As a child, my sister was often the target of bullies. Bullies sniff out the weak, the vulnerable, those who have already experienced the wrath of others. I spent a lot of my own childhood trying to protect Jodi from those who had nothing better to do with their time than to torment a shy, fragile, little girl.
While I didn’t have much truck with bullies in school, once I was out in the work world, I quickly learned the Golden Rule; he that has the gold, makes the rules. Which meant that those who had better jobs, or more power in their position, could choose to use or abuse their underlings. I found it very hard to kowtow to people who were often not nearly as clever or capable as I was. Being a woman in the workplace last century was often an onerous, frustrating position. I’m sure for many women that it still is, in this century.
Eventually I chose to be an entrepreneur, to work for myself, rather than to work for others. It was just easier, being the boss.
Generally, decent people are always trying to make situations work for everyone in a group. But whether you’re in the established business world, academia, the trades, or the arts, at some point, most of us will encounter grown up bullies who seem to thrive on making life miserable for others. Put a group of people together, and, sooner or later, someone decides they deserve a better, more special treatment than the rest of the gang.
Some kids are just more aggressive by nature, but usually, bullies are made, not born. The behavior is usually learned very young, from an adult role model – a parent, a teacher, or a coach, for example – that is unable to handle anger well. A bully may have older siblings, who were bullied themselves, and so will bully a younger sibling to make themselves feel empowered. As a rule, a child learns to be a bully because he/she is not getting enough good parental attention, leading the bully to lash out at others for attention they need.
Grown up social bullies have poor self-esteem, although they’ll usually come across as narcissists with God complexes. They see the weak as contemptuous, and crave power and attention. They are unable to understand how their behavior makes other people feel, and simply don’t care about the feelings of others. They’ll dominate, play the victim, blame others, and never accept the consequences of their actions.
And that, in a nutshell, describes the political bullies that pull the world’s strings.
I first became interested in the stories behind the political news during the Stephen Harper Decade – he who was so convinced of his own infallibility and right to lead Canada that he literally rebranded the federal government the “Harper Government.” An excessively partisan break with tradition, and a slap in the face to the other parties that have helped shape Canada, taxpayers spent more than $85,000 in the first year alone of helping the Cons solidify their Golden Calf’s place in shredder history.
During Harper’s prime ministerial career, his bullying style attracted a lot of notice. The nature of his political discourse was belittling, contemptuous of the value of other political groups and ideas. By devaluing other parties, and brooking no collaboration with leaders with other input, he oppressed democracy in Canada, but so subtly that his enablers could paint Harper’s derision as simply ‘fighting back’ against his detractors.
Devaluing others is a product of insecurity, at best, and often grossly oppressive to the ‘out-group’ that is the target of the bully. When a country broadly paints another country as an ‘enemy,’ because of a warring history, or a current conflict, citizens pull together against a common enemy. But when that same contempt is expressed towards political equals, it becomes a form of bigotry, a marginalization of our own peers by denying or devaluing their abilities, and even their right to citizenship within their own country.
Harper regularly used bullying and open contempt in the attack ads used against opponents, from his slurs against Stephane Dion, then-Liberal leader in 2007, who dared to run against him, using ‘gotcha!’ video, and baritone voice-overs derisively asserting that “Stephane Dion is not a leader,” to his diatribes in 2008 against the sovereigntist Bloc Quebecois, whom he demonized as ‘the separatists.’
And then, of course, there were the attack ads that branded Justin Trudeau as ‘just not ready,’ and a contrived ‘expose’ on young Trudeau’s participation in brownface makeup in an Arabian Nights themed event at the private school where he was a teacher in 2001.
I’m still hearing about that one from the Trudeau haters. There’s a fascinating 2019 article and investigation into that ‘scandal’ that was put together by Free the Press Canada. All signs seem to point to a high-level manipulation of information put together by powerful Conservative operatives.
When Harper was ousted from power in 2015, it felt like Canadians could finally take a deep breath of fresh, non-Harper air. But on June 7, 2018, one bully was exchanged for another when Doug Ford was sworn in as Ontario’s premier.
Brother of bumbling Rob, Doug blew into Queen’s Park with a chip on his shoulder the size of the CN Tower, and a determination to make the city of Toronto pay for what he considered unfair treatment to brother Rob during his mayoralty. First off, and within what seemed like minutes of taking office, he was the first premier in Ontario’s history to use the Notwithstanding Clause to cut the number of Toronto’s city council – then in the middle of an election – in half, an act of bullying so extreme that the City of Toronto appealed the law, arguing that it interfered with the rights to free expression and free and fair elections. (Follow up – the Supreme Court, in a split 5/4 decision, disagreed, on the grounds that the Charter Right applied only to federal and provincial legislatures, not to municipalities.)
Ford proceeded to throw his considerable weight around at Queen’s Park, ensuring that deep cuts to programs for Ontario youth, education, and health were passed, while ensuring that his long-time cronies found a friend in Ontario’s deep pockets and green spaces.
History will paint an interesting picture of Ford’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ford’s bumbling reign came on the heels of Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency, and people often noted their similar natures. Born to privilege, and convinced of their own special ability to lead, Ford’s bullying nature paled, however, in comparison to the vigor of Trump’s.
And if Trump, a master bullier and wannabe dictator, soared to loftier heights of mock victimhood and ‘fake news,’ his gilded First Lady left the world speechless when she announced her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign, based on her belief that she was ‘the most bullied person in the world.”
Next week: World Class Bullies and where they live
On the surface, what the Canadian truckers hoped to accomplish during their protracted occupation of the Nation’s capital was comprehensible. In the beginning, we, the audience, and they, the truckers and their camp followers, could take as the stated purpose of the convoy and protest a common ennui and a genuine wish to end the most onerous and rigorous of the precautions levied during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But even before the trucks had neared the rally points, word began to trickle out that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) prepared by the civilian, not trucker, leaders of this posse had little to do with the effects of the pandemic, and everything to do with a covert, if barely legible, attempt to overthrow Canada’s freely elected democracy.
Most of the truckers and their civilian clingons bought into the broad strokes of the MOU, believing incorrectly that a demand that the Governor General and the Senate unite to dissolve parliament and remove PM Trudeau from power was as simple as having a magical number of people sign a petition.
Had these signees paid attention during a civics class, or even taken an interest in how Canadian government works, they’d have seen that the GG and the Senate are political appointees, not elected, and don’t have the democratic legitimacy to dissolve government. But if the creators of the petition had told the petition signers that simple truth, they would probably not have been able to ask for donations (to the tune of millions) to make this magic a potential outcome.
The premise and promise of forcing all levels of government to end any COVID-19 measures and eliminate vaccine passports, while simultaneously re-instating all workers laid off due to vaccine requirements, appealed to many hard core anti vaxxers. Drunk on the promise of having their delusions legally sanctified, they ignored the poison pills buried within the MOU, which called for the overthrow of the federal government.
The actual bulk of the statement set out a framework to effectively dissolve the government, and replace it with a “Citizens of Canada Committee,” composed of the non-elected Senate, Governor General, and a civilian group selected by the separatist organization, Canada Unity.
This committee would then dissolve and replace 155 years of continuous parliamentary rule, ending the federal system that ranks us as one of the world’s oldest democracies, and replace it with a committee of entirely unelected figures who would then “instruct all levels of the Federal, Provincial, Territorial, and Municipal governments to immediately cease and desist all unconstitutional human rights, discriminatory and segregated actions.”
This gang of noisy truckers had as their explicit intent the overthrowing of a democratically elected government. They maintained this position until the third week of the occupation, raising over $20 million dollars in donations on this premise, much of which came from other countries with a vested interest in seeing Canada’s democracy shattered, as this would then serve as red flags to any citizens of their own countries who might have illusions of seeking independence from autocrats and dictatorships.
In intent, if not in actual practice, this was meant to be a Canadian version of the January 6th American assault on the Capitol in 2021. The MOU was an attempted coup of our government, with the intent of replacing our elected officials with the unelected leaders of their choice, under the pretext of eliminating the constraints put upon the nation to keep us in the enviable position of being one of the safest places in the world during this once every 100-years plague. (The total death toll of the pandemic in the US stands at about 919,000, compared to 35,500 in Canada)
Oh yeah, and there was a lot of stuff in there about “God.” And freedom. And peace. And love. And of how their faith in their own immunity systems trumped all modern science. All they needed were some tonsured Hari Krishnas dancing through the snow drifts to complete the picture – the Right Wing, the Religious Right, and the Tin Foil Hat Brigade finally had their own private Woodstock!
The organizers of the convoy played skillfully upon the battered psyches of their followers. They pushed all the right buttons, empathizing with the loneliness, pain and frustration that so many had felt over the last two years, bathing their shattered illusions in hot tubs, soothing their tension in steamy saunas, and inviting children (and drunken adults) to re-live their childhoods in bouncy castles.
