Vision and Truth

President Barack Obama made his case for a second term last night in Charlotte. Today, opinions vary about its impact, from—commentators are using baseball analogies—a grand slam hit to a swing and a miss. This is hardly surprising in the context of partisan interpretations. However, it is also not surprising that opinions would vary about Barack Obama and anything he says, or does. It is his stock and trade to say one thing and mean another, not unlike most politicians who will utter almost anything it will take to get elected or re-elected. Nothing new there either; politicians lie. A … Continue reading Vision and Truth


In a recent article, David Frum strolls close to an insightful interpretation of the Chick-Fil-A incident but then struts off down a superficial path. His conclusion is that the American political system is ill-equipped to “…solve real-world problems.” That is not the proper role of any political system. Chick-Fil-A is the 1600-outlet restaurant franchise started by the Cathy family whose members openly support Christian causes. This offends many who are willing to use the iron hand of government to mollify their hurt feelings. The Chick-Fil-A story—allegedly pitting gays against Christians over same-sex marriage—indicates a turning point to Mr. Frum. He … Continue reading Political-Fil-A

The Simple Summit

The recent Summit of the Americas in Cartagena ended on a down note. There were two issues of contention: the simple possibility of decriminalizing the illicit drug trade—as suggested by Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Columbia—and Cuba’s  representation at the summit, advocated by the Latin American constituency. So contentious were these points that the usual closing statement could not be issued. The US and Canada, represented respectively by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper, were united in opposition, effectively exercising a North American “veto”. The position on Cuba is clear enough. Cuba has not been involved in the Organization of … Continue reading The Simple Summit

Force Majeure

In recent weeks, the news with the most dangerous implications for human liberty did not come from anywhere between the eastern Mediterranean and the Hindu Kush. Rather, it developed within the short distance between Big Business, USA and Washington, DC. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and companion Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) introduced respectively in the House and Senate of the US Congress were on the verge of being pushed to a favourable vote when a public backlash temporarily arrested further progress. I draw attention to the use of the word “progress” to clarify that I am using it … Continue reading Force Majeure

An Arab Winter

The promise of an “Arab Spring” may yield a “winter of discontent”. In Egypt, the most populous Arab nation, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) continues the dictatorship after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Democratic elections promised by August are delayed to November 28. SCAF used some of the extra time to unilaterally write the rules governing the election process. Voting will take 6 months, allowing plenty of time to manipulate the outcome. Further facilitation will be provided by the absence of any international observers to witness the elections. SCAF has banned them. Free Expression The Egyptian military … Continue reading An Arab Winter

The Turmoil of Being Turmel

  Nycole Turmel is the acting leader of the Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP), relieving Jack Layton who recently stepped down to deal with personal health priorities. It did not take long for the neophyte leader of the official opposition in the House of Commons to get into trouble. Nycole From “The Bloc” Nycole Turmel has come under widespread criticism in light of the revelation that she was once a card-carrying member of the Bloc Québécois, a Quebec nationalist federal party on the left wing of the commonly-used political spectrum. “The Bloc”, as it is referred to in most of … Continue reading The Turmoil of Being Turmel

AAA Tax Rating

Moody’s credit rating agency has maintained the U.S. government’s credit rating at “AAA”. Its review, which began on July 13, was coincidentally completed today with the following public statement: “We have confirmed the AAA government bond rating now that the statutory debt limit has been raised.” (Emphasis added.) The agency need not have bothered with the charade of an independent review during the eleventh hour political bickering in Washington if all it was going to do was sanction an increase in borrowing capacity once it was passed by Congress. Bond investors look for safety in the “full faith and credit” … Continue reading AAA Tax Rating

Lies, Damn Lies and Politicians

Ever since Senator John McCain indulged himself in last Thursday’s Senate floor rant mocking the Tea Party constituency, there has been continuing criticism of Congressional members who refuse to compromise. McCain was challenged publicly for his disparaging remarks, and in an apparent move to pacify Tea Party supporters, attenuated his Congressional statements by saying he only meant to convey his disagreement with the obstinacy of this caucus. On Sunday, Senator Jon Kyl sort of agreed. He thought it was a shame that a few senators “standing on principle” could not be budged from their position when most everyone else thought … Continue reading Lies, Damn Lies and Politicians

The Spending Crisis

Most media coverage of the main political fight in Washington these days refers to the “debt crisis” or “debt ceiling crisis”. Debt is the result of overspending. More spending, in the absence of sufficient revenue, leads to escalating debt. With the US economy already taxed at levels that can negatively impact investment, further spending can only exacerbate the debt problem. A more precise and fundamental headline would be “The Spending Crisis”. Obama Reveals Spending Crisis Unwittingly, President Obama made some remarks on Friday that really drew attention to the spending crisis. He wanted to emphasize that the reason for the … Continue reading The Spending Crisis

Smoking Hot

Canadians are trapped in an immoral system in which an economic good—medical care—is supplied exclusively by government. Canadians are not permitted to participate in any domestic market for medical care, even as they are constrained by the economically predictable shortages and rationing of care that result from bureaucratic supply. It should not be surprising that under such a system there are elevated levels of stress and conflict. The politicians and bureaucrats charged with “managing” the system are constantly and futilely attempting to get their annually escalating budgets under control. They have their own ways of dealing with conflict. It usually … Continue reading Smoking Hot