Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome to 2017!... it's so over for the Status Quo, is it not?

Yes it is....

But the big mystery for '17 is what's coming next...

Ya, we know Donny J is on deck... and there's a goodly percentile of the populace who feel the fear at that prospect...

To those who fear The Donald, I say this; relax!

He's a fucking condo salesman, for fuck's sakes...

Well, I guess that's not quite true anymore... that condo salesman is now the President of the United States of America!

There's something wholesome and befitting about having a condo salesman as Pres. Think about it. What's more American and "free enterprise" than selling condos?

All that shit in the Middle East could readily be de-escalated by putting up some Trump Towers in Jerusalem and Damascus.

The new "Cold War" could be put to bed with a few strategically placed Trump Towers in Moscow and Brussels.

What the fuck are you worried about?

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

With three weeks left, Obama finally gets tough on the Ruskies!

Yup, Barry O is slapping and expelling like a POTUS possessed!

Those damned Ruskies are gonna pay for meddling in America's democratic process!

Said meddling is the hack-n-leak of all those DNC e-mails in the days before the election. There's zero evidence that had anything to do with Russia and plenty of testimonials from relatively (relative to folks like Senators McCain and Graham) honest players that these leaks had nothing whatsoever to do with Russia.

Meanwhile, the exceptional nation is not shy about its long-standing program of interfering in the elections of other countries. That independent NGO that just happens to get ALL its funding from the US government is happy to brag about how it interferes in the democratic process in 90 countries!

And that's OK!

Another fine example of fake news

Here's a story from 2012 about a CTV news headline that turned out to be 90% fake.

Mercedes Stephenson claimed in 2012 that Canada delivers half a billion dollars in "aid" to the Palestinians every year. The actual amount is a tiny fraction of that, and it tends to be directed at PA security infrastructure, ie the Kapos who do Israel's dirty work in the occupied territories.

That's Canada's "aid" to the Palestinians!

Funny how the folks most incensed about "fake news" are the very same people who have been making it up and broadcasting it for years!

Obama and Kerry demonstrate their negotiating savvy

Heh heh... they sure pulled Bibi's pants down on that deal, didn't they?

Three months ago they sign an agreement to hand Israel 38 billions in military aid over ten years. I'm not much of a business whiz, but I think the word for that is "leverage," as in Obama had some leverage over the guys on the other side of the table. Once the deal was done, the leverage was gone.

So three months later they demand that Israel stop building settlements in the occupied territories? How inept are these guys?

The think tank here at Falling Downs figures they aren't really as retarded as they appear. What's changed in the past three months? Donald Trump won an election, that's what. And, difficult as it may be to fathom, a Trump presidency shows every sign of being the most sycophantic pro-Israel US government in history.

The Obama regime's eleventh hour recognition of the rights of Palestinians has nothing to do with Palestinians. After all, Obama had eight years to do something and did nothing. He's not motivated by issues of human rights or international law.

This sudden discovery of illegal settlements is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to stir up shit for the next president to deal with.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The view from Avenue Road

The view from our Avenue Road apartment will be a lot different than the views we enjoy here at Falling Downs. Here we've got an escarpment view from every window. There we'll enjoy the view of the side of the building next door. Unless we get that place on the ninth floor, where we'd have a view clear to the lake...

At least until the next wave of condo towers splash ashore along Lakeshore...

Me and the Farm Manager spent the last couple of days in Toronto visiting with Junior and some of the other juniors. Junior is in res at U of T and one of the others has an apartment ten minutes away on St. George Street. When I say "ten minutes" I'm talking walking. We found a three bed place just around the corner on Avenue Road that clocks in at under two thou per month.

We figure we'll rent the master with ensuite to a deserving U of T grad student for $900, and we've got two beds and a bathroom left for around a thousand a month. That's some pretty cheap living for downtown Toronto!

Heck, you could buy a one bed condo in that neighbourhood and even after you shell out half a million in up-front money you're on the hook for at least a thousand a month in "condo fees." Renting is definitely the way to go in these 'hoods.

Not sure how the hounds are gonna take to that. They've never been successfully domesticated, so they could spend their first six months in Toronto culling the poodle population in that building. That might look a little ugly at first blush, but experience tells me these things blow over. Eventually.

You'd be surprised at how many poodle aficionados are secretly grateful that your back-woods hunting dog just killed their spoiled wretch of a city dog.

And for an extra $125 per month you've got underground parking!

I'm thinking once I sell the fleet of parts vehicles behind the barn I'll have a nice down payment on a sweet little Mercedes sedan.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Nooman the Iranian pops boffo idea for new fast food brand

So the other day my Jewish step-daughter gets a call from her employer, Nooman (no relation) the Iranian, who had a sudden inspiration re: the name for the latest decrepit food truck he has added to his fleet.

Nooman buys these old food trucks and they appear with frightening regularity at events large and small everywhere from the GTA to the Niagara region. Frightening because they are so decrepit that they are often towed to their daily assignments, which in my book would make them food trailers rather than food trucks.

Not that such a trifle would slow down Nooman and his burgeoning food-truck empire. The latest addition to his fleet is aimed at the fried chicken crowd. He's got a brainwave about how to brand it. We got the news in a phone call on the first day of Hanukkah, also known as "Christmas eve" to the other half of my family.

Welcome to "Chuck it Up," mobile fried chicken for the masses!

My kid was stunned. What the fuck? Can he be serious?

"Chuck it up," Nooman reiterates. "Is that brilliant or what? I copyright that! That is so brilliant!"

She hangs up the phone and tells us the story. We are overcome with gales of laughter. Hardee-har-har and hahahahaha....

How can Nooman be so retarded?

We're still mopping tears from our eyes when she suddenly exclaims "Oh my God!... chuck it up? I think he meant 'cluck' it up!"

Nooman is an ESL kinda guy and does most of his communication in Farsi. He's made a simple mistake; luckily we were able to head him off at the pass. He has in fact registered his new business as Cluck it Up.

Not Chuck it Up.

Close call...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Trump to bigly up nuclear weapons ante

Trump's pronouncement today that America needs to vastly expand her nuclear arsenal made for a lot of headlines. That makes for ominous headlines alright... let's just hope it's another case of Trump calling for something while doing the opposite.

What's not getting a lot of attention is that Obama has already greenlit the modernization and expansion of America's nuclear arsenal.

Let's just hope Donald doesn't forget who elected him and why. A big reason Trump is pres-elect is that the vast majority of Americans are beyond sick and tired of the serial wars that enrich the war-mongers but drain the national treasury and destroy America's standing in the community of nations.

In theory it's possible to pack your cabinet with billionaires and still govern in a way that improves the lot of the common folks. Those millions of common folks who voted "Trump" are watching. If Trump brings the billionaires to heel, introduces measures to tax their off-shored cash hordes, and does something, anything, to bring decent jobs back to America, those common folks will give him a pass.

If not, America is in deep shit.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gulen v. Trump; how will they square the circle?

NATO's biggest challenge going forward won't be President Trump. It will be President Erdogan of Turkey.

NATO, the militarized face of The Nations of Virtue, at least 25 years past its best-before date, is dealing with "incoming" threats for the first time in its history. In the shape of the incoming president of the United States.

Trump seems less than convinced that NATO serves any useful purpose. That's got a lot of NATO careerists nervous. And that's a lot of nervous people. From the top-shelf bosses in Brussels to their multitudinous support staff to the minions in the NATO liaison corps in each of the 28 member nations (could be 29 - is Montenegro in yet?) we're talking many tens of thousands of nervous people.

NATO member Turkey's wily President Erdogan claims that last summer's coup attempt was organized by Fettulah Gulen. Gulen is an international man of mystery who has been cooling his heels at an idyllic compound a couple of hours north of Langley for the past twenty years or so. The think tank here at Falling Downs gives Erdogan's suspicions a 9+ on the ten point plausibility scale that we use to winnow the wheat of real news from the chaff of fake news.

