Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Canadian Navy busy busy helping DEA intercept cocaine five thousand miles from our shores

And for this the Canadian taxpayer should build our Navy a new fleet?

Don't get me wrong. I'd rather nobody touched the stuff. But that's just me. I have it on reasonably decent authority that cocaine remains the grease that lubes the wheel-bearings of the beautiful people from Wall Street to Sunset Boulevard. That such a thing is even conceivable tells you all you need to know about the efficacy of the forty-years-and-counting "War on Drugs."

As in, it's been a complete sham.

Not that this fact should deter the Royal Canadian Navy from wasting it's time and our tax dollars rooting out the scourge of cocaine use.

After all, cocaine doesn't just limit itself to the beautiful people. Check out this little tidbit from the Wikipedia page for HMCS Saskatoon, the very vessel being celebrated today for her outstanding efforts in the War on Drugs;

In 2007, a court martial revealed that a third of the crew of the ship used illicit drugs, namely cocaine. This led to a wider investigation in the Canadian Forces into drug use.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The real reason Toyota named its budget bomb the "Toyota 86"

When you read up on this question you run into a lot of hokum about how Toyota high-performance projects going back fifty years had the number "86" somewhere in their nomenclature.

Ya, maybe...

But here's a much more compelling explanation.

I think Toyota's branding department went into the history books and dug up the story of an authentic street-racing culture that was thriving fifty years ago on Highway 86.

Right in front of my house.

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Where to get a Montreal smoked meat sandwich just like they make in Toronto when you're out in the sticks

At Pat and Kevin's deli-pub in Goderich, that's where.

Made a day out of taking Bubbs and the Farm Manager down to Goderich to see a play. The theatre thing runs real deep on the Jewish side of the family.

We get to Goderich in good time, and the gals are a little peckish, so we park the car and duck into this little joint called Pat and Kevin's.

We were in a bit of a rush and the gals let the staff know it. Our food arrived pronto. My Octoberfest sausage on a bun was edible but forgettable.

But the gals got Montreal smoked meat on rye... and I got the left-overs!

Simply amazing!

There ensued an animated debate on where amongst the pantheon of great Toronto delis we would locate the Pat and Kevin Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

Dudes! You're right up there with the Centre Street Deli and Kaplansky's!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Chuck Berry, guitar hero

I never thought of Chuck Berry as a guitar hero. He was more of a all-round here's the rock and roll kind of guy. But there was more to the man.

Check this out.

Retard Nation: the manifold blessings of a shitty education system

The think tank here at Falling Downs is constantly amazed by the foolishness that passes for public debate among our cousins south of the 49th.

Take the current ruckus over Obamacare vs Trumpcare (sometimes labelled "Ryancare" in order to provide the POTUS with a measure of deniability). Trump is determined to rob tens of millions of Americans of their health insurance. I suppose if you consider monthly premiums in the thousands of dollars and deductibles in the tens of thousands as "health insurance," you'd be right.

But it's a bullshit debate. It's a debate that obscures the reality that health care and for-profit health insurance are at root fundamentally incompatible. Nobody has ever made a profit providing health insurance to sick people. For-profit health care is predicated on NOT providing health care to sick folks. It's a no-brainer.

How retarded would you have to be to think that Donny J was going to deny his billionaire buddies the opportunity to hold your health ransom to a for-profit health care infrastructure?

The rancour over Trump's "Muslim ban" is another head-scratcher. Reading the mainstream media, you get the impression that banning travellers from a handful of Muslim nations is a far more heinous crime against humanity than actually making war against Muslim nations. Bush and Obama managed to do the latter time and again with barely a murmur of protest. Trump wants to keep a few Muslims out of the country and an enraged citizenry takes to the streets in their tens of thousands. How is that possible?

You really have to root around on the fringes of the world-o-news to discover any hint of a causal relationship between the global refugee crisis and American foreign policy. That's simply not up for discussion in polite society. Refugees are flooding US allies in Western Europe and massing at America's borders to take advantage of the generous welfare provisions on offer in the Nations of Virtue. The fact that the US and the me-too NATO club has been bombing a good slice of the Muslim world to ratshit for at least two generations cannot possibly have anything to do with it.

