Archive for October, 2014

Throw the bums out

We’re now in the final stretch of Ontario municipal elections. Incumbency rates at the municipal level are the highest in the system – average of which (73 out of 75) is far too high. Why?

People apparently believe when politicians stay in place, they become more competent. Competency is always an argument against the newcomer, who cannot possibly know all the details that incumbents know from the last 4 years. Incumbents were there, the newbie wasn’t. Thus the newbie can be made to look incompetent or fringe on some topic during a debate. Unfair.

The competency argument is bogus since politicians don’t run the city, bureaucrats do. Competency is a red herring to manipulate voters. In addition, it is highly unlikely that more than one or two newbies could ever succeed, a small portion of council, so the fear of idiotic ideas is also bogus. Ergo, you should elect on the basis of feelings, not knowledge.

The media will NEVER tell you that, since they like the system being good for their corporate needs, not for the needs of the people. More municipal advent dollars from big spenders.  The devil they know. And since being ignored is death in politics, the devil they can control.  New councilors learn realpolitik.  ‘Fringe’ is the favorite taunt of the media.

Municipalities form the base of the pyramid. They are ”creatures of the province’, which controls local politics through regulations and transfers (up/downloads). Nonetheless, it is important to reduce incumbency rates. In other blogs, I’ve tried to demonstrate how the system operates against the people and for the corporations. The only tool the people have is to vote in candidates who are not (yet) part of the system.

The solution: Term Limits.

One term is enough. After this, people forget why they entered politics and become expert at working the system. The system has its ways of capturing them. Ask yourself how politicians get such a nice house on a relatively low salary? Who pays for all those signs?  In Hamilton, politicians like Bernie Morelli had to die before new blood could enter the system. He was said to be careful to ‘serve the people’ especially poor people caught in the system, but his council decisions – the real job– helped hobble the city with hundreds of ‘public’ buildings that pay no taxes. No wonder residential taxes here are among the highest in Ontario. I hear Bernie will get statued by his elected and unelected fans. Dynasties, the ultimate result of long incumbency, are taking hold in Canada (Justin Trudeau), as in the US (Jeb Bush).

Throw the bums out

The only thing the people can do.  Get in the habit of voting for anyone but the present incumbent. Since so many people are docile sheep or who benefit from the status quo, only you can make a change. With enough candidates to choose from (Ward 4), ‘decline’, which I promoted in the last provincial election, is not a good idea. Do your homework, go to candidate’s websites and pick one you like. Hold your nose if you have to – its ok if some ideas of a ‘fringe’ candidate appear stupid. When they get there, they will have their folly pointed out and stopped by others so don’t use this snap judgement as an excuse.

It’s the feeling you want to vote for. Is he/she concerned about the people and what is their passion. Do they want government to fix things or do they want to reduce taxes and red tape in order to grow a prosperous city that lifts all boats? An impractical but honest Libertarian would leaven a council/ legislature nicely. Same with a one topic activist. How would they encourage new employment and businesses?  Don’t concentrate on fault finding. We’re all imperfect human beings (Rob Ford!). Even if you’re happily ensconced in the system, consider that so many people are being broken, making an unhealthy, even dangerous breakdown quite possible. Give us a break and vote for a newbie, even if you think your incumbent is ok. New blood is always needed and your incumbent will be released to do bigger and better things. They need that change too.

Reference

Term limits for Municipal Council, Leo Longo, 2013 – excellent review of this subject including historical observation that original terms were one year!

 

Death of Democracy

Your curmudgeon has been silent lately.
This old dog’s learning a new trick- acting – as a chorus member in Gary Santucci’s latest production: Democracy Is Dead – What are we going to do about it?

Our presentation is coming together nicely. Two nights left in this run so if you’re anywhere near Hamilton, you’ll be energetically entertained and politically stimulated. The Pearl Company, 16 Steven Street, Hamilton, 8pm. Strong language, stronger ideas.

The work continues to grow on me. Rod McTaggart, JonGordon Odegaard and of course Gary, take a complex subject, starting with a focus on municipal politicking, and deliver with passion and energy in a series of vignettes, my fav being ‘Cognitive Dissonance‘.  Its not an easy dialog but last evening, they nailed it. Our chorus line -this newbie in particular – was in awe of the talent before us.

My particular happiness was in being assigned to deliver Mark Twain’s famous line, here modernized: “If you don’t read the newspaper (or watch the news), you’re (a little) uninformed, but if you read the papers (or watch the news) you’re gonna be misled”.

A great example would be the Harper-Duffy fiasco. The media makes sound and fury. The sheeple react with outraged clamor. Partisans play their part, braying loudly.

Ha. Sheeple misled. Hoodwinked by the system which entertained -to distract said sheeple from what’s really going on – the selling of Canada and the dismantling of our sovereignty through yet more Free Trade Agreements. In September, when the Duffy noise was at its peak, both FIPA and CETA quietly slipped through. Only a little (celebratory) attention from the corporate media. On deals of this magnitude, there should have been months, even years of public discussion. Mulroney was decent enough to have an election around NAFTA.  So Harper tied Canada’s hands even as saner heads in Germany and the US try to drag the biggest deal, TPP into open debate. Well, Merkle postures her negotiating stance while Canada caves in obsequious subservience.

Same thing with Boy Scout Harper rattling on about ISIS. Instead of leaving well enough alone, he’s happy to keep up the distraction. Sheep.

These secret deals obligate taxpayers and destroy Democracy in favour of unelected tribunals, (much like the Landlord Tenant Board, my personal nemesis). When will its death be complete? I say when Jeb Bush becomes President. His brother George erased our fundamental protection, Habeas Corpus, which people hardly even know about, such is the sorry state of our vaunted education. Jeb will preside over the main act -WW3 – which the Pope declared to have already started.

Sleep on at your peril

Your Curmudgeon is having nightmares.