Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Brazil edges into lead in "race to the bottom"

That's been quite the shit-show going on in Brazil, has it not?

I'm not talking about the Olympics.

I'm talking about the unprecedented effort to remove a democratically elected president.

A senate utterly stuffed to the brim with corrupt oligarchs has managed to impeach the country's most honest president in a generation?

And check out the road ahead in this story. Yup, nothing but austerity ahead for the good (working) folks of Brazil!

Nothing but clear sailing ahead for the oligarchs once the impertinent bitch Rousseff is out of the way!

If you paid any attention at all to the reportage around the Olympics, you would have noticed that the vast majority of Brazilians are so fucking impoverished they'd barely notice another round of austerity. They live in technically illegal favelas and at least got to see the Olympic fireworks. From a distance, of course.

This state of affairs is as usual encouraged from the beltway, where the last few years of flirtation with workers' rights in Brazil has been viewed as anathema, to say the least.

Goodbye Rousseff, welcome back business as usual!

How is opposition to illegal immigration "racist?"

Apparently it's the illegal immigrant's God-given right to wade across the Rio Grande and snag a job that home-grown Americans don't want to do. Like any job that pays less than the prevailing and pathetic minimum wage.

All those Social Justice Warriors keen on bumping the legal min wage to $15 don't have a clue what to do with those neighbours wading across the Rio Grande to get away from their own ninety cents per hour min wage.

Don't get me wrong; I'm 100% for the $15 is fair campaign. Problem is it's probably more fair in the Dakotas and Maine than it is in NYC and Philly and LA. Not to mention that this is a moot discussion unless the southern border is managed properly.

It's a concept fundamental to the Christian faith that we will be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable among us. From what I see, we don't treat them very well.

While I suspect that Trump is mostly blowing smoke with his "border wall" proclamations, why is it considered offensive when a presidential candidate promises to restore the integrity of America's borders? Every other nation state on the planet works hard to maintain the integrity of its borders, so why not the most "exceptional" nation state?

Why America hasn't been able to solve the illegal Mexican immigrant problem

The reason America has not, over the past half century, been able to solve the problem of illegal Mexican immigration, is quite simple.

The ruling class in America has not the slightest interest in solving the problem, because for them it's never been a problem. Having 11 million illegal immigrants working in America keeps the local workers "flexible," if you know what I mean.

Billy-Bob's Contracting might be able to do your landscaping with guys happy to work for min wage, but Pablo's Contracting can do it with guys who will work for even less!

That's why the class of Americans who hire landscapers have never had a problem with illegal immigration. It's not just landscapers, of course. It's the entire gamut of service trades from aluminum siding installers to roofers to plumbers who are happy to work for cash under the table.

I was having dinner with my dear octogenarian dad the other day when he pointed out that even forty years ago you could sit at the Texas-Mexico border and watch the illegals walk into the USA. No other country in the world permits such an obvious violation of its sovereignty.

Pre-Schengen Europe had far tighter border controls in place than the US ever had on the Mexican border. If Austria and Italy and Portugal could control their borders, the only reason the richest most powerful nation state in the history of history can't is because they're not really trying.

Because if they got serious about stemming the flow of illegals, all those donors to the two-party system would have to pay more for their landscapers and roofers. Not only that, but take 11 million illegals out of the work-force, and you'd soon have upward pressure on wages for American workers.

And that's something the plutocracy has absolutely no interest in.

Trump confounds critics with Nieto visit

Mexico's President Enrique Nieto has had unkind words for Donald Trump in the past. I believe he's even used the Hitler analogy if I'm not mistaken.

So why would he extend an invite to Donald Hitler mere months later?

Because he suspects there's a good chance Trump could be the next President of the United States, that's why. And should that turn out to be the case, he realizes it's way better to lay the groundwork for a good working relationship sooner rather than later.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pot-addled hillbilly blogger meets modern medicine. Again.

The regular reader (hi to both of you!) will recall my consternation when my regular GP of 30 plus years sold her practice to a young upstart.

But I gotta say, I think he's won me over the same way she did; by trying to save me from myself.

Dr. Teenblum has been busy on my BP file. Had me drive all the way down to Guelph to have me kitted out with a 24 hour blood pressure monitoring rig. Yup, for 24 hours I got to walk around with tubes and wires hanging out under my shirt-tails.

That was a bit awkward when I went for dinner at the new Mandarin restaurant that just opened up down there. More than once my tubes and wires got entangled with random dining room furniture when I was making my way to my table with the latest instalment of buffet food.

But today I drove back there to have my 24 hour BP monitor removed, and the technician charged with this was kind enough to share the findings with me.

Turns out that over a 24 hour span my BP is pretty close to normal.

There were some aberrations however.

The technician wondered why there was a sudden rise in BP about 8:30 this morning... right around the time me and the Farm Manager were doing the oinky boinky.

I feigned ignorance on that one.

Then there was the sudden drop in BP at 10:15 in the evening.

She's looking at the spreadsheet with bepuzzlement... finally, I get "did anything happen around 10:15 last night that might account for this sudden drop in blood pressure?"

Figured I might as well fess up; "I smoked a joint."

Ya, I admitted to a medical professional that I self-medicated with marijuana.

And now I have scientific proof from the medical establishment that doing so caused my BP to plummet.

There's an obvious solution to how I might get my BP readings lower all day long...

Smoke more pot!

How to end the scourge of Islamist terror once and for all

The word is out that the USA has met its 2016 quota of admitting 10,000 Muslim refugees.

That's approximately 10,000 too many for a lot of folks, and you know, I can't say I blame them for feeling that way.

All told, about 2.5 million Americans served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They know better than anyone what we did to those people. If you're one of the many who snapped souvenir pics of naked Iraqi men piled high in humiliation at Abu Ghraib, would you want to risk the possibility that one of the survivors is now a refugee and has moved in down the block?

I didn't think so.

And isn't it inevitable, especially in an Arab culture that's at least as eye-for-eye as the Hatfields and the McCoys,  that some poor refugee from Falluja, who lost his family to an American drone strike or an American Hellfire missile or just the random target shooting of some random American "contractor," might want to settle the score once he washes up in America with refugee status?

Well, they're all around you now...

But there is good news!

Here's how to get those people to stop hating our freedoms; stop bombing them and invading them and killing their kids and overthrowing their leaders and stealing their resources.

That should do it!

