Quick, Find Bernie An Oprah


The 2000’s belonged to Oprah Winfrey. From Time, Life to Forbes, every media outlet and publication ranked Oprah as the most influential woman in America. Vanity Fair credited her with greater influence than the president. Oprah obliterated political, racial and economic boundaries. Anyone could ask what we thought, Winfrey wanted to know how we felt. Adept at measured opinion, she knew what to ask and when to listen. Oprah had no use for editorial rantings or blusters of reactionary postulation. Oprah made  foibles human, transgressions answerable and triumph magnificent. Recommend a book – we read it. Expose controversy – we talked about it. Mention Illinois Senator Barack Obama in 2006 – America listened.

Appearing on Larry King Live in September 2006, Winfrey was asked about a fan who started a campaign “Oprah for President”. Down-playing the notion, Oprah suggested the fan -“take all your energy, and put it in Barack Obama”, enthusing over her “favorite senator” with hopes that one day he would run for President. In October 2006, Barack and Michelle Obama appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to promote Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope. Oprah chided that if Obama decided to make a presidential run, she hoped he would announce intent on her show. Obama’s book hit No. 1 on Amazon and New York Times book lists, a week later Time magazine hit newsstands with a Obama cover and caption “Why Barack Obama Could Be the Next President”.

Announcing his candidacy on February 10, 2007 (not on Oprah, rather the steps of the Illinois State Legislature ) Obama trailed front runner Hillary Clinton for most of 2007. Considered a long shot, I firmly believe Oprah’s fund raising, endorsement and appearances at rallies catapulted Obama to official nominee on August 27, 2008.

Call me delusional but Bernie Sanders could be the Democrat nominee, we just need to find him an Oprah. Look at the facts – Hillary is a prig. Stiff, prudish, unimaginative, a two dimensional rubber stamp politician spewing  rhetoric with practiced correctness. When she speaks, all I hear is blah, blah, blah. My disdain for Hillary is curious. Twenty years ago I might have jumped on the gender wagon forsaking content for girl power, the single bright light being that today finds me demanding substance. Bernie Sanders has more substance than Hillary could muster in a lifetime.

It may be too little, too late but don’t let media tell you who the Democratic nominee will be. We need to find Bernie an Oprah, and fast!

 

Sarah Palin Confession


Thankfully, days of Sarah Palin making headline news is history. Palin tries – her recent call to impeach Obama fizzled faster than a dollar store sparkler. Likening Obama’s treatment of America to that of an abusive spouse, Palin argued “his unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, no mas”.

“Without borders, there is no nation,” Palin wrote. “Obama knows this. Opening our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his fundamental transformation of America. It’s the only promise he has kept.”

“It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment,” Palin wrote. “The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is.”

Oh Sarah – last year you called for Obama’s impeachment for the debt limit debacle – not even your old running mate John McCain found the stomach to back you up. Which brings me to my Sarah Palin confession – if I’m feeling a little grumpy, looking for something to buoy my spirits or a good old fashioned belly laugh – Sarah never lets me down.Take her comment to Sean Hannity when asked her opinion of the missing Malaysian airplane…

“I see all these smarty pants people on CNN saying it was terrorism or a fire in the cockpit, but I don’t hear anyone talking about the God possibility. I mean, what if they accidentally flew too high and got stuck in heaven”

Part of me wants to run a stream of equally idiotic Palin quotes – common sense screams “don’t kill the moment”. Read Palin’s “stuck in heaven” quote one more time before scraping your brain off the wall, then ponder Sarah Palin as a sure fire cure anytime you need a little “pick me up” – works for me every time. Holy crap.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/08/sarah-palin-impeach-obama_n_5567401.html?utm_hp_ref=sarah-palin

http://www.politicususa.com

 

 

Justin Trudeau


Far from being a list maker, stuff rattles about  my head – coming to the surface for no reason I can discern. Such was the case as I vacuumed the living room tonight and this ponder drifted to the surface. More accurately, my thoughts progressed from mild annoyance at the Republican vendetta against Obama, to a few minutes hard thinking on how “the people” could take back our political systems, and finally – Canadians I admire. Go figure; it doesn’t have to be a logical progression to get me fired up. By the time the room was clean – I had a serious ponder on the tip of my tongue.

