Insight BC

Insight and Discussion Concerning What’s Important in BC

Month: October 2017

Democracy under attack – Undeclared Civil War

There is no doubt that the Western world model of democracy is under attack.  There is absolutely no doubt that this is a result of collusion.  What is most alarming is that the collusion is not because of the Russians – although I am almost certain that Putin is a willing, accomplished participant.

Alarmingly, the threat to the ideals of democracy has come with the deliberate, intentional collusion of the very offices and institutions that were established to prevent the flagrant abuses that have now descended, like a biblical plague, upon our current political landscape.

Political parties have substituted expedience, the lust for power and the thirst for personal financial gain to replace the original ideals of integrity, transparency and accountability.

Instead of  humbly donning the mantle of stewardship and acting as ‘trustees’ for the common good, politicians (and bureaucrats) see politics as their personal path to power and fortune – power leading to personal gain.

The political institutions established to maintain and preserve such lofty ideals as ‘all equal in the eyes of the law’, ‘justice is blind’ and the revered freedoms of speech, assembly, religion and expression have been corrupted to the point that such institutions having become willing accomplices and participants in preventing justice and the harsh glare of fact-based truth.

We see the abuses on both sides of the border.  Canadian finance minister Morneau sees no need to divorce his lucrative (and continuing) business dealings with government agencies from his ministerial responsibilities and obligations.  He has made a mockery of the concept of arms-length disassociation and flaunts conflict of interest rules in front of our collective faces.

His (our) naive and equally entitled caricature of a Prime Minister occupies his time with selfies, endless vacations, his own unethical bumblings as well as a complete disregard for the importance of sustainability and continuance of  common goals and values we geographically and economically share with our neighbours south of the 49th parallel.

Canada is on the precipice of selling another of our home-grown, highly respected and capable corporations (Aecon Group Inc.) to foreign interests (Chinese) who have just consolidated an unhealthy level of power in an individual determined to make China the world’s dominant economy.

Intrinsic ‘Canadian’ values are being subverted by ‘global’ values designed to weaken the strong – and strengthen the economic, religious, cultural and political ties to special interest groups and foreign actors.  The descent into a homogenous stew of mediocrity has been significantly influenced by a corrupt United Nations that is increasingly pursuing self-interest for top officials and promoting a growing religious and cultural bias that will undermine the foundation of Western democracy.

The mantra of the federal Libs is playing favourably with the politically left media including an ‘out of control’ immigration policy that allows illegal alien border crossers to jump the cue and increase the perception, now the reality, that Canada is a ‘sanctuary country’ for any number of bad actors who may not ultimately have the best interest of Canada at heart.  Judges are allowing unconscionable  attacks on Islamic women from their husbands because of a tolerance for Sharia law inspired male dominance and control.  Judges have, in many cases, become complicit accomplices for any number of special interest group activities and non-traditional values when viewed in the Canadian context.  They are, in short, not enforcing Canadian law.

Where is the vaunted Fourth Estate in all of this?  The mainstream media have become willing and focused participants in the continuing erosion of Canadian values and our proud history.  I am not certain that a single ‘news‘ network even exists anymore.  Instead, we have ‘opinion‘ networks that measure their individual and collective success not by journalistic integrity and a commitment to accuracy and fact but by the metrics of ratings and pollster driven so-called public opinion.

The silent majority has become far too silent – to the detriment of all.  There is a need for balance, for open debate and free expression of thought and opinion but those values and principles have not been maintained or encouraged.  In fact, balanced, intelligent and informed debate has been essentially discouraged and subjected to inflammatory, accusatory rhetoric denouncing any deviance from ‘the new normal’.

History is being re-written as currently unpopular reminders of past indiscretions are removed from civic parks and monuments are destroyed in the irrational name of ‘political correctness’.  Future generations need to know, as General Kelly alluded, that “There are certain things in history that were not so good, and other things that were good”.

The Spanish philosopher George Santayana expressed it best “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

That is the danger when a society refuses to acknowledge and accept it’s past.

When did misinformed public opinion become more important than facts?  We fall all over ourselves wanting to be ‘politically correct’.  How many people actually take the time to make their own investigations so that they can draw their own conclusions – based on evidence and fact-based corroboration?  Very few, in my opinion.  Far easier for lazy individuals to turn on the news, read Twitter feeds from the narrow interest group they support or participate in countless opinionated discussions on Facebook – that have no basis in factual evidence.

No matter how I look at the situation, one indisputable fact stares me in the face.  We, each and every one of us, are responsible for this unraveling destruction of the principles of democracy that will certainly degrade the opportunities and success of future generations.  We have collectively become lazy accomplices by allowing well-funded politically driven special interest groups to further their self-serving agendas without questioning their motives and intent.  Or even questioning their distorted lies.