And the latest round of Russophobia is quite remarkable too. Because some anonymous ciphers in America's legion of spook outfits have claimed that some inevitably secret evidence leads them to conclude that Putin was behind the DNC Wikileaks last year, it's fobbed off as fact by virtually the entire mainstream news edifice in the Western world. Nevermind that there is a rich vein of journalism, festooned with multiple Pulitzers, exposing the perpetual lying and conniving of those same spook outfits; this time they're telling the truth.

How retarded would you have to be to swallow that?

None of these controversies would be possible without a seriously dysfunctional education system. Speaking of which, how is it that the same folks aghast at Betsy Billions' ascent to Sec of Education were mostly hunky-dory with Arne Duncan? Look behind the faux outrage and you'll soon discover that on the important philosophical points, the Duncan - DeVos evolution provides virtually seamless continuity.

Then there's the abysmal record of America's previous Groper-in-chief before the current one. One of Bill Clinton's most lucrative post-POTUS gigs was his multi-million contract with diploma mill extraordinaire Laureate International Universities. That's the for-profit outfit that sucked millions of young Americans into debilitating student loan debt in return for worthless "education."

But it made Bill Clinton, a white-trash climber from Arkansas, many millions of dollars richer.

Americans aren't born stupid. It's the education system.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Plagiarism not a big deal (if the plagiarist is white)

By all accounts Chris Spence was a highly regarded administrator. He recently lost his job as Director of Education at the Toronto District School Board.

The reason? He got busted for plagiarism.

Today the Bluewater District School Board, a couple of hours away, announced a new Director of Education, a long-serving superintendent who, just a few years ago, was found guilty of plagiarism by the same College of Teachers that revoked Spence's teaching credentials.

The plagiarist who lost his job as Director of Education is black.

The plagiarist who got promoted to Director of Education is white.

Go figure...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Canadian Trumphobia not as bad as originally feared

Here's a story from CBC that says Canadians are making more trips to the USA since the election of you-know-who. That figures. Canadians tend to be a smug and hypocritical lot. They may despise that vile man in the Oval Office, but Girl Guides aside, they're still gonna cross the 49th if they can save ten bucks on a tank of gas.

On a related note, here's a point of view on the Muslim ban that hadn't occurred to me. Seems that within hours of its implementation the high-traffic freight crossings from Ontario into Michigan and New York State were getting seriously bunged up.

Here's why; back in the day, when the Teamsters were a serious outfit and the vast majority of drivers were members, driving truck was a respectable career. If you were a Teamsters driver in the middle sixties you were solidly "middle class" income wise.

There weren't a lot of guys named Mohamed in the Teamsters at the time.

Thanks to fifty years of deregulation and union-busting, truck-driving has become a shit job, and you know who takes those. As has always been the case, the recent immigrants end up in the shit jobs. When the Irish were recent immigrants, they got the shit jobs. Same with the Italians, the Ukrainians, the Poles... everybody started out at the bottom of the ladder.

When my dear Daddy got off the boat in 1956, his first job was shovelling coal at Kloepfer Coal in Guelph -  with a hand shovel, not a power shovel.

Guess who you're likely to find behind the wheel of the typical big rig today? That's right - a recent immigrant, and a lot of those guys have Muslim names.

So Mohamed pulls up to US Customs with a 52 foot trailer loaded with a million dollars in auto parts from Linamar or Magna. Customs guy notices driver was born in Somalia.

"Ya'll park that rig in the lot over there and come in for a chat, Mohamed."

Well guess what? If the driver isn't crossing that bridge, the truck ain't either!

That million dollars in auto parts is heading for a Ford or GM or Toyota or Mercedes plant somewhere. Thanks to the magic of JIT and all that stuff, those car plants cripple up pretty quick.

Team Trump may take their sweet time returning calls from lawyers for the ACLU, but they pay attention right smartly when lawyers from GM and Ford are on the line. By the end of day one dozens of those trucks were parked and Team Trump knew they had a serious problem.

Judge James Robart's overturn of Trump's travel ban was actually a huge face-saver for Team Trump. Anything else you're reading is just spin and optics.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Resist Google, Resist Facebook, turn off your screen and go talk to your kids...

