Finally, the Rob Ford Post

 

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford At News Conference

Like everyone, I too have been following the sordid saga that is Rob Ford’s mayoralty term in Toronto. As the allegations continued to be released, along with video evidence of his horrid behavior, I laughed along with everyone else at how he seems to step in shit everywhere he goes. Populist politicians, like Ford, are a different breed. Things that would bring down most elected officials seem to not only roll off populists but also seem to also galvanize their base. Most populists are conservative by nature and subscribe to anti-intellectual ideas. They believe that the left-wing elites are what is causing problems and if they could just get rid of them then everything would run so much better. The more the media tries to discredit someone like Ford, the more his base supports him. It is almost as though the fevered pitch in the media is evidence of the power of the leftist, university-educated elites have no understanding of what life is really like for the ‘little guy’, the blue-collar worker, the taxpayer.[1] Support of the base for guys like Rob Ford is almost guaranteed as long as he doesn’t forget which master he serves; he can, pretty much get away with just about anything.

The allegations that surfaced earlier in 2013 about the potential of a video existing of Ford smoking crack cocaine did not harm his reputation or his level of support in Toronto. Sure he lost lots of staff and people around him were begging him to get help but Ford still had control of the message. He could rail on about how the media were persecuting him and trying to de-rail the very important work he was elected to do. Stopping the ‘gravy-train’ has been Ford’s raison d’être as mayor of Toronto and he could deflect media speculation and criticism of him by stating that he needed to get back to work doing what the people of Toronto elected him to do. Casting the media and the pundits as the enemy that prevents him from running the city appeals to his base.

The revelation that in fact there is a video of Ford smoking crack and his subsequent admission that he had smoked crack ‘while in a drunken stupor’ would not have been enough to move a substantial amount of his base support. The reasons why are myriad. Most of us are familiar with at least one person in our lives who suffers from alcoholism. Many of them would likely have felt sorry for Ford that in an inebriated condition he had smoked crack cocaine. Ford could still credibly state that he was being persecuted by the media and left-leaning liberal elites.

The video released this week, however, may prove Ford’s undoing. People relate to politicians because they see something of themselves reflected back. This week’s video that shows an extremely inebriated Ford railing on about how he is going to murder someone crosses a line. This Rob Ford is not someone the base can support. His behavior is reprehensible and disgusting. He demonstrates that he is truly in need of a great deal of help to cope with his substance abuse issues. His base could forgive him for doing stupid things like smoking crack cocaine once or twice but once he was revealed to be a vile monster, no one wants to get on that train with him.

As a woman watching that video, I was horrified. I wonder what his family has had to endure living with this man for all these years. He got drunk and threatened to murder in someone else’s house. If he can do that, what is he capable of at home? I can only imagine the metric fuckton of abuse he has heaped on his family. I suspect that at the very least they must listen to him rant and rave on a daily basis but I fear it is much more. I don’t care a wit about Rob Ford but my heart bleeds for his family. I only hope there is someone in the extended Ford family who can reign Rob Ford in and make him get help. At the very least he needs rehab for his drug and alcohol issues and he must get a handle on his rage. If Ford is able to do these things there may be a redemption story here that will save his political career. Without the transformation he doesn’t stand a chance.


[1] Nuances like the fact that everyone pays taxes regardless of their education is lost on people like Ford.

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Published in: on November 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘enraged’ edition

National Blog Posting Month is a great reason to end the hiatus here at Dispatches from the Swamp. I am not sure why I have let the blog languish for so long but I have some ideas. It has been a rough six or so months. I may or may not blog about what has happened. Suffice it to say it has been difficult. I am pretty much on the other side of it all now but I still need to do lots of healing.

I have also been feeling quite overwhelmed with the world. It seems as though women are faring worse now than ever before. I have spent a fair bit of time absolutely enraged by the struggles of women just to exist in this culture. Blogging about some of these issues would mean I would have to engage with my anger when, at times, it seemed it would consume me. There have been six women raped at UBC in the last several months. Of course the response is always to beef up security for women to ensure women are accompanied on campus, especially at night. This enrages me! I think it is time that rape becomes a problem for men. What about accompanying men at night to ensure they don’t rape women? It is time we curtail the freedom of men in the same ways that women have endured, perhaps then there will be change.[1] Now, before everyone jumps on me about hating men that is not at all what I am doing. I am caring for women with this idea.

