Micro Managing the World

Submitted by Deborah O’Connor.

 

Have we all become a bunch of whining micro-managers? Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when did our opinions take over our lives? Has the explosion of readily available information and social media led to us all becoming know-it-alls?

For me it started with the federal election in the fall of 2015. So many of us were desperate to remove Stephen Harper and his Conservatives from power, and that’s understandable. What became less understandable was the partisan hats some of us wore night and day, probably in the bath tub too. It wasn’t enough to get Harper out, the squabbling over which party should do it became unbearable. Friends could no longer talk to each other over the big divide if they supported the “wrong” party. Bad feelings took many months, perhaps longer, to overcome. Some people never got over it and friendships became shattered over the issue of who should lead Canada.

Then came the American election, and all hell broke loose. The unthinkable happened when Donald Trump won the presidency, and every day new horrors await us when we turn on the television or open the newspaper. The future looks grim for all of us, with few options to wriggle out from underneath the weight of growing fascism.

Yet, as much as we all agree on many issues, we are fractured, divided by the sureness of our own convictions about how to fix things. Nobody listens anymore; consensus is almost impossible. It’s “my way or the highway” for too many of us.

As for this tired old Canadian, I’ve seen the error of my ways. Finally I have come to understand there is no single perfect answer, no politician who will do exactly what I think they should. Time for me, and all of us, to grow up, shut up, and listen to what other people are saying for a change. Be flexible and willing to consider what others have to say. Who knows, perhaps together we can find solutions to our problems that might not be perfect, but might just be acceptable, might just do the job. Like John Lennon said, “give peace a chance”. I’m ready, are you?

Thanks for the Shoutout John

In this morning’s Cobourg news John updates his list of local blogs and what a blog is.

For those landing on my site as a result of clicking on John’s link you may not be aware of this site and deserve an explanation.

My real name is Ben Burd and have lived in Cobourg since 1972. Politically active in the past, I have run as an NDP candidate both Federally and Provincially and served three terms on Cobourg Council and one on County Council. I am now semi retired and post less – the effects of getting older outrage is muted!

I have an opinion on most things, when asked, and use this online publication to discuss many things. This site is the sixth generation of online publications,  very early on I eschewed the description ‘blog’ as I thought the contents deserved more than a derisory caption. I do have a historical archive page ready to go up and all of my posts since 2000 will soon be available.

Anyway I hope this answers the question “who are you and what is the BurdReport?” I publish less these days and in order to avoid disappointment that no new posts are available sign up for notifications and you will receive posts in the mail.

The year of the crab 2016 leads into what?

crabMany years ago – in a more genteel time, I heard the year of the time described as the year of the Crab. “People hide in their caves emerge to bite you and then go back in the cave.” Obviously an observation about attitudes towards Politicians. All people wanted to do was bite them on the arse. It hasn’t improved and in fact got worse in 2016. If you believe the pundits – who were wrong all along, they are now explaining that the population is a seething mass of angry voters just willing to act out against the status quo. Pointing to Brexit and the election of Trump the pundits then hide behind their keyboards, with smug smiles, and continue to live a life of delusion in a completely unknown world.

What has brought about this post – the year-end, a need to make predictions ot something else?

Last night I received a phone call from the Ontario NDP, one of many as it is year end and they want to fundraise. Problem is that I cut off my monthly funding to the NDP as soon as the Convention in Winnipeg crucified the then Leader Tom Mulcair. After all it wasn’t Tom’s fault the NDP lost the election it was the backroom idiots who have now left (never to return I hope) who designed the election. Thinking to myself that the insurgents – led by silver-spoon socialists Avi Lewis and his wife Naomi Klein had been successful in pushing an academic list of political impractibilities, they should have the chance to take the party where they wanted it to go. Unfortunately like all crabs this power couple has disappeared back into the cave. I decided to remove myself from the political process and sever all connections to the only political party I have supported in the last forty years. How’s the old saw – “I didn’t leave the Party it left me!”

Anyway back to the phone call and the push to write this post. As the polite person on the other end asked me if I would reconsider funding the provincial party as my decision had been based on Federal actions. I told her that the Provincial party isn’t much better and what policies are we taking into the next election. What she said next stunned me, but on reflection it was predictable. “The election isn’t until 2018 and we will not put out a platform until close to that – We don’t want the other Parties to steal our policies!!” As I quietly said to her if we campaign on bread and butter issues – the problems of a precarious workforce and the moves needed to stop that – changes to the Employment Standards Act, higher minimum wage a Bill to control Employment Agencies and wage-theft for a start. I also told her that if the ONDP ever had the balls to put out such protection measures before an election months ahead of the vote “Don’t worry the other Parties will never steal that stuff!” At that point the polite person calmly told me that she had noted my comments in my file. End of conversation.

