Saturday, June 30, 2012

When America wakes up, the world will change

Trust me. It will.

When America realizes that every drone strike on an Afghan wedding party makes 100 new jihadists, maybe they'll cut back on the drone strikes.

When America realizes that there are more people who believe in the so-called American dream in Africa than in America, maybe it will be a wake-up call.

I remember the Detroit and the Newark and the Philly of my youth.

What are they now?

Seems that Americans can only remember that they have the right to bear arms.

Hey, Yankee brothers, wake up!

You've got a lot more rights than that!

You have the right to health care.

Even when you're sick.

Imagine that!

You've got the right to decent housing and a decent education.

Imagine that!

So why not take your Winchester or your Glock or your Remington to your local Congressman's office.

Explain to him or her that you have rights.

The right to bear arms is great.

The right to have a life is just as great.











dsn

Recipe for the bacon and egg hemp smoothie

I believe the Falling Downs blog hasn't shared a recipe since we worked up that currant jam last year.

It's long overdue.

Here's the recipe for the Falling Downs hemp smoothie:

1 cup hemp powder
2 tbsp hemp oil
2 cups frozen fruit
2 cups water
1/2 pd bacon burned to crisp
2 eggs

You put all this stuff in the Osterizer, give it a good spin for 30 seconds or so.

Then you gulp 'er down. That's your bacon/egg/hemp smoothie.

But wait a minute. This is a recipe that has many options.

You can put in in the microwave and let it firm up. That will take a minute or so.

Then you've got either a real tasty hemp omlette, or if you slide the ensuing creation onto a panini bun, a really great Italian fried egg hemp sandwich.

Season to taste.

Exercising your way to wellness and death

Here's a story that doesn't get nearly enough attention.

I flagged it many years ago when distance runner and exercise guru Jim Fixx dropped dead during a training run. He was a big deal in the world of amateur running. Even had a best-seller on the topic.

Fact is, what you need in life is BALANCE.

Ya, exercise is mandatory, but only to balance off that other stuff, like the hours you spend in front of screens of one sort or another with a drink at hand.

I know at least a dozen people who are training for marathons. Every one of them is pleased to inform all and sundry of their unquestionable moral superiority.

I exercise and you don't.

I'll be running in Boston next year. You won't.

You'll see me on TV if you look close enough.

Hey shitheads, you're wrecking your bodies!

Why not just do it with liquor and drugs like the rest of us?

Kipling and the hemp smoothie

I always had a gut feeling that it was a bad idea to have the farm manager get too chummy with Kipling.

He's an all-things-hemp freak.

So the farm manager is on a Kipling-prescribed hemp smoothie diet.

For fucks sakes!

I mean, look at Kipling. The guy is fifty pounds overweight and smokes two packs a day. How the hell do you make this guy your fitness guru?

Oh, but if it wasn't for the hemp smoothies he calls "meals", he'd be dead by now.

OK. So the farm manager has scoured the health food stores and got all those hemp products that go into a hemp smoothie.

For fucks sakes! You're supposed to smoke the stuff, not drink it for breakfast!

What's wrong with bacon and eggs?

Putin in the Holy Land

What's up with Vlad's visit to Israel?

On the face of it he was simply attending the dedication of a monument to the achievements of the Red Army erected in Netanya. But obviously, there is more to it.

Tom Segev, writing in Haaretz, used the visit to take a backhanded swipe at Israeli politics. Putin visited because he is at home among the cynical opportunists of Lukid. Which may be true enough, but doesn't shed much light on anything.

At CNN Elise Labott saw the visit as an exercise in Russian muscle-flexing. Not likely. At CNN any stick is a good stick with which to beat Putin, but this sort of knee-jerk impugning of Putin's motives doesn't enlighten us either.

But I'm wondering, has there been a change in Russia's tone on Syria?

In Robert Fisk's Friday column he makes the case that behind the scenes at the Geneva conference the big dogs just carved up Syria.

And not just the big dogs. Fisk theorizes that the West has made a number of concessions to Iran, which in turn has conceded that Assad will eventually have to go.

But not just yet.

According to Fisk, Europe wants to see gas and oil pipelines from the gulf that will free up their dependence on Russia.

Look at a map.

Saudi Arabia and the Sunni statelets in the gulf want those pipelines as much as the Europeans do.

You can't build those pipelines without the cooperation of Iran or Iraq or Syria.

Since Iraq is now an Iranian vassal state, and Iran is the "enemy", that leaves Syria.

If Assad were to go, would Syria become a stable West-friendly ally happy to assist in the construction of that pipeline?

Maybe, maybe not.

"Maybe maybe not" aren't the sort of odds that Big Oil likes when embarking on multi-billion dollar pipeline projects.

Putin knows the jig is up sooner or later for Assad. What he has in common with the Israelis is that both were quite comfortable with that regime, and both want change, if change is inevitable, to be something they can live with.

For Putin that means a continuation of the European energy exports that have become the backbone of Russia's economy.

For the Israelis it means even more than that.

New York Times reveals new Egypt leader is 9/11 truther!

Now that is a scoop.

The part of the Time's story that revealed Mohamed Morsi is a Muslim, well, I could have guessed it, but for once the Times beat me to the story.

But this 9/11 business, who could see that coming? The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and new President of Egypt doesn't believe the official 9/11 narrative?

Then again, maybe it shouldn't be such a surprise. Morsi is an engineer, and apparently a real one. Didn't do his studies at the Cairo Institute of Quackery, but at the University of Southern California.

And he's certainly not the first engineer to voice skepticism about the official 9/11 story. According to their website, there's over 1700 of them now, with genuine credentials from reputable schools.

And they're not all Muslims either.

New York Times reveals new Egypt leader is Muslim!

Who knew! So that's why they call themselves the "Muslim" Brotherhood?

The Times article is just chock full 'o scoops.

He's keen to spring Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman from his US jail cell for one.

There's a surprise! Who would have imagined that the Muslim Brotherhood would be interested in freeing convicted Muslim terrorists?

Spring has sprung!

The Canadian way

On the eve of Canada Day it's time to have a look around and do a little reckoning.

The second biggest news story of the week was the Algo Mall tragedy in Elliot Lake. Part of a parking garage fell into the mall. Two dead, twenty injured.

That could happen anywhere, but what makes the story uniquely Canadian is how the rescue mission and its aftermath were handled. Barely had the rescue begun when it was called off.

Why? Because the partially collapsed structure was deemed unsafe for the rescue workers to enter!

Well duh! What kind of crap is that!

You can bet that the leadership types who made that call had advanced degrees in Rescue Management and no actual clue about what they were doing. I'm sure your average millwright contractor, of which there are many in that neck of the woods, has more than enough equipment and know-how to get in there and get the job done.

But they're not experts and don't have degrees in Rescue Management, so their cranes and cutting torches and heavy-lift hydraulic jacks don't count.

By now the story is about something we're a little more comfortable with  - assigning blame. The city blames the province which blames the mall owner who blames the city building inspector. Ontario's Premier has already announced a public inquiry to unravel the daisy chain of finger-pointing.

This will cost millions of dollars and provide years of busywork for exactly the sort of people who deemed the structure unsafe for rescue workers.

The really big story, though, is the War of 1812.

The same gang of sanctimonious twaddlers in Ottawa who went ape-shit when a UN official pointed out a few months ago that Canada has a problem with child poverty, somehow found 28 million dollars in these tough times to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

How is such a thing even possible?

It's a question of priorities I suppose. No point throwing those millions away on something like, oh, addressing the epidemic of teen suicides on native reserves or some such frivolity. Let's celebrate "our" imaginary victory over the Yanks 200 years ago instead!

The fact that "our" achievement preceded the founding of Canada by more than half a century is quite beside the point. The Harper gang wants to brainwash us into seeing ourselves as some sort of bold warrior culture with a rich tradition of great victories.

I'm guessing the point of that, other than taking our eye off the fact that we're no longer capable of getting a dying woman out of a collapsed building, is to groom us for uncritical acceptance the next time our leaders sign us up for some dodgy exercise in NATO warmongering.

Canada. I reckon it's still a great place to live, but let's strike a panel of qualified experts to study the matter before we jump to unwarranted conclusions.


What's new in the eurobaloney crisis

It has been such a busy week news-wise that you might have missed this tidbit.

Non-elected Italian PM and former Goldman Sachs advisor Mario Monti and EFSF boss Klaus Regling have prevailed upon austerity goddess Angela Merkel to permit the creation of a new bail-out superfund to be called the European Stability Mechanism.

The EFSF is the European Financial Stability Facility, created in 2010 as a conduit to shovel public money to failing private banks. Regling was one of the chief architects of the eurozone (as was Monti) and among the many other hats he wears, he has been an advisor to hedge fund Moore Capital Management.

What's new about the new European Stability Mechanism is that it will be authorized to shovel the public's money directly to the banks without the approval of national governments!

This is certainly cause for celebration among the Bilderberg crowd. There's nothing worse than a bunch of elected politicians to gum up the smooth running of the machinery of plutocracy.