It's not every day I get to agree with something I find on the op-ed pages of the NYT, but Ross Douthat pretty much nailed it with this effort.

I especially like his comments on cellphones and laptops in classrooms. Why are there computers in primary schools? Shouldn't those kids be learning their colours and their alphabet and how to add and subtract? How do you need computers for that?

From what I've heard cellphones have completely taken over the highschools. How is it that teens today can't get through a school day without being able to exchange text messages with their mom?

And I can see why university lecturers are beyond fed up with talking to rooms of kids who are on their screens.

So why is there so little resistance to this tyranny of the screen?

Probably because this infrastructure of digital addiction has already ensnared so many of us.

Resistance is futile!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry goes motivatin' over that last hill

Sad to hear of Chuck Berry's passing.

Another sure sign that we're all getting older.

Mr. Berry was about vintage Americana.

Vintage Americana was about racism and misogyny. Mr. Berry cut his teeth in an era when a black man was not permitted to use the front door in many of the establishments he performed in. That's because black men were commonly known as "niggers" at the time.

Chuck Berry was one of the seminal acts who helped bring that bullshit down.

As for the misogyny thing, I'd guess I'm not the first to notice that a frequent theme in Berry's songwriting was women who were trying desperately to avoid him.

Maybelline wasn't in that Cadillac for nothing.

The perv-cam episode at his restaurant didn't help.

But he rose above, much like a certain famous film director rose above those pesky child-molestation accusations.

Stardom is a good card to have in your deck.

RIP Chuck Berry.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

RIP Bob White

Bob White was the most important union leader in Canada the last quarter of the 20th century. He even got a respectful shout-out from the arch-capitalist Globe and Mail on his passing.

Alas, Bob's work is a work in progress. I mean no disrespect to the guys who have followed Bob at CAW and CLC and Unifor, but in Bob's day the weasels at Lear would have seen Bob himself on the picket line and the Lear story would have been on the front page, not buried in the business section.

I was at various times a member of both the UAW and the CAW. I have to say taking the Canadians out of the UAW was a ballsy move at the time. But was it the right move? I'm not sure.

If labour is to have any heft in this age of globalization, it pretty much demands international unions. Otherwise we're just going to see the downward spiral continue.

After all, why should the capitalists who own Lear give a shit whether their workers make $52 per hour or $30 per hour, when they can just move the entire plant to Mexico where workers are delighted to make $2 per hour?

That's the magic of "free trade."

Meet Putin's hacker

Yes folks, this is the enemy within;

Karim Baratov poses in front of his house in Ancaster, Ont. in this undated photo.   Online, Baratov presents himself as a high-end car enthusiast who made his 'first million' at age 15.

Meet Karim Baratov, the Canadian teen who hacked 500,000,000 yahoo accounts a couple of years ago.

Wait a minute... Yahoo had 500,000,000 accounts????????

Get the fuck outta here!

This is obviously fake news!

Globe & Mail discovers "insidious threat" to our prosperity

And it ain't Muslim refugees crossing the Manitoba border. No, the threat is way more insidious than that.

The threat to our well-being is... higher wages!

Here's a taste; "For Joe Six-pack and every other working American who has suffered through a lousy decade, this is great news. For investors, though, rising wages are no reason to smile."

That's Ian McGugan on the front page of the business section in today's paper.

If nothing else, it gives you some sense of who the editors of the Globe are talking to when they use words like "we" and "us."

It's not you and me.

And by the way, it wasn't a lousy decade; it's been three lousy decades and counting.

Brou-ha-ha in Holy Land

Long time Bibiphiles are sporting arched eyebrows over this story.

The Greatest Leader Since Moses has been in court testifying in the libel case he launched against journalist Yigal Sarna.

According to Sarna, the Netanyahu motorcade was travelling at high speed late at night between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv when it suddenly screeched to a halt.

The leader of the only democracy in the Middle East was unceremoniously kicked out of his armoured limousine in a hail of verbal abuse.

By his wife!

Luckily for the future of the only democracy in the Middle East, he was picked up by one of the following SUVs in the motorcade.

Sorry Bibi. Anyone who has followed your life and times will recognize that this story has the ring of truth about it, and your vehement denials just make it ring truer!

