Sunday, November 29, 2015

The perfect gun for hunting Christmas shoppers in the malls of Europe

I'm a little surprised about the low profile that Italian story about the 800 Winchester shotguns has managed to maintain.

Even habitual fear-mongering sites like Britain's Daily Mail are soft pedalling the terror angle, stressing instead the fact that the Winchester Defender, (three shotgun blasts in under half a second) is not a potential terror tool, but a "hunting gun."


And the fact that this shipment originated in Turkey, with a proven history of supporting terrorism, and was heading to Belgium, hotbed of ISIS sympathizers and acolytes, raises scarcely a note of concern?...


Italian police intercept 800 of these on way to Belgium

SXP Extreme Defender
That sure is one amazing story about those 800+ Winchester Defenders found in the back of a truck on their way from Turkey to Belgium.

The story doesn't seem to be getting much traction. Maybe that's because these are "hunting" guns and would therefore be of no interest to the ISIS terrorist types we've been hearing so much about in Belgium? Or maybe it's because Turkey is in the throes of a much bigger ISIS gun-running scandal? Official government spokes-people claim the sale was entirely legit, but those folks say a lot of stuff...

Does anybody wonder why a legitimate dealer would buy these guns in Turkey when Winchester's corporate owners, the Herstal Group, also has factories in Belgium?

I'd like to see some enterprising investigative reporter in Turkey connect the dots on this tale, but that would ensure a very premature retirement in the current climate.

You don't imagine the wily Erdogan's minions shipped these off with a shrug and a wink knowing full well they were headed to Belgium's renowned black market in illegal firearms, do you?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Trump; the big picture

America should not be surprised that Donald Trump, real estate billionaire and reality TV veteran big-shot, continues to hog the spot-light in the on-going reality show known as the 2016 US election.

After all, the think tank here at Falling Downs has been giving America the heads up for years.

Once "democracy" becomes a reality show, it's only right and proper that an experienced reality show survivor hogs the headlines...

And how about those prescient producers of that famously prescient film "Idiocracy," who so deftly caricatured Trump in the character of Dwayne Camacho?

Trump. Leader of the Free World.

Where nobody has a chance but everybody has a gun.

What could go wrong?

Most important news of the week

I see where Vanity Fair has devoted a few column inches to the question of who Selena Gomez might be dating next.

This is big stuff. After all, she's been known to two-time none other than the great Biebs, and pop-tart news is a more than filling fill-in for real news in Vanity Fair these days.

While idle minds speculate over who Selena might be dating next, there are actually really important things going on in the real world...

Like "Putin's aggression" for example.

Not content with annexing Crimea, he seems intent on annexing Syria next.

Maybe he has his annexation eye on Turkey as well.

You never know with Putin.

Just like you never know with Selena Gomez.

When we allow international relations to become a side-bar to relationships among "teen idols," we get what we deserve.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

If you have seen these men, please call the RCMP... NOW!

RCMP are seeking help identifying these two men, who were observed near the Rogers Centre 'exhibiting suspicious behaviour.'

Yup, coupla brownish dudes were spotted by a vigilant citizen in the vicinity of Roger's Centre last summer. Said citizen, operating on the "see something, say something" plan, duly reported that they had seen something.

The Mounties have had a crack anti-terror squad on the case ever since.

Alas, they've not made any headway, which is why they're appealing to the public months after the fact.

I've had occasion to visit that part of town from time to time, and frankly, if you're gonna call the terror hot-line every time you see a couple of brownish dudes... well, that's gotta be one busy hot-line.

For my money, I'm thinking that's a couple of Jays making their way to the game they played that afternoon. Looks like Stroman and Encarnation if you ask me. Hard to tell when they're outta uniform.

Probably subbed down from their Bridle Path mansions and are just walking in from Union Station.

Kathleen Wynne fires up bong, decides medicinal marijuana users can light up anytime, anywhere

Well hallelujah! Ontario pot-heads yesterday won the right to fire up them (medicinal) fatties anywhere... it's friggin' medicine after all! Y'all are free to smoke your (medicinal) weed anywhere you'd take an aspirin!

And that's pretty much anywhere, near as I can tell!

In the waiting room at your dentist's office. At your next parent-teacher meeting. In the grocery store. In church. In court. While driving down the 401 at 140 clicks...

Alas, what sounds too good to be true usually is.

Wynne and her advisers came down from their buzz in the early hours this morning, took a look at the headlines in the morning papers, and shrieked a collective "WHAT THE FUCK DID WE JUST DO!?!?"

They've been in climb-down mode all day.

And that's probably a good thing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Charbonneau Commission piddles away 45 millions to discover Hells Angels and Mafia control construction industry


It's certainly good to see that the think tank here at Falling Downs isn't the only site sceptical about the Charbonneau Commission.

Frankly, we lost all faith in the Commission when they pulled that Donnie Brasco stunt. Yup, here's this government inquiry into corruption in the Quebec construction industry, and they pay to fly in this guy who wrote a memoir about his time in the New York City Mafia?

