Thursday, May 31, 2012

Romney's Bain Capital moving snowmobile manufacturing jobs to Mexico

Makes sense, doesn't it?

Bain Capital bought the Ski-doo brand almost ten years ago.

Let's move those snowmobile lines to Mexico, where there's no snow.

Out of Quebec, where there's snow on the ground for at least eight months of the year.

They hide Romney's stake in Bain behind a lot of "blind trust" hoo-ha these days, because everybody knows it's a good idea to have blind trust in politicians.

Not that it matters. How many delegates is Quebec going to have at the Republican Convention?

Besides, what's wrong with replacing those $25 an hour Canadians with $25 a week Mexicans?

That's what's known as "efficiency" in your corporate circles.

Oh no! Euro zone in crisis again!

My God! That is the crisis that just won't go away, isn't it?

I'm watching the BBC news on the TV, and those folks just can't get enough of their Euro-crisis.

It's pretty much the top story night after night. What will the Greeks do? What will the Irish do? What will the Spaniards do?

The crisis has apparently rotted the innards of every Euro economy except the German one, which I suppose is an object lesson for anybody who ever thinks they "won" a war.

Ya, we had them by the balls, but look at the bastards now.

So almost 70 years after the fall of the Hun, the BBC can spend night after night speculating about what Frau Merkel might do or not do next.

Snapping turtle bites wallet

The other morning I had the hounds out for their walk. It's been turtle season around here. That's when all the turtles have to cross the road, lay their eggs and then walk back across the road.

On this particular morning we saw three snapping turtles. They are quite a magnificent animal. Kind of boggles the mind to think they shared the earth with the dinosaurs.

Boggles the mind even more when you realize they'll still be crawling out of the bogs and the lochs and the sloughs and the marshes every spring even after we nuke the Iranians and they nuke us back.

Lucy, the young pup, was taking a keen interest. She'd nose in, the turtle would lunge, Lucy would get her face out of the way just in time. Then she'd take a few paw swipes at it. Great fun!

Great fun till one of them took a nip out of her paw.

I didn't even notice till we got back to the house and there was blood all over.

Of course, by then the farm manager was in on the act.

Oh my God Lucy's bleeding! We have to take her to the vet!

We do? I'm thinking cut an old bed sheet into bandage-sized strips, wrap her up real good, lock her in the woodshed for a few days, and we're good as gold.

Not good enough for the farm manager.

Soon enough we're at the vet.

Five hundred dollars later we're on our way home. While there is an exhaustive itemized bill that details how a turtle bite becomes a $510.00 item, the gist of it is that the vet wrapped bandages around her foot real good.

But at least they weren't fashioned from old bed sheets.

Today we went back to the vet so he could show us how to wrap a bandage around Lucy's foot all on our own.

That fifteen minute lesson was another hundred bucks!

We just spent 600 dollars on a dog we got at the pound for a $39 fee.

Think I'll be calling her off the snapping turtles when she's ready to walk again.


Buy now, thank me later.

The long slow death spiral of Research In Motion has created a buying opportunity. It's in the ten dollar range, and ten and lower makes for some interesting upside opportunities.

Yes they've been losing market share, especially in the fad-driven North American market, and that's more than reflected in the share price. But they still make a solid product.

And they're about more than market share. RIM sits on substantial cash reserves and judging by what the Nortel auction got for their intellectual property, RIM's patent bank is on its own worth several times the current market cap.

The founders long ago lost interest in their creation, preferring instead to play the role of public philanthropists and would-be sports tycoons. At ten bucks a share RIM is a juicy target for a hedge to take over and part out, or for a tech company that wants a presence in the phone market, like Facebook.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kings vs. Devils; what's to cheer for?

I have to go for the personal connection every time.

Junior went to high school with Drew Doughty down in Guelph.

I'm sure they were never actually classmates because Junior pretty much set the record for skipping classes, a record I set back in the '70's, so even if he and Drew were in the same class Junior would never know about it.

Truth be told, I think Junior eclipsed my truancy records at the GCVI.

But I come at this question from another angle.

I gotta cheer for the old guy.

Whenever Mark Martin enters a NASCAR race he's the only guy on my radar.

Whenever a 40 year old or more pitcher gets a start or a close in the bigs, that's the side I'm rooting for.

And when a 40 year old goalie makes it into the Stanley Cup finals, it goes without saying...

Go Devils!

OMG!!! Kitten-killing snuff artist only three degrees of separation from my cat!

Turns out this porn star dude in Montreal who is suspected of making a snuff video and posting body parts to political parties is only three degrees of separation removed from Chloe!

Chloe is the aging anti-social house-cat here at Falling Downs. The woman I got her from told me Chloe got fixed at the Burlington vet clinic her daughter worked in.

And guess who else worked at that vet clinic? Karla Homolka! The infamous school-girl killer who was released in 2005.

And guess who Karla dated after her release?

Rocco Magnotta, the suspect in this body-parts snuff-film case that's grabbing big headlines all over the world.

Chloe doesn't even know how close she was to being famous. This Rocco chap was already on the radar as the notorious You-tube kitten killer.

This story has it all, I tell you.

The only thing more headline-worthy than a porn star is a GAY porn star.

The only thing more vile than killing people is killing kittens.

This story has legs!

Gay porn star makes snuff film, sends body parts to Stephen Harper

Well, here's a messed up story!

Montreal porn star Rocco Magnotta has emerged as the prime suspect after a human foot was mailed to the Conservative Party's offices this week.

Apparently it was a left foot. What's this guy trying to say?

A few days later the police intercepted a human hand on its way to Liberal Party HQ.

What we've got here is a bipartisan killer!

Meanwhile, a couple of hours up the road in Montreal, an apartment super finds a suitcase full of human remains, at least those remains that haven't been mailed off to the nation's political leaders.

Now the cops have found a home video of the last moments of the appendage donor.

Guess Rocco, aka Eric Clinton Newman, aka Vladimir Romanov, has finally achieved his 15 minutes of fame.

Most heinous crimes in human history finally punished

The cup of hypocrisy overfloweth at The Hague this week.

As you know, that’s a place in Holland where the International Criminal Court gets together to decide which black African will be the next to be charged with crimes against humanity.

In fairness to the ICC, they’re not just looking for black war criminals; they had their eye on the Colonel but the NATO rebels got to him first.

Strikes me as more than a little ironic that black Africans need to be brought before a tribunal in Europe to answer for their crimes against other black Africans.  Couldn’t the Europeans use their resources to put European war criminals in the docket? Can the Africans not manage their own affairs without all this guidance from their former colonial masters?

And while I don’t want to second-guess Judge Lussick,  I think he goes well over the top with headline-grabbing hyperbole like “most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history”.

Mr. Taylor has an awful lot of competition in the “most heinous crimes” category, and for the most part the heinous criminals facilitating and committing those heinous crimes do it with the greater or lesser connivance of the Nations of Virtue.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that the heinous Mr. Taylor originally seized power by overthrowing the equally heinous Samuel Doe, who governed entirely at the pleasure of his American masters.

And while it was not one of the indictments he faced at The Hague, a look at recent African history makes it clear what Taylor’s most heinous crime has been, i.e. consistently being on the wrong side of American interests in the region.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Adelson, Trump, Romney... this election story is getting interesting again!

It's a big day for the Mittster. Not only is he going to Gingrich's bagman on bended knee looking for a blank check, but he's also got a fund-raiser going on with Donald Trump!

He's trying to wrap up the entire nut-wing of the GOP in one day!

Have to admit I kind of lost interest in the 2012 race around the time Slick Rick Santorum and the old carpet-bagger bowed out.

Trump was never a serious candidate.

Mind you, I'm not sure how serious Newt was either.

I mean really, are there THAT many stupid people in America?

But Adelson gave him 20 million bucks. Obviously Adelson thought there were that many stupid people in America, and Sheldon Adelson's got the track record to prove that he knows a lot more about stupid people than I do.

They've made him a billionaire, after all!

