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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: 
 “The 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 us”, 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. 
“Today, all those institutions no longer serve us well enough on what they were designed for – defending multilateralism and international law, protecting human rights and open markets”, he said. “That 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 – but at home, too.” 
 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. 
 “In the difficulties of our citizens, we can see reflected the failure of the institutions of our world”, 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 “a new way of thinking” on climate, inequality and health. “Too often, concerted action is blocked – the needs of our citizens are denied – as a result of gridlock at decision-making bodies”, he charged. 
 “And 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. 
 “Few consequences when innocent citizens are arbitrarily detained and fundamental freedoms are repressed. When a plane of civilians is shot from the sky. When women’s rights are not treated as human rights. When no one has any rights at all.” 
Prime Minister Trudeau urged countries to use the present moment to shift course and work together to achieve a better future for all people. “We must understand our opportunities and our responsibilities to take real action, together. To protect each other, to support each other”, he said. 
 “If 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.”
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

Dumkirk 

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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