Archive for August, 2010

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Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Oh, what a wonderful summer it has been,

The sun, the water, the whole damn scene.

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#76 – You cannot go home again Sarah Palin.

Monday, August 30th, 2010

It is interesting how right wing speakers in the United States such as Sarah Palin try to invoke an image of a ‘kinder, gentler America.’ Big-lie advocate Joseph Goebbels would have been so proud of her. The America that Palin pictures is such an outrageous lie that it tears deeply at your viscera. What she is invoking, in reality, is an America of guns and lawlessness, of war and retribution without justice, of hatreds and intolerance, of capitalism built on exploitation and thievery, of a white-bread America where nobody dares to be different.

Palin would have been a big fan of Doris Day/Gordon MacRae movies in the 1950s. They were the pure schmaltz that she would have loved if she had not been born in 1964, too late to believe Doris was still a virgin and her male friends in her films all respected her. John McCain could have explained that to Palin if he had not been busy trying to become President at the time they were running mates.

Palin has become the pit bull for the National Rifle Association, the poster girl for the blatantly right-wing Fox News and the darling of the Tea Party. Like Wonder Woman in her disguise, she is ever ready to take off the glasses, shake the bun out of her hair and strip to her magic bracelets that can bounce off the shots from thinking voters.

It amazes people that this woman could have her sights set on the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. What is even more horrifying is that it is there for her to take. The ‘thinking republican’ (an oxymoron if there ever was one) has already written off the nomination situation for that year. And, while people are not taking her seriously, there is unlikely to be any serious competition. You can count on the Republican convention that year to be a very colourful zoo.

And speaking of color, her presidential campaign will be a holy war against having a black in the White House. Despite the fact he has accomplished more than any other president in the first half of his term, she and the rest of the pack of mad dogs will ravage him, using his middle name “Hussein” to feed on the dual bigotries against Islam and blacks. He will have to use all his powers of persuasion to save the presidency from her.

He can hardly count on his accomplishments alone. He was the guy who, in face of one of the most serious recessions in history, took over General Motors, brought Wall Street to heel, brought medical services to another 27 million Americans, brought the combat troops home from Iraq and took a message of hope to the American people. These are meaningless accomplishments to Tea Party advocates.

To really understand the ‘kinder, gentler America’ of Sarah Palin, you only need to imagine if she had been President for the past two years instead of Barack Obama. What would be the condition of America today? It is something for a Stephen King novel.

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Sunday, August 29th, 2010

How many years ago, did Reverend King have a dream?

Now the Tea Party usurps the Mall. You want to scream.

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Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Watched a red ball of sun rise from the lake this morning,

Then also saw it change to a golden orb without warning.

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Friday, August 27th, 2010

Michael Ignatieff spent the summer riding on a bus,

Harper goes to the Arctic and the media make a fuss.

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#75 – Politicians pooh-pooh the P-O factor at their peril.

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Politicians and political scientists have been puzzling over the P-O factor in politics for many years. Many see the P-O voter as self destructive. P-O voters are certainly alienated. They defy logic. They re-elected George W. Bush as President of the United States in 2004 when all sensible voters knew the man was a liar, a fool and incompetent.

Many are now realizing that it is the P-O factor that is boosting the chances of Rob Ford to become the next mayor of Toronto. It is the P-O factor that enables a person such as Rob Ford to survive in politics. The man is walking excess. If he has a heart, you would need a very large weighted meat cleaver to find it. He does not talk, he blusters. He does not reason, he goes postal. He has little to say but says it anyway. He suits the P-O voter to a ‘T.’

What few realize is that the P-O voter can also do good. They just do it for the wrong reasons. They could vote for Barack Obama as President of the United States, for example, as a way of giving the finger to their fellow P-O voters. Go figure!

