Monday, August 31, 2015

How the Netanyahu crowd has destroyed Israel

Where is Israel today?


Fighting a rear-guard action against BDS.


Continuously justifying the unjustifiable in the West Bank and Gaza.


Fighting another rear-guard action against an Iran deal that leaves the Iran nuclear program exposed to the bright sunshine while leaving Israel's nuclear program completely in the dark. Why anyone in Israel should object to such a deal is inconceivable.


Alienating Israel's one essential patron while fighting that fight.


Israel does indeed have an existential problem, and it's got nothing to do with Iran.


It's got everything to do with the Palestinians.


Before Netanyahu, there was always hope, even in the Sharon era.


Today?


Show me the hope...


When Edgar Bronfman passed, Israeli media were quick to lard on the plaudits. After all, how could they not? Mr. Bronfman, President of the World Jewish Congress for two decades, was the number one advocate for Israel for a long time.


What none of those obits mentioned, was that Edgar Bronfman ceaselessly advocated for a Palestinian state. He knew what BDS knows; Israel has an existential problem that needs to be resolved if Israel is to continue.


That's not anti-Semitism.


That's reality.

Trump instability shuts down financial district

A tilting antenna atop the Trump tower in Toronto has led authorities to close Bay Street.

That's got nothing to do with Donald Trump, candidate for the Republican party in the race for the White House in 2016.

Trump just franchises out his "brand" to keeners eager to cash in on its perceived value out in the provinces, which means anyplace outside of New York City.

So folks in Chicago or Toronto or Scotland will fork over big bucks to the Trump Organization to win the right to have the Trump name adorn their golf course or their hotel or their condo development.

That's pretty pathetic if you ask me.

But it certainly proves Donald's marketing genius!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kanye West is the Messiah

I just found myself watching the MTV something or other awards. All the beautiful people are in full-on mode. Bieber. Taylor Swift. And the current Godfather of pop culture, Kanye West.


At least I assume he's the Godfather... sure sounded like it in that twenty minute monologue they allowed him.


Is it true that all these beautiful people share the same handful of handlers?


And is that Pharrell Williams singing about freedom while sporting an Addidas logo on his ass?


Wow... I'm so close to salvation...


Bieber, Taylor, Pharrell, Kanye, Miley, Addidas...


How I wish I could believe...

Choosing your weapon at Falling Downs

I bet Junior a hundred bucks that no matter which weapon he chose, I'd beat him around the block.

Let me explain the weapons.

In this corner, there's a twenty year old Kawasaki Ninja.

In the other corner, there's a twenty-five year old Mustang Fifty.

Let me explain the block.

We're in God's country here, and that's on top of living smack dab in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage site. The "block" takes you through three hamlets; Wolsley, Lake Charles, and Kemble.

Wolsley is a former church, two houses, and a gas station turned bakery turned ghost town.

Lake Charles is a 90 degree hard right turn at Wolsley. It's got a church and five houses.

You take another 90 degree hard right at the church in Lake Charles and you're on a four mile straightaway to the Kemble Mountain Road. You can hit some ungodly speed on that stretch.

Then you've got some twisties and an absolutely divine vista unfolding before you on the other side of the Kemble Rock. Then you hit Kemble after another short straight of a mile or so.

Kemble is a post office, a church, and a couple of dozen houses. You make another hard right and head home. There's another set of twisties just as you're getting to Falling Downs. This is the stretch that sees the annual Porsche parade during the Cobble Beach Concours. If you went straight at Kemble instead of making that hard right, you'd be at Cobble Beach in five minutes and in Owen Sound in fifteen... at least if you were abiding by the speed limits.

So Junior picks the Mustang. I get the Ninja. The Ninja is a recent addition to our fleet, so I've not got around to getting either a helmet or a motorcycle license. Which is why I'm being extra slow and extra careful.

That Mustang can run the quarter in fourteen flat, but nevertheless I blow his doors off. There's no traffic at the Wolsley corner, so I use up all the road and I'm off to Lake Charles before he even shows up in my mirrors. That's a nice straight road and I can wring out the Ninja to a goodly turn of speed.

I spot him in the rear-view just as I'm braking for the turn at the Church in Lake Charles. I never see him again. I'm over the Rock and down the straight into Kemble at 125 mph. There's more in the Ninja but I want to take it easy.

I'm gonna try this flat out after I get a helmet.

Full stop at the Kemble corner, and I dawdle the last couple of miles back to Falling Downs.

Junior shows up five minutes later.

Old guys rule!

Obama to rename highest peak in North America after a GM SUV

That's right folks, Mount McKinley is about to be re-christened.

The mountain once named for the 25th president of the United States will hence forth be named after a General Motors product.

I get it; Obama salvaged General Motors from the dustbin of history, but renaming America's biggest mountain after a GM product seems a bit of over-reach, does it not?

At least he didn't name it "Mt. Barack."

Former prez Dwayne Camacho to challenge Trump for GOP nomination

Things are certainly heating up in the pre-primaries.

Former president Dwayne Camacho threw his hat into the ring at a news conference in Brownsville Texas today.

This should spice up the GOP race, where Trump has been enjoying a field day steam-rolling over a field of sad-sack opponents.

Given Camacho's White House experience, chronicled in a 2006 documentary, Trump is gonna have to dig deep to fend off the new contender.

It's a bold new morning for democracy in the USA!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Does smarty-pants liberalism alienate the working classes?

That title in itself raises a number of questions.


Does America still have a working class? Are there a multiplicity of working classes? Are all "working" Americans just the working poor?


Guess it's gonna depend a lot on how you define "working."


"Class."


"Poor."


Bill Clinton showed us a lot about the importance of definitions back in the Lewinski era.


I'm a regular reader of Counterpunch.


Some of the stuff I read there is utterly invaluable.


Much of the stuff I read there is utter crap.


For example, Mateo Pimental, a Counterpunch regular, has figured out that Donald Trump is a racist.


Well, no shit!


Hey dude, we're all racists at some level. Acknowledging race is racism when you get down to the nitty gritty of it.


And how does one go about the business of social commentary without acknowledging race?


I've long thought that classism casts a bigger shadow than racism. When the black guys and the white guys stumbled out of Frankel Steel with their lay-off notices in hand one night in the 1980s, we had everything in common. In fact, at that moment, we had way more in common than we had to divide us.


Black and white alike are gonna miss our payments and maybe lose our homes.


I had black workmates at Budd Automotive and Frankel Steel and at Saint John Shipbuilding and at pretty much every other place I ever worked.


We might have had different skin-tones, but we all worked the same gig.


In that "classless society" that America has ostensibly become, maybe a few folks could turn their sights on what's really going on in the debasement of America's working classes.


I'm guessing Donald Trump will get there well before Mateo Pimental.





It's all over for Harper's Holy Rollers

The visceral contempt that the Canadian public has for Big Steve and his gang of bullies is flowering into a new genre of protest songs. That's kinda ironic considering that Big Steve is the most overtly musical PM we've had since Lyin' Brian crooned that duet with Ronald Reagan all those many years ago.

Check this out.

And this!

Once a leader achieves this level of public ridicule, it's gonna be really hard to come back.

At the end of the day, Stephen Harper may well have inadvertently become the most significant facilitator of Canadian unity in the history of Canada.

