Koenji, the world and elsewhere

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I Hope the Conservatives Do This Well


The last time the federal Conservatives lost an incumbent government was in 1993, shortly after the much-despised Brian Mulroney had absconded and left Kim Campbell as his Fall Gal.

The doe in the headlights (mis)led the party to a jaw-dropping defeat in which they fell from a majority government with 156 seats down to only two. It was incredible. An absolute bloodbath.

It was from within the filthy dust and rubble and rotting corpses of that decimation that Harper was able to weasel his way into power. It would be nice to see him go out the same way.

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2015 Canadian Federal Election EZ-Chart

While the real aim should be to abolish the party system altogether, political parties must be indulged for the present time. They’re like that kid with hockey net who nobody likes. And somehow, even though highly undemocratic, they are paradoxically a feature of self-proclaimed democracies around the world.

But I digress… This simple chart helps illustrate where the four major Canadian federal political parties stand on selected issues. It’s quite straightforward: the checks and crosses indicate a FOR or AGAINST the corresponding issue. It makes no declaration about whether it is GOOD or BAD to be for or against said issues. The check does not indicate whether they have the “correct position” on an issue. There is no judgment here. Just the facts. Pure, unadulterated objectivity.

For example, the first issue is the environment. Does the Green Party support the environment? Well, sure. That’s pretty evident. But do the Conservatives? Well no, not really. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That’s up to everyone to do decide on their own.


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Those Lives That Matter

sandra bland ottawaA mural in Ottawa that was a tribute to Sandra Bland was defaced on Monday. The mural had the popular tagline “Black Lives Matter” inscribed along wit it. Someone(s) had then, of course, thought it necessary to paint “ALL LIVES MATTER” over top of it.

The “All Lives Matter” argument is moronic. Nobody is chanting “Black Lives Matter More“. They are not screaming “Kill Whitey.” I understand a lot of obtuse Americans need to clarify that ALL LIVES MATTER. But I’m surprised to see that paint hit the wall in Canada. Perhaps there was a tourist (or two) in town due to that great Ottawa promotion by John Oliver last week.

I reckon the people who have a problem with “Black Lives Matter” are the same people who have a problem with Pride Parades.

Mother Canada at 24 Sussex

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New Location for Mother Canada Statue

In response to a CBC article that is about the response to a Calgary Herald editorial, I offer my response.

While Twitter user Hooberbloob posted one suggestion (for Tunnel Mountain), I think there is some available land further east, closer to the Atlantic and right on the water, in fact. Furthermore, the tenants of the land must have the utmost admiration, love and respect for the troops. (And they’ll also be moving out in October.)

Mother Canada at 24 Sussex

Mother Canada overlooking the Ottawa River at 24 Sussex Drive

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America is Reality TV for the Rest of the World


A Letter to America:

For the first 15 years of the 21st Century, American television audiences have been vacuously captivated by “Reality TV” programs. Scratch that — the captivation is not limited to those glued to the glowing flat screen. The “stars” of these shows infiltrate all avenues of media, spreading throughout all potential revenue and exposure streams, firmly establishing themselves as part of the American vernacular. At a point in history when most Americans probably don’t even know what vernacular means.

The effect of this reality barrage on the under-educated, over-inundated masses is shamelessly and blindly derivative of Fahrenheit 451. And those who notice just shake their heads. To gain any acknowledgement at all, opponents and pundits of this status quo must serve up their criticisms under the pretext of comedy (Jon Stewart). To stand on a platform without a laugh track, audience applause or box office receipts they are destined to be regarded outliers at best (Elizabeth Warren), wingnuts at worst (Bernie Sanders).

They joke about “fact resistant humans” running their country. Bankers are bailed out while The People are left to drown. Bodies pile up under an ever-expanding police state. They obtusely relinquish the gamut of their cherished constitutional rights, provided they can hang on to the Sacrosanct Second, even if it is in their cold, dead hands. Like dogs with a chew toy. And the best they can muster, this nation that was conceived by Revolution and birthed by Civil War, is to rally behind hashtags for a month, a week, or a day. The vernacular expands to include things like “hashtag activism” and “slacktivism” and nobody bats an eyelash. #OccupyWallStreet. #BlackLivesMatter. #Ferguson. And for the moment #Charleston. Until the next one, of course. And everybody knows there will be a next one.

And while the Distraction of the Month (Rachel Dolezal) unsurprisingly gets offered her own Reality TV show, and a Reality TV billionaire boss (Donald Trump) runs for President, Americans settle into their sofas with reruns or the summer season to keep them sated until their regular programming resumes. But to the rest of the world, there are no seasons. The show continues unabated and uninterrupted. We are not watching your TV shows. We are watching you. For you are the set-up, the delivery and the punchline. And even though the joke got old long ago, we can’t stop watching. But this is not because we consider you to be “Must See TV”. We don’t like what we’re watching. We just can’t change the channel because you’re holding the remote. Get off the sofa, America. It’s time to change the channel. Or turn it off.

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Canada’s Niqab Distraction


Last year, long-time Canadian resident Zunera Ishaq postponed her citizenship when she refused to remove her niqab during the oath swearing portion of her citizenship ceremony. And now politicians and media folk alike are all over the story as though it was the quashing of the Second Amendment in America.

The most important question, as usual, is Why is this news? And Why now? Why has this story gained so much (dis)traction? At first glance it may appear to be backfiring against the Conservatives. With his advice for potential immigrants to “stay the hell where you came from“, Conservative MP Larry Miller is effectively taking a hit for the team. A small hit, mind you, that he returns with a jab for lasting effect. Like the trial lawyer who makes an inflammatory, prejudicial remark quickly followed by the opposition’s “Objection!”, the damage is done. The jury cannot un-hear the damning words. Nor can the electorate.

It is not Larry Miller’s crass comment that will sink in and take root. It is the divisiveness it abets. His comment combined with the plethora of other Conservative rhetoric, military actions, Bill C-51 and so on, further emboldens and strengthens the “Us and Them” dichotomy the Conservatives and their puppeteers aim to cultivate. Already, there are online polls (polling 0.0003% of the nation) in major media outlets suggesting such-and-such a number of Canadians oppose niqabs  at swearing in ceremonies.

They speak of Canadian values, such as freedom. While I am an agnostic who thinks religion often receives too much tolerance — it is only when that tolerance comes at the expense of others that I actually care. And admittedly, the niqab does strike me as an archaic, outdated, oppressive and sexist tradition. However, the argument can be made about women’s clothing standards in The West being similarly (and even more painfully) oppressive. Corsets, of course, but also high heels, tight skirts, bras and so on. It’s a more than fair argument. And whether I, or anyone else, think a religious tradition is stupid or not is inconsequential. Smoking and drinking are stupid, far stupider than wearing a face veil in the name of religion, but the Canadian government permits and taxes both. Even the wishy-washy, fear-mongering Justin Trudeau (who supports the fascistic Bill C-51) pointed out that the Conservatives are “liberating people from oppression by dictating in law what they can and cannot wear.”

They speak of security. Even though there is recourse for people to be fingerprinted under appropriate circumstances. I reckon this is more effective than a face check. Furthermore, the person at the ceremony, if an impostor, does not recieve citizenship just because they took the oath. It is not a magic spell. And it’s not like the end of a Scooby-Doo episode where they whip off her mask to reveal her true identity.

This entire affair is a distraction from what we should really be talking about. And no, it is not the economy. It is not jobs. It is definitely not the bogus threat of terrorism. The only thing to talk about is the environment. Earth. When you are laying in hospital with a potentially terminal illness you care about only one thing. It is not your medical bill. It is not what your nurse is wearing. It is not crime and punishment nor interest rates. It is curing that illness. All else is moot if you’re dead. And the Earth is dying. And in need of curing. Everything else is moot.