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OK, Boomer

My Millennial son, not wanting to be out of step with his generation, referred to his dear father at an “old white boomer” in a chat we were having today. Absolutely accurate. I am an old white boomer and delighted to be one. But for the ageist Millennials this is supposed to be a real slag. And for real ironic cred, the phase, “OK, boomer” is a great comeback when a boomer says something the Millennial has no answer for.

However, it is always fun to shoot back and I tried, Mill – epic fail.

However, pensées d’escalier, I realized I had been close. What Mill lacked was a useful sense of faint derision.

What could do that job?

“Millie”. Just the right note of soy-boi, effeminate, dimness combined with a dash of condescension. And for a hint of Edwardian neo-colonial hauteur in the face of imbecility, “Righty-O, Millie”.

Done.

Our Dog Died

Stoffal

I lost a very dear friend just before dinner tonight.

My old, thirteen and a half, dog Stoffal died lying against a bookshelf, his tail having wagged its last about ten minutes before. He was comfortable, in no pain at all, and had been out in the morning.

Stoffal was a golden doodle that my lovely (and currently devasted) Susan found on Used Victoria when he was three. A very nice South African doctor named Santa had moved to a condo and Stoffal was not a condo dog. (Stoffal is, apparently, a common dog name in South Africa.) So he came to us as a used dog from Santa.

Stoffal was relaxed. He’s moved with us from mansion to slum and back again, city to country, always adapting to whatever came his way. When he was younger he’d swim and fetch sticks – three times, after that you were on your own.

He slept beside my sons, alternating rooms, and when he could, he prowled the dinner table reminding us that dogs love steak but are willing to settle for potatoes.

He managed to steal, not one, but two rounds of Brie we were foolish enough to leave on a low coffee table at cocktail hour. He loved to walk in the woods in North Saanich but, in the last year, his ambition was greater than his legs could support. As he loved car rides this was not a problem.

A dog creates a special place in a family. No matter what is happening there is a big, furry, friendly, creature who wants nothing more than a scritch on the ear or a walk or to just lie beside you.

That is an empty place right now.

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The trivialization of Canadian Politics

faith goldy and justin trudeauDock Currie (not related) apparently posted something to the internet several years ago which was offensive. So he felt he had to resign as an NDP candidate. [Anyone who sees Dock on Twitter has to wonder if he has ever posted something which is not offensive, but there is is.) Several conservatives have, at various times been in the same crowd of several hundred or thousand people as Canada’s answer to Toyko Rose, Faith Goldy. The shock, the horror.

I realize that a race between Trudeau, Scheer, Singh and May is not very inspiring. (It would have been so much more interesting had the Conservatives actually run a conservative like Max Bernier rather than whatever the hell Scheer is, but them’s the breaks.) But piling on to candidates for ancient statements or mau-mauing them for distant association with a cartoon fascist simply sets the bar even lower.

Having accomplished nothing of substance in their years in government – they even screwed up the pot file which took real ingenuity – the Libs are reduced to going negative from the outset. Their war room knows that Canadians are unimpressed with “climate change needs higher taxes” as a campaign theme. They also know that Trudeau’s legal and ethics problems offset what charisma he has as a campaigner.

So now it is time for “Project Fear”. Scheer = Harper = Trump. Scheer is going to take away abortion rights, Scheer is not an ally of the gay community because he does not jet all over the country to march in pride parades. The Conservatives hate immigrants and so on.

Going negative this early strongly suggests that the Lib’s internal polling is suggesting a fair bit of weakness. Conventionally, a party will save the negative stuff for the last couple of weeks of the campaign when it is the most damaging and the hardest to refute. I suspect the Libs have realized that with their own leader either under RCMP investigation or credibly accused of impeding that investigation, they need to distract and terrify the under 30’s, newer immigrants and the ladies if they are going to win.

