The Irish-Italian Connection

Someone recently recited to me the famous line, "Una faccia, una razza" (One face, one race).

No doubt Mediterranean history and civilization involving Greece and Italy is intimately intertwined. It's a matter of historical fact that the nations (Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Lebanon, Israel to name a few) of the Mediterranean (including Arabs who introduced a form of pasta in Sicily) all share similar social and cultural traits.

However, speaking strictly from a North American perspective, Italians also share a tight common bond with the Irish. In fact, I wonder if the Irish-Italian axis is tighter than the Greek-Italian one. A voice with more authority would be needed here.

Despite a history that hasn't always been friendly, they do share many similar traits - religion, fighting spirit, artistic flair and general flamboyance. It's a connection I've observed. I could be wrong. Of course, it probably runs deeper than I'm treating it here.

I've made the same observations with the Jewish community. Which explains the phenomena of Jews playing Italians in pop culture. With Henry Winkler being one of the most famous as The Fonz.

Seriously, is there a more endearing rebel in television pop culture history than Fonzie?


Is This Is A Pseudo-Blog?

I definitely and readily admit I can't tell the difference between real philosophy and pseudo-philosophy. Sure, I get hunches but I can't always intellectualize what I'm reading into proper context. If you're like me, you're likely to pick up New-Age stuff like Ken Wilber, read it, put it down and say, "Meh."

I recently read over at the conservative site World Net Daily an article by Ellis Washington exploring the malady of liberalism and how it deals with terrorism in light of Mumbai. In it he refers to Islam as a pseudo-religion. Is this a social conservative thing or does it come from other places of thought? My feeling is that he's right about out obsession with "root causes" of terrorism. We know the who's and the why's. Next!

But about Islam I'm not sure. I'm simply not prepared to go that far for two reasons. 1) There's a shit load of people who follow it and 2) Islam's history and contribution to it is substantial - at least for a period of time. Even here we have to be careful, prior to Islam societies that roamed the Middle-East were advanced but not religious. I'll stop here.

It's either I don't get it - at which point I need to be taught and spanked - or I instinctively know that it's all dressed up nonsense. Besides, my brain simply doesn't function in any coordinated or specific way so as to be peer reviewed. I'm too aloof. I suck that way. That's why I blog. Capiche?

In a past post, I wrote about what I felt was unnecessary jargon in the investment world. No one seems capable of giving a damn presentation without speaking lucidly with straight forward answers. Instead, it's always complex schemes and "down the roads" and "future value" rubbishness.

I tend to apply this to history and philosophy - even in everyday life. That way, it helps determine what is (plus ou moins) real history and alternative history (I define this as interesting points of views with less facts), real ideas and bull shit. If I see a person on TV over and over it raises my suspicion. For many, Oprah, Dr. Phil and all that jazz help "educate" people. To bring "issues" in the public consciousness. Maybe but I take a difference stance. They just feed empty talk and thoughts to people who don't know any better. It's all smoke and mirrors - intellectually speaking of course.

I can go on and on but I shall stop here.

It's a never-ending if not frustrating journey but this pseudo-blog is willing to do it.


Always Remember...

Tom Selleck never needed a tattoo to look cool.

I must profess I never did get the tattoo craze. A few of my friends jumped on it but it never quite tickled my armpits. Good for people who enjoy it; real enthusiasts especially. Not the wannabes.

One thing that's always made me wary is how a tattoo wears poorly over time as skin ages.

It looks great when you're buffed at 25. But when you're skin is taking its natural course and sagging at 65 you may as well have raisins as ink spots.

I look at actors today and it feels like they try too hard to be "cool."

Not Tom Selleck!

Article Of Interest: Mumbai

From The Australian.

"Those who thought George W. Bush was the cause of radical Islamist hostility to the US and the West are set for a sore disappointment. The terrorists didn't hate the US because of Bush. They hated Bush because of the US. Similarly, they will not love the US because of Obama: they will hate Obama because of the US."


"There's no one in charge in Pakistan. There's no one you can talk to, no one home. The multiple centres of power in Pakistan traditionally mean jihadis get a lot of leeway. Pakistan is now a net exporter of terrorism. No one's in charge and we're likely to see a spiral of violence out of Pakistan."

Ok. So does the U.S. invade?

Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine...where does it all end?

According to sources in this article India, in addition to all this, is "remarkably incompetent government on counter-terrorism."

Welcome, Obama.

India's Marine Commandos Do The Job

Am I the only one who was impressed with India's efficient military response to those animals?

The Marine Commandos are known as Marcos in India.

Queens Mafia Redux

"We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone." Another brick in the wall Part 2 Pink Floyd

Here's another subject in the news.

The mere fact this even merits a discussion in the halls of academia should make one shiver.


All in the name of "progress." Bull shit.

What the fuck is a "dialog facilitator" anyway? That's so gay. I think I'm going to host a "Don't Be PC" week on my blog soon.

Who are they?

Murderers of freedom and liberty. Murderers of true enlightening thought. Murderers of the intellect.

That's who.

Brother, Can You Spare Me Some Change?

The $1.95 subsidy taxpayers provide to political parties is in the news now.

People who read this blog know I'm not a fan of wasteful subsidies and unions.

The idea that my tax dollars go to parties I flat out don't support strikes me as pathetic. How dare the NDP, for example, take my money? How dare they?

If they want money then they should earn it; work the streets and phones harder. Pull a PBS-style telethon. Show initiative.

Not succeeding? Then come up with better ideas Canadians can support without snickering.

The conservatives are right on this one. And to think the loser Liberals have the balls to threaten to take down the government over this issue...Hey, I'm all for it if they want to unite with the NDP. It means more humorous material for me.

Normally, I look into the history and origins of this sort of stuff but not here. The point of the subsidy was to make things "equal." Code for "hey, you're doing better than me give me your money."

The idea of voluntary political support means nothing to these people.

