Monday, August 19, 2019

A Journal's Sad Decline

Readers of this blog will probably know that I am a big supporter of newspapers. In my view, they are the best bulwark against the ignorance that seems so prominent in Western society today. As a subscriber to The Toronto Star and a financial contributor to The Guardian, it is fair to say that newspapers have been a daily part of my life for a long time.

Having been born and raised in Hamilton, the newspaper of record when I was growing up was The Hamilton Spectator which, for the longest time, was an afternoon journal my family eagerly consumed after school and after work. It had a proud and long history in the Steel City, bringing to our doors both local and national news of note. Few homes went without it.

Now part of the Torstar chain, it is a paper I only buy on Saturdays. as I am addicted to the large weekly and the large New Your Times crossword puzzles contained therein. It is thanks to these once-a-week purchases that I have noticed the journal's sad decline. Not only does it rely increasingly on content from the Toronto Star, but also, it seems, on incendiary letters that, in my view, no responsible paper would publish, reliant as they tend to be on ad hominems and unsubstantiated assertions.

I offer the following as sad example of what may be a misguided attempt to increase circulation:
Obama, not Trump, was the great evil

As America's first black president, it was hoped Barack Obama would end the racial divide and bring unity to the country. Instead, the United States is more polarized than ever. He was a narcissist who wanted to change America. Everything about him was phoney. He was a demagogue whose speeches were high on rhetoric and empty promises. His actions divided the country and fanned the flames of racism and anti-Semitism. Don't look at what Obama said or how he said it. His actions belie his words. Democrats calling Trump Hitler and his supporters Nazis demonize half of Americans for the simple reason they don't support their insane leftist policies. Having a different political opinion shouldn't make you a target for verbal abuse or physical assault.

Is that what Obama meant when he said he wanted to "fundamentally transform the United States of America"? I guess he did and the result is not pretty.

Harold Pomerantz, Dundas

Blame the left, not Trump

Henry Giroux writes that, "Under the presidency of Donald Trump, the nightmare drumbeat of a fascist and racist tinged politics is getting louder and more consistent." Yes, except the drumbeat he cites is coming from the left, as their efforts to unseat the president become increasingly unhinged.

How can a man in the glare of publicity for decades suddenly be a white supremacist? How can there be a Nazi in the White House who's celebrated in Israel and has a half-Jewish family? How can Trump be uniquely evil if it's necessary to distort his actions and policies in order to show it? How can the Russia collusion stuff all be true, and then forgotten?

Get a grip, everyone. If Trump had run as a Democrat and still won the presidency, we'd be getting on with our lives.

Stuart Laughton, Burlington

Hero Trump protecting North America

The Spectator's recent columnist from the American Civil Liberties Union is spewing fake news. Chris Rickerd falsely stated that President Trump is anti immigration. Trump is not anti-immigration because America continues to accept over one million legal immigrants every year. Trump is against open borders. Trump isn't for illegal immigration, he is anti-illegals.


North America is the world's lifeboat and it must not be swamped. When we think about immigration we should ask ourselves, "Were the sailors who manned the Titanic's lifeboats racists because they didn't risk losing their survivors by going back for more survivors?" President Trump is only protecting Americans from illegal activities in order to preserve the Union.

George Rooney, Hamilton
It is beyond sad when a once-respected newspaper chooses to pander to shrill, inflammatory, populist but essentially empty rhetoric. Yellow journalism has no place in any responsible journal.

Friday, August 16, 2019

A Thousand Words ....


Because the political reactions from the right and the left are so tiresomely predictable, I thought I would offer a few examples from one of the so-called progressive groups that I monitor, thereby sparing those so inclined to label me for my refusal to bow before Trudeau and his sham liberalism. Out of respect for the privacy of those who post their comments within a closed forum, I leave out both source and identities. From a CBC story on Jane Philpott's reaction to the Ethic's Commissioner's report on the SNC-Lavalin scandal that I posted to the group come the following:
Another Schmeer campaign. I find it interesting that this reporting surfaces as Schmeer drops like a rock in Ontario.

Poor irrelevant Philpott.... lololol

a Pity she is still with the smear campaigners! !!

