You Couldn’t Make It Up: A look at the 2016 US Presidential Election

Over the years, I’ve tried to avoid talking about politics. And it’s not due to lack of interest.

The thing is, this stuff is important. The way a government’s run is important. It affects every part of your life. The goods available at your local supermarket, the safety of those products, the maintenance of the streets you use to get there, the money you use to pay for it, the taxes you pay on the food, on your pay cheque, on your property; it’s all controlled, regulated, and determined by the government. If you don’t care about it, you don’t care about life. This is why I don’t understand people who don’t vote. You need to vote. If you don’t, you’re letting others determine how your life runs. You’re letting others build the world around you; and you’re just stubbornly refusing to speak up at the one time your voice actually matters, the one time your voice has a tangible effect. So please, you need to vote.

So with all that being said, why don’t I want to talk about politics? Well it’s simple. From what I’ve seen, most people are too stubborn to have their minds changed. It’s due to what I would call ‘political solipsism’. This mentality that one’s opinion is undeniably correct merely by virtue of it being in their head. So how can anyone disagree with them? Well those people must evil, stupid, racist, gullible, sexist, homophobic, corrupt, sinister, part of some global conspiracy, or simply out to destroy the world; and as a result of this mentality, they don’t listen to these people, since they are very obviously wrong; and because they never listen to dissenting opinions, they can never have their minds changed.

There’s also the fact that some people think having your mind changed somehow shows a failure of conviction or degree of gullibility. It’s why you’ll sometimes see politicians or political parties lambasted by the media for changing their policy and doing a ‘U-turn’ as if that was a bad thing. I could not disagree more. I think it’s an incredible virtue to allow your opinion to be swayed. It means your views are based not on opinion, or how you were raised, or just how you voted in the past, but reality and evidence (ideally). But many people refuse to admit they were ever wrong, no matter what the result was.

Let me put it this way: If you still think George W. Bush was a good President after lying about a war that the Chilcot report already bollocked his British counterpart about, and the economy collapsed so badly the resulting recession spread to every other country like a goddamn fungal infection; Or the British vote to leave the European Union was a good idea after the pound plummeted faster than the debris from the last SpaceX launch; Or that Justin Trudeau is still ‘not ready’ to lead Canada despite the fact that he’s already lead the entire planet in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis; I can’t help you.

And that last point, about Trudeau, is from personal experience. I thought he’d be shit, I mean he was just an infant in a suit; but it turns out Justin Trudeau is a pretty good Prime Minister. So don’t think I’m talking out of my ass on this.

Here’s an idea, pick an issue, any issue which you feel passionately about. Now, I’m not talking about moral issues like ‘murder is wrong.’ I think we can all agree on that. I’m thinking about stuff that’s a bit more contentious like capital punishment. Next, consider the facts you base your opinion of that issue on. For instance, on the capital punishment front, that it acts as a deterrent, and will prevent further murders. Now, think of a scenario which could prove you wrong. What would have to happen, or what evidence could be presented, that would convince you that you were incorrect, and that you should do a rapid 180? It may not be easy, or simple, or likely, but take your time. Can you think of anything? Because if not, you might be part of the problem.

And that’s why I don’t talk about politics. But recently, things have gotten too bad, too horrible for me to stay silent any more. Because Canada’s nearest neighbours are about to wade into the worst choice since Sophie.

Yes, it’s the 2016 US Presidential Election. Oi, where to begin? Continue reading

History Is Ours!

You know, I didn’t think this would happen…at least, not this quickly. It’s surprising how much things can change in a month.

It can be quite exciting when a party achieves a major victory, and quite depressing when a party has a great fall, and both are a very big deal, and can change everything for that party. So it’s even more exciting when it happens to five parties at the same time.

Any Americans out there might be confused. “You have more than two parties?” they might say. Yes, we do, we have five. The Liberals, the Conservatives, the New Democrats, the Greens, and the Bloc Quebecois, and two Mondays ago, it was an exciting night for all of them. Continue reading

Requiem for a Minority

So, once again, it’s election time in Canada, or as our Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls it, “a dangerous and unnecessary exercise”…apparently, because the only source I have on this is Rick Mercer, but I’m going to go with it because it sounds like something he’d say. I’m sorry Stephen, but in case you were unaware, Canada is a democracy, and in democracies, we have elections, especially when the government is found in contempt of Parliament.

I’m not surprised Mr. Harper would say something that asinine, because he’s a politician. You see, all politicians are the same, they want power. When they don’t have power, they try to get it, when they have it, they want to keep it. If this wasn’t the case, they wouldn’t be politicians. Okay, maybe some get into politics to do some good, and do what they think is right, in fact it’s likely most of them are. But the ones that get into power, don’t get there by accident.

But no one likes to lose power. It’s for this reason King John of England signed the Magna Carta while someone held a knife to his fucking throat. So those in power try to subdue any opposition, assuming they can get away with it. This is why Republican politicians will criticise Obama for being too secretive, when he’s doing the same damn thing Bush did, which they gave him a pass on. So, predictably, this isn’t the first time Harper has tried this, only last time he was a bit more ballsy about it. Continue reading

Election Rejection

In my home town of Sudbury, we are electing a new city council in less than a week, as they are across the province. I don’t have a lot to say about it, but I figured what I do have to say, better be posted now, before I forget or it looses its timeliness. Like that piece I was going to write a year ago when Harper prorogued parliament for the second time, or that piece about Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, and how he’s insane.

Anyway, I’ve been voting since I turned 18, and I got lucky, since my first election was a week after my 18th birthday. I’ve always had a passion for politics and I’ve always cared who got elected, always staying up late to watch the election coverage until all the results were in. It’s the last good reason to have a TV. So I love it when I get the chance to exercise my democratic right, and I always kind of get excited when an election comes around because it’s my only chance to have my opinion really, truly matter, and as Craig Ferguson once said, “if you don’t vote, you’re a moron.” Continue reading

Extradition in a Strange Bout of What the Frak!

So recently an interesting story came to light which is actually over 30 years old. Roman Polanski, the director of such films as Rosemary’s Baby, The Pianist, and my personal favourite: MacBeth, (who’s wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by the Manson Family) had sex with a thirteen-year-old girl in 1977. He plead guilty and was expected to simply receive probation with no prison time, however it appears the judge suggested to Polanski’s attorneys he would get prison time. So because of this Polanski did the only reasonable thing…ran. He ran all the way to his home country of France.

Most countries have extradition treaties with the United States, where Polanski committed the crime and was convicted of it, and France is no exception. So a crucial question remains: How is it that for 30 years, Mr. Polanski was able to avoid arrest? For two reasons: Number one, whenever he left France he stayed in a nearby nation and was in and out before the authorities even noticed, and number two, French policy dictates they do not extradite their citizens.

Yay France! Stand up for your people! Even those assholes who frak 13 year olds…okay maybe not them, but it’s probably a bad idea to change your policy whenever you feel like it. Consistancy for the win! But this situation is an interesting contrast to a recent event in Canada which really makes me want to vote for any kind of change in the federal government, even the BCPC, the Batshit-Crazy Party of Canada (not affiliated with the Republicans). Continue reading

College Politics

So after that high school mess I signed up for Journalism at Cambrian College. I went to Cambrian to save money by living at home.

Journalism is interesting, but I must say at this particular college they had this odd thing called an independent study course. We pay for a course they don’t teach, instead we buy a book, separately, and they test us on it twice during the semester. What are we paying for? The test? I didn’t come to college to be tested…I came to learn. Courses cost money to pay for equipment (that are not books) and teachers, but there is no equipment and they are not actually teaching us. We were supposed to take two “courses” in our first year (one per semester), I ended up failing the first course I was to take by missing both tests, so I had to take the two “courses” simultaneously during my second semester. Now my first 21 credit courses are included in the tuition, so I can take extra courses during the semester for no extra cost, as long as the total credits on my schedule does not exceed 21 credits. That particular semester I already had a full 21 credits before that “course”, so technically I was supposed to pay for that “course”. My thought was, well technically it’s no real cost to them to them so they probably won’t charge me for it…they did. I believe it was $81 and I literally got nothing out of it. Continue reading