snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
I know I said a long time ago when Agent Orange's foreign scandal broke that Ronald Reagan was spinning in his grave so fast he was generating his own magnetic field. After watching that cringe inducing cabinet meeting/Dear Leader love in/shameless bootlicking session I'm expanding that to every signer of the Declaration of Independence.

If this is the new normal for the Executive Branch then American democracy, at least as its generally existed for almost 250 years, is pretty much done.  Really only one question now remains.

Where did I put my popcorn? This is some seriously entertaining shit to watch, in a plane crash/mass casualty sort of way.
snowywolfowl: (Senators)
1. If you told me my team would come within a seventh game, sudden death overtime of eliminating the defending champs and going to the Stanley Cup final I'd have called you unforgivably optimistic. Well done on your season, Senators. Well done. :-) And good on you Craig Anderson on your upcoming Bill Masterson Trophy win. If you don't win then call the cops and report the robbery. :-)

2. Are there ANY members of Donald Trump's administration that aren't being investigated by the FBI or skewered by SNL? If I didn't know better I'd think they weren't very good at running the USA. At the risk of acronym overload this whole situation is a SNAFU of epic proportions that is becoming more FUBAR'd by the minute.

Ah for the good old days when a president giving the Russians classified intel from the Israeli's would cause the entire Republican party and its base to have a collective rage aneurysm. I miss you, Obama! :-)

3. The Ontario election is coming up and I'm voting NDP this time. I voted for Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals last time which wasn't a mistake per se in that it helped keep the Conservatives from power but....well, lets just say I held my nose, was proven correct in my concerns, and will vote for the NDP this time as a result. Assuming of course I don't get robo calls from the Conservatives misdirecting me to the wrong polling station so I don't vote. Such mischevious scamps, Conservatives. :-)

And for anyone who wants to ask "Why not just try the Conservatives" I'll just direct you to this article from Maclean's by Scott Gilmore, a Conservative Party of Canada member entitled "Confessions of a Self-Loathing Tory" http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/confessions-of-a-self-loathing-tory/ that pretty accurately explains why I have given up on ever voting for the Conservatives, at least in their current configuration. It's a good read and articulates the big problems the Right Wing in North America has that prevent it from being palatable to moderate centrist swing voters like me.

4. I read a story about a postal worker who refused to give a comatose woman CPR and considering their reason was "I believed she had fentanyl on her shirt" I don't blame them one bit. After reading about the horror stories, the stats for abuse in my area, and the lethality of fentanyl if I found someone passed out I honestly wouldn't touch them either. I may be for legalization of drugs with proper regulation but when the substance in question is so lethal it can kill people through incidental skin contact then that's well outside the spirit of that concept.

I wish I had an answer but that is one problem that is going to get much worse before it gets better.

5. I wish I had something interesting about me to say but I never do. That's probably never going to change.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
*Closes web browser after reading about Agent Orange's latest exploits*

Seriously, I have nothing. Ball is in your court American People.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
Ok. I'll admit that I'm not sure if this is just Sean Spicer being incredibly bad at communicating White House policy or if White House policy is starting to trend towards holocaust denial. Sadly considering Trump's staff both are plausible.

One thing I do know that Mr. Spicer clearly didn't about the difference between Assad and Hitler is this. Assad brings his chemical weapons to his victims in the streets. Hitler brought his victims to his chemical weapons in concentration camps. Whether that is an inconsequential or all important difference the fact remains that Hitler did use them and with a horrifying efficiency Assad can only dream of.

And no, I do not want Mr. Spicer to resign or be forced out. He's the perfect messenger to relay this nightmare's mix of horror and amusement.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
So don't get me wrong. I found the idea of a paying customer just being told "Nope, you paying for our service means nothing" to be both a sobering reminder that consumer protections are essential in a capitalist society, and that use of force needs to be reined in significantly in North America. But really, I found the video of the man being dragged down the aisle like a bag of trash, his glasses and dignity eschew, all bloodied up, to be funny in the type of dark, gallows humour way that lets me get through day after hopeless day.

