Woe for Trudeau

Justin Trudeau sat at the edge of his bed, cup of coffee in hand, as his Filipino maid left the breakfast tray next to him on the mattress. He looked down at the mug, which was a cup with a gold trim lining the rim. It was a gift he had received as a child, when his father had taken them all to a quaint mansion owned by an old family friend in France. The coffee was rich and warm, and it too was a gift, from the son of the former president of Columbia. He let the smell of the coffee flow into his nostrils, then he sighed heavily.

Trudeau had just returned from his cross country bus trip. Ontario was a bit of a struggle, but the Maritimes were lovely as always, and then the trip across the prairies had been wonderful, until of course, he had hit Alberta. There was a large group of protesters in Medicine Hat, and the crowd had become so ruckus and unruly that there was no choice but to hop on a chartered plane and cross over Alberta in the air. When they landed in Cranbrook BC, they got back on a bus and finished the tour. Most of the media had been responsive to the tour, but the newspapers in Alberta were less than kind. The Calgary Sun had called his actions “cowardly”. The Lethbridge Herald called him “Spineless”. And the Rebel’s own Ezra Levant had posted a video, stating that Justin was “A Liberal Faggot”.

He put his coffee down and looked over at Maria, the maid. “Maria, I’ve got a question for you. Why do people in Alberta hate me so much?”

It was Maria’s turn to sigh. “Mr. Trudeau. I very busy today. Can you not ask your wife?”

Trudeau shook his head. “I’ve asked her, and she doesn’t know either.”

“Okay.” Maria said as she pulled out a chair that was close by. She sat down. “The first province I started in, when I move to Canada? It was Alberta. I moved to Edmonton so that I might support my family back home, yes? The people in Alberta are very different than the rest of country. How many hours a week I work?”

Trudeau looked puzzled “Well, I think you work about 40 hours a week.”

Maria nodded. “It is 44 hours, but you are so close. Now, how many hours in Alberta did I work?” Before Justin could answer, Maria interrupted. “I work 50 to 70 hours a week in Alberta.” Justin gasped. “But…. but what about family and free time and hobbies?” Maria waved her hand “People from Alberta, they have no hobbies or free time. Everyone work. You live in Alberta, you work. You bored? Find second job. Everyone work like crazy in Alberta.”

Trudeau looked aghast. “What about the arts, and music, and….” Maria silenced him again. “You talk of culture. No culture in Alberta except for work culture. You have many famous Canadians. You have Jim Carrey, you have Pam Anderson, you have many stars from Canada. Anyone from Alberta famous? Nickleback. Everyone hate Nickleback. No. Alberta famous for work.”

Justin scratched his head. “But if they’re working so hard, why are they so worried about increases in taxes?” Maria started laughing hysterically. “That crazy part about Alberta, see? They blow money all the time. Even government. No saving. You have money, you buy car, or watch, or boat. You know how many boats in Alberta? More boats in Alberta than in Philippines. And Philippines island in ocean. Albertans hard working, but crazy. But they spend money, it good for Alberta economy, good for car salesman, good for watchmaker, good for everyone. Tax for Albertan mean less money for Albertans, more money for people in who do not work like crazy. Albertans think free time waste of time.”

Justin Trudeau scratched his head. “So why are they mad at me then?”

Maria’s eyes almost popped out of her head. “Dummy! You not listening to Maria? You threaten Albertans work? You threaten their culture. They see you, they see pretty cultured boy. You cultured? Means you not working. Only culture in Alberta is work. Remember that.” She squinted, tapping the side of her head. “Remember that.”

With that said, Maria stood up, pushed the chair back in, and started out the door. As her hand twisted the knob, Justin spoke again.

“What could I do to make them like me, then?”