Once Romney was the obvious shoe-in I kind of gave up. After all, when a guy who can stand in front of TV cameras and proclaim that "corporations are people too" becomes the GOP candidate we truly are in a brave new world.

Almost makes you pine for Ronald Reagan.

Thanking veterans by picking their pockets

Since the 1990's the Canadian government has had a policy of clawing back the Veterans' disability benefits of former soldiers who also get long-term disability befefits.

These are the folks who have given limbs and more in service to their country, and this is how our country pays them back.

A group of veterans launced a class action against the government in 2007. For five years the government fought the veterans through the court system, finally losing in a judgement handed down by the Federal Court earlier this month.

Today the Department of National Defence announced that they would not appeal that judgement. After doing everything in their power to withold proper pensions from their veterans, this is how they framed today's announcement;

“Today's decision ensures that our Government's strong record of delivering for our men and women in uniform continues to meet the needs of those who need these benefits,” said Minister MacKay. “The Government acted in support of our members, past and present, because we believe that it is the right thing to do.”

Isn't that some great lying weasel-speak in there? The government "action" Mackay is referring to is the decision not to appeal the court ruling.

As for the "strong record of delivering for our men and women in uniform", I believe that the record shows they've been deliberately screwing the men and women in uniform for years.

NATO kills senior al-Qaeda leader again!

Seems they get a "senior" al-Qaeda leader pretty much every other week. That terror gang must be more top-heavy with senior management than GM back in the '70's.

I'm always a little suspicious. Inevitably it's some senior leader who has managed to avoid the limelight until the day NATO nails him.

Sometimes I think they trot out the "senior leader" story just to draw the eye away from some other less palatable story. For example, just the other day NATO snuffed a family of eight Afghan civilians in one of their so-called "oopsie" attacks.

Nothing like another family of civilians vaporized to get those Afghans all grumpy, so before you know it, "HEY, LOOK OVER HERE, WE JUST GOT A SENIOR al-QAEDA LEADER!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Obama sees light of new day on horizon...

... but maybe it's just the flash from the long-awaited Iranian nuclear warhead!

The Commander in Chief larded it on good and thick at Arlington today. Not only did he see light on the horizon, he sees an America that is stronger than before, and apparently this has everything to do with the sacrifice of veterans who saved American freedom and democracy not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in Viet Nam.

Now a cynic might listen to this speech and say, hmm... Viet Nam? How did that make us stronger? Iraq? Afghanistan? Stronger?...

A cynic might even say America lost those three wars; how does losing make you stronger?

There's guys in sandals and sheets running around all over the middle east firmly convinced they've put the run to Uncle Sam, but Obama assures the nation that things have never looked better, strength-wise.

Obama also pointed out that this is the first Memorial Day in nine years when American soldiers are not dying in Iraq. He left out the part that American contractors are now dying in Iraq instead. Those privatized soldiers who look like soldiers and carry guns like soldiers and do all the same soldiery stuff that soldiers used to do before war-making became a profit center for private corporations.

Contractor casualties passed military casualties sometime in 2010 in both Iraq and Afghanistan. So while Obama may technically be telling the truth, it's certainly not the whole truth.

And then there were the usual bromides about how sending the bravest and the best is the most heart-wrenching decision blah blah blah and he'll never do it unless he really really has to.

For really important stuff. So important that America's freedom and democracy hangs in the balance.

Like those al-Qaeda cells that seem to be popping up all over every failed African state that happens to have untapped oil reserves.

Like those Towelistans that want nukes or have them already.

Like those narco-terror cartels in Honduras and Colombia...

Make no mistake. America's privatized for-profit armies will be fighting for a long time to come.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Indy 500

I saw something at the Indy 500 that I've never seen before.

Empty seats.

I wasn't there, mind you. I was just watching on TV.  Maybe entire sections had just gone for a beer and a piss at the very moment the ABC cameras panned their way.

But I saw it, and so did millions of other viewers.

When one of America's iconic sporting events, cultural events, and television events is playing to empty seats, you know America isn't what it was.

Empty seats are nothing new in American motor sports. NASCAR has been struggling with falling attendance and TV ratings for several years now.

The civil war in open-wheel racing between CART and Indycars didn't help either.

But Indianapolis used to be the Mecca of motorsport.

When they're leaving empty chairs at Mecca you know you have a problem.

When Allah triumphs in Timbuktu, can AFRICOM be far behind?

Not likely.

The prophets of American Exceptionalism will be taking exception to this.

Seems the Gaddafi cast-offs and the so-called al-Qaeda of the Maghreb have declared themselves a free and independent Sharia state in the north of Mali.

Not so fast you towel-topped terrorists!

Drones for Jesus will be coming your way soon!

Time was when the Nations of Virtue sent missionaries to the benighted lands.

Now we send drones and the very appropriately named Hellfire missiles.

"Allah has triumphed you say? Here's a little hellfire for His troubles..."

Elsewhere in the Dark Continent that shifty al-Qaeda sympathizer Erdogan has been busy stirring the pot in Somalia.

Seems the wily Turks are trying to rebuild the Ottoman empire right under our noses.

Can't imagine AFRICOM is going to let that slide for long either.

Empire of Imbeciles

Jean Charest earned his political chops as a cabinet minister in the Conservative government of Lyin' Brian Mulroney.

For almost ten years he has been the Liberal premier of Quebec.

It says something about the opportunistic nature of Canadian politicians when Conservatives can so seamlessly morph into Liberals, or in the case of Bob Rae, a "socialist" can become a Liberal, or in the case of Thomas Mulcair, a member of Charest's Liberal government remakes himself as a "socialist".

One could be forgiven for dismissing the lot of them as unprincipled money-grubbing power-mongers.

Charest now has the distinction of being the Canadian politician guilty of the most egregious misreading of the Canadian public in recent memory.

When Charest imposed tuition increases on Quebec students more than three months ago he had the universal support of the opinion-making establishment across the country.

Over three months he has managed to fan a tuition protest into a full-fledged revolt that those same opinion-makers increasingly acknowledge is now about far more than tuition.

That's leadership!

This brave new wave of political awareness will eventually sweep the political old guard into the the dustbin.

Goodbye, ye carpet-baggers left and right!

It's finally 1968 in Canada.

The Oaf of Cannes; how Bernard-Henri Levy saved civilization

BHL is swanning around Cannes this week, posing for the cameras and seeking out the microphones, accompanied by a couple of actors pretending to be Free Syrian Army types on an r&r break from their struggle to liberate Syria.

Levy not only managed to liberate Libya last year, he had the presence of mind to hire a film crew to make a movie about it. The Oath of Tobruk is now on view at the Cannes film festival.

And Levy makes it plain that Libya was only the beginning. He has his sights set on liberating Syria next, and after that, who knows? In any event we'll be sure to see plenty more vanity films from Levy in the years to come.

If only Simon Bolivar had had the foresight to retain a film crew...

While Levy is busy taking unctuous twattery to new levels, it might make for a more interesting film to revisit Libya almost a year after it's liberation. News reports from the country indicate that the Libyan people have a long way to go before they regain the standard of living they enjoyed under Gaddafi.

But at least the oil is flowing again.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bad moon over Kemble

Anybody who has read this blog more than once knows they're dealing with a notoriously unreliable narrator.

Hell, I can't narrate my own narrative without getting bogged down in side-stories and what-ifs...

Which is how Gaddafi turned up in Gaza playing chess with Shalit...

But no matter; this much is true:

It started with a short ride in a fast car.

We picked up Mrs. Traynor last night, in the way-too-fast Mustang Fifty.

Now you wouldn't normally assume that you could get from the depths of Grey County to Wayne County International Airport and back in one night.

But we had a really fast car.

Oddly enough, we had no trouble at all when we got to the border.

We let Mrs. Traynor do all the talking. She used to be an English teacher at the local high school.

She knows her subjunctives from her dangling particles, and by God can she cast a spell.

So we're at one of the little sheds just off the interstate, and we're trying to charter a plane to Las Vegas.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We can get there and back on a Lear for $20,000.

