Tag Archives: buffalo

Hurting Americans

Buffalo

Tonight, Trump is going to hurt his supporters. The trade exemptions for Canada and Mexico expire tonight, and he is imposing a 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminum. Our prime minister already announced that we will impose retaliatory tariffs on American products. And we are not alone. Mexico has announced that they will be imposing retaliatory tariffs as well along with Europe. Things are going to be more expensive for Americans now.

It’s not as if Americans haven’t already been hurt by Trump’s dumb economic policies. China is now buying more soy beans from Russia and Canada as retaliation for the US’s actions. This hurts Trump’s core supporters, the farm belt. Couple that with his immigration policies which leaves many American farmers unable to hire workers in their farms. Harley Davidson, which is already suffering losses since the company’s image has steadily become quite passé, will now be suffering under tariffs, both in the materials used to manufacture the bicycles as well as in exporting them to Europe and China.

There are a few times when I’m proud of Prime Minister Trudeau’s actions, but him standing up to the American bully is a proud moment. It is unjustifiable for Trump to threaten a trade war when countries would do better helping each other prosper. The NAFTA negotiations are taking too long? Sure. But isn’t preserving good business relations worth the wait? What’s the rush? Where is everyone going? Do these American politicians have something better to do? His explanation of protecting national security and helping US industries are nothing but hollow words he was asked to repeat. Ask Donald Trump for more meaningful explanations and you’ll get nothing but repetitive bluster. Why impose taxes on German cars for example? How would hurting car manufacturers help national security? Wouldn’t that hurt thousands of Americans employed and partnered with the German company? I know all of his friends are driven around in German cars and they bear the brunt of such tariffs, but what about everyone else?

The thing is there is no such thing as an art of the deal. None. Donald Trump is an awful negotiator. The only deals that worked out for him are deals that benefitted him personally. It never works out well for his partners. That is something that all banks in the United States learned about him prior to him being president. But sadly, his voters don’t care about all of this. They prefer a leader who talks to them like children, pausing for applause and to repeat lines… lines which are getting quite tired by mid-2018. Seriously, why rail against Hillary Clinton at this point? They prefer a leader who encourages them to be hateful to women and minorities, a grown man who still hasn’t learned how to be decent.

So yes, good on you, Mr. Prime Minister Trudeau! Retaliate. Hurt the Americans. Hurt the people who made Trump a foul omnipresent specter in the media, political, and social landscape. Hurt the people who would drag us all back to much darker times. In these negotiations, it is best to follow the China model. We cannot lose face to the Americans. And though I have no animus towards Americans in general (they are one of my favorite people), I’m so sick and tired of seeing their worst have it their way.

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On Park Geun-Hye and BFFs

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So there have been a lot of revelations regarding the current Korean president, Park Geun-Hye and her crony who people suspect has been involved in many of her actions as president of the country. To quickly summarize, it has been proven that a close confidante who has never been elected into any public position has been advising the president on several issues. This person has also been linked to allegations of influence peddling and corruption. This cause quite the concern, since it’s very unclear how much of the president’s actions and inaction have been due to this person, and what’s even more concerning is the president’s attempted proposal to change the country’s constitution and abolish presidential term limits.

Several Korean news sites and blogs have more detailed explanations of the scandal, but depending on how conspiratorial one is, it can range from people dismissing the whole thing to a politician confiding to a friend to a puppet leader sharing national secrets to a charismatic cult leader-like master manipulator. I’ve talked to several people who lean more towards the manipulative angle because the president has isolated herself from her siblings at a young age since her father’s assassination, and that her confidante’s father is a bit of an odd character himself, a pastor of sorts who’s been married several times. I tend to think that Koreans seem to be particularly vulnerable to falling for charismatic manipulation like religious leaders, etc. It’s anecdotal, but I’ve seen it happen too often.

Protests are scheduled to happen this weekend, and there has been a bipartisan effort to look into the scandal. There have been calls for impeachment, but I personally think it would be hard to prove that the president abused her power to the extent that allows for impeachment. I’m hoping that the scandal would finally remove her party from power. The Saenuri Party, always promising economic gains, has done nothing but enriched Korean conglomerates and has failed to improve the lives of most of the Korean people. The middle class has not expanded, salaries have stagnated, and life in the country, especially in Seoul, is still as expensive as ever.

