Monday, December 29, 2008

In Defence of the Senate

Almost from the moment of its creation, Canadians have griped and complained about the Senate. It’s not elected. It’s not effective. It’s a patronage dumping ground.

With Prime Minister Harper’s elevation of eighteen new members to the chamber of sober second thought, it might appear that many of those criticisms have merit. However, there are far more reasons why we should keep our second federal legislature just the way it is. Reasons such as:

* Keeps meddlesome people out of the public marketplace where they could likely do much more damage.
* Unites Montreal and Toronto sports fans by rewarding former Leafs and Canadiens players with Senate seats.
* Helps maintain the mainstream media’s overwhelmingly liberal bias by removing the few remaining Conservative TV pundits.
* The Red Chamber would otherwise be of little use except possibly as a Parliamentary daycare. * Avoids the additional public expense of caring for dozens of aging superannuates.
* Keeps at least part of the government out of the messy paws of the proletariat.
* Helps stimulate the national economy in a time of financial crisis.
* Gives Mike Duffy something to strive for.
* Makes for a nice cushy reward for successful party bagmen and bagwomen.
* Eliminates the need to run House of Commons bills through Spellcheck.
* Gives Colin Kenny something to do when not running his tanning salon.
* Saves millions of dollars by avoiding reelection campaigns.
* Reduces the national unemployment rate.
* Helps reward hardworking, right-of-center businesspeople who just couldn’t get a fair break in Canada’s pinko-socialist economy.
* Provides a venue not only for sober second thought but also for thorough triple dipping and quick quadruple moonlighting.
* Allows prime ministers to simultaneously bash patronage appointments and reward party faithful.
* Ensures budget surpluses don’t get out of control.
* Adds extra interesting stop on Parliamentary tours for high school students.
* Provides excellent recruiting ground for new Cabinet members.
* Boosts hotel and restaurant industry in downtown Ottawa.
* Confuses Americans who think we have a real Senate.
* Gives Albertans something to bitch about.
* Doesn’t pester and annoy the electorate with regular elections.
* Puts the "bi" in bicameral legislature.
* Provides extra space for special events like state visits, the opening of Parliament and staff Christmas parties.
* Gives citizens better odds than the lottery - every Canadian has a one in a million chance of getting a Senate seat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Night Before Christmas (U. S. Version)

'Twas the night before Christmas in Bush’s White House,
Not a creature was stirring, even Cheney that louse;
The occupants were all in a sad state of grieving,
For in a few weeks, they all would be leaving.

They’d had a good run these neo-con pols,
They’d sold out their country in return for their souls.
Eight years of spending on the rich and connected,
Had bankrupted the nation and just about wrecked it.

First starting with tax cuts for those with too much
Followed by intelligence failures and such.
And then there were wars, one good and one bad,
The one in Iraq was particularly sad.

That was a start for this unusual leader,
For he was no thinker, no planner, no reader.
He ruled with his gut and not with his brain,
And managed to screw up again and again.

But that didn’t stop Mr. Bush from his plan
To reward his old pals whenever he can.
And though he had less than one month to go,
He figured there’s no point in taking things slow.

Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I knew that something was surely the matter.
So I ventured outside to have a quick look,
And to see if I’d find there a thief or a crook.

When, what to my wondering eyes should I view,
But a pork barrel wagon for the elite chosen few.
With a cagey head driver with one true belief,
I knew in a moment it was the Commander in Chief.

More rapid than eagles his right wing friends came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Wolfy! Now, Rumsfeld! Now, Libby and Karl Rove!
On, Condi! On, Cheney! On, Hastert and Snow!
To the top of The White House! to the top of the wall!
Now give away! Give away! Give away all!"

With big corporate handouts to help pave the way,
The President guided the patronage sleigh.
And out to the hustings his gang of friends flew,
With the sleigh full of goodies, and the President too.

George W. managed in the blink of both eyes,
To give away billions to just the right guys.
A bundle of subsidies came tumbling forth,
And oil drilling permits for parkland up north.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His philosophy simple; his speech quite contrary!

Although few days remained in this President’s game,
It was clear that he knew absolutely no shame.
He handed out pardons like candy they said,
And even got rid of the tax on the dead.

A wink of his eye and a slight verbal quirk,
Soon gave me to know what was really at work.
This guy was no dummy, no amiable dunce,
It was just a big cover to fool all the chumps.

And fool them he did wherever he went,
While doling out goodies to those of his bent.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like an Exocet missile.

But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to some, and to the rest - serves you right."

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the House,
Not an MP was sitting, not one single louse.
The country was mired in a frightful recession,
Yet Parliament strangely was no longer in session.

The government was nestled all snug in its bed;
While majority visions still danced in its head;
And the House and the Senate and I in my robe,
Had just settled down for a lengthy prorogue.

When out in the land there arose such a clatter,
I called the PM to see what was the matter.
But he wasn’t worried, he had no more cares,
He simply urged folks to buy even more shares.

So I ventured outside to have a quick look,
And to see if I’d find there a thief or a crook.
When, what to my wondering eyes should I view,
But a new Liberal leader with a slight bluish hue.
He was very substantial, a political biggie,
And he answered at once to the sobriquet Iggy.

More rapid than eagles his cronies they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Manley! Now, Dryden! Now, Rae and Dion!
On, Kennedy! On, Findlay! On, Leblance and Brison!
We’re ready to embark on a grandiose mission,
Although we can’t rule out yet a short coalition."

But the PM was ready to fight this new guy,
He’d already bested Dion and McKay.
So he ordered his minions to lie and to fudge it,
And concocted a brand new federal budget.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the land
The gleeful outstretching of each corporate hand.
As I drew in my breath, and was turning around,
The whole Liberal surplus came tumbling down.

The Prime Minister managed in the blink of both eyes,
To give away billions to just the right guys.
A bundle of bailouts came tumbling forth,
For friends in the east, in the west and the north.
His eyes __ how they squinted! His dimples how scary!
His philosophy simple; his speech quite contrary!

He viewed the world only as friend versus foe,
And told all the naysayers just where they could go.
He knew his opponents were woefully weak,
And a confidence vote they’d surely not seek.

So he suppressed all his urges to lie and to hector,
And promised new money for each corporate sector.
For he knew if he only survived this next vote,
He could carry on sailing the national boat.

A wink of his eye and a slight verbal quirk,
Soon gave me to know what was really at work.
This guy was no dummy, no amiable dunce,
It was just a big cover to fool all the chumps.

And fool them he did wherever he went,
While doling out goodies to those of his bent.
He sprang to his feet, unresigned as of yet,
And took to the skies like a Challenger jet.

But I heard him exclaim, as he flew out of sight,
"If Ignatieff wants one, I’ll give him a fight."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rod's Nuts Nestled In A Legal Vice

Sung to the tune of "The Christmas Song":

My nuts nestled in a legal vice
The A-G knocking at my door
Multiple counts being read by Fitzgerald
A list that’s running to a score

Everybody knows some turkey wants a Senate seat
Who’ll help to grow my bank account
Candidates who are ready to cheat
Will know to bring the right amount

They know that Rod will play for pay
I’m selling lots of extra goodies every day
A Senate seat, a post or two
And they’re all on sale just for you

And so I’m offering just like the Mob
Expecting a little something, too
All I want is some cash or a job
And if not, well, "screw you"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Not-so-secret Santa

In a shocking development, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on corruption charges. The 51-year old Democrat has been charged with effectively trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

The transcripts of numerous wiretapped conversations seem to suggest that Mr. Blagojevich was looking for a cushy appointment for himself or his wife in return for the Senate appointment. According to the criminal complaint, he said that he wanted to make $250,000 to $300,000 a year.

