Sunday, December 29, 2019

Makes Sense To Me

I had this exact conversation with my son this week as he and his wife visited from the west.
Alberta, Ottawa set to clash over rent supplement cost, Dec. 27

This story reports another impasse over money between Alberta and Ottawa. Yet it fails to explain the full story as to why Alberta is so low on cash.

Alberta has been a tax haven for decades, and still has no provincial sales tax like almost all of the rest of Canada pays. For Ontario, the provincial sales tax is 8 per cent; for Alberta, it is 0. The revenue going to provincial coffers from this are huge in Ontario; zilch in Alberta.

So what does Alberta Premier Jason Kenney do? He expects federal funds to cover for the lack of Alberta provincial funds. He never mentions sales tax. That means taxpayers in other provinces, who pay provincial sales tax as well as other taxes, are expected to maintain the Alberta tax haven.

Why isn’t this fact included in every story about Alberta seeking federal money? Canadians would then better understand how Kenney is pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes.

Allan Fox, Toronto

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Breaking Up With Jesus

While some may be cheered by the fact that evangelical magazine Christianity Today has called for Donald Trump's removal, be aware that theirs apparently is not a widely-held view amongst 'true' believers.

The inimitable Mrs. Betty Bowers explains to Jesus why evangelicals can no longer follow Him: they are seeing someone else.

Friday, December 20, 2019

The House That Trump Didn't Build

Johnny Carson, when bringing to the audience's attention bizarre stories that strained credulity, used to say, "Folks, I do not make these things up; I merely report them."

I shall leave you to infer what you will from the following report, which left me, shall we say, in less than optimal spirits.
A farmhouse near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, known as the Trump House, wants to make neighbourhoods great again. Trump superfan Leslie Rossi is behind it. Mike Armstrong explains why and how Rossi thinks critics haven’t given Trump a fair chance.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Real Adult In The Room

These days, it is hard to see the call to public office as an honourable one. The following letter sets things into their proper perspective, I think, while the video that follows shows who the real adult in the room is:
Former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne remarks that every child has the right to aspire to public office. We can look to the elections of Donald Trump, Doug Ford and now Boris Johnson and realize that children have and will continue to aspire to and achieve public office.

G.A. Corcoran, Toronto

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Dieselgate: The Stench Continues In Ottawa

Most people will remember the massive crime against humanity perpetrated by Volkswagen when it used software to hide the amount of noxious emissions its diesel engines were actually spewing out. If you are a little rusty on the details, I posted about it over a year ago. For those who want the Coles Notes version, suffice it to say that the company paid billions of dollars in penalties and had to take the offending vehicles off the road. Indeed, some executives are now behind bars because of their crime.

Not so in Canada, however.

It seems that after four years of discussion as well as intensive lobbying by Volkswagen of the government and the Prime Minister's Office, (lobbying directed toward the same cast of characters, shockingly, that tried to arrange for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with SNC-Lavalin), it appears that Volkswagen will get off with only a fine, four years after much harsher justice was meted out in other countries.

I urge you to watch the following news report. It inflamed me, and reaffirmed, in my mind, the neoliberal bona fides of Justin Trudeau and his robber baron friends and colleagues. Please pay special attention to the response that Jagmeet Singh got from Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Naveep Bains when the former raised the issue in the House:

Friday, December 13, 2019

Don't Let The Door Hit You On Your Way Out

No doubt the Idiot-In Chief thinks that by changing his residence, he will avoid justice in New York:

Thursday, December 12, 2019

You've Been Warned

Should the legislative branch of the American government do what a functioning democracy requires and hold an out-of-control President to account, mayhem will ensue, according to Trump Nation:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

More Evidence That The Emperor Has No Clothes

The Mound notified me that he is having problems accessing his blog, and so directed me to the following story. Given the stellar job he has been doing on the climate file and other issues relating to the earth's viability, I know my post will be a mere shadow of the quality and depth he brings to bear, but here goes anyway.

The Guardian reports a truth about Justin Trudeau that his supporters are loathe to acknowledge: despite his election pledge, he is leading us farther away from any chance of meeting Canada's promised greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
... Justin Trudeau’s newly re-elected government will decide whether to throw more fuel on the fires of climate change by giving the go-ahead to construction of the largest open-pit oil sands mine in Canadian history.

Approving Teck Resources’ Frontier mine would effectively signal Canada’s abandonment of its international climate goals. The mega mine would operate until 2067, adding a whopping 6 megatonnes of climate pollution every year. That’s on top of the increasing amount of carbon that Canada’s petroleum producers are already pumping out every year.

Approving Teck Resources’ Frontier mine would effectively signal Canada’s abandonment of its international climate goals. The mega mine would operate until 2067, adding a whopping 6 megatonnes of climate pollution every year. That’s on top of the increasing amount of carbon that Canada’s petroleum producers are already pumping out every year.
And despite Trudeau's repeated and lofty rhetoric about consulting Indigenous people, this project has grave implications for them:
The Teck mega mine would be on Dene and Cree territory, close to Indigenous communities. The area is home to one of the last free-roaming herds of wood bison, it’s along the migration route for the only wild population of endangered whooping cranes, and is just 30km from the boundary of Wood Buffalo national park – a Unesco world heritage site because of its cultural importance and biodiversity.
Most Canadians are aware of the filthy nature of tar sand development, but even if this project does not go ahead, much further damage is being planned:
Even without Teck Frontier, there are 131 megatonnes per year in approved tar sands projects just waiting for companies to begin construction. No wonder the industry is on track to take up 53% of Canada’s emissions budget within the next 10 years.
And the signs that Trudeau is giving little more than lip service to emission-reduction is becoming very evident:
Less than two months ago, two-thirds of Canadians voted for parties vowing to do more to fight climate change. Trudeau promised during the campaign to introduce legally binding targets for Canada to reach net zero emissions by 2050. But all the current national climate policies, including a carbon tax and coal phase-out, would be overwhelmed by this carbon juggernaut and Canada would radically fail to meet its climate commitments.
There are alternatives:
By rejecting the Teck mega mine, the Canadian government could signal that it is committed to stopping this runaway train. That it does represent the two-thirds of Canadians who voted for increased action against climate breakdown. It could launch a serious program to help the oil and gas workers of Alberta, the people who are out of work and need a future to believe in, by redirecting the many billions of dollars for pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure into diversifying and decarbonizing Alberta’s economy.

