Sunday, August 31, 2014

While all good people are aghast at Putin's land grab in Ukraine, we totally ignore Israel's land grab in West Bank

Putin's land grab in Ukraine hasn't actually grabbed any land.

But it's made headlines galore in the nations of freedom and virtue.

Israel, on the other hand, has officially announced that it's grabbing another slice of Palestine, just because they can.

That makes virtually no headlines whatsoever, although we see Washington making some mealy-mouthed statements about how stealing Palestinian land may not be conducive to forging peace with the Palestinians.

That's a start.

As for that sibling rivalry between Russia and Ukraine, maybe we should butt out and let them sort it out.

Where to gas up your yacht for cheap while cruising the Mediterranean

When last we looked in on octogenarian Canadian tycoon Peter Munk, he had just purchased the impoverished country of Montenegro. Plans were afoot to reboot the residual rump state, leftover from the breakup of Yugoslavia, into an independent homeland for stateless wanderers in need of casinos, tax shelters, and berths for their mega-yachts.

Still smarting from his forced retirement from the company he founded, Barrick Gold, Munk is consoling himself with this retirement project  in the Bay of Kotor. And, unlike Barrick, which has shed about two thirds of its value over the past three years, things seem to be moving in the right direction in Porto Munkenegro.

Yacht berths are leased at 95% capacity, the new five star Munk Meridien Hotel is now open, and hundreds of locals have found gainful employment swabbing decks, changing sheets, and otherwise servicing the needs of the super-rich.

And leave it to the ever-crafty Munk to come up with a winning strategy to lure the mega-yachts away from Monaco - cheap gas!

 Thanks to Mr. Munk’s adept political skills, fill-ups at Porto Montenegro are about half the price it would be elsewhere in the European Mediterranean. That’s because Mr. Munk negotiated a sweet deal with the Montenegrin government that allows yachties to avoid fuel taxes and excise charges. As a result, big yachts from all over the Med find that it pays to tie up at Porto Montenegro. 

Yup, that's how they roll in the bigs! You use your "political skills" to cut a deal on fuel taxes that 
cheats a near-bankrupt state out of revenue... hey, an octogenarian maybe, but he still has his chops!


And best of all, he'll be leaving a legacy that's about more than dispossessed peasants and leaking 
tailing ponds.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Harper and Baird outraged; left off "Top Israel Cheerleaders" list

That's gotta hurt.

The US, England, and Australia all get top-shelf billing, but after all the toadying, all the sucking up, all the cringeworthy declarations of Israel's "right to defend itself" as Israel was in the midst of an unprecedented slaughter of Gaza civilians, Canada is left out of the honourable mentions of Israel's most subservient cheerleaders.

This could derail Big Steve's Nobel Peace Prize!

You too may be a Jew

I see where the Jewish People Policy Institute (that's a legit think-tank, by the way - look it up) has a spot of good news for those of us who always aspired to be counted among the Chosen People.

Apparently you can now get a DIY home genetic test kit that will definitively determine whether or not you have "Jewish blood" coursing through your veins!

According to the promoters of this direct-to-consumer DNA testing, this will lead to millions around the world discovering that they have Jewish roots. This discovery will result in those millions immediately developing a love for Israel and applying for Likud  membership.

I'm sceptical. Genetics can be a funny thing... I see the potential for this backfiring on a huge scale.

What would happen if we discover that three quarters of the population of Gaza are more Semitic than the Semites of Likud?

Now that would be awkward!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Full weight of post 9/11 fascism boot comes down on necks of two gals who got drunk on an airplane

OK, so Lilia and Milana guzzled their duty free booze in airplane loo, and promptly got in touch with their inner arseholes on their holiday flight to Cuba...

Got pissed, got loud, got in a fight...

In a gentler time someone would have told them to sit down and behave. Any half-competent kindergarten teacher could have handled this "crisis".

But no, in the post 9/11 world, you can never take chances... Lilia and Milana might be TERRORISTS!

So the Forces of Virtue scramble a couple of fighter jets to escort the airplane back to Toronto.

That's just stupid.

Canada invades Russia

No no no... they haven't moved Baird to Defence.

Canada invaded Russia 96 years ago.

But, it's a true fact that Russia has NEVER invaded Canada.

So when these Canadian big-talkers make sport of their supposed geography lesson to the Russians, at least we know they're not doing it from the moral high ground.

Israel busts major "Hezbollah linked" hashish smuggling ring

Thank goodness this mystery is finally solved!

But notice how seamlessly the War on Drugs and the War on Terror are conflated in the story. These Israeli Arabs were conspiring to smuggle drugs, and that is all the proof you need to tar them with the terror brush!

Hey, it's not their fault the best of the good stuff comes from the Bekaa, which is Shia territory in Lebanon... therefore Hezbollah territory.

The think tank here at Falling Downs was all over this story when the shit first hit the fan, and we opined at the time that if Arab Israelis didn't reach out to their brothers in the Bekaa, Jewish Israelis would be denied some of the best hashish in the world!

Leave them alone already!

They're doing a public service!

How "free trade" is helping Ashley Madison get money for nothing in South Korea

When the government of Canada announced the Canada South Korea Free Trade Agreement they probably weren't thinking about the free trade in spouses that Ashley Madison specializes in.

Nevertheless, Ashley Madison is first into the docket pressing a claim against South Korea for lost profit opportunities. Seems those dowdy Koreans are so backward that they have laws making adultery illegal, if you can imagine such a thing!

The Koreans voluntarily signed on to this trade deal (although it has yet to be ratified, so maybe this case will give them pause for thought) so they shouldn't be surprised. The main purpose of Free Trade Agreements is to enshrine in law the principle that corporate rights trump the rights of sovereign nations.

As for the dozens of times Trade Minister Fast has announced the "thousands of jobs for hard-working Canadians" that will ensue from this deal, that's what's known in the PR biz as a "whopper."

From us they buy raw materials and beef.

From them we buy cars and manufactured goods.

There's a lot more high-value jobs in manufacturing than in modern coal-mining or beef farming. And by the way, the tariffs we charge on their cars will be eliminated over two years - they'll take off the tariffs on our beef over 15 years.

Any jobs created by this deal will be in Korea... with the exception of the lawyers working for Ashley Madison!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Russia invades Ukraine again

What's that, the 10th time this month?

The New York Times has the honest truth for you.

Or not, whichever the case may be.

Frankly, you never know whether you're reading actual news that really happened, or wishful thinking concocted by Poroshenko or one of the fabulists in his cabinet.

This particular invasion has all the hallmarks of wishful thinking. A scary and, if true, very serious incident has occurred, an act of war, in fact!

This is serious business indeed!

For such a serious incident, there is a notable and highly conspicuous absence of evidence. Luckily, an unnamed US military official can confirm, anonymously of course, that there exist, under lock and key, actual photographs of Russian armoured convoys crossing into Ukraine, but unfortunately such evidence cannot be shared with the public for reasons of national security.

How does that make any sense?

But then those bullshittin' babes over at State go on TV talking up the story, and before you can say "your nose is growing", the New York Times is printing up the entire yarn as though it really happened!

American foreign policy has pretty much devolved into sabre-rattling and Putin-baiting. Given the track record over the past few decades, it is difficult to discern why a military confrontation with Russia would be a good idea from any point of view.

Netanyahu's declaration of victory rings hollow

Prime Minister Netanyahu's declaration of victory on Wednesday is unlikely to have fooled anyone, least of all the Israeli people.

The stated goals of Operation Solid Cliff/Protective Edge were variously to eliminate Hamas' rockets, create quiet in the south, and eliminate the tunnel networks.

Some tunnels have been destroyed. So long as a single shovel remains in Gaza, more can be built.

If there is quiet in the south today it is because Hamas are observing the ceasefire; not because the IDF silenced the rockets. Hamas kept up a steady barrage of rockets and mortars right into the last minutes before the ceasefire came into effect, in spite of relentless pounding by the IDF and IAF for more than seven weeks.

Gloating about Hamas' leadership being decimated is irrelevant even if it were true; there's plenty of eager recruits where those came from, and if history teaches anything, it's that the next generation of resistance leaders are generally younger, smarter, and more ruthless. Hamas' prestige has been enormously enhanced by Netanyahu's war and to claim otherwise is either brazenly dishonest or delusional.

The unstated goal, to destroy Hamas - PA reconciliation, was also a complete failure. The fact that it was PA negotiators speaking for Gaza and Hamas in Cairo shows they have been brought closer, not driven apart.

And the damage to Israel from Netanyahu's war of choice?

Immeasurable.

Hundreds of thousands have protested against Israel in nations not that long ago considered solid allies. Countries friendly until two months ago have recalled their ambassadors. Israel's relationship with its single most important benefactor has hit an all-time low.

Israel has never been more isolated.

Some victory.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Canadian tax-payers' complicity in the looting of Tanzania

If you're a regular reader of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs' feel-good press releases about the wonderful things we are doing for the people of Tanzania, you will no doubt be acquainted with programs such as this.