Maria shrugged. “Probably nothing. You could sign crazy deal with Devil and make oil rain in Alberta, they still hate you. No, you pretty cultured boy, they always hate you.” she paused. “Maybe work more. No more vacations. No more beaches with rich friends. Albertans have lots of money, but no rich. To be rich, you must have culture. No rich snobs in Alberta, only money. You take vacation in three years, when you no longer politician. You go to beaches with friends then.”

Justin flashed a smile. “You mean 11 more years Maria.” She just rolled her eyes. “Sure, whatever Mr. Prime Minister. I sure you Prime Minister forever.”

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Sure, Nathan Fillion is from Alberta, but Firefly only lasted a season, and he brought shame to his people by being out of work.

 

No Party for Trump

You know, I really want to talk about the whole Justin Trudeau thing. I’d love to pick apart some of the lousy choices he’s made in the last few weeks. I’d relish the talk discussing the whole debacle with the crying lady, Kathy Katula, and how the Ontario government is poorly managing the juice flowing through the power lines. Now Justin has got himself a set of wheels and his taking his show across the nation. There’re some interesting things happening here in Canada. But have you seen what’s happening down south?

Trump’s inauguration is officially a week away, and he’s had more scandals in the last two months than President Obama had in the last two terms. Seriously. You want to know how bad it is? The Presidential inauguration is usually a star-studded event. Trump’s team is struggling to get anyone to show up. Trump’s been tweeting that he wants the PEOPLE there, not the celebrities he’s been hobnobbing with for the last decade. It’s weird to see a guy who spent years hosting celebrities on his game show not have any celebrities show up. Sad!

It’s not just celebrities boycotting the event. There are a couple of politicians who will be spending the day at home instead of at the White House, and I have a feeling that number is going to grow in the next few days. First, Rep. John Lewis, a congressman and civil rights leader, stated he wouldn’t be attending the inauguration, saying Trump wasn’t a legitimate president. Trump can’t resist low hanging fruit, and pounced on the opportunity to attack Lewis, stating his district is “in horrible shape” and that Lewis is all “talk, talk, talk”. This wasn’t exactly a smart move on Trump’s part, because John Lewis’ district is actually in good condition, and he’s a pretty stand-up guy. This led to a huge volume of people calling Trump out on his statement, Democrats and Republicans alike.  Now Rep. Mark Takano is skipping the event as well. I thin Mark and John will be getting beers that evening and repeating the same phrase throughout the night. “Isn’t having Trump as president insane?” They’ll look at each other, laugh a little, then get quiet for bit before talking about whatever congressmen talk about. Breakfast cereal, I would imagine.

But this isn’t really news. You want to know what’s news? The fact that the incoming president might actually have compromising ties to Russia. You that post I wrote a couple days ago, saying there are rumors that the Krelim has been working closely with Trump’s team? It’s turning out that those allegations might have some weight to them. Spy agencies all over the world are freaking out right now. Israel, one of the United States closest allies is terrified the new president might hand over compromising information to Russia, who is strongly allied with Iran.

You might be wondering why I, a modest Canadian, living a modest Canadian lifestyle, is so wrapped up in what’s going on across the border. I happen to live in Southern Alberta, which is probably the furthest politically right area in Canada. It’s the bible belt part of Canukistan. That being said, I know a number of people who think that having Trump as president is a good idea. Not only that Trump is STILL a good idea, but rather the idea that Trump would be a better statesperson than the current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Now, you might not like Justin Trudeau spending habits. I can understand that. You might despise the fact that he broke the law when he accepted a ride in a helicopter while on vacation, and that he had a lobbyist buddy along with him for the ride. I’m there with you in thinking that was a bone head move. If you’re fuming because he wants to phase out the oil sands, I can sympathize.

But, if for one second, you think that a pretentious legacy politician from out East is less qualified than a pretentious, legacy, petty, narcissistic, pussy-grabbing, conman who’s only goal as head of state is to empty its coffers into his pockets, well, you’re wrong. If you think that a sneering elite is better than a boorish elite who’s colluding with a hostile foreign nation that squashes free speech with imprisonment and death, well, that would make you a traitor to freedom. If you think that Trump would be better than Trudeau, then there’s only one thing I can say to you. And that’s…

 

Hail Comrade Trump.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. If you like Trump because he’s saying what you’re thinking, then you’re not thinking hard enough.

 

 

The Three Amigos Bro Out

In the wake of all the world political gaffs lately, it’s nice to see some pleasantries being exchanged for once. The three leaders of the nations representing North America met yesterday, in what was dubbed the ‘Three Amigos Summit’. This meeting included Barack Obama, the President of the United States, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and of course, our own Justin Trudeau. They took photos, shook hands, made small talk, and talked about the three nations.

Three-Amigos

‘Alright, now I want you both to spin me around’¹

They talked about a number of issues, most of the issues were things they could all agree on, relatively. First was climate change. They all want to push for 50 percent of electrical energy to come from clean sources, and they’ve set the target date for 2025, which is less than a decade away. Trade was another hot topic. As the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is currently stalled, they are continuing to renegotiate the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), mostly to adjust for current economic instability. Border control is going to change as well, as the three countries are working on the NEXUS (I can’t actually find what this acronym stands for, or even if it is an acronym) system, which would allow frequent, low risk travellers privileges to cross the borders. A big topic was human rights, most notably towards the LGBTQ community, as well as indigenous women in all three countries.

So I’m awfully glad they sat down to have a yap over whatever they happened to be serving at Parliament Hill. Some big topics came up, Obama gave a nice speech calling Canadians his besties, I’m certain there was a couple of fist bumps and high fives, and maybe, behind the scenes, they had a couple of beers and tequila shots and lamented about how being the leader of the nation was a pretty difficult job.

Does this meeting and what they discussed actually matter, though?

One of the major problems with this meeting is that Obama is going to be leaving the White House pretty soon, and the following establishment might not agree to the same terns that Obama has. It’s hard to say what Hillary will do. She gone quiet in regards to NAFTA, a trade agreement her husband and former US President Bill Clinton championed. She’s decided against the TPP, even though she was behind it during her tenure as Secretary of State. Understanding the fact that it’s a poisonous topic at the moment, she may be turning her back on the idea due to politics, and pull a 180 if elected. Trump, on the other hand, would nullify most of the ideas laid out, especially in regards to climate change, the TPP, and the NEXUX system. All this talk might be just that. Talk.

In a world where building connections and bridges between nations would benefit everyone and make the world a smaller place, Brexit has shown us that many still want to build walls. Hell, that’s one of the reasons that Trump became so popular in the first place, and he’s suggesting a literal wall, not just a metaphoric one. Free trade is akin to a four letter word among both left and right wing demagogues. A war still rages in Mexico over a fail drug policy that’s been in affect for decades. Income inequality still rises in the United States.

Saying yes to change is difficult. It means challenging laws, it means reconfiguring systems of thought, it requires ideals to malleable, it needs research and discussion and planning. On the other hand, saying no is easy. It means there’s no need to grow, to learn, to evolve. Building a bridge is difficult, especially if you’re going to be bringing a lot of people over it. You need engineers, and planners, and lawyers, and construction experts. Building a wall is easier. You need steel and concrete and time to build a bridge that would allow a car to pass over it. If you want to stop a car with a wall, all you need to do is put some shit in front of it.

Brick_wall_close-up_view.jpg

All I had to do was put up some bricks and some mortar, and BOOM, car problem solved.²

Maybe that’s my issue with the meeting of the Three Amigos. They’re talking about how to build bridges, when the discussion that should be taking place is this; why does everyone want to start building walls?

Walls don’t work. Walls are meant to keep baddies out, and they rarely succeed. And in the process of trying to keep the baddies out, you end up stifling the flow of information. In a world where information is power, it’s strange to see everyone give that up for a sense of false security.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s.In a perfect world, they would have all taken time to have an old fashioned wrastle

¹ © Reuters/Chris Wattie

² Image taken from Wikimages

Personalized Propaganda

In an era of twenty-four hour news cycles, instant updates, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, information has never been easier to access and create. Digital cameras in all of our pockets that connect to us to both cellular networks and the internet allow everyone to participate and contribute to the sphere of political discourse. The biggest issue that arises from this ability to share is that misinformation can easily be shared and paraded as truth.

Photographs and memes have been used to sway people for generations. Typically it falls under the label of propaganda. You saw this a lot back in World War Two. Posters like this one were everywhere.

Canadian-Propoganda

What a hungry little beaver.

Image taken from WarMuseum.ca

Back then, someone was typically commissioned to create a poster like this. There was a lot of  bigotry and racism that was displayed in some of the posters. Canada was at war, we had an enemy, and many people were willing to do whatever it took to win the war, even if that meant embellishing the truth to get your point across.

We’re not at war anymore, but if you have access to social media, then you often see pictures like this one.

Rachel-Notley-meme

Going for the ‘Game of Thrones’ reference.

Or maybe this image.

Harper-Meme

For some reason, ‘temporary’ has an asterisk behind it.

Or, of course, this clever piece.

Trudeau-Meme

Right for the throat, eh?

These images weren’t commissioned by an artist, weren’t decided by a committee, there wasn’t a war room meeting with generals planning something that would stir the populace to buy war bonds. These were made by people who don’t have any ties to the political parties they’re trying to represent. None of these images were paid for by the Conservative or Liberal or New Democratic parties. Somebody, sitting at a computer, took maybe five minutes to think up a slogan and throw it over a picture. People are now generating their own propaganda.

The problem with propaganda is that, in order to be effective, it needs to be consumed quickly. It can’t be lengthy or use large words. It usually has to take a complicated problem and dumb it down into a digestible sound bite. It’s effective at getting a point across, but it cheapens the idea. You lose fidelity in order to target a larger audience. The internet, with the inherent ability to get messages out at the speed of light, has now become a bastion of poorly thought-out ideas plastered over pictures. The well thought out, researched, opinion is getting drowned out by memes and witty slogans. The rational voice is diluted by chanting and name calling.

This isn’t a left or right of the political spectrum issue. It’s happening to both sides. They applaud victories if they’re winning, and throw trash if they aren’t.

You would think that facts would get in the way of ignorance, but that hasn’t been the case. There was recently a study done at Dartmouth, which found out that when presented with facts that contradicted their own, people were less likely to change their mind. One of the major issues is the source of the facts. If a Conservative voter presents facts to a Liberal voter, the Liberal is less likely to accept those facts, as they came from a Conservative source. This is the classic Ad Hominem, in which the person presenting the argument is attacked, rather than the argument itself.

What’s the solution? People need to switch gears and reframe what an argument is. Arguments aren’t a football match, and we need to stop treating them as if there is winners and losers. An argument should be viewed as a discovery on both sides to find a solution.

In the meantime, there is a solution to meme propaganda. I’m absolutely sick to death of clever sayings put on top of pictures. Not just political propaganda, even the silly ones. I’m tired of minion quotes telling me someone is trying their best, sick of girls in yoga poses with inspiration garbage taken from Deepak Chopra, worn out by historical figures being misquoted. Social media has turned into your uncle who used to forward every email he thought was hilarious. Facebook’s ‘share’ button has littered my feed with ‘Top Ten Reasons I Prefer Dogs’ pictures and ‘Canada is a Great Country – Share if you Agree’ images. I’m going to try out an extension called F.B. Purity. It supposedly removes this sort of malarkey from your feed. I’m going to install it tomorrow morning and let you know how it goes. Until then,

Sick-Of-Meme

Wise words, Xzibit. Wise Words

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’ll probably still use memes in the blog every once in awhile. To get my point across.

p.s.s. Well, maybe not.