Canadians are uniting against Harper!

About that Islamic tsunami washing over Europe

I see where some of the more weak-kneed European pundits are hitting the panic button re the recent escalation of "migrants," "refugees," whatever...

They're flooding in from Libya, from Syria, from Iraq, from Afghanistan.

They spell the imminent end of Western civilization, that smug cohort of mostly white, mostly Christian societies that the think tank at Falling Downs generally refers to as "the Nations of Virtue."

Who wrecked Libya? The Nations of Virtue.

Who wrecked Iraq? The Nations of Virtue.

Who wrecked Afghanistan? The Nations of Virtue.

Who's been busy wrecking Syria for the past four years? The Nations of Virtue and their minions in the region.

I'm just sorry those refugee-migrants can't wash up on the shores of the mother ship.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Economist finds insights in ignorance

For a practitioner of the dismal science, Todd Hirsch is a remarkably upbeat guy.


Todd's latest ruminations can be found on page B2 of Canada's national newspaper of record today, where he somberly reflects on what it might possibly mean for an economist to admit that he doesn't have the answers.


This soul searching is apparently the result of his having moderated a shindig of sociologists, environmentalists, and urban-planning types called "What Comes After Oil?"

Well Todd, no wonder your head is spinning, hanging with a crowd like that!


Every proper Albertan knows what comes after oil; Armageddon, that's what! There is no such thing as "after oil" in Alberta...


Mind you, they just elected a gang of rabid socialists out there, so I could be wrong...


Anyway, Todd acknowledges that accepting ambiguity is hard for economists. He's afraid it might make him look "silly or irrelevant."


Dude, it's way too late to worry about that! Just go with it!


"... we have to eventually be honest and say, we just don't know. Once we take the plunge and admit this, we might be surprised at the new insights we can achieve."


Atta boy, Todd! That's the spirit... into the great unknown!


And please don't be shy about sharing those new insights!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pot-addled hillbilly snips land-line; goes mobile

Ya, it's true, and I am profoundly sorry.


But the unctuous twats at Bell Canada have only themselves to blame.


I've been a Bell Canada customer for forty years, save for those gaps in my history when I was living in other provinces. What Bell Canada should have recognized is that they always get paid.


Now they didn't always get paid the monthly stipend on the due date. In fact, it was always my modus operandi to let the bill slide for three or four months and then pay it off. But they always got paid.


My modus operandi seemed to work well for Bell till the last couple of years. All of a sudden they got stupid about the bill being paid by the due date. Letting things slide for two or three months was no longer an option, even if you had a forty year track record of making good on your bills.


Beginning a few years ago, Bell reps in India or Pakistan would call me once my account balance passed a hundred bucks. That was vaguely insulting after having paid all my Bell bills for thirty or thirty-five years.


Ya, I don't pay my bill every month. But for thirty or forty years I clear it up on a regular basis.


So last week some person who could barely speak any version of the English language called me up to inform me that I had "missed" my payment.


The bill stood at $162, according to her. She demanded that I pay that outstanding balance with a credit card, right there and then over the phone.


I had paid the bill in its entirety two days before she called.


I hate the entire idea of cellphones. They give you cancer. They get your kids addicted to porn. I don't want that shit anywhere near my house.


But I transferred the farm number to a mobile carrier that very same day.


Not only am I saving fifty bucks a month, I won't have to chit-chat with Bell Canada droids in Pakistan anymore.


Sounds like a win-win to me.

"Fukashima Jackfish" discovered in Canada

Here's a story about a couple of guys fishing up in the Yukon who pulled in a neon green pike.


Wonder how long before the maternity units in the local hospitals start pulling out neon green babies?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When everybody has a gun but nobody has a chance

Vester Lee Flanagan.

The American dream.

The second amendment.

What's the right call when everybody has a gun but nobody has a chance at the American dream?

I'm hoping Donald and Jeb and all the rest of them will answer that question in the next few days.


Why the oil price slump might not last as long as you think

I see where even that indefatigable optimist, Todd Hirsch, is crying "uncle" over low oil prices.


That's quite a climb-down for Todd. He's one of the greatest optimists I've ever run across. Todd has invented so much hilarious shit that he can single-handedly keep a reasonably competent satirist going for years.


Between the gig economy and unemployed lumberjacks reinventing pizza deliveries, this blog has grown rather fond of Todd.


So no offence to Todd, but just as he's bailing out, I'm bailing in.


In case you've not been following the MAKS 2015 Airshow, there's been a ton of interesting goings on going on over there. Seems there's been a steady flow of Arab potentates lining up to kiss the hand of Bad Vlad.


And while these Arab potentates have a number of differences with Mr. Putin, they also have a profoundly persuasive common interest.


None of them want to see $40/bbl oil.


Why would you want to deplete your God-given legacy for forty bucks a barrel when the world would be more than happy to pay you $100 plus?


The major problem is those countries that don't mind poisoning their fresh-water aquifers with willy-nilly fracking all over the place. That would be the US and a few satellite states who have agreed to bend over and spread 'em for a few short years of a fracking bonanza.


Those are the countries that have ramped up the supply and thereby driven down the price. The last nine months of OPEC's open taps have been a message telling the frackers that when push comes to shove, they'll let the upstarts drown in their own oil.


But that can't last forever.

Turkey joins war on ISIS again

Here's a headline from the Times of London on the 25th July; Turkey joins war on ISIS with strikes in Syria.


And here's a Reuter's headline yesterday, exactly a month later; Turkey to join coalition's air fight against Islamic State soon: Pentagon.


So what's up? Is Reuter's just that much slower in sniffing out a story? Not likely. Is this an underhanded acknowledgement on Turkey's part that they've not actually got around to fighting ISIS yet and their war thus far has been on the Kurds that her NATO allies have been busy training?


That's not likely either.


The think tank here at Falling Downs figures the wily Erdogan is stealing a page out of Big Steve's Book 'o Bullshit and Bamboozlement. Why bother fighting Islamic State when you can get adulatory headlines for just announcing that you're joining the fight every month or so? It's like Harper's shipbuilding programs; ten years of announcements, and look, no ships!



Victoria's stinky secret

Did you know that the beautiful picture-perfect city of Victoria BC continues to pump its raw sewage out into the ocean?


I remember when I lived in Victoria 35 years ago, that was an issue that rankled a small fringe of proto-environmentalists; small enough to be safely ignored by the political classes. Nothing much has changed.


Victoria's neighbors down the coast are threatening a tourism boycott. Maybe the sanctimonious Canadians can be shamed into taking action, but don't get your hopes up. When Canadian politicians talk about infrastructure they mean bitumen pipelines, not sewage treatment plants.


Nor is Victoria the only offender. Montreal and Saint John, among others, continue perpetrating this crime against the environment. The topic even gets its own entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia.


Here's a thought; Canada is in the midst of an election campaign. This would be a perfect time to demand of the candidates what commitment they are prepared to make to end this scandalous practice.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Look who's snuggling up to Putin

Oh, that couldn't be our bestie in Jordan, King Abdullah, could it? And isn't that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi up there in the presidential box with Bad Vlad?

Yup, it sure is, and they're not the only strategic Western allies enjoying the hospitality of Russia this week.

