Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Harper and the State of Canadian Politics

So I live in Canada, a country that kind of has an international repuation as being 'more or less the same as the USA but safer'. Not really the most exciting of public images, but... well, there you have it.

The thing is that the differences between Canada and the US are, to my mind, many. And I don't just mean simple mundane things like official bilingualism or how to pronounce the letter 'z'. Among other things, our governments are organised entirely differently and their roles in society are visulaised entirely differently too.

As much as it pains me to say this: the USA has a progressive government while Canada has a regressive one. Temporarily. I hope. But the truth is that a party supported by barely more than one voter in three has been allowed to radically reposition our country's politics and image. And I find that horrifying and disgraceful.

We really are in a mess politically. Today Stephen Harper announced his intent to suspend Parliament until March. Just as he did last year. Last year he did it to avoid a no-confidence vote. This year, he's doing it... well, not for any clear reason that I can see. Cognisant as I am that each of the other four parties has deep structural and policy problems (and so I suppose to a certain extent you could lump me in with the 'all of them are rotten' group, though I do know who I have voted for and will continue to vote for: I'm as partisan as they come,. flawed though I know my party is), it's tough not to be embarrassed as I see my country slammed as regressive at Copenhagen, shorn of its traditional morality regarding war in Afghanistan and generally seen as behind the times while Obama's America gets swept up in the thrill of its re-entry into the international zeitgeist.

The extent to which this current government is illegitimate and lacks a mandate is what really bothers me. If two in three voters vote against you, you do not have the mandate to radically shift the country's political tides. The way people have been conditioned in this country to accept that a minority government is somehow more 'democratic' than a coalition amazes me. I can't see how our country can avoid coalitions in the future: I think it will take a radical change in the political scenery before any party can even approach a legitimate majority mandate, so I believe we have to get used to the idea that our governments can be made up of various parties, and that their policies will reflect compromise between those parties.

Compromise. Something our current government knows nothing whatsoever about.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fifteen below

It's meant to be fifteen below zero tonight. Why oh why do I live in Toronto?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blogging for Dollars

Though it may sound tacky to say so, I blog for profit. What I mean is that I make a whole bunch of blogs on the hope that one day it will turn into money for me. I don't think it's really as cynical as it might seem - after all, there are a lot of ways that people can earn money by writing. They involve publishing books that are sold for profit or getting salaried jobs working for newspapers or whatever. I like writing, I think I'm slightly-less-than-terrible at it, and I'd like to be able to justify writing by bringing in an oncome doing it. Those avenues are difficult to explore. Me? I write stuff on Blogspot, which is owned by Google, which owns Adsense and is happy to have their subdivisions working together. In theory, I allow Google to put ads on my pages and either by a lot of people seeing my page (and being 'exposed' to the ads) or by a smaller amount of people clicking on the ads, I earn money. Acres and acres of money, enough to fill swimming pools and swim in them, Scrooge McDuck style.

In practice... well, I've been at it for a few months and am earning pennies a day! For example, yesterday alone I earned a whopping $0.03. At this rate, I'll be ready to retire in... well, as soon as I decide to starve to death, really.

I ama very patient person. I realise that it really takes time to start getting readership numbers that actually make it worthwhile, and I've only been at it for a few months yet. By necessity, I'm doing what I can with rather limited time per day. But it requires the faith that otherwise only Scientologists and Communists seem to possess to look at a sum total that increases by pennies a day and say, "yeah, this is really worthwhile".

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Proper Blog

Hi. My name is Bungle Jerry. Well, obviously it isn't, but that's the clever-clever name I've adopted for myself. It is, of course, a spoonerism of "jungle berry", a rather ridiculous phrase that some junk-food companies use for their products. I've been keeping a whole bunch of what I'll call 'blogs' on Blogspot, but they aren't really blogs because they follow certain 'themes' and in most cases I post weekly. i think of them more like 'columns'. I kept a blog once before, but by and large I've never really understood why people would care what I happen to think, as an individual. The 'blogs' I keep are pretty depersonalised endeavours. But the so-called 'blogosphere' (God that's a terrible word) rather logically revolves around proper blogs, so I thought I'd go ahead and start one of those.

I'm not sure how personal I want to get - I'm a pretty reserved person, and I'm not convinced anyone would be much interested in my personal life anyway ("Today I went to Tim Horton's and had an iced cappucino!"). But I guess if nothing else a 'proper' blog will allow me to mouth off on certain topics that don't fit into my serialised blogs and, I suppose, occasionally discuss those other blogs too. Shrug. I have no real idea what I want to do with this blog, but I suppose it's good to have one. I don't know. If nothing else, I can use this as a kind of 'headquarters' for whatever other Blogspot-related activities I happen to carry out. Or I'll get bored and let it lie fallow. I repeat, shrug.
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