Great! I just happen to have a platinum Visa card with a 20 k max!

Then they run the card through. Available credit, 79 dollars and 28 cents.

There goes our Vegas dream.

So we headed back to Mrs. Traynor's modest cottage just off the main street in Kemble.

By now the night was over and the sun was ris. We were relaxing in the front yard of Mrs. Traynor's place, drinks in hand, when the bus from the Word of Life Tabernacle turned the corner and headed up the street.

Here's the word on the Word of Life Tabernacle; they don't just hate sin, they hate sinners, and they make no bones about it.

They have a mission, or an "outreach" as they like to frame it, which involves sending a bus around the entire county picking up kids whose parents are too pickled to take them to Sunday school.

We're somewhat into our cups and not feeling the slightest obligation to make nice with the Word 'o Lifers.

My children were raised into a robust agnosticism.

The farm manager's kids went to synagogue.

Mrs. Traynor never had any children.

So when the bus stops in front of Mrs. Traynor's humble cottage, to pick up the Robinson kids across the way, three middle-aged Las Vegas wannabees rise out of their lawn chairs, turn their backs, and drop their pants.

Bad moon over Kemble.

Killing innocent civilians

Here's something we can all agree on; killing innocent civilians is bad.

I'm brought to this observation by something I read today about casualties in NATO's war on Libya.

There has been a fair amount of hoo-ha about those 72 civilians who died as a result of NATO's ten thousand plus bombing sorties, a figure that totally beggars credulity to begin with.

What I read today was about casualties, not just civilian casualties, and the numbers are in the tens of thousands.

We can all empathize with those civilians.

But why is it that you can dress half a dozen teenagers in military uniforms, put them in a WW II era tank, destroy the lot with a laser-guided missile, and walk away congratulating yourself on how hard you're working on minimizing civilian casualties?

Those scared teenagers are people too.

A power vacuum is killing the euro zone?

That headline, sans question mark, is on view at the NYT website at this moment.

The attendant article, by Tyler Cowen, is so utterly bereft of common sense, uncommon sense, common nonsense, any kind of sense at all, that one shudders to think that somewhere someone actually relies on the NYT to deliver their news.

A power vacuum is killing the euro zone?

What is it, a Hoover or a Dyson?

Oh, we're talking Europe here, maybe it's an Electrolux?...

The euro-zone is in trouble because for a generation the Europeans have left their fates in the hands of over-educated twats who haven't the slightest clue what makes the world go round.

That would be real people doing real stuff that matters to other people.

When three quarters of your top people are Goldman Sachs alumni, it's no wonder that you're out of touch with reality.

I have a pretty good idea about what's killing the euro zone, and I think the best bet is to assume it doesn't matter.

Let it die.

The sooner the better.

Sather's Rangers choke

Well, the prick didn't ever get around to sending me those tickets, so I don't feel any need to go overboard with the "milk of human kindness" routine.

While Glenn was sitting up there in the booth puffing on his cigar, (a clear violation of anti-smoking laws in both NY and NJ if I might say so) his team was choking on the ice.

Here's what coach John Tortorella had to say after the loss;

"We have guys who don't get it done but I like the way they handle themselves".

Wait a minute. What kind of shit is that?

The head coach of the New York Rangers admits that the lads can't do the job but he likes the way they handle themselves?

Sather! Wake up! We don't watch this shit because the guys feel good about themselves. We want to see the best in the world take on all challengers!

Fire Torts now!

It's not about feeling good about yourself when you lose!

Where the hell are we here, high school?

Occupy Montreal

One of the back stories on Rex Murphy's program a couple of weeks ago, when he was busying himself with throwing mud at the spoiled children who are protesting their tuition increases, was about the value of a post-secondary education.

This might have made for a more interesting program than he actually had.

Post-secondary institutions (i.e. colleges and universities) are caught in a time warp.

As institutions, they no longer have a monopoly on knowledge.

While that has at some level always been the case, the internet has evolved to a place where universities are at risk of having on-line learning cut their grass.

The old canard about having those eager young minds gathered around a wise "teacher" doesn't hold much when those first year undergrads are sitting in lecture halls with 900 other students.

This ain't Socrates sitting under the olive tree.

And good for those Quebec students for making this an issue. Education is a commodity, and why should it be withheld from some and bestowed on others?

Why does there need to be "tuition"?

The Quebec students have put to shame their contemporaries around the world who have simply swallowed tuition increases.

Britain had a few protests but nothing noteworthy when their students saw their tuition more than doubled.

Let's get real. A higher education is the right of everyone bright enough to earn one, if that's what they choose.

"a blatant violation of international law"

That's a quote from Canada's moral arbiter, The Globe and Mail, with reference to a cluster bomb allegedly dropped by the Sudanese air force on a village in South Sudan.

Note that we are talking about "a" cluster bomb, not hundreds or thousands or let alone hundreds of thousands as NATO used in Yugoslavia, or the US used in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Israel used in Lebanon.

Note also that when the enlightened West uses cluster munitions there is no pompous moralizing emanating from Canada's newspaper of record. This is because we are the "good" guys, and therefore by definition the people who live in the villages we drop them on are bad guys, scumbags, terrorists, etc.

I am reminded again of the scene in A Tiger for Malgudi where the tiger anticipates the day when he will hold the whip and his tormentor will cower in fear.

And still we wonder why "they" hate us.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The evening news

Top story; Devils put out Rangers.

Looks like a Kings-Devils final.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, some Lebanese are reaching for their guns again...

Not my "real" world of course. I'm actually a lot closer to both the Devil's and the Ranger's... and the Kings for that matter.

A lot closer to the Rangers and the Kings than I am to the random suicide bombers who take up so many headlines.

There's a lot of talk too on the evening news about how all those European countries will meet their austerity targets...

They won't.

I  think we're on the threshold of a whole new way of looking at the world...

The Mustang Fifty

The Mustang 5.0....

The farm manager just bought herself a 5.0 from way back in the '80's.

Ya, I know you're seeing "ulterior motive" all over the place.

But no shit, this is God's honest truth, I showed the farm manager this 1988 Mustang in mint condition that said 5.0 on the side.

She says, "oh look, it says 50 on the side; I'm meant to have this for my 50th birthday!"

Honestly, how am I going to argue with that?

Hey, I don't even have the slightest interest in arguing with that.

There's a 24 year old Mustang with a fuel-injected five liter parked in the drive right now.

And the Farm Manager thinks it's all about her. A Mustang "50".

Good things happen to those who wait...

Towards a level playing field: why Canadian workers must adjust to global realities

When Stephen Harper signed free trade agreements with Colombia and Honduras last year there was an implicit admission that Canada has a long way to go to become competitive with our new partners.

Canadian employers are green with envy at the freedoms that their counterparts in South and Central America enjoy.

Some  pinko union organizer trying to stir up your workers?  Shoot the fucker!

Some human rights smarty-pants giving you a hard time?  Shoot him too!

Our southern partners know that human rights and environmental legislation aren’t worth more than the wink and the nod they were passed with, and they conduct themselves accordingly.

Meanwhile, Canadian employers have their hands tied at every turn by nonsensical labour laws that cover everything from children working in mines, to work hours to minimum wages.  

Not only does this stymie our employers’ efforts to be global players, but it discriminates against Canadian children who would like to work in mines.

And our lavish Employment Insurance featherbed keeps a million and a half lazy Canadians cosy on the couch when they could be sitting in ditches in Northern Alberta welding pipe.

So the current attack on EI  is but the latest attempt to create a level playing field with our new free trade partners.

We still have a long way to go.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

CP Rail strike a case study in who the government works for

That popping noise you heard all over Ottawa this week is the sound of sphincters snapping shut as the outrage of a worker's strike at the venerable railroad sent the Harper gang into a tizzy.

Labor Minister Lisa Raitt had a plan to order the CPR strikers back to work within minutes of the strike.

After all, CPR is vital to the Canadian economy, don't you know!

How dare those molly-coddled workers threaten the Canadian economy like that!

Quick, let's legislate them back to work!

