Welcome to the cruelest day: Tuesday, February 22, 2022: National Cook a Sweet Potato Day! That’s a good idea: they’re full of nutrients, taste good, and after scrubbing, pricking with a fork a few times, and ten minutes on high at the microwave, just smush up with some butter and you have dinner (with a nice wine, of course). Don’t forget to eat the skin!
It’s also National Margarita Day, National Wildlife Day, Walking the Dog Day, World Spay Day, Be Humble Day (was this invented by theologians for scientists?), World Thinking Day, Crime Victims Day (in Europe), and a federal holiday, Washington’s Birthday.
News of the Day:
*Well, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has begun, in a sneaky way. But make no mistake about it: this is just the beginning. Among other sources, the Associated Press reports that Putin ordered Russian forces into separatist areas of eastern Ukraine to “keep the peace”. (This, of course, is after the separatists were ordered to break the peace. There is no record of Ukrainian troops firing first.) Those regions already harbored Russian troops, but more are slated to come in. But wait! There’s more! Putin has also recognized the “independence” of those two regions: “Donetsk” and “Luhansk People’s Republic.” In effect, they are now designated as Russian allies, soon to be part of Russia:
The Kremlin decree, spelled out in an order signed by Putin, left unclear when, or even whether, troops would enter Ukraine. But it further fueled fears of an imminent invasion and underscored the steep challenges the U.S. and Western nations face in staving off a military conflict they have portrayed as near-inevitable.
The Kremlin’s announcement came just hours after Putin, in a rambling, fact-bending discourse on European history, recognized the independence of the eastern separatist regions, paving the way to provide them military support and antagonizing Western leaders who regard such a move as an unjust breach of world order.’
It’s all over but the shooting. Oh, and there’s this:
*Biden has a special set of sanctions for this latest incursion; he’s saving the big ones for later. But our NATO allies are standing with us. The Wall Street Journal reports today that Germany has halted progress on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia. (It wasn’t yet operating but was expected to within a year.)
The pipeline was set to double direct Russian gas exports to Germany and has been awaiting formal approval since last October. The German agency in charge of certification had recently suspended the process and said it wouldn’t resume before the second half of the year.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is considering severing diplomatic relations with Russia in response to Mr. Putin’s decision, as reports grew of Russian troops moving into the area.
“Ukraine must react to this, defending its sovereignty and statehood.” Mr. Zelensky said at a Tuesday press conference with the Estonian president, at which he called on the West to immediately punish Russia with sanctions. He said he would decide on his foreign ministry’s proposal to cut ties with Moscow later Tuesday.
As of yesterday I saw no reports of new Russian troops entering Ukraine, but now, according to the WSJ, they’re “pouring in”:
Columns of Russian military vehicles poured into Donetsk overnight, hours after Mr. Putin made a speech questioning Ukraine’s legitimacy and recognizing the two statelets that Russia established in the Donbas in 2014, according to witnesses and footage posted on social media. A senior White House official said the administration had received information that Russian troops had deployed into the Donetsk and Luhansk regions “for so-called peacekeeping functions,” adding that U.S. officials are still assessing the situation.
Here are the two new “independent” countries that will be under Putin’s thumb, Donetsk and Luhansk. And we can do precious little to stop this, for Putin wants his Lebensraum.
*Laurie Santos, a Yale professor of psychology who specializes in and teaches popular courses on how to be happy, is taking a break for a year because she’s burned out. In an interview at the NYT with David Marchese, she explains her decision:
I was just Googling you to find out some minor fact, and I saw a story in the Yale student paper that said you’re taking a leave of absence for burnout. So, first, I’m sorry that things were feeling difficult. And second, if the happiness professor is feeling burned out, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Back up, back up. I took a leave of absence because I’m trying not to burn out. I know the signs of burnout. It’s not like one morning you wake up, and you’re burnt. You’re noticing more emotional exhaustion. You’re noticing what researchers call depersonalization. You get annoyed with people more quickly. You immediately assume someone’s intentions are bad. You start feeling ineffective. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t noticing those things in myself. I can’t be telling my students, “Oh, take time off if you’re overwhelmed” if I’m ignoring those signals. You can’t just power through and wish things weren’t happening. From learning about the science of happiness, I treat it like any other health issue: If my blood pressure was soaring — you need to take action. So it’s not a story of Even the happiness professor isn’t happy. This is a story of, I’m making these changes now so I don’t get to that point of being burned out. I see it as a positive.