In rejecting the Teck mega mine, Canada would be joining France, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Norway and recently California – all jurisdictions that have recently constrained expansion of oil and gas due to the urgent need to build cleaner safer energy systems and fight climate change.
Based on the Trudeau government's past performance, I would say the odds of the Teck project being approved are great. But I would very much welcome being proven wrong.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Tis The Season

I love being able to disseminate cheer at this time of the year.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Time To Lighten Up

Often we can be so weighed down by the woes of the world that we forget there is much humour to be found in it. Indeed, I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that frequently, people take themselves far too seriously, mounting as they often do that white steed to proclaim outrage against some perceived wrongdoing. If you will bear with me for a few moments, I hope to show the lighter side of that outrage.

You are probably familiar with the following Peleton commercial which has garnered quite a frenzied, even rabid, response from those sensitive souls who are always eager to proclaim their truth as universal, and happy to foist it upon the rest of us:

As reported by the New York Times, many were deeply offended:
Many social media users criticized the commercial for being sexist and classist. A Peloton Bike retails for $2,245, and membership for the company’s signature interactive classes costs $39 a month.

The woman in the commercial, many users pointed out, was already fit.
Such carping criticism, it seems to me, misses the point of exercise in general, and of the commercial specifically, perhaps best summed up in this Tweet:

In any event, I have no use for such extreme political correctness. It suggests to me that some people have far too much time on their hands.

Which is why I was delighted to see this send-up by the always irreverent Ryan Reynolds (he of Deadpool fame) in a commercial for his new gin:
In an ad for Reynolds’ Aviation Gin called, “The Gift That Doesn’t Give Back,” we see Peloton Girl once again, same intense but unreadable expression, a wider shot cuts to her friends, looking as puzzled [and] concerned as anyone who has seen the ad feels.

Time for folks to lighten up and save their outrage for matters of real import, like climate change, neoliberal politicians, and the general state of the world.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

According to this group of crazed evangelicals, all is well in the world thanks to God's chosen one occupying the White House. My suspicion is there was a full moon out.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Things Fall Apart

The idea of entropy comes from a principle of thermodynamics dealing with energy. It usually refers to the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder, and entropy is the measurement of that change.

The above is one definition of entropy. Here is another, perhaps more germane to this post: a doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration.

While I am not sure of the inevitability of such decline, it seems to be a perfect definition for the disorder that has plagued Ontario since Doug Ford and his crew were elected to 'govern' Ontario. And the latest reports show that things are growing worse by the day. In this self-proclaimed "open for business" province, workers are suffering:
Just 1 per cent of workplaces across the province are being proactively inspected to ensure they are safe — and the Ministry of Labour’s enforcement efforts are failing to prevent employers from repeatedly violating safety protections, according to this year’s auditor general report.

In reviewing health and safety initiatives in Ontario, the auditor general looked at companies that had been inspected by the ministry at least three times in the past six years. It found many employers were ordered to fix the same hazard year after year, citing details reported by the Star on a North York industrial bakery where five temporary help agency workers have died.

“The concern is they’re really not enforcing as they should be,” said Patty Coates, the newly elected head of the Ontario Federation of Labour. “They’re not strong enough with employers and that’s what they really need to focus on.”

“This government needs to put some money into prevention but also to properly investigate, as well as lay charges and fines,” Coates said.
But wait. There's more! In addition to the present chaos in education, brought on by a leadership that is intent on devaluing education, are the following:
- Premier Doug Ford’s climate change plan is based on faulty calculations and will fall well short of the Paris Agreement targets to reduce greenhouse gases by 2030.

- 67,000 of the 1 million patients discharged from hospitals annually have suffered some type of harm.

- Nurses are “repeatedly” fired or banned by hospitals for incompetence are rehired by other hospitals, posing risks to patient safety.

- Wait times for addictions treatment, emergency department visits for opioid emergencies, and addiction death rates continue to rise despite increased funding.

- Nursing home menus are alarmingly high in sugar — contributing to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer — as well as sodium, and low in fibre.
Thermodynamics may dictate an inevitable trend in the physical world from order to disorder. There is no such law in the realm of human behaviour. That is entirely on us.

Monday, December 2, 2019

A Creeping And Very Real Threat

I am currently reading Linda McQuaig's latest book, The Sport & Prey of Capitalists: How the Rich Are Stealing Canada's Public Wealth. As with most of her books, despite her very clear, accessible writing style, I am having a hard time with it, disturbing as it is in so many ways. While I am not prepared to discuss it at this point, its thesis, not exactly startling, is that our government is ceding more and more of our formerly proud public institutions to the depredations of rampant capitalism.

I came across the following video on The Guardian today, about threats to the British National Health Service by Boris Johnson as he prepares to negotiate bilateral trade deals, perhaps the most impactful one being with the U.S. It addresses the sort of mentality that McQuaig talks about in her book. You can read the article here, and watch the disturbing claims being made by Labour's Jermeemy Corbyn below:

Saturday, November 30, 2019

It Can Be Done

I was surprised that the concept of the New Green Deal has been around for over a decade. Far more ambitious than the Green Shift once proposed by Stephan Dion, it is very much doable, but of course the usual suspects (captured governments, the fossil-fuel industry, etc.) fight it all the way.

Although the following short documentary by The Guardian is directed toward U.K. action, the ideas in it are applicable worldwide.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Looking Toward Liberation

I have regular telephone conversations with my friend Dave, who lives in Winnipeg. Like me, he has a very jaundiced view of those elected to 'serve' us, and part of our routine is to compare and bemoan the atrocities committed by our respective provincial governments. While things are bad under the 'leadership' of Brian Pallister, I always maintain that our suffering under the Ford government is more acute and embarrassing. Ontario's shame in electing a bully and blowhard ill-equipped to deal with the complexities of life today is one we must collectively bear, at least until the next election.

The latest cause for cringing comes from our Energy Minister, Greg Rickford, who recently had a very peculiar justification for the cancellation of almost 800 green energy project in the province, a cancellation that could ultimately cost the taxpayer well in excess of $231 million (with some suggesting it could top $1 billion).
Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford is taking heat for quoting from an online magazine — which denies the scientific consensus on climate change — to justify scrapping more than 750 renewable energy projects at a cost to taxpayers of $231 million.

