This is a quick follow-up to a post I wrote in May about the lawsuit. Without going into much detail into that one, I found the whole affair to be quite amusing (failed candidate Maxine tarnishing the PC brand on his rapid descent back into obscurity). The affair also served as a vehicle for exploring the issue that is people’s previously publicly shared bad takes coming back to haunt them long after.
In terms of the lawsuit, I had this to say:
In closing, I’d be surprised if this goes anywhere.
As it turns out, I was right (you didn’t need to be a lawyer to figure that out). One can’t help wondering why Bernier’s legal team wouldn’t have advised him of this and saved the court costs. Unless the goal was less about a legal victory than it was tarnishing the Progressive Conservative brand (with the help of the national media) with a giant brown stain.
If that was the case, mission accomplished.
Either way, we will now read from the CBC News coverage of this affair.
A defamation lawsuit launched by People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier against an outspoken political commentator and strategist has been dismissed by an Ontario court.
Bernier had been attempting to sue Warren Kinsella over comments that painted the PPC leader as a racist, misogynist and antisemitic prior to the 2019 federal election.
Bernier says those descriptions damaged his reputation and subjected him to public scandal and embarrassment.
In a ruling published on Wednesday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Calum MacLeod dismissed the lawsuit because he said Kinsella would likely have been able to mount a valid defence for his criticisms.
The judge also said any harm caused to Bernier did not outweigh the importance of freedom of expression when discussing politicians and political parties in the public sphere.
That is an interesting ruling. It sounds like the fact that this was a political race was the factor that tipped the scale (in my opinion, rightly). It raises the question of what may happen in such a scenario outside the realm of politics. For example, if a person’s controversial views (or something else that is damaging to their reputation) are openly publicized without their knowledge, can the ramifications of that constitute harm?
While I am aware of the notion that most people’s censorship problems are less about censorship than they are the consequences of one’s speech, this judgement strikes me as potentially muddying the waters legally.
But I’m not a lawyer. Feel free to share your view in the comments if you wish.
In an interview with CBC News in October, Bernier expressed confidence that his case would succeed.
“Kinsella said that I said that I was a racist and a Nazi and I’m suing him for discrimination. And I will have that decision and I can tell you that it will be positive in our favour,” he said on Oct. 6.
Kinsella’s consulting firm Daisy Group was hired to “seek and destroy” the PPC in the run-up to the 2019 federal election, according to documents seen by CBC News.
A source with knowledge about the project said Kinsella was hired by the Conservative Party of Canada, which wanted to discredit the PPC before its first election as a registered party. Kinsella has not confirmed any direct involvement with the Conservatives and says instead that he was hired by CPC sympathizers.
The PPC failed to win a seat in the 2019 election, capturing 1.6 per cent of the national vote. The party also did not win a seat in the 2021 election, though its share of the popular vote grew to 4.9 per cent.
That the share of the PPC popular vote is slowly growing isn’t great (following a pattern of fascist tendencies worldwide). But it’s hard to not consider the party as being a joke. Frankly, a cheap clone of the brand sold by Donald down south.
This is obviously no joke to the Progressive Conservative party, however. After all, it won’t be the left-wing vote that the party will be potentially splitting. Otherwise known as, this isn’t going to be as easy as absorbing the Canadian Alliance Party back in the day.
MacLeod also noted that Bernier and the PPC were being widely criticized within Canadian political discourse during the 2019 election.
“Widespread characterization of Mr. Bernier and the PPC as racist and xenophobic or at least as pandering to those elements of the political spectrum was rife in the media. Comparisons with Donald Trump, [pro-Brexit politician] Nigel Farage or [far-right French politician] Marine LePen were widespread,” MacLeod wrote.
“Mr. Kinsella may have approached his task with particular caustic enthusiasm, but, at worst, Mr. Kinsella’s postings can be seen as a drop of vitriol in a sea of criticism.”
He’s certainly not wrong (I just did it). Not without precedent, however. After all, if the whole thing couldn’t have been backed up, Benier would have lost the suit!
Either way, as a leftist, this can only be a good thing. If the Progressive Conservatives keep being dragged into the PPC dumpster fire, running against them from the left will be a breeze.
Jullian Assange is back in the news. And unlike the last time I covered his plight back in early 2019, I actually have some sympathy for the man. For it is through him that we now get to see how dark things really got at the upper levels of the Trump administration.
While I fully expect there to be many more frightening revelations in the coming months and years relating to the Trump Administration, this one was certainly a doozy.
Three years ago, on 2 October 2018, a team of Saudi officials murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The purpose of the killing was to silence Khashoggi and to frighten critics of the Saudi regime by showing that it would pursue and punish them as though they were agents of a foreign power.
It was revealed this week that a year before the Khashoggi killing in 2017, the CIA had plotted to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who had taken refuge five years earlier in the Ecuador embassy in London. A senior US counter-intelligence official said that plans for the forcible rendition of Assange to the US were discussed “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration. The informant was one of more than 30 US officials – eight of whom confirmed details of the abduction proposal – quoted in a 7,500-word investigation by Yahoo News into the CIA campaign against Assange.
As much as this doesn’t really surprise me (given the many times that the US has resorted to underhanded tactics in order to forward its own national and/or corporate interests), it still has quite the punch when viewed from the perspective that is not even a decade ago.
The plan was to “break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want”, recalled a former intelligence official. Another informant said that he was briefed about a meeting in the spring of 2017 at which President Trump had asked if the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide “options” about how this could be done. Trump has denied that he did so.
The Trump-appointed head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, said publicly that he would target Assange and WikiLeaks as the equivalent of “a hostile intelligence service”. Apologists for the CIA say that freedom of the press was not under threat because Assange and the WikiLeaks activists were not real journalists. Top intelligence officials intended to decide themselves who is and who is not a journalist, and lobbied the White House to redefine other high-profile journalists as “information brokers”, who were to be targeted as if they were agents of a foreign power.
Among those against whom the CIA reportedly wanted to take action were Glenn Greenwald, a founder of the Intercept magazine and a former Guardian columnist, and Laura Poitras, a documentary film-maker. The arguments for doing so were similar to those employed by the Chinese government for suppressing dissent in Hong Kong, which has been much criticised in the West. Imprisoning journalists as spies has always been the norm in authoritarian countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, while denouncing the free press as unpatriotic is a more recent hallmark of nationalist populist governments that have taken power all over the world.
Given the things Donald has said in full view of the public, I have no doubt that he inquired about this course of action. In a way, none of this is really news. Everyone already knew that Trump loved the ways of the authoritarian. Shocking as this instance is, it’s just more of the same.
As for Glenn Greenwald, this certainly brings an interesting twist to his new stances. While the money of a grift is certainly good, avoiding being in the bad graces of potential future authoritarian tyrants is certainly also a good incentive. Though still a futile one, since I have no doubt that they will still find a way to make him an enemy.
Wow. This just got a whole lot bleaker.
It is possible to give only a brief precis of the extraordinary story exposed by Yahoo News, but the journalists who wrote it – Zach Dorfman, Sean D Naylor and Michael Isikoff – ought to scoop every journalistic prize. Their disclosures should be of particular interest in Britain because it was in the streets of central London that the CIA was planning an extra-judicial assault on an embassy, the abduction of a foreign national, and his secret rendition to the US, with the alternative option of killing him. These were not the crackpot ideas of low-level intelligence officials, but were reportedly operations that Pompeo and the agency fully intended to carry out.
This riveting and important story based on multiple sources might be expected to attract extensive coverage and widespread editorial comment in the British media, not to mention in parliament. Many newspapers have dutifully carried summaries of the investigation, but there has been no furor. Striking gaps in the coverage include the BBC, which only reported it, so far as I can see, as part of its Somali service. Channel 4, normally so swift to defend freedom of expression, apparently did not mention the story at all.
In the event, the embassy attack never took place, despite the advanced planning. “There was a discussion with the Brits about turning the other cheek or looking the other way when a team of guys went inside and did a rendition,” said a former senior US counter-intelligence official, who added that the British had refused to allow the operation to take place.
I can’t imagine WHY the Brits would refuse to have an operation like that go down right in the heart of Britain’s largest city. I mean, talk about bad optics when that hit the press.
Imagine how many tourists would go to Turkey if it was revealed that they sanctioned the whole Kashoggi thing . . .
But the British government did carry out its own less melodramatic, but more effective measure against Assange, removing him from the embassy on 11 April 2019 after a new Ecuador government had revoked his asylum. He remains in Belmarsh top security prison two-and-a-half years later while the US appeals a judicial decision not to extradite him to the US on the grounds that he would be a suicide risk.
If he were to be extradited, he would face 175 years in prison. It is important, however, to understand, that only five of these would be under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, while the other 170 potential years are under the Espionage Act of 1917, passed during the height of the patriotic war fever as the US entered the First World War.
Only a single minor charge against Assange relates to the WikiLeaks disclosure in 2010 of a trove of US diplomatic cables and army reports relating to the Iraq and Afghan wars. The other 17 charges are to do with labeling normal journalistic investigation as the equivalent of spying.
As much loathing as I have for the man for evading justice for his alleged sexual assault in Sweeden by simply going into hiding in essentially plain sight, even I agree that 170 years (life in prison, really!) is too much.
First off, this seems like a good argument for selectively delaying the statute of limitations of sexual assault cases under some circumstances. In this case, though everyone knew where the man could be found, he was unavailable for prosecution for reasons uncontrollable by either the victims or the authorities trying the case. As such, I don’t think it unreasonable to have a clause in law wherein the statute of limitations for the crime should be put on hold until such a day that it is at least feasible to try the case. Though the Assange situation is a one-off, consider cases where a person flees town (or even the country) in order to avoid prosecution. Given that a person can hop on a plane and be in a nation without an extradition treaty in under 24 hours, the laws of nations really should really take this into consideration when limitation timeframes are determined.
As for the Assange charges themselves, no, he should not be in prison for 170 years for espionage.
This is a hard thing to consider knowing that the data dumps did in fact put some lives in danger. However, unless there are details that we are not privy to, this does not sound like espionage. Though I touched on an instance of Assange seemingly trying to open up a backchannel with Sean Hannity in order to undermine the Democratic Party, political favouritism is hardly espionage. Treating it as such will only set a dangerous precedent for the future.
Imagine a 2ed Trump presidency (or worse!) with this precedent woven into the fabric of American law.
Pompeo’s determination to conflate journalistic inquiry with espionage has particular relevance in Britain, because the home secretary, Priti Patel, wants to do much the same thing. She proposes updating the Official Secrets Act so that journalists, whistle-blowers and leakers could face sentences of up to 14 years in prison. A consultative paper issued in May titled Legislation to Counter State Threats (Hostile State Activity) redefines espionage as “the covert process of obtaining sensitive confidential information that is not normally publicly available”.
The true reason the scoop about the CIA’s plot to kidnap or kill Assange has been largely ignored or downplayed is rather that he is unfairly shunned as a pariah by all political persuasions: left, right and centre.