We have many such "help" programs afoot in the Dark Continent, and mostly they seem to hinge on supporting "sustainable development" via the offices of either big ag or the "extractive industries".

The first assumes that the natives of Africa are too stupid to feed themselves, although all the evidence seems to suggest they succeeded in doing exactly that for many thousands of years before enlightened Westerners turned up to help them.

The second assumes that the recipients of our "help" are too stupid to realize that "sustainable development" and "extractive industries" are mutually exclusive fields. Mining and energy companies are in Tanzania or anywhere else to get at the loot, not to provide social services.

The fact that they occasionally succeed in bamboozling the Canadian taxpayer into subsidizing some so-called social programs while they're busy extracting the loot changes nothing.

Which explains why, after everything we've done for Tanzania, it is still possible to read headlines like this; Deadly clashes continue at African Barrick gold mine.


What would Russell say?

I noticed today that the red-blue-white plaid of my shirt did not match the olive-tan-beige plaid of the shorts I was wearing.

Neither of which matched the purple socks with the skull-and-crossbones motif that I was also wearing...

At the same time!

With sandals!

Ya, crazy shit happens here in the land of the midnight sun...

What's really messed up is that while I noticed, nobody else did. No, it's totally OK up here in the Bruce to wander into the hardware store or the grocery store or the liquor store decked out like that.

I couldn't help but wonder what Russell would say.

Russell writes a column for the Globe and Mail about what's what style-wise. He knows when and if your pocket poof should match your tie.

Or your shoes.

Or if you should be sporting a pocket poof at all!

Russell writes novels in his spare time. His last one was called "Girl Crazy".

Russell may be a legit commentator on contemporary male fashion but apparently he missed the memo about middle aged dudes writing sexy stories about teenage girls.

Ya, Nabokov took that to the bank, but times have changed.

And while the only "failed" novelist is the one who failed to write one, I want to give Russell a push forward...

Dude, if I'm wearing a red-white-blue shirt and tan-olive-beige shorts, should my pocket poof match my purple socks, my shirt, my shorts, what?...

It matters...


Only in America; nine year old blamed for not handling recoil on Uzi machine gun

Therefore, it's her fault that her "shooting instructor" was mowed down when that Uzi went sideways...

Only in America.

Like, does ANYBODY even ask what the fuck a nine year old is doing with a Uzi?

Even in Israel, home of the Uzi and the most militarized nation on the planet, they don't hand Uzis to nine year olds.

While I'm a big fan of the Second Amendment and all that stuff, the Land of the Free has truly become the land of the retards...

So what has Israel gained from Netanyahu's Operation Off the Cliff?

And make no mistake, this was a war of Netanyahu's choosing.

Leaving aside for a moment the hatred fomented in Gaza by the gratuitous carnage visited on them over the past seven weeks, what precisely was it that well over five dozen IDF soldiers have given their lives for?

If it was to burnish Netanyahu's tough-guy credentials, it was a gross miscalculation.

If the ceasefire agreed today does indeed ease restrictions at the Gaza border, then the Palestinians correctly see their struggle and sacrifice, in a war they didn't want and didn't start, as a victory.

It follows that if Netanyahu intended to crush Hamas but instead handed them a victory that improves their standing among the Palestinians, he has suffered a crushing defeat, and needs to resign immediately.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hollande the Conqueror now Hollande the Loser

Remember the glory days?

Those glory days when no less an authority than BHL announced to the world that Hollande had earned his spurs?..

Was that in Mali?.. Libya?.. Central African Republic?..

As usual, it is proven yet again that BHL is FOS.

Full Of Shit.

Not that this latest debacle will diminish BHL's standing in the intellectual salons of Paris.

France is known world-wide for having the stupidest intellectuals after the US and Canada.

Zimbabwe has a more vibrant intellectual community than France.

BHL wouldn't last five minutes in Zimbabwe without being unmasked as a total fraud...

Anyway, back to the motherland.

While Hollande may be fucked, France is not.

Due to the successes of France's education system, there remain millions of Frenchman who recognize immediately that Merkel's "austerity enema" is not the only option.

They recognize that Hollande's loss is the nation's gain.

Fuck austerity!

Go France!


Tim Hortons spreads 'em wide for Warren Buffett's Burger King tax dodge

Wow! That's a lot of A-list capitalist scuz-bags for one headline!

That's the beauty of the blogosphere, ain't it?

You can work as many A-listers into your headlines as fit.

Seems my home province of Ontario has become a tax haven.

I'll let the Globe and Mail, Canada's newspaper of record, explain how that works.

Suffice it to say that we are taking pride of place in our race to the bottom!

If Israel treated her Muslim population the way Iran treats her Jewish population there would be peace in Gaza today

There's a reason Iran never wages war on her Jewish population.

While it's hard to get your head around when you are bombarded with non-stop anti-Iranian propaganda, religious minorities generally seem to thrive in the Islamic Republic. There is far more tolerance of religious diversity in Iran than there is in Israel.

Jews are protected by the law in Iran.

Muslims are dehumanized, scapegoated, and marginalized by the law in Israel.

So why is Israel held up as the only bastion of virtuous values in the Middle East?

The politics of beheading; Saudi Arabia lops off 19 heads in three weeks but we're going to war with ISIS after they lop off one?

But hey, they were marijuana dealers or something...

So that's OK.

Beheading marijuana dealers is just part of the war on drugs, which is, these days, just the poor cousin of the war on terror.

But the CIA-sponsored Islamic Republic beheads a guy, and we're to drop everything and rush to a new war in the Middle East?

That just doesn't add up.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bullets for Bieber?

It's not hard to figure out who the real target must have been when you read between the lines of this news report.

Who would possibly want to do harm to the cuddly Suge Knight?

Nobody!

Or the loveable Chris Brown?

Well, er...

But really, who was the most obnoxious person in the room?

It could only be Bieber! The man-boy has got making enemies pretty much down to a fine art. Everywhere he goes he leaves a trail of graffiti, urine, abandoned pets... broken glass, broken hearts, you name it; the dude is a one-man environmental disaster!




Saturday, August 23, 2014

Is my Quinoa salad starving a Bolivian peasant?

Darned if I know.

All I can say for sure is that the Farm Manager fixed up one hell of a tasty quinoa salad the other day, and this morning I saw with my own eyes that she was fortifying the leftovers with a few diced tomatoes straight out of our wee garden.

And I am enjoying the fruit of her labours at this very moment... and it is super-tasty!

But back to that Bolivian peasant.

Here's one of the problems with globalism, the supposed cure-all for all that ails the planet; once a subsistence grain like quinoa finds favour with North American yuppies, those Bolivian peasants who grow the stuff can't afford it anymore.

But I can.

At some level I fully appreciate that there is something very wrong with this picture.

But damn!... is this ever a tasty salad!

Canada's foremost freedom fighter up to usual race-baiting and slander

While you don't want to help Ezra Levant promote himself any more than you have to, somebody has to take issue with his latest anti-Liberal rant.

Frankly, I've been profoundly disappointed with Justin Trudeau's mealy-mouthed adoption of official Israeli propaganda.

But Ezra certainly doesn't see it that way.

No, the mere fact that Trudeau has visited some mosques makes him an anti-Semitic supporter of terrorism.

Nevermind that when Trudeau looks at Gaza, all he can talk about is Israel's right to "defend" itself.

Shame on Trudeau for that, and no number of meet and greets at mosques will remove that shameful stain from his record.

But in Levant's world view, even Trudeau's mere acknowledgement of Canada's Islamic community is evidence of anti-Semitism.

But that's Levant.

Another promising career niche for the accomplished bullshitter; career coach

Have you noticed that as the economy's downward spiral unrelentingly gains momentum, the purely fictional advice of so-called career advisers reaches ever-loftier heights of absurdity?

Here's a few quotes from the Career Advice page in today's Globe. You decide.

Have you ever considered a career as a nostalgist?.. nostalgists will help design retirement homes for wealthy seniors that mimic settings from their favourite eras...

...robot counsellors will help pick the right robot to suit consumers' household needs.

Augmented reality - the overlaying of digital information on top of real-world experiences - is expected to emerge from its infancy with wide-ranging career opportunities...

Hmm...

The "nostalgist" of tomorrow sounds suspiciously like the interior decorator of today.

The "robot counsellor" used to be in auto sales.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the jobs boom in augmented reality...

In the course of the article we are informed that these insights come from consulting with "thought leaders" and "foresight strategists". I'm guessing those are folks with sociology degrees who realized too late that rendered them unemployable, and were subsequently forced to make up some shit for their business cards and hope for the best.  

If you want to play it safe, aim for one of these careers:

  • truck driver; long hours, low pay, but it'll be twenty years before Googledrive makes you obsolete, giving you a chance to at least save for your funeral
  • PSW; Personal Service Workers are the folks who change your adult diaper and towel up your drool in your golden years; huge growth industry
  • shelf-stocker and related occupations; a very flexible field, whether you're a shelf-stocker at Walmart or a stock-picker at an Amazon warehouse, you're guaranteed steady minimum wage employment and plenty of exercise.
These are all jobs that have the distinct advantage of not requiring lengthy post-secondary education and crippling student loans. Chances are you'll find yourself working alongside some schmuck who has a sociology degree and $40 thousands in student debt to pay off.