Which just goes to underline the vapidity of the evening news. It's a topsy-turvey world for sure. Today's enemy was yesterday's friend of our best friendly ally until the other enemy became their friend, at which time other allies dropped their friends and allied with their enemies, in a coalition to defeat the bad guys...

Or something like that.

All this story proves is that Jordan and Abu Dhabi, for all practical purposes banana republics without the bananas, have more competent and forward-looking diplomatic corps than the USA.

Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism

If that's what Roger Ailes says, who am I to argue?

Think about it. What does "best" mean in the context of American journalism in 2015?

It means an easy-on-the-eyes talking head reassuring Americans of their manifold exceptionalities.

If that's the standard, I gotta say Megyn is up there with the best of the best.

That's not a diss on Megyn or Ailes or Fox News or Donald Trump.

That's a diss on the state of journalism in America.

The totalitarian state hovering overhead is beyond anything Orwell could have imagined

Picture this; virtually the entirety of the populace voluntarily give over ALL their personal information to "social media" sites like Facebook etc.


Facebook etc. give over the entirety of their data base to DHS.


Orwell could not have imagined such a thing... well, he actually did imagine such a thing.


Are we there yet?


Oh ya!...


And then some.

BREAKING!!! POLICE NOW USING NON-LETHAL BULLETS!!!

Well I guess this is one of those good-news bad-news tales...

I'm thinking that when one of those "non-lethal" projectiles enters your skull, you're a gonner, no matter how "non lethal" that police ammo has been decreed by the police spokespersons.

Had Sammy Yatim been the lucky recipient of eight "non-lethal" projectiles, would his story have ended differently?

I doubt it.

Makes for a nice police friendly story though...

Here's a different take on ending police shootings.

As much as I like the idea of non-lethal police ammo, I have to say Brian Platt's idea has merit.

A stroke of flipping genius @ The Globe and Mail

When I first noticed that the back page of every section of today's paper was upside-down, my first thought was, oh no, the lay-out guy is back on the crack-pipe...


But no, it's so much sadder than that!


A "note to readers" on p.2 informs me that "the back pages of today's sections have been printed upside-down intentionally as part of a creative execution called The Flip Side."

Creative execution?... 

Well at least the lay-out guy is OK; it's the entire editorial committee that's on the pipe! Not to mention the pricey outside consultants that inevitably befoul such goings on.


Just picture; a boardroom of very important publishing power people; brainstorming.


And brainstorming.


And brainstorming some more...


They brainstorm late into the night. They order in from Pusateri's and brainstorm on...


Twelve hours later, and all that brainstorming has produced little more than a few modest brain farts. Everybody wants to go home. Finally, the unpaid intern sitting in the shadow of The Publisher meekly raises her hand...


What if... what if we... like, you know, flip a couple of pages or something?


EUREKA!!!


Creative execution indeed!



Monday, August 24, 2015

Why Trump's "attack" on hedge funds was nothing of the sort

Most of the coverage I've seen about Trump's so-called attack on hedge fund managers gets it all wrong. Allegedly Mr. Trump is taking these guys to task for paying less than their share of taxes. Instead of paying at the "income" rate of 39.6% that the peons pay, they're using the "carried interest loophole" and other magic tricks to pay a mere 20%, which is the capital gains tax rate.


So the big boys are paying 20% on their profits, are they? Not bloody likely! Oh ya, maybe on the few profits they declare in the US, but what kind of doofus keeps his money in the US when the world is awash in tax havens where you'll pay little or nothing?


Remember the hoo-ha over the Mittster's financial revelations before the last election?  On the face of it, Romney was paying a tax rate of 15% on gains declared in the US. Sure, that's enough of a scandal, but myriad investigative journalists never really got to the bottom of what's in those Romney accounts in Luxemburg, Cayman Islands, Bahamas...


That's the REAL scandal!


Trump has done a valuable public service in shining a light on these non-productive paper-shufflers. But Trump himself is well aware that the problem is not the 20% capital gain tax rate.


The real problem is the hundreds of billions that successful American corporations and wealthy individuals deliberately offshore in tax havens to avoid paying any share of their US tax burden.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Royal Canadian Navy spends $150,000 per day to rent foreign supply ship

Apparently that's because the new Canadian supply ships that the politicians have been promising since 2004 remain on the drawing board.


And that's because the Harper gang believes in getting the most bang for the taxpayers dollar. They have long concluded that they get the most bang with the announcement of a new shipbuilding project. That's why the Harper years have been one continuous smorgasbord of ship-building announcements. The new supply ships, the new ice-breakers, the new coastal patrol vessels; all have been repeatedly announced.


Many have even been named!


None have been built!


Because actually building the ships that the Harper gang keeps announcing would cost way more than simply announcing them. The bang for the buck quotient goes right down the shitter.


So don't think of the pitiful state of the Royal Canadian Navy as a Harper fail; see it instead as evidence of shrewd stewardship of hard-working Canadians' tax dollars.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tiger Woods up against Jew at Wyndham

We're big Jason Gore fans in this house. That's because Jason's grandparents came out of the same shithole shtettl in Poland that the Farm Manager's grandparents came from. Not only that, but those grandparents were siblings!


Yup, the Farm Manager is second cousins with PGA regular Jason Gore.


Mind you, Jason has kinda kept his distance since he hit the bigs. Used to visit Uncle Henry in Toronto from time to time, but since Uncle Henry passed, that's over.


And just the other day we found out that Jason has embraced the cult of Jesus...


That might explain some things too.


But nevermind. We're 100% behind you, Jason! Don't let Woods make his comeback at your expense!


And by the way, we've got Uncle Henry's hall carpet runner in our upstairs hall right now... Uncle Henry's spirit lives on at Falling Downs.


Drop by any time. And by the way, Cobble Beach is a mere five minutes away.

Journalism is... dead

In a jolly PR campaign that you've probably seen by now, Ontario's major journalism schools and the media conglomerates that have been axing thousands of journalist positions have come together to convince the public that the profession has a future.


Not only that, but professional journalists are vital to our being informed and engaged citizens. Regular news consumers will find that a dubious proposition.


I suspect that the real driving force behind this campaign is the J-schools' fear that the realities of journalism as a profession are eroding the supply of bright-eyed young keeners willing to shell out big bucks to get the credentials for non-existent careers. For the vast majority of J-school grads, their careers will end with their unpaid internships.


Fortunately, they will be qualified for many other careers with their journalism degrees, especially if their internship experience included pouring coffee.

Why is so much journalism crap?

Stephanie Nolen is no unpaid intern. In fact, she's a respected veteran in the journalism profession.


In today's Globe and Mail she's got a two-page feature about the horrific gang violence gripping El Salvador. By the time I finished the story, I was convinced that there is indeed an epidemic of gang violence in the country.


Here are some questions that Nolen carefully avoids:


Is the gang violence in El Salvador related to gang violence in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala?


Is the gang violence related to the militarization of the police forces?


Is the gang violence related to the "war on drugs?"


Are these latter two questions related to American meddling in these countries for the past 100+ years?


In two pages, our reporter doesn't go anywhere near these obvious questions. Instead, you turn the page under the impression that gang violence just spontaneously erupted after a few illegal immigrants were repatriated from the US.


That's very shallow journalism.