The true puppeteers of the movement, the ex-RCMP, ex-military, ex-police, and political operatives of the separatist party, literally kept the peons at arms length, who were free to freeze in their idling trucks as they peed into juice bottles, while the leaders relaxed in luxury in nearby hotels, descending into the ranks to whip up new fervor, and more donations, donations in the millions, all streaming in from people who had suffered real or imagined deprivations over the last two years.
And when the people seemed to rouse, just a little, from the spell they were under, these leaders would inject new concerns into the original mess of pottage, reminding their minions of all the other promises that had been made and not fulfilled over the last decade or so; why had nothing been done about the water on native reserves that still ran murky? Where was the investigation into the missing and murdered indigenous women? Why did groceries keep going up in price while wages stayed stagnant? Where was their ‘buck a beer’ they’d been promised?
The anger, that had originally focused on mask and vaccine mandates now began to spill out in every direction. Government overreach! Economic inequality! Wealth gaps! No free daycare! And the flags arrived, popping up like crocuses in the spring – Confederate, Nazi, Don’t Tread on Me, and Trump 2024, all waving merrily in the February breeze.
Suddenly it was like the festival of Woodstock had married Festivus, the festivus for the rest of us, with the airing of grievances skipping cheek by jowl with the half naked, drunken, rowdy boys taunting the police like the hippies that once tried to put flower stems into the barrels of guns.
Reminder: that did not end so well.
And neither did this. But, thanks to our being Canadians, at least it did not end in bloodshed. Yet strangely, considering that our protestors were Canadian, it also didn’t end with us apologizing to the citizens and the police for the mess we’d made, and picking up all the litter either.
Despite many feeling that PM Trudeau’s decision to unleash the Emergencies Act (EA) was overreach, the choice did indeed finally allow enough police power to subdue and roust the not so merry caravan that had terrorized the nation’s capital, and its citizens, for nearly a month.
And, once the emergency was under control, the EA was revoked, just nine days after it had been invoked, when it was decided that there was no longer an emergency that could not be controlled by normal means, as the police finally had all the tools they’d need to continue to deal with unlawful protestors.
The Prime Minister said that the sweeping powers of the Emergencies Act were meant to be proportional, time-limited, and only put in place to deal with an ‘acute’ emergency. He added that the small pockets of protestors that remain across the country would continue to be monitored.
“Let’s be very clear: The threat continues. We do see, whether it’s social media activity or people who continue to be focused on protesting, and perhaps illegally protesting, that we need to be monitoring,” he said.
PMTrudeau speaks Feb 23 2022
On February 20th, Bob Rae, the best Prime Minister Canada never had, and current Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted:
“A truck is not a speech. A horn is not a voice. An occupation is not a protest. A blockade is not freedom, it blocks the liberty of all. A demand to overthrow a government is not a dialogue. The expression of hatred is not a difference of opinion. A lie is not the truth.”
In September of 2021, voters had the option of voting for several parties, including the People’s Party of Canada, which, most notably, promised an immediate end to federal vaccine mandates, but said only that they would “oppose” such measures at the provincial level. The party scored just 4.94 per cent of the popular vote. Over 95% of Canadian voters backed the parties that supported some form of vaccine passport. The majority favours tightening the screws on the unvaccinated, not throwing open the doors to any new variant that crosses our borders, and fills our hospitals.
And yet … in this ‘woke’ moment in history, there are still some who remain on the fence about the fates of those that attempted a political coup, and held Ottawa and her citizens hostage for three weeks. Just the other day, I saw a comment on social media that asked if the situation could have been avoided, had PM Trudeau just ‘spoken to the truckers and explained that the vaccine mandates would be lifted by a certain time.”
And perhaps, in some ersatz, BizarroWorld, Woodstock of the Right, there might be a democratic nation of politicians that would bow to the bullying and intimidation of large, gas belching, horn blasting, machines, draped in posters that alternated between calling for the death of, or the f*cking of, their duly elected leader, driven by owners of the same attributes as their machines …
But I really doubt it. No one’s that woke.
The situation might have been avoided had the drivers and camp followers of the convoy taken the time to inform themselves on the real motives behind the demands of the ‘spokespeople,’ who conned them into showing up with ultimatums that were not only impossible to grant, but that opened said drivers and followers to severe financial and legal peril, post convoy.
No, the opening up of discussions with intimidators using strong-arm tactics, who wish to re-write our constitution to cover their idiocy, was simply never going to be an option. You don’t negotiate with terrorists. As the U.S. discovered during their four years of diplomatic hell under trump, you don’t even say their names, never mind visit them and exchange pleasantries, unless you wish to elevate the actions of bullies to the level of actual world leaders. These kinds of creatures must never be seen to be the equivalent of elected officials, because they are not; they are wannabe dictators and autocrats.
The rich countries where people want to live, like Canada, are places where people can believe in the rules of law, standards of behavior, institutions, and the social and cultural conventions that make us feel that we are safe and secure. Rich countries are rich because the people AND the money are seen to be safe and secure.
These standards must be seen to be honoured, and those that seek to overturn them, must be seen to be punished, as a deterrent to others that might consider similar actions.
And yet, good, kind Canadians that we are, there are many who watched the sacking of Ottawa, and who are now having a hard time seeing those who were responsible for the havoc, receiving the consequences of their actions.
It’s possible that some of us watched the revellers enjoying themselves, and thought about all of the events that they missed during the last two years – the weddings, the funerals, the birthday parties and the dances that they didn’t get to attend. There may well have been a twinge of envy for some, who felt that they’d suffered all of the deprivations, but who now were watching what seemed to be the hedonistic event of the decade, enjoyed by some but not all. It’s only human to feel that way.
And it’s not wrong to be sympathetic to the plights of those who are now being held accountable for their actions. It’s very hard to see people – Canadians, just like us, who’ve had a rough time over the last two years – being penalized for doing things that they may not have thought were criminal at the time.
But these people were told, repeatedly, that their actions were harmful, and probably illegal. Those people that used their children as human shields, to prevent the police from advancing, or from entering their vehicles, did so willingly, even though these are actions that are considered ‘war crimes’ in most countries.
Some of the protestors left their homes and their jobs behind, in order to join what they chose to believe was a righteous cause, although their own holy books clearly told them that was not the case.
Many of these people were duped into giving of their time, their money, and potentially, their actual legal freedom. But they were adults, who had a choice to make, and chose wrongly. Yes, they were lied to. Yes, they chose to believe unreliable sources. But ignorance of the law is no excuse, and ignorance of the impact of your actions on others does not remove your responsibility for the consequences faced when your actions are finally judged, and found to be criminal.
It’s hard to see people losing their jobs, their businesses, and in some cases, their freedom, when they are arrested and imprisoned for terrorizing so many people and animals during their three-week ‘rumspringa.’
But, if we’re honest, this is exactly what we wanted to see happen, during those hellish weeks in February, when we were all glued to our tv screens, watching our police forces stand back, unable to move on the occupiers, with apparent impotence, and sometimes, even seeming to be giving aid and succor to these barbarians. We wanted to see the revellers held accountable. We needed there to be serious consequences. We wanted those consequences to serve as a deterrent to any people or parties that might consider a similar onslaught in the future. We didn’t want this occupation to happen then, and we never want it to happen again.
Yet now that many of these people will lose their jobs, be charged, arrested, and in some cases, have their lives ruined for what they’ve done, there’s a kindness inside most Canadians that will still feel sympathy, and even hold out a hand to help those that need it.
That’s what being a Canadian is about. We are good, kind, decent citizens of a country that is struggling right now, in a fight to defeat a novel enemy. And for the most part, we have come together to do what is right for ALL of us, not just an entitled few.
We spent most of February glued to our screens, hoping for the best, fearing for the worst, spending our time and energy on one minority’s idea of “freedom,” only to end the month watching Ukraine’s people fleeing from an evil war criminal seeking to shatter their democracy and steal their real freedoms.
I hope that we, as a country, are wise enough to recognize the difference.
Ah, dang it. Like death and taxes, unwanted summer electoral politics are inescapable. Rumour has it that our PM Justin Trudeau is determined to call a snap election, reportedly to be held on September 20th. Why? Because he believes that doing so at this time will ensure his party can win a majority government, allowing him to avoid what he has been calling “opposition obstruction.”
Trudeau had a majority in the House of Commons when he first came to power in 2015, but there’s been an erosion of confidence in the years since, leading to his party being reduced to a minority in 2019. I find it hilarious, how easily those that lean right can be manipulated. “Here’s a 20-year-old photo of a young man in black face!” “I KNEW IT! Hang him high!”
