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#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

#88 SMOKE AND MIRRORS

"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy"
- Nelson Mandela

When it no longer exists the outcome is inevitable.

The latest about the business:

*Two of Canada's oldest newspapers, The Guelph Mercury and the 141-year-old Nanaimo Daily News are shutting down.

*Rogers Communications Inc. (the integrated media corporation that eagerly parted with $5.2 billion for 12 years of NHL rights) is getting rid of another 200 jobs and escalating prices of wireless plans.

*The CRTC is holding hearings to examine potential "solutions" concerning a prediction that half of Canada's local TV stations will no longer be able to afford to provide local news (by 2020) and may be forced to cease operations.

*The vaunted "Pick and Pay" cable channel service debuts in March with some unintended consequences - anticipated media job losses.

Dwindling advertising revenue, shifting reader and audience patterns and heightened competition is negatively impacting the few Canadian vertically integrated media companies left.

Can any survive (over the long term) and still provide "Canadian" news, investigative journalism or entertainment content that reflects "us" or will they eventually succumb and be swallowed by the American media giants?

Meanwhile,
Mother's House (the public broadcaster CBC/SRC) remains managed by a board whose performance suggests they really don't give a damn if it ceases to exist.

"Soundings" coming from the new government nudging this appointed board to "voluntarily" resign, are ignored.

Should citizens not expect/rely upon their publicly-owned cultural organization to fulfill the role of providing consistently high quality Canadian local, regional and national news, investigative journalism and entertainment, free of advertiser influence?

Because the public corporation is grossly underfunded and confused about its MISSION:
"to be an institution whose raison d'etre is Canadian public service broadcasting",
it cannot adequately perform the role without a total overhaul.

The consequences, nature and rapidity of change has so stressed media organizations they appear less willing/capable of providing the services needed by the citizenry to understand their own country, speak truth to power while simultaneously satisfying
a) their shareholders bottom line,
b) statutory and regulatory requirements.

A country that spans six time zones, speaks two official languages and only 35 million citizens requires a lot of TLC and support to maintain its values and independence. Without it, look out.

SOME FACTS ABOUT THE STATE OF JOURNALISM

Did you know there are more public relations professionals than journalists in major Western democracies?

*According to (2011) Statistics Canada data, there are 4.1 PR professionals for every Canadian journalist.

*Figures provided by the U.S. department of labour
(in 2014) show PR's outnumber American journalists by a ratio of 4.6 to 1.

*The UK Public Relations Consultants Association noted that a census (held in 2013) revealed that the PR industry had 62,000 employees vs 40,000 journalists in the United Kingdom.

*PR's earn 40% more a year, on average, than journalists.

Since these stats were revealed, the loss of more journalists (and other media jobs) has increased as corporations continue to cut costs.

"SPINNING" - ON THE DARK SIDE

Public Relations professionals practise a craft called Churnalism.

What is Churnalism?

A form of journalism in which press releases, wire stories, and other forms of prepackaged material are used to create articles in newspapers and other news media in order to meet increasing pressures of time and cost without undertaking further research or checking.

Today, no politician, CEO, athlete, celebrity...not even ordinary folks who happen to find themselves in the news, is prepared to meet the press without a PR person advising them.

And who can blame them? Lots of bad things can happen if you say something stupid to the media...unless you're "Donald the trumper".

The demand for PR practitioners continues to grow.

There are a lot more employment opportunities in PR than in journalism and journalists will continue to feel there are more PR people "behind every door" because there really are.

The conflict between journalism and PR is clear.

The task of the journalist is "to give the news impartially, without fear or favour", the goal set forth by The New York Times newspaper after Arthur Ochs purchased it in 1896.

In the words of a pioneer in the field, U.S. government propagandist Edward Bernays, public relations is the business of the "conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses".

Consequently, expect more government and corporate "propaganda" in the guise of real news.

The direction is a significant shift in power away from honest journalism and toward media manipulation, a world in which the source of any given "content" is considered less important than the number of clicks it generates.

It's easy to see why many young people who aspired to careers in journalism are migrating across the border to what was once considered "the dark side".

"Public relations is the choice of 60 to 65 percent of the students today in schools of journalism and mass communications"
- Susanne Shaw, Executive Director, Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Citizen apathy suggests few really care about what is a real threat to our democracy or fail to comprehend what is really at stake.

Those who do should seriously consider making a lot of noise about the importance of this critical issue and inform their MP about their concerns.

Otherwise, a time may come when memorizing the following will be obligatory:

*The U.S. Constitution.

*The Second Amendment.

*The Pledge of Allegiance.

*America the Beautiful.

*God Bless America.

*The Star Spangled Banner.

*Dixie.

*A dictionary that deciphers "Palin speak".

Oh, and don't forget the (unsettling) fact that the number of guns in the hands of our Southern neighbours is estimated at between 270 and 310 million and rising with each passing month.

We do indeed live in interesting times.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#87 MONEY AND POWER...OR THE POWER OF MONEY

YOU'RE FIRED!

There's a term for the process used by the contracted experts who assist companies get rid of employees.

It's called, "Frog Marched"; a hurtful, humiliating inhumanly cold process.

It means once the person identified as "redundant" has been informed they are "fired" (a word that's never actually uttered by those doing the deed) and before the dreadful message can be fully absorbed, the "former employee" is marched out of the workplace, accompanied by security, without even being allowed to say goodbye to co-workers (survivors) who are left wondering when their turn will come.

This week:

*In Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa, ninety journalists were "terminated" by the country's largest newspaper chain, Postmedia Network Canada Corporation.

*Four hundred thirty Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. workers in New Brunswick received a pink slip.

*Canadian Pacific plans to cut an additional 1000 jobs.

Meanwhile, global billionaires, leaders of worldwide corporations, political leaders and entertainment celebrities meet in Davos, Switzerland discussing the future.

The link between the Davos discussions titled "the fourth industrial revolution" and the future for "good paying jobs" is foreboding for many.

The character who "popularized" the term YOU'RE FIRED on his television show continues to trump.

Definition of trump: get the better of an adversary or competitor by using a crucial often hidden resource...using his MOUTH, to confound the elites in his own party, American voters and the world.

If what it takes (in November 2016) to become Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on the planet is pomposity, arrogance, conceit, self-importance and egotism, then Donald Trump may end up in the White House.

Twelve months ago, few would believe it possible.

However, the endless reality gong-show "debates" and rallies put on by the Republicans has provided sufficient proof that "The Donald" has bamboozled all other contenders by hurling insults, accusations, incriminations to denigrate, defame and discredit his opponents who seem incapable of effectively countering.

Trump is mining a vein of anger and frustration in the American people who are fed up with their elected politicians' inability to govern and who spend more time raising money than running the country.

Their system is broken, possibly beyond repair.

Trump is an enigma whose allegiance is questionable. Having switched parties (from Democrat to Republican) and whose considerable wealth has allowed him to act more like an independent, using his mouth and his money to say anything that comes to mind and damn the torpedoes.

His bombastic rhetoric has no boundaries, e.g.:

*Deport the illegals; 11 million Mexicans.

*Ignoring facts stating Obama, Cruz and McCain are ineligible to hold public office because Cruz was born in Calgary, McCain in Coco Solo, Panama and suggesting the President was born in Kenya, not Hawaii.

*While he managed to duck the draft, had the audacity to state John McCain was "no war hero".

*Promises to build "Trump Wall" on America's southern and northern border to keep "undesirables" from entering the country. Then force Mexico and Canada to pay for it.

His growing lead as front runner leaves the Republican elite with a huge conundrum; whether or not to jump on his bandwagon.

Also, this week the lady who can see the "Ruskies" from her kitchen window eagerly jumped on.

Rumours immediately began to circulate that the Republican ticket may end up being Trump and Palin.

Should this come to pass:

1) Hide the children.

2) Get ready for another flood of refugees...this time Americans.

Political systems are primarily influenced by money, lots and lots of money.

Those who provide the money attach strings (you now owe me) to buy influence with those who gain the power of elected office.

The real power, however, resides in the hands of the puppet masters.

The evidence suggests Trump is his own puppet master and actually boasted about providing financial support to other contenders.

Consequently he is considered "dangerous" by those who have manipulated and controlled the system for their own gain in the past.

The last wealthy non-politician to attempt an overthrow of the system was Ross Perot (remember the chalk board and pointer lessons).

Perot ran as an independent presidential candidate in 1992 and the Reform party presidential candidate in 1996.

"The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river".
- Ross Perot

Meanwhile, the Democrats have been running a low key two-person duke-out between Hillary and Bernie (the activist).

Until recently, their "debates" have been tame love-ins. This week the gloves came off as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont rises in the polls with his genuine appeal that could deliver an embarrassing blow to Clinton in Iowa.

Bernie's populist message delivered in understandable bits is registering with many disenchanted Americans by promising universal health care, free university tuition and slamming the hammer down on Wall Street.

We watch with great interest, a certain amount of dismay, concern and foreboding as our southern neighbours attempt to sort out the choices for the 45th President of the United States.

MEANWHILE IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH

On May 27, 2017 the Conservative Party of Canada will select a new leader.

This week, Canada's "mini-mouth" Kevin O'Leary, scared the hell out of the party elite by announcing he is considering taking a run at the job.

Doing so will certainly liven things up for that race.

Anyone who has followed "mini-mouth's" television career will be quick to make the comparison between Kevin and Donald.

Trump (Big Mouth) and O'Leary (Mini-Mouth) are to politics what "Mr. Warmth", Don Rickles, is to political correctness.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#86 SOMETHING'S WRONG - BIG TIME

SLOGANS AND DECEPTION
A slogan is a short and striking or memorable phrase primarily used in advertising and also whenever politicians attempt to persuade voters they have magic solutions to problems over which they have zero control.

Barely two weeks into a new year, there is no sign of anything resembling "SUNNY WAYS", the slogan used by the Liberals to win the federal election.

In Alberta, "ORANGE CRUSH" was the NDP's slogan used to finally dislodge the embedded Conservatives who are now considering themselves very lucky they don't have to deal with the morass created by events over which neither party has any control.

Stock market veterans believe the first weeks of January sets the tone for the coming year.

If that's true, 2016 started with A TRUCKLOAD OF STUFF THAT MAKES MOST OF US "CRAZY".

Listing a few, in no particular order:

Middle East quagmire.

The price of oil drops without a corresponding drop in the price of gas.

Donald Trump.

Banks that pull in a billion a quarter in profit and give one cent interest on balances of $20,000.

China's woes can make a couple trillion of world market investments disappear in two weeks.

Feds who promise tax cuts while provinces/municipalities/agencies increase taxes and fees, leaving the taxpayer screwed...again.

Corporate CEO's obscene compensation that earns them the average person's annual salary by noon January 1st, leaving three hundred sixty four and a half days for the rest to earn what THEY pocket by lunch time...on a holiday.

The sum total of taxes and fees paid by an average taxpayer that takes until mid-July before THEY keep the rest of their income for their own needs.

Kim Jong-un...for obvious reasons.

The power of the NRA.

Corporations; legal entities without morals or conscience.

Air travel.

The Senate.

The Overlords of FIFA and the IOC.

The falling dollar.

Climate.

Computers (robots) that may soon overcome human control.

The insane cost of housing in major cities.

Religious fanatics.

The cost and availability of health care.

Your call is important to us.

ETC., ETC., ETC..

While we wait for the promised "fun part" to begin, we should not despair.

Rather, pause to ponder these words:

John Cleese:
"You realize as you grow older that almost nobody knows what they are talking about".

George Carlin:
"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did".

Groucho Marx:
"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made".

Epictetus: (Greek-born slave of Rome in the first century)
"What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance".

Machiavelli, The Prince:
"Therefore the best fortress is to be found in the love of the people, for although you may have fortresses they will not save you if you are hated by the people".

CELEBRATING A BODY OF WORK

To end this first article of 2016, kudos to friend and photojournalist extraordinaire, author and international lecturer, Dr. Ted Grant, who has been awarded the Order of Canada for a lifelong career capturing special moments on film.