In Canada, we watched the historical journey of Pierre Trudeau through the late 60s to the early 80s in a chaotic love-hate relationship with voters. He was the right person, in the right place, to be elected for the wrong reasons. He had won his first election before the votes were cast with the bottle throwing incident at the St. Jean Baptiste parade in Montreal. When party strategy guru Keith Davey was once—facetiously—accused of being among the bottle throwers, he laughed and said he wished he had thought of it. The incident brought an anti-francophone vote to Mr. Trudeau that embarrassed him. After one of the most stunning one-sided victories in Canadian history, the P-O voters reduced his Liberals to a minority government four years later.

It is the populist politician who preys most effectively on the P-O voter. Populists can be of any political stripe. They are the type of politician who can hear the P-O voter and understand the plaint. They simply reflect back the noise that they hear. If the politician is one who does not bother to listen, they just feed the system with the standard mantra of the P-O. This can include ‘we are over taxed,’ ‘our streets are not safe’ and ‘there are too many civil servants.’ After all, there are darn few of us who really want to pay taxes, so saying that any amount is too much strikes an easy chord. The same voter wants to hire more police and build more prisons and damn the expense. And who among us has not wanted to fire a bureaucratic civil servant?

It is not that the P-O voter is stupid. They are just a people who want to get even. They want the opportunity to vent their spleen. It has been suggested that there should be shouting rooms at each polling place on election day. These are soundproof rooms that you can go into and rant and scream and shout until you have it all out of your system. Then you can go and vote sensibly. Would it work? It’s doubtful.

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

This fall the Supreme Court will rule on our paying for local TV,

PM Harper wants to use our money to bribe the greedy at CTV.

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#74 – Down the political trails of Babel.

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

It fascinates us. Like the storied venomous snake that first hypnotizes its victims, Babel’s mysterious political rites draw us hypnotically into its labyrinth of political why’s and wherefore’s. Elections in Babel are not always happy “win-win” circumstances. Over the past years, they have been more like “lose-lose” situations.

Take the recent mayoralty races, for example. The talk is about the last three mayors who lost their bids for re-election. Each sought re-election and lost. It is not prescience to assume that the incumbent mayor will also be leaving office before the end of this year. Whether he will even run in the October election is a toss-up. He is likely to run but not for the reasons that people would expect. He knows he has no chance of winning.

Some people run for office because of principles in which they believe. Winning is not their first consideration. Others might be seeking a platform to express their views. Some people have been known to run for election to try to keep another from winning. Some may run for office when their real objective is to build name recognition for a subsequent election effort or in exchange for a specific appointment by the winner. In studying municipal politics over the past 50 years, you do not become overly impressed with the altruistic motives of all political candidates.

What will likely happen in Babel in October will be that the mayoralty race will be reduced to a two-person contest. It will then be the challenge for the also-rans to see who can best harry the one of the two opponents whom they least want to see win. Those who cannot win have been known to make late and quite irresponsible charges against front runners to try to stop them from winning. The last couple weeks of the campaign are always the most strident. It can create situations where both the candidates and the voters are the losers.

The key to the election for Babel voters is to take the trouble to learn the facts and then to be sure to vote. Less than 30 per cent of Babel voters voted in the 2006 municipal election. That means when you go to vote, you are carrying two non-voters on your shoulders. They are a heavy burden. Some of these non-voters are angry and despise politicians. Some are too lazy to care. The majority of non-voters are people caught up in their own world and are completely unaware of what politics really means to them.

Non-voters are considered the flotsam of the political seas. No real politician ever wants to give up on any possible vote but reality is that if you can identify enough of your vote and then make sure they get to the polls, you have a winning formula. The figures in Babel are simple. No potential councillor is likely to need more than 2000 votes to win in any of the city’s ten wards. The mayoralty will be assured for the candidate who can bring 20,000 voters out to vote. That is about one in five of the city’s total voters.

Think about it. If you choose to vote for one of the two main candidates for mayor in October, you will be carrying the responsibility for four other voters when you leave the voting place. By accepting that load, you can walk tall.

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010

A new kind of vandal thinks advertising signs are free,

Throw ‘em in jail with G8 hoods,  throw away the key.

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

In the Valley of Swat, the flood waters are raging,

Monsoon rain bringing death, nobody’s managing,

If we don’t go to their aid, the Taliban are winning.

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