Archive for October 2011


October 28, 2011

so read the invitation from the Club.

And pasted on the door happy Halloween as I left after my walk and shower.

“Happy Halloween?

Am I a child waiting for this meaningful feast? Hardly.
On the other hand this signifies an inchoate yearning to celebrate something.

And Halloween of course did once.

All Hallow’s Eve was the night before we celebrate ALL Saints’ Day in the Christian calendar, acknowledging our debt to those inspiring figures of the past we call saints.

And as every Christian knows November 2 is All Soul’s Day, a remembrance of family who have died.It sure gets dark in November—appropriate for the departed souls.The scary costumes and witches deal with this mysterious aspect of death.

Christianity of course has always taken popular “feasts” and Christianized them, Christmas being the most famous…December 25 is the first day we would notice the LIGHT advancing, the days getting longer,the Roman feast of Sol Invictus…the unconquerable Sun…so the birth of Jesus, our “unconquerable son.”

The Britons, pagans as we called them, pre-Christian ancients were plugged into similar nature “feasts’. For them this autumnal feast (Halloween) was celebrated in honor of their sun-god with bonfires, a tribute to the light that brought them abundant harvest. Harvests, growing things out of the fecund earth have been celebrated for millenia.

Christianity simply adopts them. Baptizes them if you will.

Why not?

So our neighbourhood gets decked out in Halloween motifs.Harmless? Sure but it signifies that we desperately want some liturgy, something to get excited about.

The Church deems Advent as a much more appropriate time, the 4 weeks before Christmas.

I doubt if the Club will celebrate this!

Justifying Afghanistan

October 20, 2011

There they were—yet again in the Globe this week justifying Canada’s sad involvement in Afghanistan.Talking about Granatstein and Bercusson, the cold warriors who love to see Canada emulate the States in its propensity to stick its nose in imperial adventures.

What a waste of 190 Canadian lives no matter now you cut it. As Ray McGovern the former CIA analyst in America wrote, don’t ennoble this catastrophic incursion as noble, worthwhile.These men died in vain.Surely a hard pill to swallow. And it’s still being swallowed in the USA.

Tuned on the World Series game last night and had to endure the sight of a poor kid, now in his 20s who signed up for the Marines when he was 18, He hobbles out to cheers and tosses out the first pitch. Well, God Bless America!

As for Canada, maybe we should read Janice Stein’s tome The Unexpected War, an insider’s account how we backed into a new kind of war, fighting insurgency in a failed state. This was Chretien’s sop to the States. And he was cheered for keeping us out of Iraq! But he sure blew it in Kandahar.

Then the propaganda, the altruistic lies that we were there there to free long-suffering women from bondage. There were good,naive kids who were sent into battle—no one knows why—but spielers like Rick Hillier and other generals convinced the politicos that the US would not speak to us if we did not fight in Afghanistan. Let’s face it.Canada does not exist for the Americans and they need our stuff as much as we need theirs.

And now Harper is blowing billions on getting ready for war.

Oh say can you see…

Only one Israeli counts pt.1

October 18, 2011

Israeli-Palestinian prisoner exchange.

The obtuse comments of British Tory Prime Minister David Cameron convicts this narrow thinking of blindness and hypocrisy.

Gilad Shalit was a 22 year Israeli old kid, seemingly an apolitical victim of his countr’s policies.He had to give 3 years of his life to keep Palestinians caged in. And he was nabbed, a military member of an occupying army. Now, thankfully, he is free in exchange for about 1000 Palestinian prisoners.

But for David Cameron only the Israeli Shalit counts .No mention of the 4000 Palestinians who are still prisoners. Many it must be said have been punished for their part in resisting occupation—violently, for killing innocents. In their wild fury and having no army, many simply lashed out at innocent Israelis.

Shalit it turns out is smarter than blind Cameron.He wants all Palestinians released. Here’s what Cameron said. Note the absolute absence of any deep understanding of Occupation. It is as if Palestinians are invisible and do not count. And no mention of the 4000 Palestinians who are still prisoners.

I know that people across Britain will share in the joy and relief felt by Gilad Shalit and his family today. I can only imagine the heartache of the last five years, and I am full of admiration for the courage and fortitude which Sgt Shalit and his family have shown through his long, cruel and unjustified captivity.

Synagogue MIA

October 10, 2011

Amira Hass, an Israeli Jew whose mother was imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen, arguably is one of Israel’s most competent and famous journalists came to Toronto on October 6 but nobody from the synagogue establishment invited her to speak.
In a once vibrant community which prides itself on vigorous debate (“When you have three Jews you have four opinions.”) now there is but a depressing monotone when it comes to Israel.

So why would you turn up to hear such a famous chronicler of life in the West Bank when you already have your mind made up? When you already have surrendered your opinion to the blinkered vision Stephen Harper or his Charley McCarthy dummy John Baird, both of whom have never visited the West Bank.
This of course is a sad snapshot of a once vigorous community in decline.

No rabbi would dare invite Hass to speak.If he or she did they would court the fate of the great rabbi Reuben Slonim—perpetual ostracism.

Slomim unlike the Stepford children who demonized him visited Israel 20 times, sent by the old Telegram and the Toronto Star.What he discovered broke his heart yet he fearlessly spoke out like his forebears Amos and Jeremiah. All of a sudden according to Slonim in his book To Kill a Rabbi after the 6 Day War, Jews changed into raving chauvinists and did not want to hear the universal message of Slonim—the Shoah did not belong to Jews but to humanity.And what modern Israel was doing was betraying its biblical hope of being “l’or goyim”, a light unto the nations.