Nowhere is the schism between reality and political dogma more evident than  in the US, where the growing divide between political factions is in the process of destroying America – and all that it once stood for.

The polarization of the American population is more dramatic and pronounced now than probably at any time in the history of the United States since the (first) Civil War.  The absolute refusal of Democrats to accept the lawful election of Trump is only one inescapable fact that will continue to see the US decline while other more focused countries further their own interests and agendas.  I would argue that a second Civil War is now raging in the US and we have just not yet labeled it as such.

Congress and the Senate are in gridlock, each party determined to maintain its own vision of America – while watching American history and values crumble beneath their collective feet.

The truth is no longer a beacon of hope for the US.  Why?  Because every day the same truth is revealed – then distorted and corrupted by individuals and by political parties who are determined to win power at any cost – including sacrificing truth itself.

The same set of facts are presented daily and then distorted and twisted into politicized rhetoric that is intended to confuse and misdirect a gullible and indoctrinated public.  For many years, even decades, it has been known and accepted that both Democrats and Republicans have their own armies, legions of devoted and pliable sycophants and supplicants who will support their own parties, no matter the discretions, even crimes, committed by those parties.

It has always been the responsibility of rational, open-minded voters with integrity and consciences who determine the eventual outcome of elections and thus, policy and vision for the US.

These were the ‘swing’ votes that would ultimately determine elections and the direction of the US government.  At least, that was the case until the last few decades.

Now, those sober, second-thought voices and votes have essentially been silenced by insiders who are determined to affect outcomes and results without any regard for the Constitution of the US or the very core values on which America was founded.

Events of the past few weeks prove that the ‘swamp’ to which President Trump constantly refers is real – and the greatest threat of all to democracy and the American Dream.  When the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Darren Nunes publicly states that the employees of the Justice Department, the FBI and other paid employees of departments sworn to uphold the Constitution are not co-operating with duly elected officials, requiring the issuance of subpoenas in order to have critical, essential information provided, the system is broken.  Seriously broken.  Alarmingly broken.

Even Jeff Sessions, the current Attorney General, is not beyond reproach.  In fact, Sessions’ naivety and Pollyanna-ish ‘hope’ that recusing himself from the ‘Russia’ probe would allow justice to prevail shows that Sessions himself is incapable of seeing the corruption and the chaos that surrounds him.

Jeff Sessions cannot remain the Attorney General for the US.  He abrogated his responsibilities and his duties by allowing his underling to create a Special Counsel investigation into Russian meddling that will tear the US apart – politically speaking.  Not many individuals recall the damage that McCarthyism caused for the US.  I am predicting that the ongoing investigation by Robert Mueller and his handpicked team will come within an eyelash of destroying the American political system, similar to the irrational ‘Commy seeking’ hysteria of Senator McCarthy and his cronies in the 1950’s.

Even now, the limited indictments of October 30, 2017 have created totally divergent assessments of exactly the same set of facts.  This dichotomy exists both within the Republican and Democratic parties as well as the within the propagandist media outlets that invariably support them – without any respect for facts and balance.  Trump’s team is both vindicated and convicted – all at the same time.  It seems that only rationale, somewhat objective outsiders can see this anomaly for what it is.

The powers of the Mueller Special Counsel will allow the many indiscretions of the Obama era, specifically the Uranium One corrupt deal and the politically driven unconstitutional unmasking of untold numbers of Americans to remain as background issues while the attention is diverted to Russia’s meddling in the US election results.  Where is the voice of reason in this debate?  Of course Russia meddles in the US election process for its own personal gain – in exactly the same way that the US meddles in the election process of any number of foreign nations, on an ongoing basis.

This fact is not new.  This fact is not news.  This fact has been a political reality since the creation of nations, each seeking to further its own goals and objectives.  The left wing media darling Barack Obama has been publicly recorded telling Russian officials that he will do more for Russia – after his 2012 re-election.  “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility”.  

This factual conversation took place March 26, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea in a meeting between Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accidentally recorded by a nearby journalist.

Democrats work closely with Russia – all of the time.  This is a political reality.  Hillary Clinton’s campaign went, albeit circuitously, to Russian sources to try and alter the outcome of the 2016 US election.  Meddling is commonplace in the Washington DC swamp – and is accepted as long as you don’t get caught.

John Brennan, director of the CIA under Obama lied to the US Senate Intelligence Committee concerning spying on that very committee.

“Let me assure you the CIA was in no way spying on [the committee] or the Senate”.  March, 2014 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The result of that lie once the truth was revealed by the CIA Inspector General?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  There is no accountability in the swamp.