(Kudos to those keen readers who recognized that this post is verbatim the previous one, minus the politically incorrect title. Send twenty bucks to cover shipping and handling to Falling Downs, c/o General Delivery at the Kemble Post Office, and we'll send you a free Falling Downs coffee mug!)

The Towelheads 'o Terror and how to stop them

The word is out that the USA has met its 2016 quota of admitting 10,000 Muslim refugees.

That's approximately 10,000 too many for a lot of folks, and you know, I can't say I blame them for feeling that way.

All told, about 2.5 million Americans served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They know better than anyone what we did to those people. If you're one of the many who snapped souvenir pics of naked Iraqi men piled high in humiliation at Abu Ghraib, would you want to risk the possibility that one of the survivors is now a refugee and has moved in down the block?

I didn't think so.

And isn't it inevitable, especially in an Arab culture that's at least as eye-for-eye as the Hatfields and the McCoys,  that some poor refugee from Falluja, who lost his family to an American drone strike or an American Hellfire missile or just the random target shooting of some random American "contractor," might want to settle the score once he washes up in America with refugee status?

Well, they're all around you now...

But there is good news!

Here's how to get those people to stop hating our freedoms; stop bombing them and invading them and killing their kids and overthrowing their leaders and stealing their resources.

That should do it!



Sunday, August 28, 2016

So what's the real reason the top sprinters at the Olympics are ALWAYS black dudes?

Hey, the think tank here at Falling Downs hasn't been the only venue to take notice. Check this out.

Or thisthis, and this.

Meanwhile, the independent thinkers here at the Falling Downs Think Tank have another theory:



When you're trying to get away from these assholes, running really fast becomes a matter of life and death.

http://theviewfromfallingdowns.blogspot.ca/2014/07/why-are-all-top-sprinters-black.html

Mboh Gotha explodes last 50 years of anti-tobacco propaganda

Seems they recently found the world's oldest man in Indonesia. They even got a photo of him.

world oldest man, java world oldest man, oldest person in the world record, oldest man wants to die, 145 years oldest man, trending news, world news, latest newsThey even got a picture of old Mboh, and it shows him puffing on a cigarette!

That's gotta be the biggest win for Big Tobacco since 90 - something Helmut Schmidt gave them this boost:



Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (pictured in Frankfurt in 2009) has died at the age of 96 despite smoking 60 cigarettes a day since he was a teenager

So if you wanna live to 90 or even 145, start smoking those cigarettes now, kids!



Colin Kaepernik upsets bread and circuses applecart

There's been quite the stink being blown about by your usual suspects since 49ers QB Colin Kaepernik politely declined to stand for the national anthem the other day. That's because he can't find it within himself to honour an anthem that honours a nation that systemically oppresses black folks.

Frankly, I didn't even realize Kaepernik was a black dude... Kaepernik? I thought he was from one of those eastern European nations... well I suppose in its way that's almost the same thing.

Anyway, I gotta say it's refreshing to see a 20 million/year guy take a stand, or a sit in this case. He makes an important point. Anybody whose head is not completely up their ass understands that black folks, generally speaking, get the dirtiest end of the stick in America.

And if a 20 million a year superstar quarterback who can pass as Polish has a problem with America, imagine how they feel in Falluja.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Burkini brouhaha has France on brink of civil war

The French. What the fuck is wrong with those people?

You go to the beach with your family. Do you really give a shit whether other folks on the the beach are wearing too little, too much, or just the right amount of beach attire?

I know it's never crossed my mind, and I used to take my impressionable toddlers to the beach all the time back when they were impressionable toddlers.

But it's a really really big deal in France these days. Local authorities in Cannes and Nice outlawed the Burkini on local beaches. Top ministers in the government of the hapless Hollande have advocated a national ban on the burkini. So has the opportunistic midget Sarkozy. The political mainstream players are of course merely angling to block the huge political hay the Le Pen crowd would otherwise make out of this non-issue.

France is in many ways a pretty cool place for working-class and middle-class folks. Between the 35 hour work week and the mandatory six week paid summer vacation, what's not to like? Michael Moore never misses a chance to rub our noses in the fact that the French have it way better than we do.

It didn't take long for the world wide web to point out the hypocrisy of those who claim Muslim women are wearing too many clothes to the shore with this fine shot of good Christian women at the beach:

(Facebook).

Hey, they got more shit on than those Burkini babes! Maybe these gals get a pass in France because they are the brides of Christ, whereas those Muslim gals obviously couldn't be, but still...

And they're perfectly serious about this stuff over there. Check out this picture of manly French Guardians of Virtue forcing a Muslim woman to remove her excess clothing.

French agency AFP saw a ticket given to the woman by police, which said she was not ‘wearing an outfit respecting good morals and secularism’.

Yup, that's what we've come to in the Nations of Virtue... the relentless desecration and bombardment of Islamic lands... the relentless harassment of the Muslims in our midst...

And if perchance a small minority of those folks end up hating us, we can't figure out why?

Big Steve hangs up political hat to surf the big waves of corporate cronyism

Yup, Big Steve done paid his dues, and intends to cash in with the "next stage" of his career; Harper and Associates Consulting.

Given that Mr. Harper and his government devoted so much time, energy, money, and misleading press releases during his ten year tenure to "helping women and girls" in the less fortunate parts of the planet, do we expect him to use this consultancy to advise non-profits on how to help those unfortunates even more?

Frankly, I don't think Harper's next stage is about altruism. It's about filling his pockets, a la Phoney Tony Blair. Mind you, it's unlikely that he'll ever be able to scale things to the level that Mr. Blair has. A lot of Blair's cachet among third world despots hinges on the illusion that the White House returns Tony's calls, something that nobody would remotely believe about Mr. Harper.

Nevertheless, there are reasons for optimism. Anybody who ever dug a little deeper into those many programs to help women and girls in the less fortunate nations inevitably came to the conclusion that these programs were more about helping Canadian and international agribusiness and big pharma. I mean, it's not that the Harper gang were lying; after all, women and girls everywhere need food and medicine.

So while Big Steve may never reach the heights of influence peddling that Big Tony commands, he's gonna do just fine!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

International Criminal Court nabs another naughty Negro

I think that takes the ICC's record over almost twenty years to four black Africans and... and nobody else.

That's right! While the ICC's mandate is to prosecute genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, the ICC can only find these heinous crimes among black Africans.