Thirty years ago???

That's when we knew the Charbonneau Commission was guilty of what they were accusing everybody else of; sucking too hard on the government teat.

But yes, they did manage to stretch things out for four long and lucrative years, and they did manage to shine the spotlight on those mostly irrelevant corners of "corruption" wherein some bikers and some Italian guys might have made a bit of pocket change.

Those are the folks who made it into the headlines now that the final report has been released.

The SNC Lavalin guys and Arthur Porter, both vetted at the highest levels in the PMO, who scammed the system beyond the wildest and greediest dreams of those Italian guys and the bikers, are totally lost in the fine print.

Nice cover-up, Madame Charbonneau!

And nice job stretching a redundant "inquiry" out to four long years and $45 millions!

I say we need another inquiry to get to the bottom of the Charbonneau inquiry...

Hope in the ashes

The Guardian website has been featuring a series about the poorest towns in America. Here's an excerpt from their story about the poorest town in the poorest state in the USA, Tchula Mississippi;

The only outside investor the town has attracted in recent years bought the abandoned supermarket in the centre of town. Hassan Nasser arrived in the US from Yemen seven years ago determined to become a businessman. He was 26 and barely had a dollar to his name. He trained as a lorry driver in Detroit, got a job with a long-distance haulage firm and slept in his vehicle to save his earnings.
“I came from a small town in Yemen. It was pretty much like being here. Mississippi is based on farms all around owned by white folks and black people do the work. That’s the same as Yemen. There are a few who own everything and the rest work for them,” he said. “Compared to other parts of the US, I’d say this place is 20-50 years behind in everything. Like Yemen. But we don’t have an obesity problem in Yemen.”
Low-income, isolated communities without supermarkets are often forced to rely on high-priced convenience stores for basics such as milk and bread. “They had nothing here at all when we came,” said Nasser. “They had only two gas stations with convenience stores. They were taking advantage of people. They had very high prices.”
Nasser said he was often mistaken for a Mexican and called amigo. Then he mentioned that when he first arrived in Tchula he told people his name was José because he was worried that his origins and religion might be held against him. They weren’t.
“There is really no racism here against us,” he said. “People here are good except some of the young ones. They broke into my store the second week of opening. They took tobacco and stuff so I installed bars and bought insurance.”
Patterson is grateful that Nasser reopened the supermarket. “It was a disappointment that nobody from here tried to open it but, to be honest with you, we were thankful. I’m thankful that he came because nobody else seemed like they wanted to. It was closed for a long time,” she said.
Hassan Nasser, owner of the local supermarket.
 Hassan Nasser, owner of the local supermarket. Photograph: Sean Smith for the Guardian
But the supermarket only provides a handful of jobs. Patterson’s vision is something grander: Tchula as a manufacturing hub attracting factories providing stable if not particularly well-paid work, likethe clothing firm and sawmill used to do.
I found the story of Hassan Nasser to be particularly uplifting in these days when all sorts of politicians and their sycophantic media backers are raising the alarm about Muslim refugees. Here's a guy from Yemen who finds his way to America, lives in his truck to save money for the down-payment on this bankrupt grocery in a town in Mississippi, and the next thing you know he's a success story featured on a major European news platform!
The American Dream lives! 

How the megalomaniac known as "the wily Erdogan" just sealed his fate

Putin and Erdogan in happier times

How interesting it would have been to be a fly on the wall at today's emergency NATO meeting. One cannot imagine that the big dogs in NATO's European branch were happy with the crisis unleashed by Turkey's rash decision to shoot down a Russian fighter-bomber which had supposedly strayed into Turkey's airspace for seventeen seconds.

The international blogosphere is awash with speculation that Russia will hit back hard. I'm not so sure; at least about the hitting back hard happening in the spotlight. There are many ways for Russia to hit back well out of the spotlight.

First off, I suspect we've seen the last of Turkey's air attacks on targets in Syria. Turkey only very recently "joined" the war on Islamic State, and by most accounts its infiltrations of Syrian airspace have targeted the Kurds, not IS. After today's unfortunate miscalculation, any Russian air defence unit on the ground or fighter jet in the sky over Syria will consider a Turkish target fair game.

Secondly, as the entire world is well aware, the Erdogan regime has many enemies, within and outside of Turkey. More than a few of them, within and outside of Turkey, have picked up arms to confront the Turkish state. They'll be picking up many more and more potent arms in the weeks and months ahead. That's a simple enough task for the Russians to facilitate through the usual back channels. 

Erdogan presides over a pressure cooker of divergent interests, with a rabid core of ultra-nationalists making up the back-bone of his base. Until now, he's managed to keep a lid on the pressure cooker, at least for the most part. 

That's about to change.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Triumph of the weasels

There's an interesting story at the Irish Times today about how the corporate weasels behind the Pfizer-Allergan deal can make this deal pay by robbing the US treasury of millions more in tax revenue.

Hundreds of millions. Maybe even billions!

But that's just the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to tax evasion by US corporations. There's hundreds of billions in US corporate profits sloshing around in off-shore tax havens.