Enough already with "will of the people" this and "public interest" that... this will free up the banksters to do what it is their God-given mission to do.

Screw over the rest of us.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Buy RIM

They closed today at around seven and a half.

I can see market hysteria driving that down even more. Three? Two fifty?

In any case this is a serious company with serious stuff going on and with serious cash reserves.

Where they have seriously lost out is in the 13 year old female market in North America.

That's a lot of hardware.

Apple owns the teenage market in North America.

RIM owns the US Army and virtually the whole spectrum of high-security markets in the entire world.

That fad-driven US market does have a huge impact on quarterly reports.

But don't write off the Blackberry folks just yet.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why is Latvia suddenly newsworthy?

Latvia?

Newsworthy?

Don't take my word for it. Google "Latvia".

You'll get a bunch of stories about how the austerity agenda has worked wonders. Latvia's GDP per capita has almost hit pre-austerity levels.

You'll get another bunch of stories about how the austerity agenda has caused half the population to flee the country.

When you think it through, those two stories actually work well together.

Of course the GDP per capita goes up when people leave the country!

The latest to pile on the Lettisch newswagon is none other than Hillary herself. 


That's the third Latvian theme. 


Hillary figures this is a good time for the present government of Latvia to compensate everybody who ever lost property to either the Nazis or the Communists. 


When Hillary bestrides the headlines with moronic statements like that, it can only be because she is trying to draw your eye away from something else.

Supreme Court saves US health care industry

And you thought they saved Obamacare!

No, they saved the health care industry.

And that's what it is, an industry. An industry that has to make a profit to survive.

Obamacare makes it law to utilize that industry. It's like a law that says you have to buy a car or buy a computer.

You have to buy health insurance. You have no choice.

Apparently America is the only nation in the civilized world that doesn't have single-payer public health care. And thank God for that!

Without Obamacare America might wake up to the fact that in the modern era health care is generally considered a right, not something you buy with your discretionary income.

But Obamacare papers that over and guarantees plump profits for the health care industry in perpetuity.

After all, with single-payer, the entire business model for private health care would be irrelevant.

Folks would be treated in a hospital because they're ill and need care, and not simply because they're "covered".

America has the most expensive and least efficient health care system in the developed world.

Mind you, if you're a congressman or a senator or from the upper echelon of the officer corps, it also has the very best. Oddly enough, these folks all have  government funded health care.

Insurance companies make their profits by denying you health care, not by providing it.

The Supreme Court has just enshrined the health care industry's right to profit from your health care needs.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

God speed, Uncle Murray

We got the call just after five this morning.

You made it safely to the other side.

So much better than lingering in between. Good call you made there, directing your last act while you still could.

I will always admire your courage.

When we were up last week I meant to mention that when we were clearing out your place in town, I snagged a keep-sake from your draftsman days.

I've got your Bethlehem Steel Structural Shapes reference handbook. I had one similar when I was a welding inspector at Frankel Steel, but this is the deluxe version.

Thanks!



So where's the Muslim Sisterhood?

The Natasha Smith story is all over the news today.

Not sure what to think. Not sure even what the gate-keepers at newsland want me to think.

Egyptians are vile primitives not ready for democracy?

How about Natasha Smith is more than a little naive. Foolhardy even.

On the other hand, today's headlines will certainly make her resume stand out. We'll be seeing her work for years to come.

As long as her next story isn't a documentary expose on cartel activity in Ciudad Juarez!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Clotheslines and finish lines

So it's all up in the air with Uncle Murray.

Took a pass on his regularly scheduled dialysis session a week ago. Everybody was expecting things to go down fast after that.

So I've got those size 11 Harts on, and I'm pretty much sporting them all over the place, although I must admit that when we went to look in on the old boy a few days ago I slipped on my Addidas runners.

Don't want to look like I'm gloating.

So we're kind of on hold around here, because we don't want to be off on a vacation or even a trip to the wrong city at the moment Uncle Murray buys the farm, if you know what I mean.

Therefore I've been keeping busy around here.

As regular readers will know, I installed a clothesline here at Falling Downs a year ago. You'll also know there were a few flaws in the design.

Actually, I think the design was OK; the execution was somewhat flawed.

But I've been using this "spare" time to remedy the situation.

You will recall that the project stalled out once I realized that I didn't have to build a stoop to reach the clothesline, because anyone, even the diminutive farm manager, could reach the clothesline while standing on the picnic table.

Well, wouldn't you know it, all of a sudden the farm manager gets to putting on airs about having to stand on the picnic table to hang the laundry.

"Fuck off, is this hillbilly central or what?" were her exact words.

Once a woman is in that state of mind there is no point in trying to be reasonable.

So even though the picnic table was a perfectly reasonable platform from which to hang the wash, I was forced to put up a proper laundry stoop.

Which I did last weekend. Took the better part of Saturday. Four sturdy cedar posts topped off with a pressure treated 4X4 foot deck.


What a delight it was to hang the laundry while standing on something other than a picnic table!


And then the entire clothesline collapsed.

Boycotting Caterpillar for all the wrong reasons

Looks like our Caterpillar boycott finally has some serious traction. Seems a couple of big mutual fund outfits are all aboard the Caterpillar boycott for the simple reason that the IDF uses the Cat D-9 when they're demolishing Palestinian homes in the West Bank.

At least according to the BDS folks, who are of course trumpeting a great victory.

I'm not so sure. While I'm no fan of bulldozing Palestinian houses, let's bear in mind that the IDF also used the Cat D-9 to take down Israeli settlements in Gaza. Let's also bear in mind that whether it's the government of China clearing slums to build the Olympic village or the government of Brazil clearing slums to build facilities for the 2014 World Cup, the tool of choice is the Cat D-9.

When international mining conglomerates need to rape pristine wilderness to clear mine sites and build access roads, you'll find Caterpillar.

When crop irrigation channels or flood remediation works are built, you'll find Caterpillar too.

Caterpillar just builds the tool.

The IDF has been using Cat's premier machine ever since they've needed it, without ever causing a twinge among the ethical investment crowd. Not even when Rachel Corrie was run over by a Caterpillar in 2003 was Caterpillar blamed. So why now?

Caterpillar closed their London plant in February. This blog gave the matter considerable attention at the time. What was so hugely offensive about the plant closing is that it was so obviously an anti-worker move.  A hugely profitable multi-national kills 500 jobs in a community for the simple reason that they can get workers to work for much less in another community.

In March the ethical investment funds delisted Caterpillar. The news just came out today because it was mentioned in their latest quarterly reports.

Suddenly the matter is a political football, and has been seized upon as a great "victory" by the BDS campaign. In reality, the ethical funds were responding primarily to the plant closing in Canada.

A Cat D-9 is a tool. I don't think Caterpillar is responsible for what the tool-buyers do with it after they bought one.

I do believe they are responsible for how they treat the tool builders.

That, and only that, is why Caterpillar should be boycotted.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Money, media, and power

There's a fascinating story unfolding in Mexico at the moment.

Mexican's go to exercise their democratic franchise in a couple of weeks. The supposed front runner, the PRI's Enrique Nieto, turns out to be the guy who has paid off the media to get the most favorable news coverage.

This would never be a scandal in America.

Why?

The Citizen's United case basically makes it legal to buy unlimited positive spin.

Even when you're buying it in the no-spin zone.

Why Indians in Canada are spinning their wheels in the quagmire of perpetual poverty

It's all about the leadership.

Back in the day common folklore held that there were two kinds of Indians; the "hang around the Fort" guys and the others.

The Fort guys used to hang around the trading post seeking what favor they could from the White man.

The other guys stayed aloof, tried to stick to traditional ways as much as they could, and held the Fort contingent in contempt.

There will be those who challenge the legitimacy of a White man writing critically about Indian leadership. To you I say one doesn't need to be Norwegian to write about Quisling. Nor does one need to be French to speak critically of Petain.

This topic comes up because today Patrick Brazeau made it into the news as having the worst attendance record of any Canadian Senator.

Big Chief Harper made Brazeau a Senator a few years back, which was, among other things, a cynical exercise in co-optation.

He was a smart young leader.

They'd rather have him in the Fort pissing out than outside pissing in.

Meanwhile, over at the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo is running hard for re-election. There are those who believe that he too is excessively chummy with Big Chief Harper and a little too distant from the day to day reality of  Indians in Canada.

The current generation of Indian leadership doesn't have a whole lot to show in terms of achievements for their people. I've written before that the ultimate solution is the creation of a sovereign state.

The never-ending tragedy of aboriginal people in Canada will never end untill the leadership stops hanging around the Fort.

US General busted recycling his own media releases

I see where AFRICOM boss General Carter Ham is all over the news today sounding the alarm about “Islamist militants” in Africa joining forces to wreak havoc on the African renaissance currently being enjoyed by Libya, Tunisia, et al.

