A Reluctant Farewell

It’s been brought to my attention, by people who love me, that I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with the political troubles befalling the USA … specifically the corruption of the Trump Administration. And since I love and trust these people, I will abide by their well-meant wishes and advice, and discontinue my pointless rants against a formidable monster I cannot hope to defeat with my words.

And so – although it goes against my nature – I’ll no longer be posting any further rants on the subject. Instead, I leave the battle to the wisdom, compassion, honesty, fortitude and integrity of the American people. After all, it’s really their fight anyway. I wish them good luck with the challenges facing them, and hope they’re soon able to restore their country’s reputation for global kindness, generosity, and trust.

I’m just sayin’

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

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The Politics of Control

In my lifetime, North American politics has mostly operated under the rules of negotiation, debate, and consensus. That’s because we’re democratic nations. It’s what takes place in the Houses of Parliament in Canada and Britain, and inside the House of Representatives in the USA. Think Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It’s also what makes new legislation take so long, because it needs to be thoroughly considered and reconsidered before it’s fit to be enacted as law. This means that, while the wheels of governance may grind slowly, what comes out is well thought out, looked at from all sides, and usually in the best interests of all, or at least the true majority.

Oh, sure, occasionally we’ve had to deal with leaders who felt that they had all the answers, and that their views were superior to everyone else’s in the nation. People like Richard Nixon, Stephen Harper and George W. Bush (well, Dick Cheney), who hastily forced their myopic agendas onto a reluctant populace, and who, by-and-large, got away with it.

But their decisions, while sometimes self-serving and contentious, still fell within the scope of democracy and freedom. We voters may have disagreed with them, but we still knew that these leaders were within their rights to govern as they did. At least at no time (well, maybe a bit with Harper) did we ever feel that they threatened the fabric of our society, or the very principles for which we stood. In fact, it could be argued that it’s quite possible these leaders actually felt they were looking out for the best interests of their respective nations.

But suddenly America is experiencing a different kind of government… a government of control. A government that is out to enforce a practice of exclusion, aggression, and defensiveness against a world that is already having a tough time adapting to the new realities of globalism. And it’s doing this supposedly to appease the irrational and narrow-minded fears and anger of a small minority (approx. 25% of the total US population) who voted them into office.

I say “supposedly” because the government is actually carrying out its own aggressive, hate-filled agenda… an agenda that just so happened to appeal to enough voters to put them into office. In other words, the government is doing what they want, but blaming it on their voters. Pretty slick, huh?

And, no matter what the intentions of such a government are, this kind of control can only be attained by unilaterally acting against the wishes of the bulk of the nation. Because a nation consists of different points of view, different philosophies, and different priorities & objectives. Before contentious or radical policy is enacted by any democratic government, it must first be scrutinized and debated by the representatives of the people. And that’s not what is happening in the States right now.

Control requires an over-simplicity of thought… they’re the bad guys, we’re the good guys. Science is bad, religion is good. Climate change is a hoax. The media is corrupt. Muslims are terrorists. Mexicans are rapists and murderers. Homosexuality is deviant behaviour. Science has a political agenda. Vaccinations cause autism. Abortion is murder. Greed is good. Women belong in the kitchen. American products should only be made in America. Foreigners steal jobs. Wealth is power. Might is right. That sort of thing.

To those who would attempt to exercise such absolute control, the world is viewed as black & white. That’s what allows them to carry out their quick, decisive, and sweeping reforms with such horrifying expediency… no debate or discussion is tolerated. It’s single-minded authority. Debate and discussion merely introduce shades of grey that obfuscate the issues, and that take time to consider and discuss. Absolute control hates indecision and delay. And it certainly hates debate and discussion, because that rings of criticism. And some leaders just hate to be criticized… know what I mean?

It must be becoming obvious, by now, that Trump’s Administration is exercising the politics of control. And, by any definition of this phrase, this means it prefers to issue policies that are dictated by directive. Which, by definition, means governance by dictator-ship.

America, you must find a way to put a stop to this now. Or you will forever regret your indecision, and lament your hesitation. The future of your nation, and the world, depends upon what you do in the next short while.

I’m just sayin’

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The New Aryans

Like most rational people, I’m outraged (but not surprised) by Trump’s provocative move to ban Muslims from seven “dangerous” arab nations from entering or re-entering the USA. After all, he’s simply doing what he threatened (or rather promised) to do during the election campaign. In fact, all of his Executive Orders are just promises he made to the electorate before he was voted into office. So why is everyone suddenly so shocked and appalled? Maybe they thought all his electioneering was just hot air, and that he wouldn’t actually do what he said he would. Guess they’ll never underestimate the audacity of Donald Trump again.

I wonder if democrats who abstained from voting in the election, because they refused to support Hillary Clinton, are still convinced that Trump is the better alternative. Sure, Bernie was cool, but I doubt that Hillary would have thrown the world under a bus the way Trump has. Then again, maybe they figured if she was going to win anyway, she’d have to do it without their vote. Well, let that be a lesson that, in a democracy, every vote counts.

Despite the insanity of it, there’s something about Trump’s victory that has left me with an unsettled feeling… and not just because the guy’s an arrogant blowhard, buffoon, and colossally egotistical jerk. Nor because his abrasive personality runs contrary to everything America has sought in a leader in the past. It’s because it seems to me that Trump was voted into office by a single-minded strength of purpose that he himself seems to lack. To me, it’s as if Trump was perceived by someone as a powerful, audacious, and useful front man for a bigger, more insidious movement.

But I could never quite put my finger on what that movement was. Was it – as we were told by the pundits – all those disenfranchised & economically displaced middle-american families and workers seeking jobs and personal safety & security in uncertain global times? Because that’s who the media seems to think was behind Trump’s inexplicable rise in popularity.

But then, the other day, I was forwarded a link to a website that shed a whole new light on the situation. Reading it gave me chills of concern for life as we know it in the North America of the 21st century.

According to this website, Trump is merely an easily manipulated front man for an extremist Christian movement that’s taking advantage of his grandiose personality to help the founders of their movement implement a subversive game plan almost 35 years in the making… a plan to return America to a fundamentalist white Christian culture. And the real kingpin in this government takeover is not Donald Trump, but Mike Pence.