The current political state of my province and country is enraging me as well. The Harper government continues to steamroll over all that is good and decent about Canada. I have truly come to believe that this man is evil. He will not rest until the Canada we have known and loved is gone. Pipelines and the tar sands dominate the agenda and pollute our country. Our provincial government is no barrier to the whims of Harper. Even though Christy Clark has laid out her ‘5 conditions’ she will roll over like a good woman and conservative for Harper and his minions. Meanwhile our Aboriginal people are not consulted in any meaningful or honest way. They will pay lip service to listening but the deals are done.

The only hope I see on the political front is my most favourite senator of all time Mike Duffy. Yes he has taken advantage of loose, honour system rules with regard to expense claims, and clearly he has no ethics. The only person Mike Duffy is loyal to is himself. He was content to play along with Harper, taking the fall and suffering the disgrace as long as his livelihood was protected. Once Harper cut him loose and allowed the Conservative majority in the senate to try to suspend Duffy without pay, Duffy went on the offensive. Personally, I believe that the PMO has orchestrated this whole thing including telling Duffy what to say and when. Clearly Harper never thought this whole thing through or he could have predicted Duffy going on the offensive. All the skills for which Harper appointed Duffy and turned him into one of his best fundraisers could also be used against Harper. Go Duffy go!


[1] I know not all men are rapists, in fact most men are decent people.

Published in: on November 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm  Comments (2)  

A little quiet around here…

I know it has been a little quiet around here lately. Could be the winter blahs. So many current events have left me so disgusted that I just don’t have the energy to engage enough to write about them. Being a social activist or even a human with a pulse has been difficult lately with so much corruption, collusion and crap going on. While I could devote an entire blog with well-reasoned arguments and some research thrown in, I will instead give you my uncensored gut reaction.

Patrick Brazeau – Until now his main claim to fame as a Canadian Senator was losing a boxing match to Justin Trudeau. Now, he has been charged with sexual assault. Brazeau didn’t even have the common sense to put himself on leave from Red Chamber. No, instead, Brazeau is such an entitled prick that his peers had to vote to put him on a forced leave. Of course he will get full pay. I think in cases like this people should not be paid and if they are found not guilty they can receive retroactive pay. It galls me that a senator who has been charged with sexual assault should still be paid! Of course, I am sure he thinks he is totes innocent and all.

Mike Duffy – Another poster boy for why the Senate needs to be abolished. It seems that Mr. Duffy lives in Ottawa. But not wanting to miss a feeding at the trough he has declared his vacation cottage in PEI to be his primary residence. This means that us Canadian taxpayers get to pick up the $30,000 or so he is collecting to support his ‘secondary’ residence in Ottawa. Harper has so few ethics that he is not even forcing Duffy to reimburse tax payers. Entitled assholes all of them.

Juxtaposition of jackboots and flowers. (from a FEMEN protest)

Juxtaposition of jackboots and flowers.
(from a FEMEN protest)

Missing and Murdered Women March – Valentines Day marked the annual Missing and Murdered Women March in Vancouver. This march is an opportunity for us to collectively remember and grieve for the women who have died on the Downtown Eastside. The survival sex trade and extreme poverty in the DTES takes women down. Of course, the conditions in the DTES receive some assistance from serial killers and other women haters who go there to find victims. Violence against women is so ubiquitous in our society that marches like this are not even questioned. Being a feminist who works for social justice in 2013 is heartbreaking.

Truth about the reality for women living in a patriarchal society.

Truth about the reality for women living in a patriarchal society.

