Wednesday, March 30, 2016

RIP Rob Ford

The think tank here at Falling Downs had a lot of fun at Rob Ford's expense, but I'd like to think that overall, it was good well-intentioned fun. While I don't think he had much in the way of political accomplishments to boast about (that was pretty much limited to turning modestly paying trash collector jobs into poorly paying privatized trash collector jobs), he certainly carried himself with an admirable I-do-what-I-do swagger.

We don't have to live in Toronto, thank God, but we listen regularly to Toronto traffic reports, just so we can remember why we should keep thanking God. But we get there every couple of months to meet up with the Juniors and sometimes the old Jewish relations who can't make it up here anymore, so we're somewhat familiar with the place, but we're not intimately acquainted by any stretch.

That's why we relied on the Toronto media for our Ford Nation info, especially the faux liberal Toronto Star. Ford Nation was, the way I understood it, a bunch of backward looking white racists pining for the good old days of Toronto the Good.

The good and white. Wasn't hardly a day where I wouldn't pick up the Star and read all about Ford's misogyny and racism and alcoholism and addictions and misogyny and racism etc. In fact, the Star bent the boundaries of journalistic integrity on a regular basis with reportage that amounted to fat-shaming and general character assassination. They still somewhat lamely claim that paying money for "gotcha" videos was a public service, as opposed to a black eye for journalism.

So I was a bit taken aback when I viewed a little bit of the funeral today. Seems that women and non-white folks were extremely well represented. What did they see in the man that the Toronto Star missed?

Anyway, this is about Rob Ford, not the sorry state of journalism today. All respect, Mr. Ford, and condolences to your loved ones. Thanks for being you.


More foolishness about "Russian aggression"

I see where the US taxpayer is going to cough up a few more billions so that the guardians of global freedoms at the Pentagon can increase America's military capabilities in Eastern Europe. After all, you never know which of those Eastern European statelets Putin might want to annex next, do you?

Here's the part that I don't get. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, last year Russia spent 51 billions on defence. The USA spent 600 billions. That's what, over a thousand percent differential in defence spending? And WE have to spend more because even though we're outspending Putin by a factor of ten, we still feel threatened?

Really?

And that's not the whole story; Russia is just one country. The USA has a gang, a veritable pack of allies known as NATO. According to NATO's own documents (scroll to p 5), their aggregate defence spending was over 900 billions in 2015!

Fifty billion for the Ruskies... 900 billion for our team, and we're still scared of Putin?

Anybody else smell something fishy here? Obviously, this kind of spending discrepancy can only be the result of endless arm-twisting, lobbying, and fear-mongering by our vaunted military-industrial complex.

It's time to call the bullshit.

Trump figures he can get along with Putin. I say give him a chance. If it looks like it's gonna work out, I say scale back the US defence budget so it's oh, maybe only 100% bigger than Russia's. That should free up about half a trillion per year to address healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Hell, there'll be such a labour shortage in America we'll have to let all the black and hispanic doobie-dealers out of prison to take the jobs! They'll be able to buy houses, send their kids to the free universities... Christ almighty, happy days are just around the corner!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Is the jig just about up for the wily Erdogan?

How ironic that on the very day that Erdogan wings his way to America, America advises her nationals to get the fuck out of Turkey.

Even more ominously, Israel just did the same thing.

This does not bode well for NATO ally Turkey. Obviously, the double-dealing Erdogan's shit is about to hit the fan of public exposure.

Not to mention crippling blow-back.

How convenient that he is out of the country at the moment!

Wily Erdogan flies to US to mend fences with Fethullah Gulen

If you've been paying attention at all, you'll know that everything that's gone off the rails in the Islamic Republic of Turkey for the past ten or fifteen years has been masterminded by the double-wily Fethullah Gulen and his extra-wily band of Gulenists.

Popular uprisings against grossly corrupt real estate projects? A Gulenist plot!

ISIS terror attacks in Turkey? A Gulenist plot!

PKK terror attacks in Turkey? A Gulenist plot!

Erdogan family members exposed up to their necks in the ISIS stolen oil trade? A Gulenist plot!

Mainstream Turkish journos questioning Erdogan's disastrous decisions? A Gulenist plot!

Random citizens questioning the divinity of the wily Erdogan? A Gulenist plot!

German media mocking the Emperor? A Gulenist plot!...

Truth is, the reason the wily Erdogan needs a thousand room palace is because every one of those rooms is full of filing cabinets over-flowing with files on the multitudinous Gulenist plots!

That's why Erdogan will take a few hours out of his busy schedule being snubbed by Obama to pop over to the Poconos and have a sit-down with the Caliph of the Gulenites.

But, sorry to say, it's way too little and much too late.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Has America become an idiotocracy?

Not completely.

My relations in New Jersey still seem pretty sharp. And if they're telling the truth they didn't ever vote for CC anyway. And I know for a fact they would never be on the Trump bandwagon.

So what's a proud New Jersey liberal gonna do at this stage of the game?

I'm hoping they've got the gazongas to vote for Bernie.

When the GOP aristocracy is suggesting a vote for Hillary (see Bill Kristol et al) is preferable to a vote for the guy who is winning the GOP race, it's more than obvious that any true "democrat" can only vote for Mr. Sanders.

Oh, these are trying times!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Travails of a pot-addled hillbilly

First off, let's celebrate the fact that I'm merely a pot-addled hillbilly.

Not a crack-addled or meth-addled hillbilly.

The pot-addled hillbilly takes a dim view of those other addictions.

The dear Lord above put pot down here on His good green earth for a reason.  The weed 'o wisdom just sprouts up in the fields of Jamaica and Mexico and the lower mainland of BC and the temperate forests of Washington and Oregon and northern California.