Yeah . . . don’t do that Britan. You can do much worse than Brexit and Boris Johnson. If you thought Tony Blair was bad . . .
To give but two examples, the US government has gone on claiming that the disclosures by WikiLeaks in 2010 put the lives of US agents in danger. Yet the US Army admitted in a court hearing in 2013 that a team of 120 counter-intelligence officers had failed to find a single person in Iraq and Afghanistan who had died because of the disclosures by WikiLeaks. As regards the rape allegations in Sweden, many feel that these alone should deny Assange any claim to be a martyr in the cause of press freedom. Yet the Swedish prosecutor only carried out a “preliminary investigation” and no charges were brought.
Assange is a classic victim of “cancel culture”, so demonised that he can no longer get a hearing, even when a government plots to kidnap or murder him.
I was going to ignore the mild Assange pandering in the previous paragraph, as it was mild in comparison to other instances (not to mention that the overarching topic at hand is much more pertinent).
I was going to ignore it. But then the author turned into a rape apologist.
There was only a preliminary investigation and no charges were brought . . . no fucking kidding. There were no charges because he was not even in Sweeden at the time! He left the country and evaded the charges so as not to also deal with being potentially extradited to the United States.
One can certainly point the finger of blame at the United States for causing the whole mess in the first place. And assuming that there are no details of which we are unaware, he should not have to face a lifetime in prison in the US (or elsewhere). However, he is not a victim of cancel culture. HIS VICTIMS are victims of cancel culture, you deluded moron!
Assange should not be a martyr, PERIOD. For the simple reason that in the eyes of the ideologically focused (or just the idiotic), a martyr can do no wrong. One step above the superstar status of people like Elon Musk, the martyr has the benefit of having even more wiggle room when it comes to curating their own public persona. Though the masses often stop associating human traits (both positive and negative) to both superstars and martyrs, martyrs often are assumed as altruistic strictly on account of the principles n which they stand for.
I get it. There was a time back in 2016 wherein I just assumed that Jullian Assange would do what was best for the American democratic process. After all, the WikiLeaks stuff was certainly (for the most part, anyway) beneficial to the public good. However, like the human that he is, he soon proved that he did have a favourite pick to win. And also like the human that he is, he used his unique position in order to help boost his chosen political affiliation. And judging by the Hannity revelation of 2018, this behaviour is less an outlier than it is the norm.
Few flawed humans have the self-control to properly bear the title of martyr. Suffice to say, Jullian Assange is NOT one of them.
In reality, Khashoggi and Assange were pursued relentlessly by the state because they fulfilled the primary duty of journalists: finding out important information that the government would like to keep secret and disclosing it to the public.
As scathing as the last paragraph was, I can’t help but agree with this sentiment.
Allowing governing officials to dictate who and what entities are considered to be journalists is dangerous, but particularly so in the face of an ever-evolving media landscape. With many forms of what can be labelled as traditional journalism either stagnant or slowly dying due to changing media consumption habits, it’s risky to assign too much rigidity to the term.
First off, because fledgling traditional journalistic entities are going to be more vulnerable to burying inconvenient stories if pressured to do so. But also because the face of journalism is changing. Information sources (and platforms) are gradually fragmenting. Though the big powerhouses of cable and print news media still dominate the scene today, I suspect that these days are numbered. There is still much to sort out, but I’m almost certain that the media landscape will be very different some 20 or 30 years from now.
Journalism isn’t (or at least, shouldn’t) be about your employer or your job title. It should be about the information that you bring to the table. Be it in front of a TV studio broadcasting to millions, or sitting behind a laptop with a current readership in the tens, journalism comes in many forms.
After the 2016 election, though the news cycle was filled with all manner of stuff to talk about, I mostly quit commenting about American politics. It wasen’t because of a lack of opinion on the matter. It was more because I (for the most part) didn’t have anything new to add to the discourse that was not already out there. This, along with the fact that as filled and fast-moving as the news cycle of the past 4 years has been, it’s been mostly childish nonsense. That is to say, I can likely walk into any grade 3 class in North America (short of the deep south) and come across a more competent assessment of current affairs than one can garner from viewing sessions of US congress.
In a nutshell, this stuff is mind-numbingly stupid. As dangerous as many aspects of this new era is, it’s just mind-numbingly fucking stupid.
The grid is straining as Texas attracts more residents and new companies. U.S. Census data shows Texas’s population – already second-largest only to California – rose by 16% in the last decade, more than all but three other states.
ERCOT operates the grid on a thin margin of reserve capacity of about 16%, or half the cushion of other U.S. grids. Last week, ERCOT put customers on edge when it said generator outages spiked to 11,000 megawatts, compared with a typical level of about 3,600 megawatts for this time of year.
The grid is straining as Texas attracts more residents and new companies. U.S. Census data shows Texas’s population – already second-largest only to California – rose by 16% in the last decade, more than all but three other states.
Bob Hall, a Republican Texas state senator, said the grid’s operating problems have not been fixed. “If I were a business right now, as desirable as Texas is, if I’m dependent on a steady supply of electricity, I’d be very concerned about coming here right now,” he said.
Let’s stop and talk about the politics of electricity so we can bring some context to this picture. It can be fairly easily summed up in 3 images.
In North America, though there are a number of regional power authorities that control various geographical regions of the continent, Canada and the United States are broken up into 5 distinct interconnections (Western, Eastern, Texas, Quebec and Alaska). Of the 5, only 3 are directly interconnected (and thus, can aid in electrical distribution). The 2 outliers are Alaska (due to its location far from the rest of the southern grid) and Texas. Like Quebec, Texas maintains its own interchange for the purpose of political clout. Having their own interconnection isolates them from many regulatory standards employed by of the rest of the grid.
Unlike the Quebec interconnection, however, Texas has few (if any) connections to the rest of the North American power grid. And unlike the Quebec interconnection (which was built with the Canadian climate in mind), most Texas utilities spared the expense of winterizing their infrastructure, failing to see a need for such measures.
After all, it’s Texas! Heat and hurricanes are the main threat.
This was the reason why the Texas interchange very nearly collapsed under the strain of the February cold snap as the rest of the North American power grid was shifting energy from and too all over the continent to cover skyrocketing demand. Failing and frozen infrastructure would cripple the entire ERCOT interchange, necessitating massive load shedding (aka shedding thousands of customers worth of demand). The longevity of the cold snap resulted in billions of dollars in property damage to homes all over Texas (because much of the equipment could not be restarted due to being frozen!). While these homes will in fact be recovered by insurance (up goes the customer’s rates!), this could have all been avoided with at minimum, winterization of the grid. Joining the Eastern and Western interconnections would also be great, but not necessarily life or death.
Yes. The billions of dollars and the catastrophe (not to mention the lives lost) were completely preventable. Yet billions of dollars and 7 months later, little has changed.
Bob Hall, a Republican Texas state senator, said the grid’s operating problems have not been fixed. “If I were a business right now, as desirable as Texas is, if I’m dependent on a steady supply of electricity, I’d be very concerned about coming here right now,” he said.
Can you afford to shutter (and potentially sustain property damage) during what would otherwise be just a bitterly cold period in nearly any other part of the country?
* * *
With that out of the way, we can now get back on track.
Larry Elder Claims “Fraud” Before California Even Publishes Recall Results
The California recall election results have not yet been tabulated or released to the public — yet the leading Republican challenger in the race has already pushed discredited and errant claims of fraud in the election, disputing a loss that hasn’t even officially happened yet.
Republican candidate Larry Elder, whom many see as the leading GOP choice to replace Newsom should he lose the confidence of voters in the recall, has so far refused to say whether he will accept the election results. Elder’s campaign, however, is already prognosticating his loss — and without evidence of any kind, they are blaming fraud for Newsom’s win.
The last time I heard the name Larry Elder was when I was listening to Dave Rubin interview him about something years ago. I think it was this interview, but it could have been before that too. It’s been years since I’ve taken Dave Rubin with any seriousness.
Either way, I wish that had been the last time I heard his name (either name, really). But that is not to be.
Instead, we all have to deal with a cringeworthy video of Dave Rubin faking (?) a hot mic reaction to Larry Elder’s loss. And we have Elder himself declaring the results of the election fraudulent before the counting of the ballets had even been completed.
While this instance of the new Republican normal from here on out (really, November of 2020 on out) is particularly idiotic in Elder’s failure to even attempt to hide the scheme that he is pulling, this is nonetheless what we now have to look forward too.
A public that has been conditioned to believe the nonsensical. And a party filled to the brim with radicals and pragmatists that are ready and willing to trade in their credibility for everlasting political clout.
Mind numbingly fucking stupid.
On the bright side, however, now you know a little more about Texas than you did before. Knowledge to remember the next time either a cold snap or a prolonged heatwave sends ERCOT into a panic, causing much misery (if not death) for citizens caught in the crossfire of the State’s unregulated pro-business status quo.
Today, I will tackle an interesting question that has come up in the public discourse within Canada recently. Given the recent discovery of yet more mass graves containing hundreds of unidentified murdered indigenous children, is it a time to be celebrating a nation built on genocide?
Though I know full well what the reactionary response to this question will be (let the latest Cancel Culture hysteria begin!), there is an interesting case to be made when it comes to those of us unconcerned with blindly protecting mindless patriotic tradition and pageantry. Do proponents of cancellation of the holiday for this year have a point?
Though there are no doubt hundreds (if not more) of articles covering this subject available, I will focus on 1 from CTV Winnipeg for the sake of simplicity. This is an opinion piece, after all.
But, let us begin.
Movement calls for cancellation of Canada Day celebrations in Manitoba
WINNIPEG — A movement is calling for the cancellation of all Canada Day celebrations in the wake of the discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential school sites.
Gerry Shingoose, a residential school survivor, took to Twitter to call out the celebrations earlier in June.
“I’m asking that you wake up,” Shingoose, who was wearing a shirt reading ‘CancelCanadaDay,’ said in a video posted to social media.
“I’m going to be wearing it on Canada Day. It’s Cancel Canada (Day) and no pride in genocide.”
With the discovery of hundreds of unmarked children’s graves at former residential schools in B.C. and Saskatchewan, some communities are not celebrating Canada Day.
Cities in New Brunswick have cancelled plans and earlier this month Victoria did the same.
In Manitoba, the Shamattawa First Nation is going one step further.
“I don’t think this year is a year to celebrate,” said Shamattawa Chief Eric Redhead.
Redhead said his community will not celebrate Canada Day, as a way to honour the children who never made it home from the residential schools. All Canadian flags in the community have been taken down.
“Those flags that we’ve taken down will not go back up as long as I’m Chief—until the government recognizes the residential school system as an act of genocide.”
The first thing I will note from this is its nature as a request. No one is demanding that Canadians do anything. It is more of a “please consider this before. . . ” situation. This sentence being for the patriotic hysterics that will no doubt latch onto this for all the wrong reasons.
