The New York Times has an interesting view of Canada:
THE prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has called an election for Oct. 19, but he doesn’t want anyone to talk about it.
He has chosen not to participate in the traditional series of debates on national television, confronting his opponents in quieter, less public venues, like the scholarly Munk Debates and CPAC, Canada’s equivalent of CSPAN. His own campaign events were subject to gag orders until a public outcry forced him to rescind the forced silence of his supporters.
You'd almost think he was Hillary Clinton or something.
Some students at Henderson State University were offended by a recent ban on “sagging pants” because they think it’s racist toward black people.
University officials recently installed signs in the student center that states profanity, excessive loudness, rude behavior and sagging pants will “not be tolerated” because they distract from the learning environment. Sagging pants are already outlawed in Arkansas’ K-12 schools, Inside Higher Ed reports.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is just as dictatorial as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, says New Democrat turned-Green MP Bruce Hyer.
In a Facebook post Sunday, Hyer said that if voters handed Mulcair and the NDP a majority government this fall, Canadians would be on their way to enjoying “another dictatorial Prime Minister.”
“Mulcair is a ruthless man who will say and do anything to get elected. Just like Stephen Harper,” wrote Hyer, the incumbent candidate in the Ontario riding of Thunder Bay–Superior North. “He certainly is not Jack Layton, and the NDP is no longer the Democratic Party that it was under Jack Layton.”
That's because the NDP wasn't anywhere near the reins of power for most Jack's tenure as leader. It's easy to be virtuous without temptation. There are few temptations more terrible, especially for politicians, than that of power. There is no real way to get power without some measure of party discipline. That's what Angry Tom is imposing upon his caucus of granola munching hippies. If you can't take the hypocrisy then get out of Parliament.
Both the Tories and Dippers have their own collection of moon bats. On the far Right they speak in hushed tones about Jews and blacks. On the far Left they speak in less hushed tones about Jews and blacks. The political continuum is not so much a spectrum as a circle. Go far enough one way and you wind up coming around the other way.
Since sensationalism is the bread and butter of modern journalism - actual reporting is hard and time consuming - political leaders need to be very careful about who speaks on their behalf. While this is more of a problem for the Right than the Left - for Left leaning journalists Right wing moon bats make for better copy - the Left is hardly free of controversy. Occasionally even an NDP candidate says something so outrageous they're forced to resign.
What exactly did Bruce Hyer think he signed up for? He joined a political party not a social club. Perhaps he has no interest in sitting in cabinet but most of the NDP front bench does. That's why they entered politics, it's why they fight tooth and nail to win campaigns and why they elected Tom Mulcair leader, instead of an actual socialist. When you've joined a pack of jackals it's a touch absurd to complain about the dinning arrangements.
Politics is not about truth, justice or your particular understanding of the Canadian way. It's about power. It has always been and always will be about power. Politics is answering the question of how the brute force of the state is to be imposed upon a country. Or to put it another way: What is to be done and who is to do it.
Behind the vapid speeches and focused group bromides all of it, down to the last Tweet and regulatory sub-clause, rests on the power of the gun. Politics is about deciding who controls the guns. In that stark light of day Mr Hyer doesn't look like an idealist, instead he looks like a personality type quite common in the NDP: A fool on stilts.
The final chance of stopping him appears to have disappeared amid a frantic round of telephone calls on Tuesday afternoon. Rumours of a proposed deal by which Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall would step down to endorse Andy Burnham are accurate.
According to sources close to the Burnham camp the offer was first initiated by Kendall herself. Realising her own position was hopeless, and with her own phone-bank data showing only Andy Burnham had any realistic chance of stopping Corbyn, she approached Cooper personally to suggest they both simultaneously withdraw. Cooper, who had finally made the decision to take on Corbyn directly, rejected the offer.
That noise in the background is David Cameron smirking very loudly.
Last week in New York seven men were arrested for using common sense:
It might feel like forever, standing in line outside an airport terminal, luggage in tow, waiting for a taxi. But when cabdrivers obey the rules, it is likely that they have waited just as long, if not longer — idling in a lot, awaiting the go-ahead from a dispatcher.
Some drivers have found a way around the wait: Hand some cash — usually $5 or $10 — to a dispatcher, and then drive straight to the terminal. It is hardly a new tactic. Over the years, dozens of dispatchers have been caught in sting operations meant to stop the payoffs.
This form of "corruption" is quite routine at La Guardia and other airports. Yet it's not the dispatchers who are truly corrupt and underhanded, it's the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that's the real villain in this story. The actions of the dispatchers are the logical outcome of an egalitarian system put in place by the Port Authority itself.
Because picking up fares at airports is relatively lucrative there is a large line-up at terminals. This sometimes forces cabbies to wait hours in a nearby lot. Since time is money for most self employed people there is a powerful incentive to "cut in line". The $5 or $10 slipped to a dispatcher can be easily made back with a decent fare and tip. The system is almost designed to breed this sort of petty "corruption."
The Port Authority's Inspector General, in reliably melodramatic style, declared that: “The defendants took unfair advantage of a dispatching process that was created to provide a level playing field for all cabdrivers." Which isn't so much a lie as nonsense on stilts. Making cabbies wait in line isn't a "level playing field", it's discrimination.