As it turns out, according to Gov. Blagojevich, all of this is just a simple misunderstanding.
"I wish the federal prosecutors had just come and talked to me," said the Illinois governor. "I could have easily explained all this and saved them the bother of going to court."

Apparently what the authorities heard on their wiretaps was nothing more than innocent conversations about the upcoming seasonal festivities in the governor’s mansion in Springfield.
"Look, I know it looks bad," said Blagojevich. "But those conversations are all taken out of context. Every year about this time, I call up various friends and acquaintances and invite them to my annual Christmas party."

"At the same time," continued the governor. "I ask them what they’d like for Christmas and I sometimes let it slip what I might like, too. But just because my Christmas wish list might include an ambassadorship or two or maybe even a Cabinet position doesn’t mean that I was ever looking to trade for a Senate appointment."

"Heck, if I wanted to make a lot of money, I would have just appointed myself to the Senate," said Blagojevich. "But that’s not what I’m all about. This is the season for giving and, when it comes to giving, I never stop."

Asked about his recorded threat to withhold state assistance to the Tribune Company unless the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune was fired, Blagojevich laughed and dismissed the allegation as baseless.

"I’ve got nothing against editorial board members," he said. "Why, some of my best friends are editorial board members although I can’t think of their names at the moment."

Mr. Blagojevich stated that his biggest regret about the entire misunderstanding is that it had apparently scared off the person who had picked his name this year to be the governor’s secret Santa.

"It’s really disappointing," said Blagojevich. "Now I’ll never know if I was going to get that brand new union post I’ve always wanted or maybe that shiny corporate directorship I’ve had my eye on. That Fitzgerald guy is a real Scrooge, if you ask me."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How The Grinch Stole Democracy

Every Member in Parliament liked democracy a lot,
But the Grinch who was leader of the Conservative Party did not.
The Grinch hated democracy, the one man, one vote-version.
Now, please don’t ask why. He just had an aversion.

It could be he hated to give up control.
Some say it’s just that he had no real soul.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

But whatever the reason, his soul or control,
He stood there near Christmas hating each pol.
For years he’d been wanting not half but the whole,
To augment his new prime ministerial role.

But try as he might with each electoral speech,
A majority of seats was just out of his reach.
But then he got an idea! An awful idea!
The Grinch got a wonderful awful idea!
"I know just what to do!

With a top hat and coat and an electoral trick,
They’ll all surely mistake me for good old Saint Nick.
With a sleigh full of presents or maybe a luge,
They’ll never suspect that I’m really a scrooge."

Then he hollered and yelled for his little dog Jim.
If he needed someone to deceive it twas him.
For Jim was adept at presenting news grim.
"But make sure you slip in a coal lump or two,"
Said the Grinch with his sweater of bright Tory blue.

One of those lumps was no stimulus plan,
Despite the financial crisis that enveloped the land.
The other it seemed was quite minor at first,
But turned out in the end to be quite the worst.

The Grinch had a proposal he thought surely would float,
Whereby parties got nothing for each citizen’s vote.
He figured the others too weak to resist,
And without all that funding, they couldn’t exist.

So the Grinch waited patiently to hear the death throes,
Of the political parties about to let go.
But the sound that he’d now been longing to hear,
Wasn’t heard at all it became perfectly clear.

Instead what he heard ringing out from the House,
Was a joyous eruption, not the sounds of a mouse.
For the parties had screwed up their courage at last,
And decided to banish the Grinch to the past.

And the Grinch with his hidden agenda revealed.
Began to claim that perhaps he’d been healed.
"Maybe a minority is simply just that,"
Said the Grinch whose heart grew perhaps just a tat.

"Perhaps it’s not right to be Machiavellian,
Since the result is quite often simply Orwellian.
I think I can change with a wink and a smile,
But if the parties screw up, then I’m here for awhile."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dear Michaëlle

An occasional advice column for the constitutionally forlorn:

Dear Michaëlle,
I’m a 49-year old male who likes quiet walks, romantic getaways and insatiable amounts of political power. I’ve had some luck with relationships but, no matter what I try, I can never seem to get a lasting commitment. I recently came very close to having it all and, if the truth be told, I decided to carry on as if I did. Now it appears that instead of achieving true political love, I may be in for the biggest heartbreak of my life. What can I do to avoid this fate?
A Blue, Blue Tory

Dear Blue Tory,
Maybe your desire to have it all right away is getting in the way of a secure, lasting relationship. Have you considered talking to the other party? Relationships are all about communication, trust and, most of all, confidence. If you don’t have the other party’s confidence, you’re surely doomed to fail. Why not ask your potential partner for a timeout until, say, the end of January and see what happens then? If you try a little re-budgeting, you might just find that you can achieve true love after all.
Michaëlle Jean

Dear Michaëlle,
I am a 55-year old former professor and for years, I sought a stable, one-party relationship. That’s all I ever dreamed of but, alas, it apparently was not meant to be. In fact, I even recently decided to take a break from all this. But then something magical happened. I was approached by two other parties who proposed that we have a three-way relationship. This is all very new for me and, frankly, I’m a bit scared and a little unsure of my political identity. What should I do?
A Formerly Liberal Guy

Dear Former Liberal,
In this modern age, don’t be afraid to explore new forms of relationships. Be careful, though. When you’re entering into a tryst with more than one party, the number of ways that things can go wrong increases exponentially. Although it doesn’t sound very romantic, I strongly recommend that you sit down with the other parties and put your expectations in writing. Who knows? If you come to an agreement, you may have a strong, long-lasting relationship, one that might even last well into the next year.
Michaëlle Jean

Dear Michaëlle,
Honestly, I’ve never been happier. At 58 years of age, I had pretty much given up on my lifelong dream of becoming a leader or even sharing power with someone. But then, out of the blue, this party that, up until now never had the time of day for me, suddenly wants to get really close. Needless to say, I’m thrilled. But why is this other party using unromantic language like "coalition" and "alliance"? I really want to make this relationship work but I’m afraid of getting hurt again.
A Dapper Dipper

Dear Dapper Dipper,
As Tennyson once said: "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." If you want to be a leader, you have to take some risks. Just think of where you’ll be if you don’t take this chance. Probably stuck as a perpetual third wheel in the parliament of life. Even if this romance crashes and burns, you will still have had a taste of that wonderful feeling that comes from having power. Reach for the brass ring and the consequences be damned. After all, at your age, you may never have an opportunity like this again.
Michaëlle Jean

Dear Michaëlle,
As a 61-year old Quebecker, I continue to spend half my time in this crazy backwater called Ottawa. I can’t complain too much since I never lack for companionship. But I can never seem to form a stable, long-term relationship with any other party. Everyone wants to sleep with me but no one will be seen with me in public. Lately, I’m even asked to engage in three-ways and other kinky arrangements. It’s not so bad since I’m not even expected to be totally faithful but I must admit I feel used. Should I turn them all down and return to my first, true sovereign love?
A Lonely Quebecer

Dear Lonely Quebecer,
Methinks you doth protest too much. It seems that you are getting just about everything you want without having to take on any responsibilities. At your age, you should enjoy all the attention and forget about your true sovereign love. Vote with your head and not with your heart and you’ll continue to do just fine.
Michaëlle Jean

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Team Of Rivals

With each passing day of President-elect Obama’s transition period, it’s becoming more and more clear that he is determined to create a so-called "team of rivals." Modelled on Abraham Lincoln’s antebellum Cabinet, Obama’s new team includes not only intra-party rivals like Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson but even holdovers from the current Bush administration like Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But rumor has it that Obama intends to go further than Lincoln ever did, much further as evidenced by these upcoming rumored choices:

Bill Clinton
The former President has reportedly been approached to accept a new White House position: Alpha Dog. Given Mr. Clinton’s past experience in the field of domestic affairs, he is expected to become Washington’s new Prince of Philandering, a veritable King of the Couch. For all matters sexual, Obama subordinates can look to the new Alpha Dog for answers.