The National Archives of Canada have a dedicated
"Ted Grant Photo Collection" featuring 280,000 images of Canada's history celebrating his exceptional life's work.

Ted sees more with one good eye than most of us with two.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#85 RONNIE'S BYE, BYE TO 2015

The last grains of sand fall to the bottom of the hourglass.

An elderly white-bearded gentle man, dressed in a white robe (Toga style), picks up the hourglass.

Hands shake as he carries the vessel to a crib. A baby, wearing only a brilliant white diaper, smiles at him.

In a time honoured ceremony, he turns the hourglass upside down and hands it to the outstretched hands of the baby.

For the old man, the hourglass is empty. His time is over.

For the baby, the hourglass is full. Baby's time is beginning.

A reflection of our recent federal election?

The governed, fed up and tired of the mean-spirited decade of darkness, wanted the Emperor gone.

His ideology and philosophy: Fear and Retribution was no longer holding sway.

His most loyal ministers...long gone.

Even the desperate last minute engagement of the famed Australian political magician called "The Wizard of Oz", using his bag of dirty tricks to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (CHA CHING! CHA CHING!), could not save him.

Sensing the inevitable,
The PMO orders shredders and triple deleting of all computers containing "sensitive" information, leaving no trace of incriminating evidence.

The Emperor appoints several of the faithful to positions of influence that will impede the progress of his successor.

The only unresolved question; who will replace him?

To everyone's astonishment, the electorate decide Canada's 23rd Prime Minister will be a former teacher, born on Christmas day, 43 year-old Justin Pierre James Trudeau; son of "Just Watch Me!".

His positive campaign message provides a surprising majority government.

Those who govern us is now in the hands of a new generation; young forward-looking women and men full of enthusiasm and ideas, providing the governed a much needed sense of renewal and optimism in the future.

Among those appointed by the Emperor, to put a spoke in the wheels of the new government, is the President and Board of Canada's public broadcaster - True Blue loyalists.

Led by Captain Hubert Horatio Francisco Queeg (a lawyer who specialized in mergers and acquisitions first appointed by the Emperor in 2008) and his Blue board colleagues, have been hell bent on asphyxiating "Mother" using a cleverly disguised succession of five-year plans.

I have just finished reading Alain Saulnier's book titled "Losing Our Voice...Radio-Canada Under Siege", published by Dundurn.

A must read for anyone who is concerned that those in charge of overseeing "Mother's House" are really pall bearers eagerly waiting for her imminent demise.

Alain Saulnier is a career journalist who was head of News and Public Affairs programming at Radio-Canada's French-language Radio, Television, and Web services until 2012.

Mr. Saulnier's book lifts the curtain on what went on behind the scenes at Radio-Canada prior to and during his time there.

He was fired for battling corporate bosses and federal politicians who do not understand, or apparently, accept the principle of arm's length from the government in power, enshrined in the Broadcasting Act.

Or, that it is critical to this country's democracy that the corporation retain its editorial and journalistic independence from external forces, in order to remain a true public broadcaster, and not a state broadcaster (i.e. a propaganda arm of government).

Alain's book reveals the back room intrigues at work in the Machiavellian-Vatican environment of a large corporate media bureaucracy.

Worth remembering:
1) This is the board that approved making "solo" bids for subsequent Summer and Winter Olympic Games, paying undisclosed millions in unreasonable rights fees to those who ride the IOC gravy train.

The Olympics, where it's harder to find athletes who are not doping.

The public broadcaster's limited finances should be spent to enable their investigative journalists, who work for "The Fifth Estate" and "Enquete", to expose the corruption that goes on in the IOC and FIFA...not to stuff the pockets of the privileged.

2) This is the board that gave away editorial control and control of the CBC's English Network on Saturday night, plus a couple hundred million dollars in annual advertising revenue, plus space on two floors in the Toronto CBC Broadcast Centre, to enable Rogers to reach a national audience for their HNIC show...in exchange for what?

HAVE YOU SEEN THE BBC SHOW "W1A"?

Auntie BBC is considered the "Grand Dame" of public broadcasters and the antecedent of CBC/Radio-Canada.

Auntie is undergoing similar travails as "Mother" is facing.

However, that has not stopped the BBC from producing two seasons of "W1A", Aunties postal code, spoofing itself in grand style.

The lead of the comedy ensemble is no other than Lord Crawley, The Earl of Grantham, "Downtown Abbey's" Hugh Bonneville, who in "W1A" has just left BBC's Olympics unit to become their new "Head of Values",
whatever that means.

Anyone who has ever worked in a large bureaucracy will recognize many who lurk in these organizations and be rewarded with a much needed year-end chuckle.

Happy Birthday Jesus and Justin.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all and may you and yours enjoy a healthy new year.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#84 AND NOW FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT

THOUGHTS FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Think back to that wondrous time of innocence when you believed in Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Angels. Then, one day your older sister, brother or friend shattered your illusions by exposing the truth: that it was really your parents.

Checking the Gregorian calendar on the kitchen wall, suggests it's that time of the year...again.

A time for reflection, looking back, taking stock.

That time when media prepare their Year End Review: the annual ritual intended to remind their audience of major events of the past twelve months.

Our Grand Monarch described one specific year using these powerful words:

"1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.

In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an "Annus Horribilis".

Indeed, I suspect that I am not alone in thinking so.
I suspect there are very few people or institutions unaffected by these last months of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty."

Who would argue substituting the year in her speech for the one just past would not precisely describe the sentiments of most...concerning the "Annus Horribilis" that was 2015.

Is it not worth suggesting there are some years best left forgotten.

We need a large dollop of laughter from the jesters of our time.

Listening to the "Philosophers of Humour"; the social critics and their thoughts on politics, language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects, will help ease the stress.

For example,

From the late great George Carlin:

"I'm always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I'm listening to it."

"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did."

"When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show.
When you're born in America, you get a front row seat."

"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist."

"If it's true we're not alone in the universe, then I'd have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little."

And...from the genius' who brought us Monty Python:

Maintaining a healthy sense of humour is the most effective way for dealing with the absurdities of life.

VIVE LA DIFFERENCE

Who said "It's not easy being green"?

Elizabeth May?

Nope.

It was first performed by Jim Henson as "Kermit the Frog" on the TV show "Sesame Street".

Henson used his creative genius to teach young audiences, through this fun song, graceful treatment of subjects like race, individuality, identity, self-acceptance and celebration of diversity.

The message is applicable to everyone because we are all "different".

Nobody is born with a "full glass", rather, it's either "half-full" or "half-empty".

How one perceives which half represents "their" life, largely determines an optimistic or pessimistic outlook.

I recently attended a celebration of life for a longtime friend and wife of a CBC colleague. She faced more of life's challenges than anyone would consider fair.
As many speakers attested, her exemplar spirit is an example for all. Despite everything she exuded the attitude, hers was always half-full.

SEGUE...TO A HIGH SCHOOL WASHROOM

Two men in suits, stood three urinals apart, doing what one does when standing in front of a urinal.

Only one knew who the other was and broke the silence, "Premier, I'm the new CBC Director of Television for British Columbia who will be appearing on stage with you tonight to present the trophy. My name is Ron Devion."

The Premier looked surprised at this sudden intrusion. There are guy-rules in such a setting. Guys who don't know each other should never carry on a conversation standing at a urinal...it's a guy thing.

The Premier responded "Nice to meet you Ron. I hope you don't mind if I don't shake your hand", demonstrating his quick wit.

A few minutes later we were sitting side by side while the makeup artist plied her skills.

The Premier looked over at me, smiled and said, "Ron, if you promise not to talk to me about politics, I won't talk to you about the CBC. Deal?"

My quick response, "Deal!" He then reached over and firmly shook my hand.

This was my introduction to British Columbia's Premier, Bill Bennett, who passed away December 3rd.

The occasion was a taping of the long running TV show, "Reach for the Top" where the final two school teams were competing for the trophy representing the provincial champions.

New acquaintances, Bill and Ron, were there to present the trophy to the winners.

Bennett was premier from 1975 to 1986.
Known for being a tough, hard-nosed leader, unafraid to set unpopular targets gained respect from his opponents. Idolized by those closest to him.

In 1981, he hired uber businessman Jimmy Pattison, for a dollar a year, to salvage Vancouver's Expo '86 from disaster. The success of Expo '86 put Vancouver on the world map.

Pattison paid Bennett the ultimate compliment saying, Bennett treated taxpayers' money as if it was his own.

DON'T MESS WITH OLD PEOPLE

The following letter to the editor appeared in the December 5th edition of the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper.

"ARE SENIOR CYCLISTS A MARAUDING DANGER?"

"I belong to an old ladies bike group. We love the carless Galloping Goose, so we drove to Langford, festooned ourselves in fluorescents and flashing lights and climbed on our bikes.

Unfortunately, one lady forgot her helmet but peer pressure won and she joined us.

Seven seniors, several aged 70, set off at seven km/h.

We had one road to cross, dutifully waited for the light, and crossed in the crosswalk.

Suddenly, a hiding policeman appeared and promptly wrote a ticket to my hatless friend.

We explained we were riding the Goose where helmets are not mandatory, and he replied "You crossed the road."

I admire the police greatly and realize he was trying to keep us safe, but thought this was heavy handed.

When I told this event to a young man, he said, "Good, I am tired of these senior renegade outlaws marauding the streets of Victoria."

You be the judge.
Tibbie Adams"

Given the festive time of year, it's likely that while the over zealous gendarme was ticketing this helmetless elderly lady, a vehicle driven by someone over the legal drinking limit was passing behind him through the crosswalk.

During the holidays, remember to hug your loved ones. The released endorphins will make you feel really good.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#83 A HAIL MARY PASS TO MELANIE + VICTORIA'S SECRET(S) + "REAL" ORGANIZED CRIME

PART ONE - HAIL MARY

For those not into the parlance of football, a "Hail Mary" pass is a last second desperation attempt to salvage the outcome of a game.

As the clock ticks down, the losing offensive team is usually far from the end-zone and, therefore, cannot successfully run the ball into the end-zone to score.

The "Hail Mary" play begins by the quarterback throwing the football high into the air, hoping one of his offensive receivers flooding the end-zone, can out-jump the opposition defenders, catch the pass and score a touchdown.

If the ball is caught, a miracle turnaround results. Ergo the term "Hail Mary".

On November 20, 2015, the writer mailed a "Hail Mary" to Melanie Joly (Canada's new Minister of Canadian Heritage) in the form of a letter forwarded by email, outlining three suggestions to salvage Canada's public broadcaster.

The full text of the letter follows:

To:
The Honourable Melanie Joly, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Minister Joly,

First, some background about myself.

I enjoyed a 40-year career with CBC/Radio-Canada (from 1955 to 1995).

During that time I held a number of senior positions, e.g., Program Director for CBC's English language flagship station, CBLT Toronto,

Head of CBC Sports,

Director of Television for British Columbia, based in Vancouver,

Following my (first) retirement from CBC, I finished my career (on contract to the CBC) as Head of the Host Broadcaster operation for the 1994 Commonwealth Games staged in Victoria, British Columbia.

Since my (second) retirement, I have sadly watched our Public Broadcaster deteriorate, lose its heart, soul, focus and raison d'etre envisioned by it's creators, the Parliament of Canada, in 1936.

Many factors have played a part, not the least of which is a Board of Directors that ignores their fiduciary responsibility to preserve, protect and defend the corporation's interests, on behalf of its shareholders, Canadian citizens who have been kept ill informed.

I believe my background/experience qualifies to offer a few suggestions for your consideration with regard to CBC/Radio Canada.

1) The President, Hubert LaCroix, and the existing Board should step down and replaced by "qualified/competent individuals" interviewed and selected by a "Blue Ribbon" panel (similar to the group who select Order of Canada recipients).

The names and bona fides submitted for your approval to form a refocused, rejuvenated board.

