Whiskey Jack Presents Stories & Songs of Stompin' Tom This show is officially a hot item and is now for sale. To view some scenes, go to their most recent TV appearance at www.orchardtv.com/whiskeyjack
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Jesse Brown This is officially the most important podcast in Canada. Jesse Brown is a broadcaster, journalist, reporter...etc. with NO official ties to anyone. That makes him unique in Canadian news reporting...he is beholdin' to nobody. He's fun, enlightening and his guest tell the truth, or at least describe the truth as best they can. Check out his first podcast with CBC's Michael Enright... very good!
Ellen Roseman Blog According to her blog, "Ellen is a personal finance and consumer affairs columnist with the Toronto Star’s business section. Her columns appear Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday."
She is to the local newspaper scene, what Erin Davis it to the media scene... that is, a "must read".
Erin Davis's Official Homepage Erin always has a finger on the pulse of this vibrant city. Her blog is informative and fun. If you want to know what's happening or what's happened, don't bother listening to the news reports, go to this blog. My guess is this is one of the most popular sites in Toronto.
Dec. 21, 2016
As someone who lived in the same era as me, I ask you, can you think of a year that has unsettled our lives more than 2016? In fact, can you think of a more threatening event than Trump's election?
Our generation has never experienced an event that disturbed the world order before, at least Canada's world order. 9/11 was not our attack. Chernobyl was not our disaster. Even the Cuban crisis (in hind sight) wasn't earth shattering. No, none of these events would upset our well being. This election however has great potential.
I think of it as a bloodless coup The Americans finally rid themselves of the Bushes, the Clinton's and perhaps the military establishment that Roosevelt warned everyone of all those years ago. That remains to be seen of course but the sociopath who will occupy the Whitehouse in January doesn't seem to hold any allegiance to any person or principal that the rest of us can relate to. He's even dissing his own security people at the CIA and FBI. Who knows if he'll bow to the military establishment and keep funding the security forces.
Mexico might be first on his list of who am I going to screw with today? But then, maybe he'll wake up and pick a fight with some other unsuspecting nation, like Canada. He's already pissed off the Chinese and he's not even President yet. The border between our two countries has never been more threatened, at least in my memory. Imagine if he decides to allow Great Lakes water to be diverted to Las Vegas, consequences be damned. We already knows how he feels about pipelines and global warming. I don't know enough about the Auto pact or NAFTA to comment but that too must be on his radar.
I haven't spent much time trying to understand the electorate and what they were thinking when they voted for this guy. They were obviously pissed and perhaps a bit desperate. Life isn't too good for perhaps the majority of the American population. Who really knows what life is like in the hinterland of the U.S.
This is hard for our generation to imagine. We've had it so good, particularly here in Canada, that we can't fathom that we could become so angry we'd vote a Trump into office. But then, as someone who's travelled a lot in the US, they've become a foreign country these past 15 years or so. I don't know them anymore. We have less in common than ever before. I think the Brexit vote was more understandable but then, they didn't have as much to lose as the American voters.
There's a political commentator named Chris Hedges and he's been predicting this kind of revolution for a long time. As he so astutely points out in his essays, we can't expect the herd to sit still while the elite accumulates all of the wealth, refuses to share it and then changes the rules to collect even more of the wealth. The masses bought into this initially. However, a lot of shit has happened these past few years and that has fuelled the Trump flame....2008 banking disaster, Panama papers describing mass tax evasion by the rich, self serving and unjustified war in Iraq, Bush/Clinton families responsible for all of this and so on.
History is simply repeating itself in one respect. The founding fathers in the years leading up to 1776 were alienated from their government in England and over time, found good reason to resent their elitist approach to governing. Imagine taxing the colonies to finance the good life in London. The big difference then was that the revolutionaries (Washington, Jefferson, Franklin etc.) who led the masses were the intellectual elite of the day, unlike now. Nothing intellectual about this group.
Enough venting for one day.
Stay well and perhaps I'll see you in the spring. I'm thinking of a road trip before my busy summer starts (lots of gigs in 2017, our Sesquicentennial).
The Guelph Mercury is no more....at least the print edition. It's a newspaper that's been around since Confederation. This is big news in Guelph but the bigger news for the rest of us, is the pending doom that awaits other newspapers across the country. We're told other daily editions in Canada will fold in the next few months. They just can't pay their bills with the revenue they generate by selling advertising.
As a newspaper junkie, I'm dismayed. It makes me sad that there is one less newspaper to read next time I visit Guelph. If I want news, there are better sources. However, I do miss having an elbow stuck in my face on the subway as the guy next to me tries to adjust his paper so he can finish the article he's immersed in (probably a column by Bob Hepburn in The Star or Roy MacGregor in the Globe).
For those born at the turn of the 20th century (like my dad in 1906), the pace of the changes he witnessed was tame compared to 2016. I lament the loss of a slower world. Maybe that's why god invented dementia....so we could return to the good old days without taking drugs or withdrawing to a cave in a mountain somewhere.
In the 1960's, there was a huge influx of American draft dodgers and deserters who "immigrated" to Canada. The Prime Minister at the time was Pierre Trudeau. They were generally welcomed with open arms and I'm happy to say, many became my friends.
The thing is, for the most part, these new Canadians were the " American elite"... the cream of the crop.... educated, politically astute, peace loving with values mostly shared by Canadians. The draft dodgers/deserters had the courage to commit one of the most serious crimes in their country. Many of them then became leaders in our country...architects, broadcasters, music producers, authors, doctors and on and on.
I am so excited at the prospect of Canada again receiving another generation of the American elites. Thank you Donald Trump. We will hopefully, thanks to Pierre Trudeau's son, open our border to any and all who want to resettle here.
It's all talk at this point but Facebook and Twitter are aflutter over those (many celebrities) who have announced their intention to come here.
I'm rootin' for Trump. It'll be like a good ol' fashion Canadian Christmas morning with the best of the American liberal class adding so much to our lives.
There's a strong argument to be made that the Harper Government was defeated in large part to an overwhelming anti-Harper campaign on social media. For those who were on the popular sites in the months leading up to the October 2015 election, they know first hand that the onslaught was relentless, and convincing. There was nowhere for Harper and his gang to hide. He failed miserably in his attempt to control the message.
Methinks the same thing is happening with the Ghomeshi trial. I've yet to meet anyone, laymen and experienced lawyers alike, who believe he will be convicted in a court of law. In years past, the trial and the reporting of the trial by institutional media would be the end of any public dialogue. Any further public discourse would be meaningless water-cooler chat and a few letters-to-the editor.
However, once again, like with the Harper campaign, the defence attorney in this case, is not being allowed to control her message of discrediting and humiliating the prosecution witnesses and having it repeated ad nauseam by the old school media. Thanks to a vibrant dialogue on social media, the prosecution witnesses and their handlers are getting their message out in the court of public opinion and people are listening. The daily users of Facebook, Twitter and the like are offering, and being offered, legitimate interpretations of the trial, versions that run counter to traditional news sources (Globe and Mail, National Post, CTV News, CBC News and so on).
The story is simple. It's hard to believe these witnesses were not punched in the head and/or strangled. It defies logic.
I can't recall this kind of balanced analysis being so prevalent in similar trials over the years. Let's hope the women who have come forward to testify will be empowered by this and not reel from the trauma that one would normally expect them to experience. Society is telling them, via social media at least, that we believe them. Perhaps this will inspire others in the future to face the cameras and the ridicule and not be afraid to tell their story.
Maybe this very public campaign will prevent the worst outcome possible.....a not guilty verdict and a new opportunity for Ghomeshi to return to a good job in broadcasting, reinforcing his belief that he did nothing wrong.
I travelled by air to BC recently with some friends. They made arrangements to get us a driver to take us to the airport and back. The driver and his new van appeared at our home early one morning and dropped us off at Terminal 1 at the departure level. I learned that he had a taxi license but he was charging us Uber rates. He was doing this on his own time and outside the taxi rules set out by the local licensing authority.
On our return, we discovered that this fellow would again meet us at Pearson Airport and drive us back to the city. What we didn't know is that we'd have to skirt the rules and make our way from the arrival area and meet him in the departure level. Apparently, only licensed taxis and limos were allowed to pick up at the Arrival area. This was a bit awkward because, funnily enough, there are no signs pointing from Arrivals to Departures. It involved two elevators. Our friends also gave us special instructions on what to say if an airport official challenged this pick up arrangement.
I've not used Uber drivers primarily because they aren't compelled to play by the same rules as the Taxi industry. I'm all for an open market that offers choices but this kind of advantage is not just unfair, it's illegal. They should be licensed and insured like all of the others.
Wawanesa Insurance just announced that they will now deny coverage to Uber drivers and there's a chance that city hall will begin licensing these drivers. When that happens, I won't have to feel like a cheat and a criminal by skulking my way up the arrival level to find a dishonest driver to take me home.
Local singer/songwriter Roxanne Tellier posted this clarification on Facebook. As she so correctly pointed out, it is a not so subtle form of racism when people spout off about the free ride native people are receiving regarding income and sales taxes in this country.
We've all encountered these comments, mostly in social situations. The comments I've heard on more than one occasion are pretty much as Roxanne described them. They usually include the phrase, "free ride". In my experience, it's been privileged white/anglo expressing these misinformed sentiments. What strikes me about this when it happens is how easily these words leave their mouths...fully expecting others in the conversation echoing their beliefs.
