Tuesday 31 December 2019

A Politician's Resolutions

Double Speak at its Best: Top 5 New Years Political Resolutions

  1. I will endeavor to channel all of my focus into solving the problems which all hard working citizens experience as roadblocks to the fulfillment of their dreams in this country of opportunity which is the envy of the world (WTF?)
  2. The public has spoken in an abundantly clear tone and I have already directed my administration and my cabinet to double down in their efforts to become transparent and seek public feedback through town hall meetings and focus groups we have already initiated since the election to fulfill the mandate we have been given throughout 2020 and our entire term of office (Come again?)
  3. There is no greater priority for our government than to leverage the resources of government to increase our productivity and efficiency while reducing cost and waste in a similar fashion to what we know single families across this great nation have to do day to day. Our government will be there for you. (yadda, yadda, yadda)
  4. The people of this great land have spoken and that is why from this day forward environmental change and the disastrous effects it will have on our children and future generations has become our number one priority.
  5. The people of this great land have spoken and that is why from this day forward health care for all has become our number one priority.
Holy crap. This is just what we need. It's about time. Glad I voted for this person.

The Brewster

Sunday 29 December 2019

Is The Perfect Society a Dream?

The Seven Deadly Sins

History and religion has often referred to seven deadly sins which are:
  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride

To me the worst of these is greed. I say that because I believe it is the cause of most of the major conflicts, wars, and slaughters in history and the ultimate demise of most societies. It still reigns supreme. Ours is likely to follow suit.

All people require basic food, water, protection from the elements, and a safe place to live. The poorest peoples lack one or more of these. The comfortable - our "middle" class, gradually and often through hard work accumulate all four. The powerful obtain them in abundance through any possible means and then want more, even at the expense of the first 2 groups. THAT friends is GREED.

Might has always made right. Often it meant the strongest with the best weapons simply eliminated the weakest and then took what they wanted. That is still happening in parts of the world.

But for decades now, the weapons have been replaced by money and the brawn has been replaced by cleverness and deviousness in accumulating that money by any means.

Here is a list  of many of the things which I find impossible to justify. Those who already have them or indulge in them have no problem rationalizing their possessions or actions. Many just say "why not?"
  1. Monster houses including the land often surrounding them; multiple swimming pools and the drinking water in them; pool heaters; the energy required to warm and operate such houses.
  2. People who own several of these, often inhabited for only part of the year.
  3. The entire racing industry including monster trucks and speed boats that use enough energy in one session to plough fields and grow food for many, many people.
  4. Personal vehicles with enough power to pull a semi often for the personal travel of one individual.
  5. Buffet style restaurants where individuals eat enough for three or four and waste the same amount
  6. People who have hundreds of millions of dollars and want even more, often paying no taxes on what they have. Many of these were born into their wealth.
  7. People who have made all of their money on the stock market often by illegal means and have never worked at a "real" job in their lives. Investing in new businesses that become successful and provide goods and services to society are a good thing. People who make tons of money by simply buying and selling stocks are not. They don't add any more to the benefit of others than loan sharks.
  8. People who use personal vehicles to commute when public transit is available. Equally to blame are the leaders who fail to provide such public transit, often because of the greedy desire to be re-elected.
The list could be longer. I would add that the other six sins could also be a result of greed.

Socialist, Communist, Fascist, Capitalist, left, right, or centre - all have greedy people wielding the power who end up with the most of the peoples' wealth.

Does anyone have any better ideas?

The Brewster

Sunday 15 December 2019

Twinkle Twinkle Little Child

The Power of Innocence

When it seems the whole world is coming undone,
When no one remembers the meaning of fun,

When none of your plans come to fruition,
When you start to doubt your very life's mission,

When you desperately need that twenty-fifth hour,
When your trademark smile has gone and turned sour,

When you need a friend but none heed your call,
When you just want to scream and your back's to the wall,

When all of your dreams still seem miles away,

When you feel all alone at the end of the day,

When you hold in question your own higher power,
When your endless faith has waned and turned sour,

That's when you see a little child smile.
That's when you know it all is worth while!

The Brewster

Sunday 8 December 2019

The Statue of Liberty (LIBERTAS)

One of Few Female Figureheads More Famous Than Queen Elizabeth II

I just read a great history of The Statue of Liberty on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Liberty). The lady ("Liberty Enlightening the World") has quite a past. The entire story is very inspiring. It is a wonder that it all came together the way it finally did.

It is ironic that this world famous icon of might, power, and freedom is depicted as a woman when the country it represents still has a hang up about electing a female President. Go figure! I digress.

The story and the artefact are so awesome it inspired me to write the following:

The Brewster


They tell me that I have made these words by Emma Lazarus famous:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” 

Thank you, Emma. I have indeed seen them come from afar through wind, storm, floods, hurricanes and wars. They reached my lofty perch and stared. I can not offer encouraging smiles and words but I hear and see. Millions of them. They are inspired. My creators Bartholdi and Eiffel would have been proud. 

There was a dedication for me in 1886. That keeps me smiling internally - a private joke. I am the only woman in history who had an erection so famous it was celebrated the world over. It has been a long and arduous 133 years. 

I have been fixed and cleaned; rebuilt and enhanced; had my head and crown adjusted; my arm strengthened and my skin re-vitalized - the wish of so many other women. Yet here I still remain.

I have seen this country build itself from scratch after casting out its imperialist rulers. Here we have built a symbol of what a united people of all creeds and colours can do together. The world was in awe.

133 years I have held this torch, cradled this tablet, born this crown and posed for countless millions of people in awe of me and all I represent.

But I am tired. I am fearful that after all that I have witnessed and endured the worst is yet to come. 