It's not like you have to cook it up in your bathtub.

With battery acid as an ingredient.

That's the difference between good drugs and bad drugs.

And that's why I'm a little leery of those folks who just want to willy-nilly legalize everything.

On the other hand, what's to be gained by criminalizing meth addiction? From what I hear, there's been a ton of really normal folks fall into this rut. Meth, crack, Fentanyl, heroin... the folks formerly known as middle class have taken to drugs big time now that their futures have been eclipsed by various "free trade" deals that have impoverished them.

That's probably why those folks are turning to Donald and Bernie big time.

Their politicians have failed them.

As for me, fuck, I struggle to differentiate between a meme and a trope, but at least I can tell a decent spliff when I burn one...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Guess it wasn't her day to die

Due to my interest in the great Waco Biker Ambush & Coverup, I've become a regular reader of the Waco Trib website. While the coverup continues, at least for now, one of the lead characters in that scandal, Sergeant Patrick "Pinocchio" Swanton, makes regular appearances in the Trib in his capacity as spokesman for the Waco PD.

That's how I happened upon the story of Brittney Garrett, who was driving her Toyota Tundra while simultaneously texting on her phone, and whoopsie!...

 Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said officers were called about 11:55 p.m. Wednesday to a single-vehicle crash in the westbound lanes of State Highway 6 at the Twin Bridges, where they found a heavily damaged 2015 Toyota Tundra straddling the inside guardrail.

Officers could not find the driver or any other occupants and presumed the driver, later identified as Brittney Ann Garrett, may have fallen into the water.
“The report says that she was distracted by her cellphone, looked down at her cellphone and ran into the sidewall, on the driver’s side . . . hit the guardrail, rode up that guardrail and it apparently caused the driver’s side door to be torn off and cause a hole through the floorboard,” Swanton said. “She was ejected from the vehicle, through the hole created in the floorboard, and into the lake below.”
Officers began to call for a water rescue and helicopter assistance to light the lake before they found Garrett on the shore at Speegleville Park. She swam about 150 to 200 yards to reach land, Swanton said.
There are a few lessons to take away from Brittney's adventure. First off, don't text and drive.
Two, if you do text and drive, don't do it in a Toyota. A Ford, Dodge, or GMC pickup can mess with guardrails and survive. A Toyota gets ripped wide open and poops its passengers into the raging waters sixty feet below.
Finally, Brittney's fabulous adventure is proof yet again that if your number ain't up in this great lottery 'o life, not even the most brazen act of stupidity is gonna send you to a premature reward.
Congratulations Brittney!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The unspoken option in the Muslim migrant emergency

That migrant emergency is hogging the headlines these days.

Trump is gonna build a wall.

But that leaves Europe defenceless.

Europe, the beating heart of Christianity.

Muslim migrants are groping and raping their way across Europe.

Groping and raping the Christian Frauleins...

If they're not groping and raping, they're blowing up airports and subway stations...

Everybody from Hollande to Merkel to Trump has the answer; bomb them more and bomb them harder and for God's sake, build bigger walls!


Here's the unspoken option.

Maybe we should stop bombing them.

Pope Francis admits to kissing feet of Muslim migrants

Apparently he wisely washed their feet first!

And who wouldn't? I mean, if you're into kissing the feet of some dude who walked to Rome from Kabul, you'd be well advised to give those feet a good scrub first, wouldn't you?

The think tank here at falling downs couldn't be more aboard with the Pope's humanitarianism; we truly are all brothers, are we not? The Catholic, the Hindu, the Muslim, the Jew... we are all children of the same God.

But it might take some time for the general public to get on the feel-good bandwagon, especially after that latest business in Brussels, and in the interval I sense a business opportunity.

Trump may think he's gonna build a fence down the middle of the Rio Grande, but it's an engineering challenge of a completely different order of magnitude to build one down the middle of the Adriatic Sea. As in, it ain't gonna happen in our lifetimes. Even the Israelis, wall-builders extraordinaire, couldn't pull that off.

That means the Adriatic will be wide open for the foreseeable future. Wide open for what, you ask? Wide open for stuffing the cuddy of your Donzi 45 with a couple dozen desperate migrants and heading for Otranto or Brindisi with those triple supercharged big-blocks at redline!

A couple of dozen would fit comfortably in the front of a Donzi 45, especially if you took out the pimp-den and the galley. You'd be marketing to the premium refugee, of course. The riff-raff are paying scoundrels two thousand euros to lead them to a razor wire fence on the Bulgarian border. The premium class will be happy to pay ten thousand a head to be led ashore in Italy.

Did you realize that it's hardly fifty miles from Albania to Italy at the narrowest point in the Adriatic? A round trip is gonna be what, an hour and a half? You could do three or four a day as long as the demand holds up!

And there's nothing in the Italian navy that's gonna get near you. True, they could blow you up good with a heat-seeking missile, but imagine the global headlines on that!

It'll never happen.

So I figure, as long as you have a fast enough fast-boat, you're good to go!

Some thoughts on the Ghomeshi verdict

One would like to believe that the team that made the decision to move forward with the case against Jian Ghomeshi were intelligent, well-educated, serious people, supervised by seasoned senior legal professionals intimately acquainted not only with the minutiae of the law, but also with the realities of what might and might not fly in the courtroom.

But you have to wonder...

First off, is it an asset or a liability when the complainants all come forward more than a decade after the fact? I'm no legal scholar, but it seems to me this would be a major liability.

