Sunday, December 31, 2017

Let's raise a glass to Michael Enright and a thousand Sunday mornings

A cynic might suggest that I'm just looking for an excuse to crack a beer before noon.

That cynic would be right.

But that's only a small corner of the carpet the dogs chew on every day. The Farm Manger has got the CBC on the radio, and the more I try to ignore it, the more I can't.

David Grossman?

Leonard Peltier?

Enright scratches the surface of a lot of highly combustible shit.

Unfortunately, at the CBC he'll never be allowed beyond the surface.

What exactly is our role, as Canadians, in Peltier's completely inhumane and politically motivated imprisonment?

That's not a question we seriously ask or seriously expect an answer to.

And every serious person knows that Grossman is just another pathetic self-hating Jew.

Be that as it may, it's always nice to know you're going to hear Michael again a week from now.

I personally am looking forward to the 2000th edition of the Sunday Edition.

Nice work, dude.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Democracy Canadian style; an exemplar for the world

Doug Saunders got a lot of column inches in the Globe and Mail opinion section today, mainly because Shribman and Kendzior weren't in it. That left some blank space to fill.

Doug was happy to fill it.

Since I've been bemoaning the presence of those Yankee interlopers for some time, you'd think I'd be happy about this.

I'm not.

Dear Doug devotes his three or four pages to lobbying for more Canadian interference in the electoral process in other countries. After all, that's what we used to do when we used to be great, at least according to Doug.

Doug cites our interference in Ukraine as an example of the good things that could happen when we interfere in other countries. He posits that as an example, and then leaves us hanging.

Maybe he lost his train of thought...

OK Doug; by what metric is Ukraine better off today than it was before we, the purveyors of democracy, pushed for the demise of the democratically elected government of Ukraine?

Sorry Doug, you're just peddling bullshit again.

Dear G&M management,

Please bring back Shribman and Kendzior and stop giving that idiot Saunders all those column inches.


When the sun sets for the last time

We're experiencing what's called a "cold snap" in these parts. As in, it's really f@cking cold outside.

According to research I've done on the Internet, it takes eight minutes and twenty seconds for the sun's energy to hit planet Earth.

What that means is that it'll take about eight minutes and twenty seconds after our sun goes out for us to notice.

Then we're done.

Not all of us at the same time of course.

Those of us who have the good fortune of having full fuel tanks could last another thirty days or so.

And the cave-dwellers world-wide who depend on geo-thermal heating could conceivably last a few more months.

But at the end of the day, when the sun goes out, we're all screwed.

If we're all going to be in the freeze-off together, why can't we all be in the keep-the-planet-going movement together?

In the meanwhile, as we await certain death by freezing, Fireplace Phil has found her niche here at Falling Downs. The new puppy will spend hours in front of the fireplace, mesmerised by the flames.

And half-way-up-the-hill Phil has dramatically abbreviated our morning walk.

Be that as it may, we're gonna keep going with what we know here at Falling Downs.

Happy 2018!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Plagiarism or not?

Here's a story that appeared in an Abu Dhabi newspaper and online in March 2012;

The Syrian schoolboys who sparked a revolution.

Here's a story from the Globe and Mail from December 2016;

The graffiti kids who sparked the Syrian war.

I briefly noted the similarities in a blog post at the time, Propornot, and then forgot about it.

Today on the back page of the front section of my Globe and Mail I noticed a full page congratulatory message from the Globe to itself. That story won Story of the Year from the Foreign Press Association! Here's what Globe editor-in-chief David Walmsley has to say; "This global win is a recognition of what happens when you ask a simple question - how did the Syrian war begin? - and allow a journalist to follow the thread through all its twists and turns."


So how did the Syrian war begin?

Answering that question would entail a close look at events in Daraa in February and March of 2011. About ten thousand of the twelve thousand words in the Globe story are given over to historical background, what's happened to the protagonists since, and editorializing about who the good guys and the bad guys might be.

 Insofar as the story is about the nuts and bolts of how the Syrian war actually began, the Globe's story is virtually identical to the story published in Abu Dhabi almost five years before.

What I find more than a little precious is that Mark Mackinnon, the writer of the Globe story, claims he spent six months getting to the bottom of the events of February and March, when all he had to do was read the Abu Dhabi story, which takes five minutes or less to find online.

Like I said; hmm...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Is "Gateway" an appropriate name for a retirement home?

The other day I found myself behind a hearse and a black Dodge van. They weren't in any hurry. They turned off at the Gateway Retirement Community.

I guess some bitter old sod bequeathed his loved ones one last Christmas present; he kicked the bucket on Christmas eve.

Gateway to what, I always wonder.

There's one in Lion's Head called Golden Dawn.

As in, there's gonna be a golden dawn when you cross over.

Ya right.

There's a place in Owen Sound called "Seasons."

If you're at all considering a move there you already know what season you're in. They're just calling it Seasons to rub it in.

We tried to interest The Bubbinator in considering it. She says, when I look out this window I see the hospital. When I look out the other window I see the hospice. I don't think I want to live here.

So she's in a place downtown where she can see the roof of the funeral home. Not sure how that's an improvement.

More crocodile tears for Haiti

Looks like aging snowflake Hugh Segal has had another thought. According to his opinion piece in the Globe and Mail this morning, "We should welcome Haitians facing US deportation."

I have no objections to this in principle. If we are determined to welcome 350,000 new arrivals next year, 60,000 of them may as well be Haitians "stranded" in the US. What disturbs me is the tone of smug condescension and moral superiority that permeates the article.

Those poor poor Haitians. What a bunch of sad sacks. Can't even take in their own. Tsk tsk...  Let's do them a generous favour...

Haiti was the first colony in the Western Hemisphere to break away from it's colonial masters in a slave rebellion over two hundred years ago. It's been the non-stop target of foreign interference ever since. That interference came first from its colonial masters in France and then from the Americans as well. For the past quarter-century Canada has been an obliging junior partner in the struggle to keep Haiti a subservient failed state.

That's why I literally gagged when I read this whopper;

Canada has a long history of trying to help Haiti. Canadian forces were part of stabilization efforts when the politics turned violent and military dictatorship was in place. Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide lived safely in exile in Canada under prime minister Brian Mulroney before democracy returned. 

Segal is referring to the 1991 US-backed military coup that unseated the democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The literature on the subject overwhelmingly shows that our so-called "stabilization efforts" were primarily concerned with rooting out Aristide's popular political movement, Fanmi Lavalas. The fact that Aristide spent a few weeks in Montreal after he was deposed was hardly a humanitarian gesture on our part.

Nor was that the end of Aristide. In 2000 he again won the presidency, only to be hooked off the stage yet again by the usual suspects four years later. Canada's enthusiastic connivance in the 2004 coup is well documented.

Here we are almost fifteen years later. We don't have to acknowledge our role in the continued immiseration of Haiti.

Nor will we ponder our role in depriving Haitians of their democracy. Instead, we have one of our leading public intellectuals prattling on about how Haitians at risk of deportation from the US "would make superb additions to the Canadian family."

Our hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

At last! Hope for the Dark Continent!

And why is there hope for the Dark Continent?

Why, because African art has finally arrived on the big stage, dontcha know!

Yup, African art don't mean diddly till you find it going under the hammer at that "acclaimed auction house, Sothebys."

That's a bit rich too, ain't it? I mean, it's not that this claim to be "acclaimed" is untrue. It's just that you could just as easily write "indicted auction house," or "auction house convicted in a criminal conspiracy," and you would be equally correct.

Some of the artists are a little dodgy by my estimation. Is a German Jew an African artist just because she lived in South Africa?

Alas, that would take away from the overall thrust of the story, which is that African art has been legitimised because Sotheby's just had their first African art sale. Before this, African art was just a bunch of Africans with too much spare time producing folk art.

Thanks to Sotheby's, it is now "real" art, because it's been commodified into an investment vehicle that will hopefully appeal to rich folks who shop for artsy investments at Sotheby's.

Looks like a few lucky Africans have made it to the Big (auction) House!..  and the colonial narrative is a lot closer to alive and well than it is to dead and buried.

Monday, December 25, 2017

So merry stinkin' X-mas already...

I got my dear daughter a Fitbit because she wished for one, and so far as possible I try to make her wishes come true. And, so far as possible, I will until I die.

She generally gives me a book or two. She's a reader. Used to be part of a girls' book club full of doctors and lawyers and university professors, most of whom would take umbrage, at least publicly, with being referred to as "girls."

Mostly I read them but sometimes I don't.

Sometimes I ask for a particular book but mostly I don't. A couple of years ago she got me the Piketty tome because I'd asked for it. I've yet to get past the introduction. I know it's an important book, but holy shit, how do you manage to make an important book that boring?

I have better luck when she surprises me with random stuff. I don't generally read much fiction, but this year I got "A man called Ove." That's turned out to be quite a page-turner.

Junior got me some craft beer and craft Kentucky bourbon. I got him a bag of weed.

We understand each other.

The Jewish Juniors got Hanukkah geld, and I'm not talking about the chocolate stuff. That's only because they don't smoke pot.

