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: (Canadian Flag)
In a nutshell my thoughts on it are this. Its up to the Ambassador's country to choose who they want to send as the representative of their nation, and if they think Sarah Palin is the perfect embodiment of both America and its current Administration then its really not for me or any other Canadian to argue that choice. At least that's how diplomacy usually works although I strongly doubt that will be the case here no matter who they send.

I would however suggest she take language lessons in at least one of our two official languages so that she can speak one of them understandably. That's not a hack at her. I just expect an ambassador to be able to deliver news of an impending trade war or military invasion in a coherent fashion.

*shrug*
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
Kevin O'Leary, the bald mean guy from "Shark Tank" and "Dragon's Den" has entered the Conservative Party of Canada's leadership race and has floated the idea of selling Senate seats to those people able to afford them.

Really. I shit you not.

I'm going to hit the pause button so you can take a moment or two to digest the implications of people being able to outright purchase an office in a democracy, especially given the fact that dirty and foreign money can be laundered into legitimite revenue streams in any country, no matter how stringent their financial laws.

*hold music plays*

Alrighty then. I guess the easiest way for me to explain why I will never vote for the Conservative Party is that I just don't hate my country enough to deliver it into the hands of such people. Although to be fair to Mr. O'Leary I do appreciate him making it clear that the only citizens that would matter to him are those with money. I find the honesty refreshing actually.

Seriously between Kellie Leitch and her xenophobia and O'Leary Trumpism is making a strong push north.
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: (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: (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)
Everyone who reads this blog should have a good idea already of what I think of Donald Trump and his racially divisive, proto-fascist idiocy terrifyingly effective campaign but that's not what people want in the month of December.

We want STAR WARS!

So lets have both!

snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
I know some people may be wondering "Geesh Dave. You really have no respect for the Conservative Party of Canada at all. What makes you better than any random candidate they have? They are the pride of their party. You're just a fat, old, pathetic, underachieving, unlovable loser."

To which I must reply "That may all be true. But at least I'm house broken."



If the embed doesn't work here's the link to the story of the Conservative Party candidate peeing into some one's  coffee mug in their own home. And yeah, don't ask me where they find such people. This is the party of Rob Ford after all.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jerry-bance-marketplace-1.3217797
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
I just read that US presidential candidate Scott Walker feels that a wall to secure the US border from Canadians is a good idea and I fully agree.

Building a wall to keep Canadians from invading the US stimulates both the US and Canadian economies (the US through the money they spend on construction and maintainence of a 5000+ mile defensive line against an ally, Canada's by making cross border shoppers feel unwelcome, making them spend their money here instead of in dangerous lawless border wastelands like Northern Michigan (where consumer goods are often attractively cheaper and the people are disarmingly nice), protects America from uniformed Canadian forces (like NORAD, NATO, and hockey players), and gives us Canadians a 'beyond the wall' badass street cred typically reserved for the Mongol hordes, Picts, Jutes, and Game of Thrones characters.

Most importantly when the Zombie Apocalypse breaks out it will slow down the escape of Americans into Canada, turning the northern states into a private buffet that we won't be invited to thereby giving us time to high tail it into the frozen tundra. And the best part?

Since there is no way in hell Canada will pay for it we get all these benefits for free!
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
No, not THAT election down south. The one I get to vote in. :-)

The NY Times has a pretty good article outlining the effects Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have had on the Canadian political landscape. If anyone wants to know why in twenty years of voting I've never voted for the Conservatives at any level of government, here it is. At the risk of sounding boastful or depressing I was predicting this stuff in a high school paper I wrote when Mike Harris was running for Premier of Ontario and Preston Manning was trying to get Ontario to buy into the Reform Party. Those ancestors of current Conservative thought presented an unimpressive package in the mid 90's and its only gone down hill since.

Mind you my issues with this strand of political thought have nothing to do with whether taxes should go up or down, or if we should spend money here or there because those arguments are as important or unimportant as any individual voter wants to make them. The problem is that you you can't have a vibrant and healthy democracy without those debates and those debate require facts to argue over. It's one thing for a party, any party, to aggressively debate facts. Its quite another altogether to prevent your citizenry to be able to have them at all. That's what the Conservatives are all about and that is why the rascals need to be turfed out of the House of Commons on election day.

There is more stuff than just what's listed in the article but it shows a good bad list of our Dear Leader's actions and achievements. Enjoy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/opinion/sunday/the-closing-of-the-canadian-mind.html?WT.mc_id=2015-AUGUST-OTB-INTL_AUD_DEV-0801-0831&WT.mc_ev=click&ad-keywords=IntlAudDev&_r=0
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
You know I really didn't mean to start an arms race of political craziness between the great nations of Canada and the United States. It all started so innocently enough with Rob Ford reminding the world that Canada is more than hockey, beer and the guys who gave the world insulin. The timing was perfect really. We were still a year away from our election and you guys didn't seem to have one going on at the time so we shared a good laugh, everyone had fun at Toronto's expense like a true Canadian, and it was all good. Canada was able to put the crazy distractions behind and focus on our own election, at which point Donald Trump announced he was running for president.

Yeah, talk about making it hard to watch the Canadian party leader debates but turn around was fair play. It was still all good, no hard feelings, and again we move on. Until today.

Yeah America. I apologize. I didn't realize that we just couldn't resist the urge to out crazy you again so please, please, I beg you. Hold back your wrath. Let the better rational angels of your nature rise above this the way I know you can!

Ah the hell with it. At the rate this tit for tat is going the North American continent is going to be one giant Salvador Dali picture. Lets just roll the tape on an actual Canadian election commercial.

*weeps*

snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
Ok Americans. I have a confession to make. When we gave the world Rob Ford it wasn't just an amusing view into Canadian political insanity. It was a challenge, a mic drop, a battle roar where we beat our chest, looked south of our border and said "See this America! You can take your predetermined presidential nominations and unending electoral cycle. We have a beloved leader who openly smokes crack. How are you going to top that, eh?"

Well you not only topped it, you have gone nuclear in the form of the bright orange mushroom cloud toupee of Donald Trump. I mean this is so overpowering it isn't even fair. You're not even in an election yet! How am I supposed to educate myself on the issues I will be voting for here in Canada when every time I sit down  to read up on them The Donald unleashes his wisdom on the world?

Please stop! I surrender! I surrender! I'll never doubt America's capacity of sheer insane political spectacle again! :-)
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
Whether one agrees or disagrees with Thomas Mulcair and the NDP, he asked clear, intelligent and relevant questions of a fellow Member of Parliament during Question Period and he was entitled to an actual answer on the topic under discussion.  Kudos to him for calling on the Speaker to require him to give a relevant answer, and double kudos for calling him on his failure to do so. Kudos also on giving Mr. Colandra a much needed spelling and geography lesson.



And people wonder why the Conservatives always fail my "which party should I vote for?" thought experiment year after year. With answers like these I think it shows why I have no idea what I'd be voting for if I ticked my x beside them come election time. That and it saddens me to see how contemptous they have been towards our parliamentary system during this government.

Edited to add: I'm clearly not the only one who feels this and this editorial from the Globe and Mail does a pretty good job of summarizing why this matters. It's all well and good that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will answer clear questions with clear answers at press conferences in New York, but when he (or his Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Colandra) doesn't consider clear questions asked in Parliament to be worthy of answering, then Canadian democracy is indeed in trouble.

For those interested the article is here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/respect-for-parliament-resistance-is-futile/article20796147/
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
...and all I can say is best wishes on a full recovery. What can I say? I wouldn't wish an aggressive abdominal tumour on anyone, especially on someone who seems so desperate to maintain a grasp on the reins of power that he'd probably pull his undead corpse out of the grave and stagger his way to city hall to fill the council seat he's running for.

I know I like to think that I'm up on Canada's general rules for elections but I honestly don't know what the rules for a zombie holding office would be. Would we have to pass a new law, get the courts to rule on it, or just use his tenure while alive as precedence?  This inquiring mind wants to know! :-)
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
Damn it, even when the party I vote for wins I lose. I did not want a majority government. I LIKE it when parties have to consult and win support from their parliamentary foes. It keeps things balanced. Darn it Andrea Horvath if you'd supported the Liberal's budget earlier we'd have saved $90 million, had a very nice progressive budget passed, and the NDP could continue to play kingmaker. Good job throwing all that away, and good luck having any sort of influence over the Liberals now.

That being said it could have been much, much worse. A Progressive Conservative majority would have been a disaster. Oh well, its done. Here's hoping the scandals the Liberals had to deal with will teach them the necessary humility to rule well.
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
So far only about 10% of those in my polling area have gone to the polls. I know its early still but given a lot of people work nights here they need to get off their duffs and vote soon if they want to have the right to complain about how bad our government is. :-)

Of course it will be interesting what Toronto does, since they are the centre of Ontario's universe. Considering they may very well re-elect a crackhead as mayor in the next few months the results may be interesting.

More to come later! Or not. Depends on if I want to watch a movie later.
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
So today is just one of those days at work where you just realize nothing is going to go particularly well. As a result I have to declare this day a complete and total bummer with no chance of anything to smile about.....

...what a minute! What's this? The PQ were defeated in the Quebec election? Quebecers rejected the PQ's ethnically divisive secular charter? Canada is not going to self destruct in the next five years or so? Pauline Marois lost her seat and will step down as the PQ's leader?!?

Oh happy day!

If I wasn't dealing with some torn up knees I'd be dancing in the streets right now. Instead I'm going to dedicate this song from one of my favourite movies to Mrs. Marois:



Mean spirited on my part? Yes! Guilty as charged! In my defence though having lived in a city where riots fueled by ethnic fears actually happened I never liked her take on how to deal with the PQ's "money and the ethnic vote" problem.* It just made the PQ seem small minded, and that's a generous term.

Maybe now Quebec can get back to its constant attempts to get the best deal it can with the federal government, just like the other nine provinces and three territories. :-)


*Former PQ leader and Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau blamed the defeat of the 1995 separation referendum on "money and the ethnic vote". Hopefully this defeat will end this type of ethnically divisive politicking.
snowywolfowl: (Canadian Flag)
Pauline Marois, the Parti Quebecois Premier of Quebec, has told supporters that after Quebec separates and becomes its own country it would continue to use the Canadian dollar, have a seat on the Bank of Canada so they can set Canada's monetary policy, and would enjoy completely open borders with Canada, allowing individuals in Quebec to just come and go into Canada as they please, with no immigration, custom, or toll controls. To say I laughed uncontrollably over this is, to put it mildly, an understatement.

Look, if a referendum does come, and people vote to leave Canada to create their own country with its own borders, debts, and separate economy then I respect that. It takes a lot of courage to effectively gut one's own economy and destroy the social safety net the people of Quebec have come to take for granted, especially since the borders, corporate tax base, and labour pool of an independent Quebec would be much smaller than what the province enjoys now. That's not even considering the money that flows into the province due to it being part of Canada, a river that Canadian politicians would probably trip over each other to be the first to choke off.

Facing those realities a yes vote on separation would probably be pretty stupid, but it would be principled and courageous in a way I could respect. However, a yes vote because one believes that what Pauline Marois says is really what will happen is just stupid, period. Ms Marois may be under the impression that a Canada/Quebec divorce may be amicable, and she might even be right, but that still doesn't mean we would want to have a shared bank account, responsibility for their debts, or for them to have the keys to our house. That's not being nasty, its just reality. Most divorcees change the locks when the ex moves out and for good reason. Here's hoping the voters on April 7 understand that, see her pie in the sky pandering for what it is, and deny her a majority government.

........................................................................................

After following the news about the missing Malaysian airliner I can't help but think that this is almost like the opening of a movie where something so ordinary becomes the setting for something truly bizarre. I won't speculate about what happened beyond saying I personally think its somewhere in the water and that all aboard have most likely perished. Please note I'm not guessing which body of water that would be but considering the alternatives seem to involve a radio silent unidentified aircraft crossing the borders of possibly India, Pakistan, China, Myanmar and other somewhat tense borders I just can't see it going north. There are just too many radars, both civil and military, and even if you had some sort of conspiracy to fly it to a different destination it would be difficult to coordinate both the necessary bribes and cooperation from high level persons, and prevent leaks from the rank and file that would inevitably have to have some contact with it.

Personally I give it a month. If they don't find something to give an indication of where the plane went to by that point, then they probably will never find out.

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