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Political Scandals, A Hot Bath and Celine Dion

I don’t mind admitting that there are times when I despair for our future. Unlike my environmentalist friends, I don’t worry too much about the planet being destroyed; it’s been around a much longer time than we have and it will shake off whatever damage we do without much effort. It may deal with us in the same way it dealt with dinosaurs and that didn’t end too well for them.

It’s us, people and our long-term viability as a species which rises to the surface from time to time. I am forced to admit at times that if we don’t eradicate our species through war, junk food, prolonged exposure to Justin Beiber;  we might just destroy ourselves out of sheer stupidity.

I see  increasing examples of it virtually every day. It’s not that I’m brilliant but Christ in Heaven; you don’t even have to have an IQ to detect it anymore. I thought we had pretty much succeeded in keeping it contained on social media but I was wrong. It’s spreading faster than the attitude of entitlement in a Canadian Senator’s expense claim.

I was reading the National Post earlier and after reading an article on the Senate expense scandal started to, read the comments posted below it. I don’t know why I started reading the comments. I don’t usually read the comments below newspaper articles anymore because the level of inane, self-impressed, uninformed and outright stupid rhetoric is not only discouraging, it’s embarrassing. I keep hoping nobody from another country reads them lest they start to think it is representative of the intellectual capacity of the average Canadian.

Let me give you a small taste of what is considered political discourse by some of the more vocal in this country.

Try and remember that these comments appeared in a national newspaper following an article about the Canadian Senate and the current investigation into expenses.

“Harper says Duffy was given a personal cheque from Wright yet earlier said he never saw a cheque.”

“I presume you’ve never seen the cheque, yet you seem to know there was a personal cheque. Same way Harper does — somebody told you.”

So far so good. At least they’re discussing specifics related to the issue at hand. Unfortunately, the train was about to jump the tracks.

“Harper was a god under the heat of questioning. Weak politicians like JT need to watch and learn. JT [Justin Trudeau] has quite the lisp…is he actually gay?”

“I couldn’t care less whether Harper looks strong in the contrived environment of Question Period, or whether Justin looks weak there. And I care even less if according to somebody’s random prejudices, Justin sounds a little like the stereotype of how gay people supposedly sound. . . for heaven’s sake, let’s form our preferences based on policy, not based on how people sound in the theatre of Question Period.”

“Is it the sell us out to China policy that you think is solid? They can’t account for 3.1 Billion dollar policy? They run a huge deficit policy?”

“Harper’s deal with China, should be enough to scare the hell out of everybody. However, people just don’t seem to get the ramification, of what that deal means? In fact, I am in disbelief that people don’t understand, Harper’s FIPPA deal with China means? China will take Canada over for 31 years.”

In fewer than half a dozen comments, the discussion had strayed from the Senate expense issue to wondering if Justin Trudeau is gay to the missing (or more accurately, improperly accounted) $3.1 billion to Canada’s FIPPA deal with China. It changes so fast you pretty much have to take notes just to keep up.

Then out of left field came:

“They ran a huge deficit to please the left in a spirit of co-operation during the world wide recession. Damned if you do, damned if ya don’t, huh?”

That prompted this attempt to be non-partisan:

“Left this.. right that… no one cares about the middle guy!”

In an attempt to bring everyone back on topic came this:

“why are you looking for a date? You just referred to another man as a god.. I don’t think anyone needs to hear your voice to question your sexuality”

Oops, wrong topic. Let’s try again.

“Yep. They just announced Duffy did claim expenses, he had no right to. Duffy didn’t show for the questioning. Duffy also claimed expenses when, he was actually at his cottage in PEI. Harper did know about Duffy. Harper chose not to say or do anything about it. Harper had let it slide. There was an order from Harper for, no-one to say anything.”

A valiant attempt but doomed to fail because that gay thing continued to be very intriguing for some.

“You have something against people that are gay?”

“No, I find JT’s feminine voice soothing. Makes me want to put on a dress and heels.”

“MAX KLINGER!”

“I bet a dress and heels would look good on you. Sounds like they would anyway.”