Is that our "concept" of "fair"? Liberty? Freedom of political choice?


All of them.


Link Of Interest: Source Watch

Source Watch is conducting its Fifth Annual Falsies Awards. Check out the nominations here.

The link will take you to the site.

The nominees include among others:

Coal Is the New Green: The coal industry-funded front group Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) and the public relations firm Edelman have been promoting dirty energy with green rhetoric. ABEC doubled its budget in 2008, launching a $35 million ad campaign promoting "clean" coal, paying millions more to co-sponsor several U.S. presidential debates and hiring people to walk "around as human billboards" outside a January 2008 debate, handing out leaflets "with questions for voters to ask the [Democratic presidential] candidates." ABEC also tried to organize opposition to a climate change bill before the U.S. Senate, at one point misrepresenting itself to grassroots activists as an environmental group with no industry ties. In Britain, the PR firm Edelman helped energy company E.ON counter protests against its Kingsnorth coal-fired power station, while the firm's Canadian branch promoted its plans to go "carbon neutral." As one Edelman executive anticipating the next round of international climate change negotiations noted, there's a "global opportunity for carbon messaging."

Disputing the Count of the Dead: In January 2008, a spate of editorials appeared, attacking a peer-reviewed study from 2006 that estimated 650,000 "excess deaths" in Iraq, over the 40 months following the U.S. invasion. The Wall Street Journal claimed that the 2006 study, which was published in the British medical journal Lancet, "could hardly be more unreliable." The editorial, and others like it, repeated allegations made in a National Journal article titled "Data Bomb," which the Lancet study authors and other academics have challenged. Around the same time, another peer-reviewed study by the Iraqi Health Ministry and World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 151,000 Iraqis died due to violence, over the same 40 months. Many reporters and editorial writers saw the WHO study as a further challenge to the Lancet study, though the WHO data predicts that more than 400,000 Iraqis have died from both violent and non-violent causes. In July 2008, the New York Times reported that high costs and increasing U.S. military restrictions on reporters and photographers -- including "what some journalists say is a growing effort ... to control graphic images from the war" -- has led to declining news coverage of Iraq.

Front Groups Go Postal: Concerned that junk mail -- the unwanted catalogs, product offers and other direct mail clogging up mailboxes -- is not just annoying, but bad for the environment? Don't worry! Mail Moves America claims that "direct mail is not trees, it is printed communication." Mail Moves America is a front group established by the Direct Marketing Association, in response to U.S. states forming "do not mail" lists, which are patterned after the popular "do not call" lists that block telemarketers. Although it's not allowed to lobby, the U.S. Postal Service works "closely" with Mail Moves America, "to quash the Do Not Mail initiatives," according to the Washington Post. Another pro-junk mail group, IP Moves the Mail, was founded by the International Paper Company.


Philosophical Question

What's more important: Liberty or democracy?

Letter To The Editor: Keeping Doctors Away

What follows in italics is a letter to the editor I plucked from the newspaper.

It used to be an apple a day kept the doctor away. Now it's a little more complicated.

Things are not good nor acceptable in Quebec. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Part of the reason why private health care is on the rise is because there's a demand for it. People are not interested in playing roulette with their lives as they wait for timely service. Rather than wait for the government to make things better they are taking matters into their own hands. It's only going to continue...

"There has been a lot of talk during this provincial election campaign about the state of the health-care system, particularly the lack of family physicians in Montreal and the province. My wife, a family doctor who has been in practice more than 20 years, has felt the effects of the policies of successive PQ and Liberal governments. She has been training promising young doctors only to see them leave the province once their training is done because of low salaries and draconian restrictions on where they can work.

We had high hopes that the Charest government, which originally campaigned on fixing health care and education, would make more money available and lift the restrictions on doctors. It has not happened. Now, after years of working in a hospital unit with resources stretched beyond the limit, high stress levels and incompetent management, she herself has left the province.

I will join her in Toronto next year, where her pay is significantly higher, taxes are lower, and the system is more functional. We are leaving our long-time home, and Quebec and Montreal have lost another experienced family clinician and educator. That will definitely be on my mind as I cast my ballot in my last Quebec election."



Indian Tragedy

India mourns deadly terrorist attacks.

It's not about American foreign policy; it's an international scourge without borders.

Perhaps one day we'll move on from this comfortable line of thinking and see these attacks for what they are: works of evil designed by individuals who operate independently from the international order.

The world must close ranks once and for all.

Are we about to see another round of attacks?

Beyond Logic Lies

Italy is a land where conspiracy theories find its ultimate expression. In fact, it also has a specialized name: Dietrologia. How's that for a title that sounds like a book written by St. Thomas of Aquino?

Dietrologia means "science or study of what lies behind" and it's the basis of all that is creative in Italian conspiracy culture.

Convicted murderer (of anarchist Pino Pinelli) Adriano Sofri sums it up this way: "Dietrologia is an air that you breathe in Italy."

When I read about Dietrologia I think about Noam Chomsky and Billy Fischer for some reason. They're so smart they say the darnedest, kookiest things.


Canadian Immigration History Lives In Halifax

Pier 21 in Halifax rightly holds a special place in Canadian immigration history but so did the largely forgotten Pier 2.

As I write here immigration is an evolving event in human life and with climate change wreaking havoc on many countries, Canada may see itself at the center of a new immigration movement down the road.


Revisiting Enron With Malcolm Gladwell

Not too many people impress me but if I had to choose a person to sit down and have dinner with it would be Malcolm Gladwell.

His article titled "Open Secrets" goes back to the Enron fiasco and quite frankly it's overall message was something I try to convey, not just with Enron, on this blog - albeit clumsily.

The prosecutors didn’t attain justice. Ironically, their achievement is the legal equivalent of what Enron did in accounting. Just as Enron assumed the value of future profits that proved fleeting, prosecutors think they got justice when in fact it eluded them.

By extension, methinks that once the hysteria around Bush subsides we’ll be able to assess his Presidency with a more sober touch.