Just be thankful you're not him!

Friday, August 22, 2014

How do you make Hamas pay a "heavy price" when the civilian kill ratio is already 400:1?

Make it 1000:1?

That Israeli four year old who today joined the hundreds of Palestinian children already slaughtered in this senseless war, is but the latest child  sacrifice to a generation of adults who are too stupid to sit down and sort out their differences.

Netanyahu is blathering about Hamas paying a heavy price. It is not Hamas that pays the price, it is Palestinian civilians, including plenty of mothers and children.

Look for Israeli vengeance to claim many more Palestinian civilians in the days and weeks ahead.

That will in turn solidify the resolve of the resistance, which will guarantee replays of this nightmare in perpetuity.

It seems obvious enough that the world has a choice at this juncture.

Keep siding with those who openly advocate genocide and have the means to follow through, as they are doing, or side with those who call for a return to the rule of law, for sanity, for humanity.

Anti-Putinists have field day with imaginary news out of Ukraine

There's a story on view at the Wall Street Journal telling us Putin makes his move.

Yes, Putin is grabbing more of Ukraine.

The Russian troops sneaking into Ukraine aboard those aid trucks never happened, but thankfully there is a new imaginary news story afloat about Russian artillery firing on Ukraine.

That's Putin "making his move".

We understand why Putin had to go along with the Crimean people's wish to be Russian rather than Ukrainian. Those reasons certainly include that Black Sea naval base.

What nobody has explained is why Putin or Russia would have the slightest interest in "making a move" on the rest of basket case bankrupt Ukraine?

The reason for that is that those reasons don't exist.

Yes, the US and her allies fomented a coup that deposed the elected government, on behalf of Monsanto et al, but the idea that Russia lusts after Ukraine is a fiction of the highest order.

Ukraine has been economically raped into the dirt by her own Ukrainian oligarchs since '91. The fact that the Nuland-Pyatt government embraces the EU rather than Russia is a huge load off Russia. There is absolutely no reason why Putin should want to take that back.

But Ukraine is a bankrupt failed state that has spun out more billionaires per capita than virtually any other nation on earth. The reason that happened is the reason everybody is so eager to blame Putin for everything wrong in Ukraine today.

We musn't blame the patriotic Ukrainian oligarchs for destroying their country; therefore everything is Putin's fault.

Nations of Virtue decide Bashar al-Assad not so bad after all

Sorry there Bashar old chap; seems it was all a misunderstanding. We feel bad about the 190,000 dead in that little shit-storm we've been stirring for three years, but no hard feelings...

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond went out of his way today to deny that Britain would in any way support, cooperate with or otherwise be in league with the guy they've spent three years demonizing.

Such an outspoken denial can only mean it's true.

Meanwhile, The Independent  reports that's already happening.

And if you watched the hysterically over-the-top Chuck and Martin show yesterday you got the impression they were priming us for some big news. (By the way, does anyone besides me get the impression that Chuck may not be one of the sharper tools in the shed? His script writers kept the sentences short and the words shorter, and still the man struggled.)

So maybe when Obama gets tired of golf or there's a rainy day, he'll inform the nation, and the Free World, that it's official.

"I stand before you this evening to inform you that America faces a new challenge, and to help us meet this new challenge, we embrace an old foe. It is my great privilege to introduce our new ally in the War on Terror, Bashar al-Assad."

"Putin was right" - Washington Post

It's a bit of a climb-down when the Washington Post admits that US strategy in Syria has been a failure, and that perhaps things might not be as dire had we heeded Putin's advice and negotiated with Assad instead of creating ISIS to carry out regime change on our behalf.

Of course things would have been even better had we not meddled in Syria to begin with, but it's too late for that. At the time, however, heads were bloated by the stunning victory over Gaddafi - America's first since Grenada - and the war-mongers truly believed the US was on the verge of recovering some of the glory lost in the less-than-stellar Iraq and Afghanistan adventures.

The Washington Post opinion piece does couch its praise for Putin in concern for his "aggressive meddling" in Ukraine. They might want to reconsider that sooner than later. The infamous Nuland-Pyatt "election" of Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Prime Minister was certainly just as aggressive and meddlesome as anything Putin has done. In fact, throughout the made-in-Washington "Ukraine crisis" it has been Putin who consistently calls for peaceful dialogue, and Washington's flunkies in Kiev who consistently deploy the heavy hand of their military.

Perhaps in a couple of years, after thousands more unnecessary deaths, the Washington Post will inform us that Putin was right about Ukraine too.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Evil Putin shuts down Russian McDonalds to starve Pussy Riot into submission

And we know those bold anti-Putin rebels count on Mickey D for their daily sustenance.

We also know that there are no anti-Putin voices more strident, more topical, more relevant, than the voices of Pussy Riot.

So when Putin personally shuts down McDonalds in Moscow, it can only mean one thing; he's trying to silence Pussy Riot...

...and thereby tip the balance in the struggle between good and evil!

How ISIS is providing the back door for direct American intervention in Syria

If it hasn't happened yet, it's only a matter of time.

US fighter jets will be bombing Assad's forces in Syria.

Thus far we've let our proxies carry the spear, but they've seriously fucked up.

Time for the Big Dog to step in...

The ISIS execution of that journalist will be all the justification that the American public needs.

Now America can step in and do what its proxies couldn't; bring freedom and democracy to Syria and the entire Middle East...

How cop shows glamorize police brutality

I'm not much for cop shows, or any TV for that matter, but the Farm Manger tends to watch this shit, and there's some version of the CSI franchise going on in the background as I write this.

The overall modus operandi seems the same in every show. Shit happens, and then the "good guys" show up with an overwhelming display of force to set things right.

That's pretty much how it happens in the real world these days. There is no policing problem that can't be solved with an overwhelming show of force.

That's why we've acquiesced to the rampant militarization of local police forces.

On the ground, that's led to stand-offs and egregious displays of police brutality like we've seen in Ferguson for a couple of weeks now.

On TV, it just leads to the triumph of the good guys over evil.

We should not overlook the role that popular culture plays in greasing our path to a police state.

The six mile piss

Can't really remember the first time I met Kipling.

I think it was the night he ran his Chevy ll SS into a tree outside my parent's place out on the 86 dragway... or just about a half mile south of the 86 dragway to be precise.

I was the second person to come upon the accident scene, whereupon the first person informed me that the guy driving the Chevy ll was bleeding all over the interior of his new Deville.

So young Kipling plows his car into a tree at 100 mph, and a life-long friendship started.

A year later we both turned up at Budd Automotive, which was at that time the primary employer of niggers of all skin tones, including white, in the entire region.

That's where we really bonded.

I'd pull hilarious pranks like "borrowing" his 340 Duster from Budd's parking lot while he was on the night shift. The cops would be looking for that lime green Duster for months, and he got pulled over relentlessly.

But I always made up for it by returning that car to the Budd parking lot before the end of his shift with a case of beer under the hood. I'd unplug the distributor to make sure he had to open the hood to find that case of beer!

Oh, those were fun times!

There were a lot of real characters at the Budd plant back in the day. The Jamaicans, and there were tons of them, always had a line to really good weed.

That pretty much made them our best buddies.

There was a Polish guy who always showed up in a three piece suit. He didn't want his neighbours to know he worked in a factory. He'd change into work clothes when he got to work. Drove a 'Cuda.

Then there was Frenchie, who rolled his Javelin into the ditch with five brothers inside while trying to make it to the beer store before closing time.

Lotsa characters and lotsa fun! Who has jobs like that anymore?

Anyway, Kipling's dear daddy had a scrapyard in nearby Guelph, and holy shit, was he ever a character!

He was Fred to Kipling's Lamont... through that scrapyard Kipling got to know all sorts of interesting characters.

Like bikers.

This one guy in particular was to leave a lasting impression on me. Married to a native woman, and living on a reservation, he had a finger in pretty much any pie in the local economy, whether that pie was legal or illegal or in that grey zone between.

Used to be a big cheese in the Satan's Choice before they morphed into a Hells Angels franchise in the great patch-over.

So one day me and Kipling are sitting in the diner at the Woodstock Truckstop, and this guy happens along, and before you can say "no thanks, maybe some other time..." we're in Buddy's Peterbilt heading west at 70 mph, jug of Jack Daniels and a hash pipe going round on a too regular basis for my tastes.

An hour later we're on the 403 heading Sarnia way. I'm fucked, and I really really really have to have a piss.

Dude, can ya pull over so I can have a piss?

Buddy looks at me like I'm the most retarded retard he's ever seen in his life.

Ten minutes later; Dude, can you pull over so I can have a piss?

By now I'm practically exploding and having major bladder leakage...

