Sunday, July 31, 2016

Shoot out at Falling Downs

OK, I know the Farm Manager just lost it.

It happens.

People just lose their cool.

But little did I realize how profoundly she was bitten by the Hillary bug till she pulled the AR 15 out of the gun cabinet.

Last thing I heard was "fuck you and fuck Donald, and I hope you go to hell," which was followed by a short burst from the AR-15 which, while aimed in my general direction, succeeded only in blowing the hummingbird feeder off the front porch.

I guess I shouldn't make light of that. I was sitting on the front porch at the time.

Anyway, she's sulking behind the barn right now. Steps out to let off a burst from the AR every couple of minutes. I've got the H & H side by side at my side. I loose a round in the general direction of the barn roof every ten minutes or so, just to keep her on her toes.

I'm shooting to miss, and I sure hope she is too.

After all, she's the best thing that ever happened to me.

Sure hope she gets over this need to kill me.

NYT: Donald Trump invented lying

Or if he didn't, at least he introduced lying to politics. I'm not making that up! I know I make up a lot of stupid shit, but that effort is the work of the New York Times' own Roger Cohen.

Check out Cohen's ruminations in the essay titled Trump and the End of Truth. Apparently there was a brief interlude of peace after 1945. Yup, we witnessed the creation of a "rules-based world order." It was  a veritable golden age of peace and security for humanity!

And that golden age lasted right up until 2014. "It's end was signalled in 2014 by the Russian President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea, which ripped to shreds the territorial integrity of Ukraine..."

Almost 70 years of a peaceful world order, when the peoples of the world lived in harmony and war was a fading memory, till Bad Vlad wrecked everything with his (peaceful) annexation of Crimea!

How fucking retarded would you have to be to buy into this shit?

Sure, 1945 - 2014 was an age of peace... except where it wasn't: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua, Palestine, Panama, Viet Nam, Zaire, to name but a few. How did the "rules-based world order" work out for folks in those countries? Not so great for the millions of people on the other end of the bombs and bullets generously provided to the global network of despots and dictators who were, 1945 - 2014, proud to call America their friend, ally, and sponsor.

Cohen likes to lard up his opinion spots with gratuitous literary references. True to form, we meet Tolstoy and Orwell in this effort, both of whom would be aghast to read the disingenuous drivel Cohen has tried to dignify by garlanding it with their names.

But this is all in the interest of setting the stage for you-know-who; "Enter Putin's pal, Donald Trump..."

Now, when a blog like this, which on a good day may have a few hundred page views, uses the expression "Putin's pal," I assume most readers are already in on the fact that they're reading satire. When hundreds of thousands read the same expression in something with the gravitas of the NYT's opinion page, it's just a sly way of reinforcing that extremely dubious Putin - Trump link that the Clinton camp has been eager to plant in the minds of the public.

Putin bad, Trump respects Putin, therefore Trump = bad. Maybe even authoritarian... maybe even, wait for it... sure enough, the F word makes its appearance!

Fascism is just around the corner, and if America fails to make Hillary the next POTUS, well, OMG, you can't say Roger Cohen didn't warn you.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Getthefuckouttahere.com

Whadya think?

Get the fuck outta here dot com.

A website that aggregates all those news stories that make you say "get the fuck outta here."

You know what I'm talking about...

Like when you see a headline "Kerry optimistic about peace talks."

That's an automatic "get the fuck outta here" even if you don't know what peace talks we're talking about!

Or Netanyahu claiming how he'd love to implement a two state solution if only he had a partner for peace...

Getthefuckouttahere!

I think that'll have legs... I'm taking it to the Shark Tank.

The brown brown grass of home

It's a good news bad news kinda thing. We've had about a five minute squirt of rain in the last month.

The bad news is that the cash crop guys are gonna go broke this year.

The good news is that I'll probably get by with cutting the lawn two or three times, instead of twenty or thirty.

Thank God I didn't fall for Junior's advice and get one of those fancy riding mowers. I mean he made a good point; get that Cub Cadet rider and cutting the lawn is gonna be an adventure after you've had eight beers. I get it.

Whereas, no matter how you cut it, pushing that Home Hardware $199 special around the yard is never gonna be anything other than drudgery, no matter how many beers you had.



The closed loop of the military-industrial-media complex

That pre-DNC dump of hacked emails should have been a game changer. After all, those hacked emails removed all doubt about whether or not the Clinton camp resorted to skankery and slime to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders.

Of course they did!

So what was the fallout in America's mainstream news sites? Did they say anything at all about the skankery and slime?

Nope. Instead, mainstream screens were overflowing with speculation about how Putin engineered the hack to help his good buddy Trump.

That story originated with Hillary campaign guru the Mookster, and by God, it was a stroke of genius! This little episode is gonna be a case study in Polysci classes for decades. Beautiful work, Mook!

You succeeded in taking the eyeballs of the electorate off your corrupt candidate, who the emails reveal as doing dirty by Bernie, and making the discussion about Trump's cosy and totally imaginary relationship with the evil dictator Putin!

Alas, there are some major challenges ahead for the ABCNBCCBS wankers who truly believe re-cycling press releases equals news reporting.

First of all, it looks like America's formerly reliable bum-boy Erdogan has gone completely off leash. As of right now, he's holding hostage a number of American nuclear weapons, variously reported as anywhere from 50 to 90.

He's also holding hostage hundreds of US troops who are supposedly guarding those nukes at a Turkish air base.

The Turkey situation right now is the biggest crisis of US foreign policy since the Cuban missile crisis. What is the media establishment telling you about it?

Nothing.

But they've got lots of theories about Putin's support for Trump.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Welcome back, my Russian friends!

It was just a couple weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that, for whatever reason, the Russian internet had me locked out for at least six months.

But the Russians are back!