John McCain
There is definitely no love lost between these fierce campaign rivals. Yet Barack Obama has already met with the aging Arizona senator with a view to smoothing over their differences. Those present at that meeting report that Obama offered McCain the official new White House position of Grumpy Old Man. "When the neighborhood kids throw a ball on the White House lawn or some young paperboy makes an errant throw," said Obama. "It’ll be John’s job to scare them off with a harsh word or two."

George W. Bush
Like most new presidents, Barack Obama wants to seek advice and counsel from former occupants of the office. Unlike most of this predecessors, however, Obama also needs a diversion in these troubled economic times. That’s why he’s asking George W. Bush to stay on in The White House as the new Chief Fool and Court Jester. Whenever things go awry, Obama hopes to present Mr. Bush in public and remind Americans how much worse things could be.

Dick Cheney
Actually, President-elect Obama hasn’t offered the former Vice President a formal position in his Administration. Instead, he has unilaterally appointed Mr. Cheney to be the head of the Guantanamo Bay military prison dismantling team. Before commencing work, however, Mr. Cheney apparently has been directed to personally inspect and occupy the premises for two to four years.

Sarah Palin
Given the increasing diplomatic tensions with Russia of late, the President-elect is hoping to rely on any available expertise in international relations. To that end, Obama has asked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to take up residence at the very tip of the Aleutian Islands chain where she can keep an eye on any angry Russians that might be rearing their heads over the horizon. When asked whether she is up for the challenge, Governor Palin simply replied: "Doggone it. You betcha!"

As of yet, there is still no word on possible positions in Mr. Obama’s Administration for Jesse Jackson, William Ayers and Reverend Wright.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Santa Snubs White House

At a hastily called press conference held near the North Pole, Kris Kringle today announced that he would not be visiting The White House this Christmas Eve.

"It’s not that I don’t want to," said Mr. Kringle. "But after last year’s fiasco, I definitely know where I’m not wanted."

Mr. Kringle described how on December 24, 2007, his low-flying, reindeer-driven sleigh was forced down on The White House lawn by two F-16 fighter jets. Apparently his gift-laden sled was picked up on radar resulting in an emergency scramble. After a forced landing, Kringle was immediately taken to CIA Headquarters.

"It was awful," said Kringle. "They kept asking me why I had a beard, why I wore a red jumpsuit and why I had several aliases like Santa Claus, Pere Noel and Father Christmas. They kept showing me pictures of myself handing out gifts to kids and asking me if I was a socialist."

"Father Christmas" (by now dubbed Father Eid by his captors) was then flown to a Middle Eastern country for further interrogation. He was eventually transferred to the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay as a suspected terrorist.

"It was horrible," said Mr. Kringle. "One minute I’m hanging upside down in an underground prison in Syria and the next minute I’m in an open-air cell in Cuba with a prayer mat and a copy of the Koran."

By mid-summer, it was apparent to his captors that Kringle was not a terrorist or an Islamic extremist but rather just a harmless jolly old man who dressed in red and liked to hand out toys and games to children at Christmastime. Released on his own recognizance, St. Nick, as he is also sometimes known, was given airfare back to his home.

"As I indicated at the time," said Mr. Kringle. "I’ve got nothing against Washington. But unless and until things change, I won’t be bringing any gifts to The White House this year."

As luck would have it, change is on the horizon but not soon enough for this year’s reindeer flight.
"I’m given to understand that by next Christmas there’ll be a new family in that house," said Kringle. "And that they have two little girls who apparently don’t mind sitting down with no preconditions to talk with long-bearded gentlemen in funny red clothing. At least that’s the scuttlebutt at the North Pole."