16 May 2021

My Political Rant

For a government that has up until now put the onus of fighting the pandemic solely upon the shoulders of the People of Ontario, I find it curious that the provincial Conservatives suddenly feel they must dictate what is good for the People.

Take for instance the most recent lockdown restrictions. To be clear, I’m all for the lockdown, but this pandemic has created an upside down world. Who had golf courses as a battleground topic on their bingo card?

Toronto has closed sections of Lakeshore Blvd. for ActiveTO which is fine. Exercise is healthy, or so I’m told. However, the crowds at ActiveTo vs crowds at a golf course is fairly one-sided. Ignore societal prejudices of golf courses and just look at the numbers. Bikers, runners, walkers literally packed together, huffing and puffing and sweating vs a group of four people walking or driving a golf course, usually hitting balls so far apart they only see each other on the tee and the green. And golf courses create revenue. As a friend once told me, it’s a $90 walk in a park. Nevertheless, pay they do, and that generates into jobs.

But this isn’t the reason Ford has given for closing courses. It’s afterwards, where golfers get together for a couple of ‘pops’.

In case you still aren’t sure ‘pops’ means beer. I’m pretty sure it’s a hold over term from the ‘80’s. And Premier Ford believes golfers are all a bunch of drunks. Do golfers like a beer after a round? Sure. Do they need one? No.

Nowadays golf takes a loooong time to play, so long that many people only play 9 holes. Often holes are played early in the morning. Drinking afterwards just isn’t done. And even if it were done, where would they do it? Clubhouses are closed. Bars are closed. Even backyards are closed in theory. So where are these ‘pops’ being had?

Doug Ford has seen Caddyshack on time too many.

Take next the removal of AstraZeneca. The risk of blood-clots is 1 in 55,000.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), patients are so far and few between it is likely still too difficult to find a common cause. Still, 1 in 55,000. Honestly, this one can be left to the people with a simple waiver. Yes, I understand the risks. Yes, I’m still willing to take the vaccine. Done. People will say no. People would have said yes, too. I would have. Ford had taken the option away. With the build-up of unused vaccines, how long before Ford begins to lament the shortage of other vaccines?

Ultimately, this is a government crapping in its pants. In the beginning they had everything under control. Even I was grudgingly impressed, but I knew it wouldn’t last long and it didn’t. There was a cycle. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Easter. Restrictions eased with every major shopping cycle, then it was all, “Come on folks. I’ll pull the trigger.” But he never did. He only threatened, wagged his finger and politicized by blaming the federal government.

It’s tiresome and disheartening. More so, because I’m sure he will get re-elected. Unlike Federal politics where urban centers hold sway, rural areas hold a fair amount of electoral power and they tend to vote conservative. I just know I won’t vote conservative. After what I’ve seen the last year and half, I’ll never vote Conservative ever again, either provincial or federal.

Fuck ’em.

 

 

15 January 2021

So how about them Republicans?

Even after home-grown radicals stormed the US Capital, with increasing evidence this may have been an organized assault, Republican lawmakers voted against impeachment. How can this be? Have they no patriotism?

Well, for most, I would think it was very easy. Oh, not like Jim Jordon or Matt Gaetz easy, they sold their souls to Satan long ago. No, it was easy because they didn’t have to vote for impeachment.

A Democratic majority meant an impeachment was guaranteed. Liz Chenney and nine other far more principled GOPs voting for impeachment was just icing on the cake. Together, they made the impeachment a bi-partisan vote and took all the pressure off. Free of voting their consciences, they could now do what they do best, worry about themselves.

To be sure they’ve many fears from getting re-elected to personal safety from the same extreme right-wing militia nutbars that stormed the Capital. What they don’t have to fear is their place in history. Jordon, Gaetz, Mo Brooks, a few others, they’ll likely not be well-respected by future historians, but what about that guy from district blah-blah of the great State of Middle America?

Who? What’s his name? I think he’s bald.

A quick Google search brings up all the Republicans who voted for the impeachment. Those who voted against, so many pages in you stop searching.

By voting for impeachment Liz Chenney brought great cover for the GOP. The vote will forever be known as a bi-partisan vote. When future debates are held, it will be referred to as a bi-partisan vote. So, why not take the safest course and vote the party line no matter what?

Cowardice. Selfishness. Greed.

That’s politics.

Speaking of which, what about Mitch McConnell?

Much has been made of his denial to open the Senate for an early impeachment trial. Again, why would he? So close to the end of Trump’s presidency, why besmirch the GOP’s reputation even further by having them impeach their own Republican president?