When Santos is asked to explain why her students are feeling increasingly anxious and unhappy, she responds that our intuitions about what will make us happy, often pushed on us by cultural forces (i.e., capitalism), are often wrong. Students are more concerned now with achievement and money, and disappointed when those things don’t fill the Happiness Hole. Her answer about how to be happy is “42.” No, it’s this:
So what’s the answer? What’s the purpose of life? It’s smelling your coffee in the morning. [Laughs.] Loving your kids. Having sex and daisies and springtime. It’s all the good things in life. That’s what it is.
Oy! I could have told you that, except for the daisies part. And for some people work itself is one of the good things in life.
Here’s an appropriate song that a discussion with Matthew made me remember. It’s by one of my favorite groups (nice harmony, too):
*Finnegan the dog, known for his phenomenal sniffing abilities and use as an exemplar in popular books, has died at 14. Or so says his staff, Alexandra Horowitz, a Barnard cognitive scientist working on d*gs, who wrote a touching obituary in yesterday’s NYT. FInnegan Horowitz Shea, to use the canid’s real name, featured in several of his staff’s books. Sadly, the obituary section of the NYT is restricted to people, which miffs Dr. Horowitz:
This obituary isn’t running in the Obituaries section of The New York Times. The Times’s Obit section does not run pieces about nonhuman animals — this despite the fact that obituaries are posthumous commemorations of someone’s life and animals are someones and have lives. “Obituaries, really, are summations of lives — of people,” William McDonald, the Obituaries editor, was quoted as saying in an article about why animals do not appear in Obits. It would be “incongruous,” he suggested, to have the story of an animal next to that of “men and women who lived exemplary lives, accomplished things.” An obituarist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution told the anthropologist Jane Desmond, “Obits are for people. Pets are animals. Period.”
If the explanation for restricting obituaries to humans is that obituaries are “summations of lives,” certainly all living things qualify: We share the biological capacity to create life, to live and to die with all other animals. If it is that people are the proper subject of any story about a life, innumerable stories of animal lives in books and other media belie that. If it is exemplariness or accomplishment that qualifies one for an obit, it is clear that any species that is well enough observed will reveal extraordinary feats among its members — from elephants, whose behavior indicates that they grieve dead relatives, to a laboratory rat who elects to free a trapped fellow rat rather than eat a treat to dogs, whose daily presence elevates the lives of the people whose company they keep.
She then gives Finnegan a proper obituary, ending this way:
As a model for dog behavior, Finnegan helped to reveal to hundreds of thousands of people how dogs perceive the world through their noses and to appreciate their own dogs’ parallel universe. His greatest impact, though, was surely felt by the family that survives him, including two Canis familiaris, one Felis catus and the three people lucky to know him personally.
By being a dog, Finnegan showed me the richness of the world that I had overlooked, and I am forever changed. In life, animals are rarely treated with the respect due these fellow travelers on earth; when they die, we have one last chance to do so.
Well spoken! Here’s the author with Finnegan from the article:
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 934,659, an increase of 2,096 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,911,791, an increase of about 3,600 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on February 22 include:
- 1632 – Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, the dedicatee, receives the first printed copy of Galileo‘s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems .
Here’s the title page and frontispiece of the book, which pushed the Copernican (heliocentric) system. It was this book that got Galileo in trouble for heresy:
- 1797 – The last Invasion of Britain begins near Fishguard, Wales.
It was by the French, but they failed.
- 1819 – By the Adams–Onís Treaty, Spain sells Florida to the United States for five million U.S. dollars.
- 1879 – In Utica, New York, Frank Woolworth opens the first of many of five-and-dime Woolworth stores.
Woolworth got rich, of course, and built the Woolworth Building in NYC as his headquarters. Here’s a lovely architectural detail from that building depicting Woolworth as a gargoyle-like figure (note the coin):
- 1881 – Cleopatra’s Needle, a 3,500-year-old Ancient Egyptian obelisk is erected in Central Park, New York.
Built in 1475 BC on the orders of Thutmose III, the red-granite obelisk was given to the U.S. as a gift for being a good trading partner. It’s still here, and you can see it:
- 1909 – The sixteen battleships of the Great White Fleet, led by USS Connecticut, return to the United States after a voyage around the world.
It took several years to demonstrate U.S. Naval Power in this way, ordered by Teddy Roosevelt. Here’s part of the fleet, with the ships painted white:
- 1943 – World War II: Members of the White Rose resistance, Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, and Christoph Probst are executed in Nazi Germany.