I could go on and on but I'll let the article speak for itself.

I would just add a sports analogy. We often blame one player or coach for the ills and failures of a particular team. In reality, the problems which ail sports franchises are often more complex and run deeper. It's just that it's way too easy to blame the last person in front of you. The same with politicians. Conversely, it works the other way too. When it's time for promotion, it's not always the best person who gets the spoils.

Interestingly, his discussion about how the allied intelligence community spied on the Nazi's reminds me of a great book called "The Code Book" by Simon Singh.

It's a long article but definitely enlightening and worth the read.

Letter To The Editor Of The Day

In one of my last posts I was disturbed by the content of a letter to the editor. The person basically shrugged her shoulders and said "what can you?" when it comes to our public health system. The fact that we have a "free" system that covers everyone is not an excuse to accept mediocrity. Ideology should not prevail over our practical senses.

I plucked this letter also responding to her letter:

"As a former resident of B.C. - where doctors' appointments are scheduled within days and serious medical procedures are performed within a couple of months - I must say the health-care situation in Quebec is alarming.

It is more disturbing to read that some Quebec citizens not only accept it, but compare Quebec health care only to the U.S.

And it is very reassuring to see forward- thinking provinces like B.C. and Alberta making health care a priority."


Amen, brotha, Amen.


Book Alert: Dyer's 'Climate Wars'

Gwynne Dyer is out with a new book called "Climate Wars."

Follow the link to CTV's website for an excerpt.

Dyer, who is Canadian, is a distinguished and respected columnist and military historian based in London.

As the world heats up the ability for nations to feed themselves diminishes. As they starve they must search for ways to feed their populations. Will the world be divided between nations lucky to not be affected by climate change (like Canada) and those aren't able to avoid it (United States)? How will nations fight? With nuclear weapons? What areas could be affected? Australia is facing a water drought and may not produce as much grains and wheat in the future. Luckily, they have a small population. Is climate change the highway to hell?

"This is a world in which food imports are no longer available at any price, as there is a global food shortage. But there are still relative winners and relative losers: the higher-latitude countries - northern Europe, Russia, Canada - are still getting adequate rainfall and are able to feed themselves, while those in the mid-latitudes are in serious trouble. Even the United States has lost a large amount of its crop-growing area as the rain fails to fall over the high plains west of the Mississippi, persistent droughts beset the southeast, and the rivers that provided irrigation water for the Central Valley of California cease to flow in the summertime. Countries of smaller size, like Spain, Italy and Turkey on the northern side of the Mediterranean (not to mention those on the southern side), find that their entire land area is turning into desert and that they can no longer feed their populations. The northeastern monsoon that brought rain to the north Chinese plain has failed, and the rivers that watered southern China have suffered the same fate as those that provided California's water: now they only flow in the wintertime."

Though the book paints a bleak if not apocalyptic future for Mother Earth, I did hear Dyer on Montreal radio say he does now feel more optimistic than he did during the period he wrote the book. He believes nations will cooperate and do what's necessary to avoid the pending catastrophe. Moreover, Climate Wars could (or should) provide climate change skeptics and deniers with enough evidence and thoughts to ponder their positions.

I haven't read the book yet but I plan to shortly.

Another book this reminds me of is Robert D. Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" and "The Revenge of Gaia" by James Lovelock.

Don't Walk To Canada - RUN!

Not too long ago I mentioned the annoying habit of some Americans who throw hissy fits and threaten to move whenever things don't go their way. And most want to come up here.

Yikes! With citizens like these...

Anyway, more often than not it's what we term "liberals" who do this.

The irony in all this is that most of what passes as liberal thought these days is actually illiberal.

We often hear terms like "liberal elites" and "intellectual elites" and "whatever elites" even though names are rarely mentioned. Is this couple members of the "liberal elite?" If so, who invited them anyway? Let's just go with "dumb elites." I get more into it here at Who We Are.

En passant
, on the Who We Are blog I asked, now that Obama is in office how come racist KKK ingrates aren't threatening to move up here? Why not? After all, Nazi's found a loving home here.

Keep MY Money In MY Pockets

You know, it really is unconscionable that may tax dollars go to pay the salaries of people who earn over $100 000 (in many cases far more) all in the name of culture (for example CBC) and to protect jobs (oil industry, Bombardier).

"Well, all governments subsidize!" So let's all play this fake deck of cards!

Think of it, somewhere, somehow and exec is earning hundreds of thousands of dollars and part of his or her salary is financed by the public. Does this make sense? Is it fair?

Canada is not the only culprit. Many countries in many industries are doing it. It's wrong.

Are these real companies or lap dogs for the government? How come I don't get some form of refund when they succeed but when they fail out come the hands? How did their problems become public responsibility?

They remind me of a teenage kid who wants their independence, moves out but comes back home for rent money. Sorta like Quebec.

How long before the jig is up?


Yeah, erm, Right. Quebec Embraces Liberalism

I heard someone say we're liberals here in Quebec.

It is to laugh and die.

No we're not.

We're wannabe socialist cultural nationalists. It's a weak social democracy we can't really afford; I say weak because our democracy comes with conditions and restrictions. Expensive because we can't pay for the lavish social programs we want.

Moreover, we don't respect individual liberties here. You can't spin this fact.

Liberalism is dying a slow death here on this fine continent.

We're no more liberal than Americans who talk capitalistic but create bail outs to save corporate deadbeats.

Hey. It's a choice we made. Just don't tell me something we're not.


Universal Private Health Care

In America, not everyone is covered (though as I understand it it's far more complex than that) but have easy access to first class outstanding medical care. In Canada, everyone is covered under universal health care but face doctor shortages (Quebec is a disaster zone) and long waits in hospitals that sometimes resemble third world conditions. Getting to a specialist is the problem here - well one of the problems anyway.

One is moving (or at least talking about) towards some form of universal care while one is moving towards private.

Talk about lost in translation.

What we need is to fuse both systems!

Oh, right. That's what the two-tier system argues.


His Plan Came Together

Like most kids (mostly boys I would think) born in the late 60s and early 70s The A-Team was a staple every week. Credit to this guy (Justin Lee Collins) and his mates from the UK for pulling this off. I watched all seven parts. Uh-huh.

Maybe he should reunite the cast of Magnum P.I. too.

I must admit watching the aging process isn't easy. In part because it makes me wonder...about life. Mine in particular.


Let's Fight The Recession


A nation turns its worried eyes to you, comic books.

The Big Three On Their Knees

But is a bail out the answer for them too?


I know.

Millions of jobs depend on government intervention. The irony of course is how the powerful unions (and their expensive pensions) prevent any necessary measures needed to make the automakers viable again.

What else can the Detroit Car Boys do other than file for bankruptcy, restructure, consolidate (if need be) and spend money wisely? That is, apply funds in areas that make the auto industry competitive and relevant again. Easier said than done? Maybe.

The way I see it is here's a chance for America to reinvigorate itself in the manufacturing sector and begin the process of climbing out of a recession. The auto industry is too important to let die. You can't be a self-respecting G7 (Canada notwithstanding) nation without your own indigenous automobile sector.

Calling all leaders...calling all...leaders.

So. In terms of the bail outs. What's more important: the financial or auto industry?

Either way, hand outs are not the answer for the long term.

And here I am looking to buy a Dodge. My first American car. Go figure.

Article Of Interest: A Diary Journey Into Montreal's History

Columnist John Kalbfleisch writes an interesting week-end column that enlightens readers in the Montreal Gazette.

Here's an example titled, "Prolific diary left behind a valuable record of early Montreal."

The keeper of the diary was Jedediah Hubbell Dorwin who "was born in Vermont in 1792 and settled in Montreal in 1816."

"He soon realized the city was dingier than the glittering rooftops suggested. Most houses had heavy iron doors and shutters; "there was little or no attempt at ornamental architecture."

"Montreal in 1816 had about 20,000 people, including its garrison of 4,000 British soldiers. The city, nearly two decades away from incorporation, was still organized like a township in the countryside.

Hm. Not much has changed. Montreal is not only run like a small town, it's also ridiculously bloated - and corrupt.

The rural system of government in so large a town was not productive of much order or regularity," Dorwin said, "and the roughs of the place did pretty much as they liked. But on the other hand the taxes were light."

Quebec Tire Laws

I should have commented on this a while ago but I neglected for some reason.

Personally, I see the rationale: Force winter tires and reduce accidents.

Practically, it's another short-sighted way of expanding the nanny-state. Nobody I know ever failed to use proper tires. Given Quebec's harsh winters it boggles the mind how people would not use proper tires.

My interpretation is simple: adjust your driving to weather conditions. Too often I see people fail to do this and I don't see how making winter tires mandatory will change the psychology of our (poor) driving habits.

I've used both winter and four seasons. I never had a problem with four seasons; especially on front wheel drive cars and trucks.

But in our finite wisdom we decided yet another layer of bureaucracy to protect us was needed. Not only that, I'm sure there's a sweet racket in there for some.

When can I go to the bathroom, Mr. Government?

It's all so, erm, tiresome.

Live And Let Live...Or Die

Italy has its own version of the Terry Schiavo case. Follow the link to Wind Rose Hotel to read more on the battle for Eluana Englaro's life.

Sorry Ross. I can't give my opinion on everything. Sometimes passing off stories and opinions to others for the benefit of all is fine by me - plus it's great when I'm lazy or have nothing to say.


Kicking It Back With Taj Mahal

Maybe I should do this once a month.

Taj Mahal is a gem of a blues musician. "Corrina" and "Farther on down the road" are just a couple of songs among many that "vibe" with feeling.

"We're Tired Of Radicalism"

'A Fighting Faith' is an article from The Liberal exploring, in addition to seeking out a new liberalism, Iran's intellectual acceptance of liberalism.

It positions liberalism as a radical, anti-establishment-challenging-authority world view and rejects the hard left turn it has taken in the Western world. In doing so, it attempts to reignite liberalism liberal internationalism to be exact. It does this primarily by viewing liberalism through the lenses of Iran. In doing so, we can be reminded of what liberalism used to mean.

It laments the hard left turn liberalism has taken. Naturally, with the alleged collapse of "deregulated" capitalism the "I told you so's" flapping from socialist and Marxist corners have boldly grown. They have been mobilizing and calling the shots in the name of "liberalism." There's a fine line (but distinct difference) between liberalism, socialism, Marxism and communism.

I call the push by the far left a dead-cat bounce and so does Iran. It has no interest in such tomfoolery.

The piece puts into perspective that liberalism maintains a legitimate pulse despite it being hijacked by posers in the West. We just need to find it.

Last, the piece makes a brief mention of Piero Gobetti the young Italian liberal journalist who died at the age of 25.

Professor James Martin describes Gobetti in the following passage:

"Gobetti stands out as an early defender of a progressive liberal realism. As such, his thought bears comparison with other European thinkers of the interwar period, such as Carl Schmitt, who were similarly inspired to uphold the centrality of politics by substituting liberal consensus with a conflict-based outlook. Unlike other thinkers, however, Gobetti aimed to make liberalism itself a theory of conflict in order to revive its prospects in the face of fascist reaction."

Sounds very much like what the Iranian revolutionary visionaries are fighting for in their country doesn't it?


The Face Of Conservatism?

The talk of Sarah Palin leading the Republicans - thus conservatives - has not subsided.

Even though it's unclear to me exactly how conservatism and liberalism is defined these days, I'm not sure if this is a good idea.


God Save The Queen - Literally

The historical fact that Great Britain hasn't been successful invaded since William The Conquerer in 1066 is a source of pride for its citizens.

And it's not for a lack of trying by nations. Imperial France under Napoleon tried to unsuccessfully suffocate and squeeze England out through the Continental System and Hitler's Nazi Germany blanketed the splendid island with the Blitzkrieg and failed to take over.

But who needs them? Why go through the complicated and expensive logistics of a military invasion when you can infiltrate and take it over from within?

The news I keep reading out of England (I know, I keep jumping from Britain, the UK and England. Take your complaints to the ombudsman) seems to corroborate with this observation given its lax laws and obsession with political correctness. Britain has taken "peace in our time" to a whole new dimension.

To see what I mean just jump over to Caledonian Comment.

Michel Rivard Aims, Shoots And Misses

I have a question (in fact, I have many but I'll settle for one) for Michel Rivard in light of this video protesting the arts cuts.

How would he feel if someone distorted and mangled Quebec culture the way he has Canada? Imagine if someone put up a video about French-Canadians in such a negative manner what would be the reaction? Ooo, ba-boy the cries and complaints from Quebec nationalists would be endless.


Wisdom Gives Way To Impatience

Is it me or are positions of power traditionally filled by seasoned people who "put in their time" are now getting younger and younger?

We see this as progress and in some cases I imagine having a young person making important decisions is justified.

In most cases, however, it isn't.

Have we become that impatient?

Calvin & Hobbes: Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Canada MUST ALWAYS Remember

As I listen to people weakly justify their ignorance for not wanting to remember our soldiers on this solemn day, I want to tell a story.

It is all the more imperative we find ways to convey the message of the Great Wars to our youth as soldiers who served slowly but surely die off. One way is to visit the places we fought and help liberate. From Ortona to Vimy Ridge. From Ypres to Dieppe. We must organize and mobilize to send students abroad.

To remember. To Recollect. And yes, even rejoice.

In 1994 I went to visit family in France and Italy during the holidays.

Both countries were major battlegrounds during the Great War and by the time I worked my way to Paris, I decided to take the train to Normandy (Seine-Martime) and head to the shores of Dieppe.

Dieppe, of course, is where one of Canada's most spectacular disasters took place.

When I arrived there the first thing that struck me was how many Canadian flags were softly swaying in this quiet port town.

While my country chooses to forget our role in the Great Wars for fear of "glorifying war" without any proper context, France harbors no teen-age post-modern confusion. They know.

France has no identity crisis when it comes to the war. Canada strangely does.

Yet, it was our blood that helped to liberate a continent that is forever grateful.

Moved with unusual pride, I walked and made my way to the beach where young Canadians were mowed down by the Nazis.

Everywhere I looked, the French paid their respects with pleasant nods and various wreaths and stones scattered across the town and beach.

Nos Cousins as they put it, were vital to the defense of their country.

Lest we forget...

I fear we are.

Lest We Forget...

By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Remember Thy Sons And Daughters

Critically Assessing Canada In Afghanistan

This article dates back to 2006 but it's still a good one from Global Research. It discusses ten under-reported facts about Canada's role in Afghanistan.

I especially like the first one:

FACT #1: Jean Chretien & Canadian Corporations Involved in Trans-Afghan Pipeline.

In the States, they make movies about this sort of stuff. In Canada, we talk about those movies. That's about it.


1984 Has Arrived?

Is this Obama's and Rahm's idea of "fresh ideas?"

If so, get ready. The future looks more like a hybrid between Sparta and Oceania.

I hope they come with a zip lock to maintain freshness.


Pick Of The Week

So far today I'm 7-2 with my NFL picks (I must confess it's not against the spread).

Here's another bet I'm going to make. I've been reading people claiming that Obama's election signifies the removal of troops in Afgannystan and Irak. Dream on.

If anything, he'll add to it.

That's my bet.

- The combative and competent Rahm Emanuel is the new Secretary of State. Nancy Pelosi is the House Speaker and Obama is the President. This is one liberal trio. Does it come with fries?

The question is do three liberals = more centrist policies and where are their superhero costumes anyway?

Maybe My Idea Of Progress Must Be Antiquated

It doesn't matter. Right, left, center, off-center - whatever.

The idea of the individual capable of achieving great things - a just society for example - is all but dead. As I've written many times here, all I see is the advocation of bigger government.

This is someone's idea of "progress" now.

Whenever I hear people telling me to be "progressive" I think of a mobster shoving the face of an innocent shop owner into the stove threatening him to pay protection for his own good.

Maybe I'm dumb and need a good socialist spanking but I just don't see the progress in this. Is there a Progressive IQ test I can take?

Progress is a tricky concept. For example, is the mainstreaming of porn part of the progressive movement? Or is it mainstreamed because of moral indifference? Are we confused as to what is right and wrong now? Have people who know the difference been substituted by some who have sipped from the Fountain of Progress? Didn't the Soviets consider itself to be "progressive?" Is progress a relative term?

Most politicians today, possibly unwittingly, are anti-individual. They don't believe in the spirit of the individual in its ability to progress. They only believe in their own conceptualization of what constitutes progress.

Big government is another way of saying, "we give up. We're plump out of ideas. So...ta-dah!"

Sips latte, inhales doobie. Feels better. Passes the accountability buck. Who cares? It's all free.

Sharia Law To Come To America Through Wall St.?

It's very hard to ascertain exactly what's going on or to even begin to rationalize this article from the Washington Times. If American finance and the Treasury department is indeed looking to accommodate Islamic countries by accepting Sharia Law then we need to find out before getting nervous: 1) why and do they know what they're doing 2) what exactly is Sharia Law and how will it be applied here and 3) is it looking to be a parallel legal system on family matters.

My personal take is simple: it's insane. Crazy you say? The UK has accepted it. Ontario has considered it.

Bumping around the internet about the subject I landed at the Act for America website. Look at the video. If even just 10% (I select this figure arbitrarily) of the content in the video is accurate, then America does indeed have a very serious and dangerous problem on its hands.

Donate And Support Veterans

Looking to give more than just a loonie or toonie to Canada's Veterans?

