Monday, March 31, 2008

Gospel According to Marx

The latest issue of Maclean's magazine highlights one of my "Maclean's 50" commentaries.

It's one where I take the Roman Catholic Church to task for concocting a list of trendy "social sins"; It's now a sin, for instance, says the Church to pollute or to create poverty or to have excessive wealth.

In my commentary I say such a list shouldn't surprise anybody because "For a long time now, Church leaders have been preaching the Gospel according to Marx. That's what accounts for my status as a lapsed Catholic".

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Killing the Military

Trendy leftists likes to portray themselves as "anti-war".

But more often than not, what they really are is anti-military.

They just don't like or understand soldiers; or maybe it's the military ethos they don't like.

Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau was certainly of this school. As historian J.L. Granatstein put it in his book Who Killed the Canadian Military?, “Trudeau had a low opinion of the military which he believed to be populated by robots trained to kill . . . the generals and their soldiers were dolts, frittering away their time and the government’s money.”

That mentality still permeates the Liberal thought process today and is one reason why Liberals like refer to our men and women in uniform as "peacekeepers" instead of soldiers.

Anyway, I bring this up because Hollywood has come out with yet another anti-military movie called Stop-Loss. Trudeau would have loved it.

Kyle Smith, film critic of the New York Post describes the movie this way: "Stop-Loss is a highly patriotic film, if you happen to dream of the restored caliphate as you sleep in your Osama bin Laden pajamas. Its message is that the good guys are US soldiers who decide to desert, such as a sergeant played by Ryan Phillippe. (Another soldier, played by Channing Tatum ... is the villain: He wants to re-enlist.)"

As in most movies of this kind, American veterans are portrayed as damaged, demented and self-destructive.

As the folks over at Libertas, put it, " This insistent portrayal of these men and women as unstable and dangerous — dehumanized and psychotic — is outright stereotyping and the building of a stigma. It’s a monstrous act performed by these filmmakers and yet they remain undeterred even by box-office humiliation in their cruel objective to lose a war by tearing down our finest."

The good news is Stop-Loss is tanking at the box office, which suggests perhaps that Hollywood's anti-military bias doesn't extend much beyond Beverly Hills.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My house will be lit up bright

As this recent satellite image proves, every hour is "Earth Hour" in North Korea.

Anyway, I plan to have every incandescent light bulb in my house lit tonight, so that when aliens peer down on the planet tonight between 8 and 9 PM, they will know at least one human didn't succumb to group think.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Widmark RIP

American actor Richard Widmark passed away a couple of days ago at age 93.

He said something once I wish today's celebrities would take to heart: "I think a performer should do his work and then shut up."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ontario's Triple D Budget

Yesterday's Ontario budget deserves a "Triple D Rating" as in "Dwight Duncan Disaster."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Looking over Harper's Shoulder

The Hill Times, Canada's politics and government newsweekly, has written nice little summary of my manifesto: The Trudeau Empire Has Fallen and Can't Get up.

Unfortunately, the item is hidden behind a subscription wall, but I've reproduced its accompanying graphic.

I love it.

By the way, speaking of my manifesto, Conrad Winn, who heads up the leading polling firm Compas, called it a "tour de force on strategy, a must-read for conservatives who want to win and liberals who want to stop them, from the guy whose creative imagination was vital for the NCC's surprising successes."

Open the Window Aunt Minnie, here comes the MLB

The Major League Baseball season (finally) begins today.

And I have figured out a fool proof way the Toronto Blue Jays can make the play-offs.

All the Jays need do is move from the American League East and into the National League Central.

Anyway, to help us get into the proper baseball spirit here are some of the top home run calls as determined by the Baseball Almanac:

Wayne Hagan

"A high fly ball hit to deep ______. Took it to the track...wall...see. You. LATER!"
Michael Reghi

"Back, back, back, back... Gone!"
Chris Berman of ESPN

"Bonsoir, elle est partie!" French for "So long, she's gone!"
Rodger Brulotte

"Bye bye baby!"
Russ Hodges

"Forget it!"
Vin Scully

"Get out the rye bread and mustard grandma, cause it's GRAND SALAMI TIME!"Dave Neihaus

"Get up, get outa here, gone for _____!"
Bob Uecker

"Going back (outfielder's name), at the track, at the wall... SSSEEYA!"
Michael Kay / YES Network

"Goodbye baseball!"
Dick Risenhoover

"Goodbye Dolly Grey!"
Leo Durocher

"Hey hey!"
Jack Brickhouse

"Holy Cow!"
Phil Rizzuto

"It could be, it might be... It is, A home run!"
Harry Caray

"It's going, going... gone!"
Harry Hartman

"Kiss it goodbye!"
Bob Prince

"Long drive, way back, warning track wall, you cantouch em' all (player name)."
Greg Schulte

