A Bear's Rant

a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both

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Ship of Frightened Fools and Cowards

“The Statue of Liberty, given to us by France says ‘Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.’ – Nowhere does it say to dismiss them if you’re scared.”
American Congressman, Tim Ryan

In the wake of the latest terrorist attacks in Paris, fear is rising to the level that borders on hysteria and panic. Imagine that, millions of people in countries across Europe and North America are willing to throw away their constitutions, decency, courage, tolerance, even democratic rights in the face of a threat by an organization that numbers fewer than 80,000.

What is even more ironic is that the total size of the militaries of the sixty-member anti-ISIS coalition numbers around 15 million full-time troops and reservists.

And still many feel helpless as they stand in their own emotional urine, trembling in fear which they express in xenophobic, bigoted rage.

The Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, was one of the first to demand the federal government accelerate the processing of Syrian refugees to Canada just a couple of short months ago. Now he is calling on the federal government to suspend accepting any refugees. He would like you to believe that this is leadership rather than political cowardice.

A mosque has been burned to the ground in Peterborough, a Muslim-Canadian mother was attacked and beaten outside of her children’s school in Toronto, and a Sikh had his photograph altered by yet another coward to make him look like he was a jihadist bomber. The fear is so palpable that some among us can’t tell the difference between a Muslim and a Sikh or courage and cowardice. Just today, for example, a Muslim family were pulled from a flight in Baltimore for watching the news.

And what is all this hate and anger and fear accomplishing? Not much for us, to be perfectly frank, but it is giving ISIS a recruiting boost. The cowards among us are playing right into the hands of the terrorists whose objective is to make us so afraid we undermine our own way of life. Continue reading

#1? #6? #15? Take Your Pick – We’re all of ’em

iStock_000002554429Medium2-300x199A link has been circulating on Canadian social media about a report that in terms of personal freedom, Canada is ranked number one. It has been primarily been circulated by former Conservative Cabinet Ministers and their supporters and was posted on my Facebook time line by former Conservative Cabinet Minister Pierre Poliviere. I thought that being ranked number one was quite nice and I wondered who it was that had ranked nations so took it upon myself to try to find out.

It wasn’t all that difficult to track down as it turns out. Canada’s ranking was determined by the Legatum Institute as part of a larger report they issued recently on the state of 142 countries. What is the Legatum Institute, I hear you ask? I had never heard of them either so I took a brief trip over to their web site.

Here’s what I learned. Continue reading

Sunny Ways for Most but Not All

“I have had before me as a pillar of fire. . .a policy of true Canadianism, of moderation, of reconciliation.”
Sir Wilfred Laurier


PM Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire and the new Liberal Cabinet appointed on Wednesday. (Photo CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

Well – it’s official.

Justin Trudeau has been sworn in as Canada’s new Prime Minister, appointed his Cabinet and the sky hasn’t fallen. I know this because I went outside immediately after the ceremony Wednesday and looked. It was still blue skies and a few clouds hovering way up high. It is going to rain tomorrow but it’s rained before so I’m optimistic it won’t bring the sky down with it.

Ever since the Liberals won the election, I’ve noticed a significant change in mood within the country. I see it every day on my social media timelines and in casual conversation with folks out in the real world. It’s like the sun has come out again after a prolonged period of cold, bitter winds. I think that is what Justin Trudeau was referring to on election night in his victory speech when he paraphrased former Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier.

It was a bit flowery for my taste but it did have an historical context.

Laurier who was Prime Minister from 1896-1911 defeated the Conservative government of Sir Charles Tupper which was embroiled the Manitoba School Controversy at the time. The Tupper Government had been intransigent, even threatening and Laurier contrasted it to his planned approach using Aesop’s fable of the Wind, The Sun and the Coat in which the sun and the wind compete to see which can make a man named Greenway remove his coat.

In a speech first delivered in Morrisburg Ontario he summarized his position by saying,

“…the government are very windy. They have blown and raged and theatened, but the more they have theatened and raged and blown the more that man Greenway has stuck to his coat. If it were in my power, I would try the sunny way. I would approach this man Greenway with the sunny way of patriotism, asking him to be just and to be fair, asking him to be generous to the minority, in order that we may have peace among all the creeds and races which it has pleased God to bring upon this corner of our common country. Do you not believe that there is more to be gained by appealing to the heart and soul of men rather than to compel them to do a thing?”