Latest heinous war criminal to be exposed is Ahmed al Mahdi. His crime? He ordered the destruction of some historical mausoleums in Timbuktu.

Yup, he's admitted that he is a war criminal. The story got big-time press all over the Nations of Virtue. Even my Globe and Mail had a fawning editorial about how great this breakthrough was for the cause of humanity and civilization.

As well it should be... after all, what could be a worse case of war crimes or genocide or crimes against humanity than ordering the destruction of historical artefacts that Western elites consider "important?"

Which is where this story confuses me.

If ordering the destruction of historical artefacts is a "war crime," what is causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians with a brutal sanctions regime?

What is it when you cause tens of thousands of Iraqis to die in an illegal invasion?

What is it when you destroy entire societies like Libya and Syria?

Apparently, whatever it is when you do those things, it doesn't rise to the level of "war crime" or "crime against humanity."

No, because if it did, we'd have to ask why Tony Blair and George W. Bush and Barack Obama aren't being prosecuted for their crimes against humanity.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Where is this Trump thing going, and why?

I think American society has reached a tipping point. There are too many people who realize that the status quo is not working in their interest. In a "democracy," that signals change.

And we're not talking about change between a Wall Street friendly GOP vs. a Wall Street friendly Democratic Party. We're talking about real substantive change. As in fuck Wall Street, lets take America back from the banksters.

It is noteworthy that this anti-status-quo groundswell is happening in spite of the best efforts of the corporate media. In a nutshell, too many folks have concluded that the corporate or mainstream media are nothing more than the propaganda arm for the Wall Street crowd.

There are certainly manifold ironies around the fact that it's a Manhattan billionaire who has become the standard bearer for this groundswell of anti-establishment sentiment. But, there are reasons why it couldn't be anyone else.

The Citizens United case essentially slammed the coffin lid on the last vestiges of democracy in America. That left the American public vulnerable to the machinations of whichever political machine could mount the most persuasive advertising campaign.

Or, in Trump's case, to the machinations of a media personality who was able to massage his celebrity status and name recognition into a broad-based populist campaign.

The reasons that Trump's alleged misogyny, racism, hooliganism, and overall boorishness don't hurt his campaign is that these traits prove that he is not part of the political establishment, and the people are screaming enough already at that establishment. That's why they're going to Trump rallies.

That's why they're going to vote Trump in November.

What happens after that is anybody's guess.

Who was that famous Canadian aerobatic pilot who flew out of Waterloo Regional Airport in the 60s and 70s?

Maybe he wasn't all that famous if I can't find him on the world wide web.

But he was practically part of the wallpaper of my youth. He'd fly out of Waterloo Airport in Breslau and practice his stunts for hours on end in the general vicinity of Maryhill, a few miles north of the airport.

I lived a few miles south east of Maryhill at the time, and I totally recall the sight and the sound of his practices.

On any given summer afternoon you'd see and hear his bi-plane (I want to say it was a Pitt Special but I'm not sure) doing loops and rolls and spirals in the air around Maryhill for hours on end.

I don't know this for sure, but I think he died in a plane crash.

Who was he?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

While I was being bent over a work-bench to get my free-trade bonus, this guy was predicting that "free trade" would mess me up

He was right.

The free trade dream has been the darling of politicians in the Nations of Virtue for practically two generations now.

How could it not be?

Free trade!

Globalisation!

It's inevitable, the global media conglomerates have been telling us forever.

Jobs jobs jobs that old shit-bag lyin' Brian Mulroney used to tell us when he was on the campaign trail.

Yup. Jobs jobs jobs.

He forgot to mention that it was gonna be jobs jobs jobs for Mexicans and pogey pogey pogey for us dumbfucks in Canada.

Then he drastically cut back the pogey.

Thanks, Brian!

Have to admit I was a little late to the game.

Martin Jacques had it figured out way sooner.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

While Obama plays golf, the wily Erdogan plays Obama

Funny how the biggest crisis to hit America's foreign policy establishment since the Cuban Missile Crisis rarely makes it to your evening newscast.

Somewhere between 50 and 90 nuclear warheads stored at Incirlik Airbase have been effectively out of US control for well over a month now. That's a situation that should be more than newsworthy, but you pretty much have to rely on piddly blogs like this one for the story, because some lying US swimmers in Brazil are sucking up all the news air on the US networks.

Wayward nukes vs. wayward swimmers...

What's the bigger story?

Erdogan has been making nice with Russia since the failed coup. Been making nice with Israel too, which fact should be snapping necks in the Beltway, but apparently is not. We're not far from Uncle Sam holding his pecker in his hand outside the tent while his former supplicants plot the future inside the tent.

A future that relegates the aging and increasingly irrelevant Uncle Sam to a rocking chair on the front porch of irrelevance while his former minions plot a new course for world affairs?

It's about time.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Donald and Hillary; a match made in... error?

I see where the erstwhile liberals at the VOX website have finally seen fit to suggest that maybe the Donald and Hillary show is just that, a show.

The think tank here at Falling Downs has been kicking that concept around for awhile now. Nice to see the mainstream folks catching up!

After all, anybody who looks at the two candidates squarely and fairly will realize that Donald is the liberal and Hillary is way off to his right wing.

Would Donald the semi-successful condo developer agree to run interference for these up-starts from Arkansas?

I don't see why he wouldn't. We know Donald is a rank opportunist, and being the muse behind the Queen of Chaos would have to qualify as a virulently rank opportunity, if nothing else.

Maybe the original plan has been outpaced by circumstances. I mean, no serious person in America every imagined that Trump would actually clinch the GOP nomination. I would guess that both Hillary and Donald would be included in that "no serious person in America" conglomeration.

So Donald J. Trump agreed with his pals, the Clintons, that he'd take a run at the GOP nomination, just to stir up shit and make things complicated. In the course of so doing, Trump accidentally hit the mother-lode of anti-establishment venom.

That mother-lode has proved to be deeper and more venomous than either  Donald or the Clintons could have imagined. Now the imperial couple have a problem; Donald loves the Clintons, he really has no interest whatsoever in being president, but he's got a huge swath of America that's bought into his schtick and wants to make him POTUS.

That's quite a mind-fuck, is it not?

Doug Bland's "Time Bomb" and the wounds that keep on bleeding

I bought Bland's book maybe two years ago, but only got around to reading it last weekend. Ya, that internet is a crazy thing. For me personally, as long as my computer was plugged into a wall, I was more easily able to get away from it; shame myself into at least getting away from the computer to get some fresh air.

