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#150 THINGS THAT WERE NOT ON THE SPRING 'TO DO' LIST (posted Apr. 15/18)

If at first she doesn't succeed...

A youngish nurse came out into the waiting area and called "Ronald".

"That's me" and followed her to a room marked #6.

"Mr. Devion, please take your clothes off, put this on, lay face-up on the table. She will see you shortly."

A few minutes later "Hi, Mr. Devion, how are you this morning?"

"Frankly, a little nervous." Trying to lighten the mood with some lame humour "We have to stop meeting like this", produced zero reaction, not even a smile.

Assumption: She's very busy, has no time for humour today, likely behind schedule tending to patients.

"Don't worry this shouldn't take too long" and proceeded to stab my forehead several times with a needle, then my lower left cheek...the one on my face.

She ignored the sounds of malaise this caused as my attempt to be brave failed. "Ouch..ooo..ow..ouch..ow..ooo"; proving once again that when it comes to pain tolerance women make much better spies than men.

The ultra-bright light made it impossible to see, but someone else was now in the room moving surgical tools around on a metal tray...not a comforting sound.

The voice asked which tool she preferred to use for the next phase of work.

It sounded like "the #5, then the #9, and the industrial-size twine to close it up. Oh, and have the big cauterizer standing by, had to use it on Mr. Devion the last time."

The memory made my palms begin to sweat.

Despite feeling nothing (the freezing did its job), she proceeded as my heartbeat and blood pressure increased.

The slicing sounds coming from my forehead area and lower left cheek...the one on my face...followed by lots of dabbing with a cloth, tensed every muscle in my body.

Thankfully, there was no mention of the big cauterizer used the last time to stop blood spurting from a nicked blood vessel...oops.

Sounds of sewing produced images of preparing the Christmas turkey, with me playing the part of the turkey.

She declared "Your wife is going to be jealous because you just received one 'eye-lift' and the 'life-lines' on your forehead will disappear."

"For awhile, your left eye-lid will be higher than your right. Not to worry, in time gravity will level things out."

This unexpected bonus-gift produced no joy from me. My drooping eye-lids and life-lines are markers of a long life and like an old pair of comfortable slippers, I had no intention of discarding them now. However, it's not wise to argue with a lady wielding sharp knives.

With two dozen stitches holding my forehead together and a dozen more in my lower left cheek (you know which one) covered by two large bandages, the clean-up nurse advised "You can get dressed, here's a post-op instruction sheet; stitches come off in a week and you're good to go. The biopsy results should be available in two-three weeks. The doctor's office will call you."

As I departed room #6 at the hospital, thanking the surgeon and her helpers, attempted another feeble attempt at humour, "Wouldn't recommend this as a way to lose weight or get rid of your life-lines. Go Jets, Go."

And thus concluded the second double surgery in four weeks.

Thanks to all who sent good wishes for a speedy recovery.

Hopefully, some day somebody will make a fortune by inventing:

1) A hospital gown that can be tied, by the patient, from the front. Inadvertently having to expose an ageing posterior is embarrassing; to the patient and hospital staff.

2) A pill or injection that turns off the imagination when the patient remains conscious during a surgery.

Resolving conflict

In 'the good old days', one method of resolving conflict between gentlemen, was to agree to a duel using either guns or swords.

A duel was usually the result of an argument over a woman that was fuelled by liquor.

Honour was restored (i.e. saving face) for the participants by simply showing up rather than having to declare a "winner", unless only one person survived.

The current 'brouhaha' between British Columbia, Alberta and the Feds over the Trans Mountain Pipeline twinning contains all the necessary ingredients for a duel.

1) The woman scorned (Rachel)

2) The supportive suitor (Justin)

3) The adversary (Big John)

In order to defend Rachel's honour and retain his, Justin the Fair must challenge Big John (don't like/want her bitumen but all-in for LNG?) to a duel, so Big John can also retain his honour. Comprende?

Only makes sense if you understand the rules of dueling and politics.

NB: The 'seconds' were gentlemen chosen by the principal participants whose job it was to ensure that the duel was carried out under honourable conditions, on a proper field of honour and with equally 'deadly' weapons.

At a meeting in Ottawa, on Sunday, the 'seconds' agreed to the following choice of weapons and proper fields of honour for the duel:

a) swords...on the Alberta/BC border

b) guns...on the BC/Alberta border

c) boxing gloves...in Edmonton

d) 10K foot race...in Vancouver

e) skeleton race (head first on sleighs)...Calgary's Olympic Park bobsleigh track

f) swim five lengths across Olympic size pool...in Victoria

g) One mile snowshoeing race...in Banff's Sunshine Village

h) Two mile rowing race...in Victoria's Elk lake

Result: The "loser" will "save face" with his voters by accepting:

- what is in the national interest,

- and graciously accept billions of taxpayer $ from the "winner",

- who also will "save face" with his voters", explaining he and the woman scorned, who's honour he defended, will also "save face" with her voters.

Consequently, everybody wins/saves-face and prevents a catastrophe.

In the Great White North this is called a Canadian standoff.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#149 WHAT WILL TOMORROW BRING (posted April 10, 2018)

We are perched on a strange cusp of history. A time when the world feels like it's been turned upside down, and nothing is quite as we imagined.

But, uncertainty is always a precursor to sweeping change. Transformation is always preceded by upheaval and fear.

We are mesmerized by a man who possesses an uncanny ability of finding ways to shock and surprise us every day, and thereby keep the attention focused on him.

He's a wanna-be entertainer, a showboat playing a bizarre, unhinged cartoon character part before live audiences, on television, in the White House and on the world stage.

What drives his super-ego is the need/craving to get a reaction from any audience.

If we stopped paying attention, Donald Trump would soon lose interest and exit the stage.

Winston Churchill said "The price of greatness is responsibility." A prerequisite, however, is a conscience. A leader without one is a menace.

Keep reminding yourself, nothing is permanent.

Stuff that may make you crazy...or not

Emperor 'Crazy Pants', a self-admitted fast learner, stated that after a year and a bit in office, the 'apprenticeship presidency phase' is now concluded.

The following decree was released to the Twitter-sphere from 'El Supremo's' bedroom at 4:12 a.m..

Henceforth I, Donald J. Trump, your greatest president, will rely only upon my superior knowledge, wisdom, exceptional grasp of international affairs, deal making skills and impeccable instincts (greater than any human on the planet) to make decisions affecting the future of the world.

During the brief self-learning interval, I appointed, then fired, dozens of White House "advisors", based on these criteria:

- disloyal to me, you're gone

- more uppity than me, you're gone

- not worthy of being in my presence, you're gone

My rationale: Since I now have a firm grasp of the job, someone like me, possessing an abundance of capabilities, can do without "advisors"; especially those who constantly disagree with me.

Scene One: Roger Stone's bedroom, 2:45 a.m. recently

Ring, Ring: "Hello, who the hell is this!"

Voice: "Rog, faithful pal of mine, it's me, Donald."

Stone (annoyed): "Yes, Mr. President. I recognize your voice. Why are you calling me at this hour?"

Trump: "Can't sleep. Just finished watching my fantastic performance in West Virginia on Thursday, for the third time. Want to know if you watched it and what you thought?"

Stone (lying): "I certainly did, from beginning to end. Who wrote your script?"

Trump (proudly): "Nobody, I read two paragraphs on the plane. It was so boring I threw it up in the air, told the audience it was boring and winged it for over an hour."

Stone (curious): "Donald, you seem to be doing that more often. Is that wise sir?"

Trump: "Rog, they loved it almost as much as I did. You saw how they hung on my every word and cheered every time I mentioned, Mexicans, rapists, immigrants, illegals, China, DACA, beautiful coal, the wall, sancturary cities, the ICE guys roughing up the bad guys and throwing them in paddy wagons, my huge crowds, my incredible military, my fantastic greatness."

Stone (rolling his eyes): "But Mr. President you didn't say very much about the tax cuts."

Trump: "Of course not, that was the boring stuff. And besides, they wouldn't understand it anyway. Hell, I don't understand it. Name one Republican or Democrat who would bother reading something called "An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles I and V or the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018." On second thought, Bernie probably did."

Stone: "But what about the ballooning debt and deficit? It's out of control. Republicans used to care about that."

Trump: "Old buddy, that's the beauty of it. Not a peep of concern even from Mitch or Paul. My gut tells me so long as my family and our wealthy backers are happy getting richer, and the taxpayers think they're getting a few bucks more and their jobs back, then it's 'no problemo'. When we're long gone, the Democrats inherit the mess and get blamed for not cleaning it up. Genius strategy."

Stone: "What's this about inviting Putin to the White House? That's not going to play well with a lot of voters like the KKK, NRA and Pence's Christian Right."

Trump: "It was Vlad's idea and he's my kind of guy. He insists we meet face to face and privately discuss priorities for next year. I certainly can't go to Moscow. If I said no and piss him off, all hell will break loose...know what I mean...videos, loans, Jared and his Ollie-garks...hello impeachment, bye-bye me."

Stone: "What are you going to do about Mueller? The raid on your lawyer's office was a hell of a ballsy move on his part. Are you concerned?"

Trump: "Don't want to talk about that, I'm really pissed off about it. What I really wanted to talk about was my performance in West Virginia. You haven't said much about it."

Stone: "Mr. President, nobody wings it better than you do. Audiences fill halls all over America to hear you speak. How you can explain complex issues, in a language they understand, is a special gift. (The play on words went unoticed by his greatness) Sir, please, its very late and I have to get some sleep."

Trump: "Alright Rog, you always needed your beauty sleep to keep that thick shock of beautiful white hair...you lucky bastard. These chats always make me feel better that everything will work out. And if not, living at the Riyadh Trump Tower won't be too shabby."

Stone: "Good night Mr. President." Hangs up. "Geez, what a jerk."

Scene Two: The actual event

On April 5th, Donald Trump flew to West Virginia (coal country) ostensibly to tout his tax cuts.

Quickly abandoning the prepared speech as boring, he freewheel'd his way through another demonstration of his unique Trumpanian-English.

His audience listened in spellbound awe as he fired off sentences that are destined to go down as the most unintelligible in presidential history.

A sampling of 'Trumpanian' delivered that night

"We have our intellectual property, and a lot of people don't understand what that means. And it doesn't matter whether you understand it or not."

"Women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don't want to mention that."

"We have the worst laws."

"So this guy, because he's here, now can get the mother and the father and the grandmother and the cousins and the brothers and the sisters and aunts and uncles. This is what the Democrats are doing to you. And they like it because they think they're going to vote Democrat."

"Remember that beautiful arena, it probably held 7,000 people, and we had 20,000, 25,000 people that couldn't get in."

"You're among the - - percentage-wise, you're among the greatest gainers in this country, and I think it's great and if just wasn't that way."

"I always say clean, beautiful coal."

NB: Trump barely talked about the tax cuts at an event specifically organized to talk about the tax cuts...leaving his speechwriters weeping, again.

He summed up the tax cuts bit this way "It's...a lot of people are being helped so much, and so many things in there that we don't even talk about, when you're talking about tooling and trucking and all of the elements of investments that you have to make and now you have one-year expensing."

"So not only will you save a lot of money, because it's a lot of money for a lot of people, but you're also...and not even mention the companies where they're employing because now they have all this incentive."

Winston Churchill just turned over in his grave.

And the leader of the free world, who never consumes alcohol or takes drugs, waited for the applause of the adoring crowd to wash over him. Joining in by gleefully clapping for himself.

An appropriate word for his performance, UNHINGED.

"A monkey could have done far better running a public company than the Republican nominee for President" - Warren Buffet

Meanwhile, friction in the Great White North

Albertan's are extremely disapointed, frustrated, upset and angry at the attitude of their fellow citizens who dismiss their concerns suggesting they are anti-environmentalists and complainers.

What do you suppose would happen if any other province was treated the way Alberta has been for decades; as a cash cow without reciprocity.

Place the shoe on another sister's foot and contemplate the result.

What if, say a province like Quebec, was blocked by other provinces from harvesting and transporting billions of resource wealth beneath her soil, despite approval from the federal government.

Trapped revenue that would benefit Quebecers and all Canadians and pay for social programs and infrastructure needs.

What if, say a province like Quebec, never-ever received a single dollar of equalization from sister provinces, even in a time of great need, yet forced to continue to pay billions to other provinces, by an unfair, archaic federally imposed formula.

Quebecer's fury at such treatment would justify another vote for separation, n'est-ce-pas?

Consider this before you cast aspersions at Alberta

The 'Equalization Program' started in 1957.

Since its inception the 'Lifetime Payments' are listed below:

Quebec $198 billion

Manitoba $ 48 billion

Nova Scotia $ 44 billion

Newfoundland and Labrador $ 25 billion

Ontario $ 17 billion

P.E.I. $ 9 billion

Saskatchewan $ 8 billion

British Columbia $ 3 billion

Alberta $ Zero Yes, folks that's a fact, nothing

The formula is grossly unfair to Alberta.

Especially galling for Albertans, while never receiving equalization payments and forced to contribute to the "so-called" have-nots, are repaid for their generosity by being turned-against with protests, blockades and lobbying from the recipients.

Fact: For Canada's economy to function efficiently, pipelines West, South and East are needed.

Fact: Additional Canadian refining capacity is a critically important factor.

Fact: Transporting refined oil products by pipeline is environmentally friendly.

Fact: There is a level of unseemly hypocrisy when some provincial governments, environmental crusaders and First Nation groups, who constantly demand more and more $ from taxpayers, block the very source of wealth that would pay for their demands.

Truth, reconciliation and reciprocity...is not a one way street.

Albertan's are justifiably "mad as hell" and may decide to do exactly what Quebecers would do in similar circumstances; vote to separate.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#148 A TRIPLET OF (RECENT) STUFF (posted Apr. 4, 2018)

#1 - Time waits for no man...and to be politically correct, no woman either.

This ancient phrase attributed to St. Marher in 1225, means the processes of nature continue, no matter how much we would like them to stop.

Trust a saint's profound pronouncement to make nobody feel better.

We recently attended a family gathering to celebrate a milestone; our first born began his 60th year.

Every birthday that ends with a zero is considered a milestone year.

These milestones tend to produce a mix of emotion, depending upon the number that precedes the zero.

A 10-year old can't wait to be 20.

A 50-year old wishes she was 39-ish again.

Whereas, parents of a 60-year old grudgingly accept reality:

- Being 'of sound mind and body' is a matter of opinion.

- Every day that some functioning body parts decide to cooperate, is a good day.

- Checking the obits is ritual morning reading.

- You now have more doctors than friends.

- Every day that begins with your sense of humour intact and ends with a dose of skepticism, is a brain-healthy day.

- 'If you can't take it with you, you're not going', is not an option.

- Your ears and your nose have more hair than your head.

- You get the same sensation from a rocking chair you once got from a roller coaster.

- Grandma was right, getting old really sucks.

"A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him 'At my age, I don't even buy green bananas' - Claude Pepper

#2 - Madam President

CBC/Radio Canada has a new President/CEO.

Catherine Tait becomes its first "Lady Boss".

Also the first with the appropriate background and experience for the complex and challenging job of leading a comtemporary public media corporation.

Tait has worked in the film and television business in Canada and the U.S. for more than 30 years.

She currently resides in New York. We all know it's the place to seek fame and fortune, as Frank Sinatra reminds us every New Year, "If you can make it there you can make it anywhere".

Steering this bureaucratic aircraft carrier through turbulent media and political waters will test all of her skills.

Those who believe an independent publicly-owned, public-service media is a vital ingredient to maintaining a healthy democracy, especially in this unpredictable Trumpian-era of lies, fake news and manipulated media, wish her the very best of luck.

Hopefully, during her tenure and with the support of a new board, CBC/Radio Canada will finally become a commercial-free public service information and entertainment provider.

"You reap what you sow"

For the past decade, her predecessor, Hubert T. LaCroix, assisted by a like-minded board of directors, nearly succeeded in fully delivering on a mandate from the PM who appointed them.

Stephen Harper and his governing Conservatives did not hide their disdain for the public broadcaster, ordering their compliant appointees to carry out a mission as their foremost objective:

Without informing and alarming the Crown Corporation's owners/shareholders (Canadians), quietly and without resistance, use the imposed budget cuts as the reason to layoff thousands of highly skilled employees, sell corporate assets, increase commercialization, issue contradictory/confusing five-year plans.

This was accompanied by a series of strangely dubious and secret rights deals; e.g., with the corrupt IOC, Rogers (NHL), etc..

In other words, slowly bleed the crown corporation into irrelevance and ultimate extinction.

It's no surpirse, therefore, that Monsieur LaCroix's morale destroying 10-year long leadership crusade never managed to garner any respect from his beleaguered workforce (past or present).

Consequently, few at CBC/Radio Canada are likely to mourn his departure later this year.

"Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster" - King Solomon

#3 - The end of an era

Remarkable identical twins from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden - two men who came to represent the best of our game have announced their retirement.

For eighteen seasons, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, carried the hopes of Vancouver Canuck fans dreaming of a Stanley Cup that was not to be as everything around them fell apart.

They arrived as franchise saviours, struggled with the demands of playing in the NHL, morphed into superstars, then slid quietly and gracefully into their hockey dotage.

In today's world of professional sport, it's rare that two players of this caliber (instinct, innovation and creativity) would remain together with the same team for their entire career.

Gentle and gracious men, on and off the ice. They will be gone but their legacy will remain.

Trivia bits

King Gustaf of Sweden is a hilarious guy who loves to wear goofy hats at public events.

Steve Passmore, played for the Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. Despite having a pretty awesome and fitting name for a hockey player, Passmore happened to be a goaltender.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#147 INFERIORITY COMPLEX - NOT ANYMORE (posted March 25, 2018)

There was a time, not so long ago, when many Canadians had an inferiority complex and yearned to move to America.

The so-called land of the free and the brave was like a magnet.

Frank Sinatra's song constantly reminded us, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."

Few Americans saw any advantage to moving north, until the Vietnam War provided a real and present incentive.

Those who (wisely) fled to avoid being sent to the slaughterhouse, were unfairly labelled deserters and draft dodgers.

Hypocritically, the wealthy and powerful, who instigated the war, used their influence to obtain deferments for their family members.

Donald J. Trump received a total of five deferments; four for college and one for a "fictitious" bone spur, yet had the audacity to call Vietman War hero, John McCain, a coward..

The Commander-in-Chief, who now wants to ban transgenders who wish to volunteer to serve in the U.S. armed forces, need only look in the mirror to see who the real coward is.

Consequently, the burden fell mostly on the poor and disadvantaged, who paid the price for an unjust war.

Despite many advances, the most powerful and wealthy nation on the planet continues to have a disproportionate number of citizens that remain blissfully ignorant about the rest of the world.

Exhibit A: Their current President.

Despite advances such as electronic devices and the internet, where Siri will provide answers to any and all questions, expanding anybody's desire for knowledge, many Americans prefer to remain unaware and/or disinterested in any other culture or nation.

Canadians no longer question why they neither care nor understand much about us.

Example #1

A neighbour, born in America and has lived in Canada for several decades, is unable to provide an rational explanation for this ongoing phenomena.

He can only offer evidence that Trump's Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVoss, will not improve things.

He keeps in touch with former school friends and regularly attends the annual school reunion.

A recent exchange of emails with a well-educated school pal asked what he thought of Mike Pence's diplomatic faux-pas during the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics (refusing to shake the hand of certain VIP's from other countries, or stand for the entry of North Korean athletes and snubbed a post-ceremony reception).

The friend replied: "Do you get the Olympics on TV up there?"

He responded: "Yes we do. Many of us have one of those rabbit-ear antenna things on top of the igloo."

Example #2

In some U.S. communities, people of a certain skin-tone walking at night through their neighbourhood and being approached by police to "put up your hands", are more likely to be shot (several times to ensure their certain demise) if one upraised hand holds a cellphone..."mistaken" for a gun.

In certain towns, this is standard police profiling procedure - Shoot first, ask questions after.

Whereas and au-contraire...here in Canada

Green Party Leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May (my MP) was arrested in Burnaby while protesting Kinder Morgan's expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

The arresting officers were from Canada's world famous federal police force, the red coated Mounties.

One of their well-promoted mottos: "We always get our woman."

Given the status of several harassment investigations (currently underway), some might suggest referring to this particular motto will not promote their image.

Ms. May and about a hundred others were charged with "civil contempt". Rest easy, it's not a criminal offence.

The leader and only elected member of the federal Greens and the other "bad girls and boys" were allegedly "blocking a road".

The gaggle of "anarchists" were somewhat inconvenienced by having to wait in the cold rain, while pleading to be arrested, before the "unmounted" gendarmes decided to politely request they remove themselves and disperse.

Shades of Nelson Eddy. (Young'uns will have to look up on Google to find out who he was.)

In the 1936 movie "Rose Marie" (his best known Hollywood film) Nelson was dressed as steadfast Canadian Mountie, Sgt. Bruce, from the Great Northwest, singing songs to his sweetheart, Jeanette MacDonald, such as the classic "Song of the Mounties" and "Indian Love Call"...be still my quivering heart.

His infamous Mountie role eventually morphed into the 1999 spoof film, "Dudley Do-right".

"It was a very gentle and kind arrest," Ms. May told reporters. Hugging the two arresting officers before entering the tent set up as a processing centre. Only in Canada would anyone hugg the people who arrest you...sigh.

Had this illegal protest taken place in the U.S. South, they would all now be in Guantanamo being water boarded ordered by Emperor Crazy Pants' Attorney General, Mr. Magoo.

The situation building up a head of steam in the U.S., will eventually cause the aforementioned migration story to reverse, as many Americans decide to escape to the Great White North.

This time, it's the turn of our songsters; Drake, Daniel Lanois, Bryan Adams to remind them, "If you can make it here, pot will soon be legal this year and you're all bienvenue chez nous, mes amis."

Inferiority complex, not anymore...n'est-ce-pas!

ENJOY BEING GOUGED?

The price of gasoline on the lower mainland and greater Victoria has increased to between $1.50-$1.60 per litre.

Fact: The reason is not enough Canadian refineries. Consequently, we are forced into importing refined products from the U.S. paying world prices.

Fact: Billions of dollars remain trapped underground that would pay for social programs. Why?

Fact: Politicians, environmentalists, first nations, et al, bickering and stubbornly holding to their "my way or the highway" positions will solve nothing.

Fact: All of the aforementioned have their heads up their arses (to quote a Newfie colloquialism) preventing them from ever seeing the forest for the trees.

Fact: Unless these warring factions come together (with oil interests), cooperate and collaborate, in a spirit of compromise to build more refineries, none of the objectives that will serve the interests of Canadians will ever be achieved.

And then everybody loses.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#146 NOT AN AESOP FABLE (posted March 21, 2018)

There's an old Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times".

While seemingly a blessing, the expression is normally used ironically, with the clear implication that 'uninteresting times' of peace and tranquility are more life-enhancing than interesting ones, which from historical perspective usually include disorder and conflict.

BINGO! - The curse precisely describes today's 'irrational insane times'.

For Example

Allegations against Charlie Rose (a gifted interviewer), Garrison Keillor (creator and former host of NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion"), and Al Franken (a rare common sense U.S. Senator) resulted in quickly destroying their reputation and career.

On the other hand and by comparison

Allegations against another male (Forbes' 776th richest person, serial liar, groper, molester, harasser, racist, tax cheat, con artist, megalomaniac, egotistical moronic dotard, batshit crazy nut bar, who enthusiastically supports the views of and is supported by, the Christian right, NRA, KKK, neo-Nazis and various dictators and despots) who remains unscathed in the office of the most powerful position on the planet..."protected' by a phalanx of security, "defended" by platoons of lawyers and surrounded by a "coterie" of back-stabbing ass-kissers.

Go figure!

Could the fact that he does not drink alcohol, never smoked cigarettes or consumed drugs, including marijuana, explain his bizarro behaviour?

While campaigning for the presidency, he proclaimed "My favourite book is the Bible. Nothing beats the Bible. My second favourite is 'The Art of the Deal'.

His hardcore base of zealots wildly cheer in agreement, believing the bullshit with a blind passion that alarmingly resonates of what overtook the German population in the 1930's.

The reality being he's never read either "favourite" or any other book.

He doesn't read, listen or pay attention to knowledgeable advisors, rather relies on his ample gut as his guide.

How could this possibly have come to pass in this 'age of enlightenment'?...just kidding.

The answer rests in accepting that 35-40% of American voters became so desperate and angry with the ongoing political gridlock in their other branches of government, they threw caution to the winds and elected a crazy man.

And now, after more than a year of watching the train wreck, are you among those who are nervously wondering if there is anything on the horizon that might bring this nighmare to an end?

Will Republicans eventually screw up the courage to impeach this basket case before he causes a catastrophe?

And what if they do? OOPS!

The world inherits #2, Mickey the Pence (and his real boss, Mrs. Pence) as a consolation prize.

Clearly a no-win exchange and we all end up in the same place.

There are growing signs of panic at chaos central, as the Hounds of MuellerVille close in on their prey.

The Emperor's gaggle of high-priced lawyers are using everything in their arsenal attempting to delay or sidetrack the inevitable...impeachment proceedings.

The Emperor is feeling more pressure, pacing the halls in the midnight hours, asking himself, what to do?, what to do? What happens if I fire the special prosecutor? What if Vlad gets mad at me? Somebody, anybody, help me.

He makes dozens of frantic calls to his closest confidants, pleading for ideas to avoid the dire conseqences of past actions.

During one of these calls, his long time pal and confidant, Roger Stone, asks him to first calm down and listen. He proceeds to read an Aesop fable called "The Fox and the Cat", that offers a plan that might work.

The Fable of the Fox and the Cat (1894)

A fox was boasting to a cat of its clever devices for escaping his enemies.

"I have a whole bag of tricks", he said, "which contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies."

"I have one", said the cat. "But I can generally manage that."

Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of hounds coming towards them, and the cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the boughs.

"This is my plan," said the cat. "What are you going to do?"

The fox thought first one way, then of another, and while he was debating, the hounds came nearer and nearer, and at last the fox in his confusion was caught by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen.

Miss Puss, who had been looking on, said, "Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon."

Trump: "Geez Rog, that's a really sad story, are you trying to make me cry? I really like that the cat's name is Miss Puss (giggle). But I'm confused, how's that story supposed to help me?"

Stone: "Donald, forget that and pay attention, I have an idea. Aren't you meeting privately with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next week at Mar-a-Lago?"

Trump: "Yes, they want me to, but Rog, is he really a Muslim? I don't like meeting Muslims but this guy's loaded and you know how much I like rich people."

Stone: "He's your kind of guy, imprisoned more than 380; princes, businessmen, and former government ministers who disagree with his radical reforms. They're all under house arrest at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, in Riyadh."

Trump: "Wow."

Stone: "Donald, now pay very close attention. I'm only going to say this once because my phone is likely bugged. When you meet with Mohammed, put on your best schmooze-face and convince him the following is a win-win plan.

In exchange for lots of U.S. made military stuff and very flexible repayment terms, get bin Salman to agree to:

1) Change the name of the Ritz Carlton Hotel and move the current "guests" elsewhere.

2) When impeachment proceedings begin, Mohammed allows the ex-president, his family (excluding Melania and her parents) plus a few "special" friends to reside indefinitely, as his "protected guests", at the newly named 'Trump Riyadh Tower'.

One simple clean plan."

Trump: "But how do we escape? Air Force One and my security detail will no longer be at my disposal."

Stone: "Again, simple. I have connections with senior Bombardier people. I can get you one of their special "almost free" deals on a fleet of luxury Global 6000 jets...providing you take me with you. Inform the Prince that when the time comes, the Trump "party" will fly to Saudi Arabia on unmarked Global 6000's, with disabled tracking devices, until we enter Saudi airspace. I got the idea from the Gupta Brothers. They planned a brilliant escape and disapeared into thin air."

Trump (sobbing): "Rog, fantastic, great, genius stuff, my friend, I love this plan of mine. But what if Bannon wants to come along. You know what a pain in the ass he's been lately."

Stone: "Screw Bannon. I never liked that S.O.B. rat-fink. Before you leave office, order your Attorney General, Jefferson (Magoo) Sessions, or whoever you've got in that job when the time comes, to arrest him and throw the key away."

Trump: "That's another great idea, especially the way he spilled his guts in that book I never read. Again, Rog, I can't thank you enough for supporting this plan of mine. You are my loyal consiglieri...that's an Italian term, right?"

Stone: "Now get some sleep, Mr. President." Hangs up, "Geez, what a jerk."

America's new anthem: "Who's going to save us now?"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#145 from STARDUST to STARDUST to INFINITY (posted March 18, 2018)

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

Remember being young and looking up at a sky filled with countless stars and wondering - Where did we come from? - Where are we going?

Questions humans have pondered forever, seeking answers to one of life's more perplexing puzzles, to hopefully resolve - "Is this all there is?"

Every descriptor of "teacher" - philosopher, preacher, rabbi, priest, monk, mullah, moolah worshippers - whomsoever attempts to educate/propagate/influence/convince the young by offering their version/theory/perspective/myth as the "one" that provides the "right" answer and solution to humankind's ills.

The sheer number and variety of versions proffered, just compounds the confusion for young minds to sort out.

Consider seriously; in the history of humankind, the incalculable amount of death, destruction and mayhem caused in the name of tribalism and religion.

Does "Reject your idol and worship mine...or I will come and kill you" not border on insanity?

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results" - Albert Einstein

But, (and there's always a but) as the young mature, doubts begin to question what their elders preach, teach, proselytize as truth.

Remember, it's always the conqueror(s) who write the history books.

Then, as adults (who think for themselves), many come to believe that it's from unrelenting scientific research, that some sense of comprehending the incomprehensible may result.

That it's from the curious questioning mind, especially one possessed by the gifted-exceptional-few, constantly pushing the frontiers of our understanding about the universe that brings knowledge that drastically alters humankind's view of our world.

The precious few that defied everything to bring about breakthoughs e.g., Pythagoras' rejection of the flat earth model, Copernican *heliocentrism, Darwin's theory of evolution and Einstein's discovery of relativity.

*(NB: Provided you are not easily "offended" by this particular subject matter and/or salty language and wish to better understand "heliocentrism", watch the late George Carlin's hilarious routine, on YouTube, called "Religion is Bullshit" to find out what George, after much contemplation, decided to worship).

Recently, the world lost another giant scientific trail blazer, one of the most famous scientists of all time.

Stephen Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo's death (January 8, 1942) and returned "to stardust" on Einstein's birthday (March 14th).

Like the aformentioned luminaries, his legacy is immense.

Ironically, Hawking was considered a "mediocre student" at St. Albans School in London, which demonstrates his "elders" had no competence to guage his potential.

The "mediocre student" accomplished, in one brief lifetime - Cambridge University physicist, cosmologist, author, lecturer and TV star (The Simpsons, John Oliver's Last Week Tonight, The Big Bang Theory).

Advised at age 21, that ALS would dramatically shorten his life, Hawking managed to defy the odds and live until age 76.

His refusal to melt into the background was a big part of how Stephen Hawking maintained his scientific relevance as his disease progressed, costing him his mobility and speech.

Subjects that befuddle most of us: Quantum theory, the weird laws that govern subatomic reality, to black holes (those mythological avatars of cosmic doom) thankfully, only served to challenge his curious mind.

This led him to find a single theory of nature - to connect gravity and quantum mechanics, those large and small warring descriptions of the large and the small, to help explain a universe that seems stranger than anybody had ever thought.

A brilliant and beautiful mind that brought us discoveries that added to the most transformative discoveries in history that, like all of his predecessors, resulted in revised models of the universe.

For those who profess that humans have a "special" place in it (the universe), a large dollop of humility is in order. In a universe of billions of galaxies...WE DON'T HAVE AND ARE NOT "SPECIAL".

In order to deal with the challenges of life he faced daily and to do something to make himself feel better, performer Mac Davis offered up the following song:

"Oh Lord it's hard to be humble

When you're perfect in every way

I can't wait to look in the mirror

Cause I get better looking each day

To know me is to love me

I must be a hell of a man

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble

But I'm doing the best that I can"

A tonic Stephen Hawking could not and did not rely on to appreciate that life is worth living and to make the most of every day.

His life proves that greatness can be achieved even when bodily control is limited to flexing one finger and voluntary eye movements.

He could have complained about much, but his biggest complaint was that his speech synthesizer, manufactured in California, had given him an American accent.

An outstanding example of human courage and determination sprinkled with a playful sense of humour and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

He helped us come closer to some understanding of "the big question" - Where did we come from? - Where are we going?

"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet" - Stephen Hawking

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#144 THIS IS NOT A FAIRY TALE (posted March 13, 2018)

A story of creating conditions likely to produce, or hasten, favourable future conditions i.e., greasing the wheels.

You have to give Bombardier credit (pun intended) by way of an honorary lifetime award for developing an effective time-tested system to bilk gullible, compliant Canadian taxpayers.

Bombardier ranks near the top of the list of the more voracious "corporate darlings" who feed at the taxpayers' trough. And they have been doing it, year after year, after year.

Worth remembering

Since the 1960's, Bombardier has managed, with unseemly ease, to "borrow" billions of taxpayer dollars from the fed's (Liberal and Conservatives), the province of Quebec and more recently, the Caisse de Depots et Placement du Quebec.

Ever wonder why taxpayers have never been provided with an accounting of the use of their money from an independent auditing firm?

How many billions have been "loaned" to Bombardier since the 1960's?

How many billions have been repaid, with and without interest?

How many billions remain unpaid?

Where's the accountability?

Answers are kept hidden inside an intricate self-interest web of complex relationships between "corporate darlings", governments and a government agency called Export Development Canada (EDC); a crown corporation whose dealings are purposely kept in the shadows.

EDC is a multibillion-dollar financial-services monolith, the second or third largest export development bank in the world.

An entirely opaque megalith of money that has no master.

Unbelievably, oversight is non-existent. EDC is ostensibly overseen by the Ministry of International Trade but does not provide the exact amount of the loans it extends nor does it disclose its lending rates or precise terms of its financial transactions.

Excellent investigative work by journalists at the Globe and Mail have uncovered many Bombardier capers.

The latest is a doozy worthy of a couple of chapters in the used-car salesman's handbook.

The Pitch

Want to buy one of our top-of-the-line luxury jets; the Global 6000, priced at $52 million USD?

Don't be shy. It's "almost free" and so easy to acquire, providing you meet our requirements:

- If you are world-famous for your corrupt political connections ("politically exposed persons") who can obtain lucrative contracts, similar to the way the South African-Indian, uber-rich, Gupta brothers have,

- Have links with nation-rulers (despots & dictators), like former South African president, Jacob Zuma, and can secure for Bombardier a piece of a $1.2 billion locomotive contract, just like the Gupta brothers did,

Then, Bombardier's nearest continental sales manager will meet you, at your earliest convenience, to open discussions.

The offer

A Bombardier "special deal" will give you an immediate discount of $10 million on the purchase price.

Bombardier will train your pilots at no cost to you.

