Wednesday, November 30, 2016

IGGY: the downward spiral never ends...

Everybody who ever loved Iggy in the old days loved him for a reason.

He was like fucking out there man.

Fucked up and fucking up in front of your fucking eyes!

Now flash forward fifty years and see Iggy the Icon at a press conference in Cannes.

It's a fucked up world, but Osterberg is on top of it, baby.

Shocking Trump truth revealed!

Been reading all those truth-telling mainstream news platforms as hard as I can, and one thing I know for sure is that Trump triumphed by riding his racist bona fides to victory on the strength of pissed off white working class voters who hate black folks because... well, just because that's what those dumbfucks do.

Well, they're gonna be even more pissed off when they scrutinize these photos:

Image result for trump jesse jackson sharpton           Image result for trump jesse jackson sharpton

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Image result for trump jesse jackson sharpton  Image result for trump ali

Yup, that's your hero there, racist white working class dumbfucks! Aren't you sorry you didn't check Google Images before you voted? He's been palling around with those people all his life!

And while I don't mean to kick you while you're down, I think you can safely wave bye-bye to all that "drain the swamp" shit too. Have you noticed that his cabinet is coming pretty much from the professional politician class and the Goldman Sachs School of Not-So-Hard Knocks?

Doesn't look promising to me.

But what do I care? I didn't vote for him.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

ISIS to determine outcome of next presidential election in France

When you think of a typical Frenchman,  do you picture a hale and hardy ninety-year-old white dude pedalling his bicycle through the verdant countryside with a big bagatelle and a jumbo flask of red wine in the carrier, while puffing on an unfiltered cigarette?

Or do you picture an alienated young man with dark skin cooped up in an urban high-rise, wondering why this cradle of modern secularism renders him a second-class citizen even though he was born there?

That guy on the bike is a stereotype, to be sure. He's of that generation who engineered all those goodies that Michael Moore never tires of reminding us of. He landed a good job straight out of school and between the annual mandatory three months of holidays and being on strike six months of the year only did an actual 5.2 years of work before hitting the mandatory retirement age of fifty, and life's been nothing but red wine, cigarettes, and bike rides ever since!

That other guy is a stereotype too, but like it or not, the population of alienated brown people in France is growing rapidly, while that other stereotype is fading away.

It hasn't helped that Hollande the Hapless has, over his mandate, further alienated both of those groups. Which brings us to the next election.

The so-called "centre-right" candidate next April is to be Francois Fillon, it was determined today. Fillon isn't any more centre-right than the socialist president as near as I can tell. Seems to be a bit more hawkish on taking benefits away from that guy on the bike. If Fillon has his way that guy will be renting a room in that urban high-rise from a Muslim family.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Getting to know other cultures is always a good thing, but forcing old Jean off his bike and off his wine and ciggies is just going to create animosity. Maybe Jean will decide he'd rather die... maybe that's the plan? Getting all those old fuckers off the pension rolls would be a huge money saver, after all.

So, even though the mainstream press already foresee the April election as a show-down between Fillon and Marine Le Pen, I don't see either of our stereotypical Frenchmen having any reason to vote for Fillon.

Much will depend on who represents the French Left. While Hollande wasn't much of a "socialist," France, unlike the US, actually has a genuine left polity. Given the right candidate for the times, and the candidate will not be selected until January, it's possible to see that the greater showdown could be between the Left Front and Le Pen.

Hollande has been a complete disaster. In the first place, he's spent virtually the entirety of his mandate with his head up BHL's ass. It's fine to have presidential advisers, but when their advice is consistently and disastrously wrong, you can't just blame the adviser and walk away.

Given the right Left candidate, I can see both our stereotypical Frenchmen voting Left Front, as well as a goodly portion of the electorate who voted Hollande in 2012. That could keep Le Pen out and bring a genuinely progressive and inclusive party to power.

Which is where ISIS comes in. The Europeans in general, and nobody more enthusiastically than the French, have been co-conspirators with the US in the project to destroy the Muslim nations of the Middle East. Whether we're saving the people from their tyrants or eliminating their weapons of mass destruction or whatever gloss we want to put on it, we've been busy destroying the Middle East. That has created both an unprecedented refugee crisis and ISIS. Not hard to figure out that those two phenomena are mutually reinforcing.

Spare me the bullshit head-scratching about the clash of civilizations and why they hate us; they hate us because we've been stealing their stuff and killing their kids for generations. Ask that alienated young Muslim in that high-rise. He knows, even as the savants and the political elite pretend they can't figure it out.

So France is five months out from a presidential election and awash with refugees from countries the West has been "liberating." A certain unknown percentage of those refugees will be hard-core radicals. A much larger percentage have at least some sympathy for that hard core. Every time one of those hard-core radicals explodes in a French shopping mall between now and April, Le Pens polling numbers will spike.

That's how ISIS will determine who becomes the next president of France.

Is this fake news?