After years of public school and woke university, the under 30’s are ignorant enough to fall for the climate scare. Newer immigrants might be frightened by conservatives who attended a rally at which Faith Goldy was present because, well, that would make them Nazis too. And the Libs think the ladies will swoon over the suggestion that Scheer (a major breeder and Catholic) will be jumping right in to create a Handmaiden’s Tale anti-abortion dystopia where the State will mandate that pregnancy will only end with birth.

With a bought and paid for mainstream media pumping out those themes, keeping Max off stage and lobbing Nerf ball questions at Trudeau, the Liberal war room may well be right.

After all, when not plotting with the Pope to make pregnancy mandatory, Scheer is a dull, decent, dog of a candidate. Dirty him up a bit and the poor man may never recover.

The Liberal war room and the mainstream media seem to think this is what politics is about. It isn’t. Right now there are actually serious issues facing Canada beginning with the fact that because of the disaster which is Canadian energy policy, the shut down of 50% of Saudi Arabia’s oil production may mean the Eastern Bastards really do freeze in the dark this winter. Will that come up on the campaign trail? Will real, if painful solutions to Canada’s deficit and debt problem come up? Will the fact that our current External Affairs minister is persona non gratia in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US come up?

These are real issues. Dock Currie’s usually odious comments and being in the same city as Faith Goldy are not.

The Liberals and the paid for Canadian media are pretty sure we’re too dumb to see the difference.

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Live From Belmoral

The PM spent Friday and some of Saturday with Her Majesty. A transcript has just been released.

The Queen: Prime Minister.

Boris: Your Majesty.

The Queen: Bit of a pickle Prime Minister.

Boris: Well yes, Your Majesty. Dominic thought it might turn out this way.

The Queen: Boris, you may think you are Pooh but I assure you, Dominic is more Owl like than you realize. He sounds quite smart but isn’t.

Boris: Perhaps your Majesty. But what can one do?

The Queen: Are you asking seriously?

Boris: Oh yes, your Majesty, I am up the spout without a pickle, or paddle.

The Queen: Well, yes, Boris, you are. Not the first Prime Minister and, the way things are going, not my last. But being a bear of very little brain you might take some advice. Do you know about residual powers?

Boris: I have heard of them but they have not been used in centuries.

The Queen: They most certainly have. Each time a Prime Minister cocks something up and needs to make Parliament go away for a while I prorogue the thing. Or, as my royal prerogatives are being abridged by the act I, or, rather, you can withhold consent. And you might suggest to me that my assent to the bill might be withheld for, say a month or two. And you might want to do that after prorogation. Or, and I doubt your clever Mr. Cummings has thought of this, you might ask me to write a letter to the EU asking for a one day extension to November 1. I am, after all the Head of State and can write in my own name on the advice of Cabinet which would put paid to any question of violating the “law”. Or you might try a combination of some or many of these maneuvers and then move a motion of non-confidence against yourself just for the sheer joy of the expression on Mr. Corbyn’s rather scruffy face.

Boris (doing a small dance as bears do when finding an unexpected honey pot): Thank you very much, Your Majesty. You have given me much to ponder.

The Queen: Well don’t ponder too long. My powers grow rusty in their scabbards and if you wait too long I might die and you’ll have to deal with Charles who has forgotten what a scabbard looks like.

Boris: Thank you Kanga, I mean, Your Majesty.

The Queen: You’re very welcome, Prime Minister. Now get on with it. Lovely gal by the way. Phillip was very impressed.

The Mighty Mueller has Struck Out

I have been watching snatches of poor Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress. Seeing him flailing and apparently not remembering what was actually in his own report was sad. We all get old and Mueller showed all the signs of decline which older people can experience.

None of which was a secret going into the hearings which raises the question, “Why were the Democrats so insistant on having Mueller tesitify?” While I think the two Democratic Committee Chairmen, Nadler and Schiff are dolts, they have been in the game long enough to know Mueller would be a weak witness. So why ask the old fellow to subject himself to five hours of Democratic posturing and some quite serious counter barrage from a number of Republicans who actually know what was going on during the Trump campaign and into the Trump Presidency.