I fear that instead of standing for victory and opportunities in the future, I will become a remnant of the past. I am told that there is a famous movie in which the world has self destructed, and it's lone human survivor happens upon my arm and torch still protruding above nothing but sand and rubble and all that was. I fear this is underway - NOW.

I fear that there are those who wish to undo all that I have stood for right here for 133 years. Must I develop a tear flowing from these famous eyes like so many of my lifeless fellow creations to make you take notice? If I could I definitely would.

Take heed. I can no longer stand tall to represent a former nation which allowed dark forces from within to tear itself apart. Take a long look at me. I broke through my chains and I am always moving forward - not back. 

I have outlived any other woman. I want to stand here just as proud and dominating for many more hundreds of years.

Please. I have never asked for anything else.


Sunday 1 December 2019

A Few of my Favourite Things

This should be easy ...

In one of my posts I featured pet peeves. It was easy to come up with a long list.

Significantly more difficult was developing a list of my favourite things. It should have been the easier of the two. This must say something about life today - at least mine anyway. I should mention that I don't have kids and recognize that they will probably make this list easier for those who live for their family. 

Here are a few things that give me satisfaction, a feeling of warmth, and a desire to replicate the sensation:
  • Spelling and pronouncing words the English / Canadian way and hearing my American colleagues express dismay - like favourite over favorite! Just kidding
  • Shoes that are comfortable from the first fitting and stay that way made better only by comfortable socks
  • The aroma of freshly baked goods including roast beef and turkey
  • A really good carrot cake, apple pie, or butter tart
  • Really good and probably expensive perfume, but only a dab - not the cheap stuff that some women splash on like holy water. I say it again - less is better
  • A really attractive female whether individual the parts or the total being
  • Making others laugh, even at my own expense
  • The laughter of children, especially infants in a group. They have not yet learned anything evil
  • A well composed, uplifting, and eloquently delivered speech
  • Solving a problem others were unable to solve
  • Sitting outside early in the morning on a pleasant day with nothing but the sound of nature to distract me - minus the crows
  • Satisfying a hunger with great food or a thirst with cold water or beer
  • Completing a difficult physical task I hated doing
  • Hearing someone at the gym say I am in great shape, even though they diplomatically omitted the "for your age" part
  • Preparing a meal and having my partner say it is really good. Makes me regret all the years I neglected to say the same to her day after day. I did sometimes but should have complimented her more often
  • As with the speaker, a very talented and accomplished singer who hits every note bang on with limitless pitch and volume and total control over both. Examples: Celine Dion; Karen Carpenter; Barbra Streisand; Josh Groban; Roy Orbison; Colm Wilkinson in Les Mis.
  • Shooting a really good golf score. This one is still on the bucket list.
  • Appreciating a really clever new invention
  • People who can genuinely listen without interruption and when appropriate, offer help or suggestions
  • The opposite. People who value me enough to share something but know when enough is enough and give me a chance to comment if I should wish to
  • Knowing that I can and will keep a secret, and people who will do the same for me. These are as rare as the Loch Ness Monster
  • Finally catching a very bad criminal(s) and seeing justice done

Monday 25 November 2019

Is USA Still a Democracy?

What is Democracy Today?

When people think about modern democratic counties one of the first on the list is America. My understanding of their system is that each branch of government (legislative, executive, judicial) is equal as outlined in Articles 1, 2, and 3 of their constitution respectively.

I am not a political science graduate or student but the situation in the good old U.S. of A. makes me pose some profound questions.

- What happens when one of the three like the executive (Trump) ignores this?
- If he refuses to comply with subpoenas or "forbids" his associates from doing so, what courses of action are there?
- I have heard that it can go to the Supreme Court for a decision but what if THAT is ignored? It seems to me that they are already at such a divide. Donald Trump sees himself as a dictator and acts accordingly.
- If a General tries to have him physically removed, since Trump is the Supreme Commander is that not a Coup d'Etat?
- Would such a General then be charged?
- If the VP takes over can he pardon such a General?
- Is there anyone who can be relied upon to tell the truth anymore come what may?
- Is it really true that lies mean nothing to anyone these days?
- Do high ranking Republicans really think their man has done nothing wrong or have they simply sold their souls for a job and a pension?
- Do they really want such a disgusting individual to represent their beloved country?

I suppose many other states have gone through similar turmoil but once a strongman takes over by force, it is very hard to remove him. The people eventually accept this as a new norm and rarely revolt.

America once helped with these efforts if it was in their best interest. Who will help them?

The Brewster

Thursday 14 November 2019

Impeachment: Who is Winning, the Christians or the Lions?

They're at the Post - THEY'RE OFF!

I am almost ashamed to admit it but here I am in Canada and I watched all of the impeachment hearing yesterday and many hours of analysis thereafter. I found it very entertaining.

In my judgement the Dem's took the day - the two witnesses actually - but only by a hair. The other side put up a good fight but I am not sure they have anything left. Will the President's supporters just be repeating the same old stale arguments from here on? No Quid Pro Quo? All second hand heresay. Identify the whistle blower. Yatta; Yatta; Yatta.

I said this at the beginning: give this man enough rope and he will hang himself. He almost has. I think the noose has yet to be tightened but it will be - by his own hand.

The really sad thing to me is that the world is seeing what this great nation has now become. This is like two siblings fighting and when the parents intervene, all they can say is "He (She) started it!" Who cares? If Democrats win the next election you can be sure the petty bickering will continue.

Republicans are bitching about a single focus - trying to take down the President - but is it really any different than the stonewalling they were guilty of in Congress under Obama?

