May we all find health and prosperity in the New Year.
For the rest , I wish that:
- All the bureaucrats, mandarins, public officials and elected poseurs do considerably less harm than they did this past year and the year before that and the year before that.That would be real HARM REDUCTION!
- India finds water and China food for their slaked and starving masses.
- Someone (the UN, Bono, Stephen Lewis) is allowed to deliver medicines to all the HIV/AIDS expectant mothers in Africa.
- The United Nations become a real and vital force in our world, instead of the costly and anaemic eunuch that it is now.
- India seeks water before it seeks more nuclear power.
- North Korea feeds its women and children before its army.
- Our consumerism and materialism is offset each day by some modest acts of humanism and kindness.
- The religion of Capitalism is tempered on occasion by humanism and kindness and parity and equal wages for equal work.
- Religions the world over abandon hate - hate of each other, hate of The Other.
- Israel is allowed to live in peace and prosperity.
- Arabs and Palistinians are allowed to live in peace and prosperity.
- Scorsese and Tarintino find other hobbies.
- Someone writes a Broadway musical or a movie with a tuneful song in it.
- Television reality shows are replaced post haste by comedies and dramas, written by writers and acted by actors.
- THE CIVIL SOCIETY descends on us all.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Sunday, December 31, 2006
May we all find health and prosperity in the New Year.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Saddam was hanged a few hours ago. No doubt he was one nasty piece of work and he deserved a bitter end. But has this particular end served anyone? Has it served your idea of Justice?
Saddam was officially charged with the killing of 148 Shiites, men and boys, in the village of Dujail in 1982. This was clearly the least of his crimes. He was a man who reveled in his own atrocities and had an enormous, and apparently accurate, reputation for bloodlust. There can be little argument about the brutality he visited both on enemies and his own people.
But when capital punishment is on the table, the same question is always before us: "Shall we sink to the level of the murderer? Can we call ourselves civilized if we continue the bloody trail ?"
Of course, we all have within us, often not far at all from the polished surface, the instinct for revenge. We are outraged at the Clifford Olsons and Pol Pots. We are offended at a level so deep, so basic, so truly human, that we are astonished at its inherent beauty and power. Our reflex is to strike back.
But instincts and reflexes aren't necessarily the mechanisms that will lead us forward to a just and civil society.
Listen to the opposing twins as they reacted to this morning's news.
"The execution of Saddam represents a big happiness for Iraqis," says a young Bagdad Shiite.
"The president is a martyr. He has died the death of a Holy Warrior," answers a Sunni in Tikrit.
In what century are we?
The British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, with perfectly crafted two-headedness adds that while Saddam has been "held to account," her country remains opposed to the death penalty.
Saddam's trial was a kangaroo court of the oldest and shabbiest order. The trial should have been held in Europe, delivering the very highest standards of international justice. Saddam should have been kept alone in prison for as long as he lived, and the intelligence community should have mined him for every tidbit of information they could possible find about the realities of the middle east.
A hanging is a hanging is a hanging. Saddam Hussein may have been a murderous sonofabitch, but there is no special joy in my heart tonight.
Posted by David Berner at 9:56 AM
Friday, December 29, 2006
Until we learn the secret of uploading audio files, we'll have to stick with the written word. Remember that all things in life are temporary.
The first woman he raped was 69. His next victim was 89. He's a Prince. And he's been paroled.
This, in short, is the first of 2 unrelated - but mysteriously linked - stories on the front page of this morning's newspaper.
In this first story, Mr. Creepypants has misspent most of his so-called adult life dashing in and out of jail. When he's not bursting into the homes of the elderly and infirm, tying bedsheets around their heads and sexually assaulting them, he's simply robbing and causing general mayhem.
Enter the British Columbia Parole Board. The Board uses or tries to use or pretends to use a computer system, comically named CORNET, to track their darling charges. And, gosh, if some clerk approaching coffee break, manages to miss an entry (say, WARNING: THIS MISCREANT IS A HUGE PUBLIC DANGER!), the Board is just at a loss. They don't know that the lunatic in front of them rapes elderly women. They think he just break into houses and steals doilies.
As always, the Parole People have a thousand and one excuses. They've learned well from the prisoners who sit in front of them. After all, these guys are the experts at excusing lousy behaviour and sooner or later, their wisdom is bound to rub off.
There is good news and bad news at the end of this tale. The good news is that the Solicitor-General, John Les, has promised to abolish the B.C. Parole Board and transfer all decisions on provincial inmates to the National Parole Board. The bad news is that John Les, the Solicitor-General, has promised to transfer...etc, blah, blah, yadda, yadda...
In the second front page story this morning, we learn that anger may be a mental disorder. Psychologists and other helpers are yearning to include anger in the DSM, The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The DSM is the Torah and Koran of psychiatry. It is also one of the most dangerous texts in print. Until very recently, homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder. But more than that, examine the consequences of listing a human behavious as a disease. If, in fact, anger is a mental disorder, or at the very least, we call it a mental disorder, than Mr. Creepypants, the rapist of old women, is sick and he cannot be held legally liable for his behaviour. And only qualified psychiatrists will be able to help him. Punishment and containment will not be appropriate; they will be cruel acts cast upon the helpless.
The front page is enough to make a guy angry. But the page made me do it, and only me shrink can save me.
Posted by David Berner at 9:27 AM
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Welcome to real Public Policy Debates.
Every morning, I'll post a 15-minute audio file monologue which reflects my reaction to the day's news. One or more issues will be highlighted.
I won't be fair.
I'll be opinionated and funny and occasionally angry, acerbic, sarcastic and deliberately provocative. I've had practice. Fifteen years of Open Line Radio and 30 years in Broadcasting have stood me in good stead. Not to mention a life fully lived.
That's me. Now, what about you?
I invite you to respond. Please share your thoughts with us and I'll post them here on my blog. Thus the debate.
Welcome! And happy ranting!
Posted by David Berner at 9:46 AM