Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crumbling Gardiner and DPJ

courtesy of n+s
from Flickr
Wednesday July 18, 11:04 a.m.

With all the shooting horrors over the past couple of days (to add insult & further death to injury, there was another man shot & slain at Jane & Eglinton, just a day after the mass shooting in Scarberia), it's almost laughable that the Gardiner Expressway Whack-A-Car Sweepstakes has popped up on the news again. Yep, it looks like the extreme heat amongst other factors has caused the aging highway to drop the concrete version of bird poop. Luckily, no cars were harmed but Bathurst St. has been closed which will majorly screw up traffic today.

courtesy of DonkeyHotey
from Flickr
Then, there is the quagmire of being the governing party of Japan. It seems to be death by a thousand paper cuts (or paper cranes with especially sharp beaks and wings) for Prime Minister Noda. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan has been whittled down bit by bit by defecting disgruntled party members. There was the not-insignificant chunk of led by political kingpin/Loki, Son of Odin Ichiro Ozawa which has now become a new party with another frustrating name, Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People's Life First). And just a couple of days ago, three Upper House parliamentarians left the DPJ in disappointment over their former party's recent decisions to form a caucus group called Midori no Kaze (Green Wind), although I don't think environmentalists should start getting excited. According to The Japan Times, that leaves the DPJ on the precipice to lose its No. 1 status to the official Opposition Liberal Democratic Party. And the mass media has been reporting that further defections are possible....although I think that could be just viewership baiting more than fact.

It's been a slow, agonizing fall from grace for the DPJ in the past 3 years since it arrived as the new rulers of Nagatacho on a wave of victory and hope. President Obama and the Democrats ought to look at Japan and sigh in relief that at least they haven't been quite that unlucky. The first Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama came off as an indecisive mama's boy. Then, Naoto Kan got buried underneath his handling of last year's triple disasters of quake/tsunami/Fukushima. Now, it seems as if the knives have come out for Yoshihiro Noda. Somewhat earlier on, there had been some hope that Noda would be coming out of his first year in office relatively stain-free. But in pretty rapid succession, he got 3 albatrosses strung around his neck in the form of the gradual raising of the consumption tax to 10%, the OK to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the reactivation of the nuclear power plants against massive popular opposition. Still, I have some respect for him in that he has stuck to his guns and made the unpopular if necessary decisions....he's definitely better than Hatoyama that way, and he comes off as more pragmatist than idealogue. Now, I'm just wondering how he'll do in September when the Lower House General Election beckons. There's been no talk about him resigning so most likely the DPJ elders are thinking that it's probably too late for a leadership change to do much good in the short time between now and the Fall.