For the second day in a row, Rickford referred Tuesday to an article in the U.S.-based Climate Change Dispatch headlined “Germany pulls plug on wind energy as industry suffers severe crisis,” as the NDP raised concerns about the Ontario government’s cancellation of wind turbine and solar projects.
Rickford claimed the periodical is one of his favourities, and that as a well-educated person, it is incumbent upon him to always look at both sides of an issue, an assertion that drew derision from the Opposition:
Opposition parties jumped on Rickford for relying on the magazine, whose website says it “does not believe in consensus science” and describes “global warming alarmists” as “those who believe man is wholly or largely responsible for any fluctuation in the planet’s overall surface temperature.”

“It’s shocking,” said New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath, slamming the Ford government for cancelling the Liberal cap-and-trade program aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, firing the independent environmental commissioner and scrapping programs to promote electric vehicles.

“Everything they’re doing is falling in line with people who would be denying climate change.”
Happily, outrage is not confined to the legislature, as the following letter to the editor make abundantly clear:
Ontario’s minister of energy, Greg Rickford, characterizes himself as a “well-studied man” and a lawyer, yet he quotes from a fringe climate change denier website. Perhaps Rickford is not as well studied as he purports to be.

Neither is he employing logic, a mode of thinking which is to be expected of a lawyer. While it is commendable to hear both sides of any issue, sometimes, when there is overwhelming scientific proof, as is the case with the anthropogenic climate change position, the “other side” does not stand up to scrutiny at all. Climate change is not a matter of opinion any more than the fact that gravity is keeping us from flying off into space is an opinion. Perhaps the minister would seriously entertain arguments from flat-earthers, anti-vaxers and Creationists as well, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding? Science is evidence based, not opinion based. Facts are facts. No amount of posturing or proselytizing can change that. To paraphrase astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson, it’s your prerogative to think what you like about the world around you, but that doesn’t change the facts. Climate change is cited as the single most urgent issue facing our planet.

While Minister Rickford claims he is not a climate change denier, his behaviour says just the opposite. To have a minister of energy who rolls back green energy initiatives, tries to stop the federal carbon levy and quotes from fringe websites is just beyond the pale and highly irresponsible.

Pandering to his voter base, rather than pursuing positive action to reduce greenhouse gases, does all of us a huge disservice. We should all expect better from our elected officials.

Jonathan O’Mara, Whitby
I, and I am sure countless others, look forward to the day we will be liberated from this rambling, ridiculous and retrograde regime. It cannot come quickly enough.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Rudy Guiliani And Associates

I do not have a subscription to The Wall Street Journal, but the following from that paper makes for very interesting viewing, and leaves no doubt about the lies Donald Trump regularly tells with such facility. It also suggests that the noose may be tightening around crazy Uncle Rudy's neck.
Subpoenas issued to people with ties to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his associates indicate a broad federal investigation into possible money laundering, obstruction of justice and campaign-finance violations, and suggest that prosecutors are looking closely at the work of Mr. Giuliani himself, according to people familiar with the matter.
And Raw Story adds the following:
“Subpoenas described to The Wall Street Journal listed more than a half dozen potential charges under consideration,” the WSJ writes, before detailing the charges of “obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, along with mail fraud and wire fraud.”

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Where Lies The Truth?

Chip Franklin thinks he knows:

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Our Reach Clearly Exceeds Our Grasp

It is to state the obvious that our love of convenience, our addiction to a throwaway lifestyle, is very destructive, not only to us and our immediate environment, but also to distant seas and their inhabitants.

Amy Smart writes:
A pioneering study of seven belugas in Canada’s remote Arctic waters has found microplastics in the innards of every single whale.

Researchers from Ocean Wise worked with hunters from the Inuvialuit community of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., to collect samples from whales they harvested between 2017 and 2018.

They found an average of nearly 10 microplastics, or particles less than five millimetres in size, in the gastrointestinal tracts of each beluga.

Lead author Rhiannon Moore says she wasn’t expecting to see so many microplastics so far north.

“It actually surprised me at first. I thought, this is a far-north top predator in the Arctic in a fairly remote place,” Moore says in an interview.

It demonstrated just how far microplastics can travel and how they’ve penetrated even the most remote environments, she says.
It is believed that the plastics find their way into the whales' systems through their prey, which are riddled with them.

And lest we just think that's too bad for the whales, those microplastics are increasingly found in the very water we drink. Earth Day Network has posted some disturbing facts, including the following:
Microplastics in different forms are present in almost all water systems in the world, be they streams, rivers, lakes, or oceans.

According to a study conducted by Orb Media on plastics and tap water, 83% of tested water samples from major metropolitan areas around the world were contaminated with plastic fibers.

Plastic fibers were also found in bottled water produced by 11 of the world’s largest brands purchased from 19 locations in 9 countries. 93% of bottled water showed some sign of microplastic contamination, including polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Each year, about 1 million tons of tiny plastic fibers are released into wastewater.
Modern technology has brought us many wonders. It has also unleashed countless horrors, plastic pollution certainly not being the least of them.

Ingesting material with a petrochemical composition is never a good idea, and the price we are paying is becoming increasingly apparent. Clearly, our reach is continuing, at an ever-increasing pace, to exceed our grasp of the consequences.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Putting Things Into Perspective

You can always count on Chip Franklin to deliver:

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

This Is Us

Humanity has achieved much since evolution gifted us with self-reflective intelligence. Our technological accomplishments envelop us daily, for both good and ill. Stories of courage, compassion and self-sacrifice abound. That we have the potential for greatness has never really been in doubt.

But unalloyed goodness is not something we can make claim to. The following report concerns the mining of mica, a mineral that has a multitude of uses, which you can read about here. It is safe to say that we would be hard-pressed to do without it. However, do we care about the conditions under which it is often mined? That is a question only you can answer after watching this:

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Oh, Those Republican Enablers

Given the absurdity of the world these days, my passion for writing about it has waned. Fortunately, Chip Franklin provides ample material to fill the void that my blog is becoming:

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Quid Pro Quo: More From Chip Franklin

There's nothing I need to write here:

Friday, November 15, 2019

Trump's Twitter Tantrum

Historian Alan Lichtman rails about the obvious corruption surrounding the entire Ukrainian extortion effort by Trump, and is stunned by his live tweeting while former Ambassador Yavanovitch was testifying at his impeachment hearing. But will Teflon Don suffer any real consequences for either his witness intimidation or his extortion?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

And Now, A Word From Chip Franklin

Love this guy.