My own surmise is that the Democrats are so invested in the idea of impeaching Trump (because they are pretty sure they can’t beat him in 2020) that they had to try to keep the story alive by bringing out Mueller. Not because he would reveal anything very new nor because he would be a dynamite witness, rather because without at least trying Mueller, the whole impeachment narrative would have been over. So out came Mueller and, in five hours of testimony, he managed to end the whole impeachment narrative.

However, Mueller did let a little light into the origin story of the Special Counsel investigation when he indicated that he did not know what Fusion GPS was, who Greg Simpson was and refused to discuss why spook and professor Joseph Mifsud was not charged with lying to the FBI when a) he did, b) various Trump connected people were so charged.

What Mueller did not know, what his investigation did not examine, are the starting points for what I expect will become the largest political/justice/intelligence scandal America has ever endured.

Mueller’s strike out retired Team Obama/Clinton but now Trump and his AG Bill Barr get their turn at bat. With impeachment off the table, Barr has a clear shot at what very much looks like a broad, co-ordinated, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice (Hillary exoneration on the email file) and conduct illegal surveliance on the Trump campaign and, possibly, the Trump Presidency through the use of fraudulently obtained FISA warrants. The bottom of the inning promises to be something of a hit fest as compared to the strikeouts, foul balls, walks and pop flies which were the best the Dems could do to impeach Trump.

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day, Canadian ElitesMy little town on the Saanich Peninsula really puts on a show for Canada Day weekend. Because of the competition from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, we have our fireworks on Canada Day Eve. My youngest son, a fireworks enthusiast, rode his fixed gear bike the five miles in and five miles back. Tons of fun. Today there will be a parade, concerts and a general sense of a holiday. There are Canadian flags everywhere – we are not quite American with our flag mania, but there are a lot of them on display. Curmudgeons such as myself make sure our kids know that the real name for July 1 is Dominion Day and all that.

Meanwhile, the CBC has been polling Canadians and found that “nearly 80 per cent of Canadians either strongly or somewhat agree with the statement: “My country is divided between ordinary people and elites.” CBC At that link there is a long article suggesting that populist politicians are making use of the term “elite” in a derogatory way and that no one really quite knows what “elite” means.

Given that, in democracies, there is a certain amount of delicacy which surrounds frank discussion of elites, it is not surprising that no one is able to precisely describe what makes up an elite. The CBC and the guy on the street they interview are clear that it is not “money” per se. In fact, culture is more important than money in determining a person’s elite status and that culture, while in principle accessible, is, in practice, exclusionary. And it is exclusionary in very subtle ways.

To give an example, a million years ago I arrived for my first day at a very elite law school. It was actually, on the numbers, harder to get into than Havard Law. If ever there was an elite in embryo it was the hundred and fifty young men and women in that class. After a silly welcoming speech, there were cocktails and we set about getting to know each other as only a group in which fully 50% had been their high school president can. After a while, it got a little tedious as people humble-bragged about going to a “Boston area college” and how doing a triple honours degree set them up for the rigours of a legal education. My mind wandered and I began looking at the actual appearance of this class. There were virtually no fat people. In general, both the men and women seemed a bit taller than average. There were few, if any, people of colour. There were lots of WASPs and lots of Jews (the school shut down for Jewish High Holidays). There were lots of what I later came to understand were “good” hair cuts and the clothes were casual but lots of Ralph Lauren. But what was most striking were the teeth. So far as I could see there was exactly one person in that class who had not either been born with perfectly straight teeth or had access to orthodontry from an early age.

Now, having straight teeth does not make you a member of the elite, not noticing how unusual it is for a group of a hundred and fifty people to have straight teeth, does.

The CBC interviewee, Tony Laino, at Fordfest, said describing elites, “”Those that think they’re better than me,” he said. “Because I don’t espouse their beliefs.”