Off the top of my head, three men came to mind. Romeo Dallaire, Tommy Douglas, and John Ware. Far from being “listed” because of political, religious or moral grounds – these men stood out among many, as people who genuinely cared. People who lived by a code of ethics, sense of national pride or duty and acted not out of self interest but a far greater purpose. People who put others before themselves, people who stood for something.

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/romeo-who/

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/tommy-douglas/

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/ponder-john-ware/

I can’t shake the feeling that our world needs a few more people willing to stand for something; people who can’t be “bought”, swayed or manipulated. We need people willing to go out on a limb – people tenacious enough to bring about change. I’d just about given up on the concept of a Canadian politician possessing these qualities – then I heard Justin Trudeau’s speech after being elected as leader of the Liberal party earlier this year. I can honestly say – I haven’t felt excitement like this in decades – maybe never. Justin Trudeau is a breath of fresh air; a man who just might be able to clear the dust out of Canadian politics. Trudeau, despite his political father’s legacy – doesn’t reside in the “old boy’s” club. He loves Canada, believes in restoring all of what makes Canada a special nation and doesn’t give a rat’s ass what stuffy Conservatives think. I suspect that someday, somewhere, some Canadian will write about what a “great Canadian” Justin Trudeau is.

An excerpt from his speech after winning the Liberal leadership. Following – a link to the entire speech.

“We are fed up with leaders who pit Canadians against Canadians. West against East, rich against poor, Quebec against the rest of the country, urban against rural.

Canadians are looking to us, my friends. They are giving us a chance, hopeful that the party of Wilfrid Laurier can rediscover its sunny ways.

Hopeful that positive politics has a fighting chance against the steady barrage of negativity that you and I both know is coming soon to TV screens across Canada. The phone messages, our volunteers tell us, have already started.

To adapt a sentiment from the great American President Franklin D. Roosevelt: never before in this country have the forces of negativity, cynicism and fear been so united in their hostility toward one candidate.

The Conservative Party will now do what it does. It will try to spread fear. It will sow cynicism. It will attempt to convince Canadians that we should be satisfied with what we have now.

For at the heart of their unambitious agenda is the idea that “better” is just not possible.

That to hope for something more from our politics and our leaders, more humanity, more transparency, more compassion, is naive and inevitably, will lead to disappointment.

And they will promote that divisive and destructive idea with passionate intensity. They will do so for a simple reason…
They are afraid. But… And I want to make this perfectly clear… My fellow Canadians, it is not my leadership that Mr. Harper and his party fear.

It’s yours.

There is nothing that these Conservatives fear more than an engaged and informed Canadian citizen.

My friends, if I have learned one thing in this life, it’s that our country is blessed with countless numbers of activist citizens, from all walks of life, and of all political views. They have come out by the thousands over the course of this campaign.

They’ve gathered by the hundreds in places like Ponoka Alberta and Oliver BC, Prince Albert Saskatchewan and Île-des-Chênes Manitoba. Canadians who thought they were sending community leaders to be their voice in Ottawa, but instead got only Mr. Harper’s voice back in their communities.

We’ve seen their hopeful faces in crowds of Canadians gathered in Windsor and Whitby, Mississauga and Markham. Middle class Canadians who are putting much into the economy and getting too little in return.

We’ve seen hard-working Atlantic Canadians from Edmunston to Halifax, from Summerside to St John’s, who have decided that this is a government that does not share their values.

To my friends in Labrador, I look forward to seeing you very soon.

We’ve met young Aboriginal leaders from all across this country, from Tk’emlups to Whapmagoostui, who are simply tired of being forced to the margins of this country. With the courage to walk 1600 kilometres through a Canadian winter to make the point that they will be Idle no More.

Francophones who live in Shediac, Sudbury, St Boniface and all across this country who want their children to live and thrive in French, your determination inspires me, it must inspire the entire country.

Quebecers, from Gatineau to Gaspé, who want to re-engage with this country. With their country. Who have no time for the divisive issues of their parents’ past, but want to work with Canadians who share their values to build a better country for all our kids.

I want to take a moment to speak directly to my fellow Quebecers. Your engagement and your support in recent months has been deeply moving. I have learned so much from our conversations and our meetings I take nothing for granted. I understand that trust can only be earned. And my plan is to earn yours.