Carter’s warning bells rang a bell, as it were, and low and behold, with a little digging you’ll find it was just back in February that the good General ran the exact same story through the news cycle! (See for example the AP story of 29 Feb. US General: 3 Africa terror groups may collaborate.)

But that’s not all! General Ham was floating the same news balloon way back in September of last year! (See for example AP story of 14 Sept. 2011 General worried by terror collaboration in Africa.)

This constant recycling of the same story points to a serious weakness in AFRICOM’s  psy-ops capabilities.

How are you gonna scare anybody if you keep trotting out the same old story?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Why it's so easy to scoop the New York Times

Even for “pot-addled hillbillies”.

And not just the Times of course, or the Globe or Reuters.

You see, it’s not that they’ve been “scooped,” it’s just that they choose to ignore certain stories.

Here’s a fine example. For almost a year major American media outlets reported the fiction that the conflict in Syria consisted of the Syrian military on the one side and “unarmed protesters” on the other. Then in February CNN aired video that had come to it via the BBC that showed a completely different reality.

Suddenly the “unarmed” protesters were very well armed indeed. Who knew?

The very networks and news sites who had failed to pass this news on to the news consumers obviously knew, but chose not to share the information. The information that the Syrian opposition was armed from the beginning of the uprising was readily available on news sites from Turkey, Russia, and Iran among others.

So why did so many media outlets suppress this crucial aspect of the story? Because it doesn’t fit into the over-arching narrative, which requires an evil dictator on the one side and innocent victims on the other, just like in Libya.

The purpose of this “news” isn’t so much to inform us of what’s going on; it’s to groom us for the next “humanitarian intervention”.

Similarly, coverage of the never-ending eurobaloney crisis has it’s own not unrelated narrative, and the “news” we are permitted is all about how the irresponsible over-spending under-working Greeks are the authors of their own misfortune and only a strong dose of neo-liberal tough love can save them.

It simply wouldn’t do to write stories about how the same clutch of  financial wizards who profited every step of the way while Greece was running up huge debts continue to profit from these supposed “bail-outs”.

So these “scoops” aren’t scoops at all. If our news media were about delivering news I’m sure they know where to find these stories.

But they’re in the business of propaganda.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brother Barack calls Egypt to offer congrats to Muslim Brotherhood

But don't be alarmed, folks.

Even though Obama is high-fiving the radical Muslims who were just awarded the Egypt election, it is not what it seems.

Yesterday middle-east seer and all-round wise-guy on all matters Muslim, Robert Fisk, predicted a Shafiq win in the "election".

But a few weeks ago he was waxing wise on the connections that senior MB people have forged with the Egyptian military.

I believe that Fisk knows whereof he speaks, even though he sometimes doesn't tell everything he knows.

The MB "won" this election because the military allowed it.

The military allowed it because Field Marshal Tantawi, the guy behind the curtain, gets his marching orders from Washington.

Yes of course they will honor the agreements with Israel, because that's part of the bargain.

You'll notice that the secular well-educated fringe who started the Tahrir uprising is pretty much out of sight today.

You are witnessing history in the making; democracy in action.

It's not pretty.

Unions suck

I was at a neighborhood get-together the other night. I try to avoid this sort of thing, but the farm manager insisted.

One of the guests was a guy who works for the local school board. Apparently he is an "EA", or educational assistant.

Mr. EA was quite beside himself that every payday there are a few dollars deducted from his check for union dues.

Unions are an anachronism he said. Well, he didn't use the word "anachronism", but he did say that unions suck.

They protect the weak, he said.

Maybe when there were children working in mines and the workday went to fourteen hours, there was a need for unions, he opined. In the modern era they are just taking his money.

I was sorely tempted to interject, but because the farm manager wants to stay on good terms with the locals, I refrained.

Mr. EA is right of course. Unions do protect the weak. The lame and the halt too. And the gay and the colored and all sorts of sundry misfits who may not meet the approval of the boss' gaze on any given day.

Mr. EA, as I understand it, makes 25 dollars an hour to help "challenged" teens learn grade two math.

I'm guessing that the only reason the school board can't find some willing person to do that job for minimum wage is because Mr. EA is protected by a union contract.

After all, there can't be a shortage of folks who get grade two math. Like anybody who already passed grade three math for instance.

But there he is, whining about those ten bucks that come off his pay every two weeks.

You're right Buddy; unions suck.

But right-to-work and minimum wage sucks even more.

When is a coup not a coup?

When the noddy-winky Nations of Virtue give it a nod and a wink of course.

It happened in Honduras a couple of years ago.

It happened in Paraguay just the other day.

There's a pattern when these things "happen". Look for Hillary or one of the other front-persons for the Nations of Virtue (Hague can usually be relied on to give the winky-noddy party line, as can Cameron and Harper. Sarkozy was pretty reliable but the new guy has yet to show what he's made of.)

As long as the "democratic process" was respected we're good to go.

Nod-nod wink.

And when does Arab Spring become an ill wind?

Why, when it blows into Bahrain of course.

That's a "good" dictatorship... or should I use the weasel speak "authoritarian regime"?

Nod. Wink.

Why is it that a thousand protesters in Moscow are a popular uprising but fifty thousand protesters in Montreal are spoiled brats?

Well, because those protesters in Moscow are clamoring for democracy, and as everybody knows, those protesters in Montreal already have it...

Wink, nod...

How "free trade" agreements screw over local communities

I've been mightily skeptical of so-called free-trade deals since the Mulroney era.

NAFTA was going to be a panacea for the North American economy.

Mexican labor.

Canadian resources.

Yankee ingenuity.

There's a combo that can take on the world! Jobs jobs jobs was the Mulroney mantra.

What could possibly go wrong?

I wrote extensively at the time that the jobs claim was bogus. Jobs for Canada and the US were seriously at risk under NAFTA, because the only way to claim there would be a net increase in jobs north of the Rio Grande is by making the overtly racist assumption that our stupid brown-skinned brothers south of the Rio Grande were only capable of doing the dreariest manual labor.

Hollowed out former manufacturing communities all over the "rust belt" and southern Ontario prove that I was right and Brian Mulroney was not only wrong, but lying.

But the free trade religion motors on regardless.

Just this week the Harper gang was thrilled to inform the people of Canada that they had secured an invitation to negotiations for the latest iteration of a trans-Pacific free trade agreement. That will allow workers in Sandusky and Saint Thomas to compete head to head with workers in Phnom Penh.

Don't know much about the workers in Phnom Penh other than they can undercut the wages of workers in both Mexico and China, which leads me to conclude that participation in the TPP isn't likely to be an engine of job creation in Ohio or Ontario.

What's integral to all these so-called free trade agreements is that they give corporate entities the right to sue governments that impede their profit maximizing agendas.

To see this in action you need look no further than Peru.

Google "Peru mining controversies" and you'll see that even left-leaning politicians are scared shitless of facing down international mining conglomerates. Both Canada and the US have free trade agreements with Peru, and when conglomerates like Newmont or Barrick don't get their way, they can use the fine print in these free trade agreements to sue the government of Peru.

This results in government decisions that favor foreign corporations over local interests, and the struggle in Peru has already claimed many lives.

Free trade?

No thanks.

Let's try fair trade instead.

NATO chiefs overjoyed as Syria hands them "Just Cause"

One can imagine there's a whole lot of gleeful handrubbing going on in Brussels today.

NATO operates by the same code as a biker gang; an attack on one of us is an attack on all. And the downing of a Turkish fighter plane by Syria yesterday when it strayed into Syrian airspace was obviously an unprovoked attack.

Listen to the tough talk coming from one of NATO's toughest talking cheer-leaders, Brit Foreign Secretary William Hague;

This outrageous act underlines how far beyond accepted behaviour the Syrian regime has put itself. The Assad regime should not make the mistake of believing it can act with impunity. It will be held to account.

Note that this is in stark contrast to NATO, which always acts with impunity and is never held to account.

Note also that the "outrageous act" in question is the shooting down of a foreign warplane that violated Syrian territorial sovereignty, an act that would be deemed entirely justifiable were it to occur in one of the Nations of Virtue.

So the NATO brain trust will be getting together in the next few days to chart a course of action.

Expect the smart bombs and cruise missiles to follow soon after.

Another sideways move for Burke's Leafs

Pity James van Riemsdyk.

The day after being traded from the relative obscurity of Philadelphia, he finds himself on the front page of the Toronto Star, touted as the savior of the Leafs.

High expectations?

Much too high, and those unattainable expectations have doomed many a Leaf prospect.

Even the headline today sets up van Riemsdyck; "Leafs trade for brawn".

Oh, that's still the strategy?

Frankly, I think it's been obvious for quite awhile that Burkie doesn't have a strategy. Once in awhile he makes one of these sideways moves to give the appearance that he's doing something, but what exactly is the "strategy"?

On the other side of the trade, look for Schenn to blossom in Philly. The pressure's off.

He can focus on playing hockey.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pot-addled hillbilly blogger beats Reuters to the story by three months

Oh, lookee, Reuters has a scoop for you today. Seems those Saudis are funding the Syrian uprising!