Trump leaks his own tax records

Sad.

Apparently there was one year in the last twenty when Donny J actually paid income tax. Sure enough, that's the year that mysteriously gets leaked!

And not only does it prove he paid taxes, but it seems to show he paid more than he had to!

What a mensch!

A tip of the cap to the behind-the-scenes folks who manage this blog

On 10th Feb I wrote a post about how my Russia readership has dried up. Oddly enough, over the course of the next few days I was deluged with page views from Russia.

Coincidence?

Or just a demonstration of what the hidden arbiters are capable of?

Remember when Canada's brave men and women in uniform got medals for destroying Libya?

Libya used to be by far the most prosperous country in Africa. Unfortunately, it also had a visionary leader who thought all of Africa could be prosperous. This did not sit well with the Western elites who have profited so extravagantly from the exploitation of Africa over the past five hundred years, give or take.

Ergo, that dude had to go.

We came.

We saw.

He died!

Hundreds of Canadian Forces folks were awarded this medal for their courageous efforts in dropping bombs on a country with zero air defences.

The think tank here at Falling Downs found the entire bogus war on Libya disgusting, in contrast to the non-stop cheer-leading going on in the pages of Canada's newspaper of record at the time. Yup, thanks to our selfless heroism, we "saved" the people of Libya! In the words of PM Harper, " the Libyan people, thanks to us, can begin to imagine a future free of fear and suffering."

Boo Yah! Just look at how that's turned out, not just for Libya but for the entire neighbourhood.

And you know what's really funny? On those Libya medals earned by our brave men and women in uniform is engraved the following;

IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE AND FREEDOM.

Monday, March 13, 2017

How Hillary could have won

The NYT International Weekly had a front page story yesterday about how Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the President of Liberia. Liberia is an impoverished African nation of some four million, where 80% of the population lives in poverty, and the rest, including many members of Johnson Sirleaf's extended family, work for the government.

Here's writer Helene Johnson;  Now, as American women grapple with the whys of Hillary Clinton's loss in November's election, the story of how Liberia's women upended centuries of male rule is newly relevant.

That in itself is a dubious proposition. Did Margaret Thatcher's stint as PM of the UK upend centuries of male rule there?

Like most African heads of state, Johnson Sirleaf is a member of the elite Bintu tribe. Collectively they've been to the elite universities of the West and spent quality time networking their careers forward through the corridors of the most prestigious Western financial institutions. In Sirleaf's case, she's been to Harvard, Citibank and the World Bank. It's a pedigree that opens doors among the Western elites.

Couple that with the fact the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy has been meddling in Liberia's politics since the 1980's, and you'd think her election victory would have been a slam dunk.

But it wasn't. It took all that plus dirty tricks galore;

...the women had their own tricks. "You want beer? Just give me your voter ID card and I will buy you beer." A group of women stationed at a bar near a major intersection lured young men in a time honored fashion.

Hmm... what do you suppose that means? Maybe the Clinton campaign was on the right track when they had Madonna offering free blowjobs, but even there they messed up. Madonna is almost sixty years old. If the Dems had had the foresight to offer blowjobs by Katy Perry AND free beer, Hillary would be in the White House today!



Saturday, March 11, 2017

The shoemaker's children

If I had to do it over again, one of the career paths I would seriously consider would be shoemaker.

Shoemaker? Get the f@ck outta here you say...

Let me explain.

I never actually made any career decisions. I only got into welding because the welders at the GE plant where I was working at eighteen years of age made a couple of bucks an hour more than the rest of us. Seemed like an easy enough gig if you had basic hand-eye coordination and could read a blueprint. The fact that you'd be spending your working day inhaling toxic fumes wasn't discussed at the time. Most of my work-mates from that era are either dead or dragging around oxygen bottles wherever they go.

Becoming a shoemaker, on the other hand, would have entailed a wage reduction of a couple of dollars per hour. What kind of moron would you have to be to buy into that?

At the time, there was still a bit of shoemaking culture alive in the general area. Kitchener, a mere ten miles away, hosted the plant where Kodiak work-boots were built. Kodiaks had major brand recognition back in the day. They were hugely popular even among folks who'd never done a lick of work in their life. They looked great at the pub, and they were supremely comfortable. Their brand eclipsed Doc Martens right up until the invention of the Mohawk haircut.