Which misses the point. Elites really don’t think of guys like Tony Laino at all. Largely because, as Charles Murray points out in Coming Apart, the new upper class rarely, if ever, meets the Tony Lainos of the world. Murray was writing about white people in America but much the same social bi-furcation is taking place in Canada. Murray looks at education, wealth, marriage, access and what he refers to as the rise of the super-zips, areas where highly educated, well connected, well off people live with others of their class and kind. It is an accelerating phenomenon in the US and it is plainly visible in Canada. Murray quotes Robert Reich as calling this, “the segregation of the successful”.

Inside elite communities “the issues” look very different than they do in the more pedestrian parts of the country. A few pennies extra for gas or heating oil or natural gas to fight the universally acknowledged menace of “climate change” makes perfect sense if your income is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. It is downright terrifying if you are making $50K. Only bigots and racists could be anti-imigration when you, yourself, live in virtually all white, old stock, Canadian enclaves and welcome refugees and migrants who you will never see.

The populist moment has not yet come to Canada and, if Andrew Scheer’s brand of Liberal lite wins in October, there will probably be another decade of elite consolidation before a proper populist movement gets off the ground. Whether it will be right populism a la Trump and Farange, or left populism with a firebrand NDP leader, is hard to say. However, as the Canadian elite grows more insular and disconnected from the ordinary life of Canada and Canadians, that populist moment draws closer.

Happy Canada Day!

 

 

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The Politics of Climate Change

The Labour Party in Australia was widely touted as the sure-fire winner in the recent Australian election. One of its key policy position was a renewed commitment to fighting “climate change”. To the Australian media, polling and establishments complete astonishment, Labour lost.

There are multiple explanations for the loss but running with “doing something about climate change” as the central theme of a campaign figures prominantly. Australia is a resource rich, sparsely populated country and energy and mining issues are real pocketbook issues for many Australians. Labour’s climate change policies were seen as very hard on extractive industries and as, potentially, raising energy prices a lot.

The climate change issue in Australia was not fought on a skeptics vs. believers basis so far as I can make out. The Coalition – at least most of it – seemed to accept that the science was settled (big mistake in my view) and that climate change was real and that it needed to be addressed. But the Coalition was clear that it would not cripple the Australian economy or Australian consumers with measures which were very unlikely to make any difference at all to temperature now or in the future. Labour, on the other hand, stressed the urgency of “doing something” about climate change.

I suspect this divide between people who think “doing something” about climate change (no matter how futile) and people who do not accept the urgency of dealing with something they really don’t believe in will inform politics in the West for the next few years. Most particularly, it will inform the next Canadian federal election.

The Liberal Party of Canada has been going all in on its “tax on carbon pollution” (a fine bit of wordsmithing managing to attach “carbon” to “pollution”). Led by the remarkably scolding Catherine McKenna, the Libs seem to think that purporting to “do something” about climate change is a vote winner. So McKenna tours the country speaking to uncritical school children and assorted environmentalists about how important having a “carbon tax” is. The Liberals tax will save the planet, ensure sea level rise stops (easy because sea level is not actually rising), save the Arctic ice cap (already saving itself, thank you), keep polar bears from extinction (also easy because virtually all polar bear populations are growing) and reduce or eliminate climate change “caused” weather events. Plus, Canada will honour its Paris Accord commitments (we won’t) and serve as a beacon to lesser nations like China and India in their efforts to combat climate change (as if).

The Liberals think that the fact that a carbon dioxide tax in Canada will have a rounding error effect on worldwide emissions and no detectable effect on world temperature does not matter politically. What matters politically is that the Liberals believe that there is a large constituency out there which urgently wants to “do something”.

The NDP is fully on board and, of course, the Greens have been banging the climate change drum forever. Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives seem to be on the fence. Like the Coalition in Australia, the Conservatives endorse the “climate change is a problem” line and very few are willing to challenge the underlying science or economics for fear of being branded uncool “climate change deniers”. But the Conservatives seem to be, prudently in my view, dragging their feet on “doing something” about CO2.

Political virtue signalling on the climate file is the easy part. All that is really required is the abandonment of any sort of scientific judgement (easy when you are told that all the scientists agree that climate change is real and primarily human caused) and policy skepticism (we don’t need a cost benefit analysis, this is an emergency!). The hard part occurs when you try to “do something”. Because doing something means that people are going to see their expenses rise without actually seeing (in any tangible way) any actual benefit. In fact, as Ontario’s wonderfully disastrous adventure in wind energy demonstrated, tax dollars can be wasted and consumer prices increased all without making any difference at all to the climate.

Scheer could have the climate change issue nailed if he was willing to set a basic standard for any program designed to address climate change. The standard would be that such projects need to be fully costed and their benefits fully enumerated. Scheer can take climate change “seriously” by demanding that any attempt to address climate change have a provable effect on climate change. How much will a given program reduce CO2 emissions and how will such a reduction in emissions in Canada effect world average temperature. That standard would appeal to those of us who are skeptical about the science. But it should also appeal to people who completely buy the science and really believe there is a climate emergency.

The Liberals, NDP and Greens will be running on the “do something” ticket. The Conservatives have the option of running on the “do something effective” platform. Setting a minimum price for carbon dioxide emissions, in theory, should reduce those emissions in Canada. But will that reduction, in Canada and only in Canada, be enough to do anything at all about climate change? That’s a real question and one the Liberals have, so far, refused to answer.

 

 

The Climate Catechism

Our Minister of the Environment, when she is not touting science advice from entertainer Bill Nye, has taken it upon herself to introduce a motion in the House of Commons which affirms the articles of the climate alarm faith.

  • That the House recognize that:
  • (a) climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity, that impacts the environment, biodiversity, Canadians’ health, and the Canadian economy;
  • (b) Canadians are feeling the impacts of climate change today, from flooding, wildfires, heat waves and other extreme weather events which are projected to intensify in the future;
  • (c) climate change impacts communities across Canada, with coastal, northern and Indigenous communities particularly vulnerable to its effects; and
  • (d) action to support clean growth and meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all parts of the economy are necessary to ensure a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren;
  • and, therefore, that the House declare that Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emissions target under the Paris Agreement and to making deeper reductions in line with the Agreement’s objective of holding global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This is a religious rather than political (much less scientific) document. It is framed in such a way as to make voting against the motion an act of heresy rather than a policy disagreement.

climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity” is the equivalent of the ringing declaration of faith embodied in the Nicene Creed’s opening,

“We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.”

If you doubt that, if you cannot fully affirm that, you will have a very hard time being a Christian. So it is with Climate Barbie’s attestation of climate change faith.

Which is the challenge for Conservatives. Many, if not all, of the Conservative MPs will have legitimate doubts about elements of this motion, but dare they vote against it given that it embodies the fundamental doctrine that “climate change is a real and urgent crisis”? Can they go back to their constituencies accused of apostasy? Of denying the life-defining reality of climate change?

What McKenna and the Liberals are trying to do is elevate the truth of climate change above questions of policy much less science. Either you are a righteous person who accepts the truth of a national climate crisis or you are an evil climate denier, heathen and all round no-goodnick.

The sad fact is that, while there will be Conservative MPs willing to have the courage of their doubts, I suspect the vast majority will opt for the quiet life and give Climate Barbie their vote.

Henry IV of France is reported to have said, “Paris is worth a Mass.” I fear that even the more intelligent Conservatives, rather than fight the Liberals and their tame media, will make a similar calculation and affirm the cultish nonsense McKenna is peddling.

Sad.

 

Separated at Birth

My son, Sam, pointed out a potential source for Canada’s new gay dollar.

Kenny for the Win

Jason Kenny, Alberta ElectionI am not exactly surprised. 62/25.

Edmonton was the outlier but, realistically, where do the civil servants live?

Unlike many a provincial Premier, Jason Kenny has played in Ottawa. He’s done the ethnic politics thing. He knows how the mandarinate in Ottawa thinks and he is going to be a formidable foe for Justin Trudeau.

Best of all, he realizes what hogwash carbon taxes are and he’ll kill Alberta’s.

A great night for Alberta, likely a great night for Canada.

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