Mr. Erdogan has been insisting that the US extradite Gulen from his Pennsylvania hidey-hole to face "justice" in Turkey. That line would have been funny when Midnight Express came out almost forty years ago. It's exponentially funnier today!

So NATO should probably toss Erdogan over the side (which they arguably tried last summer), Trump is luke-warm (at best) on NATO, Erdogan is cosying up to Putin once again, and Trump (according to mainstream American media) is already in Putin's pocket.

Where does this leave Gulen?

High and dry, you'd be tempted to say, except for a couple of little things. Gulen is the polar opposite of Trump in many ways. One is a under-the-radar introvert, the other a vainglorious attention hog. But they are much alike in other ways. Definitive financial statements for either of them are equally difficult to pin down, for one thing.

Gulen is one of the biggest charter school operators in America. And who did Trump just nominate for Secretary of Education? Why, Betsy DeVos, America's number one champion of charter schools!

So, will Trump dispatch Gulen to face justice in Turkey? Or will Gulen force Erdogan out of office?

It's hard to see how Trump can square that circle.

Fake-news fairies whisk little Bana out of Allepo into the arms of Erdogan!

You gotta admit the wily Erdogan knows a good photo-op when he sees one.

If nothing else, this story proves that the roads from "rebel held" areas of Syria to the capital of Turkey remain wide open, in spite of the fact that Turkey has allegedly joined the fight against Daesh. How else to explain the fact that Bana was only evacuated out of Aleppo two days ago, on a Syrian government bus, and transferred to rebel held territory, and finds herself on The Sultan's lap in Ankara a mere 24 hours later?

That's truly amazing!

But in annals of the wily Erdogan's amazing adventures, it's par for the course. This is the guy who heads the second largest military in NATO but is conniving with Bad Vlad in all sorts of nefarious goings on in the neighbourhood. He's fighting ISIS but fighting the Kurds even harder, even though it's universally acknowledged that the Kurds are fighting ISIS harder than anybody. The guy who embodies the shared values of NATO even while wreaking havoc on his Kurdish population, side-lining democracy in his own country, and jailing more journalists than any despot in the world...

Sometimes it's hard to figure out where the truthiness ends and the fake news begins, isn't it?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Putting the "fake" into real news

Doug Saunders' journalism has been gracing the pages of Canada's newspaper of record for about twenty years now. His current position is "opinion writer on international affairs" or something along those lines. As such, he's more on the analysis and commentary side of things. In other words, his job is to spin the facts into a narrative that his employer is comfortable with. 
The print version of his column today is titled "The fall of Aleppo:Four sobering lessons." His four sobering lessons also appear in the online version of the story, and I have copied them verbatim below. My comments are italicised. 
Doug Saunders' four sobering lessons from the fall of Aleppo
Did Aleppo "fall" or was it retaken by legitimate government forces?
1. The Islamic State was never the main problem. The territorial ambitions of the ultra-Islamist militia have ruined lives, imprisoned regions and showered terrorist outrages on Western cities. But the newly redrawn map of Syria makes the basic fact more clear: the Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) was purely a product of Mr. al-Assad’s decision to resist a mass uprising against his rule. It only remains a threat as long as he continues his fight.
ISIS was "purely a product of Mr. al-Assad's decision to resist a mass uprising against his rule." It was? Virtually any mainstream explanation of the rise of ISIS posits its roots in the US invasion of Iraq. ISIS evolved out of the radical Islamist insurgency that grew out of that invasion. That's the consensus position on virtually every news site. Mr. al-Assad is not responsible for the creation of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. America is.
The Islamic State will not fade away soon. It just used the chaos of the assault on Aleppo to retake the historic city of Palmyra. But the Islamic State is a symptom, not the disease: Nine out of 10 deaths have been delivered by Mr. al-Assad’s state forces. The Islamic State appeared when he lost legitimacy, and will not disappear until he loses power.
"Nine out of ten deaths have been delivered by Mr. al-Assad's state forces."
They have? Not if you consult the Wikipedia entry for Casualties of the Syrian civil war. The article cites various sources including some that are prominently anti-Assad to come up with estimates of approximately 100,000 government combatant casualties and a similar number of opposition combatant casualties. That takes care of about half the casualties right there. The idea that 90% of the casualties have been innocent civilians targeted by Assad is rubbish.
2. Puppet states are back. Post-Aleppo Syria is a manufactured product of Russian and Iranian military and economic aid, period. Not since the Cold War has a satellite state combined a total lack of public legitimacy with total repression of its people in such a horrendous way. Let us not allow this to become a model.
Mr. al-Assad has a "total lack of public legitimacy?" That's not the opinion of Jonathan Steele in this story at the Guardian titled "Most Syrians back President Assad, but you'd never know from western media."  Nor is Saunder's claim supported by this story at Foreign Policy titled "Assad's Sunni foot soldiers" from 2015. Or this story from The National Interest from earlier this year. These are mainstream sources that Mr. Saunders must be very well acquainted with in his capacity as the Globe's number one foreign affairs commentator. The "total lack of public legitimacy" chestnut is a total fabrication.

3. The refugee camps will become permanent cities. Turkey’s Gaziantep and Sanliurfa camps and the surrounding cities each contain around 300,000 Arabs and Kurds (of 2.5 million now living in Turkey) who have fled Mr. al-Assad’s vengeance. Jordan’s Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps contain more than 140,000 people. As long as the Assad regime remains in control, they cannot return; nor can the much smaller numbers of refugees who have fled to Europe and North America. It is time to start acknowledging these new cities, and populations, as long-term realities that could exist for a decade.
A decade? The Palestinian refugee cities scattered about the Middle East have been around for well over half a century. The reverberations from our failed regime change policy with respect to Assad can be expected to last at least as long. Had Turkey and Jordan not connived with the US "regime change" agenda from the beginning, they wouldn't be facing this refugee burden today.
4. The Libyan option was preferable. The decision by the United States (and Canada) to avoid a full-scale military intervention in Syria in 2012 and 2013 was based largely on recent precedent: The long-term invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan were catastrophic failures, leaving little appetite for another. But why, after the gas-attack nightmare of 2013 crossed every red line, didn’t we lend our military strength to unseat Mr. al-Assad? The answer, by then, was Libya: The same thing was done there in 2011, when NATO forces lent air support to the popular move to overthrow their own dictator – and now look at the place. A disaster.
But that’s the less horrific option. Libya is an unstable mess verging on a civil war of its own. But it is not the site of the sort of enormous-scale monstrosities, involving hundreds of thousands of deaths, that it would have become if Moammar Gadhafi had been kept in power and permitted to mete his revenge.
We also have to remember, when contemplating U.S. President Barack Obama’s fateful failure to take action (and Justin Trudeau’s promise not to get involved), that the best possible outcome “getting tough” could have produced would have been something resembling current-day Libya. He would be under attack by media and Republicans for provoking this outcome, and Western militaries would be caught in an impossible position. But hundreds of thousands would likely still be alive.
Just wrecking Syria the way we did Libya would be preferable? Libyans enjoyed the highest standard of living in all of Africa under the "despot" Gadhafi. What are they enjoying today? The disgusting arrogance on display here is utterly despicable. How is it our business to decide what's right for Libya or what's right for Syria?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Professional Black Intellectual calls out Kanye West and Jim Brown for their Uncle Tom-ism

Peniel Joseph doesn't waste any time declaring his bona fides in his screed currently on view at CNN. It's right there in his title. If Kanye cared about black folks he'd have voted for Hillary!

And in case you didn't get it, he spells it out again in his first paragraph; thanks to Kanye and all those other un-enlightened black folks who failed to vote for Hillary, black people lost the election.

Sure... because the Clintons have done so much for black folks in America?..

A quick peek at Peniel's Wikipedia page reveals a man who's made a damned fine career out of being a Professional Black Intellectual. Looks like he's founded some iteration of "black studies" programs pretty much everywhere he ever landed a teaching gig.

In the academic world "Black Studies" is a close cousin of Gender Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Feminist Studies, Queer Studies, etc. All your major institutions of higher learning have indulged these fields of study in the last twenty or thirty years or so because it proves beyond a doubt how tolerant and inclusive they are.

While engineering, business, and the hard sciences remain the meat and potatoes of every worthwhile post-secondary institution, and their alumni provide the gravy for their endowment funds, it's crucial to show that you're a bastion of diversity and have an eye out for the welfare of the oppressed.

There's a word for that.


Mind you, it's given Peniel and many like-minded Professional Black Intellectuals a soap-box from which to mega-phone their insights... such as Donald Trump is a racist douche-bag and Hillary loves black people.

As near as I can tell Trump became a racist around the time he officially declared his intention to run for the White House. Before that he was almost a token honorary white dude among professional black activists.

Why do you suppose that changed once he was in the ring with Hillary?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How Trump can keep the baying populist mobs at bay, in three easy steps

It's beyond obvious by now that Donald's election campaign is hugely at odds with the clique of billionaires and former generals he is surrounding himself with as he builds his management team. Here's how he could quiet the disquiet that's growing around his perceived bait-and-switch tactics.

1. Toss the plebes their dream of a $15/hr minimum wage. At first blush you'd think guys like Puzder aren't gonna think too much of that, but even he can be convinced. After all, that's a lot more disposable income for the sort of folks who like to dispose of their income at Carl's Jr. and similar venues. Just jack your prices to cover the costs. It's a no-brainer!

2. No matter what you call it, (and obviously you'll have to call it something else) give the masses some version of universal health care. That's gonna piss off the big dogs in the private health care business, but most Americans are OK with the idea that their health challenges shouldn't be somebody else's profit opportunity.

3. Go ape on infrastructure renewal. This can create as many jobs as you need to create. Trump can easily siphon hundreds of billions out of the obscenely bloated military budget and use those billions to create millions of jobs rebuilding America. Yup, time to pull the plug on the F-35 and use the money to revamp the I-35 and all those other Interstate highways that have fallen into decrepitude.

Should be a sure thing!

Putin puts finishing touches on Trump take-over with Tillerson nomination

If you've been following the latest fallout from the December 8 fiasco in the mainstream media, you'll already know that it was Putin who facilitated the Trump victory.

Yup, Putin's minions manipulated the election with a series of exquisitely timed leaks designed to cast Hillary in a negative light.

It worked.

And no, Hillary didn't lose because tens of millions of Americans are fed up with the status quo; she lost because of Putin's perfidy, plain and simple. Apparently it doesn't matter how many photo-ops you stage with pop-cult sweethearts like Katy Perry and LeBron James, Putin's got the mojo to push all that pop-culture trash into the ditch. Hell, even the promise of a blow-job from Madonna wasn't enough to entice voters!

To be fair, there are corners of the mainstream where the dominant MSM narrative isn't getting a lot of traction. Here's Doug Henwood at that bastion of (neo)liberalism The Guardian claiming it was Hillary, not Putin, who won the election for Trump.

And here's a wildly untoward opinion piece from Tom Basile at Forbes claiming that the "real" fake news is found in mainstream media. (Like Forbes?)


But in spite of those outliers, it's hard not to notice that there's been a big push to paint Trump as Putin's stooge.

Enter Rex Tillerson. Rex has spent his entire working life on the bridge of the good ship Exxon-Mobil. There's not a president or prime minister anywhere in the developed, developing, under-developed, or un-developing world who doesn't return his phone calls. Promptly.

Isn't that the kind of guy you'd want as Secretary of State?

And although this point is rarely made, Tillerson heads a company that actually has it's own State Department. Not nearly as well populated as that other State Department that operates out of DC, but arguably populated by folks with a much higher level of competence. After all, how many Exxon-Mobil execs needlessly lost their lives in Libya?

So even though the man has zero "political experience," he has tons of successful political experience.

As the regular reader well knows, the think tank here at Falling Downs has been more than a little sceptical about the president-elect's road to the White House. But the more he builds a management team with folks who have serious real-world experience instead of nominating slimy political insiders, the more we think the man deserves a chance.

But we're still a long way from 20.1.17.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

RIP Bob Hutton

I could say, were I inclined to indulge antiquated cliches, that I knew Bob since he was knee-high to a grass-hopper.

He used to hang out around my buddy Kipling's place back when Kipling had a '66 Hemi-Charger and a pair of 396/375 Novas for sale on his front lawn out there at his place on the 24 Highway.

Bob was in his early teens and walked up to Kipling's place to catch the school bus.

It was Kipling who called me with the news today; Bob is dead.

The "hanging around" eventually led to Bob getting married off to Kipling's sister-in-law.

Several years on, of course.

Bob was into the fast cars and he was into the quality home-grown. In fact it was one of Bob's buddies who pretty much introduced my circle of accomplices to the fine art of indoor grow-ops.

If you were gonna be hanging with Bob for the day it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that there would be some quality weed involved.

But we all grew up and everything changed. Bob and I had a falling out over some Mustangs that just had to be rescued from a storage garage over in Kitchener.

Free Mustangs.

All we had to do was winch them onto a trailer and drive away.

I lassoed Bob into the mission thinking it was a no-brainer.

Didn't work out that way. The guy who owned that garage went on to start a major REIT. He also knew I could not be counted on to get a free car out of storage.

Thanks, Bob!

I remember Bob asking me, after he'd been at Hammond's a couple of years, if he should take a chance and enter their apprenticeship program. They had an opening for a millwright trainee. His other options were staying on the line or driving truck for the company.

I said, Bob, you can always drive a truck. Do the millwright thing if you have a chance and if you don't like it, you can always drive their trucks.

Bob took my counsel, got his millwright ticket, and eventually ended up as head of maintenance at the Hammond plant at Edinburgh and Speedvale.

He had a very nice run.

Godspeed, Bob!

Countdown to Armageddon

 It's been busy times here at Falling Downs.

Bubby took another spill recently and therefore the Farm Manager has been splitting her time between the farm and Bubby's place in town. The main thrust of the time in town is to convince the fiercely independent Bubbinator to just say "yes" to a home.

The next day Hillary went viral with her denunciation of "fake news." Yup, apparently it was fake news that crippled her campaign.

It wasn't that Trump thoroughly out-worked her. I mean she was doing one event every other day and he was doing four or five every day. Trump may be a silver-spoon twat, but you gotta admit the man has a work ethic. Not only that, but he actually had stuff to say that resonated with a lot of folks.

Trump was the first political contender to ixnay the "free trade floats all boats" bullshit that has been conventional wisdom for the past quarter century. If nothing else, we should thank him for that.

But back to "fake news."

We gotta be on the look-out for fake news. It's everywhere all the time, especially once you're out of the certified truthiness neighbourhoods out there in the world 'o news. You know what I'm talking about. Play it safe; get your news from reputable news sources like WaPo and NYT and you'll be good. Get your news from some dodgy punks at Global Research or Paul Craig Roberts' website, and... well, obviously you're imbibing Putin's propaganda wholesale.

So on Friday the mainstream news was chock full of fulminations about those dastardly Russian Olympians who have been making a mockery of WADA and every wholesome convention of fair play in sports. Russians are cheaters, was the message. And of course, Russia being the dictatorship that it is, Putin bears personal responsibility for every Russian infraction of the rules of fair play.

I actually had some things to say about that on Friday. Unfortunately, Friday was consumed by the demands of the Farm Manager's holiday party at her day job. Yup, the FM has a day job. The cash flow here at Falling Downs is not sufficient for the lifestyle she is accustomed to, especially in those years when the OPP Air Force flags our herb garden. Even though we keep the herb garden on the neighbour's property, this is the kind of thing that has a very negative effect on the cash flow around here.

So instead of writing a thought-provoking blog, I had to go to a party where grown-up middle-aged types were playing "party games." People were voluntarily dabbing vaseline on their noses so they could safely carry a cotton ball across the room. Because if you could do that faster than your competition, you won the game!

Get the fuck outta here. Some of those folks are actually interesting people who I wouldn't mind talking to. Watching them carry a cotton ball across the room stuck to a gob of vaseline on their nose does NOT interest me.

In any way whatsoever.

Next day, the Russian hacker shit hit the mainstream news fan. Yup, unnamed sources have informed the Washington Post that the CIA has determined that the Ruskies interfered with the US election in favour of Trump!




It's true then! Even as those Podesta emails were ripping the curtain away from Hillary's all-out campaign to undermine Bernie we were being side-tracked into thinking the scandal was not about the Dem hierarchy fucking Sanders, but about the "fact" that the Ruskies were behind the leaks!

That gosh-darned Putin!

So I was about to post a pithy blog about that, but had to defer it because I had a holiday family function to attend in Waterloo. My dear Uncle Werner, who used to be a professor at the University there, started this tradition a quarter century ago. Alas, he is so far ahead of me on the Alzheimer Highway that I don't even have his tail-lites in view anymore, and he hasn't attended his own tradition in years, but nevertheless I make an effort.

Even though it was six hours of driving through various levels of blizzard for a bowl of chilli I'm always glad I made the effort. You get to see those elders who are still more or less with it. And some who aren't.

You get to catch up with the youngsters who are racking up massive student debt at the finest universities in the land.

And you get to catch up with your peers who parent those kids and whose parents are not 100% anymore. It's usually a very therapeutic undertaking. You come away with a new appreciation for your situation. I mean, you can be on the brink of bankruptcy, have seventeen different medical procedures pending, but holy shit, at least you're not in cousin so-and-so's shoes...

That makes six hours of driving through blizzard conditions for a sandwich and a bowl of soup eminently reasonable!

But it did cause a further delay for the next blog post.

So here's what I've been wanting to say ever since Hillary made her anti-alt-news speech last Thursday.

The so-called fake news sites have a long way to go before they catch up to our mainstream outlets in the disbursement of fake news. When you get fake news from InfoWars or Breitbart, who cares?

When you get fake news from the Washington Post or the New York Times, bad shit happens.

Like the war on Afghanistan.

Like the war on Iraq.

Like the destruction of Libya.

Like the current fiasco in Syria.

In every case our honest and reliable mainstream news media delivered up a fully baked loaf of bullshit as though it was "real" news.

The Washington Post and the New York Times peddled the most egregious bullshit as though it were true.

Millions believed them.

Millions died.

So now we are expected to snap to attention because WaPo publishes a story attributed to "anonymous sources" in the CIA who tell us Putin interfered in this election?

Get the fuck outta here!

Yes, interfering in the democratic process is a vile thing, and ya, maybe Putin's minions have engaged in such dastardly deeds.


But take a gander at the home page of the National Endowment for Democracy. Right there on their home page they boast about interfering in the democratic process in over 90 countries!

And if you want to talk about fake shit, how do you like their claim that they are a "private, non-profit foundation."


It's a 100% fake NGO that gets 100% of its financing from the US government! NGO stands for "non- government organization." How is a non-government organization a non-government organization if they get all their funding from the government?

Anyway, these are the sorts of folks who are running scared at the thought of a Trump presidency. If they're scared, they must know something about Trump that I don't.

Not that there isn't plenty to be scared of. I mean how many billionaires and generals and GS alumns can you pack into your cabinet and still pretend you're the saviour of the little people?

The countdown to Armageddon is on.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pot-addled hillbilly's blog gets 88 page views in one day

From Yemen!

I shit you not! From Yemen!

Are there even 88 computers in Yemen? Or did the guy with the computer view my blog 88 times?

Who knows?

And I don't know shit about Yemen. Other than it's one of the poorest places on earth, but nevertheless one where lots of folks have ample money for guns and bullets. Long live the second amendment, I guess.

I also know that they've been having the crap bombed out of them by the Saudis. The same Saudis who buy many billions worth of guns and bullets and missiles and bombs and fighter planes and all that shit from the US and the UK.

Rumour has it that both the US and the UK have sales reps on the ground in Yemen to assist in the field trials of all those beautiful weapons systems they've been selling the Saudis.

But that's just the way of the world, is it not?

Anyway, here's hoping Buddy over there with the computer enjoyed what he read today.

Meanwhile, things are moving right along in the cabinet-building process for the president-elect. Seems he found a guy nick-named "Mad Dog" for Secretary of Defense.

I don't know anything about the guy, so maybe it's one of those ironic nick-names. You know, like when the smallest kid in your grade nine class got the nick-name "Big Jim."

Time will tell... although I suspect that what it's going to tell us isn't something we necessarily want to hear.

Like, "it's too late..."

Hard to know what the president-elect has up his sleeve for his next headline-grabber, but it's kinda fun speculating about it, wouldn't you agree?

I mean, it could literally be anything.

A dozen more cabinet posts filled with guys nick-named "Mad Dog?"

Or "Chainsaw?"

Who knows?

Gotta admit I've oodles of empathy for the folks who think the wrong person won. I mean it's gotta suck watching this shit-show unfold. The only thing I don't get is how those folks imagined anything would be better if the fake progressive had crashed through that glass ceiling.

After all, that's who the script-writers had up next. Yup, the first black president had his run, and the first female president was on deck.

You know what happened then...

What happens next?

And here's to you, Yemen guy; thanks for reading! Keep your head down and your spirits up!

I'm raising a pint to you right now!

Saturday, December 3, 2016


Made a point of getting into town bright and early, in hope of avoiding last Saturday's debacle.

It worked! I got my weekend newspaper for ten bucks minus a handful of change... and there was nothing in it!

Well, that's not quite true. Mark MacKinnon had pretty much the entirety of the "Focus" section to himself for a major, and I mean major, effort about the origins of the Syrian "civil war." Most of his salient points about the actual origins were spelled out well over four years ago in this story, but he did have some original insights into what's become of the protagonists since then.

I was cheered to see a little less Trump this week. That's almost unfortunate after Trump moots a guy nick-named "Mad Dog" for SecDef.

I'm gonna have to re-see "Idiocracy" again before I make up my mind on that one... introducing your new Secretary of Defence, Mad Dog Mattis!

Get the fuck outta here!

But my actual propornot moment came when I read a story by Paul Waldie, who is apparently the Globe's "European correspondent." That's in addition to MacKinnon traipsing around Europe for months updating a story from 2012.

No wonder I'm paying over five bucks for my newspaper!

Anyway, Waldie gets pretty much a whole page in the first section to pontificate on what's wrong with France. Seems the French are mightily pissed with those gosh-darned socialists who have ruled the roost since 2012. They are yearning for the freedom and prosperity that only a right-wing government can bring.

I know this because nowhere in the story is there any hint whatsoever that there exists a substantial polity to the left of the so-called Socialists of Hollande.

Hollande and his party are "left" in the same sense that Hillary's Democratic Party is "left." As in, not really.

In the last French election the Left Front and a couple of fringe left parties garnered about 15% of the popular vote. By now, anybody who expected "left" policies from the centre-rightist "socialist" Hollande will be thoroughly disillusioned.

Will those voters swing right or swing to the real left? I'm guessing most of them will go to the left.

Even if only half of the ten million voters who marked their ballots for Hollande on the last go-round retreat to the real left, the real left becomes a real threat in the upcoming election.

Not a hint of that in Mr. Waldie's story.

Why? I'm guessing it's because the billionaires who own popular media world-wide would rather not broadcast the fact that there is such a thing as a "real" left.

And Waldie correctly surmises that it's better to tell half the story and keep a full paycheque, than to tell the whole story and have no paycheque.

Friday, December 2, 2016

PostMedia cuts unpaid interns out of the loop

The think tankers here at Falling Downs have long held that most PostMedia content is the product of unpaid interns working feverishly out of a Burlington Timmies; working feverishly but working for free, just to get a few more lines on their resumes, so that when the time comes they can score one of those imaginary paying jobs in the modern media world.

I think they're even more out of luck than we suspected.

We were perusing the Google news aggregator this afternoon when we chanced upon this story at the Edmonton Journal.

When you click on the story, you get a press release from CNW Group, a Cision Company. Yup, you see "Edmonton Journal" in the hot bar but you've got a press release from a private PR company in front of your eyes.

Hmmm....  look around a bit more and you'll soon discover that the Edmonton Journal story cum CNW press release is actually this press release from the Government of Canada!

Now, does that mean CNW, a Cision Company, actually wrote the Government's press release?

I'd guess yes.

But the other thing we must note is that those unpaid interns weren't even allowed to change a single word before it found the light of day under a PostMedia title!

It's bad enough that the pirates who hijacked Postmedia have been shitting on their professional journos for six years, but denying the legions of unpaid interns the opportunity to tweak a press release goes beyond the pale. I mean, they're working for free already!... give them a little something to put on their resumes!

Meanwhile, guess who's NOT working for free?

If you guessed that cabal of money-grubbers around PostMaster Godfrey, you'd be right!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

IGGY: the downward spiral never ends...

Everybody who ever loved Iggy in the old days loved him for a reason.

He was like fucking out there man.

Fucked up and fucking up in front of your fucking eyes!

Now flash forward fifty years and see Iggy the Icon at a press conference in Cannes.

It's a fucked up world, but Osterberg is on top of it, baby.

Shocking Trump truth revealed!

Been reading all those truth-telling mainstream news platforms as hard as I can, and one thing I know for sure is that Trump triumphed by riding his racist bona fides to victory on the strength of pissed off white working class voters who hate black folks because... well, just because that's what those dumbfucks do.

Well, they're gonna be even more pissed off when they scrutinize these photos:

Image result for trump jesse jackson sharpton           Image result for trump jesse jackson sharpton

Image result for trump jesse jackson sharptonImage result for trump jesse jackson sharpton

Image result for trump jesse jackson sharpton  Image result for trump ali

Yup, that's your hero there, racist white working class dumbfucks! Aren't you sorry you didn't check Google Images before you voted? He's been palling around with those people all his life!

And while I don't mean to kick you while you're down, I think you can safely wave bye-bye to all that "drain the swamp" shit too. Have you noticed that his cabinet is coming pretty much from the professional politician class and the Goldman Sachs School of Not-So-Hard Knocks?

Doesn't look promising to me.

But what do I care? I didn't vote for him.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

ISIS to determine outcome of next presidential election in France

When you think of a typical Frenchman,  do you picture a hale and hardy ninety-year-old white dude pedalling his bicycle through the verdant countryside with a big bagatelle and a jumbo flask of red wine in the carrier, while puffing on an unfiltered cigarette?

Or do you picture an alienated young man with dark skin cooped up in an urban high-rise, wondering why this cradle of modern secularism renders him a second-class citizen even though he was born there?

That guy on the bike is a stereotype, to be sure. He's of that generation who engineered all those goodies that Michael Moore never tires of reminding us of. He landed a good job straight out of school and between the annual mandatory three months of holidays and being on strike six months of the year only did an actual 5.2 years of work before hitting the mandatory retirement age of fifty, and life's been nothing but red wine, cigarettes, and bike rides ever since!

That other guy is a stereotype too, but like it or not, the population of alienated brown people in France is growing rapidly, while that other stereotype is fading away.

It hasn't helped that Hollande the Hapless has, over his mandate, further alienated both of those groups. Which brings us to the next election.

The so-called "centre-right" candidate next April is to be Francois Fillon, it was determined today. Fillon isn't any more centre-right than the socialist president as near as I can tell. Seems to be a bit more hawkish on taking benefits away from that guy on the bike. If Fillon has his way that guy will be renting a room in that urban high-rise from a Muslim family.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Getting to know other cultures is always a good thing, but forcing old Jean off his bike and off his wine and ciggies is just going to create animosity. Maybe Jean will decide he'd rather die... maybe that's the plan? Getting all those old fuckers off the pension rolls would be a huge money saver, after all.

So, even though the mainstream press already foresee the April election as a show-down between Fillon and Marine Le Pen, I don't see either of our stereotypical Frenchmen having any reason to vote for Fillon.

Much will depend on who represents the French Left. While Hollande wasn't much of a "socialist," France, unlike the US, actually has a genuine left polity. Given the right candidate for the times, and the candidate will not be selected until January, it's possible to see that the greater showdown could be between the Left Front and Le Pen.

Hollande has been a complete disaster. In the first place, he's spent virtually the entirety of his mandate with his head up BHL's ass. It's fine to have presidential advisers, but when their advice is consistently and disastrously wrong, you can't just blame the adviser and walk away.

Given the right Left candidate, I can see both our stereotypical Frenchmen voting Left Front, as well as a goodly portion of the electorate who voted Hollande in 2012. That could keep Le Pen out and bring a genuinely progressive and inclusive party to power.

Which is where ISIS comes in. The Europeans in general, and nobody more enthusiastically than the French, have been co-conspirators with the US in the project to destroy the Muslim nations of the Middle East. Whether we're saving the people from their tyrants or eliminating their weapons of mass destruction or whatever gloss we want to put on it, we've been busy destroying the Middle East. That has created both an unprecedented refugee crisis and ISIS. Not hard to figure out that those two phenomena are mutually reinforcing.

Spare me the bullshit head-scratching about the clash of civilizations and why they hate us; they hate us because we've been stealing their stuff and killing their kids for generations. Ask that alienated young Muslim in that high-rise. He knows, even as the savants and the political elite pretend they can't figure it out.

So France is five months out from a presidential election and awash with refugees from countries the West has been "liberating." A certain unknown percentage of those refugees will be hard-core radicals. A much larger percentage have at least some sympathy for that hard core. Every time one of those hard-core radicals explodes in a French shopping mall between now and April, Le Pens polling numbers will spike.

That's how ISIS will determine who becomes the next president of France.

Is this fake news?

Took my usual Saturday jaunt into town yesterday to visit The Korean and pick up my copy of Canada's national newspaper of record, because I'm eager to keep up with the latest outrages of the president elect, don't you know. And there is no finer place to stay abreast of said outrages than in the pages of Canada's newspaper of record.

Is this because there is nothing newsworthy afoot in Canada? Maybe, although I see where Justin has made himself newsworthy just for saying nice stuff about the recently departed dictator of Cuba.

The Korean had bad news for me; the Globe and Mail is sold out.

Shit! That only happened once before, and that was when I had an exceptionally late night on Friday and didn't get into town for the morning paper till six in the evening. Understandable.

So I drive to the other Korean variety store at the far end of town. Sold out there too!

Double shit! Can there be that many people in Wiarton willing to shell out over five bucks for the Globe and Mail? As a last resort I head for the non-Korean variety store. I try to avoid that place if possible. It's part of the global chain that's made some grasping Quebecois genius into a billionaire for consolidating the world's variety stores. They seem to keep two and sometimes three sullen min-wage staffers behind the counter at all times. I guess that's so they can spell one another off while they take turns updating their Facebook status. Or maybe they need two to spy on each other to prevent pilfering.