Pot-addled hillbilly beats Globe and Mail to story by two years

James Bradshaw has an interesting story about SunPostMedia's inexorable slide into bankruptcy in the business pages of today's Globe and Mail.


Ha! I've been banging on that for well over two years.


What I'd like to see a real journalist like James Bradshaw do is a story about the financing the Godfrey team used to buy the former Canwest assets. If there really was $950 millions in cash involved in that purchase, which I don't believe for two seconds but which was widely reported at the time, the new owners would have been running a virtually debt-free company.


PostMedia and now SunPostMedia may be Canada's largest conglomeration of news platforms, but first and foremost it's a cash cow being milked to death by two or three unscrupulous hedge funds. In an ironic case of deja vu all over again, what Bradshaw wrote about the company today is almost identical to what was being written about Canwest in the year or two before it went tits up.


Headline of the future; "Paul Godfrey fronts investor group to buy former SunPostMedia assets out of receivership."

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A bold new approach to the news

I see where StunnedPostMedia is really pushing the envelope. It's now considered newsworthy for a news commentator to admit they don't know what they're talking about.


Watch this.

This is news?

About that BBQ

I bought my first charcoal grill about 1980. Ya, I'd had one of those little hibachis, but around '80 I went wild and scored myself one of those Weber kettles.


Me and the Weber got off to a rocky start.


First off, I was taking a bit of a flyer here. You can buy a propane grill for the price of a Weber kettle.


I struggled with that.


Eventually I made a commitment to charcoal.


So I pick up my new Weber at the Home Hardware in Guelph, when it was still on the corner of Woolwich and Speedvale. The guy who owned the store lived three or four doors down the street from me. It always makes me feel virtuous when I can support the locals.


I'm pushing my kettle to the car. It wobbles and then wobbles worse. A wheel falls off. The kettle kilters... and collapses.


I'm a bit pissed off.


I pay premium dollars for a Weber kettle and the fucking thing breaks down before we're out of the parking lot!


I know, it's a high school part-timer making minimum wage who assembled this.  I try to keep my cool. The wheel portion of the grill is now completely separate from the kettle part.


I load the various parts in the trunk and head home.


Anyway, I get her home and bolt everything up the way it should have been done in the first place, and by gosh that Weber kettle did me twelve months a year BBQ for the next twenty years!


I bring this up because I witnessed somebody spending a good ten minutes scrubbing a grill the other day, with one of those wire brush thingies.


My Weber kettle did yeoman work for twenty years.


Number of times I scrubbed the grill?


Zero!


I don't know what people think they're doing when they scrub the BBQ grill... just fire that puppy up and let the heat purify the grill!


Yup, that Weber kettle went twenty years without being touched with a wire brush. Must have fed hundreds over the years.


And the last steak we cooked on it was flavored just a little by every BBQ from the last twenty years.



Bwana knows best

My Globe and Mail has this patronizing twaddle on view for my edification today.


The First Nations Financial Transparency Act was a typical bit of Harperite mischief-making. Slyly exploiting stereotypes dear to Harper's base, it promised to bring transparency to the no-doubt dubious financial dealings of native leaders.


According to the Globe, "anomalies started turning up... arrangements that in many cases had never before been made public and were surprising and puzzling to the members of those communities themselves. Those revelations proved the FNFTA's worth."


Yes, out of almost 600 bands that have reported, a small handful of anomalies did show up. But overall, I'd say that our native brothers and sisters have a track record far better than Harper's senate appointments.


And how's this for egregious self-righteousness; "The governed always need to know what the governors are up to."


Indeed!


Whoever wrote that must not be following the Mike Duffy shit show that's been unfolding in Ottawa. The crew that foisted "transparency" on Canada's native communities obviously doesn't believe in it for themselves... maybe that's because unlike Indians, those white chiefs in Ottawa can be trusted.


Or not.





Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How to fuck pop culture

I'm not sure who Nicki Minaj is, but apparently she's enough of a big deal to merit an exhibit at Madame Tussaud's Museum of All Creatures Great and Small.


Yup, being done up in wax is the new calling card of greatness in American culture.


Bieber, the Kardashians, that Jenner chap as a guy and then as a girl... America holds its breath to await the coronation of the next pop culture superstar. And you know you're a superstar when the star-makers at Madame Tussaud deem you wax-worthy.


But here's how aspiring revolutionaries are fucking up the star system; they're pretending to fuck the wax likeness of Nicki Minaj at Madame Tussaud's Las Vegas shrine to pop culture.


Good on them!

Did the Prime Minister's wife really leave him for a woman?

It's that time of the year when the pot-addled hillbilly likes to drop in on friends, relatives, distant relatives, friends of friends, and random acquaintances old and more recent who have the good fortune of owning waterfront vacation property. I've got this summer strategy down to such a fine art that it wouldn't make any sense for me to get my own place on the water.


So it was that I found myself the other day drinking in a 4.9 million dollar view over in Muskoka. Also found myself chewing the fat with a couple of guys who have some proximity to certain Harper gang insiders.


We were musing about what might or might not yet come out in the course of that theatre of the absurd commonly known as "the Duffy trial." That's turning into quite the sordid spectacle, is it not? All those God-fearing Alliance Church types twisting the Word Of God inside out to justify the fact that their least favorable option when caught fibbing is to fess up and just tell the truth. I mean, look at poor Nigel - he reached into his own pocket and pulled out 90 big ones just to avoid the truth coming out.


Here's a scripture for you, Nigel; "be sure your sin will find you out."


We got to speculating about what else Harper's Holy Rollers might have swept under the carpet in this dark decade, and talk eventually came round to the Laureen Harper scandal. That might sound like an oxymoron to the Big Steve fan club, but google "Laureen Harper affair" or "Laureen Harper lesbian affair" and you'll be shocked at the slimy innuendo that bubbles up.


When that story was first getting traction a few years ago, it didn't last long. The general public may have assumed that was because it lacked substance. But when you look at the lengths that these God-fearing men will go to bury the truth, you have to wonder.


Then the conversation turned to my favorite Harperite, bullshittin' Baird. Regular readers will know that the think tank here at Falling Downs has theorized that the reason for Baird's sudden disappearance from the Harper cabinet was nothing more significant than his decision to cash in on twenty-five years of public service.


But apparently there's another angle. For many years Big John was something of an anomaly among the Bible-thumping Harperites; an unclosetted if not quite openly gay man amongst a gang of homophobes, it was obviously Big John who was putting the fun into fundamentalism.


Too much fun, it seems. The Alliance Church Mafia was alright with his egregious incompetence and his boorish hooliganism on the world stage, but they were never comfortable with his lifestyle choices, and the word is he sealed his fate when he and his posse of party boys rocked Macdonald House in London for free during the Christmas holiday of 2012. That was a bridge too far, and from that point on even the most loyal of Harper loyalists began to secretly lobby for Baird's demise.


As with Laureen, we were always prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt; after all, if the various scandals had any substance to them, they wouldn't disappear so quickly, would they? What the Duffy trial is showing the public is how hard the Harper gang works to make unpleasant facts go away. It's been quite the eye-opener for a lot of once-loyal Harper fans.