Fast forward to today and Canadians embraced the sunny ways of positive politics over the harsh winds of the politics of division and threat.
Continue reading

We Have Too Many Drips Under Pressure

Math formulae.

Math formulae.

In mathematics, an ‘X’ is an unknown quantity. In plumbing, a spurt is a drip under pressure. Combine the two and you have an X-spurt or as it is more commonly known; an expert. Increasingly, we are surrounded by self-professed experts; unknown drips under pressure who have been working overtime to make a mess of the world in which we live.nepal

To be fair, some of them are just cynical greedy buggers who are in the ‘spurt’ business for the cash. It may not make the nonsense they impose on society easier to deal with but at least it’s honest. Under the right circumstances, who knows how many of the rest of us might not become a Spurt if there was enough cash being presented.

The Spurts that really get under my hat, however are those who are true believers in their own expertise. Their faces glow with earnestness as the light of Jesus shines from their eyes and a constant flow of stupidity flows out of the mouths. They are folks that tend to worm their way into positions of influence (often at great public expense) and then proceed to take themselves far more seriously than we take them. Continue reading

Neither Rain nor Snow nor Common Sense. . .

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

imagesCanada’s postal service announced a few months ago that it was ceasing door-to-door mail delivery. Instead, it would install neighbourhood mail boxes and people would be required to go to their assigned box to pick up their mail. Canada Post has been installing these mail boxes in newly built neighbourhoods for years and the Crown Corporation has indicated that it needs to make this change across the board in order to cut operation costs.

This isn’t an issue that I’ve been too concerned about to be honest. Maggie and I have been collecting our mail from a neighbourhood mail box for years and at the end of the day, it really isn’t all that big a deal to us. But it is a big deal for many Canadians.

There has been quite an outcry at the loss of daily door-to-door delivery and the roughshod manner in which Canada Post has overruled municipal governments and citizens about where the boxes will be installed.claire-marie-gagnon-sits-in-front-of-the-canada-post-communi

Many people are – well, to put it delicately – pissed.

Some have taken to protest by planting gardens on the site of a proposed mail box. Others have picketed and a few enterprising souls have laid down on the site of a new box and refused to move out of the way of the installers.

It isn’t quite the French Revolution but we’re Canadian and that’s how we do things here.

The Conservative government pretty much ignored the issue, most likely because there didn’t appear to be any niqab-wearing letter-carriers but the new incoming Liberal government has ordered a halt to the installation of the mail boxes until a full review has been conducted.

That caught my attention – not because I agree or disagree with any of the decisions taken before or since but rather because of the amount of political indecision triggered by a fundamental lack of business vision by all concerned. Continue reading

Let Go of my Lego

downloadMy grandson loves Lego although lately he’s been into this thing called Minecraft (also by Lego) which looks to me like something thrown together by a bunch of people with no design ability whatsoever. Lego was around when I was a kid but I didn’t play with it much. I built stuff using Tinkertoys and Mecano when I built anything at all. But times change and Lego is huge these days.

So huge that pro-democracy Chinese artist Ai Weiwei decided to incorporate Lego into his art.wai-2_2233070b

He tried to buy sufficient Lego directly from the manufacturer but Lego declined to sell it to him because they deem his work to be too ‘political’. Imagine that, a company headquartered in a democratic nation finds the free expression of pro-democratic rights to be ‘too political”.

I suspect it isn’t what his art expresses so much as at who is art is targeted – The People’s Republic of China.

China is not noted for its stellar respect for democracy or human rights but – and it’s a big but for companies like Lego – it’s the single largest market in the world and when it comes to making a buck; there are few companies that will risk offending the red giant by put democracy and human rights ahead of sales.

I’m not even close to being anti-business but I am very opposed to companies (often supported by governments) ignoring what is right in pursuit of profits and we’re seeing more and more of it these days. Continue reading