Who knew?!

Oh, lookee, The View From Falling Downs had the same story on April 1, almost three months ago.

Obviously our world-wide network of intelligence operatives digs deeper and asks more probing questions than the twats at Thomson-Reuters.

So much for major media...

Canadian PM Harper's security chief faces bullying accusations

No, of course he hasn't been bullying Harper!

Big Steve is the bully-in-chief, don't you know.

In fact, when the management review accusing Superintendent Bruno Saccomani of bullying his underlings was leaked, Big Steve was quick to praise his number one henchman.

And Chairman Steve has lots of henchmen now. Apparently the cost of protecting Big Steve has soared to heights never before seen in the history of protecting Canadian PMs. Well over a hundred full-timers packing heat to protect Big Steve.

Now that's an entourage!

So what's up with that?

Are there that many more security threats today than there were a few years ago?

Is the Supreme Leader a little paranoid?

Or does hiding behind a phalanx of armed body-guards just provide the kind of ego-stroke that our PM craves?

Uruguay takes lead in quitting war on drugs

As Obama doubles down on the long-lost "war on drugs" by increasing the presence of American anti-drug forces in Honduras, many of the USA's traditional allies in Central and South America are distancing themselves from what has been a colossal failure.

Hundreds of billions spent, tens of thousands dead, and drugs cheaper and more plentiful on America's streets than ever.

Now the government of Uruguay has introduced legislation that will put the narcos out of business by nationalizing the drugs trade.

That's right, the Uruguayan pot smokers will be able to buy their next baggie at the government dispensary.

No more seeking out shady characters for back-alley deals.

No more gunpoint ripoffs.

No more civilians caught in the cross-fire as rival gangs settle accounts.

And instead of spending billions hunting down and incarcerating the traffickers, the state can now tax the product and reinvest the money in social spending.

Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for the forty year farce we call the war on drugs.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I always knew my neighbor was innocent...

Just down the road in Mount Forest, they're still pissed about how Cindi Vanier could be stuck in a Mexican jail while the government of Canada does absolutely nothing to get her out.

This is consistent with the facts of some other recent posts from Falling Downs.

The Harper gang has the x-ray specs on when they look at one part of the world.

They've got blindfolds on when they look at other parts.

The NATO/US agenda dictated that the Monster of the Maghreb was a bad guy.

That was good enough for the government of Canada.

So even though Vanier was totally above board every step of the way, her government now wants to distance itself from her instead of offering up the services that are her right as a citizen.

Cindi, meet Omar.

Khadr case makes mockery of Canada's human rights pretensions

Omar Khadr's legal reps are once again pleading with Canadian authorities to repatriate the poor bastard from Gitmo, like they promised to do a year ago.

It's all over the news.

It's been informative to see how the big media handle the story. I've seen headlines referring to Khadr as a "convicted war criminal" and a "convicted terrorist".

What Omar Khadr was at the time of his alleged crime was a child soldier. He was a fifteen year old Afghan kid who allegedly threw a grenade that killed a US soldier.

This happened in Afghanistan.

From some perspectives this would make him a great Afghan patriot.

Because Khadr had dual Canadian-Afghani citizenship, and Canada is a NATO/ISAF stalwart, from the Canadian perspective this makes him a "war criminal".

But as the whole world knows, Canada is the most do-goodery of all the do-good nations. The most virtuous by far of the Nations of Virtue.

After all, Canadians are so overbearingly virtuous that they came up with R2P, the "responsibility to protect".

That's a little slice of do-gooder flim-flam that allows virtuous and powerful nations to make war on weaker nations on the pretext that if they don't, bad stuff might happen to citizens of said weaker nation. It is especially applicable if said weaker nation happens to sit astride serious oil reserves.

This was the rationale behind the war on Ghadaffi.

So it's not surprising that the virtuous Canadians were also leading the fight against the use of child soldiers. They were one of the biggest promoters of UN resolution 1261.

So here is a child soldier, a Canadian citizen, tortured by the Nations of Virtue into a "confession", and more than ten years after the facts Canada still refuses to honor its obligations under UN resolution 1261, and indeed, its obligations under the Geneva Convention.

To say nothing of common sense and common decency.

All for the sake of making brownie points in Brussels and Washington.

SHAME!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Israeli parliamentarian declares homosexuality "a completely unacceptable perversion"

Well! Isn't this counter-productive!

The Israeli government spends millions promoting the country, and especially Tel Aviv, as a queer-friendly tourist destination.

Then MK Ana Michaeli opens her mouth and unleashes remarks that sound like they were penned by Uganda's Minister of Ethics, Simon Lokodo.

Her comments are attracting attention around the world.

She's not big on Pride Parades either, as you would imagine. That would be a breach of morality, not to mention an attack on the rights of women, children, and families.

She doesn't expand on the line of reasoning here. I guess all those guys prancing around in their undershorts are depriving some poor woman somewhere of a studly heterosexual bread-winner for their prospective family.

The think tank here at Falling Downs has a few words for Ms. Michaeli.  Love and her dirty sister Lust are beautiful unpredictable creatures. They can both break the heart and make it soar. It's not up to you or I to judge.

Get over yourself!

Rough seas for African queens

Uganda's Minister for Ethics has announced that the country is banning 38 foreign NGO's for promoting homosexuality.

Simon Lokodo, a former Catholic priest, claims that the 38, and possibly more, use their alleged humanitarian agendas as a front to mask their more insidious true agenda, recruiting young Ugandans to the sins of Sodom.

"Homosexuality is illegal and unacceptable" said Lokodo, "it doesn't have any positive aspects at all. We condemn it very strongly."

He's not kidding about that part. The country's parliament has been debating a bill that would make promotion of homosexuality a capital offence, providing the death penalty for repeat offenders. That will in all likelihood be reduced to life in prison to stem the alarm of foreign aid donors.

This is of course very distressing to the Western do-gooders who run the myriad NGOs operating in Uganda. It's always a shock to discover that the beneficiaries of your philanthropy don't share your values.

But I'm betting they'll keep taking your money.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why Julian Assange must be silenced

How the world has changed!

Thirty or forty years ago, anyone wanting to avoid the long arm of Uncle Sam would have felt quite comfortable seeking refuge in the nearest Swedish embassy.

Today Julian Assange ducked into Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden.

It's not Sweden he fears, of course. It's the very real prospect of being shipped on to the US, where things could get very nasty for him indeed.

While those alleged "sex crimes" he is wanted for in Sweden would have been laughed out of any American court, America dearly wants him for his other crime, the crime of exposing the truth to the world.

Telling the truth, or rather exposing it, is considered a crime against the state in the America of today.

Truth undermines American security.

Truth undermines America's relationship with her allies.

Truth undermines the ability of the goverrnment and the mainstream media to keep bullshitting the American people into voting against their own interests.

What the hell, if too much truth ever gets out, the warmongers and the profiteers and the two parties who represent them could all be sitting in cells at The Hague!

Which is why Julian Assange must be silenced.

Taking a closer look at the Greek election

Ancient Greece is generally considered to be the place democracy was invented.

Forget a two-party system. Greece had two dozen political parties running in Sunday's election.

Christ, they've got more fringe political parties than Israel.

No wonder the results don't make sense.

For example, how is an outsider to appreciate the difference between Ecologists Greece and the Greek Ecologists?

One of them is a mainstream "green" part not averse to sitting in coalition with traditional conservative parties.

The other is a loose approximation of the Marijuana Party.

Then there are those parties who you can pretty much figure out by the name.

Not hard to guess where the Fighting Socialists would stand on the euro question.

Or the Anti-capitalist Left Coalition for the Overthrow. Just a hunch, but I'm betting they're anti-austerity.

So what to make of the results?

The results of Sunday's election were trumpeted as a great success for the austerity enema crowd.

No less an authority than Obama opined that this was a step in the right direction.

Even the global stock markets signalled their approval on Monday morning. At least for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Sixty percent of eligible voters went to the polls. Pro-austerity PASOK got the most votes. They won the election.

But 52% of those who voted, voted for a range of anti-austerity parties.

In reality, this chimeric "victory for austerity" was achieved by less than a quarter of Greek voters.

But this doesn't seem to be a point that the New York Times or the Washington Post want to dwell on.

Maybe it's time to take that ancient Greek invention into the shop for a tune-up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why it's a Goldman Sachs world

As I've been watching this never-ending Euro-crisis go on and on, it's occurred to me more than once that it's odd how many Goldman Sachs alumni occupy positions of power in all those distressed European economies.

From finance ministers to technocrats to top guns at the European Central Bank, the IMF and the World Bank, every time you turn around you bump into a former Goldman director, adviser, or senior economist.

The "sky is falling" hysteria that has accompanied the Greek debacle struck me as typical media sensationalism.

The sky has been falling on Greece for quite some time now, yet when the Greeks voted this week, they apparently voted for a continuation of sky-falling, a continuation of save-the-banks-at-all-costs, and a continuation of the massive screw-over that the common Greek in the street has been enjoying for the last five years.