As a card-carrying pinko, I suppose I should be distraught about that.

If I thought that tax money denied the state was destined for meaningful stuff like education and health care and housing, I'd be pissed... but it's not. Instead, it's earmarked for more war and more money-hemoraging shit-shows like the F-35 program.

Gotta say that for the time being at least, I'm with the weasels on this one.

Savour the ironies...

Seems only a few weeks ago our corporate media were singing as one from the anti-Putin hymnal; PUTIN'S AGGRESSION MUST BE STOPPED and similar foolishness dominated the news platforms of the West. Take a tour of those platforms today, and you'll notice a not-so-subtle shift. Sure, we must remain wary of Putin, but...

What's changed? Within a matter of weeks, myriad news sites in the West have discovered hope for a resolution of the Syrian nightmare. After America and her largely imaginary coalition had been bombing Islamic State (quite illegally) for over a year, Russia, at the invitation of the legitimate government of Syria, moved in to lend a helping hand.

The Russians are flying more sorties on any given day than the US coalition managed in any given month. They are systematically destroying the ISIS oil export business which was their primary source of revenue, and which was, in spite of all the rhetoric, untouched by a year of US bombing.

That business was off-limits for the Americans because they wanted to spare the sensitivities of the Turks. The Erdogan regime has been up to its neck in training, supplying, and supporting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/Islamic State from before day one. It is widely suspected that the IS oil export trade has been facilitated by members of Recip Erdogan's own family.

That's a family dynasty steeped in multiple levels of irony, is it not? One could hardly imagine anything else for the only Islamic member of the NATO gang. Ponder that awhile...

Meanwhile, Russian diplomatic activity has ramped up to an unprecedented level. Putin has gone out of his way to have face-to-face discussions with every major player in the Middle East, from Netanyahu to Obama, from Erdogan to Hollande, from the House of Saud to the king of Jordan. The beltway Masters of the Universe should pay more attention. Putin is putting on a master class in how diplomacy is done. Washington will wake up one day soon to discover that their allies in the Middle East all, and I mean every single one of them, trust Russia more than they trust America.

America is of course completely under the spell of the election cycle. As the most exceptional among nations this may be inevitable; after all, what shapes America will shape the planet, or at least that's what we've become accustomed to believing since history ended. It may therefore be good news that Trump has said he believes he can talk to Putin.

I believe he can too. In fact, I believe that after their talk Mr. Trump will announce a Trump Tower in Moscow and a Trump Golf Links in Sochi!

Today Putin is in Iran. That's a country that's been a pariah in the eyes of the West ever since they kicked out the Shah we gifted them. That gift too is not without its residual ironies. We've long been programmed to see Iran as a backward theocracy, motivated by nothing more than irrational Jew-hate to wipe the Holy Land off the map and so on.

Sure... but in the meantime, they just opened the most mind-boggling show of degenerate modern art at the Tehran Museum of Modern Art, just in time for Putin's visit.

They got Rothko.

They got Pollock.

They got Warhol and Bacon and so much more! Turns out they've got one of the most valuable state-owned modern art collections on the planet!

The ayatollahs!...

Don't take my word for it; that's the assessment of former Guggenheim curator Germano Celant.

Savour the ironies!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The tragedy that is Israel

When venerated Israeli film-maker Marcel Ophuls produces a doc sympathetic to the Palestinians, you should know that there are deep cracks in the very foundation of the state.

How timely, how ironic, that this story appears on the very day that Netanyahu is once again bemoaning the lack of international condemnation of terrorism in Israel with the same enthusiasm the international community showed in condemning the terror attacks in France.

For sure, France is far from blameless in bringing this tragedy upon itself. There will always be Algeria, and the manifold excesses of France's colonial empire, and the all too enthusiastic rush into Washington's "War on Terror."

Those facts of French history should be enough to shame BHL and other warmongers of the Republic into silence, at least for the next thousand years or so.

But the sins of colonial-era France have nothing on today's apartheid regime in Israel.

Apartheid walls, apartheid highways, new apartheid settlements on stolen land announced practically every week. Prison time for children throwing stones. Live ammunition against children throwing stones...

What has Israel become?

Police get biker crime boss off streets... by arresting him in his jail cell!

The big story out of Montreal today is that the police, after many years of undercover investigations costing the taxpayer millions of dollars, have busted up a major organized crime ring.

Yup, you won't be able to score a bag of weed or a gram of coke in Montreal for years.

They bagged the big dogs for sure this time. They even got the biggest of the big dogs off the street; Hells Angels Quebec boss Maurice Bouchard.

But wait a minute... wasn't he already doing a double lifer in prison? So an alleged crime boss can continue to run his alleged crime syndicate whilst behind bars?

Does it not stand to reason that the other alleged crime king-pins arrested today will be able to maintain their networks while in prison also?

So what was accomplished today?

Well, nothing really, but it did help the public get their filthy minds off that story about Montreal cops boinking under-age girls while on duty.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Police suspect cannibalism as body parts discovered on Ryerson University campus

And not just any old body parts, but a heart!

Oh, wait a minute... it was an animal organ... part of an "art project."

Of course!...

False alarm, folks. But ya gotta stay vigilant. After all, Luka Magnotta fancied himself an artiste of sorts too, did he not?

What gets me is that they didn't have enough horsepower available at Ryerson to establish within five minutes what species that organ came from.

You'd think that would be job one before you send lurid headlines all over the land and beyond...

Another highwater mark for Western Civilization!

And not only that, but another proof that Canada is indeed at the very pinnacle of culture!

Yes, we are all proud, very proud, of 21 year old Lewis Kent, who has set a new world record for running and drinking beer at the same time!

Bravo, Kent!

Dropping names, dropping bombs, and why Obama needs to put US boots on Syrian soil

That indefatigable cheerleader for war, Bernard-Henri Levy, solemnly informed us this week that, make no mistake, we are at war with Islamic State.

"A new kind of war," no less.

And please note that this is not a war of our choosing; this war has been forced on the US and France and their allies. Yes, the sordid history of France in Algeria and America's serial wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have nothing to do with the emergence of radical Islam.

They hate us for our democratic values, our openness, our tolerance...

Even the great BHL seems to be vaguely aware of what a putrid pile of shit he has concocted here. Perhaps that is why he has perfumed this outrageously dishonest dung-heap of a call to war with no less than twenty instances of name-dropping:

 Leon Blum

 Elie Halevy

 Georges Bataille

 Michel Leiris

 Roger Caillois



 Carl Schmitt

 Saint Augustine

 Saint Thomas Aquinas

 Victor Hugo

 Paul Claudel




 Mujibur Rahman

 Tariq Ramadan

 Abdelwahab Meddeb


 George Pitt-Rivers.

Wow! That's a staggeringly impressive level of erudition on display in one relatively brief essay! How is it possible that such a brilliant narrator could be lying to us?

And fear not, BHL already has a road-map to victory in the war that the forces of darkness have forced on the Nations of Virtue.

Yes, they've got us cornered, those "fascislamists" do, and we freedom-loving peaceable nations who have been ravaging and plundering and humiliating the Islamic world for generations have no choice but to fight a merciless war for our very survival...

And the very survival of Western Civilization depends on Mr. Obama putting American boots on the ground.

Now! least according to that philosopher, war-monger, and imbecile-at-large, the esteemed Bernard-Henri Levy.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hard times in Montenegro

Things haven't been going all that great in the tiny statelet of Montenegro. Seems the locals have been camped out in the capital Podgorica for weeks, demanding the resignation of Dictator for Life Milo Djukanovic. They're demanding an end to "corruption and nepotism." Apparently Milo is famous for it.

Yup, things have gone mostly downhill since the triumph of capitalism and democracy in the former province of Yugoslavia. In fact, things are so bad that a lot of folks are joining the great trek to Europe that has been passing through Montenegro on its way to Germany. That would be the great migration from Syria and Iraq and Pakistan and Afghanistan you've been reading so much about.

But thankfully, it's not all bad news out of Montenegro. The website recently reported that the latest phase of Peter Munk's ultra-posh Porto Montenegro development has sold out! That's the little real estate development Barrick Gold founder Peter Munk took on as a legacy project a few years ago.

Munk has taken on a few partners since I first wrote about this venture, and according to the Wikipedia page for Porto Montenegro, they're quite the crew of heavy hitters: Bernie Arnault, a couple of Rothschilds, and Russian super-mogul Oleg Deripaska.

Now, here's what's puzzling me. On the one side, you've got a country wherein the locals are rioting in the streets in a desperate attempt to drive out a corrupt government. Their assessment of the level of corruption could have some merit; Transparency International ranks Montenegro right behind Romania, Senegal, and Swaziland on their corruption index. On the other side, you've got operators long accustomed to doing business in some of the most corrupt environments in the world.

That makes me wonder about a quote that originated in the Globe and Mail and was included in one of my previous missives about Porto Montenegro;

Thanks to Mr. Munk’s adept political skills, fill-ups at Porto Montenegro are about half the price it would be elsewhere in the European Mediterranean. That’s because Mr. Munk negotiated a sweet deal with the Montenegrin government that allows yachties to avoid fuel taxes and excise charges. As a result, big yachts from all over the Med find that it pays to tie up at Porto Montenegro. 

My question is this; a "sweet deal" on yacht fuel has cost the Montenegro treasury millions every year. Was this sweet deal the result of Mr. Munk's "adept political skills?"

Or was it the result of something else?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pop culture

So it has come to this;

Flogging the Wogs some more will truly make the Terror stop...

Those wretched Mohammedan imbeciles just cannot get it through their thick skulls...


That's "we" in the Nations of Virtue, known in Wogistan as "those folks who have been bombing us to ratshit for 100 years."

There's a horrifying abundance of "journalism" on view across the spectrum today advocating more bombing of Muslim nations.