The Pope – So the biggest hypocrite walking the face of the earth has resigned as pontiff. Really who gives a rat’s ass? He is only going to be replaced by another white, European man who has no idea what is going on in the world. Yes, there will be talk of electing a man from Africa or Latin America but it won’t happen. Hell, they have even talked about a Canadian taking the prize. Rest assured everyone,  it will be yet another white man who will continue to keep women in their place and maintain the status quo. Oh and have you ever noticed how people sometimes reflect their names? Joseph RATzinger has really lived up to his name.

Sums it up well.

Sums it up well.

Christy Clark – I don’t know about you but I am fucking sick of seeing Christy Clark’s face EVERYWHERE. It seems like you can’t go more than ½ an hour without seeing some ad telling us how great she and her merry band of liars and thieves was the best thing ever for BC. She has sponsored ads on Facebook and Twitter. My evenings are filled with Clark and her ‘jobs’ plan for BC. I don’t give a shit about business and jobs; I want to know what she is going to do for our poor and disadvantaged citizens. She is trying so hard to be sincere but honestly she looks smarmy. I wouldn’t trust her to manage our petty cash at work let alone the province’s finances. Sadly for Clark, making herself so fucking omnipresent means I am going to take so much pleasure in voting for the NDP come election day. In other news because so many Liberal rats have jumped ship, the Liberal’s once healthy majority is down to just 4 seats. There are also rumours of some Liberals breaking ranks and voting against the government’s budget. Bring it on Adrian Dix!

 

A bully gets his comeuppance

In our world bullies generally skate by as most people are afraid to take them on. This coupled with the reality that effective mechanisms do not exist to hold bullies accountable for their behavior. Without any real consequences, bullies begin to think they are invincible and that the rules are not made for them. Today all that has changed in the City of Toronto. A court has ruled that Rob Ford must vacate his position of Mayor as he has violated conflict of interest rules. I am sure for most thinking Torontonians this must come as a huge relief.

Toronto has had some interesting mayors over the years. But none of them have created so much controversy and derision than Rob Ford. Even Mel Lastman, who tried to call out the army when Toronto had a bad snowstorm, was not as universally hated. In fact, Rob Ford makes Mel Lastman look like a scholar and a statesman in comparison.

What is even more disturbing about Rob Ford is the fact that he works with children as a coach of a football team. I can only imagine the things these young people have learned from him. Part of Ford’s defense was that he never read the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Whether he read it or not is immaterial, as we all know ignorance of the law is no excuse. Ford believes the rules do not apply to him regardless of what they are and who makes them. To him all of this comes down to a battle against right and left and the left is persecuting him.

Judge Hackland saw it differently. In his ruling he stated: “it is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the integrity commissioner and the [council] code of conduct.”[1] In short, Ford bullied his way to this decision. Instead of heeding professional advice that he needed to do things correctly he believed he was above it all.

Of course, being the bully he is, he will not go away. He has vowed to fight this ruling and run again if he is actually made to step down. People like Ford never learn from their mistakes because they believe themselves to be above it all. And if they don’t get their own way they stamp their feet, yell and scream and bully those who are disagreeing with them. I think Rob Ford needs a big time out.


Published in: on November 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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A Great Day for Progressives or a repudiation of Romney?

Barack Obama’s victory last night will give progressives in the US some vindication. However, I think the election results could also be viewed as an outright rejection of the Tea Party faction within the Republican Party. The severe mocking of some of their candidates and their ridiculous positions on rape, for example, on social media played a huge role. The Republicans have also not figured out that the US is no longer a huge monolith to which they can appeal. There is an ever-shrinking number of rich, old, white guys and, the women they control, to effectively elect regressive Republicans. Unfortunately for Obama, Democrats did not gain control of the House of Representatives, which means there will be more gridlock in Congress.

The Tea Party has seriously damaged the credibility of the Republican Party. Its presence has blurred the lines of the separation of church and state – a fundamental principle upon which democracies are built. Their ridiculous stands on rape and abortion sufficiently shocked enough women, most of whom who thought the issue had been settled. The spectre of rich, white men being able to tell women what they could do with their bodies scared enough of them so they went out and voted. The Tea Party has moved the Republican Party so far to the right that it was no longer recognizable to many. Mitt Romney is seen as a moderate by Tea Party standards, which I am sure, scared the crap out of informed Americans.

