Fifty-Five Years Ago, This Month

Anne and I 1963

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Sheer Hypocrisy: Racism

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Trying to Score Political Points

A recent spat of words has demonstrated that, when it comes to politics, nothing is sacred. Andrew Scheer has called out Justin Trudeau for calling a female protester at one of his speeches a ‘racist‘. This is rich, considering that he said very little about Maxime Bernier’s outburst about diversity.

Our 2019 General Election is a year away, but it feels like the election campaign has started already.

The Man who would be Prime Minister

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Andrew Scheer has been called “Harper with a smile”: that should be warning enough. His youth and his dimples belie a “Blue Troy” attitude. If his party became the Government, he would be tougher than ever as the youngest Prime Minister since Joe Clark. In the meantime, he is looking for any political advantage in the run-up to the election.

Undoing the “Damage”

Scheer went to London to meet with Prime Minister May, on the pretext of cementing a potential Canada-UK trade deal. It was an excuse to become better known: the Canada-UK trade negotiations were already underway.

Next, Scheer wants to go to India to fix relations with that country after Trudeau’s fiasco visit there. Again, what’s the point of the exercise? To be seen to be Prime Ministerial?

Hot Topic: Immigration

Those on the Right side of the political spectrum have always wanted to conserve the status quo. It’s only natural. Their mindset is that there’s not enough to go around. They do not understand why we must share anything with the world and his uncle.

Immigration on its own isn’t the issue: illegal immigration is what’s bothering folks. And the politics south of the border is what’s driving the numbers up. The questions that Trudeau’s heckler was shouting at him obviously hit a tender spot in his normal unflappable exterior. The media are now questioning if people (read, CSIS) around Trudeau already knew who she was and the fact that she is a known protestor and ‘agent provocateur’.

If anything, honest debate is always welcome, but a slanging match derailing a leader’s political speech is not. I’m surprised Trudeau took the bait, but maybe Bernier’s tweets were on his mind.

Conclusion

In Doctor Zhivago one of the characters discussed the usefulness of having a clearly defined minority to focus a country’s attention on. And the smaller the group, the better. In the story, they were in fact discussing the Jewish people in Russia, after the Great War. Hitler took the same maneuver out of that playbook in the 1930’s when he took power in Germany. Look where that led.

Muslims are now the world’s whipping boys. ISIS has seen to that. And the political leaders of all stripes, but mostly the Alt Right, have sent out the call to unite against this alien horde. (History repeats itself, until the lessons are learned.)

Must I say it yet again? We are ALL in this together. And none of us are getting out alive, until we recognize ourselves in our neighbours. They, too, are human beings.

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History Repeats Itself

 

thX4J7TTA2Until the Lessons are Learned

Yesterday, President Trump likened the Mueller Special Investigation into the Russian meddling in the 2016 Election to the Army-McCarthy hearings of the early 1950’s.

On the CBC, when it reported this on The National, the following image (in its entirety) was shown in the background:

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What astounded me was the chart legend has my birth date on it…

That means this ‘witch hunt’ is more than 68 years old.

Soviet Union

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I’m reading Doctor Zhivago at the moment, and the first third of the book is taken up with his life and times leading up to the Russian Revolution. That happened more than 100 years ago in 1917.

The reasons for a revolution are never easy to explain, since so much of it is down to the mood of a nation.

But the important point I’d like to make is that the revolution came from within Russia, not from the common enemy, Germany.

In order to equalize an inequality, Communism was finally adopted by Russia as its governing principle. Then it decided to liberate other countries by sharing its ideas and ideals. Before long, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was born.

The (Unholy) Alliance

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When Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler started to expand into neighbouring countries (to ‘reclaim’ former territory), Russia became allies with Britain in the new World War.

This was never going to be an easy alliance, mainly because Russians have a wary nature of other peoples’ intentions. And Winston Churchill had named their attitude as an “Iron Curtain”, a name which stuck. Besides, the British must have been very aware of what Joseph Stalin was doing to his own people. But politics (and war) make for some very strange bedfellows, and these two leaders had to work together to divide and conquer Hitler’s war machine in order to defeat him.

When the USA entered the war, Franklin D Roosevelt became the moderator between Churchill and Stalin (who were never pictured next to each other in any of their conference photographs).

The Cold War (1945-1991)

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The McCarthy Era came near the beginning of the Cold War, fought mainly between the USA and the USSR. Each distrusted the other. Each spied on the other, and lots of people got caught in the crossfire.

Here’s a map showing the spheres of influence that each had.

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) became the de facto arm of the American way of fighting Communism.

In the middle of this 46 year period, came the Cuban Missile Crisis, when John F Kennedy stared down Nikita Khrushchev and got the Soviets to withdraw their weapons.

And all the while, there was a threat of nuclear weapons. Then in the late 1980’s, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev began a detente which effectively reduced the world’s nuclear holdings.

The Wall Came Down

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Towards the end of the Cold War, a symbol of the Iron Curtain came down when the Berlin Wall was dismantled. Within two years the USSR had collapsed and Soviet Russia became the Russian Federation, under Boris Yeltsin.

Even John le Carré had to change his spy books to reflect the end of the Cold War. Within a very short period of time, Islamic extremism became the ‘new’ enemy.

But the seeds that had been sown all those years ago have not really withered and died. In fact, its tendrils have transferred into cyberspace. All new computer techniques of spy craft and dirty tricks have become the tools of most countries, with the USA and Russia leading the way.

Conclusion

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In my dream last night, my company’s security system was compromised by hacking. When I investigated, I discovered that the computer equipment was Russian and the hacking had been done by Russian operatives pretending to be computer programmers. Everything was infiltrated. There wasn’t anything that didn’t have their codes imbedded.

It’s a hint, isn’t it? The Mueller Investigation was looking for Russian hacking, and it’s been discovered. What’s becoming obvious is that the Russian’s have done far worse damage than the American people have a clue about. And the head of their precious country is the top of the pyramid, the tip of the iceberg.

Russia wants to defeat the Americans once and for all time. Putin is the man to do it.

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More Late Summer Blooms

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I was a Young Caddy

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Lacking in Experience

I decided to get a job when I was nine years old. As we were living in Windermere, in Muskoka, at the time, I became a caddy at the Windermere Golf & Country Club.

But there was only problem: I knew nothing about golf.

I soon got into the swing of things…

Summer Job

I was a slightly built child. Physical strength was not in my skill set. Those heavy golf club bags were hard to lug around on my young shoulders. I preferred caddying for anyone with a golf push cart.

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These days they look more like modified baby strollers, but in those days they were aluminum frames with wheels. They made the caddy’s job a lot easier to handle.

The tips weren’t much: 50 cents for 9 holes, $1 for 18. But a couple of caddy jobs a day kept me in banana splits at Windermere House and a few games of pinball at the entertainment centre at the dock.

Being a caddy also taught me how to keep my ‘eye on the ball’, something that I still do to this day, by paying attention with pin-point accuracy.

Tommy Ambrose

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I was an early fan of anyone in television or movies. So I was a little bit star-struck when Tommy Ambrose came to play at the golf course one late Friday afternoon (after school) in May 1962.

Then I remembered that his TV show was supposed to be on later that same evening. He couldn’t possibly drive back to Toronto to be on the CBC in time…that was the moment I realized that ‘live’ TV shows were actually pre-recorded.

No Caddy Shack

The opening picture in this post shows the Windermere Club House as it was in 2013. In my day (isn’t it fun to say that?) the Pro Shop was on the left end of the building. The caddies had a gathering place where they waited to be called for duty just behind it.

The gathering place consisted of a picnic bench under the overhang. On really hot days, you needed liquid refreshment, soda pops from the shop, 10 cents each. That’s where I developed a taste for cream soda.

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Cream soda could be red or clear coloured

Windermere House Car Park

The best part of living and ‘working’ in Windermere was being able to see up close all the biggest and newest cars from the United States. I got to be quite an expert on brands and models, and, of course, out-of-province licence plates.

Which car was my favourite? Did you really have to ask?

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The 1960 Cadillac.

Now my tale is fin-ished.

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Painting with Light, too

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More Happy Plants

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