And what the hell is "overcoming resistance by choking?" Really? If they thought they had a case on the sexual assault charges, something that everybody understands, why would they muddy the waters with this bonus charge that nobody has ever heard of? Generally speaking, if someone is preventing me from breathing, wouldn't that be attempted murder?

So this dream prosecutorial team put together the most high profile case Canada has seen in a generation, only to come out looking like vindictive dupes. They went after him because he was famous. They went after him because he's Iranian. They went after him because of his unconventional sexual lifestyle, and so on.

The professionals took a chance and lost. But it wasn't just the dream prosecutorial team that lost; it's every victim of sexual violence, past, present, and future.

Monday, March 21, 2016

For fucks sakes Donald, you just made me look like a moron

So today Mr. Trump stands in front of the AIPAC folks and declares he's gonna move the American embassy to Jerusalem!

Get the fuck outta here!

Moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is gonna cement your bona fides with folks who gave you the benefit of the doubt when you declared yourself "neutral" on Israel - Palestine?

And that was what? Two days ago?

On the other hand, 18,000 Jews in a hockey arena barely had a chance to sit down between standing ovations... looks like Donald hit the sweet spot again!

The fucked up thing about the Trump campaign is this; the same guy could address the America Palestine Political Action Committee Annual Meeting (not that there is such a thing) tommorrow night and get just as many standing ovations.

What does that mean?

More millionaires plead for higher taxes

The other day we treated you to the tale of how some plutocrats are trimming their sails for the winds of change.

Apparently mere millionaires are too. A few dozen New York millionaires just sent a letter to the governor pleading for higher taxes on themselves.

WTF?

I'm starting to like these guys!


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Suicide watch

A couple of weeks ago, a guy I knew killed himself. I've taken a couple of stabs at writing about it, but I can't really figure out what to say.

On the face of it, my go-to response to this sort of thing is that it's an asshole move. Like, who checks out when they've got a fifteen year old kid who looks up to them?

Maybe I have to go back to some of my darkest times to make sense of things. There was a time, in my late teens, when things looked pretty bleak. I was a high-school drop-out who had a new car and by all appearances was living the good life. Nobody other than me would have appreciated that I was paying for my successful life by working 90 hours per week.

Long story short, I quit my job in the middle of the day, headed to Pearson Airport, and within hours I was in a place far away.

The reason I was able to do that was because I'd been keeping a poem by Rainer Rilke in my pocket. Graf von Kalkreuth was a pal of Rilke's who took his own life on being called up for military duty.

What I took away from that Rilke poem was this; no matter how big the shitpile at your door looks today, you can never tell what's in store for tomorrow. Until you've viewed every view, seen every sight, made love to everyone you ever wanted to make love to, YOU'VE STILL GOT WORK TO DO!

It's the poem that saved my life.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

At least some of the plutocrats realize the jig is up

The system is broken, and at least some of the .001 percenters are sensing which way the winds are blowing.

Right now, the folks sharpening their pitchforks are gathering around either Sanders or Trump.

Either way, it's gonna be a bad ending for the plutocrats.

Hanauer gets it exactly right. He may be a billionaire but he's worried about making it to his private jet in time to avoid the pitchforks coming his way.

The "establishment" in the Beltway is on the cusp of being overthrown. The pissed-off masses are coalescing around Bernie and Donald.

Bernie is burnt toast because the Dem Machine that he's hoping to commandeer is obviously in the hands of Hillary.

The GOP Machine, on the other hand, is being commandeered by a New York liberal who has thus far succeeded in outwitting the very machine that he has hijacked... If I'm not mistaken the Newtster gave Trump his seal of approval today.

Is this a crazy world or what!?

That's why every progressive should get behind Trump.

Cuba meets American capitalism

Not that they haven't met before...

But here's a good one!

Yup, American hotel chain Starwood is gonna run three luxury hotels in communist Cuba!

Isn't that great! Capitalism uber alles!


Oopsie... while that good news story is seeping into the news, here's another story: communist China is buying Starwood!

Is it a fucked up world or what?

Who is in the passing lane on the Alzheimer highway?

Make no mistake, it is the Farm Manager who keeps the pot-addled hillbilly focused and on topic.

So when the pot-addled hillbilly can't remember what he planned to rant about on any particular day, it's natural that he'd want to consult with the FM to get the low-down on the day's targets.

It's generally a pretty small target pool; American Imperialism, capitalism, capitalism in the service of American Imperialism, Eisenhower's expose of the Military Industrial Complex, the Military Industrial Complex, hedge-fund shit-bags who have enriched themselves by destroying the American working class, our cats, dogs, Junior, and so on...

Or as they would say in German academic papers, "usw..."

But we've entered a new era where the Farm Manager can't remember...

Oh great...

Triumph of the shitbags

At a quarter million page views I think I can say this blog has proven some sort of staying power. Ya, I know, considering the wisdom found on this page, you'd think it would be a quarter million page-views per day, not over five years.

I don't get it either.

I'm averse to calling down regular folks on whatever wrong-headed opinions they may express on the world wide web. I'm even reluctant to call out working journalists on the bullshit they too often spew, simply because at the end of the day they are folks who work for their pay.

But I'm not averse to calling shitbags "shitbags."

Paul Singer is a shitbag.

Paul Singer is a billionaire hedgie who gets richer by fucking over the poorest of the poor all around the world. He's also a big deal in American politics, because he's a big donor to political candidates.

Singer recently won his case against Argentina. That's mostly because a new right-wing government came to power in that country.

Here at Falling Downs we've been banging away against the Singer case for years.

We lost.

The people of Argentina lost way more.

Paul Singer won big.

The architect of Singer's win was a judge appointed by Richard Nixon.

No wonder Singer funds the GOP.