Yet voter turn-out was around 60%.

You'd think that if the sky was actually falling a few more Greeks would get off the sofa and head for the polling booth.

But no. The champions of austerity managed a victory in this democratic election, even if it appears that the majority of Greeks voted against their own interests.

That's not unique to Greece of course. American voters have been beguiled into voting against their own self-interest for generations.

Books have been written about this phenomenon.

It's still a source of befuddlement though. Are people really that stunned?

Then I ran across a paper called The structure and dynamics of global multi-media business networks. It's worth looking up.

This isn't the sort of quackery that's all over the net that sees some massive Jewish/Freemason/alien (take your pick) conspiracy imposing a "New World Order" on the planet.

This is boring academics at the University of California tracing the links between our news media and our financial institutions.

Long story short, the reason the media never tire of hyping the financial crises is because they've got a vested interest in scaring the crap out of us. Scare the people into saying yes to more austerity, and the same financial institutions who control the media will make a killing on the Greek debt they've been picking up at a steep discount.

Nothing illegal about it.

Immoral, repugnant, offensive?

Definitely!

But it's working for them so far.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's day

My dad got off the boat in 1956 with less than nothing.

He owed the Government of Canada the ship-fare that had got me and him and mom and the baby in her belly into the country.

The Government of Canada was hard up for new people at the time.

His first job was shoveling coal.

Years later, when he was sitting in an office, I remember overhearing a conversation he was having with a prominent lawyer in town, about a property deal that apparently was at risk.

"Frank, as a friend I feel for you. As a client, I don't give a shit. Get it done."

Frank got it done.

What sticks in my mind is this incredible trajectory that so many of the post WWII DP's had in the new world.

Stronach and Hasenfratz and all those guys who got off the boat with nothing. Built multi-million dollar empires out of nothing.

Not that my dad was in that league, but he did OK for himself.

My earliest memory of my father is cruising around in a 1950 Ford. My sister was bundled up in the back seat; I stood in the front seat between mom and dad.

Then there was that first day of school. My father took me there and left me there. I still remember him exiting the room with a wave in my direction. He was wearing his green work clothes.

I was the only kid in the class who couldn't speak English.

I felt abandoned.

It was a sink or swim moment.

My dad had experienced plenty of those in his life. Sink or swim.

He swam.

So did I.

Happy father's day old boy!

Big crowd gathering at the precipice

In my daily scouring of world news  I must have run into the word "precipice" at least a dozen times today.

"Brink" was pretty popular too.

Egypt is voting today and tomorrow. That puts us all on the brink of something. I'm not sure what.

Greece votes tomorrow. That's even brinkier than Egypt.

But we are "hurtling towards the precipice." That was either Bloomberg or Reuters, I can't remember.

Of course both Bloomberg and Reuters have a vested interest in scaring the shit out of us, so what does it matter?

Fact is, there exists a real world far away from the Reuters-Bloomberg world where real people do real things.

Grow potatoes.

Raise cattle.

Cut firewood.

Fix cars.

Build houses.

The champions of the Rumpelstiltskin economy want us to believe that without their magical paper-shufflers everything is going to hell in a hand-cart.

It is and it isn't.

If you're a million a year guy at Sachs selling derivatives to other million a year guys at Morgan or Citibank, ya, the sky is falling.

If you can grow potatoes or fix a car, you won't even notice.

Harper gang pulling plug on freedom of speech

Well, isn't this rich!

Parks Canada has sent letters to all it's employees warning them that they are not allowed to criticize either Parks Canada or the Harper government.


As employees of the public sector, your duty is to support the elected government.


This is from the same folks who never tire of preaching the virtues of democracy to the rest of the world.

The self-righteous twaddlers who invented R2P, the doctrine that lets rich and powerful countries feel good about themselves while engineering "regime change" in less fortunate countries.

The sanctimonious charlatans who can't even provide Canada's native people the same standard of living Gaddafi achieved for Libya.

The cup of hypocrisy overfloweth...

Who is Gina Rinehart?

Have to admit Australia is pretty much off my radar.

It did cause a bit of a twitch when I read that they'd entered into some sort of "mutual defense" agreement with the US that allows American troops to be stationed there.

I hadn't realized that they were facing threats that required American protection.

Then I read about Gina Rinehart and suddenly everything fell into place.

They need the US Army to protect the world's richest woman. If the stories are to be believed, she's well on her way to being just plain "the world's richest."

Odd how the super-rich like to pass themselves off as "populists." They're just like you and me, except they're got 20 billion instead of twenty bucks.

And it's so ironic how the rich seem to have pretty much the same views on politics as all those regular folks in the Tea Party.

Government is bad.

Taxes are a plague invented by Satan.

Workers are inherently lazy shirkers who need, more than anything, the stiff prod of competition from half-starved immigrants who appreciate the fact that a good day's work in return for a bowl of rice is an eminently fair deal.

Of course, when you gather those lazy workers under some cozy union umbrella you might as well just throw in the towel altogether.

That's why the world's richest woman is lobbying hard to have cheap foreign workers brought en masse into Australia to work her vast mining interests.

Her fortune is growing at the rate of 30 million dollars a day. Think of how much faster it could grow if she didn't have to pay those spoiled Aussies a decent wage.

After all, there's plenty of people in Bangladesh and Somalia and Pakistan who would be thrilled to work for a mere fraction of what she's paying the help now.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Obama finds the love for Mexican children

Till today Obama has pretty much talked a tough line on illegal immigrants.

Today he reached out with a blanket amnesty for any Mexican who managed to ford the Rio Grande before their 16th birthday.

As long as they haven't committed a crime in the USA.

And while you think that would be enough to disqualify most of them, that's not the way it will play out.

America needs the illegal immigrants.

They cut the grass, they wet-nurse the infants, they polish the floors overnight at your local Wal-Mart.

If America ever got serious about illegal immigration, America would  have to get serious about paying a living wage for those jobs.

Going out with Grace and Dignity

Grace and Dignity.

Weren't they two of the back-up singers on one of the early Aretha albums?

I'm sure Uncle Murray would enjoy the pun.

Uncle Murray is determined to go out with grace and dignity.

The doctors have laid it out plain for him.

You can have these body parts lopped off and you might last six months.

Stay the course and you're good for six weeks, max.

Uncle Murray, we love you, and I hope when my time comes I have the courage to make the choice that you have made.

Grace and dignity.

God bless.

Jesus successfully guides Nik Wallenda across Niagara Falls

Yup, it was all glory to Jesus.

Like hundreds of millions around the world I watched an infomercial for Jesus tonight.

ABC saw fit to provide live coverage of Nik Wallenda's walk across the  Niagara Falls.

And let there be no doubt; that is a pretty cool thing to do.

But by the time Nik got to the Canadian side I couldn't figure out if I should be clapping for Nik or clapping for Jesus.












Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I've got some invisible Picassos for sale

Bidding starts at a million pounds.

Sorry, I'm not falling for any of that "I'll pay you in invisible money" shit.

I want real money for these real invisible paintings.

And invisible art is real. The invisible art show at the Hayward Gallery in London is all over the net. People are paying twelve bucks, or maybe it's twelve bob at the door to see the invisible art.

Entire forests have succumbed to the manifold curatorial justifications for this scam.

Invisible art?

Kiss my ass.

That's not art, it's bullshit!

Lance Armstrong, busted at last...

Anybody with a lick of common sense always knew the Lance fable was too good to be true.

When things are too good to be true, they generally aren't true.

So we all knew the Lance Armstrong "seven Tour de France victories and I never doped" fable was just that.

A fable.

But it was a beautiful fable.

There was Lance, coming back from cancer, winning the toughest human endurance competition in the world time after time, and it was just such a compelling story.

Got him in to meet Presidents.

Got him on the Letterman show time and again.

A skeptic would have always wondered why the guy who won year after year could be clean when pretty much all the guys who came in after him were busted for doping infringements of one sort or another.

Don't want to brag about it, but this blog had this exact story out there at least six months ago.

Anyway, the US Anti-Doping Agency is forging ahead with doping charges against Lance.

Guess those guys have been reading my blog.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kosher Nazi references?

I'm somewhat puzzled about why some Nazi references are OK and others are right next to hate crimes.

What got me pondering was an article about the B'nai Brith in Canada making an issue of the Quebec student protesters using the Nazi salute to antagonize Quebec police.

B'nai Brith boss Frank Dimant claims the use of the Nazi salute, even in an obviously ironic or satirical context, "defiles the memory of the Holocaust and reminds us how quickly anti-semitism and the manifestations of hate can venture into our public discourse."

One of the problems I have with Mr. Dimant's take on this situation is that not so long ago Stephen Harper stood in the House of Commons and drew a comparison between the opposition NDP and the Nazis.

This was not problematic for B'nai Brith.

In the US any number of prominent commentators have compared Obama to Hitler.

This is not problematic for B'nai Brith.

And there's no politician anywhere in the world who is a bigger fan of Hitler analogies than Benjamin Netanyahu.