Just in time for the Hillarious claims that Russia is behind the latest Wikileaks email dump.

Yup, you gotta keep a hairy eyeball on the Ruskies... even though the US outspends them ten to one on bombs and bullets, we gotta do more, way more, to counter the Russian threat.


Get the fuck outta here!


'tards 'o terror walk after court rules entrapment

Good!

It was always abundantly obvious that the opportunistic set-up of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody in a so-called terror plot was nothing more than a police state fabrication designed to get scary headlines. Scary headlines are of course exactly what the Harper gang ordered up. If the public can be convinced that there are indeed terrorists lurking among us, we'll be that much more amenable to giving up more rights and freedoms.

Nuttall and Korody were two of the most unlikely terrorists you could imagine. Intellectually challenged drug addicts with a passing and superficial interest in Islam, they were over a period of months "radicalized" by a team of up to 240 undercover agents. Wow!

Had even a tiny fraction of the resources invested in entrapping the pair been made available for their improvement, the RCMP might have found the time to do some useful stuff - maybe track down some of those missing and murdered indigenous women or their killers or something... but that wouldn't have gotten the Harperites their headlines.

According to evidence heard in court, our aspiring jihadis lived lives of utter despair. They couldn't keep a job or an apartment, and often couldn't even feed themselves. These are the kind of people our police state hones in on and spends millions to frame up as terrorists?

Shame!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bill Clinton racing down the Alzheimer Highway

Did you see Bill at the Hillary show tonight?

Bill couldn't figure out which way to direct his applause without either Chelsea or his secret service guys pointing him in the right direction.

It's a sad thing.

Seen it happen many times before. In fact, I'm just a few miles behind Bill. My dear Uncle Werner needed to absent himself from his tenured post at a serious post-secondary institution when he was the age that I am now.

That gives me lots of pause for thought.

General John Allen (retired) takes crap in "love trumps hate" celebratory punch bowl at DNC

Things have been a little tense around Falling Downs the last couple weeks. The Farm Manager insists on watching the conventions on CBSN, aka "the HRC network."

She's largely fallen for the mewling pro-Hillary propaganda that CBS has smothered us with this week.

So thank God for General John Allen!

Suddenly all that "indispensable nation" shit seemed to roust her out of her stupor.

Yup, General John showed us why all those PNAC types have been defecting from the GOP to the Hillary camp. If you wanna make sure that America remains the most indispensable and most special and most powerful nation in the family of nations, you gotta vote for Hillary!

Gotta go... Chelsea Clinton is making her speech...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Shit show in South Philly

Good to see the Democratic Party coming together like that, ain't it?

The aging charlatan from Vermont succeeds in pied piping the biggest influx of youthful idealists to the Party since JFK, only to stab them in the back at the eleventh hour! And didn't Sarah Silverman do a great job of putting the whiny ingrates in their place? Let them pout and protest in the streets with their fellow travellers of BLM, while the grown-ups stay in the room and fawn over Hillary.

But OMG, who knew that Hillary had such a long and rich history of good deeds? She's done more good deeds than Mother Teresa herself, that gal has! That must be why the who's who of the GOP warhawk faction have been abandoning ship and falling in behind her... Armitage, Scowcroft, Kagan... they're scared to death Trump might put the bombs in his bombast, so they're scurrying for the skirts of the Beltway's greatest humanitarian of all time?

Ya right.

What's been truly telling in the news coverage over the past couple of days is how effective the damage control has been around the disastrous Wikileaks email dump on the weekend. As you tour the mainstream news sites you find virtually no discussion of, let alone outrage over, the egregious corruption at the highest levels of the Dem machine revealed in those emails. Instead, there's a tsunami of bullshit about Putin being behind the hack.

Hillarious!

American democracy; truly the greatest show on earth!

Elizabeth Warren flushes career down toilet

Liz Warren gave the speech of a lifetime at the DNC just now.

Her abject toadying to Clinton was embarrassing in the extreme.

How sad to see one of the few senior Dems with any serious progressive cred toss it out the window... and for what?


You know you're screwed when your political campaign needs a Jerry Springer endorsement

I've whiled away the afternoon watching the CBSN coverage of the Dem convention. So far the only hopeful note has been struck by those Bernie delegates who refuse to join Bern in his "roll over and die" routine.

And while it's noteworthy that Jerry Springer has arrived on my screen with his Hillary endorsement, I'm wondering what that really means for the Dems?

We're in deep shit, Trump is leading in the latest polls... these leaked emails are gonna kill us... time to bring out the heavy artillery... Jerry Springer.

Jerry Springer?

The Dems are schlonged.


Wheels falling off Hillary campaign

Been watching the Dem convention for the last hour or so. Seems to me that there's a whole lot of denial in the air about the significance of the email scandal. What more proof do people need before they admit the system is rigged?

How delusional do you have to be to believe that the same establishment that rigged the system is, for the next couple of days of speechifying, embracing the "progressive values" that were so obviously absent throughout eight years of Obama?

Bernie motivated a lot of mostly young people with his anti-establishment rhetoric in the primaries. He motivated them by speaking out against a lot of stuff that the establishment candidate personifies: big banks, big money in politics, Wall Street, imperial over-reach, just to name a few.

Nope, there's not a lot of those young folks gonna be voting for Hillary.

I said it last February and I'll say it again; Trump will bury Hillary in November.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Heat wave in Hicksville

It's been damned hot in these parts. Lawns are brown. Tempers fray readily.

It's a "heat dome," the internet tells me.

The old double brick pile here at Falling Downs can fight off the heat for two or three days, but if the high heat goes on much longer it becomes a sweat lodge. That's when we head for the shore.

So today we toured into town to pick up the Saturday Globe & Mail and then set up the lawn chairs on the south shore of Colpoy's Bay, over Big Bay way. There's plenty of shade and always a breeze coming off the bay, and of course, you've got your carte blanche to avoid all the household chores for the day.