2) As is customary in most corporations, the new Board would be given the authority to hire/fire the President/CEO, who would report to the Board.

3) Provide CBC/Radio Canada a new "21st century" mandate. One that ensures our Public Broadcaster becomes a commercial-free, contemporary, public service enterprise, whose predominantly Canadian content informs, enlightens, entertains it's citizens; supported by adequate resources to carry out the new mandate.

Resources provided by a five-year parliamentary appropriation, renewable subject to a review of the corporation's performance by Parliament and your Ministry.

I sincerely hope you will find this helpful.

Should you or any of your officials have questions, comments or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I would appreciate a response.

Merci beaucoup,

Ron Devion
(Home address) (Home phone number)

PART TWO - VICTORIA'S SECRET(S)

Some readers may be disappointed if they are anticipating this next bit is about scantily clad models in sexy undergarments.

This one's about, the "other" Victoria.

No, not a story about the now second longest reigning Queen of the Commonwealth, H.R.H. Victoria.

Rather, British Columbia's capital city, Victoria.

ODE
Life in the land of Lotus dwellers, where everything is green,
The air and water that falls from the sky is really quite pristine,
The climate keeps you healthier, staying active is the style,
It may keep some living longer, but only for a little while,
Thirty-one pot shops sprang up this year, while officials look away,
The sooner we tax and regulate, the quicker they'll be allowed to stay,
Beware of politicians bragging, "I'm just doing my thing",
Like any fairy tale, WE end up paying the Bling.

A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN IN PARADISE

First, some background facts:

British Columbia has a population of 4.7 million.

Vancouver Island has a population of 759,366.

Victoria, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is surrounded by a salt water moat (where a monster El Nino lurks, providing continuing dramatic weather variations).

Victoria is 58 km. south of the 49th parallel (the border that separates Canada from the U.S.).

Victoria is closer to the State of Washington (by water) than Vancouver on the mainland 100 km. away.

Historical bit: Negotiations between Canada and the U.S. resulted in the southern portion of Vancouver Island (below the 49th parallel) being ceded to Canada in exchange for Point Roberts, located south of Vancouver on the mainland, being ceded to the U.S..

Victoria (the municipality) has a population of (only) 80,117.

Greater Victoria, the metropolitan area, comprises thirteen municipal fiefdoms making it the most over-governed area in the country; a local politician's utopia; a taxpayer's dystopia.

Ninety-one elected politicians, with their "essential" support bureaucracies, police departments (a mix of local and RCMP) and fire departments (a mix of full time and volunteers) depending on the jurisdiction, keep themselves employed looking after the needs of a total population of (only) 344,615.

Attempts to consolidate, cooperate and coordinate are resisted by those who stand to lose from a more practical governance model.

Rather than push any form of amalgamation, the Provincial government mandated a governance pyramid made up of a council of mayors called, Capital Regional District (CRD).

WASTE IN THE LAND OF THE OVER-GOVERNED

1) CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU?

First responders, located in different jurisdictions, encounter difficulties trying to communicate with each other.

The CRD contracted a company to solve the problem.

Over one million dollars was spent without certainty the system is yet fully functional.

Spoiler alert: Rob a bank in one jurisdiction and freedom awaits in the next municipality.

The taxpayers weep.

2) EMBARRASSED? ASHAMED?

The mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, was tut-tutted across the land for temporarily dumping raw sewage into the St. Lawrence in order to repair part of the city's crumbling infrastructure.

Meanwhile, in the land of the over-governed dumping 129 million litres of raw sewage into the Straight of Juan de Fuca (every day) is considered rational.

American neighbours are furious having spent millions cleaning up their effluent, while watching Victoria's poop drift towards their shoreline (a short distance across the Straight).

So far, our Confederation of Regional Ditherers "CRD" have managed to spend $60 million studying studies on where to locate a facility that will clean up the raw sewage before it flows into the Pacific Ocean.

"Not in my back yard" bellow the mayors.

To date, and despite the Province setting a deadline for a decision on a location + the Feds dangling financial assistance, the dysfunctional "CRD" remains incapable of even building one outhouse; a $60 million dollar outhouse.

While the ditherers dither...

The taxpayers weep.

3) VICTORIA'S BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN, FALLING DOWN

Victoria's previous council finally faced having to replace the dilapidated "Blue" bridge.

Estimated cost $62-68 million.

The new bridge was scheduled to open in 2016.

The contract to manufacture steel for the bridge was let to China (to save money right?).

Turned out tests determined the steel is defective, making the new bridge unsafe.

Costs ballooned to $100 million and counting.

Scheduled opening moved to (maybe) 2018.

The bridge fiasco now appears headed for a courthouse where finger pointing, lawsuits and an expensive judgement will determine the outcome (maybe).

Why is it the lawyers always end up being the only winners and end up pocketing the taxpayers money?

Shakespeare's solution is long overdue.

The taxpayers weep.

4) HOW TO FRIGHTEN A LOCAL POLITICIAN

Taxpayer frustration finally exploded and forced several fiefdoms to place a non-binding question on the municipal ballot; a study on amalgamation.

Despite (deliberate) confusion caused by eight fiefdoms using different wording, more than 60% voted for a study that identifies the pros and cons of either a) full or b) partial amalgamation.

The majority vote was ignored by those who govern, prompting letters to media and media editorials asking the Provincial Minister responsible to intervene, override the obfuscation and proceed with the study.

The Minister refused, opting instead to hold a confab with the mayors, sometime in December.

Agenda for the confab: Much holding of hands while singing Kumbaya + lectures on the latest stalling and dithering tactics.

The minister promises to inform voters of the results of his grand confab. Will he announce they decided to strike a sub-committee of mayors to study the advantages and disadvantages of holding another confab sometime in 2016?

The taxpayers weep.

5) OOPS!

What are chances the newly elected Feds will come to the rescue and save beleaguered Island taxpayers?

Slim and none.

Not one federal Liberal was elected on Vancouver
Island.

In their zeal to depose the Emperor, Island voters reverted to the strategic "block voting" technique...and backed the wrong horse.

Mulcair's NDP took every riding except for Elizabeth May's.

Spoiler alert. Chances Federal goodies will flow to Vancouver Island in the next four years?

Slim and none.

The taxpayers continue to weep.

PART THREE - "REAL" ORGANIZED CRIME

Most understand the term "organized crime" to mean criminal groups organized along the lines of ethnicity or "leisure" activities, e.g., Biker Gangs, F.I.F.A., I.O.C., etc..

The eagerly awaited Charbonneau Commission Report, authored by Justice France Charbonneau and co-commissioner Renaud Lachance, reveals a web of organized crime linkage, much broader in scope than anyone imagined operating over a vast section of Quebec's public tendering in construction.

Collusion between political figures and bureaucrats, political parties, unions and entrepreneurs working together to skim public funds to illicit ends.

The commission's work made the public aware of this hidden, extensive, complex organized crime ring that has been casually picking the pockets of Quebec taxpayers for years.

Yet, as one witness testified "many, many knew what was going on and nothing was done to stop it".

Question: How likely is it that this form of organized crime network is confined only to the province of Quebec?

The taxpayers weep.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#82 FEAR COMES IN VARIOUS GUISES

THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF

"In the field of world policy I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of good neighbor - the neighbor who resolutely respects himself, and, because he does so respects the rights of others - the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with the world of neighbors.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.
I am convinced that you will give again that support to leadership in these critical days."
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Inaugural address, 1933

Words that echo loud in today's reality.

FEAR - EXAMPLE #1

November, time for "the annual physical".

Highly recommended by those who care for our physical well being and especially anyone passing the half-century marker.

Many consider the prescribed ritual an ordeal, akin to writing your finals or a visit to the dentist for a suspected root canal.

My GP and I have been on a first name basis for 25 years.

There's a specific aspect of the now familiar routine that strikes fear into the so-called macho-half of the population.

It's called "assume the position".

Prior to this humiliating experience, a nurse asks you to pee in a tiny plastic container. This proves amazingly difficult because she is waiting, impatiently, on the other side of the door for your deposit.

Next:

1) The weigh-in (remember arriving at Fall training camp really out of shape?).

She gives you the frown look...added eight pounds since last year, not good Ron (you're feeling guilty).

2) The height measurement.

She defeats your attempt to stand tall, gleefully chuckling while informing...you've lost another inch in your manly stature (I'm turning into a Munchkin).

This portion of the examination over (consider it the fun part).

For the uninitiated, describe "assuming the position".

The helpless victim lies on a flat hard surface (they call it the examination couch), on your side facing away from "Herr Doctor", trousers and briefs dangling around the ankles, posterior totally exposed.

The room suddenly feels chilly.

In this most vulnerable position, the heart rate automatically increases.

The sound of a rubber glove snapping onto a hand causes perspiration to form on the brow.

The brain kicks in sounding the alarm "you are about to be digitized".

The dreaded moment of insertion arrives.

Desperately trying to remain calm, I exclaim, "Don, although we've known each other for 25 years, frankly, I still can't and never will be able to relax my sphincter".

Ignoring my attempt at traumatized humour, he casually searches for something located in the posterior, with the "Italian salute".

His rejoinder finally comes,
"Ron, what are you complaining about? Look at it from my perspective, you only have to endure this once a year, while I on the other hand (pun?), have to perform this procedure once a week."

The explanation neither slows my heart rate or creates a feeling of sympathy for what he has to deal with, given the median age of his patients.

The (seemingly) endless humiliation ends with a gentle squeeze of the "family jewels".

What macho-male is ever comfortable with that?

My memory flashes back to the first time I was hit in the crotch by a puck playing hockey.

They said the cup was supposed to absorb the blow. They lied. I feel imaginary pain in the crotch area.

The rest of what follows is considered a piece of cake, e.g., the rubber hammer, deep breathing while he probes your upper body with the ice cold stethoscope, the lecture and finally the good part, jock talk with Dr. Don.

THE ANNUAL DENTIST VISIT

This, despite being an important part of your health regime, also produces similar trepidation, especially when presented with the bill.

On one visit, Dentist Don generously offered the use of his sailboat, adding just call to book it.

My comment,"Don, what do you mean, your sailboat?
Over the years we've paid you thousands. Didn't you really mean to say, our sailboat?"

Why do dentists always carry on a conversation when your mouth is stuffed with cotton, dental tools and their fingers while the best you can muster is gagging sounds?

FEAR - EXAMPLE #2

BEIRUT, A RUSSIAN PLANE AND PARIS

The ingredients that link the three is a rag-tag gang of suicidal thugs.

A group of lunatic religious fanatics bent on murdering and maiming innocent civilians in order to sow mayhem, fear and panic that is directed towards everything, in their twisted minds, they hate.

As FDR expressed so eloquently, causing unreasoning, unjustified terror that paralyses.

The instinctive human reaction is a deep feeling of rage, revenge and retribution.

A little bit of French history - Paris - On the morning of July 14, 1789, the Bastille was stormed and became the flash point for the French Revolution.

The Bastille was a symbol of the abuse of subjects by the French monarchy.

The outcome resulted in the birth of a democracy, The Republic of France with its concomitant symbols:

*The Tricolour flag, Bleu, Blanc, Rouge
*The freedom cry, Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite
*The anthem, La Marseillaise
*The City of Light, Paris

Paris - once again the flash point, implores the world to join them and take action, determined to find a way, any way to eradicate this evil.

The President of France declared war on the perpetrators, terrorists (specifically ISIS).

Doing so, under the NATO Charter, means all members have been attacked and are duty bound to collectively respond accordingly.

This places the new Canadian government in a predicament, given its stated policy position.

Among the world's leaders, who can find a way, any way that may end the madness?

In the sweep of human history, there is plenty of evidence that events of this nature have occurred many times, run in cycles and are caused primarily by the powerful oppressing the powerless with the inevitable outcome.

When it gets down to tribe against tribe, nobody remains innocent and only the victors write the history.

Demonstrating over and over that the human species is the only species on the planet capable of self-destruction.

