Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Signs That you Have Watched Way Too Much Of The Wire

-You know you got to keep the 'Devil down in the hole'
-When your favourite store runs out of the item you buy the most you ask when the re-up is coming
-You are familiar with police terms like Title 3,  DEU, buy-bust, clearance, CID, drugs on the table, CI,  Deputy-Ops, etc
-If you see a article about crime being reduced due to increased police presence you automatically assume the police are just juking the stats
-You know why it is a bad idea for a drug dealer to have a big bushy pony tail
-The name 'Snoop' does not make you think of a cartoon dog or a rapper -- Instead it makes you think you think of a petite, psychopathic, teenage girl killer
-Sometimes you want to do things "The Western District Way"
-Someone whistling the tune to "Farmer in the Dell" makes you run
-You hear that someone lives on a street called "Potapsco" and right away you know they live in Baltimore (This actually happened to me)
-You contemplated learning how to make 'Doll house minuatures' to make money
- If you piss your bosses off and they ask "where do you not want to end up" you know to keep your mouth shut
-You know that even an inner city drug organization can follow Roberts Rules of Order when holding a meeting
-You once started a conversation with the phrase "Proposition for you"
-You wonder every time you see a vacant row house if there could be a dead body inside
-You ask for a "Cutty's Boxing Gym" t-shirt for Christmas
-At one time you felt sad that Prop Joe was killed but, in time, you realize what a sneaky schemer con man he was
-Every time you hear sirens you have an urge to yell "five-oh, five-oh"

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Message of the Occupy Movement

Occupy was started a year ago as a protest against corporate greed, government bailouts of big banks and corporations and the big banking manipulation and exploitation of the economy. It was a democratic, populous movement encompassing people from all over the political spectrum. In time the Occupy movement seem to fizzle away. They did however reappear yesterday though, at least in Canada, the message has changed. What happened and what is this new message?

In looking at the the Occupy rally in Ottawa yesterday and the Occupy Canada Facebook page we get a good look at what the new message is. There is almost no mention of corporate greed or big banking in the new Occupy message. You will see a lot of people holding signs saying "Stop Harper" which is a reference, not to a billionaire or big banking executive, but to Prime Minister of Canada. The "Stop Harper" sign was first held by former senate page Bridgette DePape who did not like the results of the last Canadian federal election and wanted the election overturned. Ms Depape either hates democracy or does not understand it. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he described democracy as "two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch." In other words, you are never going to make everyone happy.

Others who fall into the sheep category have taken up Ms DePape's message and have taken over the Occupy movement in Canada. Union leaders, mainly public service union leaders, are now calling the shots at Occupy. And though the socialist rhetoric of class warfare still exists the underlying message is opposition to spending  cuts by the government. Specifically spending cuts that involve public service union members. And since part of Stephen Harper's election platform involved government spending cuts he is treated as an enemy by public service union leaders.

A conflict arises though with the original message of Occupy and the new message opposing government spending cuts. Luisa D'Amato says it best in a recent column on a teacher labour dispute that "We taxpayers are not some soulless multinational corporation that outsources as much work as possible and hides the profits in offshore banks. We’re just people. Most of us struggle to pay our bills and put our kids through college and university. Most of us, even those who are just as well educated, qualified and experienced, make less than you do. And frankly, we’re tapped out."

As it stands the Canadian government and most provincial governments are borrowing money to pay union employees. Spending cuts are needed to reduce our debt. By opposing spending cuts the Occupy movement is now advocating an economic policy that sees all of us sink deeper into debt bondage under the thumb of big banking.

In a future post I will introduce you to the blog of an original Occupier who offers some good insight into the who, what, where, when and why of the hijacking of the Occupy movement. In the meantime here is Neil Young song about heroin addiction:

Monday, 10 September 2012

The NDP Are Sitting on the Edge of Cliff And They Do Not Even Know it.

It might be a good idea for the NDP and Tom Mulcair to take a little break from planning their victory party for the next election and figure out a way to hold on to Quebec. After all, that is the province that gave them their "Historicorange wave. Tom Mulcair got heavily involved in Ontario by elections while pretty much ignoring the Quebec general election. In case you missed it Tom, the Quebec nationalists are back in power and they, not the Conservatives, will be gunning for the NDP in Quebec.
Jack Layton convinced Quebecers to give the NDP a shot as most of Quebec felt the Liberals and BQ were taking them for granted. He promised that the NDP was the best party to represent Quebecers on a national stage. And what have you done?

Pauline Marios is an agitator. She will press you, as the leader of the party with the most seats in Quebec, to support her in gaining more autonomy from Ottawa. She will do the same with Harper but it is different with him. The PQ, like the NDP, is a big government socialist party that hates the Harper spending cuts, tough stance on crime and support for the tar sands. However the new Conservative Party of Canada is very different from the Liberal and PC parties that held power in the past.Those old parties were founded on support for a strong centralized government.

The Conservatives are the Reform Party that grew out of western alienation. They grew as a response to frustration with the contant meddling of the Trudeau and Mulroney government dictating to the provinces. So a key part of the Reform/Conservative platform is greater autonomy for the provinces. The NDP is a federalist party. They are also a big government, social engineering party. They cannot help but meddle. And all the Quebec nationalist parties know that an NDP party in power in Ottawa will dictate to Quebec just like the Liberals and PCs. The Quebec nationalists will see the NDP as a bigger threat than the Conservatives as the Conservatives are willing to grant them more power and pretty much leave them alone.

Politically Haper will not be seen by the rest of Canada as treating as a special case, giving into PQ threats--which was a problem that plagued Liberal and PC parties of the past. The Conservative position on greater provincial autonomy applies to all provinces, not just Quebec. Politically Harper, unlike previous Prime Ministers, will not walk on egg shells with Quebec. He knows he is giving them what they really want--which is a greater say in how their province is run. He also knows, that they know, no one else will give that much freedom to Quebec. In the end the Quebec nationalists will gun hard to run the NDP out of Quebec in the next federal election. It could be a revitalized BQ, it could be the PQ, CAQ or it could be a party that does not exist yet.

Much of the popularity the NDP enjoys right now has come at the expense of the Liberal Party. The Liberals are not dead yet though. Simply electing a new leader will be enough to give them a bump. Bob Rae has way too much baggage as leader. He was the worst premier in the history of the largest province. A province that is the Liberal heartland. Businesses hated him because of ridiculous bureaucracy and a brutal deficit. Individuals hated him because of crazy tax grabs. Public sector unions hated him for imposing massive pay cuts on them. Private sector unions hated him because his policies were driving employers out of Ontario at an alarming rate.

There will be some hard questions to answer when the next election comes. Like how come there is very little French being spoken by the NDP Quebec caucus in the House of Commons. There is actually more French coming from the Conservative side. Many in the NDP Quebec caucus cannot even speak French. If the Quebec election taught us anything is that language is very important in Quebec. It is more important the LGR, Dutch Disease and the Tar Sands all put together. In addition, when the attacks start coming you will have to do all the heavy lifting. A large number of your NDP members in Quebec cannot defend against those attacks when they cannot even understand the language the attacks are coming in.

Quebec nationalists will press Mulcair on the fact that he refuses to comment on the main issues in Quebec while at the same time getting involved in Ontario politics. They will accuse him of taking Quebec for granted, of only caring about Ontario. These are accusations he will have a hard time defending.  At the same time Mulcair carries baggage from his time with the Quebec Liberal party that was just run out of office. Traditionally the NDP does very well with young activists all over Canada. In Quebec most activists (whether students or not) are major supporters of the student protests over tuition hikes. They will remember that Mulcair was a big supporter of increasing tuition. Other traditional NDP base, public service unions, were also supporters of the student protests.

The biggest blow (Other than maybe the lack of French) is coming soon with the corruption hearing was a cabinet minister for a government that was involved in the biggest corruption scandal in the history of Canada. He will be out, trying to drum up support by attacking Harper on overpaying for fighter jets and his support of big oil. The Quebec nationalists will then be quick to remind everyone Mulcair was part of a government involved in mafia construction bid rigging and bribes.

Time for the NDP to pull their head's out of the clouds and start fulfilling Jack Layton's promise to represent Quebec. It is not enough to be anti-Harper. It is also not enough to ride Jack Layton's coat tails. Just ask John Tuner, Al Gore and Paul Martin. Following a popular does not mean success. Layton was not even as popular as you like to pretend he was. Those other politicians followed people who won multiple elections. Jack Layton is famous for coming in a distant second in one election.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Best 80s Hair Metal Song

Taking a bit of a break to mention what I think is the bst 80s hair metal song. You have probably have never heard of it before. I hadn't either until a few years back when my friend "Frenchy" played it for me:

The song is called "God Promised a Paradise" by Masi.

Quebec is Not Going Anywhere

Separation is not going to be easy. It will require a lot of hard work and sacrifice for Quebeckers to build a new republic. A country is more than language and culture. Some things will be easy. The Republic of Quebec could adopt the Canadian Criminal Code along with rules and regulations from federal departments.

Other things will not be so simple. They would need their own customs and immigration service. There is a big border with the US they would need to cover. A department of foreign affairs would need to be set up. Embassies and consulates would have to be opened all over the world. Trade treaties would need to be negotiated.

A new currency would have to be created unless they wanted to keep using the Canadian dollar. Not a simple proposition as Canada would basically control their monetary policy. Ask Greece, Spain and Italy how effective sharing a currency with other countries is.

Further economic woes surround resource rich norther Quebec. The native population there will never accept being part of an independent Quebec. Quebec is also saddled with a very high debt. Tack on top of it their share of the national debt and that number grows. Quebec would also lose generous equalisation payments from wealthy Canadian provinces.

Then there are general societal concerns. Quebec, like most of the developed world, has an ageing population. An ageing population that expects to retire at age 65 and have the government support a comfortable lifestyle for another 20 years. Not to mention the further strain on the health care system. You you would then have an inevitable brain drain. Many high demand professionals like doctors will be quick to leave an independent Quebec to avoid the economic decline. Even some Francophone professionals will be ready to bolt as there are plenty of French speaking communities in Ontario and New Brunswick that would love to have them.

Citizens of an independent Quebec would find themselves working a lot harder for a lot less. Cheap university, dirt cheap daycare and generous EI would be almost impossible for at least a few decades. Socialised health care would even be difficult to manage.

How many Quebeckers will vote for such a future?