Dude and Kipling are busting out laughing... nobody's going to pull an 18 wheeler over so some dumbfuck passenger can take a piss...

So I did what I had to do. Opened the passenger door, stood on the side-tank, pulled out my wang, and had a six mile long piss along the 403 at seventy miles an hour.

Best piss I ever had.

Uncorking the same old whoppers about privatizing beer and liquor sales in Ontario

The CD Howe Institute has released yet another "research paper" decrying the monopolies held over liquor and beer distribution in Ontario. Given the sorry state of journalism in the land, their "study" immediately became news in every newspaper in the province.

Liberating beer and liquor distribution from the private monopoly The Beer Store and the government owned LCBO would improve service and selection, reduce prices, and increase net revenues to the government - all the same arguments made a year ago the last time this issue was "news".

Those with long memories will also recall the exact same arguments being made as Alberta considered getting out of the booze biz over twenty years ago, which they did. How has that worked out?

Great and not that great...

The number of places to buy booze has gone up exponentially and they stay open later, greatly reducing the number of people who have to jump in their car, or rather their pick-up truck, and race to the government store to grab another two four and a forty pounder five minutes before closing time! Instead, now you just have to stagger to the liquor store down the block, because every block is sure to have at least one or two.

The number of brands available has gone up exponentially as well. I remember the bad old days of the government monopoly. You were limited to Canadian and Blue in the beer aisle, and Seagrams VO or Golden Wedding in the liquor aisle, and there were only two aisles! Wine had not yet been introduced to Alberta, as the only wine-drinkers in the province were a few gay guys who worked in the accounting departments at the big oil companies. That's a true fact; ask anybody who lived in Alberta in the late 70s.

Now, gays are everywhere, and they have 19,000 plus brands to choose from! So if you're a gay pipe welder in Fort Mac, privatization has been a godsend!

On the other hand, prices haven't come down, government revenues have plunged, and thousands of jobs that once paid a living wage became non-union minimum wage jobs.

This last point tends to be underplayed or ignored altogether by the right-wing think-tanks who put these "studies" together. Full time workers at The Beer Store and the LCBO still make a living wage. Privatize them and those will be poverty level jobs.

Could this be the real agenda of the anti-monopolists?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

About the rape of Ukraine agriculture that Canada is so eagerly complicit in

If you get bored reading the self-aggrandizing press releases from Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you could try on this alternative point of view.

Yes, after 25 years of plunder by Ukraine's home-grown oligarchs, there's enough left over for the big boys of international agri-biz to have a go at it.

Sponsored and subsidized every step of the way by the government of Canada.

The barbarity of that savage Jihadi beheading

Yes, the video (no, I won't link to it) of that savage beheading of American journalist Jim Foley documents a milestone in vicious barbarity.

Beheading?

How primitive and barbaric is that?

How much more civilized to kill dozens or hundreds at a time by dropping bombs and lobbing artillery from a safe distance. That's the way we roll here in the Nations of Virtue.

But in case you're wondering, the last state-sanctioned beheading in France, that most virtuous of the Nations of Virtue, was in 1977.

Should you trust a "Marxist" who gets his news from the New York Times?

I see where "the Unrepentant Marxist" has another scoop that vilifies the critics of the Empire.

Could it be that Louis Proyect is a Posamarxist?

Maybe he's just a stooge...

Canada supports skills training in Bangladesh, but not in Canada

Well this is rich!

We, the Canadian taxpayers, are going to create a better trained and qualified workforce!... in Bangladesh!

It's great that "Canada believes in the importance of investing in skills training to improve employment opportunities", but why do "we" believe it's good for Bangladesh but not for Canada?

Oh, I get it! When we have a shortage of skilled workers in Canada, we open the Temporary Foreign Worker floodgates... this initiative is designed to assure a steady stream of qualified foreign workers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Close call as God's bankers almost exposed to honest reporting

This is a story aimed at the point one percenters.

God's bankers.

As a serious investor, I'm certainly pleased to see that the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced.

Like, what the fuck does that even mean?

Once all values have become dollar values, what are we besides our dollar values?

While they're not always finding the words, there's plenty of folks in Ferguson Missouri trying to answer that question tonight.

God smites Iceland with another volcano as Icelandic statanists continue to defy global banking brotherhood

Yes, that great Central Banker in the sky is mightily pissed with those uppity Icelanders.

The Almighty gave them a warning shot back in 2010, a couple of years after they had decided to salute the banking brotherhood with a collective middle finger instead of toeing the line and condemning all 3,400 Icelanders to several centuries worth of the infamous "austerity enema" so popular in Ireland and Greece, among others.

Obviously those rogues learned nothing from that warning shot, so the real deal is bubbling just below the surface now, set to explode at any moment...

Let that be a lesson to peons everywhere who harbour fantasies about standing up to the global banking brotherhood.

That brotherhood is beyond global; it's celestial.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What you're not watching while you're watching Ferguson Mo.

It's been well over a week since the tragic but entirely routine execution of a young black man by a white policeman in a St. Louis suburb.

Thus far the execution and its aftermath has resulted in a total of one death, that of Michael Brown. Fatal shootings of black males by white cops historically occur at the rate of at least two per week.

So what could possibly account for the saturation coverage that has been bestowed on this entirely routine event?

When CNN and Fox and all the rest of them are devoting virtually 24/7 coverage to Ferguson Mo., they're obviously not covering some other stories.

Like the conduct of our Israeli vassals in Gaza.

Or the conduct of our Ukrainian vassals in east Ukraine.

Or the exponential escalation of America's wars in Syria and Iraq and Libya.

Do you suppose it is coincidence that news managers across the USA have simultaneously disavowed the far more important stories unfolding in the world, to focus 99% of their resources on the execution of one unremarkable black man by a white cop?

I think not.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

News as drivel or drivel as news?

Here's a story  that's gotten traction across Canadian media platforms for a couple of days now.

This particular iteration of the story is titled "Sask economist criticizes report on taxes v necessity spending".

The gist of the "story", although you'd never know it from this example, is that Canadians pay more in tax than they do for the necessities of life like food and shelter.

I've read the Fraser Institute report that this story is based on. They managed to come up with their alarmist conclusion by counting taxes and royalties paid by oil companies as taxes paid by consumers. They justify this sleight of hand by claiming, correctly, that oil companies pass their expenses, including taxes, on to the consumer.

Every company in the world passes all their expenses on to the consumer, but calling those costs "tax" charged to the consumer is a novelty I've never seen before.

That's probably the only newsworthy thing about this Fraser Institute report.

Nevertheless, news editors across the land decided they had a "story" here.

The Saskatoon/CTV version of this "news story" is particularly lame for several reasons.


  • It tells you economist Erin Weir objects to the story, but doesn't tell you why, other than 1961 was a bad year for a baseline. Why was 1961 a bad year for a baseline?
  • It identifies Erin Weir as an economist, but not as an economist employed by a major labour union.
  • It tells us that the study came from the Fraser Institute, which it identifies as a "think-tank", which is true as far as it goes. The Fraser Institute is a far-right think tank that hates all taxes and is rabidly anti-labour.
So while we have the potential for a meaningful debate between a labour economist and an anti-labour "think-tank", instead we get nothing.

That's just shabby journalism.

Hundreds protest as Black man marries White woman in Mississippi

Actually, that might have raised a few eyebrows in Mississippi fifty years ago. Today it wouldn't occur to anyone to think it's their business. Gal wants to marry a Black dude? More power to her and best wishes to the both of them.

In Israel, on the other hand, an Arab man marries a Jewish woman and it's front page news. The wedding planner has a few extra duties that wouldn't normally come up; arranging for police protection, hiring private security guards, filing the requisite papers to get the court order to keep the protest 200 meters from the reception... as if "the big day" doesn't have enough stress!

Truly a depressing story...

But as always, there's a silver lining! Buck up America! You're not as racist as those guys!

Proving yet again that the secret to looking good is to compare yourself to someone who is even worse.




Saturday, August 16, 2014

Can an elevator mechanic be a national leader?

That's not a question that we have to ask very often, is it?

National leaders pretty reliably come from the legal trades, not the mechanical trades.

Everywhere you go in the world, more often than not lawyers are politicians and politicians are lawyers.

That's why this story drew me back for a second look.

Seems our new bumboy in Iraq used to be a elevator mechanic in London.

That can cut several ways.

In the first place, Al-Abadi would, having been an elevator mechanic in London, be able to instantly differentiate between shit and shinola.

The elevator either works or it doesn't.

You can't bullshit the fact that the elevator ain't running when the elevator ain't running. Haider knows this in his workingman's soul.

But Haider is in the big leagues now.

Will he sell out or will he keep his workingman's soul?

The prince of pot and the king

The news that "the prince of pot" has survived his ordeal in the US prison system and made it back to Canada was certainly welcome.

Incarcerated on bogus trafficking charges and left to twist in the wind by the Harper regime, Marc Emery has vowed to invest his considerable energies in the Justin Trudeau election campaign, as revenge on the Harperites.