Monday, November 11, 2019

This Is Powerful

And very difficult to watch:

Sunday, November 10, 2019

For The Stupid, This Is Just Another Attack On Their Idol

For the rest of us, the following is not only a summation of Trump's duplicity over his efforts to extort the Ukrainians for personal political advantage, but also an indictment of his spineless defenders and the willingness of his slavish devotees to entirely suspend disbelief:

Saturday, November 9, 2019

My Gorge Rises - Part 2

Earlier in the week, I posted about Paula White, the evangelical minister who has risen to become Donald Trump's chief fluffer spiritual adviser. Yet it is interesting, though hardly surprising, to glean some facts about this insane lady's past, a past that is as sordid as one might expect about someone so intent on exalting both herself and the United States' current unhinged Commander-in-Chief.

Andrea Jefferson writes tellingly about this poseur:
She’s frequently introduced and identified as “Dr. Paula White” despite not having a college or seminary degree of any kind. No degrees…not even an undergraduate degree from college.
What could have been an inspiring story about someone pulling herself out of a very bad background proves less than inspiring, the more one reads about White:
According to Orlando Weekly, “Her mother was an alcoholic and her father committed suicide. Living for a time in a trailer, she was the victim of childhood physical and sexual abuse. As a teen, she says, she was promiscuous, became a single mother and, as a young adult, was bulimic. Years later, she was addicted to prescription medication; her teenage son was addicted to crack, and an adult stepdaughter died of brain cancer. If, through the love and power of Christ, White tells her followers, she has been able to break through these “generational curses,” so can they.”
The rub comes in how she has achieved her success, on the backs of her largely low-to-middle-income adherents:
Newsweek reported that White asked congregants to donate as much as a month’s salary to her. “Every time we give, something supernatural happens,” a third reporter saw White tell worshippers who she had asked to donate as much as “a tenth of your gross income.” She once apparently wrote in a fundraising email that donating to her church “will get God’s attention.”
I'm not sure about God, but Pastor Paula has certainly benefited from that mantra:
White reportedly owns “several Mercedes”; a Bentley was once photographed in her garage; she and her husband once owned a private jet; she lived in a $2.2 million Tampa mansion. And yet her first church—Without Walls—went bankrupt in 2014 after defaulting on a reported $29 million in loans.
Her journey to this mountain of material prosperity, which, in addition to the mansion includes two homes in Trump properties in New York City, has not been, as they say, without controversy:
Shortly after being saved at the age of 18, Paula Furr left her first husband and ran off with Randy White, her Maryland church’s pastor, who was at the time married with three young children – a fact she does not include in her redemption testimony.

At the height of their popularity, Paula and Randy White reported generating $40 million a year from her broadcast ministry and their Without Walls International Church in Tampa. The racially diverse congregation, in two locations, claimed a membership of 28,000, with the co-pastors taking together between $600,000 and $1.5 million a year in compensation.

White was also once the subject of a sensational tabloid exposé in the National Enquirer that linked her with fellow (and separated but still married) televangelist Benny Hinn in a romantic tryst in a five-star Rome hotel. Hinn, another prosperity gospel proponent, was registered in the presidential suite under the biblically suggestive name “David Solomon.” White denied the affair, but Hinn later acknowledged an “inappropriate relationship.”

How White wormed her way into the White House is a story with no real surprises, and one you can read about in the link provided at the top of this post.

As for me, my gorge has risen to a dangerous level, so I shall conclude this post and leave you to draw your own conclusions about the religious right, their cognitive abilities, and which master they truly serve.

Friday, November 8, 2019

"The Right Side Of History"

That's how New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern describes her government's landmark climate legislation, which commits the country to zero carbon emissions by 2050. The bill passed 119 to one:
Climate change minister James Shaw said the bill, which commits New Zealand to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, provided a framework for the island country of nearly 5 million to adapt too, and prepare for the climate emergency.

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again.” Shaw said.

“Climate change is the defining long-term issue of our generation that successive governments have failed to address. Today we take a significant step forward in our plan to reduce New Zealand’s emissions.”

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern told MPs New Zealand was on the “right side of history”. She said: “I absolutely believe and continue to stand by the statement that climate change is the biggest challenge of our time.

What a shame that bipartisan co-operation has become the exception rather than the rule. Clearly, the world needs more New Zealand.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

If You Want Another Reason To Be Pessimistic ....

This is unspeakably depressing.
Most Americans — 65 per cent, according to PRRI — may now find Trump's behaviour undignified and damaging to the presidency, but not white evangelicals. They are, in fact, the only religious group in the survey to disagree.

There are only two reasonable explanations for this. Trump is the white evangelicals' version of V.I. Lenin's useful idiot, a character who is helping achieve their apocalyptic fever dreams, but who will perish along with the rest of us as the faithful perch in the clouds. Or the white evangelical version of Christianity is a darker, uglier thing than the smiles and the welcoming hugs and the blessings would have you believe.

White evangelicals, for example, are in general keenly alert to Trump's white nationalist, nativist leanings. When he orders families separated at the southern border, most white evangelicals are right there with him.

When he proposes removing protections from transgender people, surely among the most vulnerable of us, they're A-OK.

When he invites children visiting the White House to help build his border wall with their own personalized bricks, his loyal white evangelicals are right there with him.

The 17 women who have publicly accused him of sexual misconduct are just shrugged off as leftist harlots. The senior officials who have spoken out against his abuses of power or investigated him are just the infidel Deep State.
Still not sufficiently despondent? Then watch the following:

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Sophisticated Scam That Almost Ensnared Me

I think we are all familiar with the garden-variety scams that are endemic on today's Internet. Sometimes it is a Nigerian prince or princess offering to send us millions to safeguard; other times it is an alert from Canada Revenue Agency that we will be arrested immediately for taxes owing unless we purchase and send iTune cards, or, conversely, we are in for a big windfall due to a recalculation of our tax return; my personal favourite, however, is notification that my PayPal account has been frozen due to irregularities that require a wealth of personal information to unlock.