Contrast that to the government's reaction when a foreign hedge fund takes a minority stake in the company and starts a bully campaign to turn CPR's corporate culture upside down.


Where are the guardians of the Canadian economy when that happens? Nowhere to be seen.

Heavy handed legislation is reserved for whipping workers into line. How dare those unionized layabouts threaten the economy like that?

We'll fix 'em!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hyperbole big winner in Egypt elections

At last word polling hours had been extended in many parts of Egypt and there's no word yet on which candidate is favored coming out of this first round.

Trust me, it doesn't matter.

The military ran the country before "Arab Spring", the military runs it now, and the military will run the country after this election.

Sure, they'll have a new front-man, but that's all that Mubarak ever was.

None of which is preventing a flood of gushing idiocy spewing out of our media.

This morning I heard more than once that "Egyptians are celebrating their first democratic elections in over 5,000 years!"

Well no wonder they're lined up at the polling stations. Must be one hell of a lot of pent-up demand for democracy...

AP, CNN, and the rest of the usual suspects can't get enough of man-on-the-street interviews with Egyptians just over-the-top thrilled to be exercising their democratic franchise...

For the first time in 5,000 years, of course.

Won't they be disappointed when they figure out it didn't matter!

Ackman's loot 'n plunder strategy off to roaring start at CP Rail

And the guy hasn't even done anything yet!

When Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square gang started buying CP last September the shares were trading under $50.

Today they're close to $80.

I'm thinking Ackman should cash out now. After all, he's got about a 50% return on his billion plus dollars in a mere eight months.

And he hasn't even got to the loot and plunder part of the program!

It's going to be a little tougher from here on in. The workers who keep those trains running are on strike now, which is a very tempting time for a bold entrepreneur to stake his claim as a visionary. Teach those spoiled workers a lesson, just like Mr. Pocklington did with those lazy over-paid Gainers workers back in the day.

The "financial analyst" crowd loves that kind of stuff. In today's Globe and Mail you've got David Milstead making the case for hopping aboard CP.

But before you hop aboard, keep a couple of things in mind.

Firstly, the market has already rewarded the share price for most of the wonders Ackman has promised to bestow on CP, even though he hasn't done anything yet.

Secondly, that striking work-force has got some old-school attitudes about workers dignity and all that hogwash. They won't be in the mood to be raped by some hedge-fund smarty-pants.

And that's where the Ackman miracle will hit the wall.

You can't just move that railroad to Mexico or China.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Facebook IPO + 3 and the lawsuits are flying

Before the third day of Facebook trading had ended at least two law-suits had been filed over the initial launch.

There's a guy in Maryland wanting to take NASDAQ to the cleaners because of the tech malfunctions in their order processing system.

Then there's a guy in California who has a quibble with the underwriters for flogging him abject crap as the next greatest thing.

Not that Facebook is abject crap.

At ten bucks a share it's a speculative buy.

Closed at $31 today so sell short if you can and sit tight if you can't.

But both those guys want class action status for their suits, and when they get it armies of suits will be milking these class actions for everything they're worth for years to come.

That thriving economic sector "the legal business" is one symptom of how America went off the rails back in the '70's and '80's.

America was educating ten lawyers for every engineer.

Japan and China and India were graduating ten engineers for every lawyer.

So a generation later we have a situation where Japan and China and India can design stuff and build it and have thriving export markets, and America can dazzle the world with how quickly a class action law-suit can get off the ground.

Buck-naked Obama

There’s a new trend emerging in the world of fine art.

The nude portrait of the esteemed leader.

Galleries in both Canada and South Africa have been making a splash with this trend.  In Canada artist Margaret Sutherland has rendered an unclothed Stephen Harper in an oil-on-canvas titled “Emporer Haute Couture”.

While the title is a little heavy-handed, the Harper gang has thus far taken Ms. Sutherland’s artistic efforts with relatively good humor.

The Conservatives have nothing to hide, ha ha…

Meanwhile over in South Africa, a rendering of President Jacob Zuma with his schlong exposed is raising all sorts of controversy. The governing ANC is suing the artist over what it calls the “blatantly racist” painting.

Don’t know what artist Brett Murray was thinking when he called his work “Spear”… which makes Sutherlands choice of title quite subtle by comparison.

It’s not just the ANC that has their knickers knotted either. Today a couple of citizen art-critics entered the gallery and painted trousers on Zuma.

But this trend could go places. I’m waiting for a nude full frontal of  Angela Merkel. I’m thinking  “Die arrogante Kuh” might make a nice title.

And how about a buck-naked Obama, rendered in the style of Maplethorpe…

Possible titles?

Monday, May 21, 2012

The long goodbye; why can't we admit Afghanistan is a dead end?

Obama's remarks at the conclusion of the NATO blabfest in Chicago don't  offer much hope that anything has been learned in this decade plus debacle.

There's still that streak of wishful thinking that wants to believe at any cost that something has been accomplished.

Something... anything.

Well, we got bin Laden, didn't we?

That could and would have happened whether or not we'd spent a trillion dollars and thousands of lives turning the Afghans against us over these past ten years.

But at least the Taliban are on the ropes.

Not so much on the ropes as in the wings, waiting for their time to come again, as eventually it must.

While Obama and General John Allen and of course the hapless Karzai are still making reassuring noises, the rest of the coalition has said "we're outa there and we're not coming back".

They will however send money to assuage their troubled consciences.

Which is another way of avoiding the inevitable, of prolonging the goodbye, of denying that this is a dead end.

The 350,000 strong armed forces we're building up will cost over four billion dollars a year to maintain.

I have before me a graph showing Afghanistan's GDP for the past fifty years. At the time of the US invasion Afghanistan had a Gross Domestic Product of $2.6 billion. Since then it has spiraled steadily upward due to the infusion of both military and reconstruction spending.

Absent that foreign money infusion, it is reasonable to expect that the GDP will again settle in that range. Afghanistan will then be in the position of having a military that costs more than 100% of its GDP to maintain.

That can't be done, not by the Afghans.

Not by anybody. Every cent of that military spending will have to come from other countries. Every year. In perpetuity.

It won't, of course. Soon enough there'll be new priorities. Afghanistan will fall into the memory hole.

Goodbye Karzai... welcome back Mulla Omar.

Star witness in Lockerbie case was paid millions by US

There's a new book out about the Lockerbie bombing that pretty much demolishes the case against the late al-Megrahi.

John Ashton was a member of al-Megrahi's defense team. He writes at  Mail Online today that he's convinced of his client's innocence, and he makes a compelling case.

Just because a star witness pocketed millions doesn't mean they were lying, of course. But it does provide them with a motive other than their unvarnished love for truth and justice.

And if al-Magrahi was framed, so was Gadaffi and the Libyan nation. Ashton makes the case that the Pan Am Flight 103 plot was hatched in Iran in retaliation for the US shooting down a civilian Iranian airliner, an incident that the Iranians naturally enough viewed as an unprovoked terror attack.

Gadaffi eventually paid a multi-billion dollar settlement in the Lockerbie case as part of a deal to normalize relations with Britain, who in turn got all compassionate with al-Megrahi to secure favor in Libya's oil fields, and the Iranians got a free pass because we needed them to intercede on behalf on some hostages being held in Lebanon.

Not hard to see how truth and justice might get lost in such a convoluted tale.

Obama's humiliation of President Zardari will come back to bite him

It was a pathetic scene, more reminiscent of grade school bullying than international diplomacy.

The assorted NATO capos in attendance at Chicago this weekend made a point of ignoring the Pakistani leader. This after having invited him in the first place.

NATO and the US are miffed that Zardari hasn't re-opened their supply lines that run through Pakistan and permit resupply of ISAF in Afghanistan. For his part, Zardari is holding out for an apology for the US attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers a few months back.

He'd also like a stand-still agreement on further drone attacks on his country. Seems reasonable enough. There is no reason whatsoever that we should be allowed to continuously violate the sovereignty of other nations whenever we feel like it.

But rather than apologize and be seen as weak, Obama wants to be seen as the big dog.