The role of social media cannot be discounted either. Within minutes of a gaffe or ridiculous policy position being uttered the internet buzzed with mocking graphics. Every single day for months some Republican position was being mocked whether it was Big Bird or ‘legitimate’ rape, nothing escaped. These graphics spread like wildfire basically reducing Republican positions to small sound bites for the internet generation. Republicans seemed to ignore this channel to mock Obama. It is not surprising, as the Republicans didn’t appeal to youth in anyway. Their error, however, was not understanding that many people are on social media and would see these graphics. I can remember the very effective graphics of Mitt Romney putting his dog on the roof of his car and the flurry of Big Bird ads after Romney said he would cut funding to PBS.

Even though Obama has been re-elected, it would be wrong to think that things are going to substantially change. American presidents, who head up one of the branches of government,[1] has less power domestically than a Canadian prime minister with a majority government. Our prime ministers control both the executive and the legislative branches of government. This means they have the power to control the legislation that is introduced and enforce the party discipline to ensure it is passed. While the US does have a party system, the idea of party discipline is not used. Instead if a US president wants to pass legislation they must lobby for all their votes.[2] The Republicans still have control of the House of Representatives, which will make Obama’s legislative agenda difficult. As a 2nd term, ‘lame duck’ President, Obama will be able to spend whatever political capital he has as he cannot be reelected. Some presidents in this position decide to become more active in foreign policy as this is mostly within their control.[3] If Obama decides to do this, we can only hope that he uses his power for good.

I think the reelection of Obama is more of a repudiation of Tea Party Republicans.[4] Had Romney had any control over the other candidates running he may have been able put forward a more moderate campaign. Had Romney denounced some of the more wacky ideas[5] he may have had more success. However, Romney’s elitist attitudes[6] probably drove women and minorities into the arms of the Democrats. In trying to appeal to be conservative enough for the Tea Party, Romney did not attract any new voters to the Republican Party.

If the Republicans are ever to be successful as a party they will need to do several things. First, they must divest themselves of the Tea Party. It is clear that this faction within the party cost them many races; virtually all of the rape deniers were defeated. Second, they must develop more centrist policies that appeal to women and minorities. Third, they must figure out social media. The Democrats, and particularly Obama, are much more savvy when it comes to the internet. They understand how it works and they use it to their advantage. Fourth, Republicans need to understand that their traditional base of support is eroding and there are no new heirs apparent on the horizon. Insisting that everyone can become a millionaire and successful if they just pull up their bootstraps is a garbage nightmare and has no place in politics today.

I am relieved that Obama won because the alternative was so completely scary. Romney seemed to lack the intellectual capacity to be president of the United States. I had visions of him invading Iran because he falls for the ‘weapons of mass destruction’[7] line. He was also scary because no one really knew when he would flip-flop or adopt a completely new position. I think many Americans realized that he may say one thing but would quite likely do another if he were elected.


[1] The Executive.

[2] This is how Americans end up with so much ‘pork barrelling’ in their legislation – they end up tacking unrelated things on in order to get the votes.

[3] Bill Clinton did this.

[4] Obama also had the ‘incumbent factor’ working in his favour. Most sitting US presidents who run for a second term are re-elected. Recent exceptions to this were George Bush Sr. and Jimmy Carter.

[5] Women can’t get pregnant from legitimate rape and even if they do it is God’s will come to mind.

[6] “Let the foreclosures run their course” and the whole 47% thing.

[7] Or nuclear weapons.

Stephen Harper is Killing Canada

Seriously. Seriously who voted for these assholes? They certainly didn’t run on a platform of sticking it to seniors, seasonal workers and refugees. Yet that is what is happening. Every day we seem to hear another cut to some social program somewhere. Harper and his cronies are consistently targeting the poor, the old and the stateless all under the guise of fiscal prudence. However, a little analysis will show that these cuts are just plain cruel and the amount of savings is chump change when compared to the size of the overall Canadian Federal budget.

Small ‘c’ conservatism, at its roots, is steeped in Protestant Christian doctrine. Canada, a country founded mostly on Protestant Christianity[1], has deep roots in Calvinism. John Calvin, a French theologian, believed in predetermination. He believed that a person’s fate in the afterlife was predetermined, meaning there was nothing a person could do in their life that would change this outcome. Out of this grew a belief that successful people, those with wealth and power, would be going to heaven. Clearly this cast the poor and the downtrodden as expendable as they had no hope of going to heaven anyway. We see this principle alive and well in Canada today. Even though our society is multicultural and far more secular today these beliefs still inform political ideology. Income supports to help the poor and disenfranchised are almost always the first thing on the chopping block in times of economic uncertainty even though they are a very small part of the overall budget.

Harper has been quite strategic in his cuts to OAS. He has not targeted current recipients or even people 5 years away from claiming OAS. Instead, he has put the age increase for eligibility a full 10 years down the road. This really does not make sense as it is the glut of baby boomers retiring in the next 10 years that will cost the program the most money. Clearly Harper knows that messing with seniors is never a good idea. Current recipients of OAS don’t really care what is going to happen in 10 years and those of us that it will affect are too busy trying to make a living to protest these changes.

This week’s announcement about changes to EI really reflects conservative ideology. The fact that the EI program is well funded by contributions from individuals and working Canadians seems to have escaped him. Other governments have actually taken money from the EI program to help offset other deficits. In the changes announced, Harper and his merry band of con artists is going after seasonal workers. These changes will not affect Harper’s traditional base of support in the western provinces. Instead it will punish those who did not elect Conservatives. By limiting the amount of EI a seasonal (or heavy user as they are now being called) worker can receive will have a huge impact on the local economies where it can least be afforded. Reducing the amount of money in circulation will have huge ripple effects through already depressed areas of the country. These changes will also put more pressure on provincial welfare systems.

Harper’s reason for this change is completely insulting. The federal government is arguing that Canadians are sitting on EI while Tim Horton’s and McDonalds have to bring in temporary foreign workers to staff their outlets. In the ‘new world’ ‘heavy users’ of EI would have to take a job that pays 70% of their normal wages if it is within an hour of their homes. First of all this is going to be so difficult to enforce, in fact I think it will cost more to enforce this edict than the money they will save. Let’s not forget that the EI program is healthy – there is no fiscal reason for these changes. Instead it is about keeping the poor in their place, under the thumb of the federal government.

I have saved the best for last. While the changes to social programs above are draconian, it is the cuts to the refugee health program that are the cruelest. Canada agrees to take about 3000 refugees per year from war torn areas of the world and refugee camps. We transport them here[2], they receive a monthly stipend and health coverage under the Interim Federal Health (IFH) program. We also accept refugee claimants who are also covered by IFH. Through a quiet order-in-council, the Harper government has made deep cuts to this program to save $80 million over 5 years.[3]

Under these changes, which take affect at the end of June, refugees will only be treated for diseases that are a danger to the Canadian public or diseases that make a person a danger to society. If the refugee has tuberculosis they will be diagnosed and treated. A severe mental health issue like psychosis or schizophrenia may be treated if the government believes the refugee could hurt people. If you have diabetes the government may pay for the diagnosis but not the treatment – so no insulin or medication. They will also not provide medical equipment[4] or pay for emergency dental work or medication for depression. Refugees whose claims have been rejected or who are from a Designated Country of Origin[5] will not have any coverage. So if a rejected refugee presents at a hospital with a heart attack they will receive treatment, as the hospital cannot turn them away. The refugee will then be stuck with a huge bill and no way of paying so ultimately the province will be on the hook for the costs.

IFH will not pay for any medication except under the two exemptions of conditions that pose a risk to the Canadian public. In some cases they will pay for the diagnostics and a surgical procedure if it is warranted. One example that was given is that of a refugee who needs to have a stent put in their heart. This would all be paid for but the medication needed like blood thinners or statins would not be covered. This literally makes no sense and, in fact, is counter-intuitive. If you pay for a surgery but not the medication to maintain its efficacy, the patient will be back in hospital for further procedures. Most refugees live in abject poverty for the first couple of years at least and if the choice is medication or feeding the children you can guess where the money is going to go.

My solution to all of this is for the Harper government to cancel a couple of fighter jets. Why do we need fighter jets? We are not at war with anyone except the poor, the disenfranchised and the vulnerable. Our government’s priorities are extremely screwed up. As an individual I feel powerless to do anything to change what is happening. I am only hoping that we have something that still resembles Canada at the end of this government’s mandate. In the meantime you can all expect some long rants.


[1] Except Quebec and some other French-speaking enclaves which are primarily Catholic.

[2] They have to pay the transportation costs back at the end of the first year. For some large families this amounts to a debt of thousands of dollars. Welcome to Canada and your new indebted life.

[3] 80 million sounds like a lot of money unless you put it in perspective. This amounts to $16 million a year on a $6 billion budget. Basically the government is going to go through the couch and gather some change.

[4] Think canes, walkers, and crutches.

[5] Designated Country of Origin – is a country, determined by the Federal Immigration Minister that has a high refusal rate for claims or a country where refugees abandon their claims. Currently Mexico would be such a country. We don’t yet know which countries will be on the list.

Published in: on May 26, 2012 at 11:54 am  Comments (2)  
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Rant of the Day

I haven’t ranted for a while so here goes! I apologize in advance that most of it is traffic related. I will say that on days I am stressed

  • Truckers are assholes. Seriously. It is a nightmare on the MaryHill Bypass. They take up both lanes and drive in tandem. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there are 50 cars behind them with drivers becoming increasingly frustrated. Seriously there should be a law against this as this is what causes some of the infamous backups on our roads.
  • My next thing is about people who pull out in front of you without gauging how fast traffic is going. I was on 128th ave, which is on the back way out of Maple Ridge, and a car just turned left right in front of me. I had to whale on the brakes so that I didn’t hit him and when I honked he gave me the finger. I don’t understand how or why some people are allowed to drive.
  • The other thing I must rant about is about Harper’s plan to spend lots of money on the war of 1812. Why on fucking earth we need to rub it in to the Americans that we won is unclear. What is even more unclear is why we need to spend millions of dollars doing it when we have a budget deficit. It makes absolutely no sense. What is interesting is that while Conservatives preach fiscal restraint, historically it is Conservative governments that ring up the biggest deficits. In this case, Harper is following Mulroney in fine form. Harper needs to give his head his shake and stop the waste.
Published in: on October 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm  Comments (2)  
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Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘viral’ edition

  • I am now on Day 5 of this nasty virus. I think my fever finally broke this morning. I don’t often get these things but when I do they make me really sick. I seem to get more fevers, which makes it difficult to function. The fevers can also carry on after the other symptoms are gone.
  • We watched Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’ the other day. We were both very disappointed. The entire movie was about him trying to get sponsorships for the movie. Instead of exploring the increasing integration of product placement, the entire show was basically a series of meetings with Spurlock negotiating. He talks to some experts like Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader to get their opinions on the subject. However the documentary missed a really good opportunity. Plus, I hate meetings and watching someone else be in meetings for 90 minutes was pretty boring.
  • Alberta is looking pretty progressive these days with the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta electing Alison Redford. Apparently she represents the left-wing flank of the party. She is going to immediately restore funding to education and health care. The Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta is literally the definition of the old boys club. I wish her well!
  • I have decided I am going to brine our Thanksgiving turkey. We are having a lot of people over for dinner so I hope it goes well!
Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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There’s Something Happening Here

The western world appears to be on the brink of something really important happening. After witnessing so many people from different countries creating meaningful change in their lives through courage, protest and persistence, it would seem that the rest of us are waking up to our corporatized lives and not liking what we are seeing. After all, if the Egyptians can oust Hosni Mubarak then what could we do if tried?

