"Okay everyone, hold on to something; here we go?"
Bus Driver, #16 Arbutus, Vancouver, BC
This is sage advice while riding the new buses roaming the downtown streets of Lotusland.
Although these new transportation contraptions do have their blessings - folding chairs and computerized script - "Main Street - Stop" - and voice messages-"please move to the back of the bus" - some executive doorknob forgot to check the aerodynamics of the design models. The slightest turn or breaking and hordes of passengers are thrown asunder. As one cynical elderly woman once shouted upon being jolted and jostled down and across the aisle. "If you aren't already handicapped when ya get on these blasted things, you will be by the time you get off!"
Alas, I thought this morning, it is also sage advice for us all in these expansionary recessionary times, under a new same old same old "Steve the Sweater Man" minority government.
While the fundamentals of the Canadian economy were basically sound a week ago, there was Harpoon's merry minstrel of finance Jimbo Hilarity handing out billions of dollars of our money to Canadian Banks and financial institutions who quite frankly have been scooping-up record profits for years. Now, we're hearing that more changes are forthcoming to keep our noble bankers "competitive" on the world markets. That sounds like increased foreign ownership and/or mergers. Harpoon is certainly not going to nationalize anything. We're no longer British you know!
Steve has also outlined a 6-point plan of action. Boy this guy is clever! He steals ideas from that wild and crazy recession-envious Dion, two-days after the election, writes down 6 things that would be obvious to a Grade Six-er preparing to run a lemonade stand, and calls it an Action Plan for economic recovery.
Keep the bar low, always meet it - presto, people go around saying you're doing a wonderful job. Steady, calm, say nothing about the environment, other than lie about Dion's carbon tax.Wow! Now that's leadership. Okay, I'm a little po'd, with the election results.
Here's a quick summary for the 10 million hockey pucks who didn't vote. Some doorknob gets 38% of the popular vote and wins 143 seats, and is, in all likelihood, going to govern as if he had a majority mandate. Maxine "Loose Lips" Bernier is re-elected. "Cold Cuts" Ritz is re-elected. What a stupid country.
The Bloc gets 10% of the popular vote, and 50 seats. What a stupid country. The Greens get 9% of the popular vote in BC, and have no representation. What a stupid country.
Tar Sands Jack didn't become Prime Minister. What a stupid, err, ah, forget it.
Dion is already suffering from knife-in-the-back attacks from those sore losers, "bring out your dead"Liberals. Man, they don't wait long to bury their dead, eh? "I'm not dead yet!" Pop, now you are an instanttax deductible carbon. The poor environmental bugger won't even be recycled! Cement shoes are not environmentally-friendly.
Perhaps it's time for the so-called Left to merge.
As a couple of pundits - former Liberal Environment Minister David Anderson and political journalist Norman Spectre - said last night, in hindsight, the Greens had their best shot with Dion as Liberal leader - he had a carbon tax, a good one. Why bother running candidates, any candidates, anywhere, against him? Good point, in hindsight.
As for Tar Sands Jack, the only light at the end of his tunnel is a mirage; it's merely the glow off his over-sized ego/aura.
The NDP has some choices to make as well. To be different from his rivals, Jack opted for the Cap and Trade thingy, more along the lines of the free market approach of one Stevie Harpoon. It worked. NDPersdistinguished themselves from the evil Liberals, and out-flanked the pesky Greens, and tried to become the official opposition. It didn't work. The NDP does not have any power. More seats, the NDP has, but with less power. No credibility. When will the NDPers learn that we are not ordinary Canadians, and we sit around dining room tables, preferably mahogany ones, not kitchen tables? Cut the cartoon talk and hand out the silverware Jack. You need a Politics for Dummies book! Do you seriously think Jack and Olivia even have a kitchen table?
Unless the government decides to implement proportional representation - don't choke on that possibility â€” things are not likely to change any time soon for any of the lefties, and well, you can be sure the Liberals will be high-tailing back to the centre once they kill-off Dion.
Should weworry about opting for proportional representation? It works in other countries. Supposedly, governments last longer, have more civility and so forth. Why not in Canada?
We're still stuck on the British parliamentary model, which has served us well for over a hundred years, but works best when there are only 2 or maybe 3 Parties.
