Categories for Musings

Calling all smart #UofT and #Ryerson students

Are you smart?  Can you write?  Can you research?  Do you harbour a desire to be a famous hack or flack one day?

Good news! Daisy Group is looking for a student (and maybe two) who attends, or has recently graduated from, U of T and/or Ryerson.  We are looking for folks who are nearby: it’s easier on you, and it’s easier on us.  Full or part-time are possible, depending on how amazing you are.

Email lisa at daisygroup dot ca (not me).  And don’t delay!

Donald Trump isn’t the only one who wants to build a wall

Jennifer Keesmaat’s vision for Toronto, not exactly as pictured.

There are 67 days until Election Day, and Jennifer Keesmaat still has this up.  She slept on it, apparently, and she still wants to separate from Ontario, Canada.

It’s crazy, sure, but it at least explains her desire for a TST (Toronto Sales Tax): she’ll need to tax the living Hell out of everyone living in her city-state to pay for basic services.

Oh, and you want jobs in Toronto? There’ll be plenty of opportunities for bricklayers to build Keesmaat’s wall along Steeles Avenue!


Randy Rampage, RIP

Randy, Chuck, Joey.

The Hot Nasties played a few shows with DOA, and with Randy, who played bass for them, off and on.

A big loss.  One of the originals.  RIP, Randy.

Vancouver punk legend Randy Rampage died Tuesday night. He was 58.

As the original bassist in DOA, Rampage was one of the founding fathers of Vancouver’s alternative music scene. With his peroxide blond hair and ever-present black leather jacket he was a riveting onstage presence, prone to leaping into the air and doing the splits in the middle of a song.

He quit and rejoined DOA a few times over the years, which inspired the title of a 2017 autobiography he wrote with Chris Walter, I Survived DOA.

He also did a couple of stints as singer for thrash metal standard-bearers Annihilator. In recent years he fronted his own band, Rampage, which had just recorded a new album.

But punk rock and thrash metal don’t always pay the bills, so Randall Desmond Archibald worked as a longshoreman in between music gigs. He worked on the North Shore docks Wednesday, then came home and was relaxing in a chair watching a South Park DVD on TV when he suffered an apparent heart attack.

He had recently returned to work after being off on compensation after he was hit by a forklift at work. It was the second time he had a run-in with a forklift – a few years ago his leg was crushed by a 7,000 pound roll of newsprint.

On Sir John A., and Sir John A. statues

From next week’s Hill Times column, which I’m still trying to cobble together, like a monument of sorts:

If you disagree [that we should remove statues paying tribute to racists], a challenge. Imagine, for a moment, you are a First Nations person – or imagine that you are, like me, father to a beautiful and perfect indigenous girl.

Just imagine that. Then read these words.

Here’s what [Macdonald] said in 1879: “When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages. He is simply a savage who can read and write. Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.”

And here’s what he said in 1885: “…we have been pampering and coaxing the Indians; [but] we must take a new course, we must vindicate the position of the white man, we must teach the Indians what law is.”

Also in 1885: “I have not hesitated to tell this House, again and again, that we could not always hope to maintain peace with the Indians; that the savage was still a savage, and that until he ceased to be savage, we were always in danger of a collision, in danger of war, in danger of an outbreak.”

A couple years later, in 1887: “The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.”

And, finally, this in 1884, when describing potlaches, the joyful indigenous gatherings held to celebrate births, deaths, adoptions, weddings: “…celebrating the ‘potlatch’ is a misdemeanor. This Indian festival is debauchery of the worst kind, and the departmental officers and all clergymen unite in affirming that it is absolutely necessary to put this practice down.”

And “put them down” Sir John A. did. He gave Canada’s First Nations – the ones who were here first – assimilation, brutality and genocidal residential schools.

That’s what he gave them, and us.

Michael Bate advocates rape

When no less than the Washington Post asked him if it had been right to advocate sexually assaulting Caroline Mulroney, in fact, Bate expressed “no regrets,” quote unquote. The rape “contest” was merely “throwing a pie,” Bate said, and “we hit her.”

He’s a pig. A pathetic old man, leering at young women, promoting the abuse of women. The rape of women.

There’s also the Glebe Montessori-drugs stuff. No one should be sending their kids there.

(Oh, and I’m told this is coming soon: a spot where his magazine will be available, free of charge. No more subscriptions.)

A reporter writes

Some reporters like writing process stories. It’s easier than writing stories about actual issues, I guess.

Anyhow. A reporter has spent several days talking to anonymous sources about the Toronto municipal race.

He asked about four-year-old stuff the anonymous sources told him.

Like: some folks on some campaigns don’t, you know, like me. This is true. Sometimes, despite my charming and effervescent personality, they don’t. This upsets me a great deal, as you can well imagine.

And: my friend Nick Kouvalis and I weren’t friends. That’s true. We weren’t. And then John Tory brought us together. John does that: he brings people together – he doesn’t make them separate.

And this: this guy’s anonymous sources are big fat liars, turns out, and they said the Olivia Chow campaign was attacking Doug Ford. Newsflash: I don’t think we did so once. Also: Chow comms guy Jamie Heath and I – and, I suspect, Olivia Chow – talked to Doug pretty much every day during that campaign. That’s how we became friends. Oh, and this: we had a shared strategic objective – trying to get ahead of the aforementioned John Tory. (Didn’t happen.)