And really if you look at it through that lens its freakin' hilarious, which is the BIG problem for United. After seeing them just randomly select someone for a complimentary beating in a time when you can't even get a drink without mortgaging your soul can you really blame me for wondering if their preflight safety briefings will now be starting with "Sit down and shut the f**k up, now here's how you put on your seatbelt"? Or to wonder if United will start a new anti-air rage campaign where they threaten to deplane problem passengers mid-flight? Again the sketch comedy potential of that makes me chuckle and that chuckle now has the name United.

Look I get the airline industry has very tight profit/loss margins, jittery passengers worried about terrorism, the TSA, drunk passengers, drunk pilots, worries about design flaws and system failures, lost luggage and of course, crashes. No one airline can stand immune from all that but geesh United went over and above to become the face of all that consumers dislike about flying and they did it with style. How they responded to it is now their brand and like I said, its hilarious.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
Regular readers of my blog have no doubt clued in that I really think Donald Trump is the most glorious joke of national leadership since Emperor Tiberious told his nephew Caligula that he was going to rule after him*. That being said, I have to give him credit for the invaluable legwork he is doing, legwork that will make it so much easier for his neo-nazi successors to finish the job of destroying American democracy.

Face it guys. If you don't have a free press that's able to freely report on government without being retaliated against, maligned, and excluded then you won't have a democracy for much longer. That's how it works.




*Legend has it that when Tiberius told Caligula he would rule after him Caligula asked "Is this a joke, uncle?" to which Tiberious replied "No, but it will be."  I'll leave it to you to decide for yourself if Trump's actions so far fall into the same category. As for me, I had my answer long ago.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
A Russian ambassador to a NATO country in one of the most volatile regions of the world has just been assassinated and Donald Trump is going to be in charge of dealing with the complex tangled mess.

All I can say is, Merry Christmas Everybody!

snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
As probably most people know Fidel Castro passed away and I find the reactions to his death interesting. Perhaps evenmore interesting then that are the reactions to the reactions. Lets just say I think it provides an interesting time to comment on the difficulties we as contemporaries have in objectively judging certain polarizing public figures and by just about any standard Castro fits that shoe all too well.

Lets face it. He was absolutely hated by the United States, both for nationalizing Cuban resources that the US made a lot of money from during the preceeding Bautista regime, and for his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. The CIA tried to kill him, Kennedy sponsored an invasion against him, and US immigration policy is well, lets just say "special" where Cuba is concerned.  His human rights record is dismal, and the Cuban economy is not booming by any standard.

And yet its possibly to see why he's held in high regard. In an era of Imperial America he was not only willing to stand up to the US, but he was able to do so successfully. Education and health care for Cubans rose in ways that likely would have been unthinkable under a pro-US regime, and his use of health care assistance as a foreign policy tool made Cuba an attractive friend to many places that found themselves on the wrong side of the US. The fact his Cuba was able to do it under an embargo that was of questionable merits in the past few decades only enhanced that stature.

So, how should historians see him? I think he will not be seen as hero or villain but rather as a complex man of a complex time, where things are not easily seen in the terms of black and white that people demand. I also don't think the people of my generation and older will get the whole picture as well because his final chapters have not yet been written. Raoul Castro is still alive, and even were he to die tomorrow the post Castro era would be a time of complexities and shades of grey to rival the times of their lives.

We should let that era come to pass and play out before we judge.

 
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
You do not live WITH fascists, neo-Nazis, and racial supremists. You live UNDER them, on whatever terms they and they alone dictate. And when you are are no longer able to suit their terms you CEASE living.

History is full of this truth. It doesn't take long for demonization to lead to genocide, especially once they have their hands near the levers of power like they do today.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
Lugenpresse!?! Souless golem!?! Hail Trump, with Nazi forearm salutes!?!