Hey, contrary to NDPers' illusions, we're still used to two national governing parties, Liberals and Conservatives. We haven't adapted. Maybe it's cause for years we only had the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Habs, the Montreal Canadiens; one winner, one loser. If Harpoon isstuck in the 50s, why can't we be! Maybe it's time to call GaryBettman and get him to implement a more exciting, moreproportional system.
Look at the NHL Model. You may lose in an overtime shutout, but still get a point in the Standings!!! You get just slightly less than 50 % of the goals, but put a point in the win column. Ya gotta love it. Thirty teams now have a chance to make the play-offs! Proportional representation! Dial 1-800-Cal- Gary begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-Cal- Gary end_of_the_skype_highlighting!
Now, back to the carbon tax.
Many pundits as well as arm-chair quarterbacks keep howling that with the economy in the dumpster, this is no time for dippy dunking. When the economy goes into a tail-spin it is always the arts or education or, in this case, the environment that gets singled out as "fat". We can't afford a carbon tax; it'll lead to a recession, yadda, yadda, yadda. Over 230 economists apparently endorsed the carbon tax plan, proposed by Dion. He was ignored by everyone, everyone but one man. That would be our Steve. Huh?
I agree with David Anderson. Before the next term is up for the Conservatives, there will be some form of a carbon tax. Why? Because Cause Harpoon will have to do something - the only other leader who agreed with him on "intensity targets" is now a movie. Secondly, read the tea leaves.
The Liberals lost their base in Quebec. Stevie won't mess with losing support on his turf, Alberta. When an environmental lawyer, running for the NDP, wins a seat in Edmonton, you had better atleasttake some notice. Finally, he will take - co-opt -the one last policy difference away from the opposition. Imagine a divided Left with no cause celeb. Viola - a Con majority, as long as he keeps his yap shut about galas and culture, and maybe changes his sweater to a light fluffy wash-and-wearbrown, and sits down around Danny Williams' kitchen table,
Meanwhile the banks get loaded. As the old song says "the rich get rich and the poor get poorer."
What the heck is going on?
Around that dining room table the other night, were 4 people: I, who voted Green, two who voted Liberal one, who voted Conservative. A lot of Easterners don't get the BC fluctuation between NDP-Conservative or Green-Conservatives. Deal with it.
We all agreed on one thing - governments, reluctantly, have to step in and prop-up economies when the gold-plated door crumbles. On the other hand, the Con supporter said "why do we hand back money to some smuck who was making $24,000 a day screwing people?" Good point. Did anyone hand myfriend back the money he lost on hisinvestments because some other doorknob foolishly diddled the market place? Did anyone hand out 25 billion to the homeless? What happen to all the profits made by these same banks? Record profits, the banks make,ridiculously huge amounts of money, year after stinking year? Why don't they pay for this mess with their own usury-made money? No, can't do that; they'd have to sell their mahogany tables.
Hey, I've got another question!!? If all the banks are unable to borrow or lend money, and the US government has no surplus, who do they borrow the money from? The Chinese, of course, and
Again: who else lends money these days. Does that scare anyone's grand kids?
Please do not tell me, should the topic of the environment come up again, that we can't afford it! We have to afford it or it is curtains, for all of us. What part of "reaching 12 tipping points" do these knobs not get? You think the banks are crumbling? Wait till ya see the Arctic and Antarctic.
Meanwhile, as another symbol of the worlds' financialcraziness, as some poor third-world smuck has to walk 4 miles a day for wood and/or water to feed her family once a day, some Greek basketball team has offered Kobe Bryant something like $83 million over 3 years, a free house, a private jet, and will pay all his taxes, to throw a ball into a basket. How about a million bucks or two for toting two buckets of water and a head-full of wood a mile?
Wal-Mart workers in Quebec vote in a union. Wal-Mart closes the store. AIG gets billions form the US Treasury, and throws a $440,000 party for their workers. On and on it goes. Let them eat cake, although she didn't, in fact, make any such comment.
Who understands? As one of my friends said, quoting someone he'd seen on TV, to sum up the current financial crisis, "It's capitalism on the way up; socialism on the way down." (In fact, it's socialism to stay up.)
Okay everyone, hold on to something, here we go, the bus is out of control, again.
Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.
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