Here’s a scene from the movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, showing her farewell to her brother and friend, her perfunctory trial, and execution by guillotine (no gore is shown). I find this very moving, and have watched it several times.
- 1973 – Cold War: Following President Richard Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China, the two countries agree to establish liaison offices.
- 1980 – Miracle on Ice: In Lake Placid, New York, the United States hockey team defeats the Soviet Union hockey team 4–3.
Here’s the last minute of that game, which I watched on t.v. “Do you believe in miracles?” This was the semifinals, with the Soviets a heavy favorite. Two days later the U.S. beat Finland to secure the gold medal. this was a huge deal at the time.
- 1994 – Aldrich Ames and his wife are charged by the United States Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union.
Ames (below) passed along a lot of secrets to the Russians, and is in prison for life (it’s not clear if he’ll ever be paroled). His wife got five years in the pen.
- 1997 – In Roslin, Midlothian, British scientists announce that an adult sheep named Dolly has been successfully cloned.
Dolly lived seven years, and then was euthanized because she had arthritis and lung disease. Now stuffed and mounted, her carcass resides in the National Museum of Scotland:
- 2011 – New Zealand’s second deadliest earthquake strikes Christchurch, killing 185 people.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1732 – George Washington, American general and politician, 1st President of the United States (d. 1799)
- 1819 – James Russell Lowell, American poet and critic (d. 1891)
- 1857 – Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, English general, co-founded The Scout Association (d. 1941)
Baden-Powell was a national hero during the Boer War and also an artist. Here’s a WWI poster he designed:
- 1857 – Heinrich Hertz, German physicist, philosopher, and academic (d. 1894)
- 1892 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet and playwright (d. 1950)
Artist and activist, Millay was also a great paramour of both men and women. Wikipedia says this about her relationship with Edmund Wilson, one of my literary heroes:
Counted among Millay’s close friends were the writers Witter Bynner, Arthur Davison Ficke, and Susan Glaspell, as well as Floyd Dell and the critic Edmund Wilson, both of whom proposed marriage to her and were refused. Millay had a way of wrapping men around her finger, even after she rejected them. Edmund Wilson, for example, spoke of her highly because Millay took his virginity but she rejected his advances and his marriage proposal. However, he remained a loyal friend.
Here’s Millay in 1914, when she was 22:
- 1914 – Renato Dulbecco, Italian-American virologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2012)
- 1925 – Edward Gorey, American illustrator and poet (d. 2000)
Reader Jon sends in his annual contribution to this site, a picture of Gorey, who was a great ailurophile:
- 1932 – Ted Kennedy, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (d. 2009)
- 1942 – Christine Keeler, English model and dancer (d. 2017)
Do you remember this iconic photo of Keeler? It’s been imitated many times.
- 1950 – Julius Erving, American basketball player and sportscaster
Those who checked out on February 22 include:
- 1942 – Stefan Zweig, Austrian journalist, author, and playwright (b. 1881)
- 1943 – Christoph Probst, German activist (b. 1919)
- 1943 – Hans Scholl, German activist (b. 1918)
- 1943 – Sophie Scholl, German activist (b. 1921)
See above for Probst and the Scholls.
- 1944 – Kasturba Gandhi, Indian activist (b. 1869)
- 1976 – Florence Ballard, American singer (b. 1943)
“And Flo, she don’t know that the boy she loves is a Romeo.” This song went to #1, and of course was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland.
- 1980 – Oskar Kokoschka, Austrian painter, poet and playwright (b. 1886)
Kokoshka, “The Cat” (1910):
- 1987 – Andy Warhol, American painter and photographer (b. 1928)
- 2002 – Chuck Jones, American animator, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1912)
- 2021 – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American poet, painter (b. 1919)
Ferlenghetti was one of those guys who seemed to be immortal, and then one day he was gone. But he lived to be 101. Here he is in 2012:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is trying to see if it’s possible for one person to understand everything:
Hili: Is there anybody who understands everything?A: No, there isn’t.
Hili: Czy jest ktoś, kto to wszystko rozumie?Ja: Nie ma.
Shhhh. . . Kulka is sleeping:
Another cat meme, this time from Bruce:
Another snow figure from Peter:
From Barry. Yes, there have been a few creationists who do real biology, and here’s one of them having a brain freeze when forced to encounter the brute facts of speciation. Bernard D’Abrera was one of the great lepidopterists of our time, but rejected evolution. It’s hard for me to see how that’s possible, but so it goes.
Bernard D’Abrera was one of the 20th century’s most prolific butterfly experts. He was also among the last actual creationists in professional biology.
Here, his brain short-circuits when confronted with an actively speciating radiation of South American butterflies. pic.twitter.com/jQ1JClw27Y
— Alex Wild (@Myrmecos) February 21, 2022
From Simon. As you may know, Queen Elizabeth has covid-19, and that’s no laughing matter given her age. Naturally, the ivermectin pushers are urging their horse nostrum on her. A pair of tweets.
"The Queen is actually a racehorse with worms" is my new favourite conspiracy theory and I will be believing it from now on.
— Beth McMillan (@teraspawn) February 21, 2022
Internet gossip: Sabine Hossenfelder asked a DEI question when submitting a grant on inflation in the early universe (she was apparently required to include a “diversity statement”). She wrote the tweet below, and of course was excoriated—simply for asking for suggestions. (She works in Frankfurt.) As the tweets below show, asking for suggestions is damning enough, and, after a bout of social-media opprobrium, she deleted her tweet—and had the guts enough to admit it:
The reaction recounted and Hossenfelder’s explanation:
A physicist could not explain how cosmic inflation is relevant for gender&diversity, but a grant wanted this, so she asked help. The debate attracted free speech and dissenters, tanks come to crush the spring: some ParticlesForJustice saw CisWhiteTransphopia, she self-cancelled. https://t.co/vDTkoR05qV
— Alessandro Strumia (@AlessandroStru4) February 20, 2022
That is why I don’t use Twitter much.
Tweets from Matthew. I’m absolutely fascinated by these AI portraits of what people from previous centuries would look like if they were living now. There are lots, and it’s hard to choose which ones to show. Start with the first one and read the thread.
Hidreley Diao uses AI to capture what historical figures would look like if they were modern people.
George Washington: pic.twitter.com/Wh5bi9FAgL
— Tim Urban (@waitbutwhy) February 20, 2022
— Tim Urban (@waitbutwhy) February 20, 2022
— Tim Urban (@waitbutwhy) February 20, 2022
Marie Antoinette pic.twitter.com/PY6SmIvJiV
— Tim Urban (@waitbutwhy) February 20, 2022
There are a lot more on the thread. Go see!
Finally, something I’ve never seen before, and you probably haven’t, either:
"you're looking at me like you've never seen an owl sitting with its legs crossed before" pic.twitter.com/ksqL60vfxW
— Paul Bronks for Lovina Animal Welfare (@slender_sherbet) February 21, 2022
48 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue”
Canadians, what do you think of Trudeau vs the Truckers? I’m pretty much against the Trucker protest, but isn’t invoking anti-terrorist legislation and freezing the bank accounts of protestors, and anyone who might aid the protestors, rather overdoing things?
Jonathan Kay seems to think so, and he’s usually fairly astute.
I completely agree, although not Canadian. And just this morning read Matt Taibbi’s scathing take on the issue. Would share the link, but it is for subscribers only. As a long-time denizen of the left side of the political spectrum, it is dismaying to see these far disproportionate responses from those I thought shared a commitment to civil liberty.
The only Taibbi reference I could find was utterly pathetic in its ignorance. Perhaps there is a better one which you wish to share?
He seems to know approximately as much as Elon Musk did a few weeks ago in his tweet encouraging the truckers. Fortunately there is now at least one EV which $-for-$ is notably superior to any of his. Canadians should take note, though as 10% of US in size, it won’t make much of difference to Tesla’s inevitable rise to prominence. Some people would do well to stick to what they know something about.
Can either you or he actually back up your (common?) contention (and the only substantive point in Mr. Quillette Canuck’s desperate attempt to find something wrong—with the correct kind of wrong, since everyone agrees they were far too slow) that use of the emergency act was unnecessary? Neither of you has backed this up in any specific way, though you may be correct. If neither of you knows details about this kind of law, perhaps it’s better to wait for the promised inquiry. Possibly a few there will have some real expertise. Kay apparently did, as usual, need to find something about which to criticize Trudeau. I’m no fanboy of the latter, but the takeover recently of the other large party by the hard right (by Canadian standards) Albertan Trumpians mostly is not going to improve things.
He did of course attempt to somewhat characterize the Ottawa sheep-protestors, as opposed to leaders, as a bunch of harmless happy people sitting around watching their kiddies cavort in the makeshift playground they set up. Maybe the Jan. 6 people now realize they should have brought a bunch of kiddies in to observe their plans, such as lynching of Mike Pence–better PR that way. The next time I decide to join a bunch of people in blatantly breaking the law, we’ll have to figure out something like that to keep the police away for as long as possible, for fear of violence harming our human shields.
Everything you saw in Ottawa was down to a complete failure of municipal policing. The Convoy organizers said they were coming, they said they intended to occupy/blockade the streets at and near Parliament Hill with their big trucks, and, silliest of all, they called for the government to resign in favour of a provisional government made up of the protest organizers and the appointed Senate and ceremonial Governor-General.
Instead of using their ample warning to erect traffic control barriers in advance and divert the trucks away from downtown and The Hill and prevent them from stopping, the Ottawa police did nothing while the district filled up with trucks. Police in other cities reacted deftly to smaller protests and kept the streets open, denying protesters the chance to get rooted in large self-contained vehicles. In the end the main benefit of the Emergencies Act was that it gave police the power to compel by requisition commercial tow-trucks to tow away the illegally parked trucks. (The companies had been refusing to tow under contract for fear of economic or violent retaliation —it’s a rough industry.)
Otherwise the clearing of the streets proceeded with normal, usual police power. The demonstration was declared illegal under the Act but it already was anyway. It is always illegal to block a public street. Most demonstrations that do are tolerated for a few hours and then are gently dispersed after the TV networks lose interest, or after the PM comes out to take a knee for the cameras. (Indigenous blockades of vital infrastructure (which Ottawa is not) typically occur in remote rural areas or small towns ignored by media elites. They can go on for months, indulged by threats of violence. Through wise self-restraint, violence was not a feature on either side of the Ottawa occupation.) Most of the cops on the street getting up close and personal with the protesters were not local Ottawa police, who were mostly sidelined after the Chief was fired. Riot squads came in from all over Ontario and Quebec but again, this can happen under normal law.
Ottawa is a self-absorbed little town. For some reason, the Police Commission decided to hire, as Chief, a guy who had been passed over for promotion to Chief in Toronto. Strike One—he’s not only damaged goods but by definition an asshole from Toronto. Strike Two was that he tried to apply Critical Race Theory to fix relations between Ottawa street cops and certain minority communities who commit a lot of crimes. (Ottawa being a government town, many minorities are recent unacculturated arrivals from foreign countries, not home-grown.) So the police rank and file wanted him gone. How much police inaction was due to mutiny and how much to his reluctance to give orders that he knew would not be obeyed will be examined in a Public Inquiry. But the Chief looked ever more pathetic every day while he gave one excuse after another for why the streets were filling up with noisy idling trucks as his officers looked on indulgently.
The Emergencies Act was over-reach because Canada’s national security was never threatened. It was embarrassing for the Prime Minister that the truckers were thumbing their noses at him, right under his nose, literally (at least during the rare occasions when he deigns to visit Parliament these days), and his increasingly divisive rhetoric. But none of this would have happened had the Ottawa police done their job at the start.
The freezing of bank accounts is pure hypocrisy. No one seems to worry about the vast sums of foreign money flowing in to fund environmental and Indigenous disruptions. But they aren’t from “pro-Trump supporters” as our Justice Minister calls them, so they are benign. (And since sunsetting our oil-and-gas industry and advancing Indigenous sovereignty are both government policy anyway, they wink at the Left money.)
Fair enough, and spoken without pussyfooting around. (OK for real pussies)
IIRC Kay failed to mention the need for that emergency declaration in order to get the trucks the hell out of there, once they were stupidly allowed in.
Of the last two policies you mention, the first is evidently correct, and the other is at least debatable in its details. Legal protests in either case are of course acceptable, though legality is often missing.
At least keeping the damned-near-world’s-dirtiest-oil in the ground–till such time as it is essential in small quantities and can be extracted reasonably cleanly–is something for which illegal protests within limits can be understandable, even supportable, as long as perpetrators are clearly ready to face the legal consequences.
The Coastal Gas Link pipeline, whose work camp was violently attacked in the night last week by masked thugs, is to carry natural gas from a large field discovered in Green Left Liberal British Columbia, not dirty tar oil from redneck Alberta. Gas, even fracked, has now been rehabilitated as “green” by the EU as preferable to freezing in the dark. And with oil at the price it is, the world seems to be just fine with our abundant but expensive-to-extract oil, as long as they can get it. (CO2 is not dirt, by the way. Coal is dirty because it’s sooty and kills coal miners, not because it yields more CO2 per unit of heat.)
Be very careful with concepts like understandable and supportable illegal protests in a cause you happen to agree with. Supportable by whom? The law-enforcement machinery of the state? Or just private citizens expressing their enthusiasm at dinner parties for civil disobedience as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them personally, the way the truck convoy doing the very same thing did?
“…concepts like understandable and supportable illegal protests…”
I speak entirely personally, not for anyone else, but prepared to debate and possibly to change my opinion. I’m getting too old to do much in the way of action.
As for “vast sums of foreign money” supporting environmental groups, someone did think that was the case – Jason Kenny. He harassed environmental groups using a public inquiry and defamed them by repeating what you are saying over and over on social media and wherever he could. According to his own inquiry, these groups were clean and now they are suing him rightfully for defamation. It’s possible you are making a false equivalency.
What I find more interesting is that police are violent to protestors who were blocking access to the cutting of old growth forest in BC but in this one they were almost invited in. Many videos exist of the police spraying down with pepper spray resisting but non violent protestors and beating them until limp. This to me is a far more interesting thing that perhaps an inquiry will shed light on.
The Emergencies Act, created in 1988 to replace the far reaching restrictions of the War Measures Act which suspended Civil Liberties, is not “anti-terrorist legislation”. It has a lot of safe guards, including restrictions on invoking it which requires the PM meet with his opposition an other levels of government, a vote in parliament 7 days later to determine if it stands (if it fails the vote, it must be withdrawn) and then a stringent look at all government actions while and after it is enacted. No one wants to use it mostly because of this last point as the actions are put under tight watch.
If the Ottawa police had not allowed the protestors to become entrenched and torture citizens for 20 days blocking up the city, laying on horns constantly at all hours, idling their diesel trucks and engaging in harassing behaviour, this would have been unnecessary but they allowed it and they needed not only coordinated forces at all levels (city, provincial, federal) but also the ability to stop funding and freeze accounts. I don’t think it at all overdoes things as it does not suspend liberties and those that think it’s a slippery slope are ignoring the fact that the PM did this as head of a minority government so he has support with a lot of safeguards in place. We aren’t like the US where so much power is in their leader.
>We aren’t like the US where so much power is in their leader.
The American presidency is a powerful office only because the United States is powerful. In fact, the President’s domestic agenda is easily curtailed by the separation of powers. A fractious Congress puts all presidential initiatives in doubt if they require legislative approval, even when the president’s party has majority in both houses, as now.
In Canada, all executive and legislative power rests with the Prime Minister and his royal court, the Prime Minister’s Office. Cabinet is just a place to reward supporters with the extra salary and staff, and to show off cosmetic (but not intellectual) diversity. Can a small country like Canada, where most things people care about are done by provinces, really need 39 federal Cabinet Ministers? (We actually have a Minister of DEI. He just announced a program, approved by his boss, of course, to spend tax money to buy houses for decently well-off Black renters who can’t quite afford them on their own. Toronto is an expensive place to buy a house, you know.)
Not only does the PM run the government from his own mind with not a peep of dissent tolerated from any MP who hopes to advance or even stay in caucus, but he also appoints the Governor-General, the Commissioner of the RCMP, all the Supreme Court justices, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Clerk of the Privy Council (the CEO of the federal civil service, for non-Canadians) and the Chairs and membership of all the Commons legislative committees, to name only the most important ones. He can be taken down only by internal caucus revolt — political suicide unless the usurper survives, wins, and rewards her supporters — or by electoral defeat of his party.
Mavericks like AOC and Joe Manchin, or even Bernie Sanders, couldn’t exist anywhere in Canada’s electoral apparatus. MPs don’t have any personal role in sponsoring bills for the legislative agenda. They just vote for the end result as they are told to by their party leaders.
In the current minority government, the PM does have to get support from at least one opposition party to get his way. The lapdog for the moment is the New Democratic Party, the party of the common working man and which voted against the War Measures Act in 1970, but is now only the party of public sector trade unions. Since the truckers are not unionized civil servants but small-time owner-operators, the NDP shares the PM’s glee in crushing them.
This is why the Emergencies Act is so dangerous: because of the already untrammeled power of the Prime Minister, the legal constraints on his government’s actions have to be cherished and preserved and not surrendered just because of a nuisance traffic jam that got out of hand because of the incompetence of local police.
Jesus that was a long reply to the one sentence. Sorry but the PM is head of the party. A party in a minority government can be dissolved with a vote of non competence from the opposition. The PM never unilaterally decided to enact the Emergencies Act. I”m sure you’ll recall that there was all this “oh we are doomed” slippery slope stuff when PET enacted the War Measures Act to quell the FLQ during the October Crisis. Somehow Canada didn’t fall into a totalitarian state then either.
And it doesn’t matter what you think of the NDP, they are still capable of stopping the Emergencies Act, there will be more than one inquiry after (by law) and the government’s actions are closely monitored. To me, this is democratic not the totalitarian nightmare so many worry it will be (a fear of a “slippery slope” not based on what is actually happening).
Freezing the assets of donors (so they can’t use their credit cards or pay their bills or buy gas or buy groceries or pay their rent; and possibly tar their credit permanently), instead of stopping the donations seems like a crazy overreach against citizen’s rights.
That didn’t happen. Donors accounts were not frozen. The government was explicit about this. The accounts for those organizers who were arrested were frozen.
Not too explicit.
From the Toronto Sun 17 Feb:
The justice minister [and attorney-general] in Justin Trudeau’s government has said that if you hold the wrong political views, you should be worried about your bank account.
David Lametti, a lawyer and former law professor who is now the government’s lead legal authority, made the comments when questioned about whether people who made donations to the trucker convoy will have accounts seized.
When they invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday [14 Feb.], the Trudeau government made clear that they were not just going after the crowdfunding of Freedom Convoy organizers but would also target individual bank accounts.
“A lot of folks said, ‘I just don’t like your vaccine mandates and I donated to this, now it’s illegal, should I be worried that the bank can freeze my account?’” Evan Solomon, host of CTV’s Power Play, asked Lametti.
Lametti, who had previously in the interview compared what is happening to terrorism, said yes, donors should be worried.
“If you are a member of a pro-Trump movement who is donating hundreds of thousands of dollars, and millions of dollars to this kind of thing, then you ought to be worried,” Lametti said.
Relax, though. If you are a pro-Obama movement who is endorsing Justin Trudeau’s re-election, you’re good.
So what? Some people are worried there will be overuse but so far there is no evidence that that is the case. There is however evidence of a lot of unsupported assertions like the Conservative MP who talked about poor Briane who can’t get gas and food but upon further investigation it was discovered there was no Briane. It was completely made up: https://vancouver.citynews.ca/2022/02/21/convoy-protesters-bank-accounts/
And like your quotes from above there are lots of worried assertions that donors should be worried when the RCMP has said explicitly that no list of donors have been sent to banks. So sure make your allegations that we’re all going to be thrown into some Liberal gulag unless we love “Obama” for some reason (don’t know why a US president matters here) but they are just unfounded assertions and fears. No evidence of any such behaviour has surfaced and the democratic process to route out such behaviour is in place.
“don’t know why a US president matters here”
“If you are a member of a pro-Trump movement who is donating hundreds of thousands of dollars, and millions of dollars to this kind of thing, then you ought to be worried,” Justice Minister David Lametti, 16-Feb-22
I agree with you; but apparently the Justice Minister does not. He appears to be clearly making this a political issue; and a political issue related to USA politics.
I read that quote in context. He was asked whether regular donors should be worried. His answer was you should be if your part of an organization that gives hundreds of thousands or millions to these sorts of things. It seems to me he was trying not to say “don’t worry about it” as he was asked 6 days ago when Ottawa was still occupied. His answer is somewhat vague. In the end regular donors who gave money but did nothing illegal were not targeted. A list of police who donated after GiveSendGo was hacked and if they gave that money before the protest was considered an illegal occupation they will probably not be in any trouble as they are allowed to give to political causes. However, since it was GiveSendGo that was hacked I suspect the timing is such that they may have been donating to an illegal cause. The individual police agencies are investigating.
And several articles confirm what I say in response. Donors are not having their accounts frozen. https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/rcmp-says-it-did-not-provide-names-of-convoy-donors-to-financial-institutions-1.5790096
Is there any word on the new cat in Poland after its vet appointment?
Yes! Kitty update please.
I do not. But I watched the film Scandal a long time ago.
1989, would you believe. As you note, much replicated pic, the advertising poster for the movie used essentially the same picture but with Joanne Whalley, who played Keeler.