Consider a donation to the Memory Project headed by the Dominion Institute.

Yes, I donated.


Vultures With Tiny Brains Who Know How To Play The Game Usually Prevail

Nothing drives me more to uncontrollable laughter than companies who claim to care for their workers only to treat them unfairly on a consistent basis when they're workers need them most.

My former employer is one of those companies - a financial institution that's always at the top of 'Best place to work for" list in Canada. It's all in how you set the criteria that determines your ranking I suppose.

Yes, to be fair, on some level if it is. A generous health plan, a relatively decent shot at a long career and decent pay are aspects of the company most people would jump at.

If we'd leave it at that all would be swell.

Where it gets all screwed up is when it believes its own propaganda. It's always a battle between what is and what ought to be, right?

I've always been skeptical of the "we care about your career and personal development" crap and I think most people are realistic enough to understand it's a business first.

Nonetheless, too often I've witnessed morons and characters of dubious distinction get promoted. Most have barely enough ability or credibility to lift "morale." The best they can come up with is "raw, raw, raw" stuff no self-respecting professional with a strong intellectual stance should go for. There are other ways to earn loyalty and respect. How to achieve this is not the point of this post.

I've watched petty minds destroy the self-esteem of fellow workers and not get disciplined for their destructive behavior. For no apparent reason, besides being drunk on power, some pick on a worker and just psychologically bludgeon them. Needless to say, the effect on an office is corrosive.

I've witnessed good people be unfairly be accused in a game of inter-office politics. When they sought support from "upstairs" they were ignored and fed to the wolves. I'll never, ever forget how the bank fed one of its own children to the wolves during a serious RCMP investigation. The person accused was innocent (and was proven so) but he was asked to leave anyway. His view of his company shattered. Worse, the excuse provided to the rest of us was lame and despicable

Upper management is busy protecting its own ass. If that means flinging a loyal, productive worker into thin air and shooting it in the eyes so be it. Believe that "ends justify the means" is an outmoded concept is plan naive.

Too often, a worker that's straddled with an asshole manager is stuck. They can't go above to voice concern lest they be seen as a troublemaker. You can have a long, proven track record of honesty, integrity and good sales numbers and they'll still spit on you if it means affecting their own personal sphere.

The "system" of promotion and merit is only as strong as the people who have the power to make such decisions.

I'm not convinced, despite impressive profits, the people governing such a place are all that impressive.

They know how to meet their quarterly objectives (honestly or otherwise) but in the halls of enhancing the overall health of their fellow workers they are failures.

That's why they should spare me the bull shit about caring. They don't.

Link Of Interest: Death, taxes and Bailouts.

Benjamin Franklin once said there are only two things certain in life, "Death and taxes." I think this can be amended, excuse the constitutional pun, to "Death, taxes and bail outs."

Searching for "Obama and taxes" I found this interesting site: Tax Girl.

For you Americans of course. I humbly serve you.

Here's an excerpt:

"In response to taxpayer demands, the Justice Department is currently investigating whether there was any wrong doing leading up to the collapse of the mortgage industry. And naturally, executives at companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are scrambling to cover their asses hire defense counsel to protect them from potential criminal charges. So that’s their problem, right? Not exactly. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had promised to cover legal bills for those executives - and since the feds now “own” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers may be on the hook for those defense bills."

Ouch. Sometimes it's hard for me to defend businessmen. These folks, as my three year-old says, are "sumfing" else.

Sometimes it's ok to go Medieval on their asses and I think I will in my next post.


Maybe I'm Missing Something

When Dubya was elected, many people who didn't vote for him immediately went on the offensive from posting "we're sorry" videos apologizing to the world, to vandalizing, to making creative bumper stickers and making "protest" films out to expose the "truth."

It was right, left and center.

Yet, since Obama has been elected I don't see people who didn't vote for him pull a tantrum. The extreme right are creepy, but the extreme left are downright annoying.

The interesting thing to watch will be if Obama will attempt to be a moderate leader or swing hard left. If he does, how is this any better (or progressive) than being right-wing?


Another %##$@%&@ Election?

Quebec has officially called an election. Well, Premier Charest did; not Quebec.


It's a waste.

After witnessing the debates to the speeches and everything in between in the U.S., Quebec politics seems petty and small. While the U.S. message is one of unity and progress, we in Quebec remain stagnant on cultural and linguistic nationalism.

With America we get a steady stream of historical and contemporary ideas and ideals that resonate around the world. A call to a "perfect union" and to "make things better" for the entire nation. Here? I'd rather not get into it. It's tiresome.

No wonder the majority of Canadians follow American politics closer. Maybe through it we dream one day Canada could speak and act in poetic existence like America.

Swearing In The Future Minister-Emperor

And so it begins.

In these days of political parity, one man aims to stand above us all. Pierre, erm, Justin Trudeau. He was sworn in today in Ottawa. They say you can't have a dynasty in pro sports (I respectfully disagree) but in politics Canada will have one sometime in the future.

Make no mistake about it, Trudeau will be leader of the Liberal party one day. He'll arrive "Just-in" time to save the Dominion. Naturally, he has a lot of fans. One person in a call-in talk show said he should run for the Liberal leadership next year because we need his "fresh" ideas.

Shit, Justin can recite Karl Marx word for word and people would still consider it "fresh."

Trudeau is young, well-groomed and smart. But don't tell me, a person who looks past the image, he represents a new way of thinking. He doesn't.

It's more blah, blah, blah. That's all.

Hey, if this is what tickles the fancy of the Canadian electorate so be it.

The G'Obama Effect

My beloved better and brighter female companion is an educator at an inner-city elementary school. Though annoyingly apolitical, she had an interesting story about what happened in her class.

She began. "A little boy said something interesting in class today."

Distracted I asked her to hang on. A free kick was just awarded to Juventus. I had to watch Alessandro del Piero knock a beauty into the back of the net for Juventus against Real Madrid.

Blissfully satisfied I said, "Proceed."

"Why are you ruled by sports?"

"I'm not ruled by sports. It just governs my behavior."

With rolling eyes she replied, "Can I speak now?"

"What's for supper?"


"Chicken? I had a shish-taouk for lunch."

"Too bad."

"What kind of chicken?"

"Caribbean style."

"Will that agree with Lebanese?"

"That's enough Commentator."


"So anyway..."

"What vegetables are you planning to cook?"

"Your mother made rapini with roasted garlic."

"Can I have a doughnut after?"

Exasperated she walked away. "I'm starting supper."

"Ok, ok. What happened?"

And so she continued.

She told the story of a five year-old black student who asked her if she knew Obama had been elected. "Miss Jennifer, did you they had the vote for the President and the winner was Obama?"

Sensing his happiness and grasping the importance of the event, she took fifteen minutes to talk about what a President and Prime Minister was, where America and Canada were located on the map and so on. Whatever the "so on" was.

"What do you know about politics?" I joked.

"Please. I don't have to talk or blog about it in abstract terms to a kindergarten class."

"Oh, I beg to differ. I'm pretty sure Asian kids already know how the electoral college system works. I won't even get into what Italian kids know. Education starts at an early age," I retorted pounding my fist into the palm of my hand.

Wisely ignoring me Miss Jennifer put an end to the conversation. "It was so interesting to see how kids can be interested in something like politics."


There is romanticism and even concern for some people regarding his election, but this is the Obama effect in a practical, real world situation. In a different country to boot.

Link Of Interest: State Of American Newspapers

From Reason Online.

If you sense something is askew with traditional papers, this article helps to rationalize what you feel.


There's An Opportunity In Losing For The Republicans

There's usually a silver lining in life. I never did get that. Why silver?

The stars (figuratively and literally) aligned for Barack Obama - a sterling orator who has sent a political bolt of energy across the globe. If I could draw I would put a picture of Obama touching someone and giving them a carpet shock.

Personally, I didn't really hear anything that would change anything, but for now people are reveling in the symbolism of his election. And rightfully so for a whole slew of subtle, historical and obvious reasons and issues. It's ok to get (mildly in my case) swept up in Obama-mania. It brings intangibles to the table which make politics fun to watch.

Make no mistake about it, Obama's election is not to be dismissed or scorned. Barack Obama deserves his shot to convert the rhetoric into actual action. Will Obama truly set liberalism on a new path or will it be more of the same? Can he unite the Democratic party? Is the race card industry on its last legs? Is that why Jesse Jackson was crying?

The election numbers will be broken down from all angles. Each will reveal its own set of revelations. But for Republicans it's time to foster real change within its ranks. I've read somewhere that there's a possibility Sarah Palin will run in 2012. This would be a mistake. The GOP needs to return to its conservative roots. Start by getting rid of the extremists and kooks.

The Democrats won the election in spite of themselves. How? They squandered eight years without ever cleaning up its act. For eight years, they pointed fingers, made excuses, engaged in circular sophistry and watched radical leftist movies.

George W. Bush was a comforting figure to attack to hide their own failures. No more.

Now they won a full mandate. They earned it. But are they ready? Obama has two years to prove Democrats can rule. Or else the Republicans will probably return to power soon enough. But...

The Republicans must learn from the Democrats. The lesson is don't waste these next four years by not looking in the mirror.

Conservatism is not dead. It was forgotten.

The New Face Of America

Move over Joe the Plumber. Demographics lend a clue as to how Obama pulled it off:

2008 2050

White 68% 46%
Hispanic 15 % 30%
African Americans 12% 15%
Asian American 5% 9%

The table shouldn't surprise anyone but I never thought the white population would drop 30%. It's also interesting to note the modest growth (25%) among blacks especially when compared against Hispanics and even Asians.


History Is Made

President Barack Obama. America's first black President. It was a convincing victory too. Not only did he get the electoral votes needed but the plurality as well. Just as important, the Democrats won the Senate and the House.

I guess with it the empty threats of people moving from the States to a number of countries will subside.

Now was a good time as any to elect a black President. The truth is America, rightly or wrongly, had lost its sparkle in the eyes of many. Perhaps the symbolism of Obama is something that was needed. However, there are significant issues America faces. Now we will find out what he's all about.

With it I hope a lot of anger and resentment towards the United States will finally be on a path to healing.

As I write this, Senator McCain has just concluded a gracious and impressive concession speech.

America is a great country. Always was; always will be.

American Politics Fascinates

As usual, American politics is not without its surprises.

So far, around 9pm, figures are indicating that race is not a factor. I thought (as many did too) it would be.

I have to question the decision by voters in Minnesota to elect Al Franken.

Overall it looks like McCain was a victim of the Bush administration's unpopularity. Of course, I'm deliberately making a simplistic statement but there's something to be said of voters who simply wanted to boot the GOP out.

For his part, Obama is the right man at the right time regardless of his experience. He did what he had to do and so far things look good for him.

There'll be plenty of time to rationalize this properly but for now this is a trend spotted.

Fascinating indeed.

He Can Always Claim He Was Misquoted

The Montreal Gazette Sports pages had a piece asking Montreal Canadiens player Georges Laraque (who has become an instant celebrity in the city) what he thought about the election in the United States. Yeah. Right.

Here's a quote from Laraque (Georges is black and obviously an Obama supporter) the article that caught my eye:

"You look at 20, 30 years ago, we were in the back of the bus."

Come again?

Let me see. 20 years ago brings us back to 1988. 30 brings us to 1978. Yes. Those years were critical moments in the civil rights movement.

Were blacks at the "back of the bus" back then? Well, a black girl we knew named Heather sat at the back of the bus with us in high school. Does that count?

Maybe he meant to be figurative in some mis-factual but poetic way or something.

So Laraque was mistaken. That's ok. He's a hockey pugilist. Not a scholar. What I don't get is why didn't someone perhaps correct him and properly edit the quote?

Something like, "Hey, Georges dontcha mean 40 or 50 years ago?" Or at least mention it in the piece somewhere. No?

I get they had to print what was quoted and reported but did it have to be plastered prominently on the page?

Just something that raised an eyebrow. That's all.


Wealth Distribution Made Easy To Understand

Link Of Interest: Canada's Report Card

The Conference Board of Canada examines and measures our performance in six areas against 17 industrialized nations.

Measured are innovation, society, health, environment, economy and education.

The picture is dismal in innovation.

Myth: Canada’s standard of living is one of the highest in the world.
Reality: While Canada enjoys a standard of living that is the envy of many countries, our ranking dropped from 4th spot in 1990 to 9th now.

Myth: Canada has a highly educated population.
Reality: Over 7 million adult Canadians—or 4 in 10—do not have the literacy skills to cope with the demands of everyday life and work in modern society.

Myth: Canada is a world leader in science and technology.
Reality: The BlackBerry is the exception, not the rule. Canada has scored a “D” in innovation since the 1980s and has failed to produce any top global brands.

Corporate Nickname For Quebec

Quebec Syn.

As opposed to Quebec Inc.

Given the power the unions (syndicats) wield here why not?

Speaking of Quebec, Premier Jean Charest may be getting ready to call a provincial election.


If my choices at the Federal level wasn't limited enough the provincial one is worse. I get to choose between a separatist party I share absolutely no values with in the PQ, a young party that fails to connect with me in the ADQ and the Liberals who consistently ignore my values.

Palin Pranked By Provincial Radio Host

Much has been made by a Quebec radio host pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy pranking Sarah Palin.

Been there, done that.

Look, I'm no fan of Palin but I definitely don't see the intelligence in "sabotage humor." The premise of such tactics is to get people with their guards down thus exposing them in their natural state. But if you're deceiving in your ways then you can probably fool anyone including Jesus.

Quebecers are having a laugh at Palin's expense. Good for us.


Best to remember that not so long ago the French side of the province was offended when Conan O'Brien's sock puppet invaded their private spaces. It was typical "low American culture" at work they charged.


Article From The Past: They're Still Waiting

From the NY Times dated March 11, 1896 titled "Canadians Want A Republic."

Is LaRouche Simply A Douche?

Years ago there was a book sale at the branch I worked for. Two books in particular captured my remedial and twisted thirst for new ideas.

One was former FLQ thug Pierre Valliere's infantile 'White Niggers Of America' (a book that no doubts screams "it made so much sense at the time") and the other was LaRouche's creepy Dope Inc.

Price for both: Two dollarino's. "

I figured what the heck, I needed some intellectual excitement in my life. It couldn't be Ziggy all the time. So I coughed up (figuratively) the red two dollar bill (this was before the arrival of the toonie) and handed it over to whoever was in charge.

Then again, I don't remember if I paid at all. Please don't tell.


Years later (meaning now) in my own personal Bat-Cave (it's not really a cave. More like a, erm, a living room at street level) I came across (don't ask me how and why) a piece about Al Gore dating back to 1999 in a publication called the Executive Intelligence Review. Curious about what I was reading (and boy does the writer rip and destroy Al Gore in this one. It's worth a look) I did a superficial search and discovered Lyndon LaRouche was tied to it.

Whenever I read wildly elaborate conspiracy inspired stuff like Lyndon LaRouche, I'm reminded of how little I know and experienced. I must profess, it really opened my eyes when he singled out Canada's banks (one being my former employer the Royal Bank) as part of a worldwide scam (I forget the details) including the drug trade.

Not that I would be surprised if it were true. What if we're all unwitting complicit pawns and players in a massive power scheme by a covert oligarchy? What if the system is so rigged and efficient that even the CEO of a company is unaware of it all? What if my humble function as a teller was something more? How far from the truth is he? Huh? Huh?


Still, I have no clue if this guy is a crackpot fascist obsessed with British Royalty or a legitimate political figure and commentator. For you Canadians out there, LaRouche is politically active with the Committee for the Republic of Canada (formerly the Party for the Commonwealth of Canada which ran in three national elections. Originally, the PCC was known as the North American Labour Party.) No wonder they use the word "labour" so much. Reading through it certainly feels like labour.

I can just picture someone reading this blog post as they sip coffee in their rickety robe and thinning hair slapping their forehead saying as the coffee spills all over the Thunder Bay Tundra Times, "Shit! I voted for them!"

Itsokay. It was the 70s. If you weren't radical you weren't cool.

Anyway, my comic book Spidey-senses tell me it's probably the former - that is, LaRouche sounds like a conspiracy theorist. If he isn't and all (of not some) of what he says is true, then I'm going to strongly consider moving my family to a remote forest in Northern Quebec to live with the Cree.

Whatever he is, he certainly has a fan base.

For Music Fans: History Lesson Pt. 2

Remembering the influential work of The Minutemen.

I didn't discover The Minutemen until the 90s. I was too young in 80s to fully grasp or gain access to an American hardcore rock band that was for all intents and purposes a non-commercial entity. However, the beautiful excess of their unlimited influence can be heard everywhere in the world of rock.

The video is a link to an acoustic version of 'History Lesson Pt. 2.'

Attributing Quotes Not For The Weak

My sister sent me this quote by email:

"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis.

As I always do when time permits, I like to dig a little when something is sent to me. On my Sinclair Lewis travels I stumbled on this link about the quote attributed to him.

Turns out attributing the quote is a little more complex than we think. Someone was careless in settling on Lewis. Instead, it seems one Professor Halford E. Luccock of Yale Divinity School was the original source of the quote.

History doesn't lie. We do.

Kicking November Off With O'Rourke

O'Rourke is so respected that even though he writes along conservative lines, liberals enjoy him. He cuts across the ideological divide with great writing. That's a good thing.