Best of all #1: Bombardier will obtain a taxpayer-guaranteed "loan" for 80% of the purchase price ($42 million USD) from Canada's Export Development Agency and arrange "very flexible" repayment terms.

An intended, essential benefit

Whenever local authorities arrest and charge your favourite despot/dictator with corruption for systemic decade-long looting efforts, necessitating a hasty exit (get out of Dodge fast), simply board your jet, order the pilots to disable the plane's tracking device and presto-chango "poof" you're invisible, gone.

Best of all #2: The Canadian taxpayer is stiffed for the loan because you have vanished into thin air.

Ingenious, simple, foolproof...just sign here and become a member of the Bombardier family.

MEANWHILE - ON THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BEAUTIFUL VANCOUVER ISLAND

Victoria mayor, Lisa Helps, says the time has come to "celebrate" closing the old Johnson street bridge (known locally as the 'Blue Bridge') and open its replacement, with an all-day party on the bridge???

To "celebrate" a bridge taxpayers were initially told would cost $63 million and be completed by the fall of 2015.

To "celebrate" a bridge (still not yet quite completed) now estimated to cost $105 million and scheduled to "officially" open on March 31st, 2018, appropriately one day before everyone celebrates April Fools Day.

To "celebrate" a bridge, the proffered rationale offered up by former long-gone local politicians, would save substantial dollars by importing cheaper steel from China rather than Canadian produced steel. Their attempt at "efficiency" backfired big time when the Chinese steel turned out to be flawed and defective, adding to the cost and delays.

Litigation will determine whether China or taxpayers is on the hook to pay for the screwup.

Yet another classic example of 'government knows best, planning and execution' of a major infrastructure project.

This does not bode well for another Capital Regional District infrastructure imbroglio, the long debated mega-million dollar wastewater treatment project. Taxpayers nervously await the final bill for this stinker.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#143 THE TAXMAN COMETH AND OUR MONEY GOETH (posted March 1, 2018)

April 1st is called April Fool's Day for a reason.

The day reminds us there are only 29 more before we get legally robbed (again) by our elected representatives, of whatever income was generated last year.

The origins of April Fool's Day, a day traditionally known for taking advantage of the gullible by playing tricks, are unknown.

In the early part of the 20th century, those who ruled decided to introduce a "temporary" income tax to pay for WWI.

Those who followed the initial ingenious innovators, decided to play the masses by using a trick from the traditions of April 1st. Quietly make the tax permanent.

Now commonplace, an avalanche of government ads appear to remind the gullible (who forget they pay for the ads) announcing the dreaded time has arrived.

The Sheriff of Parliament Hill - Stealous the Maximus - and his marauding thugs ride into town and "collect" the annual federal and provincial tithe ordained by their respective godfathers.

Their handmaidens follow: the mini-marauders. Stealthy foot soldiers - the Stealous SomeMorous Gang - skilled pickpockets using cleverly hidden and not so cleverly hidden legal mechanisms to scoop up what's left.

The "paragons of virtue" who now rule us, Ponzi schemers on three levels (federal, provincial, municipal), constantly argue about dividing up the spoils; employing a growing list of nefarious ways and means, they themselves made legal, to confiscate the innocents' meagre incomes.

Unparalled grand theft performed by white collar shysters.

Their tool box is full to overflowing: HST, PST, property tax, capital gains tax, gas tax, tolls, duties, fees on fees, tax piled on top of tax, etc., etc..

And always searching for ways to take more.

THE IMPACT

So many, especially the disadvantaged on the lower end of the income scale living in the major urban centres, are left without enough to provide the staples of life. Owning a home or saving for retirement an elusive dream.

A situation best described as Ad Absurdum, Ad Infinitum.

It has become so easy for the ruling godfathers to plunder the defenceless masses because there is no fear of any real consequences, retribution or accountability.

Consequently, so many have given up any hope that things will change, regardless of who is elected.

Providing unrefutable evidence that power inevitably corrupts.

A GALLING REALITY

We are constantly told Canada's banks are among the best in the world. The place to deposit your money in a safe and secure environment.

Despite this fact, the uber-rich and corporations choose to deposit "hide" much of their wealth in banks (tax havens) located in Panama, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Jersey, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Malta, Cyprus, Singapore, Hong Kong.

Why?

Because their hired tax lawyers and tax accountants create clever legal schemes to avoid paying a fair share of tax - Billions of dollars that could help the disadvantaged.

Revenue Canada will not hesitate to come after middle-class Canadians for minor infractions amounting to a few dollars like a dog in heat.

Yet fail to exercise the same enthusiasm and devote fewer resources to pursuing the big tax fraudsters.

The reason: a game of quid-pro-quo is played by the powerful, using a well known code of conduct.

The lubrication required to get a politician elected is money, dirty tricks and back-stabbing, which is exchanged for access and favours for the donor.

Time tested methods employed to achieve a Faustian bargain.

FOOL ME ONCE - SHAME ON YOU - FOOL ME EVERY DAMN YEAR - SHAME ON ME

Every year, long lists are published identifying the most egregious federal, provincial and municipal waste of precious tax dollars.

A prime candidate(s) for this year's championship is a tie.

The award must go to the Conservative and Liberal parties, our forever federal rulers, for their project Phoenix.

What is a Phoenix?

Phoenix is a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live for another cycle.

Such a beautiful myth is sure to bring on a tear or two to the reader.

What occured with the project championed by our rulers (grand award winners) is anything but. A classic case of monumental government waste that somebody decided to name Phoenix.

Project Phoenix was trotted out as a superb example of "government knows best" efficiency - the best in class computerized payroll system. Invest a mere $300 million to save countless millions.

Having blown one billion dollars, to date, trying to fix the unfixable that continues to cause confusion, chaos, stress, suffering and financial pain for thousands of federal workers across the land, the Feds finally gave up and decided to scrap this embarrassing clunker.

Cancellation and replacement costs will remain a state secret.

Following close behind: the eight million dollar rink on the lawn of parliament within a mile of the frozen Rideau Canal.

Just two stories of waste that make taxpayers weep.

MEANWHILE - IN LOTUS LAND

As we await the great legalized marijuana tax bonanza (currently being stalled by the unelected occupants of the Mad Hatter's House), organized criminals continue to avail themselves of B.C.'s casinos and real estate as their favourite laundromats.

A massive underground banking system continues to thrive between the lower mainland and mainland China to launder hundreds of millions in drug cash through casinos and real estate sales agents called "cash facilitators".

This very sophisticated tax-free money laundering scheme has been operating right under the noses of those in power.

THE RECKONING - ANYTIME SOON?

Will there ever be a day of reckoning when the entire house of cards comes tumbling down and justice prevails?

Nope, nope and nope.

If the powerful were serious about catching bad guys and girls (in some cases, themselves) the way is straightforward. JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY, charge the perpetrators and following serving a long sentence, deport all non-Canadians and place them on a no-fly list.

MEANWHILE - AT CHAOS CENTRAL

Emperor Crazy Pants issues another Executive Order.

EMPERICAL DECREE #37

Heretofore, and 'till whenever, to replace the prayer at the beginning of every meeting held in this dump of a White House. You all know the one, where Mickey the Pence and my disloyal Attorney General, Mr. Magoo, insist everyone hold hands and pray. I, Donald J. Trump, your greatest ever president and commander in chief, order that all proceedings will forthwith begin with a hymn composed by my family and the most wonderful, devoted, Miss Hope Hicks (who only tells little white lies) and will soon be leaving us...sigh...

Roll the cameras

Your most omnipotent Emperor will lead with a solo, 'cause he has the greatest voice:

I can do anything, anything, anything,

I am the greatest that ever has been,

'Cause I can do everything better than you,

And you'll never have anyone better than me,

Just because, just because, just because

Mandatory applause

(Chorus) All present now sing:

He can do anything, anything, anything,

He is the greatest that ever has been,

He can do everything better than us,

Just because, just because, just because

This will be followed by my Generals shouting in unison, "Amen to that, mine Fuhrer" (please excuse the ommission of the umlaut).

Mandatory applause

As novelist and essayist, Salman Rushdie, remarked "he's batshit nuts and dangerous!"

"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist" - Salman Rushdie

Nothing can save a divided empire from self-destructing, like all that preceded this one.

And while on the subject of gaming the system and cheaters, Russia's ban from the Olympic movement was lifted on Wednesday to the delight of Vlad the Invader. So much for the IOC's principles and integrity, shame on them.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#142 SHOWDOWN AT THE COW PIE CORRAL (posted Feb. 23/18)

Quotes by Great Britain's 'Iron Lady':

"If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman"

"I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end"

"This lady is not for turning" - Baroness Margaret Thatcher

We all smile with recognition, when reminded of the story of the little girl who says to the little boy, or was it the little boy who asked the little girl, "You show me yours and I'll show you mine".

However, its an entirely different story when a diminutive blond adult from Alberta tells a tall dude from B.C., "Do that and I will crush your grapes!"

That kind of threat guarantees any male will focus on protecting their most vulnerable body part.

Theodore Roosevelt acurately stated "If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow".

The lady is Alberta's 17th Premier, Rachel Notley, (NDP).

The dude is B.C.'s 36th Premier, John Horgan, (NDP)...who hangs onto power by a thin thread of support from three Greens.

In the topsy-turvy "norms" of 2018, where men are confused and run scared of women, big John's options to confront Rachel's threat are limited.

What would you recommend he do?

a) Yell "please help", she's harrassing me

b) Skedaddle, a word she will certainly understand that means depart quickly or hurriedly; run away

c) Blink, she's from Alberta and may be carrying...maybe its an AK47

d) Hire a platoon of lawyers, on the taxpayers' dime

In this latest round of interprovincial trade warfare, big John selected a diversionary non-decision, decision tactic; hoping to temporarily protect the provincial 'family jewels' from Rachel's wrath, by choosing options c) and d), in other words, 'kick the can down the road and let the courts decide'.

Meantime, the Prime Minister and his family are touring India, sending home, for the enjoyment of voters, photo-op pics of them standing in front of various tourist attractions wearing different multicoloured Indian garb, on our dime.

Ironically, Rachel, John and Justin are all right, attempting to protect their respective provincial/national interests.

The problem being, the solutions being proposed are sowing disunity, disharmony and an escalating trade war.

Why is a 'common sense' and long-ignored option not being considered?

Form a three way partnership (Feds/Provinces/Oil interests) to build oil refineries, in Alberta, B.C. or both, transport refined oil products by pipeline to tidewater (West and East) for sale abroad (at world prices).

Would this not:

*Protect the environment (refined oil evaporates, unlike bitumen)

*Reduce the need to export our oil to the U.S. (at reduced prices) to be refined and sold back to Canadians (at world prices)

*Reduce imports from the Middle East (at world prices) to our East coast refineries

*Reduce the cost of refined oil products consumed by Canadians

*Provide jobs and federal and provincial tax revenue

If not, why not?

NB: There used to be five oil refineries located in Burnaby, B.C., only one remains.

With growing concern we watch the glacial pace of NAFTA talks, while interprovincial trade and cooperation remains elusive.

The free movement of people, goods, services and investment within Canada continues to present many interprovincial barriers to progress.

Why are politicians incapable of creating seamless economic regions between all provinces?

Numerous provincial laws and regulations are reducing Canada's productivity and making businesses less competitive internationally.

Where are the federal, provincial and territorial leaders in this regard?

Why is this not a priority while we wait on NAFTA?

Wouldn't such an agreement be easier to achieve than trying to negotiate a fair free trade agreement with the likes of Donald Trump?

MEANWHILE - A REALLY BIG BOO-BOO COULD HAVE GONE BANG-BANG - IN INDIA

An unbelievable fiasco.

The PM's wife was photographed with a Sikh terrorist and convicted attempted murderer.

The same guy gets invited to dine with Trudeau at the Canadian High Commissioner's residence in New Delhi.

Who the hell approved enabling a terrorist such access?

Have they all forgotten that in 1985, Canadian Sikh separatists bombed an Air India plane that had taken off from Toronto airport, killing all 329 people aboard, including numerous Canadians of Indian descent?

Despite this being the biggest terrorist attack in Canadian history, the only person ever convicted was released in 2017 after serving two decades in jail. He never revealed who else was involved.

Something is very, very wrong with this unresolved situation.

Anyone connecting the dots will soon discover they connect to B.C..

Anyone in doubt need only ask Canadian lawyer, B.C. Premier and federal cabinet minister, Ujjal Dosanjh, who in 1985 spoke out against violence by Sikh extremists and was attacked in the parking lot of his law firm by an assailant wielding an iron bar. He suffered a broken hand and received 80 stitches in his head. Very fortunate he was not killed by the attacker. He was targeted again in 1999 when his constituency office was broken into and a molotov cocktail left burning on a table.

Be wary of the politicians who covet votes from these dangerous extremists who promote violence and "somehow" got away with mass murder.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#141 GAME OF GAMES (Posted Feb. 12, 2018)

Winter games of the Olympic kind began February 9th in South Korea.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from attending, as a result of solid proof of flagrant doping by their athletes at previous Games.

Canadian lawyer, Richard McLaren, issued a pair of scathing reports on Russian doping practices that provided the evidence.

Finally...justice for all clean athletes, the naive non-cheaters.

Really?

Nope, they (the IOC) was really just kidding, right Vlad?

Exercising the usual iron-fisted discipline demanded by the Olympic Charter, the IOC then permitted Russian athletes to compete.

Huh?

Explanation, please.

All it took was a brigade of IOC lawyers to come up with the rational to justify the non-decision, decision:

Legal preamble - the difference is in the distinction.

The Russians are banned from attending the South Korea Winter Games for the aforementioned reasons.

Therefore, Russia cannot compete as 'the Russian Olympic Team' under the Russian flag.

However, the athletes competing in these Games from Russia, will heretofore be referred to as 'the Olympic Team from Russia', competing under the Olympic flag.

Clear?

Nope, not really.

What is the real reason for this convoluted nonsense?

Russia (Vlad the Invader) pays the IOC more for Russia's media rights than all the European countries combined pay the IOC for their rights.

When it comes to "principled" IOC decisions, remember it's always about MONEY.

WHO'D OF THUNK IT?

Just when we are meant to believe South Korea's mortal enemy is North Korea, Little Rocket Man pulls a rabbit out of his weird hairdo by sending his sister to represent the North; along with some athletes, who are jointly competing with those from South Korea, under a unified Korean flag, plus a full orchestra, dancers, cheerleaders and the overseeing 'political handlers'.

Remember Ping Pong diplomacy?

This rather clever move flummoxed Emperor Crazy Pants.

Mickey the Pence and his Mrs., dispatched by the Emperor to give a stern warning to Rocket Man about tougher sanctions, was seated a little too close to Kim Jong-un's sister during the Opening Ceremony.

Wonder who arranged for that convenient or inconvenient proximity? President Moon of South Korea and Kim?

Stone-faced Mickey refused to stand when North Korean athletes entered the stadium, avoided handshakes and snubbed a post Ceremony reception.

Aren't we meant to believe the Olympics are supposed to be about Peace and Harmony among nations?

Wouldn't Mickey have acted wiser, in the cause of peace, by extending a hand and a smile to Kim's sister in a diplomatic show of goodwill and provide the world a signal of hope rather than fear by ignoring his boss' order?

Did Rocket Man purposely upstage the Emperor (again) by holding a military parade the day before the Opening Ceremony?

Prompting the Emperor to blow a gasket, ordering his generals (not Kelly) to prepare to stage the biggest military parade in the history of the world, on July 4...in his honour.

Being partial to grandiose, oversized outfits worn by the likes of Hermann Goring (especially the white one), Crazy Pants ordered his tailor to make a uniform, befitting his status as Commander-in-Chief, appropriately festooned with mucho medals and ribbons for the occasion.

UNDER THE HEADING - "It was inevitable"

Stephen Colbert's new animated show "Our Cartoon President" (debuted Feb. 11 on Showtime) takes a satirical look at what's going on both inside and outside the volatile Trump White House.

"If you can laugh, then you can think. And we've got to think our way out of this because we felt our way into this through fear and anger. I think we can think our way into being an American again, which is what laughter allows you to do." - Stephen Colbert

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#140 TICK...TICK...TICK...(posted Jan. 29/18)

At this time of year, those of us who live near or next to the ocean are accustomed to hearing a shrill high-pitched signal (repeated three times at regular internals) that serves as a warning of danger to ships during periods of fog or poor visibility.

Given the frequency of recent events in 2018, don't be too surprised if you encounter individuals standing at busy downtown intersections, announcing "The End is Nigh" on their sandwich boards.

This year has already issued several frightening warnings of impending danger, triggering an increase in human fear and anxiety not seen for many decades:

* Hawaii - incoming missile scare - 38 minutes of fear and confusion

* Japan's public broadcaster sends out alarm about North Korean missile launch

* Kodiak Alaska - 7.9 earthquake triggers Pacific Ocean Tsunami alert

* Phillipines - Mount Mayon Volcano erupts

* Paris - swollen Seine River bursts its banks

* 2018 - could see the most natural disasters in history

Now that you're paying attention...here's another scary story in the news last week:

The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock moved to two minutes to midnight...as close as it was in 1953, at the height of the Cold War.

Younger readers might ask "What the hell is a Doomsday Clock?"

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock to indicate the world's vulnerability to nuclear catastrophe. They have since added concerns about climate change and new, unregulated technologies that might threaten human existence. The Clock tells whether the scientists believe the world is safer or more dangerous than it was last year, or over the past 70 years.

The scientists made the following alarming statement: "To call the world situation dire is to understate the danger - and its immediacy".

This is a wakeup call, an audible warning of danger that sadly fails to initiate political attention and action from leaders who could do something about moving the Doomsday Clock back to where it was in 1991 at the end of the Cold War - 15 minutes to midnight.

Nuclear-armed States of the world:

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, India, North Korea, Pakistan

NATO member nuclear weapons sharing States: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey

Given the cast of dangerous characters who now lead these nations, the risk of accidental or inadvertent nuclear war is very real.

As a prime example, following are some views of those who work in the White House for the guy who brags he's actually a stable genius, who calls an entire continent and countries sh..holes, while members of the political party he heads claim they can't remember whether he used the word sh..holes or sh..house. Does it make a difference to those who live or come from these places?

"Trump didn't read. He didn't really even skim. If it was print, it might not as well not exist. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semiliterate. (There was some argument about this, because he could read headlines, and articles about himself, or at least headlines about himself, and the gossip squibs about himself in the New York Post's Page Six). Some thought him dyslexic; certainly his comprehension was limited. Others concluded he didn't read because he just didn't have to, and that, this was one of his key attributes as a populist. He was post literate - total television.

But not only didn't he read, he didn't listen. He preferred to be the person talking. And he trusted his own expertise - no matter how paltry or irrelevant - more than anyone else's. What's more, he had an extremely short attention span, even when he thought you were worthy of his attention" - from 'Fire and Fury' by Michael Wolff - a must read world best selling book.

" I will buld a great wall - and nobody builds walls better than me - believe me - and I'll build them inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for the wall. Mark my words" - Donald J. Trump

" My IQ is one of the highest - and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure; it's not your fault" - Guess who?

" The problem with political jokes is that they get elected" - Henry Cate

TICK...TICK...TICK...two minutes...120 seconds...in the blink of an eye...it's over.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#139 WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN...(posted Jan. 12/18)

The title of a popular song performed by several recording artists, including a favourite - The Carpenters, in 1970.

Usually, the eve of a 'relatively normal' new year prompts reflection on the year just past, from lessons learned, resolutions, predictions, and prognostications on the year to come.

However, events happening during the first few weeks of 2018, make many dread the outcome of impulsive and unwise decisions by the world's powerful.

WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN...to face exactly what?

RESOLUTION: A firm decision to do or not to do something

Victoria Times Colonist humourist, Jack Knox's take on life's trials and tribulations is the reason why so many of us who live on beautiful Vancouver Island, look forward to reading his uplifting columns (and books) enabling the day to start with a smile and a chuckle.

About resolutions he writes:

"Resolutions are about what is lacking. They are about not being fit enough, rich enough, attractive enough, accomplished enough.

Resolutions are less about being imbued with determination and hope than they are about being hobbled by regret.

Resolutions are about looking in the mirror and seeing faults so deep the doctor takes your blood pressure with a seismograph.

It wouldn't be so bad if we followed through with our self-improvement promises, but most of us don't.

A commonly stated statistic states just eight percent of people stick with their resolutions.

Psychology Today estimated one in five of us will have pulled the 'chute' already, resolve having disappeared faster than an election promise. Then we feel even worse, our deficiences compounded by failure.

Me, I prefer to give up by Jan. 2nd."

Unlike many who solemnly resolve to lose weight, Jack's resolve for 2018: "Go to the gym. Peek in the window, laugh, then continue on to the pub".

I'll drink to that.

PROGNOSTICATION: The action of foretelling or prophesying future events

Following is a random sprinkling; a sampling of events; stuff that may or may not come to pass in 2018:

*Trump's crude reality-show-presidency, GONE...replaced by Mickey the Pence (his real boss is Mrs. P.) and Generals.

*Melania divorces Donald demanding millions to refrain from writing a tell-all book.

*Donald flees to Norway requesting refugee status from the Prime Minister, in exchange for building a hotel with her name on it with money from the Russians.

*Democrats gain control of the U.S. Senate and Congress.

*Elizabeth Warren and Oprah Winfrey team-up to plan a run as the Dem's ticket in 2020.

*Ethics Commissioner quashes Justin the Fair's request to vacation (with his family) at Melania's Mar-a-Lago luxury resort in Palm Beach, during the upcoming Christmas break.

*For the price of a pair of goggles, people can enter a 'virtual world' hoping to achieve a temporary state of 'virtual happiness'.

*Unless humans manage to destroy the planet...Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics will forever change the nature of jobs and work. The displaced workforce will have to wait for politicians and others to come up with inovative ideas on where their lost incomes will come from.

*Addiction to electronic devices becomes more pervasive, accelerating the negative affects of lost human interaction and furthering the possibility that AI will eventually control human activity.

*As the younger demographic continues to use social networks as their primary source of news, fact-based information will become indistinguishable from so-called 'fake news', to the detriment of democracies.

*Trust in politicians and institutions will erode further.

*Property taxes in Vancouver and Toronto will exceed the original cost of your 1950's built abode by a factor of 20.

*Facism is a clear and present danger.

*Senators propose a name change for Canada's 151st birthday. Canada Day will become National Weed Day on July 1st. Smoky haze permeates Ottawa festivities preventing event being televised.

*First Nations and several other groups demand any offensive names (to Aboriginals and members of the other groups) be removed and replaced with non-offensive names on all statues, towns, roads, streets, avenues, schools, hospitals, recreation centres, waterways, hotels, mountains, bridges, sports teams, pubs, clubs, dams, highways, etc....forthwith.

*Thanks to the Mee-too movement, Harvey Weinstein and his fellow travellers, women will assume more power positions providing hope for a better future.

*Canada's women's hockey squad scores Olympic Gold in South Korea.

*NAFTA teeters while the Provinces ponder inter-provincial trade.

*Government continues its search for someone, anyone, to fill an important job. Qualifications include being fluent in both official languages, experience in media, outstanding leadership skills, understanding the role, responsibility and importance to our democracy of a national public broadcaster. Meanwhile, incumbent for the past ten years, Hubert LaCroix, remains as CBC/Radio-Canada President/CEO.

*Flying on EL CRAPPO airlines, e.g. Air Canada Rouge, will be accepted as punishment by judges when sentencing criminals.

2018, a year of crisis and chaos or a year that will end in hope?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#138 ANOTHER OLYMPIC FANDANGO - BIDS, BRIBES AND BIG DEBT
(posted Dec. 28/17)

Question: What is a WON?

Answer: Republic of South Korea currency.

A "need to know" for all holders of WON: Buying most stuff requires a truckload of WON.

WON QUIZ

For many years to come, South Korean's will be paying for a 14 TRILLION WON "investment" their politicians considered a national priority.

From options listed below, which did they choose to indenture their taxpayers:

a) new hospitals?

b) new schools and universities?

c) an event staged by a dishonourable organization headquartered in Switzerland?

d) infrastructure upgrades?

e) shelter for the homeless?

f) liveable pensions and facilities for the elderly?

g) stuffing the pockets of unscrupulous promoters, politicians and their friends?

h) free university tuition?

i) military equipment and personnel to defend the country?

Answer: c) and g)

What does 14 TRILLION WON buy?

A big party, athletic competition, White Elephants that carry the responsibility and cost to either maintain or destroy (nationals have no culture of winter sport) plus a humongous tab left for taxpayers after it's over and the circus departs.

White Elephant: A possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.

A bit of background

Years ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), that dishonoured organization, accepted bids and bribes from various countries, for the 'dubious' honour of pushing their nation toward bankruptcy by hosting one of their Olympic Games.

AND THE 2018 "WINNER" WAS

The mountain town of Pyongyang, in Gangwon province, South Korea.

For the ghastly sum of 14 TRILLION WON PLUS ($16.4 BILLION), their nation received the "privilege" of hosting the Winter Olympic Games from February 9 - 25.

NB: Security for recent Olympics staged in relatively safe countries cost $BILLION + USD.

The PLUS element cost balloons ever skyward

How much South Korea ends up spending on security alone, in the world's most dangerous locale, will never be disclosed...for security reasons.

Will this be the place where the threatened shootout between North Korea's 'Little Rocket Man' and America's 'Emperor Crazy-Pants' begins?

Will two unstable, out-of-control, egotistical, dangerous maniacs take advantage of these particular Olympics to engulf the world in WWIII?

ONE WON, ON THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS

Appropriately named, Hong-Jin Won (a Gangneung resident and activist) has been monitoring Olympic preparations for years.

Hong-Jin Won stated the real deficit left will cripple a country with a rapidly ageing population; a worsening job market and a widening rich-poor gap.

ELEPHANT GRAVEYARDS

One doesn't have to look far into the past for examples associated with Olympic Games and their villainous authors:

Montreal (the Big O)

Athens

Nagano

Turin

Albertville

Etc.

OTHER "INTERESTING" OLYMPIC ISSUES

NHL Czar, Gary Bettman, representing his bosses (the billionaire NHL owners), barred NHL players from attending the Games and represent their country.

Bettman's decision negatively affects the Canadian hockey audience, who every four years are glued to their TV's watching our best against the world's best at a game that has become known as our national religion. Consequently, what the public broadcaster paid in a solo-bid for the rights (never disclosed to taxpayers) has been substantially devalued. Will the CBC/Radio Canada board of directors ever disclose to Canadians whether they demanded or received a discount from the IOC? Jamais!

Russia has been banned from attending the Games (they finally got caught doping many of their athletes).

Many other nations have sent athletes who were doping to compete in previous Games and still allowed to participate. Which begs the question, why is Russia being singled out while the IOC turns a blind eye for other cheaters?

Scandal after scandal has highlighted the hypocrisy of what the IOC really values....MONEY.

It's sad to remember what Canada did by dragging sprinter Ben Johnson through a public humiliation following his disqualification in 1988. The world has since discovered several others in that infamous race were also doping, including American, Carl Lewis, who received the Gold Medal following Johnson's disqualification. Was Canadian Ben Johnson singled out in favour of American Carl Lewis?

2018'S OTHER MAJOR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

If the planet survives the Winter Olympics, the next one to attract the world's crazies is FIFA's (another group of unscrupulous scoundrels) quadrennial football tournament, the World Cup, scheduled for June-July.

The venue for this one is mother RUSSIA.

Which country is on Donald T's mentor and puppeteer "must invade next" list, while his empire hosts the FIFA fandango? Vlad is making a list and checking it twice, possibly even consulting with his puppet.

Unless you're happy paying two-thirds of any future Canadian fandango, its time to tell your politician:

"Time to stop stuffing the pockets of the unprincipled, unethical, immoral, dishonourable, deceitful individuals who promote these events, on the taxpayers tab, unless and until a referendum seeking their approval takes place.

Say no and stop Alberta and the Fed's contemplating bidding on another Winter Olympics in Calgary. There are too many other pressing priorities in need of limited taxpayer dollars".

TIME FOR NEW 'BREAD AND CIRCUSES' RULES

1) Establish permanent venues for major international sports competitions.

2) Major international sports competitions will only be staged after they are guaranteed, by the governing sports body, to be self-financing.

A classic example that has only happened once: The 1984 L.A. Summer Olympic Games, under the superb leadership of American executive, Peter Ueberroth, was staged without a dime of taxpayer money.

"The integrity of the game is everything" - Peter Ueberroth

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#137 THERE'S A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL...(posted Dec. 13/17)

On December 12, 2017, the world watched as Alabamans did not elect twice-removed judge and accused child-molester, Roy Moore, to represent them in the U.S. Senate, replacing Jeff Sessions, Trumps Attorney General.

Attorney General Sessions won't say whether he voted for Moore, leaving his Boss wondering (again) about his loyalty.

Roy 'Hopalong" Moore craves "the good old days" when slaves were the currency-du-jour, old guys married 13-year old cousins, and white folks toting guns wearing bed sheets were in charge of everything.

Alabama facts:

State name: Based on a Choctaw word meaning "thicket clearers"

Population: 4.9 million

Capital: Montgomery, the birthplace of the Confederate States of America

86% of adults profess to be Christians, split into several groupings, the largest (at 49%) are Evangelicals

Alabama introduced Mardi Gras to the western world - really

The pecan is Alabama's official nut - really?

Moore (the prized pick-of-the-litter, was fully supported by Emperor Crazy Pants and his brain, Steevie Bananas) was needed to forge ahead with "make America great again" (a.k.a. "the good old days") and populate the swamp with alligators who share the Trumpian/Bannon vision of America.

Roy refused to accept defeat (the Christian thing to do) proclaiming "the devil made them do it", then galloped out of town on his beloved Sassy to await the recount (the Christian thing to do).

Democrat Doug Jones will be sworn in as Alabama's new Senator in January.

MEANINGS THAT FIT THE TIMES

DESPICABLE: Contemptable, loathsome, hateful, detestable, reprehensible, abhorent, abominable, awful. heinous.

HYPOCRISY: The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behaviour does not conform.

IMPUNITY: Exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action.

ABNORMAL: Deviating from what is normal or usual, in a way that is undesirable or worrying.

ENABLER: A person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another.

There's a line in the play 'The Mourning Bride', by William Congreve, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". Meaning, no one is angrier than a woman who has been rejected in love.

It's apropos now because it depicts a broader phenomenon taking place in the dying days of 2017.

With every passing day, in every field of endeavour, the rogues gallery parade of accused harrassers grows larger and longer.

The primary force is women, long taken for granted by power figures, to be used and abused (verbally and physically), who will remain silent no more with their 'Me-Too' campaign.

No one is angrier than a young girl, boy, woman or man who has been treated as a commodity to be used by the powerful, then ignored by "the System".

In an ironic twist of fate, this phenomenon (long overdue) can be attributed to the American electoral system that resulted in putting an unstable serial-molester into the most powerful position on the planet.

The election of 'Despicable Donald' triggered a growing movement providing courage for many to speak out, on behalf of unknown tens of thousands, who have been abused, traumatized and scarred for life by those, like him, in positions of power, to demand justice.

Science factoid:

It has been reported that teetotaler Crazy-Pants consumes 12 Diet cokes and watches up to eight hours of TV each day. This has sent researchers scrambling to figure out whether drinking this many diet cokes and watching that much TV may be linked and contribute to mental illness.

There is nothing that brings out my personal anger faster than the evil people who prey on children and those who assist in covering up their evil deeds.

The perverts and pedophiles who now lurk on the internet trolling for the innocent, unsuspecting and unprotected.

Like the predators of my youth who prowled the halls of the Provencher boys school in St. Boniface or the defenceless kids trapped in the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland, where evil deeds were so long covered up by those in authority, there was no justice.

If there's something worth hoping for; wishing for; praying for; maybe this time you and your kind (the evil ones who prey on others) have provoked a force that will not be denied, bringing you and those who covered up for you to account for your deeds, in the court of public opinion and a court of law, then put away for a long, long time.

Quote from Devion's memoir 'from Stardust, Book II', page 172:

"...its all about power,

Who has it, whom do you have to share it with,

What you do with it,

And who will eventually take it away,

Because getting it and keeping it, is impossible,

Throughout the course of human history,

No man, woman, government, corporation, monarch, dictator, pope or religion,

Has ever succeeded in hanging on to it.

Life is about time and how we use it..."

THERE'S A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL...

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#136 AS THE DAYS DWINDLE DOWN TO A PRECIOUS FEW...(posted Dec. 2/17)

A refrain for those of us in our '80's and...Churcillian quotes worthy of reflection as this odd-numbered bizarre year (2017) fades into history.

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see"

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with a voter"

"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read a book"

A bizarre, odd year, not unlike those of the late 1930's, when Winston Churchill kept warning about the dangers of the rising tide of fascism that resulted in the Second World War.

Today's principal political actors mirror the same characteristics of those of that time, only their names are different.

Today, as in the past, the audience remains helpless watching the unfolding real-time soap opera inch ever closer to the abyss.

Other preeminent issues of 2017:

The enormous gap between incomes of the rich, poor and middle class.

Income inequality is a clear and present danger that the recent U.S. GOP tax plan will only exacerbate.

"The biggest act of thievery in the history of this country" - Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

Harassment: Aggressive pressure or intimidation.

Bullying: Using superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

Will the person (any person) in a position of power, who has never harassed or bullied another, cast the first stone.

"VIEWS" READER SURVEY

Question: What is a four-poster?

Answer: A four-poster is a bed with a post at each corner, sometime supporting a canopy.

Question: What is a four-hoster?

Answer: A four-hoster is a one-hour national TV news program, hosted by four imminently qualified journalists; two women, two men reflecting the changing face of a nation in search of an audience in support of a public broadcaster.

Survey: If you have sampled the new CBC National TV News show and have formed an impression that you would like to share with other "Views" readers, please email your comments about:

The format

The hosts

The set

The segments

And any suggestions.

"All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a simple word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope" - Winston Churchill

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#135 YOU COULDN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP (posted Nov. 12/17)

Once upon a time, a group of old guys were sitting around their favourite gathering place, complaining about life.

They agreed life was harsh on all but a very few.

The masses were caught in a cycle of war without resolve, followed by famine, plague and pestilence.

A repetitive, unforgiving hamster wheel that only brought the people despair.

Only the priviledged few escaped unscathed.

The old guys agreed they had to do something. But what?

The oldest, and considered wisest, had been quietly listening to the others state the obvious, suddenly spoke "Gentlemen, there is nothing we can do about what happened in the past. The important thing is to make our people believe there is hope. I propose we write a story. A collective version of what we think happened, why everything got so screwed up and determine who is to blame."

Their work took years of debate and compromise to eventually come up with the tale:

A supreme being took six days to create the Earth and all its creatures, then rested on the seventh. This might explain why there are seven days in a week, right?

The old guys, being guys, naturally concluded the supreme was a male being. This explains why all the paintings and renderings of HIM depict an old guy in a white robe, right?

Supreme first created a male called, Adam.

Then removed one of Adam's ribs to create a female, Eve.

Eureka. They had their villain.