But most of all, we got a new puppy!

Happy holidays to everyone, whether you call this most ancient winter solstice celebration "Christmas" or "Hanukka" or whatever you call it, and a special shout-out to Ken out in BC who once shared the stage with Led Zeppelin and lived to tell the tale.

Merry Christmas!

Another hysterical anti-Trump headline disappears down the fake news bunny hole

Remember when Trumpenstein had his evil minions dictate to the Centers for Disease Control what words to avoid in their budget proposals? That Washington Post story from 15 December launched a thousand outraged op-eds.

Oh my God!!!... what's next in the barbarian's war on scientific inquiry?

Yes, the nightmare of 1984 is fully and finally upon us!

Or not.

You may have missed this headline from WaPo's sister publication Slate six days later; There is no ban on words at the CDC.

Oh, so what's the fuss then?

You would think that there are enough actual facts around with which to skewer the Trumpists without resorting to spinning scary stories based on hearsay from anonymous sources. This is the kind of misleading reportage that gives succour to those who believe our mainstream media outlets are shot through with "fake news."

Jon Cohen at Science counted the number of times the forbidden words showed up in the last three CDC budget proposals of the Obama admin compared to the 2018 Trump budget proposals. Based on his analysis, one could spin a headline about the exponential rise in the use of the words "fetus" and "entitlement" in the Trump era document.

You wouldn't be wrong, but your story would be just as misleading and irrelevant as that original Washington Post story.

If the MSM establishment want folks to stop squawking about fake news, they should stop publishing fake news stories.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Favourite Room; home for the holidays

My Globe and Mail ($6.30 from the Korean extortionist in Wiarton) had an obsequious tribute to one Eleanor McCain today in what is now the "Pursuits" section of the paper.

That used to be called the Globe Style section of the paper, but we're over that now.

Apparently Eleanor is a Canadian singer who is busy as can be shlepping her "Canadian Songbook" tour across the land.


Anyway, at no point in the wee story about her very fine living room in Lawrence Park are we tipped to the fact that our Canadian Songbook singer is this Eleanor McCain.

Yup. Daddy was the billionaire Wallace McCain. That would explain why her Canadian Songbook has perhaps not quite resonated with the music buying public the way dear Rod's American Songbook has.

Or Gord Downie's completely home-made Canadian Songbook.

Fame is not quite the same when your billionaire father's money is paying for it.

But she does have a lovely living room.

So do I.


You can barely see it in the picture, but that's a Napoleon gas fireplace that draws in the hounds. You too can have one for about eight grand (installed) from your local gas fireplace vendor.

The hounds themselves are lovely living room accoutrements, and while you can't have these girls, you can readily find equally lovable dogs at your local shelter. By the way, that's Uncle Henry's carpet runner they're relaxing on. You can't have that either.

That's my favourite room.

The capitalist who threw a life-line to the commies

One of my favourite books of all time is Armand Hammer's autobiography.

The arch-capitalist Hammer was pretty much on a first name basis with all the stalwarts of the Bolshevik revolution; Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin...

He was getting rich selling the commies everything from pencils to tractors. Quite often he would do barter deals where the commies would trade a few old master paintings, of which they'd inherited an abundance from the Czarists, for a shipment of agricultural equipment. That's how he accumulated one of the greatest and most valuable art collections of all time.

He's the sort of historical character who occupies the space between conflicting ideologies. Kinda like the Hezbollah drug barons who sell hashish to people who sell hashish to conscripts in the IDF, or the guys who organized Christmas sing-alongs between the trenches in the WW I, or the mafia dons who stepped up to do America's dirty work in post WW II Europe.

What all of them have in common is that they fully understand that the "official narrative" is bullshit.

Those are my kind of people.

Explaining the difference between capitalism and it's psychopathic spawn, neoliberalism

Canada's Thomas Friedman, Doug Saunders, informs me today that "neoliberalism" and "cultural Marxism" do not exist.

As far as the latter is concerned, he may have a point. In my experience, the folks who invest in that concept tend to be one step or less distant from the "Obama is a communist" crowd, which is a crowd I generally consider too stupid to take seriously.

The neoliberalism thing is a different animal altogether, and since it's what Doug gets paid to shill for on a regular basis it's somewhat disingenuous of him to disclaim its existence.

Saunders may be somewhat close to the mark when he says the "very far left" uses the term as a synonym for capitalism. That's true insofar as we can acknowledge that there are different hues of capitalism at work in our world.

In the America that's been going downhill for fifty years and which recently put the cherry on that downward spiral with the election of Trump, capitalism manifests more or less as neoliberalism. It's a robust, manly, macho capitalism that says billionaires deserve their billions because they're smarter than you and they work harder.

That's a philosophy that translates into a particular suite of policy initiatives. Taxes are bad. The private sector can do everything more efficiently than government. Poor people are weak and stupid and deserve their fate...

And so on.

But there's a different capitalism in much of Europe, where the heirs of Karl Kautsky have nurtured a more effete version of capitalism. Ya, we'll have capitalism but we'll tax the shit out of the rich and make sure everybody has a roof and three squares a day.

That's still capitalism, but it is not neoliberalism.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Twelve years of university for temp contracts with no benefits?

That's how the world of post-secondary education works these days.

I was gratified to hear from my dear daughter that my future son-in-law finally found a paying job - right back at the university where he got his Doctor Phil!

Yup, he's a contract "program coordinator" who will have the benefit of re-applying for his job every six months. That's his only benefit.

At least he's got "critical thinking skills."

According to Mark Kingswell in a recent Globe op-ed, that's what they're teaching kids in university these days.

Critical thinking.

Kingswell is a tenured prof at the same university where my future son-in-law is making considerably less money than I'd make if I put on a welding helmet again.

For championing the benefits of a university education, Kingswell pulls down $166,000 + per year.

After going full-bore down that road, my PhD (Chem, U of T) son-in-law makes less than a half-way competent welder.

Time to activate those critical thinking skills dude!

Either that or catch some Breaking Bad reruns...

Monday, December 18, 2017

From Orwell to Trump in seven scary words

On 15th December the Washington Post published a story which claimed that the Trump administration had issued to the Centers for Disease Control a list of seven forbidden words that were henceforth not to be used when drawing up budget proposals. The story was sourced from one anonymous CDC employee who was at a meeting where the banned vocab list was discussed. The words are: vulnerable, diversity, entitlement, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based.


It would be hard to find a list of words better crafted to enrage the former Studio 54 dandy and his army of white-supremacist, Bible-thumping acolytes. We already know, having been reminded daily for well over a year now, how that crowd feels about facts and science, diversity and the transgendered and the vulnerable. Entitlement would probably be OK if we stuck with the entitlement of the rich to greater riches, but let's not take any chances - you wouldn't want the vulnerable to get the idea they're entitled to something too.

I must admit "fetus" is a bit of a head-scratcher. What have those folks got against fetuses? Maybe the anonymous source mis-heard?  Maybe the meeting was running into the lunch hour and one of the attendees wondered aloud "are they gonna feed us?" Who knows...

A mere three days later, if you google "CDC 7 banned words list" you'll get over 2.6 million results in about half a second. An awful lot of folks have spilled an awful lot of ink over this story in three days. By contrast, google "George Carlin's 7 banned words list" and you get less than half that many results on a story that's been around for 45 years.

And not only has it been around; it's been an iconic pit-stop in this thing known as "popular culture."

Meanwhile, both the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services have denied that any such list exists, and the fact-checking site Snopes is awaiting some clarifications before rendering a verdict.

But for three days, it's been one helluva story!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

RIP Hunter Harrison

I've written about Mr. Harrison often, and never have I had a kind word to say about him. I'm not going to start now.

That's because I want this blog to be a voice for what's left of that shabby construct once known as the "working class." Hunter Harrison was the enemy.

He is being celebrated across the land today for his "unique genius" in figuring out that if you made trains longer and ran them faster you could move a given amount of freight with far fewer employees. That vision made Harrison rich and famous.

During his career he was lauded for making rich investors richer by destroying tens of thousands of good solid working class jobs.

Good luck with that legacy when you show up at the pearly gates.

Nevertheless he was family to some, and we must respect their loss. He had a role to play and he played it very well. The thousands of lives he destroyed in his pursuit of "efficiencies" were just collateral damage.

Nothing personal.

Rest in peace.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sweet home Alabama... is rock and roll racist to the core?

Racism is big these days.

Every white person is a white supremacist.

Here's all the proof you need. Look at those famous white musicians waving the banner of white supremacy...

Ya, OK I guess.

Because that white cohort of working class shmucks who have been watching their jobs get off-shored are more privileged than the black dudes whose jobs went down the globalism shitter.

I don't know... I've always believed that an unemployed black steelworker had more in common with an unemployed white steelworker than he had in common with the sinecured token black professor at the local college, but what the fuck do I know?

It's tough enough being white these days...

I'm just glad I'm not black.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Six issues that a third party would need to focus on to succeed in American electoral politics

Health care. The time for mealy-mouthed excuses is over. America needs single-payer universal health care now.

Tax reform. Back when America was a happening place, the marginal tax rate was 90%. At that rate, America prospered. 

Election finance reform. No, corporations are NOT people. 

An America First foreign policy. Sending working class kids to die in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn't serve America's interests. It is a well known fact that the "war on terror" just creates more terrorists. Stop with that already.

A housing policy that ends homelessness. How does a nation that squanders trillions on completely fabricated wars justify hundreds of thousands of her citizens living in the streets? 

Give working Americans a living minimum wage. In the wealthiest country on the planet, every person who bothers to go to work every day deserves a dignified standard of living. 

There you go. That's a bare minimum. If you had a third party espousing those causes, you'd see a third party sweep at every level of America's vaunted "democracy."

Why the Alabama special election signals hope for America

Big Media (BM) are full of stories these past few days about how the Jones triumph is reigniting hope for a floundering Democratic Party. Yessiree, first Dem victory in 'Bama in a quarter century and all that.

That's not where I'm seeing the hope.

No, the hope lies in the fact that in the most-hyped election in recent memory, a mere 40% of the eligible voters bothered showing up at the ballot booth.

That means, in spite of all the cartoonish hype generated by the Democentric media, a substantial majority of Alabamians refused to dignify this spectacle with their participation!

This tells me that most voters are wide open to a third party initiative that addresses their real needs and concerns.

There is hope for America!

North Korea prepares to unleash secret weapon on USA

Shannon Gormley, the heavyweight "global affairs columnist and freelance writer" at the Ottawa Citizen had a global scoop today with the revelation that Kim Jong-Un has a secret weapon up his sleeve; a 6,000 strong nerd army ready to unleash cyber-mayhem on America!

Yup, a nerd army!

Be afraid, America... be very afraid!

And wouldn't you know it, they're getting help from those gosh-darned towel-heads 'o terror, the Ayatollahs.

Gormley does mention one of the flaws in this scenario, namely the fact that Kim Jong-Un is the only guy in the country with an internet connection, and the only other person allowed access is Mrs. Kim when she's buying stuff on Amazon.

So obviously that nerd army is already set up amongst us, a veritable fifth column as it were.

This got me thinking. Where are you most likely to encounter Koreans in the course of your day? Why, in your friendly neighbourhood variety store, that's where! And what are those "friendly" Koreans doing every time you walk in?... why, they're on the internet of course!

Until I read this story, I never gave that a second thought. Now I'm wondering, are these nice Korean families who work their butts off 24/7 overcharging you for everything from rolling papers to newspapers really North Korean sleeper agents? Are they part of that nerd army ready ready to spring on an unsuspecting public on a moments notice?

That's something to think about... thanks for the heads up, Shannon!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Alabama special election - political theatre at its finest

US-style democracy truly is the greatest show on earth! The Jones-Moore rumble had a little bit of everything... it was so perfect you'd almost think it was scripted by the same folks who gave you a steady parade of heroes and villains battling it out back in the heyday of the WWF.

In this corner, the bad guy, an old white former judge and reputed but never-prosecuted child molester, and in that corner, an old white guy who jailed some KKK types and ran on a platform of equality and inclusivity.

Ya, it's just two old white guys running for the senate, but this time it really really matters!

Even though the pervy judge was the early fave, you could see the tide turning. For the last few rounds he was on the ropes. His corner-men pulled out all the stops. Robo calls from Trumpenstein. A flames-o-hell speech from Satanic Steve...

It was a nail-biter to the very end, but the forces of righteousness prevailed!

Democracy is alive and well in America!

An old white dude finally made it into the Senate!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Winter again...

If there's anything good to be said about Winter this year, it's that we were more or less prepared for once.

The Mustang and the Ninja are safely out of the snow.

I meant to get the Ford 4000 tractor out of the snow too, but you can't get around to everything.

There was a couple of winters here at Falling Downs when the Ford was our go-to snow clearing technology.

You'll notice that there's not an app for that. No, to clear the snow out your drive still requires old-school technology.

But all this snow has got me cruising the Kijiji ads for used sleds.

I've had a few, but nothing for many years.

When you've got the Family Responsibility Office and various other government offices lying in wait to pick the fat off your paycheque every week there's not much chance of a sled in the garage. And by the way, they don't just pick away at the fat; they get right down to the gristle.

But that's behind me now.

So I've been contemplating a new sled. You can get a nice deal on a new  MXZ TNT. The TNT moniker always gets my attention. Way back in the first wave of sleddery the TNT Ski-Doos were the go-to hotrod for the snow.

Unless you got your hands on a Rupp Nitro... which I actually did for a brief moment way back when.

The new sleds are a fool's bargain though. Ten thou for something you might, if you're lucky, get six weeks use of in a calendar year? That's retarded.

Better to comb those Kijiji ads for something a little older that's got some life left in it. Like that 800 Arctic Cat I saw tonight. Clean and tight and almost like new. The guy wants $2200.

Think I'll offer him $1500 and we'll see where things go.

The magical disappearing Globe and Mail

It's disappeared from the Maritimes altogether.

That's not a good thing when you're the "national newspaper of record."

Here it's not disappeared yet, but by God it's getting vanishingly thin.

I now get, after a few days of hindsight, why the G & M brain trust decided to drop the "new look" on a Saturday; because the Saturday Globe is always a little thicker, and while the Saturday edition retained its usual heft, relatively speaking, it wasn't till Monday that we found out what the new look was gonna look like during the week.

It's looking a lot thinner is what it looks like.

Yup, your everyday Globe and Mail is down to two sections. The Business Section has been amalgamated with the Sports Section, and everything else has joined the front part. Indeed!

I picked up a two-section Globe at a variety store in Owen Sound today for $3.70. It was $3.60 last week, at three or four sections.

Ten cents more for less Globe and Mail?

And not only is the paper thinner, there's been a trend to filling it with more syndicated stuff from the likes of David Shribman and Sarah Kendzior. Whatever the merits of these American writers, I don't shell out top dollar for Canada's newspaper of record to read syndicated foreigners.

But I guess it's trying times in the biz.

Maybe they should try giving us more Canadian news and more Canadian writers.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How to be a Big League op-ed writer

 First rule; don't get caught saying nice things about the Trump regime. And it is a regime. It's not a "government" anymore, it's a "regime."

I'm guessing in a couple of weeks we'll be talking about the "Trump Dictatorship."

Having said that, please remember to give Donny J a pat on the back if he happens to loose another round of Hellfire missiles at some random target peopled by (Muslim) evildoers.

That gave Fareed Zakaria the biggest boner of his life the last time it happened.

"Holy shit!... who knew this Trump clown could be so presidential?.."

Then, having avoided the toxic embrace of Trumpenstein, you MUST MUST MUST invoke a few hoary canards re: American Exceptionalism.

And you'll have to avoid sounding like Trump making America great again when you do that.

Make sure you bring up "rule of law" over and over.

"Rules-based world order" is a good one too, although we're getting into somewhat esoteric territory here...

Frankly, I'd be a lot happier if we could wrestle the narrative away from the Big Media types who want us to believe that everything was hunky-dory before Donny J barged in and upset the apple-cart.

Trump is a symptom.

Op-ed writers are paid to hide the disease.


Tards 'o terror take New York

Well, not quite, but this latest graduate from the Korody Nuttall Terrorist Academy did manage to give the talking heads at Fox and CNN and all the rest of them plenty to prattle about today.

(Editor's note: The Korody Nuttall Terrorist Academy is a top secret training facility for aspiring terrorists run by the RCMP in British Columbia. Among the mandatory entrance requirements are a history of mental illness and substance abuse, and an IQ score of <100 as tested by an accredited IQ testing facility. It is named after its original graduates, Amanda Korody and John Nuttall.)

The "experts" haven't yet come up with the low down on this Akayed Ullah chappie. Seems to have washed ashore from Bangladesh not too long ago. Couldn't make the grade as a cabbie, because the controls were different from the ox-carts he was used to driving in the old country.

Deprived of the opportunity to plow his cab through throngs of spectators at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, he came up with Plan B; he was gonna go out in a blast of glory with his very own home-made suicide vest!

Alas, Ullah is so stunned that the suicide vest he built didn't even kill him let alone anyone else. He joins the shoe-bomber and the undie-bomber in the Towelheads 'o Terror Hall of Shame.

Think about that.

For over sixteen years you've been giving up your right to privacy so that those who serve and protect us can keep us safe from harm. It's why your dear mother takes off her shoes and bends over for a TSA bum rub when she flies in for the Christmas holiday. It's why you have to arrive three hours before departure instead of fifteen minutes. It's why the exceptional nation has hundreds of thousands living in the streets and a trillion dollar defence budget with which to torment Muslim lands.

It's all to keep you safe... and to keep the multitudes of security consultants and security contractors and security sub-contractors rolling in more wealth than they ever imagined, some of which wealth will recycle through various Political Action Committees, just to keep the ball of democracy rolling.

Think about that a bit more.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Al G O'rythm ain't no friend of mine

When the big dogs of the digital infrastructure began tweaking their algorithms to weed out "fake news," it didn't occur to me that this could impact the totally inconsequential operation here at Falling Downs. I mean, there's three or four thousand looks a month here... ya I know; I can't understand why it isn't three or four thousand a day either.

Anyway, I've been noticing some strange shit. I know what usually happens when I push "publish." Within a minute or two there's half a dozen or so looks. Always.

Then things will creep up gradually. 

Had a couple of posts with Trump in the title and they went nowhere at all for at least 24 hours, while they chalked up well over a hundred looks at Before It's News.

Then earlier today I posted something with the words "Arab Spring" and "Israel" in the title. That got not a look for a good 15 minutes while the algorithms were passing it back and forth like a hot potato.

Isn't it nice to know that there are algorithms hard at work while you sleep, making sure you're only reading stuff that will leave you feeling the right way?

Arab Spring sweeps into Israel

They're coming out in the tens of thousands, the ingrates are, to protest against the greatest leader since Moses. It is due to the ingrates that this leader stands accused of criminal acts which, if proven, would end his career.

After the many years of selfless service this man has given to the nation!

Yes, it's a shame. Going overboard on the Trump Jerusalem thing may have been a bit of a miscalculation too. There's a lot of folks in America who can't figure out if it's Bibi that's got his head up Trump's ass or the other way around. Either way, the mere association gives a lot of folks pause.

Change may be coming. Let's hope it will be change for the better.

Globe and Mail gets a makeover

Been seven years in the making, apparently. The only "new" stuff I noticed was the obits are now at the back of the business section instead of the sports section, and there's a "new section for opinion writing," which isn't new at all, but its name has been changed to "Opinion" from "Focus."

Oh, and there's a nifty new feature called "Applause Please." Brad Wheeler wants you to forward the names of any unsung arts and culture heroes you may know so they can get the props they deserve. The inaugural unsung hero is one John H. Daniels, the unknown Torontonian whose name adorns the U of T's Faculty of Architecture. Maybe they should call it "More Applause Please."

Still with architecture, U of T's smarty-pants-at-large Mark Kingswell wants you to know that he's really smart and what universities are doing is indoctrinating students into something called "critical thinking." Of course they are. The recent stinkfest at Laurier is a great example. Had Lindsay Shepherd not left her iPhone in record mode we wouldn't have gleaned that great insight into just how hard universities work to foster critical thinking.

In the course of making his case, Kingswell drops the term "postmodernism" and tells us that "scholars who pay attention to accuracy will tell you that the term first surfaced in 1960s architectural lingo." Actually, I'd hope they wouldn't; the pot-addled hillbilly is no scholar, but even I can tell you Kingswell is a few decades off the mark with that assertion.

One of the more intriguing reads is Kate Taylor's piece on Call me by your name, the story of a love affair between a man and an underage boy. Hmm... I wonder when they're gonna film the love story about an assistant District Attorney and an underage girl in Alabama? And when they do, will it be deemed Oscar worthy?

Elsewhere, Doug Saunders get's our attention with the shocking headline that "Jerusalem was "Israel's last hope of peace - until Trump threw it away." Ya right. In the fifty years since the occupied territories were occupied, there's been plenty of time to move closer to the fictitious "two state solution." If anything, this story would provide a good point of departure for an investigation into Israeli influence in US politics, but apparently that topic remains taboo.

Overall, the "makeover" leaves me wondering who cares. Not as desperately daft as the exercise in "creative execution" from a couple of years ago, but seriously, what's the point? I'd rather they spent the money wasted on consultants in hiring back some of the proof-readers they used to have around the place. When you can't read the lead editorial in Canada's newspaper of record without tripping over multiple typos, the fact that they've tried to spruce up the old sow with a coat of fresh lipstick leaves one underwhelmed.

Maybe the "Head of Experience" will look into that.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Sunny Daze slapped silly in China

Apparently PM Sunny Daze Trudeau is coming home from China without that vaunted free trade agreement in his back pocket.

According to our major media, this is a major failing.

They are aghast that he doesn't even have a timetable about when those "free trade" talks might start. We are supposed to think this is a big deal.

It ain't.

Trade between China and Canada seems pretty healthy, even without a "free trade" agreement.

They're not foregrounding this in your corporate press, but my hunch is Sunny Daze lost the room when he got onto the ancillary stuff. Ya, we'll have free trade only after you agree to write gay rights and women's rights and workers' rights into the deal.

Which was the moment when the leader of the PRC, population 1.2 billion, gave Sunny Daze, leader of a former Brit colony with a population a tiny fraction of that, a slap heard round the colonies.

That slap said "see you later, come back when you want to talk about trade. In the meantime stick your snotty "progressive agenda" where the sun don't shine"

I don't get it. They send us all the inventory for our dollar stores. We send them jobs and coal.

Looks to me like a "no-trade" deal with China might be a better idea than a "free trade" deal.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Trump's tax cuts; pure (evil) genius

The Trump tax cuts represent an unprecedented transfer of wealth to the .01% in a society already suffocating under the greatest disparity of wealth in the so-called first world.

That's just for starters. Somewhere down the road it's inevitable that these cuts will lead to the shredding of what's left of America's pitiful social safety net. With less tax revenue there's lots of stuff that's gonna go over the side, and you can bet the spending cuts won't be coming out of the obscenely bloated military budget. That'll prove especially true if America manages to add another war or two to the perpetual war playlist down the road, as seems increasingly likely.

Since the owners of the corporate media are on the winning side of the Trump tax cuts you won't be seeing a groundswell of opposition coming from there. Meanwhile, the alternative media are already having their wings clipped by the googletwitterfacebook combine's voluntary and all too enthusiastic censorship of "fake news."

Let's not lose sight of the fact that pretty much all the "alternative" news sites run on platforms owned by folks who also benefit bigly from Trump's tax cuts.

Maybe America can live in denial of her downward spiral for another generation or two. Maybe America can live with tens of millions of homeless instead of hundreds of thousands. Maybe the corporate media can bamboozle the public into supporting more war, even though America's wars are seldom won and never over.


Maybe not.

Trump doing God's work in Middle East

Of course he is!

Long-time Trump-watchers are unanimous that Donny J has finally found his real calling - as God's point man on earth. What, you thought that was the Pope?

The idea of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel crosses the minds of presidential candidates with some frequency. They tend to think aloud on the matter whilst on the campaign trail. It's a handy sop to some of the bigger donors, and a big vote-getter in the right-wing "Christian Zionist" constituency.

Once they're in office they tend to stop thinking about it, aloud or otherwise. After all, why piss off some of the biggest customers of America's military-industrial ecosystem? Russian or Chinese weapon systems would suit the Saudis just as well in a pinch.

So what's different this time round? For one thing, the imbecile in the White House is desperate for some headlines that aren't about one or another of the investigations around him. The imbecile in Riyadh, now firmly in Jared Kushner's pocket, is in way over his head and is keen to throw in his lot with what he sees as the big dogs, even if it means turning his back on the Palestinians.

The third cheerleader for this march to Armageddon is the greatest leader since Moses, Mr Netanyahu. He's having his own troubles with investigations and surely welcomes this diversion.

Trump, MbS, Netanyahu... we're not talking about the three wise men here.

What could go wrong?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Puppy tricks

We had to step out for a spell today and the Farm Manager was concerned about leaving the dogs alone after only a couple days getting to know one another. The Brindle in particular has been prone to bare her fangs and make ominous growly noises when little pup is getting too frisky with her.

So we devised a plan. The old girls would cosy up on the couch in front of the fireplace in the living room, per usual. New pup would be locked in the front hall, door to the living room shut and a baby gate blocking off the stairs. Seemed foolproof.

We get home a few hours later and little pup had totally laid waste to our plan. And a bank of potted plants in front of the living room window. And Uncle Henry's carpet runner, barely visible under an inch of potting soil.

The little shit had vaulted the baby gate, ran up the front stairs, down the back stairs, hopped a second baby gate between the kitchen and the living room, and then spent the afternoon partying hard with the old girls in front of the fireplace.

This put the FM in an incredibly foul mood...

My f@cking plants!

Uncle Henry's carpet runner!...

Ya, and your dog, I was tempted to add.

But I didn't. Instead I pitched in with the clean-up even before being told to. By the time we were finished I had convinced the FM that there was a silver lining.

We don't have to worry about the old girls harming the new baby. They'd just spent the afternoon together, without any human supervision whatsoever, and everything is A OK!

Well, at least dog-wise.

Next time we'll just leave them all on the couch in front of the fire.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Engine trouble grounds Globe and Mail in Grey-Bruce

No Globe and Mail today.

Not at the Korean's place. Not anywhere else in Wiarton. Not anywhere in Owen Sound. Nor anywhere in the entirety of the Grey-Bruce Hillbilly Sanctuary and World Biosphere Preserve.

Apparently one derelict local hillbilly bears on his stooped shoulders the full responsibility for delivering the Globe to the Grey-Bruce in his dilapidated 1992 Astro van, and he had engine trouble today.

Hey, at least we're not the Maritimes!

