Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Why Donald Trump hates the Clintons

Donald hates the Clintons?

No way!

Best buds: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (with Bill Clinton and Melania Trump above) have their arms around one another and are smiling for the camera in a photo from his 2005 wedding

In fact, these folks in the photo were pals for forty years before Donald and Hillary embarked on the great Presidential run-off.

Donald doesn't hate the Clintons. Together they're taking over the country!

The Three Amigos or the Three Stooges?

In my ruminations about the Ottawa summit meeting of Obama, Nieto, and Trudeau, I painted a rather bleak picture of the human rights situation in Mexico. It's actually considerably worse than that.

Got a death wish? Get into journalism in Mexico. I understand they have jobs available! (That's a tip for all you unemployed J-school grads with a bit of Spanish language skills in hand - you don't have to work at Starbucks, you could be practising your craft!) Yup, Mexico needs some dedicated investigative journos to help root out corruption!

Good luck!

Here's another great career choice for the aspiring idealist with a bit of Spanish; become a labour union organizer in Mexico! Not for one of the state controlled official unions, but for the fledgling independent labour movement.

You'll soon find yourself in the same ditch as Mr. Journalist above. Your heads may very well wake up somewhere else.

Yes, there are ample human rights issues in the northerly Amigostans, but Mexico is an entirely different world... so why are Mssrs. Obama and Trudeau sucking up to the leader of a corrupt failed state?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Two Amigos and a Stooge

It's a big week in Ottawa. Yup, the "Three Amigos" festival is in full swing! That's where the leaders of the three NAFTA partners get together to tell one another how great they are.

NAFTA. What a grand boondoggle that was!

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

I'm sure I wasn't the only working-class Canadian who had trouble understanding why creating a level playing field between five dollar a day Mexican labour and twenty dollar an hour Canadian labour wasn't going to turn out well for our side.

And, although our mainstream economic pundits still can't bring themselves to admit it, it hasn't. But here's what's really messed up; it hasn't worked out for the Mexicans either! Or the Americans for that matter.

You don't want to over-generalize of course. It goes without saying that NAFTA has been good for some folks in all three countries. It just hasn't been good for average folks in any of them. The one percenters have done quite well by it though.

So what you're seeing in Ottawa this week is two leaders of more or less developed nations getting together with the leader of what is, for all practical purposes, a failed state. It's not really "Three Amigos" we're watching here; it's two Amigos and their crooked and perhaps slightly retarded cousin.

Here's a brief synopsis from Business Insider of the kind of hanky-panky that would have got the other two Amigos impeached, if not jailed. In Mexico corruption is taken for granted. "Show me a poor politician and I'll show you a poor politician" is a popular maxim.

And you can't pin all the failure on Nieto - he's had a lot of help. NAFTA, crafted when Nieto was still in short pants, set the stage for an influx of jobs from the northern partners on the one hand, but at the same time it threw millions of peasants off the land by flooding Mexico with subsidized US agricultural products, especially corn. So industrial jobs grew in number but due to the oversupply of labour the pay went down. So much for the rising tide lifting all boats.

Not that the tide actually rose all that much. When NAFTA was created a peso was worth thirty cents. Now it's worth a nickel. There goes your rising tide!

The other thing that's been killing Mexico is the exorbitant level of violence. Think we've got a problem with MMIW here in Canada? We certainly do, but in Mexico they call their missing and murdered women a "pandemic of femicide." Not only that, but the record of law enforcement in Mexico is exponentially worse than ours; less than two percent of crimes ever result in a conviction.

And let's not forget about those 43 student-teachers who just "disappeared." Yup, they were last seen in police custody, and then they were gone! Nobody knows a thing.

I know we've got our quarrels with the cops here in the northern Amigostans, but nothing on that scale!

Then you've got the ever-popular war on drugs. About ten years ago W and Nieto's predecessor signed the Merida Initiative, whereby the US would give the Mexican government lots of guns and money and the Mexican government would get really serious about fighting the cartels. Can't say the Mexicans haven't held up their part of the bargain; at least 165,000 civilians dead in the ensuing ramped up war on drugs.

Just how violent is Mexico? We Canadians like to think of ourselves as a peaceable kingdom compared to our gun-happy neighbours in the USA. Well guess what? Cross the Rio Grande and the murder rate is 400% higher than in the US!

Anyway, at least for this week, they're all just three happy "Amigos," living large on the public dime in Ottawa, pleased to be doing the photo-ops together. And Justin's already made a beautiful gesture to help those Mexicans set things right.

They'll no longer need visas to visit Canada.



 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Is Donald Trump Hillary's stalking horse?

Think back as hard as you can (if you can) to the Donald - Hillary relationship before this so-called election campaign began.

Do you ever, ever, ever recall them getting pissy with one another?

No! In fact they were pals!

True fact; Hillary and Bubba went to one of Donald's weddings.

Hmm... give it some thought, folks.

The history of shoes

Met my old pal Kipling at the Teviotdale Truck Stop for breakfast a couple of weeks ago, there to shoot the shit and catch up on what old mutual acquaintances are out of jail or in the nursing home. Or in the grave. We get together every three or four months, or whenever my supply of the weed 'o wisdom is running low.

Kipling has been a big fan of this blog ever since I first mentioned his name in it. He occasionally makes suggestions, and at this breakfast meeting he suggested I cut back on the political shit and do more "human interest" stuff.

Fair enough, but the way I see it, there's a huge overlap between the political and that human interest shit. Didn't some wise person once claim that "the personal is political?"

Sure, but you know what? There's something that's both personal and political...

Shoes.

Back in the sixties and seventies you couldn't open the business section of Canada's national newspaper of record without reading some fawning story about a great Canadian success; the Bata shoe empire. You got the impression Thomas Bata was some struggling immigrant who arrived at Pier 21 penniless, and due to Canada's wholesome pro-business environment and his adopted Canadian values of honesty, integrity, and hard work, made a success of himself. Yup, the classic Horatio Alger tale, but set in the Great White North.

Kipling was my connection to Wally Tucker and the Church of the Universe, and, over the years, a lot of really good weed. Sometimes, too, some not so good weed... but also, at times, weed that was WAY TOO GOOD! And I gotta say, over the years he has developed into quite an astonishingly competent herbalist.

That's why it's so important to the think tank here at Falling Downs, that as PM POTHEAD legalizes the weed, that space be left for the independent small-time cultivators like Kipling who have been cultivating better bud for the past fifty years.

I generally don't fire one up till the Farm Manager has turned in for the night. It wasn't always that way. We used to enjoy sharing a few giggles. That changed forever one night after we burned one in the WTG category mentioned above. Not to give too much away, but she came damned close to being the first person in the 10,000 year history of cannabis consumption to OD on pot.

After three puffs!

See what I mean about way too good? So ever since then I make sure I just get the more gentle stuff from Kipling.

So the other night, I'm sitting in the kitchen, kinda mellow, researching the history of shoes, and out the corner of my eye I think I see a mouse scurry across the kitchen counter.

Impossible! We've got two elite mousers living in the house, and at least one them is so big she's taken on the nickname "Doublewide."  No chance any mice are getting past her!

It's just your imagination, I tell myself.

Back to the shoes.

There's no denying that the Bata shoe empire was a great success story. How "Canadian" it ever was is open to question. Seems the Bata clan owned one of the world's great shoe empires back in the 1930's, when they were based in Eastern Europe, with over 60,000 employees and thousands of retail outlets around the world.

So then I think I see another mouse... holy shit... two mice? Playing tag on the countertop? No way... sure enough, when I actually focus on them, they go away.

Just the weed, obviously.

By the middle eighties the esteemed Bata name had fallen into some measure of disrepute, at least in the "radical" circles I prided myself in being peripherally associated with at the time, and here's why.

Seems the Bata empire was opening up shoe factories all over the global south. India, Pakistan, all over Africa, and everywhere they opened a new factory the story was the same; the supply of cheap plastic injection-molded shoes had a devastating impact on the traditional local shoe-making industry and their supply chains. Yup, one little factory in Sandalistan would employ twenty people and throw two thousand local artisans out of work.

Hey, I have no clue how much of that was actually true, but there was an "activist community" that believed every word of it.

Anyway, aside from the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, you'd have to look pretty hard for a trace of that great Canadian success story in Canada today. The company remains a big player in the global footwear industry, but now they're based in... what?!

There's two mice on the fucking counter... they're pulling a strand of spaghetti out of the saucepan... wait a minute... I can't believe it!.. They're swinging it around like it's a skipping rope! Oh my god, I can't believe what I'm seeing! Here come the baby mouses... and ya, they are actually skipping rope with a piece of spaghetti on my countertop!

Holy shit, brother, that is some nice weed!


Where was I... oh ya. Bata destroyed the traditional sandal making artisans all over Africa. That's why I was so pleased when I came across this story at CNN.  That right there is a bit of an anomaly, isn't it? A good news story at CNN? Out of Africa?

Yup, imagine that, Africans manufacturing a world-class product.

Gonna get me a pair of Enzi shoes, and you should too.

Think I'll pick up a couple of mousetraps as well, just in case there's more at work in my kitchen than the potency of Kipling's pot.

England Brexits out of EUFA Cup!

These are indeed dark days for the British Empire. Last week, bitter old white people wrenched the country out of the EU. If you've been reading The Guardian you'll know this means old white people, especially the ones not employed by the big banks, are not only bitter but stupid as well. Sure they used to have jobs and now they don't, but how is that the fault of the five million east Europeans who have moved to the UK since the '90's? Whatever happened to digging deep, bucking up, the stiff upper lip etc?

But today's shock is, if such a thing is at all fathomable, even more shocking - being sent home from the EUFA cup by... Iceland?

Iceland???

SHAME!!!

TransCanada looks to US taxpayers for $15 billion compensation for not building Keystone XL

As outrageous as that sounds, that's precisely how "free trade" agreements are intended to work. Kind of a "heads I win, tails you lose" arrangement if you ask me, but our corporate overlords love it! Build your pipeline and laugh all the way to the bank, or don't build it, claim 15 billions in compensation, and laugh all the way to the bank anyway!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

We're living in interesting times

All the usual suspects in the mainstream media are in full "sky-is-falling" mode over this Brexit thing. Corbyn's shadow cabinet has had what, eight resignations today? And their main complaint is that the Labour leader should have worked harder for the "remain" side.

Why?

Corbyn's unexpected rise to leadership of the Labour Party was predicated on his making a clear break with the Labour Party of the discredited war criminal Tony Blair. That's what drew all those new voters into the Labour fold. And Corbyn should have been out on the hustings, arm in arm with Phoney Tony, shilling for the "remain" side?

Impossible!

Later today we'll find out what transpires in Spain. That's another nation-state where the bloom has faded from the EU rose. Half the young people in the land are unemployed but they should count their blessings because it could be so much worse if they were outside looking in?

Then of course there's the (basket) case of Greece, where the electorate has already said nein danke to the Merkel austerity enema, only to be stabbed in the back by the weaselling Quislings they elected. They too are ready to wave bye-bye to unified Europe.

The EU was a noble idea at one time. Uniting the people of Europe in an economic bloc that would provide the rising tide to lift all boats. Never again would the Continent be ravaged by Hobbesian death matches among nations.  Unfortunately, the tide has gone out some time ago, and the EU has become nothing more than the thuggish enforcer of the neoliberal agenda dictated by Washington and parroted by Brussels.

We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit Schmexit

Here's an interesting story from CNN Money about stocks that moved up as the world supposedly stood at the brink of that imaginary abyss created by the Brexit vote.

And here's another not-so-bad news story out of Canada.

So is it possible that the sky is not falling after all?

True, two positive stories in a vast ocean of negativity won't prove that case. In fact, all the MSM platforms owned by the 1percenters are utterly awash with foreboding tales of hypothetical doom and gloom. Phoney Tony "War Criminal" Blair has an op-ed in the NYT decrying the folly of Brexit. My Globe and Mail today was full of the same reflexive anti-democratic twaddle. All these champions of democracy having a collective shit-hemorrage when the vote doesn't go their way is something to see, is it not?

Of course, all these democracy advocates are bemoaning the fact that ill-educated racists were allowed the vote in the first place. They don't seem to get the fact that folks on main street are way smarter than that. After watching their livelihoods shrivel constantly since the Thatcher-Reagan era, there's a lot of working class folks who have finally cottoned onto the fact that hey, maybe it's not their fault!

Maybe, just maybe, the blame lies with the chauffeured Bentley cunts in Mayfair? The same insatiable greedbags who have led the chorus for "remain." The same crowd that gets richer by the year profiting from the disintegration of the society they've been immiserating these past forty years.

Yes, they are right to be unsettled.

But is it the end of the world as we knew it?

Hardly.

It's an interesting side-bar that "remain" was the default position for youth across Great Britain. That's because they fear losing the opportunity to cross the Channel and get either work or an affordable post-secondary education. What does that say about how the GB economy has been managed in the post-Thatcher era?



Friday, June 24, 2016

Trump was never a right-winger

A lot of your mainstream liberal news platforms continue to pee their pants over the entire Trump-white-supremacist-right-winger-racist ball of yarn.

Donald Trump became all those things the day after he declared for the GOP nomination. Before that, he was just a pretty normal rich Manhattan liberal. There's literally thousands of them in Manhattan; in fact, Manhattan has the highest concentration of rich liberals anywhere in the world!

I've never been a Trump fan. The egregious self-promotion always put me off. Maybe I was just jealous.

But I became a fan when I saw how deftly this Manhattan liberal hijacked the Grand Old Party.

Hundreds of millions of donor dollars down the drain as Rubio and Cruz and Bush were all left at the curb.

Since then, the supposed "liberal" media have been doing their best to paint Trump in the darkest possible tones. To some extent I get the Trump anxiety. He does say some outrageous shit and he does aim for the headlines with that shit, but I think there's still the real DJT behind all that PR, and that's a dyed in the wool Manhattan liberal.

But what else is the "liberal" media to do? Admit that negotiating with North Korea is a good idea?

Admit that making peace with Putin is a good idea?

Admit that America's working class took it up the ass for NAFTA and every "free trade" agreement that's been signed since?

So I see their conundrum. And that conundrum does not form in a vacuum. It forms in an environment very much shaped by the beltway boffins who stage manage America's foreign policy, energy policy, defence policy, wars on drugs, immigrants, terror, and the working class, and of course the finance policies that allow government to bail out crooked banks but not struggling home-owners.

When your "free press" is that deeply embedded in the anus of the power elite, it's no wonder that this particular Manhattan liberal has been re-purposed as a "right-winger."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pot-addled hillbilly takes a break from Bieber-bashing to pontificate on Brexit

It's gotta be tough being Bieber, wouldn't you say?

Yup, slamming Hollywood starlets and being an asshole at A-list parties has pretty much gotta drain your energy, at least if you had any in the first place.

But no matter the level of assholery, Biebs remains on the A-list.

I know... it seems to energize him.

But belieb it or not, there are bigger deals than Bieber loose in the world today.

Like Brexit for example.

Frankly, if George Galloway and Boris can see eye to eye on Brexit, there must be something good in Brexit.

And when Phoney Tony is campaigning for the "remain" side you know immediately that "remain" is profoundly flawed.

I've heard it said that Obama has weighed in on the remain side because it's way easier to steer one combine of 28 nations than it is to steer 28 disparate nations who each have their own agenda. That shit-show would just be totally unmanageable.

It's a conundrum alright.

But when Phoney Tony is on the one side, and George and Boris are both on the other, there's no question about which side of the debate I'm on.

Brexit now or Brexit later, but sooner or later Britain is out of the EU.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Empathy for Bieber

Ya, I know empathy for Bieber is what everybody fakes just so they don't have to stand up for the little fuck.

JB should have a good look at his "friends" section and then figure out where he wants to take it from here.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Proof that End Times are indeed nigh upon us...

Justin Bieber Falls Off Stage While Adjusting Pants.

That's a headline all over the internet at this very moment.

Somebody somewhere considers this noteworthy?

Get outta here!

End Times indeed!

The pot-addled hillbilly reflects...

Taking my cue from those NYT stalwarts, Friedman and Cohen, I'd like to take a few moments to reflect. Thank you for permitting the indulgence.

Donald Trump. Not that long ago Mr. Trump was yukking it up with Reverend Al.



Now he's a "white supremacist?"  Sure thing, Hillary!

Get outta here!

According to Thomas Friedman, Trump would have carpet-bombed the Islamic Middle East this week, because... well because Friedman knows he would have! Isn't that enough?

Islamic radicals. Yes, there are certainly Islamic radicals who hate America. But do they hate America for its freedoms? For the fact that America allows women to drive and queers to (mostly) thrive?

Or do they hate America because of what America has done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia?..

Trump, like Sanders, has tapped into the vast disenchantment that Americans harbour for their elites. The American people don't want more stupid wars for oil or Israel. They want jobs, housing, health care, and a viable future.

That's what the political establishment has manifestly failed to provide, which is why these political outliers have such appeal.

Thank God Trump was not President this week!

Stop for a moment and reflect on what this week would have been like had Donald Trump been president - the carpet bombing he'd have ordered in the Middle East...

Yup, for sure that's what would have happened this week, and lots more. Mosques firebombed... US embassies around the world firebombed too! That's according to NYT journo supreme Thomas Friedman in today's New York Times International Weekly.  The NYTIW is a few pages of filler the folks at the Sunday Star throw in with their paper, possibly to give us Hicksville hayseeds a taste of big-time journalism, or more likely because it's way cheaper than producing original copy with their own professional journos.

Friedman's article is grandly titled "lessons of Hiroshima and Orlando." At first I thought there must have been a copycat attack on a gay club in the Japanese city, but no, he really is referencing the attack in Orlando last weekend and the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima, in the same headline, because apparently both are somehow related to a Donald Trump presidency. Or something...

And TLF isn't the only NYT deep thinker with Trump, Islam, and Orlando (although apparently not Hiroshima) on his mind this week. Roger Cohen begins his take on the state of the universe with this howler; 

Omar Mateen, the Florida shooter who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, just ushered Donald Trump to the White House, Britain out of the EU, Marine Le Pen to the French presidency, and the world into a downward spiral of violence.

He did??? That'd be a decent night's work for one dude with an assault rifle, were it not such outlandishly overblown hyperbole.

Ya, the world is a tinderbox set to explode, and driving all this mayhem is the fact that "Islam is in epochal crisis." There is something about Islam that makes those folks hate modernity, women, freedom, gays, Americans, and each other. And Donald Trump is just riling them up even more. Or something...

But he saves the best of his incoherent ramble for President Hopey Changey. Apparently the world would be less of a tinderbox had Obama got tough with Assad and Putin. Not invading Syria has been Obama's single deadliest foreign policy mistake.

What we need to make the world a safer place is more US invasions of Muslim countries!

Oy vey, these may be two of the most esteemed journalists in American letters, but even the pot-addled hillbilly realizes a few sentences in that they're full of shit.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Cops now and then

Drove three hours to the family picnic today. Used to be an hour and a half, but they've changed the venue to make it "more convenient."

Ya, right!

And then three hours home. Six hours of driving for a plate of Omi's potato salad. Thank God she's back to the original recipe after those many years in the wilderness with the low-fat formula.

It's always interesting, of course, to see who is ahead of whom in that race down the Alzheimer Highway. You don't want to miss that!

Aside from that, the highlight was a sit-down with cousin Klaus, who has re-invented himself as a school-bus driver at the ripe enough age of 60. He's got what must be one of the longest school-bus routes in Ontario. It starts in Drayton and ends at a private Christian high school in Breslau, with many zigs and zags in between.

That's a helluva bus ride for those kids, and obviously the parents see enough merit in that private school to not only pay the freight, but to subject their spawn to that bus ride as well.

Klaus and I used to spend too much time together in the good old pot-smoking beer-guzzling era of irresponsibility. We were trying to explain to his son Isaac the difference between policing now and policing when we were his age. Isaac is a very level-headed young man half-way through an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic. That'll be six-numbers per year territory when he has his ticket, but in the meantime we're tag teaming him on the virtues of keeping your nose clean and driving sober etc.

So his dad tells him, hey, back in the day the cops used to pull you over, take all your booze, and send you on your way.

And I added, when they pull you over today, they'll take all your booze, yank you into Police HQ to embark on a legal nightmare that will cost you thousands of dollars, and thank God you've got a white ass because otherwise you've got a really good chance of things getting way worse than that.

When we were kids, cops had compassion.

Now they've got quotas.

German Foreign Minister Steinmeier calls out NATO warmongering

And just one day after fifty-one State Department nabobs in Exceptionalistan called for MORE warmongering! Yup, 51 drooling dickheads who truly believe America needs to be deeper into the muck of the Middle East went on the record demanding that US boots swarm into Syria, there to become targets for the Russian Air Force.

Not 24 hours later, there's Frank-Walter Steinmeier wagging his finger at the NATO gang and warning against needlessly antagonizing Russia.

Whoa! WTF is going on here?

You gotta love this line from the BBC story;

 Mr Steinmeier said that extensive Nato manoeuvres launched this month were counterproductive to regional security and could inflame tensions with Russia.

No shit!

This story tells us two important things.

1. The German polity is in no way united behind the "tough on Russia" US/NATO agenda.

2. Fifty-one warmongers at State will hear the words "you're fired" next January.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tomorrow's basket case today

Big news today in the World 'o Wee Republics; the World Bank has prepped a $300 million loot bag for Montenegro!

Never heard of it? Small wonder, 'cause it's a small wonder alright. A population the size of Toledo Ohio or Portland.

Portland Maine...

20% unemployment. That's the "official" number. Who knows, actual unemployment probably double that. A gangster president who slides into and out of INTERPOL's most wanted on a regular basis. A "democratic" system that seems to keep coughing up aforementioned gangster president.

Not that it's all bad news out of Montenegro. Canadian gold honcho Peter Munk gifted them with a nifty super-yacht port where you can avoid taxes on your yacht fuel. And when you're buying the yacht fuel by the metric tonne like Munk and his pals, and not by the litre, those savings really add up!

And even though the population of the country isn't more than a smallish American city, they do have one thing going for them; a Mediterranean frontage suitable for NATO warship anchorage!

Hence the hand extended in friendship last December to Montenegro's gangster President for Life. Why not join the NATO gang, Mr. President?  

You'll be among friends!

So the announcement this week that the World Bank has a $300 million loan on offer to the bankrupt Republic of Montenegro comes as no surprise.

Sooner or later, of course, the people of Montenegro will come to realise that loan was a loan. They, and not the gangster President, will be expected to make the payments...

Or sell off whatever state assets remain.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

RIP Mike Baldasaro

When Wally went to his reward not too long ago, we wondered how long Mike was gonna keep on ticking without his long-term partner in "crime" by his side.

Not very long, as it's turned out. Yup, last week Mike joined Wally in that great hemp garden in the sky. Mike and Wally, or Wally and Mike, were pioneers in the legal pot movement for most of my lifetime. They've faded from memory a bit since younger and more media-savvy marijuana advocates joined the fray, but let's never forget their contribution to the battle!

I personally never met either of them, but we had mutual acquaintances, and by all accounts these guys were solid down-to-earth folks who would do anything for anybody they considered a friend. They say Mike was a little bit over-protective of Wally, but over the long term that was a good thing. Wally was just a little too trusting. He'd give interviews to random reporters and the narcs would be knocking on his door the next day. He needed an interlocutor.

That would be Mike.

They've both gone to a better place, and when you look around, you'd have to admit they made it in the nick of time.

RIP, boys!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Kessel hoists the Stanley Cup, Leafs don't

Good on you, Phil! Couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving guy!

After those miserable years in Toronto, we figured from the get-go that the Penguins were a good fit.

Congratulations Mr. Kessel!

As for our Leafs, I don't see much becoming of the latest rebuild. This is a team that's been rebuilding since 1967. The latest rebuild looks to me like a gang of NHL insider old-boys feathering their nests with gold-plated sinecures.

Does celebrity culture motivate mass killers?

So you're a down and almost out loser. Suicide by cop might be a great way to end it all, but you want to leave a legacy. You want to go out in a blaze of glory.

What better way to accomplish this than to buy a gun, or several guns, and shoot up a school or a theatre or a dance club? Ya, you'll be dead, but you'll be famous at last!

Famous forever!

Fame is one of the touchstones of success in our messed-up way of looking at things. Hell, we've even got a sizeable subset of famous people who are famous for nothing more than being famous! That's gotta be a good gig if you can pull together the right management team to make it happen.

And those teams are out there. It's a burgeoning industry. PR professionals, brand managers, professional spokespersons, publicists; the whole nine yards are available for anyone who can pay the freight. Or you can skip all that and just spend a few hundred dollars at the gun shop.

Why does the mainstream media play along with this? Sure, the public deserves to be informed, but why does it matter what the name of some hate-filled fuck is who shoots up a dance club? Let him (and it's always a him) sink into obscurity, and the sooner the better.

If the guy responsible for this outrage in Orlando knew there would not be so much as a whiff of fame for him after the fact, who knows how that might have impacted his thought process?


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Battle of the Brands; the death of music

Pretty cool to watch all this bonding between rival rock bands, is it not? I mean Axl touring with AC/DC... that's just crazy town, eh???

Or maybe not.

Maybe the suits are just having a bit of fun with us, hoping we don't notice that the big rock acts are just as assiduously managed as the stars in professional wrestling.

That's not music.

That's show business.

A double dose of Drumpfobia in today's Globe and Mail

Rolled into Wiarton this morning to fork over five bucks to The Korean for my Saturday Globe. Ya, I know, I can get the whole damn thing online, but I'm one of those old-school guys who just prefers to turn pages, even at that extortionate rate. Hell, I remember having the Globe and Mail delivered to my door every morning for twenty-five cents per.

Times have changed, and not for the better.

As luck would have it, the line-up at Timmies was way shorter than you'd expect in tourist season, so I ducked in for a medium with milk.

The folks who run this franchise made what is to me an incomprehensible decision recently; they spent a couple hundred thousand dollars on putting a second order board in the drive-thru. There's still only one drive-thru window, but now two cars can place their orders at the same time. Overall, this doesn't improve service or speed up your trip through the drive-thru, but it does provide the illusion that the line-up is shorter than it actually is.

It also makes a trip through the drive-thru far more stressful than it used to be. I don't care what kind of a peace-loving pacifist fairy you might be, you'll be pissed off when that car that pulled in after you makes it to the window before you. Frankly, I'd give up Tim Hortons altogether, but I'm addicted to whatever it is they put in their coffee. (Rumours were rife not long ago that the magic ingredient is nicotine, but corporate HQ denies this.)

Stopped at the Wiarton International Airport on the way home. They were having their second annual cars, planes and motorcycles show. Unfortunately, the cars, planes and motorcycles were far fewer in number than what I was promised in the promo piece the Farm Manager read me out of the local paper yesterday. Three hundred cars? It was more like three dozen.

Must have been the weather... or maybe I just showed up too early.

But at least I got to go home and tuck into my Saturday Globe earlier than I'd expected.

The most jarring thing about today's paper was that I read Southey's column just before I read the style section. Southey's dad was my economics prof in one of my past lives, and he used to bring little Tabatha to campus from time to time, so I feel a certain affinity.

Little Tabatha became a writer for the Globe, and apparently she's currently on a tour of Madagascar. Her reporting from Madagascar is bleak in the extreme. That's why the promos for $700 sandals in the "Style" section left me feeling somewhat discombobulated. Seven hundred bucks for a pair of sandals? Really? Most people who live in Madagascar do so on less than that. For a year.

I must say I really appreciate that automotive writer Pete Chenney has got his car column into the style section. Today he had a fine article about the hardtop version of the Shelby Cobra. Well worth a look. His column is generally the most interesting thing in Globe Style.

But let's get on to the Drumpfobia, shall we!

Today's Globe and Mail Trump-bashing is left to the husband and wife team of Elizabeth Renzetti (page two of the main news section) and Doug Saunders ( page seven in the Focus section).

Liz has a nice piece on view about how a couple of grannies are gonna put the boots to grandpa Donald Trump. It's kind of pleasant in a vapid way if you're a Clinton fan, which I'm not. But at the end of the day, I'd say if American politics comes down to Grannies bashing Grandpas, maybe America is really a gerontocracy, and not the plutocracy or oligarchy that so many sentient observers claim.

HRC getting the endorsement of Elizabeth Warren does do wonders for Clinton of course. It's almost as important as Trump getting the endorsement of establishment GOP guys like Newt or Chris Christie. Hillary is so far to the right of Trump that most of the PNAC crowd has no compunction whatsoever about supporting her, which tells you everything you need to know about Hillary. Getting the nod from one of the few genuine "progressives" in the Dem camp means the world to her campaign.

So Renzetti's story about the grannies getting together to take out the evil grandpa has at least some element of human interest.

Husband Doug's column, on the other hand, is just plain silly. Yup, time to erect a "cordon sanitaire" around the buffoon. After all, that's how they've been side-lining the radical right in Europe...

Really?

Perhaps Saunders' analysis had some legitimacy a couple of years ago. But the so-called anti-immigrant radical right has been radically on the up-tick since the refugee trickle became a flood. And whether that influx is a trickle or a flood depends entirely on the whims of Sultan Erdogan, our erstwhile anti-democratic NATO ally, who alone has his hands on the refugee taps. Europe has been busy trying to buy him off, but the wily Erdogan knows when he's got his adversaries over a barrel... and does he ever!

Yup, it's a mess, and it's gonna get way messier, especially if HRC's greedy grasping hands ever seize the levers of power. Which is not to say that things would be better with Trump at the helm. Trump is an unknown quantity. He might be better; he might not. At least with Trump there is a glimmer of possibility that America might change the disastrous course it's been on. With Hillary it will be full steam ahead.

So even though there were only a few dozen cars on view when I got to the Wiarton International Airport, a couple of them were very nice. There was a very pretty 1970 Cyclone GT. Unfortunately it had the 351 two barrel. That's not gonna stir up a lot of wind, nevermind a cyclone. The Mustang 50 I drove to the airport would probably have ten lengths on it over the quarter mile.

There was also a lovely '68 Impala SS with a 396 and four speed. I'm a sucker for the full size Chevy's from that era. Drove a '67 Impala SS for awhile, with the 327 and a powerglide. Also had a '67 Belair wagon for a few years, with a 283 and the powerglide. Paid two hundred for it, drove it for a couple of years, and sold it for two hundred.

That's cheap driving!




Friday, June 10, 2016

How do dogs decide where to shit?

The hounds here at Falling Downs are mighty particular about where they drop their doggie doo-doo. They've got a half acre of trimmed lawn at the edge of a hundred acres of cow pasture here, so guess where they wanna go? Right, the trimmed lawn.

Same when I walk them. Me and the hounds do two and a half kilometres up the Burgess side-road  every morning. There's about fifty feet of trimmed lawn in front of McKay's place, and another fifty feet of trimmed lawn in front of Carter's place. So on a 5K walk, they've got a total of about 200 feet of manicured lawn vs. 4.99 kilometres of regular ditch wherein to do their business.

So where do they crap? On that minuscule patch of manicured lawn of course!

It's even more aggravating when we take them into town. We like to take them to the park out by the water treatment plant in Wiarton. That's a pretty sweet little spot; limestone cliffs all around you, the blue waters of Colpoys Bay in front of you, and a tiny patch of trimmed grass on the edge of a vast boreal forest.

So where do they shit? On that tiny patch of trimmed grass of course!

And they'll shit there even if they've already befouled McKay's lawn and Carter's lawn only an hour before!

What's really puzzling is that they'll do this even though they've proven time and again, on days we're out and about, that if they have to, they can go twelve hours or more without taking a shit in the house.

Here's my theory; in a dog's mind it's just more fun to shit where it maximizes the inconvenience to your so-called master.

It's part of the K-9 Passive Resistance Movement.

What cats do when you're not home

We've had this conversation many times around here. Chloe and Doublewide both have their own food dishes. Doublewide used to have another name. But over the years she's got wider and wider, while Chloe got skinnier and skinnier.

When we're around, the cats show ultimate respect for one another's territory.

But what happens when we're not around?

Hmm...

When we're in the house we never see cats on the kitchen table. Never!

But today we came home after a brief outing only to find a partially congealed puddle of cat barf on the kitchen table. Not only that, but there was a slightly smaller puddle of same on the keyboard of my laptop, which I'd left open on the kitchen table.

So obviously one or both of the cats were on the kitchen table, surfing the web on my laptop, when they found something that so grossed them out they both regurgitated their kitty kibble right then and there.

Probably a cute dog video or something...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Trump to ban bulldozers and power-shovels from border wall project

Multiple media sources are reporting that an internal GOP briefing note found in a dumpster in North Dakota may provide a snapshot of a possible Trump employment strategy. Apparently Trump's team toyed with the idea of banning power equipment from the Mexican Border Wall project.

They could be on to something. Think about how many jobs will be created! It'll be wheel-barrows and hand shovels all the way! Research shows that a single power shovel displaces 1500 hand-shovellers, and on a two thousand mile border project... hell, Finning Tractor and Cat are gonna go outta business!

But think of how many unemployed would be redeemed.

Then again, where in America are you going to find half a million shovel-wielders?

Oh great!... illegal Mexican immigrants are gonna build Trump's Mexican wall.

Royal Canadian Legion long past Best Before date

I was a member of the Legion myself for a spell, and not just a member, but an "honorary" member!

Seems that when the Irvings were busy buying up property for the expansion of their shipyard in Saint John back in the day, there was one property owner that refused to sell; the Legion. Thus it came to pass that when the Saint John yard was in full blossom during the eighties and early nineties, there was a Legion smack dab in the middle of the parking lot!

In theory, one must have a direct connection to someone who served with the allied forces in order to imbibe at a Legion hall. I didn't. In fact both of my grandpas were drafted into the Wehrmacht. One went to the Eastern front and most probably froze to death in a snow-drift. The other became a POW in the opening weeks of the war and spend the next six years in POW camps in Pennsylvania and northern Ontario.

Neither of them make me eligible to buy a beer at the Legion.

But for some reason, that rule was kept in abeyance at the Saint John Legion. After all, if dozens of thirsty drydock workers were going to swarm your beer hall on their lunch break, it just didn't make economic sense to turn them away.  So there was an arrangement made, whereby employees of Saint John Shipbuilding were afforded "honorary" membership status. We were, after all, building those state-of-the-art frigates for the Canadian Navy.

Alas, that's the kind of common sense adaptation to reality that is sadly absent from the Legion today. The old boys who call the shots have got themselves a heap of bad PR with their latest bone-headed blast of stupidity. According to this story from David Pugliese at Postmedia, the Legion has suspended an 82 year old member of long standing because she has had the temerity to ask a few questions about how the Legion bigs were spending all that poppy money collected by Legionnaires across the land in the weeks leading up to November 11 every year.

Yup, Joan Beznoski has been told that since she can't shut her trap about her concerns, she is henceforth persona non grata at her local Legion hall, where she's been an active member for almost four decades! That's the value of the freedom of speech all those long gone veterans fought for those many years ago, apparently.

Shame!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mourning a Muslim even Donald could love

Planet Earth lost one of her greats the other day.

Muhammad Ali was one of those rare humans who managed to transcend race and class and religion and politics and become a genuine global icon.

Which he was.

And even though there is a much deeper pool of Trump - Ali connections on view all across the world wide web, it is the Clinton camp that has managed to make political hay from the demise of Muhammed Ali.

So Bill will be giving the eulogy at the funeral of Muhammed Ali.

How sad that the icon of black liberation and resistance will be co-opted into the fold of US exceptionalism.


Before planned obsolescence



That's a 1948 Farmall tractor with a mower deck, and guess what, it's still cutting grass today, almost seventy years after it left the factory! Any piece of crap you buy today will be lucky to last seven years, never mind seventy.

That gem belongs to the folks at Chilligo Creek Farms, an organic market gardening operation about an hour down the road. They've got two more of a similar vintage. Why? Because they're in business for the long haul, and they want stuff that lasts. What a sad state of affairs it is when a seventy year old machine offers better prospects for longevity than a new one!

That society tolerates the scam of planned obsolescence is a mystery to me. At this point in our evolution we don't even have a choice about it anymore. Pretty much any consumer product we buy is engineered to be replaced in five years or less.

But I sense a different attitude among a lot of the young folks coming up. They've grown up inside the consumerist bubble of disposable everything, and you know what? They want to go in a different direction.

They're turning their backs on industrial agriculture, factory farming, rampant consumerism, and planned obsolescence. They're about growing real food without toxic inputs. They're about raising animals in a humane way.

They're about embracing the 1948 Farmall tractor.

They are the future of farming.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shattering stereotypes about America's incarceration epidemic

I was idly perusing the Washington Post website when I ran across the above promise. Must say I was mightily intrigued!

Take a look.

Maybe prison life isn't that bad after all!

When I think prison stereotypes I think inhumane, degrading, dehumanizing. I think about some schmuck still paying his debt to society for a bad choice he made while on a booze binge forty years ago. I think about a kid who got life for lifting a bag of Doritos at the Seven Eleven in one of those "three strikes" states. I think about the teen, long since a man, and now a grandfather, who had the misfortune of being black while selling a narc a quarter ounce of weed.

But hey, it's not that bad, really! Apparently the inmates spend a lot of time cuddling bunnies, tickling turtles, and learning new skills that will help them integrate into society when they are finally paroled at age 85!

Thank you Washington Post for opening my eyes and shattering those stereotypes!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Canadian Museum of Banal Pieties has bloodied Malala school frock on view!

Yup, for a mere $18 you can see, personally, the school uniform Nobel laureate Malala wore the day those evil Taliban tried to rub her out. Fifty bucks buys a family pass.

This viewing experience will underline once and for all, as if it needs underlining, the superiority of our Western way of life. Yes, we let girls go to school. We let them drive cars! We even let them earn what, 75% of a man's wage?

Are we ever great!

As the regular reader will know (hi Kelly!), the think tank here at Falling Downs has been sceptical about the Museum from the get-go. I mean, how fucked up is it to build a "Museum of Human Rights" in the child poverty capital of Canada?! For $300 millions plus?

Get the fuck outta here!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Who in the Canadian media landscape will stand up for the virtue and righteousness of Empire once Postmedia collapses?

Oh, I don't know... the Toronto Star crowd maybe?

That's a question that arose as I was reading Mike Den Tandt's missive at the National Post re: China's over-reaching ambitions in the South China Sea.

Mike is all knotted up because POTHEAD has been making friendly with the leaders of that commie dictatorship in the most populous nation on earth, the People's Republic of China. Mike is a local guy who made good; he's one of the few Postmedia employees who still draws an actual pay-cheque from the rapidly sinking conglomerate. He gets to work mostly from home these days, mainly because his bosses have sold his office building and put his office furniture in hock to stave off the hedgies for another month.

But that's another story.

In this story, Mike is fulminating against the commies, which I think is a must-do in the job description of every Postmedia employee, whether they be real employee or unpaid intern. So Mike wants to champion the plucky Canadian reporter who raised some questions about human rights in China during a presser the Chinese FM was having in Ottawa.

This is of course a very Canadian thing, to harangue others about their human rights abuses while remaining comfortably numb about our own human rights record. (See stats on native suicides, native incarceration rates, residential schools, etc.)

Nine paragraphs in, Mike drops the gloves with Well, OK. But here's what the US State Department report for 2015 says about China's human rights record.

Seriously? Come on Mike, surely the US State Department can't be your go-to source on the state of human rights in China?

Get outta here!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

If raining bombs and bullets on the Towelheads 'o Terror isn't working, why do we keep doing it?

Long story short, we keep doing it because it's a highly profitable gambit for all the usual suspects in our military-industrial-thinktanker complex. Yup, all those drone builders and bomb builders and the F-35 builders and professional thinktank bullshitters and the private contractors who profit from our "war on terror" have a vested interest in keeping that war going in perpetuity.

If we ever won that war, they'd be screwed.

So in this most exceptional of democracies, where corporations are people too, my friend, there's a lot of Manhattan penthouses and ocean-front beach houses dependant on keeping hate and war and weapon sales thriving to the max!

And so far, the US political apparatus has been more than happy to keep the gravy train a-chuggin'.

Why "The War on Terror" will never be won with more bombs, more bullets, more resolve, more boots on the ground, more cliches...

If you've been following the news, Islamic State is up against it because they are now under attack in both Iraq and Syria. The latest "Battle of Fallujah," much ballyhooed in the media for the past week, has ground to a halt before the "new" Iraqi army and their American "advisers" even entered the city. This was to be a test not only of that army, but of Abadi's leadership.

In a face-saving bullshitting exercise, Abadi has today claimed that although victory is at hand, he and his new army have ceased their advance out of concern for civilian casualties! Were this whopper to contain even a minute morsel of truth, it would mark the first time in the last eighty years that any combatant on any side in any Middle Eastern conflict has ceased hostilities out of concern for civilian casualties...

No, what's happened is that this latest glorious liberation of Fallujah has run out of gas even before the new Iraqi army got there. You'll be hearing plenty of experts waxing wise in the days to come about what must happen now. More training. More American advisers. More guns, bombs, bullets etc. Of course that's what the experts will prescribe - otherwise they'd have to face the fact that the only way to make peace with this mysterious contagion known as " radical Islam" is, brace yourself... by negotiating with the  "terrorists."

And what a mysterious contagion it is. Why do these nihilistic death cults hate us so? For our freedoms? For our democracies? Because we let women drive cars?..

Or could it be something else? Could it be they hate us because we've been stealing their stuff, killing their kids, and destroying their societies for the past hundred years?

Something to think about.