Friday, 28 June 2013

Hey NSA! Cut It Out!!

*****Sorry I didn't post an article last week! I was on the road and couldn't get angry enough to rant about something!!*******

Have we ever believed we are not right? We think we are 100% right about something and most times, when we are proven wrong, we feel little to no consequence. How can we learn if we don't believe we are ever wrong?

At one time, we believed the following was true about Malaria:

Mal-Aria : Bad Air -- It was believed that these diseases were caused by poisonous gas released by subtropical vegetation in the hot, humid air
Not so long ago, medical doctors were recommending which brand of cigarette best eased throat irritation.

For real.

How can we continue to be sure we are right about so much?

How does our legal system continue to work when only those who are too poor to defend themselves, are forced to abide by our laws? Rob a bank and you will go to jail if/when you are caught. Use a bank to rob people, that's nothing. No big deal. Move along folks, nothing to see here. Shut up.

The NSA scandal was going on long before President Obama took office. Although candidate Obama promised it would be stopped.

Here's what I think happened. President Obama took office and was immediately convinced by the CIA, NSA and The Pentagon, these breaches of the constitution were yielding too many results and preventing many possible terrorist attacks. He would put the nation in great peril if he were to close the program down.

He may have even told himself "I'll keep it there for a year and then re-assess the situation." The longer he kept it going, the harder it was to shut down.

It's like a safety blanket for all the people trying to keep America safe. I think they are over confident in their ability to intercept messages. I think they are often wrong when the 'powers-that-be' interpret something to be insidious ( Just look at the number of people who have ended up on the no-fly-list by mistake and can't get themselves off of it.

I and I suspect many other people, would like to get a look at this amazing intelligence they have gleaned while spying on people domestically. I bet a lot of it is pure bullshit. I bet it is not nearly as good as they think it is. If it is so good at stopping terror attacks, why didn't it catch the Boston Bombers? or the ricin letters to the President and Mayor Bloomberg.

I also believe that many governments practice the same policies. It has already come to light that the U.K. and Canadian governments are running similar projects. You can go ahead and laugh off any insistence by them, that these programs are never used domestically. Just pick up your phone in any of these countries and tell a friend you would like to start a terror cell, hang up and wait for the white unmarked van to pull up across the street from your house.

Having this spy technology means it is either on or off. Once it is on, nobody has any digital privacy anymore.

I have heard some people say, "So what? Who cares? They want to listen to my boring conversations? Go ahead?"

I understand and empathize with this level of apathy, however, I don't think it is genuine.

Let's just say I am a Police Officer. I show up at your door while you are having dinner and I say "Tell me who you called yesterday and what each call was about. Remember to include any emails or texts you may have sent as well."

So you say "What is this about?" and I say "Shut up and tell me or I will just use our super awesome computer program to find out."

So you think, "oh well, who cares? I'll just tell him" but as you tell me, I start to ask a lot of questions about certain calls you made. The more you explain, the more obviously suspicious I become. You know you have done nothing wrong, nor do you deserve this kind of scrutiny without being accused of something but your innocence is harder to prove than you thought it would be.

Look back at 'secret police states' from the iron curtain communist era and you will see how quickly these things get out of hand.

Our ancestors fought long and hard for the legal rights we have. Don't let the terrorists win. They have watched us take away our own freedoms and bankrupt ourselves while we do it. They are turning our countries into the kind of freedom hating, narrow minded jump to conclusion bullshit society they want for themselves.


Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at

Thanks for reading!!


Pic of the day courtesy of

Michael Imperioli and Steve Buscemi at James Gandolfini's funeral.

Friday, 14 June 2013


For me, atheism came in the form of a realization about our eventual encounter with another species from a different planet. I believe it is an eventuality because to me, mathematically, there are just too many other planets in our Galaxy for there not to be life similar to ours out there. Somewhere.

I believe the only obstacle to this happening, is us. We may blow ourselves up, on purpose or accidentally. We may never get the chance to meet another people, from another world. That would suck.

So when (if) we meet this other species, will they already know about Jesus Christ? or Buddha? or Mohammed? Of course not! How could they? Their culture will make up their own stories.

So how could a God who is omnipotent, not tell this alien culture about Jesus, who is (according to Christians), the only way into heaven?

I know that is a similar argument to the "God so loved the white Europeans, that he told them about Jesus a millennium and a half before telling the Natives of North America." I think my realization trumps even this obvious problem with the theory. To me, it goes to the root of religious fallacy.

Would we really be so pompous and arrogant as to suggest to these other worlders, that their version of their own history is incorrect.

It was an apple in a garden. It was a spectacular flood that wiped out most of the world. It was a mountain that moved. Frickin' moved.

It was Jesus, not whatever story you came up with. "Your stories just don't add up like ours do."