Happily, most of us have sufficient wherewithal to smell the fraud immediately.

But the scammers are getting more sophisticated.

Recently, I was on the receiving end of one that, initially, I thought was legitimate for a very good reason. It contained an exchange my cousin and I had had about the recent election results, and it appeared to be from his email account. It was, as you will see, a strange request from his wife, who sometimes uses his email address.

I have stripped out any identifying information and changed the name of my cousin and his wife, but here is how it went, with additional commentary from me at specific points:

Hi Lorne, I have to agree with you regarding the outcome, and was also disappointed with the Greens 🥬 showing. I guess baby steps are to be expected. I do think that as we get more young people involved and interested in politics and their futures, that those numbers will go up. Looking forward to Friday as well to discuss more. Cheers, Rob

Sent from my iPhone

As you can see, the previously-mentioned exchange is part of the email, but it was followed by this:

I am sorry for bothering you with this mail, I need to get an Google Play gift cards for my Niece, Its her birthday but i can't do this now because I'm currently traveling and i tried purchasing online but unfortunately no luck with that.Can you get it from any store around you? I'll pay back as soon as i am back. Kindly let me know if you can handle this.

Await your soonest response.

Best regards


Intrigued, and with no suspicions at this point, I responded:

Hi Grace,

I got your email; what is the favour you are asking?


I am sorry for bothering you with this mail, I need to get an Google Play gift cards for my Niece, Its her birthday but i can't do this now because I'm currently traveling and i tried purchasing online but unfortunately no luck with that.Can you get it from any store around you? I'll pay back as soon as i am back. Kindly let me know if you can handle this.

Await your soonest response.

Best regards


Well, my suspicions were immediately aroused for two reasons: one, Grace has no nieces, although I did entertain the possibility that she was speaking figuratively about someone in her family that she feels like an aunt towards. The second suspicious assertion was that she couldn't get the cards online. A quick internet check showed that such cards are easily obtainable online. Still, I was not entirely certain this was bogus, so I sent the following reply:

No problem, Grace. I will look at a grocery store nearby that I think stacks them. What denomination do you want?

To which she replied:

Thank you very much. Total amount needed is $200 ($100 denomination) from any store around you and I need you to scratch the back of the card to reveal the pin, then take a snap shot of the back

showing the pin and have them sent to me.

Once again thanks and God bless.

At this point I was almost certain this was a scam (it was unlikely she was travelling, since we were having lunch with them in two days), so I called my cousin to advise him that I thought his email had been hacked. However, I decided to string the scammer along for a while to waste his/her time. I started by not replying to the above email,. After a short time, I got this:

We're (sic) you able to purchase the card yet?

I received that message a second time within a couple of hours, at which point I wrote the following:

Would you like me to pick up a birthday card for her when I go to the store to get the Google Cards?

The response was a tad curt:

Just pick up the Google Cards, i need you to scratch the back of the card to reveal the pin, then take a snap shot of the back showing the pin and have them sent to me on here

Once again thanks and God bless.

Having more fun than I have had for a while, I decided to sound like a doddering old fool:

I don't have a Smartphone to take the pictures, So I have to go to the store to buy film for my camera.


That netted this response:

Good morning,

I need you to scratch the back of the card to reveal the pin and write it out

Await your soonest response

Finally, I wrote what I knew would terminate this blossoming online relationship:

I am a little concerned about Internet security when it comes to sending sensitive information. May I call you with the numbers?

The scammer knew there was nothing more to do, and so sent me this:

Never mind keep the card for your [non-existent] grandchild.

The game was over, but I learned never to be too complacent about being able to detect Internet fraud. What bothers me now is that I have subsequently sent two messages to my cousin using his email address, and he has received neither. In the event that my email was compromised, I changed my password, but beyond that, I am at a loss. If anyone has any suggestions or insights, I'd be happy to receive them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

My Gorge Rises

May your constitution prove stronger than mine. If God is ever in the mood for smiting someone, I've got the perfect candidate:

Monday, November 4, 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Facebook Is Not Our Friend

I wrote a blog entry over four years ago about Facebook tolerating hate groups. I won't repeat the post here, other than to say it became apparent after I lodged a complaint with them and got a wholly unsatisfactory reply that the company must have a very strange set of community standards, given that I was told the anti-Muslim group in question did not violate them.

It now appears that the situation at Facebook is even worse, thanks to its promotion of private and 'secret' groups, some of which have very frightening agendas. The following Global News reports explains all:

Facebook is a corporate digital giant that needs far greater government intervention and regulation than has thus far been meted out. Despite its public persona, it is clearly not our friend.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Look To The Skies

Only a simpleton would deny the reality of climate change. Whether we are reading almost daily about wildfires, tornadoes, floods or sea-level rise, we know in our hearts that the future has arrived and will only get worse. Despite that understanding, many of us continue with practices that will only aggravate the problem.

One of the most egregious is flying, something I continue to be guilty of, usually twice a year. Since people are not inclined to stop visiting loved ones who live far away, or taking that much-needed winter getaway, are we doomed then to simply add to the greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change?

Gwynne Dyer offers his perspective both on the scope of the problem and a possible partial answer to it through new technology:
Aviation accounts for around 2.5 per cent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions at the moment, but the contrails the planes leave in the stratosphere turn into cirrus clouds that reflect heat back to the surface, and that causes an equal amount of heating.

So in reality five per cent of current warming is already due to aviation, and industry representatives estimate that the number of people flying annually will almost double (to 8.2 billion) in the next 20 years. By then flying will have grown to 10 per cent of the global heating problem, or even more if we have made good progress on cutting our other emissions.
Should we despair? Dyer suggests there are solutions that don't entail an outright stop to flying, but they are ones that the aviation industry has shown little interest in, corporate inertia being what it is.
A number of people have been working on DAC (Direct Air Capture of carbon dioxide) for more than a decade already, and the leader in the field, David Keith’s Carbon Engineering, has had a pilot plant running in British Columbia for the past three years.

Keith’s business model involves combining his captured carbon dioxide with hydrogen (produced from water by electrolysis). The electricity for both processes comes from solar power, and the final product is a high-octane fuel suitable for use in aircraft.