Instead, we spend the day alternating between reading the paper and throwing sticks in the water for the dogs to fetch. Glorious indolence!

And 100% fully legitimised by that heat dome! It doesn't get much better than that!

You'll see a variety of boat traffic going back and forth in the course of an afternoon, and that's always fun too. I'm still negotiating the boat purchase with the Farm Manager. I've earned a few points lately with the new gas fireplace now gracing the living room, so it's just a matter of time.

There's every kind of watercraft you can imagine on Colpoy's Bay, from fifty foot cruisers to sailboats of all sizes to kayaks and canoes and the ubiquitous jet-skis. And it was a jet-ski that caused a double-take today.

The little park where we park our lawn chairs is a fave destination for scuba buffs from far and wide. That's not a hobby that I get. Like, you could run out of air and die... nah, that's not for me. But more power to the folks who get it. They've always got the little "diver down" buoys marking their spot. One day last summer we were sitting in our regular spot, the diver down buoy was maybe fifty feet off shore. A pair of jet-skis were screaming along the shore - must have had a good 50 mph going on. One of them dekes to the outside of the buoy, the other one, believe it or not, cuts between the buoy and the shore.

Holy heck... a guy or gal could be coming up for air in that zone and have their noggin' detached by a high-speed jet-ski... another reason not to scuba dive.

But no, that's not the cause of the double take today. Today, we saw a trio of jet-skis heading our way. Two that appeared to be racing, and one lagging a little behind. Up front, one machine was piloted by a single adult male; the other by a pair of teenage boys.

Here comes jet-ski number three, and it's... a woman in flowing robes wearing a headscarf?

It's the mom! It's a Muslim Canadian family out on jet-skis!

Wow!

I haven't felt such a burst of positivity for the future of Canada since that time I was sitting by the water at Sibbald Point Provincial Park and a couple of sari-wearing middle-aged Indo-Canadian women paddled by in a canoe.

I think we're gonna be OK.

That's so Canadian, eh?

Adriana Barton had such a damn fine story in my Globe and Mail today I have to admit it brought a tear to my eye. Her multi-page feature in the Focus section takes a close look at an outfit called "The Dudes Club." That's a sort of mutual support group for the most down and out of the down and outers in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

I spent a couple of days and nights in the neighbourhood about forty years ago. It was the kind of place where Lysol & Coke was a popular beverage among the older crowd and heroin was everywhere. It was rough then and the various cycles of new drug fads, crack, meth, what-have-you, haven't smoothed things out. Downtown Eastside is the end of the line, the end of the ride.

The Dudes Club (Dudes is an acronym for Downtown Urban Knights Defending Equality and Solidarity) is a bi-weekly get together that focuses on men's health issues. Not just the kinds of health issues around drinking Lysol and injecting drugs, but the psychological issues that give rise to those behaviours. By all accounts it is a very successful program.

A doctor by the name of Paul Gross seems to be the spark-plug of the operation. We are told that Dr. Gross, who volunteers his own time and serves as medical director, runs the program on a budget of $15,000 per year.

A few paragraphs later we get this;

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are evaluating the program as part of a three year, $270,000 study...

WTF?

As in WTF kind of a society are we when we scrape together $15,000 to fund a life-altering program that helps some of the most vulnerable among us, then find $90,000 per year to "evaluate" it?

That's so Canadian, eh?

Russian balloonist claims world record; immediately disqualified for doping

Russian balloonist Fedor Konyukhov set a new world record by single-handedly circumnavigating the globe in a helium balloon in eleven days, shattering the previous record set by American Steve Fossett in 2002. Fossett managed the feat in thirteen days.

Unfortunately Mr. Konyukhov's triumph was short-lived. On landing in the Australian Outback he was immediately surrounded by a team of Canadian lawyers who forcibly removed his trousers and wouldn't give them back until he had provided a urine sample.

Subsequent testing confirmed what most informed observers had already suspected; when a Russian sets a record, they must be cheating. Leading anti-doping activist Dick Pound announced the results at a press conference in Australia. "Hopefully this will send a message to Mr. Putin that doping in sport will no longer be tolerated."

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Smug CBC journos still think Trump is the problem

Trump is not the problem.

He's probably not the solution, either.

He's a symptom.

Here's CBC stalwart Terry Milewski marvelling that our new PM has managed to keep his cool while vile Trump has been bad-mouthing both NAFTA and NATO.

Sorry. As much as I want to like Trudeau and want to dislike the Manhattan condo pitch-man, I don't see the issue here. It's high time somebody bad-mouthed both NAFTA and NATO.

Too bad that bad-mouthing has never come from anyone in the Canadian political or media firmament.

In Canada, the political elite and their media sycophants don't need to tell you that NAFTA has been nothing but good for you, because they've spent 25 years telling you that already, so they assume you know.

And questioning NATO is of course far beyond the pale, because after all, NATO is our last line of defence against Putin's aggression. Everybody in Canada knows this, because every Canadian media platform has been telling us forever.

Sorry. I'm one of the heretics who thinks that when you stack up "Putin's aggression" against US/NATO aggression over the past quarter century or so, it's more than obvious who has been the aggressor.

How refreshing that a US presidential candidate would want to visit that reality.


Poverty, taxes, billionaires, and America's collapsing infrastructure

The way I see it, the fact that there are any billionaires at all among us is living proof that the tax code is seriously flawed. To be a "billionaire" means you've become a millionaire a thousand times over. Where I come from, being a millionaire means you're rich.

Now, I know times have changed. You might have been a working class stiff who bought a 900 square foot bungalow in San Francisco or Vancouver for $8,000 in 1960, and today it's worth two million. If that describes you, high five! I'm happy for ya!