This is not problematic for B'nai Brith.

But when anti-capitalist protesters in Montreal mock the goonish Quebec cops with the Nazi salute, it's a problem?


Monday, June 11, 2012

Kings win cup, but was the fix in?

Those of you who follow this stuff know that just a few days ago LA was headed to a four game sweep of the Devils.

Then there was a miracle of sorts.

The NHL managed to sell out two extra arena-fulls of tickets as the Devils turned it into a 3-2 series.

That's an extra seven or eight million dollars vacuumed out of the economy that wouldn't have happened in a four game sweep.

And that's just in ticket sales.

Who knows what the extra advertising revenue is worth?

It's all over now. LA just put in two back to back. 6-1.

Maybe there's no more open dates at the arenas!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fear and loathing on the Alzheimer highway

It's a stinking hot day.

Me and the farm manager are sitting in the shade of the big spruce in front of the house, watching the turkey vultures swoop and soar.

Magnificent animals, those turkey vultures. They get a bit of a bad rap simply because of their name, I think.

Turkey vulture.

Just in front of us is a forty foot nearly-dead pine that lost the other third of its height to lightning a few years ago.

The farm manager is talking about how that tree is a metaphor for our relationship.

Needless to say, that inflicted a massive head-spin on my part.

In a desperate attempt to change the subject, I bring up the fact that the grass is really coming up fast.

Didn't I just cut it Thursday I said?

Thursday?

Ya, was it Thursday?

There's a noticeable change in tone coming from the farm manager.

It's not Thursday.

I look at her, not comprehending...

It's not Thursday?

I know it's not fucking Thursday. Did I cut the fucking grass on Thursday?

Oh!...

Whew!...

Trouble is, we're closer than we think, and the ghost of the Alzheimer plague is always just around the corner.

The favorite aunt on the other side is just starting down the road.

Fuck, I'm just started; she's fifty miles ahead of me.

We're at a restaurant the other day. She pulls out the dental floss. Can't get it unraveled.

Leans into the farm manager. Can you help me dear?

Well, that's a tough call, especially for somebody hard-wired to help.

You want to help, but that just means Auntie is going to be flossing her teeth at the table in the restaurant.

So we take a break from the shade of that spruce and I want to show the manager a few licks I've added to my musical repertoire.

I'm a shitty bass player, but I recently added a 200 watt amp to my collection, so at least I can play really loud. My band, CrackerBilly, is in the final stages of rehearsal before we launch a global tour.

Well not "global" global, but at least south Ontario. Maybe a few shows in some of those Michigan college towns if we don't have too much trouble at the border.

HELLO ANN ARBOR, THIS IS CRACKERBILLY!!!

Ya, just like that.

Anyway, yesterday the craziest thing happened. Right there in the corner of the garage we discovered a snake nest!

I saw the mama snake first, slithering her way into the corner, right behind that cabinet that has a lot of my old cassettes in it. We check in behind, and lo and behold, there's an entire snake-ball of baby snakes!

A couple of hours later we check on them again, and they're all gone. Guess they don't like to be disturbed.

So fast forward 24 hours, and I'm taking the farm manager back to the garage for an impromptu concert. I plug in the bass, turn on the 200 watt amp, hit a few notes, and...

HOLY FUCK THERE ARE SNAKES CRAWLING OUT OF THE AMPLIFIER!!!

Which is probably the only thing I have in common with the big dogs in the world of rock and roll bass players. We've all seen snakes crawling out of our amps.

So on my side, I've got the uncle who was a world-renowned scholar in the field of reformation history until a few years ago.

Now he sits at home and wonders who's house he's in.

It's a terrible lonely desolate road, that Alzheimer highway.


Netanyahu finds silver lining in Syrian Intifada

Now that the world appears good and tired of the old "the Iranians are months away from a nuclear weapon" gambit, the Prime Minister has found a new stick with which to beat the People of the Towel.

All that trouble just across the northern border? Well, the Iranians are behind it!

And not only that, but Hezbollah too!

In fact, Netanyahu trotted out the term "axis of evil" to describe this satanic Assad-Iran-Hezbollah combine.

This is not an entirely new line of argument of course. A year ago when hundreds of Syrian protesters breached the northern border he was quick to blame Iran too.

And in remarks liberally larded with words like "massacre" and "genocide" he implored the Nations of Virtue to swing into action.

Free those Syrian people from their evil tyrant, just like we did for the Libyans last year.

Quite aside from the question of how that's working out for Libya, is the greater question of who is really behind this Syrian Intifada.

It has been clear from the beginning that foreign interests have been funneling money, arms, and fighters into the country. Much of that support comes from the same ultra-conservative sources in Saudi Arabia who also fund al-Qaeda.

The West needs to think long and hard before handing another country to that crowd.

Save the banks, screw the people

The news sites are full of headlines today to the effect that the pain in Spain is going to hurt for a good long time.

But at least this hundred billion euro bailout has saved the banks! At least for now.

That must come as a relief if you're one of that quarter of the Spanish population who is unemployed. Among young people it's about half.

Each one of them just took on another 20 thousand euros in debt to save the banks.

The usual experts will of course rally round and claim that there is no other choice.

There is.

Let the banks sink.

Oh, but that will destroy confidence in the banking system!

Well duh!

It's the bankers who have destroyed not only confidence but the banking system itself. It was well educated and well paid bankers who loaded their institutions with crap loans to speculative property developers. The end of the the property bubble was as predictable as the end of the tulip bubble or the dot com bubble.

It is neither just nor sensible to saddle the unemployed youth of Spain with more debt to bail out the banks. Those unemployed youth know that better than I do.

Occupy Madrid!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gaddafi's niggers

One thing you don't see a lot of is politicos from the Nations of Virtue taking any responsibility for what's going on in Libya today.

It's like, OK, we freed them from the yoke of Gaddafi, and good for us because we are really really great, but the rest of the story is in the hands of the Libyans.

And how is that going?

Apparently billions in oil revenues have already disappeared, and not into some wacky public infrastructure fantasy like the "great man-made river".

The upcoming democratic elections have been postponed because our bum-boys in the NTC have determined that their fellow citizens are not quite ready to shoulder the burden of democracy.

Maybe later.

And the ethnic cleansing of black Libyans continues apace.

How many Libyans are better off today?

Certainly not the black ones.

Not the Arab ones either.

But our friends in the NTC seem to be doing quite well for themselves!

Libya's law 37 and what NATO really did to Libya

You won't find much mention of this in "The oath of Tobruk," the vanity show that the supposed left-wing intellectual Bernard-Henry Levy recently debuted at Cannes.

If this unctuous twat is what "liberal intellectuals" have become I don't blame the Fox News types for putting a pox on all our houses.

Law 37 in our newly liberated Libya makes it a crime to "glorify" the regime of the recently departed Gaddafi.

So, for example, if you have the audacity to speak out loud what most Libyans are thinking, i.e. things were better with Gaddafi than they are now, that's good for life in prison.

And if you think that's a bit undemocratic and police-statish, scroll ahead to Law 38.

Law 38 gives retroactive immunity to anything and anyone who committed human rights abuses in the course of bringing to an end the Gaddafi regime.

This covers not only the recent outrages like hanging black folks from trees, but also the time honored tradition of UK and US intelligence services renditioning their citizens to Libya for the gloves-off kind of "interrogation" that we can't get away with here.

All's fair in war...

What's 'news' in America?

First off, Lin-Lo had some sort of accident.

Not that that's never happened before, but this time it was really serious. Apparently she left the scene in a Cadillac Escalade after running her Porsche into the back of a truck.

Which is quite unlike anything I would ever do under those circumstances.

I remember just last month, when I ran my truck into the back of a Porsche, I had to hop into my crew's Escalade just to make a quick get-away.

So obviously that's a big news story.

And let's have a pause for the reverend Creflo Dollar.

Those of you who are not on the side of Jesus may not be acquainted with the Cre-meister.

The Dollar-man runs a few churches and preaches the good word and has been laid low by his 15 year old daughter who claims he gave her a swat while they were arguing about whether she should attend a party...

Anybody who ever had a fifteen year old daughter has wanted to give her a swat. For the most part we are able to overcome the urge. For a man of the cloth to succumb to the urge requires, at the very least, an act of contrition.

So come on Creflo, say "sorry" and get over it. You know she's going to the friggin' party whether you like it or not.

But I find it odd that those are two of the biggest stories in the mainstream news at this very moment.

How is the national deficit coming along?

Getting bigger? Getting smaller?

How's Mitt's "corporations are people too" campaign going?

Frankly, I'm still in shock that he got out of that one without tar and feathers.

Corporations are people too?

Kiss.

My.

Ass.

America lets this twat be the Republican nominee?

America deserves everything it gets...


Friday, June 8, 2012

NATO's Brigade for the purging of black skins

Those whacky NATO rebels!

Not only are they keeping the entirety of recently liberated Libya in a state of constant anarchy with their random gun battles, kidnappings, and home invasions, but they've unleashed a campaign of anti-black violence that would make an old-school KKK Grandee blush.

