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 pushed 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!