"Long gone!"
Ernie Harwell

"Open the window Aunt Minnie, here it comes!"
Rosey Roswell

"...swing and there it goes.... light tower power! Manny Ramirez."
Jerry Trupiano (Red Sox Radio Announcer)

"Swung on and there it goes! That ball is high! It is far! It is........GONE!"
John Sterling (formerly) of YESNetwork

"Tell it goodbye!"
Lon Simmons / Jon Miller

"That ball is going and it ain't coming back!"
Jeff Kingery

"That ball is history!"
Eric Nadel

"They usually show movies on a flight like that."
Ken Coleman

"Watch that baby... Outta here!"
Harry Kalas

"Whattaya think about that?"
Rob Faulds

"Whoo, boy! Next time around, bring me back my stomach!"
Jack Brickhouse

"You can put it on the board.. Yessssssss!"
Ken "Hawk" Harrelson

Monday, March 24, 2008

Klingon War Song

Turns out that besides being a fierce warrior race, the Klingons are also pretty good singers.

Yeah, I know.

I am spending way too much time surfing the net.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bilingualism: Harper's New God

A few months ago, after learning Bernard Lord was leading a task force to "review the state of bilingualism in Canada", I wrote a column predicting he would "recommend doling out money to minority language groups."

Well now the report is out and guess what: I was right.

Lord, in fact, is calling upon the federal government to spend about $1 billion over the next five years to help promote both official languages.

Somewhere Pierre Trudeau is smiling.

What Lord doesn't get, of course, is that the Trudeau vision of a bilingual Canada is nothing but a myth. The cold reality is that Canada is not a bilingual country and spending billions of tax dollars won't change that.

That's a fact Stephen Harper used to understand.

I should know, I ghost wrote the op-ed for him in which he declared: "As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produced no unity, and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions."

Nowadays, however, Stephen has abandoned his skepticism about this bilingualism god. Now, on the contrary, he happily kneels down and worships it.

And he will just as happily sacrifice a billion dollars on its altar, in the hopes that such devotion will be rewarded with votes.

Mind you, it won't work because bilingualism is still a false god.

That's something even the Lord can't change -- as in Bernard Lord.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Badassed Presidents

Cracked magazine has come up with a list of the five most "badassed" American presidents of all time.

Number one on the list is Theodore Roosevelt, a president who, Cracked notes, "strolled through the White House with a pistol on his person at all times, though, with his black belt in jujitsu and his history as a champion boxer, it wasn't like he really needed it."

And when Roosevelt died a fellow politician declared: "Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake there would have been a fight."

Yeah, that sounds pretty badass.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Green Party Breakthrough?

A consensus seems to be emerging among pundits that the big winner in Monday's by-elections was the federal Green Party.

And superficially this seems to be the case.

The Greens finished second in the Willowdale riding and substantially improved their vote totals overall.

But is this truly evidence of a Green Party breakthrough?

Forgive me if I am just a tad bit skeptical.

First off, you cannot really determine national trends on the basis of four by-elections, especially in by-elections with such poor voter turnouts.

Vancouver-Quandra had a turnout of only 33%, Willowdale, 24%, Toronto Centre, 28% and Desnethé--Missinippi--Churchill River, 25%.

When voter apathy is so high, political success usually boils down to good ground organization and getting the vote out.

And because they could focus their resources on a few key ridings, the Greens would have an advantage in this area, an advantage which would disappear during a general election.

Secondly, I suspect many Green votes were actually protest votes. People wanted to send out a message that they didn't like any of the main stream parties. Again, this is typical behaviour in a by-election, a dynamic which won't be in play in a general election when more is at stake.

Thirdly, voters weren't really paying attention to any of these races. There was no national campaign to focus on. No leadership debates. No real issues. So when people walked into the voting booth, many of them voted "Green" simply because they think the environment is important. If there was a party called "Health Care" on the ballot it probably would have received lots of votes too. In a general election, there will be lots of other issues on the table.

So it's way too early to get excited about the Green Party.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Little Kremlin on the Prairie

My friend Rolf Penner, a libertarian-minded Manitoba farmer, has gone on Youtube to make the case against the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly.

Backwards Bob is Back

Well Bob Rae is officially a Liberal Member of Parliament.

Good for him.

Of course, his real goal isn't simply to be a mere MP. The former NDP socialist wants nothing less than to be Prime Minister.

Only that way can he erase his current legacy of being the worst Premier in the history of Ontario.

Mind you it won't be easy.

Lots of Liberals are not too happy with Rae's ambitions.

I remember last year talking to a Liberal Party activist who said she would rather "eat glass" than see Rae take over her party.

Should be a fun party to watch over the next little while.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Conservatism in a Hurry

The Toronto Star's Susan Delacourt has written a mini-review of my political opus -- The Trudeau Empire has fallen and it can't get up.

She compares my philosophy with that of Tom Flanagan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former Chief of Staff, who is a champion of what he calls "incrementalism."

Writes Delacourt: "Flanagan’s a go-slow, transformation-by-stealth fan, while Nicholls thinks Conservatives should just pursue their agenda with full enthusiasm, a la Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Clearly Harper seems to favour the Flanagan approach, but it’s worth reading Nicholls’ tract to see what would happen if Canada decided to go conservative in a hurry. "

"Conservative in a hurry" - that's me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Media Alert

I will be discussing my manifesto on The World Tonight, (CHQR radio Calgary) at 9:05 EST.

The Nicholls Manifesto

It’s essentially my thoughts and theories on what the Canadian conservative movement, as opposed to the Canadian Conservative Party, must do to succeed in this country.

I am hoping this little manifesto will help other Canadian conservatives learn from the experience I gained after fighting in the political trenches for 22 years.

The booklet talks about how to package a conservative message and about how to get around the roadblocks we face.

As an added bonus, it also includes my "Top Ten Political Guerrilla Warfare" tactics.

My main thesis, however, is that now more than ever Canada needs a strong and vibrant small "c" conservative voice.

You can read my opus here, or I would be happy to email the PDF of this document to anyone who requests it. Here is my email address:

Monday, March 10, 2008

What's Wrong with RESPs?

I am not certain why the Harper Tories are so dead set against Liberal MP Dan McTeague's bill on Registered Education Savings Plans. (RESPs).

This bill, which passed the House of Commons, will allow parents to deduct from their taxable income up to $5,000 a year per child in contributions to RESPs.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

As the National Post put it, "it seems a very (small-c) conservative type of initiative, not unlike the Tories' popular $100-a-month early childhood care payments."

Yet the Conservatives are asking the Senate to block McTeague's bill.

OK, I understand if it becomes law it will supposedly cost the national treasury $900 million in lost tax revenue.

But I am sure the government can cut spending in other areas to make up for it.

And to get the Conservatives started, I even have a suggestion where they start making cutbacks: how about not sending so many of our tax dollars to Tory-held Quebec ridings!

Is it Time to Say Goodbye to Quebec?

Reed Scowen, an expert in Quebec-Canada relations, has come to a controversial conclusion: Canada would be better off if Quebec separated.

To make his case, Scowen -- a one time Liberal member of the Quebec legislature -- wrote a fascinating book called Time to Say Goodbye: Building a Better Canada without Quebec.

And now he has set up a special website.

Check it out.

You make not agree with Scowen's unique take on federal-provincial relations, but you will find his arguments interesting.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Snow Bored

Here's a photo of me after a tragic snow accident.

I was shovelling my back porch when suddenly there was an avalanche!

Mind you, this pile of snow is nothing compared to the mass of white stuff by my drive way, which I have named Mount Suzuki.

Now if you will excuse I have to be shovelling off.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Reasons to Subscribe to Reason

After months of procrastinating I finally got around to subscribing to Reason magazine, the journal of "free minds and free markets."

And I am glad I did; it's a fun read and quite informative.

Plus it's refreshing.

Reason looks at politics and culture from a radical capitalistic point of view, the kind of perspective you won't get from your standard, run of the mill conservative publications.

I highly recommend it to libertarians or to those curious about the philosophy of libertarianism.

Friday, March 07, 2008

When Toys Were Cool

When I was a kid I would have loved to get a snub-nosed 38 for Christmas.

Dion's Emision Omission

Here's a column I wrote which appears in today's Windsor Star.

It's about how Liberal leader Stephane Dion's green policies might make his party blue.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Fire Brodie Now

This is the first time in living memory I have ever agreed with NDP leader Jack Layton.

Like Layton, I too believe Prime Minister Harper must fire his Chief of Staff, Ian Brodie, for the role he played in leaking confidential diplomatic information.

Mind you, I believe Harper should have fired Brodie a long time ago.

An academic by training, Brodie is simply out of his league, an amateur in a game for political professionals.