Read about it here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Montreal establishment shits bricks as student protests threaten Bernie Ecclestone's F-1 circus

Here it is.

Those godam thankless students...

After everything we've done for them!

Subsidized daycare!

The lowest tuition in the land!

How dare those ingrates disrupt the Bernie Ecclestone F-1 circus!

Don't they know the eyes of the world will be on Montreal this weekend?

Have they no idea that they'll be offending the biggest corporate sponsors in the land?

Canada will be bowed in shame if we allow those ingrates to cast a shadow over those corporate sponsors...

Clinton and Panetta team up to tell world not to screw with America

Panetta was in Towelistan today warning the locals that the USA won't be putting up with this back-stabbing shit forever.

Hey Towelers, you're with us or you're against us!

You can't have it both ways.

The only reason America has to launch drone attacks in your country is because you won't do it yourselves.

It's not that we want to violate your sovereignty, it's just that we don't have a choice.

When half the population over there is trying to kill us when we're trying to help you, what choice do we have?

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton is waving the finger of righteousness at those Assad minions over in Syria. The violence that the regime is inflicting is "unconscionable".

Which I suppose puts that Syrian violence in a completely different category than good old fashioned USA/NATO violence.

USA/NATO violence is, if nothing else, at least "conscionable".

Which is why we're the good guys and the Towel-heads are the bad guys.

Quebec authorities warn student protests could harm tourism

Good!

Tourism has always been about spending a good time in someone else's misery (with apologies to Johnny Rotten).

Look at countries that get a lot of their GDP from tourism. It's obviously all about prostituting yourself to the big spenders from more affluent nations.

What does that do to the local population? What does that do to the tourism "providers"?

In countries that get a significant slice of their GDP from tourism, the local economy is ratcheted in favor of those tourists. When your local economy subsists on a five dollar a day baseline, and that cruise ship hits your port, Mrs. Smith from Newark has the power to up your daily income by a factor of hundreds.

Which leads to all sorts of toadying in front of the visitors.

Nothing dignified about that.

And when you take a few steps back and look at the big picture, well, there's nothing dignified about that either.

How much of the world's air traffic is dedicated to ferrying first world tourists to third world destinations?

How proud are you to be a part of that?

F-1 circus moves to Montreal; can the students succeed where the Bahrain protesters failed?

Bernie's travelling road show and billion dollar circus lands in Montreal this week.

As you know, Montreal has been the ground zero of the Quebec Spring.

Here's a chance for them to get some real international publicity. Our allies in Bahrain failed in their attempt to bring international opprobrium to bear on Ecclestone's road show.

It was just another F-1 race.

Maybe Montreal can be different. Maybe the students and the workers and their sympathizers can show the world that it's not just business as usual in Montreal.

The Ecclestone circus is a prime example of everything that's gone wrong with professional sport. Time was, racing cars was about seeing who could make their car go faster.

As the sport became more and more about money, the guys who got the fastest were inevitably the guys who had the most corporate sponsorships.

More sponsorships meant more money which meant a faster car which meant more sponsorships and so the wheel went round...

And inevitably, that trip to the winner's circle meant millions in publicity dollars to the companies who's logos were on the side of the car in the winner's circle.

Which made F-1 one of the most lucrative properties in professional sport, which in turn made Bernie a billionaire.

All of which is why this weekend is a special weekend in F-1.

I'm an old school F-1 fan, and I won't be rooting for Alonzo or Hamilton or that German kid.

I'll be cheering for those Montreal kids who are busking spring into Montreal.


Leon Panetta is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore

Enough is enough!

The endless squawking when an errant Hellfire takes out an obscure Paki village.

The pouty closing off of supply routes when Apache attack helicopters took out two dozen Paki border troops a couple of months back.

And last but not least, the bags of umbrage taken taken when those Navy Seals forgot to get prior permission before they dispatched the 9/11 mastermind to his reward.

So Mr. Panetta has put the towelers on notice; shape up or we take the gloves off.

America is SOOO at the end of her long-suffering patience with you people...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What the Walker victory means to America's working class

For the most part Americans managed to convince themselves that there was no such thing as an American "working class".

The working class had become the middle class.

The major American unions, for their part, were happy to go along with the charade.

Unions became more and more identified with social issues that had little resonance with their members.

Even as union membership went on a several decades long decline, the plethora of issues that the union leadership endorsed grew longer and longer and less and less relevant to the rank and file.

The failure of the Walker recall initiative brings this into stark relief.

The recall was from the beginning identified as a union project.

Unions are today identified more as a feature of the public sector rather than a mainstay of the industrial economy.

The fact that America's industrial economy has had the entrails ripped out of it over the past fifty years doesn't help, but where were the unions while that was going on?

Busy lobbying for peace and love and all kinds of beautiful stuff that was never a part of the original organized labor mandate.

I think what the Walker victory shows is that unions, as we have them today, are a spent force in the political arena.

But that's not the end of organized labor. In fact, I think we're on the threshold of a new era.

This new era will be driven by a younger generation who won't settle for two-tier contracts and concessions.

You can see the dawn of this new sensibility in the various Occupy movements and in the student activism in Montreal.

This has the potential to coalesce into a broad-based movement that will once again be relevant to the working/middle class in America.

This has the potential to get those millions of Tea Party supporters onside to support the interests of people like themselves against the interests of the billionaires who currently fund not only the Tea Party but  all the major populist movements in America, and who have funded Scott Walker from the beginning.

Occupy the Unions!




Faceboock shares up over 3% today on news that Canadian Psycho had 70 Facebook pages

Montreal police today revealed that Luka Magnotta, the so-called Canadian Psycho, had 70 Facebook pages.

Magnotta is the self-proclaimed gay porn star who cut up one of his lovers and mailed body parts to various Canadian political parties, and apparently some schools too.

The markets responded by lifting Facebook stock a dollar on the day.

That's about 3.6 % on a $25 stock, which is considered a good day's work by your day trader crowd. Hey, if you could do that every day you'd be doubling your money every couple of months!

In the long run though, it can't be great news for Facebook.

Product endorsements from a guy whose nick-name includes the word "psycho" aren't exactly what you want when you're desperately trying to keep your share price aloft.

Stay short!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Waziristan drone festival bags al-Qaeda top gun twice in a week

Seems like they got yet another high-ranking senior al-Qaeda number two leader the other day.

"This would be a serious blow to al-Qaeda, getting the number two leader twice in less than a week" said a US Army spokesman.

That must be one unique organizational structure those towelers have going. Nobody at the top, nobody at the bottom, and the other dozen or so guys are all either "no. 2" or "senior leaders".

This particular fantasy is on view at the Washington Post website at the moment. The al-Qaeda chimera is a terror network in constant flux, that's for sure. There seems to be no end to the "senior leaders" we're knocking off. I guess the rank and file are all those collateral damage civilians who might have raised a hand against us if they'd had the chance.

Every once in awhile when Obama or Biden is trying to make the case for leaving Afghanistan you'll hear them talk about how al-Qaeda is all but wiped out. In fact, I saw where Panetta was making exactly that case just today. But you watch, they'll bag a few more senior leaders before the month is out.

Of course everytime you kill anybody over there, senior leader or not, you've made an enemy for life. The brothers, the sons, the cousins, the in-laws, the rest of the village will all be biding their time till they can wreak vengeance.

So lets keep celebrating our success and wondering why they hate us.

The "it could be worse" fallacy

They must be having quite a struggle in the boardroom of Canada's newspaper of record. (and no, despite their pretensions, that wouldn't be the National Post). On the one side you've got the view that those troublesome Quebec protesters are a bunch of spoiled brats. On the other, there seems to be some appreciation that we're into something potentially large here, something that goes way beyond a tuition hike.

A social movement.

Just the other day they gave their front page over to the social movement faction. Today the spoiled brat crowd fought back with a preachy editorial about how those spoiled brats should thank their lucky stars they don't live in Chile.

In Chile, so we are told, tuition is even higher than in Canada. Therefore we should  be grateful that compared to Chile our tuition regimine is relatively affordable.

That's a tempting argument. Be thankful Caterpillar only wants to cut your $30 per hour pay to $15, because there's folks in Georgia who are willing to work for $12.

To the Georgia workers they say be thankful for your $12 an hour because there's folks in Mexico who would be thrilled to do your job for $3.

To the Mexicans they say, mind your P's and Q's Pedro, there's folks in Viet Nam who would thank their lucky stars to have a chance at this job and all they'd want is a bowl of rice at the end of the day.

So maybe tuition is even more onerous in Chile than in Quebec.

I know it's a lot less onerous in many European countries.

Why don't we compare ourselves to places that are doing a better job of affording young people an accessible education?

Sure things could be worse...

But they could be better too.

We should try setting the bar higher instead of constantly lowering it.

How do you like those NATO rebels now?

The Guardian has an interesting story about how the various NATO empowered militias have become the scourge of civil society in post Gaddafi Libya. In this most recent episode a rebel faction kidnapped a prominent surgeon and human rights activist and tortured him for a few days, just to let him know that it's the guys with guns who call the shots, and not the NTC crowd busy getting the oil flowing for their NATO overlords.

In short, they've had a taste of power and they like it. They like it so much it doesn't look like they intend to turn it over to the pathetic NTC any time soon.

Al Jazeera has a story about another rebel group taking over the Tripoli airport. What's obvious is that there is no central authority that can hold the estimated 500 rebel factions to account.

And what are the Nations of Virtue saying about Libya's decline into anarchy? Why nothing of course. The US/NATO hegemon has moved on to greener pastures, and the Western media has moved along with them.

The media are all over saving Syria next.

If the salvation of Syria looks anything like the liberation of Libya they should spare themselves the trouble and let the Syrians figure it out.

In the meantime they could, just as a goodwill gesture, return to Libya and clean up the mess they created there.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

When tax phobia veers into imbecility

There's a story in USA Today about what various state governments are planning to do to raise the money to maintain the crumbling transportation infrastructure, also known as your streets and highways.

There seems to be a consensus evolving that the best bet is some sort of GPS-type device that will keep track of the miles you drive and you will be taxed accordingly.

They won't call it a "tax" though, because everybody knows taxes are un-American. In fact, taxes are the thin edge of the communist wedge, as every school-child knows by now.

So instead of doing something simple, like raising gasoline taxes, they're going to force you to buy a tracking device and then charge you a "user fee" according to how many miles you put on.

That way everybody can at least feel good about the fact that America has the lowest gasoline taxes in the developed world. And it's fair too. Why should that millionaire in Malibu pay the same absurd gas taxes on his V-12 Bentley as some wanker commuting 50 miles each way to a minimum wage job in a clapped out ten year old Honda?

So if Bentley boy only drives 50 miles a week and you drive 100 miles a day, he won't inadvertently be paying your rightful share of road maintenance.

And America won't be raising taxes.

Hypocrisy at its finest; double-dipping twat scolds Canada's unemployed

Perrin Beatty is the scion of a wealthy Canadian family that made its fortune building everything from farm equipment to water heaters. When I was a youngster freshly kicked out of high school the Beatty plant in Fergus was one of those desperation gigs where you went after your pogey ran out and you really couldn't find anything else.

Beatty rode his family name to a seat in Canada's parliament in 1972. At the time he was the youngest MP ever elected. He held a number of cabinet posts in the Clark, Mulroney and Kim Campbell governments. When he failed in his 1993 re-election campaign he was barely into his forties, and started collecting his generous MP's pension.

Not long after, he was made head of the CBC, a six-figure government sinecure. All along, he was allowed to collect that MP pension that will pay him an estimated 1.5 million dollars by the time he is 75.

After his CBC gig Beatty has held a couple of senior lobbying posts, most recently as head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

So there he was today, on Rex Murphy's show, explaining to the Canadian people how necessary it is to force through those Employment Insurance "reforms" that the Harperites claim are essential to making Canada more competitive with Mexico and China.

The cheek!

Couple of facts about the pogey system that didn't make it onto the program. Firstly, they've already made it so tough to qualify that at least 40% of unemployed folks will never qualify in the first place, no matter how long or how much they have paid into it.

Secondly, it's hardly the gravy train that it's made out to be. Employment Insurance pays 55% of a workers former wage up to a maximum of $485 a week. And the absolute maximum time you can get payments is 45 weeks, which few unemployed qualify for.

Those tens of thousands of lazy Canadians sitting on sofas waiting for the next pogey check instead of taking a job in the oil sands are a complete fiction.

Finally, over the many years that the Employment Insurance ran annual surpluses, those billions and billions of dollars weren't invested in Canada's workers, they were relabeled as general revenue. The only reason the system runs a deficit today is because the Harper government has reduced what employers and workers have to pay into it.

This is nothing but the time-honored strategy of deliberately creating a crisis and then blaming it on the victims.

It goes hand in hand with the recent revision of "temporary foreign worker" legislation that allows employers to import workers and pay them less than the prevailing wage.

With the Harper government recently signing free trade agreements with Honduras and Colombia, it's important that they create a level playing field, and you can rest assured that playing field will be at the level of Honduras, not the level that we used to think of as Canadian.

Be proud, Canada! We can take on those low wage competitors and work for even less!

UN report: Canada complicit in Syrian torture cases

In all the tough loud talk on Syria lately few have talked louder and tougher than the Canadians.

Foreign Minister John Baird's personal Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn has had his hands full holding the Minister back from heading to Damascus himself and laying a good thrashing on the tyrant Assad.

And over at the Toronto Star the normally dovish Haroon Siddiqui is suggesting that we start raining 500 lb Paveways on the country, a strategy that worked so wonderfully for the people of Libya last year.

So it's a little embarrassing to see the UN Committee Against Torture release a report accusing the Canadian government of conniving with none other than that same tyrant Assad in the torture of Canadian citizens. It's a story making headlines around the world.

The government wasted no time in trotting out a junior spokes-person to give the busybodies at the UN a stern scolding.

Citing the disappointment of all Canadians that the UN would chose to pick on so trivial a matter as the torture of our citizens, Julie Carmichael reminded the world that "Canada is a nation of laws and the actions of  our Government uphold the highest standards in the protection of human rights".

The cup of hypocrisy overfloweth again!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pot-addled blogger scoops Globe and Mail by two weeks

Today the Globe announced that the Quebec tuition brouhaha was about more than tuition.

Took up most of their front page, if I'm not mistaken.

And if I'm not mistaken, I think The View from Falling Downs was two or three weeks ago pondering the ramifications of the tuition tussle, because it was perfectly clear that this was not about tuition.

This is about asking questions.

This is about not being content with shutting up when you get the usual non-answers to your questions.

Never mind a tuition increase. Why is there tuition?

Why can we afford to drop bombs on Libya when we can't afford to staff our schools properly?

Why can we support human rights everywhere on the planet except at home, where the Indian people we stole the land from live in conditions that make Gaza look like paradise?

Hey, don't get me started...

But as the national newspaper of record, the Globe and Mail needs to spend more space on news and less on Harperite propaganda.


What next for Mubarak?

Always remember that the head of the Egyptian Army happened to be visiting Washington the moment Arab Spring blew into Tahrir Square. Sometimes coincidence requires one to suspend reason.

Arab Spring blew in and blew on. The Army was in charge before and the Army is in charge today. There is no reason to think the Army won't be in charge even after the Brotherhood wins the election.

So what of Mubarak?

Expendable. Just like Noriega or Hussein or the Shah. They're our boys as long as it's convenient for us. Expendable without regrets when they become an inconvenience.

The next thing for Mubarak will be an appeal, and then perhaps he will be permitted to live out his golden years in quiet retirement.

Miami? Dubai?...

The ICC: easing the white man's burden one African leader at a time

The Globe and Mail has been finding plenty of room for articles lauding the International Criminal Court's conviction of Charles Taylor this week.

A few days ago Lorna Dueck portrayed the Court as doing God's work in an item entitled Liberia proves the power of prayer.

Today they've got Erna Paris putting a secular but no less self-congratulatory spin on things in an article called One step closer to a humanitarian vision.

Whereas Paris invokes Immanuel Kant and Dueck the God of Abraham, both writers make one thing perfectly clear; Africa's salvation lies beyond her borders in the hands of the Nations of Virtue, that Western aggregation of capitalist democracies who know what's best for the rest of the planet.

What the Globe and Mail won't find room for are articles critical of the blessings the Nations of Virtue continue to bestow on the Dark Continent.

For example, in a beautiful irony, the ICC shares its home base of The Hague with the world headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell. Volumes have been written about Shell's rape of Nigeria, but don't expect to read about it in the Globe. Shell alone takes more money out of Nigeria than the Nations of Virtue provide in foreign aid for the entire continent.

And don't expect to read about American trainers training the Ugandan Army to train Congolese rebels so that the world's longest-running and deadliest war since WWII can be kept smoldering.

Nor should you expect to see Ugandan President Museveni in the docket at the ICC anytime soon, because while he is no friend of human rights he is very much a friend of the Nations of Virtue.

Unlike the hapless former dictator of Libya, who in the end learned that those friends he had bought in the West, friends like Blair and Sarkozy, were prepared to turn on him the moment a better price could be arranged.

The list of our accomplishments in Africa runs from slavery through colonialism to the neo-colonialism exemplified by the ICC.

It's a shameful history, but don't expect to read about it in the Globe and Mail.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Bloomberg gives up on terror war and decides to focus on fat kids instead

Which is just triple jeopardy for that fat Muslim kid at PS 59.

In the first place, he's marked as poor.

Then he's marked as "Muslim".

And now he's a target of public opprobrium because he's obese.

That's a triple whammy if ever there was one.

Bloomberg has declared war on obesity. Watch out you purveyors of Giant Slurpies and Slushee Supremes.

Bloomie is gunning for you.