But I digress. If we are fortunate enough to see the day that our people, meet people from another planet and they say "Have you heard the Good News about Jesus Christ?" I will eat my hat. Until then. I'm not buying any of it.

What do I believe in? Science. Us. We can do it and in fact, have done it. To give credit to a supreme being is to take credit away from us.

I am not against religion as much as I am for Science and Space Exploration.

Additional Reading:

National Post Survey

Pic of the week from

Friday, 7 June 2013

Only Slightly Racist

So, racism. Yeah. Ya know. White people need to knock that shit off.


I bet we wouldn't believe that if we spoke Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Hindi or any other 'non-white' language. English speaking people of colour have lots of thoughts on the subject too. I bet we would hear racism as a constant throughout the world if we could listen in on all the private conversations going on around us. 

To me, racism is the act of judging an entire race by the actions of one person or a small group of people within a given race.

"You see? That's how they act? Those people." 

And when a finger is pointed back "well what about people of your race? I have seen them act like that too."

The answer is a variation of "you can't accuse me of that! Not all of us are like that!" 

Ah ha! Double Standard Revealed!

I am proud to live in a diverse country. I am proud of the fact that we work hard to welcome new people into our communities and do things to help them assimilate to their new surroundings.

I know multiculturalism is not assimilation by the strictest definition but a certain amount of assimilation is necessary to get along in a new country. I know appreciate being shown around when I am in a new place.

We need to work on ending the subtle forms of racism that creep into our lives every day.

"Stupid Asian driver!"

Why not just "stupid driver"? They didn't use common courtesy or they did something a little dangerous, it's not because they are Asian. They are driving badly and, in my opinion, deserve a little horn honk or an exasperated glare but that's where it should end.

No one can convince me that only Asian drivers are bad drivers. All races have their share of bad drivers and here is the real kicker, we have all done something stupid while driving.

Everyone who drives. Without exception.

I have been honked and glared at. I deserved it.

I may have been called a stupid Gweilo. No biggy.

When we are angry with a stranger, part of our anger stems from our perception of ourselves as perennial victims.

"Why does this have to happen to me?" invariably leads to "and what are they doing here anyway".

When we allow ourselves to be victims, we start to believe we have a right to put down our oppressors in any way we see fit. Liberally throwing blame around.

We are not making use of the best parts of ourselves when we act like that.

I also guarantee there are some racial tendencies we 'Anglo folk' have that annoy the crap out of other cultures. Some of us smell funny. Some of us are rude and intolerant.

I always hope people who run up against 'stupid white folk' will remember that for every asshole, there are 100 good people (these numbers are not scientific and should not be tested).

So lets ease up on each other with the racial profiling stuff.

We are better than that.

Let's remember we are strong and our words and actions can hurt people.


Pic of The Day Courtesy of

Yesterday was the 69th Anniversary of D-Day. Thanks to people like this, the world has a little less tyranny in it...

Friday, 31 May 2013

Lie to death

These days there are a lot of scandals to rant about.

To me, the biggest scandal ever, the event that makes me feel like we are living in a Matrix dream happened a year ago. It is the Libor scandal (London Interbank Offered Rate).

Libor is a ratings system run by the worlds largest banks. These banks post the interest rate they are actually paying or should be paying to borrow money from another bank. Those numbers are gathered together and averaged to give banks around the world a benchmark rate to set their interest rates by.

It's like setting the wholesale price for borrowing money. None of us would ever get this rate but the rate we do pay, is often based on these numbers.

Wikipedia is here to help explain:

"The banks are supposed to submit the actual interest rates they are paying, or would expect to pay, for borrowing from other banks." - source Wikipedia.

It turns out the banks were making side deals to report their numbers at certain levels so that other banks could make a profit or make their own banks business look like it was in better shape than it actually was. 

"Since mortgages, student loans, financial derivatives, and other financial products often rely on Libor as a reference rate, the manipulation of submissions used to calculate those rates can have significant negative effects on consumers and financial markets worldwide." - source

Let's hear that again "consumers and financial markets worldwide". This is supposed to be an honourable game. Rate fixing is tantamount to loan sharking. Keeping the little guy down. Squeezing every last penny out of them. With interest.

When I first heard about how Libor was calculated and used, I thought I must not have heard it correctly. But I had. A bunch of financial elites post the interest rate they are paying and they are supposed to give an "honest" answer. Nobody checking to make sure they are being "honest" and huge gains if they tell a lie here and there.


It turns out they are simply pulling the numbers from their hind quarters (to put it politely). In fact, it is worse than that, they were (are) intentionally manipulating the numbers to suit their own best interests.

Whenever we hear from the 'tinfoil hat set' about, whatever conspiracy is tickling their fancy that day, it invariably involves a sentence like "and the worlds banks are colluding to rip us off". It turns out they are 100% right and very little is being done about it.

The game is rigged and the only reason we aren't upset about it, is because most of us can't get through an explanation of what happened without nodding off. It is the most boring lie ever told.