Phil had her first full day with us. Went for a car drive to fetch the Globe and Mail. Needless to say, that led to an unanticipated odyssey of epic proportions. Three or four hours into the drive, she had a puke beyond anything you can imagine coming out of a 15 week old pup. Luckily, whoever originally bought this Subaru ordered it with the "cargo tray," a rubber mat that sits in the back. Were it not for that, the carpet under that cargo tray would have been saturated with ten quarts of puppy puke.

Unable to score a Globe and Mail, (I miss you, Doug!) I eventually settled for a Toronto Star. For some reason it maintains it's '70's era girth, even though all the papers around it are folding. So far I've only got through the first section, and in so doing was reminded of why I choose the Globe.

At the Star they strive to put the "human interest" angle out front with every story.

At the Globe they're more about the nitty-gritty.

To hell with the human interest angle; I just want the news.

Bring back my Globe and Mail!

Ready for winter

I see where Trumpenstein has got his tax cuts through. That will radically enhance wealth disparity in America. The rich will get richer, and you already know what it means for the rest.

Here's why this is a good thing. With a little luck, more Americans sucking on the hind teat will figure out that their "democracy" isn't working for them. Rich people need to get richer?

Get the fuck outta here!

But be that as it may, we're ready for winter here at Falling Downs. It helps that winter is at least a month late in coming.

Call it global warming.

Call it climate change.

Call it anthropocentric weather dysfunction... I don't give a shit what you call it...

But I like it!

Today I moved a couple of the garage relics into the barn, and that made room for the Mustang 50 and the Ninja. The Mustang got about five miles put on her this summer. The Ninja got about ten. I really don't know why I have this shit.

Gotta scale things down before I kick the bucket.

Junior wants the Mustang, and I'm cool with that. Not sure he can afford the insurance, but that's for him to figure out.

I haven't been able to interest any of the Juniors in the Ninja, so maybe she's gonna get buried with me. Except I'm heading for cremation rather than burial. Guess the bereft are gonna get stuck with an urn full of ash and a motorcycle.

That's OK.

That's a legacy I can live with when I'm dead.

We're ready for winter here at Falling Downs.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Another reason to read Neumann's blog

Aside from getting the low-down on where my dogs shit, you get the down-low about what kind of shit the big dogs are up to.

And you know who the big dogs are.

Apparently our imaginary peace mission to the dark continent is stalled.

All the smart money was on a mission to Mali.

Then I read on Neumann's blog about how all the big gold mines were played out anyway, so what's the point?

Which is why Justin is still up in the air about where to send our "peacekeepers."

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I don't get antisemitism

At least not when it's coming from "Christians."

Those folks have lost sight of the fact that Christianity started out as a Jewish cult. One of a multitude of cults within Judaism, from what I understand. Somehow this one got out of control. Today we'd say it went viral.

I guess the technical term for this would be "schism." The birth of Christianity represented a schism within the Judaic belief system.

It wasn't long before the usurpers infected vast swathes of the Roman Empire, and before you know it, the Jews who had masterminded the latest craze were turning on the Jews who didn't sign up.

The passage of time has allowed a lot of your Christians to forget their roots. The usurpers have in the interval also suffered numerous schisms. In fact, the earliest days of Christianity were schism city all the way.

Then you had your big split in the main church, and after that Martin Luther invented protestants. The fact that the word "protest" is part of their name is an irony lost on most of them today.

All this schisming has thrown some real absurdities at the canvas of history. Look at "the Troubles" for example. They're all white and they all love Jesus, but they're ready to start a new war if this Brexit thing gives them the excuse.

And apparently the schisming continues to this day. I heard that one of the local Amish communities suffered a schism because the Bishop made a couple of the brothers swap farms. There may have been some coveting involved... the neighbours's wife or ass or both.

Which underlines once again the fact that we're just human, no matter how many schisms it took to make us who we are.

We're all brothers in spite of the schisms.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Falling Downs going to the dogs

From time to time me and the Farm Manager talk about getting another dog. Boomer, our Rottweiler-Shepherd mix, is closing in on fourteen years. She's not quite as nimble as she used to be. Stumbles now and then on our morning ramble, and in the hot weather I'd shave a couple of kilometres off the walk just to make sure she's not over-stressed.

Our baby, the Tennessee Treeing Brindle, is seven. She's never known a day without another dog since she arrived here, and we intend to make sure she never does.

The upshot of these periodic discussions was that when the time was right, we'd add a third hound to the pack, and we developed a few criteria.

No puppies. They spend a year or more chewing everything they can clamp their jaws on. Lucy literally ate the better part of a couch, not to mention numerous shoes, random articles of clothing, and a Bible.

No sirree; no more puppies for us. We'd get a dog from the pound about Lucy's age. That way they'd hopefully expire around the same time, freeing us to explore some non-canine pet options.

Second criteria; it's time for a smaller dog. When the FM "walks" one of our girls she looks like she's wakeboarding. She's got both hands gripping the tow-rope while she struggles to stay upright... while the dog goes wherever it wants.

Here's the new hound.

Meet Phil. A fourteen week old Mastiff.

Ticked all the right boxes, obviously... Sure, fourteen weeks isn't quite seven years, and ya, she's maybe not gonna grow up to be a "small" dog, but what the hey. She'll be meeting her new sisters on the weekend.

We had dinner at the Twin Dragons tonight. Best water-view of any Owen Sound restaurant by far, and the food's pretty decent too. The two of us can get out of there for fifty bucks including the buffet, a couple of drinks, and a generous tip.

The FM's fortune cookie read:

A new member is joining your happy family soon.

I couldn't make that up.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Weed report

When I ran into that old school grower the other week he gave me a couple of samples to try. This guy is known for his organic stuff. It's popular among folks who care about what they're doing to their bodies... the same kind of folks who pay five bucks or more for a dozen farm-fresh eggs from free-range chickens.

Here's what I thought. Something branded CR was a decent mellow. I like that. Some people want to get messed up by the stuff they smoke. That's not me.

I just want to get mellow and stay there for a spell. If my mother calls during that spell, I want to be able to talk to her.

Not for me that new school bud that's been treated with every yield-boosting and buzz-boosting chemical known to man, by people who are just in it for the money.

And the other sample, called "green beer" or something, was more or less similar. I could function, but I knew I was stoned.

The reason I like to support these old school growers is a) because I've proven myself useless at growing my own, and b) I'd rather support these guys than the army of suits who have descended on the legal weed free-for-all.

Also, it's nice to know where your shit comes from.

It's not often we get to do that since Clint Eastwood stopped building Torinos.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hats off to Prince Harry

 Prince Harry hogged the headlines all day.

Seems he bagged a lassie and they're gonna tie the knot. Why anybody would give a shit is the part I can't figure out.

Be that as it may, I'd like to take my hat off to Prince Harry with this salute to the time Prince Harry bagged a wog.

Oy, he's a real man... got blood on his hands.

There was a little diner in Neustadt called Hat's off to Harry. Harry, or whoever it was owned the place, had dreams.

He dreamed of owning a pool hall.

So he took the plunge and built one. On top of his diner. Yup, had to build an entire second story to accommodate the new venture. Even got himself a liquor license!

He done it up right.

He was ready to go!

Pool-cue totin' rubes from all around flocked to the place. Even made a couple visits myself.

Then the county's new smoking regs kicked in. If a denizen of the pool hall wished to smoke a cigarette, she or he would have to work their way down a long flight of stairs, and then move fifteen metres from the entrance way.

I know! That's what you do in a pool hall - smoke!

Smoke and drink beer. Billiards is an afterthought.

It was tits up for Harry.

Which is a timely reminder that sometimes the winds of propriety shift. Never mind the pool hall - I can remember when people smoked in the supermarket.

I can remember when I was a pump boy at John's Supertest in my teens, every other car that pulled in on a Friday or Saturday night had open liquor in it. That's not kosher anymore either.

Things change.

The winds of propriety shift...

Why the battle to preserve "net neutrality" has nothing to do with fighting censorship

The sacred world wide web is positively aflame with screeds denouncing the imminent collapse of a "free internet."

Hey, don't get me wrong; I too am 100% aboard for a "free internet." I'd be 200% aboard if the Farm Manager wasn't paying the equivalent of three cases of beer to access this "free" service every month. That ain't "free" where I come from.

But what's interesting is how much of this outpouring of concern conflates "net neutrality" with censorship. Check out this article at Salon, or check out the previous post about Sarah Kendzior.

The purveyors of this misconception want you to believe that the fate of the First Amendment hinges on a FCC vote that will be held on December 14.

It doesn't.

Big Tech are already censoring what you see by tweaking their search algorithms in such a way that you are far less likely to have your patriotic eyeballs alight on offensive and subversive anti-American propaganda.

It's entirely possible to preserve the "net neutrality" at stake in the FCC decision while expunging every trace of critical anti-Empire opinion from that neutral net.

We are being bamboozled yet again.

Sarah Kendzior; disingenuous, misguided, or just plain stupid?