Took my usual Saturday jaunt into town yesterday to visit The Korean and pick up my copy of Canada's national newspaper of record, because I'm eager to keep up with the latest outrages of the president elect, don't you know. And there is no finer place to stay abreast of said outrages than in the pages of Canada's newspaper of record.

Is this because there is nothing newsworthy afoot in Canada? Maybe, although I see where Justin has made himself newsworthy just for saying nice stuff about the recently departed dictator of Cuba.

The Korean had bad news for me; the Globe and Mail is sold out.

Shit! That only happened once before, and that was when I had an exceptionally late night on Friday and didn't get into town for the morning paper till six in the evening. Understandable.

So I drive to the other Korean variety store at the far end of town. Sold out there too!

Double shit! Can there be that many people in Wiarton willing to shell out over five bucks for the Globe and Mail? As a last resort I head for the non-Korean variety store. I try to avoid that place if possible. It's part of the global chain that's made some grasping Quebecois genius into a billionaire for consolidating the world's variety stores. They seem to keep two and sometimes three sullen min-wage staffers behind the counter at all times. I guess that's so they can spell one another off while they take turns updating their Facebook status. Or maybe they need two to spy on each other to prevent pilfering.

Give me a cheerful Korean family behind the counter any day. The only employees you ever see there are their children. A typical four year old Korean kid already knows how to work the till and make change, and accurate change at that, which is more than you can say for the typical min-wage high school graduates who work at the other place. I don't know how they get around the child labour laws, because the only other people who get away with putting children to work are the Amish, and in their case it seems to be a religious freedom issue.

Anyway, they're goddamned sold out of the Globe and Mail too, and all this before noon on Saturday. And by the way, I think Alain Bouchard should take a page out of Fast Eddie Burkhardt's management playbook when he decreed that only one employee was required to operate a train, because otherwise they'd just be distracting each other. Hey, if a single person can safely steer a hundred tanker Bakken bomb across the country, why does it take three to sell slushies at a corner store?

Thoroughly disappointed and doomed to reading the day's news on my laptop, I wracked my brain for an explanation for all three variety stores being sold out of the same paper on the same day. I guess there's just a lot of folks in town who wanted that paper as a keepsake to commemorate Castro's demise.

Reading around the world wide web 'o bullshit I found out about this new phenomenon known as "fake news." Apparently this is a nasty conspiracy hatched by Putin and his henchmen to rob our free and democratic Nations of Virtue of their freedom and democracy. And it's working!

That's why Trump is the president elect! Yup, fake news peddled by Putin's minions cheated Hillary out of her turn in the Oval Office, and that's how great civilizations are brought low.

It was while researching this fake news phenomenon that I chanced upon this remarkable video of CNN big Christiane Amanpour. In the past I've always thought CNN's so-called news was as fake as anything out there, but apparently not. Amanpour pretty much confirmed that professional journos are all that stands between our civilized society and a totalitarian state like our allies Egypt and Turkey. In fact, it's the professional journalists who are our first and last line of defence for preserving something she calls "American values." While she didn't spell out what those might be, she did mention that they're America's number one export.

Did you get that? America's values are an even more valuable export than American guns, bombs, and bullets! Who knew?

She also confirmed that it was indeed Putin's fake news that got Trump elected. No evidence required; it's just one of those "facts" we all agree on, like the previous bullshit about values being America's most valuable export.

I don't know what to think. I mean, does anyone really expect us to trust CNN to tell the truth? For my money, I think that old grouch Paul Craig Roberts has a far truthier take on fake news than does Christiane Armanpour.

Then again, his website has been officially designated as a fake news site. I read that on CNN.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The old hand jive

Spent a few hours honouring the classic rock geniuses for their contributions to civilisation this week.

YouTube is a beautiful thing. You can watch rock and roll shows that happened before you were born!

Wanna see Jerry Lee pound that piano in '63?

You can find a live concert on YouTube.

One of the all-time rock and roll standards has to be Hand Jive.

Search that one on YouTube and you'll find everybody from Otis to George Thorogood and Eric Clapton putting their stamp on it... doing that old hand jive.

That's all fine and dandy, but as far as I'm concerned, things went to the next level once and for all when Way-Out Willy gave them that treat. Yup, he did that hand jive with his feet.

And that, my friends, is a pretty damned good summation of the last seventy-five years of pop culture!

Random riffs & rants

Not that I want to draw too much attention to it, but we pretty much have a triple alliteration going on there, don't we?

A successful triple alliteration never fails to give me a boner, but that's just me, I guess.

I listen to the CBC news every morning, usually more than once. Not sure yet about this "David Common" character. Is this an actual person or did they make him up?

I can see the focus group in my mind's eye;

CBC suit; "So, can we think of a name for a on-air personality that would appeal to the commoner?"

Focus Group; "how about we give him a really common name... like Brian Smith or something?"

CBC suit; "How about Brian Common instead? After all, "smith" is a little too common..."

FG; Brian Common?... sounds too common.... how about "David Common?"


So now we got a guy allegedly named David Common reading our morning news.

Not only that, but this supposed real-flesh mensch seems to be a world class undercover media reporter!

I don't know if it's just me, but have you noticed that a lot of CBC news stories are now about CBC news? Like they found out that your local no-kill pet shelter fobs unpleasant pets off to the other pet shelters? As in pet shelters that may not be averse to killing your pet?

And just today I learned, thanks to a CBC task force headed up by, who else, David Common, that
marijuana today is not what it was when your grand-pappy smoked the weed 'o wisdom.


Get the fuck outta here!

Who knew?

Everybody at the CBC is shitting their pants because maybe, somewhere down the road, a right wing NDP or right wing PC or right wing Liberal government might say see-ya-later to the CBC.

That would be the kiss of death to real estate values in certain wildly over-priced Toronto neighbourhoods.

Be that as it may, we must riff and rant about the private sector too.

How about those PostMedia bigs getting six-number bonuses while the minions who put the words to the page are being axed in their thousands. Is that a great story or what?

As usual, things are far more flammable south of the border.

Did you hear that Donald Trump won the presidential election?


Get the fuck outta here!

But he did. Really.

The latest news on that story is that Jill Stein has collected enough cash in the last few days to be able to demand recounts in several borderline states. She has allegedly garnered more cash for this initiative in a few days than she did in two years for her own election campaign. Is there anything fishy about that story?

Of course not! At least not if you read that story on a mainstream news platform, where at least you know it's gotta be REAL news as opposed to the other kind.

So much to rant about.... so little time.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In the parade

Me and the Farm Manager were in the Santa Clause parade again, and I won't bore you with the details, except for this one.

The FM discovered that she had lost her debit card just before we were to embark the parade float. There ensued a hysterical search for said debit card inside and outside of our trusty ten year old GM SUV. I didn't pay all that much attention, because after all, it wasn't my debit card... but when we got back to the staging area an hour and a half later, the front passenger door was wide open, and presumably had been for an hour and a half.

It is indeed a warm tribute to the locals that nobody rifled through the vehicle, because I left my wallet with several credit cards that work in the centre console. When I say "credit cards that work" I'm talking about working well into five numbers.


But that's not why I'm remembering parades.

Parades were pretty cool when I was a little kid. My parents took me to many. I always loved the baton twirlers, and at some level I aspired to become one... just another broken dream in the big picture, I suppose.

My pal Mikey used to call ahead to reserve a parking spot when the Guelph Santa parade passed near my house (he had a couple of young daughters,) on one of the posher streets off Exhibition Park. I had the least posh house on that street, for what it's worth. Don't want to mess up my bona fides here...

But my favorite Santa parade of all time happened in the village of Mildew about twenty years ago. I was an itinerant welding instructor at the local high school, having recently retired from my actual welding career.

The wood-shop guy at the school had fashioned a very nice creche scene on the back of a heavy equipment float lent to the school by a local contractor. We had a rustic little lean-to shack in which we had the baby Jesus in the cradle, and several actual live lambs seconded to the parade by the local farmer community.

Things went south early on. We were sitting in the staging area, baby Jesus and the lambs and my children, when my daughter says to me, "hey Dad, the elves are drinking beer."

We were parked beside the Snow White and the Elves float, sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. I looked over, and sure enough, the Elves were indeed drinking beer! The parade float was populated with local yokels sporting elf masks. If you watched them at all, you'd see a mask go up and a beer go down... small-time hijinks in small-town Ontario!

We sat in the staging area for quite some time, watching the elves drink beer, because local tradition demands that the locals finish the "hangin' of the green" before the Santa parade starts. The hangin' of the green is where they festoon all the lamp-posts in town with green garlands and suspected Green Party voters.

Eventually the parade started and we took our place behind the drunken elves and immediately in front of the local Brownie troop.

Thing went swimmingly, as in we were swimming in lamb piss before we got two blocks into the parade. I pulled a lamb onto my lap as soon as we got to the appreciative crowds. What says "Christmas" louder than baby Jesus in his creche surrounded by baby lambs?

That baby lamb pissed all over me.

And lamb turds too.

Yup, these lovely lambs obviously had no bowel or bladder relief for at least three days prior to the parade.

But they were making up for it now!

I was determined to be a trooper for the Mildew Santa parade, so I sucked it up. Waved Santa-like at the adoring crowds while lamb piss saturated my jeans and lamb turds befouled the entire float.

We were, mercifully I thought, nearing the end of the parade route, when the miserable transmuted into the dangerous.

The wood-shop guy who had crafted the creche for baby Jesus hadn't factored in the clearance for low-hanging power lines, and as fate would have it, a block or two from the finish one of the roof timbers on baby Jesus' creche snagged one of those power lines.

I was sitting in the creche, lamb-piss-soaked and awash with lamb-turds, when I felt the entire baby Jesus shack start to tilt.

Oh my f-ing God!...

Baby Jesus was about to tumble out of His crib...

The lambs were panicking... which meant a deluge of more piss and shit.

The entire Jesus shack was going over....

And then, in the nick of time, that low-hanging wire pulled the offending plank right off the roof of the Jesus shack.

That resulted in somewhat of a bow and arrow effect. The dislodged plank, complete with six inch nails, became airborne. It sailed right over the heads of that Brownie pack behind our float and landed harmlessly in the street behind them.

That could have been headline news had things turned out otherwise.

We were lucky...

Best parade story ever!

Sarkozy's political resurrection dead on arrival

Poor Sarko! Maybe now he's run out of gambits to avoid facing up to those pesky allegations of Gaddafi connections that refuse to go away. At least we can hope!

As for the prospects of the French centre-right coming back after the ruinous reign of Hollande the Conqueror, don't hold your breath. Big Media claim that Juppe or Fillon can stave off Le Pen in the next election, but the think tank here at Falling Downs has another angle.

Hollande is a "socialist" in the same vein as Hillary Clinton is a "progressive." That is to say, not really. But the electorate in France has viable options that the US electorate never did when they elected Trump; genuine socialist presidential candidates well to the left of Hollande's pretend socialists.

We shall see.

Speaking of Gaddafi, that paragon of journalistic virtue, The Guardian, has an interesting story about Libya on view at their website today. Lots of juicy tidbits there, like the fact that the cumulative decline in Libya's GDP since we liberated them from their evil dictator has passed $200 billions. That's a lot of green for a nation of five million people to lose!

I found the article interesting in light of the "fake news" contrived controversy that's been swirling about recently. That's where, from what I understand, we the news consuming public must jettison our taste for alternative news sources and rely instead on the steady and reliable Big Media news outlets.

Like The Guardian.

I scoured that Guardian story end to end for some acknowledgement that it was in fact Sarkozy, Blair, and Obama who destroyed the most prosperous nation in Africa.


I did learn, though, that Libya is  "...the country the worst-hit by the political upheaval of the Arab Spring."

You see, it wasn't eight months of relentless bombing by the Nations of Virtue that destroyed Libya. It was the political upheaval of Arab Spring.

Thank God for responsible Mainstream Media!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump and the age of uncertainty

That's the title of the latest missive from the keyboard of Uri Avnery.

Avnery is a Jewish Israeli (as opposed to that 20% of the Israeli population who are not), now enjoying his tenth decade on God's good earth, who has been whinging about Palestinian rights almost from the day the modern state of Israel was invented.

Avnery was in fact a freedom fighter who helped shape the modern Jewish state. You know how it goes; one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist, and all that stuff...

I don't agree with Avnery on every position he takes, but I have the utmost respect for him. He foresaw issues fifty years ago that threaten to derail Israel's democracy today, if they haven't already.

He is once again right on the money in describing the rise of Trump as a new age of uncertainty for Israel.

Then again, when has Israel ever been about "certainty?"

The faux certainty of America's unquestioning support may be in question under Trump.


It's time that Israel stood on her own feet, that 20% non-Jewish population included, and carved out a future that is not in thrall to the whims of the latest US presidential candidate.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What we really mean when we say we're training foreign fighters

The Nations of Virtue have spent many years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of their own soldiers' lives bringing peace, prosperity, freedom, democracy, and stability to Afghanistan.

The result?

Afghanistan does not enjoy peace, prosperity, freedom, democracy, or stability, but the Taliban control more of the country today than they have since the first few glorious months after our invasion fifteen years ago.

That's why I'm ceaselessly amazed at how the public buys in when our political masters decide that while it's time to cut and run, we need to keep a few trainers back to train the Afghan Armed Forces.


If, over 15 years, we can't defeat a bunch of towel-heads in sandals wielding WWII era Soviet assault rifles, why would the the Afghans want us to train them? Shouldn't they get the Taliban to train their army?

I've always thought there's got to be ulterior motives. Like maybe keeping the ruling elite in power in those places where we train the armed forces of the ruling elite. They may be thoroughly corrupt and utterly incapable of delivering peace, prosperity, freedom, democracy, and stability... but hey, at least they're OUR bumboys.

That's why I found parts of Adnan Khan's story at Maclean's rather interesting. Especially this part;

But Canada’s relationship with the Zeravani also appears to be on shaky ground. While Zeravani commanders laud the contribution Canadian soldiers made during the Mosul offensive, they criticize Canada’s failure to provide the training and materiel they were promised. “The training they gave us was nothing new,” says Ato Zebari, the deputy commander of the Zeravani forces in Khazer. “We went through it expecting they would also provide us weapons. Then they promised they would set up a commando brigade of Zeravani. They said they would equip it and train it. That never happened.”

Seems our training is "nothing new." What they were really hoping for was weapons, weapons they didn't get. 

This isn't the first time the Nations of Virtue have lead the Kurds down the garden path, only to toss them to the wolves when it becomes politically expedient to do so.

Is Canada complicit in Kurdish war crimes?

On November 3rd Maclean's carried a story by Adnan Khan advising us that Canada's role in the Iraq war is "bigger than you think." Definitely worth a read if you're one of those Canadians who wonder what our troops and our tax dollars are accomplishing over there.