So instead of sitting down with the man and sorting out things face to face, he sends his minions off to court new friends.





Yes, all these new friends are happy to accommodate our need for supply routes into Afghanistan. At a price, of course!

And a glance at a map and a quick read of current events tells you that these new supply routes are longer and no more secure.

But at least it will spare Obama the anguish of having to apologize.

For his part, President Zardari must be wondering why the big boys invited him to the party if they don't want to talk to him.

It's a snub he won't soon forget.

Facebook: how low can it go?

We're hovering in the mid 30's this afternoon. Trading volume to date suggests that most of the insiders are long gone, having dumped their over-hyped stock on a bedazzled public.

So what's Facebook really worth? Something, for now. Ten bucks a share?
What kind of revenues can the company expect going forward? What's the next fad, the next tech breakthrough that will make Facebook shrink faster than it blossomed?

Who knows?

At ten bucks a share it's still far from a sound investment. I'd call it a speculative buy at $10.

In the meantime, the smart money is shorting the bejeezus out of this turkey.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Montreal cops go wild with pepper spray

Video has emerged of Montreal police pepper spraying peaceful tourist types sitting on the patio of a downtown bar.

That's why there's violence in these protests. The undercover-cop "anarchists" infiltrate a peaceful demo and start the violence. The cops use that as an excuse to run wild.

It's exactly the formula that was used in Toronto at the G20 fiasco two years ago, and it's being dusted off and recycled in Montreal right now.

Unmasking the anarchists: Montreal strikes back!

I've said it before and I'll say it again; show me four masked and hooded anarchists and I'll show you at least three undercover cops.

Maybe four.

So the by-law that the Ville de Montreal passed the other day banning masks in public protests is a mixed bag.

The by-law will impose crippling fines on protesters who are found guilty of wearing a mask at a demo.

That means I won't be able to wear that Steven Harper mask I've been fashioning out of paper mache the next time I'm in a demo in Montreal.

I've never been to a demo in Montreal, so this is unlikely to affect me.

Nor will it slow down those undercover cops who wear masks for obvious reasons. They'll be arrested, released, and given a promotion.

So exactly what will be achieved by the mask by-law is up in the air.

I'm guessing probably nothing.

What secrets have died with the Lockerbie bomber?

The death of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel al-Megrahi in Tripoli today closes the book on one of the biggest terror cases before 9/11.

Or does it?

al-Megrahi was released from prison in Scotland in 2009 on "compassionate" grounds. This was controversial at the time, especially among family members of the Lockerbie victims.

It has since become clear that the "compassion" was motivated not by compassion, but by Britain's eagerness to normalize trade relations with Libya. British corporations have been and continue to be major players in Libya's oil industry.

There have also been persistent rumors that the compassionate release was motivated by a desire on the part of the British government and its NATO allies to avoid a second trial that could have resulted from the appeal al-Margahi was pursuing.

Dropping the appeal was a condition of his release.

Who knows what the British had to hide?

For his part, al-Magrahi always maintained his innocence. This is a notable departure for a so-called terrorist.

Usually they like to boast about their successes.

Denmark and South Africa pile on BDS bandwagon

Both countries have announced they will no longer allow the import of West Bank products labelled "made in Israel".

This is as it should be. The West Bank is not Israel.

Already the usual suspects are crying "anti-semitism".

Government spokesman Yigal Palmor claimed this move has racist overtones and the South African ambassador would be called in for a spanking.

Why the South African and not the Dane is an interesting question. Perhaps with fellow whites one can be more discreet. The South African aspect did remind me of an interesting story though.

Many years ago I was scouting out opportunities in the furniture import business. A friendly retailer lent me his business licence which permitted me access to a couple of trade shows.

I found a nice line of occasional pieces that were supposedly sourced from Israel. Not being aware that Israel had a robust furniture export sector, I asked a few questions.

Turns out the Israeli furniture was actually from South Africa, which at the time was being slowly strangled by the anti-apartheid sanctions. As with all boycott and sanction regimes, some enterprising individuals had found opportunity in adversity.

Thirty years later much has changed. Majority rule is alive, and if not well, at least hobbling along in South Africa. Apartheid is dead.

Dead in South Africa, but according to the BDS movement, alive and well in Israel.

Montreal in flames; it's not about tuition, stupid!

Two weeks ago I was listening to the vexingly verbose Rex Murphy rant about the spoiled brats who were rioting in the streets of Quebec over a tuition increase.

Don't they know how lucky they are?.. they'll still have the lowest tuition in the land!... Ingrates, every one of them!

The opprobrium was palpable, even over the car radio.

Two weeks have passed and those spoiled brats are still in the streets. The ever-inept Charest government has now poured gasoline on the bonfires by passing the most draconian anti-protest laws since the FLQ crisis.

The long and the short of it is that any protest gathering must be approved in advance by the police. In other words, protest will be tolerated at the discretion of your local police chief and his or her political bosses.

Is that not the very definition of a police state?

These protests have only peripherally been about tuition hikes. Rather, they are about a host of grievances with the status quo of which tuition hikes were merely a symptom.

These protests are a promising sign that a new generation is shaking off their media-induced stupor and telling the power elite that things will have to change.

This is Quebec Spring.

Pot-addled blogger scoops New York Times by six months

More like seven months, but who cares?

The Times reported this week that a Cayman Island based bond vulture fund got almost half a billion dollars from the bankrupt Greek government.

The supposedly "secretive" Dart Group bought their Greek bonds at a steep discount and got paid out at face value. The Dart Group is run by Ken Dart, an American who lives in the Cayman Islands for tax reasons.

Here's what I wrote about bond vulture funds last October;

The euro-crisis; guaranteeing profits for Bond Vulture Funds

The regular folks in the streets of Athens haven't been too impressed with the "austerity measures" their banker over-lords have been shoving down their throats. Nor should they be.

Who owns Greece's debt and what did they pay for it? That is a question the public, and especially the Greek public, should be demanding answers to. Greece's public debt fiasco hasn't been a secret. Greek government bonds have been trading at a discount for years, and rightly so. If somebody consistently spends more than they take in, only an idiot would buy their promissory notes.

The big dogs in global finance may be a lot of unpleasant things, but one thing they're not is idiots. When they buy Greek debt they buy it at a steep discount because of the risks involved. Then they go on the 24/7 big-time propaganda blitz: OH MY GOD IF GREECE DEFAULTS IT WILL BE THE END OF THE FREE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT etc. etc. etc. It's on every news program and on the front page of every newspaper every single day.

The purpose of the propaganda blitz is to scare people until somebody somewhere guarantees the face value of the Greek government bonds they bought at a steep discount. Instant windfall for the Bond Vulture Funds. Years of austerity and deprivation for the people of Greece.

I say let them default. We'll sit back with an Ouzo and see what happens, and drink a toast to the people in the streets of Athens.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Giant killer...

The Globe and Mail is over the top with its reportage on Bill Ackman's "coup" at Canadian Pacific Railway.

"Corporate Canada has never seen the likes of Bill Ackman, a brash hedge fund manager..." the lead story in the business pages informs me.

Truth be told, corporate Canada has seen brash hedge fund managers fuck over the locals lots of times. Nothing new about the Ackman assault on CPR.

That this hedge fund twat can rattle the cage of one of Canada's premier corporations says a lot about how deficient our regulation regimen is.

It doesn't say much about anything else.

Ackman can pull this off by taking a relatively small position in CP stock and then talking the talk about "shareholder value".

Ackman's track record shows that he's only interested in shareholder value as long as it's about the shares he just bought. He's not a manager and he's not a visionary.

His vision for the CPR doesn't extend beyond goosing the share price just enough so he can get out at a tidy profit.

If he has to sow a little mayhem to make that happen, well, that's just the way he operates.

Facebook faceplant

According to what I read today the only thing that saved Facebook from closing below the issue price on day one was massive buy-ups by the issuing brokers.

So I was right and I was wrong.

Wrong in that I thought it would take weeks or months for the market to sniff out the hooey in the Facebook IPO.