“…Celine Dion CD’s and a hot bath for me.”

And you wonder why we’re not getting anywhere in this country. Between the people who govern and the people who think they have a clue about what’s going on, we’re in some serious trouble. I can’t decide which troubles me more, the lack of integrity in government, the media and the world in general or just the sheer scope of the mediocrity.

Consider these recent examples from the bright lights who run the show for us.

The former Finance Minister for Ontario, Dwight Duncan, who resigned and retired a few months ago has just come out publicly in favour of privatizing some of the province’s Liquor Control Boards. This would be the same guy who as Finance Minister was vehemently opposed to privatization of any kind. How does he reconcile his statement with his decade-long refusal to even consider privatization? How does he make the statement without recognizing the hypocrisy behind it?

Politicians live in a world of their own with standards that are almost impossible to decipher or understand.

Eric, Holder, Attorney General for the United States is under fire over the Department of Justice’s secret accessing of the telephone records of AP and Fox News Media Journalists. It’s a serious charge and one that the President recognized needs a full and thorough investigation. Who did he appoint to conduct that investigation of Mr. Holder? Give yourself a gold star for correctly guessing he appointed the Attorney General to investigate himself.

Of course, we’re not much smarter up her in the Great Northern Asylum. Marjorie Lebreton, the Senate Majority Leader asked the Committee of Internal Economy to conduct a second review of the expense claims for the Senators at the heart of the expense scandal. This would be the same committee that whitewashed their first report.

It’s kind of like asking the guy who was arrested for a crime to conduct his own trial and get back to us.

When Lois Lerner, the Director of the department of the IRS at the heart of that scandal was hauled before a Congressional Committee to answer questions – she refused to answer those questions. When she was asked to submit her resignation – she refused. It’s unbelievable that an employee accused of very serious, possibly criminal acts, simply refuses to acknowledge them when her employer demands answers. Because they didn’t know what else to do, her bosses put her on paid administrative leave so basically she’s on vacation at full salary until further notice.

After months of condemning the corruption and unethical practices of the Liberal Government of Ontario, NDP Leader Andrea Horvath, or as I call her Ontario Horvath, has decided to prop up that same government because they gave her a bunch of budget trinkets including a reduction in auto insurance premiums – a promise they made but finagled and didn’t keep. The government, however, is considering a possible $3 billion revenue tax grab to finance transit infrastructure in Toronto which would make the average savings on car insurance seem pretty insignificant and even pointless. If implemented, it would be a tax that would be applied to taxpayers across the province which gives a whole new meaning to the concept of wealth redistribution.

Ontario Horvath said that she negotiated to avoid an election but elicited a promise from the government to bring any new tax increases before the legislature for a vote which would, if defeated, trigger an election. That would mean the very real prospect of a fall election later this year which makes all of Ms Horvath’s efforts a bit redundant and that is the best case scenario. If the Liberals live up to their past performance, they won’t keep that promise in order to avoid being defeated. Either way, the oh so smart leader of the NDP had not only made herself look foolish and naive but further undermined the rights of the people of the province to decide things for themselves.

Gawker, an American website and The Star, Toronto’s major newspaper teamed up last week attack Toronto Mayor Rob Ford with a serious allegation about the use of crack cocaine. To support their claim, they referred to ‘Somali drug dealers’ and a smart phone video that two Star reporters claim to have seen but which, along with the dealers, seems to have gone missing.

Not to be outdone, The Globe and Mail the older of two national newspapers, jumped on the bandwagon with all the enthusiasm of the National Enquirer chasing another abduction by aliens. The published a story, citing unnamed sources, accusing the Mayor’s brother of having been a drug dealer in his younger years.

No real corroboration was offered by either newspaper for either story which begs the question that if you can’t trust the media to be open, transparent and adhere to a high set of standards, how can you possibly expect politician to even consider it?

Last week a court ruled that there was serious and egregious election fraud in six ridings during the last federal election but because it didn’t know who conducted the fraud, the court declined to overturn the election result. It seems to me that it would have made more sense to order heavily monitored by-elections and let the people decide if the right person had or had not been elected.