Four days later, Amnesty International came out with a report accusing the Kurdish fighters of committing war crimes in some of the Arab villages they've been helping the Canadians liberate, or we them.

That should raise some questions, wouldn't you think? I mean questions for the opposition in parliament and questions our ever-vigilant fourth estate should be pestering our political leadership with.

When Canada signed on (or more correctly, when our leaders signed us on) for this mission, the public was assured that our military would be well back from the front lines, "advising and training" the Kurdish fighters. It's since become obvious that they've been doing a lot more than that, up to and including taking the fight to "the enemy."

That's a conundrum, isn't it? Who exactly are our "enemies" over there? At the moment, our enemies are radical Sunni jihadists who nevertheless have some degree of popular support among the Sunni population of Iraq. Mainwhile, our NATO ally Turkey is fighting our allies the Kurds, and we are further allied with Hezbollah militias who remain on Ottawa's terror list.

Confusing? You bet!

Canada has zero strategic interests in the region, a fact that should have tempered our enthusiasm for for getting involved in the first place. Nevertheless, our leaders were after some strategic brownie points in Washington and Brussels, so there we are.

Are we complicit in Kurdish war crimes? We won't know anytime soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What makes a good restaurant breakfast?

Anybody can fry up some ham or bacon or sausages.

That's not what makes a good breakfast.

And believe it or not, it ain't the eggs either.

Mind you, there is a level of skill that I don't have that's essential to doing eggs over-easy.

Me personally, I can do eggs sunny side up. Once I try for over easy... well, that's generally where I decide to go for an omelette instead.

Flipping those eggs over on the grill is an art.

But any greasy spoon everywhere has found a minimum wage cook who can flip those eggs without breaking them. Which is why we like to have breakfast out.

What really makes or breaks a breakfast is the quality of the potatoes.

Those deep-fried potato cubes aren't fucking breakfast potatoes, OK? That's just crap!

We were shocked to be served those with our breakfast at the Green Door the other day.

Now to be fair, the server actually spilled flat out that they're not doing breakfast.

So why are you open for breakfast hours? They used to do breakfast, and they used to have real fried-on-the-stove-top potatoes on offer as part of it, as befits their stellar rep.

But now they don't have breakfast but they're open at breakfasty hours, and they've got a couple of breakfasty things on the menu, but they come with DEEP FRIED FROZEN POTATO CUBES!

No way!

The Top Notch still offers up real potatoes, but the last few times we've breakfasted there, they've been undercooked. That's almost worse than those faux fries masquerading as fried potatoes.

So today we ventured all the way up to Lion's Head for breakfast. Real fried potatoes! Properly cooked!

Trust me, it's worth the drive to the MaryDale restaurant. And now that the tourists are gone home, it's not even crowded.

The Globe and Mail: from Canada's newspaper of record to America's conscience

I'm a newpaper guy from way back. Not that I ever played any part in the business; I just like to hold a paper in my hands as opposed to reading my news off a screen.

The glory days for me were back in my U of Goo days, when the library there had the budget to bring in newspapers from all over the world. Real newspapers where you actually turned the pages. For me, a meaningful morning means (triple alliteration... nice!) a newspaper, a coffee cup, and an ashtray. It's a beautiful thing!

And although the world has gone digital, I still drive into town on Saturday to fork over a ten dollar bill to The Korean in return for a few coins and a Saturday Globe and Mail.

If you can only afford to buy one newspaper per week, that's the one you want.

Or at least it used to be.

Lately, I'm having my doubts. I've ranted before about how the US election has pretty much trumped Canadian news in Canada's newspaper of record. Today I naively figured that, since the election is over, maybe things would be back to normal. After all, there must be some Canadian stories that Canada's national newspaper of record could be focused on.


The front page is all about Trump. The entire Focus section, eight pages of what I expect to be the meatiest writing in the paper is instead eight pages about Trump.

Hey folks, can you get the fuck over it already! I'm not giving up a ten spot so I can read wall to wall Trump paranoia on a Saturday morning! (BTW, the only Trump story remotely worth reading in today's paper is John Doyle's column.)

This is Canada for fucks sakes!

And a lot of the anti-Trump diatribe that they're filling my paper with four days after the election is just crap. Take for example this howler from Doug Saunder's feature story in Focus;

...(Trump's) biggest advertising expenditure was a two minute November ad in which he describes a global conspiracy of meddling Jews manipulating the economy - an ad that the Anti-defamation League has denounced as resembling anti-Semitic propaganda.

I've seen that ad and nowhere does it mention meddling Jews. I get why the ADL claimed that it "resembled" anti-Semitic propaganda. That's what the ADL does, sniff out potential anti-Semitism, real or imagined, at every turn. It's their job.

I don't know why it's Doug Saunder's job to report ADL's musings as proof of Trump's anti-Semitism. I'm pretty sure guys like Bob Mercer and Sheldon Adelson aren't going to be funding anti-Semitic TV ads, and in fact the ADL story got a sharp slap-down from the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The ADL was out of the blocks early Wednesday congratulating Trump on his victory.