Right in that it's been ID'd as a bogus come-on designed to suck the money out of your investment account and put it in the pockets of the insiders.

The bright side of death

Well here's a fucked-up story.

I'm driving the mother-in-law to Toronto.

You've read about how Jewish women like nothing better than having you drive them somewhere.

Now I've got not one but TWO Jewish women in the car.

So the farm manager is sitting in the front and the Bubby is in the back.

Bubby. The Bubbinator. The Bubbatohla.

This is a serious woman and you don't deal lightly with her.

I'm trying to make small talk, so I get to telling Bubby about my last speeding ticket.

"It was right along this stretch of highway. I was distracted because me and junior were deep into a talk about better ways to treat sewage... and I was so engrossed in the conversation I sailed over this hill, this one right here, and I totally forgot the speed limit drops to 50!"

As I'm telling this tale to the Bubbatohla a black SUV coming the other way puts it's cop lights on.

For fucks sakes!

I'm distracted telling Bubbs about the speeding ticket I got when I was distracted, and godamit, I get another speeding ticket!

110 in an 80. Thank God I wasn't in the 50 zone yet!

The dude was kind enough to cut it back to 95. No points lost.

We continue on our way and the conversation eventually turns to Uncle Murray.

We've been saddled with the burden of clearing out Murray's apartment now that he's in a home.

Murray's suffered diabetes forever. Just recently, before he went into the home, they took his big toes off.

In the meantime, we've been selling off his personal possessions.

The bed went first, then a bunch of small stuff.

The whole time I've got my eye on a pair of really nice dress shoes. Harts if I'm not mistaken.

Light brown. Just my size.

Made in Canada by old-school shoe-builders. New Brunswick, I believe.

Not one of your mainstream shoe brands built by eight year old kids in China.

So Bubby says, you know they're going to take Murray's feet off next week?

I didn't say a word.

But I knew right away those size 11 Harts were mine!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ganja nation salutes Justice Reichbach

While Obama and Biden and their squirrely fellow traveler north of the 49th have been busy with stay-the-course pronouncements about drugs legalization, here comes Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach announcing that the weed 'o wisdom should be decriminalized.

No shit!

The amazing thing is that the good judge is still on the bench. Still judging!

Pity that the man had to contract pancreatic cancer before he warmed up to the weed, but better late than never I say.

Judge Reichbach has taken the unprecedented step of coming clean in a newspaper editorial he has written. Confirms what people have been saying for years; marijuana is a serious medication that can soothe all kinds of ills.

Needless to say, the pointy-headed legions are agog at the judge's brazen honesty.

He'll be kicked off the bench in no time.

But thank you Justice Reichbach, and best wishes in your struggle.

Sexing up that school trip to the Science Center

I remember those school trips to the Science Center. The highlight was inevitably that chrystal ball that made your hair stand up when you rubbed your hands on it.

Well, the Ottawa Museum of Science and Technology has got an exhibit that'll have the kiddies rubbing more than chrystal balls and it's guaranteed to make more than their hair stand up.

Sex: a tell-all exhibition opened this week to somewhat controversial revues. I haven't had the opportunity for a first hand look, because Ottawa is a bit out of the way, but by all reports this venture is going to have the kids clamoring for a return visit to the Museum in no time.

Among the highlights are an animated guide to proper masturbation techniques and a how-to on anal sex.

I say, it's about time. I could have learned so much viewing an animated guide to proper masturbation techniques when I was twelve years old. Not being either a Boy Scout or an altar boy I had to learn all this stuff on my own.

Took years for me to figure out satisfactory wanking.

As for anal sex, hell, I've pretty much given up.

Maybe it's not too late. Apparently the place is crawling with bus-loads of pre-teens, which might make things a little awkward, but what the hell, I've got the same right to learn about anal sex as they do.

You have to admit that field trips have come a long way.

What bothers me just a little is that this cash-strapped nation can find $800,000 for such frippery.

Then again, compared to $300 million for bombing Libyans, I suppose it's pretty harmless.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Facebook follies!

Here's what will happen.

There'll be a great pop when Facebook shares start trading.

All the insiders will make out like bandits.

A few weeks or months down the road, there will be another "pop".

That'll be the sound of the Facebook bubble bursting.

By then all the stock will be held by the little guys who bought it from the insiders.

When the market re-values Facebook back to where it properly belongs, that $100 billion company is going to worth less than a penny for every dollar those retail folks paid for it.

No doubt the insiders will be patting themselves on the back and congratulating one another for their astute read of the market.

Quebec spring

Quebec spring, occupy Quebec, call it what you want, but it's about a lot more than a tuition increase.

Of course, that's not how the media paint it.

According to mainstream news outlets this is all about and only about a bunch of spoiled middle class kids who have no idea how good they have it.

The usual undercover cops posing as "violent anarchists" have of course been getting more than their share of headlines.

Without that "violent anarchist" element it would be so much harder to make excuses for the police violence.

And so much harder to justify the draconian anti-protest legislation coming our way.

Why my cats eat but children go hungry

We have two cats here at Falling Downs. We don't see mice in the house. These girls earn their keep.

Chloe is the old girl. She's been with me for well over ten years. The new cat is the sole survivor of a litter of barn cats from a couple of years ago. One of the dogs ate all her siblings. We gave her a promotion to house cat, a tip of the hat to her survival skills.

Not hard to feed the cats. Pick up a box of Meow Mix and a couple tins of the canned stuff at the grocery once a week. I figure it's a bit under two bucks a day.

When the UN made a splash today by commenting on the fact that hunger and malnutrition are a fact of life for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, a lot of our leadership types were quick to take offence.

Whether the hungry people are in Somalia or in Toronto or on a reservation in Northern Ontario, there is one and only one reason for people going hungry.

They can't afford food.

And contrary to what Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said today, that doesn't reflect poorly on the UN.

It reflects poorly on Canada.

Canadian workers being set up for massive screw-over

Those Canadian workers who still have decent jobs that pay a living wage should start paying attention.

Decent jobs paying a living wage are toxic to the likes of the Harper gang and their cheerleaders in the Chamber of Commerce and the various business lobbies.

Have a look at what your political overlords in Ottawa are thinking:

In an effort to allay concerns, Menzies also provided some examples of what the government views as suitable employment.
"A mining company in Newfoundland is looking to hire 1,500 people in St. John's, Newfoundland, through the temporary foreign-worker program. There are 32,500 people (in Newfoundland) looking for work right now. That is why we are trying to make EI more effective to help these mining companies get people to employ," Menzies said in the House of Commons.
"Another example I will give: Nova Scotia's recent shipbuilding contract will create over 15,000 jobs over the next 30 years, and the provincial government is already talking about importing workers. At this point there are 45,000 Nova Scotians looking for work."

That's Ted Menzies, junior Minister of Finance thinking out loud.

What he's thinking about is that pogey is way too generous and is holding you back from getting a job. 

That's right, and you know who you are. 

You could be fully qualified for one of those $90,000/yr. jobs at the mine in Newfoundland but because the Employment Insurance system is paying you $300 a week to sit on the couch you absolutely refuse to take one.

You can bet that when Menzies thinks out loud he's thinking for the entire Harper cabinet.

What you're seeing here is a two-pronged attack.

On the one hand they're clearly signalling that they plan to strip the already shoddy EI program.

On the other, they're telling us it's full steam ahead for bringing in foreign workers.

The Harper gang has such a hard-on for foreign workers they've already made it legal to pay them 15% less than the prevailing wage.

That will soon be 25%. 

See where we're going here?

Not only will there be 101 new ways to deny you employment insurance benefits, but you'll get to compete for jobs with "temporary foreign workers" who are by legislation allowed to undercut your wage.

You OK with that?

Harper gang furious after UN scolding

The smug and well-fed twats on Parliament Hill are shaking their heads in contemptuous disbelief today.

None other than UN special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter has drawn attention to the fact that there are almost a million Canadians at risk of going hungry.

