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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Thankfully There Are No Sociopaths in Politics

“And so without our primordial attachments to others,
what would we be?
Evidently, we would be the players of a game, one that resembled a giant chess match, with our fellow human beings as the rooks, the knights, and the pawns. For this is the essence of sociopathic behavior, and desire.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

Oh my!

I was doing some research this morning and stumbled on a list of characteristics that were interesting but irrelevant to what I was looking for. When I first read the list, I thought it was about politicians and the smart kids that run the shadow government in the back rooms – but I think I must have been wrong.

It’s actually a list of most of the characteristics that psychiatrists use to identify and diagnose sociopaths and as we all know, the people who govern on our behalf are anything but. You only have to read the list of characteristics to see that is true.

  •  Superficial charm and good intelligence
  • Signs of irrational thinking
  • Unreliability
  • Untruthfulness and insincerity
  • Lack of remorse and shame
  • Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
  • Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
  • Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love
  • General poverty in major affective reactions
  • Specific loss of insight
  • Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations

– Hervey Cleckley’s clinical profiles. In The Mask of Sanity

When I first read the list, I thought it was referring to pretty much everyone involved in the Senate Expense Scandal. Certainly we’ve seen more than ample examples of  all of these characteristics from just about everyone concerned, including the Prime Minister. Continue reading

It’s Criticism, Not Practice That Makes Perfect

Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring the negative; being positive means identifying and then fixing the negative!

They say practice makes perfect. I believe criticism accomplishes even more.

It works for my painting. What I do is look at my work with a jaundiced eye, seeking flaws, mistakes and things I could have done better. I do that because I want to be a better painter. It’s far more effective than pretending I didn’t see any mistakes.

The same is true of politics.

The Harper Government has done a lot of good since first being elected; the most recent being the EU Free Trade Deal. But it has also made some serious blunders, which too many conservatives are unwilling to acknowledge and criticize in the mistaken belief that it is better to protect the status quo than improve it. Continue reading

The Stink of Desperation is Rising in the Senate Scandal

Senator Mike Duffy speaking yesterday in the Canadian Senate and tabling documents he states supports his allegation of an attempted cover up of the Senate Expense Scandal by the Prime Minister’s Office and others.

There is an air of desperation in the Senate Expense Scandal now and its first casualties were personal dignity and the truth.

What a cheap and indecent vaudeville show this has become.

Yesterday’s revelations by Mike Duffy and the constant changing of the narrative by pretty much everyone concerned, including the Prime Minister have done nothing but elevate what should have been little more than an administrative issue into a series of desperate acts, defensive statements and accusations by a group of politicians and their supporters becoming increasingly more desperate.

There are allegations of personal vendettas, conspiracy to cover up the truth, denial of facts and even racism. It is unbelievable that this tawdry affair could be made even more sleazy by everyone involved but they have and it has.

I listened to Senator Duffy speaking in the Senate yesterday and while his information is relevant and may even be significant, his demeanour had all of the charm of a used car salesman desperate to close the deal. It was a real challenge to remember that this was a Senator speaking in the Upper House of Canada’s Parliament.

He was almost drooling with excitement at the prospect of the effect his revelations would have.

It is one thing to defend yourself with the facts; it’s another thing completely to gloat and delight in the damage those facts might cause.

The first question I asked myself as this Rocky Horror Picture Show unfolded yesterday was, “Do any of the people involved remember that this is the people’s Parliament?” Continue reading

Ben and Mr. Potato Head; Parliament and Our Legacy

Yesterday, Maggie and I took our four-year old grandson, Ben, to the Children’s Museum at the Museum of Civilization. Mr. Potato Head is in town and staying at the museum so we were off to see what mischief we could get into with him.

The Children’s Museum is a great spot for kids. It is full of things to turn, poke, climb aboard, twist, turn, colour, play and explore. It features kid-style exhibits that represent different countries of the world.

There’s a real bus from Pakistan that the kids can climb aboard and pretend to drive. There’s a small store, a bakery, a kid-size house under renovation complete with tools and tool belt kids can wear and there is a boat.

It’s not much of a boat as boats go; it’s more like a representation of a boat. Continue reading

This Isn’t Tombstone & Stephen Harper Ain’t Wyatt Earp

When I look at the NDP I remember the old saying, the more we throw mud, the more we lose ground.
Stephen Harper


Here we go again. Can this unbelievable farce over senate expenses sink any lower? It is already lower than gutter politics – it’s becoming a sordid and sleazy affair that is beginning to make AdScam look like a misdemeanor. AdScam was merely about stolen money. This current scandal is becoming less about expenses and more about the absolute abuse of power and the assault on our democratic institutions.

The story changes almost daily now and with each new revelation come new attempts to sell the unsalable.

The Prime Minister even took to the airwaves today in an attempt to justify his actions to oust Senators Wallin, Brazeau and Duffy as if he has the authority to treat them like they are merely his employees.

This entire mess stared when questions arose over the claim of residency expenses by Senator Mike Duffy. You will recall how quickly the government defended the Senator and that defense continued even after he was ordered by the Prime Minister to repay the money – the now famous $90,000. I still remember Pierre Polievre rising in the House to claim that the good Senator had done the honourable thing and repaid the money.

When it came to light that the money to repay the expenses had come from the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, it changed the entire scandal. Now it was no longer about repaying expenses to which the Senator may or may not have been entitled; now the issue was whether or not the Prime Minister or at least his office, had orchestrated the payment in direct violation of the law.

At first, the Prime Minister defended Nigel Wright for having given the money to Senator Duffy and that he had full confidence in his Chief of Staff. When that didn’t quell the growing scandal, he accepted “with great regret” Nigel Wright’s resignation.

He went on to say that Mr. Wright had acted on his own and told no one else. We now know that at least 13 other people, including his office’s lawyer and others in the PMO, knew about the payment to Senator Duffy.

The payment made by Nigel Wright may turn out to be not only inappropriate but illegal and yet we are expected to believe that the PMO’s lawyer did not counsel against making the payment or advise the Prime Minister of the potential violation of the law.

Then it was Pamela Wallin’s turn. Continue reading

Comparisons To Hitler Are Close But Wrong

If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.
Adolf Hitler

By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.
Adolf Hitler

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
Adolf Hitler

I saw two posts cross my timeline today. They referenced Adolf Hitler and drew comparisons to Barak Obama. It’s not the first time I’ve seen Hitler used as a comparison to some contemporary politicians. Stephen Harper, Pauline Marois, Justin Trudeau have also been compared to Hitler in one form or another which is patently absurd.

Regardless of whom you support or don’t, none of today’s current political leaders have anything in common with Adolf Hitler – but many of us have very much in common with those who helped him rise to power.

Adolf Hitler was an exceptional orator and a canny student of human nature which basically made him a consummate politician. Ethics – he had none. Principles – he none of those either. He espoused them, spoke about them at great length but the words were meaningless. It was power he craved. He had the singular vision of the megalomaniac – power for power’s sake with him exercising absolute power.

The lives of others were meaningless to him and his delusion led him to war and mass murder.

In the end, however, he was just one man so how did he obtain so much power and cause so much horrendous harm to the world? Continue reading