The message to "jittery" citizens from world leaders, "keep calm and carry on" is made more challenging as the fanatics (enemies both from within and without borders) continue their mindless Jihad.

FEAR - EXAMPLE #3

CANADA'S EVER SHRINKING MEDIA WORKFORCE

The announcement that Bell Media is cutting another 380 jobs, adding to Canada's dwindling creative media workforce, pushes the country ever more closely to eventual cultural assimilation with the United States of America.

How can we maintain our sovereignty, if the inevitable result is everything we read, hear and see emanates from our Southern neighbour; the world's most prolific purveyor and marketer of popular entertainment and information?

Who will be left to tell OUR stories, CNN?

It would only take a few generations before our history is erased, leaving future generations of Canadians to sing "God Bless America" in their guarded schools, celebrate the Alamo and July 4th, carry guns, and vote for the likes of a Donald Trump or Ben Carson.

English speaking Canadians should be alarmed.

But where are the signs they even care?

Apathy suggests our customs, values, traditions, history and culture; the very essence of what makes us a sovereign nation; separate, distinct and different from America is missing from the Anglophone consciousness.

In striking contrast, Francophone Quebecers constantly demonstrate they care deeply, passionately and resolve to defend what they hold dear; language, values, customs, traditions, history, culture.

Will someone discover, hiding in the fine print of the 6000 pages that make up the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), that resources (e.g.,water) and other sovereign assets are up for grabs as part of the negotiated deal?

What if we decide to resist, refuse?

Will anything be able to stop "them" from crossing the border and take whatever they desperately need, either through courts or by force of arms?

Question to ponder:

Like the dangers posed by inaction on the dangers posed by climate change, has the point of no return already passed on protecting our cultural sovereignty?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#81 BREATHLESSLY...RIDING OFF IN ALL DIRECTIONS

"He flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions"
Gertrude the Governess, Nonsense Novels (1911)
-Stephen Leacock

"And when you come to the fork in the road, take it"
-Yogi Berra, giving directions to his house.

ORDERS FROM THE BOSS: BE READY TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING

Observing the flurry of activity during the initial weeks of our new federal government is akin to watching the opening scene of a James Bond movie.

The memorable music, stunning opening graphics and heart pounding first scene leaves the viewer breathless, wondering what could possibly come next to top that.

James Bond tidbit footnote:

The first Bond film was released in 1962, starring Sean Connery. The special car, an Aston Martin DB5.

The just released Bond film, titled "Spectre", stars Daniel Craig. The special car, an Aston Martin DB10.

Citizens have noticed the stark contrast and difference in style between those who governed for the past decade and those who are now becoming conscious of the extraordinary challenges they now have to deal with.

Their learning curve is steep. Made more daunting, set against a multitude of commitments to accomplish during a four year mandate.

Absorbing this new knowledge is especially pertinent to those newly elected who are without the advantage of prior experience in governing.

The "Hill" media-hounds can hardly contain their newfound excitement.

The realization of being allowed to shout uncensored questions at wide-eyed rookie cabinet appointees, who have not yet had the time to find the location of the nearest loo is, in and of itself, a welcome change.

Is that fair? Nope!

Then why are they doing it?

Because the "Hounds of Mediaville" have been suddenly released from a short leash starvation diet, controlled and manipulated by the Emperor's PMO.

Now, faced with an array of "fresh Red meat", they are incapable of controlling their ravenous appetite for answers.

Cautious newbies are warned, avoid commenting until you are thoroughly briefed because any unintended, unexpected gaff could be career ending.

Old political war horses, like John McCallum, protectively mentors the rookies (unaccustomed to the media spotlight) in the art of slowing things down.

He gently nudges them away from microphones and
using his "Elmer Fudd" voice assumes control of the situation, providing ponderous non-answers e.g., "soon", "in due course", "being briefed by our experts", "developing a plan". etc..

Then, with that wise practiced twinkle in his eyes smiles at reporters, says "merci" and as the old shepherd, herds them away from the fray.

Every Fresh Prince needs an Elmer Fudd.

Why?

Because Elmer provides the governed a mirror that reflects a bridge of confidence that the old will assist the new by providing wisdom based on experience to ground their starry eyed optimism.

During the coming six weeks our rookie PM's dance card is beyond full.

The weight of this schedule would stagger a seasoned thoroughbred and will be an early test of his political skills and stamina.

Ignoring any unpredictable crises, his schedule includes:

*G20 leaders hosted by Turkey
*Meeting with the Premiers in Ottawa
*COP21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris
*APEC Summit in the Philippines
*Meeting the Queen in London
*Commonwealth Heads of government meeting in Malta
*Parliament reconvenes December 3rd
*Meeting with Aboriginal leaders

Of all the dangers facing the world, not the least of which is escalating terrorism, one threatens the existence of the planet - CLIMATE CHANGE.

Why has the global danger of climate change not caused world leaders to act sooner?

The evidence provided by over 950 climate scientists is incontrovertible.

Why do political leaders refrain from acting?

What forces are influencing them to obfuscate and delay?

BIG OIL

It took some fifty years to finally expose the lies and cover up of BIG TOBACCO who used a sophisticated "deniability playbook" developed by global public relations companies, e.g., Hill and Knowlton, to influence politicians and sow doubt in the public's mind.

BIG OIL uses the same strategy, tactics and playbook to thwart any threat to the use of fossil fuels, as do BIG CHEMICAL, BIG PHARMA and others in their respective industries.

Money buys lobbyists, scientists, experts who simply ignore science, lie and sow doubt.

A documentary titled "MERCHANTS OF DOUBT" (recently released on NetFlix) tells the story of how this strategy has effectively and successfully worked so far.

I strongly recommend viewing this excellent piece of work.

Ignoring Mother Nature's weather signals is folly. Continuing to do so imperils humankind.

The COP21 Paris climate conference may be the last chance to introduce realistic controls over the use of fossil fuels and help maintain the predicted two degree rise in global temperature from increasing further.

MORE WISDOM FROM STEPHEN LEACOCK.
OBVIOUSLY TO BE UNDERSTOOD BY THOSE WHO (LIKE A GOOD WINE) REACH A CERTAIN STAGE OF MATURITY.

"You know, many a man realizes late in life that if when he was a boy he had known now, instead of being what he is he might be what he won't;
but how few boys stop to think that if they knew what they don't know instead of being what they will be, they wouldn't be?"

It appears Mr. Leacock wanted this to be read more than once. Otherwise, the wisdom of his thought would be missed.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#80 AND NOW FOR THE HARD PART

The little ghosts and goblins were safely tucked into their beds.

The tired parents of MunchkinLand turned their clocks back one hour while wondering why the promised "extra hour of sleep" never materializes for them.

As the last day of October, 2015 fades into history, a feeling of renewed hope hangs in the Fall air.

Every so often a political leader is elected who suggests he may actually possess the right stuff.

The optimistic segment of the governed (those unwilling to accept "They really are all the same") begin to believe, yet again, that some things may now be possible.

EXAMPLES:

*The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, provided many with newfound hope and inspiration.

He expressed "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people".

Camelot began in January 1961 and ended with his assassination in November 1963.

*The 15th Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre E. Trudeau, said "The past is to be respected and acknowledged but not be worshiped. It is our future in which we will find greatness".

Another comment, "My life is one long curve, full of turning points", illustrated his contradictions.

He provoked the ire of Westerners that resulted in the political movement "The West Wants In" that resulted in the "Emperor" ruling for a decade.

During the October Crisis he said "Just watch me!" bringing in the War Measures Act; suspending the civil liberties of all who lived in MunchkinLand.

Conversely, he provided Munchkins with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and legal independence from Britain with the signing of the Constitution Act of 1982.

*The 44th, and still, President of the United States, Barack Obama, is the most recent example of a political leader whose election promised change and hope that subsequently evaporated into the morass that is the divisive nature of U.S. federal politics.

And in the true North strong and free:

On November 4th, "Justin the Fair" will be sworn in as Canada's 23rd Prime Minister.

During a grueling 78-day campaign he repeated, again and again, the slogan "Real change".

That segment of the population that still believes in hope and change, provided him a surprising majority government.

Used wisely, his majority power may allow their aspirations to be partially fulfilled.

Have the hopes and aspirations of citizens been cruelly teased...again?

Justin's "principal promise"; open and accountable government was backed by a long and demanding list of complex, expensive commitments (between 150 and 171, depending on who's counting) demonstrated the oft repeated slogan.

This will test the resolve and competence of a cabinet, caucus and a PMO of backroom apparatchiks, comprised primarily of rookies, new to the art of governing and a handful of older war horses of past regimes.

Passing legislation quickly will be further exacerbated by restless, at times rebellious, members of The Mad Hatter's House, where Liberal Senators were turfed from caucus by the young Prince months ago.

The Munchkins wonder:

Will Prince "Justin the Fair" be able to satisfy even a modicum of their renewed hope and optimism?

Is he really the exception to the rule "They really are all the same"?

Those who will soon rule us will suddenly realize that getting elected was actually the easy part, because the really hard part begins...now.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#79 QUELLE BELLE SURPRISE

AS SUMMER STRETCHED INTO FALL
- 78 DAYS IN MUNCHKINLAND

When two wheels fell off the campaign bus, a desperate Emperor ordered the hiring of the Australian political magician known as "The Wizard of Oz".

His task simple, "scare the hell out of the Munchkins" and "discredit the opponents".

The Emperor remained convinced that fear was his most potent weapon; that the Wizard's magic would persuade the Munchkins that the Emperor was the only leader who could protect them.

The "Orange" and "Red" leaders kept suggesting the Munchkins only had to look behind the curtain to discover the Wizard was not a real monster.
Rather, a phony hired by the Emperor to maintain power over them.

Then the "Orange" and "Red" leaders turned against each other, making the Emperor gleeful.

This confused the Munchkins who were attempting to decide whether either could free them from a decade of oppression during which the Emperor and his band of marauders substantially changed their nation.

The more the Munchkins distilled the words of the competing leaders, the more curious they became about what or who was behind the forbidden curtain.

Many decided to have a peek.

This exposed the truth about the Wizard.

He was eventually dismissed.

This provided the Munchkins a much needed jolt of courage.

They then turned their attention to trying to decide whether the "Orange" or "Red" leader had the stuff to free them.

And it came to pass, on the day of reckoning, the youngest and judged by them to be the fairest of the leaders, was chosen to kill the "Wicked Witch of the West".

"Justin the Red" did the deed surprising all with an unpredicted majority.

There was much joy and celebration in Munchkinland as the Emperor and his gang were sent packing.

The impact of the "Blue" loss reverberated across the nation.

Hubert Horatio Francesco Queeg, Captain of Mother's tattered flagship (the nation's public broadcaster) was so disconsolate at the news that his benefactor lost that the two ball bearings he carried fell from his left hand to the floor with a clatter.

Hubert and his "Blue" Board colleagues are now facing a precarious predicament.

OOPS!

Meanwhile, on the farthest piece of land West of the Golden Triangle, the Munchkin residents there decided they would back other horses.

Their aversion to the "Red Tide" sweeping the rest of the nation was striking.

When you are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean a "Red Tide" is not good for those who love eating shell fish.

Consequently, every riding on beautiful Vancouver Island selected "Orange", with one exception.

A sole "Green" representative returns to parliament, Grandma May.

Grandma May, my MP, is considered by many, the best parliamentarian of them all.

However, the fact remains our Island now has zero "Red" representation.

Consequently, there is zero likelihood that a share of the promised election goodies e.g., infrastructure, ship building etc., will come this way.

Unless..."Justin the fair" does "something" wise and unprecedented, demonstrating he will be a very different, collegial leader.

That "something" could be appointing Grandma May, Minister of the Environment, on November 4th.

Wouldn't that be a real significant "something", ahead of the Paris meeting on the environment?

Is there anyone in government more qualified?

FORECAST: B.C. Bud will soon displace Alberta oil as a tax windfall.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#78 TWO-CAR FUNERAL STUMPS GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY

QUIZ QUESTION:
What government bureaucracy is capable of screwing up a two-car funeral?

ANSWER:
Despite months to prepare...Elections Canada.

THE SCENE

The first day of advanced polling in the 2015 federal election.

Voters, many frail and elderly, arriving by bus from retirement homes, are waiting in line at polling stations.

Minutes stretch into hours as the long lineup inches forward.

Patience tested to the limits of democratic tolerance.

Fatigue and frustration sets in, morphing into exasperation and anger.

Those stubborn enough to stick it out and not leave finally reach the front of the line.

Greeted there by two people sitting at a table.

Their task is to verify "who you say you are" and single out fraudsters.

Shaking fingers fumble through purses and wallets frantically searching for enough documentation to prove, beyond a shadow of a scrutineers doubt, who you "remember you were" before leaving home, hours ago.

Those who pass muster are provided a ballot and directed to a solitary voting booth.

The husband of former Victoria councillor and NDP-MP, Lynn Hunter, is turned away, despite providing his passport, social insurance card and CareCard (B.C.'s Health ID Card).

The reason, no ID with his address on it.

Comments from some who refused to be discouraged and eventually did cast their ballot:

*Seniors standing for that long and there were no chairs and no water, there was nothing.

*Ridiculous.

*Furious.

*Nearly fell asleep a couple of times.

* Livid.

A fatigued 90-year old called the situation "appalling".

She was so determined to cast her ballot in the federal election that she waited close to three hours...possibly for the last time.

An Elections Canada spokeswoman declined to answer

1) whether a 90-minute (average) wait is reasonable or,

2) whether this "new" process facilitates voting,

but remarked the few staff on duty remained as pleasant as possible,

then disappears.

Citizens have their first experience with Canada's new (over the top) election law in action...considered by those waiting in line, cruel and unusual punishment.

Leaving many to ponder, "this is considered by those who passed the legislation an incentive to vote?"

A comment that echoed around Greater Victoria and across Canada:

THESE PEOPLE COULDN'T ORGANIZE A PISS-UP IN A BREWERY

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#77 YOU COULDN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

LET'S BE DARING AND STICK A TOE INTO THE MURKY WATERS OF A FEW TOPICAL TOPICS

1) IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS...management???

Football (soccer)...and corruption

Despite being charged by the FBI and Swiss Police, FIFA President Blatter ("the Marionettist"), continues to pull the strings of an organization that makes the Mafia look like amateurs.

However, now that Coca-Cola, Visa, Budweiser, and McDonald's are calling for him to go or they will withdraw their sponsorship, Blatter's days as football's top dog are numbered.

Which demonstrates who has the real power i.e., the sponsors who pour billions into the beautiful game.

Sepp, bye, bye and good riddance.

Olympics...and sleaze

The Marcel show has come to an ignominious end.

Lawyer, former president/owner of the Quebec Nordiques and Canada's Olympic Committee President, Marcel Aubut, has decided to pull up his pants and resign.

His "management style" includes a reputed brusqueness towards people, especially employees, and a reputation as a leader "who gets things done".

In the category of "extracurricular proclivities" he was also, apparently, fond of conducting private meetings (with females) sometimes in his boxer shorts (he may just have been in training for the old-guys Olympic boxing team).

Right!

He was also known for attempting to provide young ladies with lessons in old-guy "touchy-feely" techniques and the fine art of "tongue kissing".

Heh! Marcel, remember you're a lawyer. The unwanted advances is sexual harassment...n'est-ce-pas.

Ironically, the COC was warned of his penchant as far back as 2011. Marcel's promise to stop was believed and they installed him in the top COC job.

As "El Supremo", the aging lech figured he could get away with his unwelcome conduct...until some of his victims finally spoke out.

Aubut suggests his conduct was misunderstood.

That it was simply "good old Marcel" being his demonstrably personable self, as anyone who really knows him will testify.

Right!

The rational for his resignation:
Taking one for the team so as not to distract the athletes from their training for the upcoming RIO Olympics.

Right!

Marcel, bye, bye and good riddance.

2) CATCH A FALLING (MEDIA) STAR...there isn't a net big enough

Cosby.
As the army of women speaking out grows, his carefully constructed and managed phony public image shattered, he hasn't even had the the courage to offer an apology.

Bill, bye, bye and good riddance.

Ghomeshi.
Judge, "I plead, not guilty" (with a straight face).

Really?

Jian, bye, bye and good riddance.

3) THE NIQAB ISSUE...tolerance, fear, politics and the election

The Niqab is a veil or mask, the purpose of which is to hide a woman's face.

The Niqab has become a politically charged, contentious, divisive, hot-button issue in the final weeks of the election campaign.

All political leaders have stated publicly they do not like the Niqab but would really rather not talk about it.

Some contend it's not a "big deal" election issue and argue it's not up to government to tell a woman what she should or should not wear.

This is at odds with a large majority of Canadians who believe it is a big deal, because of what it represents.

82% of Canadians, 93% in Quebec, support a ban on Niqab's hiding the face during a citizenship ceremony.

Also, Quebecers are moving towards anyone accessing their public services do so with their face visible.

There are reasons for this strong reaction from citizens.

*Who would argue the Niqab is not a mask representative of a woman's servitude to men?

*Who would argue that if a man entered a public facility wearing a mask the police wouldn't be called?

*Who would argue wearing a mask in public is neither a norm, custom, belief or tradition in Canada?

*Who would argue that, on the whole, Canadians are a kind, fair minded people?

A Bridge Too Far

"Newcomers", who arrive with their customs, beliefs, feuds and politics, from countries they have fled, may have assumed Canadian tolerance will go so far as to accommodate them without concern that doing so may imperil our own.

Especially "Newcomers" who do not consider women equal to men and ascribe to different law e.g., Sharia Law (a body of moral and religious law derived from religious prophecy, as opposed to human legislation).

What better time is there than during an election to bring this hot button issue out into the open for an honest discussion?

Isn't it time to admit that our tolerance has its limits.

That it's time for "Newcomers" to understand that citizenship means accepting Canada's two official languages (English and French), our laws, customs and traditions.

That in the case of the few, who's unshakable, unwavering convictions will never change or accept that which makes us Canadian, have no place here.

"People who cover their faces are usually up to no good"

Let's remind everyone, October 31st is the one day of the year, that young and old can wear masks in public and nobody is concerned...because although this festival is somewhat scary, it's just all in fun.

Happy Halloween, trick or treat.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#76 TESTING THE LIMITS - TPP

Until it appeared in recent headlines, few had ever heard of TPP or were aware of its implications.

What is TPP?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership.
A massive Pacific Rim trade pact among 12 nations currently being negotiated.

Like any negotiation, there will be winners and losers.

Canada's chief negotiator is the Emperor's Trade Minister, known as "Fast Eddie".

This week "Fast Eddie" was dispatched to Atlanta with instructions from the Emperor to get this deal before October 19th and "don't be too concerned about what you have to throw on the table to get it done."

Some background on what "may" have happened sometime in the past ten days....

Location: Fast Eddie's residence.

Phone: Ring, ring, ring...

Fast Eddie: Hello.

Voice: Mr. Fast?

FE: Speaking.

V: Are you on a secure phone?

FE: All of my phones are secure, but who is this?

V: Mr. Fast, it's an honour to speak to you, sir.
I'm calling from the PMO with instructions from the Emperor concerning the upcoming TPP meeting in Atlanta and to inform you, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!

FE: A problem?

V: Yes sir. WikiLeaks somehow obtained the ultra-secret memorandum about the "expendables" outlined in your ultra-ultra secret negotiation briefing book and they have informed the media.

FE: You're kidding me.

V: No sir. Our cover has been blown by those anonymous WikiLeaks bandits and the public is now becoming aware that the "expendables" list includes items like cows, culture, chickens, water, etc..

You know the stuff we are supposed to be protecting that the Emperor really doesn't give a shit about.

Sir, let me tell you the Emperor is having one of his famous "Blue fits of anger" and wants heads to roll.

FE: How could this have happened?
Everyone agreed the details were not to be revealed until the deal was done.

V: Sir, we are convinced that a disgruntled public servant, likely on the payroll of the Red or Orange crowd, leaked the document.

The Emperor has ordered Igor and his unit to find the culprit and take appropriate action.

But that's now a secondary issue.

FE: Holy crap, what now?

V: Well sir, the Emperor instructs you to throw whatever it takes on to the table to get a deal agreed upon before the election.

Give the Yanks whatever they want to get it done.

To provide you with some guidance, there are items you can, certainly, move to the top of the list.

When we briefed the Emperor and he immediately entered his "Blue fit-zone" he shouted, "screw the farmers".

Then, somebody mentioned Queeg and he went ballistic.

His face turned a darker shade of blue, while simultaneously gesticulating and yelling, "that ingrate picks the election campaign to complain about the lack of funding. Has he forgotten his instructions?

Did he think doing that in...of all places, Munich, Germany, meant it wouldn't get back to me?

What's he planning to do next, defend their ratings?

All we need now is for the "lefties" culture crowd to get their shorts in a knot when they find out CBC really is toast.

Call "Fast Eddie" and tell him to get on with it."

Sir, that was one meeting you would not have wanted to be at.

FE: Inform the Emperor his instructions are understood. I will use every ounce of my negotiating skills to get an agreement in principle during our Atlanta meetings.

The phone call ends.

The question now:

What is Canada's Conservative government prepared to give away when the political horse-trading is over?

We will soon find out. However, it may be too late to do anything about it.

Canada's next (possibly non-conservative) governing party/coalition could adopt the position of Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, who said about the "Free Trade Agreement" between the U.S., Canada and Mexico in a recent interview:

"It's a bad deal. When I'm President we will tear it up and renegotiate what will be a "Fair Trade Agreement."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#75 A TALE - A STORY OF HOW TO KILL MOTHER
Subtitle: How "THEY" got to here from there

THE MASTER PLAN

Several decades ago, a Machiavellian savvy group got together out West and developed a plan to seize power and change the very nature of the country.

One element of their master plan, code-named "Mother" related to the public broadcaster.

THE "MOTHER" GUIDELINES

*The "Mother" plan will be implemented in five-year incremental "strategic" stages.

*In order not to alarm the corporation's shareholders (citizens) and supporters (lefties), adopt an "almost imperceptible" method of slow but deliberate starvation techniques.

*In order to garner votes from Mother's supporters, promise stable long-term parliamentary funding.

*Once in power, do the opposite, but do so "slowly and gently" so as not to raise alarm or suspicion.

*In order to gain control of the corporation, appoint compliant board members who will "quietly" carry out the plan and never publicly complain or explain.

*The Board's public message will be: "Not to worry, we are managing just fine."

*Members will never mention any negative impact on the corporation's legislated mandate.

*As each stage of the plan is implemented, reductions to the parliamentary appropriation will cause layoffs.
These will be referred to as "redundancies in the noble cause of ever greater efficiency".

*To offset the cuts in parliamentary grants, attempts may be made to increase the number of commercial minutes in programs. This initiative should be encouraged.

This will result in a "desired effect" as the public broadcaster's content becomes ever more similar to that provided by the private integrated conglomerates who will, undoubtedly, be eager to support our cause.

The public will soon begin to question the cost and relevance of the corporation's very existence.

*Once "redundancies" reach a certain "critical" level (e.g. 4000 to 5000) owned and operated buildings will become empty shells.

*The public will come to question the waste of taxpayer's money being used to maintain empty buildings..and the time will have arrived to place them on the market for sale.

Footnote #1: Which brings us to the past week's headlines: CBC PROPERTIES FOR SALE.

Is it possible...an Australian known as the "Wizard of Oz" (considered one of the most celebrated political strategists in the English speaking world) recommended the announcement be made without delay, right in the middle of the election campaign, suggesting "the timing is perfect"?

Which would lead to the PMO dispatching the order causing an extraordinary meeting of the Emperor's handmaidens who oversee the public broadcaster.