Not so the opinion makers at the Globe and Mail. No, they're still pouty. After their unprecedented call for American voters to reject Trump, they can't seem to let it go.

They have made themselves America's conscience.

Meanwhile, as I'm sitting in the truck leafing through my paper in search of Canadian stories, the Farm Manager comes out of the store and announces that the Toronto Star has Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen on its front page...

She said she would have bought the paper but she knew I already had the Globe and Mail.

Pity, that.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The other face of farming

Regular readers (hi Mom and Dad!) will appreciate that the think-tankers here at Falling Downs have long held our Amish brethren in high esteem.

When the inevitable nuclear holocaust blows away the infrastructure of modernity, our Amish neighbours won't give a fuck. What, their hydro's gonna go out?

There'll be no gasoline to power their horses?

See what I mean? It'll be business as usual for the bearded ones. That, by the way, is a great reason for cultivating working relationships with those folks. Could make the difference between starving to death and getting by on rutabagas and carrots that they otherwise were gonna plow under if the horses didn't eat them.

Then there's those other farmers, the modern ones. You drive past their places every day if you're out and about in rural Southern Ontario. It's nothing to see two or three or more green and yellow tractors parked in the barnyard. The big ones, with giant dual wheels on each corner.

Those puppies run around half a million per, and when you see a gaggle of them in one farmyard you know that farmer is tied in tight to the modern agribusiness pyramid scheme. That's where you go into shit-loads of debt to achieve the "economies of scale" that can make the payments on two million dollars worth of green and yellow.

You're only going to make those payments by buying into the latest round of Monsanto Frankensteinian cash-crop magic. It's a vicious circle surrounded by a slippery slope. One false move, one bad crop, or, God forbid, a hike in the prime rate, and you're outta there! Yup, you'll be out of the circle and down that slope quicker than you can find the nearest food bank, where, with a little luck, you might be able to find some sub-par carrots and rutabagas that will at least stave off starvation.

If you're lucky.

Then there's yet another face of farming.

Last weekend me and my old pal Kipling took a drive down to his dear daughter Amanda's place. We had an invite for breakfast.

Kipling was a prepper long before the word was invented. I recall in the great hysteria leading up to Y2K him putting five tons of potatoes in his cold room. I was there when we enjoyed the last of those potatoes in a nice potato soup around 2005 or 2006. And by the way, if you calculate your other ingredients carefully, soup is a really great way to disguise the fact that those five year old potatoes aren't all that fresh anymore.

Amanda is a hard-core organic farmer. No Monsanto shit on her one acre farm. Nope, she's got half a dozen different kinds of organic greens that she sells to the city folks at farmers' markets, and by God, she makes a living at it! Nor does she care if the prime rate goes up!

So, you can farm 2,000 acres and keep your ass in hock to the banks and the agri-chem consortiums.

Or you can grow a beard and join a cult and farm 100 acres with a team of horses.

Or you can do an acre or two of organic greens.

It's all farming, after all!

By the way, breakfast was awesome. Phil had to run over to the neighbour's to grab a dozen eggs that were so farm-fresh they were still warm from the hens sitting on them. The "pea-meal bacon" was the size of steaks.  Thanks for breakfast, Amanda and Phil!

That's the other face of farming.

How hard are you gonna work at draining the swamp once you're the Boss 'gator?

My my, what a different Donald we've seen since Wednesday morning!

He's gone from out-of-control shit-storm to accommodating senior statesman literally overnight.

Look for Donald and Barry to share a round at one of Trump's golf courses any day now. Don't be surprised if Big Bill and Bad Vlad are rounding out the foursome.

That first meeting between the President and the President elect went just swimmingly, didn't it? Donald has since ventured that there may be a thing or two about Obamacare that he might take another look at before he tears down the entire edifice.

I'm guessing he'll take another look at locking "her" up as well. I'm guessing Donald and Barry spent a few minutes tossing that one back and forth at that meeting...

B: So you can't be serious about going after Hillary.

D: It would break my heart, but I made a promise to the voters... look, it would give me no joy. I've been friends with the Clintons forever, but business is business, and a promise is a promise.

B: I hear ya Donald. Whadya say I pardon her before I move out... that'll take the heat off you.

D: Appreciate it! (fist-bump)

I don't hear any back-pedalling about the wall yet, but I'm guessing that's on its way. After all, there's been more Mexicans heading home these past few years than there's been heading north. Why spend billions building a wall that's gonna slow down that process?

Looking at the action on Wall Street since Wednesday morning, seems the big dogs in Neverland didn't take long to make peace with the President elect. Ya, we poured a shit-load into Hillary's campaign, but why cry over spilt milk?

Go Donald!

How can we help?

And I think you can safely pitch that "drain the swamp" thing into the dustbin of history. Draining the swamp isn't nearly as appealing once you're the Boss Alligator.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wish I'd thought of this...

Can't remember where I ran across this, but congrats on a job well done, whoever you are!