Friday, March 18, 2016

More cat wars at Falling Downs

So for some time now we've noticed that upstairs cat is getting fatter and downstairs cat is getting thinner.

I even remember quite distinctly asking the Farm Manager, hey, you don't think upstairs cat is eating out of downstairs cat's food dish, do you?

It's been a mystery, it has, but while we're unravelling the mystery we can't help but notice that Chloe, our dear twenty year old downstairs cat, has been sporting a very svelte physique.

Yup, she's real thin...

Meanwhile, upstairs cat is looking like two cats...  she's morphed into the fattest cat you ever saw!

What do you figure could be going on here?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Another fucked up French-Canadian tries to stab a soldier, and therefore Canada must prepare for Jihad?

Yup, Tarek Fatah spells it out for you in the Toronto Sun.

Maybe one reason the SunPostMedia brand of journalistic hysteria is sinking like a stone is because the vast majority of Canadians recognize this as the rancid fear-mongering bullshit that it is.

It will be interesting to see who buys the Toronto Sun out of the scrap-heap of bankruptcy after that Paul Godfrey engineered trainwreck that's been going on in slo-mo since 2010. After all, the Sun is probably a viable stand-alone title.

I'm thinking it might be a great side project for the Ford Brothers.

Rampant Drumpfobia continues at Globe and Mail

Of the roughly ten pages of non-advertising copy in the main section of today's paper, approximately four are devoted to the presidential prospects of a certain NYC condo promoter.

That includes for the umpteenth time the main editorial, which today informs us that Mr. Trump is "destroying the GOP." Surely I'm not the only aging lefty scratching my head over why that's supposed to be a bad thing!

A lot of the fear-mongering seems to be based on a misreading of Trump's supposed base, the poorly educated white working class. These are the folks left behind by the wholesale embrace of so-called free trade deals by the political establishment over the past thirty years or so. In an opinion piece by Peter Klein, we are treated to this;

Today, free trade deals have encouraged the natural economic flow of goods, from places that can make them most efficiently to places that can afford them. This allows countries such as the United States to focus on higher-wage skilled jobs that require education. But where does that leave those Americans who never got that education? No wonder Donald Trump loudly proclaimed, "I love the poorly educated!"

The first two sentences are a reflexive rehash of the same old baloney Mulroney used to peddle when he was promising Canadians "jobs, jobs, jobs" if only we voted for NAFTA. Yup, the brown folks south of the Rio Grande were gonna take all the shit jobs and leave the smart white folks in the north all the computer engineering and rocket scientist jobs! That turned out pretty much the same for Ohio as it did for Ontario. Lots more jobs went south than were created for the new generation of highly educated workers, and an entire generation of blue-collar workers, and not just white ones, were hung out to dry, permanently.

Notice how that "natural economic flow of goods" turd is incongruously dropped in the middle of the apple pie here, in the hope that you won't notice.  Shipping US salmon to China for processing and then shipping it back to America for sale is not a "natural" flow of goods, but that's the kind of foolishness that flows from trade deals.

As for that explosion in high tech jobs, there are more foreign high-tech workers entering the US on B-1 temporary visas than ever before. Meanwhile, there's an employment crisis among American millennial university graduates. That's a group absolutely primed to fall for Trump's anti-trade-agreement and anti-foreign-worker rhetoric, which tends to be subsumed in mainstream denunciations as "racist."

The "Trump=racist" meme is one of the more popular weapons in the anti-Trump toolkit, but even within the pages of the Globe, it trips over its internal contradictions. Right there on A10 Eric Andrew-Gee has two feet worth of column inches puzzling over the fact that Trump the Hispanic basher is running neck and neck with both of the Hispanic candidates among the Hispanic voters in their home state of Florida!

And how ironic that the only black candidate in the race would throw his support behind the racist Trump!

But here's what bugs me most about our national newspaper of record devoting almost half of their main news section to Donald Trump; there's an awful lot of other stories that have been left out to make room for him.




Monday, March 14, 2016

Alberta's big polluters demand 500 millions in taxpayer money to clean up their mess

I see where the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, one of many oil industry lobby groups, has the begging bowl out for a cool half billion!

Apparently there's at least 75,000 defunct oil and gas wells scattered about Alberta that were never properly decommissioned by the folks who drilled them.

Wonder what Gwyn Morgan has to say about that?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

CIA blocking Falling Downs

Really?

I doubt it.

But do you want to know what's kinda fucked up?

Since I fired up this Falling Downs blog almost five years ago, I've had almost 40,000 views from Russia!

Ya, I don't get it either.

But here's what's really fucked up... in the past couple of months there's been absolutely zero views from Russia.

What could that possibly mean?

I figure it means that guy in Russia who clicked Falling Downs a few dozen times every day has died.


Back in the day...

Back in the day this country built a railroad from coast to coast. In about ten years or so.

That would not even be a remote possibility in the modern era.

Between the environmental assessments and the negotiations with the First Nations we'd be a good 500 years just getting to the Preliminary Report.

That's progress for you...















Saturday, March 12, 2016

Democracy scenario 7616

So Trump reintroduces democracy to the USA.

That can only mean one thing.

Goodbye Donald!

Then the angry 99% will coalesce around the Bern.

Goodbye Bern!

Then America will have her first female Pres!

Is democracy coming to the USA?

I haven't seen so many people so pissed off since the '60s.

And you can thank Trump and Bernie.

Was that not quite the spectacle in Chicago last night? Bernie supporters duking it out (did you get that one?) with the folks at a Trump rally? When is the last time you saw people so passionate about politics in America?

One of the great ironies is that both Bernie and Trump are campaigning against those "free trade" agreements that have disemboweled America's working class. That's a sea change in the discussion about trade agreements.