But in most of America, a million bucks still counts as a lot of money.

And a billion is an obscene amount of money.

In 1960, the marginal tax rate for the highest income brackets was 90%. America had two billionaires; J. Paul Getty and Howard Hughes.

Today, the marginal income tax rate for the highest incomes is 39.5%. But that's a bit of a beard. Mitt Romney fessed up during his 2012 White House run that he pays 14% on his "US income." That was a sly way of avoiding the question of how much tax he avoids with his use of off-shore tax havens. Most of your big dogs and your big corporations (always remember that corporations are people too!) stash their income offshore to avoid paying even 14%.

That's why there are trillion dollar capital pools sitting in tax havens doing nothing.

And that's why in the "Western" world we're flirting with negative interest rates.

That's also why America today has well over 500 billionaires and climbing fast.

Is that why the middle class is shrinking?

Is that why the working class has been all but eviscerated?

Is that why America's infrastructure is on the verge of collapse?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Wente; The white working class are just lazy dumb-ass drug addicts with no morals, which is why they're voting for Trump

A coupe of years ago I was sitting in a local beverage room. That beverage room was part of a local hotel, and I was in a corner having a chit-chat with the owner, a very dignified elderly Italian gentleman.

The hotel was at the time on the market, at a whisker under a million dollars. That's big money in these parts.

Turns out that the elderly Italian gentleman and I had a few things in common. He washed up on these shores and got a job as a ditch digger. Ya, apparently they did dig ditches (wow! a triple alliteration!) back in the day. With manual labour.

The back-hoe put an end to the ditch-digger trade.

But that would not derail my Italian friend. No, with his four or five years of formal education, and his old-school work ethic, he'd just carry on.

Buddy worked his way through numerous manual labour jobs. He saved his paycheques and eventually became the owner of the "Manor" in Guelph.  That is today one of the top strip joints in south Ontario, but Buddy owned it when it was a highly popular country and western joint.

I knew it very well.

It was an odd coincidence that these two immigrants, a generation apart, would have unknowingly crossed paths so many years before.

Yup, there was a couple of times when Buddy's bouncers beat the shit out of me.

And there was a couple of times when I beat the shit out of Buddy's bouncers.

But no matter. We're sitting in the far reaches of that beverage room, reminiscing about what things looked like in Guelph forty years ago.

Turned out me and Buddy knew a lot of the same people. Even though Buddy was from my dear Daddy's generation, we had something in common.

We were immigrants.

And we washed up on these shores never expecting to be anything other than "working class."

Wente's white trash working class.

I've got enough relatives in Illinois and Ohio and New York and New Jersey to know that the immigrant experience in the USA was not in any way significantly different from the immigrant experience in Canada.
You showed up and you were the bottom guy on the totem pole. That's how it worked then, that's how it works today, that's how it's always worked.

We came here expecting to be the working class, and we were.

Which brings me to Margaret Wente's effort in the Globe and Mail today.

Margaret likes to spew ill-informed twaddle that more often than not has little or no relationship to the real world. Today she out-did herself.

Apparently Margaret has read a book by JD Vance, "Hillbilly Elegy," which perfectly nails why Donald Trump has risen to the Republican nomination on the strength of a disaffected white working class.

I have to say I'd be hard-pressed to find more hate-speech against the working class in any 800 word essay I've ever seen.

Vance's book is "an intimate portrait of the white working class."

Let the slanders begin...

Vance's book is not remotely about the working class.

It's about a remote subset of that working class... the folks who have given up.

In the first place, the "working class" is the working class. When I was on the shop floor the black dudes were always fairly well represented, and you can bet I spent a lot more time on the shop floor than Wente.

When the plant shut down and moved operations to Mexico, thanks to the free trade agreements that pundits universally tell us were a good deal for us, it wasn't just the white working class that lost their jobs and their homes.

It was the working class; black, white, and we even had Pakis on the shop floor by then.

But what would Wente know about the working class? She occasionally caught a glimpse of some worker bees in the back of her daddy's sheet-metal shop. Maybe they were all white. Where else would she come up with the idea that it was only white folks who were the losers in the disembowelment of the working class?

Wente's working class whites were not disenfranchised because "free trade" agreements shipped their jobs to Mexico and China. No, it was a "cultural, spiritual, and psychological crisis."

And then those disenfranchised working folks turned to drugs and crime and, eventually, Trump. At least the white ones. Apparently the others are voting for Hillary.

Really?

Get the fuck outta here!

The reason the working class are supporting a billionaire poseur in this election is because he's the only candidate who has acknowledged that it's "free trade" that took away our jobs, and it's the professional political class that keeps pushing stuff that works against us.

Buddy in the beverage room was a working class guy even after he became a minor capitalist. He's got a son who is a doctor in Toronto and a daughter who is a professor at Duke. I'm a working class schmuck with two university degrees, in spite of settling too comfortably into my role as the pot-addled hillbilly on this blog. Virtually every working class family I have ever known, black, white, and every shade of brown, has worked hard to push their children to the next level. Those are the kind of people who are in Cleveland this week pushing for a Trump nomination.

Wente's tenure at the Globe and Mail has survived a couple of plagiarism scandals. If they won't dump her for serial plagiarism, maybe at least they'll cut her loose for writing really stupid shit.

We can only hope...




Constipated Russian internet finally unblocked!

Great! Those folks will be able to read my shit again!

Historically, Russia was for a long time the third biggest audience for this blog, after the USA and Canada. Six months ago there were a cumulative 40,000 plus page views from Russia. Ya, it's not NYT numbers, but not too shabby for a pot-addled hillbilly in Bruce County.

And then, nothing. As in I might get one page view from Russia every three weeks. Obviously somebody somewhere flipped a switch.