I suppose there is one thing different this time. If Trump goes, via this process or by losing the election, there will be an audible sigh of relief on both sides, even by some in his party who are afraid to be honest at present. There has never been a Presdent like him. Thankfully.

History has shown that great nations always destroy themselves - usually through greed and aggression. Let's hope America can still deliver a black eye to history. The world will be better off. I have serious doubts it will happen under the current leader. If he is still in the ring, he will go down like Sonny Liston.

"Make the Presidency Great Again"

The Brewster

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Democratic Candidates – First Impressions

First Impressions are Often the Lasting Ones

Once again I speak as a Canadian looking on from another country. I am starting to get those all important first impressions of some of the candidates. Here are my top picks. I should confess however that I thought Trump had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning in 2016 and that Clinton would demolish him and be a great President.

If you wish to stop reading at this point I will take no offense.

I will also say that I think it is time that America had a strong female President. Some of history’s great leaders were female. It’s generally the men who screw things up and kill people by the millions.

Biden: I saw him alone on CNN last night (Nov. 1) and was impressed. I always thought he would be good. Sharing his personal tragedies was one of his strongest features.

If he could keep his temper, I am sure he could devastate Trump in a debate. There will always be the age factor. Could he keep his strengths for eight years? Look how Obama aged – or for that matter Trump already.

He still has a tendency to get tripped up on words and thoughts which make him look like he is losing it. Trump will play on that. He also has a tendency to start a sentence and thought and then switches to another before finishing - very frustrating. He has great and ample experience and would restore dignity to the office which is badly needed.

I consider him to be the best centrist for the party. Let us not forget however that status quo is what people wanted changed in 2016. If enough people now realize that the same status quo was better than what they now have, he could win provided that the younger voters don’t reject him.

Warren: I have always been impressed by her speeches and quickness on her feet. She can stand up for herself. I am not convinced that when faced with the worst boorish and vulgar thoughts and statements Trump will throw, she won’t crumble.

In 2016 the day after the election I was in the States. Someone told me that the average American was still not ready for a female President. Has that changed? She does come across as a folksy, “aw shucks”, school teacher, down homey gal who still likes to bake her own muffins. That won’t wash against world leaders who are brutal and misogynistic.

She also has to stop being evasive. It does not befit her image. Finally use of oil DOES have to be curtailed but not overnight.

Buttigieg: This guy is smart as hell. He always has impressive and honest answers to questions and novel ideas.

I think he would be great, but being mayor of a city is a LOT less than being President. If he does not win this time, his time will come. Maybe he needs a Governorship first.

What was said about the electorate not being ready for the first female President is probably valid in spades for the first openly gay President and First Husband? It should not be a factor but I suspect it will be. This guy has the moxie to stand up to it.

I am more impressed every time I hear him.

Sanders: What can you say about Bernie? You have to like him. He is devoted, committed, and honest. But he still talks like a lecturing professor. He remains too far left. I don’t think based on that alone he has a chance this time either.

I agree with all his rants about the wealthy vs. the middle class and poor. The American dream has indeed become a nightmare. He should definitely be in the White House in some meaningful capacity with any Democratic winner.

People will still worry about age and health.

Harris: In her first few showings I was impressed. She speaks well and enthusiastically but when she took a cheap shot at Biden I was no longer impressed. Once again I think she should be in someone’s inner circle but I believe she is now out of the race.

Klobuchar: A very accomplished leader and good debater. She has sharp answers and good ideas. Like Harris, I don’t think she can catch up.

Her voice and tone are unfortunately a bit hard to listen to for long and tends to support rumours of a personality that creates bad relationships with staff due to aggressive treatment. Just look at Trump. You must rely on your advisors and berating them will drive them away. Maybe she will learn from this and polish up for next time.

Perhaps an element of this is a plus on the international stage with other male heads of state but it requires tact and a certain charisma she needs to work on. Other female leaders like Thatcher, Golda Meir, and the current leader of New Zealand - Jacinda Ardern possess(ed) the characteritics in question.


Steyer: I am impressed. I heard him on his own with students the other night and he makes a lot of sense. It is too bad he is trying to jump in on his own.

I think he has a far better chance of shaking things up in a helpful and productive manner than Trump ever will. It sounds like he and his wife have great attitudes and abilities to organize. She would be a good First Lady. He appears to have more business acumen in one finger than Trump has in his entire body.

In particular I like the idea of limiting the terms of more elected officials than just the President. That results in new blood and ideas, and attitudes that change with the times.

I don’t know if he has any experience on the world scene dealing with other heads of state. If not, neither did Trump. I do think he would bring great people into the office and would actually listen to them unlike the current President. Think Kennedy, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.

I would vote for him from what I have seen so far. Maybe next time.

I also believe it is time for the USA to have an official 3rd party - right in the middle.

The Brewster

Saturday 9 November 2019

Imagine! Thanks to John Lennon

Time to Imagine

This is the time of year when the famous song by John - "Imagine" - comes to mind for me.
If you listen carefully to the lyrics, it is all about a utopia that we will probably never reach. Would that we could. However with Remembrance Day looming, I always end up imagining other things - things that DID happen and were a long way from utopia. Things I hope I will never experience and by sheer luck so far have not. As a senior well north of 55, I don't imagine I ever will.

Imagine living your life as a young man or woman and looking forward to your future for which you might have worked so hard and of which you dreamt so often. Suddenly you are on a ship or plane bound for destinations unknown but duty bound to kill other people who threaten that future any way you can, or to sacrifice your own life and that future trying.

Imagine being terrified beyond description but having to maintain a brave face with your peers while knowing that you might very well not return. You might end up buried under a simple cross as an unknown soldier because when you died you were no longer recognizable.

Imagine having to shoot someone with the same aspirations as you or slice their throat or gut them or blow them up with a grenade because you are duty bound to do so. There is also this - if you don't they will.

Imagine making friends with another frightened soul and charging into battle facing bullets and explosions only to see them blown to bits and wondering why them and not you? Or wondering if your time is only seconds away. Will it be sudden and merciful or slow and agonizing?

Imagine thinking that you might never see your loved ones again and that, if defeated, the sacrifice would be for nought.

Imagine living in the ground in filthy freezing conditions knowing that if you raise your head too high you might lose it. You stink. You are covered in lice. The "food" if you have any, is terrible. Nature calling? There is only that pit at the end of the trench. To find it just follow your nose.

Imagine spending months learning how to fly so you can deliver weapons that will devastate hundreds of people who are totally innocent and structures that are historic.  Or training as a sailor so you can sink another ship and know that hundreds of people will drown in horror as a result.

Imagine such training going to waste because your plane is fishtailing at full speed towards the ground and these are your last seconds alive. Or you are the sailor whose ship is headed for the bottom with you in it.

Imagine the joy of just returning alive. Let us remember those who did.

Let us imagine it never happening again.

Thank you, John Lennon

The Brewster

Saturday 11 May 2019

What's Wrong With North America?

North American Democracy is Flawed

Do a search on your favourite online engine for the top democracies in the world. Those I found did not include America, Canada, or the U.K. Consistently high were Scandinavian countries, Belgium, New Zealand, and Austria. Generally I would observe that those countries that were once part of the British Empire and its colonialist policies are not on these lists.

Why is this? I can only guess, so here are some of my thoughts.

Firstly I notice that most of these countries are known to be peaceful and non-aggressive. If they were once it was long ago. Perhaps they learned their lessons. Generally they are not strong militarily - certainly not "super powers" - willing to annihilate thousands of innocent people for their own selfish needs.

If you do a similar search for standards of living you will find many of the same countries. Canada does do well here but I suspect that will be short-lived and I am a Canadian.

In these countries people just seem to be much happier. There is a true middle class where everyone gets a piece of the pie. The less fortunate are well cared for. These countries also have long histories that make us in the west look like infants, troubled teens, or just self-centred brats.

Scandinavian countries have had more stringent immigration policies than North America. It seems that limiting who gets to live there is a factor. It is hard to swallow but maybe we need to be more selective ourselves.

The traditional American Dream has become the American Nightmare. The model is broken. The great country that many elsewhere see only exists in Disneyland and Hollywood. Coming here to live such a dream is quite another matter. America has become a great place to live if you are filthy rich but only a very few hold this status. One of the largest problems is that these people whose families have always found a way to create and keep wealth used to rely on the middle class to work for them. Now technology does most of that. They make more and we make less if we have a job at all. One thing is the same. They and their businesses still require the physical infrastructures that we have all paid for and are still paying for. The rich have simply learned how to take personal advantage of them.

The best way to sum it up for me is that our culture breeds greed - purely and simply. Look out for number one. Grab what you can before somebody else does.

There are indeed wealthy families in other places. Sweden boasts the founders of Ikea and Abba who I am sure are both very rich. They truly earned their wealth. I wonder if the Swedish population places people - sometimes unworthy or despicable people - on a pedestal like us? Do they spend their evenings watching the Hollywood or Kardashian types that we do? I would guess not. They seem to have a national pride and mutual self respect that is more than just words.

I think the golden years are over. The '50s, '60s, and '70s with lots of well paying jobs requiring little education are gone. China and India will produce the cheap goods if America can not.

If we want to solve problems for our kids and their futures we should start to emulate other countries without the crime, the guns and weapons of mass destruction, the obscene wealth, and the crooked politicians. A free democracy should foster a mentality in which those who find the knack of becoming wealthy use it not just to accumulate more for themselves, but to assist those who at least want to work hard for a decent life. The North American model of capitalism does the opposite. The dream has become survival of the fittest; might makes right; and bugger thy neighbour.

We should start now.

The Brewster

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Judge chooses rights over right

Don't even think about reporting that body in my trunk - not in Canada!

Recently a  Canadian judge dismissed a weapons charge because he was annoyed over an officer's testimony as to why he stopped a vehicle. During the stop a loaded weapon was spotted on the floor and 2 occupants were arrested. As a result a man with a record got away with yet another gun crime and no doubt will again. Such judgements raise several questions. Why can R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) programs target any vehicle randomly when there is usually no prior reason to believe each driver had been drinking? Does this mean that if an officer pulls over a car because it is being driven erratically but in the process discovers a body or person gagged and bound in the back seat or trunk, that charges against the driver will be dropped? Such decisions are usually intended to prevent targeting visible minorities but when illegal weapons or drugs are found this should trump "rights". If nothing is found, then reprimand or punish the officer but don't let a gun holder go free! This officer should be cheered, not chastised.
The Brewster

Monday 15 April 2019

Doug Ford's Carbon Tax Sign of the Times

If you haven’t looked at Ford lately, look again.

Yes that is borrowed from the motor company. I couldn't resist.

Recently Ontario Premier Doug Ford et al announced something new in their renowned efforts to work for the little guy and make the province open for business. Apparently between dollar beers, he had a Eureka moment and announced that what we really need is a new Ontario Licence plate - painted Tory blue naturally. On it there will also be a new slogan, creating at our expense a visible legacy to himself. Nothing like spending more money - OUR money - to trim the fat.

That is bad enough but what followed lowers his disregard for the public and common sense below the level of the current U.S. President.

