The Canadian government is talking about the need to set up a Canadian foreign intelligence service like the CIA. Of course, the first thing they do is start looking at the US as the primary target. They mention how that Canada is the only member of the G8 which doesn't have its own foreign intelligence service and that this makes us vulnerable. Six months ago, they would have cited this lack as part of why Canada is trusted by other nations and rubbished the idea that it would be in Canada's interest to spy on other nations.
I do understand that it would indeed be in our interest to look at the US as a primary area of concern for a foreign intelligence service. They are our biggest trading partner and ally, as well as being the most powerful nation in the world. We already have a very substantial number of our best and brightest in the states who have emigrated there for work opportunities. They would be a natural network to develop especially in terms of economic intelligence. What concerns me is that the typical Canadian gov't attitude of anti- americanism would prevail in the operation of such a service. The article describes Byron Wilfert, the head of the committee studying the issue as "describ(ing) himself as an economic and political nationalist". What that means is not pride in the Canadian nation, but contempt for the American nation paired with fear of imminent takeover.
It is all too likely that any new service would ignore the rest of the world and focus exclusively on the US in order to please its political masters. Remember how Chretien was insisting that there were no terrorists in Canada? Our exisitng domestic service, CSIS, had repeatedly identifed about 50 terrorist cells in Canada. Ahmed Ressam had lived in Canada for years before taking a load of bomb materials over the US border with a plan to blow up LAX on the Millennium. Just this last week, the reports came out on a two Canadian citizens who were primed for suicide attacks. The other keystone kops capers from CSIS over the years make me less than confident that any new agency would be effective. Canada could be effective in spying abroad. Just as we have people who have moved to the states, we also have large numbers of immigrants to Canada who have networks in their countries of origin which could be used for espionage.
Just out of curiosity, what would Wilfert say if a CIA agent were caught in Canada spying on Canada?
While on the topic, I'd like to acknowlege PayPal's excellent service and suggest signing up for an account yourself. For transactions over the web, this really is a great intermediary to make sure the person your deal with isn't going to charge their hawaiian vacation to your card number. I am also making this recommendation because if you sign up, I will get a $5 referral fee credited to me.
I've also added a webstats counter from GoStats, so I can obsess about who is visiting the site and how many times with all of the focus of a Harvard MBA doing marketing research. I wonder how much the stats would spike if I mention the magic word "sex"?
But – just to stir the puddin’ a bit more – here’s a tax reform that would go a long way toward changing our system right now. This tax reform would neither raise nor lower taxes. No evil rich person would have to pay one penny less in federal income taxes under this reform plan, and now poor, poor, pitiful poor person would have to pay one penny more. Government revenue would remain the same.
So, what’s the big, huge, incredible idea here? Simple. End withholding. The withholding of taxes from paychecks was supposed to be a temporary measure during World War II. We were told it was needed to keep the money flowing to the federal government for the war effort. Prior to World War II taxpayers would simply write a check once a year to the federal government. Figure out what they owe, and write the check.
Free spending politicians just love the withholding system. They know that most wage earners in America really don’t have any idea how much they really earn on the job. All you need to do to understand what the politicians already know is to just ask a few coworkers how much they make. The vast majority of wage earners will not say “I make $____ a week.” Instead, they’ll say “I take home $_____ a week.” They know what they “take home,” not what they actually earn. That’s a symphony to the ears of tax-and-spend politicians. The income tax money is gone – gone before the pay envelope arrives --- and the wage earner doesn’t even miss it.
Then … along comes April 15th. Time to go back to your knowledgeable co-worker again:
“Hey, Joe! How much tax did you have to pay this year?”
“Man! I didn’t have to pay anything! I’m getting some back!”
By now our tax-and-spend politician is in a near-orgasmic state! How better to keep power than to rule over idiots? These saps don’t even know how much tax they paid over the year! They just know the amount of their refund check.
So --- end withholding. Change the law. Every month all wage earners will be required to write a check to the U.S. Treasury for that month’s income taxes. Make the employer calculate the amount, if you like --- but make the wage earner write the check. Every month. If they don’t write the check, the interest starts to accrue.
My friends … I guarantee to you an instant tax revolt.
I’m dreaming. "
Yes, but what a dream. Imagine when people actually start to ask themselves "What am I getting for this $xxxx per month?" The taxes we pay have long since gone beyond what is required for providing government services. Imagine making your car payments through direct debit, signing a contract for a certain amount but later finding that the payments keep going up without your consent and the dealer occasionally sends you a "free" toaster. How long would anyone stand for that? Why do we allow ourselves to be exploited like this?
That, dear MACHing monkey, is what is meant by the Sanction of the Victims.
So, just to make sure I wasn't just imagining this, I went to the CoC website and did a search for "Conrad" and got 10 hits. "Asper" got one. "Hollinger" got nine and "Canwest" zero.
Let's compare business practices. Conrad hires left wing writers like Linda McQuaig for his financial pages and let her write whatever she wants to. He wrote signed editorials once in a while (I recall three times) that his papers were required to carry. Izzy forces his papers to toe the Canwest editorial line. Deviation is not tolerated, and criticising the editorial policy of Canwest will cost you your job. Peter Worthington, for example, was fired from his commentary position in a small town paper owned by Asper for his writing in the Toronto Sun. Unsigned editorials are required to be run every week in every paper.
So, where is the outrage from Maude? Well as long as Izzy's views are reasonable and reflect Canadian values (ie, the Liberal party platform), unlike that right wing troglodyte Lord Black, that's no threat whatsoever to Canadian freedom.
"Who are the Samizdata people?
We are a bunch of sinister and heavily armed libertarian globalist illuminati who seek to infect the entire world with the values of personal liberty and several property. Amongst our many crimes is a sense of
humour and the intermittent use of English spelling.
We are also a varied group made up of libertarians, extropians, futurists, Karl Popper fetishists, ecovering neo-conservatives, crazed Ayn Rand worshipers, over-caffeinated Virginia Postrel devotees, witty Frédéric Bastiat wannabes, cyberpunks, cypherpunks and wild-eyed anarcho-capitalists from
North America, British Isles, Australia and Europe.
Editorial policy: Samizdata Admin is God and God moves in mysterious ways."
Check it out. MACHing Monkey should pay particular attention to Natalija Radic's post A mirror can be very unflattering. I recommend this as "the most fascist of her fascist friends".
Natalija's following post to that is also good, on how Europe's tax rates are going to be harmonized. Guess what? Tax rates in Europe are about to fall in an upward direction.
An apparent suicide. I first heard about this around noon. At that time, I made a bet that the first conspiracy theories would appear on the net within three hours.
Well, 310pm, searching Google with search parameters of "assassination and enron and baxter", I came up dry. I lose my bet with myself and pay myself $50.00. (Sucker!) Okay, how about a new bet: at least 10 results this time monday.
The Lebanese PM accidentally touches on why the Israelis elected Sharon while he condems him.
"The use of violence does not work."
It hasn't for the Palestinians, that's for sure. There is pretty much a straight line between the continuous terrorist ( Yes, terrorist. Not "militant") attacks on Israel and Sharon's election. Instead of passing that on to the Israelis, who have successfully defended their nation by use of violence since its creation, how about passing that wisdom on to the Palestinians and Hizbollah? They seem quite sure that violence is the only means by which they'll be able to push the Jews into the sea.
Actually, I don't really need to say that. I'm sure that the Lebanese PM has already talked with them and explained this. Within days we can expect to see the end of suicide bombings in Israel, Katyusha rocket attacks from Lebanon and the teaching of hatred in UN funded Palestinian schools.
Or, as Steven DenBeste points out, the Americans have demonstrated quite conclusively that violence does work.
President Bush sends message with his choice of reading material. Good for George. This man is so much smarter than he's given credit for. By one simple gesture, he has slapped the face of the mainsteam media in the US and effectively endorsed Goldberg's thesis about media bias.
I've read Bias. Bernard Goldberg's book on the liberal bias in the US media, it's equally applicable to Canada.
I wonder why the media didn't think this was something relevant to the story. Can you imagine instead the story being reported without making reference to the fact that the attacker was using a gun?
UPDATE (The First!)
The Resource Monkey writes to say:
"Here's my take on the reason no one wanted to mention that the 'heroes' used guns, is the editors are all afraid of being cast as pro-gun, and therefore taking sides. By simply not mentioning this little tidbit of
relevant information, they are protecting their own asses from all the lobby groups that would inevitably
take issue with their comments."
Well, if the reason for the omission was wanting to appear impartial on the gun issue, why would they mention that the student used a gun in his attack? Would that not be appearing to side with the gun control interests? I don't buy it. I think bias is a much likelier explanation. See the later post on Bernie Goldberg's book "Bias".
BCM // 7:54 AM