Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Now THAT'S some serious entitlement!

I was reading at the CBC website where CP Rail boss Hunter "Hitman" Harrison is walking out on his contract six months early "to pursue other opportunities." The head-hunters must be dangling some humongous golden carrots in front of the old greedbag. Check out this quote from the story;

 ...the board agreed to a limited waiver of his non-compete obligations in return for Harrison agreeing to forfeit "substantially" all benefits he is entitled to receive from CP going forward, including his pension, worth in total about $118 million.

Huh? He only worked there for four and a half years! That entitles him to a pension of $118 millions? That's pretty much two million in pension for every month of work, and that's on top of his multi-million dollar salary!

Oh well, I guess that's a small price to pay for a visionary leader who made the profitable CP Rail even more profitable by destroying 6000 excellent working class jobs in Canada.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why Kevin O'Leary is not the Donald J. Trump of the Great White North

There will definitely be a few Canadian voters who will be cheered by the news that Kevin O'Leary intends to take a run at the leadership of the Conservative Party.

Starting tomorrow. The reason he's starting tomorrow is because the all-candidates French language leadership debate is today, and O'Leary doesn't speak enough French to order a plate of poutine in Rimouski... at least not in French! So a French language debate is obviously out.

There are admittedly some cogent similarities between the two reality TV stars. They're both given to talking a lot of stupid shit, for example. But even then there's a difference. Trump's stupid shit generally finds a bigly amount of traction with a yuge swath of the electorate.

O'Leary's stupid shit just sounds like stupid shit.

Take O'Leary's many pronouncements on unions, for example. O'Leary doesn't have any use for unions. They're obviously a serious impediment to the meritocracy that he imagines is waiting for him to graciously accept its leadership mantle.

Trump has worked with the most powerful unions in the New York City construction scene all his life, but you never hear him dissing unions. Working class voters take note of these things.

Then there's that personal net worth thing. Both these guys play wealthy investors on TV. Only one of them keeps his own fleet of private aircraft. The other one flies commercial.

There's also the matter of how they deal with adversity. When O'Leary's business empire hit rough waters, he sold a controlling interest to Bain Capital, Mittens' company. When Trump has been faced with adversity in his business career he rolls up his sleeves, sits down face to face with the biggest banks in America, and walks away having got the better of them.

People respect that.


Canada to do more for NATO?

That's the word from MP Bob Nault, head of the House of Commons' foreign affairs committee.

The thinking is that if the US scales back its contributions to NATO, or abandons it altogether, Canada will step into the breach. If nothing else, that statement gives some sense of the overweening hubris running amok among our military types.

Last year the US spent 600 billions plus on defence. Canada spent 20 billion. But Canada will step into the breach! Now that's called punching above your weight!

I think the best thing that could happen to NATO is that it take the same dive into the dumpster of history as the Warsaw Pact did twenty-five years ago. NATO has been in busy-work mode for a quarter of a century, and it's really hard to see where much of that busy-work has done any good.

Afghanistan?

Libya?

Endless exercises in provocation on Russia's borders?

The best thing Canada could do for Canada is to detach itself from NATO. We don't need to spend more lives and dollars destroying other countries. This will of course be met with howls of outrage from the Naults of the world.

What about our obligations to our allies?

What about our shared values?

Bullshit and double bullshit. Think about the "shared values" of the NATO alliance for a moment. There may have been something to that fifty years ago, when NATO was essentially a combine of white Christian European nations plus the Turkish military. Today many NATO countries take positions on any number of issues that do not resonate at all with values that we consider Canadian. Since the dissolution of the USSR, the only "common value" binding us to our allies is a lingering Russophobia.

As for those obligations to our allies, the two most powerful of them, the US and Turkey, are at this moment engaged in illegal military operations in Syria. What should be our obligation, if any, to allies who flout international law?

It's time Canada disengaged from NATO and pursued a truly independent foreign policy.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Nevermind Israel; apartheid alive and well in Canada

Don't take my word for it. Take the word of Quebec coroner Dr. Bernard Lefrancois. Dr. Lefrancois was tasked with investigating a rash of suicides in a native community on Quebec's North Shore, and in his report, released yesterday, he doesn't hold back from using the "a" word.

Apartheid.

Ironically, on the very day that his report was released, 70 countries, including that most virtuous of The Nations of Virtue, Canada, were convening in Paris for yet another gabfest about Israeli apartheid and the implementation of the "two state solution."

