Monday, November 23, 2020

The tweet of the year 

This is from September: Turned out to be pretty good advice.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Funny stuff 

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Saturday, November 07, 2020

Oh happy day 

And finally, this:

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Of course its a matter of confidence 

Promoting the conceit that setting up a "corruption committee" to harass the Trudeau government isn't really an issue of confidence in the government is just silly.
Of course it is. 
The Tories had initially billed the committee as one focused on โ€œanti-corruptionโ€ in the context of probing the WE deal and other potentially questionable agreements. 
While the Liberals say they agree a special pandemic spending committee could be set up, they argue the Conservative approach is overtly partisan and would just tie the government in knots. 
Rodriguez has said giving the committee a specific โ€œanti-corruptionโ€ focus implies an inherent lack of confidence in the government and that any vote in favour of probing government corruption would have to be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the government. 
 This is a gutsy play for the Liberals, if Canadians blame them for forcing an election right now rather than blaming the Conservatives and the NDP. But the Cons and the NDP don't really want to have to finance an election now. Not right now. 
They want to wait until an opposition-led committee has uncovered some actual corruption or something that might be twisted into looking that way - like, say, some pandemic contract that actually benefited some Liberal supporter somehow. 
O'Toole is doubtless absolutely convinced that there is corruption to be found -- because of course, if the roles were reversed, the very first people that a Conservative government would have been awarding no-bid contracts to would have been Conservative supporters.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020


Well, as a matter of fact I DO know what to do with a pencil and a cassette tape. 
But we survived our family Thanksgiving at home regardless - wearing masks, distancing, limited cooking/food prep. At least we got together and it was so great to see everyone. 
We have a smaller family - just seven of us now - so it wasn't a large gathering either. 
Here's some fun for the week: And of course, it wouldn't be a blog post without something relating to the US election: I guess one of the things I am most thankful for is that I live in Canada.

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Monday, October 05, 2020

just look on the sunny side of life 

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Friday, September 25, 2020

An Outstanding UN Speech from Trudeau 

Trudeau addressed the United Nations today and his speech was simply outstanding: Here are some excerpts of what he said: 
 โ€œThe world is in crisis, and not just because of the last few months. Not just because of COVID-19. But because of the last few decades. And because of usโ€, he said in a pre-recorded speech for the gathering. 
Mr. Trudeau recalled that following war and economic collapse, previous generations established the UN, and international finance organizations in the mid-20th century, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, thus laying the foundations for a rules-based international order and shared global prosperity. 
โ€œToday, all those institutions no longer serve us well enough on what they were designed for โ€“ defending multilateralism and international law, protecting human rights and open marketsโ€, he said. โ€œThat is what the crisis of COVID-19 has shown, beyond a shadow of a doubt. That things have to change. And not just on the world stage โ€“ but at home, too.โ€ 
 Mr. Trudeau said governments do not do enough for their vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly and the homeless. They
 also are not going far enough to eliminate systemic injustice, be it racism, homophobia or sexism. 
 โ€œIn the difficulties of our citizens, we can see reflected the failure of the institutions of our worldโ€, he said
 Although COVID-19 has pushed many countries to the brink, and generated a humanitarian crisis, Mr. Trudeau warned of the greater threat of climate change. He called for โ€œa new way of thinkingโ€ on climate, inequality and health. โ€œToo often, concerted action is blocked โ€“ the needs of our citizens are denied โ€“ as a result of gridlock at decision-making bodiesโ€, he charged. 
 โ€œAnd why? Because there are few consequences for countries that ignore international rules. For regimes that think might makes right. Few consequences for places where opposition figures are being poisoned while cyber tools and disinformation are being used to destabilize democracies. 
 โ€œFew consequences when innocent citizens are arbitrarily detained and fundamental freedoms are repressed. When a plane of civilians is shot from the sky. When womenโ€™s rights are not treated as human rights. When no one has any rights at all.โ€ 
Prime Minister Trudeau urged countries to use the present moment to shift course and work together to achieve a better future for all people. โ€œWe must understand our opportunities and our responsibilities to take real action, together. To protect each other, to support each otherโ€, he said. 
 โ€œIf we meet this moment, if we rise to this challenge, I know that, like our grandparents did 70 years ago, we will lay the foundations of a better world.โ€
The CBC coverage of the speech also noted that Trudeau did call out Russia, China and Iran for their hostile actions over the last year, without naming names. Over at the Globe and Mail, Bob Fife grudgingly admited that it is difficult for Canada to initiate sanctions on its own toward China over issues like Hong Kong and the Muslim Uyghurs while Canadians remain imprisoned in China.