Now, even the Jewish Defense League does not show up anymore to cast aspersions on people like Hass and Gideon Levy, both of whom write for Haaretz. Even the right wing senses that the propaganda war has been lost everywhere but in the halls of American power.

Amira Hass simply shrugged her shoulders and said, “They do not invite me.”

‘Tis a pity.

Coors Beer, bad for the common good

October 8, 2011

Thanks to U of T prof for waking Canadians up—again.

Don’t drink Coors!

In my naivete I thought most people knew about this awful beer company and their blinkered support of refressive causes.We knew about them in the 80s when they actively supported Nicaragua’s Contras.Remember them? Attacking schools, health clinics when the Sandinistas finally rid Nicaragua of the American puppet Somoza.Well there were the Coors bros wreaking havoc south of the Mexican border, paying for thugs to ambush and kill civilians.At home they were busting unions.

Nobody I knew would have anything to do with Coors.Besides the beer drikers told me that their product was lousy.

Now professor Jessica Warner has flagged the Beer Store, a private outlet which sells 80% of the beer in Ontario.Good corporate citizens.Recycles those empties, ponies up money for some good causes. And, uh, one other thing The Beer Store is wholly owned and operated by three multinational corporations: Molson Coors, Anheuser-Bush InBev, and Sapporo Breweries Ltd. Coors and Molsons joined together and we’re in the dark about who owns what here.

The good prof reminds us however of the following:

+the Coors family has a long history of funding Republican candidates and causes.A generation ago, it was Joe Coors, whose contributions to Ronald Reagan’s campaigns earned him the moniker of the “Daddy Warbucks of the Republican Party.”

+ Joe Coors’s descendants, his sons Peter (currently on the company’s board of directors), Bill and Jeff are still involved. Prof Warner tells us that Peter Coors is the most conspicuous in Republican circles, having run and lost against Democratic senatorial candidate Ken Salazar in 2004. Over the past two decades he has contributed roughly $290,000 to help elect other Republican candidates, including George W. Bush. He is, along with Bill and Jeff, a board member of the ultra-conservative Castle Rock Foundation.

The corporation itself also overwhelmingly supports conservative candidates in U.S. elections. Since 1990, it has contributed $1.73 million to federal elections and campaigns, and of this, roughly 80 per cent has gone to Republicans.


Keep drinking Coors and the money goes to fund Tea Party politics.

Find another Beer and keep the profits in Canada.

Rob Ford hands McGuinty another term

October 7, 2011

Funny how unintended consequences come back to bite you.

Take the Ontario election.

Tim Hudak, the former junior member of the Mike Harris demolition machine had a big lead going into the 2011 election. But thankfully some citizens have long memories.Hudak is married to Mike Harris’ former chief of staff Deb Hutton and that sent off alarm bells.Nobody ever wants to return to the Harris years—the mocking of front line nurses (“redundant as hula hoops”), the slashing of environmental protection agencies which ensure the health of the common good,the war on teachers and the poor.It was a catastrophic time. The noxious “anti-tax” mantra of the failed state to the south, the USA had crossed the 49th parallel and people who watch way too much TV began to feel enamoured of this shortsighted view that “Taxes are bad.”

Then came the stunning election of Rob Ford, a marginal millionaire whose father was cabinet minister for Harris.Like many millionaires who ride the coat tails of their wealthy parents, Ford with little education and no discernible appreciation of the intricacies of government, rode his simple “gravy train” into office. It record time the people began to understand that he and his equally obtuse brother Doug” Liberries” Ford wore no clothes. The only gravy was on their ample bibs. The millionaires it turned out were not that bright and their wacky ideas were quickly challenged by more thoughtful members of the citizenry who understood that there is a price to pay for a civilized society.It’s called taxes.

The arrogant mayor and his coterie he called “Ford Nation” scared the hell out of Many Torontonians who turned en masse against the Hudak Tories. Veteran Liberal and former member of Columbus Boys Club, Mike Colle put it well. Here’s the Globe Report.

In Eglinton-Lawrence, Mike Colle was elected by a wide margin over star PC candidate Rocco Rossi, the former president of the Liberal Party of Canada. Mr. Colle said he heard about people’s displeasure with Toronto’s mayor “at every door.”

“It basically reminded people what could happen when you get a slash-and-burn approach to government,” said Mr. Colle, whose son, Josh, is a city councillor.

And now Dalton McGuinty himself a Red Tory in drag praises the Lord for “the unintended consequences” of Ford Nation.

A visit to the Temple

October 5, 2011

Two free tickets took me to Toronto’s Mecca, the ACC the home of our beloved Leafs.I was there to see the extraordinary Pavel Datysuk,the Russian born magician who plays for Detroit. This would be Pavel’s only trip to the ACC. The Wings sat him out and played their Grand Rapids minor league team. I could take but two periods.

The noise, the 30 plus men wearing Leaf jerseys, the constant light shows promoting all forms of consumerism from Smirnoff’s to some law firm crowing about their thousand lawyers etc. The best was an ad for the 407 Highway, the provincial giveaway by the Mike Harris Tories, Ontarians wince when we think of this catastrophic boondoggle which gave us a $200 tax rebate to buy our votes. And we lost the revenues for 100 years.That was it for me.Rejean Tremblay had it right.

The Quebec sportswriter pointed at a sell out crowd in hockey-mad Montreal,

“See these people—they used to be Roman Catholics!”

Pump up the volume! Sell the sizzle not the steak!

Kinetic energy.No time to think.An all out assault on our senses.

Lemme outta here!