Give me a cheerful Korean family behind the counter any day. The only employees you ever see there are their children. A typical four year old Korean kid already knows how to work the till and make change, and accurate change at that, which is more than you can say for the typical min-wage high school graduates who work at the other place. I don't know how they get around the child labour laws, because the only other people who get away with putting children to work are the Amish, and in their case it seems to be a religious freedom issue.

Anyway, they're goddamned sold out of the Globe and Mail too, and all this before noon on Saturday. And by the way, I think Alain Bouchard should take a page out of Fast Eddie Burkhardt's management playbook when he decreed that only one employee was required to operate a train, because otherwise they'd just be distracting each other. Hey, if a single person can safely steer a hundred tanker Bakken bomb across the country, why does it take three to sell slushies at a corner store?

Thoroughly disappointed and doomed to reading the day's news on my laptop, I wracked my brain for an explanation for all three variety stores being sold out of the same paper on the same day. I guess there's just a lot of folks in town who wanted that paper as a keepsake to commemorate Castro's demise.

Reading around the world wide web 'o bullshit I found out about this new phenomenon known as "fake news." Apparently this is a nasty conspiracy hatched by Putin and his henchmen to rob our free and democratic Nations of Virtue of their freedom and democracy. And it's working!

That's why Trump is the president elect! Yup, fake news peddled by Putin's minions cheated Hillary out of her turn in the Oval Office, and that's how great civilizations are brought low.

It was while researching this fake news phenomenon that I chanced upon this remarkable video of CNN big Christiane Amanpour. In the past I've always thought CNN's so-called news was as fake as anything out there, but apparently not. Amanpour pretty much confirmed that professional journos are all that stands between our civilized society and a totalitarian state like our allies Egypt and Turkey. In fact, it's the professional journalists who are our first and last line of defence for preserving something she calls "American values." While she didn't spell out what those might be, she did mention that they're America's number one export.

Did you get that? America's values are an even more valuable export than American guns, bombs, and bullets! Who knew?

She also confirmed that it was indeed Putin's fake news that got Trump elected. No evidence required; it's just one of those "facts" we all agree on, like the previous bullshit about values being America's most valuable export.

I don't know what to think. I mean, does anyone really expect us to trust CNN to tell the truth? For my money, I think that old grouch Paul Craig Roberts has a far truthier take on fake news than does Christiane Armanpour.

Then again, his website has been officially designated as a fake news site. I read that on CNN.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The old hand jive

Spent a few hours honouring the classic rock geniuses for their contributions to civilisation this week.

YouTube is a beautiful thing. You can watch rock and roll shows that happened before you were born!

Wanna see Jerry Lee pound that piano in '63?

You can find a live concert on YouTube.

One of the all-time rock and roll standards has to be Hand Jive.

Search that one on YouTube and you'll find everybody from Otis to George Thorogood and Eric Clapton putting their stamp on it... doing that old hand jive.

That's all fine and dandy, but as far as I'm concerned, things went to the next level once and for all when Way-Out Willy gave them that treat. Yup, he did that hand jive with his feet.

And that, my friends, is a pretty damned good summation of the last seventy-five years of pop culture!

Random riffs & rants

Not that I want to draw too much attention to it, but we pretty much have a triple alliteration going on there, don't we?

A successful triple alliteration never fails to give me a boner, but that's just me, I guess.

I listen to the CBC news every morning, usually more than once. Not sure yet about this "David Common" character. Is this an actual person or did they make him up?

I can see the focus group in my mind's eye;

CBC suit; "So, can we think of a name for a on-air personality that would appeal to the commoner?"

Focus Group; "how about we give him a really common name... like Brian Smith or something?"

CBC suit; "How about Brian Common instead? After all, "smith" is a little too common..."

FG; Brian Common?... sounds too common.... how about "David Common?"


So now we got a guy allegedly named David Common reading our morning news.

Not only that, but this supposed real-flesh mensch seems to be a world class undercover media reporter!

I don't know if it's just me, but have you noticed that a lot of CBC news stories are now about CBC news? Like they found out that your local no-kill pet shelter fobs unpleasant pets off to the other pet shelters? As in pet shelters that may not be averse to killing your pet?

And just today I learned, thanks to a CBC task force headed up by, who else, David Common, that
marijuana today is not what it was when your grand-pappy smoked the weed 'o wisdom.


Get the fuck outta here!

Who knew?

Everybody at the CBC is shitting their pants because maybe, somewhere down the road, a right wing NDP or right wing PC or right wing Liberal government might say see-ya-later to the CBC.

That would be the kiss of death to real estate values in certain wildly over-priced Toronto neighbourhoods.

Be that as it may, we must riff and rant about the private sector too.

How about those PostMedia bigs getting six-number bonuses while the minions who put the words to the page are being axed in their thousands. Is that a great story or what?

As usual, things are far more flammable south of the border.

Did you hear that Donald Trump won the presidential election?


Get the fuck outta here!

But he did. Really.

The latest news on that story is that Jill Stein has collected enough cash in the last few days to be able to demand recounts in several borderline states. She has allegedly garnered more cash for this initiative in a few days than she did in two years for her own election campaign. Is there anything fishy about that story?

Of course not! At least not if you read that story on a mainstream news platform, where at least you know it's gotta be REAL news as opposed to the other kind.

So much to rant about.... so little time.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In the parade

Me and the Farm Manager were in the Santa Clause parade again, and I won't bore you with the details, except for this one.

The FM discovered that she had lost her debit card just before we were to embark the parade float. There ensued a hysterical search for said debit card inside and outside of our trusty ten year old GM SUV. I didn't pay all that much attention, because after all, it wasn't my debit card... but when we got back to the staging area an hour and a half later, the front passenger door was wide open, and presumably had been for an hour and a half.

It is indeed a warm tribute to the locals that nobody rifled through the vehicle, because I left my wallet with several credit cards that work in the centre console. When I say "credit cards that work" I'm talking about working well into five numbers.


But that's not why I'm remembering parades.

Parades were pretty cool when I was a little kid. My parents took me to many. I always loved the baton twirlers, and at some level I aspired to become one... just another broken dream in the big picture, I suppose.

My pal Mikey used to call ahead to reserve a parking spot when the Guelph Santa parade passed near my house (he had a couple of young daughters,) on one of the posher streets off Exhibition Park. I had the least posh house on that street, for what it's worth. Don't want to mess up my bona fides here...

But my favorite Santa parade of all time happened in the village of Mildew about twenty years ago. I was an itinerant welding instructor at the local high school, having recently retired from my actual welding career.

The wood-shop guy at the school had fashioned a very nice creche scene on the back of a heavy equipment float lent to the school by a local contractor. We had a rustic little lean-to shack in which we had the baby Jesus in the cradle, and several actual live lambs seconded to the parade by the local farmer community.

Things went south early on. We were sitting in the staging area, baby Jesus and the lambs and my children, when my daughter says to me, "hey Dad, the elves are drinking beer."

We were parked beside the Snow White and the Elves float, sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. I looked over, and sure enough, the Elves were indeed drinking beer! The parade float was populated with local yokels sporting elf masks. If you watched them at all, you'd see a mask go up and a beer go down... small-time hijinks in small-town Ontario!

We sat in the staging area for quite some time, watching the elves drink beer, because local tradition demands that the locals finish the "hangin' of the green" before the Santa parade starts. The hangin' of the green is where they festoon all the lamp-posts in town with green garlands and suspected Green Party voters.

Eventually the parade started and we took our place behind the drunken elves and immediately in front of the local Brownie troop.

Thing went swimmingly, as in we were swimming in lamb piss before we got two blocks into the parade. I pulled a lamb onto my lap as soon as we got to the appreciative crowds. What says "Christmas" louder than baby Jesus in his creche surrounded by baby lambs?

That baby lamb pissed all over me.

And lamb turds too.

Yup, these lovely lambs obviously had no bowel or bladder relief for at least three days prior to the parade.

But they were making up for it now!

I was determined to be a trooper for the Mildew Santa parade, so I sucked it up. Waved Santa-like at the adoring crowds while lamb piss saturated my jeans and lamb turds befouled the entire float.

We were, mercifully I thought, nearing the end of the parade route, when the miserable transmuted into the dangerous.

The wood-shop guy who had crafted the creche for baby Jesus hadn't factored in the clearance for low-hanging power lines, and as fate would have it, a block or two from the finish one of the roof timbers on baby Jesus' creche snagged one of those power lines.

I was sitting in the creche, lamb-piss-soaked and awash with lamb-turds, when I felt the entire baby Jesus shack start to tilt.

Oh my f-ing God!...

Baby Jesus was about to tumble out of His crib...

The lambs were panicking... which meant a deluge of more piss and shit.

The entire Jesus shack was going over....

And then, in the nick of time, that low-hanging wire pulled the offending plank right off the roof of the Jesus shack.

That resulted in somewhat of a bow and arrow effect. The dislodged plank, complete with six inch nails, became airborne. It sailed right over the heads of that Brownie pack behind our float and landed harmlessly in the street behind them.

That could have been headline news had things turned out otherwise.

We were lucky...

Best parade story ever!

Sarkozy's political resurrection dead on arrival

Poor Sarko! Maybe now he's run out of gambits to avoid facing up to those pesky allegations of Gaddafi connections that refuse to go away. At least we can hope!

As for the prospects of the French centre-right coming back after the ruinous reign of Hollande the Conqueror, don't hold your breath. Big Media claim that Juppe or Fillon can stave off Le Pen in the next election, but the think tank here at Falling Downs has another angle.

Hollande is a "socialist" in the same vein as Hillary Clinton is a "progressive." That is to say, not really. But the electorate in France has viable options that the US electorate never did when they elected Trump; genuine socialist presidential candidates well to the left of Hollande's pretend socialists.

We shall see.

Speaking of Gaddafi, that paragon of journalistic virtue, The Guardian, has an interesting story about Libya on view at their website today. Lots of juicy tidbits there, like the fact that the cumulative decline in Libya's GDP since we liberated them from their evil dictator has passed $200 billions. That's a lot of green for a nation of five million people to lose!

I found the article interesting in light of the "fake news" contrived controversy that's been swirling about recently. That's where, from what I understand, we the news consuming public must jettison our taste for alternative news sources and rely instead on the steady and reliable Big Media news outlets.

Like The Guardian.

I scoured that Guardian story end to end for some acknowledgement that it was in fact Sarkozy, Blair, and Obama who destroyed the most prosperous nation in Africa.


I did learn, though, that Libya is  "...the country the worst-hit by the political upheaval of the Arab Spring."

You see, it wasn't eight months of relentless bombing by the Nations of Virtue that destroyed Libya. It was the political upheaval of Arab Spring.

Thank God for responsible Mainstream Media!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump and the age of uncertainty

That's the title of the latest missive from the keyboard of Uri Avnery.

Avnery is a Jewish Israeli (as opposed to that 20% of the Israeli population who are not), now enjoying his tenth decade on God's good earth, who has been whinging about Palestinian rights almost from the day the modern state of Israel was invented.

Avnery was in fact a freedom fighter who helped shape the modern Jewish state. You know how it goes; one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist, and all that stuff...

I don't agree with Avnery on every position he takes, but I have the utmost respect for him. He foresaw issues fifty years ago that threaten to derail Israel's democracy today, if they haven't already.

He is once again right on the money in describing the rise of Trump as a new age of uncertainty for Israel.

Then again, when has Israel ever been about "certainty?"

The faux certainty of America's unquestioning support may be in question under Trump.


It's time that Israel stood on her own feet, that 20% non-Jewish population included, and carved out a future that is not in thrall to the whims of the latest US presidential candidate.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What we really mean when we say we're training foreign fighters

The Nations of Virtue have spent many years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of their own soldiers' lives bringing peace, prosperity, freedom, democracy, and stability to Afghanistan.

The result?

Afghanistan does not enjoy peace, prosperity, freedom, democracy, or stability, but the Taliban control more of the country today than they have since the first few glorious months after our invasion fifteen years ago.

That's why I'm ceaselessly amazed at how the public buys in when our political masters decide that while it's time to cut and run, we need to keep a few trainers back to train the Afghan Armed Forces.


If, over 15 years, we can't defeat a bunch of towel-heads in sandals wielding WWII era Soviet assault rifles, why would the the Afghans want us to train them? Shouldn't they get the Taliban to train their army?

I've always thought there's got to be ulterior motives. Like maybe keeping the ruling elite in power in those places where we train the armed forces of the ruling elite. They may be thoroughly corrupt and utterly incapable of delivering peace, prosperity, freedom, democracy, and stability... but hey, at least they're OUR bumboys.

That's why I found parts of Adnan Khan's story at Maclean's rather interesting. Especially this part;

But Canada’s relationship with the Zeravani also appears to be on shaky ground. While Zeravani commanders laud the contribution Canadian soldiers made during the Mosul offensive, they criticize Canada’s failure to provide the training and materiel they were promised. “The training they gave us was nothing new,” says Ato Zebari, the deputy commander of the Zeravani forces in Khazer. “We went through it expecting they would also provide us weapons. Then they promised they would set up a commando brigade of Zeravani. They said they would equip it and train it. That never happened.”

Seems our training is "nothing new." What they were really hoping for was weapons, weapons they didn't get. 

This isn't the first time the Nations of Virtue have lead the Kurds down the garden path, only to toss them to the wolves when it becomes politically expedient to do so.

Is Canada complicit in Kurdish war crimes?

On November 3rd Maclean's carried a story by Adnan Khan advising us that Canada's role in the Iraq war is "bigger than you think." Definitely worth a read if you're one of those Canadians who wonder what our troops and our tax dollars are accomplishing over there.

Four days later, Amnesty International came out with a report accusing the Kurdish fighters of committing war crimes in some of the Arab villages they've been helping the Canadians liberate, or we them.

That should raise some questions, wouldn't you think? I mean questions for the opposition in parliament and questions our ever-vigilant fourth estate should be pestering our political leadership with.

When Canada signed on (or more correctly, when our leaders signed us on) for this mission, the public was assured that our military would be well back from the front lines, "advising and training" the Kurdish fighters. It's since become obvious that they've been doing a lot more than that, up to and including taking the fight to "the enemy."

That's a conundrum, isn't it? Who exactly are our "enemies" over there? At the moment, our enemies are radical Sunni jihadists who nevertheless have some degree of popular support among the Sunni population of Iraq. Mainwhile, our NATO ally Turkey is fighting our allies the Kurds, and we are further allied with Hezbollah militias who remain on Ottawa's terror list.

Confusing? You bet!

Canada has zero strategic interests in the region, a fact that should have tempered our enthusiasm for for getting involved in the first place. Nevertheless, our leaders were after some strategic brownie points in Washington and Brussels, so there we are.

Are we complicit in Kurdish war crimes? We won't know anytime soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What makes a good restaurant breakfast?

Anybody can fry up some ham or bacon or sausages.

That's not what makes a good breakfast.

And believe it or not, it ain't the eggs either.

Mind you, there is a level of skill that I don't have that's essential to doing eggs over-easy.

Me personally, I can do eggs sunny side up. Once I try for over easy... well, that's generally where I decide to go for an omelette instead.

Flipping those eggs over on the grill is an art.

But any greasy spoon everywhere has found a minimum wage cook who can flip those eggs without breaking them. Which is why we like to have breakfast out.

What really makes or breaks a breakfast is the quality of the potatoes.

Those deep-fried potato cubes aren't fucking breakfast potatoes, OK? That's just crap!

We were shocked to be served those with our breakfast at the Green Door the other day.

Now to be fair, the server actually spilled flat out that they're not doing breakfast.

So why are you open for breakfast hours? They used to do breakfast, and they used to have real fried-on-the-stove-top potatoes on offer as part of it, as befits their stellar rep.

But now they don't have breakfast but they're open at breakfasty hours, and they've got a couple of breakfasty things on the menu, but they come with DEEP FRIED FROZEN POTATO CUBES!

No way!

The Top Notch still offers up real potatoes, but the last few times we've breakfasted there, they've been undercooked. That's almost worse than those faux fries masquerading as fried potatoes.

So today we ventured all the way up to Lion's Head for breakfast. Real fried potatoes! Properly cooked!

Trust me, it's worth the drive to the MaryDale restaurant. And now that the tourists are gone home, it's not even crowded.

The Globe and Mail: from Canada's newspaper of record to America's conscience

I'm a newpaper guy from way back. Not that I ever played any part in the business; I just like to hold a paper in my hands as opposed to reading my news off a screen.

The glory days for me were back in my U of Goo days, when the library there had the budget to bring in newspapers from all over the world. Real newspapers where you actually turned the pages. For me, a meaningful morning means (triple alliteration... nice!) a newspaper, a coffee cup, and an ashtray. It's a beautiful thing!

And although the world has gone digital, I still drive into town on Saturday to fork over a ten dollar bill to The Korean in return for a few coins and a Saturday Globe and Mail.

If you can only afford to buy one newspaper per week, that's the one you want.

Or at least it used to be.

Lately, I'm having my doubts. I've ranted before about how the US election has pretty much trumped Canadian news in Canada's newspaper of record. Today I naively figured that, since the election is over, maybe things would be back to normal. After all, there must be some Canadian stories that Canada's national newspaper of record could be focused on.


The front page is all about Trump. The entire Focus section, eight pages of what I expect to be the meatiest writing in the paper is instead eight pages about Trump.

Hey folks, can you get the fuck over it already! I'm not giving up a ten spot so I can read wall to wall Trump paranoia on a Saturday morning! (BTW, the only Trump story remotely worth reading in today's paper is John Doyle's column.)

This is Canada for fucks sakes!

And a lot of the anti-Trump diatribe that they're filling my paper with four days after the election is just crap. Take for example this howler from Doug Saunder's feature story in Focus;

...(Trump's) biggest advertising expenditure was a two minute November ad in which he describes a global conspiracy of meddling Jews manipulating the economy - an ad that the Anti-defamation League has denounced as resembling anti-Semitic propaganda.

I've seen that ad and nowhere does it mention meddling Jews. I get why the ADL claimed that it "resembled" anti-Semitic propaganda. That's what the ADL does, sniff out potential anti-Semitism, real or imagined, at every turn. It's their job.

I don't know why it's Doug Saunder's job to report ADL's musings as proof of Trump's anti-Semitism. I'm pretty sure guys like Bob Mercer and Sheldon Adelson aren't going to be funding anti-Semitic TV ads, and in fact the ADL story got a sharp slap-down from the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The ADL was out of the blocks early Wednesday congratulating Trump on his victory.

Not so the opinion makers at the Globe and Mail. No, they're still pouty. After their unprecedented call for American voters to reject Trump, they can't seem to let it go.

They have made themselves America's conscience.

Meanwhile, as I'm sitting in the truck leafing through my paper in search of Canadian stories, the Farm Manager comes out of the store and announces that the Toronto Star has Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen on its front page...

She said she would have bought the paper but she knew I already had the Globe and Mail.

Pity, that.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The other face of farming

Regular readers (hi Mom and Dad!) will appreciate that the think-tankers here at Falling Downs have long held our Amish brethren in high esteem.

When the inevitable nuclear holocaust blows away the infrastructure of modernity, our Amish neighbours won't give a fuck. What, their hydro's gonna go out?

There'll be no gasoline to power their horses?

See what I mean? It'll be business as usual for the bearded ones. That, by the way, is a great reason for cultivating working relationships with those folks. Could make the difference between starving to death and getting by on rutabagas and carrots that they otherwise were gonna plow under if the horses didn't eat them.

Then there's those other farmers, the modern ones. You drive past their places every day if you're out and about in rural Southern Ontario. It's nothing to see two or three or more green and yellow tractors parked in the barnyard. The big ones, with giant dual wheels on each corner.

Those puppies run around half a million per, and when you see a gaggle of them in one farmyard you know that farmer is tied in tight to the modern agribusiness pyramid scheme. That's where you go into shit-loads of debt to achieve the "economies of scale" that can make the payments on two million dollars worth of green and yellow.

You're only going to make those payments by buying into the latest round of Monsanto Frankensteinian cash-crop magic. It's a vicious circle surrounded by a slippery slope. One false move, one bad crop, or, God forbid, a hike in the prime rate, and you're outta there! Yup, you'll be out of the circle and down that slope quicker than you can find the nearest food bank, where, with a little luck, you might be able to find some sub-par carrots and rutabagas that will at least stave off starvation.

If you're lucky.

Then there's yet another face of farming.

Last weekend me and my old pal Kipling took a drive down to his dear daughter Amanda's place. We had an invite for breakfast.

Kipling was a prepper long before the word was invented. I recall in the great hysteria leading up to Y2K him putting five tons of potatoes in his cold room. I was there when we enjoyed the last of those potatoes in a nice potato soup around 2005 or 2006. And by the way, if you calculate your other ingredients carefully, soup is a really great way to disguise the fact that those five year old potatoes aren't all that fresh anymore.

Amanda is a hard-core organic farmer. No Monsanto shit on her one acre farm. Nope, she's got half a dozen different kinds of organic greens that she sells to the city folks at farmers' markets, and by God, she makes a living at it! Nor does she care if the prime rate goes up!

So, you can farm 2,000 acres and keep your ass in hock to the banks and the agri-chem consortiums.

Or you can grow a beard and join a cult and farm 100 acres with a team of horses.

Or you can do an acre or two of organic greens.

It's all farming, after all!

By the way, breakfast was awesome. Phil had to run over to the neighbour's to grab a dozen eggs that were so farm-fresh they were still warm from the hens sitting on them. The "pea-meal bacon" was the size of steaks.  Thanks for breakfast, Amanda and Phil!

That's the other face of farming.

How hard are you gonna work at draining the swamp once you're the Boss 'gator?

My my, what a different Donald we've seen since Wednesday morning!

He's gone from out-of-control shit-storm to accommodating senior statesman literally overnight.

Look for Donald and Barry to share a round at one of Trump's golf courses any day now. Don't be surprised if Big Bill and Bad Vlad are rounding out the foursome.

That first meeting between the President and the President elect went just swimmingly, didn't it? Donald has since ventured that there may be a thing or two about Obamacare that he might take another look at before he tears down the entire edifice.

I'm guessing he'll take another look at locking "her" up as well. I'm guessing Donald and Barry spent a few minutes tossing that one back and forth at that meeting...

B: So you can't be serious about going after Hillary.

D: It would break my heart, but I made a promise to the voters... look, it would give me no joy. I've been friends with the Clintons forever, but business is business, and a promise is a promise.

B: I hear ya Donald. Whadya say I pardon her before I move out... that'll take the heat off you.

D: Appreciate it! (fist-bump)

I don't hear any back-pedalling about the wall yet, but I'm guessing that's on its way. After all, there's been more Mexicans heading home these past few years than there's been heading north. Why spend billions building a wall that's gonna slow down that process?

Looking at the action on Wall Street since Wednesday morning, seems the big dogs in Neverland didn't take long to make peace with the President elect. Ya, we poured a shit-load into Hillary's campaign, but why cry over spilt milk?

Go Donald!

How can we help?

And I think you can safely pitch that "drain the swamp" thing into the dustbin of history. Draining the swamp isn't nearly as appealing once you're the Boss Alligator.