I can't imagine why they hate us... lets see; we tried to bring them democracy and freedom in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in Libya. They should be thanking us three times over!

Not even to mention our tremendous efforts in Syria!

No, those Muslim ingrates instead want to bring terror to Paris...

What the fuck is wrong with those people?...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hate and Terror

Mainstream news platforms across the Western world were still crowing about the death of "Jihadi John" by US drone strike when reports began to filter in about the Paris terror attacks.

And while the blood on the sidewalks of Paris was still congealing, President Hollande was vowing "ruthless retaliation" for these "barbaric" attacks.

So what good can possibly come from Hollande's ruthless retaliation? Does he not recognize that what happened in Paris today was also retaliation? Does he not recognize that the "barbaric" assault on Paris today was nothing more than a response to the barbaric assaults that the Nations of Virtue have inflicted on the Islamic world non-stop for decades?

Is he entirely ignorant of the barbaric conduct of France in its war on Algeria?

Western leaders seem to suffer from a plague of memory loss and simple-mindedness.

We have for generations been bullying and humiliating the Arab people. We have destroyed entire societies, cultures, and nation states. Millions in those states have died resisting our efforts to teach them the niceties of "freedom and democracy."

So another bit of the inevitable blowback bites hard in the heart of one of the Nations of Virtue, and yet again we are treated to the totally predictable over-reaction.

"Ruthless retaliation" will accomplish what?

Tevye had it right all those years ago; if you persist in going down the eye-for-an-eye road, pretty soon it's just gonna be a bunch of hate-filled blind fucks firing missiles at each other.

There must be a better way.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Did you know that while the totally redundant Keystone XL was hogging the headlines, 12,000 miles of new pipelines were built in America?

And you rarely heard a word about them?

Google it.

Arthur Topham, B'nai B'rith, and the dance of mutually profitable anti-Semitism

Arthur Topham and thousands like him need the likes of B'nai B'rith desperately.

And B'nai B'rith needs them just as desperately.

On the one side, you've got obscure bloggers vying for attention. Well, by golly, you can easily score a whack of that with a bit of Jew-baiting.

On the other side, you've got the eternally vigilant anti-anti-Semitism industry forever on the lookout for the slightest whiff of you-know-what...

Both sides are glorying in their most recent confrontation in Canada.

Maybe the media big-boys are right in ignoring the entire lot of them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why is the Arthur Topham trial invisible in Canadian media?

This is an important enough case that you shouldn't have to go to the fringes to hear about it. International "A" lister Gilad Atzmon was even in town to testify as an expert witness.

Atzmon is on at least two "A" lists.

World class jazz musician.

World class pain-in-the-ass to the Likudniks.

How does his presence escape the notice of Global/CTV/CBC, the National Post, the Toronto Star, and the national newspaper of record, the Globe and Mail?

Forty acres and a mule: the remix

Hey Dad, I was just kidding... really! What do me and the Farm Manager want with a place that has five effing bathrooms?... not to mention that the Farm Manager claims everyone of them is in need of an update.

Not that I would have noticed.

But seriously... five bathrooms? We're at a place where we're looking to scale back, not scale up. The last "Junior" is filling out his on-line university applications as I write these words. A year from now every dog and cat at Falling Downs will have a room of her own. (And they are all "hers" now that I think of it.)

No, we're kinda keen on a one bed one bath deal. Otherwise we'd be getting dangerously close to that ordeal I was once forced to endure when the mother of a couple of those "Juniors" hired in a cleaning lady. This was concurrent with her demand that I take time off from running my imaginary real-estate empire to "help out" at home after the arrival of our second child.

That imaginary empire was hemoraging ten thousand all-too-real dollars a month at the time, but I was supposed to sit on the couch and watch a baby sleep. I felt rather strongly that this was not a positive use of my time, given that things were rapidly careening towards bankruptcy court, but WTF, in this corner you've got reality, and in that corner you've got a nagging wife... and in the middle I'm sitting on the fucking sofa and lifting up my feet so the cleaning lady can vacuum?

But I digress.

Forty acres and a mule. Apparently I appropriated that meme inappropriately the other day, according to folks who have spent too much time in the too-bright sunshine of Political Correctitude.

Sorry. Didn't intend that. I didn't even realize the extent to which "forty acres and a mule" had morphed from broken promise to "meme" over the last 150 years. Hell, I'm not even sure what a meme is...

So, duly chastised, I read around a bit. I think I basically got it right. Wave that meme around and you're talking about broken promises.

Found out some interesting facts.

Did you know that in 1910 African-Americans owned 15 million acres of farmland in the US? Not from some government program, but from buying it on the open market.

And did you know that today African-Americans own half that amount, even though there are four times as many African-Americans today as there were in 1910?

And did you know that after all that big talk during the Civil War years about African-Americans getting the land they'd worked as slaves, in the end, virtually all of it was handed back to the white plantation owners by the victorious Union side?

Yup... that fight to end slavery didn't really end all that well for the former slaves.

The lucky ones became "wage labour."

Which brings me back to that cleaning lady. She was "wage labour" too. And by employing her, that made me what?...