I feel confident about the future. I want to share with you why

Quebecers have always been builders. From Champlain and Laurier to today, they have actively participated in shaping our country, together with so many other Canadians. Our work is not complete. We face enormous challenges

Helping the middle-class make ends meet. Reconciling economic growth and environmental stewardship. Playing a positive and meaningful role in the world.

To rise above these challenges we must demonstrate our audacity and ambition, my friends.

Audacity and ambition, always.

Lets be honest. We will not convince everyone. There will always be skeptics. People who say that our country is too big and too full of differences to be effectively managed, or for everyone to be represented. They are wrong my friends.

I am not claiming that it will always be easy. That there will not be any obstacles along the way. That we will not have to make some compromises.

Canada is a grand, yet unfinished project. And it is up to us, together with all Canadians, to build the country that we want.

The time has come for us to write a new chapter in the history of our country.

Let’s leave to others the old quarrels and old debates that lead nowhere. Let’s leave to others the ultra-partisan rhetoric and the old ways of doing politics. Let’s leave the personal attacks to them.

Quebecers, let us be, together, once again, builders of Canada.

So that our country can match the height of the dreams and ambitions that are shared across this country. So that we can leave our children a better world than the one that we inherited from our parents.

My friends, the Liberal Party will regain the confidence of Canadians when it proves that it is here to serve them. This is the task at hand. This is what will guide me as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

To the new generation of Canadians and to all the young people who are not engaged by politics, I have a very simple message for you.

Your country needs you

It needs your energy and your passion

It needs your idealism and your ideas

The movement we are have been building over the past 6 months, it is yours. It belongs to you.

It is the movement with which we will change politics.

It is the movement that will allow us to reform our political institutions, to make reconciling the environment and our economy a real priority, and to play a positive and constructive role in the world.

My fellow Liberals, Canadians are looking to us. This campaign has been their campaign, more than just ours.

They want something better. They refuse to believe that better is not possible. They see the country their parents and grandparents worked so hard to build, and want to hand an even better country to their children.

Canadians share deep values that cannot be shaken, no matter how hard the Conservative Party may try. Optimism. Openness. Compassion. Service to community.

Generosity of spirit.

We want to believe that change can happen. We want leadership that will shape our best instincts into an even better country.

But Canadians will not suffer fools gladly. Canadians turned away from us because we turned away from them. Because Liberals became more focused on fighting with each other, than fighting for Canadians.

Well, I don’t care if you thought my father was a great or arrogant. It doesn’t matter to me if you were a Chretien-Liberal, a Turner-Liberal, a Martin-Liberal or any other kind of Liberal. The era of hyphenated Liberals ends right here, tonight”

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/14/justin-trudeau-speech-full-liberal-win_n_3082219.html

Feeling Passive Aggresive


There are dozens of interesting topics rattling around my head, topics of interest without the slightest whiff of politics or religion. My practical side is screaming at an oblivious passive aggressive streak rearing it’s ugly head. Last night I received a comment on one of my posts; I’m not going to say which one, or name the author, but will quote an excerpt…

“Because Obama’s faith, or lack thereof, interferes with our lives. Initially he claimed to be Christian then he went to visit some foreign country and bowed deeply to the Prince who was Muslim. They hugged. If Obama was a ‘Christian’, he would not have bowed. His deep bow indicated submission and respect to that leader. In essence dragging out country with him. Muslims do not hug anyone but other Muslims.
Then Obama claims that he is Muslim. His accent is quite good when using their words, so it’s not something foreign to him. Yet this past Easter, while addressing his audience he says…”as we Christians”, including himself. Either the man can’t make up his mind what religion he is, or he thinks we are too stupid to know you cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim.
He has put Muslims in numerous aspects of the government, military and businesses. That way, when Obama is out of office, there will be other Muslims to take over.”

My apologies – I simply can’t help myself – I’m a nice person who should be sensible by letting it go. That said, who can blame me for a clip of George Bush holding hands and  kissing King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Advertise in Space


I suppose it was only a matter of time before space became a billboard. Earth to Sky Calculus is a group of high school students in Bishop, California –  run by Dr. Tony Phillips  from NASA. These are the people responsible for “space chicken” and “bobble head Obama” being launched to the edge of space via a helium weather balloon.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m fan of space chicken and bobble head Obama, I even posted about both events. My ponder stems from their latest venture – an opportunity to advertise in space. On April 22, which just happens to be “Earth Day“, they will launch your product or billboard into space. Perhaps float would be a better description than launch, as yet again it would travel by weather balloon to an altitude of 120,000 feet. It would then be photographed against the backdrop of our planet.