Then progress bestows upon me a laptop and wi-fi, and before you can say "massive time theft" I can spend untold hours on the laptop IN the fresh air... at the picnic table, on the porch, in a lawnchair a hundred feet away under the shade of the apple tree...

Thanks to "progress," I've got at least three dozen books sitting in the front room waiting to be read.

A brief synopsis; Douglas Bland is raising a warning flag about the possibility of a widespread Indian insurgency that could potentially cripple the Canadian economy in short order. He gives us a Cole's Notes highlight reel of some of the more onerous injustices that have been imposed on Canada's First Nations, and makes a very plausible case for why that will eventually lead to blow-back.

He also provides a detailed roadmap for the "how" of that coming uprising. He correctly points out that there are many bottlenecks in Canada's energy and transportation infrastructure that could be shut down with the most modest of resources. For example, there's one bridge in Northern Ontario that, were it to be rendered inoperative, would effectively shut down 100% of east-west road traffic and 50% of rail traffic. That's just one bridge, and it wouldn't take more than a handful of motivated natives to pull that off.

So what happens when you've got thousands of bridges and tens of thousands of motivated Indians? Read the book. Heck, at times I thought he was writing a handbook for future First Nations Insurgents!

I think the reason the book reads like that is because Bland writes from the perspective of a career Canadian Forces guy who is assessing the prospects of a potential insurgency from a professional perspective. He also gives some tips to the other side on how to minimise the risk of such an insurgency.

These range from the highly laudable "get serious about negotiating with FN people" to the somewhat cynical "divide and conquer" strategy. Yes, the chances of a serious insurrection are reduced when you can block the FNs from forming a unified front against us white folks.

A half hour up the road from where I'm writing this, there's a small reserve where over eighty young native boys were molested by a single priest between the 1950s and the 1980s. When the better part of a generation of young men are crippled by abuse, it should be no surprise that this community struggles with the fallout to this day. These are the wounds that keep on bleeding.

I'm of the mind that we colonials owe a huge debt to our indigenous population. There are times when forward motion seems to be in the winds. As I was reading this book news came out that the federal government had apologised to the Sayisi Dene for their forced relocation from their traditional caribou hunting grounds.

Too little, too late, perhaps, but at least a step in the right direction... but on the same weekend, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall had to appeal to his citizens to cease and desist from posting racist anti-native comments on social media following the murder of a young Indian man near Biggar.

What's the future of native-white relations in Canada? I don't know, but I want to hope for the best. Reading this book won't necessarily leave you more or less hopeful, but it will leave you better informed.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Recipe for survival in a USA awash with weapons; when you're being shot at, just run really fast!

Yup, that's the thought du jour from David Ferguson blogging at The Guardian. And he should know; he's been shot at!

It's quite the compelling yarn, is it not? There he is at age 18, helping a young hottie up sticks to get away from her abusive boyfriend, no doubt angling for a shag in the big-picture scheme of things. At 18 I certainly would have been.

So they're stuffing all her worldly belongings in a battered old Subaru sedan... all good. I'm totally with the narrative so far.

Then the drunken and angry meth or cocaine addled boyfriend shows up... hey pal; that's happened to me too!

Could I tell you a few stories! (And as a matter of fact, I have had to run for my life on a couple of occasions, and I'm still here, so your advice is not completely without merit.)

But I gotta say you lost me when that baffed out old Subaru sedan left a trail of burned rubber on the road.


No way did that ever happen. I've owned and driven old Subarus for many years. They have many virtues (none of which would be apparent in a Georgia winter) but they're so under-powered they could hardly get out of their own way.

Ya, the WRX era opened a new chapter, but those were not battered and old when you were 18.

Impossible!


Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Quaker and a Jew walk into a bar...

... and a few years later they get married!

Me and the Farm Manager just got back from the wedding. We've been friends with the groom's Quaker parents for quite some time. They're salt-of-the-earth off-the-grid back-to-the-land pacifists. The kind of folks we frankly, if we're to survive as a species, need a lot more of.

Beautiful wedding!

And a young couple destined for great things. Young Gabe is a worker bee who has a passion for bee-keeping. Young Dayna is his perfect partner. They'll have the artisanal honey market sewed up in no time.

Go Dayna and Gabe!

And thanks for the invite!




Friday, August 12, 2016

Me and Frank

There's actually been quite a number of "Franks" in my life.

The mafia guy.

The other mafia guy.

The Austrian guy who scaled the drill press in his garage into a world class automotive parts outfit.

Yup, I've rubbed elbows with all those Franks.

DP's and Bohunks of all stripes... and maybe I get a free pass because I'm one of them!

Me and the Franks probably disagree on a few things... but I'm also pretty sure we agree on some very basic shit.

You get off the boat.

You shut the fuck up.

You work your ass off...

You take it from there.

A couple of generations later your kids and grand-kids are doctors and lawyers and university professors and, god forbid, even politicians!

That's how things work.

Canada's belief in "Free Trade" is faith-based, not fact-based

I used to work at Dayton Steel. That's gone. Not sure if it's gone because of NAFTA or because one of the Walther boys squandered the family fortune in pursuit of Indy car dreams.

Worked at Budd Automotive. Gone.

Worked at the General Electric plant in Guelph back in the day. Gone.

Worked at Dresser in Cambridge. Gone.

Worked at Frankel Steel, where we fabbed up the steel for World Trade Center 7. Gone.

Had buddies who worked at Imperial Tobacco (gone) and Engel (gone).

Gone gone gone...

But the fucking twats who write bullshit in the national newspaper of record still insist that NAFTA was good for us?

Check out David Parkinson's piece in the national newspaper of record yesterday.


Get the fuck outta here.

Our jobs are gone gone gone and David Parkinson is peddling bullshit.

Hey Justin, what about affordable housing?

So what has POTHEAD accomplished since his coronation almost a year ago? Aside from photo-bombing tourist pics from coast to coast and showing off his abs, pretty much nothing.

While he's been busy with that, real estate values in two of Canada's most important cities have gone up another 500% or whatever. Both Toronto and Vancouver now sport average house prices well over a million dollars, and minimum wages well under twelve dollars per hour.