That’s no doubt led to a lot of tut-tutting as the Honourable Members tuck into subsidized meals at one of the House of Commons’ subsidized restaurants.

According to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, “the United Nations is wasting time and money and undermining its own reputation by sending someone to investigate one of the wealthiest countries in the world while people are starving in developing nations.”

I guess that’s the point, Mr. Kenney. It’s not that people haven’t tried before to draw your attention to the desperation faced by many Canadians who live in chronic poverty.

At least a million people in Canada live in conditions not much different than the folks starving in those “developing nations”, Mr. Kenney.

And they’re starving for the same reason; they can’t afford food.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Greeks will leave Euro, end of world nigh

It's all over the news, except they're still mostly sliding in the modifier "might".

Ain't no "might" about it.

The people have had enough of the austerity enema.

According to the mainstream scare-mongers, once Greece says goodbye to the Euro and welcome back to the drachma, all hell will break loose.

And I'm quite sure the "global capital markets" will do some serious heavy breathing.

Not to worry.

Underneath that Rumpelstiltskin economy that thrives by passing paper around a daisy chain of insiders, there is still a real economy where real people make real stuff and provide services that really matter.

In the short term, global capital markets will indeed have a shudder.

In the long run, the people who can do real stuff and provide meaningful services will be fine.

But a lot of straw-spinners will be out of work.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Germans saying "nein danke" to Merkel's austerity enema

They exercised their democratic franchise in Westphalia yesterday.

The result was what the media call a "resounding defeat".

A resounding defeat for the Merkel austerity agenda.

A resounding defeat for the IMF and the international banksters who have been flogging this austerity nonsense as though it is the only course that will save us from the lake of fire.

A resounding defeat for the "fuck the people, save the banks" mantra that has been echoing around the world these last few years.

Finally, a vote for common sense and the common good!

Mother's Day

The earliest memory I have of my mother is her washing my hair.

What makes it memorable is that it was a serious business. This was no gentle scalp massage. This was a decidedly non-gentle scrub that went on and on till I was ready to cry.

My mother grew up in a refugee camp in Denmark. Head lice were a common occurrence. She made damned sure none of her kids would ever have head lice.

And they didn't.

My mother would shudder to be considered a feminist, but I never knew a time when she did not work outside the home.

Although a devout Christian, my mother opened her home to Muslim refugees from Afghanistan.

Aside from working outside the home she always found time to maintain a garden that would more properly be considered a small farm.

My mother modeled the virtues of hard work and compassion like no one else.

And she puts down one hell of an apfel strudel!

The art of shoveling sh*t

This is about the New York Times and CNN. If you were hoping for some tips on scooping up dog turds, move along, nothing to see here.

Thom Shanker has a macho fluff piece in the NYT today about how America is taking its Afghan & Iraq experience and settling into Honduras to get serious about the war on drugs.

It's a story remarkable for the utter stupidity of its underlying assumptions. Here's just a few:

  • something was learned in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • that knowledge is transferable
  • drug cartels are interchangeable with resistance fighters
  • more guns will solve every problem
  • America knows what's best for the rest of the world

It is reasonable to question whether this increased involvement in Honduras is about drugs at all. If it is, how can the educated and urbane Times readership possibly believe that the further militarization of the war thereon will bring about better results?

Meanwhile, over at the CNN website, Ashley Fantz has an extremely long-winded overview of the Mexican war on the cartels. The story contains nothing new except a revisionist spin that locates its beginning two years before Calderon and Bush hammered out the Merida Initiative, thereby absolving the US of any responsibility.

The reason these news outlets peddle such abject shit is because there is an audience for it. There are people who find these stories entertaining at some level, and that's all news aims to be.

News doesn't have to be new.

News doesn't have to be true.

It just needs to find a consumer.

Exploiting the ultimate sacrifice

Trevor Greene now believes he understands what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice to allow loved ones back home to live in a democracy.

His insights on the matter have come at a considerable cost. Greene, a former Captain in the Canadian Forces, was grievously injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2006. His reflections about what he almost died for appear in today's Toronto Star.

It is one of two stories about our heroes making the ultimate sacrifice that appear in the Star this Mother's Day. The other is a front page feature about Trooper Marc Diab, poet and musician, who died in Afghanistan in 2009. His story has been made into a documentary, If I should fall.

The Star reminds us several times that our fallen are making the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom. These stories fall into a grand narrative in which every scared kid who steps on an IED is instantly a hero, we are unquestionably the "good guys", the people we are liberating from themselves are "the evildoers" and so on.

In every case our fallen are in Afghanistan to preserve our freedom and our democracy.

In truth, the Afghan people are the worse for our meddling, our soldiers have died and been maimed for nothing, and the entire exercise has cost billions while undermining the very freedom and democracy we are supposedly defending.

Responsible media should tell the truth instead of spreading propaganda.

Assassination of Afghan peace envoy more proof of our success

State Department officials are hailing the latest setback to Afghan peace as a great step forward.

Arsala Rahmani was executed by a lone gunman at point bank range as he was being driven to his office in the Afghan capital.

Rahmani was a former Taliban hand-picked by our hand-picked democratic leader, Karzai, to lead peace talks with the Taliban.

As always in such cases, State Department officials are quick to point out that there is a silver lining. The fact that "the enemy" can reach into the heart of Kabul and eliminate a heavily guarded target is not proof they are winning.


Rather, it is proof that our strategy is working. Such acts are acts of desperation by a foe that knows it is on the ropes.

In much the same vein, Senator McCain recently observed that the fact the Taliban now control more of the country than at any time since our invasion eleven years ago is also proof that our strategy is working.

I suppose we are continually bombarded with such idiocy because the option is unthinkable; admitting that the war was a mistake from the beginning, that it is irretrievably lost, and that the only honest and ethical option is for NATO, ISAF, and the US military to pack up and go home.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sather's team advances

Sorry about all those rude comments about your cigar, Glen.

You are truly a genius in the executive suite.

Those remarks about you and your cigar up there in the rafters, flouting Bloomie's anti-smoking crusades... well, you know I was just joshing around.

Glen, it was obvious to me, even back in the Oilers days, that you had a special gift, a gift for bringing out the best in a hockey organization.

And this win over the Caps tonight proves my point.

The Rangers have won game seven. Without a hockey genius up there calling the shots, it would be Caps-Devils Monday night.

So, Glen, old pal, any chance a few pairs, preferably ice-level around the center-line, are gonna find their way to me for the next series?

The art of shoveling sh*t

It's dog shit I'm talking about here folks, so if you were hoping for a rant about what I read in the New York Times today, move along. Nothing to see here.

When I was a kid I developed a pretty mean wrist shot. Hundreds of evenings of practice in front of the garage door. Hundreds of thousands of shots.

My slapper sucked. Wild, uncontrollable, and not that strong. Sort of like my tee shots today. But the wrister? It was art!

Unfortunately, my hockey career was doomed the minute I took that wrist shot off the driveway and put it on the ice.

I couldn't skate.

Not much use having the best wrister of anybody in the arena if you never touch the puck.

I was reminded of this today when I was scooping up dog shit in the woodshed. It's where the hounds chill out when I'm not home, and obviously it's where I pile the wood.

So I was on splitting and stacking detail today, and of course since I haven't been back there for a week or so, there's a week's worth of dog doodoo for me to step through as I'm carrying in the firewood.

Scraping dog shit off my shoes isn't a lot of fun, and no matter how much you scrape, you still somehow end up with dog shit on the living room rug, so I bite the bullet and shovel up the shit before I carry in the wood.

As I scraped together a good shovel's worth I realized that all that time spent in the driveway those many years ago wasn't wasted after all.

Getting the shovel under that pile without redistributing it all over the woodshed is an art.

The art of the lightening quick release is every bit as important in shit-shoveling as it is in wrist shots.

Meet the rabbi who sets Canada's foreign policy

Canada's Foreign Minister hugs "good friend" and constant travelling companion 
Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn.

Foreign Minister John Baird seems to waddle from one controversy to another.