And: this guy’s stupid sources say Nick is a scary guy or something. And super mean and all that. Except, you know who faithfully publishes every single poll Nick creates? The selfsame reporter’s newspaper. Sheesh.

Also: this guy claims that John Tory was against Lisa Kinsella running for city council. When, in fact, it was the polar opposite. As in, the reverse. But that doesn’t stop this guy, no sir.

Because he had this one, too: this guy says reporters were “pissed off,” quote unquote, that I quoted them saying nice things about my candidate. Do I do that? Yes. Yes, I do. I will keep doing it, too, forever. (Oh, and the aforementioned Jamie Heath liked the quotes so much, he put them on a T-shirt. I hope that really pissed this guy off.)

Anyhow. There you go. This guy has a big scoop, with lots of anonymous sources. Big, big story.

And no one in the real world will give a shit.

Hurt you signalling

Column: when monsters oppose you

Canada is in a social media war with Saudi Arabia.

It’s not a real war – at least not yet.  Real wars involve bullets and bombs and bodies.  This one is presently confined to Twitter and press statements.  Conscription hasn’t happened just yet.

There has been one truly extraordinary statement made by Saudi Arabia, however, one that promised violence on a grand scale.  A week ago, the state-controlled Saudi media tweeted this at Canadians: “Sticking one’s nose where it doesn’t belong! As the Arabic saying goes: ‘He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him’.”

Those words were superimposed on a graphic of an Air Canada plane, about to collide with some tall buildings in downtown Toronto.  The message was unmistakable.

We are willing to murder you, Canadians.

It was not subtle.  Continue to criticize Saudi Arabia’s dictatorship, and its unchanging abuse of human rights – as the Department of Global Affairs did, with an innocuous and fairly routine tweet of its own, the week before – and a plane will be dispatched, as on 9/11, and piloted into the CN Tower.  We did it before, Saudi Arabia’s rulers were saying, and we will do it again.

To you.

Because, you know, they did.  They did. There were 19 men who carried out the mass murders at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Of the 19 killers, 15 were Saudis.  Their leader, Osama bin Laden, was a Saudi, too.

A U.S. 2016 congressional inquiry found that there had been substantial Saudi involvement in 9/11.  The bipartisan inquiry reviewed half a million documents, interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and released an 838-page report.  Bob Graham, the former Democratic Senator who co-chaired the inquiry, said the hijackers had an extensive support system while they were in the United States.  From the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The definitive probe into the attacks, The 9/11 Commission, concluded that there remained a “likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al-Qaida.”  Those funds were used to carry out the murders of 2,998 people – 24 Canadian citizens among them.

So: the Saudi government’s little tweet, and accompanying infographic, isn’t so far-fetched, is it?  The tyrants who run Saudi Arabia evidently did fund efforts to murder two dozen Canadians, and many more Americans.  They did it before, their tweet strongly suggested, and they are unafraid to do it again.

None of this should surprise us, unfortunately.  The human rights record of Saudi Arabia, according to the watchdog Freedom House, is among “the worst of the worst.”

Saudi Arabia uses corporal punishment against wrongdoers, dissidents and critics.  This includes amputations of hands and feet for petty theft – and fines, floggings, and torture for being gay.  You can also be sentenced to life in prison, or death, for being gay or a “witch” in Saudi Arabia.

Until recently, women were not permitted to drive in the “kingdom.”  Women who protested this were jailed.  Oh, and this: over there, women have been flogged for being the victims of rape, as well.

Amnesty International has reported that the Saudi government habitually uses torture to extract false confessions.  Human Rights Watch has said that the torture includes “beatings, electrocution, and pouring chemicals into the mouth.”

Unsurprisingly, capital punishment is also a regular occurrence in Saudi Arabia, and it is done with the utmost viciousness.  Human Rights Watch reported on one 2015 case in which Saudi security officials “filmed the beheading of a Burmese woman in Mecca in which the swordsman required three sword strikes to sever the victim’s head.”

Sometimes, the Saudis behead as many as a dozen people in a single day.  Afterwards, they will often crucify the headless body, so that it can be displayed publicly.  If one is convicted of adultery, the death penalty is carried out by stoning.  Saudi women are usually the ones stoned to death.

The Saudis execute children, as well. In 2016, the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child reported that the Saudis were stoning children to death in Yemen, with whom the Saudis are at war.  The UN has also documented that, out of the 47 people executed by the Saudis on Jan. 2, 2016 – their biggest mass execution day in decades – “at least” four were children.

We could recite many such figures, here, but banal statistics do not adequately capture the full extent of the brutality and savagery that is familiar in Saudi Arabia.  Suffice to say Saudi Arabia is one of the three countries who executes people the most – along with China and Iran.

In the past few days, Saudi Arabia’s “royal” goons have said they will be expelling our ambassador, pulling out of Canada thousands of Saudi students and hospital patients, barring Canadian grain exports, and making attempts to tank Canadian bonds in the marketplace.  And, as noted, they have now even hinted at a 9/11-style attack on Canadians.

Asked about all that, our Prime Minister has not blinked.  He has said: “We will continue to speak clearly and firmly on issues of human rights at home and abroad wherever we see the need.”

Canada is quite literally under attack.  As a nation, we need to rally behind the position taken by Prime Minister Trudeau – and all of us need to refuse to be intimidated by a vile mob of homicidal scum posing as Saudi Arabia’s leadership.

Because that’s what they are.