There have been rumblings for months that the Liberals would spring an election on Canada, two years ahead of schedule, in response to an unfavourable slate of choices available from the NDP or the Conservatives.
In a summer fraught with tension over where the COVID virus could pop up next, and in what variant, the Libs are walking a financial tightrope. They’ve racked up record debt levels in an effort to help both the people and the businesses of Canada, but they have plans to inject another huge chunk into the economy – between 3-4% of GDP, or about $100 billion dollars. To do so, they’re going to need more than a minority government. And they would prefer not to have to count on the help of the NDG and the Greens to push thru legislation.
A Conservative attack ad that hit YouTube on Friday night has even their own party members disgusted, calling the ad dumb, tasteless, and embarrassing. It’s a 37 second video that has a cut out of Trudeau’s face pasted over the face of spoiled brat Veruca Salt, in a clip from a scene from the film “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” where the brat throws a tantrum in a song called “I Want it Now.”
With any luck, it’s already been taken down. Posting link for the strong-stomached.
Meanwhile, polls have shown that most Canadians have climate change on their mind, and are focused on a transition away from the fossil fuel industry. And the reports of summer’s horrific high temperatures and fires, here and around the globe, along with the UN’s newest report that global warming is “dangerously close to spinning out of control” would agree on that course.
“ Humans are “unequivocally” to blame, the report from the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said. Rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions could limit some impacts, but others are now locked in.
The deadly heat waves, gargantuan hurricanes and other weather extremes that are already happening will only become more severe. “
On the plus side, August 13 came and went without trump being reinstated, as promised by the pillow guy, so that’s a win.
The rising tide of COVID in Florida, on the other hand, is most definitely a loss. There were over 151,000 cases in Florida, and 1,071 deaths in just the last week.
It’s so bad that doctors are warning patients seeking emergency help for their children that there’s simply no more staff, equipment, or rooms available, and parents will literally have to wait for some other sick child to die before their child can even be admitted to the ICU.
The Brookings Institute made an interesting observation on the Fourth Wave battering red states. They noted that
“It is rare that a politician acts against his own self-interest—but then again, Donald Trump is a rare breed of politician. No politician has made it a habit of acting against his own electoral interest like Donald Trump…
A total of 17 of the 18 states that voted for Trump in the 2020 election have the lowest vaccination rates. The exception was Georgia which went for Biden by a very small margin…
Historically, rational political calculus has been a bipartisan quality, but not in the Trumpified GOP. If Trump wants to preserve the lives of his best voters, he would turn his rallies into mass vaccination sites. There is still time, but it is running out for thousands of Americans.”
Brookings.edu, July 2021
Meanwhile, in Ontario, we have 111 people in ICUs around the province. 110 of them are either unvaccinated, or have only had one dose.
This week, hospital teams of doctors and nurses have literally been trolling the Danforth and Gerrard Avenue, trying to bring vaccines directly to people who might have used inaccessibility as an excuse to avoid the jab.
What is it going to take to shake these dreamers out of their reveries? Ah.. right … the carrots are not working, so here come the sticks.
“The new travel vaccination policy will apply to passengers and workers in the federally regulated air, rail and cruise ship sectors. It will be enacted “as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October,” the Canadian Treasury Board said on Friday.”
We need our kids back in school, our economy back in gear, and our hearts, minds and butts in restos, bars, nightclubs, theatres, and arenas. Come to the Light Side, you of the Great UnVaxxed.
Times have been hard for everyone, in the last year and a half. So much that has happened, that has upended our reality, our ‘normal,’ has been beyond our control, and due to its very novelty, often really frightening. We have been spoiled in the last 80 years; there’s been no war waged on North American land.
That’s made us quite spoiled, and sometimes very silly. Without an actual opponent, so many decided they’d make one up, turn mild adversity into a fear of escalating hardships. They created paper tigers of the innocent, blowing up the annoyances of inconvenience into firm red lines that must not be crossed. They salivated over fantastical and imaginary creatures, spent incalculable hours planning how they’d survive a zombie apocalypse, built bunkers and hoarded supplies against Armageddon.
But when a real catastrophe – a pandemic! – came along, few broke out those emergency supplies. Wouldn’t this have been the perfect time to extol one’s own prescience in prepping? How could it be that so many quite simply did not recognize a crisis when it actually came along and took a bite out of their lives?
We lived with loneliness. We lived with fear, anxiety, depression, and grief. We monitored our health, and the health of our loved ones, and when someone we loved died, we were told how and when to mourn, and how many of us would be allowed to share in that moment of remembrance. I often think about those we’ve lost, the ones we were told that we would have an opportunity to memorialize, ‘when this is over.’ That’s not how grief works. Grief cannot be put on a shelf until a convenient time arrives.
I often think about how we were encouraged, all this time, to simply ignore the sickness and death the pandemic brought. While I would have expected the media to spend hours of video on covering a world-wide disaster, there far more often seemed to be some sort of weighing of coverage, almost as though the media, usually quite open about ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ was suddenly taking a stance more akin to trump’s pandering ‘good people on both sides.’
Perhaps it was that sloughing off of brutal truth and reality that allowed a segment of people to cease to care about their places in society, prioritizing their own opinions and wants over the rest of societies truth and needs.
That attitude spills over into all aspects of our lives. I find it heartbreaking that the people of Afghanistan are mere puzzle pieces in America’s ongoing war games. I expected the callousness of trump’s decision to leave Afghanistan; I am dumbstruck that Biden would be in agreement. When Biden first said that he’d follow trump’s lead, I assumed his reasoning was that if he didn’t, the GOP base would tear him to pieces.
But now I hear that this is simply part and parcel of a numb and hard-hearted populace who just don’t care about what is to come for the innocents of Afghan.
“…. There is, quite obviously, a calculation behind all this, which is that, after all this time and with more than enough blame to go around in both parties, Biden will not suffer politically from leaving behind an unwinnable war. Put bluntly, there is a strongly held belief in Washington that Americans simply do not care what happens in Afghanistan. Poll numbers back it up. “
“The Pentagon has warned every one of the last four Presidents that an abrupt U.S. withdrawal would lead to some version of the Afghan military debacle we are seeing this week.”
The New Yorker, August 12, 2021
Yep, we’ve been suffering through some very ‘interesting times.’ Sometimes, all you can do is keep looking for those odd bright spots that bring joy to your day and life.
During the pandemic, we’ve had a few cool things happen here at the old homestead, where ‘there’s always something happening, and it’s usually quite loud.”
This particular cool thing involves a video that the heymacs made five years ago. As one of the Mackettes who donned their fur coats, wigs, and high heels on that blustery morning, I certainly never dreamed that there’d come a day when we’d be ‘nearly famous’ in far away places with strange sounding names!
From Macky’s notes:
“So, several years ago, the heymacs started stumbling into their first music videos, and one of us said “Let’s put them on the internet. All the kids are doing it” .
Someone else said “How’s anybody gonna know about them? There’s no cash to do promotion for our flicks”. Also brought up was the fact that the situation probably wouldn’t change, as we weren’t playing live to spread the word and, maybe, flog some T-shirts to aid with the cash shortage.
What’s more, there’s no friggin’ way any record company was going to sign a bunch of Rock’n Roll relics, and what band management company would waste their time on some guys whose main pass-time was hanging out in the alley behind the warehouse where they got together to plan what tunage to work on next.
But, couldn’t hurt to give it a whirl, so we picked one we liked and stuck it out there. At first, nothing much happened . . yeah, it got a few more views on the yootooby every month, but the going was slow.
Then, suddenly a couple months ago, our cover of Ray Charles’ little beauty “Hit The Road, Jack” took off like a rocket! Ten thousand – – twenty – – then 50,0000 and 125,000 – – and, soon, a quarter-of-a-million – – and, at this moment 498,730
Well, it’s looking like it’s gonna cruise past 500,000 tonight, so the heymacs want to thank anyone who gave us a peek and supported the effort! Cheers, dudes & dudettes . . we like your taste in tunes !!“
Macky, of the heymacs
The heymacs cover of “Hit the Road Jack” hit the ½ million mark, and then just kept on climbing. 550,000 clicks as of this morning. And where it stops, nobody knows …
And that’s it, folks, that’s your wrap up and run down.
I’m still marvelling at how much more relaxed the world has become since January 20th. Feels like a luxury, not being on high alert every minute of every day, and I’m loving it.
As the fog of negativity lifts, there’s time to look around and marvel at how much our lives have changed, and will be forever changed, by our experiences. There’s no discounting that the very framework of our lives has been reworked by the ravages of COVID-19. Nearly everyone has lost someone dear to them to the virus, and many who became ill with the disease may have healthcare issues impacting them for the rest of their lives.
