Category Archives: culture

Cannabis Crunch

Cannabis, pot, marijuana, Canadian legalization of marijuanaI have been joking for a year that when Legalization Day arrives in BC we won’t notice any difference. I suspect that will be true tomorrow simply because very little of the infrastructure of legalized pot will be ready to go on Day 1.

The biggest difference will be that the people who will assemble to enjoy being able to smoke pot without the slightest chance of arrest (not that there is much chance of arrest now) will all be smoking illegal pot because there is, according to the Globe and Mail, exactly one fully licenced pot shop ready to go for Day 1. Plus there is and will remain a significant supply shortage as the various licenced growers ramp up the production of their “biological assets”.

The great error of the Canadian marijuana advocates was to accept “legalization” rather than demanding “decriminalization”. This has doomed Canada to repeat the American experience of creating a heavily regulated cannabis industry with so called “seed to sale” product tracking, licenced pot shops, provincial wholesale monopolies and all manner of other state intrusions. The layers of regulation might even suggest that the idea that pot is harmless does not reflect the Liberals’ actual thinking.

At the same time, the personal grow show exemption allowing the cultivation of up to four plants for personal use is going to hole the great barge of regulation under the waterline. It will not take all that many people growing to provide an abundant, unregulated, supply of potlatch pot. The potlatch element comes from the fact you cannot sell your crop, but you can give it away. A mildly competent grower – and there are plenty out there – should be able to grow a pound of pot per plant. An ambitious grower should be able to harvest 3 or 4 times per year. A pound is roughly 450 grams and if you think about that at the notional rate of $10 a gram, that is $18,000 worth of untaxed pot every quarter.

There is no question that home grows in closets will be a thing, the only question is how big a thing.

At the moment there are some very big companies involved in the cannabis business in Canada. Companies whose market caps are several times the estimated size of the Canadian retail recreational marijuana market. There are also plenty of large scale growers who have not jumped through the Health Canada regulatory hoops. There will be pressure on the federal and provincial governments to enforce the seed to sale regulation of legal pot. But there will be market pressure to ignore the regulatory scheme from pot activists, “independent growers” and, I suspect, urban and rural First Nations who have no particular stake in the regulatory scheme. Just as I can drive three miles from my home and buy fireworks on a nearby reserve in defiance of municipal and provincial law, it would hardly be surprising to see excise stamp free marijuana for sale in those same locations.

Astoundingly, the legalization of marijuana is likely to be the only basic accomplishment of the first Trudeau government. The early indications are October 17 will be celebrated with clouds of illegal pot, regulatory chaos and a boost to the grey and black markets as police and Crown will no longer have even the threat of possession charges. A few months from now there will be the inevitable “oversupply” of recreational marijuana with the corresponding drop in wholesale and then retail prices. Which, in its turn, will collapse such tax windfalls which legal pot were promised to bring.

The chaos of the Canadian “legalization” of marijuana will take a year or so to really hit home. Just in time for the October 2019 federal election.

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The Consolations of Ignorance

If you drive down Victoria’s Pandora Avenue this what you will see:

img-0-3462152-jpgYou might think that this image of a couple of the literally hundreds of homeless people would drive Victoria City Council to action. (And it has to some degree – a few years ago City Council was looking at banning boulevard camping.)

However, faced with an intractable problem which is only growing worse, City Council decided to clean up another blight on Pandora, this:

sir-john-a-macdonald-statue

It appears that the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald is offensive to First Nations and that Victoria’s “City Family” (not a task force you understand) want it removed in the interests of “reconciliation”. Sir John’s great sin was a belief that the assimilation of Canada’s First Nations was the appropriate goal for government policy. This goal has now been recast as “cultural genocide” and who would want a statue of a genocidaire near a public building? The Times Colonist has a surprisingly well balanced story on the question.

I have no great fondness for Sir John and it is not a statue of striking artistic merit but I wonder if removing statues of historical figures for contemporary political reasons isn’t simply an empty gesture in the face of an inability to actually face real issues.

The mighty City Council of Victoria may think it can atone for the sins, real and imagined, of the Victorians’ belief in assimilation by consigning Sir John’s statue to a sub-basement. But that does less than nothing for the many First Nation’s people who are up the street “boulevard camping”.

