Thursday, May 5, 2016

Will A Change Of Tone Be All It Takes?

Over at Northern Reflections today, Owen has a timely reminder via Henry Giroux of what Donald Trump really stands for: fascism, hatred, bigotry and exclusion. I noted in my response to his post the following:

It is interesting to note, Owen, now that Trump has virtually clinched the nomination, his handlers are obviously busy reworking his public persona. While he still espouses the kinds of things that Giroux discusses, he does so with a more subdued, 'reasonable' tone.

Optics are everything these days, and one fears that those who paid little attention to Trump earlier will now begin to seriously consider him. To see what I mean, take a look at the interview he gave to Lester Holt last night:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Elizabeth May Goes Where Trudeau Fears To Tread

Some would say that to link the terrible losses in Fort McMurray to climate change is insensitive and political. Of course, they would be wrong, since climate change is not an ideological issue, however much the deniers try to frame it. It is a fact.

While Justin Trudeau calls making such a link unhelpful, (not to mention politically costly), Elizabeth May refuses to tow the tread the safe and narrow path.
Prompted by questions from reporters at a news conference, May said that scientists cannot link specific events to climate change, but noted that the disaster was following a pattern.

“The fact that the forest fire season has arrived so early in northern Alberta is very likely a climate event - very likely related to extreme high temperatures and very low humidity, very low precipitation and it is, as we saw in the quote from one of the firefighters - it’s a firestorm,” she said. “It jumped a highway, it jumped a river. It’s a devastating tragedy right now and I think our focus is always on the right now: to think for the firefighters, for first responders, for people who are losing their homes. It’s a disaster. But it’s a disaster that is very related to the global climate crisis.”
Predictably, there is hell to pay for such candour, as her comments provoked
a vicious backlash after they were reported on social media websites from critics who accused her of exploiting the tragedy to advance a political agenda.
But truth is truth, as
... her comments were consistent with assessments from climate scientists that have predicted increasing extreme weather events linked to rising heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.

The Trudeau government was also advised by bureaucrats when it was sworn in last November that wildfires were getting worse. The bureaucrats at Natural Resources Canada told its new minister, Jim Carr, that governments across the country hadn't provided enough funding to help communities prepare for the worst.
One hopes that the disaster in Fort McMurray is soon brought under control. Unfortunately, the larger crisis confronting all of us continues unabated.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

UPDATED: Taking On Sarah Palin's Idiocy

I would say Jimmy Kimmel does a pretty good job:

“I have a theory,” Kimmel said. “I think maybe Sarah Palin wants global warming. It’s cold in Alaska. It would be welcome up there. But, the idea that she knows more than 97 percent of scientists is offensive and dangerous. No matter what Sarah Palin and these geniuses she surrounds herself with try to tell you, climate change is not a liberal-versus-conservative thing.”

If anyone needs more convincing, well, there are always scenes like this:

Or these scenes from hell:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Morally Weak, Intellectually Contemptuous

That's how I regard the justifications for continuing with the Saudi arms deal offered by Stephane Dion and his puppet master, Justin Trudeau. I see I am not alone in that assessment:
Re: Approval of Saudi arms deal was illegal, lawyer argues, April 22

According to the Prime Minister, the Saudi arms deal must go forward, notwithstanding profound universal concern about the Saudi government’s cavalier attitude toward human rights.

According to Justin Trudeau, “We will continue to respect contracts signed because people around the world need to know that when Canada signs a deal it is respected.” That statement is odd and troubling on many different levels.

Does Mr. Trudeau believe himself to be Canada’s CEO or its head of government? Are we employees of Mr. Trudeau or are we citizen of this country? Is Mr. Trudeau our boss or our servant? Does Canada, as a political entity, sign commercial deals, or is it rather commercial enterprises within Canada that sign deals, and it is the government’s job to regulate those deals? Most importantly, perhaps: Is Canada a large commercial enterprise or a nation that calls itself a democracy?

A likely explanation of Mr. Trudeau’s statement is that he has a habit of improvising rationales that are at odds with rationality, such as his perplexing statements to the effect that Canada will use fossil fuel production to combat fossil-fuel-induced climate change.

Stephane Dion has turned into a quick study in the art of sophistical rhetoric and improvised rationales. On the subject of the Saudi arms sales, he says he had “reviewed the issue with ‘the utmost rigour’ and will continue to do so over the life of the 14-year deal.” It seems I have been under a false impression that his government had been elected for a four-year term.

Earlier, he had cleverly stated that the sale was justified because the Saudi government has promised not to use the armoured vehicles to suppress domestic dissent. Even if we were to believe the Saudi claim, what about the serious concern about the Saudi ruling family’s hobby of invading neighbouring countries and massacring their civilian populations? Do we need that blood on our hands?

Al Eslami, North York

Jobs worth killing for? Online video April 24

Full marks to Scott Vrooman for, like many other Canadians, pointing out the rank hypocrisy of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government. Could there be a more blatant example of this than the Saudi Arms deal?

While our Prime Minister will happily show up at any photo op for a Pride Parade or similar event (as he should), he quite clearly has no problem selling arms to a regime that executes people for the crime of being gay. If he can’t see the hypocrisy of that, he’s a fool.

This government’s supposed fresh new approach (transparency and honesty and optimism) is looking more and more like a variation of the half truths and manipulated facts that contribute to many people’s default setting with politics and politicians: distrust and cynicism.

Paul Romanuk, Toronto

Friday, April 29, 2016

Four Days In A Wild Weather Week

I admit I am a bit of a weather geek. To witness nature's fury and our powerlessness in its face is truly humbling. However, the other reason for my fascination with our increasingly volatile and destructive weather is the rueful recognition of our collective refusal to make any changes that might mitigate the worst effects of climate change. If given the option of sacrifice (losing some convenience, changing our lifestyle, taming our bloodlust for beef, paying higher prices for energy, etc.) or enduring the destructive force of climate change, it seems that for almost everyone, both leaders and the led, the choice is lamentably clear.

We get what we deserve:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Rich Businessman's Humility

Far too many employers see their employees as disposable, fungible, or, even worse, targets to exploit. I am happy to report that the CEO of Chobani yogurt, Hamdi Ulukaya, is not one of them. He is giving his people a 10% share in his company, shares that they will be able to sell, once the company goes public. The money that these workers will soon receive means a lot, they say, but being appreciated means even more.

Watching this report, I couldn't help but wonder how different our world would be if more owners felt the same way about the people who make their success possible.

Should you want to read more about this remarkable gesture, click here.