No. No. No. No. No.

NO.

Not acceptable. Not acceptable at all.

Its stuff like this that makes worries that Trump will start internment camps for Muslims and others a legitimate worry for so many people. Indeed, its stuff like this that makes America remind me of the Weimar Republic. They've already had a charismatic business elite mobilize fascist radicals to gain economic power and now we will likely get to see them lose control of the attack dogs to all our dismay. You can't just look directly at a camera and say "Stop it" after making demagoguery the whole point of your campaign. It doesn't work that way. It NEVER works that way.

So going forward I will not be using the term "alt-right" to describe this bullshit. Instead I'm going to call it what it is. Fascism, Nazism and White Supremacy. Ugly words yes, but the only words fitting for such ugly thoughts from such ugly souled people. "Alt-Right" implies some sort of alternative right wing philosophy, like "Red Tory" or "Reagonomics". Whatever one thought of those ideas at least they were legitimate ones. What this video showed was not and cannot be afforded the comfort of "oh its just a variation of classical conservatism".

As for the above point, I am not debating it. Trump is the Republican president elect, and he, and his party, have given voice to NAZIS. That is on him, the Republicans, and everyone who voted for the Trump/Pence ticket. Is everyone who voted for it racist? No, of course not and it would be wrong to even subtly imply it. There were a lot of legitimate factors that contributed to how the race turned out, and a more reasonable Republican candidate could have absolutely won against Clinton. But if a person only voted that way because they didn't like Clinton, or were just angry and couldn't be bothered to read up on who was supporting Trump, then they definitely helped create this problem and need to become part of the solution to protect the core values of Western democracy.

My niece and nephews, who are native born white Americans, deserve better than this, as does EVERY American, and citizen of the world, regardless of creed, faith, colour, ethnicity or whatever. I'd also like to think that my late great grandfather didn't spend several years of his life being terrorized on merchant ships in the North Atlantic by these Neo-Nazi's idols only to see his great grandchildren say "Ancient history, old man. Fuck it". If there was ever a time, a place and a way to honour the Greatest Generation than this is it. This is the time.

Don't let Nazism become Normal.

Please.
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
Namely how in the hell is Canada going to be able to work with the US with Trump in charge? Its not like we can ignore the US, with us being their largest trading partner, NORAD partner, and largest land border. Trump and Trudeau will have to figure something out but Jesus, if we thought George W. Bush was hard to work with...lets just say my mind sees a torturous next four years at least.

Now I'm not actually scared of renegotiations over NAFTA because negotiations go both ways. There are alot of things Canadians would demand as concessions from the US if it was reopened, and if the US walked away, well, there's always the Chinese and European Union markets that need our resources. Frankly I'd rather the economic hardship than capitulate to Trump and if that means getting closer to China, well, perhaps that's how it might have to go. That's assuming at Trump doesn't just invade and kill us all. This is Trump after all, a guy whose shown he can't be trusted with a Twitter account let alone launch codes.

Added to that last point is the fact that I don't know what Trump's exact relationship with Putin is and that is very worrying. As concerned as I am that a Trump administration will try to bully Canada I'm even more worried about where he really stands on NATO. If Russia invaded Canadian territory, would he respect Article 5* or would he just say "Meh. It's just business" and leave us out to dry? If I'm that nervous I can't even imagine what Poland or the Baltic States must think.

Well it is what is. I've always said that electing Trump would have serious consequences for the US's standing in the world and the US has to deal with it. Trudeau will no doubt try his best and maybe the realization that a Trump administration is not likely to be our, or any one else's friend will lead to some good developments outside of the US. At least it gives Canada a golden chance to show once and for all to the world that we are not just like Americans. Provided we can repudiate our own homegrown bigots who will likely be emboldened by this tragedy.

I'm tired. It was a long night. I'm going to bed.

*Article 5 states that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all NATO members. It's been invoked only once, after the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
So apparently some high profile Republicans have withdrawn their endorsements of Trump due to the revelation that he's a misogynistic person who frequently makes lewd comments about women.

Alrighty then. Fair enough. I wouldn't want to have to explain to my niece, sister, or mother my support for such a person. But why now?

I mean it can't be because he's finally insulted a group that they consider sacred to their political brand. He's insulted POWs who have endured torture and Gold Star families that have lost their children, both groups that I'd say rank higher than women on the current radar of North American conservatism. So it must be because they honestly had no idea that this is how he speaks when he's talking to media.

I guess that makes sense if in this reality Donald Trump is a relative unknown with no media presence.

That must be it. Now how do I get to my home dimension again?
 
snowywolfowl: (Senators)
Ok. I'm just going to start with the facts here. A gentleman in Ottawa, Jeff Weber, has been found Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) for a brutal hammer attack that fractured his victim's skull and left him blind in one eye. Now I am not going to second guess the psychiatrists, the lawyers, or the judge here because the whole idea for NCR is to get people like Mr. Weber the help they need so that they can a) be productive citizens, and b) not present a danger to themselves and others. I wholeheartedly support this concept. Prison is not a good place to warehouse mentally ill people who will in all likelihood come out even more damaged than they went in.

However....

This is Mr. Weber's FOURTH finding of NCR for a violent incident, which is believed to be a Canadian legal record. Clearly reintegration into the community is not working for both himself and the general public so as harsh as this may sound I hope they find him a good permanent fit in a secure psychiatric unit for the rest of his life. This is a man who has abducted people, been tasered by police, and now cracked someone's skull with a hammer. If he's out its clear its only a matter of time before he either kills someone or is killed himself. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing but sympathy for the hell he must be experiencing as a paranoid schizophrenic but he is dangerously non-functional. That's the whole point of being found NCR instead of guilty.


So lighter stuff from the World Cup of Hockey, which has been a bit of a yawner since Canada has steamrolled everyone in their path. Don't get me wrong, Team North America played fun hockey, the USA's collapse was interesting (and a sign of good things to come for them in the future, believe it or not), and Team Europe being the surprise of the tournament were fun story lines but there just hasn't been the drama previous World and Canada Cups have provided. So why am I posting?

Because I had to pick up my jaw after this goal against Russia. Seriously I could barely go between my legs playing basketball. Corey Perry does it on a garbage goal in ice hockey.

Damn. That was a nice goal. Seriously. Watch the replays.

snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
I'd say Clinton won on substance, as I expected her to, but do debates actually matter in a world of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media? That's the real question.
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
So let me get this straight. A candidate for the leadership of a NATO country wants the RUSSIANS* to conduct damaging espionage against his own country in order to score political points? This being on top of racist demagoguery, vile personal behaviour, a lack of policy specifics, and terrifyingly disasterous policies on major issues affecting the country (NATO, trade, the economy. etc).

Seriously, how is Donald Trump still a political thing? And why aren't those who spent eight years calling Barack Obama "not a true American" or more ominiously, saying he "hates America"**, not crawling over each other to rip Trump for this one?

Look America, the world is watching. If you want to elect the biggest political tire fire since Rob Ford was Mayor of Toronto that is your choice but it will cost your country deeply. That's not a threat, that's just facts. You'll alienate your neighbours (Canada and Mexico), Western Europe, other allies, cause more instability in the Middle East***,  and probably trigger a recession (which could go into a depression), all while ripping the social fabric of the country asunder. With those likely outcomes its not hard to figure out why Putin would probably love to have Trump as president.

Look, I get the blah taste Hillary Clinton leaves in people's mouths. She doesn't inspire me either. I've felt the same way voting for Kathleen Wynne as Premier of Ontario, and to a lesser extent for Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister of Canada. But I still voted for them solely because I did my research and their main opponents scared the hell out of me****. The leadership of a country is important, so important it needs to be done with a clear head, rather than from the darker depths of one's heart. When the country in question self anoints its president as "leader of the free world" then that decision has just a touch more gravitas to it. It was fine to laugh at Canada for having Rob Ford but he was a MUNICIPAL leader with specific limitations on the damage he could do to the country and world as a whole.