But enough about solving the world's problems.  
Time to get back to the insanity next door, where Trump just announced he has issued a Presidential Permit [BTW, there is no such thing] for a new train line from Alaska to the lower US, through Canada:

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Farewell to the United States 

Its difficult to realize that a governmental system that seemed to be so strong and healthy is actually so weak and brittle that the election of one man and the death of one woman could destroy it. 
 But that's the way I feel right now about the election of Donald Trump and the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. 
The Republicans in the US Congress are absolutely delighted with both. 
They will replace Ginsberg as fast as they can with the most far-right, anti-abortion, anti-government conservative they dare to nominate, trusting on the immense pressure from evangelicals, Fox News, and corporations to force Senators Collins and Romney to confirm this person. 
And America can say goodbye to the Affordable Care Act, to pro-choice rights and LGBTq rights, to voting rights and civil rights, to unions and workplace protections, to the Environmental Protection Agency and to every other progressive initiative since Roosevelt. 
 And I mean Teddy, not Franklin. 
It will be the beginning of a new dark age for the United States. 
I am not sure whether the country can actually survive as a nation. 
Certainly they will no longer be the "leader of the free world" -- Trump has already made sure of that all by himself -- but they used to be able to bring some moral pressure toward other nations when people's rights were being trashed, and this won't be happening now, not when states and corporations will now have license to trash the rights of their own people.
I am worried also about Canada. Saw this tweet today:
Yes, that seems to be the case.

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Friday, September 11, 2020

Voting for delusion 


As I read this short piece at No More Mister Nice Guy, I felt increasingly horrified: 
It's often said that Trump's approach to everything is "transactional." I think Trump's approach to reality is transactional. The truth is the truth when it serves his purposes. In those moments, Trump believes in reality. But in other moments, not only does he walk out to a podium and contradict reality, he does so without necessarily believing that he's lying. As I've said in the past, Trump doesn't believe in truth. There are (as we see them) facts, lies, and true and false interpretations of reality, but to Trump they're all equally valid. He'll use any of them to shape reality, and he'll believe whatever he's saying at the time, even if it contradicts what he said six hours ago. In part this is because, as Yastreblyansky says, he believes in the Power of Positive Thinking and therefore thinks confidence can shape reality. In part it's because it's important to him to be his audience's daddy, someone who dominates us the way his father dominated him.
This is the man that millions of Americans voted for. And will vote for again. 
I'm reading more stories now about Americans who don't believe COVID is actually real - they think its all a Democratic plot, and that millions of Americans are just getting the flu, and hundreds of thousands are dying of something they already had like heart disease. 
I don't know what they think people are getting sick from in other countries around the world, but probably they aren't even aware that other countries actually exist.
And I'm reading stories now about how people in small towns in Oregon and Washington and California think that Antifa, not campers or lightning, is the cause of the fires that are destroying their homes.

Its absolutely crazy.

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Sunday, September 06, 2020


Yes, I know in the overall scheme of things, the sinking of some of the boats in Trump's boating parade this weekend is pretty trivial. 
But there's nothing like trivial to make Twitter come alive. 
The hashtag of the event is #Dumkirk:

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

End of August Doldrums 

What a strange week! 
I've been trying to decide what to post here for this week, and haven't really got anything organized.
Down South, the Republican Convention came in like a lamb and left like a lamb too, and nobody seems to really remember anything about it. 
Hurricane Laura came and went too, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Two more hurricanes are on their way. Oh, great!
More Black people were shot needlessly, and more protests are underway, and now Trump is talking about going to Wisconsin and nobody wants to see him there. I wonder if he ever gets embarrassed by how useless he is at any kind of leadership? 
Following the example of the Kenosha shooter - who was just "helping the police" by killing two people and wounding a third - we are seeing more MAGA people driving their pickup trucks and waving their flags at the protests, and so more people are getting shot. This isn't going to end well. 
 As Twitter keeps mentioning, it's bizarre for Trump to be talking about how the protest violence is Biden's fault, when it is happening under Trump's watch. Of course, Trump never takes responsibility for anything so why would he ever take responsibility for the violence of his own supporters? 
And here in Canada we have a new Conservative leader -- Erin (AKA Eric) is not making a good first impression as he refuses to confront the haters in his own party. You know, I seem to remember that it was Trudeau, who is supposedly just a whimpy drama teacher according to the Cons, who didn't hesitate to boot people out of the Liberal caucus for any accusation of misconduct, and who refused to let anyone run under the Liberal banner if they were not pro-choice, and who refused to give federal money for student employment to any organizations that preached against abortion. 
O'Toole doesn't seem to realize that a leader who goes along with jerks and assholes because he doesn't want to offend anyone is not a leader that Canadians will respect or support. 
And now school is getting underway, and it will be a disaster. Give it a week or two, for COVID to start passing between children and teachers and the families, infecting and killing across Canada. 
COVID is the honey badger - it don't care
Everybody basically KNOWS this is going to happen. But we all seem to be in some sort of mass-hypnosis fugue Tinker Bell state where we think if we just BELIEVE hard enough and WISH hard enough and HOPE hard enough then everything will be JUST FINE. 
Yesterday the Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer said we have to change our "summer bubbles" when school starts -- basically, what he was saying in an incredibly convoluted and indirect way, is that Grandma and Grandpa have will have to stop seeing the grandkids once they go back to school.
Oh, what a week!
But then I watch this: and this Now I feel better.

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

We've got a goddamn plan! 

  • Chrystia Freeland is going to be a great Finance minister. 
    The first thing she will have to do it get a grip on the pro-Morneau leaks from her department. 
    Like the one this week about Trudeau Chief of Staff Katie Telford's husband Ron Silver phoning up to see if the Finance Department would change some part of the pandemic benefit programs to benefit his employer: At Routine Proceedings, Dale Smith writes
    For the past two weeks, as the leaks about Bill Morneau started coming out in advance of his departure, we also saw a number of warnings over social media about Liberals being their own worst enemies and that now was really not a good time for a civil war within the party. The fact that there were anonymous leaks to both VICE and the National Post about this incident shows that someone is suddenly awfully keen to talk, hoping to possibly embarrass PMO in some way, and considering that the leakers are showing how virtuous they were in standing up to Silver might make one assume that those leakers are loyalists of Morneau who are trying to, if not burnish his reputation, then certainly tarnish his detractors. I do wonder if this is a limited screw-you to Trudeau, because I havenโ€™t yet seen camps loyal to Chrystia Freeland and Franรงois-Philippe Champagne forming and trying to oust Trudeau so that one of them can take over just yet. That said, this year has proven to be full of surprises, so weโ€™ll see.
    I don't expect Freeland will have any difficulty with the Finance bureaucrats. Listen to her putting down David Akin for being annoyed on behalf of the opposition parties who are being forced to put up or shut up: The next thing Freeland will do is get to work on Trudeau's grand plan for Canada. I do believe there is an untold and unnoticed (by the WE-obsessed Canadian media) story of the Moreau resignation: Trudeau intends to use the COVID crisis to greatly improve Canada's social welfare system. Moreau wouldn't do it, but Freeland will. 
    I think the Morneau resignation, whether forced or not, provided an opportunity for Trudeau to make changes to Canada that he has long wanted to make -- I wondered if Morneau was resisting these changes, and THAT, as much as the WE issue, was why he had to leave. 
     Here's Trudeau using a reporter's question about government pandemic support to talk about his plans:

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    Friday, August 14, 2020

    More funny stuff 

    One of the things I love about Twitter is the funny people on it:

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    Saturday, August 08, 2020

    School Daze 

    I don't have any children or grandchildren in school these days, and thank heavens for small mercies. I think this mom has it right: The School Safe "plan" in Saskatchewan is based on wishful thinking: Parents aren't happy: Neither are doctors: I am concerned that the Sask Party seems to be reducing the whole School debate to a discussion of whether or not to make masks mandatory, while the Sask Medical Association is asking for a much broader look at school problems:  
    [SMA says]โ€œClosed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded spaces with many people, and close-contact settings with close-range conversations are not uncommon in schools and these realities need to be front and centre in back to school plans.โ€ Education Minister Gord Wyant said Friday that, in response to the associationโ€™s concerns and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the province is looking at making masks mandatory. 
     And it is, of course, not just the schools themselves that are problematic. Its also the impact that COVID increases in schools would have on the rest of us.
    I spent four months staying away from people, stores, restaurants, everything. So will I have to go back to that kind of life if there is community COVID spread here again? Yes, I'm afraid so.

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    Saturday, August 01, 2020

    August funny 

    OK, its been one of those weeks, so here's some funny stuff:

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