Over the last 20 years the American middle class has been steadily eroded. Peoples’ dreams of working hard and getting ahead are completely gone; they have evaporated in the pursuit of corporate profits. This is why we no longer have well paying, union jobs in North America. After all, if the shareholders aren’t happy and don’t get a bigger dividend every year heads will roll.

The American government (and to some extent the same is true here) is completely out of touch with what is actually going on in America today. If the rich and the corporations don’t have to pay taxes that leaves just working Americans to shoulder the tax burden. As wages have declined and the cost of living has risen, there is no longer money left for discretionary spending. Hell, for many Americans there is nothing left; they have lost their house, their cars and most of all their pride in being American.

So here’s the thing: if you’ve got nothing to lose you might be prepared to do things you might not normally do. Desperation pushes people out of their comfort zones and forces them to grapple for solutions. Of course I am referring to the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests. If you go here, there is actually footage of people drinking champagne above the protesters on Wall Street. Can you say out of touch?

It is my fervent hope that in fact something is going on here. Rioting youth in England and protesters in the United States are all pointing to the same thing. We have governments, which are completely out of touch with their citizenry. We have corporations in control in Canada, the US and Europe. We are all slaves to the mighty profit whether we benefit from it or not. When you take things away from people they will tolerate it for a while but there will come a time when you have taken so much away that they have nothing to lose. And people with nothing to lose are very powerful – just ask Hosni Mubarak.

There’s Something Happening Here

Buffalo Springfield

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

Published in: on October 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Today in Politics

I love the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). Today the SCC ruled that closing Vancouver’s supervised injection site would be a violation of peoples’ Charter rights. Basically, it would deny addicts access to heath care that helps keep them safe while they inject the drugs to which they are addicted. More importantly, Insite offers its clients a way out of drug addiction, if they choose. And really, what it all comes down to is choice. Just because people on Vancouver’s DTES are addicted to drugs does not mean that they are lesser citizens of the country. They have a right to appropriate health care for them. If that means that a nurse watches them shoot up to make sure they do it safely and that they do not contract blood-borne diseases then so be it. Apparently the number of new HIV infections among injection drug users is down as are serious infections and other diseases. In spite of the research and the evidence of the positive outcomes of Insight, the Harper Cons do not believe that drug addicts are really people, entitled to appropriate medical care. Luckily for us, the SCC does not have such ideology influencing their decisions.

Has anyone been listening to our Premier Christy Clark lately? I think she is a Stepford-Premier. She is always so happy, happy, happy! And what is making her so happy you ask? Well, it would seem that she is really, really optimistic. Optimistic about what one might ask? Well, we are not really sure. It would seem that she is sure good times are just around the corner. Today speaking to the Union of BC Municipalities convention she gave this speech in which she announced 30 million dollars to help municipalities with recreation facilities. Seriously, we are going to build more swimming pools and arenas when children go to school hungry, without proper clothing and without school supplies. Did she not see the coverage Carrie Gelson received when she sounded the alarm about the state of children in inner-city schools? While recreation facilities are important to communities as they give people a place to exercise and socialize, I suspect most people would be quite happy to see that 30 million go into fixing the problems Carrie Gelson highlighted. One has to ask where starving, ill-clothed children fit in to Christy Clark’s ‘families first’ agenda?

Still on our ebullient premier, it would seem she does not really have control over her ministers. This became apparent today when Mike de Jong mused about charging smokers higher health premiums. Of course this is a complete non-starter as it would be a slippery slope. It is the same thing as when doctors muse about charging an obesity-tax on fat people. The argument, as far as it goes with smokers, is that smoking is a choice and therefore smokers should pay for the health care they are doing to need when they get cancer. Smokers already pay more taxes than non-smokers through the taxes governments collect on the sale of cigarettes. What is bizarre in all of this is a senior minister floating this idea without getting the approval of the premier. Perhaps there are cracks in the veneer?

Oh, and Clifford Olsen is dead. I hope the families of his victims get some measure of peace knowing that he is finally dead and can no longer apply for parole.

Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 7:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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