So with all the political turmoil of the year this conversation just about caps it off for me. Time for me to go into my cave.

When I emerge, the answers to the questions posed by the Trump Cabinet appointments will be known. As Robert Reich pointed out a couple of weeks ago what are progressives supposed to think when –

“Trump will be nominating the most radical right-wing cabinet in American history — including an EPA administrator who doesn’t believe in regulating the environment, an Attorney General who doesn’t believe in the Voting Rights Act, a Secretary of Education who doesn’t believe in public education, a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who doesn’t believe in the Fair Housing Act, and a Secretary of Health and Human Services who doesn’t believe in public health insurance. And then there’s Trump himself, who doesn’t believe in anything except himself.”

And don’t start me off on the Sunny Ways programme of following the typical Liberal way of governing. As the love of my life keeps telling me, “Don’t get yourself worked up they all lie and never do what they say they will do!” Definitely time for the cave.

Spit tests – an opinion from Port Hope

spitBeginning today, Toronto police will be asking motorists to ‘volunteer’ a saliva sample they intend to use in a new drug screening program. So new, as a matter of fact, that the method of testing hasn’t been invented yet. But the police seem to think unless they take it upon themselves to collect random samples from the public, research will slow to a crawl, victim of all that laboratory stuff like double-blind tests and placebos and paid subjects even.

The police promise that the content of whatever is found in your spittle, no matter what might be discovered by whatever method will never result in charges being laid.

I came across this rather alarming little bit of information by way of NewsTalk1010’s The Round Table this morning.

Of the four panelists, three are died-in-the-wool conservatives, most notably Tim Hudak, former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Also along for the ride were right-wingers Christie Blatchford, columnist with The National Post and Lorrie Goldstein, columnist with The Toronto Sun. As well, of indeterminate political bent, was James Laidlaw.

The show, usually moderated by John Moore, was hosted this morning by Barb Degullio.

Why am I dwelling on the make-up of the panel? Why? Because three out of four, the three conservatives, all would be more than happy, in the interest of law and order, to supply a little spit for the cops.

What harm could it possibly do?

Tim Hudak, an ass-kisser from way back, went so far as to pull out the old saw “Why not -I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Blatchford and Goldstein, authority loving writers writing for authority loving newspapers, couldn’t think of a single bad thing to say about the police initiative.

No one bothered raising any questions about their sample being mixed up with someone else’s or whether refusing to go along with the random harvest of saliva could cause you to be suspected of something. Nope. None of that Debbie Downer stuff. What could possibly go wrong? And a Merry Christmas to you too officer! When you’re done with my spit, would you mind returning it….along with whatever threads of my civil rights you might find laying around on the lab floor?

Saturday’s Globe&Mail, in a feature about suicides involving the TTC and GO Transit, said GO’s post-incident procedures include mandatory drug and alcohol testing for the train crew. GO Trains, except for the Milton line, are operated by Bombardier crews. When I was a GO engineer, CN supplied those engineers and we sure as hell were not subjected to drug and alcohol testing after a suicide or any other traumatic event. And there were many.

Our union at the time argued, and supplied medical evidence, that after a person witnesses a suicide their bodies begin producing chemicals naturally and that in some cases those chemicals can mimic certain drugs or alcohol. Thus, the tests were compromised.

And besides, other than being the instrument of death, what the hell has the operating crew got to do with a person taking their own life? What could they possibly done to affect a different outcome?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Testing of GO crews after a suicide is nothing more than a cheap excuse to exercise a misguided authority.

I’ll say this for the three conservative panelists this morning; as far as ass-kissing goes, their ass-kissing is a cut above your garden variety ass-kissing. Conservatives, by their nature, crave a strong hand, authority they can really look up to -no matter how much that authority looks down on them.

To the credit of NewsTalk1010, the resident lawyer, Edward Pruschi, had earlier made it very clear (but not, apparently, clear enough for Blatchford, Goldstein and Hudak) that the best thing to do if a Metro cop asks for a spit sample is to simply decline.

I couldn’t agree more. Beginning today, Toronto police will be asking motorists to ‘volunteer’ a saliva sample they intend to use in a new drug screening program. So new, as a matter of fact, that the method of testing hasn’t been invented yet. But the police seem to think unless they take it upon themselves to collect random samples from the public, research will slow to a crawl, victim of all that laboratory stuff like double-blind tests and placebos and paid subjects even.

The police promise that the content of whatever is found in your spittle, no matter what might be discovered by whatever method will never result in charges being laid.

I came across this rather alarming little bit of information by way of NewsTalk1010’s The Round Table this morning.

Of the four panelists, three are died-in-the-wool conservatives, most notably Tim Hudak, former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Also along for the ride were right-wingers Christie Blatchford, columnist with The National Post and Lorrie Goldstein, columnist with The Toronto Sun. As well, of indeterminate political bent, was James Laidlaw.