The list is almost endless and along with the savage and gratuitous violence happening somewhere virtually every day, it’s enough to make you want to sign up as a test pilot for cryogenics machines.

The current scandals facing Government are not going away and that applies to both Canada and the United States. What’s different this time is that it’s the people, not simply opposition politicians and the media,  who are demanding answers.

With the exception merry band of commenters I referred to earlier and others like them, there are a lot of reasonable and thoughtful people who usually remain silent now speaking up. . . and they’re angry; very angry. It is no longer about partisanship in many cases. Now it’s about integrity in government.

Good! It’s time for decent, hard-working taxpayers to demand answers from their politicians and to demand a higher level of transparent accountability from all levels of government.

Billions are being squandered, mismanaged and outright stolen through privileges awarded to politicians by politicians. Policies are based on achieving or maintaining power rather than on the long-term prosperity of the nation. Think I’m wrong? Take a walk through the downtown core of any major city in Canada and the United States and see how it is before you stumble over poverty beside those gleaming glass and steel towers where the power people work and play.

The real scandal facing us all is not the Senate or the IRS or – well – take you pick; it’s the number of them. They’re growing faster than politicians can squander tax dollars. There is something desperately wrong with our societies; a lack of morality based on principled values and integrity. Government is out of control to the point that, to quote Ronald Regan, “Government isn’t the solution to the problem – it is the problem.

Perhaps this new level of anger that is driving the demand for answers regarding the current scandals in Canada and the United States coupled with demands for real reform and accountability will be the first step in the people taking back their governments.

Perhaps.

I suspect it will depend on who speaks louder; those who demand accountability or those who wonder if Justin Trudeau is gay because they think they detect a lisp when he speaks.

But if all else fails, perhaps a hot bath and a Celine Dion CD will make the world seem a better place. . . a least for a little while.

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© 2013 Maggie’s Bear

all rights reserved The written content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

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  • Barb Gulka

    Thanks for my morning laughter! I liked the Lois Lerner story the best! When I need the chuckle button turned on, I read some in the comment sections of the news media articles! You have to admit, most are a real hoot! On a serious note though, I like the social media accessibility. Politicians have been performing like this for a very long, long time. By the time the story ‘broke’ much time had past and who really cared? To day we find out quicker, and society demands a quicker fix …. hence, ‘they’ can be booted out quicker! Who needs a soap opera, just tune in! To the Contrary, I do not hold journalists to account as much as I hold the political performers to account, maybe they will one day clean up their acts and perform responsibly and actually earn their dollars honestly! Maybe!

    • MaggiesBear

      I don’t disagree with you about the benefits of social media,my issue is that it is so undisciplined that it’s often difficult to know who’s telling the truth and who’s talking to hear themselves talk. People seem very inclined to believe just about anything if they read it on Twitter or Facebook The other issue is that once it’s out there, it’s almost impossible to correct. When the accusations and comments become too absurd, they get tuned out and neither the media nor politicians pay any attention to t hem after awhile.

      Focused anger, informed comments get noticed and we need more of that on social media.

      As a point of information, I hold journalists to an even higher standard than politicians. There are still a lot of good journalists around but the profession overall is slipping. They have a significant constitutional freedom and with that freedom comes a heavy responsibility to tell the whole truth as objectively as possible. When they stop doing that, our democracy is threatened.

      • Barb Gulka

        Bear…
        I believe, every story needs a ‘story teller’ ! todays communication is no different than yesterdays books, magazines and newspapers. Remember when we ‘use to believe’ everything that was written in the newspapers….. and how often did you hear ‘don’t believe everything you read in the paper’! So to think that journalists should be or are held to a higher esteem just because they have a more immediate canvas in which to place their opinions is irrational. I still would like to think the reader has the common sense to research further for the truth…and source out which side of the political or social arena the message is coming from. My point being it is all in the performance/performer….. the reader will always take from the message their own personal slant…..the old saying still goes…..Its your truth, its my truth and then there is the real truth!

        • MaggiesBear

          The press have been given a great freedom that has a significant influence on how people think and interpret things. With great freedom comes great responsibility. When media abuses that responsibility, you end up with situations like the refusal to cover the truth about Benghazi and the absolute political circus in Toronto.

          You are right, there is only one truth and we wall see and interpret it differently which is why the media has such a heavy responsibility to report facts not assumption. If what they report is already slanted or biased – the real truth will find it even more difficult to emerge and usually not before a considerable damage is done.

          Every story does need a storyteller but truth is not simply a story.

          • Barb Gulka

            OK, I accept your guidelines, and your analogy of the press, but how can we the reader decipher the ‘truth’? I have this discussion with many of my friends and associates. Our society is based on the bottom dollar, and who pays the highest price for ‘the story’…..the two examples you give … how do we really know the ‘truth’? unless -what?- actually on scene? even then the truth is still in the ‘eye of the beholder’… and facts, only an interpretation of … the fact? The ‘reporter’ works for his bottom line, and feeds his family on his pay check… where really does the responsibility lay? truth really is a very heavy word, and should IMO totally be replaced with ‘the story’ of the ‘performance by the performer.

            • MaggiesBear

              They’re not really my guidelines, it’s just what I believe based on what I’ve seen and heard. I also believe that deciphering the truth starts with us. We have to demand it and every time we uncover a half-truth or an outright lie, we have to hold whoever initiated it to full account.

              If it’s the media, vote with our wallets. Stop supporting media that only publish varnished versions of the truth that support our pre-existing bias. Don’t read or watch only those media that lean towards our own political ideology. Talk to people and more important – listen to what they have to say.

              Use the Internet to confirm information from multiple sources, including international media that have a trustworthy reputation And finally, demand a higher standard of integrity from our politicians, especially those we support and not only those we oppose. They set the standard and the tone for our society. If we allow our government to lie without consequence – lying and spin spread like a virus and ultimately, lies become the truth.

              • Barb Gulka

                Good debate about ‘truths’…..we agree! You are correct, we the public must demand truth and accountability from our media sources and above all our political performers! the ugly ‘truth’ is we as a society will most often jump to believing drama and spin as ‘truth only to then find out the entrapment was a lie…as the story is told over again, with a slight twist…..and that story is most often can be found in the comment section! In reality I doubt the media sleuths will ever change their style, so guess it is up to us the reader. Human behavior is exactly that, human, ready to fall off track and create another story! Thanks Bear, so enjoyed your wise words about ‘truths’.

                • MaggiesBear

                  I enjoyed our discussion. It is less important to agree on everything than it is to be able to discuss and debate different points of view and opinion civilly. It’s how we learn from each other – something too many have forgotten these days.

                  Our discussion reveals something that many often miss. Despite our differing perspectives on how it is achieved, we both wanted to achieve the truth. Too many get so caught up in the argument, they lose sight of the fact that they both want the same thing and are only debating means rather than objective.

                  I appreciate your support of my blog and encourage you to continue to offer your thoughts on what I write – especially when you think I’ve lost my mind. :-)

  • Leonard Pryor

    I wonder if the multiple dipping, the political scheming, and governmental shenanigans are no more serious or numerous now than they ever were. I wonder if it’s the proliferation of personal technological communication gadgets that makes it more difficult to hide the nefarious little games that some privileged people play.

    As for inane comments (this one excepted of course) the same availability of communication gadgets allows the spreading of unsubstantiated “facts” leading to expressed opinions that were in simpler times confined to “coffee row”, and allowed to mercifully expire there.

    • MaggiesBear

      You raise a good point and you may well be right. Perhaps it just feels like there are more scandals because we’re now aware of them all but based on the things i hear people in all levels of our society saying – I’m not so sure. It seems as if our communal values are eroding. We’re more violent, less tolerant and there is an incredible amount of judgmental anger around.

  • Micah H

    Goes back to your ‘Sources’ piece. Innuendo as legitimate journalism. Is t any wonder journalists are held in such low esteem?

    • MaggiesBear

      There are some good journalists around just as there are some honest politicians. the problem, of course, is that those who ignore principle taint the profession for everyone and there are more than a few of those around these days.

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