What are rationale, intelligent people thinking about this blatant political corruption and the seemingly total lack of accountability?  In many respects, not much.  The Dow Jones continues to climb in 2017 as faith and belief in the economic engine that drives America remains at an all time high.  Middle America, the quiet, ‘stay focused on what really matters’ America goes about its business while the increasingly corrupt politicians and media in Washington DC go about their own ‘dirty’ business.  Spin doctors continue to spin out half-truths, innuendos and even outright lies while the business of the nation continues.  Democrats will continue to believe other Democrats – and only other Democrats.  As will Republicans.

The sanctity of the truth in America is now an illusion –  a distant reminder of a simpler, ethical and accountable time in which politicians were respected for their integrity and their sense of duty to the individuals who elected them; even the individuals who did not vote for them.

Those times are almost all gone and America is the worse for it.

Will Teflon coated ‘Crooked Hillary’ and her cronies ever have to face the music for the growing evidence of indiscretions, possibly illegal behaviour, that has enriched the Clintons at the expense of all other Americans?

Will the Uranium One Congressional and Senate probe ever take place and will the public ever know the actual findings?  What rationale, intelligent individuals can hardly fathom is how the US could sell almost 20% of its uranium output to a Russian firm that was itself under investigation by the CIA and FBI at the time for corruption, bribery and other criminal, indictable offences.  How the Clinton Foundation was the benefactor of almost $145 million US at the same time from those same Russian operatives remains a ‘coincidence’ to those who choose to ‘see no evil’ as does the ‘coincidence’ of Bill Clinton meeting with Putin in that same time frame, thereafter receiving $500 thousand to ‘give a speech’.

Will Donald Trump ever escape the apparent fabricated politically driven accusation of Russian meddling in the US elections that seems nothing but an attempt by the left wing globalists to deny the fact that the ‘quiet majority’ of Americans want meaningful change to the institutions and practices of the US Federal government?

Will Robert Mueller, his associates James Comey and Rod Rosenstein themselves ever be held accountable for their complicity in the Uranium One affair and their meddling into the integrity of the American political process?

Will the dysfunctionality of the US Senate and the US Congress ever again allow for meaningful bi-partisan debate and accord on issues important to each and every American – and by extension, other countries that purport to value the principles of true democracy?

Not unless and until those with integrity and resolve step forward and demand that the US political system return to genuine accountability and respect for its own Constitution and core values.

Do I think that a return to accountable, honest and transparent government is possible in the US, or in Canada?

Is it possible to reverse the polarization of factions that are currently driven almost exclusively by their lust for power and the wealth that inevitably follows?

Not unless and until individual citizens accept the responsibility that we, collectively, have unwittingly created this quagmire of deceit, corruption and self-serving entitlement by allowing it to thrive, unchecked.

We, collectively, are the only ones who can fix what is broken – by holding the politically guilty accountable for their political crimes.

The laws and statutes are there for all to know and obey.  There can no longer be one law for the average citizen and a different standard for those who gain political favour.

Justice is blind and the very existence of the democratic political model depends on the universal application of law – so that justice is done and can be seen to be done.

 

 

 

 

West Kelowna By Election Litmus Test for Many

Early in 2018 (at the latest), John Horgan and the governing NDP must announce a by election to fill the seat left vacant by the departing Christy Clark (don’t let the door hit you on the derriere on your way out).  Clark decided that sitting as an elected opposition MLA wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun (or profitable) as reigning as Premier with it’s perquisites associated – including four (and five) figure fundraisers, a BC Lib funded ‘top up’ to augment her meager taxpayer funded salary and the prestige of having all ‘pay for access’ requests coming through her esteemed office.

Since Clark’s official retirement date of August 4, 2017, the vultures have started to circle high above the pristine hills and lakes surrounding Kelowna and area.  The riding was newly created in time for the 2009 provincial election and has been consistently ‘Liberal’ ever since – so secure a riding for the Liberals, in fact, that Christy Clark (loser in her own Vancouver-Point Grey riding in 2013, for those who choose to remember) was parachuted into West Kelowna to allow Clark to retain a seat in the legislature.  (Somewhat awkward to have a Liberal Party leader unable to act as Premier because she was defeated as a candidate).

The incumbent and re-elected Liberal MLA Ben Stewart graciously gave up his seat on the Liberal Gravy Train to Ms. Clark so that she could continue her quest to maintain her status quo as one of the most entitled (and well-funded) provincial Premiers in Canadian history.

Before you feel too sorry for the founder of the Quail’s Gate Winery, Ben Stewart was generously rewarded for his ‘supreme sacrifice’.  Stewart was appointed a ‘special representative’ for the BC Liberals (under their mantle as the BC Government) in Asian markets – as Stewart’s consolation prize.

Stewart’s salary and benefits from the appointment more than fairly compensated him for the loss of his MLA salary.  The analysis?

(Financial advisor Andrew)”Johns dug into the costs of Stewart’s post and released a report in February.

He found that on top of the $150,000 salary, Stewart’s pension, living expenses and other benefits pushed the total employment costs to $342,900, before business expenses and money spent wining and dining people. That’s roughly $1 million over three years, he notes.

There is not enough to show for the money, he says.

“If you read through Ben Stewart’s reports, all it is is a series of meetings and glad-handing,” Johns told The Tyee. “In 2015/16 he participated in 13 trade events, he gave 19 speeches. What you don’t find in there is any correlation to a contract of any type where goods and services are being exchanged because Ben Stewart was involved.”

Johns said his review of the records found the cost of contract staff had gone from $1.2 million in the 2012 fiscal year to $2.9 million last year. The office has cost $8.4 million over the last three years, Johns found”.  Jeremy J. Nuttall 28 Apr 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Not a bad reward for giving up a seat in the legislature – to my way of thinking.

By the way, how successful was the venture into the Asian markets and how has BC benefitted from the experience?

Not so much.  Stewart resigned from the job in December, 2016 and the position has never been filled by another ‘representative’.  Uh huh.  This in spite of the fact that the Liberals claimed that the position was practically ‘critical’ in its importance.

We need a representative in Asia who is known to have access to power and government here in British Columbia,” Clark said during an October 2013 press conference. “That is a critical part of doing business in Asia.”

Stewart’s job was to move on trade and investment leads generated by the government’s trade missions, she said.

The province needed “to have a high level official representative on the ground in Asia, who has the authority to influence and advance trade and investment priorities,” read a news release. Stewart would have a particular focus on LNG, the government said.  In hindsight, we all know how the LNG thing has turned out.

And the net success of Mr. Stewart’s part-time presence in Asia?

“Trade figures don’t show success

Trade statistics also cast doubt on the effectiveness of the government’s efforts in Asia, according to an economics professor.

Keith Head of the UBC Sauder School of Business specializes in Asian business. He said that over the last few years, despite Stewart’s presence and trade missions, British Columbia’s trade with China has appeared to flatline”.  Jeremy J. Nuttall 28 Apr 2017 | TheTyee.ca  It appears that speculative real estate investment into the lower mainland (which has driven housing costs beyond the means of most salary earners and wage earners) was the ‘big winner’ in the Chinese investment strategy – and financially strapped renters and potential ‘home grown’ home owners of BC have become the ‘big losers’.

Let’s roll forward to late 2017.

Mr. Ben Stewart has been re-nominated by the BC Liberal Party to represent them in the upcoming 2018 by election in West Kelowna.

We are to supposed to believe that Mr. Stewart’s dalliance into the Asian markets at a taxpayer expense of $8.4 Million over the course of the past 3 years was not a pay off for offering his ‘safe’ political seat to the departed Christy Clark, herself previously defeated in her home riding of Vancouver – Point Grey.

It is wonderful that Mr. Stewart has offered his services again to the voters of West Kelowna.  For Mr. Stewart, it is even more wonderful that he was so handsomely rewarded for his ‘supreme sacrifice’.  I trust that the voters in West Kelowna will delve more deeply into this somewhat suspicious, and apparently tax-wasting, trumped up Liberal appointed position which, let us not forget, has never been filled since the departure of Mr. Stewart from the Asian trade representative role.

Even if the re-emergence of Ben Stewart is a visible reminder of the alleged ‘corruption’ and ‘pay for access’ charges that plague the BC Liberals even now, just what options are available to the West Kelowna voter?

All political parties are mustering their troops for a run at the vacated MLA seat, with hopes that the departure of Christy Clark from the political landscape will result in a new opportunity for their chosen horse in the race.

Our next article will closely examine the alternatives available to the West Kelowna constituents – and perhaps alternatives that may soon become viable options.

In the interim, the West Kelowna voter should be considering whether the machinations of the BC Liberal Party in this curious affair are worthy of the re-election of Mr. Ben Stewart – by most reports, a very worthy candidate and quite possibly a good MLA while he served between 2009 and 2013.

My dilemma, if I was actually able to vote in the upcoming by election, would be ‘Can I return to office the BC Liberal (Ben Stewart) who clearly personally benefitted to a considerable degree from his unswerving loyalty to the BC Liberal ‘Wild West’ machine throughout this apparently manipulated and unjustifiable ‘Asian representative’ scheme?’  

Was Ben Stewart properly accountable to the West Kelowna voters when he relinquished his legitimately contested (and won) seat in 2013 so that Christy Clark could make a mockery of the political process after losing in her own riding of Vancouver-Point Grey?

I have my thoughts – but this is a democracy.  Only the voters in the constituency of West Kelowna will be able to determine the final outcome and consequence to Mr. Stewart’s 2013 decisions.

And that is as it should be.

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