The show, usually moderated by John Moore, was hosted this morning by Barb Degullio.

Why am I dwelling on the make-up of the panel? Why? Because three out of four, the three conservatives, all would be more than happy, in the interest of law and order, to supply a little spit for the cops.

What harm could it possibly do?

Tim Hudak, an ass-kisser from way back, went so far as to pull out the old saw “Why not -I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Blatchford and Goldstein, authority loving writers writing for authority loving newspapers, couldn’t think of a single bad thing to say about the police initiative.

No one bothered raising any questions about their sample being mixed up with someone else’s or whether refusing to go along with the random harvest of saliva could cause you to be suspected of something. Nope. None of that Debbie Downer stuff. What could possibly go wrong? And a Merry Christmas to you too officer! When you’re done with my spit, would you mind returning it….along with whatever threads of my civil rights you might find laying around on the lab floor?

Saturday’s Globe&Mail, in a feature about suicides involving the TTC and GO Transit, said GO’s post-incident procedures include mandatory drug and alcohol testing for the train crew. GO Trains, except for the Milton line, are operated by Bombardier crews. When I was a GO engineer, CN supplied those engineers and we sure as hell were not subjected to drug and alcohol testing after a suicide or any other traumatic event. And there were many.

Our union at the time argued, and supplied medical evidence, that after a person witnesses a suicide their bodies begin producing chemicals naturally and that in some cases those chemicals can mimic certain drugs or alcohol. Thus, the tests were compromised.

And besides, other than being the instrument of death, what the hell has the operating crew got to do with a person taking their own life? What could they possibly done to affect a different outcome?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Testing of GO crews after a suicide is nothing more than a cheap excuse to exercise a misguided authority.

I’ll say this for the three conservative panelists this morning; as far as ass-kissing goes, their ass-kissing is a cut above your garden variety ass-kissing. Conservatives, by their nature, crave a strong hand, authority they can really look up to -no matter how much that authority looks down on them.

To the credit of NewsTalk1010, the resident lawyer, Edward Pruschi, had earlier made it very clear (but not, apparently, clear enough for Blatchford, Goldstein and Hudak) that the best thing to do if a Metro cop asks for a spit sample is to simply decline.

I couldn’t agree more.

An action to cheer a local Democrat

ballotboxThe last time this happened Cobourg Council wimped out. This time they are being adventurous and daring. We applaud them.

What we are talking about is a Councillor replacement process. When Cllr. Rickerby resigned Council appointed the now Cllr. Burchat. When Cllr Sherwin announces his resignation on Monday night Council will be ready with a brand new replacement policy. This policy was written in response to the discussion about Cllr. Burchat’s appointment. Some people wanted an election but Council said it would be too costly, the BR disagreed but Council proceeded anyway with an appointment. Citing that the loser with the most votes had gained a “significant” number of votes and therefore merited an appointment.

Not only as Council acted on its own policy but also has taken away another debating point by defining what “Significant” is in the eyes of policymakers. A copy of a part of the report to Council (read it here) states:

Option 1:
A review of the Council Candidate who received the most number of votes in the previous 2014 Municipal Election after the recent appointment of Aaron Burchat to fill the last Council Vacancy was conducted. Based on the review, the next candidate received substantially less than 50% of the number of votes received by the lowest elected Councillor. Therefore, it was deemed that the number of votes received was not significant enough to warrant appointment.
This in itself is significant!
OK so much for the facts now for the opinion. Firstly this is a great move, and one the BR can support. Our first preference would have been, as it was the last time this ocurred, to have an election. But this is a good second best. But the process is not without its faults. First of all any successful candidate will have to have the confidence of the Council as they go into the process.
The process is:
  1. Read the local newspaper in the next two weeks and answer the advertisement.
  2. Pick up, fillout and return the proper application form by 4pm Wednesday January 18th 2017.
  3. Attend the Special Council Meeting to be held at 4pm on January 23rd 2017.
  4. Speak to the asssembled Council and in ten minutes explain why you want to be on Council and impress Council.
  5. Watch Council as they vote for one of the assembled candidates.
  6. Watch as Council appoints the first candidate to get a quorum of votes from the Council.

So is this a perfect answer to an election – NO but it comes close. The difference is that instead of getting more votes from Cobourg Citizens than the other candidates one has to get four votes of seven from a Council.

Putting on our cynic’s hat it is obvious to us that if Council has gone this far it is inconceivable that they don’t have a preferred candidate already and who has already been prompted by the Mayor, or his best buddy, to get their name in. The telling points in this are: just who will be applying for the position  and, in the round of voting, will all of Council vote for the same person.

A seasonal tale from DC in PH

15170899_10154694881042744_2760906960994341380_nI went to jail in 1976.

