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

Penny 4 MINKA

I’m of the opinion that one of the most important endeavors of modern civilization is the exploration of space. The expansion of our civilization from this tiny little marble, to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. And it depresses me that this is a minority opinion.

This is the next giant step for mankind, and on the issue-priority list, it’s below the quest to build bigger guns, and whether or not a delusional shitkicker from Nevada gets to graze his cattle on someone else’s property for free.

This is pathetic! And I know what you’re thinking: “What’s the rush? Space isn’t going anywhere!” Well, yes, but we might. With all the ecological damage being done to the planet, who knows how long it’ll last before saying, “fuck it,’ and just eating us! Not only that, there’s an old rule in science: If you start an experiment, it better be finished before you die. This is why they’ve only recently tried to send rockets to Pluto; because it’s only recently that we’ve built rockets fast enough to make the trip within a century.

I have, maybe, 70 years left on this planet, minimum. Twice that if I have anything to say about it. It may seem incredibly selfish; but dammit, I wanna see cities on Mars before I die, and I’m sure I’m not the only one! When I was a kid, I was promised a Mars mission in 2020. Now, 2020 is apparently the year NASA’s planning to go to space again. It’ll be their comeback tour, they’re gonna orbit the moon, play their greatest hits. Maybe as an encore they’ll blow up an oxygen tank and nearly run out of water. Yes, I am bitter. How’d you know?

And yes, I’m still angered by the fact that Constellation, the big, far-reaching plan for future space exploration, was cancelled because of reasons! Thanks, Obama!

No, literally, it’s his fault.

And if the James Webb Space Telescope isn’t launched by the end of 2018, and is instead blocked because of some political horseshit… Well, there’s not much I can do is there!? Since you won’t let me leave this fucking planet, no matter how much I’d want to at that point! It actually feels like I’m being held captive here!

Yes! I, personally, want to go to Mars, and I’m absolutely positive I’m not the only one. Yeah, there are risks; one can die; but that’s life! Out of every single person that’s been in space, only 3% never came back down. And yes, that sucks. But you don’t stay in the cave just because a dragon might be waiting outside! A trip to Mars is full of risks, and I’m willing to take them! In fact, if any Martian colonization project pops up, I’m declaring now: I’m the first to volunteer. No question.

It’s not simply because this planet and everyone on it is annoying the crap out of me more and more as each day goes by. It’s because it would be something no one’s ever done before. It’ll be the next step for mankind. It’ll be the frontier. It’ll push our society forward, rather than allow it to stagnate. Which is something we’ve always done. Humanity has always tried to push forward, to evolve, to advance, to have each generation do better, and live longer, than the one before. It’s part of what makes us human, and truly separates us from the animals.

… Well… most animals. Because it just so happens one little monkey feels the exact same way.

Continue reading

SheRow

Here’s some advice to partisan pundits and political nut jobs of all stripes:

Stop!!!

Just fucking stop, please!

It’s incredible. I find it incredible, that everything is now politicised at the drop of a motherfucking hat.

There is a trial in Florida now, that’s currently ongoing. You might know which one I’m talking about: The George Zimmerman case.

Here are the facts: Neighbourhood Watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, spotted Trayvon Martin walking… somewhere. He called the police, started following the kid, and eventually shot him.

That’s all we know, and that leaves a lot of gaps.

It’s possible Martin triggered an altercation that forced Zimmerman to shoot the kid in self-defence. It’s also possible Zimmerman’s a cold-blooded killer. I don’t know.

No one knows. Two people know, and unfortunately, one of them’s dead. And now Zimmerman is on trial, trying to prove he acted in self-defense.

But this happens. Sometimes people are killed, and the assailant is tried for murder. It happens all the time. Yet for some reason, this story became national news, and the others did not. Why? Because Trayvon Martin was black.

Yes, because the victim had higher-than-average melanin levels, this somehow became national news! People across the U.S. are accusing the man of racism!

And it might be true. But I don’t care. Because whether or not it is, it doesn’t prove anything. Whatever result the jury gives back will only mean something to Zimmerman, and Trayvon Martin’s friends and family.

However, according to the news media, this is a battle between Law and Order, and Civil Rights. Yeah, it’s not, it’s just some shitty reality TV show.

You see, there’s this knee jerk reaction to try to find the political angle in every event. And it gets really disgusting when people try to politicize something as innocent as children’s media.

Recently, a new cartoon show entered the television landscape. It’s about a superhero, in a dress, named SheZow!

SheZow is the hero all little girls want to be! Powerful, beautiful, and with charm to spare!

Now one could argue that SheZow is not exactly the best role-model for girls. After all, SheZow’s powers are derived from the colour pink, and the silkiness of her hair; plus all of SheZow’s ‘gadgets’ are weapons and tools disguised as cosmetics of all things, ala James Bond.

A walking stereotype is probably not the type of role model you want to show to an impressionable young woman. But that’s not the source of the major sociopolitical upheaval we’re dealing with here.

No, the big issue here is that SheZow is actually a guy. SheZow is television’s first transgendered superhero. About fucking time! Continue reading

A Grey Identity

Gender politics is not a very easy thing to talk about. Especially when you’re a white guy.

Men have had it easy for millennia. Going back to the early days of our civilization, women were always considered inferior. They weren’t allowed to talk or hold any position of power. Do you know why they say, “behind every great man is a great woman”? Because the women weren’t allowed to be in front.

Now, why was this? I have no fucking idea. Best guess, it has something to do with physical strength. Because nine times out of ten, a man is going to be stronger than a woman. At this point I’d love to say even I am stronger than any woman. But I’m pretty sure at least a few of my female friends could take me down. I don’t work out or anything, and I have no desire to. So a few of them could probably take me down in a fight. Not that I’m gonna test this hypothesis.

Basically I’m saying that domestic violence was likely very common at the dawn of civilization. So women never really got any form of equality until recently, when domestic violence went out of style, and mass media went in style. In the early 20th century, a group of women known as the suffragettes campaigned for women’s rights. Specifically, the right to vote. They got it in 1918. Thank you, Robert Borden.

Of course Quebec waited until the 40’s, so fuck them.

But that was just the beginning. Representation in both levels of government, ending discrimination in hiring practices, and wages equal to men came later. But it did come, and I’m very happy.

Yeah, I’ll call myself a feminist. Even though I think it’s a misnomer. Men and women are different, sure. But one is not better than the other, not by a long shot.

I could go on and on about this, but I’m not going to. I’ll save my feminism rant for another day. Instead, today I’d like to talk about something else. A new front on the war for gender equality. A front that could end up being a much greater challenge than anything faced before. You see, we’re not fighting for women, or men, but for those in between.

Let’s talk about the transgendered.

Continue reading

Gas and Dash and Cash

It’s funny how protective we are as a society. We have laws requiring people to wear seatbelts, even though the only practical consequence to not wearing a seatbelt is severe injury to one’s self. We have laws prohibiting drug use, even though the only real consequence is addiction and destitution, same with gambling. Of course taking drugs and not wearing a seatbelt are very stupid things to do. But you know what else is stupid? Drinking to excess, eating fast food every single fucking day, and watching Jersey Shore, all of which are perfectly legal.

In reality these laws only exist to protect people from themselves, and to be honest, I’ve never been afraid harming myself, I trust myself, and if I do harm myself, it’s my own damn fault. But unfortunately many think the government needs to act like our parents and protect us. This month I’m turning 25, I don’t think I really need a parent to tell me what do any more. I’m at the age where it’s no longer necessary. 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

The Rally to Restore Hipocracy

September 16, 2010, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show announces the Rally to Restore Sanity. With a call to end to hyperbolic partisan fear-mongering from both the left and the right, from the pundits and the people. A call to begin proper discourse, and to realize that just because someone disagrees with you, does not make them evil, or Hitler.

Seems pretty reasonable. Which is exactly what they’re going for, and I’m hoping it changes the discourse in America from partisan to logical. But considering how things tend to go, that’s unlikely. People tend to do what’s easy, and thinking is hard. Continue reading