The United Nations has treaties governing the use of space for the benefit of all mankind. I see no benefit in placing billboards along the Karman line, when Photoshop would do quite nicely. Space should be spared the clutter of marketing campaigns – I’m not impressed by Earth to Sky’s gimmick.

 

Not Right America! (NRA)


MSNBC aired in the background as I dressed for work this morning. Back turned, mind closed to robotic dribble of an NRA member insisting armed guards in every school would eradicate mass shootings. Then NRA member dropped a grenade, arm every teacher. I stopped in my tracks. Excuse me?  Reporter asked – “What if the teacher didn’t agree?”  His response; “then I wouldn’t want my child in that classroom”

What’s wrong with America? Why is a pig headed NRA wing-nut extended validation by mass media? Am I too Canadian to grasp America’s affinity for free speech regardless of truth, consequence or detrimental divide? Who are these people? How can a non-profit tax exempt organization finance hand picked politicians and dictate public policy with impunity?

First stop, the NRA website. Their home page screamed “patriot”. Slick and interactive, proudly displaying an Eagle to mimic the presidential seal. The words “non profit” registered before I turned in disgust to Wikipedia. Formed in 1871, NRA was established to protect second amendment” right to bear arms ”  in the Bill of Rights.  In truth the NRA exists because the Union Army were lousy marksmen. NRA co-founder George Wingate traveled to Europe and fancied the level of training. Back in America Wingate lobbied the New York legislature to correct lousy shots by funding gun ranges. The NRA was born. The first NRA president was Civil War General Ambrose Burnside.

A humble enough beginning; completely understandable and practical in it’s time. This “non-profit” was funded by the likes of Remington and Sharps rifle manufacturers.  They established gun clubs, taught marksmanship and certified gun owners. The NRA of today is far more

Call me crazy but for the life of me I need to know how a non-profit society is able to become the most powerful lobby in America? Forget the gravy – all I want is a meat and potatoes answer. How can a non profit organization contribute millions of dollars to political campaigns? These people are not elected; yet are allowed to influence policy. How can we validate the NRA’s agenda by airing “press conferences” that subject reasonable people to nonsense?

I’m not an American, perhaps I’ll never understand.

Obama 'actively' supports assault weapons ban; NRA ends silence on school shooting

A protestor holds a banner during a march to the National Rifle Association headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Curbing gun violence will be a top priority of President Barack Obama’s second term, aides say. but exactly what he’ll pursue and how quickly are still evolving. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Pondering Stephen Harper


Now that Barack Obama is safely in the White House, I’ve turned my thoughts back home. The problem is – I’m not recognizing what I see. Even more disturbing, is the fact that Canadians by nature are a cheerful bunch, willing to accept, overlook, and forgive. We pride ourselves on a set of ideals that this Canadian sees evaporating before my eyes.

The Harper government is now denying chemotherapy to refugees. I can’t think of many things more un-Canadian. For one refugee lucky enough to have settled in Saskatchewan, the provincial government stepped up to cover the costs.

Under Harper, Canada’s military spending is at its highest since the second world war. His government pushed for an extension of military involvement in Afghanistan. He insisted that Canada be involved in the NATO response to Libya, with Canadian jets flying 10% of the sorties. He has been critical of the UN, and outspoken in the defence of Israel.

Harper’s reformist ideology seemingly lacks a place for women, in the form of pay equity or equal rights. The abortion debate has reared its ugly head again, and funding has been cut by almost half for women’s programs. From the arts to environment, principles that Canadians hold dear have been replaced by an unrecognisable right wing agenda.

The Canada I see is not the Canada I know. My Canada is the voice of reason. A nation of peace keepers; the home of Romeo Dallaire and all the unsung heroes from Croatia to Rwanda. My Canada accepts religion, sexual orientation, and race. My Canada doesn’t choose  Justin Beiber over a meeting of provincial premiers, even if Beiber is Canadian. My Canada likes to visit America but remembers what it is that makes us Canadian.

I’m not sure why Stephen Harper wants to re-make Canada, I’m certain however, that we like it just the way it was.

Justin Bieber and Stephen Harper Friday