Americas

Monday, 12 January 2009 18:00 Jennett Meriden Russell Editorial Dept - Americas
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Sunday, 04 January 2009 19:00 Jim Camp Editorial Dept - Americas
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Not since Franklin Delano Roosevelt entered the Oval Office for the first time in 1933 has an American President faced such an array of domestic and international troubles. History tells us that Roosevelt struggled mightily to overcome the Depression, but it wasn’t until World War II provided a full-employment opportunity that he was able to turn the nation’s economy around and help defeat two of the most vicious totalitarian threats to humanity in the modern era.

History, if you do not pay attention to it, has a way of repeating itself. With a national debt of $10 trillion, some 70% of the Gross Domestic Product, the incoming Obama administration is faced with enormous economic challenges, not the least of which is to build a new economy that puts people to work and moves us closer to energy independence. His vision driven by his mission and purpose is something we should all pay attention to. In fact we all should adopt our own mission and purpose in all the areas of our lives moving forward.


What should our financial mission and purpose be? If we have a solid career safe from the looming depression, it may call for us to tighten our belts mightily and save at every opportunity. Or, if we are someone who has been knocked down and struggling to get up our mission and purpose may be to put every family member to work 16 hours daily, 7 days a week and numerous jobs if necessary to climb back.
 

 
Monday, 22 December 2008 19:00 Jim Camp Editorial Dept - Americas
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 I was recently asked, in my capacity as a negotiations coach, what was my opinion of the Detroit automobile manufacturer’s bailout. I am completely opposed to it, but for a reason that politicians and the media have not discussed.

Detroit’s auto manufacturers always employed flawed concepts when dealing with the United Auto Workers. Essentially, they engaged in “bargaining”, not negotiating. At the heart of the problem is what negotiators call “mission and purpose.” The auto manufacturers believed that negotiating was the same as bargaining, but bargaining requires a mindset that requires compromise.

They sat at the table and asked themselves what they would have to give up to the union to get the deal done and make their numbers in the year ahead. The most powerful “bargaining” or negotiating tool is the ability and readiness to say no and they did not exercise it.


The result is that years of “bargaining” left the Detroit auto manufacturers unable to compete even with others engaged in the same business in the United States. Looking for those on whom to place blame is now the order of the day. Typically, labor is blamed for greed or laziness. Government legislation and regulations are also blamed.
 

 
Sunday, 07 December 2008 19:00 Leo Panitch Editorial Dept - Americas
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The political crisis that has suddenly erupted in Canada adds yet another dimension to the seemingly unending shockwaves set in motion by the global financial crisis.

The sheer political escapism that led all the leaders (even the NDP's Jack Layton) to solemnly pledge during the recent federal election not to run a deficit – when it was already clear that the severity of this crisis is such that no government can avoid a deficit even if it wants to – has now rebounded on us with a vengeance.

One shock effect of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic statement was that it so flatly contradicted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's conversion to Keynesianism on the road to Lima. What the statement showed was that while the government was going to talk the talk at international meetings, it was actually going to try to be a free rider on such stimulus as the Americans would undertake.

The other shock was that the statement's proclamation of old-fashioned fiscal rectitude was tied to an opportunistic attack on free collective bargaining, pay equity and the public funding of political parties – not only narrowly partisan, but also largely gratuitous.

 

 
Saturday, 06 December 2008 19:00 Frank Fourchalk Editorial Dept - Americas
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You may have caught the news a week ago about a 91year old Burnaby man (Tom) who was beaten and robbed by a home invader. The story ran Thursday and Friday on Global and CTV. Thursday's broadcast reported that Tom heard glass breaking at his kitchen door.

When he went to investigate he saw the intruder reach in through the door's broken window and enter his home. After being assaulted, Tom granted the perpetrator's demand for money. Friday's news showed concerned neighbors displaying their support by dropping flowers and gifts off at Tom's door.

To think some low life would pick on a defenseless 91year old man makes my blood boil. But even more disturbing was what I saw when reviewing the media footage. The newscast video showed a close up of Tom's kitchen door after the attack. I noticed the door had broken glass in the top third of it with two locks securing it. One lock was a regular key in knob style and above that was a double cylinder deadbolt.

A double cylinder deadbolt is a deadlocking bolt with a key on the inside and outside. This deadbolt was specifically designed to deter an intruder from breaking glass, reaching in and opening the door. To Tom's credit he had the correct type of deadbolt on his kitchen door. So how did an intruder get into his house?

 

 
Thursday, 04 December 2008 19:00 Pete Winn Editorial Dept - Americas
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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper won approval Thursday from Canada’s Governor General to suspend the Canadian Parliament until January – averting for the moment a constitutional crisis that could have led to rebellious opposition parties forming their own coalition and taking power into their own hands to topple his government.

Harper told reporters that Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean, the representative to British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, agreed to his request to close Parliament until Jan. 26.

Experts on Canadian government say the crisis was caused because the prime minister tried to privatize public financing of political parties.


On Wednesday night, Harper told Canadians in a televised address that the opposition parties had engaged in a “back-room deal” to cause his government to fail – even though Canadians overwhelmingly gave Conservative Party candidates a near majority in elections held just two months ago.
 

 

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