I like Sarah Kendzior. Back when she was a freshly minted Dr. Phil who found herself squeezed off the tenure track, she used to write about that. The writing was heartfelt and convincing because she knew what she was talking about.

She has yet to find that track, but she may no longer care. Check out the brand she's built. This woman is going places! She's one 60 Minutes profile away from becoming a serious public intellectual!
But when I consider that, and when I read of the various accolades she has won over recent years (Foreign Policy named her one of the 100 people you should follow on Twitter to make sense of global events - as if Twitter is required to make sense of global events...), I have to marvel at the fact that the bar has been set so astoundingly low.

Take her latest effort as "op-ed columnist for the Globe and Mail" for example; Gutting net neutrality is a death knell for the resistance.

Ah yes, "the resistance!"

That one word conjures all sorts of imagery of heroic anti-Nazi derring-do in occupied Europe during the '40s. The French resistance. The Dutch resistance...

The Greeks and Poles resisted too. In every case we saw courageous citizens, infinitely out-manned and out-gunned, standing against the Nazi behemoth.

Although she is fully aware that's the image you'll carry in your mind's eye when you read the word "resistance," that's not the resistance Kendzior is talking about. No, she's talking about the resistance to Trump's election victory. This is not a resistance led by courageous partisans hiding out in the woods and risking their lives for a cause.

It is a resistance led by Hillary Clinton and a Democratic Party elite that a year ago lost an election in spite of having more Wall Street money behind it than any previous campaign in US electoral history.

It's not the resistance of the oppressed.

It is the resistance of an entitled ruling class clique who are pouting because another, perhaps slightly less entitled ruling class clique, grabbed the steering wheel out of their hands.                    

I can see why they'd be pissed.

At the same time, the claim that the Dem Party establishment or any of the mainstream media platforms Kendzior regularly appears on are even remotely threatened is beyond hokum.


Some players in the internet ecosystem want to squash net neutrality so they can make more money, not because they want to silence the Globe and Mail and the US news sites the Globe reflexively parots, the Washington Post and the NYT.

Pretty sure they're not interested in silencing Kendzior either.

As you know, all those platforms are vehemently anti-Trump.

What's being silenced are media platforms that question the narrative of Kendzior, Dem Party elites, and the "resistance," sites like RT and Sputnik and Michael Chossudovsky's Global Research.

So relax, Sarah... so long as you continue to faithfully toe the official DNC line, you've nothing to worry about!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

What the f@ck is a hubcap diamond star halo?


I mean, we listened to this shit all the time. Nice tune. You can kinda bop around to it if you're so inclined.

But what exactly is a hubcap diamond star halo?

I've spent the evening jogging down memory lane. Did you have any clue that Billy Idol had a duet thing out there with Miley?

Holy shit!

Who knew?

More to the point, who cares?

Anyway, laptop battery fading fast...

I'm outta here!

Maybe we should just turn the planet over to the millennials

After all, it's hard to imagine they'd fuck the place up more than our generation has done.

Here's a story that gives me hope. Seems both Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton have chimed in to tell the media to lay off Malia Obama. That's the finest example of bipartisan solidarity we've seen in a long time.

I like it!

Both Chelsea and Ivanka strike me as kids who wouldn't hesitate to tell their respective daddies to go fuck themselves if they had serious misgivings about their policy initiatives.

That would be a good thing.

Friday, November 24, 2017


Credentialism is the feeding trough of the upwardly mobile.

The Farm Manager, in her capacity as a Educational Assistant in her day job, today took a one day course that rendered her a "Behaviour Management Systems Practitioner."

What the fuck does that mean?

In practical terms, nothing.

But she gets a certificate she can hang on the wall.

When one of my mentors in the world of commercial real estate, Vic Tucciarone, got his real estate license back in the '50's, it involved a five dollar fee paid at the Government of Ontario offices, and that was that.

No courses, no nothing.

Today an aspiring realtor has to take multiple courses that take many months and cost many thousands of dollars.

Does anybody really think this has given us "better" real estate agents?

I had a college prof, Al Jeffries, who warned us about this credentialism racket. Keep your resume to one page, he told us over and over again. Anything above that reeks of credentialism.

Then somebody dug up a copy of his resume.

It ran to fourteen pages.

The takeaway?

Credentialism pays!

I remember sitting in my dear uncle Werner's office at the University of Waterloo and admiring the many certificates/degrees/diplomas festooning the walls.

Tucked in amongst them was a Province of Alberta fishing licence circa 1962.

At least he had a sense of humour...

Jared Kushner is Trump's point man in the Middle East... what could go wrong?


Jared Kushner is the proverbial teenager dressed up in an old man's suit.

Trump, a B-list Manhattan property developer, if that, reached into the A-list of Manhattan property developers to source his Middle East envoy.

The fact that young Kushner is his son-in-law just makes this story more interesting.

What are Jared's qualifications for being Middle East point man?

Well, he's a Jew.

So what. Chomsky is a Jew. Gilad Atzmon is a Jew. Norman Finkelstein is a Jew. None of them are likely to become presidential advisers any time soon.

But Kushner is the right kind of Jew. He's the kind of Jew who learned his Middle East history at the feet of that great scholar of Judaism, Benyamin Netanyahu.

As such, he's pretty much on the same page as Israel's current Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely.

Her take on Middle East affairs is that God promised that land to the Israelites all those many years ago, and if you're not on board with that, you are a God-defying antisemite.

Never before in history have so many atheists turned to the word of God to justify their racist policies than in the current Bibi cabinet.

As hilarious as this may be, it's only going to get funnier.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

It's fickle, it's fragile, and it's all f@cked up

A week ago a neighbour was going about his usual routine. A fifty-three year old guy whose adult children were just coming into their own. Decent all-round family type with a successful business. He had a great life, and he appreciated it.

Visitation was today.

They're burying him tomorrow.

At some point between then and now a pick-up truck ran a stop sign at one o'clock in the morning.

What are the odds?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Affordable housing

I've told this story before.

When my dear father (who just celebrated his 85th, and may God bless him with many more!..) got off the boat back in '56 his first job was shovelling coal. With a hand shovel.

By the time I was in my teens he'd remade himself as a real estate broker. I remember all us kids emptied our piggy banks to be part of the investment syndicate when he bought his first investment property.

I think it was on Barton Street, if I'm not mistaken.

Then we were all corralled into doing whatever we were capable of, from scraping old paint to applying new paint, so he could turn that place around.

The term "flip" had yet to be coined.

Dad was well on his way to joining the pantheon of post-war immigrants who done good in real estate.

And there was a ton of them. Germans, Italians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, and Jews from all over. I got to know lots of immigrants who did very well in the real estate business.

Some of them got seriously rich.

Most of them, and my father would be in this group, never got "rich," but they got seriously comfortable.

As a result of my father's success in that business, I was somewhat drawn to it myself, so I'd pick Dad's brain to get a handle on things.

So how do you know what a property is really worth?

It's worth whatever somebody is willing to pay for it.

What is "affordable housing?"

If somebody bought it, it was obviously affordable... and so on.


By that metric, when somebody pays five million for a penthouse condo in Toronto, it's obviously "affordable housing."

But that's not the definition of "affordable" that obtains when we discuss affordable housing today.

And that's where the private sector affordable housing model falls flat on its face. A $14/hr minimum wage means you'll never afford decent housing in places like Toronto.

Which is why governments need to get serious about public housing.

That's why we need a robust public housing strategy.

All you need is love: the Sunny Daze solution to Canada's affordable housing crisis

We're over half way through Justin's mandate, and the Liberal government just dropped their affordable housing strategy today.

They're gonna build 100,000 affordable housing units. Over ten years. Starting after the next election, nudge nudge wink...

Hmm.... a hundred thousand housing units?

And over the next ten years we'll be welcoming somewhere in the range of three to four million new arrivals?

And they'll live where?

Sorry Justin, this isn't an affordable housing policy.

It's a joke.

Irresistible clickbait: LA's homeless pooping in streets...

That gem is on view at Fox News as I write these words.

Alas, once you click on it, the homeless are no longer "pooping," they are "defecating." 

It's the old bait 'n switch; promise a poop but deliver mere defecation. I'm not sure I'd have clicked on that. "Poop" is so much more poetic. Puppies poop. Babies poop. It's a rather benign thing, pooping is.

Defecation seems much more clinical. Serious. Almost scholarly.

The truth of the matter is that LA's army of sidewalk dwellers don't poop and they don't defecate.

They shit. Fifty thousand of them take a shit in the street once or twice a day. More if you've got digestion issues, which I imagine you'd have often enough when you're eating out of dumpsters.

On the face of it you might be taken aback by this story. Isn't LA one of the great cities of America? And isn't America itself "the city on a hill?" The richest country in the world? The exceptional nation? The most advanced society in the history of history?..

And people shit in the street?

Get over yourself!

Coping with this phenomenon requires a global perspective. Think Mumbai, Lagos, Nairobi... all great cities where people shit in the street! LA is joining the ranks of the great international cities!

Having the homeless shit in the streets is a sign of America's rise to true world-class status!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Trump working hard to ensure USA remains most hated country in the world

To be sure, hating America isn't something that started with Trump.

Check out this morsel of statistical goodness from 2003.

Hey, if they hated us in 2003 you can bet they hate us even more today.

It didn't have to be this way.

Take a gander at this piece by Jeff Berg at Counterpunch.

Sure, if the USA spent 1% of its military budget on making sure everyone on this planet had access to clean water and a place to shit, America would be the bestie of besties!

Instead of hating us for our freedoms, they'd be loving us for a glass of clean water and a safe place to shit!

We wouldn't even need a military budget, because the whole world would be loving us!

Alas, that wouldn't do much for the bottom line at Boeing and Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics and all the rest of them, would it?

The United States of Generals and Billionaires

Hey, how's that "democracy" of yours working out for ya, Yankee neighbours?

I see where the Trumpster has added N. Korea to the "state sponsor of terrorism" list. I'm guessing the impetus for that came from the Generals

Not that the Billionaire side of the cabinet would raise any objections. After all, the more enemies America has, the longer the back-order list at Lockheed Martin and Boeing and all the rest of them.

And there's not really any ideological daylight between the Generals and the Billionaires. The Generals in Trump's cabinet all aspire to great wealth, and the Billionaires all wish they were Generals.

It's what used to be called a "closed shop."

Closed off and sealed tight from any threat of common sense or basic human decency.

Speaking of state sponsors of terror, I can't wait till Uncle Sam adds his own name to the list.

But I won't hold my breath.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

We used to call this "firewood"

This is a piece of stove-length dried elm that hasn't been through the splitter yet.

It's also a $349.00 end table, according to something I saw in the "Style" section of the Globe and Mail today.

Holy shit!... I'm rich!!

Globe and Mail unmasks notorious Putin puppet

Campbell Clark and Mark MacKinnon are vying for yet another one of those "journalism awards" that mainstream media types periodically bestow upon one another for being really good at what mainstream journalists do; propagate official state propaganda.

By coincidence, I happened to catch a Jens Stoltenberg interview on CBC as I was driving into town to fork over the better part of ten bucks to the Korean extortionist for my Saturday Globe and Mail. Here's Jens on propaganda;

When we (NATO) are faced with Russian propaganda, we never reply with propaganda. We reply with facts. We reply with the truth.

The folks who wouldn't raise an eyebrow at that whopper are the kind of folks who are the target audience for the Clark - MacKinnon take-down of Michel Chossudovsky and the website he's run for the past fifteen years or so, Global Research.

I've been a news junkie pretty much since I learned to read, and one thing I know for sure is that there's no single news source that you can count on to tell the whole story. You have to read around.

I like to check out the NYT and Washington Post websites every day to see what's what in the world of news. Sputnik and RT can be relied on to supply another perspective. Deutsche Welle, France 24, AJE, Dawn, Haaretz, the JPost and Press TV round out my well-balanced daily news diet. And of course I like to  have a real newspaper in my hands every day, and that's generally the paper Clark and MacKinnon write for.

I don't get around to Global Research very often.

When I do, it looks like an op-ed aggregator more than anything. The people I'd be inclined to read there, Johnstone, Parry, the indefatigable Paul Craig Roberts (who, btw is a little too intense for my taste, but nevertheless well worth reading) I've already read elsewhere.

So why does the Globe see fit to devote two pages to Chossudovsky?

Because he's a Putin stooge.

That's right.

He promotes the conspiracy theory that "the ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was a Western-backed coup rather than a popular revolution."

That's a conspiracy theory?

Not to anyone familiar with the Nuland - Pyatt tapes.

What the Clark - MacKinnon story alludes to but fails to follow up on, is that Big Tech in it's role as hand-maiden to Empire is already re-jigging their aggregator algorithms to make sure you're far less likely to accidentally happen upon Global Research and other non-conformist sites.

That's something to think about.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Now would be a good time to bid adieu to NATO

NATO promotes democratic values and guarantees the freedom and security of its members -NATO

According to this story by Evan Dyer at CBC, our NATO allies France, Britain, and the US, are actively engaged in tracking down and killing their own citizens who had volunteered to fight with ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Do these citizens of our NATO allies get the benefit of fair trials or the presumption of innocence or any of that fancy rule-of-law stuff?

No way Jose. Their names get added to a kill list and it's so-long Jihadi John.

That's what "democratic values" have been reduced to in the three most powerful NATO nations.

Do we really want to be part of that club?

Ever since its reason for being wafted away with the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has been desperate to make itself relevant again.

Let's bomb Belgrade.

Let's liberate the women of Afghanistan.

Let's bomb Libya.... and so on.

Needless to say, none of these busy-work exercises did much for freedom or democratic values.

That's not all. How are "democratic values" faring in Turkey these days? Turkey is the NATO member with the second largest military after the US.

And how do our democratic values stack up against those of our NATO allies Poland and Hungary?

With tiny and entirely irrelevant Montenegro being made a full-patch NATO member just recently, it's beyond obvious that the leadership of the NATO gang sees goading Russia as a great strategy for keeping itself in business.

And just who is leading NATO?

Ostensibly it's General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, but every serious person knows that it's the US that calls the shots in NATO.

And as we know, the Commander in Chief of the USA is one Donald J. Trump.

I'll say it again; how badly do Canadians really want to be in that club?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Copping a feel

Remember that?

If you were a teen guy coming up in the latter half of the 20th century, I'll bet you at least tried to cop a feel. I mean you had to try. It's what your date, not to mention society at large, expected of you.

The girls knew it too.

"Oh! I've been out with Benny three times now, and he hasn't even tried to cop a feel... I think he must be a fag!"

Yup, people talked like that.

I guess it's one thing to try for a feel when you're a teen out with another teen, and it's a little different when you're a fifty year old exec in the entertainment biz auditioning a teenage wannabee.

But here's the thing; all those middle-aged exec types are still teenagers at heart.

Hell, even Silvio Berlusconi still feels like he's a teen at heart!

They're not trying to take advantage of vulnerable kids...

They're just trying to recapture their youth.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Top cops launch medical marijuana biz

You'd think that with his pension for 23 years as a Toronto police officer, his pensions from three different cities where he served as chief of police, his pension from his stint as OPP commish, his MP pension, and his OAS and CPP pensions, veteran crime-fighter Julian Fantino would be spending his golden years under a beach umbrella making origami sculptures with his financial statements.

You'd be wrong!

Fantino has joined fellow top cop Raf Souccar, former Deputy Commissioner at the RCMP, in opening up a medical marijuana joint in Vaughn, north of Toronto.

As the CBC story points out, this is the same guy who once equated the legalization of pot with the legalization of murder.

I for one am glad that "science and the real world" have caused these gentlemen to reconsider the error of their Reefer Madness-inspired vendetta against pot smokers over the past fifty years.

The folks Julian and Raf put behind bars for their pot-related indiscretions will surely appreciate the irony of this story too!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sunny Daze progress report

So how is our PM Sunny Daze working out for you so far?

Frankly, I had high hopes for the guy, but I'm a little underwhelmed... but maybe that's actually a good thing in these days of negative interest rates.

My sense is that those constituencies that had high hopes of him are uniformly disappointed.




Now, I don't want to put that last group on a par with the others, nor do I wish to speak for potheads, but it sure seems to me that he's giving the prize away to corporate weed.

And the distribution model is just retarded.

What was wrong with the Canada Post model?

I'm not impressed with the price point either. Ten bucks a gram? Really? I hear that's what folks pay on the street when they buy a gram of pot, but who buys a gram of pot?

I ran into a guy from way back the other day, I'll just call him "Old School," and he had some stuff on offer that, if I'm not mistaken, was also called Old School. Five bucks a gram.

And none of those extra taxes they're now piling onto what they believe will be a gravy train.

Ten bucks for a gram of weed, a one dollar special pot tax to grease political slush funds, and HST on top of that?

No thanks.

No, Canada's adventures in legal weed would have been better entrusted to the Wally Tuckers of this great land, but I guess it's too late for that.

Oh!... that five dollar a gram weed? Thumbs up!

So, Mr. Trudeau, you'll always have your base but you wouldn't have got in without those of us who were giving you the benefit of the doubt.

I'm not sure I can give you the benefit of the doubt next time round.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wash cycle, rinse cycle, news cycle, spin cycle

Niall McGee has a fetching spot 'o news on page B5 of today's Globe. I like the vaguely cheeky tone of the headline; "No earnings, no problem: Investors buy Giustra's blockchain story."

The gist of the story is that legendary Vancouver flim-flam artiste and billionaire Frank Giustra's finger-prints are all over the meteoric rise of Hive Blockchain Technologies Inc, a "start-up" that's turned what was essentially a penny-stock shell company into a billion dollar concern.

Alas, nowhere in the article do we learn any more about Giustra, other than that he "worked with former US president Bill Clinton on philanthropic endeavours."

Did he ever!

All you have to do is type two words into your googlator, "giustra" and "clinton," and you'll be gobsmacked by what comes up. Between 2012 and 2016, scores of legit big-media platforms including the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bloomberg, CBC, and the Globe and Mail, ran stories that hinted at the foul odour emanating from the Clinton-Giustra "partnership in philanthropy."

Even the think tank here at Falling Downs got into the act with this effort from 5 November 2016.

Clearly things were building to a crescendo...

Three days later Trump won the US election and that was the end of that story. The "Trump Terror" has hogged the headlines ever since.


Oh ya... wasn't he the guy who did some philanthropy with Bill Clinton?...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Alabama: still putting the fun into fundamentalism

I see where Roy Moore's Senate run has hit some speed bumps.

Looks like they've found at least four women who used to be teens, and when they were teens Roy "Horndog" Moore allegedly had the hots for them.

This alleged discovery has caused GOP bigs like Mitch and McCain to call on Moore to fold his tent.

Which led to the local GOP folks stating, for the record, that they "don't give a shit" what Mitch and McCain say.

Good on them!

But wait! It gets way better!

Mary was a teen. Joseph was way older. They did the oinky boinky, and that's how we got the baby Jesus!

I don't want to rain on their parade, and my credentials as a biblical scholar probably won't hold up to serious scrutiny, but if I'm not mistaken, Mary and Joseph never did the oinky-boinky.

She was a virgin after all. The virgin Mary. It wasn't Joseph who planted his seed in her teenage womb, it was the Holy Spirit!

Joseph couldn't have been the sharpest tool in the shed if he fell for that one.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


I've always been a reader.

Got my start reading the funnies in the Guelph Daily Mercury in the late fifties.

Eventually got to the two Pauls, de Man and Feyerabend. I especially liked Feyerabend.

In the popular rendering of working class folks, we're a bunch of semi-literate yobs. There's an element of truth to that.

But there's always been a strong community of readers among us.

Like Johnny, who managed to get through most of the Globe and Mail crossword puzzle every day for thirty years. At work.

Or Andy, the pipefitter at Irving's shipyard in Saint John who happened to hold a degree in German Literature.

Or Dudley, who worked the pipe-bender at Kearney National during the week and partied with Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster on the weekend.

I'm still reading. Mostly I read stuff on my laptop these days, but I still indulge the luxury of the printed page from time to time. Like when the internet goes down.

Which is why I happened to pick up a copy of The New Yorker this evening and read about the legacy of the Sackler family. That legacy includes hundreds of thousands of opiod OD deaths and hundreds of millions in philanthropic gifts.

The two are intimately related.

That's the second time in a month I've read a mainstream take-down of the Sacklers.

And the mainstream has been busier than I could ever have imagined dismantling the legacy of Weinstein and his myriad fellow travellers.

Who ever imagined such a thing?

What's next?

A New Yorker critique of US foreign policy?

A NYT disavowal of capitalism?

A WaPo editorial slamming the occupation of the West Bank?

We are on the cusp of great changes.

Hold on to your hat... and keep reading.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Browder script

You gotta admit it's a compelling story line. Can-do Yankee hedge-fund sharpie goes to Russia to teach the locals the ins and outs of capitalism. As he was looting, stuffing his pockets, plundering investing billions of dollars in post-Soviet Russia, he became alarmed at the strong-arm tactics Putin was using to extort hard-earned cash from well-meaning foreigners like himself.

Unlucky for Putin, Bill Browder wasn't just going to put up with that nonsense. No, Browder is a rule-of-law kinda guy. Luckily, Browder has all kinds of friends in all kinds of really high places, and thanks to his valiant and selfless efforts, "Magnitsky Act" legislation is sprouting up across the verdant democratic meadows throughout the Nations of Virtue.

Andrei Nekrasov is a well-regarded Russian film-maker who was an outspoken Putin critic. He was hired to direct the script Browder had written about his adventures in Russia.

That would seem a marriage made in heaven; a Putin critic of long standing with an impeccable reputation paired with a virtuous American hedge-fund manager with super-deep pockets to produce the ultimate anti-Putin opus.

Alas, it didn't take Nekrasov long to deviate from the script. The more he delved into the "facts" of the matter the more he had doubts about the script he was supposed to be working from. Browder and Nekrasov had an acrimonious falling out.

They're still at loggerheads to this day. On the one side, an internationally esteemed anti-Putin film-maker, and on the other side, a guy who siphoned billions out of Russia while the country was suffering an apocalyptic economic collapse.

I know whose integrity I'd be banking with, but I'm an outlier.

The Nekrasov documentary got finished, but good luck trying to watch it. Yes, it's available on YouTube, but for some reason I've not been able to find a version in which the sound actually works, so unless you're highly adept at lip-reading Russian speakers, it's pretty much useless.

Hmm... you don't think that could be censorship, do you?

Of course not!

We, after all, are the Nations of Virtue, and even though Browder had to renounce his US citizenship for tax reasons, he's one of ours.

And Nekrasov obviously found his way into Putin's pockets.

That's the Browder script, and I for one am sticking to it.

Climate Barbie goes off-script

I see where Environment Minister Catherine McKenna had herself a "my-face-is-red" moment when one of her minions inadvertently sent out a tweet praising Syria for joining the Paris climate accord.

Can't be having any of that now, can we! We must never forget that the eye doctor from Damascus is a blood-drenched monster who delights in gassing his own people, especially children! And suddenly we've got our Environment Minister high-fiving him for joining the fight against green-house gasses?

Well, she's obviously WAY off the script there, and it didn't take the men behind the curtain long to yank her leash. She's realized the error of her ways and is back on track.

The Syria script has always been a little dodgy to my way of thinking. On the one hand, we're constantly told Assad is unfit to inhabit this planet etc, and on the other hand the Canadian security establishment used to outsource their torture operations to the Assad regime. We don't do that stuff ourselves of course, but we're not above sending a few recalcitrant towel-heads over there to get their just desserts.

The ones who lived to tell the tale are subsequently made multi-millionaires by our guilt-ridden government. The ones who didn't, and there had to be more than a few, we never hear about.

And another dodgy aspect to the Syria script; let's assume for a moment that Assad is every bit the butcher we're constantly told he is. Then why do we arrest idealistic young Canadians on their way to Syria to join the fight against him? How does that make any sense?

Given how famous Canadians are (at least in Canada) for "punching above our weight," these idealistic young Canadians could have made all the difference.  Assad might very well be inhabiting the dustbin of history by now had we let them go. But no, we charged them with terror offences and locked them up, and Assad has all but won the war.

Were we yet again secretly in cahoots with Assad?

These are secrets known only to the script-writers.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

What up in the Kingdom?

Doug Saunders, Canada's answer to Thomas Friedman, laid a bit of an egg with his opinion piece in the Globe yesterday, if you want to know my six dollars and thirty cents worth. I mean, what was that other than another not-so-thinly veiled plug for his book?

Ya Doug, we know! You've got a book coming out. Maximum Canada... I hope a hundred million Canadians get to read it someday. Now try to write your column without mentioning that you've a book coming out.

By the way, I'm guessing you've noticed by now you miss-spelled the name of Canada's Immigration Minister. Five times in one editorial. Come on, Doug, pull up your socks! I pay $6.30 every Saturday to read this shit.

But anyway, what's afoot in The Kingdom? Looks to me like the boss princeling is working overtime putting his stamp on things. Let's see... so far, he's engineered the Yemen war.

Epic fail.

The collapse of global oil prices.

Epic fail. As far as I can see, that ambitious strike against Russia and Iran turned out to be a near-mortal self-inflicted wound more than anything.

Let's not forget the brouhaha with Qatar. The only question about that fail is how epic it'll turn out to be in the final analysis.

And now, the putsch. The "night of the long knives" as some are calling it. The KSA hasn't seen this much intrigue since Bandar Bush went AWOL for a spell a few years ago! The Hariri angle is the icing on the cake.

Netanyahu went overboard trying to make hay out of that one. Hmm... maybe Hariri knows something? Maybe he knows that the immediate future of his country is looking rather bleak, and he'd rather spend the next few weeks in Riyadh than in Beirut?

But back to the putsch. One thing I'm wondering; was this a preemptive strike? Did Crown Prince MBS get wind of something and decide he'd rather be the hammer than the nail? In any event, looks like there could be a rush of "high net worth" Saudi refugees looking for a roof soon.

Or a luxury suite. Or a few floors of a five star hotel. Luckily, Canada has the infrastructure in place to accommodate this imminent refugee flow.

The Lebanese won't be a problem either, once the fireworks start. I mean, half those folks already hold Canadian passports. They won't even be refugees... they'll just be coming home!

Hezbollah today, here tomorrow! That's OK too. At least it'll get easier to find a decent tabbouleh. And that divine Bekaa Valley Blonde those people are renowned for.

I wouldn't worry about the Israelis either. Most of those people already hold US or German passports, so let them go there. The rest we can take in as refugees. That would make up for the shame of the MS St. Louis debacle back in '39.

So between a half million Israelis, six million Lebanese, and whoever can escape the clutches of the Insane Clown Prince, I figure we could be welcoming a good ten million refugees in the next few months.

Looks like we'll be well on our way to Maximum Canada!