Where the Chief handmaiden, Captain Hubert Horatio Francesco Queeg, opens the sealed envelope and reads aloud to the hastily assembled board members:

"In keeping with the "Mother" plan, which each of you pledged to implement upon appointment, you will immediately announce the sale of properties owned by the corporation. By order of: "The Emperor".

And that folks is how "THEY" got to here from there.

Footnote #2: The process has resulted in the destruction of a precious national asset.

A highly skilled creative workforce of thousands has been sent packing.

A critical mass of talent necessary to tell the story of OUR past, present and future to ourselves and showcase to the world has been wasted.

EPILOGUE

And so...will it come to pass that the Emperor's "Mother" plan succeeds?

Or...will the others seeking power to rule, even with their campaign promises, ever be able to put her back together again?

Or...is it more likely that the damage already caused by the public broadcaster's financial and leadership crisis has pushed her beyond the point of no return, beyond salvation?

SOME SCIENTIFIC TRUTHS

In the past decade, we the people, have come to understand that science runs contrary to the Emperor's ideology.

In science, the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty" has been used to demonstrate the second law of thermodynamics.

The law describes a process known as entropy, a measure of the number of specific ways in which a system may be arranged, often taken to be a measure of "disorder".

The higher the entropy, the higher the disorder.

After "Humpty's" fall and subsequent shattering, the inability to put him together again is representative of this principle, as it would be highly unlikely, though not impossible, to return him to his earlier state of lower entropy, as the entropy of an isolated system never decreases.

And on this sobering scientific reality, this sorry TALE ends.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#74 YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE ARTICULATE TO BE WISE

YOGI - A PERSON WHO IS PROFICIENT AT YOGA

September 22, 2015 - Early afternoon

He was sitting at the end of the dugout staring down the bench.

They were all there, the "greats", smiling back at him.
Ruth, DiMaggio, Ford, Gehrig, Mantle, Rizzuto and all the rest in their pinstripes.

Over the public address system came the unmistakable voice of announcer Mel Allen, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, batting for the New York Yankees, number eight, Yogi Berra...Berra...Berra!"

The stadium erupted.

He had finally arrived at the Big Diamond in the sky and it was game day.

His coach, Casey Stengel, was asked by Saint Peter, "What qualifies Lawrence to enter here?"

Casey's answer, "Mr. Berra is a very strange fellow of very remarkable abilities."

No truer words were ever spoken in professional baseball.

Lawrence, Peter, "Yogi" Berra, catcher, manager, coach and character, left us with the following gems of wisdom to ponder...without betraying the fact that his formal education ended at the eighth grade:

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"You can observe a lot by just watching."

"It ain't over till it's over."

"It's like deja-vu all over again."

"No one goes there nowadays, it's too crowded."

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical."

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."

"We made too many wrong mistakes."

"Congratulations, I knew the record would stand until it was broken."

"Never answer an anonymous letter."

"I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps kids out of the house."

"The future ain't what it used to be."

"I never said most of the things I said."

- Lawrence, Peter, "Yogi" Berra -
May 12, 1925 - September 22, 2015

"A strange fellow of very remarkable abilities", the great "Yogi", not proficient at yoga but mostly just "extra special".

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#73 ANOTHER NUTSO WEEK

TOPIC #1: THE WEEKS POLITICAL EVENT(S)

Non-debate debates took place on both sides of the border:

Prior to the "SHOW", the pundits expound on what the candidates will say,

Following the "SHOW", the pundits expound on what the candidates said,

Suggesting pundits are the only viewers who comprehend what just happened and, consequently, are obliged to provide an explanation for the rest of us "the unsophisticated audience".

Everyone asks: Who won? Who lost?

Who cares...because no policy issues are actually "debated", only a flurry of talking points repeated
ad nauseam.

In America:
Their non-debate debate, "The Donald Trump-fest", was by far the more entertaining "SHOW", garnering CNN it's largest audience.

Fifteen Republican "shining lights" (right out of a Monty Python skit) vying for the job of Commander in Chief of the world's most powerful nation applied tactics involving dumping on each other and unsuccessfully attempting to out-insult Trump.

The man with the orange comb-over has them all stumped as he continues to lead the polls by saying whatever nonsense comes out of his mouth, uncensored.

Was anything of substance actually debated? Nope.

Wonderful entertainment, but leaving many North of the 49th parallel wondering "who the hell are these scary people?"

Meanwhile, Democrats cannot decide whether to bother with debates.
Will Hillary be crowned?
Will Joe Biden run?
Will the popular Bernie Sanders win the day?

In Canada:
Our non-debate debate #2 was just plain boring.

When informed "it's available on CPAC", many asked "What's CPAC?"

Where's OUR "Don Cherry" to provide a modicum of entertainment for these events?

Did you watch "OUR SHOW" and witness:
Yackety Yak - talking point,
Yackety Yak - talking point,
Yackety Yak - talking point,
...Ding-a-ling.

Blah Blah - talking point,
Blah Blah - talking point,
Blah Blah - talking point,
...Ding-a-ling.

Interrupt, shout, yell, interrupt, shout, yell,
...Ding-a-ling.

Who's bright idea was that bell?

And what is an "old-stock Canadian?"
Similar to a "pure-laine Quebecer?"

And why no mention of dual citizens not being able to vote like Donald Sutherland or Wayne Gretzky?

There wasn't much spell-binding unscripted oratory provided by any of the three participants, only plodding, ponderous talking points repeated ad nauseam.

The Big Question:
Who won non-debate debate #2?
The Answer: Grandma May, because she was not invited to the snore-fest.

By reverting to tweeting her wise policy positions she demonstrated, like the late Robert Stanfield, she is capable of being "the best Prime Minister we will never have".

TOPIC #2: CAPTAIN HUBERT HORATIO FRANCESCO QUEEG SPEAKS...FINALLY

On September 10th, the Captain of Mother's tattered depleted fleet, admitted:

"We are at fault, for not speaking loudly enough about the threats we face.
We focus on managing each individual threat, each trade-off, each reduction of funding, each drop in revenue because that's what public institutions are expected to do at the expense of the bigger issues all around us.
Like the proverbial frog put in cold water that is slowly heated, we've resisted telling people that we risk being boiled to death.
Each of us has been dealing with the warmer water in our own ways."

Did the President of CBC/SRC make these comments from a public platform in Canada? NOPE!

His "too little, too late" admission was made during a speech to the Public Broadcasters International Conference in...Munich, Germany.

Why has he and other CBC Board members who financially support Conservatives not sounded the alarm sooner, in Canada, on the CBC-Radio Canada broadcast networks?

Is it the whiff of political change in the air?

Are they worried for their appointed positions?

It's not too late for them to do "the honourable thing" resign en-masse...before October 20th.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#72 ONLY SOME OF THIS IS TRUE

CANDIDATES - WITH SPECIAL SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS

Anyone who remembers the opening narration of the series "Dragnet" spoken by the show's creator, actor, producer and star, Jack Webb, who played the role of L.A. Police Detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, will fondly recall...

"Ladies and gentlemen the story you are about to hear (on Radio), see (on TV) is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."

Another version of "Just the facts, ma'am":

"Ladies and gentlemen the story you are about to read is only partially true. Only the facts have been changed to protect the guilty."

SCENE: Somewhere in Canada

The Blue Leader stares blankly at the adoring rent-a-crowd.

Thoughts race through his mind,

*Where the hell am I?

*Who the hell convinced me to call this ridiculously long campaign?

*Another horrible week on the campaign trail, who the hell's in charge of this fiasco?

*Geez, I'm exhausted already.

*Nigel, you disloyal author of a Senatorial shit storm, why did you do that? Did you misunderstand my instructions, totally misread my body language and what the hell was that Bible reference nonsense?

*Did I fire him or did I accept his resignation?

*Where the hell am I?

Now glaring at the gaggle of media wretches, he remembers what Richard Nixon's V.P., Spiro Agnew, called them..."Nattering Nabobs of Negativism."

This helps calm him as he manages yet another forced smile before beginning.

He draws in a breath and states emphatically:

"Our Party is all inclusive, we seek out candidates from all corners of this great land who possess a wide variety of skills and experiences.

Our candidates endure the most rigorous vetting process to meet our high ethical standards before I approve their candidacy.

Qualifications and backgrounds are scrupulously examined.

Every detail is scrutinized by our crack team of scrutineers led by a former "cultural attache" working at the Russian Embassy who we managed to entice to defect from the clutches of the evil Vladimir.

Igor and his team of forensic experts are there to ensure every one of our candidates measures up to the standards we expect of those who are standing for election to represent us in the people's house.

For example, you might think that finding someone who can urinate into a stranger's coffee cup while renovating their kitchen, impersonate a Viagra user in medical distress or the handicapped, are skills that are easy to find.

Mes amis, au contraire, c'est tres difficile.

Locating people with such "exotic" talents actually demonstrates our "Big-Tent philosophy" in action exemplifying the full extent of our "inclusiveness".

Besides, one never knows when such abilities may come in handy if we are given another mandate.

(He wonders to himself, who knew the media wretches had pictures? Is Igor really a spy for Vladimir?)

As I explained in an interview with the Chief News Anchor of that dreaded public broadcaster (which my handlers insisted I had to endure), in the unlikely event we do not have more seats than the others, on October 20th, I will step down as Blue Leader.

The rent-a-crowd erupts in a chorus of No-No-No, no's.

Yes, friends, sadly that is my irrevocable decision.

However, we will not return to the province that launched my political journey to the top; the land of cowboys, cow-pies, 174-years of oil trapped in sand and Nenshi, the 36th mayor of Calgary.

That woman who leads the dastardly "Orange Crushers" who has taken charge of a former bastion of conservatism makes that option impossible.

Also, and speaking frankly, mes amis, Laureen and I have become quite comfortable and accustomed to our lifestyle in the "Shining City on the Hill."

Therefore, I wish to announce that on October 21st, I will make myself available to be chosen as your 29th Governor General.

In this new capacity I can continue to serve you, as Queen of Canada...err, ah, sorry, Governor General and by moving just down the street will save taxpayers thousands.

Feigning embarrassment...also, friends, Laureen thinks I will look dashing in the G.G.'s uniforms which I will proudly wear when we come to visit.

So, there you have it, either way, win or lose, you will still have...ME."

The rent-a-crowd erupts shouting,
Stevee for GG - Stevee for GG - Stevee for GG

He stares blankly at them and wonders
Where the hell am I?

THE END

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#71 VOTE...BUT BE WARY OF RASCALS, ROGUES AND RAPSCALLIONS
RASCALS, ROGUES AND RAPSCALLIONS

HAVE YOU NOTICED:

Your Canada Post "community" mail box, assuming it hasn't been vandalized, is full of junk mail.

Every company or organization you have ever dealt with has sold your address' to others e.g., take a cruise and every cruise company in existence will fill your email accounts and mail box with slick brochures, every week, for evermore.

Sit down to enjoy a warm evening meal and...
-your home phone rings
-your mobile device dings or vibrates
-your personal computer makes summoning noises

Mostly, it's either a telemarketer located in the Republic of Kazakhstan, a scammer in Belarus, the multitude of charities asking for money or your discards and lately...every politician you have never met calling you "FRIEND".

You dare not ignore these summons' for fear it just might be a real emergency involving a family member.

We are tracked 24/7 by these rogues, rascals and rapscallions using the most sophisticated contemporary technology to breach our lives and electronically break into our homes.

Politicians, who lust for power to rule over others, surround themselves with "experts"; practitioners of the "black arts":
-the black art of persuasion,
-the black art of propaganda,
-the black art of disinformation,
-the black art of deception to groom and disguise their client.

These "experts" hide behind a curtain of anonymity and use every nefarious means at their disposal in the war for our vote.

They call us "friend" now, but be wary.

Once in power, the term can easily be substituted for "enemy" and suddenly your name is on a surveillance "watch list" to be harassed by various government agencies, e.g., Revenue Canada.

The upcoming federal election is one of the most crucial in several decades.

The issues facing our country and the world are monumentally difficult.

Reminder:
The scandal ridden "Red Team" was tossed out a decade ago.

The scandal plagued "Blue Team" have lost all credibility.

Will the next bunch of rascals, rogues and rapscallions be any more principled?

VOTE...but be wary, "None of the above" is not on the ballot.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#70 THE ELECTION - WHAT IF'S AND OTHER STUFF

IMAGINE

"Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion too,
Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace..."
- John Lennon

IN A LAND WHERE DREAMS ARE MADE OF...IMAGINE,

During an election campaign, a Leader looks directly into the camera lens and says:

"Honestly, I cannot promise you anything.
The only promise I will make, if elected, is to serve you to the best of my limited abilities".

IMAGINE...a Leader saying:

"Instead of putting my Party's interests first, I will select from the 338 elected, the best and brightest and form a Cabinet.

A Cabinet that will serve the country's interests first.

The challenges facing our country and the world demands nothing less.

You, whom we are elected to serve, deserve no less.

This is my solemn pledge."

STUFF YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE 2015 ELECTION
VOTERS HAVE A SMORGASBORD OF CHOICES

Check out the list of candidates, as of August 26th:

Party Leader Candidates
Conservative Stephen Harper 319

New Democratic Thomas Mulcair 321

Liberal Justin Trudeau 321

Green Elizabeth May 218

Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe 70

Independent N/A 17

Strength in Democracy Jean-Francois Fortin 12

Libertarian Tim Moen 89

Christian Heritage Rod Taylor 23

Rhinoceros Sebastien Corriveau 12

Animal Alliance Liz White 7

Pirate Roderick Lim 5

Dem. Advancement Stephen Garvey 4

Canadian Action Jeremy Arney 2

Communist Miguel Figueroa 2

Only in Canada....eh!

"Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each others speeches, that by the time election day arrives there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in."
- H. L. Mencken

"I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie.
I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave.
And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant."
- H. L. Mencken

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#69 PROMISES, PROMISES AND MORE PROMISES
HIDE THE CHILDREN

As the world's economy teeters on the brink...yet again...

The 1966 movie "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" directed by former CBC'er, Norman Jewison, is being re-released under the title
"The Politicians Are Coming, The Politicians Are Coming", directed by the Spinmeisters.

This time around, as an added bonus, there will be more of them going to a "cozier" Common House on the Hill (under the Peace Tower) where they play charades during the daily "Question - No Answer Period". And, right down the hall, the constitutionally unstoppable Mad Hatters Club continue their hijinks...making taxpayers crazy.

Oldsters will remember a couple of games we played in our teenage years. One was called "Truth or Dare", the other "Spin the Bottle".

Both have application during the current campaign where our political leaders attempt to out-promise each other about what they will do with our money, if they get their hands on the combination to the Taxpayers Vault in October.

TRUTH OR DARE
Leader of the Blues "dare not" tell the truth and expose what everyone can see, the Emperor has no clothes.

He "dare not" utter the phrase "Are you any better off than when I took over?"

He "dare not" thank Mike, Pamela, Patrick, Mac and the others under investigation for their dishonourable
actions that brought to light (finally) what goes on inside the Mad Hatters Club.

What frightens him is truth. However, it's slowly oozing out of "the trial we are not allowed to see" one drip at a time. So many lawyers, so many stories...so much "truthiness".

He "dare not" suggest "the buck stops with me and I take full responsibility for my PMO's actions".

The Emperor's reality distortion field allows for the following: it's only those two who concocted the whole scheme and betrayed my trust. I found out and got rid of them.

SPIN THE BOTTLE
The Orange (the beard that smiles awkwardly), the Red (matinee idol look) and the Green (hide the wine) leaders want us to spin the bottle and choose one of them to kiss.

However, rather than choose one, why don't they set hubris aside and coalesce like the Lantana.

Lantana's are aromatic flower clusters, a mix of Orange and Red, called "Umbells".

The "Umbells" would certainly break the Emperors grip on power.

Enjoying a leisurely summer break away from the fray is the Black leader, who's only wish "Quebec Libre" (providing a pre-negotiated prenup with the "rest of Canada" specifies what each will own following a breakup).

THE SNAKE OIL SALESMAN IS BACK IN TOWN

Instead of a covered wagon pulled by a tired nag, they now arrive by plane and bus, stand at a podium at a pre-selected backdrop, mouthing prepared remarks with two dozen multi-hued "rent a crowd" folks standing behind dutifully bobbing heads, smiling, frowning, clapping, laughing, booing, hissing, cheering, shouting, sneering, gushing and looking adoringly mesmerized by the very presence of the leader...on cue.

Some become so excited and, in the moment, they let loose a tirade of expletives at anyone asking a probing question about the trial that keeps on giving.

Just like the charlatans of old, they reach into their plentiful bag of fantasy goodies, select the one they are trying to get you to buy (today) and proceed to make voluble claims about their skill and knowledge.

Solemn promises, pledges, vows if only you are willing to truly believe that theirs' is the magic potion to cure all and together we'll get to the promised land.

And then the closer...if you harbour doubts or in any way feel deceived, a promise to return YOUR money.

Some (gullible) townsfolk are taken in by the slick presentation, glad handing, baby kissing and selfies.

Others (cynics/skeptics), having heard variations of the same pitch from other snake oil sellers, won't buy it from any of them.

Back then, the covered wagon and "Slick Willie" (in the coloured outfit and top hat) would disappear before sundown. Certainly well before any of the townsfolk sampled the magic elixir and end up spending the night in the shack with the half moon on the door...or worse.

Unlike Slick Willie, no politician will disappear if elected. However, their solemn promises, vows, pledges will, in a myriad of excuses.

Curious how a child who asks a difficult/awkward question and always responds WHY? to every answer can destroy a person's claim to a special skill, knowledge or position and reduce them to stunned silence...by the third consecutive...WHY?

Why then not replace the entire media corps with a group of children who will use their innate curiousity to ask the leaders WHY? to every hollow promise, vow, pledge...and see what happens.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#68 HERE'S TO THE CRAZIES
"THINK DIFFERENT"

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

These words express the vision of a leader that brought a dying company back to life.

The leader, Steve Jobs.
(February 24, 1955 - October 5, 2011)

The company, APPLE.

Jobs brought a company he had created back to life because he was all of the above.

Steve Jobs understood the importance of people who can stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and the creativity that can occur as a result.

His "original" Board of Directors did not comprehend him, his vision, his focus, his genius. So they fired him.

What he accomplished when he returned to lead APPLE changed humankind.

The essence of his APPLE philosophy:
Poetry connected to engineering, arts and creativity intersecting with technology, design that's bold and simple.

These words once applied to a Canadian company and some of the people who worked for it.

Creative people who took risks, defied failure, and bet their career on doing things in "a different way".

They always scare politicians, clinging to their power, and their appointed boards, who consider them crazy, rebellious, troublemaking misfits.

These appointed "overseers" are baffled by their passion, their stubborn commitment to a mandate to tell a story, a Canadian story. So they fire them. (Euphemistically called "downsizing", in the parlance of those who worship at the altar of the bottom line.)

Canada sorely needs leaders with the qualities of a Steve Jobs, a Pope Francis.

Mother's English language public broadcast service needs the likes of a Peter Herrndorf to lead a dying cultural company back to life.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#67 NOT A CHILDREN'S STORY + NUMBER 67 STUFF
A GRIMM TALE (not a children's story)

"YES MASTER"

There was much merriment at the Mad Hatter's House.

Seven Blue Dwarfs and four Red Dwarfs concluded eighteen months traveling the country and abroad; observing, researching, studying and "selectively" listening to the views of citizens concerning the public broadcaster (CBC/Radio-Canada).

They are the members of the Hatter's "Standing Committee on Transport and Communications".

N.B. No work was ever done in a standing position.

Their jubilation had to do with the release of their majority report.

Snow White had seven dwarfs that she convinced to do all the household chores...while whistling.

The Emperor has his seven on this committee of eleven.

Unbeknownst to the four Red Dwarfs, the Blues had "ultra secret" orders from "His Omnipotence's P.M.O." conveying a message: "Make Mother Disappear"
that guaranteed the report's outcome.

Captain of Mother's Flagship (the one flying the Big Red Bullseye), Hubert Horatio Francesco Queeg, was summoned to appear, twice.

The Blue Dwarfs and Queeg were all appointed by the Emperor.

Regardless, there was no hiding they did not care for each other.

The air was filled with politeness dripping with sarcasm, petty questions left unanswered.

The atmosphere grew ever more tense as a perverse dance of the dialectic played itself out for the cameras and sparse audience.

Heated words were exchanged as the sides sparred for points.

The Blue Dwarfs disagreed with Queeg about whose job it was to make "Mother disappear".

Queeg argued it was he and his Board that were tasked by the Emperor to accomplish the (dastardly) deed.

The Blues were bent on taking sole credit to demonstrate their value to the Emperor.

The Emperor's plan (absolving himself of any culpability) was to blame them both when Mother finally passed.

Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey dare not disappoint their Master...for fear "they might disappear".

The majority reports conclusion was cleverly disguised in verbiage that hid their message:
Mother would soon find herself spent, in tattered garment on an Ottawa street corner, begging cup in hand, a sign hung around her ageing neck that proclaimed..."will work for food".

One Red Dwarf most strongly disagreed with the Blues.
Arthur of Eggleton submitted a minority report that many consider more reflective of what the committee heard from citizens and that offered a glimmer of hope for Mother's survival.

The Blues labelled Arthur's report, "a poison apple" aimed at discrediting their efforts.

Arthur did not receive an invitation to their wrap party.

N.B. All associated expense claims have been quietly sealed from prying eyes for 99-years, in the Mad Hatter's vault.

MOTHER - THEN AND NOW

THEN
Once upon a time if Mother was under attack by politicians, her troops would rally to protect her.
They would go so far as to down tools and walk out in protest, bringing national attention that she was being threatened.

NOW
Despite Mother being on a perpetual starvation diet, the dwindling number of troops have lost their will to fight and protect her. They fear doing so will jeopardize their tenuous hold on employment.

A few brave souls working for Radio-Canada have spoken out, fully appreciating that French speaking Quebecers will go to the barricades to protect their cultural institutions and that federal politicians are keenly aware of this reality.

IRRELEVANT STUFF ABOUT THE NUMBER 67

1) 67 is the nineteenth prime number.

2) With just 12 cuts, it is possible to divide a pizza into 67 tiny pieces.

3) In the year 67 A.D. St. Peter was executed in Rome.

4) Canada was formed July 1st, 1867.
The "Father's of Confederation" are the 36 people who attended at least one of the Charlottetown
(23 attendees) and Quebec (33) Conferences, in 1864
and London Conference, in 1866 (16) in England preceding Canadian Confederation.

The last "Father of Confederation" is Joey Smallwood.

There were no "Mother's of Confederation" invited.

In the intervening 100 years, not much changed.
The big Centennial celebration Expo '67 and the associated World's Fair was called: "Man and His World".

Not a mention of women.

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination" - Albert Einstein

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#66 REMEMBER THIS
ADVICE AND MEMORIES

"I want my children to have everything I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them"
Phyllis Diller (1917-2012)

REMEMBER THIS?

"Always wear clean underwear, you never know when you'll have an accident"

"Money doesn't grow on trees"

"You have enough dirt behind those ears to grow potatoes"

"If I talked to my mother the way you talk to me.."

"Just wait till your father gets home"

"Cheer up the worst is still to come"

"Close that door, were you born in a barn?"

"Don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

"No dessert 'till you clean off your plate"

And among of my favourites,

"Eat everything on your plate, remember the starving children in Africa"

What eating something that didn't pass the taste test had to do with kids in Africa always eluded me.

We fondly recall these "nuggets of wisdom" handed down by those who loved us most.

These "gems" were usually dispensed by mothers and grandmothers, whose sole motivation was our safety and well being.

Most of it went in one ear and out the other because the young recipients considered themselves bullet proof and immortal.

Despite the inattention, at the time, much of it remained safely tucked away in the far reaches of the brain's memory bank to be eventually recovered and passed on to subsequent generations.

We firmly believed, then, that our parents were "old", aunts and uncles were "old" and grandparents were "really old".

We ran free, unsupervised, unscheduled; roaming the neighbourhood...just being kids, making our own fun, doing what kids did then; trying to "stay out of trouble" while remaining wary of predators.

The only strictly enforced rule: "be home by 10:00".

When summer finally came we shed most clothes and let the sun turn our skin red then golden brown.

There was no caution from the grownups "stay out of the noonday sun, wear a hat, use sunscreen and don't spend hours letting your skin get cooked".

Everybody wanted to look just like the rich people down the street who returned home each spring looking golden brown. If we could look like them maybe people would think we were rich.

Noel Coward nailed the caution with his song
"Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun". He wrote the song, in the early 1930's, while driving from Hanoi to Saigon.

In this 21st century, many of the old "chestnuts" have been replaced with new ones.

For example:

We 'Northern Hemisphere fair skinned humans' are reaping the consequences of overexposure to the sun...Cancer.

There are two types.

The so-called "good" cancer that can be managed by regular visits to a dermatologist or GP for liquid nitrogen treatments.

The "bad" kind is called Melanoma. It usually results in surgery and may lead to an unscheduled premature exit.

This focuses the mind to concentrate on "the important things in life".

Some advice,

If you're a parent, grandparent, guardian or just a friend, please insist that those you love take the recommended precautions.

The Ozone layer has thinned. Mother Sun's rays are therefore stronger and more damaging than in the past.

Random thoughts,

"Let others take you as you are, or not at all."

"You are not who you used to be, and that's O.K."

Mark Twain said,

"Humour is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our limitations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place."

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

"A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain."

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#65 ON THE ROAD AGAIN
SCRATCH THIS ONE FROM OUR BUCKET LIST

SUNDAY JULY 7TH...MORNING

The Malahat mountain across beautiful Brentwood Bay is obscured by a fog of smoke.

Bits of white ash fall gently on the back deck.

Three forest fires burn on Northern Vancouver Island.

The wind shifted overnight, blowing North to South, sending a stark throat chocking message...yet another month without rain in the coastal rainforest.

Unprecedented.

Parched forests, ignited by lightning and human carelessness, endanger everything in a fire's relentless path.

Hourly news reports inform that hundreds of fires burn across the northern portions of the four Western Provinces; many out of control.

1:30 p.m. Gail and Fred Jones drive us to the Ferry Terminal, located at Swartz Bay on the Northern tip of the Peninsula.

Upon boarding the ferry we make arrangements with the Pacific Coach Bus driver to deliver us to the Vancouver Bus Terminal conveniently located adjacent the Vancouver Train Station.

For this train journey we decide to sample VIA Rail's brand new PRESTIGE service.

The ticket price provides the best VIA has to offer passengers traveling across Canada:
A large compartment equipped with panorama window, Queen sized bed,
Private bathroom/shower,
All meals, snacks, hors d'oeuvres,
Beverages, including all alcoholic drinks consumed in your room, the bar/lounge and in the dining car,
24-hour concierge service.

The silver sided sleek looking "Canadian" departs on schedule, 8:30 p.m. from Vancouver (also shrouded in smoke) with 270+ souls aboard.

The journey takes us across four time zones from Kamloops, Jasper, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Sioux Lookout and finally Toronto, where 10,000 athletes + 250,000 additional visitors invade the city for the Pan American Games.

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN SOON BECOME FRIENDS

The passengers comprise an eclectic mix from many continents. Excitement, curiosity and anticipation is in the air.

Many, foreign visitors and citizens, have never seen the country from this vantage point, as mile after mile presents a new vista.

There's a myth that Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini made the trains run on time. One of many lies spouted by the pompous Fascist attempting to impress that other madman, Adolph Hitler.

We soon learn, despite leaving on time, estimated arrival time in Toronto frequently changes.

Passenger trains have no "priority" and have to give way to freight trains.

Consequently we are regularly shunted onto sidings while long freight trains loaded with commodity goods whiz past going East and West.

This "movement of commerce" suggests our economy may be in better shape than we are led to believe.

The train crew is from the railways hub, Winnipeg, our home town, and provides a natural affinity between us.

Simply a mention of how we miss eating a "Jeanne's Bakery cake" (best in the land) brought a surprise the next afternoon.

Crews change in Winnipeg around midnight.

Unbeknownst to us, our departing concierges, Leonard and Danielle, arranged for our favourite desert to be delivered to our compartment, in the capable hands of our new dynamic duo, Gabriel and Julie, with the accompanying note:
"From the VIA Crew, Danielle, Leonard, Gabriel, Julie, a little taste of Winnipeg, Enjoy".

We were blown away by their thoughtfulness.
They made us feel extra special and we thank them for their extraordinary service and attention.

As the ever changing vista passes the window, memories are triggered of past travels.

Our homeland is beautiful, majestic, varied and vast.

Many Canadians travel abroad on voyages of discovery, yet pass up the opportunity to discover the wonders of their own country.

An example was provided on day three.
We were joined for lunch in the dining car by a retired couple from a small town in Quebec.
They were returning on the home bound leg of their VIA adventure.
They expressed sincere regret at not having done this sooner and said "Had we taken this trip when we were younger, our ideas about separating from the rest of Canada would have been very different".

The conversation quickly turned to politics and the upcoming election.
Two couples living thousands of miles apart agreed:
Harper, must be thrown out of office,
Mulcair, has a real shot,
Trudeau, is not ready for prime time,
May, may win three or four seats,
Duceppe's time has past.

The key issue: the Opposition Parties should amalgamate and select from amongst their elected representatives the most talented for Cabinet positions.

If more citizens (born, bred and new) traveled by land from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic, to acquaint themselves about the people and places that make us what we are, we would become more tolerant and appreciative of the similarities and differences, each part is of the other. Closer as a Nation.

By the end of our journey we were eight hours late arriving in Toronto.

Timing is everything, it was the height of rush hour.
Once again our train stopped for "priority" GO trains to pass.

We left the train at 5:35 p.m., proceeded to the rotunda to be greeted by the most beautiful sight of the entire trip; the smiling faces of granddaughters Caitlin (11), Danielle (7) and sons Danny and David.

This one's worth putting on your bucket list.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#64 FACTOIDS AND STUFF YOU MAY NOT KNOW
FACTOIDS AND TIDBITS - SOME OF INTEREST, OTHERS MAYBE NOT SO MUCH

A TIDBIT ABOUT BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY

THE HONOURABLE MR. SMITH

Have you ever wondered why people who reside on the West Coast of North America are considered "different", some might even suggest "eccentric"?

Two of many examples:

1) Trends evolve in places like California then drift eastward.

2) Politics are "unusual", there is no "Middle", just "Left" and "Right".

I first encountered this phenomenon in the early 1980's. A new CBC assignment, in Vancouver, (Director of Television for B.C.) naturally led to deep research on what makes the province tick.

There were many answers, topography, geography, climate, First Nation's, exploration, migration, conflict, Two US States, Washington & Alaska (home of VP candidate Madame Palin, who can see the Russians from her kitchen window) to the South and North.

Then someone provided an answer that conveniently sums it all up, suggesting, "When God created the Rocky Mountains, all the Nuts rolled down to the West Coast"...which partially explains why we love it here.

For a real life illustration, let's go back to the 1800's.

William Alexander Smith, born in Nova Scotia, drifted from his home province to California and ended up in Victoria...using the fanciful moniker, Amor De Cosmos.

Smith-De Cosmos was a grouchy, anti-social, prickly bachelor who pushed away people who could have been friends and allies.

Despite these "social disadvantages", Amor managed to found a newspaper. Today its called, The Victoria Times Colonist. He had a profound influence on the development of the Province.

The Honourable De Cosmos played key roles in the union of two coastal colonies, Vancouver Island and British Columbia, in 1866, and entry into the Canadian Confederation on July 1st, 1871.

Elected provincially (the second premier of B.C.) and represented Victoria in the House of Commons for more than a decade, where he fought successfully to ensure the province did not become part of the United States.

In the end he was driven mad.

And there you have it. Bill Smith of the Maritimes A.K.A. Amor De Cosmos of Victoria, "different", "brilliant" "unusual", "eccentric"...and Nuts.
A bona fide West Coast alumnus.

"There's a fine line between genius and insanity.
I have erased that line" - Oscar Levant

"AUNTIE'S" TROUBLES - IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT MONEY

In case you missed it, the BBC "trying to become leaner and simpler" (sound familiar) is facing hundreds of additional job cuts.

"Auntie" currently has a workforce of 18,000.

Undoubtedly related, the BBC has lost control of the rights to the Olympic Games from 2022 onwards (shocking).

U.S. broadcasting giant "Discovery", owner of "Eurosport", signed a colossal 920 million pound deal with the I.O.C. for exclusive broadcast rights to Summer and Winter Olympic Games, on all its platforms.

I.O.C. officials called the deal with Discovery
"a partnership made in heaven" (no kidding) as it will use some of the windfall, plus expertise provided by Discovery, to develop a new channel that will promote Olympic sport between Games; the Olympic channel will operate 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

This could be considered a form of slavery.
Exploiting unpaid youth who dedicate themselves for years to become Olympic athletes in order to generate untold millions for the I.O.C. via the Olympic channel.

The official was right "money from heaven".

Why not do something decent for a change and use some of it for tuition fees for all the unpaid youth that will provide fodder for their 24/7 money machine?

Last year, the I.O.C. signed a $7.5 billion broadcasting deal in the U.S. with NBC that runs until 2032.

The exorbitant cost associated with staging an Olympics has helped push several countries into bankruptcy e.g., Greece, Spain, Italy, Brazil.

Consequently, fewer and fewer countries are lining up to bid and pay for either a Winter or Summer Games with the inevitable corruption that follows, filling the pockets of many at the expense of their citizens.

This is not recent. Canadian taxpayers well remember it took 30 years for the debt incurred to be paid off from staging the 1976 Summer Olympics.

We swallowed Montreal Mayor, Jean Drapeau's, classic understatement, hook, line and sinker, "The Montreal Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby". He loved to josh people.

Vlad Putin spent $55 billion + on the Sochi Winter Games then proceeded to invade the Ukraine while everybody looked the other way.

Broadcast rights have followed the trend, demanding ever more to perpetuate the I.O.C. "gravy train".

Canadian broadcast rights are no longer affordable for this country's media giants.

The Rogers/BCE consortium (2010 Vancouver 2012 London Olympics) turned out to be unprofitable despite the rosy predictions when they won the bidding war.

Meanwhile at Mother's House,

With the knowledge of the financial realities a) bidding for broadcast rights to satisfy the I.O.C. bandits, and b) their dwindling parliamentary grants and advertising revenue, Canada's public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada, blithely made a "solo bid" for upcoming Games, paying undisclosed millions (sorry it's confidential)...while disposing of some 2000 "additional" employees and further "watering down" their Radio and Television program output.

As a shareholder and former lifer of that publicly funded organization my question, WHY?, has never been answered.

FANCY JARGON: to camouflage the stark reality of job cuts.

In a recent report to CBC/Radio-Canada Pensioners, this year's additions to their ranks (staff cuts) are politely referred to as "a significant jump in the volume of transactions especially following the CBC/Radio-Canada workforce adjustment announcements".

A couple more thousand gone is called a "workforce adjustment"?

Please, drop the jargon. For the sake of clarity, tell it like it is.

It's a catastrophe, that goes unmentioned by the silent (muzzled?) politically appointed CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors (fiduciary guardians of our public broadcast system? - yeah right!) who treat their shareholder (citizens) with disdain.

WE CELEBRATE YOUR WONDER

Oh Canada, you beautiful magnificent lady, 148 years young. Happy Birthday.

P.S. You were only 100 last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup. Now they are rebuilding (yet again)...for 2067...Go HABS, Go!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory