Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Political Animals tonight

You can listen to a radio show I co-host tonight.

6 - 8 p.m. at

Participate by calling in at 888-7-WBGUFM, or by emailing politicalanimals - at - WBGUFM -dot- com.

Tonight's guest is none other than Marc Emery.

(Join our facebook group here.)

Ron Paul on Tonight show

And you wonder why I think he is amazing:

Money quote (1:34 to go in the video). (Answering Leno's question about why he's running, and if he thinks his chances are good, Paul ends his answer like this)

"The message is powerful. I have my shortcomings, but the message has no shortcomings. The message of liberty is what America is all about.

"And the more people hear about this, and the more they understand the financial trouble we're in, the trouble the dollar is in, and the failure of our foreign policy; all of a sudden this has gotten so popular. Way beyond what I had ever conceived.

So I would say yes, there is a risk that I could win."

And right there. There, I thought to myself. It is so rare to feel pride in supporting a good, decent politician with the right message. Yeah, you read that right: pride. In a politician.

What's the risk, by the way? As of yesterday, some think it's not so bad. Yesterday, British betting houses changed their odds of a Ron Paul victory from 66 to 1, to 12 to 1. For anyone who knows anything about polling and betting, and how close to the actual election day numbers each get, you'll know that this is significant movement.

Major Maker EP

"People Carrier", the new kick-ass EP from Major Maker, is available for sale in the Itunes Canada store. If you're quick, you can get "Last Goodbye" for free (since it's the "single of the week").

Check them out. They are responsible for the "Rollercoaster" song from the Maynard's commercial (yes, the song is on this CD).

Enjoy this pic

At the Dem debate today, you might have seen this:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ron Paul on Jay Leno

Tonight. Watch it, enjoy it.

My surgery on Friday went well, thank you. I have a giant cast on my right hand, making typing nearly impossible (inefficient for sure). I shattered my pinky playing dodge ball. Four pins, some morphine, and fistfulls of Vicodin later, I'm recovering and still trying to figure out how to get back to a regular sleeping routine.

Back to Paul: The Leno show is going to get at least 100 bunches of flowers from RP supporters. Someone decided to give some author (Naomi Wolfe?) flowers for mentioning RP positively, and it sort of caught on.

November 5th is going to be a huge fundraising day for Paul. Visit his site, make some popcorn, and see if his servers manage the flood.

If you're curious about his contributions, why not visit a site that breaks down his fundraising in minute detail? I do. Daily.

And if you want to see video of RP, why not visit his YouTube site. Be like thousands and thousands of others. Check out, in particular, his two new TV commercials. I like the second one, and despise the first.

Paul has the most support amongst blacks of any Republican Presidential candidate. And amongst Polish-Canadians studying Philosophy in Ohio.

Man. This whole Ron Paul thing is awesome. Get on the freedom train, kids! It's global, it's hot, and it's all about liberty.

(Psst: This Wednesday, from 6 - 8 p.m. ET, we interview Marc Emery for the radio show I co-host. Listen live at

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Marc Emery at the LSS

Since Marc Emery was recently on the CBC (check out the video in the post below), I thought it might be a good idea to post the video from Emery's speech given at this year's Liberty Summer Seminar.

The videos are from two different angles, so you might want to watch them both...

From the Bureaucrash folk:

From Paul Synnott (complete)

Prince of Pot

Here are the YouTube vids of the Prince of Pot special that aired yesterday:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ron Paul and Hillary Clinton

Radley Balko, over at Reason, does a great job taking apart Hillary Clinton. Reading his article made me think of last Sunday's Republican debate on Fox. In particular, it brought to mind this question Ron Paul was asked (paraphrasing):

"Hillary Clinton wants to end the War in Iraq. So do you. What makes you different from Hillary Clinton?"

I didn't like Paul's answer. It was a great opportunity for him to:

a) call HC out on the carpet for being part of the reason for the war, never mind that there is no reason to believe that a Hillary-led White House will end the war anytime within her first two terms.

b) distinguish himself from her on domestic issues, where a wider gulf exists between Paul and Clinton, than between any other Repub candidate for President.

With respect to a)

We could take Clinton's word for it, or we could, as Kasparov wisely recommends when it comes to Putin, look at her track record. She voted for the war, Paul didn't. She voted for more funding, Paul didn't. She hasn't apologized for voting for the War. She doesn't commit herself to pulling out any time soon.

We could also look at her track record during Bill's tenure as the President. It wasn't like she opposed her husband's radical and wide-ranging military escapades (yup, the biggest since WWII). In fact, she proudly said that she urged Bill to bomb Kosovo during a phone conversation when tensions there were mounting.

A peace candidate Hillary Clinton is not. A left neo-con, she is. (More grist for the foreign adventurism stems, in reality, from a left-wing ideology mill?)

With respect to b)

Clinton wants a (pre-Chaoulli decision) Canada-style health care system. Ron Paul wants more health care freedom. Clinton supported the Patriot Act, and is unlikely to pull out any of its teeth. Paul voted against the Patriot Act, and introduced American Freedom Agenda legislation just a couple of days ago into Congress that would, amongst other things, disallow torture, and restore habeas corpus (read the three-page PDF doc here. Really. It's awesome). On tax policy, Paul wants to abolish the IRS and eliminate the federal income tax. Clinton? I don't think so. Paul wants to fulfill Ronald Reagan's dream of abolishing the Department of Education. Clinton? Take a wild stab at this.

The only policy they see eye-to-eye on domestically is the stupid border fence along the U.S.-Mexico border idea. They both voted for it. They're both supporting a ReallyDumbIdea(TM)

Ron Paul is about as non-Clinton (or anti-Clinton) as they come. There is no Republican contender for President who more sharply differs, ideologically and with respect to their voting record, than my man Ron Paul and Hillary Clinton. Then again, that same gulf exists between Ron Paul and all the other Republican candidates as well. Is it any wonder I love the guy?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Poland out of the coalition?

Poland just elected a government in favour of withdrawing from Iraq. Is anyone surprised?

There's an Army recruitment office on the corner of Wooster and Main St. in BG, Ohio. Every time I pass it, I can't help but think of their advertisement.

"An Army of One."

I'm not sure the recruiters are aware of how prescient their slogan is...

Kasparov is amazing

Here's a man who gets it. Free markets, free minds. In Russia, no less. Now if he can just win, we would all be better off.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Exactly right

The Boondocks gets it square on the head (click on the image to make it legible):

(H/T Rockwell blog)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A sad good bye

I just got wind of the news that must be circling all over Canada now: The Western Standard, published out of Calgary, is closing up shop. Permanently.

I can barely believe it. I was, as some of you might know, one of the first batch of interns the magazine accepted way back in the Summer of 2003 or 2004 (I can't quite remember).

Unlike every other magazine in Canada and the U.S., the Western Standard didn't have an internal hierarchy. They didn't play favourites with stories, or with personalities (well, maybe they did play favourites with Mark Steyn, but wouldn't you? Wouldn't anybody?). If you had a great story, they'd publish it. If the story was bound to raise the roof, they'd just go the extra mile to fact check it, to ensure that it was exactly right, and to run with it giving the writer the quiet confidence of knowing that they would stand by your story. The WS really did take responsibility, as a team, for anything that may have been written in their pages (the facts, anyway, if not always the viewpoint).

That's how I managed to get a cover story published as an intern. My piece on Dr. Chaoulli's Supreme Court challenge wasn't a slam-dunk. I mentioned the story to Kevin Libin, the then-ed-in-chief, and suggested that it might be worth a big write-up. I remember he just sort of scowled at me and asked me whether the good doctor had any hope in hell of winning. I said I didn't think so. So Kevin asked me what possible angle the story might have--why was it newsworthy to talk about a Supreme Court case that was going to fail?

Take a step back for a moment with me. I don't remember exactly where I got news of the story from initially. It could have been Mike Cust, who would send me strange story ideas about two or three times a week (having people like Mike send you ideas is just about the best way to make your life easier as a reporter). I may have come across the story myself. Or, quite possibly, someone at the Fraser Institute may have pointed me in that direction. Or, less likely than Cust, but more likely than the Fraser Institute, it might have been my good friend Karen Selick who suggested it as a possible story.

However it came by my e-desk, I had heard of the challenge. I started digging. I checked all of the major newspapers and magazines. Not a word. Not even the mention that such a court case was on the SC docket. Nothing. Pure silence.

I called a couple of lawyers. Most of them told me, one after the other, that Chaoulli had no chance. No hope. That the Court accepted this case just to shut Chaoulli down, and to make it crystal clear that the Canadian government had every right to meddle in health care affairs, and to restrict and regulate according to the democratic decisions of Parliament.

But then I happened upon Dr. Brian Day. He was then the head of the Cambie Surgery Centre, a private hospital in British Columbia, and currently serves as the President of the Canadian Medical Association. He had status as an official intervenor. He insisted that Chaoulli wasn't just going to sway one or two justices, he told me, in no uncertain terms, that Chaoulli was going to win. He told me he would be willing to bet big money on it. He told me that, unless you were in the court room, watching the way the justices undressed and expressed subtly-hidden anger at the arguments of the government lawyers, you would think that Chaoulli had no chance. He was in the court room, however, on more than one occassion. And he told me that his impressions were clear, and forceful: The Court will side with Chaoulli.

My talk with Day happened after I chatted with Libin. I spoke with Libin after chatting with some Fraser Institute people, and a couple of lawyers. None of them were optimistic about Chaoulli's chances, so that's what I told Libin.

Libin asked what the point of my story would be. I told him that, even if Chaoulli loses, this is still a big story. A Supreme Court challenge to Canada's national identity (if the polls were to be trusted). A Supreme Court challenge to the biggest talking-point of Trudeaupian Canada. Damn it! It is still worth writing about!

Libin was unmoved. "Find me someone who thinks he has a chance in hell, and then we can have another chat."

I did better than that. I found Dr. Day, and asked him to give me some other names with credibility who would feel the same way. After all, if Day was so sure Chaoulli was going to win, surely his opinion will be shared by at least a lawyer or four. He suggested a few people, but the only name that really caught my attention was Osgoode Hall's Professor Patrick Moynahan. When I spoke with him, he also insisted that Chaoulli's chances were very good.

I returned to Libin, armed with some credible people who were willing to make an incredible claim: That Chaoulli had more than a chance in hell, that betting odds should be, if not in his favour, then at least good enough to be worth a bet.

What followed was an excruciating process of gathering material, putting it together, double-checking and triple-checking the facts, and filling in holes that Libin insisted I fill. A lot was left out of the story. A lot of good quotes, a lot of interesting information, and a lot of stuff that I really wanted in. But Libin had a nose for a good story. He impressed me every day, even while infuriating me with what I considered to be nit-picky nonsense. In the end, he was right about 90 per cent of it (I still insist that I was write about 10 per cent of the time when we disagreed about something).

Working at The Standard was journalism school. That's what I considered it. That is something to lament the passing of right there--no other place in Canada would take you in, give you a chance, and let you write a cover story if you've got something worth while to present to the readers.

That cover story, by the way, was the biggest story that I had in the magazine. But I still look back at the crazy assortment of stories they let me write--from those bureaucrats who literally count beans in cans of British baked beans, to Emery's offer of free pot and growing materials for farmers financially hit by mad cow disease--and think that they were worthwhile, strange, and worthy of making public. No other newspaper or magazine in the country ran with the kinds of stories The Standard ran with. And that, too, is something to lament the passing of.

I should point one thing out. If you want evidence of the kind of comraderie The Standard evoked, consider this: Even months and years after having been a part of the official masthead, I still talked about The Standard in terms of "we." When on the phone with Libin, or Doll, or Steel, I would still say "we ought to run with this story" or "we should do so-and-so." I still felt like I was a part of the magazine, in spite of not getting a paycheck from them. And that's saying a lot.

Here's to The Standard. I will miss it. Dearly.