It emits carbon dioxide when you burn it, of course, but it’s the same carbon dioxide you extracted from the air at the start. The fuel is carbon-neutral. Scaling production up would take a long time and cost a lot, but it would also bring the price down to a commercially viable level.
The problem with the heat-reflection caused by contrails also has some mitigation-avenues available:
The planes are flying so high for two reasons. The air is less dense up there, so you don’t use so much fuel pushing through it. But the main reason, especially for passenger planes, is that there is much less turbulence in the stratosphere than in the lower atmosphere. If the planes flew down there, they’d be bouncing around half the time, and everybody’s sick-bag would be on their knee.

So what can you do about it? Well, contrails only form in air masses with high humidity, and therefore only affect 10 to 20 per cent of flights. With adequate information, most of those flights could simply fly around them. Alternatively, fly below 7,600 metres for that section of the flight, and contrails won’t form anyway.

It will be more turbulent down there, so in the long run we should be building aircraft that automatically damp out most of the turbulence. This is probably best achieved by ducted flows of air that instantly counter any sudden changes of altitude or attitude, but if aircraft designers started incorporating such ducts into their designs today, they’d only come into regular use in about 15 years’ time.
One should always be wary of deus ex machina solutions. However, the approach suggested by Dyer surely deserves consideration as one of the strategies needed as the climate crisis continues to worsen.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Time For Reflection

While the battle for climate-change mitigation will be won or lost by regulating the big polluters, it is all too easy for us to scrutinize them to the exclusion of our own profligate greenhouse-gas-emission practices. The following letter in the print edition of today's Toronto Star should give us all pause:
We in Ontario should try for numerous gestures of reconciliation with our western neighbours.

I agree with Jason Kenney that programs for reduction of carbon emissions should focus on consumers, perhaps more than on producers. I’m a consumer.

The oil companies will continue to develop their resources as long as it is a profitable enterprise.

When we as consumers reduce our demands, oil production will be reduced accordingly. The transportation industry is the biggest contributor to carbon emissions: Long distance trucking and air cargo are filling the atmosphere with carbon, because we want our wine and beer from Europe and Australia, our clothing from Asia, our cars and computers from Japan and China, our asparagus from Peru, our fruit from California, etc.

Buy local wine, even if you think it’s not as good; buy local craft beer.

Try to buy food from the nearest possible sources, though, admittedly, in winter that’s not easy. I believe we should trade in our cars with big engines and go hybrid (better range than all-electric), even if it’s more expensive and less convenient.

Reduce long-range travel by car or plane; use transit, or car pool to work if at all possible. Think of using electricity to heat your home, even if it’s more expensive, because it’s cleaner.

Recalibrating the energy industry toward cleaner technology and alternative sources of energy will provide major employment opportunities in Alberta and everywhere. It will cause wrenching grief for some, just as the prohibition of fishing for cod caused grief for workers in Atlantic Canada some years ago.

Fighting the oil producers will only cause resentment. Everyone has to make major lifestyle changes. We have to start with ourselves.

Noel Cooper, Brechin, Ont.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

As The Dust Settles....

I will offer no analysis of our federal election; I will only say that from my perspective (my disappointment that the Greens did not do better notwithstanding), the fact of a minority government is the best of all outcomes. The question of whether or not Justin can find within himself the capacity to play nice with others is yet to be determined, but for the sake of the country, we can only hope he does.

While many pressing issues stand to be addressed, pharmacare being uppermost in Jagmeet Singh's mind, I do hope that effective action to address climate change will also be on the agenda. This latest report reminds us that we have little time to lose:
Research has found Arctic soil has warmed to the point where it releases more carbon in winter than northern plants can absorb during the summer.

The finding means the extensive belt of tundra around the globe — a vast reserve of carbon that dwarfs what's held in the atmosphere — is becoming a source of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.

The research by scientists in 12 countries and from dozens of institutions is the latest warning that northern natural systems that once reliably kept carbon out of the atmosphere are starting to release it.
While this is only one of several feedback loops exacerbating climate change, it is a potent one.
The scientists placed carbon dioxide monitors along the ground at more than 100 sites around the circumpolar Arctic to see what was actually happening and took more than 1,000 measurements.

They found much more carbon was being released than previously thought. The results found carbon dioxide emissions of 1.7 billion tonnes a year are about twice as high as previous estimates.

Arctic plants are thought to take in just over one billion tonnes of the gas from the atmosphere every year during growing season. The net result is that Arctic soil around the globe is probably already releasing more than 600 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
And the process is accelerating.
Under a business-as-usual scenario, emissions from northern soil would be likely to release 41 per cent more carbon by the end of the century.

But the Arctic is already warming at three times the pace of the rest of the globe. Even if significant mitigation efforts are made, those emissions will increase by 17 per cent, said the report.
Our house is on fire. Only resolute, principled politics holds any hope of containing the conflagration.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Best Way To Effect Change

H/t Michael De Adder

Should you need further encouragement, read the columns by Martin Regg Cohn and Susan Delacourt.

Says Cohn:
Decide for yourself who to vote for but whatever your decision, do not persuade yourself that your vote doesn’t matter. Nothing is more corrosive than cynicism at a time when so many citizens around the world crave the certainty and stability of our democracy.

Think of the citizens of Hong Kong who are protesting in the streets for a semblance of democratic rule that Canadians take for granted. Consider the people in the Middle East who dreamed of an Arab Spring, only to see it fade away. I lived in both places for a decade, covering the human rights movements where people risked bullets for ballots, and were prepared to die for democracy, then as now.
And, from my perspective, most importantly,
Even in so-called “safe seats” that seem predestined to favour the incumbent MP, every ballot contributes to the national popular vote tallies that are very much taken into consideration, historically, by a governor general in deciding which party (or combination of parties) has a mandate to govern.
As well, Susan Delacourt reminds us,
There is a point, though, in taking the time to vote, especially at this juncture in history. Look to the U.S. or Britain and the turmoil in politics there over the past few years. Democracy matters. Elections matter. Voting matters.

... I’m hoping that 2015 wasn’t a blip — that the upward trajectory in turnout continues on Monday, because we’re seeing how fragile democracy can be, even in nations with deep, democratic traditions, such as the U.S and Britain.
There are many ways to honour our citizenship. Participation in the voting process is one of the best.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Friday, October 18, 2019

What About The Common Good?

One of the things that has most disturbed me about this election campaign is the emphasis both the Liberals and the Conservatives have put on so-called cheque-book issues. Whether it is Mr. Trudeau's constant references to "the middle class and those working hard to join it," or Andrew Scheer's promises to put more money into people's pockets, it is clear that the needs of the individual are being targeted almost exclusively.

While I understand very well that affordability of housing, education, etc. are vital issues, they have been stressed at the expense of the common good. Are we really a society if all we are concerned about is ourselves?

Writing in the print edition of today's Star, Salvatore Amenta of Stouville, Ontario offers the following:
As we approach another election, we are being asked yet again to think of ourselves first.

Will my taxes go up or down? Will there be more money left in my pocket? Will my job be protected? Will my values be upheld? In short, what’s in this election for me?

These questions are perfectly valid and quickly attract the attention of voters on television, social and print media. However, they ignore the common good.

What’s good for our future, our grandchildren, our planet and only habitat? In short, what’s good for Canada?

These questions are harder to answer, but they are worth asking. Before going to the ballot box, let’s remember former U.S. president John F. Kennedy’s advice: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Give Me Your Frightened Masses

Run, children, run, to your polling stations!

H/t Theo Moudakis

Meanwhile, for those made of sterner stuff, there is an insightful analysis by Larry Kazdan of Vancouver of what should truly frighten all of us:
Today’s unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent may be considered “rock bottom,” but unemployment after the Second World War until the mid-1950s averaged less than 3 per cent. However, the rise of neo-liberalism in the 1980s coincided with the normalization of higher unemployment rates. Fiscal and monetary settings that led to more jobless and new laws relating to minimum wages and labour standards, union organizing and strike rules, and import of foreign workers, all combined to reduce pressure on wages.

The link between higher productivity and concurrent wage gains was broken, and consequently more profits accrued to capital.

The suppression of wages had another benefit, since workers could be enticed to borrow in order to maintain lifestyles, leading to another source of increased profits for the financial industry. And indebted workers in a tepid economy are fearful of leaving their jobs since replacements may be hard to find.

Affordability worries today are by no means the result of the boom-bust nature of Canada’s economy or other factors beyond the control of politicians. On the contrary, the squeeze on working and middle class families was carefully engineered by Conservative and Liberal governments to benefit the economic elites which they represent.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Ain't It The Truth?

Having resisted the fear-mongering that passes as 'strategic voting,' and having already cast my ballot, I offer the following for those still to exercise their franchise next week:

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sometimes There Really Is A Conspiracy

Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell: names that are familiar to almost all of us. What we might be less familiar with is the role they and about 16 other fossil fuel giants have played historically in ignoring the denying the climate crisis that has come to engulf the world.

Matthew Taylor and Jonathon Watts write that those companies are responsible for more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions today:
New data from world-renowned researchers reveals how this cohort of state-owned and multinational firms are driving the climate emergency that threatens the future of humanity, and details how they have continued to expand their operations despite being aware of the industry’s devastating impact on the planet.

The analysis, by Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in the US, the world’s leading authority on big oil’s role in the escalating climate emergency, evaluates what the global corporations have extracted from the ground, and the subsequent emissions these fossil fuels are responsible for since 1965 – the point at which experts say the environmental impact of fossil fuels was known by both industry leaders and politicians.

The top 20 companies on the list have contributed to 35% of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide, totalling 480bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) since 1965.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this report is that these companies knew, as far back as the 1960s, that they were degrading the earth in a way that future generations would pay a heavy price. And they have been working hard ever since to fund an array of climate-change deniers to conceal this truth.

The following brief video explains the situation succinctly:

It has been said that even paranoid people have enemies. In a similar vein, sometimes those who shout "CONSPIRACY!" are, sadly, correct.

Monday, October 7, 2019

UPDATED:This Is How To Do It

With our typical timidity, Canadians are notoriously reluctant to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to climate change. Sure, we recently had very loud and proud displays of concern during September's climate strike, but once that happened, one wonders how to sustain any momentum.

Perhaps we can take some tips from the Brits who, despite their own Brexit worries, seem to have found their focus through ongoing Extinction Rebellion demonstrations.
Extinction Rebellion protesters have shut off large parts of Westminster as they began a planned two-week shutdown of central London.

The Metropolitan police said 135 people had been arrested. Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall were all blocked off as throngs of people demonstrated about the lack of meaningful action to tackle the climate crisis.

In Trafalgar Square a hearse was parked carrying a coffin that said: “Our future.” The driver had used a D-lock to attach himself to the steering wheel while other protesters attached themselves to the bottom of the vehicle and some lay in the road.

Yards from Downing Street, protesters blocked off Whitehall and the Embankment was shut off for about four hours outside the Ministry of Defence (MoD) by activists who attached themselves to cars before being removed by police using buzzsaws.

Among those arrested on Monday on Victoria Embankment was 81-year-old Sarah Lasenby, a Quaker and retired social worker from Oxford. She said: “For 21 years my main concern has been to help get rid of UK nuclear weapons. I am still keen to do this but once I came across XR I was so relieved to have something I could do about the ghastly state we have got our planet in.

“The whole thing is so urgent that it is imperative the government should take serious actions and put pressure on other states and global powers to radically reduce the use of fossil fuels even if this means we need to reduce our comfort at home and so much flying.”

UPDATE: Then again, I may have written too soon.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

A Sign Of The Times

This, from Chris Cowley on Twitter, is timely. Perhaps an Amber Alert is also in order?

Ontario schools are in turmoil and we can't find premier

Please help us.

If you have any information on Mr. Ford's whereabouts, please encourage him to return to work immediately and give a fair deal to #CUPE education workers.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Weapon Against Fake News

Living in an age when critical-thinking skills are increasingly hard to find, anything acting as a bulwark against the ignorance and stupidity that seems to inform public 'debate' is welcome. Natalie Turvey writes about a weapon that sounds promising.
While misinformation, memes, clickbait and outright lies proliferate across our online feeds, especially in this election season, Canadians are not powerless to fight back.

There’s no question it can be difficult to distinguish between fact-based real news and fake news and those who want to mislead and confuse us are becoming more sophisticated every day.Research shows that:

-90 per cent of Canadians admit to falling for fake news

-Fake news stories spread six times faster than the truth

-Only 33 per cent of Canadians regularly try to confirm if the news we see is real

-40 per cent of Canadians report finding it difficult to distinguish between truth and misinformation in the news

-More than half of respondents (53 per cent) have come across stories recently where they believe facts were twisted to push an agenda
Help in fighting these daunting numbers is now available:
The Canadian Journalism Foundation has launched a campaign called “Doubt it? Check it. Challenge it.” The campaign aims to give Canadians the skills and tools to combat fake news and information. We have built tools and tips to empower people and it all lives on
Having checked it out, I can attest that the site offers a wealth of resources to determine whether or not 'news' is genuine, some of which are common sense, and others are resources that many may be unaware of. There is even a fake news quiz. (I took it and scored 9/10)

Essentially, revolves some simple steps:
[F]irst, if a story doesn’t seem right, trust that instinct; second, check it out, look for other sources to verify; and third, if it is fake news, call it out.

Of the three steps, the first — Doubt it? — may be the most important. More than half of us have come across stories we think are fake. So, our Spidey senses are working. Often, we just need to take a breath before we repost something and ask ourselves “does this feel right?”

If it doesn’t, there are simple ways to “check it.” First, read beyond the headline. In today’s news, headlines don’t always match the content of the story. They can be much more provocative, to attract clicks, than the story that follows.

Next, take a look at what surrounds the story you’re reading. Do the other stories on the site seem far-fetched? Are they satirical, or all about conspiracies? If so, you’ve found your answer.

And finally, if you doubt a story’s claims, do a simple online search to see if anyone else is reporting it. If it’s true, those claims will be covered by other, reputable news sources. The same goes for images. You can search those online too, and you’ll quickly learn whether the image in that meme is real or fake.
The final responsibility we have, if we are at all active on social media, is to identify fake news when we find it. I have done that many times on Facebook (but I always like to frame it tactfully so as not to offend the poster).

As we enter the crunch point for our election, detecting and exposing fake news is paramount to the health of our democracy. If we remain silent, we give consent to lies, distortions and malicious manipulation. That is something none of us could ever be proud of.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Donald Trump, Exposed

I generally like to operate my blog with a certain level of decorum and language. However, there are exceptions to that principle, which you will see in the following.

I just discovered someone named Chip Franklin, an American who operates a website called Inside The Beltway, which is described thus:
Inside The Beltway is a collaboration of journalists, broadcasters, and assorted professionals, who have banded together to create a levee against the rising tide of lies and distortions that threaten our democracy and our sanity. That may sound dramatic, but how else do you characterize the willingness of the American public to believe in the most absurd narratives? For us, it’s an obligation to the truth. And if that sounds a little sanctimonious, that’s on you.
Be warned that the following contains profanity that may disturb some:

The Whistleblower from chip franklin on Vimeo.

Trump- Wizard of Odd from chip franklin on Vimeo.

Trump_ Just How Stupid_ from chip franklin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

“If You’re A Liberal, You’ve Got To Be Very Nervous”

So says pollster Nik Nanos, after a poll showing young people's support for Justin Trudeau dropping dramatically after his recent chat with Greta Thunberg during her visit to Canada.
Polling data from Nanos Research shows that the proportion of voters aged 18 to 29 who cite Trudeau as their preferred prime minister fell from nearly 35 per cent to a little more than 24 per cent within 24 hours.

The Liberal leader met with Thunberg on Friday while the prominent activist was in Montreal for a climate-change march that was attended by hundreds of thousands of people.

The 16-year-old Swede took Trudeau to task, telling him he wasn’t doing enough to fight climate change. Though that is her standard message for any world leader, Nanos said he still saw it as a risk for Trudeau to agree to the meeting.

The results seem to indicate a narrowing of the gap between Trudeau and Scheer (a climate-change denier in all but name), and a small uptick of support for the Green Party.
While those two parties appear to be battling to win the most seats on Oct. 21, another fight is underway further down in the polls.

The NDP are polling at 13.18 per cent and the Greens at 12.63 per cent, likely bringing the two parties into fierce competition.

“It’s like a double horse race … the horse race to win and the horse race to place third,” Nanos said.

The Greens have been hovering around 13 per cent for several days now – their highest level ever, and approximately double the support they were pulling during the early days of the campaign.

“The last week has been very good for the Green Party,” Nanos said.
While I am long past the stage of holding out much hope for our collective future, whatever sliver there is resides in the awakening consciousness of young people, who seem to see with a perspicacity denied to many who, blinded by ideology and past practices, keep voting the same way but hoping for different results.

And that, of course, is a mere variant of a famous definition:

Sunday, September 29, 2019

"It Is Not Fair"

H/t Greg Perry

I suspect the following letter by a young person expresses the angst of an entire generation:
I had hoped my final years in high school would go smoothly. But instead of stressing over university applications, I worry if it is even worth it to go through all this trouble.

Why should I study more and look for future career options when the world will crumble soon? When I receive my diploma and prepare for interviews, my window’s view will be of dying trees and collapsed houses.

It is not fair that I am compelled to strike for my time on Earth. It is not fair that I cannot even dream of a future without images of a dying home. It is not fair that my parents had the chance to bring me to this Earth, only to say goodbye together in a few year's time. I do not want to strike continuously for some higher official to just acknowledge the problem. I want them to see it and fix it.

Give me a chance. A chance to live and dream, without vivid images of organisms dying. No more is school my priority. My priority is just to have a chance to live until I reach my final years in life. That is all I want and that is not fair.

Zainab Muneer, Ajax

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Greta And Justin

H/t Graeme McKay

Given the massive turnout for yesterday's climate strike, one can perhaps be forgiven for questioning the motives of Justin Trudeau marching in the Montreal rally. While the pipeline purchaser continues to insist twinning the Trans Mountain conduit is vital to his plan for saving the planet, some are not so easily fooled.

Greta Thunberg is one of them:
The 16-year-old Swede met privately with the Canadian prime minister but later told a news conference with local indigenous leaders that he was “not doing enough” to curb greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

“My message to all the politicians around the world is the same. Just listen and act on the current best available science,” she said.
But Mr. Trudeau is nothing if not relentless in his rhetoric:
The prime minister said after meeting Thunberg and pledging to fund the planting of 2bn trees: “I agree with her entirely. We need to do more.”
Platitudes and posturing will not save the planet. Only earnest, sustained and concerted action hold out a modicum of hope.

Fat chance of that happening, eh?