We're finally having the discussion about NAFTA that we should have been having 25 years ago!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Government agencies collude to stall justice in Twin Peaks biker ambush

The Waco Tribune informed us today that one of the interminable side-shows that has prevented timely justice in this shit-show is finally over. Yup, the 151 firearms found at the scene have now been positively ID'd.

What does that mean, you ask?

Senior Special Agent Nicole Strong, an ATF spokeswoman, said Thursday that the ATF was asked to perform firearms traces but is leaving any investigative decisions up to the Waco Police Department and the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office.
“We have completed the firearms traces,” Strong said. “It is essentially tracking the life of the firearms, from the point it was manufactured, to who the first purchaser was — which is normally a licensed firearms dealer — to who the next purchaser was all the way down to the final purchase. How many times did it get bought and sold? We are complete with our end of it and, obviously, the investigation is a question for Waco PD. They just asked us to trace the guns.”
Strong said the guns were shipped to a lab in California for the ATF’s role in the investigation.
“The main goal was to see who the legal purchaser was,” she said. “We wanted to know if a gun went from a manufacturer to John Smith and that is the last known purchase, and then that gun ends up in the hands of one of the people in the Twin Peaks shooting who was in prohibited possession. We want to know how it went from a legal possession to an illegal possessor.”
So they want to know how a gun went from "a legal possession to an illegal possessor?" What does that have to do with solving the crimes, if any, committed by the owners of these firearms?
And why are we to believe that any of these guns were in the hands of illegal possessors? There is nothing in Texas law that makes it illegal for a member of a motorcycle club to own a gun.
And note also that after a great deal of unwarranted publicity about the weaponry seized at the crime scene, which we were at one point led to believe numbered in the thousands, the actual number of guns turned over to the ATF was 151. That includes a great many seized from vehicles after the fact which were never a factor in the actual shoot-out.

That might sound like a lot of guns, but a random search of vehicles in any Walmart parking lot in Texas would pass 151 in short order.

The think tank here at Falling Downs caught the unmistakable whiff of bullshit from the moment that first breaking news bulletin from Waco spilled onto the TV screen last May 17.

Ten months later, it's become an unbearable stench.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Uber tough-guy railroader Hunter "Hitman" Harrison meets Green Jesus

Damn near shit my pants when I saw the headline, Fossil Fuels 'probably dead' says CP Rail's Hunter Harrison.

Well bugger me britches!

Harrison is probably right of course, but this is not the kind of talk we expect from the guy we love to hate here at Falling Downs.

Here's our theory (and every shock to the cultural code needs an explanatory theory). Hunter recently had a brush with mortality. Yup, he just barely avoided a date with the Grim Reaper.

All of a sudden he steps back from the abyss, looks around, smells the roses, and decides that having a sustainable economy and a future for the planet may not be such a blasphemous idea after all.

Good on you, Mr. Hunter!

Hell, next thing you know the guy's gonna be campaigning for workers' rights...

In spite of all the nasty aspersions that have been spit-balled your way from this blog, we sincerely wish you all the best in your golden years, and may they be full of further startling insights like this one!

POTUS and POTHEAD together at last

Apparently this is the first time a Canadian PM has graced the dining table at the White House since little Jean had a sit-down with Bubba nineteen years ago.

Hard to believe that Big Steve never got an invite, after his many years of pandering to Empire. That pipeline thing must have been a way bigger burr under the saddle of US foreign policy than anyone could have imagined. That would indicate a huge miscalculation on the part of the Harperites, at least in terms of staying onside with the folks they thought they were sucking up to.

But POTHEAD is making it all good today. Too bad POTUS is a lame duck President with mere months left in his White House tenure.

Pity!


Towelheads for Trump

Hindus for Trump group

The BBC has a fascinating story on view right now; Meet the Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus supporting Trump.

That headline has to be a bit of a mind fuck if you're not used to thinking for yourself and you get your news from American mainstream news purveyors. After all, the Trump=racist and Trump=fascist memes dominate virtually all coverage of the Trump campaign.

This BBC story might help dispel the racist part of that equation. As for the fascism factor, I think Trump is the candidate least qualified for that label, and that includes Bernie. The word "fascism" is tossed around by the media in a context devoid of any serious consideration of what it actually means. Hitler was a compelling orator who knew how to captivate a crowd. So is Trump. Ergo, Trump is a fascist.

Martin Luther King was a compelling orator who could captivate a crowd too. Does that make him a fascist?

While there is no single universally agreed upon definition of "fascism," serious people who have spent their careers pondering the matter generally agree that a mature fascist state combines a private sector dominated by defence contractors with a government that is in a symbiotic revolving door relationship with that sector. That's an apt description of America today, isn't it? The elite in the beltway and the elite in the defence industry play non-stop musical chairs. Top generals in the military and senior people at State routinely find themselves in senior posts with the private sector war profiteers, and vice versa.

Hillary is universally acknowledged to be completely beholden to that crowd, and everyone other than Trump on the GOP side has been desperately pandering to it.

Bernie Sanders would seem to be a special case, but appearances and campaign proclamations aside, he's not. Here's something worth reading if you think Bernie is independent of the war machine.

Which leaves Trump.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Welcome to the Kemble Emporium

Here it is.



This is a vacant storefront in the heart of Kemble. It used to be the general store in Kemble, but it has long since given up the ghost in favor of the Walmarts of this world.

I've been brainstorming like crazy with my pal Susan M, a Kemble lifer, on how we might be able to repurpose this old general store into a tavern/roadhouse/wine bar.

It's on offer, along with the house next door, for a paltry $129 thousands.