JP knows very well that JWR twisted her truth. JWR spoke to Campbell & that was the only former AG that JWR admitted to speaking to about the SNC case. Campbell did not see the info on the case, she went only by what JWR told her. Mulroney had something different than Campbell to say. The PM wanted JWR to bring an expert in to work on the case with JWR & to give advice & JWR refused to do that, so without another insight on the case, The PM did not feel that JWR's decision was the right way to go. JT did not interfere in any way, he just wanted JWR to fully do her job & use every tool that was available to her. Then there is the important information about the SNC case that JWR purposely with held from the PMO. Why is that not mentioned & the case files on JWR desk that had been sitting on her desks for months. The poor man who was in prison & finally found innocent & had to stay in prison for almost a year waiting for JWR to have him released. David the AG now had the man released with in 2 weeks after David took the AG position. There is much more & JP knows it all as well as JWR. Nope, if JWR had of been a man in the AG position, he would of been fired a lot sooner. JWR blew it her self, she let the power go to her head just like she is doing now. That alone will take her down again.

What about investigating Mr Andy Smear`s visit to Lavalin`s HQ ! What was the name of Harper`s man on the Lavalin Board of Directors!
Reacting to a story on the actual report by the Commissioner, some of the following illustrate the obdurate, uncritical support Trudeau commands from extreme partisans:
Enjoy PM Scheer.
Hillary's emails don't matter now anymore, do they?
I have sent this happen too many times with one single commissioner (who could be easily influenced by outside forces) bring down a government.

As much as it does suck, it is still better than the über-corrupt alternative, the Conservatives. Heck, in an interview on Canadaland (either Oppo or Commons) even Jodie Wilson Raybould was on the record saying she hopes Trudeau wins
In response, I wrote,
Rather than saying the Liberals are the best we've got, it is time for all Canadians to demand better government. Defending Trudeau as the least odious choice does nothing for the cause of good government.
This was followed by, for what is worse advances the cause of bad government.

... but you don't have to vote for the tories, we don't live in a two party system.
And it goes on and on, including the usual dismissal of Trudeau criticism as coming from 'the haters.'

All of this is as utterly predictable as it is dispiriting. Funny, isn't it, how partisanship on either poles of the political spectrum seems to require the suspension of critical thinking skills that we need now more than ever, all of which leaves me with little hope that we will ever see any improvement in a political landscape currently populated by hacks, Pavlovian loyalties, and a paucity of any real cogitation.

Now where have I seen this before?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

UPDATED: Patently Ridiculous

That is my assessment of our faux Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, in her latest political statement in answer to the question of whether or not Canada should ban the export of our plastic waste:
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she has asked her department to look at what else Canada can do to reduce the amount of Canadian garbage that is ending up overseas.

As recently as Aug. 1, McKenna’s officials dismissed the idea of banning plastic waste exports entirely, fearing such a move could be economically harmful to countries with recycling industries that rely on the material. [Italics mine.]

Canada pointed to Australia, New Zealand and Japan as countries with similar policies.

But last week, Australia’s federal and state governments came together to start planning for an eventual ban of plastic waste exports.
While some might be fooled by McKenna's expressions of concern for jobs in other countries, others are not:
Kathleen Ruff, founder of the online advocacy campaign, wants Canada to agree to stop shipping plastic waste out of the country. She has been critical of the federal Liberals for refusing to agree to amend the Basel Convention to stop plastic waste exports. The convention is an international agreement to prevent the world’s wealthiest nations from dumping hazardous waste on the developing world.
Ruff said she was happy to hear McKenna say there was room to do more — and suspects the Oct. 21 federal election may have something to do with it.
Politics, indeed. I think I would have more respect for McKenna if she took the almost unheard of route of speaking honestly to the public and state that a ban of plastic exports would require the elimination of a wide array of single-use products that Canadians are addicted to, ranging from plastic water bottles to bubble wrap to takeout containers to coffee cups (lined with plastic). Such a move would take real courage and vision, but the initial public backlash might be politically costly.

Instead, we have a visionless shill masquerading as the Environment and Climate Change Minister taking faux pride in the fact that we will ban plastic straws in another year or two.

In closing, it is useful to remind ourselves that we are all complicit in this minister's posturing:
Canadians are among the biggest producers of waste in the world, churning out as much as two kilograms per person every day.
Not a pretty picture

UPDATE: Now here is something we should all find sobering about plastic pollution:
Abundant levels of microplastic pollution have been found in snow from the Arctic to the Alps, according to a study that has prompted scientists to warn of significant contamination of the atmosphere and demand urgent research into the potential health impacts on people.

Snow captures particles from the air as it falls and samples from ice floes on the ocean between Greenland and Svalbard contained an average of 1,760 microplastic particles per litre, the research found. Even more – 24,600 per litre on average – were found at European locations. The work shows transport by winds is a key factor in microplastics contamination across the globe.

The scientists called for research on the effect of airborne microplastics on human health, pointing to an earlier study that found the particles in cancerous human lung tissue.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Eating Ourselves To Death

If you want to read a comprehensive report about another dire crisis humanity is facing, be sure to check out this post from the Mound.

There is something of a solution, but it is one most will just ignore. Here is the Coles Notes version:

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Will Hysteria Or Rationality Prevail This Fall?

As we wind ou way through the dog days of summer, it is a truism that no one will pay attention to politics and the upcoming election until after Labour Day. That may well be, but the Green Party is seeking to allay fears that its climate action plan would result in massive job loss for those working in fossil-fuel industries.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has unveiled a multi-pronged plan to help workers in the gas and oil sector transition to a renewable energy economy, working to allay fears that her climate action plan would bleed jobs as she ramps up pre-election campaign efforts.

The Green worker transition plan, which includes skills retraining programs and massive retrofit and cleanup projects designed to create employment, fleshes out details from the Green Party's climate action plan called Mission: Possible, that was released in May.
A canny move in anticipation of the fear-mongering about the Greens that will inevitably increase as their momentum in the polls grows, May wants to spread the message that there will be plenty of work for those who will be displaced as we decarbonize. Her platform includes
- Investing in retraining and apprenticeship programs to refocus the skills of industrial trade workers for jobs in the renewable energy sector.
- Start[ing] a massive cleanup of "orphaned" oil wells; some of which can be transformed to produce geothermal energy.
- Creat[ing] a national program to retrofit all buildings to optimum energy efficiency.
May said the party's plan for retrofitting buildings would create four million jobs for tradespeople such as carpenters, electricians and plumbers, and said there is an "immense economic opportunity" in moving to green jobs.

"People may think when we talk about climate emergency that we're hoping to have people be afraid. People are already afraid. We want to give them hope and the tools to know that their future is secure."
While rabidly partisan 'progressives' will no doubt continue advocating a surrender to 'group-think', insisting that a vote for anyone but Trudeau is a vote for Scheer, it is to be hoped that independent, critical thinkers will base their voting decisions on more measured, less hysterical grounds.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Only The Beginning

While the average cossetted North American may feel smug about the following, since the water shortages discussed seem far, far away, they are the stuff that social unrest, rioting, regime change and mass migrations are made of:
Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly urgent risk: The prospect of running out of water.

From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under extremely high water stress, meaning they are using almost all the water they have, according to new World Resources Institute data published Tuesday.
Greatly exacerbated by climate change, floods and droughts are becoming more volatile:
Water-stressed places are sometimes cursed by two extremes. São Paulo was ravaged by floods a year after its taps nearly ran dry. Chennai suffered fatal floods four years ago, and now its reservoirs are almost empty.
Unfortunately, the short-term solution many countries have adopted, tapping deep into their aquifers, only promises a deferment of the crisis:
Mexico’s capital, Mexico City, is drawing groundwater so fast that the city is literally sinking. Dhaka, Bangladesh, relies so heavily on its groundwater for both its residents and its water-guzzling garment factories that it now draws water from aquifers hundreds of feet deep. Chennai’s thirsty residents, accustomed to relying on groundwater for years, are now finding there’s none left. Across India and Pakistan, farmers are draining aquifers to grow water-intensive crops like cotton and rice.
Are there any solutions? Not really. officials can plug leaks in the water distribution system. Wastewater can be recycled. Rain can be harvested and saved for lean times: lakes and wetlands can be cleaned up and old wells can be restored. And, farmers can switch from water-intensive crops, like rice, and instead grow less-thirsty crops like millet.
Given the world's ever-increasing population, the quickening pace of climate change and humans' reluctance to alter their profligate ways, it is a safe bet that things will get worse. Clearly, this is only the beginning of the horrors that await the planet.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Global Population Gets Greedier By The Day

That is the opening line in the following report that deals with Earth Overshoot Day, the day our species uses up the Earth's finite resources that should take a year to use. As my friend Mound often says, the climate-change disaster rapidly bearing down on us is but one part of a trifecta, the others being overpopulation and overuse of said resources. Our rapaciousness will be the death of us all, including many innocent non-human species.

Start the following at the 12:20 mark: