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Freedom of speech – Dictionary

[fee-duh m, uhv, speech]

Noun

  1. In defense of cartoon Muhammads
  2. Reason for Jihad
  3. To violently dispute
  4. A Farce

Another month and another “freedom of speech” incident. Two men were killed outside of a conference centre in Garland, Texas.  These two men were heavily armed and on their way to disrupt a “Jihad watch – Muhammad art exhibit and cartoon contest’’. Unfortunately, for the would-be Jihadists, the event’s organizers spent upwards of $50,000 on armed security and police pay-duties. Dreams of slaughter and mayhem and virgins turned into a security guard with a wounded leg… and the untimely deaths of the armed duo, of course.

Certainly we can’t blame the event’s organizers for being overly cautious. Already this year we’ve had the Charlie Hebdo incident, in which 12 people were killed, followed by a mass shooting in Copenhagen aimed at the cartoonist Lars Vilks. Both attacks were directly related to simple cartoon drawings of Muhammad.

Fast forward to Today, May 29th. In response to the attempted massacre in Garland a protest has been organized and is scheduled to be held in front of an Arizona Mosque, which the two now deceased gunmen frequented. The protest is being supported by what the media is referring to as an “Armed biker gang” and will include a Muhammad cartoon contest (what else?) all in the name of…….. Freedom of speech! [1]

Directly from the organizers Facebook page :

This will be a PEACEFUL protest in front of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix AZ. This is in response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorists, with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad. Everyone is encouraged to bring American Flags and any message that you would like to send to the known acquaintances of the 2 gunmen. This Islamic Community Center is a known place that the 2 terrorist frequented. People are also encouraged to utilize there  second amendment right at this event just in case our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack. [sic]

 

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What I understood

 

So bring your cardboard sign and your guns in preparation for total war. Given the circumstances of the event I can’t believe there will be any resistance, although I am sure it will garner a fair bit of controversy.

Speaking of controversy. The most common criticism I have come across in relation to similar events is that they appear to be more about provoking some sort of aggressive confrontation than any actual belief in expression or in freedom of speech. In all honesty, it’s a hard argument to dismiss and, for the most part, I suspect it is likely the truth. Lets take a look at the Garland incident, a small group hosts a event suitably titled the ‘Jihad watch – Muhammad art exhibit and cartoon contest’. The event consisted of no less then 40 well armed men and women guarding a week old 8 x 11 doodle of Muhammad riding a unicycle. Reminiscent of a mouse trap.[2]

religion-of-peace-Geller-222x300

Regardless of the intent, what does this say about the current state of the western world? The host of the event is a women named Pamela Geller. When she was asked if she now has any regrets in retrospect she was quoted as saying that

“…those that were going to be slaughtered” by the gunmen are now being maligned by critics and excoriated by the press. This “speaks to how morally inverted this conversation is”

Pretty much. If I were a  dubious man I would suspect that the freedom to make this point was likely the purpose of the entire event to begin with.

You see, freedom of speech has become a straw man issue standing in place of a much bigger problem, a problem we’re all afraid to deal with directly. The western world is suffering from an ever increasing divide, a realization that our cultural differences and beliefs are becoming insurmountable. One man’s fun night out with like-minded individuals is another man’s call for mass slaughter. The dreams of a melting pot utopia all singing the star spangled banner is fast turning to dust, leaving only increasingly segregated clans of people nervously, desperately, awaiting a violent future.

So when I hear about a group of bikers getting together to wave Muhammad cartoons around while flashing what is sure to be some impressive pee-shooters, I suspect it’s likely that none of them give two shits about Muhammad, Islam, Terrorism, ISIS etc. All I see is their rage, the rage of knowing everything they and those before them have built and held dear is being slowly stripped away, like the shore eroding a mountain. To be replaced by what?

 

 


Has your peripheral vision become cluttered with hundreds of loud, coloured signs?

Have your thoughts been burdened by increasing platitudes, numbers and percents? Do you have no idea what they mean or refer to?

Has there been a dramatic increase in strangers at your door?

Do you find these same people seem to be machine gunning canned narratives in your bewildered face in a wide-eyed and earnest fashion?

Are similar symptoms flaring up about every 3 to 4 years consistently?

If so, you may be suffering from electivitis. You might not even know that you’re suffering from electivitis, but your brain does. There is no known cure currently available for electivitis, but there is hope for relief of the symptoms with treatment.

Introducing Booze! With just a few doses a day for the next month you will find the reprieve you seek.

Note Dr. Jimmy is a paid actor and not a actual Dr.

Note: Dr. Jimmy is a paid actor and not an actual Doctor

 

Honestly, I hate election time. I hate the stupid signs, I hate that my news pages have become cluttered with up to the second trending twitter hashtags, and I despise looking at ‘poll projection’ charts that change every single day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love democracy. I guess I just get a little disgusted when I see what a farce it has all become.

Lets begin with a story. I started my weekend with a group of four diverse folks at my door. They were clearly campaigning for the Liberal Party, hands filled with pamphlets, binders and stickers. I saw a fifth man standing on the side walk with a bundle of those god awful lawn signs (really hate the signs), eagerly awaiting a thumbs up from his comrades to shove those thin metal stakes into my grass.

Now, my natural reflex when I saw the Liberal logo was to start shutting the door immediately. I only agreed to hear them out after being vehemently beseeched: a chorus of pleas and protests for “just a minute of my time”, playing on my amicable nature.

If the majority of communication is non-verbal then the expression on my face must have conveyed a cacophony of dubiousness. Seeing as the ‘minute of my time’ was quite relative, and, nearing it’s end only 15 seconds later, the leader of the merry socialist band pulled out a trap card, their Coup De Gras.

“Sir, did you know that if you agree to vote for the Liberal Party today, in 25 years all post secondary schooling in Alberta will be completely free?”

… WHAT IN THE F&*@?!

mind_blown

 

My dubious expression quickly changed to one of outright confusion, followed by anger. My cerebrum was attempting to process the unprocessable. Proverbial blue screen of death, the only option was to slowly shut the door on their faltering, yet still smiling faces.

The point of my story is that it’s important to try understand what these political parties are saying and what, if anything, it actually all means. I will do my best to outline the key points of each parties’ campaign, looking beyond the charts and numbers. I will try to find some semblance of truth in it all if any is to be found.

liberal
Let’s start with the Liberals, since they took time to come to my door. Quite frankly, the Liberal Party are a bloody mess. Out of the possible 87 seats up for election the Liberals are fielding only 56 candidates. Essentially they would need all 56 of their candidates to win their ridings to have even a hope of running the government. For reference purposes: in the last election only 5 Liberals were voted in.

Onto the Platform. Leading the Liberal agenda is something they call “Respect for all Albertans“.

– The spearhead of the Respect for Albertans plan is to force all schools in Alberta to form ‘gay-straight alliances’, which, they claim, provides a safer environment for the entire student population. Wait, wasn’t that the hidden theme of West Side Story?

They go on to say that “this policy is an example of the progressive, forward thinking policies brought forward by Alberta Liberals”.

WOW!

From what I can tell by reading the Gay-Straight Student Alliance Alberta teacher’s handbook, which, by the way, is a is a cluttered debacle of acronyms and sociological jargon, Gay-Straight Alliances are basically yet another means to help curb bullying in schools. And everyone needs protection from bullying these days, don’t they?

– Respect for all Albertans plan also includes better enforcement of the Human Rights act for the broader purpose of making sure women get equal pay for equal work. Nothing wrong with this, I don’t know if the Human Rights act is a direct enough approach to the issue but it’s a start.

– Improve vaccination rates. Alberta Liberals will make vaccinations mandatory for all children, unless their parents sign a document. Honestly, get rid of the ‘unless you sign a document part’ and I may be tempted to say something positive about the Liberals! Good for them for taking an actual stand. Love the idea, just nowhere near rigid enough.

– They would like to Institute stronger health and safety standards – and ensure farm workers are covered by workers’ compensation. Knowing the Liberals I suspect what they really mean by “farm workers” is foreign migrant workers, but that’s just a guess.

– Double the funding for senior support programs. Would be a good and much needed change, but the money needs to come from somewhere (read: you).

– They claim they would somehow expand the Calgary and Edmonton C-Train and LRT lines. Don’t see how (at least in Calgary) but okay, again who’s paying for it and how?

You know what? Honest to god I can’t spend another moment reading the Liberal platform. You can read it yourself here- if you really want to wade through it. Honestly most of it is just bullet points referencing things that already exist or vague inferences to somehow improving… something.

What a hollow piece of political crap. The Liberals promise to lower everything bad and double everything good. Whoopee Woo! They make almost no indication at all as to how any of this is to be accomplished. Most of their promises are either so general or alternatively so grand that it would take another 20 – 30 years before anyone would be able to tell if they had actually accomplished any of their “goals”.

Quite typical for Alberta Liberals. Just like the canvassers at my door. Make fanciful promises to trick a few of the lesser minds among us, knowing full well they will absolutely never have to follow through on anything or be held accountable for any of their claims.

ndp
However, where the Liberal Party have dropped the ball, simultaneously tripping on the sidewalk on the way to the game, the NDP are already in uniform and warming up on the field.

Before we move on to the NDP’s actual platform I would just like to remind everyone of something. Unlike the Provincial Progressive Conservatives and the Federal Conservative party, that have very little interactions with each other and general try not to guide each other’s polices. The NDP party on the Federal and Provincial level are fairly close to being one and the same.

A vote for the provincial leader, Rachel Notley, may, in fact, be a vote for Thomas Mulcair. A Thomas Mulcair that makes no secret of his dislike for Alberta and Albertans. If the NDP win this election we could very well witness the absolute devastation of the Alberta we all know and love. Go ask Manitoba what it feels like.

Platform Key Points:

– Job creation tax credit. Pretty simple idea: the provincial government will rebate 10% of wages paid to new hires up to a maximum starting salary of $50,000. Interesting, may help bolster the confidence of businesses on the fence about hiring new people. The NDP predict that it would create up to 27,000 new jobs in Alberta. To me that number seems absurdly high and just nonsense.

– Rollback the PC parties planned $1,000,000,000 (B) cuts to Alberta Health Services, (AHS). This may sound positive, after all, who doesn’t like our “free” health care? But keep in mind that AHS is a bloated monstrosity at the moment and is notoriously way over funded. A one billion dollar cut may sound like a gutting but it’s really not.

– On the same note, the NDP claim that Alberta Hospitals have a combined 600,000 square feet of unused space that they plan to fill in order to help cut down on wait times. No idea what on earth this means, I searched high and low to try and discover where they’re getting this 600,000 square feet of space but they don’t have it referenced anywhere.

Does it mean there are literally entire empty buildings, filled with unused equipment and hospital staff just waiting around for someone to notice them? Or are they referring to the space occupied by hallways, closets, handicapped parking stalls and boiler rooms in the existing hospitals? I strongly suspect the latter. Can’t just shove a patient into the attic if you don’t have a nurse to look after them boys and girls.

– “Create jobs, diversify Alberta’s economy and reduce our exposure to crude oil price swings”. Great! In fact my last article outlined Alberta desperate need to diversify. Would be nice if they outlined somewhere exactly how they plan on doing it, however.

The rest is almost exclusively rollbacks and the restoration of recent cuts made by the PC party. Where the PC party plans to have the middle class carry almost the entire provincial debt, the NDP instead plans to shift part of the responsibility to the plethora of massive corporations operating within Alberta. As your ordinary middle class guy I kinda agree with them on this point.

I would be very surprised if the NDP win the election, but expect them to have a huge showing.

 

widlrose
Talk about revived and back from the dead. I don’t think many people thought we would be talking about the Wild Rose as any sort of likely contender to win the election, but here we are. However, like all forms of necromancy, I don’t know if the revived Wild Rose party came back the same. To quote Stephen King, “sometimes dead is better.”

Nothing would make me happier than to see a true blue, actual right wing conservative party in power. Straight and narrow, unapologetic workhorses out there to get things done. It’s what the Wild Rose wants us to believe they epitomize, but is it true?

A few things have been bothering me about the Wild Rose party recently. Such as the leader of the party publicly apologizing for this poster:

 

RWN ELECTION

I guess the WildRose agreed that this is flat-out sexism…

 

Or just days ago, sacking one of their candidates for a two paragraph blog post he made in 2007. What horrendous blasphemy must he have written!?

“I’m told that St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church is one of the most conservative parishes in the city. Evidently, whoever rented the hall on behalf of the event was not entirely forthcoming with the parish priest and administration as to what event would convene. Then, apparently anticipating (wanting?) trouble, the event organizers arranged for two uniformed members of the Edmonton Police Service to be posted at the entrance to the hall,”

“The message that appears to be sent to Catholic Christians who don’t accept this ‘lifestyle’ as acceptable is that ‘equality’ means that gay activists can take their agenda not just to your front door but inside the door to places that are consecrated to the Catholic faith, with uniformed police officers (!) exercising state coercion to defend that right!”

Ohhh…

So this is what no-nonsense conservatism looks like? Forget that.

Onto the Wild Rose running platform.

Well, in actuality, it looks nearly identical to the NDP platform. In that it relies almost solely upon the promise that they will balance the budget, without any new taxes or increases, simply by cutting out the PC waste.

Of the most noticeable differences between the Wild Rose plan and the NDP plan is this distinction: The NDP hopes to balance the budget by shifting taxes to the mega rich and billion dollar corporations. The Wild Rose claims that they can balance the budget without any new taxes at all. In fact, they plan to rollback all of the recent Alberta tax hikes as well.

This seems to have a more than a few analysts scratching their heads. As it stands, if the Wild Rose party gets elected and sticks with its current economic plan, they would immediately be $29 billion dollars short of their goal. Basic mathematics, folks; this is just straight addition.

Nevertheless, the Wild Rose are sticking to their empty guns and claim they’ve got it all figured out. However, much like the grief I gave the Liberal party, what on earth is the plan? Big promises demand big action plans, not vague political catchphrases like “cutting the fat”.

If you believe the Wild Rose party can keep true to their promises you’d better be sure to check the box beside their candidates on voting day. Maybe pencil a question mark somewhere on the page while you’re at it.

pc
What is there to say? We need only to look back upon the last 30 years. Present day Alberta is what another Conservative Government will look like. Maybe that’s not so bad? The devil you know… no surprises. When compared to many other provinces in Canada we in Alberta actually have it pretty good right now.

Don’t get me wrong, the PC’s have had their share of extreme up’s and conversely just as many extreme down’s; they wax and wane. It just seems that the PC party looks to be the only group with any sort of objective, tangible, fact-based plans. Real numbers along with realistic expectations [1]. I’ve been harshly critical of the Conservatives recently and you’re damn right the word ‘Conservative’ has no place in their title, but after deep diving through the grey water of the alternative’s platforms I can honestly say I just don’t see it.

 

alberta

&

green

 

tumbleweed

 

 

Final prediction: PC Majority, Wild rose retained as the official opposition.


Death, Taxes and Oil prices.

Considering that RWN is a site dedicated to Canadian Conservatism, you’ve likely arrived at the conclusion that we’re based out of Alberta… and you would be correct in this assumption. So, like our fellow Albertans, we will now be paying more to drink, smoke, go for a drive, go camping or do pretty much anything else that could be viewed as pleasure or luxury. [1]

Essentially Alberta is broke. The causes are numerous, but let’s take a quick look at one of the most pronounced: the political party that has composed the provincial government, without interruption, since 1971: the Progressive Conservatives (PC).  A decade ago the PC party was the shining example of ‘right-of-centre’ politics. Klein was in power, Alberta was debt free and was viewed by many as the economic lifeblood of the entire country.

Ten years later, we find ourselves wading through a quagmire of bureaucratic scandals, egregious overspending and the creation of government divisions so monstrously absurd that it’s hard to even comprehend!

Just a few of the many recent examples:

  • $330,000 in funding directed towards a ‘trip scout’ task force. This division was responsible for advance travel to locations the Premier was expected to visit for the purpose of ‘sussing out suitable bar patios and advising on the state of public toilets’. [2]
  • Albertans footing the bill for massive personal MLA expense bills slipped in as ‘legitimate public  spending’ [3] [4]
  • Alberta Health Service. A government creation that employs almost 120,000 people with a budget  of just under 20 Billion dollars. And this in a province with a population of just four million. [5]

Honestly, I could shoot bullet points at this page all day. But to sum it all up, the current state of Alberta politics (specifically in regards to the Progressive Conservative party) is quite simply, an out of control farce.

I have no doubt that the upcoming election will witness vapid Alberta voters finally taking a stand. We, undoubtedly, will see the Wild Rose, a true blue conservative party, placed into power and the bloated PC’s (conservative only by namesake at this point) driven out of the province on a rail. Danielle Smith will take up her rightful position in the Premier’s office and we can finally get… wait… Oh…

 

tqzGqEg

This is fine. I’m okay with the events that are unfolding currently.

 

The PC Party has an absolute monopoly on leadership in Alberta. We have a government that hasn’t been held up to any sort of scrutiny in decades. Believe it or not: with boundless authority, little to no accountability and no opposing checks or balances in place, they have managed to run the whole province ashore.

The PC’s believe that the obvious course of action to traverse this mess is simply trimming some fat and raising taxes across the board. The muscled Atlas-esque arms of the middle class will carry the province through once again. Sounds fair, and it may have actually worked if Alberta’s current economic outlook wasn’t so disastrous. Unless tax hikes increase exponentially it will never be enough.

They just don’t seem to get it, and why would they?  I think all middle class bourgeois would agree that government irresponsibility and callous disregard for (over)spending has played a major role in the current crisis. The bloated provincial PC government has been instrumental in misdirecting Alberta towards another fiscal cliff.

The fact of the matter is, the Progressive Conservative party has failed Alberta and failed to diversify the provincial economy in any way. Our economy is, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be, almost entirely supported by oil. No quantity of minor government cutbacks or “Sin Taxes” will make up for the nearly $10 billion lost this past year as a result of fallen oil prices.

 

homertax

Let the bears pay the bear tax! I pay the Homer tax.

 

So how do we fix it? Well, if it’s come down to oil prices alone we can’t!

Enter the house of Saud. Saudi Arabia may not be a military super power but they do control one of the most effective weapons in the modern age. The oil bludgeon. The world’s dependence on Saudi oil and the Saudis massive oil production capabilities allow them to wield tremendous power. They can arbitrarily choose to cut production and raise prices or greatly accelerate production and flood the market. They control the horizontal… and the vertical

We’ve seen this weapon used to devastating effect in the last few decades. 1973: In a effort to punish the U.S.A. for supporting Israel, Saudi Arabia cut production and raised prices, leading to the ‘1973 oil crisis’. [6] Then again in 1998, Saudi Arabia intentionally plummeted oil prices for the sole purpose of bankrupting Russia. They succeeded and Russia was forced to default on its debts. [7]

Now in 2015 we’re witnessing this weapon’s awesome power again.

Middle Eastern conflicts have always been extremely complex. In essence Saudi Arabia despises Iran, loathes Syria and by association Syria’s key ally, Russia. In fact it’s safe to say that a lot of the strife in the Middle East, including the current kerfuffle with the Islamic State, is in some way related to the current full blown proxy-war raging between the Saudis and Iran.

What do Russia, Syria and Iran all have in common? They’re all primarily oil-based economies and extremely vulnerable to oil prices. The house of Saud knows they could never win a flat out military engagement, but they don’t actually need to.

By simply unleashing weaponized oil prices they have almost totally devalued the Russian Ruble and nearly bankrupted the entire Russian private sector. Iran has lost nearly half of their country’s annual income, prompting the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to denounce the falling oil prices as a “conspiracy against the interests of the region, the Muslim people and the Muslim world” and stating that it’s “politically motivated.’

No weapon of that scale can be used without collateral damage. That’s where we find Alberta, deep in the heart of the fallout zone, our proverbial Geiger counter pointing consistently into the red.

For Alberta, there seems to be no reprieve in sight. The Saudis have already made it clear that they will not be budging an inch. The Saudi oil minister was recently quoted as saying “I don’t care if prices crash to $20.” [8]

If that becomes the case, we’d better all start stockpiling our liquor now so we have something to drink while we learn how to wrap bindles. [9]

 

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Dies Irae. A tad exaggerated perhaps… or perhaps not.