We still set our interest rates by this number and have yet to change any regulations in order to prevent fraud from happening again. We don't even know the full extent to which this fraud was committed.

A few fines have been handed out. A few big names have resigned. A few admissions of guilt to felony wire fraud charges by the banks who were caught.

No banks in the U.S. have been fined or charged as of this date.

Nobody has gone to jail.

Nobody has had money returned to them because tracing that would be virtually impossible.

Can it be prevented in the future? A number of recommendations have been made that will make it more difficult but it is hard to say how long this has been going on, or if it can be stopped.

Yet it is contributing to the decay of capitalism. It shakes it to its core. It may very well be the lie that bores us to death.

Additional Reading:

Rolling Stone

Libor Scandal



Pic of the day courtesy or

Alaska - huh - who knew?


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Crack and Rob Ford

Many people, myself included, were opposed to the idea of Rob Ford being Mayor, from the outset of his campaign. Many of us worked under the assumption that someone this incompetent wouldn't make it very far down the campaign trail before he said or did something which would bring the whole ordeal to an end. Most believed Toronto would never elect such a seemingly racist homophobe in this century.

Politics is a dirty game and the main characters often act worse than a bunch of misbehaving children but Rob Ford takes top prize for childishness. Here is my case in point.  I mean really. That video starts out with a Toronto Star reporter acting less than professionally and ends with Rob Ford needing a new pacifier for his mouth. I have never seen a grown man act like that...and then get elected Mayor.

Yet, there were people who chose to ignore how he behaved (I only provided one example, feel free to cruise YouTube for more because there are plenty). Instead, many people with a flair for the right wing decided that his slogan driven single message campaign was exactly what Toronto needed. They turned out in record numbers - 53% voter turn out in the 2010 Municipal Elections. That is a shitty turn out by most standards but the two prior elections were 39% in 2006 and 38% in 2003. So a lot of people jumped up out of their EZ chairs for this one. Ford won by capturing 47% of the vote.

I understand that the previous Mayor was perceived as being a liberal "tax and spender" who was too cozy with the unions to prevent a massive and prolonged garbage strike. So it was no surprise when the right wingers of the city clamored for someone more fiscally conservative and less "lefty pinko". The surprise was who they picked to carry their banner.

Was there no one else who could be convinced to run a conservative platform? Actually, the whole group of Mayoral candidates tried to present themselves as the conservative candidate of choice (regardless of their past affiliations - I'm looking at you Joe Pantalone). There were a few other options but Ford seemed to connect with the "right leaning" electorate. Well, look at who you got. Not what you were expecting? I'd look a little closer next time, maybe the guy who thinks like you do but has a more nuanced approach will get you where you want to go.

But what do I know? I'm just a lefty pinko.


Photo of the day courtesy of Reddit r/Pics

Friday, 17 May 2013

Stop me If you have heard this one already...

I made a blog! 2001 would be so proud of me! So avent-garde!

Basically, I want to brush up on my writing skills, something that I have let lag since my early 20's. I always enjoyed writing and thus I found myself graduating from a journalism program in 1993. I promptly went back to chasing around my dreams of rock & roll stardom and fell off the Journalism wagon pretty quickly.

I was also waaaay too full of myself back then (now I am only half full of myself - an optimistic narcissist?). I had trouble with people telling me how to write. I mean, how dare they? I was 23 years old and completed a two year diploma at my local community college. I didn't need their help! Some people...

So here I am. Rock Star dreams are wrapped up and sitting in my closet (actually just did that this morning) and I am ready to start writing.

I should call this blog "stop me if you've heard this one before". As I get older, I have noticed I will repeat my "stories" and "wild theories" without being aware of the repetition until several hours later. It's a little embarrassing. I am sure the people who sit through my ramblings, remember the last time and are just too polite to stop me.

Now I can stop myself, by getting it out of my system and then searching my posts before writing on the same subject twice. No more repeats!

Some blogs will be short. Some may need some sort of wrist support for scrolling through them to avoid any carpal tunnel related injuries.

Honestly, I am too damn wordy for Twitter.

Double honest?

I am hoping that writing these posts will help me get better at Tweeting. So, these may get shorter as we go along. Mission accomplished as far as I'm concerned. Just so ya know. #forealz

I plan to write about things I will, from time to time, go on a rant about to whomever will listen. I learn a lot by shooting my mouth off on topics that I may not fully understand. People are happy to correct me. 

Kick back. Relax and don't take anything I say too seriously. Send me your messages of love, hate and everything in between. Please correct me anytime I can be proven wrong. I will take your criticisms and examine them for authenticity. I want to know what all of you think. At least once.

I may politely ignore you if I think you are wrong.

That's the worst case scenario though.

A severe and pro-longed ignoring.

Take that yo!


Picture of The Day - Courtesy of

Building A Basement