This turns the myth of social mobility into a complete joke, especially when you consider that a goodly slice of those min wage worker bees have university degrees in useless shit that their high school guidance counsellors steered them into... when they would have been far better off with an HVAC ticket or something along those lines. Those guidance counsellors bought their homes thirty or forty years ago, so it's no skin off their butts, but it's creating a generation of over-educated and under-employed bright young folks who are pissed off with the system.

And maybe in the long run that will be a good thing.

I love Israel

I love Israel even though the almost fifty years since the onset of the occupation has for all practical purposes rendered it a fascist state. As long as voices like that of Uri Avnery can be heard there is hope for redemption. Scant hope, perhaps, but hope nonetheless. After all, Germany was a fascist state at one time too.

The road to fascism has been paved by opportunistic politicians like the current PM. He's built a career out of doing the unthinkable and rendering it palatable. A few more (Palestinian) home demolitions here and a few more (Jewish) settlements there and the world can go fuck itself, because the Americans will always always have my back.

Any state of oppression can only persist over time with the complicity of the oppressed, of course, which is why Israel keeps Mahmoud Abbas in power and Marwan Barghouti in jail. God forbid that the kaffirs choose their own leaders... look what happened in Gaza!

Back in the hippy era a stop at a kibbutz for a few weeks or months was near mandatory. It was part of the hippy-dippy Kashmir trail. Today? Not so much.

Which is why stories like this matter more than ever.

As long as you can still find humour in the dead-end you're on, you might be able to find a way out.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

AaronDriverAaronDriverAaronDriverAaronDriver...

So let's assume you're an unhappy kid who hates your parents in spite of all their best intentions.

And just because they had the best intentions doesn't mean their parenting efforts were anything other than an epic fail. Hey, I'm old enough now to have been on both sides of that epic fail!

Kids can get depressed.

You're bummed out and suicide-by-cop starts looking like a plausible strategy.

After all, if you play it right, this could make you famous...

Posthumously, of course.

But that's way better than going out without a trace.


I think it's self evident that a certain percentage of the population would find the above scenario appealing.

In fact, we find proof of that in our headlines almost every day.

There will always be depressed and suicidal young men among us for myriad reasons, but there is no reason to incentivise their worst impulses with the prospect of posthumous fame.

The Weeknd v. The Tragically Hip

As a tragically unhip Canadian, I never got The Tragically Hip. In fact, after my disastrous foray into hipness ended in disgrace with those purple bell-bottoms I wore to school, once, in grade ten, I have studiously avoided hipness in all its manifold manifestations.

Nevertheless, the Canadian music press is alive these days with adulation for The Hip's Not Dead Yet tour, also known as the Man Machine Poem tour, just to prove these quintessential Canadian rockers haven't lost their knack for pretentious titles... for songs, albums, tours, or whatever.

Meanwhile, the Weeknd has reportedly made a serious donation to Black Lives Matter, as well he should. After all, he's rich, he's black, and donating a percentage of his take from one show to BLM is a serious gesture on his part.

Frankly, I don't get The Weeknd either.

Here's what I'd like to see; Abel Tesfaye on stage with Gord Downie.

Now that would be quintessentially Canadian for me.

I'd get that.

Hell, maybe they'd let me do the harp solo?...

Now that would be a dream come true!

Canada looking to shoulder bigger share of White Man's Burden

According to the lead story on the front page of my Globe and Mail today, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is off on an eight-day fact-finding mission over in the Dark Continent. I know, you can probably find out all the facts you'd ever need from the comfort and safety of your keyboard, but as we've noted before, Mr. Sajjan is a hands-on kinda guy, so lets cut him some slack.

Purpose of the mission? To find out where and how Canada can contribute a military presence to buff up its international brand. Writer Steven Chase points out that Canada's participation in "peace-keeping" missions has pretty much gone to nothing over the past twenty-five years, and now that we've got that spunky pothead Justin at the helm, we want the world to know WE'RE BACK!!!

And what better venue to burnish the brand than the Dark Continent? Just check out the Defence Minister's itinerary:

  • Congo
  • Mali
  • Central African Republic
  • Uganda
  • Tanzania
  • Kenya
In every case, a country where the savages are tearing apart their fellow savages or the savages next door, or even the savages two or three doors over! One thing that's for sure is that the savages need intervention from the Nations of Virtue in order to keep them from one another's throats, and what better intervenor could there possibly be than the most virtuous of the Nations of Virtue, Canada?

And if I'm not mistaken, every one of those benighted nations is host to one or more Canadian mining companies, busily providing development for the local ingrates with absolutely no thanks whatsoever. In fact, there is a wide swath of opinion in the Dark Continent that holds Western promises of "development" are just a cover for a loot-and-plunder agenda!

Who can even imagine such a thing?

The fact that Canada would seek out such a mission in the face of that kind of rancid cynicism speaks volumes about our altruism. Yup, we're gonna put troops on the ground and restore law and order whether the savages appreciate it or not. 

And, just between me and you, don't be surprised if our "peacekeepers" end up based in close proximity to our mining interests.

Up the working class! Trudeau to roll out red carpet for more temporary foreign workers

My national newspaper of record has a front pager today titled Ottawa prepares to ease rules on temporary foreign workers by Bill Curry. Bill provides a quote from Immigration Minister John McCallum which succinctly captures the Trudeau government's commitment to working people in Canada, almost 1.5 million of whom are at this very moment officially unemployed;

We're also going to reduce some of the barriers and the silly rules... in order to give companies the freedom to bring in the best and the brightest.

Yup, that's why Canadians voted in Justin and his Liberal Party; to give the corporate sector more freedom.

So it's back to business as usual after the Harperites were shamed into tightening up the scandalous TFW program a couple of years back. All those Timmies stores across the west can resume importing the best and the brightest coffee servers from Mexico and the Philippines, folks delighted to work for minimum wage.

The fish processing plants on the east coast can bring in the best and the brightest fish plant workers and continue to pay starvation wages. After all, who needs to pay a living wage when some desperate foreigner is happy to work for next to nothing?

There you go, corporate sector, Justin's not such a scary guy after all, is he?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Has Erdogan been reading this blog?

You'd almost think so.

Here we are almost four years ago speculating that Erdogan would be sold down the river. Now, not even us paranoids here at Falling Downs saw the coup coming, but it was obvious that, with Assad bunkering in for the long haul, Erdogan and his puppeteers had a problem.

The puppeteers thought they could solve the problem 15 July. After all, you knew they'd play the Gulen card sooner or later.

Alas... HE'S BACK!!!

Now what?


Axis of Evil redux

You remember when W introduced us to the Axis of Evil. Ya, that was the brainchild of a certain Canadian speech-writer whose speech-writing contract went for a shit soon after.

At the time, the "Axis of Evil" was comprised of Iran and Iraq and North Korea.

But we've got a far more evil axis in play today...

Yup; the Ruskies have joined up.

And not only that, but our erstwhile democratic ally the wily Erdogan seems to be swiftly slipping into the club too.

And who can blame him... I mean the coup that was not a coup and definitely had nothing to do with Gulen, well, shit happens.

Just because shit happens doesn't automatically mean that Uncle Sam is pulling the strings behind the scenes, does it?

Of course not!

The fact that Fethullah Gulen has been cooling his heels a couple hours drive north of The Farm for the past twenty years doesn't mean a damned thing!

Harpies of Political Correctitude descend on Canadian mining cowboys at KWG Resources

I've always been somewhat ambivalent about Canada's mining industry. For book-keeping and sundry further reasons a lot of international mining companies that aren't really all that Canadian like to make this country their home base.

If you track the track record of these "Canadian" miners, you will be mightily underwhelmed. Mining Watch is a good base from which to track them.

What you'll find is a sordid record of human rights violations; disappearing anti-development activists, indigenous peasants pushed off their land, disappeared journalists who's torsos reappear in different locales than their heads... it goes on and on. Track the human rights record around Canadian mining companies and you will be appalled.

Rarely do these outrages appear in the mainstream media.

But, by God, one outrage has gone a bridge too far.

Nevermind dead mine opponents and disappeared journos. That's the stuff that would never surface in Canadian media.

But a junior mining outfit with a small stake in a potential northern Ontario mining project has hit the headlines with a tongue-in-cheek advert featuring a couple of young women scantily clad...

Oh My God!

That's friggin' sexism!

They're objectifying women! That has utterly and absolutely no place in an industry that routinely makes their opponents in the Global South disappear!

The outrage is near universal... the Canadian Mining Journal, the Mining Association of Canada, the Prospectors and Developers Association... even the blue-bloods at Earnscliffe Strategy Group have united to decry as one the utterly sexist use of bikini-clad women to promote a mining project!

But if it's random dumbfuck environmentalist mine opponents losing their lives in Mali or Peru those same mainstream voices will rarely have a word to say.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

NATO founders on shoals of irrelevance

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization really hasn't had much to do these past 25 years. But, like any organization, (and this is just Sociology 101) it's been working hard to find reasons to keep itself keeping on. In fact, they're just putting the finishing touches on a new two billion Euro HQ in Belgium, (only 100% over budget!) so you can bet there's a lot of desk jockeys hoping to enjoy their new digs at least till they hit pensionable age.

Meanwhile, actual war-type stuff on the ground has been hard to find. Ya, there was a bit of action over Yugoslavia back in Bill's "wag the dog" phase, and that victory in Afghanistan, and that other victory in Libya, but even those inclined to give every NATO/US initiative a reflexive rubber stamp have to admit none of those theatres were anywhere near the North Atlantic.

So here's a pro-war pro-NATO puff piece from the Financial Times informing us why NATO is still relevant and how it can be even more relevant.

The title seems a little ominous; I mean, what does it mean for the political leaders to be "as ready" as the soldiers? Luckily, the article spells it out for us; NATO's political leaders have to be prepared to swing into action even when "events on the ground are murky."

The background is of course the threat of a Russian invasion of Western Europe, which the Financial Times and myriad other war-promoters in Western media have been peddling  as an actual threat. Weren't the NATO gang caught flat-footed by Putin's annexation of Crimea? Perfect example of events on the ground being murky, I suppose. If we had a nimble and virile NATO political command in place, we would have gone to war with the Ruskies in March of 2014!

That "annexation" schtick has always struck me as a bit of a red herring. I'm old enough to recall two Quebec referenda, where our neighbours in Quebec were permitted to vote on whether they wanted to remain a part of Canada. Both times, the stay-in-Canada side won. So, Quebec remains in Canada and we have precedents for holding referenda on sovereignty.

So why is it "annexation" when a referendum in Crimea resulted in a 95%+ "leave Ukraine" vote?

Here's why; because the NATO gang and its tens of thousands of comfy-cosy desk pilots need a reason to live, and by God, Putin is the reason du jour!

Yup, after his "annexation" of Crimea, he's got his beady greedy eyes on the Baltics, probably Poland, maybe even France and Germany! Yes, he's the new Hitler, set to annex the whole of Europe to make Lebensraum for Ruskies!

So we in the Nations of Virtue need to buck up and arm up. Yessir, outspending the Russians 20:1 on bombs and bullets isn't gonna give us the margin of safety we need. Every NATO member state needs to ramp up military spending!

To send Putin a message... and even more important, to send Lockheed and Boeing and Raytheon and the rest of the American war profiteers further hundreds of billions of dollars!

Only then will we be able to sleep soundly.

.

Friday, August 5, 2016

God willing, these may be the last Olympic Games

It's been a time honoured tradition. Major cities around the world bid for the privilege of hosting the next Olympic Games.

The bid process itself costs millions.

Then the lucky "winner" gets to spend billions in preparing Games infrastructure. This is inevitably sold in host countries as infrastructure they were going to build anyway. What it really means is cost-plus contracts to the usual handful of construction conglomerates who dominate the international firmament of big infrastructure projects.

These inevitably outrun their original budgets by two or three or five hundred percent, but the now captive local populations keep shovelling good money after bad because, after all, they're on the world stage now.

It becomes a matter of "national pride."

Meanwhile, to allow those infrastructure projects to proceed, entire local communities are bulldozed and built over. That's just the price of progress, and who wants to stand in the path of progress?

And then the Games begin with massive international media attention and world-class hoo-ha.

For a few weeks international corporate sponsors will get invaluable global screen exposure.

A handful of athletes will become international media darlings and sign management deals that will ensure them a spot on the global A-list for the rest of their lives.

Everybody else will go home and pout for four years, but the host country will grapple with their Olympic debt for the next quarter century or more.

And those corporate sponsors who are the real beneficiaries of this Olympian boondoggle will be busy goading the next wannabe host city into filing a proposal for a repeat performance eight or twelve years out.

It's a bullshit boondoggle from top to bottom and end to end, but it looks like there might be enough pissed off folks in Rio to finally put these truths on the map.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Here's some news you won't see on your evening newscast

How are things shaking out at Incirlik air base over there in Turkey? As far as we know, the place has been locked down since the coup attempt two weeks ago.

"Locked down" means that the 50 to 90 US nukes on site are not under the control of the US military establishment. Yes, they're still being guarded by some 1500 US troops on site, but what's that worth? They're under lockdown too.

That's why you had Marine General Joe Dunford, who happens to be Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, over there kissing ass this week. Normally you'd expect a trip like that to end in photo-ops and lovey-dovey joint pressers. What did you hear after Dunford's trip?

Nothing.

The think tank here at Falling Downs believes the wily Erdogan is holding out for the extradition of Fethulla Gulen before he lifts the lockdown on Incirlik. Will that happen?

Who knows. No question that the rogue Islamic cleric has been a CIA asset being groomed for big things. I suspect the big things he was being groomed for were expected to unfold two weeks ago. That obviously didn't unfold the way we expected.

Now Uncle Sam is up a stump.

Erdogan is talking normalized relations with Russia, Iran, and Syria.

Uncle Sam can't let that happen at any price...

Hold onto your hats!





Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Heroin addicts can be the kindest people

We damned near lost the Bubbinator today.

No! She's not a heroin addict! Let me explain...

So Junior's been staying at his Bubby's place in town while he works 60 hours a week at the local Wendy's trying to sock away enough money to pay for that fancy degree at U of T. Damned straight; in four or five years he's gonna be at least a shift manager at Wendy's.

So we had him out at Falling Downs for a couple days of R&R, and we brought him back to Bubby's today.

I sit out in the drive with the motor running and the air on because the hounds are in the back. Folks have been getting downright cranky about people who leave pets unattended in vehicles during this heat wave, as well they should. Leave the hounds unattended for thirty seconds, even with the motor running and the air on, and some do-gooder will see it as a licence to smash your windows and call the cops.

That's where you learn those "outstanding warrants" that you always thought were bullshit turned out not to be.

Then you'll be sure to show up in the local papers as the thoughtless a-hole who left his pets to roast to death while you're shopping at Costco or whatever.

That's why I make a point of suffering with the pets in that air-conditioned vehicle with the motor on and the air-conditioner running.

Anyway, I'm sitting there, and Junior and the Farm Manager duck into Bubby's house, and moments later I can't help but notice windows popping open upstairs, downstairs... everywhere there's a window that opens.

Turns out Bubby had left her gas stove not quite on and not quite off. The house filled up with natural gas. Had Bubby so much as flicked a Bic to fire up her bong the entire neighbourhood would have been blown to kingdom come.

We dodged a bullet there, we did, and no, Bubby doesn't actually own a bong, but the experience got us reminiscing about close shaves and near misses. Just a few weeks ago I'd pointed out to the FM the first place in Guelph where I'd had my own apartment. That was a big old red brick place on Paisley Street that some entrepreneurial keener had sub-divided into a dozen or so "studio apartments."

Much like today, if your renting in one of those places in downtown Guelph, you're either a student at the U of Guelph, or down on your luck, or both. I was actually neither. I was just an 18 year old apprentice welder who was seriously pissed because my dear daddy had unilaterally decided to dump my Crown Royal stash down the drain. With no consultation whatsoever!

I know!

Talk about an egregious infringement of my teenage autonomy!

So I figured I'd teach him a lesson and show how adult I really was. Got my own studio apartment in that flop-house on Paisley Street.

Had lots of adventures at that address. Truth be told, that particular place I'm pretty sure didn't hold any actual students. No, it was more an older crowd of hard core alcoholics with a few younger heroin addicts mixed in. And me.

Late one evening, having wobbled home after a night on the town, I thought I smelled smoke as I made my way to my second floor studio. Plunked down in front of the TV, and was just sorta nodding off... when I distinctly felt the smoke was becoming more pronounced.

I open the door, and holy shit, there's smoke everywhere! I run up and down the hall pounding on doors and yelling get out get out get out!!!

Noticed the studio door next to mine didn't open. Nobody came out. But that's where the smoke was curling out from under the door. Throw myself at the door a couple of times and find myself in a completely smoke-filled kitchenette. On the stove there's a hard-boiled egg so hard-boiled it's on fire. My heroin addict neighbour had boiled up an egg and passed out.

To this day she thinks I saved her life, and I probably did, but no big deal; I saved mine too.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm living on what is today a rather posh street a few blocks north of Paisley, just off Exhibition Park, with the missus of the time and my dear daughter. There's a gal with one arm renting the little house next door. I'm from the mind-your-own-business school of neighbourly relations, so aside from the occasional how-ya-doin' I didn't have much to do with her.

Then one day I read in the local paper that my neighbour had been caught up in a heroin trafficking bust! No shit! Who knew?

She made bail after a couple of days and we went back to our usual neighbourly relations. How ya doin' and all that. A month later I'm having a Daddy moment with my dear daughter, the first of the five Juniors. Take her to a fun fair type of thing at the Speedvale Plaza where they've got carnival rides set up for the weekend. She's about three years old and decides she wants to take a whirl on the Tilt & Whirl.

Well, that's too scary for me, but I decide to trust my three-year-old's judgement and put her on there by herself. First spin around, she's all smiling and happy... all good!

Couple of whirls later she ain't smiling anymore... and thirty seconds after that she's screaming in terror!

I'm screaming in terror too!

I'm waving my arms and shrieking STOP STOP STOP as loud as I can.

Nothing. The Tilt & Whirl tilts more and whirls faster... I think I'm gonna die of shame for not saving my dear daughter... and then a one-armed woman jumps over the barricade around the ride and grabs the ride guy by the shoulder. I couldn't hear what she said, but the Tilt & Whirl came to a stop.

That was my heroin addict neighbour.



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The DA ratio

As in the Dinking Around ratio.

As in the ratio between the amount of time you spend dinking around with a car, a boat, or a motorcycle, and the amount of time you actually spend driving it.

First car I ever bought with my own money, twenty dollars of my own money, was an early sixties Vauxhall with leather seats and a four cylinder motor. I bought it from an old pipe-smoking wretch of an Anglophile who I believe was the first person my dear daddy hired on at his nascent real estate brokerage.

Wallace Nodwell may have been an old pipe-smoking wretch, but it was through his connections that we got tickets to the football finals at the Montreal Olympic Games.

The DA ratio on that car was 100:0. That means I spent a hundred hours dinking around with it for every hour I spent driving it, which was zero. I was fourteen years old at the time.

Next up was a Chrysler Windsor with a 383. I believe it was a 1964 model. I didn't have any plans for the Chrysler, but I had great plans for the 383. The DA factor on that one may have been 100:1, because I actually tooled it around the block a couple of times before I pulled out that 383.

Those were optimistic days. Somewhere in my voluminous archives I still have a photo of that 383 hanging from an engine hoist and me posing in front of it, in all my dorkshit 15 year old glory, the way you would in front of a twelve point buck.

Once I got a driving licence, that 100:1 DA ratio didn't cut it anymore. I mean, you bought a vehicle because you had people to see and things to do, and dinking around under the hood wasn't one of them.

Possibly this is because I was always notoriously inept at dinking around under the hood. I was reasonably adept at taking stuff apart, but woefully inept at putting it back together, at least in such a way that it worked. I couldn't do a brake job without having a few odds and ends left over.

That's not a good thing when you did a brake job.

And that's why I've always had such a ferocious allegiance to those guys who can take shit apart and put it back together and HAVE IT WORK!

That's just absolutely priceless!

My old pal Lippert, may he rest in peace, was one of those guys.

I recall when I was testing out an old fourteen foot Arkansas Traveller with a 35 horse Johnson on the Chepstow mill pond. I'd been dinking around with that puppy for months, and now that I actually had it in the water, I wasn't getting nothing.

Jimmy lived ten minutes away. A phone call was made, and twenty minutes later that old girl was on plane!

My dear Uncle Fridolin was another guy who had the gift. I remember when me and cousin Johnny towed a Rebel Machine back to Guelph behind one of my 340 Darts. I'd picked it up at a Toronto dealership for a pittance, because even though it was an immaculate low-mileage car, it didn't actually run.

That was a very rare car. Me and Johnny spent hours dinking around under the hood. Finally his daddy Fridol came out, re-arranged some plug wires, and we were off to the races!

And my old pal Kipling is another guy who has the DA gift. Kipling makes his paycheque doing expedite deliveries with a VW diesel van that has two million miles on it. Aside from the body panels, there's probably nothing on that van that he hasn't repaired or replaced at least once in the course of two million miles.

It's a gift I never cease to marvel at!

As I get older, I'm more inclined to look for vehicles that have at least a 1:1 DA ratio. That Kawasaki 500 Ninja I bought last year has probably been 1:1, or close to it. An hour of fiddling rewards you with an hour of riding.

The Mustang 50 has been virtually no dinking around at all. It's a 25 year old car. You get in and turn the key and it runs and drives like it came off the dealer's lot last week.

So I'm a little concerned about my current boat hunt. There's a lot of stuff out there with low prices and high numbers on the hour meter. That sounds like a recipe for lots of dinking around.

I've got a canoe in the barn that requires no dinking around whatsoever. Also gives you a decent workout when you circumnavigate Lake Charles. Ya, it doesn't have the adrenaline rush of forty feet of fibreglass coming on plane in five seconds, but maybe I'm gonna have to let that go.




Monday, August 1, 2016

How to buy a yacht

"Yacht" is perhaps too strong a word for what I'm talking about here.

The word "yacht" conjures up images of Trumpian three hundred footers. You know, a heli-pad and a twenty foot Donzi runabout as a tender.

No, I'm talking about affordable stuff in the 25 - 50 foot range.

First thing you have to consider, is that the pool of 25 to 50 foot boats is way heavy on the sell side. Lots of folks selling this stuff; not too many buying.

That's for a lot of reasons, but the main reason is that America's middle class has evaporated. I'll let Hill and Donny sort that business out, but the point is, the boat market that used to be the pervue of the "middle class" is gone like a fart in a hurricane...

If you're selling a forty foot cruiser that's thirty years old with a pair of carbureted big blocks, you don't have a boat for sale, you've got a dumpster issue.

Here's my advice. Pick up one of these aging beauties for next to nothing. Play bon vivant at the marina all summer. It'll run anywhere from five hundred to two thousand dollars to fuel up your aging '80's Formula or Sea Ray, so you're gonna have to keep those 50 mph blasts down the lake to a minimum, but by god they're a lot of fun. Spend your winters making up fake invoices for all the imaginary work you've done on your "classic" and keep her insured to the max.

Then, when you get into serious repair territory with the inevitable out-drive or engine problems that will cost multiple times what you paid in the first place, pull the plug. Preferably somewhere where the water's deep enough that the insurance company's investigators aren't going to insist on a salvage operation.

Good luck, and happy boating!

See you on the lake!

Five years after we liberated Libya, we're liberating them again!

Yup, more US bombs to liberate the people of Libya!

I have a hunch we're gonna keep liberating those benighted folks as long as they've got a single drop of oil in the ground.

Note that we're specifically liberating Sirte, supposedly an ISIS stronghold. But, check out the last few lines of this story from Al Jazeera from a few days ago. Sirte was already liberated!

I have another hunch that the story behind the story is that things aren't going according to script for America's bumboy du jour, General Haftar. It's now come out that at least four of the Nations of Virtue, US, UK, France, and Italy, all have boots on the ground in support of the good General.

You will recall that General Haftar cut short a cosy twenty-year retirement in Virginia to return to his homeland and fight for... the people? ...the oil? ...the USA?

Nobody knows... but it's clear that when General Haftar calls in missile strikes, the USAF answers the call.

What are the top news stories in America as Erdogan seizes 90 nuclear warheads at Incirlik?

I've done my morning review of the mainstream news. The two stories vying for top headline news status are, in no particular order;

- Is Donald Trump insensitive? Has he finally gone too far in hurting the feelings of the Khan family?

- Is Hillary dishonest? Were her Sunday media interviews an exercise in creative bullshitting?

Yes, those are the stories the American public must grapple with today.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the wily Erdogan has for all practical purposes had a lock on some unknown number of US nukes since July 15. Oddly enough, a number of fighter aircraft involved in the short-lived coup attempt on that date flew in and out of Incirlik that night.

Coincidence?

And let's not forget that Erdogan, and Erdogan alone, decides how many Syrian refugees will walk to the EU this year.

Seems to me that should be a way bigger story than Trump's insensitivity or Clinton's dishonesty.