We been brainstorming pretty hard, and we can see the Kemble Impouring'em rising. First of all, we'll be the only liquor establishment between Owen Sound and Wiarton, at least if you take the scenic route. That's gotta be good news not only to thirsty locals, but to the folks from away en route to their million dollar summer homes on the water.

Secondly, that second house on the property really opens up some options. That could be a B&B. We're thinking we could offer up a special deal, where every hundred dollar bar tab gets you a free night's lodging at the Bed and Breakfast next door!

What a brilliant cross-marketing strategy! Don't worry about your excess alcohol consumption; we got a free pillow waiting for you at the end of the evening!

The Farm Manager is aboard too, and she'd be a valuable asset. All I know about wine is some is red and some is white. She actually knows all those fancy French names for them.

Like Peeno Greejio and Shablee and shit.

That looks to me like a space where you'd have more than enough room to have a little live entertainment, and the local area is chock full of A1+ musical types. Within a half hour drive we got everybody from the Becketts to the guy who played keyboards on a couple of Pink Floyd albums. Open mic night is gonna be spectacular!

Here's another salient fact; depending on how you read the maps, we are hard by the Bruce Trail! Just imagine all those super-thirsty and extra hungry hikers trekking past the front door! Hell, we could charge twenty bucks for a bag of Doritos and a bottle of water and they'd be thanking us!

And here's the coup de ville; the unsuspecting tourist stops in for wings and a jug of beer on Friday afternoon, and before they know it, they're waking up in their "free" lodgings on Sunday morning, and the Kemble United Methodist Pentecostal Unitarian Catholic Church is a mere lurch across the way!

Yup, we got you covered at the Kemble Emporium!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Why Bloomie bailed...

So after Mikey set a lot of tongues a-wagging, he finally decides not to take the plunge after all

Why do you think that might be? After all, if ANYBODY had their finger on the political pulse of what's happening right now, it would have to be Michael Bloomberg, would it not?

But, unlike Trump, Mike's way too shy, or cheap, or maybe just too smart to drop his own dollars on a run for the White House, so he went to the MMBs. The Major Money Bags.

You know the crew...  Fat Sheldon, the Koch boys.

But they remembered that Mr. Bloomberg the potential candidate was also Bloomberg the news guy.

That was the end of that!

Want gender parity? Join a union!

Contrary to what popular opinion would have you believe, women were in the workforce long before the '70s, and they were making equal pay to men. At least if they were union members.

Most of the big industrial plants around Guelph, K-W, Cambridge where I came up employed lots of women on the shop floor back in the sixties. When I worked in Mr. Irving's shipyard in the '90s we had women electricians, women pipefitters, women welders. There was absolutely nothing in the contract that said a woman was to be paid less.

Some of the old-timers at Saint John Shipbuilding recalled the era when women in the trades were a novelty. There was harassment and sexism. To the credit of Mr. Irving, the dinosaurs who didn't want to accept women on their work crew were dealt with ruthlessly.

As in they found themselves unemployed in short order.

The local school board, 100% unionized, has complete gender parity in their pay scale. In fact, they've got almost twice as many women in the $100,000 plus category as they have men.

The folks who are whining about women only making 70% of a man's paycheque obviously never worked in a union environment.

Celebrating International Women Drivers' Day

So this gal is on her way home after a meeting of the Ladies Auxilliary over in Roselle Illinois. She's had a couple, like all the rest of them, but fingers crossed...

Clips off a tree  on her way out the parking lot, but hey, fingers crossed! Toes too!



This story happened a month and a half ago. The Roselle PD just released it now as a nod to International Women's Day.

Hulk Hogan sex tape found newsworthy by CBC

Did a little experiment about half an hour ago. I noticed that the CBC had a link to Hogan's sex tape trial on the home page of CBC news.

How is that news, I wondered, when they totally missed Hollande the Conqueror conferring the Legion of Honour medal on the Clown Prince of Saudi Arabia the other day? So I thought I'd check around and see if any other news platforms were giving the Hulkster's ordeal home page links.

Went to CTV. Nope.

Global News. Nope.

Thought I'd try a couple of US networks.

CNN. Nothing on the home page.

Fox News; again, nothing on the home page.

Proving yet again that CBC leads the pack in breaking the really important stories!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Stop being stupid, Africans

The BBC has a story on view that once again confirms the popular prejudice that black people are stupid.

Apparently retired Air Chief Marshal Alex Bad Day was able to abscond with 20 millions from the Defence accounts, and this during that minute window of opportunity that popped open between his ascension to the portfolio and his recent retirement.

Well done, my good man!

Unfortunately, he's now in big trouble.

Hey guys, cut that shit out already! You're making a bad name for Nigeria.

Here's how you gotta do it.

You gotta do it like the Americans do it. Don't just steal the defence budget when you're the Defence Minister.

No!

That's just stupid!

Would an American do that?

No! Here's how the Americans do it; you don't steal the budget per se... what you do is cultivate good brotherhood with the defence contractor community.

You know what I'm talking about!

A little pork here...

A little more there...

A wildly larded up contract for the home state...

Hey, once you're "retired" from cabinet you'll find yourself making at least 20 millions every single year just out of the good will you spread around in that "defence contractor community!"

THAT'S how it works, and as an added bonus, you will never go to jail!

So smarten up Africans - be more American!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Up and down at Falling Downs

The other morning the Farm Manager comes down the stairs, and catches the cat up on the cutting board.

Not only is the cat on the cutting board; she's licking the butter knife!

This immediately raises a number of questions.

How long has the cat been chilling out on the cutting board?

How long has the cat been licking the butter knife?