There is hard work to be done on First Nations’ issues. Removing statues and renaming schools and bridges is not that work. Walking three blocks up Pandora and thinking very hard about the issues which send hundreds of people, including First Nations people, “boulevard camping” is the beginning of that work.

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Preston Manning/Jordan Peterson….separated at birth

Driving along today I had an epiphany. Jordan Peterson and Preston Manning sound remarkably the same:

Here’s Preston:

And here’s Jordan:

Now this is not a huge surprise:

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962, and grew up in Fairview, Alberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada.

Manning was born born June 10, 1942 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Manning drove the Canadian left crazy for years, now Peterson is performing the same service. Is it the ideas or is it the dreaded “Edmonton” accent?

Now, if only someone could get Peterson to say “Reform Party”….

Colten Boushie – The Crown gets it wrong

The not guilty verdict in the Colten Boushie case has managed to elicit wildly inappropriate tweets from our Prime Minster and the Minister of Justice – and thank you for making an appeal all the less likely.

From what I have read this was a huge error on the part of the Crown.

The error began when the Crown charged 2nd degree murder. A charge which requires intent. Proving intent in a melee is next to impossible. A wiser, less political, Crown would have charged manslaughter which does not require intent.

The defense, rather courageously in my view, decided to claim “the gun did it”. This is not a position criminal lawyers tend to take simply because it can be refuted with decent forensic evidence and the sheer implausibility of a gun “hang firing”.

The Crown’s job is to block the exits. One of those exits was the gun firing itself and Stanley having no intent. It appears, and I have not read the transcript, that the Crown was content to prove that the gun in question killed Colten Boushie. Which might have worked in manslaughter but falls short in 2nd degree murder. In 2nd degree murder there has to be an intention on the part of the accused to cause the death of the victim. Absent that intent there is no case to meet.

Lefty friends, as they lament the end of the “reconciliation” effort, are happy to point out that the jury which acquitted was “all white”. They are waving the bloody shirt and convinced that a jury of Saskatchewan peers could not render a fair verdict. Besides being deeply racist, it is a dog which will not hunt.

The Crown was aware of the jury and the likelihood that they would seize any reed, no matter how thin, to acquit a man who was doing nothing more nor less than they would have done if a group of drunk Indians arrived in their yard. Which meant the Crown needed to refute every exonerating theory, no matter how unlikely, for the win. The Crown failed to do that and so Stanley walked.

The “#justiceforcolten” hashtag will loom large for a few days. But the fact is that Colten got the justice the Crown was able to argue for. Is it enough? I don’t think so. Not because the jury got it wrong, rather because the jury understood Colten all too well and managed to find a hole in the Crown’s case. A better Crown would have bolted the “hangfire” door. A better Crown would have understood the jury he was given and the fact that Colten was operating within a context of First Nations crime against farmers. A better Crown would have resisted the political pressure and charged manslaughter.

Every death is a tragedy. But Colten Boushie was a tragedy waiting to happen. The jury understood this without having to be told. They found a way to justice. The Crown let them. It’s done.

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Arcadia

Via the National Review I came across John E. Seery’s lament for the small liberal arts college, strangled at the hands of administrators gone wild.

I commented:

The odd thing is that a good undergraduate Liberal Arts college needs a few classrooms, a few seminar rooms, a small library with a serious affiliation to a big library, some professors and an administration to take the fees and pay the people. (Yes, if it is residential, there is all that stuff but there are many people who have run Holiday Inns.)

I am astonished that American parents are willing to fork over 60K/a for a quasi-university education.

The temptation to create a “graduate college” on the lines above somewhere fairly remote and populate it with profs emeritus and brilliant buggers who have had it with being sessionals is huge. Two years, 10K a year, seminars of twenty in Y1, 7 in Y2 to give you the education you didn’t get while you were doing diversity training and taking “Studies”. Small, residential, maybe 500 20-25 year olds. Act up and you get kicked, be there to learn or leave. No social rules – you’re adults, deal with it.

Oh, and mandatory Church on Sunday (and I don’t care if you are Jewish or Muslim or what have you) – it is entirely cultural. Believe whatever you want but learn the liturgy, the Hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer because that is the cadence of Western Civilization – English division.

Teach the students to think, to write and to argue. Read chunks of the Western Canon, also read smart people like Orwell and Oakeshott. First year – rather like law school – everything is required. Second year an elective and a directed study towards a required forty page thesis.

Three grades – fail (you have to do it again until) pass and then, because excellence needs be recognized, distinguished. Distinguished would be very tough to get and papers which hit that standard would be published, on paper, every year.

The President of this Arcadia would be chosen for his or her grumpiness when confronting academic lassitude and capacity at the BBQ for the occasional “feast”. (Pace Frank Iacobucci.)

Admission would be strictly by merit but merit would be a very elastic concept. Write one really interesting undergraduate paper, you’re in, build a community organization from scratch, you’re in, play bassoon in a world-class orchestra, you’re in, build an app that’s on my phone, you’re in. But it is a liberal arts college so STEM people, valuable as they are, business undergrads and “studies” people are going to be faced with a fairly high bar.

Finally, the “interview” would be mandatory and last for a residential week. Arrive before Church on Sunday, leave after Church the Sunday after. Seminars, cocktail parties, a President’s BBQ, perhaps a paper presentation: gruelling does not begin to describe it because my graduate college requires a habit of mind, an ability to disagree without being disagreeable, the social is just as important as the academic.

If you get in, two years later, you will be better educated and, more importantly, a better thinker, more deeply informed. A much better writer and, I suspect, a more deeply understanding person.

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Bob Turner

1959814_10152284087003223_1216141924_nI met Bob Turner when I edited Common Ground Magazine a couple of decades ago. He was our “distributor” which meant he drove around in a series of doubtful vans and dispatched his swampers to drop off the magazines at dozens of locations in Vancouver. When I met him I was out for a smoke which, Bob being Bob, was a good thing. He joined me, in a beaten up leather jacket looking like he’d rolled out of bed an hour before, and we enjoyed the first of, perhaps, 1000 cigarettes together.

Somehow he became my friend. And the friend and useful uncle to my elder son Simon.

He died two days ago.

There are dozens of stories I can tell about Bob. My youngest son Max is hearing the more respectable ones now. But there are two which stand out.

Years ago, Susan and I took Simon and went to stay on Galiano Island. I invited Bob. He arrived with a fold out trailer and his van and several bottles of rum. Alex Jones played late into the night. Susan was pregnant with my second son Sam but it was early. So, one morning, I suggested a short hike – I thought – to Coons Bay at the top of the island. Bob was game. So was Susan and so was a delightful German girl who, in a moment of absent mindedness, I had invited as well. Blonde and healthy she was ready to climb alps. Susan, not so much, Bob, not at all. We’d reached the quarter way point where there was a steep bit where you had to pull yourself up on a rope. It had begun raining. Quite hard. Bob looked at Susan and announced, “The Currie forced march ends here.”

As he finished his sentence, gunshots began ringing out. (Long story, not actually at us.) We scampered. As we retreated Bob looked at our German companion, “Of course you know, as the youngest member of our party, we eat you first.” Deadpan.

Susan has loved him from that day to this.

We’d circle round and connect year after year. Bob was very much involved with my elder son Simon who was not living with me and leading what Anthony Powell would describe as a very rackety life. He gave Simon a job as his swamper, which lasted on and off for four years, and sat in his van smoking at the kid and giving him no bullshit advice whether Simon wanted it or not.

Once in a while, Bob would email or, more often call. We’d talk business and then we’d roll around to Simon. Much discussion. But, ultimately, given what Simon the teenager was up to, Bob said something very wise – as he usually did: “There are just two things to worry about, he gets killed or he kills someone. If he makes it to twenty he’s good. The rest is bullshit and can get fixed.”

Simon made it to 20. He had many fathers but I suspect that the father who got him from 16 to 20 without being killed or killing someone else was Bob. Kind, patient, no bullshit Bob saved my son when I couldn’t.

I am so grateful to the man. And I will miss him. So will a lot of people in a variety of worlds where Bob felt at home. We’ll all miss him.

 

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Losing Faith

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To be honest I have found Faith Goldy a bit much on The Rebel. Cute as a button but a little over the top.

And she made a rookie mistake speaking to The Daily Stormer in Charlottesville. Pretty dumb but, perhaps, understandable given that an idiot had just killed someone behind her.

But Ez, champion of free speech, takes this as an excuse to fire the woman. He’s scrambling on all fronts, he’s lost his cruise, his access to the new leader of the PC’s, he’s being “extorted” by a couple of Brits and his staff list is dwindling by the hour. So, of course, the smart move is to fire one of his most engaging reporters.

Ez needs to be in front of the camera and let smart people run the business. But, I fear, it is too late for that. Holed below the waterline The Rebel is going down.

Pro-tip Ezra. Saying “fuck” a lot does not make you tough. As I say to my boys, it makes you stupid. The audio is out there and, I fear, you sound like a suburban kid trying to use foul language to sound tough and hip. You are neither. I realized that when we had our wee moment vis a vis Richard Warman’s bluster and your capitulation. The f-bombs were flying and I was bemused. I knew you could do better but, sadly, you didn’t.

Faith was very nice. Forgiving. Down right Christian about you firing her for simply speaking.

You are about to be pushed into a very dark place. Unfairly for the most part. But arrogance and hubris are their own rewards. You never understood Breitbart’s essential truism that culture is upstream of politics. You wanted to be political without the plinth of culture.

And now you’re done.

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In Which Ezra Jumps The Shark

Ezra Levant

Not actually Ezra

I don’t actually watch Rebel Media. A bit too over the top for my taste; but I do get their emails and today Ezra went over the top.

There is no question that the prog Silicon Valley people are sharpening the knives for the less than PC people. And there is no question that alternatives to Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are needed.

But this is just nuts:

But making high-tech apps is expensive — all the different parts of it will cost us $302,000. From the app itself, to the video player, to the bandwidth for the hundreds of millions of video views a year that we broadcast.

Ez wants to ride the alternative horse to 300K. So dumb.

Gab got off the ground for about $3000 bucks.

There comes a point where a good idea – The Rebel – needs good management. Ez has his moments as a provocateur but The Rebel, and all who sail in her, would be best served if the “Rebel Commander” was kicked upstairs and smart people came in to run a lean, hard dollar, operation.

Update: In the comments Kathy Shaidle suggests I look at the cost breakdown of Ez’s app palace. Ok, you can read it here. But here are the line items:

Developing the app is going to cost us a lot of money. $120,000, for it to have all the functions I mentioned — all the fun notifications, all the social media, play all the video content.

To integrate it with our video hosting system, and with our payment system, that’s another $19,000.

$90,000 to build a proprietary video player, that runs the videos in the app. That serves up all the gigabytes worth of videos, on demand, quickly, in high def, to replace what YouTube gives us now free.

To move our 6,500 videos over from YouTube to the app, now, is about $13,000 — or about two dollars a video.

To upgrade our existing TV apps for Roku and Apple TV is $20,000.

And $40,000 to upgrade our computer software and servers at our headquarters, to make all of this work.

Together, that’s $302,000. I know that’s a lot. It’s the biggest expense we’ve ever had in our history.

Couple of points. Why bother migrating the entire Rebel catalogue of 6500 videos? Rebel is on the news and, like any other news enterprise, its output fades to irrelevance very quickly. The last couple of hundred vids would be more than enough. Building a “proprietary video player” – what the heck is that? There are dozens of off the shelf video players available for various devices. In terms of video hosting there are dozens of outfits who provide much the same service as You-Tube and some are happy to do so on a “white label” basis.

However, the larger question is why Ez is so convinced the Rebel needs to have proprietary apps and players. It would be a lot smarter to get together with Breitbart, Daily Caller, Gab, GoDuckGo, wikileaks, The Intercept, Kim Dotcom and a host of other “right wing”, no censorship, entities and actually construct the necessary backbone on an open source, distributed basis. The Rebel building its own little walled garden just isolates it from the general conversation on the right. Useful for fundraising, perhaps, but bootless if the objective is to build a work around for SJW and liberal censorship.

 

 

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CNN Blackmails a 15 year old??

Out in Twitter Land at  there is a very interesting story emerging about the silly Trump WWF/CNN tweet. Apparently, CNN took it upon themselves to track down the perpetrator of this lese majeste. While they can’t quite find the evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians they were able to find the evilton. Who is 15.

CNN nobly declined to publish his name while referring to him as “the man” who created the video.

CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.
CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.
Huge mistake.
What CNN has now done is let loose the firestorm of Reddit, 4Chan and 8 Chan on their unsuspecting heads. Internet rule is you do not threaten to “dox” someone, especially some 15 year old kid with a silly sense of humour unless you are willing to reap the consequences.
At the moment Twitter is hosting the address and home details of Wolf Blitzer’s house. And it will get worse. Much, much worse.

Once the “anything goes with CNN” meme gets going there is an army of technically sophisticated, boundary free, kids out there ready, willing and able to hack feeds, websites and create brilliant memes.

End of CNN? Not likely. Rather the end of CNN as any sort of respected news source. Those kids are brilliant and seriously without constraints. Pretty much anything can happen when they take up a cause. And looking at Twitter tonight they are ready to roll.

You think BLM is irritating…wait until you see 4 Chan unleashed.

Update: Trump’s tweet tomorrow:

Kid had spunk. Funny guy. CNN blackmails him….He’s coming to the White House. Like the clock guy.

Update #2: So CNN is saying that it was not a 15 year old they were attempting to blackmail, it was an adult. Oddly, this does not seem to have helped their case much.
Plus, there seems to be a good chance that the meme Trump used was not the meme the “kid” actually made. (OK, it is Buzzfeed via Twitchy but still more reputable than CNN.)
As predicted the internet has gone nuts with the meme jihad dumping all over CNN.
Once again, the lefty media establishment’s total lack of any sense of humour is forcing errors. Add to that the MSM’s complete lack of any sort of crisis management skills and you have the perfect storm.
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Writers’ Guidelines

images (1)We at Voices Publishing (thanks to the Canada Council, Heritage Canada and the Ontario Arts Council for their generous support) in light of recent events, wish to make clear our writers’ guidelines for all fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We are committed to hearing the voices of Canadian writers and welcome manuscripts of inclusion. Please note:

1. We have a zero tolerance policy for cultural appropriation in all its forms.

2. Cultural appropriation occurs when a writer appropriates the voice or lived experience of a person or persons whose lives are outside the lived experience of that writer by including such a person in their story.

3. To avoid offending any marginalized or oppressed persons no white writer shall include in his or her manuscript any character or situation in which non-white persons are portrayed.  For consistency, this same rule applies to First Nations writers, POC writers and foreign born writers. (Note, for greater clarity, we have adopted the time tested “one drop” rule for determining race. If you have a white ancestor or think you might have a white ancestor you will be deemed white regardless of self-identification, lived experience or other extenuating factors. Check your privilege.)

4. There is obviously a huge problem with ageism. Many middle-aged writers submit manuscripts in which characters in their teens or even younger appear as protagonists. We regret that we cannot publish manuscripts in which such ageist appropriation occurs. To that end, we will not be accepting manuscripts in the children’s category or young adult category without positive proof that the mss was written by a child or a young adult. All characters in your mss must be +/- five years of your own age at time of submission.

5. Gender appropriation: many of the mss we are offered are written by men and contain female characters and vice versa. Needless to say we are unwilling to publish mss in which male writers’ attempt to claim the female voice and vice versa. In unusual circumstances, we may allow the visual depiction of a female character by a male writer or vice versa providing always that the character so depicted remains entirely silent.

6. The appropriation of sexual experience: We have been disturbed to receive mss in which hetrosexual authors include homosexual or bisexual characters. And, just as bad, homosexual authors are often guilty of portraying straight characters. These provocations will not see the light of day under the Voices colophon. You’ve made your beds now lie in them.

Many of you may regard these guidelines as simplistic or censorious. Shame on you. For each of our authors there is a simple solution which can ensure that the marginalized and oppressed voices in the great Canadian mosaic are heard. Whenever your story requires white person, a First Nations person, or homosexual, or POC, or female/male, or child/adolescent voice go and find a writer with the correct characteristics and invite them to contribute their voice and lived experience to your book. (We will, of course, require a Certificate of cultural authenticity to accompany such contributions.)

Voices Publishing believes that by following these simple guidelines we can all work together to eliminate the implicit priviledging of the individual author’s voice and build a new, inclusive, Canadian literature.

Thank you for your attention and your commitment to the elimination of the retrograde, individualist, authorial literature which has disfigured so much of Canadian Literature to this moment. Voices Publishing is committed to the celebration of our diversity.

 

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