Trump will not have those limits so again, think carefully please.

After all, the world is watching.



*I have nothing against the Russian people but I don't want the Russian government interfering in a NATO country's internal politics. Historically that doesn't go well. Just ask the Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, Georgians, Ukranians, etc. I get that the Russians are probably attacking those systems already but to actually encourage them? Who does that?

**I get the "he hates America" thing. After all he did withdraw troops from middle eastern quagmires, stabilize a desperately injured economy, kill Osama Bin Laden, create a health care program that decreased the number of uninsured, and cry over innumerable gun slayings, all while respecting his political opponents flat refusal to do anything with him with dignity and grace. Sounds like a totally hateful SOB to me. :-/

***To be fair the Middle East was so screwed up by the Iraq invasion it will never be fixed in my life time. However given Trump's track record only a fool would think he'd improve it.

****Tim Hudak of the Ontario Conservatives economic plan was pure magic math, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was giving Richard Nixon a run for his money with the decisions he had made over his political career. My vote was nothing personal. I actually think he's a solid piano player and singer, and if I was trapped in a snowbank for twelve hours waiting for a tow truck it would be a great hockey conversation. Those are not reasons to vote for someone however.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
It just struck me that in my own life time I've seen Germany get back together, the Soviet Union come apart, Canada almost split, and Yugoslavia decide to just fuck it and kill everybody. Yet in all that time I'd never thought I'd see a scenario where the UK ceases to be the UK. That's just mindblowing and the new petition asking for a do over seems to indicate that I'm not the only one thinking this.

Frankly I figured I'd live to see a nuclear exchange long before the UK dissolved but hey, I've been happily disappointed every time so far in that prediction. 

Hmmmm

Jun. 24th, 2016 11:15 am
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
So the pound dove off a cliff, financial markets are deeply uneasy, and its possible that both Northern Ireland and Scotland might leave the UK. Somehow that seems like a loss for both sides in the long term but that's just my take. The decision was for the people of the UK to make and they have made it as they saw fit to do so.

All I can say is good luck and may God be with you. Now hopefully this doesn't inspire Quebec to try to destroy Canada again....
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
Those who read this blog know that I've pretty much given up completely on the Conservative Party of Canada providing me with anything other than face palms, cheap laughs and a constant sensation of visceral horror. However that's only on a good day which sadly today is not.

No, today is unfortunately a day where two Conservative politicians, Jim Hillyer (MP for Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner) and Rob Ford, (former Mayor of Toronto) have passed away.

In Ford's case especially it would be way too easy to make a snide remark, a lame joke, or even a hateful comment so since I've never felt that to be an appropriate response to someone's death* I'll let someone else on the Internet handle that. Rather I'm just going to say how sad it is for any 40-something man to pass away at such a relatively young age. Regardless of whatever a person's political stripes its a tragedy to leave family behind and dreams unfinished.

Condolences to their families.





*Not strictly true but generally I save the "He died? Awesome! I hope it was long and painful" for people who go above and beyond to earn such a response. Neither of these gentlemen ever came anywhere close to that threshold.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
What can I say? I've always enjoyed learning about periods in history where a country experiences dangerous mass insanity (like Rwanda, or the Khymer Rouge) and I also love dystopian art, literature and other media.  This video is just a perfect mash-up of those two interests.



So why did I post this? Well lets just say sometimes art can hold up a mirror to real life. And its a hell of a lot cheaper than building a wall with the US to try to protect Canada should Trump be elected.
snowywolfowl: (Owl face)
School should be a place of learning, not bloodshed. I'm sorry that wasn't the case today. Stay strong.

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