To paraphrase Heiner Muller; the deepest plunge into Hell is from the heights of self-righteousness.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Turkey heading down the shitter

It's long been taken as a given, here in the non-aligned centre, that the wily Erdogan is simply cutting his own path through a forest of dimwits and sycophants.


But the headline informing the world that it's Turkey's job to eliminate ISIS left me speechless.


We're not told what level of authority an edict from "Brett McGurk" might even have... we're just tossed this name, McGurk, and we're expected to understand that he's a semi-official spokesperson for US foreign policy.


And according to this story, it is now up to Turkey to cure the Islamic State problem.


At one level that is highly ironic because Turkey has been a key sponsor of Islamic State.


At another level, it's even more ironic because the same US policy gurus who are now demanding that Turkey solve Islamic state, are the very same ones who were greenlighting Turkey's collusion with that same Islamic State all along!

How tacky is it to drag your teenage kids into your election campaign?

Not too tacky for Stephen Harper.

Nope, it won't matter if he traumatizes his children; so long as it will score Mr. Family Values a few polling points, he's good to go...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mario does Hicktown

I see where Mario Andretti was in town today.


Holy friggin Jeezus... that's right next to the Pope coming to town in my book!


This is a guy who elbowed his way into the winner's circle in NASCAR, Formula One, and Indy.


Not too may folks have repeated that trifecta...


But thanks for stopping by, Mario!

If you're an American who cares about your constitution and your freedom, you need to dial into the Aging Rebel

This blog is the go-to source for info on that mysterious "biker shoot-out" in Waco a few months ago.

Ya, you remember what happened. Sgt Swanton went out of his way to explain it to you...

Out of town bikers converged on Waco to do battle.

Because that's what bikers do.

They have gun battles in sleepy small towns... what, you never watched Sons of Anarchy?

But that's what they do.

The "Aging Rebel" seems to have some legit cred among folks involved in biker culture.

And there's never any reluctance to call "bullshit" when bullshit needs to be called.

Well worth a look.

Aging pothead meets "new" pot

There's a story in lamestream Canadian media today about how Big Steve's re-election campaign is skewing science to justify their rabid anti-marijuana campaign.

Yes, the Harperite fight on drug use is oh-so-very-1955.

To qualify as a Harper candidate you were forced to watch Reefer Madness back to back three times and then write a policy paper outlining how you would handle the drug scourge.

One thing I can agree with the Harperites on is that today's marijuana is not your grand-daddy's marijuana.

I found that out a few years ago.

I'm old enough to be your grampa, and I still like to twist one up now and then, so listen here;

I'd just burned one with the national sales manager of a major foreign car manufacturer. The national sales manager was a really good guy to know because he could get you a great deal on a prestige car brand. He smoked this shit every day.

Shortly after burning that one, the family gathered for pictures with the dude of honour at that get together. The occasion was the 70th birthday of said sales manager's daddy.

I was there, in a million dollar townhouse a few steps from Bloor and Bay, which is probably a three million dollar townhouse today, smoking a joint with the national sales manager for a foreign car company that I will not name.

Right after we burned that doobie, somebody got the clan together for a family portrait with the birthday boy.

I'm in those family portraits, casually leaning back against the fireplace mantle, just to the right of the birthday boy.

Half an hour after that, I was still leaning back against the fireplace mantle.

I'd smoked a modern joint, and I was fucked!

I could not move!

I'd been puffing on the weed of wisdom for forty years before that day happened... but I'd never encountered that paralyzing boogie...

Ya, the "new" pot isn't what Willie Nelson grew up on...

Montreal mayor unexpectedly finds his balls

Check this out! There's Milquetoast Coderre giving quite an impressive middle finger to the unctuous twat Deepak Chopra, the Canada Post boss who claimed that seniors pleaded with him to end home mail delivery.

How assholes like Chopra make it to the top in the civil service bureaucracy is a complete mystery. Maybe he's a regular at Big Steve's church.

On the other hand, what a pleasure it is to find that the most recent Montreal mayor actually owns a pair. If you follow Montreal politics at all you'll know they've been through a number of sad-sack mayors who have all campaigned on "reform," which in Montreal apparently means prying the fingers of certain Italian-Canadian entrepreneurial families off the levers of municipal government.

The reform will go great for a few months and then, oopsie, the reformer is outed in a CBC undercover investigation, surreptitiously stuffing wads of hundred dollar bills in his socks at an Italian bistro...  

Game over!

On to the next reformer...

Maybe Denis Coderre is the real deal.

Anybody who can stand up to the Harper gang won't have any problems with the Mafia.

Waco's gross miscarriage of justice continues

WacoTrib.com reports that the eagerly anticipated autopsies of the nine victims in last May's Twin Peaks biker ambush have been released.


But there's a catch. These autopsies have been eagerly anticipated soley because they were expected to inform the public as to how many of the bikers were actually gunned down by law enforcement. That's because Waco PD spokesman Patrick Swanton's various public ruminations defied all credibility. It was immediately obvious that somebody had something to hide.


Well, guess what?.. they're still hiding it! We all knew those nine men died of bullet wounds; we want to know who fired the bullets! So the autopsies come out and we're told they died of bullet wounds.


This is becoming more than a mere miscarriage of justice...


It's an abortion of justice!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This boat is calling my name




That's a sistership. She's a '61 Cruisers Inc. runabout with the standard 75 horse Johnson. The one I'm looking at has the 100 hp sterndrive option.


Regular readers will know that I've been wrestling with the boat purchase conundrum for years. Conundrum number one is how to sell the idea to the Farm Manager.


"What, you bought a fucking boat? A FUCKING BOAT??? What about that greenhouse window for the living room? What about the new roof? What about the new drywall on the dining room ceiling?"


Ya, it would take some masterful negotiating skills to talk my way out of all that shit...


Masterful negotiating skills are unfortunately not part of my toolkit.


I'm plotting various strategies here. First off I claimed I'm buying it for Junior. Now, that's somewhat problematic because Junior has never expressed the slightest interest in boats.


But I've got a plan "B."


I'm not quite sure what it is yet, but I'll keep you posted!





Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Retarded headline of the day

Looks like some outfit over in England is gonna stop building housing for poor people.

Well duh!

Who builds housing for poor people?

As we all know, people who can't afford housing can go to a shelter or something.

The private sector builds housing for folks who can afford to buy it.

Putin blocks pot-addled hillbilly blogger from Russian internet

I can hardly imagine that Bad Vlad would do such a thing.


After all, we're pretty much Putin friendly in these parts.


According to official blogger.com stats, I've had 35,331 page views from Russia since I started this blog. That makes Russia my third largest audience after the US and Canada.


But in the past week there has not been a single page view originating in Russia.


That's gotta be Putin... unless it's the CIA.

Waco legal bigwigs getting desperate to keep Twin Peaks biker massacre under the rug

I see where the McLennan County DA has filed to reverse the ruling that lifted the gag order that was imposed on the Twin Peaks case.


Obviously, you only fight to keep a gag order in place if you've got something to hide, and apparently the Waco PD and the local legal establishment are pissing their pants in fear that the facts around the Twin Peaks biker ambush are gonna come out.


You've probably been too busy reading about a black kid being shot in Ferguson to notice that a few months ago 27 white and hispanic men were shot down in Waco Texas. Word on the street is that virtually all of them were shot down by law enforcement.