However, I believe people loyal to the party due to regional ties will continue to keep the party in power next elections. Right now, members of the party are cunningly turning against their leader in hopes of isolating the damage to her, justifiably or unjustifiably so. What worries me is that the forces in all of these are not new. Just like what I believe drew the current president to her friend is something common to many Koreans, vulnerability to charismatic manipulation. What got her into power is something all too common as well: regionalism and a longing for a leader like her father, the late dictator and strong man Park Chung-hee. People are quick to forgive and forget strong men for their authoritarian abuses in favor of economic and military gain. I see it happen in the Philippines with Duterte and Filipinos looking for a leader like the late president Ferdinand Marcos. I see it in the United States as well, with Americans trying to make a Putin-like leader out of Donald Trump. For states that are so modern, much to what I fear is our detriment, we are all still vulnerable to these primitive political trends.

It’s moments like these that I’m glad that our Prime Minister is such a pleasant, level-headed guy in comparison. Of course he might come across as goofy, chasing after Internet traffic like a child sometimes, but in a room full of world leaders, there’s no one else I’d rather be led by. I don’t normally write about Canadian politics because Canadian politics tend to be boring. But boring is good. Normal government functions should be scandal-free. Thank goodness Canadian politics is oh so boring!

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Feeling the Menstrual Tension?

Bison

I miss Canada.

I’m not sure if it was Cesar A. Cruz or if it was Finley Dunne, but art should “comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted.” I don’t 100% agree with the idea. After all, some art is just meant to be pretty. But yeah, some art is just so dumb that it hurts knowing that the government is paying for them. This is people’s money which could be better used for other public good instead of financing tripe.

Stop it Poppy Jackson, stop it (http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/26219/1/got-some-spare-menstrual-blood-this-artist-wants-it). I’m sure you can make artistic statements without rolling around in schlock. Apparently, she is asking for women to donate their menstrual blood for an upcoming performance piece. Now, this isn’t the first time she’s used menstruation in her performances, but I guess this time she’ll be needing more blood aside from her own. This is why people dismiss art and artists. It is Jackass stunts disguised as high art.

What irks me more is that the media just buys into the whole thing and doesn’t call it for what it is: a giant cry for media attention.

Looking at Jade Jackman’s article on Dazed, a lot of it is just artsy BS.

In recent weeks, there has been a growing feeling of tension – especially within creative and online communities – at the treatment of menstrual blood. But, Jackson does not feel under pressure by this to make something more ‘extreme’. Instead she feels that the similarities between topics signifies that a frustration is building in our culture and actually makes messages from all the artists a lot more powerful.

What growing tension? Does anyone feel this tension online or otherwise? This is why people are turned off. It doesn’t reflect what is going on in the real world. I consider myself quite the consumer of online information, and as far as I can tell, there is no “growing tension” regarding menstrual blood. It just naturally gets a negative reaction the same way any other bodily substance/wastes does.

These days we go to the Internet for a lot of things and it loses that one-to-one flavour that you would get with your doctor.” She adds, “The human contact of speaking is replaced by isolated online activity, so through use of the substance of people’s bodies I’m hoping to bring some of that closeness back.” On top of that, Jackson mentions how much more risky it is performing with other people’s blood as due to any potential of diseases she cannot “just throw it around as if it were her own.

Good luck trying to bring that “closeness” back. Most people would be finding out about her work online and that would be the end of it. The same activity she tries to fight is the same monster that feeds her. And yet Dazed doesn’t point this out.

If Poppy Jackson is gonna try to play around with other people’s menstrual blood, claim it’s high art and have media outlets encourage it, then what prevents Ryan Dunn from doing the same thing after he swam in people’s excrement? (http://jackass.wikia.com/wiki/Poo_Diving) Isn’t that almost the same thing? Isn’t he bringing closeness back by immersing himself into what could arguably be one of the most intimate aspects of a person? Isn’t there as much revulsion over feces as there is over menstrual blood? And as a bonus, fecal matter is universal, while menstrual blood is not. Mr. Dunn’s “piece” is more universal and far riskier than Poppy Jackson’s stunt.

And yet Arts Council England and the British Council have yet to reach out to Mr. Dunn.

This is why when someone hears performance art, they often assume someone will be prancing around naked doing something weird. People do schlock because they know the media will feed into it. It makes making “traditional” art a losing battle since most of the ears and eyeballs are trained onto either the naked lady or the excrement she’s playing with.

I fear that a hundred years from now, while generations of artists before produced Pietà, Burghers of Calais, Guernica, etc., art students will learn that the past few years have produced mostly stunt artists and sales people… people that played with excrement and sold it well.

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