According to the article, this extremist Christofascist movement has been trying to gain a foothold into the White House for decades. And while they’ve been highly successful in recruiting and indoctrinating individuals and families through grassroots endeavours like the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Operation Rescue, the Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family all family-oriented Christian organizations aimed at promoting the need for out-reproducing other religions, homeschooling young white Christians, and fostering the drive and stamina needed to fight what they call a “culture war” – they’ve been less successful at securing a federal advocate for their fundamentalist agenda.

Mind you, they haven’t wasted their time. Between elections, they’ve been busy behind the scenes, preparing the young for this war so they’re ready when the opportunity presents itself. Youth movement groups like Generation Joshua, TeenPact, and Teenage Republicans (TARS) teach devout young recruits everything they need to promote, push, and defend the need to bring down the current political system, and replace it with a nationalistic evangelical Christian theocracy.

The first foray by the Christian Right into the political arena came with the Tea Party in the early 2000s. That’s when the public got its first real look at this passionate evangelical conservatism. The movement mustered its support behind Sarah Palin who, as you’ll recall, was not a presidential hopeful but the vice-presidential running mate to popular and more mainstream John McCain. That’s because the movement realized that it needed to pull a subversive Trojan Horse maneuver in order to gain entry into the White House. Much as they’ve done this time with Mike Pence.

They were not dissuaded nor discouraged by the failure of McCain & Palin to win the election… these Christofascists are nothing if not patient. Until another opportunity presented itself, they continued to work on (and with) middle-American families by enthusiastically and relentlessly pushing their national agenda: To Take Back the Country for Christ. Their mission – and mantra – to Outbreed, Outvote and Outactivate. The driving force of this movement is its youth who marry young, raise relatively large families, homeschool their children to prevent contamination of the evangelical message, keep the spirit and energy alive through tight social and community efforts, and make voting an almost religious obligation… which to them it is.

To followers of this movement, anyone who doesn’t believe their message and abide by their strict rigid beliefs is their enemy, and not worthy of respect, mercy, or compassion. Only “good christians” will be saved. But that doesn’t include Catholics, Anglicans, or United Church Protestants! And most certainly not Muslims, Jews, or Buddhists.

Mike Pence seems to be the real reason they needed Trump to win the election. Pence’s rigid anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-white, and pro-evangelical beliefs are what they need in federal office to further their cause. How Pence will go about getting this agenda to be accepted nationally remains to be seen. But it would appear that his message of pure, clean, straight Christian life has been embraced by millions of young people who are prepared to take up the banner and bring down what they see as the corrupt policies of the past, and replace them with their evangelical message. They are the new master race – the new aryans – in this nationalistic movement that’s sweeping America.

Trouble is, most of us non-evangelicals have been more-or-less oblivious to how strong a movement it is. Maybe if these fresh-faced young people start singing “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” in the streets, people will sit up and take notice.

For more insights into this dark underground Christofascist movement, and its ultimate nationalistic goals, read “I was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah“.

When I read it, after feeling a little numb about its cautionary message, a lot of things fell into place. Like why otherwise intelligent, respectable-looking, and apparently articulate middle-Americans were so willing to turn a blind eye to Trump’s moronic attitudes and disgusting behaviour, and still vote for him. And why he selected the very different Mike Pence as his running mate. And why otherwise decent, family-loving middle-Americans are so willing to treat blacks, foreigners, and non-Christians with such racist, almost hate-filled disdain.

I was raised a United Church Christian. I’ve read the New Testament front to back. And nothing I read there ever portrayed Jesus as anything but a compassionate, loving, caring man who spread a message of love, tolerance, generosity and forgiveness to those who would listen. Later in life, I also read the words of Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius and Gandhi. They too preached of love, tolerance, generosity and forgiveness. And I concluded that there are many roads to a decent, loving, and compassionate life. So that’s how I’ve tried to live my life. None of these great people spoke of exclusion or intolerance, of racial or religious purity, or of being among the chosen ones. I can only conclude that any religious philosophy that teaches war, division, or exclusion has become corrupted by opportunists and elitists.

In light of this development, what should we do? I don’t know. But I suggest we all keep an eye out for signs that this is the direction that America is taking. Because I believe that many people would oppose such a reversal of American compassion and tolerance. At least I would hope so.

I’m just sayin’

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Whom the Gods Would Destroy

The other night I heard Presidential Advisor Kellyanne Conway on the news, where she excused White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s rant against the press regarding Trump’s inauguration day attendance numbers, saying he referred to “alternative facts“. I think what she was describing is what the rest of us would call “mistruths”, “falsehoods”, or just plain “lies”.

But regardless of the so-called truth (whichever version you subscribe to) of how many people attended Trump’s inaugural ceremonies, the fact that Conway implied that there’s no such thing as absolute truth made me realize that the gloves are now off. US politics, as we know it, is no longer governed by the rules of fair play and honesty. The truth, from now on, is whatever they can get away with… whatever they can convince the people to believe.

That includes the truth not just about what has recently occurred, but what has happened in the distant past. Because, once you tread down the slippery slope to filtering the facts through biased eyes, then there’s no such thing as the “truth”. There’s only selective and twisted facts used as propaganda. And even history itself becomes whatever you can convince people it was… indisputable evidence to the contrary be damned. This tactic proved quite effective in the past for controlling a gullible populace.

And boy, is Trump ever good at twisting and distorting the facts to serve his purposes. Plus, his supporters firmly believe every word that comes out of the man’s mouth. So there’s no playbook that the news media, Washington, or the American people can rely upon to help them stand a chance in this crazy game that Trump and his team are playing. It’s Calvin Ball from here on out.

Clearly, when it comes to Trump’s presidency, America and the rest of the world is dealing with a bag of cats. And you can never win when you’re dealing with crazy people. Even professional psychologists are cautious when dealing with insanity, because psychos & schizophrenics can suck you into their fantasies and delusions so easily that the next thing you know you’re questioning your own sanity. Well, that’s what’s going to happen to America very shortly if the Trump government keeps this up. His crazy “upside down”, bizarro world is eventually going to start making a weird kind of sense. And, like they say, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad“. So, when Trump starts making sense, you’ll know what that means.

Unfortunately, the USA is not an isolated entity. It’s a world power, one with a great deal of influence over the hopes, safety, and fortunes of many other nations. So, as goes the USA, so goes the world.

Quite possibly there are ways the Trump Administration could actually prove good for the USA and the world. I’ve got to allow them that. But as near as I can tell, all of those scenarios require Trump and his team to either start acting like normal politicians and playing by the rules, or for Congress and the Senate to rein them in and secure them on a short leash. And I don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future. So, unfortunately, the only future scenarios I can imagine play out in a very dark way.

You see, a few nights ago, as I lay in bed, I got to wondering how Trump’s four years in office might play out. I used past and present events to establish a trajectory of what we know, then projected it into the future. In Engineering we call this extrapolation.

Something like this happened to me during the Republican leadership race. At that time I realized that, unless something was done, as improbable as it seemed, Trump was going to win the GOP nomination. Which he did. It also happened during the presidential election, where I concluded that, unless Hillary found some way to connect with voters, Trump was going to win the presidency. She didn’t, and he did.

So I’ve come to trust this inner voice, and the strange hidden workings of my subconscious. But this time its prediction foretells a truly grim story… something from a pulp fiction novel. Except that we can’t close the cover and put this book down. Our only choice is to do something before it (or something like it) plays itself out in real life.

The timeline of predictions listed below is based on the kind of Trump, Kellyanne, bag of cats behaviour – and  so-called “logic” – that we’ve already come to expect from the Trump team. It accounts for Trump’s divisive nature, his distorting the truth, never accepting a loss graciously, never backing down, and always seeking revenge against detractors and critics. It relies on the media remaining hell-bent on exposing Trump for the lunatic and liar that he is. It relies on other nations protecting their citizens and their national best business & security interests. Plus it expects people to be people – anger, passion, hopes and all – and we’ve seen some pretty angry, violent, paranoid, and crazy behaviour from Americans this past year. In other words, it’s based on the reality of the situation.

And so, putting that all together, I humbly offer what I hope turns out to be just the plot of a bad political novel… a work of fiction that Tom Clancey might have come up with on a bad day, were he still alive. I just hope it never comes to pass. But, unfortunately, I’m two-for-two so far with my night-time predictions.

I point out that the chronology of events predicted below is highly uncertain. That’s to be expected. Some of the events listed might happen in a different order from those shown, or they might not happen at all. And many other unforeseen events will no doubt occur in the meantime. But it’s really the trajectory of these events – the outcome they lead to – that has me so worried. Because my subconscious mind reasons that, people being people, and Trump being Trump, the future could too easily unfold along a path similar to this.

And we simply can’t allow that to happen. Something proactive must be done to dial down the crazy, and to prevent this scenario from ever coming true!

The sad thing is, if this disaster unfolds anything like I’ve outlined here, Trump’s supporters will blame the calamity on liberals, the corrupt media, the Democrats, Obama, foreigners, Hillary Clinton, Muslims, perhaps even ISIS… anyone but Donald Trump. They will simply not accept that the man, his policies, and his fragile ego will have taken their once proud & noble nation, and the world, to the brink of war.

Disclaimer: The links provided below are to current or recent events that hint at the possibilities of more escalated future reactions by Trump and his gang of wacky sidekicks. They by no means imply that this doomsday scenario is already playing itself out as outlined below.

That, and the farther down the timeline we get, and the more extreme the anticipated events, the less supportive evidence I can link to… because by this point we’re sailing in uncharted waters. It’s all quite unprecedented. Trump has seen to that.

Hopefully I’m totally off the mark here, and the future will unfold in a completely different and ideally better, sunnier way for all. Ideally, this blog will turn out to be nothing more than whimsical entertainment and the rantings of a paranoid Canadian. I truly want to be wrong. I want none of this to ever happen.

But it might. And that’s the problem.

I’m just sayin’

Timeline Starts January 22, 2017
This timeline unfolds over a period of around 18-24 months

  • Trump disparages the media by saying their reports are full of deliberate and misleading lies.
  • Kellyanne Conway establishes that “alternative facts” are just as real, but that only Trump’s facts are the truth.
  • Major news outlets speak out against this outlandish notion in an attempt to defend their credibility.
  • Trump uses Executive Orders to unilaterally enact many of his campaign promises, to shore up stronger support from his supporters.
  • Trump approves the Keystone and Dakota Pipeline projects.
  • Trump withdraws the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
  • Trump approves the $14B Mexico wall and insists Mexico will pay for it.
  • Trump temporarily halts immigration from mostly Muslim nations.
  • Trump bans federal funding to international health groups that support abortion.
  • Trump-appointed ambassador to the UN takes names of nations that openly oppose the Trump administration.
  • Trump orders “extreme vetting” of immigrants and refugees.
  • Trump orders expansion of the powers of the military.
  • Trump endorses torture, because he says it works.
  • Trump proposes a muslim registry database to track their actions.
  • Media, celebrities and ex-government officials oppose the muslim registry, calling it a throwback to the days of the Japanese internment camps.
  • Trump orders hiring freeze for US federal employees, but not for the military.
  • China and Japan express their disappointment & concerns at Trump’s actions, asserting that his decision is not in the best interests of all international parties.
  • China takes exception to Trump recognizing Taiwan as a nation.
  • Trump aggressively pursues his claims that voter fraud denied him the popular vote. *
  • The news media questions Trump’s motives for seeking the presidency.
  • Trump claims that he truly wants to unite America, and implies that any who oppose or criticize him oppose America.
  • The news media launches a volley of attacks and criticisms against Trump’s draconian methods and questionable decisions.
  • Environmentalists and aboriginal groups band together to fight Trump’s pipeline plans.
  • Trump says it’s the media that is agitating these groups by lying to them.
  • Trump imposes tough trade sanctions against Mexico – America’s once friendly trading partner – to force it to pay for the wall.
  • Mexico breaks off diplomatic ties to the USA in retaliation.
  • The news media defends Mexico’s position.
  • Trump threatens to impose penalties on some media groups, such as sanctions and lawsuits, to try and scare them into backing off their criticisms of him.
  • Trump declares that the media no longer disseminates the truth, and that he will contact Americans directly online about what is happening.
  • Trump insists this is the only way Americans will get the truth.
  • Citizens groups rally nationwide to stop Trump by impeachment or even arrest if necessary.
  • Trump accuses the media of deliberately lying to the American people and trying to incite treason.
  • A major movement forms, directing anti-Trumpers on how to oppose Trump’s orders and policies.
  • Police and the media react to a general rise in lawless behaviour across the USA.
  • Trump vows to get tough on crime, and to give permission to police to make arrests on suspicion of involvement in criminal activity.
  • Ugly protests spring up in major cities in mostly Democratic states.
  • It’s discovered that many people attending these protests and riots are Canadians.
  • Trump imposes restrictions at the border, blacklisting many foreigners and foreign news outlets from entering the USA.
  • Trump tells Americans this was done because foreigners are stirring up trouble and spreading lies about America to the rest of the world.
  • The vindictiveness is ramped up, with anti-Trumpers calling Trump a criminal, traitor, fascist, and petty dictator.
  • Trump gives a fiery speech, declaring anyone who opposes him or his government’s policies to be the real “un-American” traitors.
  • Around the country American flags are burned, as are effigies of Trump.
  • Trump refers to the instigators and trouble-makers as fascists and Nazis to stir up hatred against them.
  • Trump grants police wider liberties to enforce the law where government protests and anti-government actions are involved.
  • Violence by both sides erupts in troubled cities.
  • Police find they are in over their heads, and many officers are injured or even killed by rioters.
  • Trump calls out the National Guard to quell protests, authorizing them to use rubber bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades, tasers, pepper spray, or water cannons at their discretion… but deadly force only as a last resort.
  • Trump claims this action is meant to restore peace & order for the safety of his law-abiding and patriotic followers.
  • These strong-arm tactics are mostly used in cities in Democratic states.
  • Physical threats are made online against Trump and his family.
  • Trump falsely claims that an attempt was made against his family, but he assures the country that they’re all safe.
  • Trump uses these threats as an excuse to impose a national curfew.
  • Trump creates a private police force (SS, Brown Shirts) to protect him.
  • The world gets word of Trump’s private army, and makes the connection to historic similarities.
  • Trump lashes out at foreign news outlets for making America and him look bad.
  • Trump closes the US borders to international news outlets and foreign reporters entering the States.
  • Trump suspends broadcast licenses, preventing US news outlets from broadcasting outside the USA.
  • Trump says that American news should only be for Americans anyway.
  • The nation is now under an self-imposed international news blackout.
  • The only news getting out is via the Internet, and from a handful of rogue foreign reporters operating undercover in the USA.
  • A world-wide underground movement forms to force Trump out of office.
  • Trump gets wind of this and declares American involvement to be treasonous.
  • Trump tasks the CIA and FBI with tracking down and arresting all the underground leaders, as well as any illegal reporters still in the country.
  • Trump accuses foreigners of assisting the illegal underground.
  • Trump tries to get the NSA to monitor all Internet traffic to and from the USA.
  • Trump says this is because the terrorists are using the Internet against Americans by stirring up discontent and inciting violence.
  • For national security reasons, all network and cable TV shows are now “temporarily” suspended from broadcasting outside the USA.
  • Trump says Americans won’t lose revenue, because those broadcasts only ever made money for Canadian and Mexican ad agencies.
  • Hundreds of random and questionable arrests are quietly made in the name of national security… faces are not shown nor names given (for national security reasons) so no one knows who’s been arrested.
  • Several new prisons are opened in pro-Trump states to house these dissidents.
  • Trump claims this is actually a good thing because it makes more work for his supporters, and gets dissidents off the streets.
  • Violent skirmishes with members of the underground are occurring everywhere.
  • Trump starts a rumour that the underground includes many treasonous military defectors, police, and democrats, and that it’s well armed.
  • Trump claims that a coup attempt was made against the White House, but it failed (there’s suspicion that this is a lie… there was no coup).
  • Martial law is imposed by Trump, and is enforced by the National Guard.
  • The White House is now ringed by armed military personnel.
  • Thousands more arrests are made across the country of anyone even remotely linked to the alleged coup, or to the underground.
  • Many of those arrested are celebrities who’s names and faces are shown on the news.
  • Names and addresses of rumoured anti-Trumpers are leaked online.
  • Trump supporters form vigilante lynch mobs to round these people up.
  • There are rumours of roaming and heavily-armed Trump supporters raiding peoples’ houses at night and making “citizen’s arrests”.
  • Trump dismisses rumours of these vigilante gangs raping and beating innocent people, claiming those are just more lies spread by the corrupt media and criminal underground.
  • Several blacks are found hanging from a tree in the south, the grim photos go viral and are even leaked to international news outlets.
  • The powder keg ignites, and deadly riots erupt in cities all over the country… the carnage and loss of life is devastating.
  • Trump supporters go to these anti-Trump protests and shoot people.
  • Trump Tower is bombed by a car bomb… hundreds are hurt or killed.
  • Trump properties in other nations are attacked.
  • Trump accuses people of making it personal, but insists that these are really attacks against America and its freedoms.
  • There’s talk of civil war as some states declare themselves independent of the Union.
  • Trump orders the military to occupy these states, and to impose full martial law upon them.
  • Deaths and arrests in the USA police state become international news stories.
  • China anchors several naval attack ships 500 miles off the American west coast.
  • China claims it’s there to protect the lives of Chinese nationals living in the States.
  • Japan says it’s incapable of providing military support, but promises to provide technological support to the USA, as long as they ensure the safety of all Japanese nationals living in the States.
  • Border crossings become chaotic powder kegs as desperate Americans attempt to escape into Canada.
  • Trump says that those trying to escape are unAmerican cowards who need to stay and accept the realities of their new nation.
  • Trump closes all international border crossings to traffic, including to and from Canada.
  • Many Canadian citizens are now stranded in the USA.
  • Canada lodges an official complaint with the US consulate.
  • Some US news outlets have re-located to Canada where they broadcast the real news into the USA via the Internet and short-wave radio.
  • Trump posts military forces along the Canadian border threatening to take action against Canada if it continues to assist these trouble-makers.
  • Canadian military forces line up along Canada’s border in a weak show of force.
  • Canada appeals to Britain for help, but they refuse to get involved.
  • The world watches as the USA teeters on the brink of civil war, plus possible war with Canada, and maybe even China.
  • Hostilities in the Arab nations relax a bit as all eyes are on the USA, waiting to see what happens there.
  • Supposedly with Trump’s permission, Russian forces move across Alaska, prepared to assist the USA by invading Canada if necessary… at Trump’s command, of course.
  • Russian jets make provocative forays into Canadian air space, getting into a few minor skirmishes with Canadian fighter jets, daring Canadian pilots to shoot first.
  • Russia parks a fleet of naval vessels 500 miles off Canada’s west coast, prepared to attack Canada, or the Chinese fleet, if necessary.
  • The Trudeau government brokers a peace deal with the USA and Russia.
  • This enrages Canadians, starting protests and riots in this country.
  • Trudeau is voted out of office by a tri-partisan non-confidence vote.
  • PC Leader Kevin O’Leary promises to stand up for Canada if elected.
  • O’Leary is voted in with the largest majority in Canadian history.
  • Instead of bolstering Canada’s defences, the O’Leary government signs a coalition agreement with the USA and Russia, forming what is essentially a contiguous American-Canadian-Russian corridor of power.
  • NATO, led by Britain and Europe, shores up its defences against the new Russian-Canadian-American Alliance (RuCanAm) by deploying their respective fleets into the Atlantic.
  • Russia deploys its nuclear submarine fleet into the Baltic.
  • The United Nations moves its operations out of New York and relocates to Geneva Switzerland.
  • All sides continue to rattle their sabres, threatening to use nuclear weapons if provoked.
  • In a speech to the American people, Trump dismisses Russia’s involvement, describing them as merely an “Ally of Strength”.
  • Trump describes the US-Russian disagreements of the past as merely the petty squabbles of two brothers fighting over who gets the top bunk.
  • Off camera, Trump smugly refers to Canada as Puerto Rico north… a property of the USA, but not useful enough to be a state.
  • Canadians start emigrating to Europe, New Zealand, Asia and India.
  • Fear of a world war now shores up panicking US support for Trump.
  • Bomb shelters once again become a big thing in the States.
  • Trump tells Americans that this only proves that the world has always hated the USA, and that only now are they revealing their true colours.
  • He reassures them that America has the biggest and best-equipped navy, the biggest military, the most nuclear bombs, the smartest weapons, and the best preparedness of any nation in the world, and it shall prevail.
  • The world prepares to go to war.

Okay. I just put this out there. It’s fantasy, right? It’s speculation at best, and paranoia at worst. And it’s all just feverish, sleepless imagination. So make of it what you will. Ignore it, laugh at it if you’re so inclined, scoff at it if that allows you to sleep at night. I myself hope to re-read this blog post sometime down the road and laugh at how ludicrous these predictions were. I really do. I hope it all turns out to be silly nonsense. Let’s hope.

Note: Since first writing this blog post, another doomsday scenario has popped into my sleepless noggin. It involves other nations seeing the Brexit vote, and the draconian success of Trump’s ideas and methods. This leads them to employ similar tactics by appealing to the anger and discontent of their own voters in order to get their own neo-conservative leaders elected, and then to adapt Trump-like policies. In time, these dictatorial corporate regimes decide to consolidate under a single leader… Supreme Overlord Trump (or something like that). I’ll leave the details of that nightmare scenario for another day.

* I’ve wondered why Trump is so obsessed with proving that he won the election’s majority vote. The pundits have written it off as just his inflated ego, asserting that Trump simply can’t live with the idea that Hillary got more votes than him. But I think it goes much further than that. I believe it has a nefarious intent. I suspect there’s some policy that Trump plans to implement down the road, a policy so distasteful that when it’s challenged he’ll be able to say that he was justified in enacting it because the majority of Americans supported him. And he believes this will silence the critics.

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This Dark Day

January 20, 2017. The day everything changed.

Many Americans naively believe that today’s the day everything will start to get better for them. They believe that the American economy will begin to improve as their countrymen turn to buying products made exclusively in the USA, resulting in more jobs for them, better livelihoods, and a better & stronger economy. That the national wealth will subsequently rise, and be fairly redistributed to all hard-working people and their families. That the Trump government will focus on their needs above its other priorities. And who cares if these protectionist policies hurt the economies of their neighbours to the north & south as the result of Trump tearing up legally-established free-trade agreements? Or that protectionism can hurt a nation by isolating it from the products, services, resources, and assets of markets beyond its borders.

It’s the day the USA will get tough about its border safety & security, and the world will sit up and take notice because the States will once again wield a big nuclear stick, held firmly and defiantly in the hands of a man who’s not afraid to use it. After all, no one will dare mess with a crazy man holding a bomb. (Wait… who’s the terrorist here?)

It’s the day America will protect its threatened republic by expelling and walling-out foreign undesirables. And maybe Trump will even change (or just cover up) the plaque on the Statue of Liberty, which now reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

It’s the day that all signs of that damned black president will be erased, and the nation will finally get back to re-establishing itself as a white Christian nation once again. Man, now if someone could only find a way to resurrect Bing Crosby and John Wayne, wouldn’t that be great?!

It’s the day that American values – and only American values – will once again reign supreme. Old glory will once again fly proudly on every flag pole. The mighty US military – young mid-west boys armed to the teeth with American assault weaponry – will once again be able to hold its head up proudly. Blacks, women, and immigrants will once again know their place as kept people. And the world will sit up and take notice of this fully-restored and reinvigorated America. God, even the clouds will be red, white, and blue.

It’s the day that America will become Great Again!

——–

You know, as sad as the picture I’ve painted above sounds, that’s exactly what Trump supporters voted for. And it’s what they truly hope he delivers. It’s almost a comic book version of the USA, brought by time-machine from the 1950s into the present. And within its greying pages are all the grim reminders of Jim Crow segregation, witch hunt McCarthyism, Cold War paranoia (except the enemy nations have changed, because the USA will now be in bed with Russia), the corrupt military/industrial complex, and unbridled post-war greed & competition that saw citizen pitted against citizen for jobs and affluence.

I really find myself lost for words at just how bad things are about to become for the USA, and for the rest of the world. Others have said it so much better than I can. So I leave it to you to click the links I’m providing, and to read for yourselves how the experts, political pundits, politiciansrespected news outlets, and just ordinary citizens are responding to this tragic day in American history, as the skies over the nation darken under the growing shadow of an elitist, greedy, aggressive, opportunistic, and quasi-dictatorial administration.

America, you have my sympathies. Hold strong. All I can hope is that you’ll be able to maintain your integrity, your honour, your compassion, your sense of humour, and your sense of fairness for others less fortunate than you over these next four years. Because those noble traits are about to be tested over and over again, as Trump pits you all against one another.

He’s a bully, and you’re all about to be subjected relentlessly to his wanton wrath, hair-trigger temper, and petty impulses. You’ve made a king, or maybe emperor, out of a spoiled and petulant child, and have given him all the wealth, influence, and destructive might of the most powerful nation on Earth. What could possibly go wrong?

I fear that we’re all about to find out.

So, with a heavy heart, I wish you good luck.

I’m just sayin’

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Don’t Mask the Symptoms

The other day my youngest son asked an interesting question. “They tell you to catch cancer early,” he said. “But how do people know when to go and get a checkup for cancer?” I guess he’s becoming conscious of his health lately, so this concern was on his mind.

I, of course, explained that people usually detect a sign that something might be wrong… a small lump, the changed appearance of a blemish, an unusual ache or pain, a slight discolouration of the skin, even just an odd physical sensation… something that flags what might be a bigger, more serious problem.

I added that the way to make sure they catch the problem early is to not ignore the symptoms. I explained that, while many people detect the early signs, some often choose to ignore them. Many are afraid of what they might find if they go see a doctor. Some don’t recognize the symptom as being a problem. Then again, maybe they figure that they’re invincible, so nothing bad could ever happen to them. Or maybe they put it out of their mind, figuring that it’ll go away on its own. Some people are just too lazy to do anything, and simply forget about it. Others go to a drug store, get some cream, or pills, or medicine that treats the symptom, and assume they’ve taken care of it. Whatever their reasons for dismissing the symptom, they may well end up paying a price for neglecting it if the condition progresses to the point of becoming a major illness that no longer responds easily to treatment.

Symptoms are our body’s way of communicating with us. Loss of sensation or tingling in the extremities… could be diabetes. Yellow skin or eyes… could be jaundice. Slight pain in the lower right abdomen when standing or bending… could be appendicitis. Low grade fever or nausea… could be an infection. Or maybe not. But safer to get it checked out and know for sure. Because symptoms are often tell-tale signs that something bigger and nastier is going on.

That said, I advised him that people shouldn’t go running to the doctor for every little pain, hiccup, or lump they discover. Some common sense has to be used. The human body suffers from many conditions, and can deal with most of them by itself. People only need to be concerned about those unusual abnormalities that the body doesn’t seem to be able to deal with successfully on its own.

Symptoms are not just limited to the human body. If your car starts making a metallic clunking sound, there’s probably a bigger issue at the root of it. Maybe some part is worn or broken, and needs fixing or replacing… the noise being a symptom of a bigger mechanical failure. Or if an otherwise happy couple starts bickering all the time, it might not just be all those little issues that they’re fighting about that need their attention… there may be a much bigger problem with their relationship that needs looking into. Or if a person cries all the time, it might not just be sadness, there maybe an underlying condition that should be considered.

Sounds like pretty straight forward advice, right? If you notice a disturbing problem, have it looked at by a professional. Unfortunately, that’s not what most people do. They treat the symptom. Got a cold? Take some over-the-counter medicine to mask the symptoms so you can get on with your day. Sure, you’re still sick (and probably still contagious), but at least you no longer feel like crap, and can go back to work, or school, or shopping. And don’t worry about the fact that you might get even sicker because you’re not letting your body rest and get healthier.

Sorry, but treating the symptom is not a cure. It’s only a temporary fix, and is rarely the answer. In fact, it can make things worse, because you’re not addressing the root cause of the problem. Few over-the-counter medicines actually offer a cure… all they do is mask the symptoms. Antacid lozenges may stop a stomach ache, but the cause of the excess acid remains. Antidepressant pills may allow you to live with your depression, but the psychological or physiological causes remain untreated, and the condition will probably return. Going on a vacation (or buying flowers) may ease the stress & tension caused by frequent squabbles, but the tension and fights will probably resume once you get back from the vacation (or after those pretty flowers die). Treating the symptom is just sticking your head in the sand.

Eliminating the cause means looking deeper into the underlying issues. A common diagnostic approach is to consider multiple symptoms together to see if they form a congenital pattern that might reveal the hidden nature of the problem. Once the underlying cause is determined, you can go about fixing the real problem that underlies all the symptoms. And once the root problem is dealt with, the individual symptoms usually clear up over time.

Which brings me to the real point of my blog (you knew there was one). Right now the world is experiencing some major, nasty symptoms of its own. Wars in the Middle East, terrorism, rising suicide rates, growing disparity between the rich & poor, growing dissent amongst blacks and hispanics in the States, middle-class kids running off to join ISIS, a rise in violent crimes, so-called “honour killings”, the Brexit vote, and the election of Donald Trump are all symptoms of a bigger disease… a kind of social madness.

Oh sure, you’re probably going to say that this notion is naive, that all these issues are major problems in and of themselves, not merely symptoms of some other problem. But hear me out. I believe something bigger is going on – something affecting all regions of the globe – something that needs addressing. And soon. The problems are not merely those of the disgruntled masses that have plagued mankind since time began. We’re seeing ordinary, law-abiding citizens pulling out guns and shooting innocent victims for no apparent reason. We’re seeing healthy and strong teenagers committing suicide in alarmingly large numbers. We’re seeing intelligent people voting an egotistical, self-centred jerk into the office of President of the United States. We’re seeing young, well-educated middle-class kids running off to join a mercenary terrorist group in the deserts of the Middle East. We’re seeing seasoned and highly-respected police officers gunning down unarmed black youths. We’re seeing loving mothers and fathers murdering their children. These are not the usual symptoms of ordinary stressful life. They are aberrant behaviour by people pushed beyond their coping limits. And it only seems to be getting worse.

Unfortunately, what the underlying problem is, I can’t say, because of course I don’t know. But all of these symptoms seem to point to a global psychological disorder that’s getting worse by the day. There seems to be a growing sense of anger, hatred, fear, paranoia, disregard for the well-being of others, suspicion, selfishness, greed & hoarding, and suicidal tendencies. If a given individual was to display these symptoms, I believe that any qualified psychologist could come up with a diagnosis (if not a cure) pretty quickly, after some observation and testing. But, on a global scale, we seem to obsessively focus on the separate symptoms (or at least the media does), and overlook what may be the unifying cause or causes.

I truly believe that human beings are experiencing a global psychosis… a kind of planet-wide depression & despair, brought on by… what? By poverty? By fluoride in the water? Exposure to the news itself? Maybe cometary dust clouds? Wars over access to oil? Or our aging population? Financial disparity? Maybe climate change is the problem? Or the environment? What about cellphones? Unemployment? Chemtrails? Or the Internet (my personal favourite culprit)? How about electric fields? Or maybe immigration? Or possibly world overpopulation? Pollution? Or religious differences? Or maybe just the lack of a good old world war to get rid of some of the international tension and bring things back into focus?  I’m just spitballing here, because I don’t know.

But something is definitely affecting us all, making us meaner, angrier, more fretful, less content, greedier, more paranoid, sicker, crazier, more reckless, and more suicidal… than ever before. You can see it on our highways. You can see it in school hallways. You can see it in the streets of St. Louis. You can see it in the streets of Bagdad, Paris, Beirut, Boston, Mumbai, and Columbine. You can read it on the Internet. And I believe that it’s more global than regional, because these feelings of despair, anger, paranoia, and a need to lash out at others are almost universally shared around the planet. So I believe they have a common cause. Whatever that cause is.

Is it linked to the decline in bee populations, or to the rain forest frogs that are dying off? Is it the additives in our foods, or GMO foods in our diets? Again, I don’t know. But I also don’t suggest that we look to the conspiracy theorists for answers. Because, although they’ve been trying to bring these concerns to our attention for years, many of their explanations are… well… kinda out there. No, we need sober, rational, and qualified minds to look into it. I’m sure they’ll find that the causes are sociological, but that might not be the whole story. Conditions have declined so rapidly, and so alarmingly, that we have to consider that the causes might likewise be unexpected.

Someone qualified needs to address these concerns. Maybe instead of all these global climate change symposiums, the G20 countries, or the United Nations, should also be getting together to discuss this global psychosis, and to bring the experts in to offer their observations and opinions. Because it’s in all our best interests to get to the bottom of it, and to do something about it.

Wouldn’t it be nice to discover why the Middle East seems hell-bent on destroying itself? Or why kids are killing themselves off at the rate of 10 or 20 per week in our northern communities? Or why recreational painkiller drug use is on the rise? Or why kids’ music is filled with such hate-filled lyrics? Or why police are so terrified of blacks that they shoot first and ask questions later? Or why some Muslim extremist groups hate the USA and Europe with such passion? Wouldn’t it be nice to find the one or two (or maybe several) underlying causes that can be addressed, and then treat them to bring this global psychotic epidemic under control?

Sure it would. But as long as we continue to treat the individual symptoms themselves – the wars, suicides, acts of terrorism, police brutality, etc – as isolated incidents, then we’re merely putting the world in a strait jacket to keep it from hurting itself or others. But we’re not dealing with the underlying causes of the psychosis that’s destroying our planet and our cultural relationships with each other.

Putting up a wall only masks the symptoms of people escaping lives of desperation into a nation where they believe they’ll have better lives. Accepting millions of displaced refugees only masks the symptoms of millions of innocent people being driven from the country of their birth by an evil dictator. Leaving the EU only masks the symptoms of a nation that feels its traditional values slipping away. Forcing travelers to subject themselves to degrading body searches every time they board an airplane only masks the symptoms of vibrant young men & women, so filled with revulsion for the USA that they’re willing to kill & die for their hate-filled passion. See what I mean? In each case, our efforts at a “solution” are only superficial bandaids that treat the symptoms, but don’t address the underlying issues.

Let’s not treat these social & cultural symptoms we’re experiencing the way many people treat their physical symptoms. Let’s not ignore them, trivialize them, or try to mask them. And let’s not view them as the issue, when they’re really just symptoms of a much larger problem.

I believe it’s time to stop fixating on the symptoms affecting our world, and to start dealing with the underlying causes of our mutual misery & discontent. Otherwise things are probably going to get worse, more threatening, and more disturbing… and harder to fix.

I’m just sayin’

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Blind Support isn’t the Answer

By now you’ve probably heard that Australian actress Nicole Kidman suggested to Americans that it’s time to get over their differences, and to start supporting Donald Trump as their elected president. Seems like there’s a lot of political advice coming from the Hollywood community these days.

Ms. Kidman has received plenty of criticism, but even some support, for her unsolicited comments. She has responded by stating, for the record, that her remarks were not meant as an endorsement of Donald Trump. She just thinks that it’s the democratic thing to do… to support the country’s elected leader, right or wrong. You know, all that “peaceful transition of power” stuff.

On the surface it sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to say. And it would be, under normal circumstances. But the situation Americans face this time around is anything but normal. Hence, Kidman’s advice strikes me as somewhat off-the-cuff and ill-advised. But I’ll come back to that in a moment.