As for my own opinion on the matter, I am not in disagreement with the sentiment. I find the concept of patriotism and absolute pride in one’s nation as problematic, to begin with, so frankly I can go either way. While I am in favour of communities making their own decisions on this matter, I don’t feel negatively toward communities that go ahead with celebrations regardless. I feel this way because people have the right to boycott or protest such celebrations. And I feel this way because the Canadian Government is not the only responsible party in this genocide (though it was certainly the enabler).
Lacking in this CTV article is any mention of the role of the Catholic Church in these murders and cover-ups. Not only has the Catholic Church gotten away with its crimes nearly in their entirety (only having to issue a toothless apology), but they have not had to pay a penny towards victims of their abuse. Unlike the Canadian Government. Indeed, Canada has been WAY too slow in dealing with this dark legacy, but unlike the Catholic Church, they have at least started down the road.
I used to jokingly say that the Catholic Church was the biggest organized crime organization on the face of the earth. Back then, it was based on the ease in which the hierarchy made pedophiles in their ranks disappear like the cash in the collection plates (Sometimes right into sovereign diplomatic protection of Vatican City!). Though I once called the Catholic Church the biggest organized crime organization on earth, I missed the fact that they are also both the worst AND the most legally sanctioned. Say what you will about mafias, gangs, syndicates and triad’s spanning the globe. . . all of these eventually have setbacks and fall. Quite the contrast to the Catholic Church (an organization that I will now call Big Catholic), which has naved faced any pushback from any governing body.
Hence, I say Invade The Vatican (#InvadeTheVatican). If they won’t pay up and/or fess up, then let’s use the world’s military might for a good cause for once.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about Canada Day Friday.
“I think all of us need to aspire and work hard to get to the point where everyone across this country will be able to celebrate fully,” said Trudeau.
Dare I say it . . . what the FUCK are you talking about?!
Granted, I suppose that answer was a lose-lose no matter how you slice it. I can only imagine how the PC’s and the Trudeau-haters would react to him denouncing Canada Day celebrations (even if just for this year). I don’t think I could handle the sheer volume of stupid.
Premier Brian Pallister said people should dedicate themselves to reconciliation, but not by stopping Canada Day festivities.
“I don’t think denying Canada Day celebrations is a respectful way for us to move forward,” Pallister said. “I think we should celebrate our country but celebrate it with its warts too.”
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he will celebrate Canada Day with his family, but not without reflection.
“I’ll also be taking a moment to pause and reflect on how we can strengthen our community and live up to those ideals that we all hold dear,” said Bowman.
Yet compared to those 2 replies, Trudeau’s seems not half bad.
1.) To Brian Pallister (Manitoba’s Premier):
I’m not sure that even I approve of viewing a cultural genocide as a wart to be celebrated. Oy vey.
Let’s acknowledge this dark past and push for solutions to help make things right for everyone affected. There is a time and a place for noting celebrations, but this isn’t it.
2.) To Brian Bowman (Winnipeg’s Mayor):
Frankly, what does that even mean? We will celebrate Canada day, but not without reflection?
I suppose I should extend the same consideration to these 2 that I gave Trudeau. Though I suspect Brian Bowman would likely be more apt to cancelling Canada Day festivities than our conservative Premier, I can also imagine the backlash that such a decision would cause. With everyone already being on edge about the province being in code red since last October . . . oh boy!
Nonetheless, the 3 takes still instill disappointment.
This concludes the CTV article, and my take on this really.
Having no interest in patriotism, to begin with, I am open to whatever decision my (and any) community comes to in regards to this matter. If celebrations (Covid regulations permitting of course) are to go forward, fine by me. If it is decided that the opposite should occur, also fine by me. After all, no one can stop individuals and families that want to celebrate from doing so. And no one can stop people from protesting the celebration of Canada Day at this time.
Today’s post is, by my standards, low-hanging fruit. If I told you that writing this didn’t bring about a healthy dose of joy to my day, I would be lying. It would be like seeing live footage of Jason Kenny or Donald Trump slipping on a banana peel and falling on their ass.
If you ain’t laughing, you’re either delusional or full of shit (probably both). But anyway, on with the show.
Just as Justin Trudeau seems to have finally gotten the national vaccination program onto a similar trajectory as Joe Biden’s (as evidenced by my recent retrieval of my first Pfizer shot a week ago), the 2 factions of the Canadian Conservative political sphere appear to be embroiled in a spat of sorts. Andrew told the teacher that Max was being a naughty boy. Or as it were, the Progressive Conservatives told the media that the Peoples Party were being racist jackasses.
Oh, I know. It’s about as surprising as burning one’s tongue after a forgotten refill of hot tea.
People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier once discounted NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s chances of winning a seat in the House of Commons by saying he’d “never get elected with that rag on his head,” according to an affidavit filed recently in an Ottawa court case.
In a separate affidavit, however, Bernier says that he’s not a racist and that the affidavit is the only eyewitness account of him “supposedly saying something racist” filed by the lawyer for political strategist Warren Kinsella.
Damn that fake news media for spinning this into a story that it isn’t! I’m not actually racist! I just happened to say something that sounds incredibly racist and only that one time!
What the hell, bro?!
For the sake of argument, I have to acknowledge that it is possible to say something incredibly offensive yet NOT intend it to be offensive. For example, if I were to decide to start publicly rapping almost any song by Lil Uzi Vert or Lil Tjay, it’s safe to say that AT BEST, most of the audience would be horrified. Should someone happen to be recording and passing it off to social media, my ass is cancelled. Something that is rather interesting to think about considering how much hip-hop culture crosses cultural divides. After all, I would not have a CLUE who either Lil Uzi OR Lil Tjay were without non-black zoomer influences. It has never been my scene, but who am I to dictate taste. After all, this music may well do more to enlighten teenagers on black cultural issues than any educational program could ever hope to. Indeed, despite all the instances of Bitches and the N-word with an A.
Another character that comes to mind in such a context is no stranger to notoriety. That is comedic legend, Doug Stanhope. Though I came to love the man on account of his complete destruction of Dr. Drew Pinsky back in the day (they have since buried the hatchet), he mentions in a bit wherein he came into some hot water for saying quote “I hate the Jews”.
Okay . . . maybe not the best example for this context LOL. There is no denial coming from Doug about what he has said in the past. He owns his speech with far more integrity than pretty much any person that I can think of. Despite drawing many cues from the likes of Stanhope, Carlin and other comedians like them, even I can’t claim the kind of integrity that comes from pretty much complete disconnection from the social structure. As much as I value my freedoms of speech and expression more than the average right-wing jackass who is just looking out for self-preservation (if you think they care about liberal ideals, you are delusional), I still have to work.
While I am indeed envious of the people who make full use of their free-range societal status (for lack of a better way to describe it), and I wish I had such power, it is what it is.
Either way, whether the example is rapping lyrics on a hot mic or having something you said taken out of context, neither is the case when it comes to Maxime Bernier. He said EXACTLY what he said, and there is no denying the context. Sounds to me like another jackass trying to hide their bigotry behind the Cancel Culture movement.
Going back to the CBC article:
Bernier said Kinsella was hired to paint him and the People’s Party of Canada as racist to draw support away from his fledgling party during the last election.
And I bet uncovering the source of that smoke was much easier than he thought it would be!
The allegations and counter-allegations are part of hundreds of pages of affidavits and exhibits filed recently in Ontario Superior Court in an acrimonious defamation suit that pits Bernier against Kinsella.
In October 2019, it was reported that Kinsella’s Daisy Group had been hired in the months prior to the 2019 federal election to mount Project Cactus, a campaign to draw attention to xenophobic or racist comments made by People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidates or their supporters.
At the time, a source said that Daisy Group had been hired by the Conservative Party of Canada. In a recent affidavit, however, Kinsella said the client was a lawyer who was a member of the Conservative Party — not the party itself.
Of course, Andrew had absolutely no knowledge of this incredibly convenient plan by a member of the ranks to spend their own money in the interest of the party. Sure, no party funding ever changed hands, because that would look really bad. I mean . . . be highly unethical!
I would laugh if someone happened to snap a photo of a stuffed envelope being exchanged at a Taco Bell or 7/11. Either way, the CPC has a brown smudge on its shoes.
In February 2020, Bernier sued Kinsella and Daisy Group for defamation, alleging that the campaign damaged his reputation.
In an affidavit filed by Kinsella’s lawyer dated April 15, former Conservative communications adviser Matthew Conway describes what he said was an incident involving Bernier in February 2018, when Bernier was still a Conservative Party critic.
Conway said he was standing with Bernier in the House of Commons’ foyer, waiting for him to go on television to comment on the budget, when Singh walked by.
“When Mr. Singh entered the foyer, Mr. Bernier said, referring to Mr. Singh, ‘Il ne se fera jamais élire avec ce torchon sur sa tête,'” wrote Conway. He translated the phrase into English as, “He’ll never get elected with that rag on his head.”
The affidavit claims that, a few minutes later, Bernier asked what Singh was “doing with that knife,” referring to Singh’s kirpan — the sacred ceremonial dagger that observant Sikhs are supposed to wear at all times.
“Both of these comments made me nervous,” Conway wrote in his affidavit. “Not only did I consider them to be offensive and racist, but I was concerned, in my role as a communications adviser, that members of the press who were nearby may have overheard the comments.”
Forget a mere smudge. They are knee-deep in it now!
In an affidavit dated May 3, Bernier calls into question Conway’s account.
“This is the only eyewitness account of me supposedly saying something racist ever offered by Mr. Kinsella, and it comes from someone connected to the party that paid Kinsella for ‘Project Cactus’ and stands to benefit if Mr. Kinsella is vindicated,” Bernier wrote. “It is the only eyewitness claim of me making a racist statement that Kinsella has included in his motion material.”
While I agree that this comment is certainly an inconvenient truth for Maxime and a convenient truth for the CPC, Max didn’t have to say what he did. he allegedly did, however. Thus, good luck.
One thing we should remember, however, is how Maxime came to leave the Conservative Party. He was not ejected because of this incident. The incident in question occurred in February 2018, and he would not resign from the CPC (and found the Peoples Party) until August. That was despite THIS happening in the meantime.
Winnipeggers are condemning Conservative MP Maxime Bernier for using the naming of a community park in South Pointeas a way to criticize “extreme multiculturalism.”
In a tweet, the former party leadership contender suggested it was an odd dichotomy that Victoria recently removed a statue of Canada’s founder, and Winnipeg recently dedicated a park to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the modern state of Pakistan.
Bernier also argued the partition of India, which led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947, killed nearly one million people.
His remarks came Tuesday night, after Bernier’s initial series of tweets on the weekend were roundly disparaged for stoking racist and xenophobic tensions.
* * *
Scheer said in a statement late Wednesday that Bernier doesn’t speak for his party on any issue.
“I disagree with politicians on the left and the right when they use identity politics to divide Canadians. I will not engage in this type of politics.”