The equality here at play is that every cab should have to wait roughly the same amount of time and make roughly the same amount of money. But not every cabbie has the same utility preference or desire to make money. A more aggressive cabbie might prefer to pay more to wait less. This would enable them to make more trips and more money in a given day. By contrast a less aggressive driver might prefer to pay nothing and wait their turn. They'd make fewer trips and less money but their work day would be far less stressful.
The Port Authority's policy has the unintended consequence of punishing younger cabbies. The older the driver the greater the likelihood that they own their own medallion, that their mortgages have been paid and that their children are safely out of college. They work in order to cover daily expenses, save a little something for a rainy day and wait for retirement. A younger driver likely has greater obligations and bigger debts. He needs to work harder to have any hope of reaching the same level of security enjoyed by his older competitors.
Like many schemes that seek to create fairness, or a "level the playing field", the practical result is the protection of incumbents and the marginalization of new comers. But then again governments have always had a funny sense of fair.
The only place in Canada that makes Toronto look sane:
Like many in Vancouver, owning a house or condo for Cameron Gray was simply out of the question. But he didn’t like the idea of standard alternatives either – renting an apartment or a laneway house or moving out to the suburbs.
So the 27-year-old musician-turned-entrepreneur, who describes himself as a hermit, was perfectly comfortable with his 55-square-foot solution: living in his 1981 Chevy camper van.
All things act according to their nature. You must keep this old truism in mind when reading anything about the Clintons:
While media coverage has focused on a half-dozen of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s personal emails containing sensitive intelligence, the total number of her private emails identified by an ongoing State Department review as having contained classified data has ballooned to 60, officials told The Washington Times.
That figure is current through the end of July and is likely to grow as officials wade through a total of 30,000 work-related emails that passed through her personal email server, officials said. The process is expected to take months.
And it won't matter. Irrefutable proof could be obtained that Hillary Clinton had accidentally CCed in the Chinese Ambassador with America's latest encryption algorithms and nothing would happen. Attachments could be found containing images of the former First Lady hunting lions in the African bush and nothing would happen. An accidental "reply all" might have given Vladimir Putin detailed insights into US strategy in the Crimea - Hint: Surrender - and still nothing would happen. Bill Clinton was the teflon president and the Wife of Bill is the teflon candidate.
This overwhelming nothingness, this deafening silence, is the fault of the media only up to a point. The conceit of armchair political strategists notwithstanding the electorate is not so witless as to believe everything they see on television. The MSM can twist, fudge and adjust but it has not yet acquired the power of mind control.
The Clintons have littered the political landscape with nearly a quarter century's worth of scandals, corruptions and double dealings. Only the very young or the very inattentive can plead ignorance about the nature of Clintonism. The tires have been kicked very firmly, the Pinto has toppled over and the dealer is still going to make a sale. Who's fault is it really? A sucker and his freedoms are soon parted.
At the heart of this is a new truism: Actions don't matter in modern American politics. Gross incompetence did nothing to impair the re-election of Barack Obama. A crippling national debt and deficit seem like an afterthought in the media cycle. The world of objectively demonstrable action is taken to be nothing more than shadows on the wall. The deeds no longer matter. What does matter are certain words as they exist in the mind of the voter.
Now imagine if Hillary Clinton was to accidentally drop the n-word. She would have her defenders - her payroll is mighty large and mighty long - but if anything could destroy the good ship Clinton once and for all that might be it. When Donald Trump met Megyn Kelly the phrase "blood coming out of her wherever" was imbued with an electrified meaning. Had the world's most famous billionaire actually inflicted physical harm on Fox News' most famous broadcaster, I doubt the outcry would have been much worse.
The modern politician, unlike his predecessor from even a generation ago, doesn't really care what he is caught doing. Taking drugs? Marion Barry survived and thrived after that video surfaced. Manslaughter? Chappaquiddick. Treason? Take your pick of Democratic senators. Extra martial affairs? The list is too long to count. Scandals that once destroyed careers and toppled governments today are not just survivable but easily manageable.
What the modern politician is terrified of doing is uttering an incorrect thought. Words that were once innocuous are today career-killers. Vague expressions are easily interpreted as "dog-whistles" to the lunatic fringe. Those who seek high office are in the tightest of verbal straight jackets. This is reflected in the strange paradox of tongue tied politicians with loose personal lives. They know perfectly well where the greatest risk lies.
A greater degree of cynicism among the electorate doesn't fully explain this paradox. It tells us why voters care less about actions but not why we care more about words. There has been a shift in judgement, not simply in standards but in the method of judgement as well, in American culture. Actions were once the paramount standard. Did you tell a lie? Did you mow the lawn? Did you save the drowning child? This objective standard has been replaced by an emotional standard.
Now your actions pale in significance to your emotional intentions. I really wanted to tell the truth. I truly felt that mowing the lawn was a good idea. I grieve for the loss of the child. If we feel the right feelings then we are good people. Using an evil word betrays evils feelings. This is why the gaffe is so potent an element in political discourse, it's an alleged glimpse into the soul of the speaker. Someone might do the right thing out of social obligation. No one feels the right thing of social obligation.
Hillary Clinton has played the game long enough to keep her soul very well hidden.