We’ve often felt scared and alone, dealing with our concerns. Studies have shown that feeling happy and enjoying life have been associated with longer lifespans, and a reduced incidence of serious illness. Our attitudes define how we treat ourselves and others. COVID-19 greatly impacted our quality of life, and shut a lot of the doors that allowed nearly everyone, regardless of mental or physical health, to seek out healthy encounters and to be part of the cultural mosaic.
The isolation can literally kill us. While some of us are missing our coffees at Starbucks, or our lunches with friends, others are suffering alone in silence, contemplating their own mortality. I worry about those at both ends of the age spectrum, since the very young and the very old are often at the mercy of caretakers who are under great strain themselves.
The times, they are a changing, and more than just our lives have been upheaved; our economy has taken a brutal beating. Many have not been able to work. Tens of thousands of stores have closed. Our major cities will be reshaped as the bone structure created by small business and entrepreneurs fractures due to the loss of investments and opportunity, and is replaced with franchises. Our hospitality industry has been decimated. People in the arts, or those who work in fields that support the arts, have been either unemployed, or underemployed, for nearly a year.
And strangely, the majority of people that continue to work during this time, often against their own better judgment, our ‘essential workers’ who toil in menial jobs that allow the rest of us to continue in relative comfort, are some of the lowest paid workers in the country. Meanwhile, their bosses, some enjoying six and seven figure salaries and bonuses, haven’t left the house in 12 months, and never missed a single paycheck.
Is it time for The Great Reset? That term came from the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, held in June 2020. They were originally more focused on initiating entrepreneurial solutions to handle the problems of climate change and achieve sustainable global development, but as the pandemic has dragged on, and dragged down global economy, the more imperative question has become how to move forward in sectors that have been devastated by the pandemic’s effects.
“The Covid-19 crisis, and the political, economic and social disruptions it has caused, is fundamentally changing the traditional context for decision-making. The inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of multiple systems –from health and financial to energy and education – are more exposed than ever amidst a global context of concern for lives, livelihoods and the planet. Leaders find themselves at a historic crossroads, managing short-term pressures against medium- and long-term uncertainties.
As we enter a unique window of opportunity to shape the recovery, this initiative will offer insights to help inform all those determining the future state of global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models and the management of a global commons. Drawing from the vision and vast expertise of the leaders engaged across the Forum’s communities, the Great Reset initiative has a set of dimensions to build a new social contract that honours the dignity of every human being.” (weforum.org/great-reset/)
This has a lot of people quite concerned, especially those with a vested interest in squashing the idea of a better, brighter, more sustainable future. Within 72 hours of the announcement, a petition to stop it gained 80,000 signatures. A lot of people are very much afraid of not having the status quo to kick around any more – even if that status wasn’t all that quo to begin with.
Those who rail against Big Government, Big Pharma, and the Big Corporations are certain that these ideas are being put into place to either take away people’s money, guns and freedom, or, even more bizarrely, some conspiracy theorists believe that this would signal the beginning of humanity’s enslavement to the Lizard People. (Hard to believe they’d be any worse than trump and his cultists)
So, what does the Great Reset propose we do? Is this the best way forward for the planet, and all of the people who inhabit it? And who are the people that want to design and control the implementation of the plan?
Those that deny that a global pandemic is a cause for alarm are the same cadre who were the climate change deniers of the last decade, who subscribe to the age-old idea that we should just keep on talking about inequality, climate change, and the pandemic, without ever actually doing anything about these problems.
The Great Reset has been championed by global celebrities, like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, cellist Yo Yo Ma, andmodel Lily Cole, leading some to believe that these idealists are more interested in their own wish lists of progressive ideas, including a return to an independent media, support for the arts, sustainable architecture and demilitarisation.
But at the core of the Great Reset is the request that every recovery stimulus, fiscal and monetary, ensures an inclusion of Green conditions. The reasoning behind that thinking is that any money tossed at the economy will likely help, at least a little, but why not invest in the planet’s future, rather than simply patch up its current wounds?
If there are to be economic recoveries, the key lies in joining the need to create jobs with the need of most countries to sink more dollars into infrastructure, education, and health care. Creating jobs to further those endeavours puts money into the hands of the workers, who in turn, spend that money on their community and country’s businesses, ultimately making the economy stronger. Everyone’s quality of life thus improves.
The key is ensuring that the jobs being created contribute to the long-term health of the planet, rather than the depletion of scarcening resources.
It’s not surprising that some of the wealthiest people fear losing their ability to plunder the planet, and are calling this agenda, “another example of wealthy, powerful elites salving their consciences with faux efforts to help the masses, and in the process make themselves even wealthier and more powerful.” (Forbes.com)
In Canada, Conservative member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre described his idea of what he believes is Justin Trudeau’s approval of the plan.
“Last week, the presumptive finance minister in Erin O’Toole‘s “government-in-waiting” warned that “global financial elites” are attempting to “re-engineer economies and societies” in order to “empower the elites at the expense of the people.” Canadians, he said, “must fight back against global elites” and “their power grab.” He invited those who share his concerns to sign a petition calling on the government to “protect our freedom” and “end plans to impose the ‘Great Reset’.”
That certainly does sound like a frightening scenario. But there are some holes in the plot.
The item that so alarmed the Conservative frontbencher was a clip that circulated online last week of the prime minister speaking at a United Nations conference in September. “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” Justin Trudeau told the conference. “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to re-imagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.” (CBC.ca/politics/ Nov 27, 2020, Aaron Wherry, CBC News)
Oh my yes! How very terrifying it would be to actually address such challenges! There are profits to be made, and profiteers to feed!
Those unable to contemplate change have seized upon a rallying cry attributed to Davos attendees. “You will own nothing, and you will be happy.” Were that the end of the quote, I might find it disturbing as well. But what it actually refers to are changes that are already upon us, and to come, based on actual changes to our needs and priorities.
And the quote came from a series of predictions for what the world might look like in 2030, that was published in November 2016. It accurately noted that for many, especially in cities that ‘work’, there is no need to own a car, a house, or any appliances. All of these are rented, and you can leave them behind when you move on to another location. Products thus become services, not something to own, but to use and discard when their use is no longer necessary.
The other eight predictions include global carbon pricing, a lessening of U.S. dominance, a change in how we interact with health care providers, a move to a diet less reliant on meat, the testing of Western values, and the opening up of practical applications for space technology in order to move humans off Earth, and onto other planets. Much of this has indeed come to pass, just in the five years since the predictions were written.
We often falsely believe that those who have become wealthy through commerce have society’s best interests at heart. But then again, we also used to believe that of our politicians, and certainly we can agree that that is no longer always true.
The Great Reset is merely a proposal; however, it seems more in keeping with the progressive direction that the planet needs to take, post pandemic, in order to ensure not just humanity’s survival, but the survival of our planet. We could do worse than listen to what is in the proposal. We already have.
May 1, 2020: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced a ban, effectively immediately, on some 1,500 makes and models of military-grade “assault-style” weapons in Canada, including the popular AR-15 rifle and the Ruger Mini-14 used to kill 14 women at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” Trudeau said. “There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”
May 2, 2020: Right Wing Provincial Premiers open their hymnals and raise their voices in WhatAboutIsm Psalms
“We know that the overwhelming majority of firearms used criminally in Canada are smuggled in illegally from the United States. Instead of addressing this, Ottawa will instead spend vast sums of money to criminalize law-abiding Canadians. That money would be far better used to pursue the smugglers and drug gangs that plague our society,” said beleaguered Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford added, “As law enforcement experts have highlighted time and time again, the only way to truly tackle gun violence is to crack down on the illegal guns being smuggled in daily at our borders.”
Borders, schmorders. The new law lets us actually arrest those morons at Jane and Finch who think it’s not a party until somebody lets off a gunfire volley. Now we can arrest them for possession of an illegal firearm – wherever it came from. And communities, like that of Jane and Finch, will finally have the law on their side against idiots who like to intimidate others with their illegal toys.
As I’ve mentioned before, I spent the first decade plus of my life in Alberta, and EVERYONE in my family had a little gun in the 50s. Even my mum, a woman who abhorred guns and violence, was gifted a sexy little garter sized pistol one Christmas. She thought it was ‘cute.’
But that was then, before mass murderers of all stripes, and in all parts of the world, began to use assault style weapons to terrorize and to force their will on others. On April 18 and 19, a disturbed denturist picked up his own assault weapon, and killed 22 people in five rural communities, beginning in Portapique, N.S., and ending roughly 100 kilometres away outside a gas station in Enfield, N.S., where the shooter was finally killed.
When is enough, enough? When do we finally stop making excuses for keeping deadly weapons within the reach of those who can so easily ‘snap’ and take away the lives of so many innocents?
I’ll bet there were hundreds of happy denture customers who would have gladly sworn an affidavit to the fact that our murdering denturist was mentally fit as a fiddle, and certainly qualified to have as many guns in his possession as he could reasonably purchase. In fact, just this morning I was reading a thread on this subject, and several commentators were incensed at the very idea that the murdering denturist might have had a mental issue. The average person is not a very good judge of another average person’s mental health.
These days, I often think Canadians have lost their sense of National Identity. So many on the right ally themselves more firmly with America than Canada. Some even believe that their right to bear arms in guaranteed in our own Charter Rights. It is not.
Stephen Lautens, self described “Grudging lawyer, passionate moderate, smartass, occasional columnist, velvet jacket enthusiast. Troll magnet,” had a few interesting tidbits of information for his readers today.
One: “Just a reminder that The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that there is no right to possess firearms in Canada. R. v Hasselwander  2 S.C.R. 398. In R. v Wiles  it said it’s not a right under the Charter, but a privilege.’
He added a further, and extremely apt analogy:
“At one point, there was no law in Canada against owning a bear. (Honestly, there wasn’t.) Then governments passed laws against private citizens keeping wild animals like bears.
“But I own the bear legally.” “But I paid for the bear.” “My bear has never killed anyone.” “Things other than bears kill people too.” “I keep my bear safely locked inside.” “I need my bear to protect my house.” “What are you going to do about the bears that are coming in over the border?” “Why are you coming after my bear when there are bad and irresponsible bear owners out there?”
Lesson: there is no right to own a bear in Canada.
Your mileage may vary ……………………………………………………………
I’m so tired of playing Pandemic. I need another game, please. This one is boring and half the players cheat, break my favorite playing pieces, and then kick over the table. I haven’t played with such poor losers since I was 10.
There’s been a slew of quarantine protestors, both in the States and in Canada. You can generally tell which country the protester is from by which side is better armed, and which side’s signs have the most words misspelt.
(my new fave, badly spelt, barely legible, epithet is ‘you are egg nerds.’ Apparently this is brain dead speak for ‘ignorant.’ You can’t make this stuff up!)
Waaaay back in March, most people were pretty much on board with staying home, locked down, in a cozy home equipped with lots of junk food, and endless Netflix for chilling purposes. But by mid-April, without the promised miracle, the natives started getting restless.
Unfortunately for many, that American ‘right to bear arms’ translated to armed militias, whipped up by NRA supporters, marching on statehouses last week.
America has a funny relationship with protesting and protestors; if you’re a person of colour, a woman, or a native seeking climate change justice, they’re pretty much against it.
If, on the other hand, you are male, white, armed, and carrying guns… please, do have at it. Let us open the doors to the Michigan statehouse so that you might better present your case.
Thursday’s “American Patriot Rally” included members of the Michigan Liberty Militia, who stood guard with weapons and tactical gear, with their faces partially covered – although not with medical masks that might be of any use. They, along with several hundred protestors, later moved inside the Capital, demanding to be let onto the House floor, which is prohibited. Some of the armed men went to the Senate gallery, and shouted at the sitting senators, many of whom wore bulletproof vests.
Armed men in tactical gear storming a state Capital. Yeah, looks like they’ve got things under control down there, all right. As long as you consider using armed intimidation and the threat of physical harm to stir up fear and to bully others into doing things YOUR way – and avoiding democracy – is the sign of a nation ‘under control.’
Maybe they should have a listen to what we’re saying about guns up here, eh?
I’ve written before about
the dangers of elected officials lying to the public. Twice, in fact. In modern
politics, it seems that lying in public has replaced any pretence of integrity
or any desire to have one’s tenure be remembered with respect.
Lying breaks our faith in others – once we know that someone will lie to us, we can never again truly trust that person. And it doesn’t matter why the lie was told, because the lie reveals something very important about the liar; the liar is a coward.
There’s a reason that the book ‘Profiles in Courage’ is so slim .. it’s because most people are cowards. Oh, they talk a good game. Keyboard warriors slam those who disagree with their contentions. But put them in the same room with their opponent, face to face, and …. crickets. What are they going to do, pull out a gun? Not in Canada, thank heavens. A raised voice is generally our strongest weapon.
The media, bound by
economics to depend on ratings and ‘hits,’ lies regularly, either to advance a
cause, by omission, or to ensure that the fool sitting in front of the camera
will be willing to return the next time they do something newsworthy enough to
be asked back. They forget that truth is what is needed, and that you are
allowed to talk over or contradict a liar. Profit has trumped truth.
Getting along with other
people is integral to a workable society. Being friendly and helpful to others,
while respecting their differences and opinions, is the glue that advances and
enhances our society.
Humans have evolved to tell polite little ‘white lies’ in their daily lives, and most of us tell at least two a day. But there is a very clear distinction between ‘white lies’ that are meant to soothe the person being lied to, and ‘black lies’, which are antisocial, and meant to benefit the person doing the lying.
Black liars are cowards, and
cowards are afraid of being found unworthy. So they lie to cover their lack of
abilities. They know that there will be consequences if people discover the
truth about what they are, what they do, and why.
Those who stand behind liars
and bullies for fear of the bully taking reprisals are cowards, who only have
loyalty to themselves.
Right now, we’re watching a
dismantling of nations. We have discovered, as people do when little can be
hidden, that too many of the people in whom they are supposed to have unlimited
trust, are liars and cowards.
In this time, when people
have long been vaguely aware that governments are fallible, and that those same
governments are often not working for the working classes, but rather for the
enrichment of big businesses, a lack of leadership contenders has never been so
Whether in Canada or the United States of America, a huge swath of taxpayers feel that their concerns
are being ignored, and that the world they will be leaving to their children
has been hijacked by the wealthy, in
favour of the wealthy.
People have little faith in the
‘checks and balances’ built into government, because they see those in power
blow right past those defences. And then it’s check .. and mate. Goodbye clean
air and water. Hello oligarchy.
With elections on the horizon in both halves of North America, there is a rise in the use of dirty tricks, innuendo, and accusations that are near slander. There are trolls and bots in social media, sent to shake our faith in all of the political contenders.
It seems that we are now
being coerced to choose our country’s leaders and representatives NOT by
assessing who is the most qualified, but rather, by whom we’ve defined as the
least corrupt, the least politically incorrect, or the least likely to indulge themselves
at the tax payers expense.
Instead of a spectacle of
intellectual and/or heroic giants battling it out for the prize of leading us,
we watch maggots trying to convince us that they are less maggot-y than the
Our words and deeds teach
others how we expect to be treated. The lesson these politicians have learned
is that we expect a circus of high wire acts and fireworks, rather than a clear
and cogent statement of policy. Like children, we wait to be delighted by Seussian
” They’ll bang on tong-tinglers, blow their foo-flounders, they’ll crash
on jang-jinglers, and bounce on boing-bounders!”
Rather than creating platforms or visions of a strong and united nation, these professional politicians seek only to win an election, form a government, and put into place formats to ensure their own enrichment. The voters are just the cannon fodder; the voters are the rubes the con men seek to fool.
And that’s sad.
I’ve always known that there
are many people that haven’t the time, or just don’t care about politics,
because they’re doing the things that build a nation.. having a family, buying
homes, starting businesses, and buying stuff. They only care when it affects
them, their children, or their pocketbook.
And that’s sort of
understandable. We need those nose to the grindstone types, to keep the country
ticking along. But it is still really frightening to see the lack of
understanding from the voters, to watch
them be played and swayed by the machinations of the parties’ publicity wonks.
In the United States, the president, terrified of the prospect of
impeachment, is now seemingly unable to say anything but lies. His Secretary of
State was caught in several blatant lies to the public, and pretty much all of
his administration and Cabinet are complicit in impeachable, illegal offences.
In Canada, the leader of the Conservative Party has been
caught lying on his resume about his work record, and his education. His loyalty
to the nation was questioned this week, when he told the media that he’d never
spoken publicly about being a dual Canadian-United States citizen,
because “no one ever asked me.”
silent on his citizenship, even as the Conservative party regularly attacked
politicians for their citizenships, like Michael Ignatieff in 2011,
insinuating that he was ‘just visiting Canada’
They made a huge issue of former NDP leader Tom Mulcair and
former Liberal leader Stephane Dion having dual Canadian-French
citizenship. And in 2005, Scheer himself questioned the integrity of former
governor general Michaelle Jean’s dual citizenship, asking in a blog
written to his constituents if they could trust her, saying ” “Does it bother you that she is
a dual citizen (France and Canada)? Would it bother you if instead of French
citizenship, she held U.S. citizenship?”
It’s a breathtaking example of two-faced hypocrisy.
Do political parties, particularly on the right, no longer even vet their members, and potential leaders? Is it just a question of being the right colour, having money, and being willing to toe the party line?
