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Source: Crain’s New York

He may be gone, but he was only a symptom of the problem

America and the world are, at long last, rid of Donald Trump the President. His nepotistic family and venal associates, whose litany of improprieties runs longer than the golf course on which Mr. Trump was informed of his defeat, have been similarly cast out, at least for now.

The same cannot be said for the factors that enabled Trump’s rise to power in the first place. Some of them, such as an America that is steadily becoming more ethnically and culturally diverse, should be celebrated. …


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Credit: Axios

We must not be silent any longer

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference,” once stated the late Auschwitz survivor, Elie Wiesel. “To be in the window and watch people being sent to concentration camps or being attacked in the street and do nothing, that’s being dead…. What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander.”

The dark period in history through which Wiesel had the misfortune of living engendered an entire generation of philosophers whose contemplation of moral questions influence the character of modern society. …


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A morsel of charity for a man who showed none

Someday, some poor bastard grinding away for minimum wage will be burdened with the thankless task of etching a commemoration into Donald Trump’s epitaph. The most charitable thing I can imagine it saying goes something like this:

Here rests the body of Donald John Trump. May God pity his restless soul.

He grew up in the shadow of his wealthy, loveless father from which he would never escape. Perhaps as a consequence of this materially opulent but emotionally austere upbringing — though we shall never know for certain — a personality disorder robbed him of empathy for his fellow human beings, and therefore denied him the capacity to experience, much less receive, true love. …


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A viral pandemic and an oil-price war have lit the fuse

They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. There can be no better demonstration of that maxim than the time we are living through currently. There’s also nothing like a global emergency to show the importance of being prepared — and to expose those who are not. As Warren Buffet once quipped, “it’s only when the tide goes out that you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

We are about to find out. Stock markets plummeted when trading opened on Monday, March 9, in panicked reaction to the dual menace of an oil-price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia coupled with the COVID-19 virus currently sweeping around the world. A few short-lived respites notwithstanding, the financial carnage continued throughout the week. On Thursday, March 12, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index measuring thirty of America’s largest companies, plunged by 10% — the largest single-day loss since the market crashed in 1987. …


Get out your rubber boots, because the mud is going to fly

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Credit: Atdhe Mulla/Prishtina Insight

Excuse me, that’s political “debates,” because very little genuine debate ever takes place at these events. It’s more of an opportunity for politicians to utter carefully rehearsed, focus-group-tested slogans. The things they say could usually fit on a bumper-sticker. Listen for emotive words and phrases designed to get the people going. Stuff like:

  • Real
  • Hope
  • Change
  • Get Ahead
  • Forward
  • Together
  • Hard-working families/folks/Americans/Canadians
  • Kitchen table
  • The middle-class (“and those working hard to join it”)
  • Wall Street/Bay Street vs Main Street
  • Men and women in uniform

What do words like “real,” “change,” and “forward” mean, precisely? Never mind what they mean. You couldn’t possibly understand. …


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Credit: Beacon Rock Golf Course/CNN

As the cost of inaction rises, resting on our laurels is a luxury we cannot afford

Scientific reports can be downright impenetrable. If you’d like to learn about the science of climate change without wading through pages of jargon, check out my other article.

Imagine you have a large aquarium in your house filled with twenty-five rare, exotic fish from around the world. They are your prized possessions, and they’re virtually irreplaceable. Each fish is worth $1000.

One day, you notice that the tank has cracked and sprung a small leak. More like a trickle, really. You put a piece of duct tape over it and the leak stops. You wake up the next morning, however, to find that the tape has peeled off and the leak has resumed. It seems that the water pressure is simply too high for a Band-Aid solution. You put a bucket under the leak for now. …


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Credit: Global News

He might not care about the Unholy Trinity, but you should.

“This campaign is not about politics,” Jason Kenney declared gallantly to kick off his United Conservative Party’s (UCP) 2019 Alberta election campaign. “It’s about people.”

Good one. If he wants to live in a land without politics, he should move to Narnia. But he knows that already.

Mr. Kenney’s holier-than-thou proclamation is a textbook manoeuvre from a master of the political dark arts. Alberta’s election commissioner and the RCMP are currently investigating whether Kenney colluded with Jeff Callaway during the UCP’s 2017 leadership race to sink the candidacy of Kenney’s main rival, Brian Jean. …


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Source: The Nation

Capitalism needs a healthy dose of socialism to survive

The winds of change are gaining strength. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), a rookie congresswoman from New York, has unveiled a vision for a Green New Deal while proposing a 70 percent tax on income over $10 million. Even establishment voices are joining the chorus, with newspapers such as Forbes and Business Insider publishing pieces highlighting the heights of wealth inequality in America. And when the New York Times puts an op-ed entitled Abolish Billionaires above the fold, as it did in February 2019, you know something is truly afoot.

That article followed on the heels of the World Economic Forum’s annual summit at Davos, a Swiss alpine resort where the masters of the universe convoke each January to rub shoulders and confabulate on the state of the world. The difference this time was that a few progressive iconoclasts were also in attendance. …


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Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia

When it comes to meaningfully acknowledging the theft of land, or addressing poverty, we would rather not be bothered.

Where are you right now?

That question is deeper than it sounds, and a great deal turns on the reply given. Most inhabitants of the Americas know that the modern-day countries on these two continents began as European settler colonies. Far fewer are aware, beyond some casual trivia, of the depths of the suffering that Indigenous peoples experienced at the hands of the invaders. Nor are those crimes fully imparted to students through school curricula, even if some jurisdictions have finally begun teaching the heart-rending history of the residential school system.

As recognition of the need for truth and reconciliation continues to gain steam, it has become popular to begin public events and school days by acknowledging the “traditional, unceded Indigenous territory” on which the event is taking place. These observations serve as valuable reminders of the events and decisions that made a given location what it is today. Considering that the places where this sort of preamble is given are not First Nation reserves, an astute reader will notice that “unceded” is really just a polite way of saying “stolen.” …


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If your dreams of military glory don’t pan out, there’s always live action role playing. Source: PBS

Some gun owners need to be more honest with themselves.

The United States has as many guns as it has people. That’s roughly 40 percent of the world’s firearms for about 4.5 percent of the world’s population. It’s no secret that America is packing heat. The secret is who owns it — and why.

Just 3 percent of adults own half of all civilian guns in the U.S.; 22 percent of adults own them all. For that top 3 percent it works out to an average of 17 guns each. Assuming that each of these people also has an average of two hands, they must have a reason beyond mere pragmatism for being strapped to the nines. That reason is an American cultural peculiarity, one that’s captured perfectly by the National Rifle Association’s favourite phrase: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” It’s the same thing that makes James Bond and Tony Stark popular characters, that makes the U.S. …

About

Brad Stollery

2018 winner of the Dalton Camp Award for essay-writing. M.A. Political Science. I'll go to the mat for the Oxford comma.

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