But we don't know anything for sure, because law enforcement is doing absolutely anything and everything they can to prevent the facts in this case from making it to the public.


Why?


I think it would be a great step forward if the blacks realized that honkies and spics get shot down in cold blood too.


This case might help to get some inter-racial solidarity going!


White and Hispanic lives matter too!

Owen Sound reeling in wake of terror attack

Yup, wouldn't you know it, this quiet small town in Ontario has been hit by a terror attack, just months after opening an "Islamic Community Centre."

Coincidence?

It's no "terror" attack of any sort, of course, and even the most anti-Muslim locals like our MP Larry Miller will admit that.

But this situation demands that we focus on local home-grown crime, instead of focusing on Big Steve's whipping boys of choice.

But Big Steve has the cure for local crime too, doesn't he?

We just gotta get tough on crime...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Harper gang mines fear factor for maximum electoral advantage

Minus the Air India thing and a couple of French-Canadian wankers who converted to Islam and went nuts, Canada has NEVER had a terrorist attack of any sort.

Let alone an attack from Islamic State.

But that's not slowing down the Harper crew's attack on Islam.

The latest headline grabber is Harper's proposed new law on banning travel to "terror" states.

Trudeau is right in labeling this as "posturing."

But it's so more insidious than that.

First of all, bear in mind that Canada has been utterly terror free.

In that environment, Canada, ie the Harper gang, decide to join some jury-rigged "coalition" that is bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

This is justifiable because ISIS has declared war on Canada. Yes, some Islamic State spokesperson mentioned Canada while reading a list of states allied against them.

That was the "declaration of war."

Big Steve has been milking that like gangbusters ever since.

Let's have a closer look at this ban on travel to so-called terror states.

Big Steve is obviously not going to designate our NATO ally Turkey as a "terror state."

Yet virtually 100% of Western Islamic State recruits enter Syria via Turkey.

You don't have to ponder this conundrum very long or very hard to come to the realization that the most recent Harper pronouncement about terror travel is absolute electioneering bullshit.

It means nothing, but it gets Big Steve a chance to fan the flames of fear while simultaneously presenting himself as the solution to a non-existent problem.

So fight terror. Vote for a strong Canada. Vote for peace and freedom.

Vote Harper on October 19.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Breakfast with Kipling

Two or three times a year I have breakfast with Kipling.

That's a tradition that goes back forty years or more.

Regular readers will remember Kipling as the guy who keeps a freezer full of urine samples on hand just in case he gets called in for a surprise drug test.

He's got the whole routine nailed down... how to get those freezer samples to body temperature between your house and the lab.

But I digress...

Kipling got the farmer breakfast with white toast and eggs easy over.

I got the farmer breakfast with rye toast and a extra egg.

The thing I hate about Kipling is that he just has to reminisce.

I'll be working hard to forget all that shit that he works really hard to remember.

"Remember when you kicked that bouncer in the balls ha ha ha ?"

Well ya... I do. And I also remember running for my life down Waterloo Avenue with the footsteps of the other bouncers ringing all too loudly in my ears... I ran and ran and ran till I didn't hear no footsteps no more...

Kipling was happy to remind me that it was he who instigated that particular brouhaha.

Ya, it might be funny today, but it wasn't all that hilarious when I was hoofing it down Waterloo Ave in front of three guys determined to kill me. And when I say "down Waterloo Ave" I mean I was running down the middle of the street in the middle of traffic... a desperate fear-crazed hillbilly with three gun, club, and knife-wielding Manor bouncers in hot pursuit.

And he's got some great reminiscences of Hangin' Hank Howitt.

Seems that in his youth young Kipling more than a few times delivered his buddies to the courthouse, me included, on account of the fact that they'd be going straight to jail and would perforce be forced to leave their ride in the parking lot.

That would inevitably result in a towing charge, storage charge, and all those other charges that accumulate when you leave your vehicle in the courthouse parking lot. Trust me; I know what I'm talking about.

Hank might render you seven days and $150 for your most recent indiscretion, but when your seven days were up, getting your car out of the pound was gonna cost $1500.

And here's the other thing about reminiscing over breakfast. Kipling can stretch two eggs and four pieces of white toast into a four hour adventure! Holy Christ, he can pretty much make a day of it!

But it's worth it!


Saturday, August 8, 2015

OMG!!! Eminem endorses rape!!! He's gonna be endorsing Donald Trump tomorrow!!!

Hey, I don't make this shit up.

The think tank here at Falling Downs is just trying to figure out how Ted Nugent is gonna figure into the equation...

Yup, it's gonna be Nugent and Eminem and the NRA against the forces of political correctitude...

For fucks sakes!

The GOP contest is devolving into retard city!...

As a card-carrying commie of long standing, I should probably leave it at that... but I hate to see so many useful idiots blowing themselves up!...


The CIA does venture capital?... who knew?!

So I'm reading my Globe and Mail this morning, and there's this fascinating story about a company in Vancouver called D-Wave Systems. They're working on something called "quantum computing." That's gonna allow scientists to tackle "massively complex problems that are now unsolvable."

Cool!

Then I read this;

D-Wave has raised $174 million from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Goldman Sachs, the US Central Intelligence Agency, and venture funds. 

That's right there on page B7 in today's Globe.

I had no idea the CIA was so into science!

Stephen Harper's Alliance Church mafia

I've made reference from time to time to the influence of the fundamentalist Christian and Missionary Alliance on Harper government policies. There's an interesting profile of Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton in today's Globe and Mail. Here's a quote that made my coffee spray out my nose;




Politically, Mr. Harper has found the sweet spot between economic success and responsible environmental policy, Mr. Hamilton said, and he's made Canada relevant on the international stage.




In reality there's never been any question that economic considerations trump environmental concerns in Harper's Canada, nor does any reasonable observer imagine that Canada is more relevant on the world stage today. What's frightening is that Harper and the clique of Alliance Church types around him totally believe their own bullshit.


Here's a quote from the Alliance Church's "vision statement" that might help explain our foreign policy;


Vision Prayer


O God, with all our hearts we long to be:
a movement of churches
transformed by Christ,
transforming Canada and the world.

By your grace and for your glory:
  • Renew and empower us through a fresh encounter with yourself
  • Release us to be strategic in service, kingdom-connected in practice, passionate in pursuit of your mission and mercy

Use us to fulfill your purpose for Canada and the world.

… Canada and the World ...

  • Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the ends of the earth...
  • Pray for our nation - the government - that godly agendas be required through minority rule.
  • Pray for a missionary you know by name in a cross - cultural situation. Ask God to provide inspiration. Ask God if you are to be a provider.
  • Pray for an utterly unreached people group - those under the domination of Islam, closed Hindu and Buddhist nations, etc.
If you've ever thought that our Israel First foreign policy smacks of religious fervor, that's because it's religious fervor.


And here's what they call an "Environmental Vision" at the Alliance Church. Good luck trying to find anything in it about what most normal people think about when they hear the word "environmental."


Faith can be a beautiful thing, but I don't recall where Canada ever signed up for faith-based government.

Help wanted: women and non-whites need not apply

That's an unfortunate combination of words and letters on the front page of today's Globe and mail. Yup, there's lots of help wanted in Canada's new economy, but unless your a white male you might want to just skip the tech sector and apply at Timmy's.






Portada de The Globe and Mail (Canada)


"Help wanted," beside a picture of a bunch of jolly-looking middle-aged white guys. That's gotta be the most epic diversity fail since the University of Waterloo held its white-men-only honourary degree jamboree last year.


Appearances may not be everything, but they matter.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Could we please stop with the fixation on "gay" athletes?

I don't give a shit if Michael Sam is the first "openly gay" football player, in the CFL or anywhere else.

I.

Don't.

Care!

Can he catch a football? Can he throw a football? Can he bring down an opposing player?

That's what matters.

This obsession with Sam's "gayness" is beyond tiresome and beyond stupid.

What Michael Sam does in his private time is his private business.

Please, sports reporters, no more about Michael's "orientation."

If somebody on the human interest desk or the social justice desk finds a story there, so be it, but this is not and has never been a sports desk story.


Prime Minister Harper confined to suite, forced to order room service due to outlaw bikers staying in same swank hotel

Seems Big Steve and the Hells Angels have similar tastes and budgets when they're on the road. Check out the hilarious comments on this story at CBC.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-harper-hotel-hells-angels-1.3182917

Thursday, August 6, 2015

It's official; US politics has become a reality show

I'd say, all things considered, Trump more than held his own. This should not be a surprise. After all, that's my point. Trump's the guy with zero political experience but by far the most time on reality TV.

Just a few months ago I was musing over the possibility of a Jindal-Trump ticket. (Remember, we do satire here at the Falling Downs think tank.... oh shit! I think we just lost our last reader...)

This was an evening designed by the Establishment to trip up Trump.

It backfired.

The very idea of a "President Trump" was inconceivable three months ago. It's becoming more plausible by the day.

I'm seeing GOP candidate Trump with Ben Carson riding shotgun.

Think about it...

No wonder Gwyn Morgan hates big government

Gwyn had himself a snappy little paean to  Big Steve in yesterday's Globe and Mail, titled Some vital perspective on the economic record. Oddly enough, it appeared just as a recent research paper by economist Jim Stanford was getting some traction. Stanford's conclusion?

The Harper gang have been the worst stewards of Canada's economy in the post-war era.

Now if there's one thing Mr. Morgan hates almost as much as big government, it's lefty economists. Gywn comes to Harper's rescue by claiming that the hoo-ha over Harper's long-promised surplus having, at the eleventh hour, become a deficit, is taking a tiny tiny deficit and blowing it out of all perspective. "How significant is a $2.9 billion change in an $890 billion budget? The answer is that it amounts to less than a third of one percent," Gwyn dismissively informs us.

Except Gwyn has one little fact wrong; the federal budget is about $620 billion less than the imaginary number he made up for his article. So that $2.9 billion trifle is over one percent, not "less than one third of 1 per cent."

That's the problem with folks who see "big government" as a monster hiding under the bed; it gets so much bigger in the imagination than it actually is in reality. Or maybe there's some "unreported budget" coming from the same wizards who invented that Harperite stroke of genius, the increase in "unreported crime."

Be that as it may, Gwyn does bring us some perspective. He's obviously a big-picture guy who doesn't fuss too much about the accuracy of the details... maybe that explains how tens of millions in bribe money wafted out of the SNC-Lavalin accounts while he was chair of the board of directors.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

REVEALED! Obama's Syria policy run by retards!

Check it out.

ABC gives you the straight scoop about what's happened to the first batch of "moderate rebels" that the US has trained up, at a cost of half a billion dollars.

Most international news sites have had this story for a couple of days, but it's finally found its way to America.

This program to train "moderate" Syrian rebels was supposed to have had 5,000 graduates by now.

They've had 54.

And if you read around a little, it quickly becomes apparent that all 54 are by now dead or have joined up with the bad guys...

Because nobody could see that coming!

And of course they've taken their training and their state-of-the-art US supplied weapons along with them.

Heads should roll, but instead, you'll get a whole wagonload of bullshit about terror and terrorism and terrorists and, by the way, this fight against terrorists might need American boots on the ground after all...

Just for a while.

Consider the billionaire

We hear a lot about billionaires these days.

Billionaire Donald Trump is leading the polls in the US presidential race.

Billionaire Koch brothers have committed to spending a billion dollars on the 2016 campaign.

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson perpetually maintains a far right stable of politicians in both Israel and the US.

So what is a "billionaire" and why do they so consistently favour right wing politicians?

Although Obama has made some noises about raising the minimum wage, it remains at $7.25 an hour. The millions of Americans making that minimum wage earn about $15,000 a year if they have the good fortune of working full time.

When an American worker works full time for minimum wage, they won't make a million dollars even if they start at age 15 and work till they're 70.

A thousand of those workers, working full time from age 15 to age 70, will not add up to a billion dollars.

Here's a guy who made more money last year than a thousand of those workers will make in their entire lives, even if they start at 15 and keep the pedal to the metal till they're 70.







Yup, that would be hedgie Steve Cohen, who made 1.3 billions last year. Oddly enough, that was kind of an off year for him. Steve has had a run of rotten luck with SEC investigations and that kind of stuff.

And what does Steve do in order to merit more money in one year than a thousand drool-wipers and diaper changers working in old-age homes across America will earn in their lifetimes?

He and his peers are the new Rumpelstiltskins.

They spin straw into gold.

Sometimes they do it by taking over companies and parting them out. The manufacturing part goes to China. The union contracts go into Chapter 11. The pension plans go into their pockets.

It's a winning formula!

Sometimes they do it via brazen paper shuffling with derivatives so complicated that it takes a team of math doctorates to figure them out.

That's the Rumpelstiltskin economy.

Now to be fair, not all billionaires have been paper shufflers. Those Koch boys actually run a real conglomerate that does real stuff and employs quite a lot of real people. They  have committed themselves to spending a billion dollars to make sure a billionaire-friendly candidate makes it to the White House in 2016.

That's the equivalent of the lifetime earnings of a thousand low wage workers, pressed into service for one election.

You can call that a lot of things, but you cannot call it democracy.

Canadian business to be shut out of Iran's rebuilding bonanza thanks to John Baird

Executives from companies across Europe, from Asia, and from the US are preparing for a business bonanza as sanctions on Iran are lifted.


But thanks to the buffoonish reign of error of former Foreign Minister Baird, it's unlikely Canadian companies are going to be getting a significant piece of the action. Baird never missed an opportunity to slander and antagonize the Tehran government, culminating in the abrupt shuttering of the Canadian embassy three years ago.


Look at the areas in which Iran plans to invest billions: oil and gas infrastructure, rebuilding the country's airlines, mining and steel-making infrastructure - all sectors in which Canadian companies have considerable expertise. And with the Canadian economy in the tank, Iran could have been a lifeline for companies from Bombardier to SNC Lavalin to dozens of mining and energy contractors.


Billions of dollars worth of contracts will instead go to countries that maintained a civilized dialogue with the Iranians and kept their embassies open in spite of their differences.


That's called "diplomacy," and it is something most countries expect of their Foreign Ministers.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Police suspect British Prime Minister was pedophile

That's the sort of headline that grabs your eye.

I'm sure British Police "suspected" it fifty years ago.

Why does the story only come out now?

If you're not buying your kid a new laptop every year, you're obviously a negligent parent

That's my take-away from this headline at USA Today; Back to school: picking the right laptop.

Hey, if you picked the right laptop last year, you don't need a new one this year! In fact, if you pick the right laptop, it should pretty much see Junior through a four year degree!

If it doesn't, I'd say you picked the wrong laptop.

Funny how this kind of presumed acceptance of planned obsolescence is now taken for granted by the folks who are planning the obsolescence.

Of course the most important back-to-school purchase is that new laptop!

Do you want your kid to be the only one in the class with last year's laptop?

What kind of negligent parent are you anyway?

What will their friends think?

What's gonna happen to Junior's self-esteem?

Hell, once they see what a loser parent you are, what are your friends gonna think?

This USA Today story is a perfect example of industry propaganda being passed off as "news."

It's propaganda for the industry in general and for Apple in particular.

It's bullshit from top to bottom and end to end.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Even Bloomberg recognizes that Koch brothers are dirtbags


The cover of the November 2011 issue of Bloomberg Markets

Here's a cover from Bloomberg Markets circa 2011.

And that's not all. Guess who's behind the big push for that Keystone pipeline? Those Canadian tar sludge developments are as much about Koch as they are about Canada.

So those GOP contenders who weren't invited to the shindig in California this weekend should see that as a badge of honour.
 
There's plenty more out there; keep reading!

Ted Nugent defends Cecil the lion kill

Of course he would!

Terrible Ted is a legitimate big-game hunter in his own right.

There's never been anything wrong with that as far as I can recall. It's never been one of my hobbies, but then again, serious big-game hunting takes serious dollars, and I've had neither the dollars nor the interest in killing stuff that would be required to pursue such a hobby.

But both Ted and that dentist from Minnesota obviously have both the money and the love for that sport. There's nothing wrong with that. These guys generally have extreme respect for nature and wildlife. I know that's not a concept that passes muster in these PC times, but that's the way it is.

The outrage over Cecil comes from well-meaning folks who see a lion as some sort of semi-domesticated near-pet. Animals die in the wild, and their deaths are not necessarily pretty. Cecil actually had a pretty good run.

A much better run than the average cow or pig in America's industrial meat processing system.

Republican Kochsuckers gather in California to kneel before the Kochs

The Koch brothers have let it be known that they've got a billion in play money available for the 2016 White House race.

They've summoned their favoured candidates  to California to figure out who they're going to bless with their generous financial support.

You'll notice that the Republican front-runner was not invited.

Maybe it's because he doesn't need their money?

Progress; Toyota develops robot that can aid the elderly

Yup, that's something society desperately needs, a robot care-giver.

As the one or two regular readers of this blog will know, I'm a bit iffy on the concept of progress. Topless beer cans are one thing. (Speaking of which, being able to spy a cigarette butt in your beer is a pretty lame excuse for this invention. If you seriously wonder about your drinking companions dousing their cigarette butts in your beer, you probably shouldn't be drinking with them. If you can't remember if you doused your own cigarette butt in your beer, you've probably had enough anyway.)

But this Toyota invention is presented as some sort of Godsend. A robotic caregiver! Weehaa! Just what every elderly person has been dreaming of!

Mind you, "picking up after the elderly" is probably a ways down the list of what the elderly, of which cohort I'm on the margins of, are thinking about.

Sure, that's great...

I've needed one of those for at least the last forty years.

But can they wipe the drool off my face?

Can they change my Depends?

America has what, ten million plus officially unemployed?

And another ninety million plus "discouraged workers" not in the "labour market?"

But they need robots to care for the elderly?

Get the fuck outta here!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Plump white politicos shake their booties to lure black votes at Toronto's Caribana/Carribean carnival

Where exactly did that "Carribean" stuff come from?

This party has been around forever and it's ALWAYS been Caribana...

Not "Carribean."

Be that as it may, the Toronto Sun, flagship of the SunPostMedia conglomerate, National Post pretensions notwithstanding, is full-on with the new nomenclature, as you can see here.

And what up with those two roly-poly white guys trying to snag a few votes here?

No harm in trying, I guess...


TPP fizzles

The corporate nabobs behind the drive to enmesh us in the Trans Pacific Partnership are having a tough time of it.

Seems some of their fellow nabobs feel unduly constrained by the obligations democracy has imposed on them. That's led a few of them to take contrarian positions for the simple reason that they know they'd have hell to pay in the next election.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The TPP pushers are down, but not out. They'll be back!

Remember, this is in the first instance an attempt to create an Asia-Pacific trade bloc that excludes China. As such, it'll be a convenient tool for the Americans when they're busy asserting their full-spectrum-dominance vis-a-vis Beijing. No serious person imagines that this TPP trading bloc will not be entirely dominated by the Americans.

Which is not to say that the money-grubbers in Canada or Chile or New Zealand or Malaysia don't see something to gain here. When we hear talk of "homogenizing" labour standards, environmental standards, and so forth, what do you suppose that means?

It means driving everybody to the lowest common denominator.

That's why the nabobs have worked so hard to keep these negotiations secret.

Erdogan takes Turkey over the cliff

When Erdogan officially joined the war on Islamic State last week, the move was widely heralded in Western media as a good thing.

After all, Turkey has been, unofficially, the most prominent facilitator of Islamic State heretofore. ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State/Daesh would not have been possible without the connivance of Turkey. Not that this fact was widely acknowledged in that same Western media.

I've long been a fan of the wily Erdogan. He seemed to think himself the reincarnation of Kemal Ataturk, and he conducted himself accordingly.

But if you've been paying attention, you've noticed that the much ballyhooed war on the Islamic scourge is nothing of the sort. What he's done is declared a war on them but instead opened a war on the Kurds.

This can only end badly for Turkey.

Here's proof that "progress" is possible!

As a Luddite of long standing, I reflexively poo-poo every proclamation of this thing called progress.


Remember the "paperless office?"


Remember the "leisure society?"


Remember flying cars?


But I think I'm about to change my tune...


Check this out!


Yup, a topless beer can!


Not only does it allow the beer drinker to spy bugs and cigarette butts in her beverage; it lets you drink more!


That's gonna be the biggest boon to civilization since the heat-seeking missile!

Putin killed my puppy

The Putin haters are having a field day with the Litvinenko inquiry in London.

No one in London is safe from the Kremlin...

Indeed! Thousands of high-living Russian expats can't go to the grocery without constantly looking over their shoulders, because Putin's evil minions are EVERYWHERE!

In this particular case it's Yuri Felshtinsky sounding the alarm. Felshtinsky once wrote a book claiming Putin was a pedophile, thereby upping the ante on those mining the anti-Putin genre with tales of Putin's 40 billions or 400 billions squirreled away in secret Swiss bank accounts.

Or maybe it was 4 trillions...

It's a perennial favorite in the West, the anti-Putin trope.

Putin's perfidy...

Putin's aggression...

Those so-called punk-rockers Pussy Riot have milked the anti-Putin meme so skillfully they even got to share a stage with Madonna for a precious few moments!

Alas, all the hysteria doesn't seem to be making much of an impression in Russia. According to this recent story in the Washington Post, Putin's approval ratings are close to 90% among the folks he was elected by.

No wonder Cameron et al want us to hate him!