I'm not sure, but as a general rule, I like to think I can clean up after myself.

On the other hand, in the early years after my folks got off the boat at Pier 21, my dear mother worked as a cleaning lady. They were getting a start in the new world, and they needed the money.

Thank God for the toffs and wankers too precious to clean up after themselves!

Monday, November 9, 2015

40 acres and a mule

Yup, that was the promise held out for the black folks who signed up for Abe's war on the Slave States.

It was only much later that those black folks realized that was all hokum...

They had another hundred years to go just to sit at the same lunch counter as their betters!

The forty acres and a mule part was pretty much forgot...

But I've got a chance at forty acres right outside the Guelph town line! The mule I can always pick up later.

This is a property that once belonged to the Hassan family. Good local farming folks, although now that I think about it, that name doesn't blend in all that well with the Fairs and the Cards and the McMillans and the rest of the Anglo-Scot pioneer mafia.

I have a personal connection with this place. The property for sale today was built when the old homestead burned down. I remember seeing the old place ablaze from the school-bus window. I recall my dear daddy organizing a bit of fund-raising on behalf of those poor folks.

They were into Black Angus cattle, and they used to have some connection to a herd owned by the Toronto Reichmann family. One of the Reichmann boys was seriously into purebreed cattle. Apparently a Hassan bull was humping all the Reichmann cows and the ensuing calves did not have the appropriate pedigree.

Or something... anyway, lots of lawyers got Muskoka summer homes out of that quibble...

So I'm eye-balling this Hassan place, which is on the market for a mere $900k...

Hey Dad, why don't you do something nice for me before you go to that big refugee camp in the sky?...

Calling Sister Midnight again...

Hello? Anybody home?..

Just spent an half hour listening to an old Iggy concert from 1986.

Half an hour was enough.

One thing I gotta say for this modern technology is that it woulda way fucked me up in my youth.

What? You can just go on the computer and check out any concert ever? Like Iggy in '86? Or the Rolling Stones in '64? Or '69? Or last summer?

Or Led Zep in that blistering summer of '69?


Thank God we couldn't do that then!

That woulda completely fucked up my hitch-hiking trip to New York City.

Yup, I was heading to New York City. Well, sort of... I was really heading to Max's Kansas City, because by my juvenile evaluation of the matter, that's where the action was.

And when you're 19 years old, you're looking for the action.

So I was hitch-hiking to New York City!

In those pre-google-map days I figured that was about 500 miles from my house.

It was winter.

It was cold.

I hate to admit it, but by the time I got to College and Hanlon, which took about three hours, and I was still 497 miles from New York City, my ardour had begun to abate.

Which is another way of saying my NYC boner was going soft.

I knew some folks just a couple of blocks up College Ave.

And it was really cold...

Yup, I aborted my run for fame 497 miles from Max's Kansas City.

Walked over to my friend's place a couple blocks west on College Ave.

Waved goodbye to my dreams forever...

But!... had I done that trip in August instead of January... who knows what mighta transpired?...

Florida cop takes irony to new heights

Seems when Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Szeliga showed up to get his award from MADD last month for bagging 100 impaired drivers, there was a wee problem. Yup, Deputy Mike was too shit-faced to accept the award!

Not only that, but he apparently skipped out on some mandatory training to play "the cornhole bean bag game" by the pool.

Huh? If that's anything like what it sounds like, I'm not sure they should be playing it poolside at the Hyatt Regency. I know we're well into the 21st century and all, but by golly, I would have thought the management would have said something.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. Deputy Mike claimed he only had "two or three" drinks... wonder where he's heard that one before? And in spite of a 274 page report which cast more than a little doubt on that claim, he has been promoted to Detective!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The King of the "New Philosophers" is nothing more than a shill for the sinking Empire

It would be easy to dismiss Bernard-Henri Levy as a vainglorious douchebag, but he's a douchebag who still has a lot of schlep. The great BHL, as he styles himself, took credit early on for the liberation of Libya. Given how that triumph has worked out, one can only marvel that any reputable news platform would bother to publish his ruminations viz the latest Nations of Virtue operation, the liberation of Syria.

But there he was the other day, in Canada's national newspaper of record (and no, that's not the National Post), waxing wise on the whys and why-nots of the crusade against Assad. The paper earnestly informs us that BHL is a founder of the Nouveaux Philosophes movement.

Wow! Guess we are meant to be mightily impressed!

BHL's essay begins with a couple of highly speculative assertions presented as facts in the first paragraph, and goes downhill from there. Hey, he's a philosopher, not a journalist!

Here's one of the few real working journalists still working the Syria file, Patrick Cockburn, contradicting most of what the great BHL has to say.

So who are you going to believe?

Friday, November 6, 2015

The million dollar Ai Weiwei challenge

Chinese artiste Ai Weiwei (#aiww) has been getting major face-time in Western media because the Lego folks denied his request for lots of free Lego blocks.

That's resulted in a tsunami of free-Lego-block offers from the gullible public across the Western World.

That's a great PR coup for Aww, but it doesn't change the fact that Ai Weiwei is a fraud and a charlatan.

Let's take a step back to Ai Weiwei's last big burst of mainstream publicity, when he had that "Straight" show touring the major art markets.

That was when major galleries around the world were featuring a pile of reinforcement rods lying on the floor. That rebar symbolized the totalitarian Chinese government's lack of caring for the people who had lost their schools in the recent earthquake, because every single piece of rebar in that exhibition came from a school that had collapsed in that earthquake.


That was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

Here's your million dollar challenge, Mr. Ai Weiwei; let's find twenty linear feet of rebar that's been embedded in cement. (Remember, you straightened 70 miles of it for that "Straight" exhibit.) Lets hack it out of the cement and see how it piles up. I'll pay you a million dollars if it looks anything like the exhibits you had on display in Toronto and Venice a couple of years ago.

You're right, I don't have a million bucks, but I'm in no danger whatsoever of losing this bet.

The reason Lego isn't giving you free Lego blocks is because they know you're a fraud.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Patriotism for rent; the Pentagon payola scandal

I was always impressed by those US Air Force flyovers that you see at the beginning of every NASCAR race, usually between the anthem and "gentlemen, start your engines!"

That is so cool! Right on cue a squadron of F-18s or a stealth fighter swoops low over the track! Those patriotic NASCAR owners must pay a fortune for that blood-stirring fly-by!

Or so I thought.

Turns out I was wronger than wrong; those owners don't pay a dime. In fact, the US Air Force pays them!

And it ain't just NASCAR. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and even the lowly National Hockey League have trousered millions in Pentagon payola to demonstrate their "patriotism."

Yup, the taxpayer forks over big bucks so that the billionaire owners of America's sports-entertainment complex can dazzle them with demonstrations of taxpayer funded military technology.

That's not patriotism...

That's disgusting!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The dubious prospects for "International Development"

Back in my U of G days, I was very briefly and very peripherally involved with the "International Development" programs at that school. What I concluded from that brief and peripheral acquaintance with the so-called development community was this; the Third World (as it was known at the time) would be way better off if we First World arrogant know-it-alls would just stay home.

Nothing I've seen since has caused me to change my mind.

Here's an essay by Helena Norberg-Hodge on view at Counterpunch that spells out the rationale for my point of view way better than I ever could.

Old stock Canadians shocked as guy in turban becomes Minister of Defence

The Pothead unveiled his cabinet today, and the tut-tutting in your finer old stock neighbourhoods could be heard even here on the wrong side of the tracks.

A native woman as Minister of Justice and Attorney General? Get outta here! After the decade of palpable disrespect Canada's native people endured under Harper, I'm guessing this is Trudeau's way of signalling a new attitude in Ottawa.

And get a load of our new Minister of Defence:

Image result for harjit sajjan

No, this ain't Harvit Sajjan's Halloween kit; it's his "I did three tours in Afghanistan" kit. Yes, we've certainly had CF guys as Minister of Defence before, but not a guy with serious time at the pointy end. This is a man whose military career was spent firing off bullets, not memos.

Overall, the think tank here at Falling Downs gives the Pothead's first cabinet a thumbs up. Let's hope they can turn this ship around...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

TransCanada pulls plug on Keystone pipeline

For now.

What this (probably) really is; a bunch of suits deciding that this controversial pipeline intended to bring Koch tar sludge to Koch refineries ain't gonna go nowhere with Obama in the big chair. After all, they've pissed away enough millions pissing into the wind on this one. Better to wait for a more pliant ass in the big chair, and try our luck again.

What I'd like to think it was; three vice-presidents and a couple of their executive assistants sitting around a board-room table after a meeting. The meeting is over, but these characters remain.

VP1: Well, I guess that's over.

VP2: Ya, no shit. Here, let's fire one up. (pulls vintage cigarette tin out of suit jacket, opens to reveal buds and rolling papers)

VP1: Ya lets... I'm so fucking glad that's over.

VP3: No shit! Ya know, we gotta get our heads around a new way of doing shit. I for one am happy to see the end of this Keystone shit... Amy, (to executive assistant) why don't you fetch a few Heinekens out of the fridge in the executive dining room...

ea1: right on!

VP3: And Bjorn, (to executive assistant 2) go turn off the surveillance, would ya mind?

ea2: right on!

VP1: Ya know, this was bullshit all the way down the line. It ain't gonna be good for anybody. Not good for the locals, not good for the Nebraska ranchers...

VP2: (having fired up a fattie...) here... this is good shit. Ya. This wasn't good for anybody except the Koch boys... phewwww... they're the only ones who.. cough, cough... they're the only winners on this one.

VP1: Ya, (long pause as he inhales) we gotta figure out a better way.... (longer pause)

ea1: I cleaned all the Heinies out of the fridge boys! Found 18 of 'em!

VP3: Whoa! Brilliant work, Amy!


Headline in Globe and Mail next morning: TransCanada announces major head office shuffle.

Harper's Putin-bashing on the election trail was an epic fail

The so-called Ukraine crisis has pretty much been run off the front page by the ISIS crisis, but I'm sure you recall Putin's "annexation" of Crimea and his "invasion" of the Donbass region. The reason you remember is because Big Steve put a lot of electoral eggs in his anti-Putin basket, and our media never tired of retelling the same tired tale; we have to stand up to Putin's quest for world domination. Yup, Bad Vlad was trying to rebuild the Soviet Empire for sure...

Serious people understood all along that Harper's jingoistic rhetoric was aimed squarely at the Ukrainian Canadian vote in the upcoming election. Apparently the Conservative Party brain trust was convinced that third and fourth generation Ukrainian Canadians would reflexively vote Harper if the anti-Putin slanders were loud enough.

Alas, it was not to be. Not that the rhetoric wasn't loud enough, or that Harper's grand-standing (remember Australia?) wasn't silly enough; it was simply too silly. In the end, the Conservative showing in Ukrainian Canadian ridings shrivelled mightily.

The other so-called ethnic vote Harper was excessively pandering to was the "Jewish vote." That was probably something that went beyond mere electioneering considerations. If you look at the agenda of the Alliance Missionary Church types who were heavily over-represented among Harper's inner circle, it's not hard to see the "Christian Zionist" sub-text that permeates their ideology.

Nevertheless, there can be no question that the Harper gang was aiming for a sweep of the most populous Jewish ridings with their incessant pro-Likud rhetoric. How did that work out? Not so great. Three out of four went Liberal.

Why? Those "Christian Zionists" made the mistake of assuming that every Jewish Canadian automatically supports everything the government of Israel does. When the government of Israel is in the hands of a racist settler clique, there are many many Jewish Canadians who have grave reservations about giving unqualified and unquestioning support to the state of Israel.

Harper's politics of division went far beyond Ukrainian and Jewish Canadians of course. It was native against non-native, old-stock against immigrant, old immigrants against new immigrant... wherever the Harperites found a fissure to bang a wedge in, they went for it.

On the other hand, Trudeau built a campaign around inclusivity and tolerance, and Canadians bought in big-time.

Maybe there's hope for this country yet.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Usual morons pushing Trudeau into "confrontation" with Putin

We finally rid our nation of the Big Steve contagion.

We have a chance for a reset.

An economic policy reset.

An immigration policy reset.

And a foreign policy reset.

Remember when Bullshittin' Baird shuttered our Tehran embassy?

Well wasn't that helpful a couple years later when all our NATO allies had a hand in shaping the Iran Nuke Deal?

And we didn't.

So Big Steve has been bumped into the bin, and we've got the new guy, and still we have the usual morons salivating over the prospect of a "confrontation."


Sunday, November 1, 2015

The wily Erdogan's civil war gambit pays off

After failing to win a majority in the general election of 7 June, the wily Erdogan was faced with a stark choice; form a coalition government with one of the opposition parties, or plunge the country into another election campaign. Erdogan chose the latter course.

Then he stole a crucial chapter out of Netanyahu's playbook.

Bibi has long known that there's nothing the voting public likes more than a tough guy at the top in turbulent times. And, if perchance the times are insufficiently turbulent... well, the guy at the top is perfectly placed to ratchet up the turbulence, is he not? A well-timed provocation or two, and whoopsie!... the obliging "terrorists" are only too happy to unleash Armageddon...

Enter the strongman!

Unlike Netanyahu, Erdogan was triply blessed with terror threats. At the time of the 7 June election, a two-year peace with one of those threats was holding, the war on the Gulenists was, at least at the moment, muted, and Erdogan was actively nurturing the third terrorist threat, the Islamic State.

Post 7 June, Erdogan cranked the turbulence knob to eleven. He declared the truce with the Kurds over, declared war on Islamic State (who conveniently obliged him with two deadly terror attacks on Kurdish groups in Turkey) and declared all out war on the "parallel state" of the "terroristic"  Gulenist network.

To impress upon the electorate the importance of a strongman at the top, Erdogan pushed his country to the very brink of civil war.

And it's worked!

Alas, it may not have worked well enough. While today's election delivered enough votes for single party rule, it did not deliver enough to allow the AKP to make unilateral changes to the constitution.

You know what that means... between now and the next election, the turbulence will need to be cranked even higher.

Dire times for Turkey.

Black students veer off script, demand reinstatement of white police officer

Well, here's an unexpected development; students at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina staged a walk-out on Friday to protest the firing of school resource officer Ben Fields.

Fields is the guy who shot to international notoriety earlier in the week when video emerged of him man-handling a female student who was guilty of refusing to put her cellphone away or something. Frankly, that struck me as wildly over the top, but what do I know? Maybe that's how they roll in South Carolina?

Anyway, brace yourself for a bevy of indignant essays on "false consciousness" and "internalizing the oppressor" as the professional activist class gears up to denounce the unseemly spectacle of black teens standing up for a white cop.

Reverend Al is no doubt on his way to talk some sense into these kids...