Most recently he has come under attack from the know-nothing anti-semites in the Canadian media.

Baird, as regular readers will recall, was the buffoon who allowed himself to be photographed during a trip to NATO operations HQ last year signing bombs that were to be dropped on loyalist targets in Libya.

A Foreign Minister autographing bombs? How gauche is that?

Since that trip Harper's team has assigned Rabbi Mendelsohn to travel with Baird on all overseas trips to ensure that the foolishness doesn't get out of hand.

Now the Baird-haters are all over the fact that he used his influence as a cabinet minister to funnel government money to Mendelsohn's Chabad Lubovitch over the objections of his own staff.

But even the naysayers must admit that Baird has been somewhat less controversial since Mendelsohn has been keeping him on a leash.

Sure, it was a little embarrassing to hear Baird spout non-stop about his "personal rabbi" on his recent trip to Israel, but imagine what a fool he might have made of himself had the good rabbi not been present!

And his speech this week claiming that Iran was "months away" from a nuclear weapon sounded suspiciously as though the rabbi might have written it.

No matter. Being Foreign Minister of a country that has ambitions to "punch above its weight" as the papers remind us every other day is no job for imbeciles.

Thank God we've got Rabbi Mendelsohn to keep an eye on things, at least until the next cabinet shuffle.

Putin snub leaves Obama reeling

President Obama remains in seclusion today after undergoing what doctors are calling a "nervous collapse" earlier this week.

The President went into a severe depression after the Kremlin announced that Russia's Putin would not be meeting with him at the G-8 conference.

Such a cancellation is unprecedented in modern times. Foreign leaders have been known to wet themselves at the prospect of getting a few minutes and a photo-op with the American president.

In fact, in the publicity photos released after Canadian PM Steven Harper's visit to the White House last February, there is a dark stain clearly visible in the lap of Harper's grey suit trousers.

Doctors have no comment about when the President may be ready to take the reins of office again. Rumors are swirling around Washington that an elite Muslim faith healer is on his way from Kenya.

In the meantime, Joe Biden is the Leader of the Free World.

We're even more screwed than before!

It's Dempsey vs. Dooley in war about war on Islam

Not hard to see who will win.

Dooley is a Lt. Col., Dempsey is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Who do you think will win?

But who is lying?

Lt. Col. Dooley has been teaching an officer training course at the Pentagon's Joint Forces College for years, advocating total war on Islam.

Dooley makes it plain what he means when he talks about total war.

Dresden, Hiroshima... the annihilation of civilian populations. Dooley thinks we need to stop making nice with the Muslims.

Take the gloves off. Get serious.

General Dempsey, when the news of Lt. Col Dooley's course content became public last week, disavowed all knowledge of Dooley and his vicious anti-Islam hate-mongering.

Funny how they can find a rogue al-Qaeda leader in some mud hut village in Yemen, but they don't know what's going on at the Joint Forces College across the river!

Dempsey set a personal best of 43 media interviews in one day, all denouncing Dooley and declaring that such nonsense was against the values of the American military.

Who does he think he's fooling?

Dresden, Hiroshima, Falluja...

Putin crosses to the dark side

The American punditocracy has been agog with speculation about new and former Russian President Vladimir Putin's cancellation of a meeting with Obama at the G-8 meetings this week.

What effrontery! What cheek!

What foreign leader does not thrill to the prospect of a meeting with the Leader of the Free World?

So the talking heads have been running amok with theories to explain such an untoward development. Putin is beset with troubles at home. So beset with such significant troubles that circumstances force him to skip the G-8 blab-fest.

After all, there were some protesters at his inauguration!

But guess what Putin is up to today?

Apparently chit-chatting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, that's what!

Too busy for Obama, but time for the holocaust-denying terror mastermind Ahmadinejad?

Who could they be plotting to wipe from the map now?

The invisible Arabs of Jerusalem

"A city polished by time".

Indeed. And Bonny Reichert polishes things up some more in a feature travel article in today's Globe and Mail.

She's makes no mention of evictions, house demolitions.

She's polished out the ethnic cleansing.

The words "Arab" and "Palestinian" are nowhere to be found.

There is a passing reference to the "Muslim call to prayer", although who they would be calling is left to the imagination.

Another passing reference to a time when she would have considered Jerusalem "too political, too dangerous" to visit.

The nature of that danger and those politics is again left to the imagination.

Polished from memory.

It's been polished into the perfect tourist destination, Jerusalem has.

Sparkling, safe, and apolitical.

London Whale capsizes JP Morgan

Six weeks ago the London Whale was quietly feeding at the fringes of the business press.

This week Bruno Iksil breached and came down with a big splash, nearly scuttling JP Morgan in the process.

And what an irony for JPM chief Jamie Dimon, leading spokesman for the deregulation lobby.

Since Dimon's bank had the good fortune not to be holding too many hot potatoes when the 08 collapse hit, he became the poster boy for the "we're too big to regulate so don't bother trying" school of thought.

Looks like The Whale has pulled the rug out from under that ploy.

Sorry boys, you're not too big to regulate.

You're not too big to fail either.

Canada's high-flying always-lying Defense Minister caught fibbing again

Good Lord! Can we believe anything that comes out of the man's mouth?

Peter "Pinocchio" Mackay has had a busy couple of weeks of it.

First the brouhaha over the F-35 cost estimates. Seems MacKay and company have been making like shifty used-car salemen with their low-ball reassurances to the Canadian public.

Low-balling by the billions upon billions.

The stink about the fraudulent cost estimates has taken the focus off what should be an even greater stink, the fact that the F-35 doesn't actually work.

Yet. Just a few more bugs to work out on this trillion dollar lemon.

Then it comes out that the cost of our participation in that glorious campaign to deliver the gift of democracy to the people of Libya was at least 300 million more than Mackay told us at the time.

Top brass in the Canadian Forces are claiming that Mackay was fully aware of the true costs when he was glibly throwing around the original estimates.

Shame on you Mr. MacKay!

What would your mother think?

Facebook and the lemming effect

Word has it that the Facebook IPO is already oversubscribed.

The initial share issue values the company at around 100 billion.

Hmm... that seems mighty optimistic.

That's double the value of the Ford Motor Company.

It's more than Honda or Volkswagen. More than Siemens, the German engineering giant.

More than Kraft Foods, or American Express or Caterpillar.

Zuckerberg's wet-dream-gone-viral is worth more than Goldman Sachs.


Go short, my friends, go short!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

International partners warn Greeks; austerity or hell

Which comes as a bit of a shock to your average Greek on the street who thought he was already there.

But the Euro-bullies are turning the screws.

The various fringe Left parties are scrambling to put together a coalition government. I don't know why they bother. Anything put together by fringe Left parties isn't going to get the stamp of approval from the Euro-bullies no matter what they do.

Frau Merkel and the banksters won't be happy till the Greeks are saddled with a thousand years of penury.

So I'm thinking, what have those folks got to lose?

Kiss the "troika" goodbye and carry on being Greek.

At least you'll carry on being!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nice try, Wall Street Journal

There I was, on an uneventful news crawl, when this turd rolled right out of the monitor and landed on my lap:

ATHENS—Two years after Europe bailed Greece out to protect the euro, the rescue has become a debacle that threatens to unravel the common currency.

Then they led me along for another paragraph before announcing that I'd have to subscribe before I could read any more.
Sorry WSJ. 
The teaser was enough to convince me that this was more typical stay-the-course bullshit from the Murdoch gnomes.
Hmm... where to start? 
"the rescue has become a debacle..."
Yes and no.
There are thousands of very well paid planners, analysts, strategists, advisors, consultants, and just plain twats in Brussels and every other European capital.
Well paid to read the tea leaves and prognosticate on the future.
They couldn't see this coming?
And we all know that the magical thinkers at the WSJ truly believe that when you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.
And we also know that they believe that when that doesn't work, the only possible flaw in your strategy would be that you're not squeezing their balls hard enough.
Then there's that "two years" bit.
Those lazy Greeks have been bailed out every other week for the last two years...
I don't need to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal to know that.