Pot-addled hillbilly correctly calls election ten months out

Back in February I gave the crystal ball a gentle rub and found myself inspired to pen this gem; Trump will bury Hillary in November.

And so it has come to pass... and I think we pretty much nailed the reason; Main Street America is utterly fed-up with "the establishment," and Big Media are far too out-of-touch to recognize that fact. For the most part they don't seem to have had any significant burst of recognition right up until this morning when they read about the Trump landslide in their morning papers.

It's not that individual journalists don't see the suffering of Main Street America, it's that as an institution media has long since become part of the establishment. Establishment bullshit becomes incontrovertible fact that no longer needs to be questioned, because everybody knows it's true.

You know, like everybody knows free trade is good for us. Putin's aggression is an existential threat to America. Donald Trump is racist/sexist/homophobic, etc. These truths do not need to be proven and may not be questioned, certainly not by any j-school grad aspiring to an actual paying job with an establishment news platform. That would be career suicide.

Over time this results in an environment in which lots of media professionals reassure each other of the verity of their recycled insights by endlessly regurgitating the same shit over and over again. I'm guessing that's the frame of mind that set in over at Canada's national newspaper of record. Plenty of bright minds and quality writers on board there, but a week ago they found themselves advising the voting public in the US not to vote for Trump.

You've got all your mandatory Clinton camp anti-Trump smear points in one handy package that is at once outrageously presumptuous and embarrassingly unprofessional. There's not a single professional journalist at the paper who would find it appropriate for the New York Times to advise Canadians who not to vote for a week ahead of a Canadian election. Where did they get the idea this stunt was OK?

In the event, a week later the object of their derision is President-elect of the United States.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dear US voter; no matter who wins tomorrow, you've already lost

It's been quite the spectacle, this White House 2016 reality show, has it not?

For a nation obsessed with exporting its version of "democracy" relentlessly around the world, what we've seen for the last year or so should give everyone pause.

In the red corner, we have a septuagenarian reality-TV star running on no platform whatsoever other than the slogan "make America great again." One pithy slogan does not a campaign platform make.

In the blue corner, we have a septuagenarian career politician with more skeletons than closets.

This is the best American democracy can do?

Any journalism graduate toiling for the mainstream US media who remembers all that highfalutin twaddle about ethics and objectivity from their J-school days must cringe when they contemplate what they've been reduced to. Never before have big media been co-opted by a political campaign as thoroughly as the Clinton campaign has compromised them this year.

When Team Clinton is caught out dealing dirt to Bernie Sanders, our ever-vigilant guardians of free speech shift the discussion to Russia tampering with the election, and Clinton gets a free pass.

When the Clinton Foundation is exposed as a gigantic influence peddling machine, the story morphs into a fact-free harangue of Putin and his email-stealing ways.

Where during this endless campaign did you hear any real discussion about actual issues that face America? About the endless wars of choice destroying America's reputation and creating a refugee flood that threatens Europe.

About out-of-control military spending that's bankrupting the economy.

About the endless downward spiral of America's public education system.

About the 94 million working age American's who aren't working but don't count as unemployed.

About a health-care system that prioritizes profits for shareholders over health care for the sick.

About the crumbling infrastructure that's been allowed to continue crumbling by the Washington elite on both sides of the aisle for decades.

Aren't those the kind of substantive issues that a free press should be taking the political class to task over?

Instead, we've gotten endless speculation about Trump's tax returns and Putin's internet hacking.

America, you may yet have the most powerful military the world has ever seen, but the list of lands that want to emulate your corrupt and dysfunctional democracy grows shorter by the day.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

There is only one nation more exceptional than the Exceptional Nation

That would be Canada.

Don't take my word for it. Check out this exceptional scolding of the American electorate by Canada's newspaper of record...

Please don't vote for Trump. Vote for that grovelling toady to the banksters instead. That's something we here in the Great White North can believe in.

You have to love the tone of inherent superiority in that editorial. If there's one thing that marks us as Canadians, it's that all-consuming smugness vis-a-vis the USA.

You may be the Exceptional Nation...

But we're better!

We'd be outraged if the New York Times published an editorial exhorting Canadians not to vote for this or that candidate a week before the next Canadian election, but we can do it because... well, because we're that much more exceptional than you are!

Canadian media in general and the Globe and Mail in particular have neglected Canadian news to make room for acres of wildly biased coverage of the US election. Today the Globe found several pages worth of space to devote to the many connections that the Clinton machine has to Canada. The decision makers at the Globe seem to take a perverse pride in the fact that a mining financier from Vancouver is the single largest individual donor to the Clinton Foundation.

Yup, billionaire Frank Giustra has personally gifted over $100 millions to various Clinton "charities," and is so tight with big Bill that he'll loan him the use of his personal jet whenever Bill needs a lift. The fact that tin-pot tyrants in shit-hole statelets the world over shower Giustra with lucrative mining concessions after he shows up with Bill Clinton is just a happy coincidence!

Oddly enough, on the very day that the Globe publishes this paean to Clintonian virtue, the New York Times publishes this scathing take-down of Canada's mining industry.

We've got way more than that to be embarrassed about.

Let's get our own house in order before we tell our neighbours who they should or should not be voting for.

Scar tissue; America's "democracy" wobbles into the abyss

No matter who the putative winner is on Tuesday, democracy in America will have turned a corner.

The death knell sounded six years ago when the SCOTUS gave Big Money unlimited access to the election process.

That Supreme Court decision gave free rein to the Empire of Lobbyists. Money has always been integral to American politics, of course, but the Citizens United decision gave big money political donors the stamp of legitimacy.

And those big money political donors have obviously run with it.

Unfortunately, there are no big money political donors lobbying for America's working classes.

Big Labour abandoned the working class at least a generation ago, settling instead for a pat on the back from the establishment for being team players. Instead of fighting for American jobs, they settled for negotiating severance packages when American jobs were shipped willy-nilly to Mexico and China.

It was in fact Big Labour that originally created America's middle class. If you were a member of the Teamsters or the UAW in the sixties, you were middle class. You owned your home and had two cars in the driveway, and perhaps a summer cottage on a lake upstate somewhere. Your kids were going to post-secondary, no question about it.


The fact that the ersatz billionaire Trump is seen as the champion of the working class speaks volumes. It goes without saying that he'll not be able to bring back the middle class. If he is elected he is doomed to fail.

And Hillary? Maybe Hillary can keep the show alive for four more years; the same-old show where the rich get richer and the poor make do. But that will only last till the next election cycle, when the ground will be even more fertile for an even more virulent anti-establishment candidate.

In the meantime, expect to see the Exceptional Nation export it's toxic and dysfunctional version of democracy to more unhappy recipients around the world than ever before.

Friday, November 4, 2016

How the Clinton-Trump conspiracy to seize Washington fell apart

Image result for clinton trump

The think-tankers here at Falling Downs had the Clinton-Trump rivalry figured out years ago.

They're not rivals; they're BFFs!

Our ruminations have been confirmed by certain Podesta emails that reveal the Hillary camp was lobbying for Trump to declare for the GOP race long before he did.

That was nothing more than a bit of shit-stirring on the part of the Clintonites. Get their pal Donald into the GOP primaries, just to muck things up.

A funny thing happened on the way to mucking things up.

Trump started winning primaries over the lickspittles the Republican establishment had thrown up.

Neither Donald nor the Clintons ever thought that was a possibility.

But once it happened, Donald immediately saw that there might be more to win here. He's that kind of guy. Winning is everything. What happens the day after... well, that'll be somebody else's problem.

So Alpha Don got a wiff of victory, and instead of deferring to Hillary, per their initial agreement, he's gone full bore for the big prize ever since.

What's driving this is that Trump unexpectedly bored into the massive resentment of the deplorables who have given up on America's promise. They've given up on the American dream because America has betrayed them. That's an America that the establishment media seldom sees and never hears. I'll bet Trump never heard or saw them either until they showed up at his rallies in their thousands.

Four days from now they're going to make him the President of the United States.

What happens then is anybody's guess.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Say what?! Trump makes America great by sponsoring Toyota at NASCAR


Get the f**k outta here, Donald!

What's wrong with those old school American brands... you know the ones.




But noooooo!!!!!....  Team Trump is gonna make America great by sponsoring a Ty-O-tee!

Hmm... rings a bell... Toyota... hey, isn't that the preferred brand of the towelheads 'o terror?

The Clinton camp's gonna be all over this!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

After Assad, Duterte?

The Beltway Brahmins have been telling us for five years now that Assad has to go, and he's still there. Furthermore, there's every possibility that he'll still be there five years hence. The failure to affect regime change in Syria, however, isn't preventing the think-tankers and opinion makers in Washington from pencilling in the next candidate for regime change.

This time around it's President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines who's gone rogue. In the four months since his election he's been making all sorts of "anti-American" pronouncements, and America's ruling class has noticed. Check out the scolding tone in this Washington Post missive today; "...Duterte discovered this week that his actions have consequences."

Yup! Filipinos, from the lowliest expat maid to the President himself, occasionally need to be reminded of their place, don't they?

And here's Foreign Affairs chiming in with a polemic about Duterte's defiance. Different venue, same condescending tone.

And don't miss The Limits of Duterte's Anti-Americanism, on view at The Atlantic.

My favorite is the Foreign Policy hit job titled President Duterte's Crazy Drug War Is Just The Beginning. The sub-head tells the tale; the antics of this mad-man and his crazy shenanigans are an attack on the very foundations of democracy, don't you know! When you read that kind of rhetoric you know that calls for a humanitarian intervention to save the people of the Philippines won't be long in coming.

When those leading mouth-pieces for America's policymakers are singing the same song in unison within a day or two of one another, you know there's more at work than coincidence. Luckily, the Beltway Big-boys still have the Filipino military establishment in their pockets.

All Duterte has is a 74% approval rating from his people.

Alas, that won't be nearly enough...