Now to protest the Canadian federal government's carbon tax policies ("Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act") Ontario gas stations have to display on all pumps a sticker that protests this new tax. Corporations could face fines of up to $10,000 per day for not displaying the stickers.

This is incredible.

What will be next? Will homeowners face daily fines for not displaying a Conservative sign on their lawn during the next election? Doug give your head a shake - that is after you extract it from … wherever it is now!

The Brewster

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Environment Doomsday and Smart Phones

Don't Text and Step Outside Your Door

How many times has it been said not to text and drive or not to use your phone and walk? The danger should be obvious but apparently to some it is not. They drive right into oncoming traffic or walk into a pole (or oncoming traffic).

What is the connection with the environment? Just one of attitude.

Ignore the advice that we have to do something now to save our planet and some day you will step out your front door - while texting - and right into the rising water. It will be too late to fix, but what the hell, you can take a picture or record it. You might even go viral like the water swirling around your feet.

The Brewster

Saturday 6 April 2019

Climate Change and Rising Ocean Levels

Is This 40 days and 40 Nights The Sequel?

I am not a religious man. I do consider myself to be a practical one and I see the writing on the wall when it comes to climate change.

As I have written before those who try to "compare" climate changes of the past - millions of years ago based on pure geological studies - are fooling themselves and us. Back then there was no industrial revolution and the world population - as far as we can deduce anyway - was not counted in billions. These studies compare apples to oranges.

What is a fact however despite arguing over the causes, is that the world's ice is melting. Like it or not, that WILL raise the level of seas and oceans and millions of houses, both humble and elaborate, will be under water. Then what?

Havoc, that's what. Survival of the fittest all over again. Religious teachings tell of a great flood - as some kind of punishment.

Did it happen or is it yet to come?

If you want to make a fortune in your time, start a boat-building company called Noah's Arcs are something similar. Almost guaranteed.

The Brewster

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Trump Spin CNN Style

Not So Fast CNN

I like CNN. They can be very annoying sometimes the way they interrupt guests, especially Republicans, when they start to give an answer the host does not like, but overall I prefer the network over others.

However for almost 2 years now every show on CNN has devoted inordinate amounts of time to blasting Trump's wall position and policies. There is no crisis. There is no invasion. A wall won't work. Drugs and bad guys come through the gates. Yada, yada. I agree with it all.

All of a sudden Kuomo is in Texas and the network is blasting both sides for doing nothing about this horrible crisis! Granted the immediate problem of overcrowding is real, but it sure is a 180 degree about face. Remember The White House was lying about hoards of people coming! Looks like they were not.

Then it could be CNN is learning from DJT. Is it a heartfelt distraction from the fact that 2 years of going on about Mueller's report and how bad it could be, has so far been a bust? This is like the polling people in a certain recent election. Like it or not there are a lot of CNN journalists and program hosts who have egg on their faces.

Maybe a rage about poor immigrants blaming both sides will wipe some of it off.

Fess up guys. He got away with the invasion hue and cry AND the Russian "thing". You always want HIM to say he was wrong and now it is your turn. It will look far better on you.

The Brewster

Monday 1 April 2019

The Real Judgement Day

I Was Just Thinking … Because I Still Can

This past weekend I attended and briefly spoke as did several others at the memorial service or life celebration of a very long time friend. I have had the following thoughts before.

When something like this transpires - there is usually some kind of notification sent to others. It contains details of any ceremony, viewing, or celebration of a life on this planet and it is an implied invitation. To make it less awkward there is seldom an RSVP requested.

That having been said we all then have a simple binary decision to make - will I attend or not? For many it is very easy to rationalize a note and flowers - something else on; illness; just too far to go; work; don't really know them; etc.

So it is very impressive when someone draws a huge number of attendees at such a ceremony, whatever its nature. What a wonderful statement when the room is overflowing. I say again - anyone can decide not to come. Social Media friends are not reality but this is.

To me the resulting headcount is the true test of your success in this world - how many other people you touched in a positive way. I don't happen to believe in the divine version - it has never been verified. But THIS I can see with my own eyes. Here everyone gets to be a judge for just one moment.

Will my life or yours fill a room when the time comes?

My friend touched a lot of people - and they came. I will miss him and so will all of those other attendees.

The Brewster

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Huffman and Loughlin Scandal Tip of the Iceberg

Doctor of Philanthropy

For anyone who missed it there is a current scandal in America about rich people buying entrance to high profile schools for their kids.

I have coined a new phrase : Doctor of Philanthropy! Is this the other PhD we never hear about? It is said that if you have money you can pretty well buy anything. Surely this is just another example. Several questions are raised here.

Would you do the same for your kid if you could - if you thought that you would never be caught? I suspect there will be many silent affirmatives being mumbled upon reading this. To me the biggest sin of all is that you would really not be doing your child any favour. You WOULD be teaching them your own underhanded methods but that is hardly a virtue. Let us not forget that those who accepted the money for their own greedy purposes share the level of depravity of the "donors". No, they are worse - they could have reported it.

Are those who make huge donations and scholarships to elite schools any more noble? Even if the funds were put to a good use it still depends on whether unqualified children - academically or athletically - gained entrance when it was not deserved.

Is this just one of the more base characteristics of our often lauded North American life style? The fact is this type of thing goes on everywhere and always has. It happens in democracies; dictatorships (often to save your life); corporations; and yes, religious hierarchies. I wonder how many heads were saved back in the days of Henry VIII via financial donations?

Is this sour grapes on my part and many others? Probably but if I had the millions I still think I would make sure they earned whatever they got through hard work and study.

Does hard earned money verses that gained in a slightly easier fashion affect your core values? People like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates built empires, wealth, jobs, and something of true value. Warren built opportunities and Bill built products. Would they do this for their kids? On the other hand those who receive millions for their "celebrity" status or athletic ability in many cases have only attained wealth for themselves. When they are gone, they might leave memories and adoration but do they give back to the society that made them rich? Some do - the late Arnold Palmer comes to mind. I doubt he would be facing charges like those currently in the media.

I don't have an answer to any of this. Welcome to Democracy where you can buy your kid a future and I can rant like this! Only in America? I doubt it.

The Brewster

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Hats off to New Zealand and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

We need more like her.

Hats off to the Prime Minister of New Zealand for the mature and sober manner in which she has handled this horrible incident.

A small country living in relative peace and obscurity and she has given her peer world leaders a lesson in what Premiers, Presidents, and Prime Ministers are expected to do - what we elected them to do - LEAD!

I hope she can follow through on the gun legislation because I can think of another leader and country that badly needs more examples to follow.

This tragic event demonstrates once again that more women on the world stage would be an asset - not a liability! Male egos have messed up this planet long enough.

The Brewster

Monday 18 March 2019

Too many Party Candidates for President

Me Too for President

Let me get this out first. Yes it is great that in a democracy you can, I can, they can all run for political office - President no less. For sure it is better than one party / one candidate systems.

But in 2015-16 and in the lead up to 2020 it's like there is another and very different Me Too movement going on. Everybody wants to be President. It's like a gumball machine - drop in a coin and out pops a different surprise. Here you just have to turn on the TV and up pops another candidate.

Maybe it is time to put a limit on candidacy for the top job. Cap it. Once the number is reached - let's take 10 as an example (still probably too high) - then you are too late to declare. There should be a meaningful non-returnable fee to submit so that only serious candidates step up. Only if one drops out can another join the race to fill the void. Both parties - and any new ones - should have to abide by this. Then debates and sorting out the weak from the strong could start earlier. Unfortunately it won't stop the horrible behavior.

The US elections are starting to look more like The Gong Show than a serious run at being a great nation's leader.

What do you think?

The Brewster

Thursday 14 March 2019

Make The Presidency Great Again?

Do the Democratic Candidates for President have Too Many Feet?

In the next election the shoe will be on the other foot for both parties. Will we see a Democratic turkey shoot as we did with the Republicans or will the blue party remain true blue and respectable? I suspect if nothing else there are already too many feet in the race and some will be trampled. At least we can hope that the burials will be decent.

Once all these nice clean Democratic candidates are in full Gallup watch out. The gloves will be off and there will be blood spilled. The only question is whether the killings will be honourable or down and dirty just like the Republicans in 2016 - mow down the competition any way you can.

Let me say again that I hope one of the Dems will adapt my slogan of "Make the Presidency Great Again". It is a sure winner.

Personally I think that Joe Biden will beat all others and Trump . He runs the danger now of being seen as not being capable of making a tough decision. Just say "YES" Joe. You will trounce The Donald in any debate.

Get the lead out. Get the finger out. Just get out and get going! The only body part of yours anyone wants to see stuck anywhere is your foot up you-know-who's butt.

We will all help you extract it for another kick if necessary.

The Brewster

Saturday 16 February 2019

Marcella Zoia chair throwing in Toronto

Throw the BOOK at her - see how she likes it!

As reported and broadcast in Toronto media, one Marcella Zoia is accused of throwing a chair and possibly other articles from an upper floor balcony of a building in Toronto. The objects crashed in front of the building entrance and could have blown onto an adjacent major expressway. Mercifully no one was hurt. Video exists that appears to show her in the act of doing this.

Surely there should be no more mercy in this entire incident. Despite claims that she feels badly about what she did, pictures of her appear to belie that. Since she has such a propensity for tossing objects, the justice system should toss the book at her.

This individual rejected any regard for human life or serious injury in another reckless attempt to gain notoriety on social media. She seems to have succeeded. Bad enough when the population at large makes certain people famous and wealthy simply because they performed intimate sex acts on video but this goes way beyond that.

In both cases we should not reward individuals apparently void of any other talent or means of contributing something useful to society. If there had been any victims here, they most likely would have died or had the normal life they had been enjoying tragically altered. Now this person's life should be altered for her.

The perpetrator is reported to be 19 - old enough to know better and to pay the consequences. A now famous Donald Trump chant aimed at Hillary Clinton comes to mind. It applies here.

She needs time - lots of it - to reconsider her life and it should be without any direct contact to the outside world - definitely no camera. Let her sit on a broken chair.

The Brewster

Thursday 31 January 2019

Something(s) to Think About

I am no Will Rogers or Mark Twain but I gave it My Best

Brewster Babble: 
  1. I had life by the tail. Then I lifted it and had my first look at reality.
  2. If God really wanted us to reform our ways we would all have a reset button instead of a belly button.
  3. With my luck every time I extend the glass to decide if it is half empty or half full I can't find my glasses.
  4. Life is just a bowl of cherries until you eat the last one. Then it's just the pits.
  5. My wife said she wanted foreplay, so I invited over two of her friends and now she is pissed at me.
  6. I got one of those four hour Viagra erections but my partner says I paid three hours and fifty-seven seconds too much.
  7. Surely one of the worst human defects is when a person's brain is in their ass and all their crap comes out of their mouth. Think of anyone in particular?
  8. Fortune favours the bold - and their mistresses!
  9. If birds of a feather do stick together does that make them racists?
  10. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Good Advice, but I'm broke and you can fix me anytime you want.
  11. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder - and hornier!
  12. I am trying to be less critical of others and it really is helping me realize how stupid some people are.
  13. People who live in White Houses should not throw Tweets
  14. My partner asked if her dress made her look fat. I asked if I could blame my beer gut on my pants. Now she won't speak to me. Women!
  15. The early bird gets the first position at the Costco gas pumps.
  16. Old saying updated: Take your eyeglasses off first then give your head a shake!
  17. Why would I want a tat? Mother Nature already creates a new marking somewhere on my body every day and it's totally free.
  18. People who live in White Houses should not throw Tweets.
  19. I wish the person who said "A picture is worth a thousand words" could have seen the smart phone. Now it's thousands of pictures and sadly, no words.
  20. God helps those who help themselves. Even DJT? Now I know why I am not particularly religious.

Sunday 27 January 2019

Government Shutdowns

If It's Broken, Fix It!

Surely with America's recent government shutdown everyone would agree that such an event should not be allowed to happen. Do whatever is necessary to insure that this fiasco can not be repeated. It should be a part of the platform of any new candidates to make this change.

We know what happens when Americans even discuss changes to gun ownership rights. But who will object to this? Surely no political system should result in such a stalemate.

I understand that the root of the problem is simply that the government operates only with funds provided in an approved budget, which must be passed by Congress and the Senate. No budget approval means no funds to spend.

In Canada where I live there is no real parallel. The majority party in the House of Commons forms the government and as such can pretty much approve any budget it wants. When parliament is not sitting - like the period in between elections when it has been dissolved, the existing Governor General can actually approve something called Special Warrants which permit essential spending to carry on.

A similar position should be created in America whereby one person has the power to approve an agreed upon list of expenditures - essential services - and he or she is duty bound to approve them. Alternatively simply eliminate human involvement and list essential services which must always be funded and paid regardless of individual party views. In other words preserve the status quo until a new budget is approved.

Any other suggestions?

The Brewster

Friday 25 January 2019

Donald Trump and Ann Coulter

Ann Who?

Ok I actually have heard of Ann Coulter. No loss if I had not but she makes enough noise every now and then that I have.

Normally I would not venture into the following but hey, when you are talking about Donald and Ann there are no rules. Protocol gets as shut down as the federal government. If you are in the arena with two vipers you had better have at least a vile of venom and a squirt gun on your person. So just to annoy her and her followers and regrettably probably a lot of other women, if she put on a few more pounds she could be an attractive woman. It's just that mouth! I would have respected her more if she wore bunny ears and a tail and hung out at Heff's mansion. There! I am sure she will love that.

I am as anti-Trump as most people but I at least commend him in a twisted sort of way for re-opening the government so all of those innocent workers can be paid. It is probably the most humble thing he has ever done but at least it was a good decision - finally. America deserves at least one from him. (You are after all POTUS!)

The last person on earth he should listen to however is this Ann Coulter. At least the Donald ran and won The Presidency no less. What has she ever accomplished? She mouths off, tries to flog her books, and tweets. That should make her a Tweep but I can only grant 80% - a Twit. I guess that's a failed Tweep. She is more of a Howard Stern wanna be than anything else. And that ain't much.

Stick a brick in it Ann - preferably one from The Wall.

The Brewster

Thursday 24 January 2019

Animal Consumption

Plants are living too - Really?

On Thursday in a local paper was a letter about animal consumption. The author suggested we should not eat plants either because they are also living. Really? Is that what the sixth commandment was about? The author did not propose an alternative. I assume fish are out. Do we consume each other? Where does this end?

I offer this tongue in cheek but the farmers need some form of basic sustenance to raise either the forbidden animals or the plants. Butchering animals can be very cruel. As yet I have not heard plants crying or seen them panicking once they realized they were doomed. Seriously, what does the author eat?

What next - the ASPCP?

The Brewster

Saturday 19 January 2019

Racism and Gun Violence

Are you a racist?

These terms are heard almost daily - "racism" and "racist." Sometimes I wonder if those making accusations involving the terms really understand them. Do I myself?

To begin with there are many attempts to define races and many of the lists and sub-lists are long. Common to many are: Caucasoid (also Caucasian); Negroid; Mongoloid; and Australoid. Some combine Negroid and Australoid. Some include seven. There are many more. So let us ignore the list and start with this: there are several "races" of people. Contrary to a few bigots, I will add that they are all human beings.

Dictionaries almost always include in their definitions of these terms a belief that one race is superior than another or that race determines one's human traits or characteristics beyond mere appearance. The term ethnicity is also introduced. That however includes not just race but culture, beliefs, and practices including religion.

For me the differentiation is as follows: Consider my being born with a twin brother. If my parents break up with one taking me to England and the other taking my brother to India, we would still be of the same race. Years later however our two distinct ethnicities would be obvious.

As a basis for discussion in the last few years of my working life, I was a visible minority at work. I am Caucasian, born and raised in Toronto. My ancestors were also Caucasian - English and Irish. No matter. I worked primarily with Chinese colleagues. Many were also from India. Several were European, especially Russian. This was the quintessential Canadian multiculturalism in practice!

Generally we all got along and conversed but often had coffee with ""our own." This was not policy but mere convenience since many of the others spoke a different language. Even some from Quebec sat together to speak French. Did that make any of us racists? Were we practicing racism? I hope the answer is no. If however I did not want to sit with others because of their race or them with me because I just didn't belong, then that would be racism in my opinion.

Let's press this a little further. It so happened that one or two individuals because of their ethnicity never wore deodorant and by afternoon on a hot day it was difficult for me and others to be near them. Is that racism or just fact? I will also point out that some might have dressed slightly differently for reasons of religion, but that was not a problem. Not racism.

Moving right along, when most of us went home we probably lived in areas populated first and foremost by people - our neighbours - of the same ethnicity and maybe even race. Is that racism or personal preference? In fact most huge cities have a Chinatown; Little Italy; Little Germany, Poland, Pakistan, Greece etc. Racism again? I don't think so, just multiculturalism. People who speak the same language; eat the same food; practice the same religion; shared the same upbringing, like being neighbours. So what?

I happened to commute through an area of North Toronto that has become heavily and predominantly populated by Chinese people. Most of the commercial signs and drivers are Chinese. Entire housing developments and communities are Chinese. It was a joke but also true even amongst my Chinese colleagues that it was a very bad place to drive a car. The drivers were TERRIBLE. Did they pay off the examiners? Was it upbringing in crowded markets where fend for yourself was the rule? I don't know but it was a fact. Is this racism? It might be if I believe that if you are Chinese you are by assumption a bad driver. I am close on this one.

For many decades the Irish and English fought horrible and often extremely violent battles. Are they not the same race? Likewise there were confrontations and in one case a murder involving differences between French and English peoples in Canada. Race? No, ethnicity in both cases.

I am still a little puzzled why my use of the term Negroid might be upsetting to others when mentioning Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Australoid is not. Please note that I am not using any derogatory slang words here.

If there is a lot of reported gang activity in an area - Vietnamese gangs; Haitian gangs; Canadian gangs, I am going to be frightened if multiples of any one of these groups start to follow me home. If they hurt me, the media should report the race involved if that will help other people avoid injury. If I am then more cautious of any such gathering of people too bad. I have a right to be. The same could be said for predominantly white biker gang activity.

If there are a lot of violent incidents involving any groups of visibly different individuals - minority or otherwise, the press has to report this. If ultra right white supremacist groups are attacking other non whites, the press has to report it. I want them to. Likewise with any other group minority or not.

When a local bear wanders into a town and attacks people, I am going to be very frightened and hide if I see one. I can't tell if it is a nice bear and don't care if most them are nice. I will hide. I also won't entertain a debate over whether bears attack any more of us than say mountain lions.

Sorry if you are offended by the bear analogy. I don't mean to offend black bears, white bears, brown bears, mountain lions, or people. However more and more violence is happening in our cities. The teeth and claws are guns. If white people are pulling the trigger - tell me that. Likewise black, yellow, red, purple - I don't care.

What the hell can we do about it? If it were bears we would keep them in cages, shoot them if they were repeat offenders, or take them back to where they belong. We would argue about what colour they were or if mountain lions were a bigger threat later.

In short I am very colour blind when it comes to stopping gun violence regardless of who is carrying. Give authorities whatever tools they need.

The Brewster

Sunday 6 January 2019

Welcome to Democracy, Western Style

Don't You Just Love It - What a System!

It happens every time. CEOs of major corporations receive huge compensations when the company does well. When the bottom line is slipping, who takes the pay cut or is told they have to accept a zero increase - those same executives or the employees? HINT: it isn't the first group.

In politics it is the same - from local mayors to premiers, governors, prime ministers, and presidents. When things go well they vote themselves increases in salaries, benefits, and pensions. When things are not going so well, then what? 

Isn't it still true that we the electors put these people where they are and our taxes pay them salaries, benefits and pensions to work for US, the electorate? If workers of a failing company take the hit does it not follow that politicians who work for the voters should also take the hit when, for example, a government shuts down? What did its employees or its electorate do to be so-punished?

What am I missing here? Let them eat cake or at least humble pie.

The Brewster

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Carding and Random Searches

OK to Check for Alcohol But Not for Guns?

This is a sensitive one but here goes anyway. Perhaps that is my point - why so sensitive?

Here in Toronto we had a very bad year for homicides in 2018, a lot of them gun related. This is generating the usual debate about whether police should stop and search people or not. Some groups say that this practice results in discrimination against members of minority groups. Others - especially police officers both active and retired, say some of those groups are the ones shooting each other.

The really sensitive issue is actually the practice of "carding" when those stopped have to produce personal ID and must "justify" their presence. The police then record data about this person. I totally understand the indignation this causes even though it has not happened to me. Yet.

What I don't get is this:

Every year around Christmas and New Years the police step up their RIDE program (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) and randomly pull over cars. The drivers have to roll down their windows and speak to an officer who is checking for the symptoms of drinking - primarily the smell of alcohol on the driver's breath. Most people are in favour of this, unless of course it is YOU and you have indeed been drinking! It is still thought by most to be in the best interests of everyone using our roadways.

The practice is "random" because it is often at night. The officers can not see the driver or whether they are or are not a member of a visible minority. In addition they often stop all cars on a given street, whether the driver has shown erratic driving patterns or not.

In a similar fashion, we accept the necessity of scanning everyone before boarding an aircraft. It is in the best interests of all of the passengers. EVERYONE is scanned.

My suggestion is to supply police with the same types of hand-held scanning devices used in airports. Make it legal for police set up a mini "RIDE" type program for pedestrians and cars.

Those stopped will quickly be scanned. If nothing shows up they go on your way - no ID is needed and no data is recorded. This will only take seconds. I would even support the pulling over of cars at random just like the Christmas RIDE program. In this case all occupants AND the car could be legally and briefly searched.

On the other hand if someone is carrying illegally, they are arrested on the spot.

This might be inconvenient but how could any one group complain if all parties are scanned? Surely it would go a long way towards reducing the shootings that we are witnessing in broad daylight .

Before reacting remember - it is normal at airports and at Christmas for alcohol and it is generally accepted. Alcohol is not used deliberately to kill other people. Not so for guns.

The Brewster