They posited it was the female, of course, that caused all of humanities troubles since the beginning of time, because it was she, and not he, who took a bite out of the forbidden apple. This explains why the Apple logo has a bite of the apple, right?

A myth was born, created by old men who made up a fantasy and sold it as religious dogma.

Thus enabling discrimination towards women. From then on, men cast "the villain" as their chattel, perpetuated to this day by powerful men.

NB #1: Had women written the story; it would not have taken six days, nor would it have required a rest day and the outcome would have turned out much better.for humankind.

Most contemporary folks believe in science that explains it all started with the Big Bang and evolved over time to what exists today i.e., "Everything in the Universe is made of stardust."

WHEN EVOLUTION GOES AWRY

The Dopplegangers' - Mickey and Crazy Pants

Zealots, like the Emperor-in-Waiting, born again, hard-line evangelical, Mickey the Pence, admitted his religious beliefs is the reason the VP never eats alone with a woman, other than his wife, and won't attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side.

What is Mickey more afraid of?:

Women in general?

Mrs. P?

Controlling his urges?

The Supreme is a woman?

Scientific facts?

All of the above?

It wouldn't matter to anyone, except for the fact he is only a heartbeat away from becoming the most powerful man on the planet.

By contrast, Mickey's boss is a boastful, serial groper/molester who can't keep his grubby little hands off women.

Whereas, Mickey and his Mrs. will never allow himself to be in a room alone with any woman.

On the other hand, the First Lady will not allow herself to be in any room with Crazy Pants, unless accompanied by at least a half dozen Secret Service agents to protect her.

Despite everything her husband has admitted doing, said and done in the past, he gets elected President; exposing a fundamental flaw with America's moral compass.

Emperor Crazy Pants doesn't believe in much of anything, other than what he is good at; stuffing money into the pockets of the 1% and lying.

He only listens to the voices in his head and the wild whisperings of the Grimm Reaper, Stevie Bananas, who need to constantlly repeat he is supreme...almost.

At the first stop of his recent Asian tour, Aloha State residents greeted him with signs proclaiming "Welcome to Kenya, Mr. President". The subtlety of the message was beyond his grasp.

Amongst the avalanche of revelations of sexual abuse by powerful men, is none other than Senate GOP candidate for the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, twice removed Alabama Supreme Court judge, accused pedophile, KKK defender, gun-toting, religious zealot and sleaze extraordinaire, Roy Moore.

Regardless of this stunning rap sheet, it's predicted Moore will win. Only in Alabama? Only in America?

NB #2: As always, the only way to nail these creeps is to follow the money e.g., "The Paradise Papers".

MEANWHILE IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH

"Why do men like intelligent women? Because opposites attract."

Our new Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable, Julie Payette, qualifies.

Ms. Payette is a business woman, former astronaut, engineer, pilot, musician, singer, athlete, speaks six languages and known to speak her mind, i.e., an intelligent woman.

This became evident when she spoke to the Canadian Science and Policy Conference in Ottawa. She spoke about her "belief in the central role of scientific literacy in order to make informed decisions based on data, evidence and facts that can be corroborated by other people everywhere on the planet so that we can all feel responsible for the world we live in".

"Can you believe that still today, in learned societies and houses of government, unfortunately, we're still debating and still questioning whether humans have a role in the Earth warming up or whether the Earth is warming up, period?"

When she asked "Can you believe we are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming out of a natural process, a random process", criticism erupted for "slighting the beliefs of the religious" from those who believe the earth is 6000 years old vs the Big Bang scientific explanation.

The new U.S. ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, appointed by Crazy Pants, weighed into the debate saying she "believes in both sides", proving she can square a circle.

Be thankful that on our side of the border, the Commander-in-Chief of the military is an intelligent woman prepared to speak her mind.

Keep it up, Julie, powerful men need to hear and pay attention to your wisdom.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#134 TALES OF GOUGING, TRICKERY, INJUSTICE, UNFAIRNESS, POWER AND POLITICS Nov 4/17

Gather 'round everybody, its story time again.

It all started with finding a way to pay for World War One.

It has evolved into the biggest legal money grab ever concocted by the powerful.

THE "SYSTEM"...at its simplest:

The principal annual task of our Federal, Provincial and Municipal "ministers of money" is to take the incomes of the 99% (the poor and middle class) and spend most of it on the 1% (the rich and powerful), their real bosses.

"But Grandpa, my teacher says they work for us. Isn't that true?"

Sweetheart, let me explain further.

They do this by extracting income taxes and multiple hidden taxes (myriad fees, etc.) from the 99%; and just like going to the dentist to have a tooth pulled, they do it without local anesthesia to numb the pain and it really hurts.

THE TAKE:

1) The Feds take 50% of the 99%'s annual income,

2) The Province(s) take 20-25% of the 99%'s annual income,

3) The Municipality(s) take 10-15% of the 99%'s annual income.

This leaves the 99% only 15-20% of their income for a meagre subsistence, while the 1%, who control compensation for the poor and middle class, stuff their pockets.

"Grandpa, what do they do with all the money they take from the 99%?"

They give most of it to the 1%, who receive lucrative government contracts, in exchange for financing the election campaigns of the politicians who give them the contracts.

"Grandpa, that's not fair, is it?"

It's called pay-back, or scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours with the suckers' money.

What's left over is spent on whatever is the political bosses latest priorities, i.e. pet projects.

If they haven't collected enough from the 99% and want to spend more, they borrow using the 99%'s credit card.

THE BIG IRONY:

The 99% have no real say in any of this. The 1% have truckloads of money which enables their priviledged access and influence.

THE BIG CHANGE:

When the 99% get so fed up they throw them out, elect a new bunch who, in time, revert to the same old games and the cycle repeats itself, ad infinitum.

HONOURABLE BIG DOG AND HIS SHELL GAME:

Of all the "ministers of our money" the one with the biggest bite is the Fed, Slick Willie M.

Recently, Slick stepped into a steaming pile of cow-pies. Everybody found out that not all of his holdings were in a blind trust. That broke a House rule. It made a real bad smell in the House where the games are played.

Turned out that when Slick Willie's company proposed a revamp of pension plans to the government, his party tabled Bill C-27 a.k.a. "How to screw pensioners". This resulted in a substantial increase in the value of Slick's shares, estimated at $9 million.

The embarrassing stinkeroo threatened his future as BIG DOG.

Willie had to find a quick way to rescue his tarnished halo (reputation) or his boss, Justin-the-Hunk, would be forced to throw him off the Sunny Ways bus.

What to do? What to do?

His platoon of tax and political advisors huddled, and came up with a plan that could be categorized as a slick shell game:

If Slick donates the $9 million to charity:

a) He avoids paying tax on the $9 million gain,

b) He claims the donation as a tax deduction of $9 million,

c) His generosity is applauded and he remains BIG DOG.

And "Presto", problem disapears, n'est-ce-pas?

But wait a minute, what if the real financial impact of this scheme on Slick's actual net worth is...zero?

Has Slick Willie M's team of financial tricksters played us for fools, using the deceptive, evasive ploy "now you see it, now you don't"; a shell game?

The result appears to be just moving the $9 million out and back in again. Deception at its finest.

THE ACORN NEVER FALLS FAR FROM THE ACORN TREE

Many, especially Westerners, remember when Trudeau-the-First gave the finger to Alberta farmers as his train departed the station.

Pierre-the-Charmer was known as an overly frugal penny-pincher when it came to his own money.

His reputation with taxpayers' money, however, was anything but. Regularly using the taxpayers' credit card to run up annual deficits, without regard to the burden on those who would eventually have to pay for the Liberal spending spree.

Not two years into his mandate, Trudeau-the-Second is running annual deficits of $20 billion (and counting) with the support of Slick Willie M and his caucus.

Justin Pierre James Trudeau likes to make-believe he is pro-the-West, having spent much of his younger years in B.C., and visited the western provinces many times during his campaign and since becoming Prime Minister.

Federal politicians realize a political reality: In order to become government, the support of Quebec voters is necessary.

Quebecers know this, use it effectively as a political "weapon", frustrating voters in the Rest-of-Canada.

What sticks in the craw of taxpayers, especially in the West, e.g. Alberta, is that Quebec continues to be classed a "have-not" province, receiving $11 billion in tax transfers. Albertans are really hurting and need financial help, yet continue to be classed a "have" province, forced to contribute to Quebec's annual transfer payment.

Especially galling to the Rest-of-Canada is watching Quebec politicians:

*Give Bombardier one billion dollars,

*Provide its citizens the most generous social programs in the entire country; programs other provinces can't afford,

*Oppose pipeline-East that would help Alberta and the national economy,

*Implement laws contrary to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms,

*And threaten to play the separation card whenever they don't get their way.

Unrest grows in the Rest-of-Canada at the obvious unfairness of Quebec's "not-have" status.

Will Trudeau-the-Second do anything to redress the imbalance? No.

Why not? Because he can't.

He represents the federal riding of Papineau, Montreal, Quebec. His political hands are tied by the aformentioned political reality.

Fact: The distribution of seats across the Provinces/Nation is out of whack with contemporary reality and violate a basic democratic tenet, Representation by Population.

Consequently, just like his Dad, Trudeau-the-Second will continue to be perceived as giving the Italian salute to the Rest-of-Canada, in order to retain favour with Quebec voters.

WE'RE NOT HAPPY 'TIL YOU'RE NOT HAPPY

Only one guess per reader. If you guess incorrectly, proceed to the back of the class, sit on the stool and put on the spiky tinfoil hat.

Which of our two national airlines has earned this deserved reputation?

Clue: The airline that has the chutzpah to boast during pre-flight announcements, "we are very pleased to announce (in both official languages) that our company has been voted best North American airline for the sixth year."

Recently, I travelled Air Canada Rouge Victoria-Toronto to visit family.

Rouge is the no-frills, no-discounts, no-comfort, no-fun, ride from Hell.

Sweating passengers board, not yet recovered from the "security screening" ordeal, pulling luggage the size of small cars down teeny-tiny aisles, laden with overstuffed backpacks to begin competing for limited overhead storage bins.

Sqeezing their derriere's into compacted seats, concerned exposed elbows and knees are endangered by food and drink carts; trapped souls packed into this metal tube like live sardines.

Another surprise, there is no screen on the seatback in front of your eyes. Not to worry, the cheerful flight attendent will rent the AC Ipad for only $10.

Blood pressure rises as the throng ponders having paid the advertised "low, low price" of $685 for a one-way ticket that requires additonal payments: tiny seat rental $26, stowed luggage bag $25, stale sandwich $10.25, plus GST and PST. Now sit back and "enjoy" your zero-frills, no-comfort, overpriced ride from Hell.

Just suppose you booked a round-trip ticket, Victoria-Toronto, and have the misfortune of a medical emergency.

You contact AC, several days before the original return date, to request an open return explaining the reason.

The AC agent provides a new reference number explaining "Call when you know the return date".

When you call and ask "given the circumstances could AC waive the $100 change fee".

The answer is a polite but a firm "NO".

The agent hits you with more bad news, "due to the complex tiered ticket pricing system used by AC for round-trip tickets, you will only receive a credit of $254 to apply against the return fare."

Protesting "why not the $685 originally paid?" is pointless and not worth risking a heart attack.

Accept you have just been gouged $1,000 for a one-way ticket home, by a polite but unsympathetic monopoly.

A warning should be painted on the tail of their sardine cans. The face of the Devil with glowing red (rouge) eyes would be appropriate.

The 99% really need a break.

A start would be to allow real competition to challenge the monopolies, the airlines, banks, media/internet/phone conglomerates, etc.

Will Slick Willie and his boss even consider it? Nope. Why not? It would displease the 1%. How else could they afford to give themselves multi million dollar compensation and performance bonus'?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#133 RANDOM OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS (posted Oct. 29/17)

The law of inverse proportionality - or - the Go Figure law.

Example: This year, the money in stock markets grew 4.8 trillion won, while the money in bond funds fell 11 trillion won, as bond yields, which move in inverse proportion to bond prices, headed upward.

Comprende?

When America's B.S.'er-in-Chief utters another nugget of his imaginary knowledge, incredibly the stock market goes up.

Mother Nature continues hammering away at the deluded Denier-in-Chief with signals about climate change.

She keeps hollering "the devastation caused by these cascading events is real. Wake up, you idiot, it has nothing to do with the Chinese. Just ask the people in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, California, and Ireland if they believe these disasters are normal".

This law has many past scientists claiming authorship. Regardless, it continues to elicit reactions like - HUH? - DUH? - WHAT? - GO FIGURE!

A variation of the idea was referred to by Machiavelli in his famous handbook "How to become a Politician" in the chapter headed "Mastering the art of Gobbledegook" - or - "How to lie by not telling the truth". A must read for aspiring politicians.

The technique of "gobbledegook'ing" includes learning to dupe, dodge, deceive, dazzle, obfuscate, hoodwink and spin while suriptitiously picking the pockets of bewildered taxpayers.

Minister of Moola and No-Conflicts-Here, Slick Willie M, has mastered the technique. A few examples:

*The tabling of Bill C-27, "How to screw pensioners while making millions for M's company"

*Trust us, not them. We promise the deficit will not exceed $10 Billion per year. Then, with a straight face, applause from his colleagues and shouts of derision from his opponents, he doubles it.

*Two years into his tenure as 'Guardian of the taxpayers moola, Slick Willie contends the "ethics" watchdog inferred the phrase "blind trust" applied to the governed, ergo, no conflict. To even pretend taxpayers should blindly trust those who govern is to assume a level arrogance that leads to their continuing to pick the pocket of the naive and bewildered.

When asked "Minister, when will the budget be balanced?", Slick Willie's response demonstrates an adroit use of Machiavelli's technique "How can anyone predict the future? The future will present itself when it does and be influenced by gobbledegook NAFTA negotiations, gobbledegook BREXIT, gobbledegook Catalan, gobbledegook Crazy Pants and Rocket Man, gobbledegook, gobbledegook" in both official languages, until the reporter who asked can't remember the question. Adroitly avoiding the true answer "I haven't got the foggiest idea."

COMMON SENSE, HAS SHE LEFT THE BUILDING?

It would be really helpful if some unbiased expert, not in politics, playing politics, or assisting a politician could explain why:

In a country the experts claim is independent of the need to import oil, natural gas and other resources that lie in abundance beneath its soil, why is it necessary to purchase those commodities from countries like Saudi Arabia paying exhorbitant world prices?

Why does Canada export oil to America then import the refined gasoline paying exhorbitant world prices?

Wouldn't it be wiser, much safer, more jobs and be less expensive in the long run, for government to collaborate with private enterprise and build refineries in strategic Canadian locations?

Fact: Shipping refined oil products in ocean going tankers is environmentally safer.

Why does government sell our precious fresh water for pennies to foreign corporations who sell it in plastic bottles for $2.50 per bottle?

Why can a Montreal Mayor, Denis the Menace, mount a campaign to prevent an oil pipeline being built East, from Alberta to tidewater refineries in the Maritimes, while looking the other way when the same commodity is shipped less safely by rail?

When Bombardier sells control of its C-series plane to Airbus for no cash, on the pretext of avoiding a 300% tariff imposed by U.S. courts, who will pay the taxpayers back for the billions loaned to Bombardier during the years of its development (since 2002)? Bombardier? Airbus?

The truth is Taxpayers have been conned again, "gobbledegooked" by politicians.

MEANWHILE, IN THE NO-FUN HOUSE OF MIRRORS - A.K.A. "TRUMPS DUMP"

NB: The "Football" is a briefcase carrying the nuclear codes that is handcuffed to a Marine, who remains very near the Commander-in-Chief at all times.

The Emperor's faithful and fearless attack dog, Kelly Ann, and his head baby sitter, stern-faced retired Marine General Kelly (we never apologize) were asked "If the Commander-in-Chief is bored and insists he wants to play with "the Football", what would you do? Without hesitation they answered "We'd tackle him".

The American Grimm Reaper, Stevie K. Bananas, has a billion dollars to use against any Republican running in the 2018 elections who does not publicly swear their fealty to Emperor Crazy Pants.

Reaper boasted his latest scalp, in his quest to destroy the American political system, is that of the U.S. junior senator from Arizona, Jeffry Lane Flake, who announced he will not run in 2018 while making a speech in the Senate denouncing the President and stating he is unfit to hold the office.

Republican Senate leader, Mitch No-chin McC, and senior Arizona senator and decorated war hero Johnny McC, praised the Flakes historic speech. However, few Republicans demonstrate the courage to follow his example.

Where is the guy in charge of everything, Jared. He has been made to disapear following his testimony before the committee examining election meddling by the Ruskies?

And where is the Emperor's lap dog, Mickey the Pence? Is Mickey lying low hoping for the Emperor to fall? Will He lead the generals and pull off a coup, a la Seven Days in May?

Many who have reached the age when you are allowed to board a plane with the women and children, remember Kingfish, one of the loveable characters in the Amos and Andy radio show.

Until this week, however, few had ever heard of Whitefish, the tiny company that was given a $300 million U.S. contract to repair Puerto Rico's devasted electrical grid.

Turns out, prior to receiving the contract, Whitefish had two employees.

This suggested there was something very fishy going on, especially because some of the people involved with Whitefish were generous contributors to Crazy Pants' election campaign. The White House denies any involvement.

Today, Sunday, amongst a rising tide of investigations, the Governor of Puerto Rico cancelled the contract. Score one for justice.

AND NOW A BIT OF GOOD NEWS

Canda's agricultural exports totalled $56 billion last year, making the Great White North the sixth largest supplier of food to the world.

The percentage of humanity suffering from hunger has fallen by half since 1990.

Canada's food expenses amount to just 10% of the average households budget, down from 18% over the past half century.

And for that we should celebrate. Organic kale smoothie anyone?

Meanwhile, the folks in Silicon Valley have developed "new food delicacies" such as meatless meat. They claim it tastes just like the real thing. Test tube stuff some call Frankenfood.

McDonald's eagerly await approval by the Food and Drug Adminstration so they can substitute their faux-meat burgers. Want fries with that?

Hard to believe its been a year since Donald J. Trump was elected Emperor of the Disunited States of America.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#132 HEY EVERYBODY, BOO TIME IS APPROACHING (posted Oct. 16/17)

It's Fall, that time of year when the leaves put on their spectacular show before Mother Nature puts the trees to sleep and pumpkins morph from green to an orange colour as incredible as the Emperor's hair.

Mature readers - those of us in the elite club of Canadian Fartsters - will remember the popular satiric comic strip 'Li'l Abner', created, drawn and written by the genius, Al Capp, that ran in newspapers across the U.S., Canada and Europe, from 1934 until 1977.

The strip featured a fictional band of hillbillies who lived in the village of Dogpatch, U.S.A..

Too many lovable, eccentirc characters were developed by Al over the 43-year run to list here.

But, please, if you wish a bellyful of laughs, look them up under 'Li'l Abner' on Wikipedia.

Among the more memorable for many was Joe Btfsplk.

Joe was the world's worst jinx who had a perpetually dark cloud over his head.

Instantaneously, bad luck befell anyone unfortunate enough to be in his vicinity.

Though well meaning and friendly, his reputation preceeded him, so Joe was a lonely man...remind you of anyone?

Another favourite was Senator Jack S. Phoghound, who blackmailed his fellow senators to appropriate two million tax dollars to establish 'Phoghound University'...remind you of anyone?

MEANWHILE IN ANOTHER PLACE AT ANOTHER TIME

In the village of Pumpkinpatch, located South of the Great White North, live the unshakeable hardcore supporters - about 1 in 4 Americans - of Emperor Crazy-Pants, who famously said "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose voters".

This band of no-fun, gun loving, hooded white supremacist neo-nazis are anything but fictional, and really scary.

Hallowe'en is the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows' Day on November 1st, and a time to be frightened by ghosts, goblins and other scary dudes.

Who scares most of us this year?

#1. A moron occupies the White House, surrounded by a platoon of stern-faced, 4-star generals and a gaggle of sycophants who spend their time stabbing each other in the front.

The moron spends less time reading anything, especially the daily intelligence (oxymoron) briefing, than he does watching TV, tweeting or having his hair and makeup applied before appearing in public.

He loves taunting #2 with tweeted dispatches from the throne (pun intended).

#2. Is another loose canon with a strange hairdo, who surrounds himself with smiley-faced battalions of generals festooned with chests full of medals.

#2 outdoes #1 in the sychophant department. In #2's nation, the entire population are must-be sychophants, otherwise they are made to disappear.

They both resort to name calling.

#1 calls #2 Rocket Man.

#2 calls #1 a dotard.

According to Fox News a dotard is a madman, a maniac, a wacko.

The judges have declared #2 winner of the name calling competition.

#3.

The ever clever Vlad, the Invader. Like creating a Frankenstein, he created #1 and now relishes the threats being hurled by #1 at #2, and vice versa, that effectively provides a distraction from his own skullduggery while surreptitiously manipulating worldwide elections, hoping to eventually restore his empire to world dominance.

If the world were rid of this dangerous scary trio we might be able to enjoy this Hallowe'en.

A great big triple BOO on them.

Regardless have a happy Hallowe'en.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#131 STICKS AND STONES... (posted Oct. 7/17)

"Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never harm me"

This English language children's rhyme persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.

Emperor Crazy-Pants, who has insulted and denigrated everyone and everything, is apparently 'livid' because a key member of his cabinet finally tossed one right back at him.

It was reported that last July, Rex Tillerson became so frustrated with the irrational rantings of his boss during a speech to Boy Scouts, he finally called him a moron and threatened to quit.

Mr. Tillerson is a former national president of the Boy Scouts and a lifetime volunteer for the organization. Consequently, he took the Emperor's cringe-worthy remarks during the speech personally.

Rex Wayne Tillerson is the internationally respected White House 'adult' who dared call Crazy-Pants a moron. His experience includes heading one of the world's largest corporations (ExxonMobil) before being selected to serve as the 69th U.S. Secretary of State, in February 2017.

The meaning of the word moron:

A stupid person, fool, idiot, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, clod, etc..

Footnote: We have all met our share of morons. Some of us have even experienced working for one or more during careers providing an appreciation and understanding of Mr. Tillerson's reference.

Is there sufficient evidence for labelling the Emperor a moron?

This Emperor is the leader of the most powerful nation on the planet, yet is incapable of displaying basic human empathy towards his own citizens who have suffered from natural disasters and unthinkable tragedies during his short tenure, disrespecting the victims with a collection of tweets that run the gamut from rude to racist.

This Emperor believes he is religious, yet ignores the "do unto others..." golden rule.

This Emperor refers to the White House as "a dump" and takes every opportunity to leave the 'People's House' to spend time, on the taxpayers tab, at his luxurious palaces.

This Emperor is an egotistical misogynist.

This Emperor bragged he is the only one who can fix the problems that plague America and, if elected, will do so fast. To date, he and his cast of characters have bungled legislation, offended nearly everyone, run afoul of the judiciary for unconstitutional actions, repeatedly bilked the taxpayer and even failed to properly denounce neo-Nazis.

Need more evidence?

There are preciously few individuals, besides Rex Tillerson and mostly generals, that surround the Emperor who can be categorized as 'experienced mature adults'.

However, there is no evidence that this 71 year old spoiled man-child with the fragile ego is likely to change his unpredictable behaviour.

The handful of White House 'adults' are reasonably alarmed that the taunted child-victim may not be capable of restraint, or remaining calm and good-natured, and could impulsively decide to retaliate by firing Tillerson.

Martha would loudly proclaim "that is not a good thing".

MEANWHILE IN THE UPSIDE DOWN WORLD OF INTERNATIONAL SPORT

The overlords of Baron Pierre de Coubertin's Olympic legacy are once again mired in another corruption scandal.

Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the head of Brazil's Olympic Committee and Leonardo Gryner, director of operations for the 2016 Rio Games (Nuzman's "right-hand" man), were detained at police headquarters in Rio as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations that bribes helped secure the selection of Rio de Janeiro as the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

None of this should come as a surprise to those who follow what goes on behind the curtain at the IOC.

Which means it's high time that Canada stops bidding on hosting future Games with taxpayer dollars that end up in the pockets of unscrupulous corrupt individuals.

Time to stop the insane waste of precious taxpayer dollars and focus on the hundreds of real domestic priorities.

Are any of our current politicians capable of doing the right thing and say "no more Olympic welfare for crooks"?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#130 YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE (posted SEPT. 21/17)

Every minute of every day on every variety of our information-devices, BREAKING NEWS headlines declare our modern world is going to hell in a handbasket, creating a state of overwhelming anxiety that the world teeters on the edge of Armageddon.

At every opportunity, Emperor Crazy-Pants elevates the fear quotient with confusing and contradictory verbal and tweeted utterances that would challenge the 'Director of Psychoneurotic Institute for The Very, Very Nervous', Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, (Mel Brooks - in the movie High Anxiety).

A quote from comedic genius Mel Brooks:

"Rhetoric does not get you anywhere, because Hitler and Mussolini (and Crazy-Pants) are just as good at rhetoric. But if you can bring these people down with comedy, they stand no chance."

Mother Nature whacks him again and again but Crazy-Pants maintains its all a Chinese hoax.

He has even managed to make his cadre of Generals...very, very nervous.

I'm the Emperor and you're not!

The question is: impeachment or reelection, as an independent, in 2020?

The release this week (on PBS stations) of Ken Burns' brilliant documentary series, 'The Vietnam War', is a powerful and timely reminder of what can happen when the past is ignored by ego driven leaders.

Meanwhile, under the heading...

STUFF YOU LIKELY DON'T KNOW OR REALLY CARE ABOUT

* Did you know that Monsieur Jean Pierre Le Blanc (translation: Mr. John Peter White) with a staff of 250 and a budget of 24 million tax dollars, is the Czar of L'office Quebecois de la Langue Francaises (OQLF)?

Mr White and his half-brigade of watchdogs spend their time monitoring "linguistic enrichment" of Quebec's unique form of French...really.

This week OQLF announced it's now officially OK to call a grilled-cheese sandwich a "grilled-cheese" in French. For further clarity, it is a masculine noun "Le grilled-cheese".

The same now goes for "softball" (n. masc.), "baby boom" (n. masc.), and "toast" (n. fem.).

This enlightened expression of "a certain amount of flexibility" in accepting some English words seems to suggest the OQLF are coming around to believe their unique form of French is not yet "toast" drowning in a North American sea of Anglophonism, despite the fact that in France, English terms happily proliferate.

* Did you know that in Richmond B.C., Chinese ethnicity represents over 50 per cent of Richmond residents and at 60 per cent, Richmond has the highest proportion of immigrants of any Canadian community?

Consequently, merchants there post signs in Chinese, not English, frustrating some residents.

Richmond Council voted 5-4 to pass a by-law "all future signage requires a minimum of 50 per cent of one of Canada's official languages".

* Did you know that the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings are playing exhibition games in China this week?

"Bingqiu" (translation: Ice ball, the Mandarin Chinese word for the game) is being exhibited there, hoping to build the game and follow the example of the NBA, to enrich billionaire owners, millionaire players, media carriers and others.

Meanwhile, NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, the Calgary Flames billionaire owners are attempting to con Alberta taxpayers into paying for a new arena, without enabling Calgary Mayor and council to examine the team's books.

Go Figure!

KEEP RUNNING, KEEP SMILING AND FIND A SAFE PLACE TO HIDE.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#129 THE FUTURE OF JOBS (posted Sept. 4/17)

The week began with Labour Day.

Labour Day is a statutory holiday celebrated throughout Canada on the first Monday in September.

While some Labour Day parades and picnics are organized by unions, most Canadians simply regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer.

Families with children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer.

Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, which traditionally begin their new year the day after.

A bit of history:

The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to a printer's revolt in 1872 in Toronto, when labourers tried to establish a maximum 54-hour work week.

At that time, any union activity was considered illegal and the organizers were jailed. Protest marches of over 10,000 formed in response.

This eventually led to Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, repealing the anti-union laws and arranging the release of the organizers as well.

The parades held in support of the Nine-Hour Movement and the printer's strike led to an annual celebration.

The date was adopted in Canada in 1894 by the government of Prime Minister John Sparrow David Thomson - anybody remember him?

Footnote - My father was a linotype operator and trade union leader of Winnipeg's Printers Union who had an unwavering belief in the union movement.

In a labour dispute, management of the Winnipeg Tribune newspaper locked out union members for two years. The dispute was not resolved and union members never went back to work there. Year's later, the Tribune newspaper went out of business.

The dictionary defines the word JOB, as a noun: a paid position of regular employment; as a verb: do casual or occasional work.

In today's changing world, the noun is rapidly being replaced by the verb.

THE CHALLENGE OF THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

THE IMPACT: The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that five million jobs will disappear in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020.

THE CAUSE: Artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology is causing widespread disruption, not only to business models but also to labour markets, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.

Skills and job displacement is affecting every industry and geographical region.

A clear majority of businesses believe that investing in skills, rather than hiring more short-term or virtual workers, is the key to successfully managing disruptions to the labour market for the long-term.

WEF research suggests the greatest losses will be in white-collar office and administrative roles, partially offset by new more specialized "job families", such as Computer and Mathematical or Architecture and Engineering.

The industry that stands to create the most jobs is Information and Communications Technology, followed by Professional Services and Media, Entertainment and Information professionals.

"Without urgent and targeted action to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with futureproof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base" - Klaus Schwab, WEF

The WEF recommends:

*Leaders must address the chronic problem of getting more women into STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professions.

*Businesses must take more responsibility for up-skilling, re-skilling, and collaborating rather than competing on talent.

*Governments must put in place rapid and fundamental change in education systems to prepare for the new labour market.

OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT!

"The only thing that is constant in life is change. The only certainty is death." - 'from Stardust, Book II', chapter one, page one.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#128 ANOTHER WEEK ON PLANET EARTH - THE NEW NORMAL? (posted August 26/17)

OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

Since the early 1960's, successive federal governments have loaned Bombardier millions and millions of tax dollars. It has become pro-forma; all they have to do is ask.

Where's the accountability? Has anyone ever seen any federal government provide independently audited accounting of the billions "loaned" to Bombardier revealing how much has been repaid (with or without interest) and what the outstanding balance owed to taxpayers is?

The latest Fed leader to automatically respond to Bombardier's claim that - if we don't receive another loan Bombardier Inc. will collapse - is Justin the Fair.

Thanks to the Globe and Mail's ongoing dogged reporting, yet another aspect of Bombardier's sordid business dealings came to light on the weekend.

3,193 pages of evidence, including wiretaps, gathered by Sweden's National Anti-Corruption Unit, were made public and will be presented in a trial next week, charging Bombardier employee, Evgeny Pavlov (remember him) with "aggravated bribery". Five other Bombardier 'suspects' are also under investigation that involve millions; shell companies, Russians (close to Vlad) and the World Bank.

Bombardier spokespersons have long denied knowledge of any skullduggery.

But now, facing a mountain of evidence, how to explain incriminating comments by senior officials in intercepted phone calls and emails?

If Bombardier is found to have used corrupt practices to win the Azerbaijan rail deal, it would automatically be banned from competing for future World Bank contracts, cutting the financially struggling company off from lucrative infrastructure contracts across the developing world.

Please Prime Minister Trudeau, on behalf of your overtaxed citizens, when Bombardier comes begging for yet another "loan" to save them from collapse brought about by their own bad decisions, first, tell them to repay all outstanding "loans" with interest or face jail time, then very sternly, in both official languages, facing the media shout NYET, NYET, A THOUSAND TIMES NYET!

WITH HIS HAND PLACED FIRMLY ON HIS TWEETER HE WALKS THE NUTTY TOWER

Emperor Crazy Pants spent another busy week. The bully coward who dodged the draft, demeaned (again) Vietnam war hero, John McCain (suffering from brain cancer); provided succour to KKK, Nazis, White Supremacists; pardoned his pal convicted Sheriff, Joe Arpaio; traded threats with Kim Jong-un who lobbed three more missiles; dumped on Republicans, Democrats, the media, trade negotiators; fired more staff; held rallies for fawning supporters spouting lies and insults while skillfully dominating every newscast and talk show.

One would think even the wild eyed zealots would get bored hearing the same load of B.S. at every rally.

The American Psychiatric Association awarded his performance(s) with their pestigious 'four straight jackets out of five' for the seventh month in a row.

A question for Crazy Pants: Will you pardon yourself and your family then quit before ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller and his team of investigators exposes the truth? They certainly know how to find the answers by FOLLOWING THE MONEY.

MEANWHILE BACK AT THE TROUGH

Mikey is back, this time suing us for unfair treatment in the Senate scandal, claiming he deserves $7.8 million in restitution. Mickey wants us to believe he's not doing it for the money, rather as his lasting gift to our democracy. "If this action succeeds in bringing Charter protections to all who work on Parliament Hill, this will be my greatest contribution to public life."

The meaning of Chutzpah: Shameless audacity.

"Politicians seldom, if ever, get into public office by merit alone, at least in democratic states. Sometimes, to be sure, it happens, but only by a kind of miracle. They are chosen normally for quite different reasons, the chief of which is simply their power to impress and enchant the intellectually underprivileged. Will any of them venture to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the situation of the country, foreign or domestic? Will any of them refrain from promises he knows he can't fullfill - that no human could fulfill? Will any of them utter a word, however obvious, that will alarm or alienate any of the huge pack of morons who cluster at the public trough, wallowing in the pap that grows thinner and thinner, hoping against hope?" - H.L. Mencken

THE CHEMICAL GAMES - EXPOSED

In Greek mythology, ICARUS, ignored his father's instructions not to fly too close to the sun; when the wax in his wings melted, he tumbled out of the sky and fell into the sea where he drowned.

A painting by Salvador Dali depicts ICARUS grasping the sun as a discus thrower, referencing the story to the Olympic Games.

ICARUS is the title of a recently released NETFLIX movie-length documentary about the Russian scientist who led the ultra-secret Russian doping program overseen by former KGB master spy, Vlad Putin.

A must see expose of how it was done, and the man whose conscience finally made him speak out and who is now in witness protection from those who want to do him harm.

After watching this, ask yourself whether trying to keep athletes clean and/or catching those who are not is a hopeless task. It appears the chemists are always one step ahead of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).

From Shakespeare's Othello - a wonderment - 'twas passing strange'...when you turn over rocks to examine what lurks underneath, its curious how many times the name Vladimir Putin appears.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#127SUMMER RAMBLINGS AND RANTINGS OF AN OLD FART (posted August 6, 2017)

August signals that only a few weeks are left before precious summer vacation time is over.

The time when parents and kids have to make preparations to return to school, to work, and when grandparents relive the memories of the special time vacationing with visiting grandkids (sans parents) who live three time zones away.

During the first week of September, the school ritual that kicks off the school year occurs as the new teacher asks the kids for a one page essay titled "What I did on my summer vacation".

Young-un's assume Old Farts to be happily living a perpetual vacation.

We, who live on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, locally referred to as "The Thirteen Fiefdoms", comprising a grand total population of 367,800 souls, continue to wonder why we require 100 politicians with attendant adminstrative structures to govern us whereas Saskatoon, with a comparable population, requires only 14.

