Black storm 1

“Trump. He is the archetype of a destructive lost soul whose aim in life is to put a culture of fear into people. If it wasn’t all so pathetically sad his character could be taken right out of a Thomas Pynchon novel!”

This article has been updated from a previous version

Between friends. Black storms loom on the horizon.


by Alan Simons

It was Euripides who said “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.” Unfortunately, at this time nothing is more certain than an acute awareness in Canada of a profusion of black storm clouds looming on our U.S. border. In times of storms one normally takes shelter with family and friends alike. We are one, so to speak. This time it is different.

Canadians in general have an admiration towards our friends living to the south of us. After all, many Canadians have close family ties in the U.S. going back generations. 

Yet, with the upcoming United States Presidential Election just a few days away we are seeing a shift away from admiration to a “weltschmerz” – a mood of sentimental sadness towards a society that politically seems to have lost its will and direction. Both presidential candidates are intensely disliked, with Trump riding high on top of a vicious heap of dirty rags. He’s thriving to light the destructive match of hatred between Muslims and Christians, between blacks and whites, between the poor and the rich, between its Mexican population and those born in the U.S. He falsifies credible and substantiated information with such downright bullheadedness and utter ignorance, – according to The Toronto Star Trump made 37 false claims in the final debate- he makes President Warren Harding look like a genius!

Napoleon Bonaparte said: “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.” Welcome to these United States of America.

strangeloveIn fact, as we have seen, anyone who Trump believes doesn’t agree to follow his train of thought had better watch out if he is elected. The similarity to Dr Strangelove is unnerving. Trump. He embellishes all that is distasteful in an individual who could well be the next President of the United States. Trump. He is the archetype of a destructive lost soul whose aim in life is to put a culture of fear into people. If it wasn’t all so pathetically sad his character could be taken right out of a Thomas Pynchon novel!

The bottom line is this: We are watching the ambitions of a man whose political thirst for power is so vile and repulsive in nature, it goes far beyond the pale. And, as it’s been said: His actions are “outside the bounds of morality, good behavior or judgment.”

What is so painful from a Canadian perspective, is to observe a presidential candidate, an American at that, being so violently negative towards his own country. Trump regards the U.S. as a barren doom and gloom economic wasteland, taken right out of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which, in general, is a contradiction to the recent Conference Board‘s, “consumers were less negative about current business and labor market conditions…”

In addition:

  • A report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that the June 2016 increase reflected higher sales of motor vehicles and parts, food and sales in gasoline stations. In addition, sales of furniture, building materials and garden equipment bounced back from a contraction in May to an expansion in June. Meanwhile, the closely-watched core retail sales index (or control group) that excludes cars and car parts also showed a healthy increase in June.
  • FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 4.8% in 2016… For 2017, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 4.6%,” a remarkable achievement from the 2011 figure of 8.9%.
  • Consumer confidence rebounded and jumped to eight-month high in June 2016
  • Housing prices remain healthy. According to S&P, the home price increases reflect the low unemployment rate, low mortgage interest rates, and consumers’ generally positive outlook. One result is that an increasing number of cities have surpassed the high prices seen before the Great Recession. Currently, seven cities – Denver, Dallas, Portland OR, San Francisco, Seattle, Charlotte, and Boston – are setting new highs.

To quote Trump: “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me …” He’s right on this one. No other presidential candidate has done more to build a wall that has fractured American society than Trump.

In Canada, America’s largest trading partner, there is great concern of a Trump win. As reported in the Toronto Sun, “Canada’s economy would take a direct hit if Donald Trump were to be elected U.S. President and follow through on his anti-trade rants, trade experts say. ‘If he actually does what he says he’s going to do I think there would be a very significant impact on Canada,’ University of Ottawa Law Professor Debra Steger said. The presumptive Republican nominee has suggested he would end or at least renegotiate significant agreements including the Canada-U.S.-Mexico North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which took effect in 1994. ‘NAFTA was the worst trade deal in history,’ Trump says.” Poo on Trump!

The Government of Canada has also seen the need to respond to the U.S.’s political shenanigans by saying:  

  • History has shown that trade is the best way to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
  • Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement came into force in 1989, Canada’s two-way trade in goods and services with the United States has more than tripled. Thanks to this agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trading relationship between our two countries is so strong that we exchanged approximately $2.4 billion in goods and services every day in 2015.

America’s largest customer

  • Canada is the U.S.’s largest customer, purchasing US$338 billion in goods and services in 2015.
  • Canada buys more from the United States than does any other nation – including all 28 countries of the European Union.

Nearly nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada

  • Canada and the United States are the world’s largest trading partners: more than US$670 billion in goods and services were traded in 2015.
  • The United States is the most important destination for Canadian direct investment abroad, which totalled $448 billion (stock) in the U.S. in 2015.

Numerous governments, friend and foe alike are preparing themselves, both economically and militarily for the likelihood- perhaps that’s a tad too strong – the possibility of a Trump victory. 

To quote Jeremiah 44:16. “As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you!” Make it so America!♦
* * *

Alan Simons is the publisher and founder of jewishinfoNews. To contact him:

(Featured image credit: lightstalking; Strangelove, sillyfunda) 

* * *


OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”


Peace: Just a Concept Without Real Action

A Canadian Perspective

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Canada’s Mosaic Institute and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on September 26, 2016.

by Bernie M. Farber

This past Wednesday was “International Peace Day.” It is UN inspired and celebrated each year on September 21st. According to the United Nations website, “The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.”

Indeed, this year’s theme was “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”

The UN in 2015 identified 17 sustainable goals that must be met in order to develop a peaceful world. Everything from the challenges of poverty, hunger and xenophobia to eradicating racism, political corruption ensuring clean safe water, protecting our environment-it is a list that is at once compelling and complex.

The world today remains very much a place on the edge. While here in the western world we have luxuries we never would have thought possible even a decade ago combined with ample supplies of food, clean water and democratic based governments, we are often the envy of countries that have far less.

And yes we are very fortunate. It is that good fortune then that gives us added responsibility.

And yet we still have so much to learn about the earth, diversity and peace. We need to be prepared to learn these lessons from sources that are not at first blush apparent.

Anne Wilson Schaef is a world renowned academic who has devoted much of her life to Indigenous culture and learning. In her book “Native Wisdom for White Minds” she tells of her work with Hawaiians among many other indigenous people. She relates the adage of one Hawaiian Elder who once said:

“The day Hawaiians disappear will be the day when the water no longer flows.”

Professor Schaef explains:

“What I have come to understand is that if we cannot save the redwoods or the whales or the Hawaiians, it is not their disappearance that is key. What is key is that we will have lost the level of consciousness that allows us to comprehend the importance of diversity to the survival of the planet. If we do not understand the need for diversity, nothing else matters.”

How the does all this intersect with International Peace Day? We all desire peace on a very direct and pragmatic level. Yet even here in Canada when we examine the UN’s “sustainable goals” how is our own report card?

At a time when Indigenous reserves are still on water advisory notices and have been for over 20 years; when despite political and government rhetoric that we are committed to cleaning river and lake water, the decision of the Ontario government to permit clear-cut logging that demonstrably increases mercury outputs into the water system next to the Grassy Narrows reserve remains a real threat; as Canada welcomes over 25,000 Syrian refugees but has yet to make a dent on Yazidi refugees that we acknowledge are facing genocide, how close are we to real peace?

Yes, International Peace day is a wonderful concept to embrace. But until we put real meaning behind the concept it is destined, sadly, to remain just that.

Bernie M. Farber was appointed Executive Director of Canada’s the Mosaic Institute in 2015. He is a native of Ottawa, Canada and a graduate of Carleton University. His long-spanning career in the not-for-profit sector includes the role of CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress (2005-2011) where he spearheaded multiple human and civil rights initiatives, inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogues among Canada’s wide-ranging diverse communities including Rwandan genocide survivors, Darfurian survivors of the Janjaweed as well as working closely with the Canadian Roma community.

(Featured Image credit: divinereality)

* * *


SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”