Upon further investigation, I soon learn that these beige racists have never been near a reserve other than to drive through on the Trans Canada Highway. They've never spoken to an aboriginal and know virtually nothing about their culture or their history.
What in the hell is being taught in the schools in this country?
I get nuts when people spout racist misinformation.
quote: "It's an income tax free-for-all
This one drives a lot of indigenous people crazy. Yes, some of us don't pay income taxes. (I'm not one of them, unfortunately.) In order to benefit from this, you have to live and work on reserve.
There is one exception where "status Indians" are tax-exempt on the income they've earned while living off reserve. They have to work at a registered First Nations government organization; that organization has to have its head office on reserve land, which can be an urban reserve. The organization's main objective has to be the "social, cultural, educational or economic development of Indians who for the most part live on reserves. If the duties of employment are in connection with non-commercial activities carried out exclusively for the benefit of Indians who for the most part live on reserves," according to a Law Now article.
We pay GST, PST and the HST. Except when we present our status card to on-reserve gas stations. Except when goods are purchased and delivered on-reserve. Except when we purchase cigarette and tobacco products on-reserve. Except in Ontario, where we are exempt from paying the PST portion of the HST. Then we are tax-exempt. There may be a few other examples, but these are the biggies."
As our new Prime Minister is about to be sworn in later today, I thought I'd take one more kick at the old PC-can and then let it rest until the another Prime Minister called Lucifer rears his ugly head again, as he most certainly will. History reveals that much.
Since election day, it's been interesting, never fun, overhearing the Harperites banter back and forth on Facebook and in the Letters-to-the-Editor sections of the newspapers. I even overheard a couple of them discuss their leader in the local coffee shop. They were sharing their angst over the proposed deficit that many of us voted for. I couldn't help but quip "has your life or lifestyle ever been damaged or compromised because of a deficit?".
I've had quite enough conversations with people who think climate warming is a farce, that the gun registry is the most anti-democratic piece of legislation ever, that the first nations can damn well go out and get a job "like everyone else", that women will deserve a more lofty place in government and society when they damn well earn it and blah blah blah... I never bothered trying to figure out how they rationalized the shabby treatment of the veterans who came back from Asia psychologically damaged. I can guess what they think.
My first step in this new era of compassionate government is for me to "unfriend" the intolerant members of my online fraternity. Sayonara. Your words and rants will no longer pollute my day.
That's it for me on all things political in this humble soap box. I made the exception all those weeks ago because the state of the country was desperate. If we return to that state again, and if I'm still alive, and if I can still get worked up about these things...well, we'll see what happens then.
Yes, it's all good to wake up to a new government without "what's his name" at the helm. I no longer have to hear that smarmy voice or see his smug mug on the front pages of magazines and newspapers. I'm so very happy about that. However, I am dismayed at the idea that 32% of my fellow Canadians voted for this man, his tone, his nastiness, his intolerance, his ideology and all the other distasteful adjectives I can muster in a short sentence.
I just can't believe that 32% of Canadians all share the same contempt for our institutions as their demigod. Do they really believe he knew nothing about that $90,000.00 check? Do they think the omnibus bills, passed without debate, were acceptable in this country? Do they support his disregard for the Supreme Court, the suspension of the "rule of law", the manipulation of the Elections Act to his advantage, his secretive approach to leadership, his disdain for scientists? Do they embrace his totalitarian style of leadership? How did they find their way to overlook these things as they entered the polling booth?
Some possible conclusions we can make are disturbing. There's this notion in the conservative party that there was no alternative. Many who worshiped this person and trusted him blindly have "never voted for any other party, ever". Kierkegaard called this the "leap of faith" although I'm pretty sure he didn't have this in mind when he wrote about it. Political discourse does not exist in their intellectual life. That might explain away the notion that a scientist at the U of T might have some knowledge that others do not have. In other words, "it's my way, or no way, us and them".
This also explains the next group of Harperites. They're "one issue" voters who were attracted to the Reform Party for their simplistic platform. This movement was born from the Papa Trudeau energy policies of previous Liberal Governments. Some are urbanites but most are rural Canadians. These voters are fearful of change and view immigration (particularly Middle Eastern people these days) as a threat to their Canada. Some are still wound up over the gun registry.
As a young man, I often tried to discuss the issues of the day with these voters but eventually learned that nothing was to be gained. In their world, there's simply nothing to discuss.
Message to Mulcair and Trudeau: If you can't put your damn stubborn partisan politics aside on Oct. 20th and put the interests of your country over the interests of your party, you're no better than Harper and the hell with you. The electorate, the majority of which do not want to have any part of Harper's Canada, will be watching! It's no time to be petulant and stubborn. Do what most Canadians expect of you and put your differences aside. Think of the greater good.... just this once...please!