is one of "northwest Ohio's most interesting talk shows" and it's broadcast from radio station WBGU (That's Bowling Green University).

One of the hosts of the show is my friend Peter Jaworski, from Liberty Summer Seminar fame. And as you might imagine, the show takes a look at the news from a pro-liberty perspective.

Anyway, I am going to be a guest on the show tonight at about 6:15 PM to talk discuss the Canadian political scene.

If all goes well it could be a regular feature on the show.

And here's the best part: you don't have to live in northwest Ohio, to hear the show, as it's also available via the Internet.

Check it out.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Squeamish Star

I must stop blogging about stupid Toronto Star editorials, or else this blog would be about nothing else.

So this will be my last Star-bashing post. (Yeah sure).

Anyway, today the Star lashes out against the latest Conservative "attack ads" targeting Liberal leader Stephan Dion.

"With this latest ad" writes the Star, "Harper has again revealed a nasty side to his personality that raises questions about his ability to set a positive tone for Canada. Partisan politics is a rough-and-tumble business. But Canadians rightly expect their political leaders to take a relatively civil and constructive tone, particularly when there is no election taking place. For Harper, though, playing dirty is his preferred style, in sharp contrast to his election pledge to run a clean and civilized administration."

Oh please.

This from a paper which just a few days ago suggested the recent announced tax cuts would destroy civilization as we know it.

And where was the Star's sense of civility in the last two federal elections, the ones in which the Liberals unleashed some of the most vicious attack ads in Canadian history? Seems like the Star editorial writers only disapproves of negative ads when they target their friends.

And as far as nasty personalities go, what about Jean Chretien? Chretien was the most mean-spirited, vindictive Prime Ministers ever to reside at 24 Sussex Dr.

Just ask Paul Martin.

Did the Star ever complain about his personality?

Of course, here's what the Star is really worried about: the Tory attack ads are working.

Vampires for Hillary?

Anne Rice used to be famous for writing vampire novels. Then she embraced Christianity and started writing about saints.

Anyway, when it comes to politics Rice seems to be an odd mix of religious right, Democrat.

Check out her endorsement of Hillary Clinton, it's not your typical pro-Hillary manifesto.

And in the interest of balance here are some folks who want to stop Hillary now.

Union Bullying

John Mortimer from Labourwatch, has a great column in today's Financial Post looking at how union bosses bully employees.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Time for Quality Education

One unfortunate consequence of Ontario PC leader John Tory's ill-fated "faith-based" school initiative, is that it will be a long, long time before any politician talks about education reform.

And that's too bad, because our educational system does need reform.

For one thing, parents need the chance to have more choice when it comes to schooling, through a voucher system and Charter Schools.

Providing a little more competition would also make the public school system more accountable and efficient.

But while the politicians won't be talking about these issues, there is one group that will: The Society for Quality Education.

The SQE is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to significantly improving student learning in Canada and to improving our education system.

And it's certainly an organization which all Canadians who believe in educational choice should support.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Capitalism's Epic

This is probably a little late to mention, but October 10th marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand's philosophic novel Atlas Shrugged.

So what you say?

Well Robert Tracinski has written an interesting piece on the book's historic significance.

Like her or hate her, Rand, as Tracinski points out "was the first thinker and artist to fully grasp the meaning of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution and to give them expression both in literature and in philosophy."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Worst TV Shows

The Chicago Tribune has come up with a list of the top 25 worst TV Shows of all time:

You're in the Picture (1961).

Petticoat Junction" (1963-'70).

My Mother the Car (1965-66).

Turn-On (1969)

Ernest Angley Hour (1973-present)

B.J. and the Bear (1979-81)

When Things Were Rotten (1975)

Mr. T. and Tina (1976)

The Ropers (1979-80)

Joanie Loves Chachi (1982-83)

Mama's Family (1983-90)

Manimal (1983)

Mr. Belvedere (1985-90)

Small Wonder (1985-89)

Life With Lucy (1986)

Beauty and the Beast (1987-90)

Cop Rock (1990)

Pink Lady and Jeff (1980)

The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage (1991)

The Jerry Springer Show (1991 to present)

Barney & Friends (1992-present)

Homeboys from Outer Space (1996-97)

The Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer (1998)

XFL (2001)

Cavemen (2007)

I wouldn't quibble with most of these (never heard of a couple of them), but I don't think you can say Petticoat Junction was one of the worst shows of all time. After all, it had that cute little Benjie dog and those adorable lasses swimming in the town water supply.

And hey, bashing Barney! How cynical can you get.

Smell of Freedom

Drew Carey's most recent documentary for the Reason Foundation is triggering some controversy.

And all because he defends the use of medical marijuana.

Smell that smell," says Carey, as he walks into a Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary. "That's the smell of freedom."

Talk about stirring up the pot!

Opinions Canada

Opinions Canada, a Canadian political blogs aggregator, has added my blog to its blogroll.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Little Bundle of Joy

Check out the newest member of my family.

My very own computer!

This will make my son happy, because up til now I was forced to expropriate his computer -- for the common good.

As you might imagine, this led to some tense situations as we battled for computer control.

But now peace will be restored.

By the way, this computer has a core2duo CPU; a 16B DDR2 RAM; and a PCI-Express expansion slot.

I have no idea what any of that means, but the computer guy who sold it to me, said it's all good stuff.

Can't wait to try out some games ... I mean use it for all my writing needs.

Hugo Chavez and Double Standards

Seems not everybody in Venezuela is happy with "President-for-Life" Hugo Chavez's socialist paradise.

According to news reports:
Soldiers used tear gas, plastic bullets and water cannons to scatter tens of thousands who massed yesterday in Caracas to protest constitutional reforms that would permit President Hugo Chavez to run for re-election indefinitely.

Led by university students protesters chanted `Freedom! Freedom!' and warned that 69 amendments drafted by the Chavista-dominated National Assembly would violate civil liberties and derail democracy.

It was the biggest turnout against Chavez in months and students promised more street demonstrations over the weekend.

Now you would expect the world's left-wing activists types to express outrage over Chavez's strong arm reactions to these protests: police opening fire on demonstrators and all.

But you won't hear a peep.

After all, these particular demonstrators were not shouting death threats against George Bush, and they actually seem to oppose socialism.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Gerry Nicholls Odyssey

If there's one thing the Canadian conservative movement needs it's more cruises.

So I am considering setting up my own conservative cruise get-away, which will be called The Gerry Nicholls Lake Ontario Odyssey.

Imagine it. A half day luxury cruise on one of Canada's most exotic and exciting Great Lakes (after lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior).

Passengers aboard the SS Gerry will enjoy:

* An exclusive stop at the Oakville's Burger King restaurant.

* Free Diet Coke (while supplies last)

* Starbucks Coffee at a special discounted price of only $20.00 a cup

* Complimentary sea sick pills (these rubber dinghys are a little unstable in rough water)

And if that's not enough to tempt you, consider this list of speakers and topics I just made up:

* John Tory will give a lecture on -- "How to Lose an Election in Three Easy Steps"

* Author/writer Paul Tuns will discuss, "Why I should be the new general manager of the New York Yankees".

* Liberal Leader Stephane Dion will speak on why he isn't a wimp. (Note Dion will only attend the cruise if Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it's OK.)

* Toronto Mayor David Miller will explain why we need a special tax on made up cruises.

* And Rondi Adamson will ask: Can conservatism ever be reconciled with good fashion sense?

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

So sign up today, for the special three hour cruise.