Goes to show, a gal can get a lot of action, she burns her candle at both ends.
‘If the explanation for restricting obituaries to humans is that obituaries are “summations of lives,” certainly all living things qualify’ – Indeed! Wikipedia has included several non-humans in the “Recent deaths” section of its main page, including an orca and a tree.
A couple of years ago, the Economist ran an obituary for an Icelandic glacier (IIRC).
and a Pike a couple of years ago- “Benson, England’s best-loved fish”
‘ “The Queen is actually a racehorse with worms” is my new favourite conspiracy theory and I will be believing it from now on’ – me too!
Liz has cancelled her online appointments for the day, so clearly not doing too well…
Glenn Greenwald has a great piece on “The Neoliberal War on Dissent in the West”. If you consider yourself a defender of Civil Liberties, it’s a must read:
Don’t eat the sweet-potato skins: they’re boot-leather. I love baked potatoes, always eat the skins, sometimes cadge skins off others, because they’re the best part.
Skins are the best part of both potatoes and sweet potatoes. I’m a regular cadger as well😋
Somehow had never heard that CSN song??
Also very helpful, one would think, to the–shall we say–‘human plumbing’.
Peter! Food is not medicine!
Even if the Queen were a racehorse with worms, my guess is that HRM could still run another furlong or two down the homestretch. She’s a tough old mare.
On the Hossenfelder grant, I would assume (for the sake of my own sanity) that they’re asking about the proposal’s relevance to diversity, not inflationary theory’s relevance to diversity. I.e. they are asking her to explain (without saying as much) how the grant will be used to promote sex and gender diversity in science.
Going with that assumption, were I her, I’d probably shoot back some demographics of my lab. ‘The grant will be used to support work by post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students that include men, women, cis- and other-identifying genders [etc., etc….]…’
I don‘t know what the Queen is taking, but many in the royal family are long-time supporters of homeopathy and other medicinal woo.
You forgot to mention that today is a palindromic date. Its 22/02/2022 (obviously you have to ignore the separators and be using the format that most of the World except the USA uses).
Also, using “calculator numbers” it’s the same upside down as the right way up.
To be a smart ass, and provide nerdy companions with a tiny jolt, though large for a date, its symmetry group is the smallest non-cyclic group, as you have said. So you don’t even need to visualize to realize that rotating 180 degrees is, (choosing the centre of rotation carefully) a 3rd way it goes back to itself (or 4th way if you allow doing nothing to count as one such way).
Putin does not want to turn back the wheel of time only 50 years in order to resurrect the Soviet Union. It is more like 120 years. Imperialism is once again the trump card.
Long live Vladimir V, tsar of the new Russian empire.
I’ve been saying this for a long time. He wants to go down in history as the guy who restored the Russian empire.
Good to hear through the news that Germany is holding up the pipeline permit.
Not only could that get Putin’s attention, but if he blinks first, that could give Germany a lot of future leverage. IIRC China uses exactly this to ‘encourage’ what they want in NK – did Kim just do something we don’t like? Oops, the gas pipeline failed, we have to fix it. What Putin thought might be an asset he could use to limit Western protests against his imperialism, may become instead an asset we can use to discourage that imperialism.
I wonder why those AI portraits look so different from the painted portraits? Did he compare modern day painted portraits to photos and find exaggerations/mistakes that are common in paintings? The jawlines, especially, seem to be very different in these sets, but there are plenty of other differences in head shapes, noses, etc. Are painters taking that many liberties in portraits? Or is the AI taking that many liberties in its portraits?
As a young man, my grandfather was a crewman on a battleship in Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet. His brother was a sailor on another battleship in the formation. They traveled around the world for 14 months together but only saw each other, in Sydney I think, once.
I’ve seen accounts that Washington’s birth took place in the Old Style era for Britain and its colonies; and it was on February 11th as far as he and his circle regarded it. That was the date he would have celebrated birthdays on during his younger years.
Then when New Style came in, and 11 days were skipped in 1752, he was among those who decided to change their birthday date so that a full year passed. So we now call it February 22nd.
“Edmund Wilson, for example, spoke of her highly because Millay took his virginity . . . .”
I contemplate whether Wilson was virtue signalling after a fashion with this remark, that not just any woman was worthy of taking his virginity. Or that his worthiness was elevated by virtue of his virginity having been taken by Millay. He apparently was inclined to “kiss and tell.”