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

One-Trick Ponies

The governing Conservative Party of Canada has launched its latest attack ads against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and there has been a slight shift in strategy. They have decided to employ a two-tier advertising strategy.

The first tier is to have taxpayers pay to advertise the Conservative election platform and the second is to attack Justin Trudeau as usual, although in a kinder, gentler way. The new Conservative attack ad is – embarrassingly – a retread of an NDP ad from 2011. The staging is identical, the script almost the same only the NDP weren’t talking about Justin Trudeau.

Oops! Continue reading

No Tax On Tampons – Let Freedom Ring

So – let me see if I’ve got this right.

We’re at war in the Middle East and teetering on the brink of conflict in Ukraine, our cities are littered with food banks because too many among us can’t afford to feed themselves or their families, there is an obscene increasing income disparity, unemployment remains where it has been since the 2008 recession, manufacturing jobs are in decline, our dollar has lost 20% of its value and is heading south, we have Senators charged or on trial for fraud and corruption which appears to reach into the Prime Minister’s Office, an inquiry into political corruption wrapping up in Quebec and at least two police investigations into the activities of the Ontario government.

We are so poorly governed that our infrastructure is crumbing, our health care system is eroding, teachers are going on strike in Ontario, xenophobia and misogyny are on the increase, entire groups of people have been reduced to negative stereotypes, too many aboriginal communities lack basic services like potable water and fire-fighting, we have people sleeping in our streets, gang violence on the increase in our cities and what do a large number of people in our country, including many politicians, consider a pressing issue?

Eliminating the GST on menstrual products – the Sisterhood has decreed that they are unfair to women and a government only too willing to erode our rights, misrepresent the truth about our fiscal situation and which violates our constitution as standard operating procedure – agrees. Continue reading

Hiding From Reality Behind Statistics

I’m feeling pretty good today; you might even say I’m feeling quite perky. The National Post’s Andrew Coyne has pointed out once again how well we are all doing in a recent commentary he wrote criticizing the Liberal’s recent tax strategy targeted to the middle class.

I don’t criticize him for taking a swipe at the Liberal plan. Like the Conservative plan, it’s selective about which Canadians receive benefits and which get chosen to help finance those benefits. It’s basically just two different approaches to arranging the same deck chairs on a ship. No matter which partisan arrangement you choose, it does nothing to improve the ship.

But while I have no issue with his criticism of Trudeau and the Liberals, I take great exception to the simplistic assertions he makes about the economic well-being of Canadians in general. Continue reading

Duffy Trial Day 9: Reputation Managers Needed

There was yet another revelation in the Duffy trial yesterday (the hits just keep on coming, don’t they?). Added to the expense for make-up and for a personal trainer was an additional of $500 for – get ready for itreputation management.

Apparently the Old Duff was somewhat miffed by some of the negative comments about him online so he hired a reputation manager to advise him on what to do about it. Clearly it never occurred to him that a better and cheaper way to improve his reputation might be to elevate his ethical standards.

The irony is that while Senator Duffer-do was concerned about damages to his reputation, he only valued it at $500. Continue reading

Duffy Trial Day 7 – Justice Delayed

It appears that the Mike Duffy Trial may well be turning into the trial of the century, if for no other reason that the judge has now conceded that there is no end in sight as to when it will be finished. In other words, it may end up taking a century to get through it.

That is of concern, at least to me, because I don’t know if I can last that long. I mean, I’ll try because I’m that kind of dedicated guy but they’re now talking about the possibility the trial could extend into next year. Really? That’s asking a bit much from folks like me no matter how dedicated we have been up to now in our support of justice being served.

And I’ve been dedicated. I literally pour minutes of work into covering the Duffy trial each and every day and they are high intensity minutes at the very least. Continue reading