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

What Are We Afraid Of?


As a little girl I remember chanting “eeny meeny miney mo, catch a n****r by the toe”, it was the early sixties, I was 3 or 4 and hadn’t the slightest concept of what it meant. Somewhere along the way the “N” word became “Tiger” – I can’t recall an explanation, all I knew was we had to decide whose turn it was to go first, so tiger it was. There wasn’t a hateful bone in my body; my family – decent hard working people who never spoke ill of anyone. It wasn’t the deep south, this was rural Canada  in 1963 – parents passing along rhymes  they learned as children – nary a thought to meaning.

I believe that “Tiger” was Martin Luther King Jr. Fifty years ago today, close to a quarter of a million people marched on Washington, D.C. Gathered at the Washington Monument, Martin Luther King spoke for nearly 20 minutes, delivering his iconic I Have a Dream speech. Powerful, articulate, compelling – I can’t think of words that do justice to this moment in history.

MLK was a proud American; a man who asked only that people uphold the American constitution, the promise of emancipation, the pursuit of life, liberty and freedom for all citizens. He calls for tolerance, understanding, and peace. He asks that the black community forgive white America and proceed in a spirit of understanding. If you do nothing else today – take 5 minutes out of your life –  click below and listen to the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFcbpGK9_aw

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Listen then ask yourself what it is you’re afraid of. Ask yourself what good it does to sabotage every move the Obama administration makes. Ask yourself if a “tiger” is just as capable of settling things as any other animal you could name. Ask yourself why you’re filled with contempt, ask yourself to snap out of the past and think for yourselves. Stop being afraid and ask yourself if America is worth fighting for. One of the greatest Americans in history answered that question 50 years ago today – to think his life was in vain breaks my heart.

Nothing Like a Good Conspiracy


Good conspiracy theories spread like juicy gossip. Some fade, a few endure, others are  too silly to discuss. Lives are devoted to unearthing “truth”. Conspiracy web sites abound and television shows like Conspiracy Theory with Jessie Ventura or Brad Meltzer’s Decoded offer hours of mindless dribble.

The other day I stumbled upon an episode of Jessie Ventura”s conspiracy show. The subject was “humanzees” , a secret U.S. government research project aimed at designing ape-man hybrids. Ventura and his investigators took the matter seriously – in the end we had a lot of unanswered questions, no credible evidence, and one overly concerned Jessie Ventura.

Naturally I started pondering my list of favourite outrageous conspiracies, a task more difficult than it sounds. It would be easy to go to conspiracy sites and pick out the most ludicrous. Instead I’ve decided to pull them out of my head, approaching this like a game of telegraph. Far too preposterous to research, I settled on fantasises presented as fact.

Ancient Aliens – one of my guilty pleasures – is the source of spectacular nonsense. Hitler escaped in an alien time machine, bigfoot is an alien, an alien race genetically altered the evolution of man, and Joan of Arc was acting on behalf of alien guardians. Not to be out done, Scott Wolter on America Unearthed offers copper from the Great Lakes fuelled the bronze age, the Knights Templar hid the Holy Grail in America, and a possible ancient Maya site exists in Georgia. Conspiracy dwellers claim Fort Knox hasn’t contained any gold for decades, a massive secret government bunker was built beneath the airport in Denver, Freemasons secretly control America, and the Alaska Triangle gives Bermuda a run for its money. All of these fall into the rather silly category; but I have to admit Fort Knox conspiracies and secret bunkers haven’t been completely stricken from my mind. Nor do I believe Christopher Columbus “discovered” America – ancient history conspiracies should perhaps be given some other name.

The most well known conspiracy might be what happened at Roswell New Mexico. Area 51 has created a cult following of theorists; in my mind the fodder for the science fiction craze that followed. There are people who believe the moon landing was faked, 9/11 was orchestrated by the government, and the CIA assassinated Kennedy. Though little doubt lingers that governments orchestrate perception; look no farther than the weapons of mass destruction fiasco precipitating the  invasion of Iraq as an example – I’m more curious about an explosion of misinformation from news media.

Glenn Beck sits upon his Fox news throne proclaiming Obama is creating a “civilian security force” to enforce Marxism and socialism in America. Beck also came up with his theory of a secret “land based currency”, reporting a government plan to base American currency on land rather than gold. He claimed plans were in place to forcibly take land from citizens using Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as their foot soldiers. As if that isn’t crazy enough, Beck claims the government would ask China to step in as muscle in exchange for oil, land, and mineral rights. Beck frequently speaks of Obama’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Most people easily discount alien intervention as belonging to the “tin foil hat” crowd. Television programs about conspiracies are taken with a grain of salt, nothing more than mild entertainment. The far greater concern is opinion dressed up as news. The Glenn Becks of this world are dangerous; planting seeds of fantasy, which translate into truth for far too many people, People who now stand unshakeable in their belief that Obama is Muslim with a secret agenda to destroy their way of life. It’s beyond crazy. We wonder why society is crumbling, fanaticism is out of control, and paranoia has replaced common sense.

Ponder mass media conspiracy theorists then ask yourself why we allow opinion to be dressed up as fact. This isn’t about freedom of speech ; when opinion presents itself as truth – a line has been crossed.

Some Foxy News


I used to tune into Fox News every once and a while when I needed a laugh. As time passed it wasn’t funny any more. Somewhere around Hurricane Katrina I was able to snap out of it. Not certain whether Greta Van Susteren’s holier than thou attitude , Geraldo Rivera’s grandstanding, or Glenn Beck reporting that ” the only Katrina victims shown on television were the scumbags”, were responsible for my decision to never again stoop to that level. All I know is by the time officials remembered thousands of people stranded inside the convention centre – Fox News had made me so angry I wanted to scream.

It’s difficult to pin-point when news media took on an agenda. I come from an era when the six o’clock news covered stories of the day. Reporters investigated, researched, and sought the truth. I’m aware enough to realize it wasn’t all roses, yet  had considerable faith in words printed in the newspaper and reports on television. It would have been unthinkable to tune into a particular station based on political or religious beliefs. The news didn’t work that way – at least it never used to.

Today we listen to what we want to hear, and because it’s “news” take it as the truth. I’ve heard of CNN being referred to as  “communist news network”, and in the same breath a declaration that Obama is a Muslim. The Bill O’Reilly’s and Glenn Becks of this world become superstars – their editorial opinion taken as truth. Today’s news preaches to the choir; a captive audience feeding on the egos of puffed up front-men, all for the sake of the bottom line – advertising dollars.

News stations have become irresponsible, biased, and quite frankly – dangerous. Scratch the surface and find cartoon characters spewing nonsense – they know who’s listening, and what they want to hear. Ponder the realization that their words are taken as gospel. Fox News being the worst of the bunch, as this clip from the Daily Show aptly points out.

Might I suggest to anybody feeling the urge to repeat “news” taken from Fox….

http://www.politifact.com/

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.

More Americans Believe Obama is Muslim Than Accept Evolution


In a Gallup poll taken last year more Americans believed Obama was Muslim than believed in the theory of evolution. Almost half – 47% of Americans polled accepted creationism, (up from 44% in 1982)  while 32% opted for “intelligent design” , the theory that God played a role in the development of man, 78% responded God at least played some part in human development. By political affiliation 58% of Republicans, 41% Democrats, and 39% of independents answered that God made man.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2154923/Half-Americans-believe-creationism-just-15-percent-accept-evolution.html

News flash America – Obama is not a Muslim – and even if he was, what possible difference would it make? What if he were a Scientologist, Jehovah Witness, or Buddhist? Scientology enjoys tax free, non profit status in America because you geniuses decided their “free personality test” fulfilled the requirement of a mission. This doesn’t seem to bother you in the slightest, but I suspect pharmaceutical companies would pull out their hair since Scientology claims mental illness is a myth. Maybe Obama could become a Jehovah Witness, he knocks on a lot of doors and might stand a chance of becoming one of the 170,00 chosen to ascend to heaven. I realize a Buddhist Obama is pushing it; Buddha after all was simply a man who searched for kindness, caring, and decency over money, power, and greed.  Mitt Romney is Mormon; that didn’t seem to bother anyone. Nobody got on Romney’s case over the founding father of the Mormon religion – Joseph Smith – being jailed for fraud over a fortune telling scheme gone wrong, having a “vision” when released from jail, then starting a religion believing among other things that dark skinned people were descendants of an evil lost tribe of Israel.

Clearly faith is a matter of opinion, a subject that divides and angers to the point of hatred. If anyone can explain what difference it makes in their lives what others choose to believe, I would be grateful. If anyone could give a single reason why it’s any of their business – I’ll listen.

Space Bobble


The same California high school science class that launched “space chicken” – a rubber chicken fitted with sensors, sent to the edge of our atmosphere to measure solar radiation – sent Obama to the brink of space after his re-election.

Post election bobblehead Obama followed the helium balloon trail blazed by space chicken. Unlike space chicken, Mr. Obama was “just for fun”. Although no sensors were attached Barack Obama proudly bobbles 120,000 feet above Earth.

A comforting thought. Thank you students of Bishop, California.

http://spaceweather.com/