First of all, let me say that I think Ms. Kidman truly means well. It’s a very noble & patriotic sentiment to willingly accept the outcome of a democratically-held election, and to get on with more important matters at hand. But when the crucial issue at hand is the very integrity of the election itself, and the personal qualifications and suitability of the winner, ignoring these concerns and turning one’s attention to other issues just seems foolhardy. I believe her advice is therefore misguided, and fails to address the sad truth of the matter; that Trump is a dangerous, self-serving sleaze-ball who got into power by illicit means, and who could conceivably lead the USA down a tragic road that runs contrary to everything the nation stands for.

I point out that in every dictionary, democracy is essentially defined as “government as elected by the majority through a fair vote.” But the majority did not vote Trump into office. He was elected by what some now say is the skewed Electoral College… an election provision put into place by the nation’s founders to ensure that sober second thought is afforded to the outcome before allowing an unsuitable individual to take the country’s highest office, thus ensuring that no self-serving person will succeed in undermining the nation’s treasured values. But in this case, the Electoral College failed to follow through on this mandate, and voted in a man who is clearly in it for himself, not the country. The Electoral College has shown that it is merely an ineffective rubber stamp to the process. It’s therefore not correct to say that Trump was the people’s choice… he most certainly was not. Even American Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis has declared that Trump is not a “legitimate” president. And this man knows what he’s talking about… more, I dare say, than does Nicole Kidman.

And the vote itself was not fair, as it was influenced by an outside power for purposes that have yet to be determined. That, and interference by the FBI when it released confidential and damning information that swayed some voters away from Hillary Clinton. In both cases, the fairness and balance of the election has been brought into question. So, not a fair election, and not a reasonable individual with the best interests of the nation at heart. Either one of which should bring into question the validity of the results. And hence why John Lewis has asserted that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president.

I don’t question Ms. Kidman’s intentions. But I’d rather she had phrased her comments in a way that advised US citizens to be cooperative, while at the same time cautious, if not suspicious, of their new president’s methods & motives. It’s time for America to support not Donald Trump, not a questionable and volatile president, but their fairly-elected governments. Because there are a lot of good people in the House of Representatives. A lot of good people work in America’s national agencies and the military. And a lot of good civil servants are the real brains & heart behind the everyday operations of the US federal government. Plus, there are the individual State and municipal governments to turn to for leadership. And most of these duly-elected and appointed representatives want what every other American wants… truth, fairness, opportunity, and equality, which were the aspirations of the nation’s founding fathers.

So, for the time being, it’s perhaps wiser to support these people and agencies than the Executive Office. And don’t for an instant turn your backs on Trump. He’s a loose cannon and a petty, self-serving, power-hungry man who is not to be trusted. He has a thin skin, a hair-trigger temper, and an over-inflated ego that’s going to get him and America into trouble someday, if somebody doesn’t put a muzzle & tracking collar on him soon.

Now, coming back to that old “My country, right or wrong” attitude that most Republican’s feel is at the heart & soul of American allegiance. This old notion implies support and solidarity for those tough and less likeable federal policies (usually Republican policies, I might add) regardless of how one feels personally or politically about them. It’s a kind of patriotic, flag-saluting, hand-over-the-heart challenge made to political critics, whiners, and snivelers to bring them back into line. But think about it… wasn’t the founding of the Republic itself brought about by NOT supporting British rule that was deemed wrong? Had this “love it or leave it” policy been enforced in 1776, the States might still be under colonial rule.

I think it’s time to reconsider that old point of view. Because it’s a license to permit and tolerate inexcusable behaviour. I believe in holding law breakers and selfish opportunists accountable. If my neighbour beats his kids, I’ll not support him even if we’ve shared lawn tools in the past. If my best buddy rapes his girlfriend, I’ll not stand by him by saying that “she must have had it coming.” If a business I frequent is found to be using unfair hiring, firing, or sales tactics, I’ll not shop there anymore. If our Prime Minister commits Canada to fighting in an unjust or illegal war, I will openly speak out against him, and certainly not ever vote for him again. In short, I’ll not support injustice. I certainly don’t endorse rebellion, just the withholding of active support. Our world is screwed up because people turn their backs on the evil, selfish, and opportunistic actions of some individuals & organizations. Forgiving the unforgivable is not the way to make things better. Those who commit public infractions must be held accountable, and should especially not be given support or be permitted the opportunity to further spread their corruption.

Nicole Kidman’s advice would be appropriate were the new president Mitt Romney, or John McCain, or even Hillary Clinton. But to tell Americans to overlook Trump’s infractions and peccadilloes, and to “get on with it” is not the way to avoid the potential calamity of his upcoming tenure in office. This is not the time to forgive-and-forget. Trump’s many documented crimes and misdemeanours are already unforgivable… the guy has admitted to physically groping women, he has admitted to being hot for his own daughter, he has refused to pay contract workers for work rendered, he has driven elderly residents from their homes in buildings he owns so he could raise their rent, he has vowed to incarcerate an innocent woman for crimes never proven, he has lied about his close involvement with the leader of America’s sworn enemy Russia, he has made ludicrous accusations about Ted Cruz’s father’s involvement with the Kennedy assassination, he has bullied untold innocent people, he has vilified foreigners, he has accused one of the foremost respected news giants CNN of being “fake news”, he has equated the US intelligence community with the Nazis, he Tweets his every mood and opinion despite the risks to national security, he has accused the current CIA chief John Brennan of illegally leaking classified information, he has already circumvented recent sanctions imposed against Russia by the current Administration, he shamelessly mocked a reporter’s physical disability, he has disrespected a national hero of the civil rights movement… I could go on and on. How much of Trump’s outrageous and disgusting behaviour is America prepared to forgive? Because it will never end as long as the man holds the highest office in the land. Supporting him would only sanction his repugnant behaviour.

Resistance to supporting Trump has already become a movement amongst many Washington insiders. According to news sources, more than 50 members of Congress plan on boycotting Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday. Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, among the many, has refused an invitation to attend Trump’s inauguration, saying “We cannot normalize Donald Trump, and we certainly cannot turn our heads and ignore such a threat to the institutions and values of our democracy.”

Support Trump? With all due respect, Nicole, I don’t think so. He doesn’t deserve support. Instead, Americans should be encouraged to support their House of Representatives and their regional governments, until such time as the new federal Executive Office demonstrates its integrity and trustworthiness… if ever.

I’m just sayin’

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