Vengeance is not a virtuous motivator, my friend.

The Harper regime is entering the election cycle caught on the back foot. Its single economic initiative, promoting tar sludge at all costs, isn't going anywhere.

It is further discombobulated by the continuous stream of revelations about its connivance in the wanton abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The nitty-gritty of the Harper legacy since 2006 rests on two pillars; promoting environmentally degrading and unsustainable tar sands development, and screwing Canadian workers.

That's why the Harper gang is working overtime to change the subject, and the subject they're really keen to change it to is Justin Trudeau's promise to legalize marijuana.


JULIAN FANTINO FLYER


That's from some anti-Trudeau pamphlets Harperites have been mailing out.

Yup, we haven't seen such silly scare tactics since the Reefer Madness era.

But no matter; hard-core neanderthals in the Harper cabinet are mailing out this kind of anti-pot, anti-Trudeau propaganda, hoping to scare little old ladys into talking this topic up at their church socials.

"Oh did you see where that whipper-snapper Trudeau wants to sell marywanna to the children at the candy counter in the corner store, Mildred? My gosh, what's this world coming to?"

Ya. So I don't think this is a climate wherein overt support from Emery is going to help Trudeau.

Emery should ask himself, what would Wally do?

Wally is of course the late and much-lamented Wally Tucker. If Marc Emery is the Prince of Pot, Wally is the undisputed King.

Wally had established the Church of the Universe long before young Marc twisted up his first doobie. And the holy sacrament of the Church of the Universe was the weed of wisdom.

So do the right thing, Emery. You can help Trudeau by shutting up for awhile. You've been in the slammer for five years; get caught up with your family or something, at least till the election is over.

What would Wally do?



Rumpelstiltskin's new spinning wheel

This story at Bloomberg sketches out the latest scam that the usual suspects (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays etc.) have devised in order to further enrich themselves while contributing absolutely nothing to society at large.

It seems to me a tragic waste that so many fine minds are bent to constantly inventing and refining dubious get-rich-quick schemes. It's all fun and games till we have another Long Term Capital or an Enron on our hands, at which point we all get to pay to clean up the mess.

That's why the think tank here at Falling Downs has long advocated for a 100% tax on non-productive economic activities.

Cut out this nonsense and use your money and your brains to do something useful.

Friday, August 15, 2014

About that imaginary decimation of a Russian armoured column in Ukraine

It's a story that's been everywhere in the past 24 hours. Check the Google News page right now, and it's still there.

Unfortunately, when you click on the VOA story, it begins with the words "No confirmation...". Obviously, nobody would like that confirmation more than Voice of America, and if they can't find it, it obviously doesn't exist.

Which means this is probably nothing more than yet another fabrication by Poroshenko and Co.

That's been a problem with Ukraine news recently. Every time investigators get too close to the crash site on the Malaysian Airliner file (remember that?) fighting conveniently flares up and the investigators are forced to retreat.

The big-talking Poroshenko was going to end this insurrection "within hours". Remember that?

Meanwhile, we've been treated to an incredible dose of hoo-ha viz. that Russian "aid convoy".

It was Putin's Trojan Horse. Yup, the Putinists were going to sneak troops across the border in that aid convoy, who would then jump out and take over the Ukraine.

I don't know how retarded you'd have to be to find that story credible, but the folks who write the editorials at the Globe and Mail actually hinted at that scenario the other day, so I guess that tells you something.

If our favourite fascists had actually destroyed a Russian armoured convoy, you can bet we would be inundated with actual photographs of the wreckage.

Surely not every volunteer in the Azov Battalion could have forgotten his iPhone at home the day of their most glorious success.


Texas Governor Rick Perry sets sights on 2020 White House run

That's because 2016 just went for a shit!

The think tank here at Falling Downs followed the last election pretty close, and we still think Perry provided damned good entertainment value. Not in the same league as the Newtster or the Hermanator or the Donald perhaps, but he was up there!

Any guy who double dips at the public trough and emerges to sing the praises of "free enterprise" with the gravy still dripping off his chin is a guy you gotta watch. With chutzpah like that, anything is possible!

So tip it and move on, Rick. It's a brand new ballgame for 2020.

And you've got yourself one helluva headstart!

CPR's Hitman Harrison tired of being bullied, fights back

Yes, the 52 million dollar man has had enough!

Bullied near to death, he's been.

First of all, bullied by the City of Vancouver.

And if that isn't bad enough, bullied a thousand times over by the thousands of Vancouverites who have built wee bully gardens along the Arbutus rail corridor.

Enough is enough!


Canada "supporting" Ukraine with lots of talk but little cash

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and Grandiose Announcements today issued a press release titled "Canada supporting entrepreneurs in Ukraine".

Well, that's nice, I thought... obviously they're fresh out of entrepreneurs to support here at home, so lets read up on this.

Hmm... looks like we're going to be supporting the agricultural sector, noted for being dominated by a handful of Ukrainian billionaires... but no, we're not helping those guys; we're going to support the "small and medium-size enterprises", because they create the jobs and so on.

Alrighty then, I guess you're giving our tax dollars to a good cause, sort of, maybe... although it would seem there are plenty of countries with greater needs than Ukraine. Let's not quibble about that.

How many dollars are we sending, by the way? Don't think I see that number in the press release.

Oh lookee! At the bottom of the page, under "Other Products", there's a link to a backgrounder. Click on that, and voila!

We are supporting Ukrainian entrepreneurs in the small and medium size ag sector to the tune of $3.8 millions over five years!? WTF is that?

Three quarters of a million a year? How many small and medium businesses is that going to help? C'mon Baird, you're embarrassing us! The loan officer at the local bank probably writes more business in an afternoon, and she doesn't send out press releases announcing how great she is!

Just to put our largesse in perspective, the International Finance Corporation which is administering our gift, last year committed $355 millions to Ukraine.

Hey, they just got an extra .02%! That could make all the difference!

Those guys must work hard to hold back their laughter when they see the Canadian delegation walk into the room.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ferguson is America's wake-up call

Since Michael Brown was gunned down in the street a week ago, America has changed.

Suddenly all America is noticing what brown America has always known; local police have become an army of occupation.

It was an astute move to replace the local cops, but that amounts to nothing more than changing the bandage.

Those of us fortunate enough to view things from a safe distance have often marvelled at how the war on drugs so seamlessly conjoined with the war on terror, and how both continued the war on those who were already dispossessed before either.

I think that's starting to change.

Tonight we have mainstream news outlets talking about the militarization of local policing. That's been a growing problem since the creation of the first SWAT teams.

It's a problem that has grown exponentially in the last few years. Local cops should never be a tool to intimidate the community.

That realization could well lead to other insights.

State Dept. no.2 bullshitter Marie Harf's latest anti-Putin tirade easily deflected by Kremlin

Marie Harf had a zinger for the world's media today, or at least that segment of the world's media that hangs on every word out of Washington.

Commenting on the demise of Crimea post re-integration with Russia, she opined that Crimea tourism has been decimated to the point that Putin himself has been the only tourist to Crimea this summer.

To which Russian media were not long in coming up with this rejoinder.

Two million tourists thus far in the season, perhaps three millions by the end of the summer, and a 30% increase in tourists from Russia.

Yes, I'm fully aware there is propaganda on all sides, but our side used to be so much more convincing...

Why Canadians fighting for Islamic State are bad, but Canadians fighting for Israel or Ukraine are good

If you're a young man, or a young woman for that matter, who has a thirst for adventure and a desire to discover what you're made of, there's no better way to find out than to join an apocalyptic fight to the finish in some foreign land.

And young Canadians are doing exactly that, if not in droves, at least in sufficient numbers to garner a few news headlines.

This is of course not a new phenomenon. In the course of the Vietnam war up to 30,000 Canadians crossed the border to the US and headed for the nearest recruiting office, where they were welcomed with open arms.

And 30 years before Vietnam, Canadians found themselves fighting in the Spanish Civil war in the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion.

So it should come as no surprise that young Canadians are still doing that. After all, what better way is there to prove yourself... this ain't playing Call of Duty on your couch; it's THE REAL DEAL!

There's been a lot of ink spilled on the potential threat posed by so-called homegrown Jihadists who are going to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic state and other Islamist fighting forces. On the other hand, our media are virtually mute on the topic of Canadians going to fight for Israel or Ukraine.

Why is that?

After all, the battle against the tyrant al-Assad has had the approval, not to mention the funding and logistical support, of the Nations of Virtue from before the beginning.

I suspect this has to do with the racist assumptions of news editors here in Canada. Even though we long ago piled onto the anti-al-Assad bandwagon, there is a vague sense of unease over Arab-Canadians, or any Canadians for that matter, aligning themselves with groups that under certain conditions and in a certain light we don't hesitate to label "terrorist".

Israel and Ukraine, on the other hand, are assumed to be white-dominated democracies, just like the one we live in. We are understood to have some unspoken cultural affinity with both Israel and Ukraine that automatically inoculates our youngsters against contamination by any strain of extremism.

This is a dangerous delusion.

As flawed as our imperfect democracy may be, it has virtually nothing in common with "the only democracy in the Middle East". However dysfunctional and paternalistic our relationship with our indigenous people may be, there can be no comparison to Israel's treatment of the indigenous Palestinian population.

The Six Nations has never been Gaza and never will be.

Same with Ukraine. Sure, the Azov Battalion and others are welcoming foreign fighters with open arms, but what are they attracting? Young idealists, incorrigible racists, white supremacists...

Why do we blithely assume that those Canadians going to fight against Assad will be a security risk on their return, but the Canadians going to fight for Israel or Ukraine will not?



Pastafarian fights for religious freedom

Colander ICBC

Obi Canuel sports the religious headgear for which he is being persecuted. Take heart, Obi, the unbelievers
had a lot of trouble with these too:



And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police put up one hell of a fight before they let the gentleman on the left wear his religious headgear on the job;



So stay strong, Obie; history is on your side!

Things that shouldn't happen when your Prime Minister is an "economist"

It's true; Big Steve has a MA in economics from the University of Calgary. It's available for your perusal online if you care to look for it. It doesn't necessarily reveal a lot about Harper other than the fact that even at a relatively young age he was obsessed with the machinations of power. Of all the directions one's interest in the dismal science could take, you obviously need to be a power-junkie-in-training to research correlations between deficit financing and election cycles.

My morning Globe and Mail had two stories that I found relevant to Harper's education. The first is the Statscan debacle regarding last week's release of flawed employment numbers. That has impacts on everything from interest rates to currency exchange rates to how long Buddy who just got laid off will have to wait for his pogey cheque. In other words, it matters.

Consistent with the Harper government's across-the-board policy of keeping Canadians in the dark, no one is allowed to tell us the nature of the mistake. Instead, they're working hard on "fixing" the numbers and will release the do-over tomorrow.

Typically the dismal scientists doing the number-crunching at Statscan will have way more behind their names than MAs from the University of Calgary, so why the shoddy workmanship? Could it be the result of the Harper gang's obsession with defunding frivolous research in all areas of the social sciences? And of course, when you have all the answers to begin with, all research becomes frivolous.

The other story concerns the government strategy of stemming the supposed unsustainable losses at Canada Post. As a society we have been bamboozled into believing that the postal service should be run like a business. Insofar as that is true, and the business is struggling to compete, would the business model not demand a downward adjustment in pricing and improvement in service in order to recapture market share?

The fact that the Harper government is doing exactly the opposite signals that their true intention is to allow Canada Post to atrophy. Eliminating home delivery and doubling the price of stamps is a strategy to wind down the post office, not build a foundation for its survival.

Treating essential services as though they were a business is profoundly wrong to begin with. Like health care, education, national and local security, postal service is a public good that by definition cannot be fairly evaluated on the basis of whether it turns a profit or a loss. The asinine comments by Canada Post boss Deepak Chopra to the effect that he is cutting home delivery to appease the many seniors who have been deluging him with demands to deliver their mail to a community mailbox blocks away from their home, so they can get some exercise, just adds insult to injury.

Oh, it's a crazy Orwellian world, this land 'o Harper is!

You gotta hate when this happens

So Buddy over there in your UK is piloting a Dash 8 commuter plane from Birmingham to Belfast. It's a windy day, he's focused on landing, switches off the autopilot, focus... focus... we're almost there...

...and then his arm falls off!

Luckily, alls well that ends well. He was able to quickly use his good arm to reattach his artificial arm, and all 47 passengers got home safely.

It wasn't their time yet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Louis Proyect; last spokesperson standing for Hillary's imaginary Free Syrian Army

You really have to wonder about the Marxism of the Unrepentant Marxist.

Well, maybe you don't. Proyect's Marxism is the marxism of the academic elite. It was never Louis' lot in life to soil his hands with manual labour. While I was wasting away in welding shops Louis was waxing wise at Bard College.

I like Louis a lot. Well, I don't know Louis, so like you I base my opinion on what I find of him on the internet. But mostly I like what I find.

He's a genuine supporter of old school American culture, especially jazz and film.

And he's got the Gaza conundrum figured out.

But when it comes to Syria, he's totally on the same page as the most vile Beltway neo-cons.

Regime change in Syria was on the target list of the neo-con crowd long before any "spontaneous protests" erupted in 2011.

Louis has spent as much time in Syria as I have, which is to say none, but he vilifies Shamus Cooke for not having read the right things.

Dude, do a little more reading.

Harper crony hurt in Panama prison riot

Arthur Porter, left, was once appointed to head Canada's spy watchdog, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Former Harper favorite Arthur Porter was seriously injured in a riot at Panama's La Joya Prison last week.

The once high-flying Porter is thankful for his bad luck, because if he didn't have bad luck these last few years he wouldn't have any at all.

Not that long ago Porter was so tight with Big Steve that he was handed the plum post of chairing the civilian oversight committee for Canada's spy network. In case you're wondering; yes Canada does have a spy network, and it mostly works on protecting intellectual property issues like guarding maple syrup recipes and rooting out fake Tim Hortons franchises in Afghanistan.

Porter has been treating himself for cancer for a few years now.  Given that these latest injuries left him in a coma, his days of treating himself may be over.

Hopefully he makes a complete and speedy recovery. Then he can come back to Canada and explain how he treated himself to $22 millions in schmiergeld on the McGill University Hospital job.

Some humans more deserving of "humanitarian assistance" than others

The Nations of Virtue are in a righteous tizzy over the plight of some Iraqi folks trapped on Mount Sinjar without food or water, being threatened by Islamic militants. Western media are inundated with reports of the horrors visited on these poor souls. The leader of the free world has responded by raining humanitarian bombs on the militants and airlifting "non-combat" US troops into the region.

Meanwhile, on another mountain 7,000 kilometers away, a virtually identical scenario is playing out. Nigerian survivors of a Boko Haram raid on their village are trapped, with no way out and no food or water.

They are getting no headlines in Western media and no help from the Nations of Virtue. There are no bombs being dropped on their tormentors and no soldiers coming to help them.

They will most likely die there.

Why?

As NATO gang hammers Russia with sanctions, NATO member Turkey to cash in!

Here's proof that NATO can accommodate a diversity of opinions on little things like acts of war. While Obama and his NATO yes-men like Harper and Cameron have been busy ramping up the foolish anti-Putin war-talk for months now, the Turks have been quietly building up their trade links with Russia.

According to Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker, Turkey is keen to supply the foodstuffs Russia used to get from the US, Canada, and the EU.

No wonder the Western media love to paint Erdogan in unflattering colours; he too often displays a knack for common sense and realpolitik when he should be toeing the party line.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some guys have all the luck; massive oil discovery in Dan's Republic of Congo

Dan Gertler, the man who really understands negroes, claims to have made a huge oil discovery under Lake Albert in the north of the DRC.

Gertler is the second wealthiest man in Dan's Republic after President Joseph Kabila, although there is speculation in some quarters that Kabila is merely a figurehead, as it were, while Gertler himself wields the real power.

Gertler is a truly self-made man who arrived in DRC almost twenty years ago with only $27 in his pocket but a further $50 millions in a satchel, which he forthwith "loaned" to the father of the current president. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ever since that fortuitous loan, Gertler has gone from strength to strength and tax haven to tax haven as his manifold Congolese investments spew forth a gusher of profits for the shrewd investor... and that's before this bounteous bombshell.

Gertler claims this oil find could boost the impoverished nation's GDP by a full 25%. We'd be reluctant to bet on that, but there can be no doubt that it will surely enhance Gertler's accounts in those tax havens by such sums.

Gertler has in the past considered nominating himself for a Nobel Prize in recognition of his civilizing efforts in the DRC but held back because of his overwhelming sense of humility. We say enough of that; step out from the shadows and take a bow!

Dan Gertler for the Nobel!...

It sure pays to understand negroes!

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Gaza war is a cash cow"

For some, the Gaza war is a PR disaster for Israel's image on the world stage.

For Palestinians it is yet more proof of Israel's genocidal intentions.

But as this story from Haaretz makes clear, the darker the clouds, the brighter the silver lining! For the lucky devils at government-owned Israel Military Industries, the latest Gaza war has been a gift from the heavens!

Operation Over the Cliff has been a godsend. Those "highly sophisticated" Hatzav and Kalanit tank shells have been a great success, as evidenced by those many images of telegenic dead babies circulating on the internet.

IMI has moved beyond "smart bombs" to next generation "super-smart bombs", which have proven themselves so smart over the past month that already there is a massive back-order to the tune of billions of shekels.

Gaza is neither the worlds largest prison nor an independent Palestinian state, but rather a "classroom" that gives IMI and other war profiteers a "marketing advantage"!

And what a timely stroke of luck that this fantastic boost to the bottom line comes just as the government is tidying up the books to privatize IMI.

See, every bad-news story has its good side; you just have to know where to look.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The grass is greener where the dog took a crap

When I became the steward of Falling Downs six or seven years ago, mortgaged up the wazoo and then some, I had all kinds of fancy plans to make this venture pay off.

After all, I had a barn and a woodlot and a hundred acres. The possibilities were endless.

Free range cattle. Free range hogs. Free range chickens...

Start a vineyard on the hill in the corner field...

A portable sawmill to cut that red oak and black cherry into jumbo slabs for my Big-Ass chairs...

A market garden that would generate a few hundred a week at the local farmers' market...

Did I mention the pear trees and the partridges?

We've yet to get around to the free range beef, pork, chickens etc,. although some of my research on the heritage pork species makes me feel optimistic. Chickens could be viable but you have to keep it small scale unless you have an egg quota, which we don't, and never will because those quotas are premised on factory farming standards...

The vineyard was put on hold after I did one plow run down the hill in that corner field and pissed my pants thinking the tractor would tip over any second.

Cutting slabs of black cherry and red oak to craft those Big-Ass chairs has to take a backseat to cutting firewood, and I can hardly keep up with that.

My one foray into market gardening sold out the currant jam we jarred up a couple of years ago, but that barely paid the rent for the table at the farmers' market, let alone providing a return on our labour and various other inputs.

As for the pears, I was going to press them last year to make pear cider; my dear mother has a recipe from the old country for "Birenwein" that I must get from her again...

So six or seven years into this operation, things have not quite gone according to plan. The Farm Manager claims that this is largely due to the time I squander on blogposts that nobody reads. While that may have a vague ring of truth about it, the real truth is that I've always been a news junkie, and firing off those spitballs of righteous indignation only takes a couple of minutes more than reading whatever I was outraged about to begin with.

She is obviously barking up the wrong tree.

Yes, it's tough to see success when you're mulling your manifold failures, but I was settled on the front stoop this afternoon, nursing a pint, having just cut the acres of lawn, and feeling pretty damned good about things in spite of this litany of despair. The lawn would be near perfect, except that the carpet of medium green has random splotches of dark green scattered throughout.

That's where the dogs have shit.




Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wily Erdogan sweeps to victory, amidst Western fears of creeping authoritarianism

The West's fears over "authoritarianism" in Turkey are quite hilarious, when you think about it for a moment.

We worry about Erdogan's alleged "authoritarianism" but have not a care in the world about authoritarianism in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, and innumerable other Western favourites.

Frankly, I'm far more concerned about creeping authoritarianism in Canada.

What's really worrying "the West", i.e. US neocon opinion makers in the Beltway and their NATO echo-chamber, is that Erdogan can no longer be relied upon to follow the script handed him by his betters in the Nations of Virtue.

Independent thinking is frowned upon in the circle of free and democratic nations.


Obama excellent role model for finding work-life balance

The leader of the free world has got it figured out.

No, not the Iraq crisis. Not the Syria crisis either... or the Ukraine crisis or the Gaza crisis or the South China Sea crisis or the Ebola crisis or the affordable health care crisis or the jobs crisis or the illegal immigrant crisis or the deficit crisis.

But by golly, he does seem to have found the happy middle in that work-life balance crisis that so many of us have been struggling with for so long.

Order up a few drone strikes in the morning, strike a news conference at noon, and strike out for the golf course in the afternoon!

That's what America and the free world needs; a leader who leads by example!

Canada leads world in empty rhetoric

Hey, it's what we call "punching above our weight"!

Not too many days pass without a press release from Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs condemning Putin or proclaiming Israel's right to defend itself. But where we really shine is in taking credit for our imaginary leadership role in saving women and girls and children in the developing world.

Big Steve latched onto that issue at the 2010 G-8 meetings with the so-called Muskoka Initiative. This was nothing more than the reiteration of the UN's Millennial Development Goals circa 1990, but ever since the Muskoka Initiative the Harperites have led us to believe we play some kind of leadership role. Besides, Big Steve hates the UN.

In the past three days alone we've had four press releases patting ourselves on the back for our leading role in saving the lives of women and children:

  • On 6 August we are informed that Canadian leadership in MNCH (Maternal Newborn Child Health)is saving women and children in the developing world.
  • On 7 August we are reminded that "Canadian leadership has once again brought MNCH to the forefront of the world's attention."
  • Later on 7 August, as if telling ourselves how great we are once a day isn't enough, we are told that Canadian leadership in MNCH will improve health and nutrition in Nigeria. We improve health and nutrition by subsidizing Monsanto and other First World agri-business conglomerates.
  • On 8 August we get more of the same, just in case we've forgotten. I'm writing this on 9 August and the day isn't over, so we could see another round of chest-thumping today.

Where we are leading  the most is in the ten nations where we focus our efforts. By far the largest of those ten are Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia. Just for fun, let's see how "Canadian leadership" is saving women and children in those countries. The latest year for which comprehensive child mortality stats are available is 2012, so if we compare child mortality in the two years after Harper took ownership for saving women and children with the Muskoka Initiative, to the two years immediately prior, we should get a sense of the difference that our leadership has made. These numbers come from the World Bank.

In 2008 Nigeria had a child mortality rate of 142 per 100,000. By 2010 that had dropped to 132. That's a 7% decline. By 2012 the rate declined further to 124 per 100,000, or another 6%. In other words, the child mortality rate was dropping more quickly in the two years before the Muskoka Initiative than in the two years thereafter.

Bangladesh saw a drop of 14.5% in the two years before Muskoka, and a further 12.7% drop in the two years after.

The numbers for Ethiopia are 12.6% and 10.5%.

In the three largest "countries of focus" for our "leadership" in saving women and children, they were being saved more efficaciously before Prime Minister Harper declared our leadership!

Make no mistake; the goal of saving women and children anywhere is a noble one. But to constantly trumpet our great virtue in doing these great things when our "leadership" either doesn't exist or is making no difference seems more than dishonest.

If Canada's government wanted to make a real difference to the lives of women and girls right in their backyard, instead of scoring cheap PR points with empty rhetoric, they might try addressing the fact that child mortality rates among Canadian Indians are roughly double that of Canadian society as a whole.

As a Canadian, that's the kind of leadership I'd like to see.



Friday, August 8, 2014

Is Obama attacking ISIS to save religious minorities, or to save the new CIA base in Irbil?

You might have missed this tasty morsel at the Miami Herald a month ago. Apparently the CIA have been going all-out to complete a new super-base nearby Irbil in Kurdish Iraq, or "Kurdistan", if you will.

Enthusiasm for supporting our bumboy Maliki has been rapidly fading as his oilfields are coming under the control of the nascent Kurdish state. What better way to ensure the democratic future of those oilfields than by having a good sturdy presence in this new nation not quite yet recognized by anyone?

So it's not hard to see that the American oilygarchs who plot Washington's foreign policy would look askance at the marauding Islamists they have unleashed in the region. Yes, it seemed like a good idea at the time, to arm those anti-al Assad rebels to the teeth and turn them loose on the evil Bashar al Assad... who could have guessed that they'd thank us by running amok throughout the Middle East?

We are now forced to fight ISIS, who are using American weapons to fight the Kurds, who we need to rush more weapons and ammo to so they can fight back, and in the meantime we have rushed an emergency shipment of Hellfire missiles to Maliki, because while his star may be fading, he's still our boy... and let's not forget those rush shipments of weapons to the Holy Land as they fight for their very existence against a resistance that has moved beyond stone-throwing and perfected the art of building near-useless missiles out of plumbing supplies.

The worst of days for the Middle East...

The best of days for American weapon manufacturers!


US declares war on Islamic State - buckle up for blowback

The Nations of Virtue have been neck-deep in fomenting the anti-al Assad insurgency from the beginning. The brave but largely fictional Syrian Free Army was supplied by the US via various middle east proxies. Volunteers from around the world flocked to jihadi training camps in Turkey and Jordan and were then spirited into Syria with the full connivance of the US.

Alas, as Bashar al Assad's "last days" became weeks, then months, and now years, it became increasingly obvious that the imaginary democratic and moderate opposition we had created in Syria had morphed into something quite different; an extremist Islamic army trained and equipped by the US and NATO. Gradually the narrative shifted from "how long can al Assad hang on", to "how long before those foreign jihadis are back in Boston, Stockholm, or London, wreaking havoc on the soft white underbelly of the West?"

However hypothetical that question may have been yesterday, it takes on far greater urgency today. The news that the US Air Force has bombed ISIS assets in Iraq opens a new front in America's war on Islam. Now that we have raised a radical Islamic fighting force, by far larger, better equipped and more competent than anything seen before, it's only a matter of time until yesterday's paranoid fantasies become reality.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Islamic State knocks Ukraine out of top slot in news rotation

But Gaza is coming up fast on the inside!...

I've been switching back and forth between BBC and CNN coverage of today's events. The big story is of course the Obama decision to authorize attacks on IS in the country formerly known as Iraq. All the punditry neatly avoids any discussion about the culpability of "the West" in creating the Islamic State, destroying Iraq, and so on.

Now that a couple of rockets have been fired towards Israel, just hours before the ceasefire was to expire anyway, the Gaza story is once again heating up. No acknowledgement of our role in that disaster either.

Ukraine is barely an afterthought today, in spite of the ancillary narratives re: new protests and fighting in Kiev, and Putin's counter-sanctions aimed at the agriculture sector in the West. Ukraine is relegated to the inside pages, vying for column inches and page-views with the Ebola virus. No discussion of our role in Ukraine's tragedy, and the Ebola story, which is potentially more significant than any of the lead stories in the news today, seems to be out of sight because so far it's mainly claimed a few Africans.

Overall, a good-news kind of day for the merchants of death.

Israeli society 3,500 years ahead of Arabs - Elie Wiesel

The crocodile tears were flowing freely when Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's brain trust concocted this outrageous anti-Palestinian flim-flam.

Not a word about the illegal occupation of Palestinian land that is the root of the Arab-Israel conflict. Instead, it is men of courage like Wiesel and Boteach who abrogate unto themselves the right to determine who is a "real Muslim", and those would appear to be the Muslims who are prepared to yield to their oppressors the right to steal their land and who are prepared to live as second or third class non-citizens in perpetuity.

The well-documented history of the IDF's use of Palestinian children as human shields notwithstanding, it's not hard to see why the current campaign to vilify Hamas is so desperate. Boteach's life mission is to convince the world of the superiority of "Jewish values" as exemplified by Israel. That's tough to do when that light unto the nations just wrapped up a war of choice during which they managed to kill almost 1,500 civilians, while the other side killed three.

Naturally, such a spectacle doesn't do much for the cause of promoting "Jewish values"; it has quite the opposite effect. The values on display by Israel's military-political elite over the past month have not been Jewish values. The world has seen the values of a murderous quasi-fascist state rendered mad by its own sense of impunity and exceptionalism.

This propaganda campaign is a desperate attempt to convince the world that the oppressor is the victim, the victims are sub-human Molochites, and peace can only come to Palestine when the last embers of resistance have been extinguished.

The reason Hamas was democratically elected to govern Gaza is because a majority of Palestinians are not prepared to capitulate. It's not that they don't love their children, it's that they want their children to live in peace and freedom. It is the occupation that makes that impossible, not Hamas.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Proof that NASCAR fans are smarter than we thought

I see where the Army National Guard is pulling the plug on its NASCAR sponsorship.

32 millions they spent putting the US Army National Guard logo on Junior's racer.

And how many new recruits did they reel in for $32,000,000 ?

None!

Proof that the US economic recovery is stronger than we thought

I see where the Army National Guard is pulling the plug on its NASCAR sponsorship.

32 millions they spent putting the US Army National Guard logo on Junior's racer.

And how many new recruits did they reel in for $32,000,000 ?

None!

That can only mean one thing; the trailer trash and ghetto refugees are finding employment opportunities outside "the service".

How to fake being really busy

A friend of the family graduated teacher's college a couple of years ago. It's tough times for teaching grads these days. Every school board in the land is scaling back, doing more with less, bumping class sizes up while pushing pay and benefits down.

So Buddy had the massive good fortune to land a contract with the local Greywater School Board. As always, the newbies get loaded up with the extra-curricular shit that the old shits don't want to do. So Buddy was explaining how he is the soccer coach, the rugby coach, the environment club coordinator, and the facilitator of the social justice club.

Holy shit! That must keep him busier than busy! And all that on top of a full teaching schedule!

So I was curious as to how he juggles these manifold responsibilities.

"Hey, you know, the more you do, the easier it is to do nothing," he says.

"Sometimes there'll be all four of these teams and clubs having meetings on the same day... and I'm not at any of them! The soccer team assumes I'm at the rugby meeting; the social justice folks assume I'm at the environment club meeting, the environment club folks think I'm at the soccer meeting... ya, I'm the busiest guy in the building, and I'm sitting at Timmies having a coffee and a bagel!"

Where is the West's outrage as Poroshenko slaughters his own people?

You remember the "slaughtering his own people" meme, I'm sure.

Bashar al-Assad was slaughtering his own people, or was about to, or the thought had crossed his mind, and the editorial writers and TV pundits were unanimous in their outrage, clamouring for the Nations of Virtue to play the "responsibility to protect" card.

Gaddafi was "slaughtering his own people"... well not actually. Well, he might have, had we not stepped in with the R2P gambit... of course we don't know what he might have done, crazy maniac that he was. But thank God we got in there and saved the Libyan people.

Saddam Hussein was just a-slaughtering his people all over the place so often that it's a miracle we found so many more to slaughter when we went in there to save them. Yes, R2P is a serious obligation on the Nations of Virtue; why should we stand by and watch some tin-pot dictator slaughter his own people when we could be doing it?

Yes, it's been slaughterers and slaughterees and our virtuous meddling in joyous abundance... till we get to Poroshenko,not just thinking about slaughtering his own people, but actually following through.

And the Nations of Virtue are not threatening sanctions, not threatening no-fly zones, not threatening to invoke R2P...

The silence is deafening.

Africa should tremble with fear as USA promises "stability, democracy"

Banking on the historical amnesia of their audience, Messrs Kerry and Obama are on a bullshitting blitz to convince the leaders of the Dark Continent of America's benevolent intentions.

American investment will apparently bring jobs, wealth, security, democracy, skyrocketing standards of living for all, a pristine environment, a chicken in every pot, and a partridge in a pear tree for every African.

So open wide for US investment!... there's nothing to be afraid of, this won't hurt a bit! Ignore the naysayers who will claim that "investors" always take out more wealth than they invest.

And whatever you do, DON'T look too closely at those other lands that have benefited from Uncle Sam's gifts of democracy and stability in recent years.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hamas and IDF fighters embrace as latest cease-fire declared

Israeli soldiers from the Givati brigade embrace after returning to Israel from Gaza August 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Hey, pictures don't lie. That's Abdul on the left and Shlomo on the right.

As latest Gaza slaughter winds down, Jerusalem Post rediscovers Iranian nuke threat

Those Iranian nukes have been curiously absent from the front page of The Jerusalem Post these past few weeks. After all, there were more immediate terror threats to contend with.

But now that the latest Gaza slaughter seems to be winding down, it's time to once again ramp up the fear mongering.

Yup, Iranian nukes are in the headlines again!

Yes, the dumbest nuclear scientists in the world, who have been on the cusp of a nuclear weapon for about 25 years now, are back at it!

Still mere weeks away from a nuclear weapon, as they've been for almost a quarter century...

Grampa's bong

Me and the Farm Manager were sitting on the front stoop, watching the sun set over the westerly horizon behind the barn, speculating about what kind of grandparents we would be.

Both of us are way late to the grand-parenting game by local standards. In these parts it's nothing to be a grandparent in your early thirties. In fact, it doesn't even raise eyebrows when you're a granny or grampa in your late twenties.

Do the math. You're a hot'n sexy grade nine cheerleader at age 14, and that one special evening with the captain of the football team renders you a parent nine months later.

Your beautiful daughter repeats history 14 years later, and voila, you're a grandparent before you're 30!

Happens all the time.

So we're sitting there, both of us in our sixties or close to it, neither of us grandparents yet, wondering where we went wrong.

But between the two of us there's five "juniors" and we know it's just a matter of time. We're kinda looking forward to it actually.

I can't speak for the Farm Manager. I know her grand-daddys, or Zaidas, came from Poland to the "promised land" which at the time of their arrival was Toronto rather than Palestine.

My grand-daddys came from Poland too. In fact, one of the ironies is that the Zaidas and the Opas came out of the same shit-hole shtetl. Well, maybe different suburbs of the same shit-hole shtetl, if one was to be precise.

On her side the Grampas did the usual immigrant bootstrap shit and lifted themselves into the middle class within a generation.

My side didn't arrive on these shores till after the WW2, and that didn't include the Grampas. One of them got stuck in a snowdrift outside of Stalingrad in the early '40's, and the other one had the massive good fortune to be captured in the first weeks of the war, and thereafter enjoyed the life of a POW in Britain and Ontario and Pennsylvania.

But that is not the end of it. When you stitch together a blended family in middle age there may be more Zaidas and Opas in the mix. The Farm Manager's kids also had a Grandfather who ran a farm out in Saskatchewan.

Ya, I know, Jew farmers, a rarely acknowledged fact in the modern era.

In fact, I was stunned to find, on the occasion of my visit to the "Coat of Many Colours" exhibit that toured Canada a few years ago, a Jewish farmer in Saskatchewan who had contributed something or other to the collection, and had the exact same name as my grandfather who whiled away the war years in prison camps in northern Ontario and Pennsylvania.

Ernst Neumann.

On my side my children have this guy in the family tree... he would be their great grandfather.

But enough about our forbears.

We were discussing what kind of grand-parents we might be if fate allows.

Whether I'm "Gramps" or "Opa" or "Zaida" is probably going to depend on which side of the family tree those grandchildren come from.

Wherever they come from, I guess I'll have to hide the bong...