Perhaps if Brodie is gone the "Harper cult" mentality which dominates the Prime Minister's Office will disappear; perhaps the Prime Minister might even recall that he is actually a conservative; and who knows perhaps, just perhaps the vindictiveness emanating from Ottawa will abate.

In other words, by heeding Layton's advice, Harper might actually improve his government.

How is that for irony?

Media Alert

I will be appearing on the Michael Coren Show tonight at 8:00 PM EST on CTS.

I am part of a panel on federal politics.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Book Review: Oh, Oh Canada!

I enjoy reading books which are both intellectually stimulating and a good read. And that’s why I was delighted to come across William D. Gairdner’s latest book, Oh, Oh, Canada!: A Voice from the Conservative Resistance.

A collection of Gairdner’s essays, Oh, Oh, Canada! is a well-written, cogent, intellectual defence of Canada’s traditions, values and freedoms that conservatives of all stripes would enjoy.

From Quebec nationalism to global warming; from the politics of sex to the basis of natural law; from Senate reform to the essence of morality, Gairdner provides the conservative perspective on key issues facing this country – and he does it all in less than 200 pages.

Of course, Gairdner, the former Olympic athlete, successful businessman, academic and now political philosopher, has a good track record when it comes to skewering the Left’s arguments.

His book The Trouble with Canada, for instance, was one of the most devastating critiques of Canada’s leftist economic and political failures ever written.

But in Oh, Oh Canada!, Gairdner goes beyond politics and economics, digging deeper to explain and defend the philosophic underpinnings of conservatism while at the same time exposing the logical fallacies of the Left.

In the process, the author provides powerful intellectual ammunition to those Canadians who value Western traditions and who wish to resist those forces which seek to undermine them.

Mind you, as a libertarian I didn’t agree with some of the book’s social conservative stances, but even then I found Gairdner’s arguments provocative and thought-provoking.

Anyway, if you want a concise, clearly written yet profound manifesto of Canadian conservatism, than Oh, Oh Canada! is for you.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Libel Case Memories

All this talk about Prime Minister Harper suing the Liberals over their "Cadscam" allegations reminds me of my own little legal tussle a few years ago with Liberal MP Scott Brison.

Back then, when he was a cabinet minister, Brison publicly smeared an organization I used to work for.

So I went on the attack and threatened to sue the guy for libel unless he apologized. I had Brison dead to rights on this, and I must say I enjoyed the whole process immensely.

Anyway, to make a short story shorter, Brison ended up making a grovelling apology.

It will be interesting to see if Harper is as successful.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Tories Think I am Useful

I always thought fiscal conservatism meant cutting back on the size, scope and cost of big government.

But not so argues Professor Tom Flanagan.

Flanagan, who happens to be Prime Minister Harper's former chief of staff, tells the Canadian Press that conservatism actually means spending tax dollars with reckless abandon.

In fact, he suggests the federal government's spending spree of the past three years was part of a cunning Harper plan to gradually tighten "the screws on the federal government," making it harder for Ottawa to spend.

"They're boxing in the ability of the federal government to come up with new program ideas . . . The federal government is now more constrained, the provinces have more revenue, and conservatives should be happy," says Flanagan.


Why should conservatives be happy with a government which- apparently for political reasons-- spent away the surplus?

Yes the Tories have put the Liberals in a box, but what about the Canadian economy? Doesn't Canada need a government committed to cutting taxes and making government smaller and more efficient?

Anyway, apparently I was part of Harper's scheme. Check this Flanagan quote:

"Part of the execution of the plan was that there would be conservatives attacking him - like John Williamson (of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation), Gerry Nicholls," Flanagan said.

"That's extremely useful, to have that kind of pressure there, berating the prime minister for not doing enough."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Six Unimportant Things

OK two people have tagged me in one of these Internet games.

I am supposed to list six unimportant things/habits/quirks about myself.

Here goes:

1. The only way I know how to fix a computer is to turn it off and on. If that wont work I’m out of ideas.

2. My idea of exercise is to “surf the net.”

3. As for vices: I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t swear. (Actually I do one of those things in excess.)

4. My religion is to worship the free market.

5. I once formulated a conspiracy theory that Gilligan purposely sabotaged attempts by the castaways to get off the island. But why?

6. I hate Internet tagging games, so this one dies here.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Remember Captain Nice?

No you probably don't.

Captain Nice was an obscure, short-lived comedy series from the 1960s, that I used to really like.

And now thanks to the magic of Youtube, I have the nostaligic pleasure of reliving this show.

Oh and here is another 60's sitcom I liked -- Mr. Terrific:

And then there is this show with the catchy jingle:

That's what I miss about TV.

No more shows with songs to explain the premise.