Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"I'm not racist! How dare you say that?" 

There's something bizarre about the way some people define "racism" (and sexism, and homophobia, etc, but I'll just use "racism" as a shorthand to mean all of these things.)
They recognize it, and condemn it, but just cannot admit that they, themselves, could do it.  Its an odd form of "othering" where the "other" is actually an uncomfortable part of their own personality.
So they can say "I'm not racist, I just don't like black people" (or Aboriginal people or Asian people or whoever) of "I'm not sexist, I just don't think women can do things as well as men can" or "I'm not homophobic, I just don't like gay people". And they remain blithely ignorant of their own racist impulses and behaviour. 
You see, they KNOW that being racist is bad.  So it makes them VERY uncomfortable to think of themselves as racists.  So when they DO racist things and THINK racist thoughts, they have to tell themselves there is actually nothing wrong with what they did or thought because their motives are pure and their actions are just.  They take refuge in the belief that they are actually just telling the truth.
So Don Cherry can talk about "you people".  And Trump can say there are "good people" on "both sides" of Charlottesville.  And neither of them will ever even think they have said anything racist, because after all they don't think of themselves as racists. Today, we see pundits who are actually surprised that Stephen Miller has been "revealed" to be a white supremacist.  Of course he is -- who else would come up with a government policy to imprison 70,000 immigrant children? Only a racist could ever think up something so grotesque and cruel, and then get upset to be booed out of a Mexican restaurant.
Here's the tell -- racists think we all actually secretly agree with them. They think we just don't admit it because we're all Politically Correct cowards, whereas the racists are courageous truth-tellers.  "Now admit it, you know I'm right!" is what they will say. 
Image result for racism cartoons

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Great tweet of the day 

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Maybe now I can watch hockey again 

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Lest we forget 

Chief Petty Officer Margaret Louise Byam -- my mother.  I have often wondered now why she did it, but she died before I thought to ask her.  
A small-town Prairie girl, the youngest of four daughters, she joined the Wrens during World War 2 and off she went to Halifax to help Canada win the war. She wasn't the only one in the family to go - her sister, my aunt, was a war nurse in Italy, and my father-in-law piloted Lancasters out of England.
But I always admired my mother, who got a teaching degree and then put that career on hold and went to war for the sheer love of her country. She found that she loved Halifax, too, as it turned out. But after the war ended she came back to the Prairies to marry my father.
They are almost all gone now, the greatest generation, and here we are watching fascism rise again around the world.  I hope it doesn't get to the point that we have to fight again. But if we do, there are still Canadians like my mother who will go.

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Friday, November 08, 2019

They don't know what they don't know 

Image result for calvin and hobbes research paper

We just saw it here, and now its happening in the States as well.
Its the perception by journalists and opinion pundits that they "know" where the general public is at, and therefore that they can just pull voting predictions out of their ass -- instead of, you know, actually doing some research into what people are thinking and what they want their government to do.
In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau was being written off by the press even before the blackface scandal knocked the Liberals off-message.  But it was clear, even way back in August, that while people across the country were somewhat disappointed in some of the things that the Trudeau government had done (pipelines!) or had not done (pipelines!) we weren't all going to switch our vote to Conservative or NDP without a good reason.
Scheer and Singh tried throughout the campaign to give Canadians that good reason to switch their votes, but as the weeks went by it was pretty clear they were not making their case.  Singh kept changing his mind and his message, thus confirming what everyone already thought -- a nice guy who is maybe in over his head. Scheer presented us with the spectacle of a leader who actively sandbagged his own campaign week after week, through his clumsy responses to problems - he couldn't defend women or LBGT, he couldn't figure out how to handle the American and insurance broker scandals, he started lying about his opponents, and finally he let the Con backroom boys dictate his non-response to the Kinsella scandal.  It was a display of ineptitude unparalleled in recent Canadian politics -- and considering what we Liberals saw with Ignatief and Dion, that's saying something!  Bernier and May seemed to be regarded by the media as potential giant-killers, but neither got any traction; it was Blanchet, ignored by the English-speaking media, who actually denied Trudeau a second majority.
In the States, I keep seeing Biden now being written off in the same way Trudeau was -- yet actually the nomination still remains his to lose.  Biden is winning, or close to winning, in all of the national polls.  While Warren is making strides, she fell into the trap of saying she would raise taxes to pay for healthcare  -- of course that's the only way to pay for it, but Americans are absolutely pathological about taxes -- and she may not be able to overcome this mistake.  While I love Warren, and there's lots to like about most of the other Democratic candidates too, I do believe that incumbency in the States provides so many advantages that only Biden can achieve the national stature and the "back to normal" vibe to bring out the 70 million voters he will need to beat Trump.

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Saturday, November 02, 2019

Great tweets of the day 

Boy, people are really getting pissed off these days! Its very entertaining, really:

And he used to be the Director of the CIA

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Aren't you forgetting something? 

In the Star Phoenix, Doug Cuthand talks sense about Western separatism:
Kenny and Moe remind me of the two cartoon dogs, Spike and Chester. Remember them? Spike was a mean bulldog and Chester was his little sidekick who pranced around saying that Spike was his hero because he was so big and strong … I’ll leave it to you to determine which one is which.
It’s time both premiers got real and faced the fact that the economy is changing and the demand for oil is peaking. The United States is now energy self-sufficient and within a decade about half the new vehicles sold will be electric. Dirty oil, like the tarsands, will go the way of coal mines. These commodities are expensive to extract and refine and not economically viable in a world with declining demand.
Economics trump politics and there is little or nothing politicians can do about it.
One of the other things that Western Canadian separatists are also forgetting is that it isn't their land to bargain away - its treaty land.  Cuthand continues:
Our leaders made a treaty to share the land and build a future together. Of course, the equality and cooperation didn’t happen, but we’re still working on it.
At no time did our elders envision a future without the treaty and the protection of the Crown. Also, there is no groundswell of support for separation within the Indigenous community. Through Treaty we chose Canada.
When Quebec was going through its separation anxiety, my friend Billy Two Rivers from the Kahnawake Mohawk Nation commented that the only land the separatists could take with them was the dirt under their fingernails.
I agree. If the separatists want to leave Western Canada, go ahead, but the land remains with us.

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

California fires 

The LA Times fire coverage is free today. Very scary fires all over the state.
Here are some stunning tweets from the California fires:

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Great tweet of the day 

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"Popular" vote? Not so much 

Here is the vote result in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta:
Liberals: 500,000 votes - 4 seats
NDP: 466,000 votes - 4 seats
Conservatives: 2 million votes - 54 seats
So don't talk to me about the "popular vote"! On that basis, the Cons are extremely over-represented in western Canada.
 And here's some info about the rest of the country:

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Rats behind the wheel! 

Check this out, and don't miss the comments:

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Great tweet of the day 

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

When you come to the end of a perfect day 

I didn't hear it myself, but I guess Singh was taking too long with his concession speech and Scheer started his concession speech before Singh finished,  then Trudeau started HIS victory speech before Scheer finished. 
And the Canadian media were just thrilled.
Nobody ever seems to turn down an opportunity to inflate a controversy out of nothing, issue twitter tut-tuts, clutch pearls, come down with the vapours, and chatter about how PMJT was behaving so RUDELY!
I rather liked Jason Cherniak's reaction:

One Canadian who does NOT sound pissed off is Ontario Premier Doug Ford :
Ford issued a statement Tuesday morning congratulating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his victory and applauding all federal leaders for a “hard fought campaign.”
He says he looks forward to working with Ottawa to address “shared priorities,” including infrastructure, internal trade and mental health
And the Toronto Sun adds:
Ford’s statement stands out for its conciliatory tone
Yeah, I'll say.  The Conservative Brain Trust behind Scheer convinced Ford to spend the entire campaign at an Undisclosed Location, but it didn't help Scheer do better in Ontario, so I would think that this morning Ford is furious at Scheer.

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Russia moves in to the Middle East 

So Russia is moving in to the Middle East, now that Trump has abandoned the field:
The negotiations ended in a victory for Mr. Putin: Russian and Turkish troops will take joint control over a vast swath of formerly Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria, in a move that cements the rapid expansion of Russian influence in Syria at the expense of the United States and its Kurdish former allies. Under terms of the agreement, Syrian Kurdish forces have six days to retreat more than 20 miles from the border, abandoning land that they had controlled uncontested until earlier this month — when their protectors, the American military, suddenly began to withdraw from the region.
This is, I think, the first time this has ever happened to the United States. But with Trump, likely not the last time.  What an embarrassment.

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Dueling crowd sizes 

So CBC's Katie Simpson was impressed that Andrew Scheer's speech in Richmond Hill Ontario last night attracted 1,500 people, she calls it his biggest crowd so far:

Well, Justin Trudeau attracted 1,500 people yesterday too. In Calgary.  At midnight:

When the story of this campaign is written, it must include the number of times federal leaders were thrown off their message by the hurly-burly of news and events -- for Trudeau, it was the blackface scandal three weeks ago; now for Scheer it is the Kinsella secret smear scandal, which couldn't have some at a worse time for him.
But the measure of leadership is not whether such scandals happen, but how a real leader handles it. 
For Trudeau, he immediately admitted he had done it, apologized profusely, and also volunteered that there had been other times he had worn blackface when in high school. This all immediately tooe the wind out of any follow-up stories, and ended any "gotcha" questions from reporters. Everybody moved on.
While over several days now Scheer has been robotically repeating stupid war room talking points about how some mythical CPC "rules" prevent him from talking about "vendors" at all -- thereby creating the #ScheerVendors hashtag trending this morning, extending the scandal right into election day itself, making it the only thing reporters are asking him about (except for a few questions about why in the world he would tell such a stupid lie about the Liberals raising the GST). And all at a time in the campaign when there is no time for moving on at all.
I hope Canadians are making note of who is handling problems well, and who is not.

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