My dear daddy, a German DP from a refugee camp in Denmark, almost invested in a shoe company in Guelph. He'd been hoarding his money from his job at Omark. He quit there shortly after getting his commemorative ten year wristwatch. Back in the day you got a Rolex for working in the factory for ten years.

He worked in that little shoe company for a few weeks and decided against making an investment. He felt the business was changing. More and more shoes were coming in from cheap foreign producers. He decided to go into real estate instead.

While he was busy making career decisions, another European DP was busy revolutionising the global shoe business. Thomas Bata was becoming "shoemaker to the world." That meant driving traditional shoemakers the world over out of business with a tsunami of mass-produced crap.

Meanwhile, an "old stock" Canadian lad in Preston quit high school to take a job at Weston's Bread. He started off driving a bread truck door to door in what is now known as Cambridge, Ontario. He rose through the ranks. By the time I got to know him, as the uncle of my wife at the time, he was a senior VP at Weston's. We had many fine times at his lovely home in Oakville. He was Galen Weston's faithful sidekick for many years, and it was universally assumed that he was destined to be the next CEO of Weston's.

Alas, a guy half his age with an MBA got that job instead. Forty years of ass-kissing went down the drain overnight.

So let me draw these disparate strands together. I was nosing through my weekend Globe today, and I came across an interview by Jeanne Beker with Alex Weston. Alex married Galen Weston Jr., son of Galen. His family has a net worth estimated by the folks who concern themselves with this stuff, as somewhere north of ten billions.

Alex is the granddaughter of Thomas Bata. Family net worth? Somewhere north of four billions.

So here is the question Jeanne Beker had for Weston:

You and your husband, Galen Weston Jr., have two children, aged six and seven. How are you juggling having a young family, working and keeping it all together?

Seriously?

I don't give a shit about how the children and grandchildren of billionaires "keep it all together." I'm sure they make out OK.

What I would like to know is how single mothers working two jobs at our niggardly minimum wage are keeping it all together.

Can you help me with that, Jeanne?

But back to that shoemaker thing. I had no idea when I was making or not making career decisions fifty years ago that the world would soon be awash with billionaires and the children of billionaires who think nothing of spending five grand on a pair of bespoke shoes.

Meanwhile, the UN has sounded the alarm that more children are at risk of starvation today than at any time since 1945.

It's a fucked-up world.


Friday, March 10, 2017

The embrace of the screen is fast upon us

Christopher Ketcham has a dystopian dissertation about screen addiction on view at Counterpunch today. At first read I nodded knowingly. After all, I've been rambling in the wilds most of my life. Still like to hoof the hundred acres here at Falling Downs at least once a week just to see what came down in the woodlot during the latest windstorm.

Then I had to get back to my screen.

Ya. All fine and dandy to foreground screen addiction, but don't let it get in the way of your screen addiction.

By the way, I watched a forty year old George Carlin video tonight in which he mocked cliche expressions like "fine and dandy."

It's just amazing what you can find on the internet.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Another reason to avoid Timmies

The first change I noticed after the Brazilian hedgies at 3G Capital took over Tim Hortons was they did away with the garbage containers in their drive-throughs.

Doesn't seem like a big deal on the face of it. After all, you're offering a convenience to the customer; a bin to collect yesterday's Timmies trash as you're going through the drive-thru today. And what does it cost them to provide this service? Next to nothing. A couple of times per day some min wage workee spends five minutes changing the bags in those garbage bins.

But here's why I'm an obscure blogger and brilliant big-picture capitalists are billionaire hedge fund managers. I figure emptying the trash costs next to nothing. The big-picture MBA types realize that "next to nothing" across thousands of stores equals enough of something to warrant stamping it out.

Here's another "next to nothing" the sharpies at 3G have eliminated; a serviette with your donut. You used to get a paper napkin when you picked up a donut at the drive-thru window. No more. Although a paper serviette costs next to nothing, the MBAs at 3G correctly concluded that next to nothing across millions of apple fritters per day could make the difference between a new Porsche and a used Dodge van when it's time to spend that annual bonus cheque.

There's a guy piloting a new 911 Turbo down a Brazilian expressway today who thanks you for licking the donut glaze off your fingers and wiping them on the bag your donut came in.

You don't even miss the serviettes, do you!

But these are mere micro-agressions. (micro-agressions! Am I with it or what?! My kid with the Social Justice degree from York University would be proud!)

Here's some more serious shit (macro-aggression?); Burger King animal feed sourced from deforested lands in Brazil and Bolivia. It appears that our brilliant 3G Brazillian hedgies who own Timmies and Burger King and Popeyes are all-in for raping the wilderness to get cheap cattle feed!

You can bet the guy who came up with that idea is driving more than a Porsche...

I'm guessing Bugatti or Maclaren.

Canada on high alert as Russia about to attack

What else can it mean when you read a headline like this?

Writer Scott Gilmore tells it like the opinion-makers at the Washington Post and the NYT want you to believe it is. All those "Putin hacked the US election" fables can be passed along as proven facts by the likes of Gilmore. Western democracies and their "rules-based international system" tremble before Putin's machinations. Putin is utterly desperate. The Ukrainian army has fought the Russians to a draw in eastern Ukraine. That's why, humbled by the Ukrainian military, Putin has turned to cyber war instead.

Gilmore isn't the only writer hyperventilating over Putin's perfidy in Canadian media this week. Check out this hysterical rant by Terry Glavin at Postmedia. Yup, Putin done tried to smear Canadian FM Chrystia Freeland by claiming her Grampa was a Nazi collaborator!

Oddly enough, that's a fact neither writer attempts to deny.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

No girls allowed

I was shocked to find, on the inside back page of section A of my Globe today, a full page advert for the University of Waterloo.

That in itself is not shocking. With the collapse of advertising rates across the newspaper universe, it's not unusual to find public universities splurging on full page ads in major papers. That full-pager in that location would have cost a small fortune ten years ago. Today... not so much. I'm guessing UW didn't pay more than a couple hundred bucks.

But that's not what's shocking.

No, what's shocking is that the photo in the ad shows six U of W students fiddling with what is allegedly a self-driving car, and all six appear to be dudes. Apparently there are no girls allowed in the disruptive and innovative self-driving-car initiative at Canada's answer to MIT.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised; it's not the first time U of Waterloo has dropped the inclusivity ball in their PR... wait a minute... I just realized something.

The caption to that photo reads "The road to discovery in automotive technology is seldom straight."

Oh... maybe they're advertising their inclusivity after all.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Nothing new about "fake news." Here's Carl Bernstein writing about CIA manipulation of mainstream media forty years ago

There seems to be lots of folks in the United States of Amnesia who believe "fake news" was discovered mere months ago by the mainstream stalwarts at WaPo and NYT.

That would be fake news. Carl Bernstein (among others) was writing about the manufacture of fake news by the CIA, in collusion with mainstream outlets like WaPo and NYT, forty years ago.

How odd that the two most influential purveyors of fake news post WWII would "discover" it at this late date!

And all thanks to those hacked emails that lifted the veil on Dem Party hanky-panky in their slimy sandbagging of the Sanders' campaign.

Putin was behind it, of course!

That's a fake fact regurgitated endlessly by the pointy-headed pundits at both of those esteemed outlets, without ever a whiff of proof being provided. From there it ripples out endlessly to "legitimate" news sites around the world. Nobody needs to provide proof because the Times and the Post already gave these fake facts their seal of approval.

That's why it's more than a little scary to read that Zuckerberg and his billionaire Silicon Valley cronies are all in for saving journalism. Facebook and Google are already busying themselves in their self-appointed role as censors of the internet and guardians of truth, and Amazon boss Bezos, who does hundreds of millions in business with the CIA, already owns the Washington Post.

They are truly doing God's work, because even W, steadfast truth-teller that he wasn't during his eight year reign of terror (at least from the perspective of millions of common citizens in Afghanistan and Iraq) has come out as a champion of truth in media.

A free press is the very cornerstone of our democracy, dontcha know!

Yes, it's time to push back against the fake news tsunami, and who better than Zuckerberg and Bezos to lead the charge!

What could go wrong?