I don't hold out much hope that anything will come of Dr. Lefrancois' report. Reports and inquiries and hearings and investigations into our shamefully shabby treatment of First Nations have been a dismally predictable feature of the news cycle for as long as I can remember. They plop onto the news horizon with a ripple or occasionally a small splash, and are then quickly forgotten.

Nothing changes.

Maybe we'll start taking these matters seriously when 70 nations convene in Paris to discuss a blueprint for a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction campaign against apartheid in Canada.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

BREAKING: POT-ADDLED HILLBILLY NOT SMOKING POT!

That's right. Haven't fired up a fattie in weeks now.

I'm vaping instead.

Yup, plunked down a hundred bucks for what looks like a cigar tube. You put your stuff in and you push the button, and it's up up and away!

I must admit I knew nothing about this technology, which will come as no surprise to those who have pegged me as a know-nothing all along. But it does prove that, contrary to popular opinion, it is in fact possible to teach an old dog new tricks.

One thing I've learned is you can smoke the same shit more than once. Like, that is beyond cool! Who knew?

Well, Junior knew for one. In fact, when I shared this revelation with him, he says, "hey Dad, you can smoke it three or four times in your vaporiser, and then you can knock it out and twist it up and it'll get you high again!"

Get the fuck outta here, I thought.

But it turns out Junior knows way more about ganja in the modern era than I do. Sure enough, you can puff on that vaporiser three or four times, roll up the dregs in a zigzag, and get high again on the same shit!

That is simply fucking amazing!

I've got a whole new attitude about the concept of "progress!"

In praise of Beppi Crosariol

Once again a weekend comes and goes, and once again I contemplate returning my weekend Globe & Mail to The Korean for a refund.

But along comes Beppi, their intrepid wine columnist, who poses the question; "drink less or drink smarter?"

Not that he's the only writer worth reading this weekend. Far from it! A lot of the regulars must still be off on their holidays, because John Doyle has way more column inches than usual, and he's always worth a look.

And Eric Reguly has a provocative piece about the folks who brought you the recession of '08.

But it's Beppi who saves the day. In response to his own rhetorical question, he puts the ixnay on drinking less in favour of drinking smarter.

Building on Beppi's foundation, it didn't take long for me to devise a strategy whereby I could actually drink more and drink smarter!

Thank you Beppi Crosariol!

The Korean is off the hook for at least another week!

Friday, January 13, 2017

What's left?

Back in the day, it was a pretty straight-forward thing distinguishing right from left on the political spectrum. The right was where you found your reactionaries and warmongers. The left was the "progressive" side of the spectrum. The left was pro-labour, pro-women's rights, pro-choice, anti-racist, anti-war, and if not out and out anti-capitalist, at least acknowledged that the titans of industry and the big banks needed to be kept on a short regulatory leash.

Those were the days when the top union boss at the UE, which represented the workers at the General Electric plant where I cut my welding teeth, was an out-and-out self-confessed commie. Not a "liberal," not a "social democrat," not even a "socialist," but a full-bore communist. Yup, that was CS Jackson. And, may I add, he was a mightily effective union leader to boot.

Today, distinguishing left from right is a much more nebulous undertaking. As I tour the blogosphere, I encounter a gusher of references to "rabid leftists," "left-wing extremists," and "die-hard socialists." At first blush one is inclined to be impressed at the robust health of the left in American politics today!

Then you realize that all these references are to the Democratic party and its acolytes...

Bummer, man!

Sad to say, the Democratic party today is at least as reactionary and warmongering as their Republican counterparts, if not more so. And at least as pro-capitalist. Hillary Clinton, the "left" candidate, just spent 1.2 billion dollars, provided mainly by the big banks and the war profiteers, in the most expensive election campaign in US history, only to be defeated by a reality TV personality who spent a small fraction of that and got virtually nothing from the big banks and the warmongers.

What the fuck goes on here?

Back in the day, we could rely on the media to explain things, and if we didn't like the explanations provided by so-called mainstream media, there existed a thriving alternative media happy to fill in the blanks. Today the mainstream media is totally in the pocket of the "deep state" and the alternative media hysterically informs us that Obama has a communist agenda.

CS Jackson must be spinning in his grave...

But at least what's left of the UE had the good sense to endorse the Sanders campaign.

Alas, we know how that ended.

What's left?

Not much... but there is hope! Bernie's short-lived run as a socialist proved that there's a hunger in America for real change. Bernie's unfortunate capitulation to the corrupt Dem party machine put an end to that.

But the hunger remains.