The City of Victoria's population is a modest 85,800, yet pays several of its top senior staff more than $200K in salary and benefits e.g., in 2016 the city manager $274,977, the city solicitor $238,329, the deputy city manager $228,391, the director of finance $198,743.

Other municipalities pay comparably e.g. Saanich's top earner, chief administrative officer, $249,828, Esquimalt's (same title), $190,284, tiny Oak Bay, population 18,000, pays (same title) $174,063.

If the decisions coming from the army of politicians and their administrators resulted in on-budget, on-time, efficiently managed projects, the taxpayer would stop weeping. However, the many examples like the Johnson Street Blue Bridge replacement (defective steel was produced in China) and the infamous sewage disposal project only offer despair, being grossly over budget estimates and years behind schedule.

Consequently, we taxpayers pine for the day when the dreamed of, tax-free, green, clean, pristeen, snowless with lots of floating Casinos 'Republic of SeaLandia' is created. A land where the uber-wealthy can safely hide their money in the 'Bank of SeaLandia'. The new modern contemporary country that will immediately join the United Nations, with zero military (rather it will be dilligently protected and guarded by both Canada and the United States) will be located from south of Ladysmith, B.C. (the 49th parallel) to Victoria.

A virtual Old-Farts Valhalla on the Pacific with chicken in every pot, a roof over every head and a Tesla in every driveway.

Like many parts of the world affected by climate change, we have witnessed a rain-filled Spring followed by two months of continuing record heat.

Now, a smoky haze has descended on this part of 'Paradise Island' that forecasters say is from several wild fires burning in the interior of B.C., blown southwest by reverse prevailing winds.

Our award winning Times Colonist newspaper humourist begs to disagree, claiming the haze originates from "Victoria's 437 pot shops".

We have also been visited by Justin-the-Fair and his Mrs. who were here for a Liberal fund raiser, kayaking along Sidney Spit (Sophie insisted her hubby keep his shirt on despite ladies on the shoreline shouting "take it off"), beach-side press conferences, mucho photo ops kissing brides, babies, and a few meetings with Indigenous and regional leaders.

Those of us, who are long past our best-before date, have seen more summers come and go than we can easily remember.

Our lot, born in the 1930's, whose body parts are now in such disrepair, that getting near the top of any replacement-part list, at one of the overloaded hospitals, is an almost insurmountable challenge.

Consequently, we, now having to admit have become The Old Farts Generation, are left to depend on selecting from the dizzying array of plastic containers, eye drop bottles, pharmaceutical lotions and potions confronting us at the breakfast table each morning.

Selecting the just-right combination of tiny coloured pills our family medico (if you are fortunate enough to have one) prescribed to temporarily thwart and, hopefully, delay the inevitable, also has become a game; a memory game like scrabble.

All it takes is the slightest early morning distraction to make you ask yourself "did I take that one?"

On the bright side, those of us still lucky enough to have some of the important parts of the brain continue to function relatively intact (in my case the humour and skeptic parts), continue to do what we can to help others; especially family, care for loved ones, rail, rant against injustice, mentor and love-to-bits the grandkids...always wondering when the aformentioned inevitable will call us.

Attended another 'celebration of life' this weekend. Attending such celebrations, sadly is becoming more frequent.

I'm always amazed at how much you learn about the one being celebrated, someone you thought you knew well. Hearing stories from some in attendance reveals surprising, heretofore unknown bits of their life which comes as news to the celebrants.

What everyone hopes for at these memorials is a few tears and lots of laughter.

FROM THE FERTILE IMAGINATION OF WOODY ALLEN

"In my next life I want to live my life backwards.

You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people's home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!"

If, after reading 'Woody's Wish' you might be a tad offended, consider this:

"According to the 86th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), humour appreciation appears to be located in the lower frontal lobes of the brain, a location associated with social and emotional judgement and planning. That might explain why people who have suffered strokes involving the frontal lobes of the brain may have alterations of personality which includes loss of their sense of humour."

Worth remembering: A healthy sense of humour will help you keep...young at heart.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#126 THE AMERICAN SOAP OPERA CONTINUES (July 29)

AS THE SUN SLOWLY DRIFTS SOUTHWARD AND DAYLIGHT GROWS SHORTER, CITIZENS OF THE WORLD CONTINUE TO NERVOUSLY WATCH EVENTS UNFOLDING IN AMERICA.

Hope remains alive as real heroes like octogenarian, Senator John McCain, despite facing more incredible personal challenges, continues to speak truth to power and do the right thing, when it counts.

Following WWII, the Soviet dictator built a wall to keep those who wanted to get out, in.

In 2017, the American dictator promises to build a wall paid for by Mexicans who want to get in, out.

Go figure.

To Aliens - the real ones - observing from the safety of the nether reaches of the Universe, human behaviour must seem CRAZY.

It is.

On beautiful planet Earth, normal rational behaviour has been abandoned, courtesy of a very strange and bizarre human.

A man who neither drinks, smokes or takes drugs, yet lives in an alternative (television) universe of his own imagination.

Who has convinced himself that only he is capable of solving America's problems; because the voices in his head tell him he is the greatest, smartest, most fantastic leader ever elected to lead his nation and the world.

Who is in reality, and by any measure of the standard definition of 'non compos mentis', mentally deranged; totally enamoured of, infatuated with, and smitten with...himself.

By some unforseen twisted quirk of fate, Mr. Bonkers from Yonkers, got elected to the most powerful position on the planet...a planet that has more than enough already crazy leaders ready to willingly destroy it.

An electoral decision that even made Mother Nature weep in despair.

In case you may think Devion exaggerates, crazy is defined as follows: 1) Mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggresive way. 2) Extremely enthusiastic.

The past six months has seen evidence, as more than half a dozen key people in the administration were deemed 'insufficiently loyal' to serve the Emperor of Chaos, and summarily dismissed from the Crazy House.

More names are on a list.

Cue the Godfather music.

Enter Tony 'pretty boy' Scarymucci (also known as The Mooch), "where I come from we knife them in the front."

Tony is the Emperor's new potty-mouthed Reich Minister of Propaganda.

Mooch's wife, Deirdre Ball, (they married in 2014) is filing for divorce because of his "naked political ambition" and the realization he publicly admits loving his (orange/blond) Boss more than his beautiful blond wife.

The Emperor considers that a test of real loyalty.

Tony pleaded with Boss crazy-pants to "give me the list and I will take care of those "Fu%#@^%#!!**^ing" ungrateful, disloyal, miscreant jerks! I have a plan, want to hear it, Boss?"

"First, what's a miscreant?" Tony, a Harvard educated lawyer explains.

"Thank you my loyal Mooch. That's a great word. I might use it in a speech to the Girl Guides next month.

"Good idea Boss. Now, here's my plan. I prepared an Executive Order, a Trumpian Manifesto that you can sign in front of the usual media throng.

Following the signing, we assemble the cabinet and staff in the ballroom of what we will now call, Trump House.

As your most loyal servant and new Reich Minister of Propaganda, I should read it to the assembly.

"Here it is - from this day forward each of you will begin your day by swearing allegiance to me, your most fabulous Emperor, and only to me. I gave you this job because you really, really, really believe I am the greatest Emperor, even greater than that loser Napoleon."

In the fine print there will be mention of a penalty imposed on anyone suspected of disloyalty to you i.e., getting the hook from yours truly.

It says, those who do not enthusiastically swear their allegiance will immediately be escorted to the courtyard where they will be issued a gun and three bullets, ordered to form a circle and on command from me, your greatest Propaganda Director ever, fire three shots.

Anyone still left standing will be returned to the ballroom for a second attempt at swearing allegiance. If they balk their next test will be an American Rusian roulette game, a hand gun with two loaded chambers.

The Emperor asks, "Won't we be implicated in a murder?"

"Of course not, my dear Leader. You can simply first pardon yourself, then me. It's foolproof.

A circular firing squad for anyone demonstrating dissary, leaking, or engaging in internal disputes and mutual recrimination, in Your House. In practical terms they actually killed each other. Remember Boss, I'm a trained lawyer".

"Brilliant my loyal man-sevant. Let's do it!"

FAR FETCHED? MAYBE NOT.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#125 A SUMMER STORY OR A STORY FOR SUMMER (posted July 20, 2017)

"A Scout is never taken by surprise, he knows exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens"

This Pearl of Wisdom is one of many uttered by Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell.

Lord Baden-Powell founded The World Organization of the Scout Movement. His book, 'Scouting for Boys', explains the Scout motto "Be Prepared" - you are always in a state of readiness in body and mind to do your duty.

I was never Boy Scout material, opting for Sea Cadet then Army Cadet uniform, believing the best way to Be Prepared - to meet girls - was not by wearing a beanie, neckerchief and short pants but a military uniform.

Turned out I was right. One sunny Sunday afternoon in Winnipeg's City Park, the future Mrs. D. was mightily impressed watching Cadet Lieutenant Ronnie D. lead his Provencher School award winning Cadet Rifle Drill Team during the annual parade and general inspection of all the Army Cadet Corps in Manitoba.

As is the case with many of life's choices, there is the inevitable downside to avoiding Scout training that eventually caught up with me later in life.

Scouts learn important and necessary skills to survive in 'the great outdoors e.g., how to rough-it in the wilderness and enjoy the pleasures of camping, etc..

The dictionary defines a 'city slicker' as: a person with the sophistication and tastes or values generally associated with urban dweller, typically regarded as unprincipled and untrustworthy.

Many of my St. Boniface City 'slicker' pals, including yours truly, would take umbrage with the latter part of that definition, having voluntarily taken a pass on Boy Scout lessons in favour of the principles, trust and discipline learned by playing all variety of sports and provided by military activities e.g., lots of marching and drills, etc..

What follows is a true story that will help explain why this urban-dweller just maybe should have added Boy Scout lessons to his early resume.

This story may be familiar to other urban dweller fathers who ventured unprepared into the wild.

WHY I HATE CAMPING!

IN THE WEST...

Living in Edmonton afforded the Devion family the opportunity to go camping in the nearby Rocky Mountains for a couple of weeks in the summer. Sometime in the early 1960's, we took one such trip that to this day is seared into my memory bank.

Driving the 260 miles from home to Banff, hauling a largish rented trailer, we arrived in the National Park grounds to begin our "restful" family vacation. It gets quite cool high up in the mountains even during the summer months.

The night after our arrival, at around three o'clock in the morning, Mrs. D. woke me asking to light up the stove to warm up the trailer that had become cold enough to see your breath.

As I got out of bed, half asleep and somewhat disoriented, heavy raindrops were hitting the trailer roof. Standing in the darkened trailer, my hand fumbled to find the knob to turn on an element of the stove, then searched for matches in the cupboard above.

The last thing I clearly remember is striking the match and seeing a brilliant flash of white light as the escaping propane exploded.

Luckily, I was standing with my back to the unlocked trailer door. The blast propelled me backwards into the door, then outside, landing on my back in a pool of water and mud. The open door helped to disperse the blast force outside rather than inside the trailer.

The smell of burned hair permeated the air. Gone were the tips of Daddy's singed curls, eye lashes and eyebrows.

The three kids, startled, suddenly wide awake, started yelling, "Daddy, Daddy, where's Daddy?"

I gingerly opened my eyes to see Mrs. D. staring down at her still smoking, mud-covered, rain-splattered, prostrate husband asking, "What the hell was that?"

Ever since that near death experience, Daddy will never purchase a propane or gas appliance, of any kind, for use inside the home.

IN THE EAST...

While based in Toronto, we began to explore Canada's Eastern Provinces and camp grounds.

It became family ritual for Mrs. D. to take the kids on a long walk as soon as Mr. D. began to unload and set up our temporary abode. Fate seemed to dictate that the humidex was always around 100 degrees F. when I started unpacking the mountain of supposedly 'essential' household stuff we absolutely had to bring along, piled high on the car roof and tent-trailer. They dare not hang around to help because the air would soon turn blue with language unfit for children's ears, especially while Daddy was attempting to erect the tent portion.

I became convinced the designers were childless morons who never field-tested their contraptions before they were rented to unsuspecting suburban fathers.

On one such family adventure, having reached the end of my rope, dog-tired from too many nights camping and following the ferry crossing from the mainland, we arrived in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Rather than head for the nearest trailer park, I drove directly to the parking lot of one of the cities finest hotels.

The desk clerk apologized saying, "Sorry sir, we are all booked up". Pleading I said, "But you must have something?" He replied, cautiously eyeing the unshaven, bedraggled stranger and family, "Only the Royal Suite, Sir". Not even asking how much and throwing caution aside I responded, "We'll take it!"

The suite was indeed spacious, generously appointed befitting the title "Royal". The bath accomodated the entire family, at the same time. Relaxing in my heated hotel robe following a wonderful in-suite dinner, I gazed out onto the parking lot and gave the Italian salute to the despised tent trailer.

The $125 cost put a dent in our vacation budget, but it was worth it.

Every time I see a Hollywood movie about family trailer vacations, the hero, always depicted as some hapless Dad from the suburbs, played by a comedic actor e.g., Chevy Chase or Steve Martin, triggers the memories of exploring the wilds of our great country, when we were young.

...and those memories always brings on a warm smile.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#124 HAPPY ONE-FIVE-OH; HAPPY THOUSANDS AND TESTING OUR MEDICAL SYSTEM
(Posted July 2, 2017)

Happy one hundred and fifty to all Canadians and Happy thousands to those we now correctly call First Nations or First People who migrated many, many moons ago from other parts of the world to populate this continent.

While most citizens, and those waiting to be, were celebrating the anniversary called sesquicentennial (what a mouthful) we were doing our public duty spending the time testing the British Columbia medical system.

Like many, who reluctantly become members of the 'Over the Hill and Slowly Coming Down the Other side' Gang, we have been chosen by fate to do our part every few years for the medical system.

Like an aging tag team Mr. and Mrs. D. are regularly selected to do our bit by contributing a body part.

Last year, it was my turn to advance medical science with a no-fun spinal stenosis back surgery at the Victoria General Hospital.

Last Thursday, Mrs. D. was tagged for a no-fun double-hernia + other complications surgery at Victoria's Royal Jubilee Hospital.

This necessitates the following 'obligatory' report card on Mrs. D.'s experience as our contribution to the advancement of the College of Medical Knowledge:

Thursday: Report to the admissions desk, 6:00 a.m.
Surgery, 8:00 a.m.
Transfer to Recovery Area, 10:00 a.m. Transfer from recovery area to room 715, bed A, 12:30 p.m.. The post surgery wing is located in the ultra-modern Jim Pattison Pavilion. Mr. Pattison's generous donation made the construction of this new pavilion possible.

Report card: Gastroenterology surgeon, Dr. Alison Ross, A+ Nursing staff, A+ Food, unclassifiable. If this tasteless substance was fed to maximum security inmates for three days, there would be a prison riot. Canada's Food Guide is apparently ignored in the making of this bland gastronomic insult. Dieticians hired by hospitals are obviously given orders to make this 'stuff' so unpalatable that patients will be motivated to vacate the premises for fear they will become more ill than what brought them there.

Canada Day, July 1, 2017: Released from hospital into the tender loving care of Chauffeur Mr. D. who uncharacteristically drove Mrs. D. home observing the posted speed limits and several pot holes.

Duties were then assigned/transferred to male nurse Ronald. When he asssumes this role Mr. D. is affectionately called by family and friends, Nurse Ronald Ratched (also known as "Big Nurse"), the fictional character and main antagonist of Ken Kessey's 1962 novel 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and the 1975 movie starring Jack Nicholson.

Nurse Ronald Ratched is ably assisted in other household duties by Chef Ronaldo (who's specialty is Grandpa's scrambled eggs made with cream) and by house-maid/gardener/master-vacuumer Rockin' Ronnie. These Gemini wonders provide Mrs. D. with TLC during her convalescence ensuring her every order and whim (sorry request) is promptly carried out.

We Canucks tend to complain about delays, wait lists and other concerns related to our health care system. We should remind ourselves how fortunate we are that Tommy Douglas had the foresight and tenacity to institute a full health insurance system in Saskatchewan that led to the introduction by the Feds of the1966 Medical Care Act.

Despite the flaws in our system, all things considered, we are lucky not to have to worry like many millions living in Trump's America about the future of their health care as their politicians argue and debate whether Americans health care is a human right or a product.

For that and many other things we can be thankful on this Canadian sesquicentennial that we live in what many consider "the best country in the world".

"What did the president know and when did his son-in-law tell him?" - U.S. Senator Al Franken

"I like Ted Cruze more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruze. And I hate Ted Cruze." - Sen. Al Franken

"Politicians have always shaded the truth. But if you can say something that is provably false, and no one cares, then you can't have a real debate about anything." - Sen. Al Franken

Democrats searching for a dream team to run in the 2020 race might consider a formidable tag team to battle the Trumpists comprising Bernie Sanders and Al Franken.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#123 DAD'S, GRANDADS, KIDS AND TEA
(posted June 18, 2017)

On this Father's Day, it's appropriate to remember another Dad who had a gift for talking to kids and get them to 'say the darndest things'.

He was host of the CBS show 'House Party' for 25-years and the NBC show 'People Are Funny' for 19-years, both on radio and television.

Art Linkletter was a Canadian-born, Gordon Arthur Kelly, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and an American media personality. Most memorable were his interviews with children on a segment called 'Kids Say the Darndest Things'.

If you are fortunate enough to have graduated from Dad to Grandad, you will have experienced the most magical love of all and appreciate that God's gift to parents for raising children is grandchildren.

Not only do they 'Say the darndest things' they also 'Ask the darndest questions'.

Several years ago our first grandchild, Zoe, then four and one half years old, and Grandpa casually walked hand-in-hand down a Toronto sidewalk when she asked, "Grandpa, where did I come from?" I searched for a ready answer that did not come, hoping my mumbling would satisfy her, for the moment.

Her question was much too complex to answer quickly, given her father is adopted. Consequently, the answer to Zoe's seemingly innocent question is only available from our side of the family.

This led to months of research and writing to come up with the answer, in the form of a personal memoir published in 2006 entitled "from Stardust". My conclusion - everything in the universe comes 'from Stardust'.

The arrival of our third granddaughter, Danielle, in 2007 necessitated writing an update because she would never understand why she was excluded in the first bit of family history written by her Grandpa which included her big sister, Caitlin. The sequel entitled, "from Stardust, Book II" was published in 2012.

WHY I NEVER DRINK TEA

I don't remember whether it was Zoe, Caitlin or Danielle who asked, "Grandpa, how come you never drink tea?"

Following is the true story:

My auntie Marion MacDonald lived in a large suite in the Royal Alexandra Hotel in North Winnipeg. This was one of the grand railway hotels built by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Auntie Marion was unmarried, an accomplished educator and was Principal of Elmwood School - the first woman in Manitoba to attain this position.

My mother took my three sisters and me to visit auntie Marion once a month. Given the grandeur of her 'digs', we were obliged to dress in what was referred to as our 'Sunday best' - shirt, bow tie and itchy trousers for me, and dresses for my sisters. It was all very proper.

Auntie Marion always served tea on a sliver tray with Carnation milk (yuk!) in exquisite fine china cups, along with an assortment of cookies imported from England. Prior to our arrival, mother instructed us as follows: behave, sit upright in a chair, hold the teacup with the small pinkie slightly raised, and do not eat too many cookies.

Conversation was of little interest to children. This was the last place we wanted to be on a Sunday afternoon and our impatience to leave must have been palpable.

This obligatory ritual turned me against tea for the rest of my life.

Years later (in the 1980's), when Auntie Marion lived in retirement in Vancouver and I was the CBC's Director of Television there, whenever I visited her she would lay out tea laced with Carnation milk (double yuk!) and the imported cookies served on a familiar silver platter. The public broadcaster's 'Big TV Kahuna" dutifully drank the tea without complaint, sitting upright with pinkie slightly raised and made sure never to eat too many cookies.

I did, however, relish our talks. She was one of my favourites, and a source of wise advice.

Happy Father's Day to all Dad's and Grandad's.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#122 TRUST ME, IT'S - almost - FREE (Posted June 10, 2017)

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Remember this catchy song:

Na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na Na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na Talkin' about you and me, yeah And the games people play

Oh, the games people play now Every night and every day now Never meanin' what they say, yeah Never say what they mean

Oh, yeah...indeed

Would you invite your neighbours to attend a very expensive sports event and party, then stiff them with the bill, without their prior approval?

That's precisely what a group, spearheaded by Victoria businessman and media mogul, David Black, are in the process of doing by the end of the month (June 2017).

The committee is rushing to present a bid for the thirteen municipalities that make up Greater-Victoria to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) initially awarded Durban, South Africa, the 'honour' of hosting the 2022 Games. However, once reality dawned that the country could not afford the financial burden, Africa said sorry and reneged.

This sent the CGF scrambling to find a 'last-minute' replacement.

Several cities/countries considered submitting a bid but soon arrived at the same conclusion...hosting Games have become unafordable.

Major sports events, whether the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or World Cup of Football variety, have become outrageous, out-of-control, bloated financial black holes. There are numerous examples.

Promoters and the (scandal-plagued) Overlords of the governing bodies - International Olympic Committee, Commonwealth Games Federation and FIFA - whitewash financial reality until it eventually becomes public knowledge well after the circus leaves town.

Greater-Victoria hosted the 1994 Commonwealth Games. They were successfully managed (on-time, on-budget) for a modest $162 million.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games would cost north of $1 billion, without any real way to gauge the cost of security in a more dangerous world.

Two-thirds of the cost of any Games, including Commonwealth, is underwritten by provincial and federal governments. The Overlords will not award the 'prize' without government guarantees.

Many taxpayers do not realize they are paying a disproportionate share because the promoters and overlords are very skilled at 'spinning the message' i.e. applying many coats of whitewash to hide what's underneath (the bill).

What is the ethical thing to do:

Enthusiastic backers, municipal and provincial politicians, must ensure public input (via referendum) providing voters full financial disclosure (all-in costs, including security and all revenue sources) before any bid is submitted committing millions of tax dollars.

Without gauging public support in advance of a bid, the taxpayer is being unknowingly stiffed.

The excuse for public non-disclosure because of confidentiality is patent bullshit.

Legacy-assets resulting from hosting a Games can be of real community benefit or a white-elephant burden (e.g. Brazil Olympics). An affordable plan for their post-games use should be outlined in the initial bid.

Regardless, there is no 'free' legacy assets. The taxpayer always pays because the revenue generated from all sources only covers one-third of the overall costs.

Rushing to submit a Victoria bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games without public (taxpayer) support is financial folly.

In the current unpredictable, complicated and growing fractious provincial-federal environment - the NDP-Green temporary bromance, the Alberta-British Columbia NDP feud over tide water access, the Feds backing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion vs. Green Party opposition - the prudent course of action suggests slamming the breaks on this unaffordable bid.

Why risk the possibility that Victoria might actually win the 'prize' and taxpayers get stiffed with the bill, when there are so many other demands and priorities on public funds.

TRUST ME, IT'S - not - FREE

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#121 B.C. POLITICS 101 - "NOUS SOMMES PAS COMME LES AUTRES"

"When God created the Rocky Mountains, all the nuts rolled down to the West Coast" - Anonymous

With all the turmoil going on in the world, unless you live in B.C., you may not have noticed there was a provincial election on May 9th.

It's not a stretch to suggest B.C. politics are like no other; anywhere in the Great White North.

AN ABRIDGED AND TIMELY PRIMER

The second Premier, Bill Smith, was originally from the Maritimes. Young Bill migrated to California and changed his name to Amor de Cosmos (lover of the universe). He subsequently moved to Victoria, British Columbia where he started a local newspaper and entered politics. Amor a.k.a. Bill, eventually had to be put in a place where he could do no harm, to himself or others.

The most successful B.C. Premier (number 25) was Okanagan businessman and populist, William Andrew Cecil Bennett, affectionately and mockingly nicknamed, "Wacky". "Ceece" to his friends.

W. A. C. initially led an unorthodox party called Social Credit, known for promoting a wacko funny-money philosophy. For the balance of his 20-year reign, William headed a true-blue Conservative party.

Then a few years later along came William Richards "Bill" Bennet (number 27). His nickname "mini-wack", son of Wacky.

B.C. Premier # two - seven - seventeen - twenty five - twenty seven and twenty eight, were all named William/Bill. Anyone else think that's a little passing strange?

By this point you should be getting a soupcon of where this is heading. Nobody does politics quite like British Columbians.

The Liberals (who are really Conservatives) have been in power for the past sixteen years.

Like most parties overstaying their welcome this leads to getting too comfortable with power and becoming complacent, which causes voter unrest and demands for change.

The NDP or POP (Perpetual Opposition Party) could have easily won the last election. All the polls and pundits predicted their win was a slam dunk.

However, their leader, feeling overly-confident one week before the final vote, opened his mouth...once too often. What came out caused his supporters to flee to the Liberals (who are really Conservatives) in sufficient numbers to trigger their last-minute win. Foot stuck firmly in mouth, Adrian Dix, promptly resigned.

You are possibly aware that most of B.C.'s population (4,751.6 million, in 2016) is clustered into the south west corner of the province, i.e., the lower mainland and Vancouver Island.

This makes the rest of the province's vast landmass a hinterland; a urban vs rural political divide.

Overshadowing everything, like a giant dangling participle, is the biggest provincial politically enigmatic puzzle of them all; trying to rationally and fairly sort out hundreds of unresolved, overlapping First Nations land claims.

A truism: Those who reside on the Wet-Coast, especially Vancouver Islanders, are known for their deep emotional and passionate attachment to the land, the Pacific Ocean and its bounty.

We cherish what Mother Nature provides and try desperately to protect it.

Anyone daring endanger the land, air or water will face the wrath of the legendary Raging Grannies.

The group leader and her followers hold meetings at their sanctuary, the stately Empress Hotel, where afternoon tea and imported English treats is a regular ritual.

When signs of an impending environmental threat arises, their leader sounds her kazoo; the Grannie-signal, calling them to arms.

Soon a platoon of Raging Grannies forms, fashionably dressed in their signature floral afternoon tea dresses and straw hats, carrying brooms, croquet mallets, pitchforks and whatever else is at hand.

On the leaders command, they formation-march across the street to the steps of the Legislature.

There they hold the powerful to account; singing protest songs and giving passionate speeches denouncing the evil doers. Forewarned media always willingly present, record the colouful event for the evening news.

The object of their wrath, who might have been wiser to swat a hornets nest, sounds a hasty retreat.

Some citizens are the epitome of the David Suzuki crowd; tree huggers, staunch defenders of clean air, water and all the stuff that provides quality of life. In short, hard-core environmentalists who generally vote for the NDP.

Others support pipelines, coal, LNG, supertankers, resource extraction industries and related jobs. They tend to vote for the Liberals (who are really Conervatives).

This dichotomy of interests and values sets the stage for conflict, protests and demonstrations, as two longtime rivals compete for votes by making promises they are unlikely to keep once in office.

It was inevitable, therefore, that someone, eventually would make an appearance on the political scene championing the values of neither.

"IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN" - Kermit the Frog

Dr. Andrew J. Weaver, scientist and winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences, U.S. and Canada, decided to leave academia and run for office in the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding.

The riding is located in one of Greater Victoria's thirteen independent municipalities.

Yes, dear reader, you are hopefully beginning to appreciate how politically big-time-nuts it is on the southern tip of this big beautiful Island. Nearly 100 municipal politicians are paid to manage thirteen independent fiefdoms, ruling over a grand total 367,770 residents. A politician's Garden of Eden. Proponents of amalgamation mysteriously disappear.

Politicians here dream of some day creating the breakaway Republic of Sealandia, land of the grossly over-governed.

In case you were wondering. Fed leader of the Greens and most popular parliamentarian, Elizabeth May, lives in one of the thirteen municipalities, the town of Sidney-by-the-Sea or Sidney-by-the-Airport.

Weaver's political efforts were finally rewarded in the May 9 election, achieving a major breakthrough gaining 16.84% of the popular vote, three seats (all from Vancouver Island) and the "balance of power" in the closest election in B.C. history.

Popular Vote: Liberals 40.36% 43 seats, NDP 40.26% 41 seats, Green 16.84% 3 seats, Other 2.52% 0 seats.

Eligible voters: 3,156,991 Voted: 1,973,914 (62.5%)

This razor thin result gives testament to the oft-ignored comment,"every vote counts" and, "if you don't vote, don't complain".

Newbie politician Dr. Andrew Weaver now holds a golden hammer over the long time rivals.

Following negotiations with both parties who are locked in a virtual dead-heat, Weaver decided to support the NDP, in the form of a loose "arrangement".

NDP leader John Horgan and Andrew Weaver come from different planets. There's little chance the shot-gun "bromance" will last.

The NDP/Green partnership alliance now hold a slim one seat margin (44 seats) over the (currently) governing Christie Clark Liberals (43 seats).

In the meantime, Ms. Christie continues to govern until she decides to resign or is defeated in the legislature.

Then, Lieutenant Govenor, Judith Guichon, sworn in Nov. 2, 2012, will decide which minority will govern, an unprecedented and difficult decision requiring the wisdom of King Solomon.

Regardless, as with any minority, coalition or partnership arrangement, it soon disintegrates and another election occurs within a year.

The prime objective for government is jobs, jobs, jobs; collecting taxes and fees (taxes by another name) and spending same.

The challenge for B.C. given the choices and competing interests, what kind of jobs now?

Armed with the balance of power to influence and his scientific knowledge, Dr. Weaver brings a change to the dynamic of the political debate. He will push hard for his priorities, like new technology "green" jobs that many NDP supporters also favour. Whereas, the more tradional resource-extraction jobs, preferred by the Liberals, are also favoured by labour union NDP supporters.

Add to the mix conflicting jurisdictional authorities (Feds vs Province) like the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, plus conflicting inter-provincial priorities (Alberta vs B.C.) and the ingredients for a volatile cocktail exist.

What are the odds that, in the interests of the "common good", in the spirit of a grand-bargain, unexpected cooperation and compromise suddenly bursts forth, like a brilliant beacon of glorious wisdom, resulting in a judicious mix of the two...before another election is called.

Zero!

In the interregnum our ship of state flounders.

Who said politics is dull?

AND IN OTHER NEWS

We know Emperor Bat-shit attended the G7 meeting in Taormina, Italy where he stood alone against the other six, refusing to back the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Because the assembled world media were not allowed access to the Emperor, it was left to White House trade adviser, Gary Cohn to explain "His views are evolving. He came here to learn. He came here to get smart."

Oh, Gary, why would you make such a blatantly humongous BOO BOO knowing the temperament of your boss?

When Bat-shit, who really, really believes he's the smartest man in the world, finds out you told the evil press corps he came to Italy to "get smart", don't be surprised if you get ejected from Air Force One, at 38,000 feet while over the Atlantic. Breaking News on Fox: Cohn mysteriously disappears.

Everybody, except Bat-shit and his flat-earth followers, understand Mother Nature is sending us more and more warnings, unusual weather related events.

Expert opinion is ignored by the 'drill baby, drill' crowd.

Former White House counterterrorism adviser, Richard Clarke and E.P. Eddy write in their book, "Warnings" of coming catastrophes. Number one on their list: ignoring climate change.

Climate scientists are becoming ever more alarmed as their models indicate coastal cities, including New York and London, could be under water by the end of the century unless something immediate is done to reverse the trend.

Ordinary people understand unusual weather phenomenon is happening with increasing frequency.

Climate change is a real and present danger to the survival of the human species.

Pope Francis gave "I'm the smartest person in the world" a book on the subject.

The Netanyahu's gave him a 150-year-old Bible.

If only the Crazy King could appreciate the value and importance of reading the gifted books.

How easy it would be for him to trade the wasted early morning hours watching Fox News and tweeting, for time to expand his astonishingly limited knowledge.

However, it's now increasingly obvious to any serious observer, the Commander-in-chief possesses an attention span that makes reading any book or focusing his mind on anything longer than a 2-minute news clip or headline in a gossip magazine, an insurmountable challenge. In his mind it's a complete waste of time.

It's difficult to deny that Donald J. Trump is an ill-informed, weird, boorish, self-absorbed, bizarre, arrogant, indifferent to the sufferings or misfortunes of others, stupid and dangerous bully.

The world is now at the mercy of competing madmen.

Supreme leader Crazy-Hair Un of North Korea, keeps on lobbing more missiles attempting to provoke Bat-shit to retaliate so it all ends in a glorious blaze of nuclear madness.

The late George Carlin would opine, "and that's real scary shit".

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#120 A MAN WITH NO MORAL CENTRE

A GRIMM FAIRY TALE FOR GROWN UPS

"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't" - Mark Twain

It became priority A to get the Mad King out of Dodge ASAP.

Ever darkening storm clouds were gathering in Swampland as whispers of impeachment grew louder.

Wandering the hallways of his lonely White House in the pre-dawn hours, addicted to Fox News, tweeting, and mumbling.

His imagination running wild...

Are they all against me? I'm not Nixon, there's no Watergate. They're just worried I may have tapes.

I should fire all the conspirators, the leakers, those who are disloyal. That's what I'm good at.

Why do so many refuse to accept that I am their elected President; their Commander in Chief? I defeated them all, my way!

It's 4:30 a.m., where the hell are the hair and make up people, it's showtime soon?

Why should anyone be concerned if I invite the Russians into the Oval Office, it's my office. So I told them some secret stuff and explained Comey was fired because he is a nut job. So what? I fire people (Sally Yates, Preet Bharara) big deal, get over it.

I took care of the Michael Flynn problem. He will plead the Fifth. There's no there, there.

Ivanka and Jared will know what to do.

Whoever it was in my inner circle that came up with the idea that my first out of country trip should be to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, is a genius.

The prize, potentially scoring a religious trifecta, could be enormous and make me the greatest President in history.

Take me to the heartland of the Muslims, Jews and Christians...brilliant.

I told them over and over again during the campaign, Trump is the only person who can solve the problems, because I am the greatest deal maker of all time.

I'm not too happy that I have to attend that NATO nonsense in Brussels and lecture those freeloaders about America always having to lead the way, carry the burden and pay the bills. If they don't step up, I will cancel our membership.

Geez, then I have to go to Italy for the G7 and talk about that ridiculous Paris climate agreement. Don't they know climate change is a hoax perpetrated by my "new" friends the Chinese?

Can't wait to tell Putin all about the meetings.

His brains-trust (brain) were convinced that getting him away from the Swamp would calm him, demonstrate he can be 'kind-of' presidential, provided he sticks to a prepared script, does not tweet or ad lib.

They pondered what it would take to convince the First Lady to accompany the Mad King on this extremely important odyssey. What price and conditions would she demand to leave the confines of her New York tower? No dancing? No hugging? No kissing? No hand holding? No .....(fill in the blank)?

They quietly and confidentially used diplomatic sources to inform leaders that an effective means of getting his limited attention would be to use flattery and expensive gifts.

They played on the Mad King's self-belief that he's the greatest negotiator and deal maker ever. Reminding him, the greatest book ever written, 'The Art of the Deal', says so. Trump continues to insist he wrote the book with only a tiny assist from journalist, Tony Schwartz.

They finally convinced Emperor Bat-shit to consider approaching King Salman of Saudi Arabia, with a win-win proposition...a 'sort of' variation of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty.

His script to be followed without any ad libs went as follows: Your Highness, what if I send you all the military stuff your heart desires (everybody knows we make the best stuff) and, as a very generous bonus, I, President Donald J. Trump, will return "the wretched refuse of your teeming shore" (oops, sorry) rather, so that all the devout Muslims living in America may return to their beloved homeland, with my blessing.

That's a great, terrific, wonderful deal, your Highness.

I get jobs, jobs, jobs for our military industrial complex, in exchange for hundreds of billions of your petro-dollars. You get planes, tanks, bullets, bombs, missiles, whatever and lots of new well educated people, your people, wonderful people...that I don't like (oops again, sorry).

Wasn't that a fantastic speech I passionately read to the leaders of more than fifty Muslim countries? Thanks for organizing that. Those who say I didn't write it myself are fake news merchants.

...and some of the leaders followed the advice of the brains-trust, showered the Mad King with flattery, tours and gifts: a solid gold medallion from King Salman, a 150-year-old bible from the Prime Minister and First Lady of Israel - Emperor Bat-shit commented to psychologist, Sara Netanyahu, If it's written in English, I might read it sometime. Does it have lots of pictures?

Pope Francis is less circumspect. A man who neither appreciates receiving or giving ostentatious gifts.

It would be classed a miracle if: Simply being in the presence of this humble man and carefully listening to his wise counsel and advice, somehow, something could overcome the vain leader and bring him to appreciate that the most precious gift he can hope to receive during this trip is the example of true humility.

However, me thinks this is a bridge too far.

Having earlier met serial harasser, Bill O'Reilly, and having to extend a similar courtesy to another American he shares nothing in common with, Francis' patience and tolerance is to be admired. Attempting to find some common ground with a man who has no identifiable moral centre is a formidable challenge. These two Heads of State are the personification of opposites.

Francis may have 'momentarily' considered the 'just thing' to do is order the Swiss Guard to arrest the Mad King and toss him into a Vatican dungeon. If, for no other reason than to stop the heartless budget proposal of a compassionate-less individual who wants to take away health care benefits and food stamps from thousands of disadvantaged Americans (children, the elderly, the sick and the poor), in order to provide a tax cut to the wealthy one percent. However, this remarkable Head of State's personal moral compass would never permit such an order.

Pity.

Time for everybody in the White House to lawyer up as everyone awaits the judgement of the American people....."You're fired!"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#119 ENTERTAINMENT" FOR THE MASSES???

Today, the "thing" that keeps the masses glued to their electronic devices (like moths to a flame) is sports spectacles and politics.

Have you ever wondered why? Or what they have in common?

Both contain the essential elements of a really good story: Heroes and villians, money, sex, drugs, corruption, spies, cheating, lawyers, scandal, bribery, coercion, back-stabbing, treachery, protagonists (our tribe vs. their tribe), violence, winners, losers...and best of all, an unpredictable ending.

The Big Dogs in this "thing" are international events like Olympic Games, World Cups, Championships and U.S. politics.

All appear on the verge of collapsing under the weight of their own immorality.

In bygone days, rulers (the 1%) would provide bread and circus forms of "entertainment" to keep the masses distracted. Ceasars were particularly adept at "entertaining" the crowds in the colloseum, staging their Christians vs Lions and Slave Gladiators killing each other, events.

When the downtrodden (the 99%) figured out what was really going on, riots and anarchy would surely ensue.

This public expression of unrest would accompany the building of various "execution machines", like the "Halifax Gibbet" used in that Yorkshire town starting in 1286.

Note: You may believe such an ingenius, inexpensive, form of retribution was first invented by Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotine, who is credited for its use in France during the revolution. Like most, you are incorrect. He only improved on the original.

As journalists continue to shine a light on the chicanery, the masses become more agitated:

In the world of Sports: The gross indulgences of the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) or The Federation Internationale De Football (F.I.F.A.) and their kind,

In the world of Politics: The Trumps, Putin, Kim Jung Un, and other "leaders" - the Crazies who have their twitchy trigger finger on the nuclear button - and their kind,

playing fast and loose with lives and taxes.

Tolerance will eventually give way to justifiable shouts of "bring out the "Halifax Gibbet" and off with their heads".

The question is not if, rather when.

The conduct of these white-collar shysters brings obvious comparisons to the Mafia, with a stark difference; the Mafia appear amateurish.

Cracks are appearing in public support as more and more cities/countries are unwilling to bid on hosting Olympic Games, World Cups and other sports spectacles because of the outrageous, ballooning, out-of-control costs and scandals surrounding governing-body-officials stuffing their pockets with taxpayer dollars.

Did these "officials" forget its supposed to be "all about the athletes"? Or do they simply ignore that primary part of their mandate in favour of personal gain?

In order to curb unbridled, unrealistic enthusiasm and spin, leading to bad political decision making, Canadian governments (Provincial and Federal) must ensure public input, via a referendum, and providing full disclosure (all-in costs and revenues) before any bid to host an internatinal sports spectacle is made.

The 2015 Pan Am Games hosted by Toronto was budgeted at $2.5 billion.

It was reported that Durban, South Africa backed away from a commitment to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games having realized it was beyond their means as a country.

The Commonwealth Games Federation issued a plea for other Commonwealth countries to prepare bids to fill the breach and replace Durban.

Games Associations from three countries have expressed interest. The U.K. (Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham with London considering), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

Recently reported, Victoria is also considering submitting a bid, even in the face of formidable bidders.

CAUTION CANADIAN TAXPAYER, RED LIGHT FLASHING, DANGER AHEAD!

In my view, a Victoria bid would be folly without full disclosure to taxpayers by both levels of government and a referendum prior to submitting any such bid.

On January 26, 1700, the biggest thing to hit Vancouver Island was a magnitude nine earthquake. Geologists predict a one in five chance that a similar earthquake will occur sometime in the next fifty years.

The second biggest thing to hit the Island was the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games that had a very modest budget of $162 million.

Hosting a 2022 version suggests costs will be well North of a billion dollars, without any real way to put a fix on the enormous costs associated with security in today's more dangerous world.

Most of the costs associated with hosting (approx. 75%) is on the backs of Provincial and Federal taxpayers.

Let's hope the politicians and other backers of a potential Victoria bid accept reality and take a pass.

There are always touted benefits. Legacy facilities: There is no "free" legacy benefit courtesy of Games. The taxpayer is paying for them any way you slice the spin.

If such facilities (new or refurbished) are needed, and deemed a priority by the public in any Canadian community, the cost should form part of the government's annual infrastructure budget and not saddled to the back of a Games bid.

Another touted benefit, increased tourism. Expert studies, post-games, have yet to prove this as fact.

The Commonwealth Games were once considered "the Friendly Games"; the Summer Olympics smaller cousin. Today's reality, "Friendly Games" are long gone...unless the publc deems them worth the expenditure for ten days of "distraction".

Only two words are needed to describe today's world of politics, Donald Trump.

Lady Macbeth was sleepwalking through the castle, hallucinating and rubbing her hands together as if she was washing them when she shouted "Out damned spot! Out I say. One, two - OK, it's time to do it...NOW!"

And so say I...for the good of us all.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#118 SPRINGTIME FOR BOBBLE-HEADS

Like weeds in Spring, politicians are sprouting up everywhere on our electronic devices.

Elections are happening: in several Provinces, countries, and the country that is in perpetual election mode, The Divided States of America.

Ironically, politics has become a magnet for television viewers...which is both good and not so good.

Who would have ever thought the White House Press briefing would become must-watch viewing.

Media conglomerates are reaping financial rewards from ratings generated by this phenomenon; initiated by one "person" who craves attention.

Sir Ahmad Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, essayist, and author of "The Satanic Verses", described that "person" during a recent New Yorker magazine-sponsored forum as, "A bat-shit crazy and dangerous asshole". Mr. Rushdie has never shied away from "telling it like it is", which made him a man with a price on his head.

"No, I don't think it's fair to label Islam 'violent'. But I will say, to my knowledge, no writer has ever gone into hiding for criticizing the Amish". - Salman Rushdie

Have you noticed politicians, in ever increasing numbers, resort to an annoyiing habit whenever they appear on television...Head-Bobbling.

There must be a school, somewhere, someplace, where aspiring politicians go to learn this technique...some secret sanctuary hidden away in the mountains of neutral Switzerland, called "Bobble-Head U.".

Or maybe its just an affliction; like an infectious disease that spreads.

Otherwise, why then (when standing behind the Chief Bobble-Head) would all heads bobble in the affirmative whenever he says something boastful about himself and his Party, and bobble in the negative when uttering not-nice stuff about the opponents?

Recently, Prime Minister Selfie was on televison addressing reporters' questions about the flooding in Quebec and Ontario. The Mayor of Montreal and one of Selfie's Ministers were standing dutifully next to and slighty behind the PM as he responded in both official languages. Like programmed automotans in unison, they bobbed heads on cue.

Whether this phony, fawning reaction is caused by something taught or caught, politicians should stop acting like Lemmings - rather, the adult their contituents thought they elected.

"It matters, it always matters, to name rubbish as rubbish...to do otherwise is to legitimize it." - Salman Rushdie

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#117 TIME AND MILESTONES

"Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are still yours." - Marcus Aurelius

An 80 year life span is 960 months or about 29,000 days.

Part of what is so compelling about this bevity is that this stream we are floating down, slowly, inexorably, and without our control or consent is...life.

We are thrown into the world, imagine endless possibilities if we are lucky and then, suddenly, time has passed. We can't stop it, rewind it, or fast forward it even when we want to.

We all have moments in time that mark significant milestones; some happy, others not.

When I was young, the sports page was the daily first read. Now, its the obits where sadly too often, the notices are about relatives, friends and acquaintances passing. A reminder of time's fleeting nature.

One 'happy' event occurred recently as the Devion Clan gathered in Toronto to celebrate the arrival of Grandma Carole's 80th (the actual date is April 28).

Few believe it. Her hair stylist said, "If you're going to be eighty, I'll have some of whatever you're taking."

Life time-share allotments are not handed out equally.

Carole's father died suddenly at age fourty seven; the same age as Dave Goldberg, husband of superwoman Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO and author of "Lean In" and "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy".

The extra-special event took three months to plan. Getting everybody together, in one place, at one time, was challenging.

Obligatory to all attendees, keep the "surprise" a secret. Keeping anything secret from Grandma is a daunting task.

Everybody maintained the required "code of silence" using their favourite techniques of obfuscation. Even the youngest granddaughter, Danielle (9), managed to keep her excitement in-check and did not let anything slip out while Grandma was within earshot.

The Guest of Honour's mascara duelled many tears during the two-phase celebration of speeches, presentation of gifts, flowers, cards, cake, five chorus' of "Happy Birthday", and many hugs, kisses and good wishes from her loving family.

As the champagne flowed (late into the evening), a foolhardy booze-induced impulse overcame Grandpa who invited Grandma to demonstrate (to the young'uns) how we used to Jive...in the old days.

The next day, at a "for family eyes only" private screening of the festivities, it became evident how foolish the impulse was. The intricate moves and maneuvers of this dance were performed in agonizingly slow-motion while Grandpa struggled to maintain his balance, breathing and somehow managed to survive not dropping dead, while insisting, to the concerned observers, his arthritic aches and pains had magically disappeared. The impromptu, hilarious performance turned out to be the highlight of the soiree.

To the delight of all, success was measured by Grandma's evening-ending comment, "That was the best birthday party I ever had."

If your journey on life's rocky road is long, may it include a reasonable dollop of good health, love and joyful memories.

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." - Robin Williams

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#116 SNEAKERS, SLIPPERS, ARTISTS AND THE ULTIMATE INVENTION

Will "IT" be someone wearing magic sneakers or glass slippers?

Some aspire to "IT". Others are being tested for "IT", in a rotation of "potentials".

"IT" refers to the prestigious role of Chief Correspondent/Anchor of the public broadcaster's principal English language newscast, "The National".

Peter Mansbridge steps down in July and will pass "IT" to someone, hopefully, equally qualified.

He received "IT" from Knowlton Nash, who stepped down (prematurely) to persuade Mansbridge not to accept a financially seductive offer to go to the U.S. and practise his craft there.

Knowlton convinced Peter to remain in Canada and replace him. That was in 1988.

Anyone who regularly watches Canadian newscasts will likely have an opinion and a favoured candidate for "IT".

If CBC News bosses are wise, they will pass "IT" to the eminently qualified, Ian Hanomansing.

The News bosses could also make another very significant strategic decision.

Seriously consider moving the News operating base, News management and "The National" to Vancouver.

Why?

In much of the country, CBC is considered to be "Toronto-centric"; and Radio-Canada "Quebec-centric". This is more than a perceived reality.

Anyone who believes this is a myth need only ask folks who live outside the Eastern Time Zone; on the Rock, the Maritimes, the Prairies or Lotus Land; those who live in the other five time zones.

This "centricity" is not the result of malicious intent. Rather a natural outcome of environmental influences. Where people live and work affects their perspective and influences judgements.

Canada's national public broadcaster, like no other, anywhere, is mandated by Parliament to serve all citizens of a thinly populated, resource rich, vast landmass that spans six time zones, surrounded by three oceans and next door to a sophisticated communications and cultural juggernaut that overwhelms Canadian air waves.

The consequences being, their information, entertainment, values, customs, history, legal and political system, etc. subordinates ours. And Canadians consume it like kids in a candy store...theirs.

Centralizing/concentrating resources in one principal production centre, in one city (convergence for economic efficiency) causes the very "centricity" that works against fullfilling an essential part of the mandate.

Without decentralizing, CBC English language services cannot properly reflect the diversity of a country this big and complex.

Operating from Canada's second most-populated English speaking province would expose network news staff and news management to a very different set of environmental influences (Western-Pacific) that would alter their perspective and judgements.

Moving to the West Coast would also provide a counter-balance/counter-weight to the powerful influence exerted by the "Golden Triangle", Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal.

Observing the nation through a lens very far away from "the Golden Triangle bubble", provides a dramatically different viewpoint; clearer and some would argue more objective. Akin to a foreigner living in the U.S. who observes issues and problems much more objectively than Americans enmeshed in them.

Such a "bold" decision would provide a signal that CBC can and will be rejunenated, and is capable of decentralizing key operational program components to better reflect the country.

Relocating the News component West, could be real proof and a significant step in a process to revivify, re-energize, re-animate, refresh, refocus, reawaken (and in tandem with depoliticizing appointments to the CBC/RC Board of Directors) change the publicly-owned cultural institution vital to our democracy.

Call it "the Hanomansing Effect" from which can flow consequential dividends for the benefit of the corporation's shareholders, Canadian citizens.

P.S.: I'm too old, weathered, leathered and skeptical to expect a miracle, i.e., a demonstration of boldness from those who currently run the place.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTISTS

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?" - Gabrielle Roy

This quotation is on the back of the 2004 Canadian twenty-dollar bill, in French and English.

"No, we could not. As we contemplate our politically splintered society, as we reach the limits of data-collecting and the divisions and specializations of science, and as we finally turn back to a more holistic view of human being, Roy's vision has more relevance to us than ever." - Margaret Atwood

Gabrielle Roy was a celebrated (world-wide) French Canadian writer; author of several works, including the one that launched her career into fame and fortune, "Bonheur D'Occasion" that was translated into "The Tin Flute", in 1947.

Another masterwork and the focus of Roy's semi-biographical series of 1955 stories, "Rue Deschambaults", later translated as "Street of Riches" is where she grew up as the youngest of eleven children.

It so happens, my family (Mom, Dad and three sisters) lived in a second floor rented-apartment at 554 Rue DesMeurons, in St. Boniface, Manitoba, a mere 200 yards from the Roy family home on Rue Deschambault.

A bit of St. Boniface history: Rue DesMeurons is named after a regiment of Swiss and German mercinaries.

Lord Selkirk, acting on behalf of and in the interests of the Hudson's Bay Company fur trade (Selkirk was a major shareholder) formed a "stability" military force comprising these mercenaries to quell any "disturbances" or "uprisings". The devastation of Aboriginal and Metis people living on the Canadian Prairies was one of the casualties.

Prior to attaining extraordinary fame, Gabrielle Roy performed in plays with both the Cercle Moliere and Winnipeg Little Theatre companies (semi-amateur "Little Theatres"), where she demonstrated the qualities to become an accomplished bilingual actress.

She also taught a first-grader class at Provencher Collegiate Institute, in St. Boniface.

Provencher was an all-boys Roman Catholic-run educational institution. Religious brothers, Jesuits and lay teachers made up the teaching faculty. Classes, from Grades Zero to Nine, were separated into French and English speaking groupings. Grades Ten to Twelve brought the groups together where English language courses predominated. Military-style discipline was swift, often physical (bamboo rod, razor strap) and by today's standards, cruel.

Those who stuck it out for the full thirteen years and graduated were armed with a first class education, and for those who's parents could afford it, an excellent foundation and springboard to university and job choices.

My Dad, his brothers and some of my Mom's brothers attended Provencher and may have known Mademoiselle Roy. By the time I attended she had departed St. Boniface seeking her destiny in Quebec, England and France.

THE LAST INVENTION?

Ms. Atwood's quote, reflecting on Ms. Roy's, mentions "the limits of data-collecting and the divisions and specializations of science" that brings up a serious question to ponder, possibly the ultimate question:

Will the final invention by humans, Artificial Super-Intelligence, be the end of human control over our own destiny as a species or the key to learning how to save it and salvage the planet?

Will Artificial Intelligence be friend or foe?

P.P.S.: Now that the NHL has announced it will not allow players to participate in next year's Winter Olympics, a taxpayer question:

Did CBC negotiators include a clause in their contract with the I.O.C. that automatically triggers a substantial refund of the (overpriced) rights fee paid by CBC to the I.O.C. in the event our best players are barred from competing in the marquee event of the Games?.

Don't expect an answer.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

 #115 CITIZEN KANE AND CITIZEN MURDOCH

"You can crush a man with journalism" - William Randolph Hearst

William Randolph Hearst (the lord and ruler of San Simeon) was an American newspaper publisher who built the nation's largest newspaper chain and media company.

Hearst Communications became the largest newspaper and magazine company in the world.

His flamboyant methods of "yellow journalism" influenced the nation's popular media.

Hearst built his empire selling newspapers filled with entertaining stories that were often scandalous, and occasionally pure fiction.

By the mid-1930's one in five Americans read a Hearst newspaper.

His life story was the main focus for Charles Foster Kane, the lead character in Orson Welles's film 'Citizen Kane'.

Hearst, enraged at the idea that 'Citizen Kane' was a thinly disguised and very unflattering portrait of him, used his massive influence and resources in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the film from ever being released - all without his ever having seen it.

Hearst's newspapers barred all references to 'Citizen Kane' and exerted enormous pressure on Hollywood film community studio executives to shelve the film by offering cash to destroy the negative and all prints.

Welles secretly kept the negative.

George Orson Welles was an American actor, writer, director, and producer who worked in theatre, radio, film and TV. He also was a skilled magician.

Welles was justifiably considered an artistic genius.

He co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in 'Citizen Kane', exposing the influence, power, wealth, lifestyle and media control of a man he hated, William Randolph Hearst.

'Citizen Kane', considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time; a cinematic masterpiece, was finally released in 1941.

Keith Rupert Murdoch is an Australian-born American media mogul.

Murdoch has full control of the global media holding company, News Corporation.

News Corporation owns 21st Century Fox, Dow Jones, New York Post, HarperCollins, and Fox News, which makes Rupert Murdoch a contemporary Citizen Kane...squared.

In other words, Mr. Murdoch's worldwide reach, influence, power, and media control is several times greater than that yielded by Mr. Hearst at his zenith...and his journalistic methods are no less unsavoury (hacking, etc.).

Media control is the key to political power; ergo, it's no surprise politicians crave the support and backing of what the Murdochs control.

Therefore, it's no accident Donald Trump (like other world political leadership aspirants) and Rupert Murdoch are "friends", connected in a convergence of mutual interests.

Murdoch's media (e.g. Fox News) strongly influences the current President of the United States, trigerring late-night "reactions" from the 'Tweeter-in-Chief', while Murdoch assets provide reciprocity by way of a powerful ideological message delivery system (propaganda).

Media consolidations continues in Western democracies. Global consortiums, in cahoots with politicians, controlling the message.

To paraphrase Martha Stewart "AND THAT'S NOT A GOOD THING".

The airwaves are "supposed to be" public property, owned by the public, and not for a powerful few whose motives are rarely in the public interest.

With a nod to Canadian film director, Norman Jewison's classic film: THE MURDOCHS (not the Russians) ARE COMING, THE MURDOCHS ARE COMING.

This bit falls into a special category: Arte Johnson's hilarious line in the 'Laugh In' TV show (think a thick German accent) "Verrrrry Interressssting.....".

The Murdoch family is in the process of building a 450-acre "retreat", accessible only by boat or plane, on an inlet west of the Town of Bella Coola, British Columbia.

Hmmm and double hummm.

Why in our country?

What are they "retreating" from that would motivate them to come to B.C.?

Is the Murdoch Clan preparing an escape from something they anticipate might happen?

Will 'Justin the Welcomer' consider them refugees, fleeing to safety across the undefended, unwalled border?

Are the Murdochs puzzled/concerned/suspicious (like many) that even the First Lady chooses to live in a New York Tower rather than in the White House with Crazy Man and the First Daughter?

Do they anticipate a palace revolt? A military coup? A potential "Trumpocalypse"?

Are the Murdochs becoming wary, worried about a man so mean-spirited and uncaring, that he wants to deprive little kids of 'Sesame Street' and big kids of the best British drama?

A man seemingly beholden to and/or in the pocket of Putin, desperately trying to stifle investigations into connections and links to the Russian Bear that could lead to impeachment.

MEANWHILE...IN SWAMPLAND

What are the "special" ingredients necessary to create the most-watched show ever?

Executive Producer, 'His Eminence and the Greatest President anywhere, ever' assembles a stunningly zany Gong-show cast to ensure HIS show remains #1 in the ratings...for (maybe) four long years.

The secret sauce recipe: Gather together a group of politically naive, bizarre characters; wealthy business executives, Goldman Sachs alumni, far right Conservative activists, racists, corporatists, retired generals, family members, climate science deniers, billionaires, media manipulators, etc., etc..

This gonzo gaggle of "Unpredictables" jostling for preeminence, guarantees to keep any audience nervously watching them feign helping the poor, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the desperate, the middle class, refugees; while the powerful and privileged stuff their pockets and play Russian-roulette (an activity that is potentially very dangerous) with the other world crazies.

Seconds away from midnight on the scary clock.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#114 CONNECTING DOTS AND FOLLOWING THE MONEY

"Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" - Winston Churchill

In these tense times, it's impossible to ignore that everything is (or seems to be) interconected and is (or seems to be) linked to a dangerous man lurking in the shadows.

A powerful spy master hiding in plain sight, yet invisible like the famous 'Matryoshka' nesting doll.

His puppets use sophisticated techniques and technology to entrap, manipulate and co-opt others into doing their master's bidding.

His reach and ambition have no boundaries.

Like other tyrants and bullies of history, left unchecked, he will keep testing the limits.

So clever is this Russian Bear, his paws even reach into the pockets of Canadian taxpayers.

WHAT????

Does the name Pavlov's dog...ring a bell?

Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, known primarily for his work in classical conditioning, conditioned his dog to recognize it was feeding time whenever he rang a bell.

This technique is (and has been) used by many "leaders" to condition the masses.

Dominate the media to control the message by repeating lies often enough until they become the perceived truth. Perception is reality in the mind of many.

That's exactly how President Crazy-Man got elected.

Vlad picks taxpayers pockets? Really? How?

It's a story about a family business with humble beginnings that grew to involve; billions, politicians, intrigue, deception, collusion, lobbying, co-opting, bribes, corruption and Russians.

It begins with an engineer/entrepreneur/inventor, Joseph-Armand Bombardier, who attaches a motor to a sleigh and invents the first snowmobile.

His company grows and grows into a colossus aerospace corporation called, Bombardier Inc..

Bombardier Inc. is Canada's version of a "too big to fail" company.

Every time Inc. gets "itself" into enough financial trouble (bordering on failure), it successfully lobbies federal and provincial governments for another taxpayer bail-out "loan".

Despite early protestations, politicians fear the fall out: predicted massive layoffs, Quebec voter retribution...and eventually capitulate.

The first tranche of corporate-welfare began back in 1966.

The political money-lenders have never made clear (to taxpayers) how many billions of their money "loaned" to Inc. on their behalf since 1966, has been paid back, with or without interest.

And here's where the plot thickens: Investigative reporters at the Globe and Mail revealed in their March 11 Business Section and elaborated further on the newspapers March 14 Front page (a must read) that Swedish Anti Corruption authorities arrested the regional head of sales at Bombardier Sweden on suspicion of "aggravated bribery" in a railway deal.

Russian Evgeny Pavlov (no kidding) is the head of sales at Bombardier Sweden.

The dots connect Mr. Pavlov to a series of "shell companies" based in Seychelles, Panama, Belize linked to the former boss of Russian railways, Vladimir Yakunin, a long time confidante of Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Yakunin was one of the first names added to the U.S. State Departments sanctions list of individuals linked to President Putin, as Washington sought to punish Moscow for its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Bombardier lobbied Ottawa against adding his name to their lengthy sanctions list suggesting "including Mr. Yakunin's name to Canada's sanctions list could have unilaterally harmed Canadian business". AND THEY TOOK THE BAIT.

Despite knowledge of Vladimir Yakunin's history of corruption and connections, in late 2016 the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, provided Inc. $1.5 billion and last month, the Feds capitulated and coughed up $372.5 million...at a time when Bombardier is trying to get traction for yet another financial turnaround...of their own making.

Corporate welfare piled atop corporate welfare for one of Canada's "too big to fail" companies.

Thanks to the Globe and Mail's dogged investigative reporting, it appears millions of our tax dollars have found their way into the pockets of corrupt Russians via a tangled sordid web of deception and collusion.

Those we elect are supposed to protect us from being suckered by clever gangsters.

Obviously many are not able or willing. Consequently, its left to investigative journalists to keep citizens wary and vigilant and to voters to elect politicians who have the guts to say NO.

Ivan Pavlov's message gleaned from extensive research into classical condition: When the dinner bell rings, many dogs will gather at the trough to feed...on the taxpayer's dime.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#113 NERVOUS YET?

It's been a month since the Crazy Man next door took control of the neighbourhood.

His name is mentioned in daily conversation, everywhere.

Rulers are huddled with their advisers, trying to figure out the extent of the 'clear and present danger' the Crazy Man and his extremist zealot's pose to their patch of the planet.

A global foreboding is evolving, suggesting history is being revisited.

Quote: "No recurrence is sole and solitary, but is merely a repetition of a thing that has happened before, and perhaps, often" - Mark Twain

Netflix recently released a two hour documentary about how Hitler came to power.

The world watched a two-year replay on television, in super slow motion.

Vancouver Islanders live on the infamous 'Ring of Fire' - a zone where rumblings from under the Pacific Ocean occur with such regularity that residents push the thought of 'The Big One' into the subconcious region of the brain.

A magnitude 9 is too scary to contemplate. So, despite the fact three magnitude +4's occurred in the past week, rather than relocate, we just don't think about it.

It's in this environment that a headline appeared in the February 23rd Victoria Times Colonist newspaper, "Submarine preparing for operation with allies".

A sudden moment of panic interrupted my morning breakfast.

Thoughts flooded my imagination...What submarine? Which allies? What operation?

Is the Crazy Man planning something nefarious?

Is Emperor 'MadMax' about to unleash his forces and invade Vancouver Island because he now needs somewhere (close) to relocate millions of illegal aliens?

We know many are not waiting to be deported - fleeing across the frozen undefended border, on foot, into the warm embrace of Justin the Welcomer.

However, this is not what the gist of the headline is about, despite a Navy spokesperson remaining mum on providing any details of the secret operation.

The CP (Canadian Press) story subtext reveals the sad tale of a 19-year-old con, pulled off by our former conquerors, the Brits.

The Brits sold the Canucks (not the hockey team) on the idea of purchasing four of their rusting, obsolete submarines.

A bargain they offered their Commonwealth comrades, only $800 million and installment plan available, if needed.

Our politicians became convinced that four used submarines, for less than the price of a new one, would enhance the Navy's capacity to protect and defend our coastal flanks.

All they had to do is pick them up from the British used submarine lot.

Our guys embraced the pitch, hook, line and sinker (pun intended), especially the sinker part.

And the curtain raised on a sorry saga that continues to this day.

During the Atlantic crossing (in 1998) one boat caught fire. A sailor died and four injured.

The accident became a predictor of what was to come of this folly.

Esquimalt received two subs to guard the Pacific flank as did Halifax to guard the Atlantic.

The CP story recounts, in detail, how billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent since, on primarily four dry-land subs. Remaining in water for long periods turned out to be dangerous to the lives of our sailors.

The article is salted with reasons. A legacy of years of setbacks, lengthy repairs, flawed inspections, problem welds, etc., etc..

Insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result"- Einstein

Hard to believe now that at the end of WWII, the Canadian Navy was one of the biggest in the world. Also, Canadian expertise developed the most sophisticated jet fighter available (Avro Arrow), only to be cancelled by a short sighted Prime Minister.

MORE INSANITY EMANATING FROM THE NEIGHBOURS

In a speech last Saturday, the Crazy Man reminded his excited supporters (again), I'm a winner. Informing the devotee's, the Ruskies have more Nukes, that America is falling behind in the race to destroy humankind. (Current estimates: Vladimir controls 3,000. Donald, 2,800). He promised, as your Commander in Chief, we will win this race. Lunatics in a mad race to oblivion.

The unintended consequences of questionable political decisions.

Nervous yet?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#112 SAY "NUTS" TO THE BULLY

February 22nd is Pink Shirt Day/Stand Up Against Bullying Day in British Columbia.

Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.

The bully's tactic: introduce complete disorder and confusion, intimidate everyone and in the chaos take over the neighbourhood.

We have all had to deal with bullies; growing up in the neighbourhood, at school, at work, on the internet.

DEALING WITH BULLIES

During WWII
On December 22, 1944, tanks and soldiers of the German Army completely surrounded Allied forces in Bastogne, Belgium and laid siege to the town.

It was one of the coldest winters on record.

The Germans sent a party of four--a Major, a Captain and two enlisted men--up the road to Bastogne carrying a white flag, bringing a demand from the Nazi commander for the Allied troops to surrender, otherwise the troops would be annihilated.

The acting U.S. commander, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, replied to the demand with just one word "Nuts".

The Germans did not comprehend the response.
U.S. Colonel Harper explained, if you don't understand what "Nuts" means, in plain English it is the same as
"Go to hell".

The troops held off the German attack until reinforcements arrived.

In 2017
A bully now lives next door. He has decreed new neighbourhood 'rules of conduct'...on his terms.

Prime Minister J.T.'s latest directive (marching orders) to his cabinet: play nice in order to (hopefully/maybe) gain favours in upcoming negotiations with the bully's gang.

As a strategy, 'sucking up to the bully' never works and serves only to reinforce his tactic to continue bullying.

If our gang doesn't stand up to the bully
(and. if necessary, verbally punch the bully in the nose), we're toast and should resign in shame.

THIS WOULD BE BEYOND NUTS

Anyone been wondering what ever happened to one of Emperor Trump's earliest, most dedicated, passionate supporters, whose words in a speech remain to this day, confusing nonsense?

Anyone been wondering who is being considered as the new U.S. Ambassador to Canada?

Speculation is the Emperor will inform Justin, that Sarah Palin will be appointed as his representative in Ottawa.

The Emperor rewards those who remain steadfast in their loyalty to HIM...regardless of how bizarre, flaky or clueless they are.

This would confirm what the Emperor really thinks of his Northern neighbour...irrelevant, weak, malleable, compliant.

If this 'beyond Nuts' appointment happens and the Prime Minister accepts her credentials as legitimate (fearing recriminations) he should do the honourable thing...resign.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#111 TIMES ARE A CHANGIN', UPSIDE DOWN AND BACKWARDS

My Dad was a Linotype operator for Winnipeg newspapers by day. Five nights a week, he played trumpet/cornet in Len Pattendon's orchestra at the Roseland Dance Garden, a popular Winnipeg nightclub.

A Linotype operator has to read lines of type (text) upside down and backwards; a skill now extinct, like a growing number of newspapers worldwide.

UPSIDE DOWN AND BACKWARDS, IN AMERICA

At noon on January 20, 2017, millions of American voters who echoed the angry words of TV Host, Howard Beale, in the 1976 movie, Network, "We're as mad as hell and we're not going to take this anymore", got their wish.

Note: There are real life implications when someone wishes for something crazy only to see how crazy it is.

The world now needs a skill, an ability to interpret the upside down and backward ramblings of President 'Non Compos Mentis'.

During his inauguration speech, he trashed the entire political establishment, former Presidents sitting next to him, the current state of America and America's Allies.

The appropriate non-verbal reaction to his unprecedented bombast was provided by observing Michelle Obama's facial expressions and body language.

The display of unbridled narcissism, boasting about himself during the inaugural address, at the inaugural Balls and during the CIA visit was unseemly.

On the second day of his reign, while tweet-trashing media about inauguration attendance 'guesstimates, millions of demonstrators gathered in 673 cities in 57 countries, in support of the Women's March in Washington, D.C..

Does he understand why they marched?

Does he care?

Republicans now control the levers of American power, soon to include the Supreme Court but, ironically, not the White House.

The 'Party of Trump', without allegiance to any group, is now in charge.

A 'Party of One' that marches to its solitary drummer determined to drain the political swamp in Washington.

The 'All About ME' Presidency now begins, at an unpredictable and dangerous time for the planet, with dark echoes of the 1930's.

UPSIDE DOWN AND BACKWARDS, IN CANADA

Justin disappointed and confused environmentalists with pipeline decisions that appear to run contrary to his governments commitments at the U.N. Climate Conference in Paris.

To many, especially those living in British Columbia, transporting more heavy oil by pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast to be loaded onto super tankers for transport overseas to be refined, makes no sense.

There is no doubt a spill of heavy oil on land or in the waters of B.C. will be devastating to the environment.

The dichotomy is; in order to maintain and/or improve our standard of living, intelligent extraction and export of Canada's abundant natural resources is essential.

We pay excessively for gasoline, jet and diesel fuel because much of our oil is shipped to the United States to be refined then shipped back to Canada.

If "our" oil is refined here:
1) Environmental dangers are significantly diminished,
2) Jobs are created,
3) Profits are retained, taxes support government programs,
4) The cost of gasoline, jet and diesel fuel is reduced,
5) The cost of goods shipped by truck, rail and plane are reduced.

It remains a mystery why governments have not backed a proposal for a more sensible resolution of the dichotomy.

David Black, a wealthy Victoria businessman, has attempted to obtain support for his proposal;
a $18-billion clean heavy-oil refinery, located in Kitimat, B.C..

The clean refinery would be one of the ten largest refineries in the world. It could process 400,000 barrels of pure bitumen from Alberta's oil sands into 460,000 barrels of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel, primarily for export.

The refinery would also involve $5-billion of processing technology that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, compared with all other heavy oil refineries.

In case of a spill at sea, and unlike crude oil or diluted bitumen, refined fuels float and evaporate.

Consequently, shipping refined fuels in super tankers is less damaging to the environment.

Mr. Black explains because there's such a strong feeling against the pipeline (right now) in the North, he finally moved away from the idea and started thinking about shipping solid bitumen by train.

It might surprise some that Black was among those disappointed that Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was approved.

He had spoken to Kinder Morgan about including a Canadian refinery in their plan. They did not.

Question: What's not to like about Mr. Black's proposal?

Will our Federal and Provincial governments ever provide the answer?

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen".
- Winston Churchill

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#110 A YEAR-ENDER IN THREE PARTS

2016 arrived exuding hope and promise; departs in a straight jacket screaming "what the hell happened"?

2017 arrives inheriting a pile of high anxiety, foreboding and trepidation. Happy ??? New Year?

PART ONE

Quiz - Who said?

1) "When you come to a fork in the road, take it"

2) "Just watch me"

3) "I was a high-school teacher. I am a strong advocate for women's rights, and I'm not a woman"

Helpful (or not) clue:

Quote #1) The author is a 20th century original.
He never coveted or needed the assistance of clever speech writers. His first names, Lawrence Peter.
His wisdom did not come from reading books rather by attending the school of hard knocks.
He would pass up a Nobel prize in literature for another ring.

Quote #2) His first name means rock. His mother's name is Grace.
During WWII he rode around Montreal on a motorcycle wearing an enemy helmet.
Like many in his Province, he strongly disagreed with federal government policy on conscription.
He was one of three wise men. The others were friends, Gerard and Jean.

Quote #3) Born on Christmas day, as was another brother. After graduating, taught school, dabbled with acting until settling on a political career.
Despite being a millionaire, he currently lives in a tax subsidized cottage with his family.

Answers

Number one: Lawrence Peter 'Yogi' Berra.
New York Yankee catcher, coach and manager extraordinaire. His encrypted 'Yogi-isms' infiltrated the English language and are continually being deciphered for their hidden meanings that explain his take on life.

Number two: Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
Lawyer, intellectual, activist. Canada's Prime Minister, twice.

Number three: Justin Pierre James Trudeau.
Canada's 23rd Prime Minister...in training.

Of the three quotes, the most profound is Quote#1. The fertile mind of the great Yogi precisely captures the state of today's world.

Deciphering Yogi-speak:
The world has reached another critical fork in the road, which fork to take?

Leaving us a confounding Hobson's choice.

The planet is in dire need of guidance.

But where is the person with the wisdom and leadership to assume this burden?

PART TWO

Those who govern, how are they doing?

Compared to their predecessors, 2016 has seen a dramatic change in the approach to governing.

Our tattooed, chick-magnet P.M. has enjoyed an extended honeymoon, selflessly offering himself for millions of selfies with folks at home and abroad.

Attending numerous meetings with the outgoing crop of world leaders enabled "Because its 2015" to project the image of a fresh, young, contemporary, forward thinking, energetic leader making his debut on the world stage.

Whether besting a Senator (with a 2nd degree black belt in Karate) in a three round boxing match for charity, or vacationing with family, Mr. Shirtless (swoon) in Tofino, defies the stereotypical image of a politician.

The cumulative affect built a bank account of popular goodwill, which Monsieur Hunk (swoon) will need to draw from on the pot-holed road ahead.

As the curtain goes up on 2017, the predominantly rookie, gender-balanced cabinet, carefully selected with the deft assistance of his trusted buddy, Gerry Butts, face the more difficult part of governing, choices.

As their honeymoon wanes, reality dawns. Back bench smiles dissolve into worried frowns.

'Sunny Ways': A feel good slogan for the successful campaign, but no magic potion or panacea when trying to deliver on so many (unaffordable) solemn promises.

The politician's conundrum: Tell the truth...and lose.

The political 'Dodge & Duck" rule: During a campaign, cover up depressing facts, substitute hopeful solemn promises.

The political objective: Persuade enough voters to believe the solemn promises and win power, for four years.

Fine print: never let your conscience get in the way of the objective.

Unavoidable fallout: The voter will eventually realize it was just another smoke and mirrors sham to gain power, but by then, you're in.

Taxpayers pipe dream: When politicians treat voters as adults, stop covering up the truth and lying.
When/if that ever happens, they might begin to appreciate we are all in the mess together and the only practical way out is mutual trust.

The irony: the issue is not beyond the comprehension of most voters.

- That insufficient tax dollars are coming in to the treasury to pay for existing commitments.

Adding more is plain nuts (irresponsible).

- That offering voters more unaffordable goodies is dishonest.

- That selecting a few 'new' goodies (to save face) can only be achieved by trade-offs, replacing an existing commitment with a new one or, increase debt (current additional debt has already reached $30 billion per year).

Given the current state of the economy, opting for the latter is irresponsible madness.

The red flag: Raise expectations, followed by broken promises is a formulae for big troubles ahead.

Our American neighbours elected a braggart who conned enough voters into believing he can solve all their problems. The consequences will impact everyone.

And so dear reader, on the home front. After one year, can the training wheels on the rookie cabinets tricycle be safely taken off?

The Sunny Ways gang will be severely tested if they can't.

The Prince of Smiles goodwill account can be quickly depleted.

Any battle-scarred political war horse from the Prairies (think Ralph Goodale) will advise the 'Newbies' to avoid stepping on too many cow pies.

Stepping on one or two in Winter is not fatal, for obvious reasons. But when the thaw comes, stepping on only one will stick to your Birkenstocks and stink up the joint.

A list of cow pie land mines to be wary of in 2017:

Rookie gaffes, deficit spending, fentanyl murders (700+ in B.C. already this year), pipelines, Indigenous needs/demands, cash-for-access, housing and rent affordability, health care, infrastructure needs, terrorists, jobs, climate, marijuana, refugees, LNG, hackers, Bombardier, ultra-wealthy tax avoiders, electoral reform, student debt, trade deals, child care, military needs (ships, planes), arms deals (Saudis), CBC/SRC...and especially be wary of our megalomaniac neighbour.

PART THREE

Thought for today

The capital city of the second most populated English speaking Province (Victoria) is located 58km South of the 49th parallel.

For those who have never visited beautiful Vancouver Island, the line is where the town of Ladysmith is located.

What if?
His most Empirical Self, El Presidente the Great Trumpy, decides to build a wall across the 49th parallel to keep Canadians out of his play pen.

Or, Justin the Fair decides to build a wall to keep the scary Nuke 'em Nut out of ours.

Citizens of 'make-believe England' would find themselves trapped, in a stateless Limbo land. Undocumented aliens surrounded by a wall and the Pacific ocean.

Questions arising

Would the Tweeter-in-chief order one of his generals e.g. 'Mad Dog' Mattis to send in the Marines to invade, round up the aliens and pull down the statue of Queen Victoria on the lawn of the Provincial legislature?

Is there comfort knowing the Canadian Pacific Fleet is based in the township of Esquimalt? Nope.

A colossal naval mismatch would take all of 20 minutes to conclude.

Two WWII British submarines, in dry dock undergoing perpetual repairs, pitted against the mighty U.S. Navy nuclear submarine fleet, based a mere 20 miles from Esquimalt.

Where might his most Empirical Self, El Presidente the Great Trumpy, deport the undocumented aliens caught in Limbo land?

Would they be herded aboard the captured Canadian Navy rust-buckets (are there two or three left that still float?) adrift in the Pacific as stateless pariah's?

Or maybe El Presidente Trumpy would consider allowing the aliens to declare Limbo land an independent no-bananas Republic or Principality.

The Republic or Principality of 'Sealandia' would be a fitting name for the new country.

And maybe descendants of Amore de Cosmos, British Columbia's second Premier, could be persuaded to become its first Dictator. Trumpy likes Dictators.

This status change could turn out to be very fortuitous for the aliens.

- We (remember I live here) could apply for annual foreign aid grants from both America and Canada.

- Both countries would be obliged to protect us, in case Vladimir The Invader has designs.

- The National Bank of Sealandia could easily function as a tax haven where the ultra-wealthy (e.g.,Trumpy, Kevin 'Mr. Wonderful' O'Leary and other One %'ters) could hide their money here, closer to home. Trumpy likes hiding his money.

Sealandia; awash in casinos, pot shops, cruise ships, tourists. A land of smiles that would make the Selfie Champ envious.

- Similar to citizens of the independent city-state, Monaco, Sealandians would end up paying no taxes.

This arrangement sounds better and better.

BUILD THAT WALL, BUILD THAT WALL, BUILD THAT WALL, BUILD THAT WALL...please.

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing"
- Michael Pritchard

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#109 REMEMBERING A TIME CALLED 'CHRISTMAS'

It happens when Mother Nature deposits a protective blanket of white on the land for the long winter sleep.

December, a time for multicultural "holiday" celebrations e.g., Hanukkah, Christmas.

A time of Christmas trees, Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, Christmas gatherings, Christmas cheer, Christmas greetings, Christmas concerts, Christmas carols, Christmas services, Christmas dinner, Christmas cake.

But, best of all, the priceless look on the faces of the little ones on Christmas morning when they notice the milk and cookies are gone; replaced by Christmas presents under the Christmas tree.

That all too brief period in young lives when imagination allows the impossible to seem possible.

A magical make believe time that remains locked in the memory bank for life.

Traditions are precious, because they form part of what defines the character of a people.

All groupings of people (tribes) have established a wide variety of organized social structures, beliefs, customs and traditions.

Different tribes worship different Deity. All believe theirs is the (only) "real" one.

The only animal capable of destroying all others, as well as themselves, is the human animal.

Programmed into human animal DNA is a compulsion to impose their social systems and beliefs on others.

Over the course of human history, this has resulted in wars, misery and destruction, resolving nothing but mass migration and retracing of borders by the victors who impose (for a limited period) their will on the vanquished.

The consequences trigger the cycle to begin again in a never-ending circle of madness.

Albert Einstein and others have expressed the opinion that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, borders on insanity.

Canadians are reputed to be "excessively" polite, i.e.,
too polite to refuse.

Rule-makers, in their councils, are lobbied by outliers and eventually succumb to the persistent pressure that 'Christmas' should be subsumed, banished...because it (the word) "may" offend.

Once convinced, rule-makers sanctimoniously proclaim don't be upset, we are simply accommodating those who "may" be offended and you can still have the celebration, so long as referencing (the word) 'Christmas' is removed. The electronic device equivalent of "move to trash and delete".

Without so much as a whimper of effective protest, 'Christmas' (the word) becomes outlawed and replaced by (the word) 'Holiday'.

In the blessed name of Christmas, how could anyone be offended by Christmas?

The Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and other characters who break into your house at night must scare the hell out of these people.

Specific Canadian customs and traditions are/have been targeted by determined groups of faceless outliers. For what redeeming purpose?

Is the only objective to reduce long-standing traditions and values into a bland pablum of inoffensive, innocuous gruel, or is there a different agenda at play; by using code words like 'politically correct' as a cover to achieve a more sinister goal?

When too many traditions/customs are "voluntarily" given up the very character of a nation is fundamentally changed.

Outliers effectively use social media to bully and silence dissent.

How many long-standing traditions (like 'Christmas') will eventually disappear before the "too polite to refuse" Canadian decides to stand up to the bully and push back?

A true personal story

When I was ten, while skating at our local outdoor rink, an older kid punched me in the face and stole my hockey stick and puck (a Christmas present).
Bloody nose, tears streaming down my cheeks, I crawled on my hands and knees to our apartment a block from the rink.

Two years later, following a growth spurt, I encountered the kid at the same rink and beat the crap out of him. The bully never bothered me again.

Message to the Grinch's (outliers and rule-makers): Rather than mess with our 'Christmas' tradition, why not embrace it.

In the spirit of the season - Merry Christmas to All.
In the words of Tiny Tim - God bless us everyone.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#108 AND LIBERTY WEEPS

The statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbour.

The statue, gifted by France to America, opened to the public in 1886 and represents the Roman Goddess of Freedom.

A "once" welcoming beacon to immigrants arriving from abroad declares: Give me your tired. Your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breath free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

FAST FORWARD - IT'S SUCK-UP TIME

In a charade of unity, a parade of supplicants are summoned to a New York City tower.

Each, in turn, bow down and kiss the appropriate body part (depends on the favour being curried) of the strangely coifed man sitting in a gold chair, who cleverly conned half the voters of America.

Many considered disloyal, untrustworthy, unworthy are rejected by the Emperor's family-controlled Transition Team-Two and quickly dismissed.

The few who pass Consigliere Rasputin Stephen Bannon's Litmus Test (to serve the Emperor's every whim and execute his commands) are a scary lot.

An array of weird characters eerily resembling the cast of the 1964 movie titled,
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

A few of the crazier that really stand out in a movie worth watching (again, if you've seen it) for its potential prophetic rerun:

Dr. Strangelove (Wheelchair bound chief Advisor to U.S. President Merkin Muffley, Nuclear War "expert" and former Nazi, with an uncontrollable right arm that unexpectedly shoots upward in a Nazi arm salute when he becomes excited).

Brig. Gen. Jack Ripper (who believes the Soviets have been using fluoridation of United States water supplies to pollute the "precious bodily fluids" of Americans).

Col. 'Bat' Guano, Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, Major T. J. 'King' Kong and several others.

In a "supportive" role, Soviet Premier Dimitri Kissov.

Footnote #1: As appointments are made, fill in the names of the new "actors" in this American tragedy as the profiles fit.

Upon exiting the tower elevator, all sycophants face the 24/7 cameras in the lobby and asked why they are there and what happened.

All dutifully revert to Rule #3: Never explain, never complain and leave.

MOVING DAY: January 20, 2017

Following his swearing in as 45th President, Donald J. Trump, his family, henchmen and henchwomen move into a home built by slaves, appropriately called for this gang, The White House.

The Emperor and his family may eventually decide their new home is too common, not up to their usual standards, and return to the more palatial gold-plated digs of Trump Tower in New York.

Footnote #2: The White House was burned down by the British in 1814 (during the War of 1812) in retaliation for the American invasion of the City of York in Ontario, Canada.

And Liberty...she weeps.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#107 WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

The sports cliche "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat", played out as a "miracle" in game seven of the World's Series which many consider the best game ever witnessed by millions of baseball fans.

A few weeks passed, when a more serious "game seven" shocker occurred.

The "Mad as Hell" scene, from the 1973 movie "Network" played out in the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 9, as a stark reality for America and the world.

The victor effectively tapped into a toxic mix of anger, fear, racism and frustration.

He challenged the American voter with "What have you got to lose"...and they took him up on it.

The losers, convinced it was impossible, stunned, bewildered, reeling and grieving from the outcome, while trying to absorb what happened.

As the holiday season approaches, parents remind their children that Santa's elves have been keeping a list and checking it twice, identifying who's been naughty and who's been nice.

As always happens in the game of politics, the elves on all sides have been keeping a list to avenge, revenge, blame.

What is the difference between revenge and avenge?

Avenge is a verb. To avenge is to punish a wrongdoing with the intent of seeing justice done.

Revenge can be used as a noun or a verb.
It is more personal, less concerned with justice and more about retaliation by inflicting harm.

Will the man who boasted he is the only one who can fix a broken nation ever realize he is seriously flawed and can't?

With one party control of all branches of government and the Supreme Court, Donald Trump becomes the most powerful leader in American history.

What are the odds he has the temperament to use this power wisely, for the good or ill of humankind?

The world holds its collective breath as a Republic in turmoil, split in half, determines its fate...and ours.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#106 STORM CLOUDS GATHERING?

Some may remember the name Spiro Agnew.

Spiro was the 39th Vice President of the United States (1969-1973), serving under Richard Nixon.

Agnew was known for his scathing criticisms of political opponents, especially journalists and anti-war activists.

Attacking his adversaries with relish; hurling unusual, often alliterative epithets.

Considered by many as Nixon's principal "Attack Dog".

Referring to the "hated media", he expounded:
"In the United States today, we have more than our fair share of nattering nabobs of negativism".

Displaying a passionate dislike of "intellectuals":
"An intellectual is a man who doesn't know how to park a bike".

The Vietnam War opponents were considered:
"An effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals".

In 1973, Agnew was charged with extortion, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy.

Familiar actions that suggest nothing much has changed in the intervening four and a half decades.

On October 10, 1973 he resigned, pleading
"no contest" to criminal charges of tax evasion as part of a deal to avoid jail time.

In his memoir, Agnew implied that Nixon and his Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig, had planned to assassinate him if he refused to resign the Vice Presidency, and that Haig told him to "Go quietly...or else", the memoir's title.

His Boss, Richard M. Nixon, served as 37th President of the United States from 1969 until his resignation in 1974, brought about by the Watergate scandal.

Becoming the only President to resign from office, he convinced himself that "When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal".

During a 1973 televised Q & A Nixon said:
"People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got".

His biographers characterized him as follows:

A smart, talented man, but most peculiar of Presidents.

A complex personality, both very secretive and awkward, yet strikingly reflective about himself.

Driven, though also uneasy with himself in some ways.

Thought he was doomed to be traduced, double-crossed, unjustly harassed, misunderstood, under appreciated, and subjected to the trials of Job, but that the application of his mighty will, tenacity, and diligence, he would ultimately prevail.

His paranoia led him to develop a long "enemies list".

After his resignation, he was a soul in torment.

On September 8, 1974, his successor, Gerald Ford, granted Nixon a "full, free and absolute pardon" which ended any possibility of an indictment.

Historian Keith Olson wrote:
Nixon left a negative legacy of fundamental mistrust of government with its roots in Vietnam and Watergate.

That legacy of distrust has grown to all areas of "authority and power" which echoes ever more loudly today.

On Tuesday November 8, America will choose between the two most unpopular candidates ever to seek the Presidency. One called "liar", the other "crazy and dangerous".

Bernie Sanders, the popular socialist independent Senator from Vermont, who lost the Democratic nomination, effectively hammered home his populist message that struck a cord with many Americans:

*Wall Street regulates the Congress.

*We need fundamental changes.
The establishment, whether it is the economic establishment, the political establishment, or the media establishment, is failing the American people.

*A Corporation is not a person and should not be able to spend millions on a campaign in order to buy elections.

*If a financial institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.

*We've got more wealth and income inequality today than we've had since the 1920's.

*The billionaires of America are on the warpath and want more and more and more.

*The only honest approach to providing comprehensive, universal health care in a cost-effective way, is a single payer approach.

*Climate change is real. Keep fossil fuels in the ground.

*This recession was caused by greed, the recklessness and illegal behaviour of the people on Wall Street.

*We are moving toward an oligarchic form of society.

The "crazy and dangerous" Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has served notice that his millions of loyal followers will never accept "lying" Hillary Clinton as "their" President.

This portends a gathering storm of protest the outcome of which may be as unpredictable and dangerous as their leader.

And...the world holds its collective breath.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#105 DRIVING MISS DAISY...THEN AND NOW

What is it about males and cars?

I bought my first car in my twenties, in Edmonton.

A used 1955 Chevrolet hardtop convertible; grass green on the bottom, cream on top.

A thing of beauty that I loved driving with its intricate stick shift action, stunning body styling and colour combination.

One sunny morning, proceeding down a steep hill, it met its fate...and nearly mine.

A delivery truck coming up the hill suddenly lost its driver's side front wheel that began bouncing up the steep incline, seeming to accelerate as it headed straight for me.

The impact came as the projectile hit where the hardtop roof line connects to the windshield, on the driver's side.

I somehow survived, but the Chevy didn't.

From used car lots in Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver, countless "previously enjoyed" vehicles followed.

Purchase of each one included the dreaded "ritual negotiation hassle" with a salesman who could never authorize a "final deal" without consulting with his invisible "Slick-Willy" manager who attempted to squeeze a few more dollars from your empty pockets.

Finally, the day arrived when I bought my first "new" car.

The ritual negotiation was conducted in familiar fashion.

Ironically, this milestone was not accompanied by the thrill of buying that first used '55 Chevy.

More new cars followed.

The latest and likely last, was recently driven home from a Victoria dealership.

The "ritual negotiation hassle" no longer exists.

The buyer shops for the "car of your affordable dreams" online, where every detail, accessory, price, taxes and discounts is provided.

A fair price range for your trade-in is also available online.

Technology has leveled the playing field, arming the purchaser with knowledge to reach a deal without the ritual hassle.

Convenient one-stop shopping, all accomplished at the dealership. Within hours, paperwork, insurance, etc. is completed and you are very carefully driving the unfamiliar machine home.

THE NEW HASSLE

Reading and remembering three phone book size manuals purporting to explain (in understandable language?) the operation of dozens of computers that do everything except shift gears and steer the vehicle.

THE SCARY BIT

Fine print in the "Navigation System Owner's Manual" advises the on-board computers are now so sophisticated and interconnected, they can extract information from our personal computers (mobile phone, IPAD, home computer, wrist watch, brain?) and feed the output (via the rooftop antennae) to the Global Positioning System (GPS)...operated by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Satellites, owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense???
...A.K.A.: CIA/NSA/HOMELAND SECURITY/BORDER SECURITY snooper-troopers!

Paraphrasing Martha Stewart "And that's not a good thing".

This "sophistication" enables tracking and recording.

Your car is providing "the watchers" your every movement, communication, what you read, buy, watch, listen to, health information, etc...with your "implicit" approval.

What are the watchers doing with the information?

Who else are they giving it to?

How long will it take foreign and domestic hackers to gain access to your information?

Some may consider this progress.

My generation feel it was much more fun, back then, driving around town in a used '55 Chevy hardtop convertible.

Live long enough and the next vehicle you buy will be an electric self-driving computer.

Oldsters can then sit in the back seat, snacking, texting, imbibing, sleeping and dreaming of "the good old days" when your private business was your business.

But who is responsible if there's an accident?

And when "artificial intelligence" finally takes total control of humans, as some are predicting, what then?

WORTH REMEMBERING

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That is why it's called...a present".

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#104 IF WISHES WERE HORSES - IMAGINE IF'S -
WHAT IF'S

A 16th century nursery rhyme: "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride", suggests if wishing could make things happen, then even the most destitute people would have everything they wanted.

Ever believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, Fairies, Magic Reindeer?

That you can wish upon a star and it will come true?

The tale that follows could give HOPE to many and even make them believe in miracles.

WHAT IF'S...

What if...Hillary's health issues make it impossible for her to attend the September 26th debate?

What if...before the second debate, her doctor concludes that continuing the race for the White House endangers her life and she, therefore, withdraws?

What if...the Democratic Party announces their Presidential candidate will now be the runner-up, Bernie Sanders?

What if...Trump's entire strategy is rendered useless by this sudden change of challenger.
He reverts to form, fires his latest hired backroom strategists and decides to use the tactic that got him this far, wing it with fairy dust, fantasies, bombast, insults, bullying, innuendo and bullshit?

What if...Senator Bernie demonstrates in the heat of an unscripted debate, his seasoned verbal jousting skills are not only a match for Trump's, but so effective as to puncture Donald's very thin skin, triggering a tirade of incomprehensible nonsense?

What if...Bernie's command of the issues that voters most care about and his bold innovative solutions so expose Trump's shallow and vague grasp of reality that his base collapses?

What if...Bernie's popularity and populist ideas are so refreshing that undecided voters and nervous Republicans decide to back him as the "real" change candidate?

What if...Trump is finally considered so unacceptable as President and Commander-in-chief that Bernie wins on November 8th?

That outcome would trigger such a shock wave through the dominant group of elites that hold power and authority (a.k.a. the Establishment) that many would begin to believe in miracles.

ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?

It's hard to even imagine it today, but there was a time when flying was fun, even glamorous.

The "Golden age of air travel" refers to the beginning of the jet age in the late 1950's through the late 1970's.

Fares, routes and schedules were all regulated by the federal government.

Smiling stewardesses took your coat, stowed your bags, and might have offered you a free glass of Champagne.

Each seat had a pillow and blanket, and the Captain sometimes even stopped by for a chat.

Meals were often inspired by well-known chefs from the best restaurants.

Fighting for armrests was unheard of.

Everything began to change with deregulation, and even more dramatically, after 9/11, resulting in the remaining major airlines to, in tandem, raise fares, impose new and higher fees and reduce service.

To pack in more passengers and make even more money, airlines re-arranged their cabins and shaved inches from economy-class seats.

The airlines also dramatically downsized the distance between rows of seats effectively stealing away leg room increasing the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots,) forming in legs causing a blockage that could be fatal.

Some planes are too full to safely evacuate in case of an emergency.

Everything offered in economy-class is a-la-carte.

Fees and taxes exceed the cost of a ticket.

Seats are getting slimmer as people get bigger:

*In 1985, the average woman weighed 145.4 lbs., the average man, 173.8 lbs., the average airplane seat width, 20 inches, the average seat pitch, 33 inches.

*In 2016, the average woman weighed 166.2 lbs, the average man, 195.5 lbs., the average airplane seat width, 17.5 inches, the average seat pitch, 31 inches.
*(Source: Consumer Reports)

The smiles have disappeared from everyone involved even before the legalized mandatory mugging of the invasive security check takes place.

Time, circumstance and politics have conspired to make flying an expensive, stress inducing test of human tolerance.

The glamour and fun of the experience in "the good old days" has been turned into a modern day appointment with your dentist for a root canal.

Contemporary airlines now focus on a new mission statement: WE'RE NOT HAPPY UNTIL YOU'RE NOT HAPPY!

A recent family experience:

August 8, 6:30 p.m., Pearson Terminal One:
Daughter and granddaughter board Air Canada flight 1183 (direct Toronto to Victoria) looking forward to a once-in-a-lifetime family reunion on Vancouver Island.

The airfare, seats, checked luggage and faux-food "snack package" all prepaid.

The aircraft is pushed away from the departure gate, on time.

The engines start and the big bird begins its slow journey to the assigned take-off runway.

Suddenly the aircraft stops and engines shut down.

The Captain announces there is a mechanical problem that requires technical assistance.

One hour later, the Captain informs a plane load of sweating passengers, the aircraft may have to return to the departure gate if the problem can't be fixed.

Because another plane and crew is not available, passengers are trapped on the tarmac for five hours while technicians finally locate and repair the problem.

During this ordeal there is no air conditioning inside the plane. The outside temperature is a humid 30+.

Water is provided to the economy-class passengers. The "free" amenity, courtesy of Air Canada, obviously for the survival of those occupying the cheap seats, avoid collapse and potential ensuing law suits.

The flight finally arrives in Victoria at 1:30 a.m.
(4:30 a.m. Toronto time), the next day.

Worried relatives and friends wait in the arrivals area. Nobody from the airline is present to explain reasons for the incredible delay. Has there been an accident?

Disembarking exhausted passengers are offered by way of apology?, a modest discount voucher...for a future Air Canada flight...provided it occurs in the next 90 days.

A week later, daughter and granddaughter are at the Victoria airport check in counter for the return flight.

The unsmiling Air Canada agent asks if they would "voluntarily" give up their prepaid seats...because the flight is over booked...and take an alternative flight to Vancouver, then on to Toronto.

Acceptance would delay their arrival in Toronto by several hours, but Air Canada would "reward" them for the inconvenience with priority seating...whatever that means.

Daughter's sudden assertive response, includes a detailed explanation of their "experience" on the previous flight, making the agent realize he picked the wrong "volunteers".

Mother and daughter board AC flight 1186 and arrive at Pearson Terminal One on time to meet their ride home to Niagara-on-the-lake.

FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET

What if...part of Mr. Sunny Ways infrastructure incentive initiative, induces Bombardier, CN, VIA and CP Rail to collaborate with the Federal Government to develop a 10-year plan to bring a state of the art pollution-free, ultra-high-speed rail service to Canada?

Such a bold investment would bring currently unimaginable benefits to the country.

Where there's a WILL, there's a WAY.

Breaking news: The Queen and Justin make the 2016 Vanity Fair International Best-Dressed List along with a few other notables.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#103 BEACH WEAR; BYE-BYE; "SAY CHEESE" AND MONDAY, MONDAY

THE BATHING WEAR FLAP

The female bathing gown of the 18th century was a loose, ankle-length, full-sleeve, chemise-type gown made of wool or flannel, so that "modesty was not threatened"...in the name of religion.

In the 21st century, French gendarmes ordered a woman to remove some of her clothing because it contravened a local bylaw concerning beach wear...in the name of religion.

During a recent visit to my dermatologist, the diminutive, Russian-born Tatyana, mused about the "flap doodle", explaining that baring too much skin is dangerous given the escalating epidemic of skin cancer...covering up is the way to go!

Her common-sense advice:

Ladies and gentlemen should avoid exposing their mostly overweight torsos in Speedos and string bikinis, in France or anywhere else.

BYE-BYE STEPHEN, HELLO, BONJOUR JUSTIN

Sitting in the "cheap seats" in our "House of Lawmakers" soon taxed the patience of "the Emperor"
who ruled over us with an iron fist for a decade.

Stripped of former power and influence, he quietly exited, without fanfare, bidding farewell via a video clip.

His successor provided the cursory notice of his predecessor's departure.

Meanwhile "Justin the Fair" appeared "seemingly simultaneously" everywhere, in every hamlet, village, town and city, East, West, North, South, from coast to coast to coast, taking selfies with anyone and everyone in the vicinity; shirtless, jacket and tie-less, partially or fully clothed, leaving no doubt Mr. Sunny Ways remains popular with his subjects and continues to polish his image.

With social and online media strengthening and celebrity entertainment-driven politics changing the game, Canadians are feasting on the image of their young, dynamic, handsome and currently accessible leader.

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 26

The most-watched television show ever will likely take place on September 26th, when the two most unpopular individuals ever to seek the most powerful and difficult job on the planet, will face each other in their first Presidential debate.

At this stage, in the race for the White House, either the crypto fascist or the policy wonk has a legitimate shot at winning. The debates could determine the outcome.

Meanwhile, the world anxiously waits for the outcome Tuesday, November 8.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#102 AS SUMMER DWINDLES DOWN, A FEW MEMORIES -
SOME GOOD, SOME BAD, SOME UGLY

GOOD:

August 13th, Tigh-Na-Mara Resort & Spa, Parksville, Vancouver Island, B.C.:
A "once in a lifetime" gathering of family and friends (in the same place at the same time) to belatedly celebrate a milestone birthday.

16-year-old, Penny Olyksiak, makes Canadian Olympic history by winning four Olympic medals;
Gold - women's 100m freestyle,
Silver - women's 100m butterfly,
Bronze - women's 4 X 100m freestyle relay,
Bronze - women's 4 X 200m freestyle relay.

The mutual respect, admiration and friendly rivalry between sprinters;
"The King", 29-year-old Jamaican Usain Bolt
(6 ft. 5 inches, 207 pounds) and
"The Prince", 21-year-old Canadian Andre De Grass
(5 ft. 9 inches, 154 pounds).

The overall performance and comportment of Canada's Olympic athletes.

BAD:

Europe's top Olympic official, Patrick Hickey, arrested and charged in Rio with scalping tickets to the Summer Games, in connection with an illegal ticket resale ring.

In the early morning of August 17th, at an upscale hotel reserved for IOC officials, near the main Olympic Park, Rio de Janiero state police knocked on Mr. Hickey's hotel suite door.

Mrs. Hickey answered and calmly informed lead detective Barbosa that her husband had returned to Ireland.

Undeterred, police began a search of the hotel.

They found Hickey hiding in the room next door which was occupied by his son.

To the amazement of the apprehending officers, Hickey answered the knock on the door...standing in the doorway stark naked.

He was led away covered in a hotel bathrobe claiming his nakedness was ample proof he "had nothing to hide" while insisting the police should apprehend the real perpetrators, those drunken Leprechauns of the mischievous trickster Faerie Folk...assuming they could catch one.

When that didn't work, he faked a heart attack and was taken to a nearby hospital, rather than the police station.

This ruse enabled Hickey to spend the 24 hours conferring with senior Irish officials on possible ways and means of fleeing the country.

The next day he was released from hospital and taken to the police station for questioning.

During the ensuing media melee, the official IOC spokesperson lamely offered, in response to reporters' questions, "everyone is considered innocent until proven otherwise...blah, blah, blah", while wondering who might be the next IOC official exposed with their slimy fingers in the Olympic cookie jar.

UGLY:

Everything that comes out of Donald Trump's mouth.

THE FALL SEASON promises more surprises...some good, some bad and some ugly.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#101 THE GAME OF GAMES

On August 5th, the world's attention will briefly focus on Rio de Janeiro.

Thousands of athletes accompanied by coaches, trainers, sports psychologists, team doctors, "chemists", proud parents, media and interested visitors will arrive in the South American city to participate/witness the thirty-first Summer Games of the modern Olympic era.

Outside the airport terminal hangs a banner that reads, "Welcome to Hell...Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe."

It was placed there by police and firefighters protesting for not being paid.

A pinch of Olympic history

The Ancient Olympic Games

It's speculated that the first Olympics occurred in 776 BC at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece.

Competition featured:
-Running events,
-A Pentathlon (consisting of a jumping event, discus and javelin throws, a foot race and wrestling),
-Pankration (a dangerous sport combining wrestling and boxing),
-Horse and Chariot Racing events.

The first Olympic champion was Coroebus, a cook from the city of Elis.

It's opined that the primary benefit of holding these Games was that all conflicts among the participating city-states and kingdoms of Ancient Greece were postponed until the Games were finished.

N.B. That idea is a modern myth because the Greeks never suspended their wars.

The Modern Era Olympic Games

In the early 1890's, Baron Pierre de Coubertin was inspired to found the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that resulted in the first Olympics of the modern era taking place in Athens in 1896.

The "economically wise" idea that Athens become the permanent Olympic host city was rejected by the IOC.

The second Olympics took place in Paris.

Baron de Coubertin's ideals are expressed in the Olympic Creed:

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.
The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well".

Those who followed, as they clambered aboard the IOC gravy train, did not share his idealism.

Olympic Symbols

The Olympic Torch is ignited by the sun's energy and transported from Olympia, Greece to the host city and used to light the cauldron in the stadium during the Opening Ceremony.

The Olympic Rings, represent the five continents Africa, America, Asia, Oceania and Europe.

The Olympic Colours (blue, yellow, black, green and red) represent colours in the flags of participating nations.

The Olympic Motto (Latin expression):

Citius (faster)
Altius (higher)
Fortius (stronger)

Baron de Coubertin's vision of a world Amateur sport competition, celebrated peacefully by nations in the spirit of his Creed, has dissolved into something very different.

A tarnished motto that underscores a sad reality:

Suus' circa omnes pecuniarum (It's all about the money)
Insere pectoribus (graft)
Cupiditas (greed)
Perversa (corrupt)
Decipiat (cheat)
Mendacium (lie)
Decipiendum (deceive)
Venenum (drug)
Scelestus (criminal)
Moraliter conturbare (morally bankrupt)

The Olympics were cancelled in 1916, 1940, 1944 during two world wars.

The Baron would undoubtedly wish that several others should have been cancelled until the IOC cleaned house and returned integrity to the movement.

Continuing down the "crooked" path cemented the end of the Olympic dream of its founder.

And now it's time to feel a great sympathy for its latest victim, the ordinary citizen of Brazil who was lulled (suckered) into accepting a double-jeopardy scheme perpetrated by the overlords of sport in concert with corrupt government officials and others.

The Hydra twins:

Hydra One: The tab for the 2014 World Cup left by that other gang of thieves, FIFA.

According to the Ministry of Sports, the total cost to put on the 2014 World Cup, $11.63 Billion, represented 61% of the country's education budget.

Hydra Two: Facing bankruptcy, calamity, national states of emergency, plague, violence, the threat of terrorism and polluted water, the "suckered" now have to pay the outrageous consequences of "winning" the bid to host the 2016 Summer Games, dealt them by the IOC overseers colluding with their unscrupulous government officials and others.

The budget for the Rio Olympics is 16 times higher than the budget to combat the Zika virus.

As with all of these types of events, the true all-in cost will never be revealed to the public.

Athletes, their entourage and visitors have the option of taking a pass on this one and staying home.

Ordinary Brazilians who can't even afford the cost of a ticket are stiffed with the staggering bill and cleaning up the toxic mess when the IOC gravy train leaves town.

Most athletes will not complain because, having spent years training their bodies and minds just to reach this place, see nothing to gain by complaining.

And besides, they alone have an important task to accomplish before (in a phrase made famous by the TV show "Gunsmoke") getting the Hell out of Rio.

In less than a month, Canadians will watch the good, the bad, the ugly, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, courtesy of Mother's public airwaves and NBC, from the safety and comfort of a chair.

When the Games begin, it's "GO CANADA GO!".

P.S. Calgary announced it's preparing a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Is it any wonder why so many are so disillusioned with so much?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

HAS THE WORLD CHANGED?

A couple of years have passed since being invited by "Stationbreak" to write occasional articles concerning my views on issues that peak my interest.

In that short time span, thousands of words have poured out onto the pages of 99 articles, most of which are stored in the Archives section, on the website.

The writer has pondered "what to write about?" to mark a milestone article, number one hundred.

Commonwealth citizens who attain 100 years receive congratulations from that "British rock of stability",
(cue the trumpets)
Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann,
Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George,
Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order,
Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

(NB: USING ANY OTHER TITLE IS JUST SLOPPY)

Elizabeth II has been around for so long that many of her subjects can't remember when we had a King.

If she hangs in for another ten years, somebody has to come up with the answer...who does she receive a congratulatory letter from?

The once mighty British Empire has been slowly coming apart for years.

The final "Coup De Grace" may have been delivered, Thursday June 23, when Brits decided, in a REFERENDUM, to knock stability on its Royal keister, shocking the world.

What happens next - the great unknown - leaves (pun intended) all implicated/impacted without a discernible game plan affecting employment, investment, trade, pensions, savings, cost of living etc.. In a word, CLUELESS about what to do next.

The initial shock-wave saw two trillion (U.S.D.) disappear from the world's markets on Friday.

One lesson from this fiasco:

REFERENDUMS are a lousy way to deal with complex issues few voters comprehend.

Emotion rather than knowledge results in calamitous consequences, that many of the millions who voted to head for the exits are now realizing.

The result has fractured Great Britain along demographic and nationalistic fault lines that are likely beyond reconciliation, encouraged the aspirations of separatists everywhere and ironically enhanced the chances that a dangerous man will occupy the White House in 2017.

Panicked, some are now signing a petition hoping for a re-do referendum.

It's too late.

The dye is cast.

The barn door was blown off its hinges by their uninformed decision and the horse is gone.

MEANWHILE, ON A GOLF COURSE IN SCOTLAND

Assembled reporters ask the Republican Presidential nominee for his views on BREXIT.

The wheels churn inside the orange dome searching for more abusively scornful sound bytes that will capture the day's headlines and again trump (pun intended) anything "Lying Crooked" Hillary might say.

Trump hears the voices in his head...

Beware, Oh, Great One...of the trick questions.

The media sleaze-bags are trying to trip you up.

Oh, Great One, remember, BREXIT is neither a new breakfast cereal or a laxative.

Trump stops listening to himself and proclaims:

Yeah, I think I see a big parallel.

I think people really - I think people really see a big parallel. A lot of people are talking about that, and not only in the United States, but other countries.

They want to take their monetary back.

A question from BBC news:

Do you think the people of Scotland should have its independence? Would you support that?

Trump:

I love the people of Scotland.

I've gotten to know the people of Scotland so well, and you know, through my mother and through everything else.

The people of Scotland are amazing people.

That's why I built the greatest golf course ever built new, in Aberdeen.

That question has to be addressed by the people of Scotland.

It was a very, very close vote.

Sorry, have to go, time to play golf and make America great again.

MEANWHILE, IN VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

A new political party is being born called "The Vancouver Island Party".

Its founder, a former Conservative MP and Harvard trained economist, Robin Richardson, is circulating a petition to put pressure on the provincial government to hold a 2021 REFERENDUM asking Islanders to vote on Vancouver Island becoming Canada's 11th province.

The new Party already has a motto "Island first and proud of it."

The new Party also has a flag, approved by Queen Victoria in 1865.

(I'M NOT MAKING THIS STUFF UP!)

One wag offered the following rational:
When God created the Rocky Mountains, all the nuts rolled down to the West Coast...where Sarah Palin lives.

THE SILLY SEASON?

We have reached the mid-point of the calendar year when the sun begins its journey Southward to the Equator.

Five short months from now American voters decide who has access to "The Nuclear Football".

The satchel...a briefcase containing the nuclear codes to destroy the planet that is always within reach of the President of the United States of America.

Something to wish for:

May the U.S. voter contemplate the consequences of a Donald Trump playing Russian Roulette with the other Crazies who have a finger on their nuclear button, before they vote in November.

Also, five short months from now, British Prime Minister, David Cameron steps down and hands the BREXIT mess to whoever is next.

To the question: HAS THE WORLD CHANGED?

Answer: YUP, AND YUP, AND YUP.

An old Chinese proverb:
"It's better to be a dog in peaceful times, than a man in chaotic times."

To paraphrase Tiny Tim: "What the hell just happened? God help us, every one."

IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#99 TWO RONNIES AND DIAPERS TO DIAPERS

Back, when photos of North American male and female bather's in "full body" swim suits was common.

Drab, colourless "summer long-john's" were the garb-du-jour at the beach.

The reason had nothing to do with avoiding the sun's damaging rays, rather a puritanical streak that ruled the time suggesting showing too much skin was sinful.

Several religious groups also ban dancing (for similar reasons) to prevent contact between men and women.

Ironically, the bathing fashion of the time was related to a moral code (not health reasons) and is making a comeback due to the epidemic of skin cancer.

This time with a fashion style and for the right reasons.

When we were young, nobody warned us about the damaging rays of the sun.

We saw the rich and famous on the screen of the local movie house who appeared "perpetually" tanned that gave the perception of "health" and spent hours baking in the sun during the all-too-brief summers.

The pain: the process of skin colour transitioning from a lobster-red to a brown-tan.

The reward: for the few months of summer, we felt and looked like..."one of them".

As with many things in life, the price would be paid later.

For the past four decades I have been treated by numerous dermatologists, attempting to control the resulting skin cancer from those exposures of summers past.

One put it this way, "Ronnie, you could spend the rest of your life living in a cave but never reverse the damage to your skin."

I now wear a broad brimmed hat to cast a shadow on the upper areas.

But, still cannot resist exposing my arms and legs (covered in sun-screen) to the sun's soothing spring/summer rays.

I regularly get blasted with liquid nitrogen wherever unwanted growths appear over previously exposed damaged body parts.

Recently, more radical procedures resulted in two surgeries to the scalp to remove nasty pieces of cancer.

About a month ago, my current dermatologist, the diminutive blond, Tatyana (from Sochi, Russia), spotted more suspicious growths and scheduled an appointment for a biopsy.

Last Wednesday, I show up at the appointed hour and check in with the receptionist.

As usual, the office is crowded with patients of various ages and sizes waiting for their treatment.

The wait extends, names are called, patients disappear into rooms, reappear and leave.

I begin to notice some who arrived after me receive their treatment and leave.

Seventy five minutes pass...I'm getting impatient.

The waiting room slowly empties, leaving another elderly gentleman and me.

A dermatologist appears, who I have never seen before.

She announces "Ronald". We both stand.

She motions to the other man to follow her.

The receptionist finally notices me and asks "Are you waiting for someone?"

"No, I'm Ron Devion. I checked in over an hour ago for a biopsy."

The receptionist suddenly reacts, "Oh, my goodness, something's wrong" and rushes into the back.

She reappears with the elderly, confused gentleman and tells him to sit in the waiting area.

She says to me "there's been a mix up!", quickly ushers me into the room vacated by the other man.

Another dermatologist, not Tatyana, greets me.

She's older, wears the "special" dermatologist coke bottle glasses on her forehead.

She motions for me to lay down on the "operating table".

The ultra-bright overhead light is blinding.

She asks, "Which eye is it?"

"Eye?...I'm here for a biopsy on my scalp, Tatyana was to do it."

"That's not what's written on the chart! Is your name Ronald?"

"Yes."

"Ronald Higgins?"

"No, Ronald Devion!"

"Oh, Oh...something's wrong."

She leaves the room, returning with Tatyana, carrying my file.

In a familar thick Russian accent, "Nice to see you again, Mr. Devion."

"What a coincidence, the other gentleman and you are both Ronald. Your files were inadvertently switched."

At this point I want to run away.

Tatyana takes charge of the situation. "Let's have a look at that scalp."

The two dermatologists spend a few minutes exploring the area, quietly whispering doctor-speak when Tatyana announces, "No biopsy today, Mr. D. I want you to try a new lotion, just approved for sale in Canada, that prevents the growth of cells. In a month, come back and we'll have another look at the scalp."

Reentering the waiting area I warn the other Ronnie,
"If they try to take a biopsy of your scalp, get out fast."

An example of what can happen when overworked, overbooked specialists, with too many patients to care for, confuse whom they are treating.

Stars of the hit TV series, "Two Ronnies (1971-1987), Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker would have done justice to this real life situation in one of their hilarious sketches.

DIAPERS TO DIAPERS, DUST TO DUST

When you're born, they wrap you in a diaper,

If you live long enough, they wrap you in another diaper,

In both cases, you're helpless and have no control over your bodily functions,

The only difference, the latter diaper is larger...and shortly thereafter you return from whence you came...we came "from Stardust" and "back to Stardust" we shall return.

Let's hope our lawmakers take the time to get the physician assisted death legislation right, and allow a dignity to returning to "Stardust".

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#98 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ZERO AND A PERSON'S RIGHT TO DECIDE

If you have a natural aversion to math, numbers, or aging, stop reading this...right now.

Humans are fascinated by the numeral zero.

For thousands of years the numeral zero has taken on a certain provenance, importance, significance to humans.

Why do we have 10 fingers and 10 toes?

The Bible story says Moses came down from the mountain carrying a stone tablet that had 10 commandments chiseled on it.

Why 10?

Why not 7, or 11 or 4?

Is there something mystical, magical, mysterious about the number 10?

A bit of history on the evolution of numerical systems:

Sometime between the first and sixth centuries A.D.,
a Hindu mathematician in India invents the "decimal system".

This system is sometimes also called the "Hindu-Arabic numeral system" because it was first introduced to Europeans by Arabs who had acquired the system from Hindus earlier.

The decimal numerical system (also called base 10) is the numerical base most commonly used by modern civilizations.

In 1670, a cleric from France, Gabriel Mouton, invents the "metric system".

Like most inventions, "jealous" scholarly types in other nations, disputed his claim suggesting one of their genius' was first to come up with the idea.

Whoever was first was irrelevant to lesser educated folk who believed all this highfalutin numbers stuff was too difficult to comprehend. And more importantly, from their perspective, had little to do with improving their everyday struggles to just stay alive.

This is the part where you have to concentrate and pay attention.

Dozing off is not permitted, stay alert and, "follow the bouncing ball".

The word metre, and its adjective metric, derives from a translation that first appeared in a book by an English Bishop, John Wilkin's, published in 1668.

For the record: Bishop Wilkin's, invented the "system part" of the decimal metric system.

His book put forward the idea of a "universal measure".

The Bishop translated the word from the Italian (Latin) words 'metro cattolico', used by Tito Livio Borratini.

Signore Borratini was born (you guessed it) in Italy but spent most of his life in Poland, where he worked as an architect.

Borratini had previously traveled to study the building methods used in Ancient Egypt which connects directly back to the aforementioned "Arab/Europe connection".

The Italian word 'metro' became:
'metre' in France, (with a accent on the first e)
'metre' in England, (with an English accent)
'meter' in the U.S.A., (with an American accent)
and before that, a Greek word 'metron', that meant
"a measure".

Beginning to grasp why so many ordinary folks have an inbred aversion to this "stuff"?

The idea of a "universal measure" is/was a good one.

However, humans being human seem to have difficulty accepting the idea of anything "universal", that isn't the invention of some smarty-pants in their own tribe, regardless of how good the idea is.

Until the latter part of the twentieth century, the system taught in our schools was the "Imperial Units System", the official system in use across the British Empire, i.e., pounds, ounces, miles, yards, etc..

Then, the "U.S. Metric Study" committee recommended the United States implement a carefully planned transition to the principle use of the metric system, over a decade.

Congress passed the "Metric Conversion Act", in 1975.

Canada had little choice, go along with the introduction of "metrification", as the Americans planned to do, or all manner of confusion will result.

Switching to the metric system (even slowly over a decade) concerned many people who were educated and used another system, that was "locked" into their brain memory bank.

This concern raised an alarm.

Having to learn "a new system" was not popularly received by a large segment of the population.

As public pressure increased, American politicians changed their mind (they do that a lot) and backed away from what Congress passed.

Worth noting: Myanmar, Liberia and America are the only countries not to adopt the metric system.

The Canadian government went ahead and made the switch.

To this day confusion still exists (especially for older Canadians) when attempting to make comparisons between U.S. and Canadian prices for basic goods.

The different systems plus ever fluctuating currencies compounds the challenge.

ZEROS - BIRTHDAYS - TIME

Our son Dan (danthemusicman.com) is an entertainer.

Dan performs (mainly) for children.

To get the audience (kids and their parents) engaged, he asks, "If you have a birthday this year, raise your hand." Instinctively, every hand goes up.

The birth day count ritual

The day we take a first breath, we are 0 (years old).

After that, every birthday that includes a zero, is considered "special" and often referred to as a "milestone" year.

The young can't wait to be 10, then 20, then 30 (maybe not so much).

Time marches on when BOOM...the 0 has a 6 in front of it.

Everything begins to change; in body, mind and spirit.

We vainly struggle to slow the time-train down.

A blizzard of media advertisements offer the latest
"Fad-du-jour", rejuvenating lotions and potions (from the lost fountain of youth), diets, elixir's, machines, exercises, promising to make you feel and look younger...in exchange for your money.

Slogans try to make us feel that we can cheat time declaring, "70 is the new 50".

No it isn't...50 was when your "best before" date expired.

Then, life's time-train arrives at the "repair and replacement" station where we discover there's a "specialist" (a medical mechanic) for every body-part.

Good luck getting to see one of these "special" doctors for an "assessment" when you are really hurting.

Then, another hurdle, when can the "mechanic" begin the work on your broken parts.

The wait will test your pain-tolerance-threshold like never before.

There's little way to speed up the process unless you are at death's door.

Devion's Rule of Adverse Proportionality

1) As the body's mileage-meter increases, a corresponding decrease results in the "quality of life" quotient.

2) "The End Is Nigh" message on signs, carried by creepy looking old-guys in rain coats, take on personal relevance.

FACTS

* Canada's population is rapidly aging.

* There are more people over 65 than under 15.

* Dementia and Alzheimer's is taking an unprecedented toll (everybody knows somebody who has it).

* Elderly people are "warehoused" (out of public view) in overcrowded, understaffed hospitals and overpriced care facilities, unnecessarily enduring excruciating pain until their end mercifully arrives.

* The stress imposed on caregivers, as they helplessly wait and watch their loved one suffer, is inhumane.

Convince me, if you can, that there is humanity or dignity, when the brain is beyond repair and shuts down or pain intolerable, while the state has the right to keep the heart muscle pumping, prolonging the agony and misery.

Treat your pet dog this way and you're cruel.

At long last a possible remedy is on the horizon.

However, this past week, elected lawmakers played "adolescent games" delaying passage of critically important legislation on physician-assisted death.

Message to MP's:

Stop the "political" games.

Pass the necessary legislation that will provide citizens the dignity and humanity to decide (while we still possess the mental capacity) how we want our lives to end in such circumstances.

GIVE ME THIS RIGHT OR LOSE MY VOTE.

Message to unelected Senators:

You have caused enough embarrassment and waste with your unethical, morally bankrupt, self-entitled lifestyle paid for by the taxpayer.

Show some courage, stop.

You have to be part of our "legislative process", but beware of the wrath that will descend upon your discredited Chamber should you decide, in your arrogance, to mischievously meddle or delay this legislation.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#97 DULL NO MORE, DULL NO MORE, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY WE ARE DULL NO MORE

Ever wonder why we have a reputation for being "really nice", "so polite", "overly politically correct", "quick to say sorry", "first to apologize", "welcome immigrants and refugees", "peacekeepers", etc....especially to the occasional American venturing North of the 49th in search of Mounties, snow and Eskimos?

At the same time, we seem a tad "envious" of what happens down there in the land of the myth-makers, the land of the free and the brave.

What happens there is seen by many to be more exciting, bigger and somehow better than what happens here.

This irrational envy persists despite what the late George Carlin kept pointing out, that theirs "is mostly made up shit".

Michael Moore's documentary films, including his latest "Where to invade next", exposes the American reality vs the American myth.

Take their politics, for instance:

We are drawn, like moths to a flame, to the characters in the race for the White House.

Drawn to a contest that looks more like a body-slam wrestling match than anything resembling serious debate.

Ring Announcer:

In the Red Corner, wearing the orange trunks, the egocentric, potty mouthed windbag, who is running out of people, nations and things to insult, scares the crap out of everybody, a living legend in his own mind, "the Donald".

In the Blue Corner, wearing the pink trunks, "Big Momma Clinton", the toughest most experienced scrapper to enter this ring, loves talking policy but uncomfortable with questions about Bill's predilections, aspects of her record and Donald's unscripted potty mouth rantings.

Also in the Blue Corner ("Big Momma's" nemesis) wearing the white trunks festooned with red polka dots, the grizzled Jewish democratic socialist, everybody's favourite uncle, "Bernie the Bern", who likes Canada and lots of stuff Canadians like.

Meanwhile...in the True North strong and free, we have come to accept that our cast of political characters are a rather dull and boring lot.

This makes paying attention to what goes on in the Nations Capital difficult.

For example, if the governing party tables something called "motion six", does anyone not working there understand or care what that is?

In all competitive environments, people play games.
All have "rules-du-Jeux" reflecting the appropriate decorum to resolve disputes and problems.

For instance, in sports:

In the genteel game of lawn bowls, it would never be appropriate for members of the "Victoria Ladies of the Empire Lawn Bowling Society" to be caught rolling around the grass pulling hair and shouting insults over a dispute about balls.

For instance, which team's bowl (the biased ball) is closest to the jack (the small white ball).
Is it "The Raging Grannies" bowl or the one that belongs to "The Charles & Camila's".
Only the bravest would rule on that.

Similarly, in the gentle game of baseball, where fighting is a rarity, there is an expected code of conduct.

However, this week a Texas Ranger second baseman, appropriately named Rougned Odor, nearly cold-cocked Toronto Blue Jays "slugger", Jose Bautista, with a solid right fist to his bearded jaw.

The ensuing bench-clearing donnybrook resulted in several fines and suspensions.

What about in the "disciplined/civil" world of parliamentary politics:

Our dull and boring MP's have looked down their long noses at what goes on in some other parliaments.

For example, lawmakers in South Africa, Turkey, Iraq and Kosovo have fist-fights, throw water bottles and even release tear gas canisters - all in the name of protesting legislation or confronting the leader of the ruling party.

That would never happen here.

The reason, "our" House of Commons separates the ruling government members from the opposition by a distance called "Two swords and one inch apart" and besides, Canadian politicians are much too "polite".

The origin of this custom is attributed to a time when members of the British House of Commons carried swords. In the heat of passionate debate, a politician armed with more than a mouth can cause serious harm.

Which brings us back to "Motion Six".

The game of politics is like a game of chess or football where strategy and tactics are employed to make your opponents look bad.

This week, our House of Commons was scheduled to begin debate on a contentious bill related to physician assisted dying.

The ruling party needs quick passage in order to meet a court imposed deadline of June 6.

Their strategy: to impose "Motion Six" thereby cutting off opposition debate of the bill.

The tactic of the opposition: to delay by stalling.

Passage of "Motion Six" would prevent this.

I'll use a football analogy to tell the story of what happened this week:

The teams assembled in the House (field of play).

The speaker (referee) blew his whistle to begin the game.

Led by the "soon to be ousted" Orange team quarterback, several players mulled about in the "Two swords and one inch apart" zone.

With prior agreement between the Orange and Blue team strategists, the Blue team Whip began to walk
(in slow motion) toward his assigned position as the Orange team performed a classic defensive blocking maneuver, impeding his passage.

The Red team's quarterback, Sonny "Liston" Ways, looked at this defensive maneuver and realized he would be unable to begin his offensive "Motion Six" maneuver.

He was already having a bad week and couldn't contain his frustration.

He stormed across the "Two swords and one inch apart" zone in the direction of the blockers shouting a phrase invented by his father, "Fuddle Duddle" get out of my way.

He split the blockers and grabbed the arm of the Blue team Whip...a huge parliamentary boo-boo.

We have all heard the phrase "the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree" referring to "kids being like their parents".

Sonny learned much from his multi-talented father including inheriting some of his famous temper genes.

In the process of trying to pull the Blue Whip to his assigned position, Sonny accidentally elbowed a female Orange player (part of the blocking group) who was standing behind him.

His elbow made contact with her upper torso and she immediately complained to her Orange quarterback leader.

In a performance worthy of a professional soccer player taking a dive (feigning serious injury) she fled the field of play in agony.

The Orange quarterback, face flushed with indignation at this unwarranted attack, got into a shouting match with Sonny that bordered on fisticuffs.

The part-time Blues team quarterback, "Rockin' Rona", looked on in dismay, from the safety of her position.

All hell broke loose as the benches emptied into the melee.

The Green quarterback (with no team), "Grandma May", pleaded for calm. Few paid attention.

The referee (Speaker) attempting to gain control of the fracas blew his whistle several times. Few paid attention.

Turns out, under these bizarre unprecedented conditions, the strategy and tactics of all concerned backfired. Nobody knew what to do, who was in control or what rule to apply but leaving little doubt that "Motion Six" was toast.

The League rules committee will now meet to consider penalties, fines, sanctions, whatever.

Rumours are already circulating that consideration is being given to issuing all MP's protective equipment, e.g. helmet, elbow pads, chest/breast protector, oversized boxing gloves, mouth guard, etc..

Pictures of the spectacle instantaneously circled the globe on social media leaving some to believe Canada has now joined South Africa, Turkey, Iraq and Kosovo's style of dispute resolution.

Suddenly we have our very own soap opera.
"Our" politics are "dull no more".

The aftermath: apologies, recriminations and finger pointing signals the Sunny Ways honeymoon is over.

"Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#96 COURAGE, COWARDICE, GUTLESSNESS AND SPINELESSNESS

A TRADITION

The Captain is solely responsible, especially when a crisis involving people's safety occurs on his/her watch.

An example of such courage:

Edward John Smith, Captain of the RMS TITANIC, perished with his ship while attempting to save as many passengers, especially women and children, before it sank.

An example of cowardice:

Captain Francesco Schettino and some of his officers clambered into one of the few available lifeboats, leaving panicked passengers stranded aboard his sinking ship, the COSTA CONCORDIA.

An example of personal courage:

Former CBC employee Kathryn Borel's personal public statement, following Jian Ghomeshi's gutless apology and signing of a peace bond in court, to avoid a trial that had the potential of providing him with a criminal record for sexual assault.

Ms. Borel's remarks included:

"Every day, over the course of a three-year period, Mr. Ghomeshi made it clear to me that he could do what he wanted to me and my body.

He made it clear that he could humiliate me repeatedly and walk away with impunity.

Throughout the time that I worked with him, he framed his actions with near-daily verbal assaults and emotional manipulations. These inferences felt like threats, or declarations like I deserved to have happening to me what was happening to me.

WHEN I WENT TO CBC FOR HELP, WHAT I RECEIVED IN RETURN WAS A DIRECTIVE THAT YES, HE COULD DO THIS AND YES, IT WAS MY JOB TO LET HIM.

The relentless message to me, from my celebrity boss and the national institution we worked for, were that his whims were more important than my humanity or my dignity.

There are 20 other women, who have come forward to the media and made serious allegations about his violent behaviour. Women who have come forward to say he punched, choked, and smothered and silenced them.

There is no way I would have come forward if it weren't for their courage."

Her powerful words spoke for many who were abused by Ghomeshi and left unwilling to rely on a "flawed system" to provide a fair hearing and just verdict in cases of sexual assault.

HOW DID HIS BEHAVIOUR REMAIN "UNREPORTED" (FOR YEARS) INSIDE A BUILDING FULL OF JOURNALISTS?

In all large organizations, especially media companies,
there exists an environment rife with gossip, rumour and whispers.

The CBC's Toronto Broadcast Centre environment is no exception.

Would anyone believe Ghomeshi's "reputation" was a closely guarded secret in this kind of environment?

Unanswered questions:

Were CBC journalists, working in the same building, blissfully unaware or purposely deaf to the rumour, whispers and gossip about Ghomeshi?

Why did the public broadcaster's own reporters not investigate and blow the lid off a scandal inside their own workplace?

Why did it take the year-long investigative efforts of a Toronto Star newspaper reporter to expose him?

Was there a deliberate management cover up?

Was he considered so valuable a CBC "star" that his despicable conduct, when reported "up-the-line" by his supervisor's, was purposely overlooked by their boss, the Director of CBC Radio, who ignored employee complaints explaining he believed the star's version of events?

This made senior radio management's conduct "equally despicable" by aiding and abetting the ongoing conduct of their "star".

Ghomeshi became "bullet proof" - "too big to fire" - until the Toronto Star story brought everything crashing down on the public broadcaster's senior service.

An example of spinelessness:

Where is/was the Captain?

Where was two-term Harper appointee, Hubert Horatio Francesco Queeg, Captain of "Mother's" tattered flagship, this week?

Rather than personally step forward to represent and answer for the organization he has led for a decade, (immediately following Ms. Borel's remarks on the courtroom steps) he left it to his P.R. flack to face the media and present the "apology" on behalf of the CBC.

As President and CEO, by not doing so himself he demonstrated a lack of courage, leadership, accountability and responsibility.

Did it not occur to him the culture of harassment perpetrated by Ghomeshi, existed on his watch?

Hubert, Mother is much embarrassed. All who toil for her want you gone. You have caused enough damage.

BUSHISM

"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says fool me once, shame on...umm...shame on you.
Fool me...umm, umm...you can't get fooled again." George W. Bush

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory
#95 WHO'D OF EVER THUNK IT?

Buckle up, we're in for one hell of a ride; courtesy of what is turning out to be the most compelling "infotainment" Gong Show in years.

In November, Americans decide whether they will select door #1 or door #2.

The world anxiously awaits the outcome.

Either way, history will be made.

The ultimate contest, pitting woman against man, in a head to head series of intellectually stimulating debates focused on policy challenges facing the most powerful nation on earth...sorry, just kidding...rather, before the first debate is even scheduled, things will degenerate into a rock-em/sock-em slugfest of dirty, sleezy, down-in-the-muck insults, put downs, lies, recriminations and unachievable promises.

WHO STANDS BEHIND DOOR #1?

"Wonder Woman"

Her background and experience are unmatched.

Credentials:
Wellesley College, Yale Law School, First Lady of the United States, U.S. Senator from New York, Secretary of State, Second campaign for the Presidency.

Internationally knowledgeable, experienced, respected, tough, resolute, determined.

She has a knowledge of every file that will come to the desk of the President.

Her motto: "Been there, done that!"

Age: 68

Net worth: $31.3 million USD, excluding the wealth of her husband.

Problem: not liked by a lot of voters.

WHO STANDS BEHIND DOOR #2?

"Mr. Potty Mouth"

Credentials:
Kew-Forest School, New York Military Academy, Fordham University (no degree), University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Chairman and President of the Trump Organization.

At one time or another has supported the Reform Party, Democratic Party, Independent Party and currently the Republican Party.

Consequently, it's difficult to pin down if he has any real political ideology other than an overwhelming belief in himself.

The consummate anti-politician.

Doesn't smoke, drink or take drugs.

His loyal, devoted and successful family could grace the runway of any fashion show.

His motto: "Let's make a deal!"

Age: 69

Net worth: $4.5 billion USD

Problem: not liked by a lot of voters.

Potty's antics, independent streak and debating "style", considered by many to be his Achilles heel, has proven a stroke of genius.

Simultaneously, it has totally disarmed his opponents while sending a message to both political parties, their puppet masters and power brokers, that he "uniquely" may be beyond their scope of control.

They are, consequently, running scared.

It's ironic that both Bernie Sanders and Trump are on a similar wavelength; having tapped into the voter's vein of deep anger, frustration and distrust of Washington.

What separates them?
Bernie's message is specific and consistent.
Donald's is vague, vacuous, incoherent and alarming.

However, both believe their political system is rigged, broken and unless significant changes are introduced, the already tattered fabric of their nation will tear apart and all hell will break loose.

"Potty Mouth" and "Wonder Woman" are shortlisting running mates.

Potty asked Governor Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson to chair his VP "consideration committee", keeping in mind his need for an experienced politician who can work with the Congress and Senate and cover his real Achilles heel.

Scary thought: Sarah Palin may be on the short list.

Whatever the outcome of this crucially important contest, following are some guidelines, offered by the American Psychiatric Association, with regard to the potential personality traits of the combatants:

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)
Defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive attention-seeking emotions, usually beginning in early adulthood.

Histrionic people are lively, dramatic, vivacious, enthusiastic, theatric and flirtatious.

HPD affects four times as many women as men with a prevalence of 2-3% in the general population and 10-15% in inpatient and outpatient mental health institutions.

People with HPD have a high need for attention and express strong emotions with an impressionistic style.

Associated features include, egocentrism, self-indulgence, continuous longing for appreciation, persistent manipulative behaviour to achieve their own needs, excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval, a need to be the centre of attention.

There is no test to confirm this diagnosis.

WHO'D OF EVER THUNK IT?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#94 YOU'D BE HARD PRESSED TO MAKE THIS STUFF UP

"O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!" - Walter Scott

IT'S PARTY TIME ON THE HILL

Members of the "Mad Hatter's Home" are madly scrambling around organizing a (surprise to them) party.

Invitations are limited to a rather smallish select number of honourable members; those who supported "the Duffster's" repeated requests that a fair, impartial airing of the allegations against him, take place...in the Red Chamber.

The "honourable" members who were quick to hang Mikey out-to-dry, on orders from the Emperor's PMO, are conspicuous by their "unavailability" for any media interviews.

"Welcome Back Mikey" is the hottest event ticket invitation on Parliament Hill this spring.

The judge's ruling has Senators in a jubilant mood. Several were humming, "Happy days are here again".

CORRUPTION: DISHONEST OR FRAUDULENT
CONDUCT BY THOSE IN POWER

Question:

What separates a Bernie Madoff from a Bernie Sanders?

What separates the I.O.C. from the athletes who give their all representing their country in a quest of a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal?

What separates the 1% from the 99%?

Answer:

Morality - Ethics - Money

MEANWHILE, IN A BANANA REPUBLIC

Until recently, the masses were blissfully unaware of yet another cozy exclusive offshore club called, "Mossack Fonseca".

The eclectic membership includes a bizarre mix of characters: several world corporate leaders, prime ministers, presidents, dictators, royalty, war lords, despots, drug lords, celebrities, professional athletes, assorted organized crime figures, etc..

In short, the world's very rich and powerful.

About a year ago, a possibly "disgruntled?" employee leaked, heretofore, undisclosed secret information to an association of international journalists.

The journalists spent months assessing the authenticity of the vast data cache of eleven million documents, before releasing the first tranche of information that identifies names, location of the club (Panama) and its primary purpose: to hide wealth and avoid paying taxes in their countries of residence.

All hell broke loose with the initial release of what are called "The Panama Papers".

The airwaves and the internet were hastily taken over by the hired guns: tax lawyers, tax accountants, spin doctors and politicians, attempting to persuade the angered masses that the nefarious activity is all above board.

Nobody is buying it.

The genie is out of the bottle, with much more to come.

Frustration grows on the part of the 99%.
Presented with another example that morality, ethics or the public good does not influence the actions of the rich and powerful, who's moral compass is governed by a different set of rules, of their own design, (much like the residents of the Mad Hatter's Home) is reaching the breaking point.

So far, only a few of the mighty have been forced to resign in disgrace when their denials were found wanting.

Is there any hope those who govern will finally step up and put a stop to this?
Nope.

Why not?

1) It appears this activity may not be considered "illegal" because highly remunerated tax lawyers and tax accountants have devised clever schemes to make it so.

2) Powerful politicians are involved and implicated and unlikely to blow the whistle on themselves.

3) The wealth of those involved is such that court proceedings can be made to drag on for decades. Hire the right lawyers and anything can be "arranged".

4) The cost of pursuing the tax dodgers exceeds any existing penalties.

5) The CRA is under-resourced and not necessarily motivated to take these people on.

The anger building in the minds of the suckers, err, sorry, middle class taxpayers, (who carry the burden of paying for government), may eventually boil over into anarchy.

One only need pay close attention to what is taking place South of the border, to observe the "canary in the coal mine" is dead and the people are mad as hell.

BREAD AND CIRCUSES

In Roman times, in order to keep the masses happy and maintain control of the populace, (who may be harbouring thoughts of overthrowing lawful authority), the government (occasionally) distributed "free" food and staged huge spectacles.

Nothing much has changed in the intervening centuries.

From August 5-21, 2016, athletes of the world gather in Rio de Janeiro to compete in the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

Our contemporary version of a Roman spectacle, serving much the same purpose.

Like all of the others, corruption, political turmoil, graft and a staggering bill will be left behind for the citizens of Brazil to deal with, when the I.O.C. circus leaves.

Another reminder that the real "legacy" of these outrageously expensive and wasteful spectacles is white collar crime.

Will it ever end?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#93 CURSES, SUPERSTITIONS AND LUCK

Curse: A solemn utterance intended to involve a super natural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.
Example: "May the CRA disallow all your deductions!"

Superstition: A widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.
Example: Fear the Beard.
You know the rule, when you're winning, don't change a thing. It's hard to deny that the playoff beard (thought to have begun with the 1980's New York Islanders) hasn't made for some of the greatest images the sport of hockey has to offer.

Luck: Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions.
Example: In baseball, it is unusual for the best team in the league to win the World Series.

There have been many legendary curses in the world of sport.

Boston Red Sox
A curse placed on the Boston Red Sox who failed to win a World Series after 1918, apparently due to the selling of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.

Toronto Maple Leafs
NHL player, Bill Barilko, of the Toronto Maple Leafs, had just scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in the 1951 season in overtime against the Montreal Canadians.
In his off-season, he went on a fishing trip with his dentist. Their plane crashed, both passengers died.
The Maple Leafs did not win another cup until 1962, 11-years after the crash, and the same year that Barilko's body was found. His number was retired by the Maple Leafs in honour of his legacy and remembrance after his death. The Maple Leafs also notably have the current longest Stanley Cup drought, as they have not won since 1967. In fact, the Maple Leafs haven't even returned to the Stanley Cup final since.

Masters Tournament
The Masters Tournament held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club begins with an informal par 3 competition. No winner of this has even gone on to win the main tournament the same year.

Gillette
Marketing experts have highlighted the "curse of Gillette" given the mishaps that happen to sports stars which are associated with the brand, most notably Tiger Woods, Thierry Henry and David Beckham.

MOTHER'S CURSE
A tale of intrigue, money, secrecy, treachery, betrayal, mischief, mayhem and dismantling an institution.

The Plot

Acquire/adopt/obtain/kidnap/whatever...Mother's most popular offspring, Hockey Night In Canada (HNIC).

The Principle Players

The "Emperor"
"Stephen the Feared" reigned with an iron fist for a decade transforming the nation.
He became so annoyed with Mother's meddlesome independent journalists poking their unwelcome noses into his secret business that he ordered she be placed on starvation rations.

The "Captain"
Hubert Horatio Francesco Queeg, appointed by the Emperor January 1, 2008 and reappointed for a second five-year term October 5, 2012.
This placed Queeg at the helm of Mother's flagship for a decade where he faithfully carried out the orders of his Commander-in-Chief...to oversee Mother's ultimate extinction.

The "Rogers Raiders" trio
Nadir Mohamed - President and CEO of telecommunications and media giant, Rogers.

*Keith Pelly - lured away from Rogers main competitor, BCE Inc., to take on the role of Rogers Media President.

*Scott Moore - formerly Head of CBC Sports, hired by Pelly as Rogers President of Sportsnet and NHL properties.

*NB: Pelley and Moore bring skill and executive experience to Rogers; but more invaluable is their knowledge of their former employers' (BCE & CBC) negotiating strategies related to sports properties.

The "Commish"
Gary Bettman - diminutive, crafty, powerfull, skilled negotiator, Commissioner of the National Hockey League, and faithful servant of his masters, the billionaire NHL owners.

The Scenario

Mother's public airwaves have broadcast HNIC, on radio then television, since her inception as a corporation in 1936.

Mother's NHL rights contract ended with the 2013-14 hockey season.

Hockey is part of the Canadian psyche/identity, making its broadcast rights the most coveted by Canada's remaining integrated media corporations.

Rogers Strategy and Tactics

1) Hire two key sports executives from their competitors.
2) Be willing to pay...whatever it takes.

The Auction

BCE and CBC drop out of the "bidding war" once it becomes apparent the cost of rights + production costs + marketing costs exceeded any possibility of breaking even.

The Commish successfully negotiates an unprecedented, staggering $5.2 billion (USD) from Rogers for a 12-year Canadian rights contract.

The Deal's Weak Spot

However, the Commish comprehends the deal's "weak spot". Both Rogers and CBC have an insurmountable problem that require his intervention and a "creative" solution.

- Rogers has no "national reach".
Consequently, hockey-mad fans, especially those in under-served areas of Canada (small towns and the North), will soon complain to their politicians that they can no longer get their HNIC fix unless they pay Rogers a subscription fee.

- CBC has "no money" to fill a 360-hour hole in their prime time schedule; caused by the loss of HNIC to Rogers on Saturdays, October-March and playoffs, April-June.

The Commish "orchestrates" an 11th-hour meeting between Mohamed and the Captain that results in a four-year "arrangement" between Rogers and CBC.
The "temporary arrangement" resolves their mutual problem and avoids an explosive debate in the House of Commons that would have resulted in somebody's head.

The "Arrangement"

- Rogers receives all HNIC related revenue ($200 million annually), CBC crews to supplement Rogers staff, two floors in the CBC Toronto Broadcast Centre (where Rogers build an elaborate, cavernous $4.2 million set) and editorial control, in exchange for
- CBC carrying Rogers HNIC production and their advertisers on Mother's public network from October to June...for four years.

The Press Conference

The media conference announcing the deal is held (ironically) not at Roger HQ, rather in the CBC Toronto Broadcast centre, where the faces of the principles (all but one is smiling) reflect who won and who lost in the "arrangement" orchestrated by a beaming Commish.

This is the point in the story where "Mother's Curse" comes into view.

Season One of the "arrangement", 2014-15:

The winners face their shareholders and attempt to explain how this 12-year deal can possibly enhance Rogers bottom line.

Mohamed "steps down" in January 2014, mere weeks after consummating the "arrangement" with the Captain.

Audience expectations, that establish advertising rates, are not met, resulting in make-goods, refunds and shareholder unrest.

Season Two of the "arrangement", 2015-16:

Pelley "resigns" in April 2015, to become CEO of the PGA European Tour, leaving Moore to deal with the growing shareholder unhappiness, audience complaints about the product and related staff cuts to stabilize the bottom line.

For the second time in NHL history (first in 1970), no Canadian team made it into the playoffs.
This means Rogers bottom line will take another hit, because it's during the playoffs that the serious bottom line profit is made.

And so it comes to pass, a new sports curse is born...MOTHER'S!

Peering into the near future

-In two hockey seasons the Rogers/CBC "arrangement" ends.

-CBC (then) has to fill a 360-hour expensive prime time hole.

-What content will CBC select to go up against Rogers HNIC?

-What will Rogers charge hockey-mad fans to watch HNIC on their platforms to help their bottom line?

-How much of the "new money" provided by Mr. Sunny Ways be needed to fill the hole?

-The Captain, architect of two consecutive 5-year plans that focused on "delivery platforms" rather than Canadian radio and television content and implemented massive staff reductions, will finally be gone. When the day arrives there will be much revelry below decks.

-Will his replacement arrive with a new mandate focused on content and a commitment to independent commercial-free public broadcasting?

The road to perdition is paved with unintended consequences.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#92 TAXES, LIPSTICK & PIGS, THINGS ARE COMING APART AND PEOPLE'S #1 FEAR

Spent part of your day shoveling?
This bit of news might cheer you up...or not:
Greater Victoria has concluded the 40th annual flower count (March 3-9).
Organizers are pleased to announce an amazing 25,864,976,064 blooms (a record) were counted by residents.
The Monarchist League - Victoria Branch, will hold a celebratory tea, this afternoon, on the lawn of Butchart Gardens. Lord and Lady Tweedbottom will greet the guests. Entertainment provided by "The Ladies of the Empire" mixed chorus who have been busy practicing for this first social event of spring. Don't forget a hat, sun screen and sun glasses. Forecast +12C.

This bit of news will not cheer you up:
On the heels of a major economic speech, where he sternly lectured Canadians about the dangers of their out-of-control credit card spending, our rookie "Sunny Ways" Finance Minister delivered his first budget in the House of Commons.

Canadians are now left puzzled:
a) Wasn't Bill listening to himself?
b) Question: How do you pay for spending plans amounting to $100+ billion when you don't have the money?
Sunny Ways Answer: Simple stupid, by using our federal triple A rated platinum credit card.
c) Question: How do you plan to pay off the credit card debt?
Sunny Ways Answer: Easy, when the bill comes due, we stiff the grandchildren!
Sunny Ways: Geez, haven't you been paying attention?

TAXES

During the various reigns of Egyptian Pharaohs, tax collectors were known as "scribes".

In times of war the Athenians imposed a tax referred to as "eisphora". The Greeks are one of the few societies that were able to rescind the tax once the emergency was over.

The earliest taxes in Rome were customs duties on imports and exports called "portoria".

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to Jean-Baptiste LeRoy stating "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

On April 24, 1917, Canada's Minister of Finance introduced income tax as a "temporary" measure to pay for the cost of the First World War that had reached $600 million, in 1916 dollars.

As the dreaded annual deadline (April 30) nears when the tax collector comes to pick our pockets, remember politicians who use words like "temporary" are actually just joshing...as they have been for the past 100 years.

"The Upper Class (very rich): keeps all the money, pays none of the taxes.
The Middle Class (neither rich nor poor): pays all of the taxes, does all the work.
The Under Class (poor): are just there to scare the shit out of the middle class." - George Carlin

Carlin's words have a ring of truth in the Great White North.

A CBC/SRC journalist recently exposed the "sweetheart deal" that exists between the CRA and Canada's uber-rich. By hiding their wealth offshore, they are able to avoid taxes using clever schemes invented by their tax advisors, e.g., KPMG.

The secret wink-wink arrangement for the 1%:
If caught, simply pay the tax owed plus interest, in exchange for no jail time.

This mirrors the treatment given Wall Street crooks who brought the world economy to its knees in 2008.
None faced justice. Rather, the same people continue receiving obscene compensation packages including stock options, supplemented by outrageous bonus', for doing what they did before. A platinum parachute awaits them when they exit; voluntarily or otherwise.

Meanwhile, middle class taxpayers lose their jobs, their homes, their savings. Those still working watch helplessly as their incomes stagnate and get stiffed by a government who force them to bail out the corporations.

Meanwhile, if a middle class person gets caught in similar tax circumstances, the treatment includes harassment, courts, bankruptcy and jail.

A SYSTEM SO BEFUDDLING IT CONFOUNDS A GENIUS

Computer programs have greatly assisted tax filers to prepare their annual returns.

Without such programs, few could maneuver the maze of forms and complex calculations and maintain their sanity.

Albert Einstein said about filing his tax return,
"This is a question too difficult for a mathematician.
It should be asked of a philosopher."

William Simon added, "The nation should have a tax system that looks like it someone designed it on purpose."

My DNA includes a frugality and stubbornness gene passed on by my Scottish and Belgian ancestors.

To let a system designed by the Marx Brothers defeat me would be betraying my heritage.

Consequently, I continue to prepare our annual returns, helped by a computer program called "TaxTron".

It's inexpensive, relatively simple to follow the step-by-step methodology, performs complex calculations automatically and enables easy access to the CRA's internet filing system, "NetFile".

I have never missed a tax deadline.

However, something sinister occurred for three of the last four tax-year filings.

Harper's tax collectors demanded an audit to verify our electronic returns.

Regular readers might logically surmise, the Emperor's PMO placed my name on their tax harassment list.

Why? Unflattering comments about the Emperor and his courtiers, in several Stationbreak articles, became an irritant.

Responding to an audit, i.e., gathering all pertinent documents, reconciling figures with the electronic submission, answering questions in the format decreed by the CRA, is a time consuming, arduous, laborious and frustrating exercise.

On their part, CRA spends expensive auditor time and resources; reviewing, checking, verifying, reconciling, recalculating and returning the audited results with comments.

What did three audits achieve?
The CRA owes Devion $13.

However, no refund was provided because $13 does not meet their threshold for a refund. Had it been the other way round, CRA would demand immediate payment of $13 plus interest.

Feeling unfairly targeted and following the second audit request, I phoned the CRA office in St. Johns, Newfoundland, where the request originated.

A female employee politely and patiently listened to my concerns:

"Why are you harassing seniors? We paid our taxes every year since we were teenagers."

"Why don't you spend your resources going after the rich who hide their money offshore to avoid tax?"

"You can't possibly deny CRA is aware millionaires avoid paying tax by hiding their wealth outside the country, yet you come after retired seniors. Why?"

With a beautiful, lilting Newfoundland accent, she calmly offered (by way of solace) "I'm very sorry you're upset, Dearie, but we have to follow orders."

"Today, it takes more brains and effort to make out the income-tax form than it does to make the income."
- Alfred E. Newman

OINK, OINK, OINK

Try finding out (by searching their website) the real (all-in) annual cost of the Senate.

You'll have better luck finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

The elusive number is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma...never to be shared with the suckers, err, sorry, taxpayers.

Untold millions spent rewarding political hacks and cronies can hardly be considered in the public interest.

The Red Chamber/home of sober-second-thought (hah!) is non-elected, accountable to nobody but itself, operates under a set of malleable mushy rules that guarantee members generous entitlements, benefits, and pensions for performing a part-time job; attending meetings and traveling the world on the taxpayers' dime.

Scandal, after scandal, after scandal finally embarrassed the august body enough to consider reforms (horror of horrors).

The indignation (after being caught) expressed by many of the "Ice-cold Camembert and Broken-Crackers Sorority" echoed across the land.
They shouted that no "honourable" member would ever stoop so low as to do anything dishonest. Classic political flapdoodle. Nobody bought it.

The R.C.M.P. investigation focused a spotlight on an institution operating in an embedded culture of entitlement, who's members are unwilling or unable to distinguish between right and wrong.

If you expect us to believe that you don't know where your principal residence is or flying to Victoria to have liposuction is part of your job, and we should pay for that, you're nothing but a common thief who should face justice.

Blaming "the rules" for such indiscretions exposes a level of dishonesty and arrogance that is abhorrent.

How are the mini-reforms progressing?

So far:

Action #1) Members must wear lipstick to disguise their true nature.

Action #2) Build a "Chinese Wall" that (theoretically) separates them from their political benefactors.

Action #3) Assume new identities: independent-liberals, independent-conservatives, independent-independents and independent-others.

Chinese Wall or Trump Wall whatever it's called in the end the suckers pay.

Applying another layer of makeup or fictitious titles will never make this ossified political institution any more relevant to our democracy.

Many voters believed the newly elected "hope and change" crowd would hear them and do the right thing.

Constitutional experts contend it's virtually impossible to get rid of this expensive appendage (occasionally used to impede the work of the elected House of Commons).

What about proposing a practical common sense solution; stop appointing senators!

Who would complain? Certainly not the taxpayer.

The Queen?...unlikely.
The G.G.?...maybe.
Constitutional legal experts?...absolutely.

The Provinces?...on what grounds can any province justify to their taxpayers continuance of this waste? Where is the evidence that provinces and/or territories receive any tangible benefit from the existence of the Senate?

If the House of Commons proposed provinces and territories receive all the money spent on the entitled hacks and cronies, in exchange for an agreement to shut it down, would any object?

It could then quietly atrophy into extinction.
As a bonus, federal and provincial politicians would regain some respect from voters for doing the right thing.

Instead, this happened:
The "Happy Days" government caved.
Appointed another bunch of "independent" senators with more to come. This sends a disappointing signal to many. On this file they are no different.

Are the residents of the "Old Cronies & Hacks Home" gaming the system...yup!
Are the residents of the "Old Cronies & Hacks Home" gaming the suckers, err, sorry, taxpayers...yup!
Plus ca change, etc....yup!

Albert Einstein defined insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Guess who's waiting in line for yet another handout?
Bombardier wants another billion so they can move jobs to Mexico and China.

Is Bombardier gaming the system...yup!
Is Bombardier gaming the suckers, err, sorry, taxpayers...yup
Plus ca change, etc...yup and yup and yup!

There's a long handout-line forming in Ottawa.

THINGS ARE COMING APART

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."
- W. B. Yeats "The Second Coming"-1920

Scene - A man in a raincoat wanders into the TV studio, soaking wet," and sits behind a desk.
He stares blankly at the television camera lens. The red light is on. His crimson face is contorted with rage, eyes bulging, he begins:

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. The dollar buys a nickels worth; banks are going bust; shopkeeper's keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do about it.

We know the air is unfit to breath and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be!

We all know things are bad - worse than bad - they're crazy.

It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel belted radials, and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone."

Well, I'm not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot.
I don't want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write.
I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you've got to get mad.

You've gotta say, "I'm a human being, goddammit! My life has value!"

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

This emotionally charged speech was delivered by Howard Beale (actor Peter Finch), 40-years ago, in the 1976 movie, "NETWORK".

(To get the full impact, watch it on Utube)

The speech resonates even more today.

PEOPLE'S #1 FEAR

"According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death.
Death is number two! Does that sound right?
This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy." - Jerry Seinfeld

"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." - Oscar Wilde

Happy Easter...everybody.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#91 GETTIN' OLD AIN'T FOR SISSIES

"Live long enough traveling along life's unpredictably bumpy road and you'll end up having more doctors than close friends".

To alleviate doubt, here's my team:

GP's: Dr. Donald Lovely and Dr. Colin Duncan
Optometrist: Dr. Paul Neumann
Ophthalmologist: Dr. Malcolm Orr
Dermatologist: Dr. Tatyana Hamilton
Plastic Surgeon: Dr. Colin White
Neurologist: Dr. David Parton
Neurosurgeon: Dr. John Sun
Physiotherapist: Dr. Scott Simpson
Dentist: Dr. Don Neal

Body parts become casualties of time, in need of repair or replacement.

Necessity, being the mother of invention, prompts a search for broader knowledge of medical practitioners and terminology.

The result of aging, gravity, plus ignoring proffered practical advice, has expanded my medical knowledge, in direct proportion to deteriorating body parts.

E.G., Recent unwelcome intruders:
*fibroxanthoma,
*spinal stenosis,
*lumbar laminectomy
*lumbar discectomy

*All requiring surgery...became part of my lexicon.

THE SCALP CAPER

Russian born (Sochi) dermatologist, Tatyana, calls fibroxanthoma the curse of the fair-haired Northerners.

A Brit dermatologist would lean more towards reciting "Mad dogs and Englishmen".

During my youth, too many short prairie summers were spent baking in the noonday sun, oblivious to the damaging rays. The resulting skin cancer now requires more monitoring and maintenance than the car.

The uniquely diagnosed visitor "Fibro", prompted plastic surgeon, Colin, to conduct two separate mining expeditions, excising his nasty footprints from my scalp.

LUMBAR FOLLIES

The entire experience left me very impressed. Ergo, the reason for my detailed elucidation that follows.

Preparing The Patient

Seven days prior to surgery, attended a three hour pre-admission clinic at the hospital:

-filled out an extensive medical history.

-signed authorization forms.

-ordered a semi-private room.

-met with hospital pharmacist to review and discuss all medications and supplements.

-met with hospital nurse to receive details concerning pre-surgery, surgery and post-surgery instructions (a 26-page reminder booklet also provided).

-ECG.

-blood tests.

Monday March 14, 2016: Surgery Day:

Checked in at the admissions desk, Victoria General Hospital @ 8:45 a.m.. ID bracelet attached to right wrist.

Directed to pre-op room on main floor.

Greeted by male nurse who asked a battery of questions, while I disrobed and attempted to expertly slip into a "confounding" hospital gown. It was embarrassing to have to ask this stranger for help. Who the hell invented this garment? Houdini?
Patients are under enough stress without having to deal with that contraption.

IV drip inserted.

Wheeled up to the third floor by a female attendant, who, while driving the gurney, practised her comedy routine. She needs more practice before she's hired by WestJet.

In a holding room, eight of us, lying side by side on gurney's, wait apprehensively.

Anesthesiologist appears and provides briefing.

Neurosurgeon appears and provides briefing.

Wheeled down a long hallway past several operating rooms to the appropriate theatre.
Male driver has no sense of humour or personality.
I suddenly miss the comedienne.

Once inside the operating theatre, questioned (again) and briefed by the anesthesiologist and neurosurgeon.

My name and date of birth, at every stop by every person. Starting to wonder if I'm at the right hospital.

A six-person medical team introduce themselves and their function.

As I drift away under anesthetic, neurosurgeon, John Sun, conducts a delicate two-hour surgical ballet (on my lower spine)...in two acts:

Act One: shave parts of bone to allow space for the pinched nerves to regenerate (laminectomy).

Act Two: remove the L4-5 disc (disectomy).

Wake up in the recovery room surrounded by patients on gurneys. Lots of incoherent babbling.
I utter a few drug induced words to two angels (nurses) hovering nearby. As the series of vaguely familiar questions are asked, I drift off again.

The stay in the recovery room lasts several hours.

At about 5:00 p.m. wheeled to VGS Ward 6S into room 603, bed B. I don't care anymore who's driving the gurney.

Ward 6S is the hospital's ultra-secure ward, where patients who have endured brain or spinal injury are taken, following release from the post surgery recovery room.

My room is located directly across from the ward's "main communication hub".

This hub is 'central command and control', where platoons of specially trained nurses and their assistants gather to exchange information, orders, gossip and deal with emergencies.

Buzzers, bells, phones constantly ring. All demanding somebody's attention.

Platoons are made up of highly skilled, dedicated veteran nurses and trainees who volunteer to be assigned to one of the most demanding post-op wards in the hospital.

They work twelve hour shifts. Before leaving for home, exhausted, the outgoing platoon briefs the incoming on the status of all patients.

The unexpected is always lurking in the shadows. Waiting to disrupt routines and challenge the platoon's capabilities.

A "yellow alert", over the PA system, advises a patient has escaped from the enclosure. The search begins.

My night nurse explains a recent wind storm cut all power in the South Tower, leaving everyone stranded in total darkness...for a long two minutes before emergency generators kicked in.
No standby lights came on.
No instructions over the PA system.
Everyone standing frozen in place, wondering what might be happening in the operating theatres.

I silently ponder, what will happen when the "Big One" hits?

Being located within earshot of the communications hub provided a rare perspective on this pressurized, stressful, chaotic workplace.

During my brief stay, the staff did their work with care, kindness, good humour and professionalism.

Their job is to get the patient out of the ward and homeward bound a.s.a.p..
This is no place to be with a serious wound in a weakened condition.
Super bugs and infection lurk on every bedside table, bathroom, door handle, railing, handrail and floor.

Constant hand washing is essential.

My first night and early morning slid by in a morphine haze of weird sights and sounds. My imagination was let loose in Bizarro-land.

Oh, in case you were wondering about that oxymoron "hospital food".
Food provided in B.C. hospitals is prepared and fast frozen in Calgary, Alberta, trucked across the Rockies and fed to unsuspecting sick people. Go figure.

So much for the "EAT LOCAL" slogans.

The Inscrutable Dr. Sun

I had only met Dr. John twice before the surgery.
The first time at his office, where he wore the standard whites. In the operating room he wore required garb including face protection. On both occasions he appeared shy, totally professional and detached.

On my second night in room 603, around 10:00 p.m.,
a youngish looking Asian man, about 5'3", stocky build
dressed in black shoes, black blue jeans, an expensive black biker-style leather jacket festooned with silver studs, longish wavy black hair, hands confidently and firmly stuffed into the front jean pocket, strutted through the door and into the room.

The only missing ingredient, appropriate music:
The BEE GEES singing their 1977 hit, "Stayin' Alive" would be my pick.

As this tres-cool dude approached my bed, recognition dawned. It was (heretofore) stayed and shy neurosurgeon, Dr. John Sun. Wow, what an entrance.

"Heh, Ron, how you feelin'? Just looked at your chart and everything is looking good. You can go home tomorrow!"

I had a sudden urge to leap out of bed and high-five him.

Never judge a book by its cover.

Post Release Instructions

No stairs, no lifting, no twisting, no stretching, no jarring, no deep bending. Walk a lot, rest as needed and above all, listen to your body.

Instructions for getting in or out of bed while ensuring your shoulders, spine and legs are aligned turns out to be an awkward movement, not easily mastered.

Day 5: No leg pain. Experiencing tingling sensation, feels like mini electric shocks, in the arms, hands, legs and feet. This indicates the nerve pathways are reconnecting after being disabled for two years.

In 10 days: Barring infection, have your GP remove a baker's dozen clamps (staples) from the four inch vertical wound on your lower spine.

Approx. mid-April: Begin light rehab with your physiotherapist. Rehab exercises will continue for several months and can take up to a year.

At the end of May: a follow up appointment with the cool-dude himself.

If all goes well, Grandma and Grandpa should be dancin' to the BEE GEES "Stayin' Alive", in August.

The Devion Clan will gather at the Tigh-Na-Mara Resort & Spa, in Parksville, to celebrate all the birthdays.

Note to GP: "If body part failure continues, there won't be enough of Devion left to donate to medical science".

NB: If you encounter someone who complains about our medical system, have them read this.

MEANWHILE, LATE BREAKING SHOWBIZ NEWS

Mel Brooks is holding auditions for his new musical comedy, "The Candidate".

"The Candidate" is a sequel to his 1960's comedy musical stage and movie hit,"The Producers" that featured that catchy number, "Springtime for Hitler".

Mel's latest offering is the story of two Texas trillionaire brothers (The Cokes) who convince a billionaire con man with psychopathic tendencies, a Napoleonic complex and orange hair, to run for the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth. Their assumption is that they can control him.

Mr. Brooks hopes to cast Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) in the lead role of "D. T.".

The title song, to be performed by an all male chorus of illegal Mexicans, wearing white bed sheets featuring the KKK symbol, "Springtime for Fascists in America", is a sure bet for a 2017 Grammy nomination.

New Yorkers look forward to the show's opening on Broadway in November.

Welcome to Spring 2016...everybody.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#90 THE SORDID UNDERBELLY OF INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ASSOCIATIONS

THE SWISS CONNECTION

During World Wars I and II, Switzerland managed to keep a stance of armed neutrality, and was not involved militarily.

However, precisely because of its neutral status, Switzerland was of considerable interest to all parties involved, as the scene of diplomacy, espionage, commerce, and as a haven for refugees, artists, pacifists, thinkers and revolutionaries.

This safe haven also contributed to the growth of the Swiss banking industry that allowed for anonymous numbered bank accounts to hide wealth from prying eyes.

Many crooks are undone (especially those referred to as "white collar criminals") by diligently following the murky trail of "dark money".

WHY ARE SO MANY SPORTS BODIES LOCATED THERE?

The majority of international sports organizations,
(e.g., the IOC, FIFA) are located in Switzerland where they are registered as non-profit associations and, as such, fall under the relevant articles of the Swiss Civil Code, which provides minimum (very basic) requirements for associations.

Most of these "requirements" are not even legally binding.

Since they are considered to have a "public utility", international sports organizations are tax-exempt, at the Swiss federal level, under the 2008 Host State Act.

The Swiss law on sport, which entered into law in 2012, furthermore stipulates that the country
"shall ensure, within the limits of its powers, that international sports federations will enjoy favourable conditions for their activities in Switzerland".

These conferred "favourable conditions" include allowing bribes to be classed as tax deductible expenses.

How sweet is that.

Swiss law governing sport "associations" provided the environment for corruption to flourish, enriching many unscrupulous sports officials, so long as the "association" remains within their borders.

Vote rigging, bribery, ticket scandals, and other nefarious activities are commonplace.

For years this "open secret" was left largely unreported by sports journalists and their complicit employers who fear being black-listed; banned from attending sanctioned events.

Those who control the levers of power within these secretive associations, believed that their power was such that nothing could threaten them...until a brave few dared to shine a spotlight on their activities and expose them.

The influence, worldwide connections and power wielded by these people can lure political leaders into a financial bidding contest, for the "honour" of hosting (paying for) their events.

The process runs on greasing many palms.

The purported privilege, prestige and benefits of "winning the bid war" is an illusion; a cleverly disguised con, perpetrated to dupe taxpayers who are swept up in the nationalistic frenzy of spin.

The billions spent by countries, who can ill afford it, has reached grotesque proportions.

WHO DARED PEEK UNDER THE ROCKS?

If not for investigative journalists like 72-year old Scot, Andrew Jennings, who doggedly kept digging over a 15-year period (writing books and expose's on the BBC program "Panorama") into IOC and FIFA impropriety, nothing would have changed.

Using his years of crime reporting skills, senior FIFA officials and others were arrested by the Swiss police and charged with running a $150 million racket.

He commented following the arrest, "These scum have stolen the people's sport. They've stolen it, the cynical thieving bastards, so yes, it's nice to see fear on their faces".

The pressure brought about by his fearless and tireless reporting, also resulted in recent action being taken by US legal authorities that has many "suspects" limiting their travel and hiring the best defense lawyers money can buy. Their biggest fear, extradition to face American justice.

The question remains, however, will the guilty ever be prosecuted?

Most of those who perpetrated the 2008 economic collapse are still walking free.

Jennings also wrote a trilogy of books "Lords of the Rings" about a series of alleged boondoggles, bribes and drug controversies surrounding the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, where dozens of IOC members were expelled or sanctioned for wrongdoing.

NB: The president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

Jennings explained, "When I looked at the IOC, I discovered the president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was universally sucked up to by the sports press, was a Franco fascist. He thought the wrong side won World War II".

NB: Samaranch was IOC president from 1980 until July 16, 2001.

Another positive result from Jennings' work; private corruption is now recognized as a criminal offense in Switzerland.

PONDERING THE ROAD AHEAD

In August, 2016, 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will compete in 42 sports during the 28th edition of the Olympic Summer Games (the biggest sporting event on the planet).

Making it hard for the athletes to focus on the task at hand, some will be competing in Rio's cesspool waters.

All will spend time whacking disease bearing mosquitoes (the deadliest creatures on the planet).

How many ordinary Brazilians will see any tangible benefits from their country hosting the event, once the IOC freeloaders, who ride the gravy train, go home, leaving them facing a staggering bill?

Who would argue, from any rational perspective, the billions spent would have benefited many more if directed to any other area of greater need?

Will any nation, including ours, summon the moral courage to boycott Olympic Games and World Cups, until somebody seriously cleans up the muck and changes the culture, inside the IOC and FIFA?

How many times have you heard them say,
"Its really about the athletes" - hollow words uttered by "the cynical thieving bastards" whose actions debase and betray the noble ideals they are supposed to represent?

Sadly, there are many others, complicit in "the big cover up", who look the other way, ignoring their personal knowledge of the skulduggery taking place.

SOME "CURIOUS" INTERNATIONAL SPORTING
NUGGETS

The 1988 Summer Olympics took place in Seoul, South Korea.

Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson, set a world record in the 100 metre final, only to be stripped of his gold medal for posting a post-race positive drug test.

This was followed (only in Canada) by an expensive, lengthy, nationally televised "inquiry" that brought disgrace and shame to those involved.

In an ironic twist of fate, years later, it was revealed he was not the only sprinter who should have been disqualified.

The "declared" winner, Carl Lewis, representing the US, was also doping.

A buried mystery: Of the seven finalists, how many others were doping, but not caught?

Is it possible they all were, but only Ben was robbed of his achievement and took the rap for a corrupted system?

Today, too many athletes are taking performance enhancing drugs, endangering their health, for a chance at the illusive medal that may bring them fame and possible fortune.

Are the only winners in this kind of race the chemists, who are always one step ahead of the drug testers?

The Russians were finally caught drugging many of their athletes and now face a potential ban in Rio.

Two months later, Nikita Kamaev, ex-chief of their anti-doping program, mysteriously drops dead.

Problem solved? Ban soon to be lifted?

And how is it possible that a country with no history of soccer, where temperatures will be over 100 degrees Farenheit when athletes compete (outdoors) and other problematic issues, can win the bid to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup?

Simple. Sepp Blatter works his "magic", makes it happen and awards Quatar's $200 billion bid.

Plenty of people reacted with obvious outrage.

On May 27, 2015, following an "internal" investigation where FIFA found "no evidence of wrongdoing", Swiss federal prosecutors opened an investigation into corruption and money laundering related to the awarding of both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

And just this week, Herr Blatter is appealing his eight year suspension from FIFA for approving a $2 million payment to his former advisor, Michel Platini, in 2011.

Now that's real chutzpah.

It just keeps getting curiouser, curiouser and sordid!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#89 WHAT'S NEW AT MOTHER'S HOUSE?

OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW???

Amazingly, Captain Hubert Horatio Francesco Queeg, ball bearings in tact, remains at the helm of Mother's flagship.

Only the most really, really keenest observers of the ongoing shenanigans at Mother's will have noticed that recently, some of his officers' appeared before the CRTC to discuss yet another media crisis; this time local television programming, with the emphasis being on disappearing local TV news, especially in smaller markets.

The white haired monsieur in charge of Radio-Canada's French language media services must have felt strangely "gender-alone", surrounded by a quartet of younger women representing the corporation's corporate regulatory relations, French language regional services, CBC English language services and English language news operations.

Their glum faces betrayed that they would rather be anywhere else, talking about anything else.

The executives' disinterest in the subject matter was apparent and doubtless related to the reality that there is no local programming left being provided by the public broadcaster, with the exception of a reduced
number of hours of local newscasts.

In the 1980's, CBC stations provided 33 hours of local/regional TV programs every week, year round.
Now, all types of relevant information and entertainment content reflecting what is happening in their communities and province has faded away.

The talented teams of creative people who used to produce local/regional and national network television programs of every genre from the public broadcasters facilities located in their communities has also disappeared.

Meanwhile back at HQ:

Without informing their shareholders (taxpaying Canadians) of the devastating programming impact, Queeg and his appointed board compatriots continue to implement their latest (slash, burn and out-with-the-old) five-year plans.

But continue replacing the executive ranks with new faces.

*Alex Johnston, vice-president of strategy and public affairs, marks the third private-sector hire to the public broadcaster's eight-member senior executive team in the past year.

Ms. Johnston, is a lawyer who previously practised at Goodmans LLP in Toronto, and headed the women's advocacy group Catalyst Canada for the past three years.

She is the daughter of Governor-General, David Johnston, with serious political connections, having worked for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty alongside Gerald Butts, now Justin Trudeau's principle secretary.

Ms. Johnston will be responsible for helping implement the CBC/Radio-Canada's latest strategic plan, which emphasizes delivering content to mobile devices such as phones and tablets, cutting physical building space in half and sharply reducing in-house productions in favour of out-sourced programming.

In an interview, Ms. Johnston said the CBC needs a period to "rebuild" and part of her job will be helping to "sell" the new strategic plan to "an organization full of people who are smart and passionate and committed" but have been through a lot of turmoil and may not be excited by the prospect of more change.

Good luck with that.

*Judith Purves, corporate CFO, former chief financial officer of IBM Canada Ltd., appointed last March.

*Josee Girard, vice-president people and culture, former Rio Tinto global mining executive, appointed last August.

*Sylvie Gadoury, vice-president of legal services, internally promoted last June.

All of which begs the following question:

Will the absence of prior media experience by any of these hires help save the public broadcaster?

William Shakespeare offered caution in Henry VI, Part 2 through words spoken by rebel Cade's sidekick Dick the Butcher, "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers".

In a world manipulated by lawyers, lobbyists and PR people, doing the bidding of their masters, is it any wonder that the revolutionary message of an old democratic socialist is resonating with so many.

Go Bernie, Go!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory