Sunday, August 29, 2021

Election Follies and Funnies #10

This may well be the weekend remembered for Jagmeet Singh losing the thread. 
He sent out a bizarre tweet on Saturday which lied about Trudeau profiting from billions of dollars in student loan interest. 
Now actually, during the pandemic, the Trudeau government did some great things for student loans - they paused student loan repayments for 6 months, and also waived the interest until 2023. 
But what Singh now apparently promises to do is to hop into a time machine and go back to 2015 and revise the entire student loan program to forgive some portion of student debt, and then not charge any interest at all on the rest. And if the Liberals had actually made those changes 6 years ago, then students might have saved $4 billion in interest. Or something like that, I guess, because numbers, who can ever explain them and why should the NDP even try....
But Singh made it sound like Trudeau had personally absconded with the money, and then he didn't retract or explain. Sorry, but this is just a real asshole move:
The anti-vax protestors were a feature at Trudeau's campaign stops this weekend, and neither the Conservatives or their supportive media could figure out a way to downplay or ignore their hysteria. 
Conservatives attempted to normalize it by equating it to the protests about NAFTA that Mulroney dealt with in 1988.
But this controversial and chilling tweet demonstrates there is no real comparison:
There was also a nutty media effort to imply that the anti-vax hysteria was really just Trudeau's own fault because he is too pro-vax or something Other issues: Now for the funny: And I think this may well be the gamechanger we've been looking for:

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Election Follies and Funnies #9

Well wasn't this a day? 

Canada was rocked by the news that the Trudeau campaign has to cancel one of its Ontario rallies because the anti-vaxxer mob was putting Trudeau and Liberal candidates into danger. Trudeau's response: This rings true to me: And this was also quite a story -- a grieving father, whose son was shot down in Iran on flight PS752 last winter, stops Trudeau to ask him to do more to bring Iran to justice:
Trudeau listened about the unfulfilled promise amid a campaign where he is making new promises to voters. Animated, Zarei pressed his point. 
Finally, Trudeau reached out and hugged Zarei, speaking in his ear and promising anew to do everything possible to get justice for the victims, doing so in a small pocket inside a crush of security, journalists and onlookers as the Liberal leader hit the hustings. 
"I hear now he's talking from (the) bottom of his heart to go for justice for the families," Zarei said afterwards, wearing a small button on his chest bearing his son's face and name. 
"That's why I kept calling. And I believe him (that) he is going to do the justice for the people."

  Here's a fascinating chart and tweet thread from economist David Macdonald comparing the $10-a-day child care plan from the Liberals with the tax credit plan from the Conservatives: Canadians are starting to talk more about climate change issues during this campaign, and they're noticing that the Conservatives don't actually have much of a plan:
 Finally, we can all be proud of the outstanding job done by Canadian forces in rescuing 3,700 people from Kabul, and also in assisting the Americans and other NATO forces in rescuing more. Here is part of that story, as told in the August 26 technical briefing statement by General Wayne Eyre, Acting Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Armed Forces 
 ...this Operation was carried out under intense – and often misinformed – public scrutiny and criticism.
For obvious reasons, operational details of what we were doing had to be kept quiet. 
So into that silence some people interjected their own narratives, without any real knowledge of the facts, adding to the confusion. 
But the truth is very different. 
Even though Kabul airport has left us heartbreaking stories, in the days to come you will also hear the stories of heroism of the people who took part in the operation, because those stories must be heard.
You’ll hear the stories about how the dedication, determination, and compassion – how the heroism of our Canadian troops saved and changed thousands of lives. 
You’ll hear about the CAF members who cared for a new mother and the baby she’d given birth to approximately 15 hours before boarding a flight, making sure she and the infant made it to safety. 
You will hear about the little Afghan girl who followed a military policewoman to board one of our flights. She asked her father: How can a woman be a police officer? He explained that in Canada, women can be police officers. Looking up at the soldier, the girl said she would like to be a police officer when she was growing up. 
You’ll hear about the little Afghan boy, who so admired one of our soldiers that he wouldn’t leave his side as the soldier carried out his work during an evacuation flight… And how that soldier cared for the boy, who was about the same age as his own son waiting for him to return safely home to Canada. 
The events of recent weeks have, not surprisingly, caused many to ask of our past involvement in Afghanistan: Was it worth it? My personal answer is time will tell. 
We made a made a difference in thousands of lives while we were there. 
And every one of those lives counts as a win. We’ll see if that is enough.
The Syrian refugees welcomed into Canada six years ago have made outstanding contributions to their new country, and I have no doubt the Afghan refugees and other Afghan immigrants now on their way will turn out to be just as important to Canada's future.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Election Follies and Funnies #8

I got a chuckle out of the last few minutes of the CBC At Issue panel tonight. So last night Jagmeet Singh implied he just might support O'Toole and the Conservatives instead of Trudeau and the Liberals if there is another minority parliament -- a petulant clanger of a remark, particularly galling after we all watched Trudeau and the Liberals create the most progressive government Canadians have seen since the 60s, and for which Singh could take almost no credit at all!
So in tonight's At Issue panel discussion, Andrew Coyne did his enthusiastic best to make a silk purse out of Singh's sows ear remark, by gushing about how great it would be if Singh could ally with O'Toole and "hold the Conservatives in check" - yeah, sure, that'll happen! 
And then Chantal Herbert gently reminded everyone that, first, the NDP voters would NOT trust O'Toole or the Cons on climate change targets, and second, NDP voters have long wanted the $10-a-day child care initiative which the Conservatives would never support, and, third, neither the NDP voters nor Canada's Indigenous leadership would be confident that a Conservative government would commit to Indigenous issues either. 
Then a dog started barking.... 

Here's some painful news - the polls aren't good. But I still have hope the Liberals can turn it around in the next two weeks -- they need to get going before people start voting at the advance polls and by mail:
Trudeau announced today he intends to hike taxes on banks and insurance companies to improve our tax revenue picture -- to the usual consternation from the financial sector who are making record profits but apparently these companies will all go crazy and take our economy with them if they cannot keep it all the money to themselves. Poor guys!
I don't think the Conservatives are going to get any traction with their "raise the flags" comments. At least, I hope not.
  The other news tonight was all Afghanistan (bad) and COVID (worse) -- just too many tweets and comments for me to gather together a sample grouping for tonight. So here's just a couple more random tweets that I liked: Yes

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Election Funnies and Follies #7

Latest polling: Tonight Frank Graves was also tweeting some hints about new polling coming out tomorrow, showing Conservative gains - at least, I SAW some of his tweets about this, I know I did. 
But I didn't save them and now I can't find them. 
So I don't know, maybe the polling has changed even in the last few minutes. 
But anyway, Graves has also been tweeting today about Singh's slip to the effect that the NDP might support a Conservative minority government -- a ridiculous statement that will not do him any favours with the faithful:
Other campaign stuff: A worthwhile discussion from Ivey Business School prof Mike Moffatt about the Liberal and Conservative housing platforms - click on the tweet to open the thread: The problem is, the Conservatives can SAY whatever they want, but will Canadians actually believe the leopard will change its spots so quickly? 
One theory I read today was that the Conservatives can tack left in this campaign without losing their base, who have such a visceral and irrational hate for Trudeau that they will vote Conservative regardless of what O'Toole says during the campaign. And how little respect would O'Toole and the Conservative brain trust actually have for any left-wing voters who might get taken in by his spot-changing lies? The Conservatives tried an Afghanistan smear about refugee visas but it didn't work very well: And I hope their attempt to start a Fox News-style feeding frenzy on Maryam Monsef for her using the term "brothers" to refer to the Taliban will not get any traction either:

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Election Funnies and Follies #6

So this happened: And Conservatives across Canada went batshit. 
Liberals smelled a rat - or at least, something a little odd: Then @gill_godwin sniffed out some relationships - between the public relations professional who was originally outraged that Freeland had chopped up her O'Toole "interview" where he made the truncated remarks about Canadian healthcare, and her friendship with Twitter's public policy manager who used to be a parliamentary assistant to Harper. So maybe this helps to explain why Twitter was ON IT!!! Dean makes an interesting point about the larger issues here: Trudeau has Freeland's back: In other news: Here's Ed The Sock's latest: Sounds good to me:
EDITORIAL NOTE: something went badly with my blog formatting, apparently due to one of the tweets I had inserted here yesterday. So tonight I had to delete it, sorry about that.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Election Funnies and Follies #5

I am absolutely terrified that Canada will again turn down a national day care program like they did when Layton torpedoed the Martin government. 
Even my own relatives were saying today that "Oh, but O'Toole has a day care plan too!" when he very much does NOT -- just a tax credit for people who don't actually need it. 
Its the Canadian working poor who need $10-a-day daycare, so they can take home more from their lower-income jobs, while their kids get better day care from the child care spaces a national program will create.

I do wish the Liberals could do a better job telling Canadians why they are seeking a majority government now. Parliamentary reporter Dale Smith explains the "toxic spring" we had this year: And I'm glad to see Trudeau strike back: And then I see something like this, and it makes me feel better too: And in other news:

Friday, August 20, 2021

Election Funnies and Follies #4

I think that tracking the O'Toole Reversals will keep us busy I found out today that the Cons want to pass this stupid anti-Indigenous picketing legislation. 
They are  disingenuously attempting to criminalize only those awful, disruptive, controversial protests, the ones that endanger "critical infrastructure", not those nice polite protests that are actually OK. 
But of course any road anywhere in the country can be described as "critical" to someone, along with rail lines, pipelines, docks, etc.  
Its strikes me as such an overreach that the Supreme Court will eventually strike it down as against the Charter. But in the meantime, Indigenous and First Nations groups, and settler allies across the country will be getting arrested, and maybe also will be hurt, as protests are broken up because of this new law: Other issues: Here is today's funniest news report from the election trail - apparently now it is newsworthy when a random voter just smiles and nods at a party leader? And here's an idea:

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Election Funnies and Follies #3

Here's one thing I'm a little worried about - Canadian news media is mainly Conservative in their editorial stance, and while I do believe their reporters and editors are even-handed, its easy to find fault with the way that news stories get "framed" when reporters are deciding what and how to cover. Today, O'Toole was promising that the CPC would not be taxing home sales. He made it sound as though some other politicians might be suggesting this. But actually, nobody pays taxes on home profits now, and nobody is suggesting they should. 
The media covering his press conference did not point this out and ask him about what he was trying to imply. We also saw some deceptive advertising for the CPC's "holiday GST" promise, illustrated by a grocery store photo obviously implying this promise would save people on groceries. But actually, nobody pays GST on groceries now and nobody is suggesting they should.
Again, the media just talked about the promise but did not point out its limited usefulness. 

If there was one thing this pandemic convinced us to deal with, it is how we treat people who need long term care. That's why I am very glad to see the Liberals stepping up with some policy ideas: One of the big topics today was the CPC position on abortion. 
O'Toole swore that he himself is "pro-choice". Yeah, well, so what? - Canadians need to know whether he will allow his pro-live MPs or his Cabinet to bring forward federal legislation permitting provinces to regulate access to abortion. And that is a question O'Toole wasn't asked. The situation in Afghanistan getting covered, with election twists: Miscellaneous other stuff: Something to keep in mind, too: And - this is hilarious: And finally:

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Election Funnies and Follies #2

First up, the Nova Scotia election results: More commentary on the stupid Conservative campaign promises: And in other news And for anyone who thinks the Trudeau government hasn't been working on providing water to reserves:

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Election Funnies and Follies #1

Every day or two for the next month, I'm going to try to do a "funnies and follies round-up" of the election news and tweets that I find most interesting or hilarious or annoying or whatever. 
It won't be comprehensive, but sometimes it might be funny! 

First of all, I keep reading the media saying they just don't understand why Trudeau is calling the election. Its perfectly obvious to me: he wants a majority so he can pass the legislation the Liberals want to pass, for the benefit of Canadians, without the opposition parties continuing to try to gum up the works, slow-walk everything, raise pointless objections, and search for ways to undermine Trudeau's leadership. I'm sick and tired of it; its way past time for Trudeau to ask Canada for a new mandate.
Monday the media laughed at the Willy Wonka video and thought this election would revolve around Trudeau's vaccine mandate - and how O'Toole is disappointing people by refusing to require vaccinations -- but yesterday it started revolving around Trudeau's day care plan - and how O'Toole is disappointing people by telling Canadian parents to forget it, ain't gonna happen when he is PM. 
Basically, O'Toole is rapidly proving himself to be Not Ready For Prime Time. 
And the Conservative shilly-shallying didn't help the NDP either:
I wonder what O'Toole will decide to do tomorrow that will disappoint Canadians? 
And his "t-shirt man" booklet is going to turn out to be a treasure-trove of media stories -- it already started tonight with the sprinkling of miscellaneous tax credits and dinner coupons:
And now Dale Smith has found another one too - O'Toole criticizing Trudeau for the same health transfer policy that Harper had: I can hardly wait for what we're going to be talking about tomorrow.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Biden had no other choice

Excellent updates from Josh Marshall about Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal:
  The more I see the more I’m convinced this was the right decision – both what I see on the ground in Afghanistan and perhaps even more the reaction here in the United States. 
 It is crystal clear that the Afghan national army and really the Afghan state was an illusion. It could not survive first contact with a post-US military reality. As is so often the case in life – with bad investments, bad relationships – what we were doing there was staying to delay our reckoning with the consequences of the reality of the situation. ... 
 The perpetual effort to stand up an Afghan government that could exist on its own did not work. That doesn’t mean the decision to topple the Taliban government in 2001 was a mistake. But that was twenty years ago. We are living in a dramatically different world today. 
We have been in a perpetual occupation in pursuit of no clear national security interest of the United States. At a certain point you have to realize that and act accordingly. 
 Someone had to make the decision that Bush, Obama and Trump did not and apparently could not. Biden did. 
   As a matter of strategy, and as one of keeping faith with Afghans who depended on us, this withdrawal is suboptimal. Biden is fully responsible for it. 
 But from his point of view it probably looks like the best option available — the others being, respectively, no withdrawal at all and a protracted, semi-public tug-of-war with senior military officers deeply invested in putting off unpleasant decisions about an Afghan project that has defined so many military careers. Biden looks determined not to let the military leadership do to him what it did to Obama a decade ago. 

 And this:

Sunday, August 15, 2021

"THIS time it will be different!"

My tweet isn't precisely true, of course, but it feels truthy all the same. 
The War on Terror began in Afghanistan 20 years ago, and it was one that I always had thought was justified by the World Trade Centre attack and the Taliban harbouring of Osama Bin Laden. 
But Bush never made it clear exactly what NATO and the Americans intended to accomplish in Afghanistan -- a lot of talk about going on patrols and building schools and negotiating with war lords, but that all went on year after year after year and nothing ever changed. 
In retrospect, of course, they should have pushed the Taliban out of power, declared victory, and left in 2005. But Bush didn't have the stones to do that over Cheney and Rumsfeld's warmongering. 
Then Obama got out of Iraq but the growth of ISIS left him without the credibility for another battle with the military over Afghanistan. 
Trump vowed to get out but of course he never did it because he didn't know how --except for sending Pompeo to make things worse by releasing thousands of Taliban prisoners. 
And so, finally, in the end, it all came down to Biden - he is determined to get America disentangled from the first and last of its Middle Eastern wars and he does what he says he will do.
So it wasn't pretty, but finally, today, it is done.

What frustrated me about the coverage of the fall of Kabul and the end of the Afghanistan War was the media compulsion to try to make it echo the ignominious American exit from Saigon in 1975 -- they wanted another "helicopter on the roof" photo so badly they could taste it.
The best they could manage is the photo above, showing a helicopter flying somewhere over Kabul yesterday.  This photo was all over social media.  
What they really wanted was something like this:

The fall of Saigon was a nightmare for the American army, the Vietnamese army, and the Vietnamese civilians. We have yet to see whether the fall of Kabul will also be a nightmare -- the videos of people on the airport tarmac are showing a shit show, but apparently the US military is now in charge at the control tower, and I still have hope that the Taliban will just let the airport operate to get people out.
Apparently other countries have now offered asylum to refugees, too.
Maybe it really WILL be different this time.