Archive for January, 2010

Comment for today

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Freezing to death in Babel seems to be my fate,

Woke up yesterday, it was minus twenty-eight.


Comment for today

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

The wise men of Babel were working on next year’s budget,

When the mayor wanted a fire truck, they told him ‘forget.’


#08-10 – Canada’s Liberal Party, moving right or left?

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Toronto Star has been running a series on liberal philosophy that ended today with a summation by Tom Kent, the guru of the 1960 Liberal conference in Kingston Ontario. In advocating major social reform such as medicare, the Kingston conference fit the tenor of aggressive social action of the times 50-years ago but it is the tenor of today that will determine the success or failure of Michael Ignatieff’s conference in Montreal in 2010.

The question is what is the tenor of our times in 2010? First of all, there is the anger and frustrations people feel. Betrayed by the sanctimonious right and then left in the lurch by the left wing of the political spectrum, why should the voters trust them? The growing distrust of politicians has lead to both lethargy and perfidy in voting. Lower turnouts, confusing choices and destructive voting can leave politicians equating the voters with unruly children.

And why should the voters not take it out on the politicians.  Banks betray them. Business lies to them. Churches castigate them. Family ties have become more tenuous, easily broken. Who do you trust? Why do you want to trust them? Because in life, we need trust. We need trust to live. Hedonism is lonely. There is no such thing as the truly self-sufficient person.

People used to believe in their church. They used to accept the doctrines but today it is much safer to be born again and connect directly with your God. Priests and pastors used to be there to help you find God but you found out in recent times that there are priests who fondle little boys and pastors who fondle the organist. Connect directly to God and you cut out the weak go-betweens. Unless you think your priest or pastor is God and that leads to all kinds of problems.

It is the same with business. If you put your trust in a company today, it will put you on tomorrow’s bread line.

Are you going to trust a political party that reads the polls and then tells you what you want to hear? Are you going to tell a pollster anything? Least of all, the truth?

Be honest, would you not rather have friends with benefits than a spouse? You will only change that course when you find someone who can hopefully share a family and, at least some, of a life together.

And that explains only a small part of the problem. The political party that wants to connect with voters today has to exhibit leadership, direction, confidence, excitement and look good while carrying out its program. And yet, Barack Obama, who excited voters in the United States, is dropping in the polls in a post-coital period of blues. Sustaining the expectations in today’s society is a monumental and, maybe, an impossible task.

Michael Ignatieff is challenging the Liberal conference to think of the party’s future but, I would suggest to him that he also needs to have the party recapture some of its past. For example, it needs to go back to the Kingston Conference to rethink the social issues that the party saw at that time and why the party chose that direction.

It was a different party. It was a party with strength and drive across Canada. It was a truly national party that was built from the ground up. It was not the centrally directed and controlled party of today. It was a party with strong riding organizations, effective regional and provincial organizations, solid policy development at what was referred to as the grass roots. It was a party that recognized the rank and file member as the very essence of the party’s existence.

Regrettably, that old Liberal party is gone. Not that we want to be maudlin about its passing but we do have to be disappointed with the weak, sham of a party structure that has replaced it. It is the same with all parties. They are all run today from the top down. Stephen Harper revels in the God-like control he has on the Conservatives. Even Jack Layton cannot believe the control he has now of the union organizers who always had such control of the old, more contentious NDP. Michael Ignatieff was out of the country during the transition from a strong Liberal party and is still trying to come to grips with this party that he is supposed to control.

Maybe one of the problems Michael is having is that the party apparatchiks around him are from the right wing of the party. Trying to find some left wing liberals in Ottawa is a tough job. People like John Manley who is now taking over the right-wing role of president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives are among those around John Chrétien and Paul Martin who opened the door to Harper’s neo-conservatives. They have left our country floundering in the hands of an economist who in the last election refused to recognize the crumbling world economic problems.

It will only be a rebuilt Liberal party that will enable Canadians to once again have a confidence in politicians. There is a long road ahead……….

– 30 –

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Comment for today

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

For all of Obama’s skill at rhetoric,

His long State of the Union speech

Wasn’t very to the point or historic.


Comment for today

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Airport security is more damaging to tourism than any terrorist,

In line for hours, treated like cattle, why would you be a tourist?


#07-10 – Riding the bubble with Barack Obama.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The word from Massachusetts after the republicans won the Senate seat that had to be filled is that Obama was not watching his backside. When riding the bubble of popularity that brought him to power, it is a slippery slope in all directions. Overconfident and complacent, the party officers, who should have been watching on the backside, let him down. The massive amounts of money spent by the republicans in the last few weeks were obviously not expected. The voting shift happened so suddenly that the state’s democratic organizers were caught off guard. You can only bitch a bit, bleed a bit and, hopefully, get smarter.

And it is certainly irrefutable that American republicans are the very best at lying, cheating and stealing when it comes to winning elections. Massachusetts was trying to replace the late Ted Kennedy as Senator. To replace him with a playboy republican who drives a truck is not just an insult to the late Senator’s memory but an abomination.

But the guy whom it really spells trouble for is the President. Ted Kennedy was that key sixtieth democrat in the Senate that made sure democratic bills could be passed. Obama’s health care legislation is now at the mercy of republican filibusters and other stalling tactics. Sure, Obama can buy the republican votes he needs but at what cost?

Our American friends can end up with the same congressional impasse that stopped Clinton from solving America’s health care problems. The Clinton presidency became meaningless after a while as he lost his battles with Congress. And Obama’s rhetoric will be wasted in the corrupt cauldron of American politics.

The crux will be in the mid-term elections of November 2010. The hounding, slander and libel of Obama will hit its zenith in an all out effort by the republicans to deprive the president of the majorities he needs in both houses. With a third of the Senate up for election, the republicans can target the states they want and pour massive resources into them while the democrats have to defend on a much broader front.

And how do you defend against populist slander that the president is a communist and an elitist, a dictator and lackey, an unreconstructed northerner who, maybe, was not born in the U.S.A. (and therefore not eligible to be President) and besides, he is black and therefore a threat to the purity of all white women? Most democrats and liberals are dumbfounded by the audacity of such bilge. To even repeat the garbage is to give credence to ignorant bigots. How do you fight it? You cannot because the bigger the lie, the easier it rolls off the tongue of the fool.

So far, President Obama has been careful picking his fights. This year is only beginning but we can already see the battle lines as the South rises again.

– 30 –

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Comment for today

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Harper’s proroguing parliament has ended our seniors’ suspense,

There will be no increase in your CPP, Harper nixed the expense.


Comment for today

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

By closing parliament, Mr Harper failed to pass a democracy test,

Despite the January cold and chill, Canadians came out to protest.


Comment for today

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Babel municipal elections, happen every four years or so,

The candidates are all paragons, or at least they tell us so.


#06-10 – The man who stood on the side of the road.

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

He stood alone on the side of the road in a blue blazer and grey pants.

He was not a person to whom you would have given a second glance.

Nodding his head as each car goes by, you know that he is counting,

You also know from the crowded road, the total has to be mounting.

Life today is at such a hurry-scurry pace, nobody bothers to even ask,

Why would anyone stand there in place, undertaking such a big task?

The weeks, in sun and rain, in snow and sleet, in winds, he carries on,

It is so many months, through-out many hours, he still is counting on.

Finally I could no longer contain the concern about this unusual sight,

I pulled my car off the road for safety and went to ask if he was alright.

His jacket is neat, his pants fresh pressed yet his face drawn n’ pale.

He looked at me from sunken eyes and said, ‘May I tell a terrible tale?

‘I once was a young believer in what the liberal politicians used to say,

They said they were centre left and the needs of people held sway.

After many years of believing, they sent ambassadors to seek me out,

You are a famous reasoning, smart person, of that there is little doubt.

‘They offered me a seat in Parliament, I heard words about leadership

And they handed me that on a platter, I did not  have to leave a tip.

It really was fun for a while, Liberals cheered me wherever the event,

When I asked where they wanted to be lead, I was told to just invent.

‘I called for a thinker’s conference to take a look at our liberal future,

I was hoping to find an idea for Canada, an idea for liberals to nurture

But the ivory towers of the business elite said it wasn’t going to work,

We will get another dumb green tax, like we got from Dion, you jerk.

‘I made a deal with those financiers that I will find out how many care,

I came here to the side of the road to count voters who are aware.’

I said to Michael before I drove off that it really did not sound like fun,

But I heard him say, before getting in the car, his count is now at one!

– 30 –

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