Scheer did not elaborate specifically on the tweet. A request from CBC News to both Scheer and Bernier about the Winnipeg tweet was not returned.
While I can on one hand understand why Scheer didn’t want to Cancel Bernier based merely on this opinion (however divisive), this takes on a very different tone knowing what went down in February. This was not a surprise. And arguably, had the February incident been used as a reason to purge Bernier from the party, I doubt that any but the delusional hysterics would mount the case of cancel culture run amuck.
That is not what happened though. This was inconvenient information then, and it was also safely under wraps.
Now that this lawsuit has exposed the incident, however, the lack of action by the CPC leaves them just as stained as Bernier’s PPC. Because unlike the cohort of the People’s Party (of which knew exactly what they were getting into), The Conservatives would like you to think that they are better than that. They are not the party of Donald Trump!
Yet, here they are, covered in it.
The statements made by both sides in the dispute have not yet been tested in a court of law.
While Bernier went on to lose his seat in the Quebec riding of Beauce in the 2019 election, Singh won the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South.
On the bright side, there is nothing like a healthy dose of reality to shut down the rhetoric of a bigot.
At the time, a source told CBC News that the campaign was funded by the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) — something that then-Conservative leader Andrew Scheer refused to confirm or deny.
In his affidavit dated April 15, however, Kinsella said that “Daisy was not hired by the CPC.”
“Rather, for a six-week period ending June 29, 2019, a lawyer who was a member of the CPC paid Daisy to supplement work Daisy was already doing about the PPC,” Kinsella wrote. “Daisy did not take direction from the lawyer or submit any work for his review or comment.”
By wrapping up the work by June 29 — the date after which pre-election spending would have to be declared — the money spent to hire Daisy Group did not have to be reported to Elections Canada.
In a recording of a Daisy Group meeting — which was leaked to CBC News in November 2019 by a source who attended the meeting and asked not to be named — Kinsella said “Hamish and Walsh” would start to ask what Daisy Group was delivering if they don’t start “spilling some blood.”
Hamish Marshall, who was the Conservatives’ 2019 federal election campaign manager, has a background in marketing. John Walsh, a former president of the Conservative Party who was co-chair of the 2019 election campaign, is a lawyer.
At the time, Walsh refused to comment on Daisy Group’s work on Project Cactus. Walsh did not return a phone call from CBC News this week.
Bernier’s defamation suit is seeking $325,000 in damages. In his affidavit, he encourages the court to “curb dirty political tricks.”
“My reputation suffered serious harm,” Bernier wrote, adding he needed a chance to clear his name in court so that voters will know he has “been a target of paid defamation and dirty tricks.”
Kinsella has applied to have Bernier’s defamation lawsuit thrown out, arguing it is a “strategic lawsuit against public participation” (SLAPP) suit. SLAPP suits are those used to intimidate or silence critics.
The motion to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard by the court in June.
Frankly, it would not surprise me to find out that some amount of this stuff goes on when it comes to every party (certainly with the main 2 Canadian contenders with the vast majority of the cash to fund such expeditions). While this is likely common practice, it enters us into an interesting area of both politics and life in general. Is it right to hold people of pretty much any age to account for their words or actions of years (if not decades) previous?
This is a particularly sticky issue in the age of the internet, where 2 generations now have a lifetime’s worth of both publicly and privately shared information and media (photos and videos), all of which is essentially immortal. Kids and teenagers grow up and forget about old social media accounts, platforms are bought and sold and change names. But much of the information remains somewhere (often just a search engine query away) and will likely remain as long as humanity keeps the lights on.
In our various stages of life and maturity, many of us go through many phases of existence. We all likely said, did and believed things when we were young that were dumb, questionable, embarrassing or possibly even socially detrimental (whatever the standard we are using (be it today’s or any). Thus, assuming you have changed your ways since college, how much weight should those words or actions have in regards to 30 or 40 years old you?
It’s an interesting question to ponder because while it may well keep otherwise great candidates out of positions of power (right when we need them most), it can also pose career limitations. It is becoming common practice for managers and Human Resources personnel to inspect the social media feeds of potential candidates as part of the screening process.
However, privacy hardly seems to be the issue when it comes to the Maxime Bernier lawsuit. If anything, this information would seem to be far more detrimental to the Conservative Party given that they sat on it for all this time. Not to mention that the language is not only on-brand for Bernier but also within his previously demonstrated character (given the previous publicly available tweets). I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find more people with which he has shared these views.
In closing, I’d be surprised if this goes anywhere. While I like the idea of doing something to keep past mistakes in judgement from bringing hindrance to future endeavours, I sense this isn’t the case. The pattern of behaviour has already been established.
A far more interesting example would be the blackface photograph of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that earned him a place in notoriety alongside Rudi Juliani in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
As we wind through the final day of the first (and hopefully, LAST!) term of the Donald Trump Presidency, I have come across some good news from President-Elect Biden’s campaign. Despite the Trump agenda of the past 3 years (basically a fire sale on the commons for the purpose of drilling. A fitting metaphor with much of the commons either on fire, or already burned up) AND Biden’s past corporate affiliations, his administration plans on cancelling the permit of the Keystone XL pipeline.
To put it another way, it looks like the protests at Standing Rock may not have been a waste of time & energy for all attendees, after all. To be fair, they already won a legal victory in 2018 after a federal judge ordered a new sweeping environmental assessment of the project. Nonetheless, cancelling the permit to built makes the protests a success.
The words “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit” were reportedly listed on a briefing note shared by the Biden transition team with U.S. stakeholders as part of a roundup of Biden’s planned day one executive actions. CTV News also reviewed the briefing documents, and a source familiar with Biden’s thinking told Reuters that the President-elect is planning to cancel the pipeline as one of his first acts.
“The Biden administration halting the Keystone XL pipeline is a momentous sign that he is listening, taking action and making good on his promises to people and the planet,” Kendall Mackey, 350.org Keep It In the Ground campaign manager, said in response to the news. “This decision to halt the Keystone XL pipeline on day one in office sets a precedent that all permitting decisions must pass a climate test and respect Indigenous rights.”
Mackey expressed hope that Biden would also end the equally controversial Dakota Access and Line 3 pipelines.
It appears that I was mistaken in my initial assumption of Keystone XL = Dakota Access. In which case, yes . . . keep up the opposition. Because your pleas are no longer falling on deaf ears.
The Keystone XL pipeline was first announced in 2005, CBC News reported. The pipeline is being built to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day, stretching about 1,200 miles from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska. From there it would connect with the original Keystone pipeline that carries oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
The pipeline has long been opposed by environmental and Indigenous groups, who are concerned about its climate impacts and the potential for leaks to harm wildlife and pollute drinking water, CTV News reported. Protests prompted the Obama administration to rescind the permit in 2015, but President Donald Trump reversed this decision with an executive order in early 2017.
Biden’s decision to once again rescind the permit is not surprising. His advisers have said in the past that he would move to block it again, according to HuffPost. Biden’s campaign has vocally opposed the pipeline since May, according to CTV News.
Even if this is a move to solidify the Obama/Biden presidential legacies in the eyes of voters, I’ll take it. It’s an opening for leverage on the other 2 (and future) pipeline projects!
Though this is generally considered to be good news by many, it’s rattling cages in areas of Canada that stood to benefit from the pipeline. To no one’s surprise, really.
The news has sparked opposition in Canada.
“I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a Twitter statement. “Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-U.S. relationship and undermine U.S. national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future.”
Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said the country still stood behind the pipeline and that it fit within Canada’s climate plans, CBC News reported.
“The Government of Canada continues to support the Keystone XL project and the benefits that it will bring to both Canada and the United States,” Hillman said.
Naturally, Jason Kenny was caught flat-footed by this proposed re-instated action by the US. However, this reaction is something that Canadians outside of the bitumen delusion bubble (which is rampant in the western provinces) have come to expect. Alberta, in particular, has always hedged most of its economic bets on its petroleum sector. This HAS been a successful strategy when the global price for a barrel of oil was high enough to offset the costs of processing the bitumen into something usable. However, the dark side of the strategy always reared its head with the dive of global oil prices. People would be thrown out of work, and the most vulnerable in the oil royalty dependant provinces suffered budget cuts in areas like healthcare and education. The problem often only being made worse by conservative governments attempting to reverse the decline by offering tax incentives for corporations to come to Alberta.
While I have written my predictions for the Alberta oil sector before, what matters more here is the lacking of benefits that Keystone XL (and any pipeline) would bring to anyone outside of its construction crew, and (later) it’s suppliers and owners. Though the pipeline indeed provides temporary construction jobs, it will only create 35 permanent jobs after construction is completed.
A State Department report on the pipeline that was issued under the Obama administration found that there would be 3,900 direct construction jobs if it was built over one year, or 1,950 if the work was spread over two years.
Once the pipeline opens it would require only 35 full-time permanent jobs to run it, and 15 full-time temporary jobs, according to the state department report. TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline, does not dispute those numbers.
The company and other supporters argue that the pipeline would create jobs indirectly for companies that sell products and services used to build the pipeline. The State Department report estimates that there would be a total of 42,000 indirect jobs created, with a total of $2 billion in wages. That comes to an average of about about $47,000 in wages per job.
TransCanada also pointed out that there would be benefits beyond the jobs and wages, including “significant property tax revenues, as well as sales and use and other tax revenues, to counties and states along the proposed project route.”
Notice that most of the sweet selling numbers involve the construction of the pipeline. There is a temporary gold rush, but once it’s over, the only beneficiaries seem to be the local governments that will be collecting taxation from the footprint of the pipeline.
Leaving little thought to the farmers, water users and anyone else downstream of a future potential breach in the pipeline. Given how companies are stingy with maintenance and replacement of ageing infrastructure as it is (and we have not even seen a large dive in the price of oil yet!), a completed Keystone XL isn’t something to look forward to for anyone that likes benzene free waterways.
Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, urged Canadians to follow suit and move away from the pipeline, which he likened to “beating [a] dead horse,” CBC News reported.
“The Biden administration offers us a fresh start on addressing the climate crisis with a willing partner, so let’s not blow it by pushing pipelines,” Stewart said.
We now live in an era where even the oil barons of old can not ignore the direction of both public sentiment and innovation. To quote Elizabeth May, the former leader of Canada’s Green Party, Oil is Dead. While the overall future of petroleum is infinite (since few substances can, or will, replace it for things like plastics and other everyday needs), petroleum as an energy source has numbered days. Though the status quo of today’s daily oil usage may have 2 or 3 decades left, that’s hardly a long-term bet for a region. And if all this region can produce is sub-standard tar which needs to be cooked into a usable product, the tarsands will come to its day of reckoning long before the rest of the oil industry eventually stabilizes into a new normal.
So, again, I agree. Assuming Biden follows his word, this is a good chance for Canada to try something outside of the box of obsolete resource extraction. While dwellers of the Western provinces won’t want to accept that their easy way of life is gone (and never was sustainable, to begin with!), we HAVE to find a new way. Before it’s too late.
It’s over. The first term of President donald trump’s presidency is now in it’s final stage. Though it took a few more days than any of us were comfortable with, the nation has spoken and the message to POTUS Cheeto is clear.
I’ll let President Biden do the talking instead of having a captioned image over donald’s photo simply because i’m certain that most of the people reading this are sick of that face. It was a face I couldn’t stand on television, and it’s a face that I hope to never have to think about again.
What seems like a decade ago now, I wrote THIS in the leadup to the 2016 election. I (much like the rest of the world) was under the impression that trump would lose and the Republicans would be in for a hell of a mess after the trump tornado tore through their party.
Dave Rubin (host of one of my favorite online shows The Rubin Report) lives by the mantra that is, the best way to fight bad ideas is to expose them to the spotlight. If we look at this in the context of this entire election, it is brilliantly accurate.
What a different time it was. Or more, what a naive fool I was.
Starting with Donald Trump.
Despite running for president many times in the past (gotta love free advertising when the media hands it over without question), being under the spotlight as Republican candidate has severely damaged his image. Rather than hanging around the unchallenged depths of our minds as a business man and reality TV star, he was forced onto center stage. As was his long list of dirty laundry and shortcomings. While it’s debatable what will happen after the cameras go away, I suspect that the Trump brand and name may not ever be the same.
For me personally, what happens to his business is irrelevant. What is more important, is that he will likley NEVER get taken seriously in politics ever again. The Trump tornado not only wrecked the RNC for the foreseeable future, but also his own house. But unlike the RNC (which will eventually figure it’s way out of this mess), I doubt Trump will ever fully mitigate his disaster.
While I am tempted to chastise myself over this flawed analysis, I am now more inclined to think that I just got the timeline wrong.
Before President trump single-handedly tore to shreds every single aspect of the Trump brand that he had been carefully curating in the media for decades, THAT was the image the vast majority of non-ex Trump organization employees or contractors had of the man. Though he left a trail of court cases and publicly notable incidents exposing his shortcomings in the years leading up to the 2016 campaign, few outsides of the media had such knowledge of the incidents.
He was a former television celebrity made famous by a series of television shows that no longer air. Thinking back as far as 2013 or 2014, I had little reason to even contemplate the man as anything but a cultural reference. Just another part of the American and Western pop cultural zeitgeist. Something that is interesting to consider now, given the 20/20 hindsight of the present. America’s businessman turned race-baiter also manifested that face in the nation in which’s electoral college would grant him leadership. But more on that later.
When it comes to the Trump brand, I don’t think it an understatement to say that the company is fucked.
Before exposing his true beliefs back in 2015, he had his name and brand recognition. After he locked down the nomination and then swept his way into office, he had that position in which to use for his own enrichment. Whether it was pouring millions of taxpayer dollars (or campaign donations!) into Trump-branded properties, abusing the use of taxpayer-funded security detail and transportation (like the Airforce 1 747’s) for personal use, or taking bribes from entities (foreign and domestic) though his businesses, the gravy train was good while it lasted.
But it’s over now. Soon the tsunami of taxpayer funding into Trump-branded entities will cease. All the love and cash that he received from entities foreign and domestic will cease alongside his powerful status. And now that his previous history has been completely obliterated on a global scale, there is no going back. If the Trump organization isn’t filing for bankruptcy by the time the 2024 campaign kicks off, I’ll be very surprised. Really, it will be something if the Trump organization outlasts the last vestiges of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Do I think that he will ever face any penalty for the crimes he committed either before his campaign, during the campaign or during his term?
I have no idea.
I once joked that if he lost, he would likely hop aboard his personal 757 and head out to Russia, never to be seen again. Well, never to be seen in the US or in a nation with a US extradition treaty again, anyway. Considering that he recently joked about possibly having to leave the country if he loses, my prediction might not be as off the wall as I thought.
Which brings us to the Republican party. The GOP.
I would like to think that 4 years of Hurricane Trump tweets and inflammatory (not to mention false) rhetoric will set the party back years. I like the thought of a Biden win exposing every single republican politician sucking off the president as the opportunistic parasites that they are. I would like to think that people like ted cruz and Bitch mcConnell will look the part of fools, now tasked with a party that has become so dishevelled that even QAnon believers now have a home therein.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia who has repeatedly expressed belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory, was elected to the House of Representatives Tuesday night. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado who has said that she hopes QAnon is real because “it only means America is getting stronger and better,” won her contest too. Come January, almost a million and a half Americans will be represented in Congress by people who support a community bent on proving that President Donald Trump is waging a holy war against a high-powered cabal of child traffickers and blood-drinking Satanists that includes prominent Democratic politicians and Hollywood celebrities. This worldview is vehemently anti-media, anti-science, and—despite its claims of patriotism—antidemocratic, because it often calls for Trump to lead a military coup against the “deep state,” and to execute political enemies and “child-killers.” The FBI has deemed QAnon a domestic-terrorism threat. Trump refused to denounce it throughout his reelection campaign.
On one hand, it would seem that the path forward for the opposing democrats just got a WHOLE lot easier for 2024 and beyond. The GOP decided to back Trump right to the very end, and have already stated that they will block any and every attempt that President Biden makes in terms of passing legislation. The GOP is beyond even bothering to HIDE their desire to win by any means necessary, so all the democrats have to do is not play into the antics.
If democrats keep the pressure up against the most inhumane political party on planet earth and make sure voters know what they are doing for them (along with making sure that voters know who is preventing the actions from going forward), they will have it made. But most importantly, they must NOT squander this chance that a record number of voters in the US have given them.
They must not take the millions of voters for granted, AGAIN. Because there may not BE a next time.
At this point, it is questionable how things are going to proceed if potus trump decides to break centuries of decorum and fail to concede to President Biden. Some have thrown around the potential of civil war, which is more than a little terrifying from the standpoint of this Canadian. It feels a bit like being in Sudetenland in September 1938.
Fine . . . maybe a LITTLE hyperbolic. None the less, I’ve never liked the feel of life sandwiched between a teetering superpower and a probable dictatorship.
So begins the end of 2020. Or as most people are likely to think . . .finally! Why can’t we just skip all the way to June and be done with it! Hell, November! More Christmas, less COVID!
As much of a yawn as the movie Click was back in 2006, I would love to have that clicker right about now.
Either way, POTUS Biden is not an excuse for either the democrats OR democratic voters to go back to sleep. And I am not talking about the disenfranchised minority voters that came out in droves for Biden this time around (and who may well vanish again if they are overlooked yet again), either. I’m talking about the more privileged leftists among the American electorate. Those with enough privilege to actually think that a position like “Bernie or no one!” is reasonable. And of course, those who just don’t want to be a part of it. Because politics is silly/boring/whatever the excuse.
But of course, this is but half of the picture. It’s hardly fair to scapegoat voters for failing to support a party that fails or disengages them. Which is where the Democratic party comes in. Not only will the same old conformist “We know best! Stop confronting me!” boomer-esk status quo attitude no longer do, progressive ideas and ideals MUST also be given more than mere lip service. The continued successes of candidates like Bernie Sanders and AOC are all the evidence one needs in proving that point. Unless we want to talk about 2016 again. Or 2020 without the horrific mismanagement of Covid 19 by the former president-elect.
Sorry, Joe. You are definitely a better choice than the orange alternative. But that isn’t saying much.
Prove me wrong. I would love to look back on this in 2024 or 2028 and see how wrong I was about the DNC, DCCC and every other un-democratic entity that makes that party tick. However, being that past behaviour tends to be a good predictor of future behaviour, it’s hard not to look at this through the mindset of a cynic. As a species, we don’t have much time left to alter our behaviour in order to mitigate the worst of the climatic chaos scenarios. And this is not even considering the multitude of other factors causing pain and suffering in various human populations typically ignored by American politics. A return to this status quo would make the Democratic party the 2ed biggest danger to human life on earth. Complacency may end the republic, and possibly even human life.
As much as trump has been a fixture in the news cycle for WAY too long now, I am less fearful of him than I was 4 years ago. He may have a network of cronies and family, but there is hardly any intelligence to be found in that crew. If they are not getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar, then Borat is catching them with their hands down their pants.
If this reference is lost to time, here are a couple reminders:
I am somewhat fearful of many Trump supporters. That combination of armed, unstable, passionate ineptitude is dangerous to anyone in their immediate proximity who fits their profile of a danger to freedom. Those people may well make things interesting for the next few months. However, unlike the infamous Q from QAnon infamy, I have little such fear of donald himself.
What I do fear, however, is this entirely new zeitgeist that he has stirred up in the American population, and in the world at large. This newly festering disease of fascism and authoritarianism that is increasingly bubbling to the surface. This gash may well have been always here, but the increased saturation of social media over the past 12 or so years looks to have helped completely tear the bandaid off.
Like the mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities (mainly consisting of sub-prime mortgages and loans) that many everyday people didn’t understand until they torpedoed the world economy back in 2008, I feel the same about many social media algorithms which are in use on platforms today. They served their purpose as money makers for their respective owners. That was until the dark side of relying on a complex black box became painfully apparent. Being that sub-prime loans are prone to fluctuate, I assume that some economic factors somewhere (corporate outsourcing? instability in the markets?) begun causing people to default on loans. As this increases, so too does the interest rate, driving more insolvency. Until eventually the whole thing topples, taking one bank (and damn near all of them if not for TARP).
The algorithms are much more dangerous than these derivatives, however. Built on and feeding off of our data as mined from our interactions with various platforms, the goal is manipulation. Primarily, how to ensure that you keep interacting with Social Media platform A instead of B, C, or D. Part of this is achieved by programming applications with the same tricks used by slot machine designers. Though Silicon Valley likes to use the term gamified to describe these types of platforms, manipulative is just as fitting an adjective.
Though some apps are worse than others (in my experience, Youtube, Facebook, Quora, Snapchat and Tik Tok are the worst in terms of eliciting addictive behaviour from me. In that order), they are all being designed for this purpose. Whilst Snapchat and Tik Tok addiction are indeed problematic (particularly for younger users), I am far more fearful when it comes to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Platforms that appease users by way of using their data to find (and recommend) the best content to keep your eyes in their ecosystem. A few years ago, my biggest fear of this was the complete isolation of people from any and all information aside from whatever their chosen niche was. Be it Dungeons and Dragons, knitting or cats, I feared that people may become completely blind to issues of the macro (such as climate change), let alone issues at the local level (such as mayoral elections).
Considering the unrestrained and likely exponential growth in terms of the effectiveness of the various AI-driven algorithms driving today’s social media platforms, I fear that we may be seeing big tech unleashing onto our democratic systems what the big banks unleashed on the global economy 12 years ago. Underregulated, misunderstood and highly profitable machines with an Achilles heel that is not apparent until after the damage is already done.
Either way, it’s time to close this post off. Though this has likely come across as the rantings of a hopelessly disenfranchised cynic, I will close this on a positive note. As down as future prospects tend to get me if I give them too much focus, I find much hope and solace in the up and coming generations. Some of it comes from my own millennial cohort, but much of it comes from the Zoomers of generation Z.
Often written off by older generations in charge of political power worldwide, there often more mature and knowledgeable rebuttals to the often lazy and nonsensical arguments of the adults has served as a huge source of personal inspiration to this cranky cynic. Instead of being stuck somewhere in-between the dark clouds of my past and the dark clouds of some unknown and yet to materialize future, they give me a reason to hope. Having been born far enough out from the Baby Boomers to be largely free of their restrictive ideological thinking processes, and having grown up with enough exposure to the internet to know both its benefits AND it’s downsides, zoomers tend to be far more aware, knowledgeable, and unafraid to make their stances known. Something I love to see, whether it’s high school kids demolishing the NRA in the media, or a young girl from Sweeden showing more competence and common sense than most of the people occupying higher offices of any kind (political OR corporate).
In going forward, I certainly HOPE the democrats don’t return to business as usual, because I fear for a nation led by a dangerous psychopath that is not a self-serving narcissistic moron. Whether Trump decides to run for another term in 2024, or another populist shows up in 2024, 2028 (who knows!), the fate of a nation and a species may be at the feet of the Democratic party. A prospect that is fucking TERRIFYING.
Oh yeah . . . I forgot . . .positive lol.
On that note, I do return to my growing fondness and faith in the Zoomers, with more and more of them maturing into voting age. With their numbers comes increased power to hopefully steer the US (and the world) into some form of preparation for . . . EVERYTHING. Or to put it another way, the only way is to force our change. Because the beneficiaries of now are unaffected by the future consequences of their actions (they will be long gone). As opposed to us, who may well be rendered a premature abortion on account of the anti-human policies of the ironically pro-life professing right.
Enjoy the victory. But keep up the fight.
If not for you, then for everyone who can’t help themselves.
My country is becoming an ever-growing disappointment for me of late. I say now, of late. But I can’t even really put my finger on when this divisiveness really started becoming stark.
Certainly, after Justin Trudeau was elected. Among some I know, suddenly the main problem was no longer Obama setting up FEMA camps in Headingly, Manitoba. FEMA, not a Canadian thing? I know. The regurgitators of this information fail to grasp such nuances.
There must have been a bit of a lull in the crazy because nothing sticks out overtly. Then Potus #45 comes storming into the worldwide political scene. For the previously mentioned crazy, the man may as well have been the second coming of Jesus. Though they are blatantly homophobic in typical prairie fashion, they would likely give the Donald a hummer if presented with the opportunity. And I ain’t talking about the GM gas guzzler, either.
In this country (or at least on the prairies), Trudeau didn’t have to do anything to earn the ire of the prairie provinces. Even before SNC Lavalin, the simple act of being born was all it took for many of these people. A generation that grew up with parents that hated Pierre, therefore, fuck JT.
Many of these people (when asked why they hate Trudeau so much) could invariably only spit out Facebook memes.
He’s letting in too many immigrants. The carbon tax. Veterans. All the typical talking points one expects to find in a foreign created toxic meme meant for our ageing Boomer populace. People ill-equipped to deal with the misinformation cesspool that is the internet.
Another sign of the times . . . I have never heard so many people casually call for the assassination of a political leader before. I never heard it for Chretien (though I was quite young). Not For Harper. Only Justin Trudeau seems worthy of this horrifying badge of honour on the part of whiny ageing conservatives.
And amusingly enough . . . the SAME people that casually drop this shit (even openly in public) also complain about censorship. You can’t say anything anymore without SOMEONE getting offended.
Uh . . . the power of privilege to shove heads up keesters.
Getting back to the state of the nation overall, however, we come to Canada’s petulant child. Alberta.I don’t recall when this province first started losing it’s fucking shit, but now, the dung is flying in all directions.
Alberta want pipeline, Alberta better get pipeline or else EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HOW DARE YOU TAKE OUR HARD EARNED EQUALIZATION PAYMENTS YOU SMARMY UNGRATEFUL DEADBEATS!!!!!!! CANADA IS NOTHING WITHOUT OUR LANDLOCKED OILLY GOO!!!!
Whilst not everyone from the province is driving a coal roller or Jason Kenny, it’s hard to speak to even a smart Albertan who hasn’t had this mental disease warp their faculties. If Alberta isn’t the center of the Canadian universe now (and forevermore!), then there is no getting around getting the oil flowing. To Asia, to the east coast, to the US (but not optimally, even though they have the infrastructure to cook the bitumen). We just need to build the pipeline and they will come.
I suppose much of this lies from the accidental election of an NDP government for one term. Another case of a leader being damned no matter what she did.
Either way, no matter what, we now find ourselves in quite a situation. A growing contingent of the prairie provinces wants to separate from Canada. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC want to go migtow. I’m not sure about the territories since the pictures of future Canada #2 often don’t make that explicit. I’m not sure if it’s an oversight (some guy in St. Petersberg forgot Canada had 3 territories?), but it seems a mighty important detail to work out. Then there is the matter of Indian reservations and North American treaty rights.
Still wanna Brexit Canada?
But enough ranting. Time to deliver the bitter truth.
Alberta is an economic powerhouse in era with high oil prices and insatiable demands. Even as short a time ago as 5 years ago, this would seem to guarantee Alberta (and the Western Canadian Select class of petroleum in general) a bright future. But times are changing. And so too are economic trends.
I sunk my teeth into this topic before, so I encourage all to take a gander. Since I have already done the work before ^^^, ill make it fairly brief.
Alberta is indeed an economic powerhouse currently. However, Alberta is also essentially operating a single-industry economy. All the eggs are in the same volatile basket. And if that basket tips over, there go all the eggs.
Not too long ago, OPEC tipped the basket over. American shale production is also giving it a good kick. And even if the price does come back up, you still have the matter of increasingly usable and long-range alternatives to fossil fuel-driven transportation.
You won’t see the elimination of all 50 to 60% of the share of oil consumption that makes up the transportation sector (including lubricants). However, even the retirement of a quarter to half of the current fossil fuel-driven fleet will make a huge difference in the overall price of oil. Which is bad for bitumen and WCS because of its heavy nature. If Canadian’s want to sell finished gasoline or diesel fuel, then we’re paying to crack it out of the bitumen. Or we sell it for dirt cheap and let someone else eat the growing cost.
It’s an unforgiving and vicious cycle that we are NOT going to win. The only solution is to follow the likes of such other oil economies as Norway and the UAE. Diversify and find a new solution.
I explored some of the long term ramifications in the paper I linked earlier. In there, I also took a stab at understanding what the future of work was going to look like. If memory serves, I was mostly thinking in a post work context. As it turns out, the post-oil sands era makes for a great time to experiment with how to deal with the post-employment era.
The package is rolling out as pressure mounts on Canada to fulfill its promise to end all subsidies to fossil-fuel producers, and as European banks flee the sector altogether.
Sweden’s central bank said Wednesday it had sold its Alberta-government issued bonds because it will no longer invest in assets held by governments or companies with large climate footprints. A day later, the European Investment Bank, the non-profit lending institution of the European Union, announced it will not invest in fossil-fuel projects after 2021.
Both decisions followed a warning from Norway’s central bank on Nov. 5 that climate risk must be considered in all assessments before investments are made.
These are not the words of some hippy-dippy environmentalists (to quote an Albertan I know). These are the biggest financiers of industry in the world.
Consider this as well:
Canada’s energy industry is reeling from the departure of massive amounts of capital, with $30 billion divested in the last three years, even as global demand for oil is forecast to grow. The International Energy Agency said this week that global demand will grow by about one million barrels a day over the next five years, but plateau by 2030 as the use of more efficient vehicles and electric cars begins to take hold.
Both the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Alberta government said this week investors need to know that Canadian oil and gas are produced more sustainably and with tougher environmental standards than similar products almost anywhere else in the world, and remain a good investment.
2030 is a hair from less than a decade from now. How is more oilsands investment a GOOD investment?!
Play the “We have better social and ecological standards” card all you want. From a pragmatic standpoint, Oilsands is done. The Betamax of the energy world.
Are there political and humanitarian problems when it comes to the mining of rare earth minerals like Cobalt and Lithium?
Yes. Recent news out of Bolivia is a great example of what can happen when a small sovereign geography wins the resource lottery. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I do consider these things. But one should also consider that anyone that makes use of any technology of today (from a smartphone or laptop, to the infotainment system in any post-2010’s era vehicle) also has blood on their hands.
Thus if you are criticizing my stance on electrics based on a faux-humanitarian stance on twitter, you are full of shit.
One more quote:
What might be most concerning to Canada’s energy workers and the economy as a whole is that natural gas is also on the Europeans’ chopping block. Liquefied natural gas, which produces fewer emissions than coal when burned for electricity, has been held up as an alternative fuel and Canada is responsible for more than one-third of new global gas projects now in development.What might be most concerning to Canada’s energy workers and the economy as a whole is that natural gas is also on the Europeans’ chopping block. Liquefied natural gas, which produces fewer emissions than coal when burned for electricity, has been held up as an alternative fuel and Canada is responsible for more than one-third of new global gas projects now in development.
Europe does not even want natural gas anymore. As for Asia (the market that Alberta wants to reach with its second pipeline to the west coast), consider the case of China. The nation has been battling to (and slowly making progress toward) reining in air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.
I now ask every Albertan to consider, where in this picture does heavy crude stand?
Why would a market that is already dealing with horrific air quality want to import more low-end fuel which will only add to it?
And if Canadian’s do pull off a miracle of finance and secure the funding for a high volume heavy crude refinery somewhere in Canada (remember that as of TODAY, it’s profitability lifespan is maybe 10 years), what of it?
China is a Paris agreement signee. Sure, it’s easy to look the other way when the emissions are dumped into the air in Canada (as opposed to mainland China). But either way, the footprint is the same.
I didn’t intend on writing about this topic, AGAIN. And after this, I am likely done. I took the time to stick my head out of the bubble to take stock of the situation, and if people stuck in the bubble can’t be bothered . . . suit yourself. The future will be filled with much less hardship if you confront it head-on (as opposed to putting one’s head up one’s ass), but suit yourself.
It looks like 2030 is a fairly key timeframe here. But whilst it seems to represent the plateau of future growth in oil and gas production, I sense that the Canadian energy sector has already crossed this threshold. In an era of dropping prices for easier to obtain streams (such as WTI), heavy streams will lose all viability much sooner.
Though there seems to be infrastructure for such fuels on the west coast, getting it there is a problem. No matter why Quebec is taking the stance that it is, I doubt it will change anytime soon. Particularly if residents and politicians are reading from the same economic tea leaves as me and the rest of the world.
As for trans-mountain . . . I think it is only a matter of time before that is greenlighted. I was not happy with the federal government wasting that amount of money on a future stranded asset, but it is what it is. I’m just hoping the fucker doesn’t burst somewhere ecologically sensitive before the world renders it obsolete.
Ah, yes. Ecological damage. That is all that Canada is going to be left with after this orgy of tarsands driven capitalism inevitably folds under the weight of its own arrogance.
Forgot the carbon time bomb that is represented by the extraction of all the tar sands oil that is available. Consider the giant scar that is represented by the now-abandoned open-pit mines. Consider all of the infrastructure that will be left to rot. The millions of litres of toxic fluids left to fester in ponds which are perilously close to waterways. Waterways which feed and water countless creatures and indigenous peoples.
Consider this carefully, Wexit’ers. Make a break for it, and this is what you are left within the not so distant future. As for Canadian’s in general, this is what WE are stuck with if this continues. When these companies start to go belly up, they are not on the hook for their toxic legacies.
Consider THAT price tag the next time you hear Jason Kenny (or anyone else on the pro-delusion bandwagon) griping about Alberta energy keeping Canada afloat with its equalization payments. If the bill that follows is less than what has been paid out, i’ll be shocked.
Speaking for myself (I have made my argument heard already), I will first address one obvious potential critique of this piece. In an era of division, throwing gasoline on the flames (as I just have) is likely not to be seen as helpful. Particularly when it plays into the whole delusional dynamic that is the problem.
Alberta is in trouble, and the rest of Canada just does not GET it.
I understand the sentiment. I also understand that many people may well have been too inflamed by my earlier unfiltered rantings to bother reading this far. It is unfortunate, but frankly . . . tough shit.
1.) Whilst I took the time to back most of my statements with outside sources, this was still an exercise in venting. I’ve been hearing the so-called unheard populace spewing this garbage for years, now. If I was a bottle of cola in a paint shaker, this is the result of the bottle finally losing the battle with the forces therein.
2.) We are all adults. This is politics, and frankly, this is how the world works.
As the so-called myth of human progress continues to move forward, there are always people left behind in its wake. Whether this result is unnecessary (such as outsourcing based on corporate greed) or inevitable (new technologies replacing previous breakthroughs), the result is the same.
People end up without a job. More pertinently though, they lose their sense of purpose. This inevitably leads to increases in all manner of self-destructive attempts to fill this gap.
As adults living in this evolving world, you have a choice. You can continue to be triggered when the cold hard truth is spelled out for you clear as day. The transportation sector is changing, and Alberta bitumen is OUT.
Or alternatively, you can continue playing the current hand. Crying and moaning about your needs not being understood whilst simultaneously thumbing your noses in the face of provinces that benefit from the fruits of your labour.
Considering how receptive this populace has proven to be to all but emotional manipulation attempts, I admit that I don’t have much hope for them waking up anytime soon. I suspect that we will have to learn the hard way. After which the rest of us provinces will be there to help ease the burden. Such is the guarantee of Canadian Federation status.
For me, living in the prairies, this backwards mentality has always bothered me. I live in a city which always votes Conservative, no matter how little of value that the party (or it’s candidate) brings to our community. It’s what you get when baby boomers still make up the vast majority of the voters. Familiarly bland pablum.
I work for an organization that suffers from similar issues. Founded by, catering too, and primarily controlled by baby boomers at all it’s hierarchical levels, I fear that it will also fall victim to its leader’s vast blindspots.
A household name based on the Canadian prairies, it is a brand that everyone between Winnipeg and the Rockies will know and recognize. And it is a brand that will likely invoke a highly positive reaction amongst pretty much all prairie residents. Companies pay marketing firms millions of dollars to attempt to garner the type of reputation that my employer has in its market.
This was one of the reason’s I tried to get on there in the first place. Unlike every other corporate cog that I have ever found myself employed in, I thought it was more than just a job. In the first few months, people I worked with treating it as a typical workplace baffled the mind.
Of course, time goes on and novaltie wears off. Work becomes work, and boredom sets in. Then comes management changes, with all the issues that come with that. But such is par for the course of any place.
What bugs me though, is not the small picture. My little cog in the machine is indeed misfiring on account to COMPLETLY OBVIOUS NON-SENSE (if only those at the top bothered to look), but again, par for the course.
Where my concern comes in, is looking to the future. Looking down the road 10,15,20 years. When it comes to this outlook, I don’t have high hopes for the companies long term longevity.
The brass in the offices in Saskatoon do. At their brand self-promotion seminar that every employee was forced to attend last year (featuring a brilliant speaker that was WASTED on them, frankly), they ended the pageantry by celebrating 100 years of the company and looking forward to 100 more years of the company.
And here we come back AGAIN to the cancer of western Canadian business, oil. This company has millions of dollars invested in both petroleum reserves and petroleum infrastructure. Such is the number that the price of oil directly affects the end of year gross, and all other holdings don’t even come close.
It’s a place that is known as a good place to work. It’s a place that does indeed try to make this happen by way of good employee pension and benefit plans. If you stick around for the long haul, you will be set for retirement, they say. And considering how many 20, 30, 40-year retirings I’ve seen, it’s not hard to understand why they say that. They do live up to the promise.
But, for how long?
Up until maybe 4 or 5 years ago, the profitability and continued feasibility of fossil fuels of all kinds was not even an afterthought. It just was. But those days are gone.
When I look at my employer and what it stands for, I see big dreams. But what I also see is a petrochemical company equivalent to Leeman brothers. Outside of the anchor that is it’s oil holdings, I also see no cohesive future planning strategies. All I see coming from the top is more doubling down on what has always worked, and careful following of the industry wherein changes have become standard. Though the organization has the power to set standards using its substantial western Canadian base of operations, it chooses to be a follower.
This organization has been the best employer out of all that I have ever worked at so far. They do indeed have excellent benefits and retirement packages (compared to many others). However, what good does that do a young worker if substantial downsizing AT A MINIMUM becomes an inevitability in as little as a decade or 2?
My employer is an interesting marker since it’s current existence mirrors the bigger issues at play here in Western Canada. Its existence is so entangled with that of Western Canada that it can’t help but be a mirror to the big picture. It could potentially even serve as a canary in the proverbial coal mine.
I could play nice and talk about rainbows and pipedreams (pipelines!) that will solve every problem and make this Neverland once more (though hopefully not MJ’s interpretation). But I prefer to stick to reality and, forgive the cliche, swallow the red pill.
The time for childish antics is over. Let’s see some fucking action.
The time period is March 2017 (the 14th to be precise). Though I have never really stopped to think much about all of this in the past year (call it chaos on all fronts), it may be interesting to do so now. A year and change into President Trump. To think that some people had issues with saying or thinking about President Bush . . .
To get a full picture of this, we have to rewind a bit. All the way back to mid and early 2016, when all of this shit was just getting underway. Following the numerous Republican debates in which Donald managed to steal the show by exposing the false facade of all of his opposition with simple yet effective distraction tactics, he became the face of the GOP. Around this time, Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) remarked something along the lines of “He could end up being president”. Something that seemed hard to believe, to say the very least.
That summer and lead up to the election were interesting.
I went through a time period wherein the presidency of Trump was a horrifying proposition. Though it was a period of worry over a period of time, it is encapsulated perfectly by one instance, involving me sitting in my workplaces deli and having a bite to eat. I looked at my table and the various trash items from that lunch that put a timestamp on their time of existence (recite, sandwich bag label, beverage container).
I then pondered the prospect of some future civilization or entity finding these time-stamped items, and if they could end up being a marker of the beginning of the great unwinding. For many decades, this species uniquely mapped out their heyday by burying millions of timestamped items and scripts in all the lands they occupied. Until some point early in the 21st century.
What brought that on? I honestly have no idea. My brain sometimes goes places that surprise even me. Call it a roller coaster that is uniquely my own.
After this period of worry, I went into what one could describe as a period of delusion. Having learned of Trump being a fairly progressive and humanistic man (or at least touting those views for the cameras) in the past, a conspiracy of sorts was hashed out in my mind. Donald the trojan horse!
Like the real-life interpretation in historical times (or the pesky virus that Vipre nabs if I visit the wrong site), it seemed possible. The man may be conning his way up the ladder into the presidency, only to turn around and be a friend of the people!
He had connections with the Clintons for decades after all!
Yeah. Embarrassing. Fortunately, that period didn’t last long (though it was unfortunately recorded on this very blog at some point).
After this, I guess you could say that the worry fell off of my radar. Be it fatigue, other matters closer to home overshadowing it (or a combination of both), I didn’t think much of it for months. In no small part because the thought of Trump actually WINNING the election seemed . . . assinine. Really, this feeling lasted until around 3:30 or 4am on election night, when the writing was so obviously on the wall that there was no denying it anymore.
Enter 2017. The year of the asinine.
As it stands, Trump was not the only factor that made me use this word to describe pretty much the entirety of the 365 days. All in all, it was a boatload of ridiculousness coming from pretty much all fronts. Some more so than others. None the less, all played a part.
Work life went through a transition. Though as with many things, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or as is more the case, get worse. Without going into to much detail, just getting through 4 or 5 hours (let alone the dreaded 8) became a struggle. In early December at one point, I actually LOST the struggle, my feet carrying me out the door and off the property, despite my brain saying in no uncertain terms that such was NOT a good idea. The culmination of trying to be a pusher of change in the background, only to have a superior utter a stupid comment to my face during a passive-aggressive power trip. I am too old for that shit.
I would end up getting past this, odd as it may seem. Though even in the immediate aftermath, no one truly responsible for spawning the work environment that I ended up reacting to took ANYTHING from it. It was apparent in my first briefing when I was back in the door, and it becomes more and more apparent as the days and months have proceeded.
Like sands though the hourglass, these are the days of our lives
The longer I stay, the more I waste away. Seems a good incentive to take stock of my priorities, doesn’t it?
It has also been an interesting year on the family and friend front (in more ways than one). Also, an expensive one, being that I tend to likely be more liberal with my charitability than I possibly should be.
One relation’s refusal to in any way better themselves (opting instead to just keep bringing everyone else down by wallowing in their own pity) has been a big part of the last year’s agony. Not to mention that the breakdown of an old family bond has made this relation become very manipulative of late, attempting to use his feelings (“It hurts when you talk to him and don’t take my side!”) to get me to quit contacting this other person. This other person who themselves has a VERY full plate and as such gets a compassionate ear when they can use it.
Granted, it has been a few months since this has come up. But mostly because I firmly put my foot down on the issue. When the person stooped so low as to question my intelligence after I would not allow myself to become a pawn in their feud, I essentially told them to enjoy the loneliness that they were apparently so DESPRATLY craving, and left the table (we were at a coffee shop). Oddly enough, I got a call the very next day. Same place, same time. Was as though nothing had happened.
Though that would fall apart. Having been busy for a period of 3 straight days, I hadn’t seen or contacted them. Then on new years eve, I get a text from this person alleging (well, stating) that I had disowned them, with the blame, of course, being his now arch nemesis. Being fed up with that bullshit (and with to much other stuff to deal with), I didn’t contact them for a good 10 days. If I am not going to put up with that from a manager, I am NOT taking it from a family member.
We have since spoken again. Though I don’t speak to him nearly as much as I used to. Though my motives and actions aren’t questioned to my face, the guy has the memory of an elephant, so who knows what other people hear. But I don’t care. I am too old to be putting up with more ridiculous bullshit from yet another boomer who thinks they have the god given RIGHT to control everything and everyone in their orbit.
I have compassion for mental illness. But if and when that becomes a tool of manipulation, I will be the first person to say FUCK YOU. Don’t even START with that shit.
Now, back to Donald.
As a backdrop to all of THAT was Donald’s war on intelligence of all kinds. It’s honestly no wonder that I have seen everyone from Contrapoints to Vox political commentators use alcohol and inebriation as a prop when exploring this mess. Hell, I am waiting for the day when someone like Keith Oberman, Jake Tapper or Rachel Maddow cracks a bottle of tequila in the middle of a broadcast.
But, such is likely the nature of many on the left in these days. The feeling of being done with this 8 months ago, yet there is still a MINIMUM of 28 more to go. That is, barring some sort of judicial miracle.
I would LOVE to see that day, but I don’t put much hope in it. I don’t doubt that Robert Mueller can get the job done if unencumbered. But that is just the thing . . . there is no guarantee.
The GOP seems more than willing to aid and abet if it means that they keep the reins. The boomers are known for their stubbornness in allowing anyone else to share in their successes and privilege, but this takes things to a whole new level.
As for my thoughts on Trump the politician . . . I honestly don’t know what to say. Just thinking about it is painful. It’s like everyone’s undereducated but overly opinionated uncle or grandfather now inhabits one of the most important political offices on earth.
Some things are not even worth mentioning anymore. The hypocrisy train is SO far from the station at this point that it’s not even worth acknowledging. Something that the media seems to finally be realizing, considering some of the big stories of late. Namely his war on NAFTA (much of his clothing line was manufactured in Mexico or China), and the Chinese steel tariffs (he built many buildings using Chinese steel).
He is a reactionary puppet, no question about it. Whether or not he EVER had an original thought in his brain is debatable, but he certainly doesn’t seem to have many anymore. Something that may not be AS bad, depending who is in his ear.
But having seen who those people are . . .
Where is this all going? Good question.
Though the man seems far too inept and gullible to be truly evil (compared to say, Vlad the poisoner Putin), one must never underestimate the forces that may well back his whims. Is it going to be a repeat of the last time that the fascists held all the strings?
Many entities would love that. Some out of cluelessness to what exactly they are propping up, their views clouded by social justice issues (albeit for white males), Freedom of speech, Islamic creep in the west, and other cover issues. And some know EXACTLY what they want, and how things are going to be. Like the triggered guppies that happen upon my piece about the European Brotherhood when looking for more information to fulfill their discriminating tastes.
But now, the silver lining. A blue wave and a bunch of pesky high school students.
It’s been hard to see much to latch onto in this past year that wasn’t REALLY grasping at straws. But the positive seems to be slowly making itself more visible. Observations like the fact that a great many lefties seem to have learned their lesson. Though we’re years out from most elections, many happening in the last year have been in the Democrat’s favor. Hell, Alabama turned blue (though I am sure that Roy Moore had a lot to do with it). And even more assinine, TEXAS may also turn a lot bluer than it ever has been.
Also making waves in all the right ways, are the teenagers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Granted, this story did not start in a positive way. None the less, however, the students managed to harness the loss of their friends and peers in one of the worst school shootings, into genuine resistance.
Looking at the reactions of gun advocates, the NRA, and the right in general, these kids have UNDENIABLY hit a nerve. The reaction to the corporate and public backlash may as well be a comedic sketch. The feet of these psychopaths are good and toasty for the first time EVER, and all they seem to know how to do is pour more gasoline (gunpowder?) onto the fire.
I hope that the momentum keeps going. Expecting to get genuine gun reform out of it might be akin to hoping that Trump will resign voluntarily. None the less, I am good with seeing grown adults become so intimidated by a few teenagers that they make asses of themselves in attempting to prove that the wisdom of longevity is more cogent than . . . reason.
The 2 that went on Bill Maher’s show made for one of my most enjoyed interviews. Not only did they throw his millennial ignorance in his face (albeit politely), they also publicly slammed an entire generation. They didn’t slam the boomers by name, but it’s good enough for me.
In conclusion . . .
How will it all end?
I guess we will find out. Be it elections in 3 and 7 years from now, or a cloud of contaminated particulate and a man-made winter, only time will tell us our fate. Something that should be on the mind anyway, in these days of increasing climate chaos and resource depletion.
Trump is not the final problem. He is just the beginning.
While this issue has crossed my mind before (long before the election), recent events have pushed it to the forefront for many. It started with a segment from Bill Maher’s weekly show “Real Time”, in which he told liberal purists to basically go fuck themselves. It was not a bad segment. If anything, I think it was about time for someone to say it.
But as expected, there was backlash. Though likley from multiple sources, the one I came across (and the one I will respond to) originated on Kyle Kulinski’s Secular Talk news show. While I understand where he is coming from and express some agreement, there are problems.
But first, for context, here are both applicable segments (as featured on the Secular Talk channel).
I like the segment on the part of Maher (as I have said before). And I agree that Kyle has a point. But as seems to be a habit of Kulinski, he has turned it into a dichotomy. Bill Maher and defenders of the corporate democrats Vs “WE TOLD YOU SO!” liberals.
The first thing I have to acknowledge is the elephant in the room. The deception that cost the DNC the election (not REALLY, but none the less . . . ). Sanders should have been at the helm. He was, and really still is, the most popular politician in America. He is slowly pissing away that credibility in touring with the status quo democrats (as opposed to telling them to go fuck themselves. Or just retiring!). But none the less, he has something that Americans like. He EVEN NOW easily unites both populist branches of American politics, despite having several scary labels attributed to him. If he was run against Trump, he would have EASILY wiped the floor with him.
This is not to diminish Hillary however. Though certainly not the IDEAL candidate by any means of measure, she became a better candidate in the days leading up to the election. She had to as a women (like it or not, as a women, you have to be EXTREMELY well read even when in competition with an orangutan). But even with that, there was just to much baggage.
Stealing the nomination from Bernie Sanders was a big part of it. But there was also a lot beyond that. Not just the emails, and other stuff that blew up just before the vote either. Also legacy hatred (some of it which may even be more on Bill than her), and flat out irrational and unfounded disdain. I am sure we have all seen this in friends and family that talk about all of her alleged and hard to find crooked dealings. Despite the fact that Trump has likley committed every one of those allegations IN REALITY. But that doesn’t fly for these people because . . . fuck it.
Find me a person (or several people) that have verifiable claims of being screwed over financially by the Clinton’s and I will take the crooked Hillary thing seriously. That’s not to end the conversation either. If you knew such a detail, feel free to comment.
I just know that asking the same question of Trump would result in MANY results. And that’s just the ones we know about.
Either way, there were both legitimate and stupid reasons to not be in favor of a Hillary led democratic campaign against a Trump led GOP campaign. One of the more glaring ones seemingly being showcased by Kyle Kulinski, was this potential outcome. President Trump.
Uh. Even after 100 days, those 2 words just DO NOT belong together. Like delicious dogshit.
Either way, while that turned out to INDEED be a factor that should have been taken into consideration, its also a somewhat false argument. Because it is a self fulfilling prophecy set in motion by the left itself.
I get it. Bernie Sanders was, as far as candidates come, superb. He had an excellent history both in terms of activism and voting. He had a platform that energized Americans (particularly otherwise politically apathetic liberals!) to a degree that may well have surpassed even Obama’s 2008 campaign. And his message was universal. Given the chance, he would likley have resonated with a huge cohort of the population that ended up casting the “Fuck it!” vote for Trump.
Since all Trump could really bring to the table was a salesman’s mentality and carefully chosen sticky insults (crafted by psychological experts), it would likley have been a breeze.
Yes. Looking back, if the goal of the DNC is to WIN, one would have to be comatose to not ask “What the FUCK?!”. One theory I have is that Bernie would be horrible for corporate donations, and as such needs to be stymied at all costs (even if it means conceding the election). If this were the case, it would put the DNC pretty much on par with the GOP as “The most dangerous organization in human history” (to quote Noam Chomsky).
But tin foil aside, yes, what happened wasn’t right by ANY means. However, even with the underhanded way that Hillary ended up in the position, what is the more logical thing to do?
Abstain, or worse, help move Trump (a PROVEN lyin and crooked buffoon!) into office by voting him in? Or casting a vote for Hillary, a candidate that is far from ideal, yet competent enough to actually KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THE JOB ENTAILS?!
“We told you so!”
On behalf of the American left that actually participated by voting either Dem or independent, and on behalf of the rest of the world looking on in surreal agony, let me say 2 words . . . fuck you.
While some of the worries expressed by Maher and others like him may be questionable, because of you asshole abstainers, the world is creeping ever closer to . . . WHO THE FUCK KNOWS!
Nuclear War? Hitler 2.0?
I have no idea. I feel for every single person out there that has children living anywhere on this rock. Because be it in the short or the long term (turning the clock back on climate change), the left screwed them over.
Yes, it IS the right that is running rampant back to the 1800’s. And yes, even the corporate democrats are more open to fossil fuels than one would like. But at least they ACKNOWLEDGE climate change.
So instead of competency, we end up with a baboon and puppet that makes Sarah Palin look like a scholar in comparison. Fine, possibly to far. But at least I know where she stands!
S: “Drill baby Drill!”
T: “Pharmaceuticals are far to expensive! . . . oh, so you need less regulation . . . Nothing to see here folks!”
Indeed, American liberals got screwed over by their supposedly representing party. But what culminated following November 8th was not inevitable by any means. It did not have to happen. So while I acknowledge the legitimacy behind the hesitation to support Hillary . . . piss off with the “We told you so!” shit.
Many criticize the American right for being blindly patriotic to a point of danger. Well, I think that something similar exists on the left. Only in that case, these people are so blindly fixated on their flawed system that they negate to consider that they are a SUPERPOWER. Like it or not, American decisions matter.
Despite this scathing criticism, I have to congratulate cohorts of the left for using this time to seek viable change. Though at least 3 grassroots groups have sprung up seeking candidates of change, Justice Democrats seems to be one of the more popular ones. And they are vetting and running candidates even faster than I thought they would. Organized and created in January (if memory serves), they are already pushing for high level DNC positions. And I think these people actually have a chance.
While I knew that Bernie’s run would energize a new generation even if he was unsuccessful, I have to admit that President Trump is likley creating momentum that we may not have seen under Hillary.
The only silver lining to this presidency that I have been able to find so far.