But there may be an even more Machiavellian consideration. It has been reported that McConnell is furious with Trump. He barely tolerated him before but saw him as a necessary evil to get what he wanted, but after the storming of the Capital and the lack of contrition from Trump since, he now hates him and wants him out of the party permanently. The senate, however, is still a Republican majority. Assuming all the Democrats will vote to convict, there still needs to be 17 GOP senators to vote the same way.

Nowhere near a guarantee.

Waiting for Biden, Harris, and a Democratic majority might help tilt that scale. McConnell could even vote to convict himself. A win win.

Again, Cowardice. Selfishness. Greed.

That’s politics.

8 January 2021

Aftermath

These officials apologizing or trying to explain the lack of police presence in DC are a joke. The common thread is, “we wanted a soft approach to the protestors.” What they mean is, “Come on, white protesters are good people. They won’t do anything. Sure, they have guns, but they’re white.”
 
Why weren’t there massive arrests? “What? Arrest white people?”
 
As for the curious lack of manpower, I suspect no small amount of police and National Guard were already out there…off duty, not in uniform, phones turned off.
 
And the delay in mobilizing the National Guard? That requires permission from the DOD and the Pentagon. Enough appointed lickspittles in those organizations to delay those requests.
 
The fact is the US Capital was under assault long before the Jan. 6 riot. Given the right-wing rot from within, from the very top on down, nothing will be done. The wrongs will be swept under the carpet, or lost in endless government oversight committees and quiet resignations.
 
And of course there are those elected officials like Hawley and Cruz who hide behind the flag, who during while hiding from the the rioters were busy setting up Kickstarters and organizing fundraisers with the blessing of those who not only support their seditious cause, but firmly believe the rioters were actually Soros-supported Antifa.
 
You just can’t fix stupid.
6 December 2020

Take Aways from This Past Week

Speculation on Trump’s future after January 20th is rampant. A second run at the presidency or his own ultra-right wing television channel have been floated, all funded by a grift Super PAC.

But what if Trump’s endgame is something grander, on a scale even the Republicans couldn’t comprehend or believe possible. What if Trump intends to create a third party? Since the election he has espoused his vote count, so often he has come to believe his own rhetoric.

Seventy-five million votes.

Note enough for re-election, but certainly enough to brag about…if it were accurate. Any statistician will tell you the numbers can be skewed to satisfy whatever agenda needs promoting. Votes are no different. Not every vote was for TRUMP. No doubt some were for the Republican Party as a whole. Others were against Democrats no matter what, or in extreme cases, against socialism/communism.

Adversely, not every Biden vote was for Biden, but then Biden is not the issue. He won and that is undisputable.

Even Trump sees the writing on the wall. But Trump is, if nothing else, an opportunist. He sees a chance to make a buck, he will go for it. He whores his name out to buildings and business ventures with equal immorality. What he does with his reputation is his business, both ethically and financially. No one knows that better than Trump himself, and considering most of his ventures, it isn’t beyond fantasy that he might try one more grand scheme to solidify his name in history. A wall seen from space can be torn down, but a political party… well, can be easily forgotten.

But to narcissistic megalomaniac like Trump won’t see that. He will always only see the bright lights of fame, everyone else be damned.

 

There was an interview with a doctor on CNN. I watched more than listened because I was doing other stuff at the time, but the headline was something along the lines of a Jewish doctor dealing with patients with Nazis tattoos. That got me thinking about the laws passed regarding refusing gays service based on religious belief. You know, Judaism is a religion, and there are a lot of Jewish doctors out there. Not a giant leap needed.

 

Doug Ford had a good start at the beginning of the pandemic. In lockstep with the federal government he shut down Ontario, touting that he listened to the doctors and the science. But… it appears that might not have been entirely true. With a number of doctors to choose from, he chose his own version of Dr. Atlas. Not someone who only told him what he wanted to hear, but someone he could cherry pick the information he wanted. So, in the late summer, when just about every medical professional screamed for him to take stronger measures, he gave his daily briefing and gave his “Come on, folks” speech in earnest only too happy to blame the people than blame himself.

Ford set a plate of cookies on the table then got mad at us because we sneaked a cookie. When we didn’t get caught or sufficiently punished we snuck another and another until it was too late. Now Ontario’s business heart is hamstringed during the Christmas buying season. Realistically, the shutdown couldn’t have been prevented, but, if proper measures had been taken earlier, if Ford had actually listened to the doctors, if he had actually followed the science, a major lockdown might have been delayed long enough. Who knows, it might not have occurred at all.

The problem is Ford is torn between provincial politics and federal politics. He was all buddy-buddy with Trudeau until Erin O’Toole took over CPC leadership. O’Toole is from Ontario and when he took up the Conservative reins Ford seemed to have forgotten how the federal Conservatives treated him. He saw a reboot of the blue wave, followed the other Conservative premiers and pulled away from Trudeau, throwing darts with one hand while taking money with the other. Then, O’Toole was outmaneuvered—twice. Ford shuffled his feet and returned his “Come on, folks” reprimand, but all too late. He divided his base with mixed messages. He’s got businesses openly protesting his lockdowns and his own people protesting on his front lawn.

30 November 2020

Some Christmas Songs for the New Age

Baby, It’s Covid Outside

Blight Christmas

All I Want For Christmas is A Mask

It’s Beginning to Covid A Lot Like Christmas

It’s The Most Vaccinated Time of the Year

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Trump

The Ventilator Song

I’ll Be (Staying) Home for Christmas

Flu Christmas

Vaccination Time is Here

Rockin’ Around the Ventilator Machine

Do They Know It’s a Pandemic?

Vaccinations Are Coming to Town

Run, Covid, Run

Silent Blight

The Twelve Days of Quarantine

21 November 2020

FOX NEWS Lacks Compassion

I confess I’ve never actually watched Fox News. It’s a channel for which I would have to pay extra. What I’ve seen I’ve seen through sound bites and segments uploaded onto the internet. Yesterday I drove a company vehicle with satellite radio and while I didn’t watch I did listen to FOX NEWS, CNN, and MSNBC for most of the day, but concentrated on FOX NEWS.

First take away, commercials run for almost as long as there is actual content.

Second takeaway, Fox News lacks any sense of human compassion.

Within an hour of listening, both CNN and MSNBC did pieces on the human toll of Covid-19 and the tragic personal losses people have suffered.

Fox not one all day. When they did talk about the pandemic it was usually how it was going to affect small business and how broad lockdowns were unconstitutional and wearing masks were not going to solve the problem so why bother.

In short, CNN, MSNBC and most other news networks report on the human toll of this pandemic. FOX NEWS, a reflection of those who watch often, only talks about the inconvenience it’s causing. They do not deny the virus exists, at least not anymore, but they don’t give its deadly potential any weight.

As far as the election goes, I suspect there is some dissention between the actual news people and opinion show hosts. Neil Cavuto gave what I thought was a fair conservative view of the election, as did John Roberts. They, and the people they interviewed, unanimously agreed that Joe Biden won the election and Trump and his Seal Team Sux lawyers (got that from Stephen Colbert) were doing more harm than good. They gave differing conservative reasons, but for the most part they agreed there was no fraud. I suspect these shows have low ratings because Fox viewers don’t want to hear that.

The opinion shows where just nonsense laden with bald-faced lying, misinformation, and just plain hate. The Five is a panel show that uses topics of the day to hurl vitriolic insults at anything left of fascism. One topic was a report that Biden was going to tax guns and ammunition. This sent all of them ballistic (pun intended). We need guns! How am I going to protect myself without my guns? I sincerely doubt any of these people live in neighbourhoods with high crime rates. The sad irony here is that while this segment was being broadcast there was a mass shooting in Milwaukee. It is to be noted that Geraldo Rivera was on the panel as the token ‘moderate’.

Another opinion show interviewed a kindergarten teacher who had been teaching kindergarteners way too long. Even the host kind of ushered her along when she realized the guest was a little loopy. Tucker Carlson, having burned himself the previous day by blasting Seal Team Sux conspiracy theories returned to an old hit: China created the virus.

The whole thing was exhausting. I got to a point I looked forward to the commercials. It was like that movie where the guy only ate McDonalds for a month and it literally affected his health.

Anyway, in the end I’m glad I did it. CNN and MSNBC might be left-leaning, and like FOX News, have their own agenda, but at least part of that agenda is humanity.  

9 November 2020

My Opinion Doesn’t Matter

I’ve been trying to put into words how I feel about the last US election, its outcome, and what’s happening now. I started from one angle, stopped, began again from another angle, that fizzled. Just now, as I scan through articles debunking voter fraud and other articles of right-wing protests and I realize why I’ve been having so much trouble.

My opinion doesn’t matter.

No one’s opinion matters.

It never did if you don’t agree with it.

In today’s internet world my views carry as much weight as Dr. Fauci’s. The man is the most learned expert on infectious disease, but half the world, and I mean that in a literal sense, HALF OF THE WORLD won’t listen to him, doubt him, want more evidence, blah, blah, blah. It’s disheartening, but it’s the truth.

Minds are made up and have been made up long ago. Personally, I don’t believe in the undecided vote. Oh, they might be swayed, but swayed infers a decision has already been made, and it would take an extreme amount of persuasion. Look at right-wing America. Corruption. Blatant racism. Overt misogyny. Impeachment. Insulting every ally while cozying up to former enemies. Ignoring a pandemic. Stealing and caging children. What does it take for an undecided voter to step back and say, hmm, maybe Trump and his Republicans have gone too far?

Apparently more than what has happened in the last four years.

So, here we are.

How did America get here? Some claim systemic racism. Others claim a declining education system. More blame a failing economy.

All are right, but I’m going to go back to the Vietnam War. Much has been made of the war, the US involvement, and more importantly, the treatment of soldiers returning from the conflict. They didn’t get the hero’s welcome that the vets of World War II or Korea. They got insulted and even spat on.

That kind of thing sticks. That kind of thing breeds hatred and that hatred gets passed down from one generation to the next. I suspect a lot of these Trump supporters have had parents or grandparents who served in Vietnam. Their dislike for anything leaning left runs deep, and likely that view will not change.

But it might for our children. Look at the shit we are putting them through. School shootings. Climate change. A real estate market where you have to be a millionaire to buy a house. Covid. Those kinds of things stick. Those kinds of things breed change, and change is what we desperately need if the world is to survive.

I just hope we have enough time.

30 October 2020

Bundoran Press is No More.

 

It’s not pinin’! It’s passed on! This press is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet it’s maker!
It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! It’s pushing up the daisies!
It’s metabolic processes are now history! It’s off the twig!
It’s kicked the bucket. It’s shuffled off  it’s mortal coil, run
down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!!
THIS IS AN EX-PRESS!!

 

If you hadn’t guessed, Bundoran Press, the small Canadian publishing house of which I was honoured to be a part, has closed. There were three of us. Hayden Trenholm, his wife Liz Westbook-Trenholm, and myself. I was a silent partner, so much so most people didn’t even know I was part of it. I didn’t acquire books or edit those we bought. That was Hayden Trenholm’s domain.

My contribution was mostly posting ‘commercials’ book trailers on our YouTube channel. They weren’t high-production, but they were creative and already more than what even big New York publishing houses did for their authors. I also sat at the table in cons and did the occasional panel to represent Bundoran Press. I got involved for various reasons. I just got divorced. I had some money in the bank I was looking to throw away…er…invest.

But most of all I was a writer myself, and like most writers I have a dream of having a novel published. I wanted to help make that dream happen for other writers. It’s that simple.

And we did.

Hayden and Liz are also writers. All of us have won awards for our work. Because we were writers we understood what is was like to be on the creative side of publishing. We paid our authors and gave them the royalties they deserved. We promoted them as best we could, given out limited finances. In that we can all hold our head high and say Bundoran Press was one of the good ones.

But publishing is a tough industry with very little give-back. Covid-19 hasn’t helped. Most of our revenue comes from convention sales and conventions are on hold during the pandemic. Bundoran was very much a labour of love. Unfortunately, the object of our affection tended to be jealous and very high maintenance. When you’re a writer who has a ‘real’ job and a family and a life, your time is limited. So it is with us. We all agreed it was time to move on.

Our books have either won or been nominated for countless awards. We are proud of our authors and the books we put out. Most of all, I’m happy to have made the dreams of a few people come true. When questioned they can point at their bookshelf and say, “Why yes, I have been published.”

Thanks to Hayden and Liz for putting up with me. Thanks to all those who helped make Bundoran Press happen. And especially thanks to all of you who bought or helped promote our books. It was fun, but I fear it is time to begin pinin’ for the fjords.

 

Mike Rimar

 

29 October 2020

Scary Halloween

The US election is less than a week away at the time of this writing. I’ve been pulling back from watching the news. I believe at this point the lines have been drawn, decisions made and in many cases, votes already cast. Short of some cataclysmic event, everything from now on is just hyperbole. This election is probably the most tense election I have ever known. And the most frightening. What scares me the most is not the Trump won’t leave office if he loses.

Scary, but not the scariest.

What scares me the most is that Trump will win, fair and square, or if he loses it is by such a slight margin. Not because such a result will be disputed in the courts forever, but because that would mean there are enough voting Americans who like Trump, who believe what he is doing is good, who are willing to let their country die just to “stick it to the libs.”

Yeah. That’s terrifying for me and for the world.