The old Don Jail at Gerrard and Broadview where the last hanging in Canada took place. I did three days for unpaid parking tickets -$1,700 worth. I was in a dormitory holding cell with about 30 other scoflaws -murderers, scam artists, dreadful types like me that felt it was their right to park wherever they wanted. The cell reeked of stale tobacco and body odour -but the food was good, made better even by the fact that a Kentucky Fried Chicken on the other side of Gerrard could be glimpsed through the bars and Don Jail chicken was better than KFC.

Whatever you’re in jail for, two things happen the moment that iron door clangs shut behind you: (1) You are immediately, at least in your own head, reformed and (2) you are seized with the terrible feeling that the world will forget all about you. The great relief of knowing I would not be forgotten came to me in the uniformed presence of a Salvation Army Chaplain who quickly dispelled all fears by carefully copying down the names and phone numbers of those who might be interested in my whereabouts. Every one of those people was told where I was and when I’d be released.

The Salvation Army is a religion. Part of their religious tenet ascribes to discriminating against homosexuals within their organization. Much has been made of this lately, our LGBTQ awareness being more finely tuned than in the past. One man, posting on Port Hope Politics vehemently declared he would not give a cent to the Sally Ann because of their anti-gay beliefs. And I have spoken to other gay people who feel the same way. However, I hardly think all homosexuals are on that particular bandwagon. Like the rest of society they are a diverse group.

Would the Salvation Army chaplain I met in the Don have ignored my needs had I declared that I was a homosexual? Somehow I doubt it. Would I be turned away from a Salvation Army shelter if I were a homosexual in need of a bed on a cold night? I doubt that too. Would a single mom surviving on welfare, raising three kids and never having enough to eat, one of those kids just discovering that he or she was gay, would that single mom be refused a Christmas hamper if the Salvation Army found out about the kid?

I can’t imagine that happening.

It has been my experience that there have always been those who will find just about any excuse not to donate -whether it’s to The United Way, The Red Cross, World Vision or….The Salvation Army. It’s been my experience too that their excuse(s) are based in ‘principle’. Their principles. Not the principles of any of those organizations.

I’ve never forgotten that fear of being forgotten. And every time I see a Salvation Army Red Kettle I remember that fear and I think about an all too common phrase we use to discredit someone who might lack the courage of their convictions: “If you’re going to talk the talk -you better know how to walk the walk”. The Salvation Army doesn’t just talk the talk. The Salvation Army walks the walk. And, in my opinion, none of us should walk past that Red Kettle without at least giving some thought to what it must be like to walk in someone else’s shoes.

Dan Christie

Light relief from our Pal in PH

As happens often, a young couple came to the door seeking my advice. They bore the furrowed brows of the confused, a hallmark of those living outside Facebook, always an encouraging sign.

“Mr. Christie, we’re confused -as you can probably tell from our furrowed brows.” the young man said.

It’s Monday so here’s a post

cccGet used to it folks, this place will soon be the only place for recreation programmes in the Town. Despite the fact that a lot of people prefer to use the Market Building and despite the fact that the CCC is not as accessible as the ‘crats believe, it is going to be the hub of activity as the Director of parks and Rec (and don’t forget Culture) as the department consolidates.

Finally a post!

You may have noticed that there has not been a post on this site since August 25th many weeks ago. I owe you, the faithful readers an explanation – ennui and a sense of “what’s the point” set in.

Another one from Port Hope

Listening last Sunday to CBC’s ‘The One-Eighty’ with Jim Brown, I again heard the voice of one Jason Shron, train enthusiast extrodinaire, tireless proponent of high speed rail, and owner of Rapido Trains -which, it should be made clear, is a manufacturer of model trains.

Finally something we can get excited about

imagesIf one remembers the debate at Cobourg Council two months ago when the man with the most votes of the losers in the 2014 Municipal Election was appointed to replace resigning Councillor Rickerby one would also remember that a policy about filling future vacancies was commissioned.

How about some good news and then some really bad news

videoWith the welcome news that Cobourg Council will begin ‘streaming’ its meetings comes the absolutely horrible news that they will only be available for three months. For those who have waited for the campaign promise and strategic plan entry the news that ‘streaming’ video will be coming at us over the interwebthingy is  a big “What kept yah”. But the idea that only three months worth of history will available on “civicweb” is a big letdown and heresy to all of who value history as it is being made.

Summer Time send us your pieces.

From Dan Christie:

Donald Trump: Man Of Peace
One of my favourite Dylan albums is 1983’s ‘Infidels’. For the affecianado, all of Bob Dylan’s work contains insights, real or imagined, that can be conveniently applied this way or that to whatever argument a person might be making -especially as those insights apply to politics.

One of those “Oh No” moments

NonameAs a person who was born and raised in the UK,the events of the last few days have been puzzling to observe and even more puzzling to understand. What condition produced the surprising result of the Brexit debate – that to leave?