We are going to find out a
lot of things about ourselves in the next few months, on both sides of the
border. We’re going to find out who we really are, and how much effort we put
forward to understand the policies and platforms of those parties viewing for
our votes. We’re going to discover if we are sheep that manipulative entities
can herd into their enclosures, or if we are willing to make the time and
effort to choose the leaders that will decide our countries futures.
It’s up to us all to stop
accepting lies and dirty tricks as the foundation of political campaigns, and
to demand truth and accountability from those we’ve chosen to lead our nations.
“In 2016, candidate Donald Trump boasted, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” In the coming weeks, we will find out whether he’s right about who he thinks we are as Americans”Rep Eric Swalwell
On the day after 4 million students from all around the world marched to protest their respective governments’ lack of decisive action on climate change, Bob Lefsetz noted that the photos and the chatter had already been pushed off the pages of both terrestrial and online press sites.
Today I noticed several
cynics on social media, who found the very idea of kids marching for
climate change laughable. Rather than admire the strength and courage shown by Greta
Thunberg and her supporters, they wallowed in the belief that there is no
point in fighting those in power.
It’s like all the marches, the sit ins and bed ins and hunger strikes of the sixties never even happened. As though the broken heads and bodies of civil rights activists were a myth. As if the peaceful protests of leaders like Ghandi just didn’t matter.
Listen. If protests didn’t
work, governments wouldn’t be always trying to stop people from protesting.
When the people finally
stand up and find their voices, the people can change the world. We boomers
did; we stopped a war. Maybe these kids can save the planet. Maybe we can help
If we don’t then we’ve
proved that this is how the world works now. We gear up towards an event, take
our selfies, and then we’re on to the next crisis. Even if we really, really
care about that event – a political debate, our children marching to try and
save the planet – there’s always another spike, another shock, another jolt,
coming at us before we’ve caught our breath from the last. Which means we never
actually get anything done.
It’s exhausting. And it’s
getting us nowhere.
All week long I’ve been trying to put my finger on the overwhelming atmosphere of our political environment. It’s exhausting. It’s depressing. It’s like we’ve had our adrenal glands hooked up to a milking machine. Our supply of fight or flight hormones are running so low now that many people would barely blink at a sharknado.
While we can certainly point
to the Mango Mussolini as the main culprit who has conditioned us to
expect multiple adrenaline jolts per day, the media also bears a lot of
responsibility for having married our emotions to this stressful world of social
media and nonstop ‘breaking news!’
When I was growing up, the
news occupied a sacred place in society. At fairly regular intervals, the
citizenry would be asked to pause in what they were doing, and pay attention to
the news of their country, and the world. Some read newspapers, some watched
their televised updates at 6pm
and before bed, but overall, most people had at least a vague sense of how
governments ran. Sometimes we were told that things were good, and it was time
to celebrate. Other times, we’d be informed of battles and wars that needed our
attention, and sometimes, that required the service and sacrifice of our
fittest young people. But overall … news was for grown ups, and it was
However, it was also something
from which you could take a vacation, and return to, without missing much.
Those were the days when channels still ‘signed off’ for the night .. often with beautiful, patriotic, or regional slideshows. Remember CITY TVs paean to the city of Toronto?
But then, somewhere along
the line, some edgy television exec decided that every broadcast moment had to
turn a profit. Overnight, the sanctity of a news hour was discarded for the
glitz and glamour of the tackiest of game show stages. Every decade, another of
the venerable newscasters whom we’d come to trust and revere, was either
rehabilitated into a botoxed, liposuctioned fashion plate, or unceremoniously
shown the door for a younger, prettier, sexier, news reader.
On June 1, 1980, Ted Turner launched CNN, the first 24-hour cable news station. HeadlineNews followed in 1982, .and MSNBC and FOX News were right behind them. News had effectively been monetized, and the world would never again be the same.
I have to keep reminding
myself that political junkies are only about 11% of the population. How
are we supporting all of those stations?
It just seems like there must
be even more of us. But that’s because social media – and a disturbingly
populist wave – has narrowed our
visions. Everyone’s got an opinion on social media. But that doesn’t mean that
everyone understands what they’re being force fed.
Right now, we in North America are awash in the hopes and dreams of political
candidates, all of whom wish to steer their ships of state or nations.
But it seems that quite a
lot of politicians – primarily those with a bend to the right – are more
comfortable playing ‘gotcha!‘ with their opponents. Apparently that’s
way easier than presenting a progressive, doable policy their party can follow,
and their electorate can agree upon.
And many, many, many people
are very easily lead. Once seeds of doubt and mistrust have been planted,
social media is happy to keep watering those misdeeds with liberal tears.
A friend messaged me the other day, with this anecdote.
“I was getting my
hair cut, and they were all talking about Trudeau in blackface. I listened for
about twenty minutes. None of them had seen the photo, but they were horrified.
One had a friend that called her, crying.
When I explained that it was a picture of him at a party, dressed as Aladdin,
and that he had darkened his face and hands, they all said, “ahhhh.. well
that’s not so bad.” Then I quoted him as saying, “I am really pissed
at myself.” They were all lovey dovey again until one of them started
reading from her phone on why any colouring of the skin is racist and they were
all up in arms again.”
It sure doesn’t seem like
denigrating and mudslinging a political leader makes people very happy. In
fact, it seems to only add to the miasma of uncertainty that so many have in
Voters are already
conflicted. Too many choose to vote against party leaders, rather than FOR a
logical, progressive plan forward. Keep on tearing down those the voters want
to look up to, and you’ll soon have an electorate that just can’t be bothered
to vote at all.
That works out great for those parties that can’t win fairly. Those who choose to use dirty tricks, gossip and innuendo to attempt to sway swing voters towards their own party need to realize that these ruses serve to make voters even more distrustful and cynical of whomever is currently in charge of their country.
Today’s smearing of Trudeau
is tomorrow’s smearing of Scheer. And while both parties wallow in the mud, and
try to defend themselves against attacks, neither party is actually working to
make the voter’s life any better.
Most people are happiest
when their country is chugging along, doing well economically, and not hurting
those who are already hurting. Most people rarely think about hurting other
people, just because they can.
But there are some people
who will put financial gain above all else.
Today, the news is full of stories about American troops being sent to Saudi Arabia, to be used as paid mercenaries – soldiers of fortune against Iran. Trump says that America must put their own military on the line to die for ‘the kingdom’ because “Saudi Arabia pays cash.”
The Saudis also paid cash to
the murderers who perpetrated the attack on the United States on 9/11. And surely, their own dollars paid
for the brutal murder and dismemberment of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Can you buy a nation’s soul with cash? Apparently you can, in the United States. The Saudis ‘pay cash’ … so they’ve bought trump ..
and America’s might and military.
Canadians will soon be asked
to either reinstate Justin Trudeau as prime minister, or to choose
another leader to fill that position. That next leader will have to work with
both economically, and politically.
The question we need to ask
ourselves is .. will our next leader
also believe that everything we hold dear can be bought? Our planet, our
bodies, our morals – are they all for sale? How much for our country ?
The question we need to ask
ourselves is which leader we believe we can trust to behave morally and
ethically when they are asked to make decisions about our relationship with America and the other countries of the world.
… with your Sunday political sermon, though it’s a day late. Time to catch up on what you may have missed over the last couple of weeks, and to get a sense of the direction we seem to be heading towards as Canadian election fever sets in.
In other words… where are
we going and why am I in this hand basket?
Looking specifically to Canada, I’m getting very nervous about how Canadians feel
about the parties from which they’ll choose their next leader. And one of those
reasons is because of a lack of charismatic leadership.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a
lifelong Liberal, and will vote for Trudeau again, because I
agree with most of his stated policies. However, I’m unhappy about some
election promises that were either not kept, or kept very badly … looking at
YOU, new cannabis legislation… what a mess that is!
I wanted electoral reform,
incontestably part of the Liberal
platform in 2015, and that was off the table after the first year.
“The Special Committee on Electoral
Reform was created in the spring of 2016, and it delivered its report in
December. It proposed two things. The first was that Canada replace its
traditional system of voting (the single-member plurality system known widely
as the first-past-the-post model) with a proportional system of representation
(where seats in the House of Commons would be allocated according to the
proportion of votes each party received). Second, it recommended that the idea
be put to a referendum.” (reviewcanada.ca)
However …. On February 1, 2017, the newly appointed
Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould announced that the
government was no longer pursuing electoral reform and it was not listed as a
priority in her mandate letter from Justin Trudeau In the letter, Trudeau
wrote that “a clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a
consensus, has not emerged” and that “without a clear preference or a
clear question, a referendum would not be in Canada’s interest. ” (Wikipedia)
The Liberals never wanted proportional representation, so it’s
not surprising that an excuse was found not to pursue it with the people. But
I’m still angry that it was taken off the table.
Still, even the National Post, notoriously right leaning, had to
report that “The Universite Laval’s Centre for Public Policy Analysis’s
latest reading — updated since March — shows the Liberals have entirely
fulfilled 53.5 per cent of their 2015 vows, partially lived up to 38.5 per cent
and broken eight per cent.”
of promises kept. Unfortunately, the 8% not kept are the ones I was hoping to
see fulfilled. Still – I’m just one Canadian, out of 37 million. Got to be a
lot of people who did have their wishlist met.
I still say, when I”m
looking to the other parties that are in the race, it’s the lack of a strong, compelling
leader that stands out. At least to me. Your mileage may vary.
Andrew Scheer has the look of a Howdy Doody puppet, and the
wooden emotions to go along with the image. He’s 3 parts Harper and 1
part the preacher from Footloose. The dimples and simper can’t hide his
lack of connection to the actual citizens, that is, those of us who haven’t
been living off the taxpayer dollar for the last 15 years, which is most of his
life to date. This is a guy who has not paid for his own housing or meals in so
long, he couldn’t tell you the price of a kilo of sugar if you stuck a gun to
his head. His idea of transportation costs entails having the taxpayer fund
over $2,035,886 of luxury travel,
just in the time since he became an MP. This is your guy if a Conservative
plutocracy is what you want for your government.
I voted NDP in the last provincial election, but I can’t say that
I’m sold on Jagmeet Singh asPrime Minister. Remember when Margaret
Wente gushed over his ascension to leadership?
“Those turbans! That beard! He was just the kind of figure to
make progressive folks feel good about themselves, their party and their
prospects. GQ, the men’s fashion magazine, profiled him in rapturous terms,
calling him “the incredibly well-dressed rising star in Canadian
Ah, but we were all so much
older then – we’re younger and more racist than that now.
Elizabeth May, bless her heart, remains our Green Queen,
and with climate change such an important issue top of mind right now, there
are many who will put their X beside her name, just because there’s Green in
the party’s title. Google the party’s platform to see what else the party has
in mind for the country.
As to Maxime Bernier
and his People’s Party -well, on the bright side, it’s looking like his
main contribution to the election will be drawing support away from Scheer’s
Regardless of your
preference, please remember that, unless you are a white male, someone fought
for your right to vote. Someone may well have died, fighting for your right to
vote, and it is important that you exercise that right. Because – your vote
does count. If it didn’t, the bad guys wouldn’t be constantly trying to
suppress that right.
Maybe you’ve already made up
your mind, and made your choice, and are happy with it. If so, I’m glad to hear
it. What worries me, honestly, is the voters who tend to vote ‘against’ rather
than for; or those who vote their ‘gut’ without understanding the platforms of
the party leaders. The time has long gone when you could just close your eyes
and pin the tail on a prime minister, and tell yourself that it didn’t matter,
because all parties are the same. They are not.
On the plus side, and whether
you are into politics or not, our entire electoral race lasts only a few
months, so there isn’t time to get too bogged down in nastiness and slurs. Well
– unless you want to. Lots of people love to argue on social media. Have at it,
if that turns your crank.
A few short months. Not like in the United States, where Trump officially filed his re-election campaign with the FEC on January 20 , 2017, the day of his inauguration. He didn’t want to miss a penny of the donations he could keep requesting, nor the adulation of his base, who could be relied upon to keep massaging his ego.
We’re still fourteen months away from the next presidential election, and I’m already over it. Pretty sure Trump is too – after all, he called off his trip to Denmark because they laughed when he wanted to buy Greenland, and sent Pence to visit Poland (“Congratulations, Poland! on the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion!”) so that he could stay at Camp David to ‘oversee’ Hurricane Dorian, and fit in a couple rounds of golf. And then he apparently cancelled a secret meeting that he’d planned to hold at Camp David with some Taliban leaders, to celebrate the anniversary of 9/11. I’m beginning to think this guy just doesn’t feel like presidenting any more!
whole new world, isn’t it? I mean.. do you remember when we worried that
impeaching Trump would result in a Pence presidency? Now we know that, no
matter how low Trump goes, there’s always another abyss he’s programmed into
his GPS. Worse =we’re all gonna get tweeted to death on the ride there.
This is the hell in which
Americans now find themselves, looking down the barrel of fourteen months in
which the average citizen can never really be sure that what they’re being
told, by any of their leaders, or the heads of federal services, is true, or
just what they’ve been told they have to say, in order not to contradict their
It’s not even so much a
flood of DISinformation as it is a bombardment of MISinformation, the likes of
which no society can be expected to deal with gracefully. Like headless
chickens, we can only bob and weave, ducking each new onslaught of lies and
untruths aimed at what is left of our sanity. And even once the liars are gone,
the bully pulpit power of those lies will continue to warp the minds of
Americans for generations to come.
I’m hoping that Pelosi finally finds her spine and allows the Dems to begin impeachment proceedings, but I’m not holding my breath. In truth, it’s immaterial if the Senate won’t pass it; the point is to put the spotlight on all of the crimes and misdemeanours that have happened during Trump’s reign of errors and terrors, so that all Americans can see clearly what’s been going on in the halls of power since January 2017.
We have to accept that there
is NO savior coming to America. We thought Mueller might be the guy to vanquish
the goblin, but he didn’t, or perhaps he couldn’t, under paid lackey AG
Right now it seems like the
Dems are just crossing their fingers and toes, and praying that everything will
be hunky dory if they can make it from here to Nov 2020 without Trump releasing
a load of nuclear ejaculate in the direction of whatever country displeased him
I don’t believe that a lack
of action is the right course to take, but I’m not running for anything, and
I’m not American. I have my own Canadian election to worry about.
My bigger fear, like that of other countries around the world, is that not beginning impeachment proceedings now will lead to a second, third, fourth and for life tenure of his presidency, which, once he’s tired of playing Emperor, he’ll pass down to Ivanka.
And that’s a fate I wouldn’t
wish on my worse enemy.
A long, long time ago, I used to play chess. Not very well, to be honest; I was probably a better backgammon player if anything. Or maybe I wasn’t all that great at either.
But here’s the thing .. I’ve played neither of those games in… gotta be nearly three decades. First, it was computers … when I fell under their spell, that was it for spare time. I was enthralled, seduced by DOS and data bases. I tend to get pretty intense when I dive into a new interest.
And then I got into politics – headfirst and totally submerged. It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been following politics seriously for about the last six years, but, you see .. I didn’t really need to before that. Things were ticking along pretty well – we didn’t get too far forward, but we also didn’t fall too far behind. Business as usual, really. And I was busy.
But then there was Harper. Oh, he’d been around for a while before he really started getting up my nose, but there came a point when I realized that his political trajectory was going to take Canada to places that most of those I consider friends and family, really didn’t want him to visit.
As things heated up towards the 2015 federal election, there were more and more issues in which Harper’s ultra-conservative bent seemed contrary to real growth for Canadians. Austerity measures in Canada worked against future prosperity, and his government’s penchant for secrecy and overreach of government powers of surveillance, especially in the drafting of Bill C51, felt way too much like a Big Brother usurpation of civil liberties.
Harper represented an old guard that was terrified of losing power, and determined to hold on, by force if necessary. Trudeau seemed a breath of fresh air, a loosening of your grandfather’s prohibitive rules, and a step into a better Canada.
And then along came Trump, and the world was never the same again. And probably will never be the same again, in my lifetime.
Now, the weird thing is, I knew, right away, from the day Trump swept down that escalator with Melanoma, like Boris and Natasha, that he was going to be the worst, most disturbing, and most damaging person, to ever happen to America.
For a while I had recapped his reality show, Celebrity Apprentice, and so this cast of characters were mildly familiar to me. This crew of misfit toys believed that they were the equivalent of American royalty, and displayed the same sort of quasi lèse majesté /insanity so often found from that mix of inbreeding and narcissism. The Trump family were petty tyrants – and they hadn’t even begun to tyrant.
Once inaugurated, I knew he and his family of damaged goods were going to rape America, pillage it’s treasures, and then burn it to the ground, before salting the earth, to prevent further generations from bringing it back to life.
But as bad as I thought he might be – he’s worse.
For at least the first year of Trump’s tenure, myself and a very large crop of ‘resisters’ lived on high alert, watching an administration filled with the worst appointees in history, picked solely for their ability to bring down every supporting pillar of democracy and justice, set to the destruction of America in as short a time as possible.
And, oh my .. wasn’t there a lot to see!
Amy Siskind‘s The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump’s First Year, compiled a list of actions taken by the Trump regime that posed a threat to our democratic norms. Under the headline “Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember,” Siskind’s Weekly List began as a project she shared with friends, but soon went viral. (Amazon)
Dr Stuart Shapiro, a teacher of macroenomics at Rutgers Bloustein School of Public Policy, kept a diary of his own Facebook comments, titled, Not Normal: A Progressive’s Diary of the Year After Trump’s Election
In it, he chronicled his reactions to the incidents, tweets and policy proposals instigated by the new administration in it’s first year. His palpable exhaustion as the nation lurched from surprise to surprise, and outrage to outrage is a helpful reminder that no other presidency in recorded history ever dominated the news cycles as thoroughly and unceasingly as this one has.
And then there was my favourite guilty pleasure … The Resistance by Keith Olbermann
Truthfully, within a year of Trump’s reign, the general definition of ‘normal’ was no more – crushed under the weight of executive orders and a display of greed, arrogance, and corruption so vivid and intense that it often threatened to blind me.
Oh, sure, the Old Guard flailed about, and those bipartisan lawmakers remaining managed to get the Robert Mueller investigation into play, but the Republican party stood firm that their Dear Leader and his demented whims were how those once United States would now be run.
Every time Trump or any of his minions were caught for wrong doing, they immediately cried victim. But really, it is Jane and Joe American and their kids who have paid the price for this poor presidential pick.
Most of the time, I don’t really blame Jane and Joe for falling under the spell of a politician. When you’re trying to raise a family and make a living, a lot gets put aside, to be dealt with sometime later .. maybe after the kids go to bed. It’s all part of a life cycle; someone’s gotta be keeping those home centres and toy companies in business. I can totally understand why the average person – say from 30 to 50 years of age – absorbs no more than the loudest or most eye-catching information that goes on around them.
It just becomes really difficult to keep on giving the Trump Cult that benefit of a doubt as the evidence piles up against their idol and his feet of clay, and still, his approval numbers stay in the mid 40s. These days, the nation is just too damn tired and jumpy to even raise much of a fuss when Trump sets fire to another couple of million dollars on a weekend getaway, or increases the debt ceiling by another trillion dollars or so.
Most of us following the Trump debacle had just assumed that the Mueller Report would be wrapped up, by now, and that Trump’s crimes would be exposed, and another can of presidents opened in time for dinner.
But nope … apparently there’s still a lot more rabbit hole to fall down.
There is hope, though. This week has turned out to be one of the wildest chapters in the book of Donald’s really terrible, horrible, no good, weeks. As the current White House resident met for a second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, desperately trying to shake off some of the stink of that fake ‘national emergency’ he’d declared just before taking a long vacation weekend, former personal lawyer and broken nosed ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen testified publicly about the Trump Foundation’s many quasi legal and often very illegal business workarounds while calling Trump a “a racist,” “a con man,” and “a cheat” before Congress, right as the New York Times released a new report detailing how Jared Kushner‘s security clearance had come about .. and it wasn’t nearly as secure as either the Donald or the daughter of POTUS had promised. Nope .. not at all.
Oh yes, a very bad week indeed.
Kim Jung Un got Trump to buy him dinner, give him a place on the world stage, enable Kim’s propaganda, choose Russia/North Korea‘s words over America’s own intel, excuse horrific and ongoing human rights violations, and walk away from taking the blame for Otto Warmbier’s brutal beating death, in a country where nothing is done without Kim’s explicit permission.
In exchange, the North Korean dictator produced a “White Paper on Human Rights Violations in the U.S. in 2017,.” where the tiny tyrant accused the Trump Administration of being a billionaires’ club, that harbors a “policy of racism” while exacerbating social inequalities and denying freedom of the press and health coverage to citizens.”
Oh me oh my and ouchy! Something tells me that the days of sweet, sweet love letters in giant envelopes arriving at the White House from his loving Kim are far behind us now …
I also suspect that a lot of that ‘locker room talk’ in the 2 hour 20 minute CPAC rally rant had much to do with the POTUS feeling increasingly cornered. It’s not surprising the mask would begin to fall off, and a little bit of the crude ‘pussy grabber‘ re-emerge. Thankfully, this time, only an American flag was molested.
Strange days indeed, mama. Or, as Daniel Dale tweeted, “Folks, these are the rantings of a sundowning old man whose brains are leaking out of his ears live on stage.”
Can someone please point me the way back to ‘Normal’?
A summer, probably around 1982. A small town – might have been Guelph – and a touring rock band from Toronto with time on their hands …..
I think Performer was booked in for the back end of the week, the Thursday Friday Saturday, at a local bar. I just remember looking out into the crowd and spotting a bunch of dusty, hard-drinking, guys and gals who were loudly enjoying the show, whooping it up like a bunch of sailors on shore leave.
The guys in the band were the first to find out that the ‘circus’ was in town; a Conklin‘s offshoot, complete with rides, a midway filled with games of chance, and all the vomit-inducing festive fair fare you could dream of.
With an invitation for the whole band and roadies to come and enjoy the entertainment gratis, we assembled at the crack of two p.m. in our best spandex and leathers to brave the sun and the crowds.
It was hot and sunny that day, so the corndogs and cotton candy weren’t sitting quite as well as hoped. That’s when the fatal decision was made – four of us would share a ride on the tea cup carousel.
How bad could that be, you ask? Well, when the ride wrangler realized he had ‘show biz royalty’ in his care, he prepared to show us exactly what his ride could do in the hands of a ‘professional.’
It was the longest and most horrible ride I’ve ever experienced. At first it was fun, but soon enough, the speed, and the herky jerky movement of the ‘cups’ had us all regretting everything we’d eaten, not just that day, but that week. Maybe that month.
We held on for dear life and prayed for the ride to stop.
That’s sort of like America these days.
When Trump warned Americans that a vote for him would soon have them begging for all of the ‘winning’ to stop, I flashed back on that sunny, but ultimately nauseating, day in carnie hell, and knew exactly what was in store for the citizens of the Ew Ess of Eh.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, you know. The cynical like to tell you that all politicians are the same, that ‘the left wing and the right wing still come from the same bird,‘ but that’s a lot of fancy mouth dancing to cover up the fact that we’ve somehow corrupted our politics to the point where too many are no longer aware that politics is the circus, and we are the rubes they’re here to fleece.
Was it always like this? Were all previous politicians just as crooked as the group we now have to choose from? I can’t believe that is true – if all previous governments had been as rapacious as this lot, there wouldn’t be a country left with resources so rich that it’s treasury was a lure to these shysters.
This kind of political deception is the end product of years of trickery, of sneaky, backroom deals, and the selective reading of scholarly documents that prove that the devil really IS in the details.
And that the right wing is very often not at all right.
Show me one election of the last decade or so, where you sincerely held a strong belief that the election of this person and this person in particular, would benefit the lives of you and most of the citizens of your country. It’s far more likely that your past votes were actually cast against another politician – that’s what we did when Harper lost and Trudeau was installed. That’s what it seems an awful lot of people did when they chose Ford over Wynne or even Horwath in the last Ontario provincial election.
And how’s that buck a beer thing working out for you so far, FordNation?
In America, a large quantity of citizens who felt that they had been used, abused and forgotten in capitalism’s race to the finish, voted for a conman who embodied the complete antithesis of everything they claimed to have loved and believed in, as a nation, since 1776.
And an even larger quantity of citizens decided they’d just sit this ride out.
These elections bear no relationship to those halcyon days when we actually believed our chosen leaders would .. well.. lead. Instead, they have all the charm of a loveless marriage entered into just to show an ex-lover, in the cruelest way possible, that you never really loved or needed them in the first place.
That’s not winning either.
Do you wonder why the general tenor of political thinking ranges from the white hot rage of the pundits, to the stupor of the larger group of potential voters who just want to be left alone with their belief that their vote has no effect on how their country is run?
Are you sick of ‘winning’ yet?
Those people whom we are meant to respect and obey have asked us to believe so very many lies. And for the most part, the majority of us were happy to do so, and to defend the right of those with money and power to tell us those lies, and to tell us how to think.
The world changed a couple of decades ago, when computers became ubiquitous, and for better or worse, our ability to confirm or deny what we’ve been told has led to some pretty interesting confrontations. What exactly IS fake news, and will you know it when you see it?
This could be a time when, with access to all of the world’s combined information, we could aspire to become a race of super intelligent people, capable of quickly seeing through the flimflam artists and cutting through the jibber jabber of the fast talking cons peddling high tech snake oil.
Instead, there are still far too many people rushing to throw their money, hearts and minds into the gaping maws of these stealers of dreams.
But Spring is coming to America, and with it, another opportunity for people to see their world with fresh eyes. Those midterm winds blew a lot of brand new Democrats into Congress, and with a little luck, the Republican party may soon find out that, what goes around, comes around.
Sadly, it may be many more years before we see the extent of all the ‘winning’ that Doug Ford has planned for the province of Ontario.
And it looks like we don’t get to get off of this ride until he’s done.