Not sure how much it matters... we've probably got immunity to every cat-borne disease imaginable!

It's a good thing!

Funny thing about these old farm houses. Even though the Falling Downs homestead is of a relatively modest size, it's got a front staircase and a back staircase. The front staircase is kinda fancy. Nicely turned newel post and all that shit, whereas the back staircase is kinda plain.

We use the back staircase pretty much 100% of the time. It's just way more handy.

So I was in the basement a little while ago, mainly because the spring melt is upon us, and I was checking on the water level. Ya, these old farm houses tend to get wet in the spring. Anyway, we're good so far, but as I was moving some of the cardboard boxes out of harm's way, I happened to look into one and holy shit, there's a bag of weed!

Must have been there for a year or two. Maybe even three or four... but sealed up tight with not a hint of mildew!

What a happy surprise!

For my whole life I've usually just lost bags of weed, never found them. Even as a 15 year old, living with Mom and Dad, I'd lose my weed. You'd smoke up, and then you'd get all paranoid, and then you're like, "oh fuck, I better hide this baggie real good to make sure Mom and Dad don't find it."

If Mom and Dad ever found it, they never let on, but one thing's for sure; I never found it again.

No, I remember to this day hiding my weed in the most creative hidey spots. The fold in the bottom of the living room drapes. Who the fuck would ever find a bag of weed there?

Ceiling tiles were good too. I remember I used to keep a stash in the ceiling of the staff room at the K-Mart at Stone Road Mall, back when I was a department manager there. Same deal; one day you confidently tuck your baggie back in the ceiling, next day it be gone! Who the fuck would ever find a bag of weed in the ceiling of the staff room at K-Mart?

Ya, who?

I don't know, but when I went to retrieve it, NOTHING!.. is it possible that Mom and Dad have something they'd like to tell me? Or that shifty-eyed old fart in the men's wear department at K-Mart? Fifty years after the fact?

I digress. There's a bunch of paintings in the attic in very ornate frames, of people who look like nobles from the era of empire. The British empire. We figure those were the original homesteaders here. After all, we bought the place from the 90ish spinster daughters of those original homesteaders.

The original pioneer log cabin, vacated when this pile of bricks was put up circa 1914, sat empty till it was bulldozed in the 90's. There's still a mound of mossed over logs under a tree in the side pasture that marks the spot.

The way the deal went down in the pioneer days was like this; job one was killing off the natives or herding them onto reservations. That cleared the way for your huddled masses from Ireland/Scotland/England, who had been cleared off their land during the "clearings," to come over here and start new lives.

Once these folks got a bit of traction, they moved out of their dirt hovels and log cabins and built themselves some nice brick homes. These folks were by nature "upwardly mobile." They'd have to be. Otherwise they would have stayed in some shit-hole Belfast/Glasgow/Liverpool slum and drank themselves to death.

But no, the ones who got over here obviously had enough get up and go to get over here. And when they finally got round to building their real brick houses, they'd put in two stairways. A fancy one at the front for the beautiful people, and a plain one at the back for the servants.

And they did this even if they never had and never would have servants. It was an aspirational staircase.

Once they had that two storey pile of bricks with the servants' staircase, they were  ready to sit for a professionally painted portrait portraying themselves as landed gentry. It was their reassurance to themselves that they had "arrived."

Anyway, I'm gobsmacked by the good fortune of finding a bag of pot when I'm not even looking for it! How often does that happen in your lifetime?

Like, never!


Donald Trump is just Hitler in short pants

I see where Louis CK is the latest commentator to cash in on the Hitler-Trump trope.

Yup, Trump is a fascist; even a Nazi maybe...

No, Donald Trump is an opportunist who sees that American politics has gone off the rails. And has it ever!

Thing is, that's been obvious for a long long time.

Louis CK latest liberal moron to boost Trump ratings

I see where alleged comic and marginal celebrity Louis CK has come out against the Hitlerite Trump campaign.

If I'm not mistaken, LCK is something of a Hillary acolyte.

Unlike Trump, Hillary has an actual track record in politics, and it ain't pretty.

Hillary is Hitler without the mustache. Or at least without much of the mustache.

Marginal celeb Louis CK doesn't get that his Trump diss fuels a few hundred thousand more votes for Trump.

Dude, shut the fuck up already!


It's a small world after all

I'm reading the Style section of today's Globe and Mail, and so far it looks like this may be the only section that you can read end to end without once encountering the name Donald Trump. I'm gonna read it three or four times back to front, every article on every page, for that reason alone.

So Jeanne Beker's got an interview with Jessica Mulroney, who is the wife of Ben Mulroney, who is the son of former PM Brian Mulroney. Jessica makes her living as a fashion consultant. One of the people consulting her is Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, wife of Justin Trudeau, spawn of Lyin' Brian's arch nemesis, Pierre Trudeau!

Is it a small world or what!?

Drumpf for dummies

As a business genius, Donald Trump is, like Conrad Black or Edgar Bronfman Jr., one of those guys whose net worth would be substantially higher today had he just stuck his inheritance into blue chips and left it alone. But no, some guys have to take over the world.

It's an ego thing.

The opinion makers at Canada's newspaper of record are treating me to endless denunciations of Donald Trump's ego today. Yup, it's pretty much wall-to-wall Drumpfobia. Margaret Wente has done passed out at the possibility of President Trump and needs you to pass the smelling salts. Doug Saunders posits Trump outside "acceptable society and basic morality." Tabatha Southey sees Nazis.

Acceptable society and basic morality are of course what guides the civilized political establishment in Washington. Those are the responsible adults who have presided over the destruction of America's middle class. Where was the outrage when the supreme court hammered the last nail into the coffin of American democracy with the Citizens United decision?