But why? I mean, we might take an occasional jab at Bad Vlad, but by and large we're pretty Putin friendly around here.  After all, he's the single most important road-block to the beltway wet-dream of a uni-polar world in perpetuity, and that's worth supporting.

I figure it must have been incompetent translators who missed the sarcasm and irony...

Anyway, welcome back, my Russian friends!

Congratulations, Mr. Trump

We're not Trumpers here at the Falling Downs think tank. But we like him because it's been a lot of fun watching a dyed in the wool Manhattan liberal hi-jack the Grand Old Party.

We were one of the first sites anywhere to draw the parallels between President Mountain Dew Comacho and Trump. We obviously underestimated the guy. That started to change when we watched him demolish all those establishment stiffs with their hundred-million-dollar war chests.

In terms of substance, nobody knows where Trump will land on any particular agenda item, because he's made statements on virtually every conceivable issue that are 180 degrees apart. I mean, it's gonna be tough to be both Israel's best buddy and a fair interlocutor in the "Middle East Peace Process," (which expression has been an oxymoron since at least the Oslo Accords) and that's just one example.

So, with Trump, it's wait and see.

With Clinton, we know exactly what we're getting.

That's why Trump is the only candidate who offers any viable hope for the future of America.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Paul Ryan's "white selfie" proves that America is a cesspool of racism

Well, what do you expect from a guy who has, ever so reluctantly, endorsed Donald Trump?

paul ryan selfie

Yup, there's happy Paul and a whole lotta happy white folks!

Which just proves yet again that the entire edifice of GOP politics is racist to the core.

Which kinda makes you wonder about images like this one;



Ya, I know, it's hard to reconcile this photo of Reverend Al and Mr. Trump yucking it up after the Hillary camp has exposed Trump as the most racist racist of all time.

Honestly, Reverend Al, what were you thinking?...

But as a Canadian, I would caution my fellow Canadians to not get too smug. We too have allowed systemic racism to taint our smug and self-contented little universe of diversity and equality.

Take this outrage for example. Back in 2014, one of Canada's top schools dispensed honorary degrees to ten super-high achievers. Oddly enough, every one was a white male!

And let's not forget the front page feature in the Globe and Mail last year wherein we learned that the primary movers and shakers in the West Coast tech scene where all..... white males!

So maybe it's not Cruz but Ryan who is the secret Canadian?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Reality can be a nasty bitch

The world is in a fucked-up place and it won't be getting better anytime soon.

There's terror here and there and everywhere.

And for sure there's pretty much nothing reassuring in the great presidential circus that's going on right now in America.

I think we're screwed...

CNAS - the scariest think tank you've never heard of

The Centre for a New American Security released a blueprint back in May of this year that will allow the next POTUS, whoever she or he may be, to make America great again.

Here's a few highlights:


  • US military spending needs to increase substantially if America is to maintain "order" in the world.
  • Russia's "aggression" needs to be reined in. To that end, NATO, led by the US of course, must have a permanent presence in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Obama has already initiated that.
  • China needs to be corralled both economically and militarily. 
  • The US needs to redouble its efforts to bring freedom and democracy to the Greater Middle East. Specifically, we must admit that there is no future for Syria as long as Assad is in charge. We must therefore train up and provision a new opposition army and create a "safe zone" where they can train and organize.
  • America must guarantee Israel's material edge over all regional rivals in perpetuity.
There's lots more in that vein but I'm sure you get the drift. The brief is modestly titled "Extending American Power."

Looks more like a recipe for perpetual war...

Then again, if you look at their corporate partners and their major funding sources, you realize that it's all the usual suspects who profit from perpetual war.

No surprises there!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

How to shut down the Towelheads 'o Terror

It was more than a little discomforting to hear Mr. Hollande, he of the spurs etc, not to mention the really expensive haircuts, promise to avenge the Nice travesty by ramping up the bombing of Iraq and Syria.

Apparently there's a lot of folks in our leadership circles here in the Nations of Virtue who fail to connect cause and effect.

As vile as the Nice attack was, you have to admit that a terror attack in Libya or Iraq or Afghanistan that killed a hundred people would not so much as raise an eyebrow here in the Nations of Virtue.

That's because white lives matter so much more, regardless of how much brown or even black lives matter.

So here's a thought; perhaps, if we in the virtuous West are serious about combating "terror," we begin by stopping our terrorising the Islamic nations.

All of them.

Now.

What's in a name?

Churchill Downs.

Falling Downs.

Get it?

Ya, seems kinda stupid to me too.

But five years ago when I decided to embark on this blogging mission, I was casting about for a name. My first thought was "neumann's blog," as in I'm neumann and here's my blog.

But at the time I thought that was somewhat banal. Obscure. Even a little precious...

On the other hand, I thought "neumann's blog" was a little plain, bereft of irony, and just a little too sensible... and I just love irony.

Three months in I was sick and tired of the "irony." Ya, we get it... the place is falling down, so why not the name "Falling Downs?"

That first blog post appeared five years ago today.  At the time I figured I'd take a stab at putting my opinions out there, and what the fuck, I'll get enough hate mail in three or four months that I'll give it up by October.

October came and went and by then I'd had the WTC 7 post which got like a thousand views in one day, and I thought I was off to the races!

As in, if there's a thousand views today, there'll be two thousand tomorrow, and give this a few months and I'll be able to quit my day job...

Never happened.

Anyway, I thought I'd celebrate the anniversary by going back to that very banal first impulse.

It's now just "neumann's blog."

Goodbye Falling Downs.

Welcome to neumann's blog.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Wily Erdogan dodges bullet. This time.

Judging from the latest news reports, the coup in Turkey has become the non-coup, and the folks who had the balls to pull the plug on their master of ceremonies are gonna have their plugs pulled instead. Or more likely their balls. As in pulled right out of their bags by the Turkish security services.

They don't fuck around in Turkey, as you'll know if you remember watching Midnight Express.

That can only mean one thing. The REAL masters of ceremonies in Washington are still backing the wily Erdogan. Yup, for all his conniving and two-timing and back-stabbing, Mr. Erdogan still has the Beltway brain-trust covering his back.

That's a bit of a brain-fuck for amateur Kissingers like me. I mean, Erdogan has pretty much poked every ally he has ever had in the eye, and he carries on like nothing ever happened? How the hell does that work?


Tits and ass and the running of the bulls

Pamplona seems to have become just one more destination for yobs who want to take their assholery to the world stage.

That's the tourist market that all the big airplane manufacturers are aiming for. Build bigger more fuel-efficient airplanes so that more British pedophiles can go to Cambodia or Bangkok cheaper.

I've always believed tourism is bullshit.  And the more you focus on doing it on the cheap, which is the sole purpose of the last generation of jets from Airbus and Boeing and Bombardier, the more you make it possible for small-time shit-bags to spread their small-time shit all over the planet.

Let's be clear; not every passenger is heading to South East Asia for a sexual encounter that would see them jailed in England.

There are many passengers on these flights who are going on legit trips to present papers at academic conferences or visit family members they haven't seen for years.

But there's probably more traffic heading for Pamplona...

So, more efficient short-run airplanes will allow more yobs to visit Pamplona, there to drink and puke and molest the locals.

Guess it's all good then!

That's tourism in the 21st century!

Coup attempt plunges Turkey into civil war

Hard to say which way things are going in our NATO ally Turkey today.

Who will emerge successful tomorrow?

We don't know.

I'd hazard a guess that the Masters of the Universe at State don't know either...

But one way or the other, it's gonna be a good show...

Civil wars are always so much fun!

Did Obama just stab BFF Erdogan in the back?

There were stories floating about in the past few days about how Erdogan's government was going to try to mend fences with Assad.

Insofar as there was any truth to that, (and the denials were immediate and multifold) Erdogan would be biting the hand that feeds him; his American paymasters, his NATO overlords; the folks who decided years ago that Assad must go.

And let's not forget that Erdogan has not been seeing eye to eye on the Kurdish question.

Is that why it is Erdogan, and not Assad, who is going today?

And let's not forget, he's not gone yet. Erdogan didn't fake those election victories. He has a massive popular base. They will see this coup attempt as a US plot to replace Erdogan with someone more pliable.

Will Erdogan hop on a helicopter and fly to asylum in... Saudi Arabia? Germany? Russia?

Probably not. I think he knows he has a support base that can delay this regime change that's been orchestrated by his NATO bosses.

That could mean civil war in Turkey.

Is the jig finally up for the wily Erdogan?

As I write this multiple media reports have President Erdogan playing hide-and-seek with military police firing live rounds in his 1,000 room palace.

The myriad contradictions that have come to contaminate Erdogan's reign over the past few years made it inevitable that things would come to this. Turkey is a NATO ally, the world's premier club for "freedom and democracy," but under Erdogan it has become anything but free and a democracy only in a very limited sense.

Freedom of the press? If Erdogan doesn't like what he sees in your newspaper or on your TV channel, his thugs will take over your newsroom.

He's been waging a vicious war on his Kurdish population for the past year, because although a cease-fire had been largely successful, he needed to ramp up violence to assure an absolute majority in the second of last year's elections. It was a cynical strategy that worked, and allowed him to even further consolidate his power. At the cost of thousands of Turkish lives.

He's been playing a double game in the "war on terror" for years, supposedly fighting ISIS while at the same time supplying them with weapons, facilitating their trade in stolen oil, and allowing free passage through Turkey for ISIS fighters.

He alienated Israel and Washington with the Mavi Mamora fiasco.

He's risked a major escalation of the Middle East inferno with the reckless downing of a Russian jet. He has alienated virtually every one time ally, to the point where he'd have a tough time finding a place to seek sanctuary today.

Maybe he can swap digs with Fethulla Gulen. Gulen gets the 1,000 room palace and Erdogan gets that lovely country get-away in Pennsylvania.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Donald and Hillary's bold adventure

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

Think about it.

Does this look like Donald and Hillary would be at one another's throats, ever?

Or do you suppose something else is going on?

Is it possible that a billionaire and a couple of wannabe billionaires put their heads together and decided, "hey, we can do this!"

Just wondering...

This is journalism?

Kevin O'Leary is a moron.

But he's a moron who is very well paid for playing a successful investor on TV. Because he's a moron who understands the ins and outs of celebrity culture, he has managed to build a facade of credibility around his imaginary financial acumen.

Kevin had a great run of luck back in the '80's, when the digital era was in its infancy. A top notch flim-flam artist could go a long way on very little other than flim-flam back in the day, and there is no doubt that Kevin has always been a really great salesman.

In fact, if I were selling air conditioners in the Arctic, I'd want Kevin to head up my sales team.

But, there's the world 'o sales and flim-flam and reality TV... and then there's the real world.

The Globe and Mail, Canada's newspaper of record, ostensibly operates in the real world. Today they've got a fawning story about Kevin on A3. Yup, a mere three pages in we've got a third of a page dedicated to Kevin thinking out loud.

Unpaid intern Laura Stone has never before been this close to the front page, so I imagine she is thrilled. It's not clear from the story if she actually talked to Kevin or if she relied on press releases from his PR firm. In any event, Kevin is boldly staking his claim to the front ranks of the Conservative Party leadership battle... on the basis of exactly nothing other than his thinking out loud.

And what a sad indictment of Canadian news media that is.

The Globe reports that the mighty O'Leary has summoned Tony Clement to his Muskoka cottage to discuss the future of the Dominion and maybe have a guitar jam. What the fuck? Check it out on A3 of today's paper, folks.

I couldn't believe it either!... he is just like the Godfather; he "invites" those leadership wannabees to his dock where maybe he's gonna make an offer they can't refuse, or maybe they're just gonna sit on the dock and play their guitars, because that's how we do politics in Canada?

We're treated to this level of imbecility by page three? Does no one appreciate the fact that I paid three dollars and fifteen cents to read this newspaper?

The more you dig into Kevin's alleged business prowess the more you wonder why he is not in jail. Here's a brief synopsis of O'Leary's business career.

I'm guessing Laura Stone didn't dig that far and just wrote her story around Kevin's latest press release.

That's journalism in the modern era.

Monday, July 11, 2016

How do we celebrate difference in the world of multi-culti?

I know how we do it now... we got Ethiopia Week, then we got Somalia Week, and then after that maybe Native American Week.

Black History gets an entire month if I'm not mistaken.

After a year of this, every possible oppressed group has been honoured.

What difference does it make?

Well, none of course.

But society has paid her dues and off we go to business as usual!


Don't say I didn't warn you.

Six thoughts on the Dallas shooter

First thought; what is accomplished by naming the trigger-men (and they are always men, are they not?) in mass shootings?

Let them be nameless.

That will deny them fame in a fame-obsessed culture. That in itself could pull the plug on more than a few mass shootings.

Second thought; when we view pictures of the shooter's family home, it is obvious that he was not some stereotypical "ghetto nigger." He came from a family that was dialled into the "American Dream" and had to a large extent arrived there.

Third thought; friends and neighbours report that the shooter was "not the same" after his tour in Afghanistan. What do we know about his experience in theatre? Very little, other than he was discharged as a result of sexual harassment issues. What does "not the same" mean? Are we talking about PTSD?

Fourth thought; did he seek treatment for PTSD? Was there treatment for his PTSD? Or did asking for treatment result in nothing more than putting his name on a list at the VA that might result in actual psychiatric care two, three, four or more years down the road?

Fifth thought; while waiting for the psychiatric care that might have been provided him somewhere down the road, when America's budget priorities might provision it, was he short-stopped with anti-depressants, the same anti-depressants that, when we view them advertised on TV, include among their potential side-effects the warning that "if this medication makes you feel like doing harm to yourself or others, contact your doctor immediately?"

Last thought; I'm with Obama when he says America is not nearly as divided as people think. A tragedy on the scale of what happened in Dallas last week gives far too much cred to extremists on all sides.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The incredible shrinking American Dream

When I was a teenager my tunes came from WLS and WCFL in Chicago, and they arrived via a little GE tube radio at my bedside. That had to do with the vagaries of how radio waves behaved themselves in the stratosphere.

That was kinda fucked up because I was a Canadian kid a thousand miles away listening to shit about "the Loop" and all that.

Chicago is a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong with the American Dream. You've got the elite on one side, which is where Obama came from, and your white trailer trash and ghetto niggers on the other side.
Looks to me there's a great move afoot to have those ghetto folks and the white trash at one another's throats fighting for the minimum wage jobs.

Or giving up on the mainstream economy all together and opting for the grow-op or the meth lab, and thereby stocking up the for-profit prisons in perpetuity.

Of course, in the pursuit of potential fodder for those for-profit prisons, we've had some hiccups disguised as human rights concerns etc.  I mean, black lives definitely matter to the proprietors of the for-profit prison system. If you took all the black dudes out of the for-profit prisons, they'd be out of business in 24 hours!

But these are tense times in America...

Anything could happen...






Thursday, July 7, 2016

Philando Castile: even when a black dude plays by all the rules, he can still be shot down in cold blood by the police

Just after the weekend we had a very Canadian debate about whether or not Black Lives Matter were "bullies" for stopping the Toronto Pride Parade for half an hour.

After all, you can't possibly have a debate about human rights without going through the proper channels. That is quintessentially Canadian.

Maggie Wente and others went out of their way to spell out how BLM were a bunch of bullies and so forth.

Alton Sterling was murdered in Baton Rouge on Tuesday.

We were hardly into digesting that news morsel when Philando Castile was gunned down in Minnesota.

I'm with Wente in proclaiming that Toronto is not a racist hell-hole.

But neither is Minnesota.

I think it's beyond high time to look at policing in America.

And here.

Shit happens

After a hearty feed of cabbage rolls and bean salad, I'm sitting on the front stoop here at Falling Downs, conversing with the Farm Manager, when I rip forth a fart that is remarkable both for its pungency and its decibel level.

The Farm Manager immediately segues into a monologue that is an epic rant about what a vulgar asshole I am. She even mentioned Mr. Trump in her rant, and while I understand that he has upped the ante in many avenues of vulgarity, I have yet to read any anti-Trump missives that mention Trumpian farts.

I am obviously alone on the beachhead of anti-establishment farts.

Does she not realise that I was once the victim of a rogue lower bowel? That during my stay at a fine waterfront hotel I mistook the signs of an impending bowel movement for a mere fart?

Please, have some consideration! Even some mercy, maybe!

Yes, I can fairly be accused of being a "vulgar asshole," although in my heart of hearts I remain convinced that I'm not really that bad...

So here's what really happened.

The Irving shipyard hired me at an interview here in Ontario. They flew me out to NB for a look-see. I must have missed the part about which hotel to stay in. I was apparently supposed to stay in one of the hotels that the Irvings owned, and they own more than they don't own out there.

So I end up at the waterfront Saint John Hilton. Months later I had a bit of a thing getting compensated for staying at the wrong hotel, but it all worked out in the end. Like I've said before, the Irvings were always more than fair with this working class schmuck.

But let's get back to the shitty nitty gritty...

Ya, I'm in the shower in my very smooth room at the waterfront Hilton in Saint John... I feel a major fart coming on...

You know how that ends.

But then the Farm Manager floors me with the rejoinder that every girl in the world has a worse story than that about their first period.

Have to admit taking an accidental shit in the shower has nothing on bleeding through your pants in your grade nine math class.

Pot-addled hillbilly predicted Postmedia share collapse over three years ago

Today you can pick up a share of Postmedia stock for two or three cents on the TSE. Technically that's still not "zero," where I first predicted it was heading back in 2013, but I think we're close enough for gloating rights.

And this is quite the "restructuring" the vultures who have been milking this cash cow to death since its birth have fashioned for themselves, is it not? Not only can they continue bleeding SunPostMedia dry, but on the off chance that the newspaper industry ever stabilises, they've now got a 98% ownership stake!

I expect Mr. Godfrey will trouser a tidy bonus for his excellent service to his American masters!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sometimes, you just gotta let shit go...

And holy mackerel, can I ever spill it on that one!

Ya, more than once or twice in my life I've been saddled with the ordeal of vindictive assholes trying to make my miserable life even more miserable than it might otherwise be.

Yet, at some stage in the thought process, I can't help but wonder why it was the mackerel that got holy?

Why not the... carp?

Holy carp!

Perch?

Bass?

How to waste tax-payer money

A couple of weeks ago we got notice from the township that they'd be fixing up our culvert that sends the waters of the Indian Creek under Concession 20 and on into Bass Lake and the Indian River. Not that we'd ever noticed anything wrong with that culvert. We've been here eight or nine years and that culvert seems to work just fine. In fact, I walk the hounds across that bridge/culvert twice a day, and it's always seemed OK to me.

But, I'm not an engineer, so what the fuck, you gotta give the experts the benefit of the doubt.

So today the job started. We've got rental traffic lights at each end of the work zone. That in itself is hilarious, because you can clearly see across the fifty foot work zone from either end. All they needed was a "yield to oncoming traffic" sign at either end of the work zone. Instead, they rented traffic lights for either end... on a road that might have a hundred vehicles pass by on a busy day.

It get's better. At 7:30 this evening we heard a generator kick in. It was the generator for the construction lights. Yup, the night crew needs their lights! A good hour and a half before sun-set.

Near as we can tell, the day crew knocked off at five o'clock, and there is no night crew. As I write these words it's after ten o'clock, the lights are a-blaze on our wee bridge, and there is no fucking night crew in sight...

WTF?

Now I'm not blaming the lads on the county bridge crew. Those are just regular folks doing their jobs. But I could, were I consulted, point out a lot of places in this county where their endeavours are more earnestly required than here at Falling Downs.

At this time of night we have about one or two cars per hour coming down the road. We don't need two portable traffic signals and a generator-run bevy of construction lights to manage all this non-activity.

Get the fuck outta here!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Beer and loathing in the twilight of Western civilization

Spent the last few days consuming the weekend papers, celebrating Canada's birthday, and driving six hundred kilometres to attend a wedding.

First things first. Canada's birthday. This is, all things considered, a pretty cool country to be a part of. I'm an immigrant, and even though I'm male and white and European, it wasn't always an easy gig blending in. There were play pals at Elora Public School who could not let me play at their place because I was German.

After all, in those days we still had guys with no legs sitting on mechanic's creepers outside the Iroquois Hotel. Yup, it was the Germans who made their legs go away..

That hatred is understandable when you're sixty; not so much when you're six.

But I survived, and I might add that I survived without sensitivity counselling and all that other fashionable politically correct bullshit that hogs the airwaves today.

Back in the day, it was suck it up and ride it out.

Or die.

Now it's let's see who we can sue for the latest assault on your dignity. And damned near everything can be construed as an assault on your dignity these days. Even though nobody anywhere at anytime has ever insulted you about anything, you could very well be the victim of "micro-aggression."

We all knew instinctively that when "micro-aggression" was invented, the pendulum had swung too far.

The weekend papers were of course trumpeting the 149th birthday of our nation, and also bemoaning the triumph of something called "populism." Apparently that is where your lesser educated and therefore stupid white folks embrace the siren song of a Trump or a Brexit campaign. Yup, those stupid white folks are a problem alright...

No, it couldn't possibly be the education system that has manifestly short-changed them, it couldn't be the "free trade" agreements that have off-shored their jobs... they're just really stupid, and, of course, racist to the core. This so-called working class, which has destroyed itself with its addictions to indolence and video games and beer, now wants to engage the democratic process by shaking off it's beer-induced stupor to vote for Trump, vote for Brexit, vote for... change?

What the fuck is wrong with those people?

One thing I never could figure out was how all this working class discontent was in any way "racist." When I worked at Budd Automotive in Kitchener a vast swath of the union brothers were black. Same at Frankel Steel. When NAFTA took our jobs away, it wasn't just white working class jobs. It was ALL working class jobs.

Period.

But the mainstream media fucks who only ever meet the "working class" when they stop off at Timmies on the drive to work wouldn't know anything about that, would they?

Then there was that wedding. It was a classic Italian deal, but judging from the abundance of Audi and BMW and Mercedes vehicles in the parking lot you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. The Italians know how to put on a wedding, that's for sure!

And they know who makes the best cars.

The German victory over Italy at the Euro Cup hung over the festivities like a wet blanket.

But all of us were immigrants not that long ago.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Holy hell! Conniptions abound as "two state solution" deemed unworkable!

Any serious person observing the Middle East has known for at least twenty years that the so-called two state solution is deader than dead.

But today this is news.

No serious person has imagined that the settlement project was going to end.

Ever.

And it hasn't.

And you can't blame the Israelis, because after all, this is God's will.

Don't know to what extent God thought things through, but eventually you're gonna be left with a few million pissed-off Palestinians who will, by default, become citizens of Israel.

Good luck with that!