Archive for December, 2010

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Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Stephen Harper’s finally got the majority he has wished for,

He got it in the Senate where you don’t need votes to score.

He has made his point: the Senate doesn’t matter any more.


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Monday, December 20th, 2010

I hate Christmas shopping, I hate the stores with a passion,

You can’t buy something frilly when you don’t know fashion.

For jewellery you have to deal with Ali Baba and his thieves,

More useful, get a flying carpet for if the dog gets the heaves.

How about a kitchen appliance, it’s all she wants, she claims,

Sure great idea, what if next time the potato masher she aims?

If really stupid, you get her an exercycle, telling her she’s fat.

But if so dumb as to give her candy, she’ll gift wrap your hat.

But gentlemen, you can’t go wrong, saying she’s a great wife,

And let her know what an important part she is to your life.


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Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Babel’s Tories are undergoing a youth movement,

They just want callow youth for our government.


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Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Kempenfelt Bay, its angry dark water so cold,

Will soon be frozen as the fishermen get bold,

As winter wraps our Babel into its frigid fold!


#114– It’s not your father’s Liberal Party.

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is taking some holidays.  He needs to renew himself before girding for battle with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the new year.  Before the battle starts we need to know just what momentous plans for Canada these two lead combatants are going to fight about.  So far, there hardly seems to be any traditional liberal-conservative battle lines forming.

There is little question that Mr. Harper’s strategy is to belittle and defame anything that the Liberal’s propose.  That man will leave no rock unturned or unthrown in his quest for a majority Conservative government.  And if he gets it, God help us.

Poor Michael has more complex problems.  Half his fractious caucus dislike him and the other half distrust him.  He is a compromise on top of a compromising position.  Here is a man more at home in Paris than in Montreal.  He has roamed the Boston Common more often than the Canadian Prairies,  He is more suited to learned discussion than to the raucous arguments of Question Period in Parliament.  He has had two years to find his sea legs as captain of the Liberal ship and he still has not figured out how to get the damn tug out of the harbour.

This writer is still waiting to find out what Michael Ignatieff stands for.  The last time we saw him he was giving a very inspiring talk about the big red tent.  The only thing is that we are all standing around in that big red tent wondering where the circus parade has gone.  While celebrating 50 years as a capital “L” Liberal next year, we have no clue as to what the hell that means today.

The Liberal Party used to stand for something other than just feeling superior to the ignorant Tories.  Liberals used to make plans.  We were going to save the world.  We had the answers.  We fought the reactionaries in our own party to bring Medicare to fruition.  We have watched over the years while others gutted and demeaned our dream.  We campaigned repeatedly for national daycare and are still waiting.  We believed in the National Energy Policy.  We watched it die. We cheered the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and watched as others showed it as an allusion.  We had dreams.  And maybe it was a dream.

Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star tells us today that Michael Ignatieff thinks the voters in Etobicoke who voted for Rob Ford for mayor of Toronto are the same voters who will elect him in the coming election.  That is not a dream.  That is a nightmare.  That is certainly not political reality.

Rob Ford was pre-ordained.  You had a suburban loud-mouth, a downtown gay and a downtown socialist still standing after months of jockeying for position in a crowded mayoralty race.  Just what would you expect suburban voters to do?  Did you really think they wanted bicycle lanes?  They held their noses and voted for the guy who best represented their interests.  Do you want to test that theory federally?

Michael Ignatieff thinks he can beat Harper with a smorgasbord of middle-class goodies. Daycare is good.  Does he think the voters will suddenly believe?  So he wants to support post-secondary education?  That is nice.  And the list goes on.  What will we call it?  Is it the Liberal Cafeteria?  If you are a senior, there is something for you.  If you are a tree-hugger, we’ve got something for you too.

But we are screwing ourselves over supporting the opium dealers in Afghanistan.  We are doing nothing to restore Canada’s prestige abroad.  We have no great idea that people can get behind and cheer to victory.  We forget that people expect leadership.  Enjoy your holiday Michael.  There will be a Liberal Party to lead when you return.

But is it the Liberal Party you want to lead?

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Thursday, December 16th, 2010

The sewage works contractors were to take leave,

Before the cool of the autumn would you believe?

Now they’re hunkered down, frozen in their huts,

Can we not do anything to get rid of these mutts?


#113– Walls that fail us.

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

There is no such thing as an impenetrable wall.  That is an axiom that has come to us from the dawn of time.  And yet we learn nothing from history and we continue into a foggy future, dragging our silly trust in walls as a tombstone around our necks. Whether dealing with the walls of ancient Babylon or the wall at Toronto’s G20 summit, we only divide the good people.  We only challenge the bad.

The truth is that weak and foolish people build walls.  Since ancient times, the weak have built walls to defend themselves from their neighbours while the strong have built alliances.  Those ancient walls fell to dust while alliances built empires.

Walls are too easily beaten by weight of numbers or by stealth.  They fall to the ravages of pestilence and starvation.  Walls can crumble in economic failure.  They are defeated by tunnelling and through the air.  They are vanquished by siege machines and by trickery.  No walls are safe.  Every wall has a gate and there is where it is at its weakest.

People in gated communities today live with the same falsehoods that fooled the lord of the manor with his castle keep.  A gated community is an insult to neighbours with a false sense of prestige, strength and security.

The Nazis built a wall around the Warsaw Ghetto and yet the occupants of that ghetto held off one of the fiercest armies in the world for almost a month.  The Russians build a wall across an occupied Berlin.  We watched it crumble in the reality of glasnost. The Israelis call their wall on the West Bank a barrier.  Have they forgotten what their hero Joshua did to the barriers of Jericho?

We built a wall in Toronto’s downtown to pen the G20 Summit attendees and kept them from seeing a friendly, clean and open city.  That wall attracted the anarchists and the crazies, the law breakers and the protestors, the civil-rights advocates and the concerned, the curious and the questioners.  They came like moths to a flame.  They were indiscriminately trapped and beaten and unlawfully imprisoned in a brutal, out-of-control police deception and sting that has shamed Canadians for years to come.  And nobody ever tested the stupid wall in Toronto’s downtown.

America is building walls today along its northern and southern borders to keep out people from Canada and Mexico.  The walls are just an inconvenience to America’s enemies.  They are turning away their friends.

It is neither the height of your wall that matters, nor is it the choice between razor or barbed wire on top.  Nor can it be the modern sensors or combinations of deterrents that matter.  You can build better walls but it will always be the ones you tear down that build better friendships.

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Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Why is it that nothing in Babel is finished on time,

It isn’t as though I come from some place sublime,

But I’m having trouble getting used to Babel Time!


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Monday, December 13th, 2010

Babel’s mayor wants to change how council does business,

Opposition is forming, they say his changes will be useless.


#112– Lessons each generation of politicians need to learn.

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Babel news media have been quite aghast at the questionable actions of one of the local Conservative politicians.  While Babel media is easy to excite, there is no question that Ward 10 City Councillor Alex Nuttall has overstepped some ethical boundaries as he scrambles on his political journey of life. He would be better advised if he stopped doing what local Member of Parliament Patrick Brown suggests he do and listened to some mature advice.

If you meet Alex Nuttall, you are likely to agree that he is a personable young man.  Mind you, the operative word here is ‘young.’  He has much to learn.  He is still just a trainee in his job with one of the local banks.  His contributions on city council are well meaning but lack sophistication or necessary experience.  He has none of the life experience necessary to be a worthwhile member of the legislature at Queen’s Park.

And that is also why he is making critical mistakes.  To declare himself a candidate for the provincial Conservative nomination, before even being sworn in as councillor for the 2010 to 2014 term, is an insult to the voters of Ward 10 who have just re-elected him.  To so blatantly and openly breach the rules of his political party in respect to membership payments is a kid mistake. If he was not six-foot-five, these would just be blunders that he should be spanked for.  They should not be albatrosses he has to carry for the rest of his political career.

What is wrong is to take the advice of, and follow in the path of, MP Patrick Brown.  It was common knowledge that Brown would leave his city voters in the lurch when he made his finally successful jump from municipal into federal politics.  He rode the 2006 crest of the wave to dump PM Paul Martin’s seemingly corrupt Liberals into an easy federal seat.  He was not the best person for the job then and he has not grown into it.

But Brown’s advice could destroy Alex Nuttall’s future political hopes.  The Conservative party is not going to block him going after the nomination.  The members of the local nomination committee have no powers to block his participation.  The provincial officials will stick their tongues in their cheeks and accept his explanation that there were some sequential bills in payment for memberships because of making change for larger bills presented by new members.

While the Conservative Party will buy that fiction, Nuttall’s employer cannot.  A bank cannot be party to anything that might be unethical and his employer cannot say ‘boys will be boys’ with the amount of money involved.  There was no way it could be confidential in the banking community what he had taken from his account in small denomination bills when it can impact providing change for the branch’s commercial customers.  As a trainee, he did not yet know enough about how bank’s function.

Even if Patrick Brown had the decency to take the blame for the fiasco, he has hurt Alex Nuttall’s chances of being elected even if he wins the nomination.  And if he does win the nomination, Nuttall could have a difficult time paying his personal bills until next October’s provincial election on the part-time salary of a city councillor.

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