Where was the horrified hyperventilating when the Koch boys announced they planned to spend 900 millions meddling in the 2016 election?

Saunders says the Trump phenomenon was predicted in a 2009 book.

It was also predicted in a 2006 movie.

The think tank here at Falling Downs doesn't necessarily see the rise of Trump as a bad thing. Sure the guy's a loudmouth and an egomaniac, but you'd have to be to get noticed in an election process that's pretty much become the plaything of the plutocrats.

And the fact that he's getting noticed tells me American democracy is not quite dead yet. There's a great big swath of middle America that's sick to death of shitty health care, homeless veterans, ninety-million working age citizens excluded from the workforce, serial wars on random Muslim countries, and the manifold further outrages foisted on them by their political establishment.

When Leonard Cohen promised "democracy is coming to the USA" he couldn't have imagined Donald Trump would be bringing it, and Wente is right; it won't be pretty.

But it's long overdue.

Dropping the ball(s) on gender parity

It's Saturday, and you know what that means - I hit the road bright and early and head into town to fetch my Saturday edition of Canada's newspaper of record. That's a purchase that's up to $4.75 now, and I've taken to berating the Korean guy with a "holy shit! there better be some good news in here for that kinda money!" as I hand him a fiver.

Can't say if the news is particularly good or bad, as I'm only into the business section so far, but it didn't take long to find five dollars worth of irony. Tavia Grant and David Parkinson have a feature story called Work in Progress; The global struggle for gender parity about the shocking lack of women in economics, if you can imagine such a thing in this enlightened era. Their expose begins on page B1 and continues on B3.

In between, B2 features a quarter page advert from the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards congratulating one Daniel Dubois on his ascension to the Canadian championship of said awards. Young Daniel will be off to the World Finals in Bangkok shortly!

Good luck Dan!

There's a picture of Dan with the six runners up. Every last one is a dude!

WTF? If I was the title sponsor I'd cut them another cheque just to get my logo OUT of their ads!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Donald Trump, the Prince of Peace?

It's not hard to see why the Washington war camp have their knickers in a knot over Trump. In the event that America had a President who could get along with Putin and at the same time be neutral on the Jewish State file... hell, who knows what might happen?

Ya, Trump's a flakey condo promoter who has missed way more than he's hit out of the park in his business career. But what he is definitely not is a bumboy for the AIPAC crowd. That's why the Washington elite are so rattled by the success of his campaign.

It's always been our view here at the Falling Downs think tank that the Jewish State would be willing and able to make peace with her neighbours in about two weeks or less were it not for the blank cheque support the Likudniks were guaranteed by the Washington establishment.

The reason you're seeing a tsunami of anti-Trump propaganda these days is because the Israel-firsters in DC are hearing the death rattle.

Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate in the modern era not in thrall to AIPAC money.

GOP warmongers circle the wagons to block Trump

It was D (for desperation) Day among the GOP establishment today.

There was the Mittster warning America that security and prosperity would fly out the window with a Trump nomination. Romney doesn't get the fact that, from the point of view of street-level folks, America's security and prosperity has already been squandered by the perpetual-war establishment types.

Then, to prove that they're just as clueless as Romney, seventy-some charter members of that establishment posted an open letter on the War On the Rocks website. Yup, a president who could get along with Putin and be neutral on the Israel - Palestine conflict would be bad news indeed. That this clique of war cheerleaders feels threatened by Trump tells me he must be doing something right. A "Dump Trump" plea signed by the likes of Daniel Blumenthal, Michael Chertoff, Eliot Cohen, Robert Kagan and a few dozen like-minded Washington insiders isn't going to make much of an impression on the millions of regular folks who have begun to realize that the trillions pissed away on unnecessary wars at the urging of these people has only made America poorer and less secure.

In fact, it's these war cheerleaders who have brought America down. Bill Kristol gave the game away when he revealed that the GOP elite would be better served by having Hillary in the White House. Unlike Trump, Hillary is a reliable advocate for senseless military interventions and endless weapon sales to all sides in virtually every conflict. What that should tell the Republican rank and file is that their party has long since been hijacked by the military-industrial complex.

It's no wonder the elite feels threatened by a candidate who is bringing democracy back to the party.




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What would President Trump's foreign policy look like?

Trump has been a little thin on details about what his foreign policy might look like, but he's dropped a couple of powerful clues.

He's claimed that he'll be able to get along with Putin.

He's promised to be neutral on Israel.

Hey, if America had a president who was neutral on Israel and could get along with Putin, you could probably cut defense spending by at least 50%!

That Middle East nightmare that the American taxpayer has been subsidizing for generations would no longer be the American taxpayer's problem!

Nor would containing Putin's alleged plans for world domination...

That's why the Beltway Establishment is shitting bricks.

The military industrial complex that's been steering foreign policy for fifty years will have lost their milk cow.

And instead of perpetually financing perpetual war and perpetually fattening up the warmongers, the American taxpayer will instead be able to afford housing, education, and health care!

About that bogus CNN/ORC poll

CNN is giving headline prominence to a CNN/ORC poll that shows that either Dem candidate would beat Trump in a national election.

Really?

Oh really! Not only that, but Rubio would beat both Clinton and Bernie if Rubio were the GOP candidate, and if the candidate were Cruz, he'd show better than Trump...

Really!

Really?...

Yes, really, according to those CNN headlines.

It's not till you get to the last paragraph in the story that you realize that these national headlines are based on a sample of 1001 people, of which 920 were registered voters.

You post this kind of inflammatory headline based on a random sample of 920 voters?

Really?

Get outta here!

Shame on you, CNN!